The Top 5 Televange-List

My favorite Christian TV personalities…

5)  Jack van Impe

Jack van Impe

I have to stay up pretty late to watch Jack van Impe and his wife Rexella on TV in Chicago, but it’s well worth it when I do.  Not only do I get to hear the news, I get to hear Jack recite the (memorized) Bible verses that are pertinent to the story and hear that the Second Coming is imminent at the same time!  It’s much more amusing than the paid programming for exercise machines on the other channels.

Interspersed with the apocalyptic messages is his cohost wife, Rexella (which will one day be the name of my daughter) van Impe, who sets up the questions and plays the “Christian wife” character on his show.

If you haven’t seen it yet, you must.  And they’ve made it easier by offering free video podcasts of their show!  You can get it through iTunes by subscribing to: http://www.jvim.com/tv/jvipresents_video.xml.

 

4)  Pat Robertson

Pat Robertson

Speaking of exercise infomercials, you can get the best of that and fundamental Christianity by watching Pat Robertson, on The 700 Club, talk about leg-pressing 2000 pounds. Or that feminism encourages women to become lesbians. Or that God isn’t in Dover (Actually, I agree with him on that one). Or anything else completely absurd.

I have yet to meet anyone, Christian or otherwise, who takes him seriously. I can’t understand why anyone so criticized and just plain crazy can still take in enough money to stay on air for so long… what’s the matter with you people?!

 

3)  Kirk Cameron

Kirk Cameron

Kirk and I have a fun history, going back to the 40 minutes we spoke back in February, 2006 (Part 1, Part 2), where he and his radio show co-host Todd Friel told me I was a liar, blasphemer, and adulterer. After the interview was over and I hung up the phone, Kirk and Todd told their listeners I was a fool. They then spent time talking about “why a Hemant exists.” A Hemant??? I’m a thing now?!

Of course this is an isolated incident. And it’s on the radio. So why is Kirk on the televange-List? Because he and other co-host Ray Comfort also have a video series for their show in which one episode entitled “The Beauty of a Broken Spirit” specifically discussed how to witness to atheists.

I’ve been to atheist events where clips from this video were shown just to amuse the audience. You would think if you want to produce a video about talking to atheists, you would take into account how atheists might respond (Because there *are* responses to everything they say). However, when you watch this video, it’s obvious they think there is no way to rebut their claims. Which makes it hilarious.  Ok, the whole banana thing helps, too.

 

2)  Benny Hinn

Benny Hinn

He was my first televangelist addiction. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. He just touched peoples’ foreheads (or swung his jacket at them or just waved his hands through the air), said the magic words, and they were saved! Who cares that he never releases the peoples’ medical records, or that he spends the money raised through his ministries on his lavish lifestyle, or that he dodges questions on Dateline?  This guy knows how to captivate an audience.  Other pastors used these God-Works-Through-Me methods before Benny, but no one has done it as effectively.

Just for amusement, this website has a nice list of Benny Hinn prophecies that have gone unfulfilled.

 

1)  Joel Osteen

Joel Osteen

I love Joel. My mom loves Joel. He’s so charming and funny. No crazy prophecies made or miracles seen. He doesn’t even ask for money. When he travels cross-country to speak, admission is $10 (only because he needs to charge something to prevent mass chaos). He just tells you how to use Christian morals to live your life positively. And it turns out some of the Christian morals he espouses are no different from the morals of most atheists I know. Help others, spend time with your loved ones, etc. Sure there’s a Bible verse thrown in there every now and then, and sometimes he does talk about waiting for God to answer your prayers (when I’d rather talk about taking action), but still. You can ignore those bits and get to the secular message pretty often.

Ok, so his wife is pretty hot, too, but it’s a testament to Joel that I’ll watch his broadcasts and not pay much attention to Victoria.

It’s sad that most of the criticism on Joel has come from the Christian community. They say he preaches Christianity-lite and avoids saying anything controversial (when the Bible makes it clear what stance to take), but those are also the qualities that made him the pastor of the biggest church in the country.

Is there anything I find bad about him? While he doesn’t talk about controversial issues in church, it’s not clear that he thinks about them at all, period. On Larry King last year, his most frequent answer to theological questions seemed to be “I don’t know.” Either he’s way too humble or he just ignores anything that might raise an eyebrow.

 

[tags]Televangelists, Way of the Master, Todd Friel, The Beauty of a Broken Spirit, atheist, atheism, Jack van Impe, Rexella Impe, Pat Robertson, Kirk Cameron, Benny Hinn, Dateline, Christian, Christianity, Joel Osteen, Victoria Osteen, Lakewood Church, Larry King[/tags]

  • Josh

    I always get a kick out of watching “Praise the Lord” on TBN. It’s like a hangout for all my favorite televangelists. I give the TBN crew some credit… you can watch their shows online!

    http://www.tbn.org/index.php/2.html

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  • http://www.apologeticsindex.org/ Anton

    And then there’s the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN, which also stands for The Blasphemy Network).

  • jim

    Nice work Hemant

    But you are too generous with Osteen

  • Raghu Mani

    jim said,

    Nice work Hemant

    But you are too generous with Osteen

    Jim,

    I’d be interested to know why you think that. I am no expert on televangelists but having watched/heard (to some extent at least) all five that Hemant has listed, I find that Osteen is the only one who strikes me as reasonable and non-fanatical individual.

    Raghu

  • jim

    Osteen defintely gets the Mr Toastmaster award for best and (certainly least offensive) speaker but he is robotic to say the least and most of what you hear from him comes direct from Tony Robbins.

    I mostly just feel sorry for him- He is the front man for a huge operation- he looks like a lost kid.

    Those are all the rsame reasons he is so popular as well

  • matt

    #

    jim said,

    August 17, 2006 at 12:08 pm

    Osteen defintely gets the Mr Toastmaster award for best and (certainly least offensive) speaker but he is robotic to say the least and most of what you hear from him comes direct from Tony Robbins.

    I mostly just feel sorry for him- He is the front man for a huge operation- he looks like a lost kid.

    Those are all the rsame reasons he is so popular as well

    I agree. He may be unoffensive, but he still has absolutely nothing to say. His message is devoid of any substantive commentary on injustice, poverty, war, racism, etc. — or even the things that usually raise the hackles of fundamentalist televangelists. He’s a severely uneducated, uncritical young man who was in the right place at the right time with a the least offensive message, the best marketing money can buy and an audience of people who don’t want to think–just hear trite solutions to their everyday problems.

  • http://poetcomic.blogspot.com Doreen

    Hi Hemant,

    Have you ever watched any of these televangelists, and if so, what’s your opinion?

    Robert Schuller
    Joyce Meyer
    TD Jakes

  • http://www.friendlyatheist.com Hemant

    Have you ever watched any of these televangelists, and if so, what’s your opinion?

    Robert Schuller
    Joyce Meyer
    TD Jakes

    Doreen– I haven’t seen any of those people on TV yet, though I might have caught a glimpse of Schuller before. I have read a lot of Joyce Meyer’s writings in Charisma magazine (and there are billboards in Chicago everywhere from a recent event she put on with a Christian band, Hillsong… if she can fill an arena, she can’t be too bad). And I’ve heard TD Jakes is a good speaker, but I haven’t seen him yet…

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  • A. Nonymous

    Dear Sincere Persons in search of the “truth contained in the Holy Scriptires,

    Looking aroiund on the internet using as search criteria Osteen and money after last night having watched parts of the MSNBC program Scarborough Country “In God We Trust” and I think you will all be hearing more about the program. I stumbled upon this sight. So I will comment one time and cease my involement here.

    Do these all fit into the category of religious leaers that are referenced to in verse 3 of the following Bible verses, 2 Timothy 4:1-5, quoted from the

    “The Holman Christian Standard Bible

    2 Timothy 4:1-5
    4:1Before God and Christ Jesus, who is going to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom, I solemnly charge you:
    4:2
    proclaim the message; persist in it whether convenient or not; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching.
    4:3
    For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, 4:4will accumulate teachers for themselves
    They will turn away from hbecause they have an itch to hear something new. earing the truth and will turn aside to myths.
    4:5
    But as for you, keep a clear head about everything, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
    The Holman Christian Standard Bible

    & The New International Verson states verse 3 this way:

    “3For the time will come when people will not put up with healthy doctrine but with itching ears will surround themselves with teachers who cater to their own need.”

    & The New Simplified Bible states ve 3 this way:
    “3 For the time will come when they will not endure the sound doctrine. Having their ears tickled, they will accumulate teachers who follow after their own lusts.

    Yes I think they ticle the ears. Do YOU?

    Wam Christian Love,
    A. Nonymous

  • Just stopping by….

    Aside from the fact that you have your facts about evolution twisted, your “openminded” approach is fundamentally incorrect. You will never be convinced that there is a God because you have already made the decision to not believe. You have decided to put your faith into a theory that upon close inspection, does not withstand scrutiny.
    Until you withhold your conclusion, you will continue to fall into the same trap that so many other non-believers fall into. Your science is based on the process of result first, and works its way backwards, instead of letting the natural progression of ideas take place from the beginning. Whenever the latest evolution idea is refuted, as it always is, Darwinists scramble to come up with another explanation. Your faith in this theory is unshakable. This is not how true science operates.

    When you insist on money to drag you into an environment that requires an authentic desire to participate, you destroy the prospect of real discovery. It is the sole purpose of free will to choose to follow God. The decision to follow God is critical. Nobody can force you to believe. But you put your faith in a science that doesn’t exist “yet”…The creation “dilemma” will “eventually” be solved in the “future”. How convenient for the atheist.

    Nobody owes you an explanation, not for $10 or any any other amount. If you would trade your condescending, cynical approach for an honest one, with sincere intentions, you would discover the power of God.

    I hope you choose to direct your faith more wisely…

  • Then he said…

    I find it funny that your so interested in the christian message && think joel osteen trys to reach out to people like u who would probably be offended at the more controversial messages. Do u think that this interest could be u just looking for God…&& have u ever actually been to a meeting of benny hin or joel osteen? if not how do u know the power isnt real?

  • Then he said…

    what do u think of this? i found it on joel osteens website
    WE BELIEVE…the entire Bible is inspired by God, without error and the authority on which we base our faith, conduct and doctrine.

    WE BELIEVE…in one God who exists in three distinct persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God who came to this earth as Savior of the world.

    WE BELIEVE…Jesus died on the cross and shed His blood for our sins. We believe that salvation is found by placing our faith in what Jesus did for us on the cross. We believe Jesus rose from the dead and is coming again.

    WE BELIEVE…water baptism is a symbol of the cleansing power of the blood of Christ and a testimony to our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

    WE BELIEVE…in the regular taking of Communion as an act of remembering what the Lord Jesus did for us on the cross.

    WE BELIEVE…every believer should be in a growing relationship with Jesus by obeying God’s Word, yielding to the Holy Spirit and by being conformed to the image of Christ.

    WE BELIEVE…as children of God, we are overcomers and more than conquerors and God intends for each of us to experience the abundant life He has in store for us.

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  • Age

    la la la la la….. uh oh….
    Atheist ppl… eww
    :p just kidding.
    im glad you are ‘Friendly’ and to be friendly one must have friends.
    but not too glad you are all Atheist. I wonder why the rejection?
    well anyway you are going to face Him. And it does take more faith to be an Atheist than to be a Christian. You just ignore the facts! how lovely!
    “well its not scientifically proven”
    That saying is funny lol. Dont get me wrong Atheist are great!(except denying the Creator) especially when i see one get saved! now that is AWESOME!

  • Richard Wade

    Age,
    Thanks for the drive-by. Not clever, not original, not even accurate. Just a quick demo of your profound ignorance about atheists. Go drive-by somewhere else. Being friendly doesn’t require tolerating abuse. You sound drunk. Come back when and if you actually want to say something intelligent and intelligible.

  • greg

    Just a quick note from a friendly believer. Forgive me for not spending a whole lot of time on your website because this is just a quick observation. I notice that even though you and a lot of your readers are non-believers, why then do you spend so much of your time fixated on somehting that you don’t believe in.

  • Richard Wade

    Hi greg, I’m glad you’re a friendly believer. There are several friendly believers who frequent this site and they are all welcome.

    Your question is a reasonable one, and one that is often asked by new visitors to blogs such as this. There are as many reasons why atheists talk about religion as there are atheists, but in general it’s most often because of how some of the practitioners of various religions effect their lives. Things like slandering atheists, shunning them, firing them, threatening them, beating them and even killing them. Then there are the social issues, such as doing all the above to their gay friends, treating women as second-class citizens, compelling everyone to pay taxes for religious causes, activities and organizations, attempts to compel science teachers in public schools to teach myths, attempts to destroy the First Amendment and establish a theocracy, and on and on and on.

    Many atheists here come from backgrounds of strong religious belief, and their journeys to atheism were often started by very painful experiences and then included even more painful experiences. So they have a lot of things to work out by talking with each other.

    So it really isn’t so much a fixation about “God” if that’s what you mean. Most atheists don’t actually spend much time talking or thinking about that per se. It’s more about a constant struggle against the destructive effects of some people who think that their belief in God gives them the right and the obligation to force these things upon everyone.

    I hope you visit again and interact with us. We are all, the friendly believers and friendly unbelievers, eager for more respectful understanding all around.

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    That’s one of the problems I’ve always had with “Drive-By Conversion” attempts; the perpetrators always seem to think that their arguments are completely new, that nobody has ever heard them before and that nobody in the world can possibly refute them. Well, it’s really quite simple: the idea of defending a theory is not new, and it’s not illogical, either. When someone “attacks” a theory–evolution, for example–it is natural to want to examine the theory from different angles to make sure there is no way for it to hold up. If we just abandoned a theory every time someone attacked it, we wouldn’t have a lot of the technology we do today–for it’s this very reasoning process that allows us to make such progress.

    And sadly, the “attacks” being made on concepts such as evolution are anything but scientific; for example, when it was said in one of the comments here that “evolution works backward from a conclusion,” I beg to differ; there is no doctrine in history that tells us evolution happened. It is a theory invented by Charles Darwin based on scientific observations he made in his life. The Bible is a book that was supposedly written with divine inspiration, and it lays everything out and attempts to explain everything–starting with a conclusion, and leaving us humans to sort out the facts.

  • mike

    It has been interesting to have conversations with athiests, your site appears to have civil people open minded and willing to discuss the issue of faith. I believe it was a couple posts back some one said they tire of hearing christians give the same old lines… do you think christians might tire of hearing the same old lines from athiests? people can only browse so many athiest sites before they feel compelled to respond. Believe me believers have heard just about every “Argument” against God as you have heard “arguments” for God. there is nothing here being said that isn’t being said a hundred sites over. most arguments com from a few placed athiest: Dawkins, ect. now to be fair most christians take their arguments from a few placed christians: c.s. Lewis, blase pascal ect. the idea that your smarter than simple minded “believers” is arrogance and isn’t really that civil. As one of your bloggers pointed out most of you have had painful experiences with the church and the rejection is emotional. Christians however have had a different expirence and their attachment is equally emotional. I would challange you to be honest, you have rejected God because of the emotional baggage not because your smarter than those whom believe.

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    I would challange you to be honest, you have rejected God because of the emotional baggage not because your smarter than those whom believe.

    Well, for one, I’d be a liar if I said that; I never “rejected God” because I’ve never “experienced God.” I hear about him every day, but all of the “irrefutable evidence” everyone seems to have always turns out to be based on interpretation (see: Kirk Cameron). One who doesn’t believe in God doesn’t always do so because of “rejection;” There are as many reasons for not believing in God as there are for believing in Him.

    All hostile remarks aside, though, I’m not really interested in “proving religion wrong.” I can’t speak for everyone, but I am personally interetsed in doing whatever I feel is right. I watch religious TV because I am honestly interested in hearing the “other side’s” perspective; I am willing to hear people out on matters of faith and God, because if Christianity is provably “right” or “true,” then I want to know. But I haven’t seen anything to even suggest that. I am severely disappointed when someone takes a legitimate attempt at conversation, wads it up, and throws it away, all in the interest of spouting a tired argument (as the drive-by attempt here tried to do).

    I am fairly new to the atheist community, so I haven’t actually read any of the popular “atheist leaders” books (Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens), though I have plans to, simply because I want to know what everyone is talking about. When I say something, it’s usually because I thought of it myself, and if it isn’t, then I heard it from someone else, thought about it, and decided I agreed with it because it was an accurate representation of my thoughts. Which really serves my point—if I think of or hear an idea that happens to already be popular opinion, but then try to act like it’s some magical quote that will make religious people “see the light,” people will be irritated with me. Drive-by conversion attempts are just like that. If that user had approached this conversation in a more intelligent manner, I might have humored him/her instead of going on the offensive. But he/she gave me no reason to humor him/her, as he/she did not say anything that lead me to believe he/she was interested in a two-sided conversation.

    On a closing note, conversation and interaction is not always about saying something that nobody has ever said before; sometimes it is about collecting ideas and sorting through them in the interest of serving a common cause. In Hemant’s case, the blog is an attempt to start conversations between religious people and atheists and to help them to better understand each other. So naturally, you’re going to see a lot of familiar ideas here.

    And if you see a familiar argument, by all means, feel free to address it. Just don’t make the same mistake Mr. Driveby made; as long as you’re relatively sociable, I don’t think most people will mind.

  • Karen

    I would challange you to be honest, you have rejected God because of the emotional baggage not because your smarter than those whom believe.

    I would challenge you to actually ASK atheists why they are atheists, rather than coming up with your own answer and then imposing it upon us. I don’t do that to theists, and I don’t appreciate it when they do that to me.

    And I would never presume that I am “smarter than those who believe.” No way.

  • Richard Wade

    Mike,
    I agree with you that the basic arguments on theist and atheist blogs are often repetitive, and for the most part those which are an attempt to prove or disprove the existence of God is futile, given the caveat that believers include in their definition of God that he is outside normal existence, not subject to any effects of time and space, and not subject to cause and effect. That is why most mature atheists dont’ waste their time with such discussions.

    I take exception to your proposition that these arguments come from authors such as Dawkins, Harris, etc. on one side and C.S. Lewis, Pascal etc. on the other. These arguments boil down to a single, simple exchange that is older than history: “Believe what I say,” vs. “Show me first.” This has gone on since the Stone Age.

    When you said,

    As one of your bloggers pointed out most of you have had painful experiences with the church and the rejection is emotional. Christians however have had a different expirence and their attachment is equally emotional.

    I think you were referring to my comment not far above. That was just one part of a response to the question about why atheists spend time discussing religion at all. For you to take that and spin it to imply that atheists have made an “emotional” decision, implying that it was not a rational, well-considered decision is not correct or fair. As others here have suggested, please ask us about ourselves, don’t tell us about ourselves.

  • mike

    “These arguments boil down to a single, simple exchange that is older than history: “Believe what I say,” vs. “Show me first.” This has gone on since the Stone Age.”

    I think this simplifies a complicated situation. I don’t think it quiet boils down to: Those of you who are willing to believe with no proof, and those of us who demand evidence and use our brains.

    The fundamental problem is: what is evidence? Most athiest I have spoken with demand “empirical” evidence. (this might be because they have committed to a materialistic universe) Others are willing to examine or take into account evidence that is more difficult to interpret.

    Let me give you an example of evidence that is “difficult to interpret” At night I tuck my children into bed kiss them on the forehead pray with them and say I love you. Now in a materalistic love is nothing more than a word that represents a phycho-chemical reaction that is mainly chemical in nature. There is nothing one can point to that is “love” it does not exist externally, it is internal. Now I would certainly agree that some of our emotions are chemical in nature but I have a difficult time buying it completely. I have a difficult time accepting that in totality. Now your going to say: I’ve heard that argument before, sure you have and you’ve even agreed that that feeling is powerful. What I am pointing to is that feeling of not wanting to accept that our emotions are purely physical or chemical. That is the “difficult to interpret” evidence. The complexity of the situation creates doubts in my mind. Now this doubt can be shoved away, but it is evidence although it is evidence that is difficult to interpret.

    My problem with materialism is that its too perfect, it’s too easy. If you knew me you would know I hate answers that are too perfect too simple. However, some times the simple answers are not all that simple and the most “complex” answers are really simplistic. Bottom line: There is evidence it is there… it’s just how we examine it and interpret it. No evidence ever speaks for itself it always requires interpretation.

  • Richard Wade

    Mike,
    When you say,

    I think this simplifies a complicated situation. I don’t think it quiet boils down to: Those of you who are willing to believe with no proof, and those of us who demand evidence and use our brains.

    First let’s clear up the tone. I never said nor implied that believers don’t use their brains. That kind of insult has no place here. If you have encountered people who do that, I’m sorry to hear that, but I can’t help that. Please don’t characterize me along with them.

    I agree with you that evidence requires interpretation. Such interpretation has to have as much credibility as the evidence itself. It should follow a logical sequence that anyone can understand. If I say that a horse footprint in the Sierra Nevada is evidence that a small town dogcatcher in Iowa is a pedophile, you’re going to immediately demand my step-by-step explanation before you accept that as evidence.

    To me, saying that your desire to think of love as something beyond a psycho-chemical reaction is evidence that an invisible, inaudible and intangible supreme being exists and is watching over us is as big a leap over logical sequence as the one I just described. To me, it is evidence about you; evidence of the complexity of your character. It suggests that you have a sensitivity toward human feelings, that you value love as a virtue and that you would not want to see it’s importance diminished or dismissed as a strictly mundane phenomenon. I wouldn’t either, it should be revered. But if you ask me to share your leap over logical sequence in interpretation as a “leap of faith,” I couldn’t accept your leap toward the conclusion of god’s existence any more than you could accept mine that the dogcatcher is a pedophile.

    Every day you make important decisions: when to cross a busy street, whether a defendant is guilty or innocent, should you buy or sell stock. You wisely demand materialistic evidence and straight-forward interpretation for such things every day, but not for the existence of god. Our only difference is that I don’t relax my standards for any topic. To be clear, I’m not implying superiority, just difference.

    Your example of your loving your kids presents a good example of my viewpoint. I think there is very clear external existence to love. There’s an old saying that kids spell love t-i-m-e, meaning the time you actually spend being physically with them and interacting with them is their best evidence that you love them; all the things you do for them, especially with them. If you were not around for your kids, if you remained invisible, inaudible and intangible, if their mother could only reassure them that you love them, wherever the heck you are, but you gave them no clear, physical, straight forward, unambiguous, undeniable presence in their lives, needing no “interpretation” at all, they would not be very well nourished by such abstract, vacuous love.

    Mike, like you I am suspicious of any world view that is too perfect, too pat, too sewn-up. It smacks of deceit. And so I can understand your problem with certain presentations of materialism. I keep my mind open for evidence for all sorts of ideas, but I think my standards for evidence and it’s interpretation are not unreasonable. My problem with supernatural interpretations of the world around us is that it also can be far too convenient to just stick God into all the cracks and gaps in an argument, like spackle covering the serious flaws in a crumbling wall.

    For me, the evidence for something as important as God’s existence should not be “difficult to interpret,” especially for a god who supposedly really wants us to believe in him. It should be easy, obvious, straight forward, unambiguous, and simple. It should not require people to bend logic into an absurd pretzel and try to interpret the absence of evidence as if that is evidence, and that the difficulty in interpreting the evidence is in itself also evidence. That is silliness turned upon itself. I’m open to it when and if I’m presented with good evidence and a good interpretation.

  • Mike B

    Richard Wade: By the way your tone is actually quite pleasent. I will admit I’ve had conversations with athiest where the tone was less than pleasent… thank you. Notice I did not say that love or my expression of it to my children was evidence for God. What I said was:

    Let me give you an example of evidence that is “difficult to interpret”

    I never claimed it was evidence for or against God. I was providing it as an example of evidence that it difficult to interpret. How does love fit into a mechanistic universe? That is a fair and honest question. I don’t think it “destroys” atheism but neither do I think it should be over looked. The question of love and emotions is a difficult question theist struggle less with it than materialist but theists have their own struggles: Theodicy for one.

    You stated that an argument :”It should follow a logical sequence that anyone can understand.”

    That’s an interesting statement. Logic, as you know has many different faces. What is logical in one context is not logical in another. If you’ve ever gone over sea’s than you know what I’m talking about. Different cultures have different things that seem “logical.”

    Is it possible that what would appear to you as “illogical” might actually be logical given a certain set of presuppositions?

    If your familar with Wiggetestine than you know that language is less about correlation to “objective reality” than it is about relationships. In other words the symbols / words we use in our minds are fuzzy not clear. This situation becomes more difficult the moment the words are spoken. This is why kierkegaard did not believe in direct communication only indirect.

    This may also be one of the reasons humans work best with symbols instead of direct contact. In other words: art (which is less direct than science), may speak to a human in a more “direct” way than science or philosophy (which is more direct)

    Now how does this play out for our conversation? When talking about highly developed ideas like “God” the more direct one speaks about God the less clear God becomes. This could be a picture for why things like this appear contradictory to you. It’s because it is and is not. Now before you flip out and say I’m chasing rabbit trails please do you home work and check up on what Wiggettestene wrote. (Not that you don’t know or havn’t read him It’s just that in my expirence with “rational athiest” this is just about where the conversation get’s derailed.

  • Richard Wade

    (Groan) Oh crap, I’m in a conversation with a philosophy major. Mike, do you mean Ludwig WITTGENSTEIN? Of Tractatus, On Certainty, and all that? It took me several minutes of Googling the three ways you spelled it, “Wiggetestine, Wiggettestene” and on the other thread, “Wiggettenstein” before I realized you probably mean Wittgenstein. I read some articles about him several months ago when I tangled with another philosophy major. My overall impression was that he built elaborate, intricate arguments to say that basically it’s just about hopeless for anyone to understand anyone else. Well, gee whiz, he provided good examples even as he wrote them, so if the reader couldn’t actually grasp his meaning, he got a demonstration instead.

    Whatever.

    I have a tough time not resenting being told to “do my homework” on an assignment by you. I think that if someone can’t explain an idea in simple terms, then he just doesn’t understand it very well himself. Resorting to jargon, esoteric and dense philosophical works, and (misspelled) philosopher name-dropping is what “derails” a conversation for me, rather than someone not being familiar with some arcane philosophy.

    Parts of your last comment have begun to resemble word salad. You talk about “evidence that’s hard to interpret,” but you don’t clearly say evidence for what. You’re babbling about how being direct is really being indirect, and how being indirect is really being direct. If you’re trying to demonstrate “fuzzy” communication, you’re doing a good job. You said, “The more direct one speaks about God the less clear God becomes.” Well duh. There’s a simple and obvious explanation for that. Please don’t give me the “all logic is relative to it’s cultural context” routine. Please try hard to be straight forward and not play word games and mind games. If you want a PhD level repartee on epistemology then I’m not up to it. Not qualified and not interested. As I have often said to other people in these kinds of conversations, I’m not interested in truth, I’m interested in honesty. Honesty is about you and me not playing games, not pretending we’re smart, just stating our views in frank, simple terms.

    I will reprint the paragraph containing my essential opinion from my earlier comment, since you ignored it completely. If you have any coherent, honest response to offer about it, great. If you’re gonna hand me things like the “how can we know what we know and how can we know if we’re knowing that right there” nonsense, or quote any dead guys, then let’s forget it. Here’s what I said earlier:

    For me, the evidence for something as important as God’s existence should not be “difficult to interpret,” especially for a god who supposedly really wants us to believe in him. It should be easy, obvious, straight forward, unambiguous, and simple. It should not require people to bend logic into an absurd pretzel and try to interpret the absence of evidence as if that is evidence, and that the difficulty in interpreting the evidence is in itself also evidence. That is silliness turned upon itself. I’m open to it when and if I’m presented with good evidence and a good interpretation.

    And the e comes before the i in atheist.

  • monkeymind

    Richard Wade:

    Please don’t dismiss Ludwig W. because of Mike B.’s interpretation, he’s actually quite a fun read. (If you’re crazy like me)

    I think one of most profound things he ever said was “When it comes right down to it, we all just have to get through life the bloody hard way”

    No divine shortcuts or cheat sheets, but at least we have each other.

  • Richard Wade

    monkeymind, I like him better already. Thanks.

  • Eliza

    And the e comes before the i in atheist.

    Athy, athier, athiest…. :-)

  • Richard Wade

    LOL Eliza, that’s good. I never thought of that. How athy are we anyway?

  • mike B

    As to the spelling: I apologize I’m not sitting down with my dictionary I’m actually just pecking out the words not trying to win a spelling contest. Forgive me.

    No, I am not a philosophy major. I have my degree in History. I do enjoy learning and reading and W is interesting to me.

    As to your tone. I preferred your last post it seemed more pleasant.

    Now as to your post.

    “For me, the evidence for something as important as God’s existence should not be “difficult to interpret,” especially for a god who supposedly really wants us to believe in him.”

    It should not be difficult…. Why? What about life is easy? For me cancer should be easy to deal with… Everybody gets sick, everybody dies…. what’s the big deal… (just because YOU think it should be easy it does not follow that it ought to be or that it is…) Gravity should be easy to understand. How dare scientist make it more difficult to understand than: what goes up must come down.

    “It should not require people to bend logic into an absurd pretzel and try to interpret the absence of evidence as if that is evidence, and that the difficulty in interpreting the evidence is in itself also evidence.”

    I’m not bending logic, actually I’m trying to employ it. I’m encouraging people to look beyond the “obvious” answers and try to see deeper. The flaw in your logic is this: evidence is that which I can see touch or test. If what ever is presented to me is not presented in this manner (empirically verifiable) than it is by definition not evidence. That would be true IF we lived in a materialistic universe. To my knowledge no one has proven that we live in a purely materialistic universe. Therefore the method of testing is, by design, only able to test that which is physical in nature. Try to scientifically test love… we end up breaking it down to chemicals. ie something we CAN test…. think about it… our whole scientific process is is developed this way. Only that which we can test is real…But what if empiricism CAN’T tell us everything. What if it’s limited?

    What if we are more than chemicals that bounce into each other… Is it possible Richard? Is it possible that science might have limitations?

    You also wrote :

    “My problem with supernatural interpretations of the world around us is that it also can be far too convenient to just stick God into all the cracks and gaps in an argument, like spackle covering the serious flaws in a crumbling wall.”

    I agree sometime Christians use “it’s a mystery” or ” God did it” too easily however… don’t some pretty notable scientist do the same thing?

    Ask Carl Sagan what he thinks of DNA seeding?
    Ask scientists to explain the mechanism that created DNA?

    “it also can be far too convenient to just stick God-” Convenient? What does honesty have to do with convenience? Do you honestly think that people were just sick of “asking those pesky hard to answers questions” and so to save time went: “gee whiz wouldn’t it be much easier to make up some God so it would make all this work?”

  • Richard Wade

    Mike, Sorry about my tone in my last comment. I get annoyed when I think someone is talking in circles and obfuscating. If you don’t think you were, then skip it, my apologies.

    The flaw in your logic is this: evidence is that which I can see touch or test. If what ever is presented to me is not presented in this manner (empirically verifiable) than it is by definition not evidence. That would be true IF we lived in a materialistic universe. To my knowledge no one has proven that we live in a purely materialistic universe. Therefore the method of testing is, by design, only able to test that which is physical in nature.

    Well if the universe is more than materialistic, the only parts where anything has been proven are the material parts. Whatever the alleged non material parts may be, they are only described by people who claim to have some special vision, some special insight that others lack. If I don’t see something beyond the material, then I’m either blind or it’s not actually there. If you see something beyond the material, you either have a sense that others lack or you’re imagining it from wishful thinking. People who claim to see what others cannot see have a long, ugly history of fraud. Some may sincerely believe what they claim, but that doesn’t mean they’re actually right, and there have been far too many mystical hucksters for me to not look askance at them all.

    The flaw in your logic is to imply that because “no one has proven that we live in a purely materialistic universe” then therefore the non-materialistic must exist. Nuh-uh. Isn’t that one of those fallacious arguments that are so old they have latin names? Sorry, your reassurances, no matter how eloquent are not and never will be enough. They can be just the words of another guy with something to sell. The more intricate, complex and multi-level your explanations for why you don’t have any empirical evidence, the less convincing you are.

    It once again boils down to the very first thing I said that you responded to. I said that it’s a timeless exchange between “Believe what I say,” vs. “Show me first.” Now between you and I it has become, “Consider believing what I say,” (followed by long, complicated musings on what is reality, what is truth, what is knowledge, what is love and what is God) vs. “Show me first.” All that talk weighs nothing. It’s vibrating air. It appears to me to be just stuff to fill up the time during the long, long embarrassing absence of God.

    You keep bringing up love as if it’s some kind of talisman, something that will cause me to flinch at the possibility of it being denigrated into only materialistic terms. Hey, I’m a sentimental, romantic guy. I cry at movies, sigh at novels about love, loyalty, sacrifice and heroism. I’ve been Cupid’s fool over my wife for the last 37 years. Love may someday indeed be explainable in only chemical/pycho-sexual terms but don’t worry, that won’t really reduce human beings’ fondness of it or our fascination with it, or our daydreaming that somehow it’s more. I do not see any less beauty in love and life by seeing things as devoid of supernatural aspects. I can accept that DNA can come up with some pretty wonderful things. I don’t need to think that it’s added to us from the outside by a non-material deity; it doesn’t spoil the mood. Scientists can have their mystical and romantic streaks. That’s okay with me. It makes them healthier people. They’re usually careful not to mix up sentiment with science.

    But what if empiricism CAN’T tell us everything. What if it’s limited? What if we are more than chemicals that bounce into each other… Is it possible Richard? Is it possible that science might have limitations?

    Of course science and empiricism have their limitations. They’re tediously slow and haven’t told us everything. But I don’t think that what they haven’t told us should be filled in by prophets and preachers with nothing to back up their claims but more claims about the claims. What we don’t know should remain not known until when and if we do know.

    All sorts of questions as yet unanswered by science are not very good “evidence” for supernaturalism. They’re just unanswered questions. It’s not a good strategy to bolster an argument for the non-material by using as yet unanswered questions as if the gaps in our knowledge is evidence. That is a constantly shrinking set. Yeah, yeah we don’t know how DNA got started yet, but we know a lot of things that we formerly didn’t. When somebody eventually makes a self-replicating complex molecule in the lab from basic early Earth chemicals, that will be one less hiding place for God.

    I have enjoyed our exchange, but I think that we will just have to agree to disagree. I do not want to take away a single belief or notion of yours, or sway you to see things as I do. My sole purpose is to make myself and my views understood. I need to concentrate on my real world needs and responsibilities and get some time away from this infernal machine.

    Keep loving, regardless of it’s nature.

  • Mike B

    I think we can agree to disagree. However, there are a few things I would leave you with: First, I am not the only one who has to “defend” You are proposing a universe that is devoid of God, That’s fine but for me to accept that position YOU need evidence that I would accept, and your position need to be scutinized as much or more than the “theistic” position. Your proposing a universe that is explainable in purely materialistic ways. Science has done some pretty amazing things but it hasn’t done all that it’s promised. It can help us get to London faster (via Jet) but can it help us manage our time better? Science can describe the creation of a baby. But can it tell us how to be good fathers. Science does a wonderful job of making machines like this one I’m typing on but does it show me how to communicate with others better? IF you read Thomas Kuhn and the Structure of Scientific Revolutions you would know that even science it’s self is constrainted to the philosphy and world view of those who are using it.

    You accuse me of taking “gaps” in my knowledge and “applying” it to God. I have no problem believing that there may be a mechanism that God used to “create” DNA However, your faith in science is as blind as my faith in God. Where is your evidence that science ever will discover the mechanism? Where is your evidence that science will: “eventually makes a self-replicating complex molecule in the lab from basic early Earth chemicals, that will be one less hiding place for God.”

    Where is your evidence that that is even possible and more to the point: Your very words betray you… ”

    Why wouldn’t someone MAKING “self-replicating molecules” be evidence for necessity of a creator instead of evidence for the lack of one?

    IT wouldn’t and what more this only serves to demonstrate just how committed to your position you truely are…

    You believe with little evidence that some day some one will do all these things it’s faith… you have faith, blind, trusting, close your eyes and jump faith that science will solve these pesky problems for you. So lets do away with “those of us who use our brains, and those of us willing to go on: I believe.”

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    I hate to intrude on such an interesting discussion, but allow me to give my simple (but effective, I think) mindset with regards to why I don’t believe in the supernatural:

    (1) Take away the Bible. Take away the Quran. Take away all of the Holy Books. What do we have to show that God exists, then? What do we have to even suggest it? We have vague notions of a creator, but not as a single scientific theory that stands out—rather, the idea of a creator in this context is simply another theory that may or may not have any bearing. There are ways to suggest that it might be true, and ways to suggest it might not. Not enough evidence to even consider it (or throw it out), so it really has no place in my rationale (though I admit I’m open to the possibility, if someone shows me evidence that is not subject to interpretation). The fact that someone wrote a book while claiming divine inspiration is not enough to inspire me to change my entire belief system.

    (2)

    Science has done some pretty amazing things but it hasn’t done all that it’s promised. It can help us get to London faster (via Jet) but can it help us manage our time better? Science can describe the creation of a baby. But can it tell us how to be good fathers. Science does a wonderful job of making machines like this one I’m typing on but does it show me how to communicate with others better?

    This is where the vagueness comes in; science is about precision, about being exact. As long as you give a set of describable factors with distinct natures (as opposed to a vague generalization that encompasses a large number of possible precise factors), it is possible to scientifically explore a situation. To use your analogy about managing time—the reason it is flawed is because “managing time” is a general concept. It encompasses many smaller factors, such as, “What would you consider a good use of time?” These are things that are subject to interpretation and differ from person to person, therefore their definitions will not be universal or exact. Your analogy is, I imagine, similar to trying to prove scientifically who the world’s greatest musician is/was; it’s simply not a scientific matter in and of itself (though it is comprised thereof).

    It’s the same with “being a good father,” although there is one major difference—there are proven, objective child-rearing tactics that are shown to have positive impact throughout the child-rearing process….but again, the exact degree of those processes is subject to interpretation; you should love your child, but how much love should you show? Would constantly showering your child with praise, regardless of the actions of the child, make him/her feel like he/she could get away with doing anything to anybody? Would this detriment the child in the future?

    All of which is why I disagree with your idea that science is itself a world view. Simply put, science is not a “biased worldview” but a process by which one determines set factors, a process that actually requires a pre-set worldview by which to calculate those factors—one cannot scientifically test a particular factor or set thereof without a pre-existing definition of those factors, determined by the discretion/worldview of the scientist conducting the experiment; if one were to test an object’s efficiency, then first “efficiency” must be defined as a solid term—it is necessary to destroy vagueness and narrow all the factors down to an exact definition.

    That’s about it for now….I eagerly await your reply, if any :) I quite enjoy this discussion already!

  • Miko

    Science has done some pretty amazing things but it hasn’t done all that it’s promised.

    Well yeah, but that’s because it keeps making new promises continually. There’s never going to be a point when ‘science’ is complete and we all say “Hm. What should we do now?”

    As an aside, religion has promised some even-more amazing things, but it hasn’t really ever demonstrably done anything. Of course, you could attribute that to a materialistic frame of reference. But honestly the word “materialistic” doesn’t mean anything: material is by definition that which exists; materialism is the belief that only material exists, and hence that only that which exists exists. It’s nothing more than a tautology, which is why you’ll (almost) never hear someone describe him/herself as a materialist: it’s (almost) always introduced in the ad hominem form “you’d see it my way, if only you weren’t a materialist.”

    It can help us get to London faster (via Jet) but can it help us manage our time better?

    Before science, the concept of time wasn’t even defined. Without science, the idea of managing time doesn’t even make sense. Also, before science, the idea of “managing time” didn’t make sense, since all time was necessarily spent sleeping, hunting/gathering, and eating: in a subsistence world, there’s no time for anything else. And let’s not forget that we’re not just getting to London faster–we’re getting there alive. Before jets, we would have gotten to London via a boat (for most of the way) and many people would have died on the way. Before boats, most people wouldn’t be able to get to London in the first place.

    Science can describe the creation of a baby. But can it tell us how to be good fathers.

    Yes. First off, on the physical side, we’ve got things like nutrition and vaccination. On the mental side, we’ve got psychology and education. These things aren’t the exclusive property of science, but the other disciplines are using scientific ideas to reach their conclusions.

    Science does a wonderful job of making machines like this one I’m typing on but does it show me how to communicate with others better?

    Yes. Through the study of logic and rhetoric.

    Why wouldn’t someone MAKING “self-replicating molecules” be evidence for necessity of a creator instead of evidence for the lack of one?

    Because they would be made by carefully replicating early-Earth conditions, thus showing that they would have arisen naturally in an Earth-like system.

    First, I am not the only one who has to “defend” You are proposing a universe that is devoid of God, That’s fine but for me to accept that position YOU need evidence that I would accept, and your position need to be scutinized as much or more than the “theistic” position.

    Being devoid of something is not an inherent property of anything. But it’s almost a fair argument. For example, it used to be thought that space was permeated by aether that electromagnetic waves passed through and science was able to conclusively prove that the aether didn’t exist (in a meaningful sense of the word ‘exist’). If you can define a single property that a universe with god would have that one without god wouldn’t have, science could do the same thing here. Of course, every such attempt at this in the past has failed: prayers to God succeed at the same rate as chance, life evolved without the need for a designer, life molecules were created by natural processes without the need for a creator, and we already know theoretically (if not yet experimentally, due to the difficulty of recreating the harsh conditions) that life molecules can assemble themselves into self-replicating strands without the hand of a god.

    Note most importantly, we didn’t know these things until we tried them. Now that we have tried them, we do know them. Theists for the most part, on the other hand, claimed to know these things before they tried them and persist in their believes despite the introduction of evidence to the contrary.

    You accuse me of taking “gaps” in my knowledge and “applying” it to God. I have no problem believing that there may be a mechanism that God used to “create” DNA

    This is applying a gap, by the way. Science has demonstrated that DNA leads to complex life and that there is a mechanism leading to the formation of DNA, so you say that God used that mechanism. Then we’ll push a bit further and show that that mechanism arose naturally and you’ll shift your view to the idea that God influenced the natural principle that caused the mechanism to arise naturally. And so on. You claim that we need to present evidence you would accept for our position, but if you’re willing to keep pushing God back like this in an infinite chain, there really is no such thing as evidence you’d be willing to accept. And the fact that you think that the evidence regarding an unobserved phenomenon needs to be scrutinized more closely if it suggests that the phenomenon doesn’t exist than if it suggests that it does is the perfect example of why this is true.

  • Richard Wade

    Tim D and Miko, thanks for taking up the response to Mike B. He’s a nice enough guy and for the most part the interaction moves along. I’m exhausted and discouraged by foolishly tangling elsewhere with a narcissistic, passive-aggressive person and I really need to take a break from this futility.

    Mike B, out of politeness I should at least give some kind of response and then I have to stop. Please continue with the others.

    I am not the only one who has to “defend” You are proposing a universe that is devoid of God, That’s fine but for me to accept that position YOU need evidence that I would accept, and your position need to be scutinized as much or more than the “theistic” position.

    First of all I don’t have to defend my stance of not believing. I just sit around minding my own business and other people come to me and propose all sorts of things they want me to believe in. Believe in God. Come to their church. Bring money. Believe in Sasquatch. Come to their club meetings. Bring money. When I politely ask them for proof or even evidence of their claims a few of them try to put the burden of proving their claims false onto me, like you just tried to do. That’s ridiculous. There are an infinite number of possible dumbass claims. Why should it be up to me to disprove them all? The claim maker has to do the proving. I never say that I believe there is no god. I say that I don’t believe there is a god. That’s an enormous and very important difference. I don’t do the mental activity called believing, a persistent assumption of the truth of something in the absence of acceptable evidence.

    Science has done some pretty amazing things but it hasn’t done all that it’s promised.

    I don’t know who promised what, but it wasn’t me, and I never bought it. Maybe Walt Disney in “Our Friend the Atom” said some utopian-sounding things, but that was just propaganda.

    You accuse me of taking “gaps” in my knowledge and “applying” it to God.

    I don’t accuse you of anything. There’s no crime or tort here. My impression is that that’s the way you think, and I just don’t think that way. You and I just have a different set of criteria for believing. You are willing to assume the truth of something in the absence of contradictory evidence. I am not willing to assume the truth of anything in the absence of supporting evidence.

    I have no problem believing that there may be a mechanism that God used to “create” DNA However, your faith in science is as blind as my faith in God. Where is your evidence that science ever will discover the mechanism?

    I’m not some starry-eyed science devotee who thinks the way you try to characterize me. There is a difference between having confidence and having faith. I have confidence in a way of thinking that has been demonstrably successful in solving problems and follows a simple, understandable method. I don’t have faith in a way of thinking that has not solved any problems better than leaving things to chance and has a method that remains unexplainable, and gives power to an elite class of people who claim to posess mysterious special senses and insight.

    As for the abiotic DNA thing, I’m not 100% sure that will ever be done. I read something recently that sounded like interesting research, but who knows? Probably eventually, maybe not in our lifetimes. If it ever is done it will have to be reproducible and explainable before I accept it. Will it cause people of faith to lose their faith? Of course not. They just won’t use that “gap” in their arguments. They’ll go on to the next unexplained thing. No matter how much we learn there will always be an inexaustible supply of unexplained things. If you want to call that “mystery” okay, fine. I just call them unexplained things.

    You retry that same “you really have faith, nyah nyah nyah” taunting ploy in your last paragraph, adding the remark about those who use their brains and those who don’t. I asked you once before not to characterize me as someone who suggests that you don’t use your brains, but there is that chip on your shoulder again. I know you use your brains. I know you’re smart. I don’t hold you in disdain. I don’t characterize believers as stupid. Please get over whoever it was who insulted you in that way, and don’t attribute that to me.

    Mike, please enjoy conversing with Tim D and Miko. They are decent people and I don’t think they will stoop to insulting you. I wish you all the love your heart can hold. Now I’ve really gotta get outa here.

  • mike

    Richard, thanks for engaging with me in this conversation… I usually hate doing this because the web does not foster true communication. However, every once in a while, against my better judgment, I try to engage in these conversations. I usually get frustrated because instead of dealing with people usually sides are taken and instead of dealing with people we deal with sides and it usually digresses into a he said she said.. unproductive name calling.

    Now to tim:

    tim wrote:

    “As an aside, religion has promised some even-more amazing things, but it hasn’t really ever demonstrably done anything.”

    What does this have to do with faith in science? Obviously you don’t have any confidence in God why would I ask you to do that? I’m questioning this:

    ” These things aren’t the exclusive property of science, but the other disciplines are using scientific ideas to reach their conclusions.”

    Exactally! Science has become the ultimate test for what is believable. You can contest that us “religous” people don’t trust it, regardless this statement displays your undying confidence ie faith in the scientific process.

    As to your response to my questions: You totally missed my point. The scientific method is essentially good for this: “I put thus and so into a jar and it did thus and thus” What it has not done is provide any guidance as to how to live fuller lives. How to be good parents: Lets try your scientific process on child raising: In the 70s science was convinced that boys were boy only by socialization in other words we made boys act like boy and so they were. So “science” told us that we were limiting our childrens possibilities. thus the whole line of gender neutral toys. These went over so poorly that you don’t see them much anymore. Now “science” tells us that genetics (which is the currently flavor of the day) is the most influencial component in our childrens lives. Now I know “science” is about growing knowledge but forgive me when I question “science” when the track record is so poor.

    “Science” has given us wonderful toys to play with but it has also destoryed our ability to know how to properly employ it. Look at the atomic bomb, genetic engineering, social engineering ect.

    As Michael Foucault pointed out most other fields have adopted the most “successful” method thinking, hoping it will be just as “successful”. The problem as Derrida pointed out is that the language we employ in our discussion is inherently “fuzzy”

    You essentially ignored the purpose of these comments because (I can only assume) it seems obvious to you that “science” is successful. But how are we rating success? Science has helped us live longer, but is it helping us live better? You seemed to ignore this question in favor of your tautological argument about materialism. In your definition than where is Justice? Where does justice exist in the physical world. You can’t find it. That’s why all you can say is that Justice is a culturally created concept that we all seem to agree upon. But Justic isn’t real, it’s just a culturally agreed upon idea.

    Now some down right misrepresentations:

    “Before science, the concept of time wasn’t even defined. Without science, the idea of managing time doesn’t even make sense. Also, before science, the idea of “managing time” didn’t make sense, since all time was necessarily spent sleeping, hunting/gathering, and eating: in a subsistence world, there’s no time for anything else.”

    The stark arrogance of this statement should offend nearly everyone in this forum. What is stonehenge? What is a sun dial? Why do we have constellations? The utter arrogance of this statment is astounding! In other words people before watches were stupid and didn’t know anything, luckly for us “science” came along and “saved” us from our “hunting and gathering”.

    “As an aside, religion has promised some even-more amazing things, but it hasn’t really ever demonstrably done anything.”
    Do you know history at all? In europe who perserved the writings of the ancient world? Where was the center of learning up until about 1500? Now you can complain about how that learning was preserved but you have to admit it was preserved. More over one could make the case that a belief in a consistant and logical God allowed the intellectual stability to believe that the universe wasn’t random chance and provided the intellectual traction to believe in “laws”(But I won’t argue this point it’s just for interest)

    “Because they would be made by carefully replicating early-Earth conditions, thus showing that they would have arisen naturally in an Earth-like system.”

    If your refering to the SETI expirement a few years back: creating a few amino acids does not DNA or RNA make. that’s like finding a random D or and A and F and theorizing that Shakespears Hamlet was pecked out by a monkey. The amino acids have to put it in the proper order instead of getting: “This sentence makes a meaningful amino acid.” you get. “nt afcsi aeime hnukeian lteces ana g dmisomen.”

    “If you can define a single property that a universe with god would have that one without god wouldn’t have, science could do the same thing here.”

    Once again your assuming that because Science can’t proove it; that that is evidence that it does not exist. The point, as I said to Richard, is what if science has limitations?

    “life molecules were created by natural processes without the need for a creator, and we already know theoretically (if not yet experimentally, due to the difficulty of recreating the harsh conditions) that life molecules can assemble themselves into self-replicating strands without the hand of a god.”

    Actually all that has been proven is that life changes. That’s all “evolution” has been able to “prove”. I have to go i’ve been on here too long as it is.

  • monkeymind

    ,

  • monkeymind

    Miko, you say:

    before science, the idea of “managing time” didn’t make sense, since all time was necessarily spent sleeping, hunting/gathering, and eating: in a subsistence world, there’s no time for anything else.

    Now, Miko, you must be familiar with the research that hunter-gatherers “work” only about 4 hours a day and the real crimp on time for relaxing and socializing came with the neolithic revolution. Also perhaps you may have heard of Csikszentmihalyi’s findings that the major human leisure time activity through the ages has always been mutual grooming and parasite control – i.e. nit-picking. Looking at some of the threads in this site, can you really continue to make the case for a view of history as the “march of progress”? :-)

  • monkeymind

    oops, removed double post

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    Now to tim:

    tim wrote:

    “As an aside, religion has promised some even-more amazing things, but it hasn’t really ever demonstrably done anything.”

    I’m not entirely sure what you mean, as I never typed that…..?

    ” These things aren’t the exclusive property of science, but the other disciplines are using scientific ideas to reach their conclusions.”

    …and I never typed that, either….

    Exactally! Science has become the ultimate test for what is believable. You can contest that us “religous” people don’t trust it, regardless this statement displays your undying confidence ie faith in the scientific process.

    Assuming you’re still talking to me, here…..I never said anything about religious people not trusting science. What I was trying to say was that science is not an ideology—like Christianity, for example—but rather, a means by which to reach a commonly observable conclusion; this is what makes science powerful to me, the fact that its conclusions are commonly observable by any number of people. If reached correctly, the results of a scientific experiment can be objectively seen by more than one person and are not subject to interpretation, as religious evidence is. This makes the conclusions reached by scientific reasoning much more accurate on the whole than conclusions reached by religious doctrines, which, to me, seem to draw conclusions from thin air, then bend scientific facts to support those conclusions. As such, religious conclusions tend to be obvious only to the person who reaches them initially.

    Take a person who hallucinates as the result of a drug; he or she may believe that what he/she sees is real, even though it is not readily observable by anyone else. What religion does with the “prove it doesn’t exist, then,” argument is akin to the person who took the drug asking the person who didn’t take the drug to prove that his hallucination is not real.

    The stark arrogance of this statement should offend nearly everyone in this forum. What is stonehenge? What is a sun dial? Why do we have constellations? The utter arrogance of this statment is astounding! In other words people before watches were stupid and didn’t know anything, luckly for us “science” came along and “saved” us from our “hunting and gathering”.

    This is what most (religious) people don’t seem to notice; science is a part of everything that we do as a society. 99 percent of the decisions you make in a day are a product of science. Creationists tend to portray “Science” as some kind of doctrine, but really, Science is defined simply as the following, also known as the Scientific Method:

    (1) Make an observation.
    (2) Form a hypothesis based on that observation.
    (3) Test the hypothesis (experiment).
    (4) Compare the results to the original hypothesis.
    (5) Decide on a conclusion (interpret the evidence).

    The method in which this is used in daily life can be something as simple as:

    (1) My stomach hurts.
    (2) My stomach must hurt because I am hungry.
    (3) I will test this theory by eating. If eating makes my stomach stop hurting, then I can conclude that my stomach hurt because I was hungry.
    (4) Eating has stopped my stomach from hurting.
    (5) I can conclude that my stomach hurt because I was hungry.

    That’s all science is; making observations, forming theories, testing them, and drawing a conclusion. In most cases, it must be done several times, and sometimes a separate experiment must be done with regard to the conclusions (if different ones are reached each time) to factor in their significance overall. Until a religious person shows me a method that is as consistently effective as this one, I’ll be sticking with science.

  • Mike B

    Im not going to argue what you did or didn’t write. I simply copied and pasted so… go back and re read your post….

    As to science not being an ideology… Look at “form a hypothesis.”; hypothesis’ are based upon ideas what what one thinks may happen. Obvisouly you haven’t read Thomas Kuhn’s work (let me post this here… he’s not a christian… it’s not a christian appologetical work it’s philosophy) According to kuhn science is possibl only if someone provides a model with which to work ie paradigm. It is interesting that you think science is “rather, a means by which to reach a commonly observable conclusion;”

    Ok than why do scientist themselves differ over how the “evidence” in interpreted?

    If evidence speaks for it’s self and doesn’t require interpretation than why do some people see thing differently. What I am objecting to here is the implication behind your statement. If science is based upon “common sense” conclusions that are “open for anyone to find” than why here why now? How come only our “cultural west” has been able to produce this so well?

    Lets take a short example: Newton physics and Einstein physics. This by the way is Kuhn’s argument, these two types of physics are not building one on top of the other einstein totally revolutionlized he field. He rearranged the way the information was preceived. His point was that science “needs a paradigm” with in which to function and work. Other wise you have random information that makes no sense….

    Lets take evolution: Life changes… what about that observation makes it “common sense” to imply: “Since life changes there must be some order or law that guides this process”

    It does not follow that there has to be an order or logic to the change. The theory of evolution works (as a model for the creation of life) ONLY if it is combined with a philosophical materialism that believes #1 the “laws of nature” are constant and #2 that we are able apprehend them correctly #3 there is nothing out side of these law’s that can influence the material universe. These assumption must be in place PRIOR to any discussion concering “science”

    So, don’t tell me “Creationist portray science as some kind of doctrine” it is… The only way it will work is if it has such structure.

  • Mike B

    Tim, (insert blushing and bashful expression) I have unexcusably confused your post with Miko’s my appology.

    The problem with science tim is not the process… I’m actually not against the process. Problems arrise when things are added to the process. Examine Richard Dawkins argument concering the death penalty here : http://www.edge.org/q2006/q06_9.html

    Is this science or is it philosophy? I think Dawkins has confused the two so much that in his own mind he can’t tell the difference.

    Tim I’m pretty sure you wrote this ;) :

    “Take away the Bible. Take away the Quran. Take away all of the Holy Books. What do we have to show that God exists, then? What do we have to even suggest it? We have vague notions of a creator, but not as a single scientific theory that stands out-”

    That’s like saying: Take way the evidence and what do you have left? Kind of silly. But I’ll tackle that: Well actually you have millions and millions of people who from time long ago have felt a compulsion to worship. Now that worship has taken on many different forms and many different faces but the impulse is there as much as the impulse to create life. Just because you have a few men and women who don’t have children or desire it; it doesn’t mean that the impulse to create life isn’t there. Like wise just because you or some friends like you dont’ have the “impulse” to worship it doesn’t mean it’s not there.

    Secondly you’ve used the word “Scientific theory” so only if something comes to you in a “scientific theory” will you accept it? Seems kind of closed minded to me.

    Personally I would like to continue this conversation Tim or Miko can you create a new post where we can continue this?

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    According to kuhn science is possibl only if someone provides a model with which to work ie paradigm. It is interesting that you think science is “rather, a means by which to reach a commonly observable conclusion;”

    Not in so many words, this is exactly what I was saying; science is not a model itself but a process through which you run a model through.. I think we’re agreeing here.

    Ok than why do scientist themselves differ over how the “evidence” in interpreted?

    Because different people have different interpretations for the same evidence. There are some things that are objectively true, which we have come to know through science—for example, the fact that a child is created in the womb by a process involving the union of the sperm and egg and the formation of a zygote cell. This is not debatable; it is a fact. On the other hand, there are things which are still up for debate (i.e. the existence of God). In the case of God, I am not saying that there is “objective proof that God does not exist;” rather, I am saying that there is no objective proof either way. Because of this, I see no reason to dedicate myself to belief in a God which has just as much of a probability of existence as any other “supreme being” ever discussed in any religious work in history. There is no more evidence to support the objective existence of the Christian (or Muslim, or any other religion) God over the existence of any other God or supreme being, or any lack thereof. Given that there is evidence that suggests (not proves, mind you) God does not exist (to me, lack of evidence to prove a theory is evidence which suggests that the theory is invalid, or at least less valid than a more provable theory). To me, I don’t “not believe in God” simply because I can’t see him; I don’t believe in him because every single example I have ever heard to “prove” his existence is based on interpretation. Evidence (that I’ve seen) that even begins to suggest the existence of God is not so much based on proving that he is real so much as it is based on the idea that he isn’t “not real.” And to me, inability to disprove a theory does not automatically require that I believe it.

    If evidence speaks for it’s self and doesn’t require interpretation than why do some people see thing differently.

    I’ve already explained one instance in which evidence is objective; if God’s existence is as objectively true as our explanation for the birthing process, then it should be provable as such. If God’s existence is provable, then it should be confirmable from multiple angles, not just a philosophical or metaphorical one.

    My point being that,the things you have offered here as “evidence” in defense of God’s existence are not so much evidence to suggest the existence of a God as they are questions about our existence that are currently unanswered. All you have succeeded in proving to me is that science has not solved all of the mysteries of our universe (something I already know to be true). After proving that there are unsolved mysteries in our universe, you must then provide the next link in the chain, the deduction which leads from “unsolved mystery” to “God did it.”

    Lets take evolution: Life changes… what about that observation makes it “common sense” to imply: “Since life changes there must be some order or law that guides this process”

    If it happens consistently enough, it’s logical to assume (or at the very least, hypothesize) that there might be a pattern. Scientific observation has suggested very strongly that such a pattern exists in the development of species on earth across long periods of time.

    It does not follow that there has to be an order or logic to the change. The theory of evolution works (as a model for the creation of life) ONLY if it is combined with a philosophical materialism that believes #1 the “laws of nature” are constant and #2 that we are able apprehend them correctly #3 there is nothing out side of these law’s that can influence the material universe. These assumption must be in place PRIOR to any discussion concering “science”

    Evolution says nothing about the origin of life (or the creation of life). Evolution itself is involved with change. The part about the origin of life is only implied at the very least, and is often simply assumed on the part of Creationists. There are whole separate chock-fulls of theories to explain the origin of life on earth, not all of which are supported by evolution (or have anything to do with it).

    So, don’t tell me “Creationist portray science as some kind of doctrine” it is… The only way it will work is if it has such structure.

    It’s not a doctrine. It’s a reasoning process. It requires a predetermined definition of the factors involved; such definitions arise from whatever belief system the user already holds. If what you say is true (that science is not effective in proving objective facts), then explain to me another possible reasoning system that one could use (aside from the one I listed in my last post) that would allow one to reach the conclusion that eating is the solution for hunger. What method can you use to reach that conclusion, without making any observations or making any decisions based on those observations? We have words for people who can reach conclusions without making observations; irrational is one of them.

    I think I see what you’re going at, though; most people assume that science aims to “disprove” the existence of God because God cannot be physically observed or tested. However, science concerns itself not with disproof, but with proof; if a theory can be tested, then it is tested, and a coclusion is reached. Since there is no way to test or observe God, scientific observation would lead one to believe that there is no observable evidence either for or against God; as such, there is no real scientific answer to the question of “is God real?” Because it is an attempt to reach a conclusion without first making a scientific observation—which, according to the scientific method, is impossible, or “irrational.”

    Tim, (insert blushing and bashful expression) I have unexcusably confused your post with Miko’s my appology.

    Oh, no worries. I’ve done that before on other boards :)

    The problem with science tim is not the process… I’m actually not against the process. Problems arrise when things are added to the process. Examine Richard Dawkins argument concering the death penalty here :

    I think that there’s a great difference between a person who is mentally ill (and whose brain is therefore “not functioning”) and a person who has used his or her (perfectly functional) free will to make a stupid or terrible decision. On this Richard Dawkins and I disagree; there is the question of whether the car is broken or not, and there is the question of where a person chooses to go with a car that is working properly. I hope you don’t base your entire views against science solely on one faulty example offered by Richard Dawkins.

    That’s like saying: Take way the evidence and what do you have left? Kind of silly.

    Not exactly, no. The Bible (in my eyes) is not evidence at all, but rather a claim, a statement. Evidence is required to support it before it becomes factual. The Bible is equivalent to a person saying, “I saw God.” I then say to that person, “you are free to believe that, but if you want me to believe it, then you must prove it to me.”

    Well actually you have millions and millions of people who from time long ago have felt a compulsion to worship. Now that worship has taken on many different forms and many different faces but the impulse is there as much as the impulse to create life. Just because you have a few men and women who don’t have children or desire it; it doesn’t mean that the impulse to create life isn’t there. Like wise just because you or some friends like you dont’ have the “impulse” to worship it doesn’t mean it’s not there.

    On the contrary; you assume that it is the “majority” that shares a compulsion to worship. Ultimately it’s irrelevant, but it’s not possible to tell whether the majority believes in God or not, because it’s not possible to test every single person throughout history on what they truly believe(d) (as opposed to what they profess to believe, perhaps for fear of their own life or the lives of their families).

    Again, though, this is not evidence which suggests the existence of a higher power any more than the other arguments you have offered. Rather, it suggests a desire to believe in a higher power. However, no matter how strong a desire, it does not warrant objective truth in and of itself; no matter how much a child wishes his/her favorite superhero was real, that will not cause the superhero to become real.

    Secondly you’ve used the word “Scientific theory” so only if something comes to you in a “scientific theory” will you accept it? Seems kind of closed minded to me.

    I use the word “scientific theory” to describe the argument Creationists use when trying to convert atheists into believing in God. But for reasons I have already explained, God cannot be scientifically tested or observed, so the idea of God as a scientific theory is somewhat puzzling and, on the surface at least, rather silly. As such, I have no scientific view on God. Which means that I do not “believe in him.” However, I also do not actively disbelieve in him. As a result, I find it silly to base our decisions as a society that relies on logic and reason on something which cannot be observed or tested scientifically. This is why I oppose the integration of church and state.

  • Mike B

    “In the case of God, I am not saying that there is “objective proof that God does not exist;”

    You seem to think I’m here to convert you. How very flattering, You don’t believe in God… Your a big boy you’ll live with the consequences. God’s been around long before you or I and he’ll be around long after.

    I’m not here to “convert” so lets get that “out of the way” Now you have side stepped, ignored and talked around my questions. I would like to discuss your position.

    You stated :
    “Given that there is evidence that suggests (not proves, mind you) God does not exist (to me, lack of evidence to prove a theory is evidence which suggests that the theory is invalid, or at least less valid than a more provable theory).”

    So the lack of evidence is evidence for lack. Is that correct? You also wrote:

    “However, science concerns itself not with disproof, but with proof; if a theory can be tested, then it is tested, and a coclusion is reached.”

    In other words science can only test to proove not to disprove. So what your saying that while science can not provde you with a positive or negative answer you’re willing to take the lack of “empirical” evidence as evidence regardless of what empiricism can or cannot do? To say it another way. You freely admit that empiricism cannot answer the question but yet you “leap” to the conclusion that because there is no evidence, of which you say empiricism CANNOT provide, therefore you conclude it must not be real. Is that logical? Isn’t it more logical to say: On the issue of God I must admit that science cannot provde a sufficient answer and therefore I will be agnostic?

    Time said:
    “Because different people have different interpretations for the same evidence.” You wrote this in response to my question of interpretation. and then you turned around and said this: “There are some things that are objectively true, which we have come to know through science—”

    Now if different people have different interpretation for the same evidence isn’t it possible that you could have two very different interpretations both using the same “evidence” but interpreting it differently. The implication here is that the “rational” people come to one conclusion while non rational people come to another. Who’s being rational? By the way this is the “real” problem with science. It’s the question of meaning. Now I am very interested in what you are calling “objectively true.”

    Does that mean you believe this process, that requires interpretation through flawed human beings has led us into the light of truth? Let me ask you some questions about this “objective truth.” How do you know that science has found the objective truth as opposed to finding a way of describing “reality” so we “see” it better? An example: There used to be 9 planets in our solar system. We now have 8. Did Pluto get blown up…? Did it move? Did we loose it under the carpet? No, all that changed was our definitions of what constitute a “plant”. Now Pluto is still there nothing has changed but our defintions, in other words objective truth has now changed BECAUSE we have changed our definition. If you want to argue with me on this: If I had questioned the number of planets in our solar system five years ago you would have called me insane or stubbornly obtuse. Now suddenly I’m not. Why? The decisions that “science” makes are capricious. Arbitrary. 8 planets instead of 9 why? Because we’ve changed the definitions.

    Now lets play with that a little bit more. What if we changed our definition of what is “real” or “objective”? Could such a shift alter our perception of reality?

    I’m not questioning whether it’s there (the outside world)or not I’m questioning the ability of science to find it.

    If you think this only applies to planets your sadly mistaken. The law of gravity. Where does it exist? It is nowhere. Law: The idea come from the 17th 18 century that our universe is mechanistic like a machine that operates like a clock. So just like laws are unbreakable and immutable so to “science” creates laws that are immutable or unbreakable, but are they? What has the largest gravitational pull in the universe? Nothing. Literally nothing, a black hole actually has the greatest pull in the universe. So suddenly there are exceptions and quarks complex anomolies that LAWs shouldn’t have. In “reality” its not a LAW of gravity it’s a way of speaking to ourselves to describe the “way” we understand it; it’s signs and symbols. Yes, the law of gravity is a symbol. Can you in detail describe to me how gravity works? Or is it actually a symbol that functions in your mind as to why things fall. More like a “general rule” rather than a literal completely understood LAW? This is how most of us function. We use these things as symbols rather than as completely understood laws.

    By your very language you’ve displayed the same symbolic usage: What do you mean by science? Do you mean the empirical method? Are you telling me that you ONLY use the empirical method to answer ANY questions of ANY kind. Or rather are you using “science” in a symbolic fashion to “display” your lack of “faith based irrational thinking”? Meaning that you trust the symbol of “science says” over the symbol of “the bible says”?

    About richard dawkins you wrote:
    “I think that there’s a great difference between a person who is mentally ill (and whose brain is therefore “not functioning”) and a person who has used his or her (perfectly functional) free will to make a stupid or terrible decision.”

    You failed to grasp what dawkins is saying. Because of DNA, the mechanistic universe there is no free will. A person who commits a crime is broken like a person with diabetes, he/she can not help themselves. (this isn’t me it’s dawkins remember) The idea of free will is an old fashion notion. According to Dawkins we are programed from birth by our DNA to be what we are. Free will is an illusion. I would like to know how YOU have come to the conclusion that free will is possible given that there is DNA behind nearly everything?

    Tim wrote:
    “The Bible (in my eyes) is not evidence at all, but rather a claim, a statement. Evidence is required to support it before it becomes factual. The Bible is equivalent to a person saying, “I saw God.”

    This statement displays an amazing lack of information on your part. The Bible is a collection of ancient document 66 differnet books written by over 30 different authors over the course of 1500 years. It is a collection of ancient documents… like a library. The only direct quote, I can think of right now, where someone said “I saw God” is in Isaiah chapter 6. You may be able to find a few more but off the top of my head that’ll all I got. Each book is evidence just like the illiad, Heroditus, Thucidities, Plato, the list could go on and on. It is a evidence that someone wrote something. (at the very least) No you don’t have to believe it but to not call it evidence is an amazingly, historically ignorant statement to make. It is evidence.

    “I find it silly to base our decisions as a society that relies on logic and reason on something which cannot be observed or tested scientifically.”

    First: Who said anything about basing anything on anything. Please talk with me not “creationists”

    Secondly: Who said we base our decisions as a society on logic and reason? I’ll tell you what.. when it comes to my children I don’t always base my decisions upon “logic or reason” As a matter of fact I rather doubt you make ALL your decisions based upon logic and reason…

    I won’t even open pandoria box by asking you “who’s reason? Who’s logic?”

    P.S. are you going to start a new post so we can continue this?

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    You seem to think I’m here to convert you. How very flattering, You don’t believe in God… Your a big boy you’ll live with the consequences. God’s been around long before you or I and he’ll be around long after.

    First off, I’d appreciate if you canned the attitude. I said that to make it clear that I don’t have a scientific opinion of God. He could exist, but I see no reason to believe he does at this point. Don’t assume I’m saying anything to appease you in any way—I’m not here to make you happy or get on your good side.

    I’m not here to “convert” so lets get that “out of the way” Now you have side stepped, ignored and talked around my questions. I would like to discuss your position.

    Okay, now you’ve lost me altogether…..what question do you accuse me of dodging?

    In other words science can only test to proove not to disprove. So what your saying that while science can not provde you with a positive or negative answer you’re willing to take the lack of “empirical” evidence as evidence regardless of what empiricism can or cannot do? To say it another way. You freely admit that empiricism cannot answer the question but yet you “leap” to the conclusion that because there is no evidence, of which you say empiricism CANNOT provide, therefore you conclude it must not be real. Is that logical? Isn’t it more logical to say: On the issue of God I must admit that science cannot provde a sufficient answer and therefore I will be agnostic?

    I think you misunderstand; I don’t assume that God doesn’t exist because of lack of evidence. I simply don’t believe he does (nor do I believe he doesn’t; I simply don’t know and feel no need to worry about it); I need not concern myself with theories that cannot be proven, so until someone offers me proof that shows God’s existence, I will not assume that he exists.

    What I meant with regards to lack of evidence simply means that I will not presume the existence of something for which there is no proof to suggest its existence.

    Now if different people have different interpretation for the same evidence isn’t it possible that you could have two very different interpretations both using the same “evidence” but interpreting it differently. The implication here is that the “rational” people come to one conclusion while non rational people come to another. Who’s being rational? By the way this is the “real” problem with science. It’s the question of meaning. Now I am very interested in what you are calling “objectively true.”

    Perhaps my comment would have been clearer if I had began it by saying, “However, there are some things which are objectively true.” I am saying that yes, there are some things which cannot be objectively proven. However, I am also saying that science does not concern itself with things that cannot be proven or disproven; rather, science takes what we can know and seeks to draw conclusions from that which can be observed and tested. God is a hypothesis that was created thousands of years ago, without the use of scientific observation. Since it is a hypothesis without a scientific base, it cannot be tested by scientific method.

    Does that mean you believe this process, that requires interpretation through flawed human beings has led us into the light of truth? Let me ask you some questions about this “objective truth.” How do you know that science has found the objective truth as opposed to finding a way of describing “reality” so we “see” it better? An example: There used to be 9 planets in our solar system. We now have 8. Did Pluto get blown up…? Did it move? Did we loose it under the carpet? No, all that changed was our definitions of what constitute a “plant”. Now Pluto is still there nothing has changed but our defintions, in other words objective truth has now changed BECAUSE we have changed our definition. If you want to argue with me on this: If I had questioned the number of planets in our solar system five years ago you would have called me insane or stubbornly obtuse. Now suddenly I’m not. Why? The decisions that “science” makes are capricious. Arbitrary. 8 planets instead of 9 why? Because we’ve changed the definitions.

    (1) Yes, I believe that science has led us closer to the truth. For example, we would not be having this conversation right now if science had not led us to the knowledge that allowed us to create complicated devices called “word processors” which are aspects of the computers we are now using. If any of the observations made on the way to learning how to make a computer had been false or flawed, then the computer would not have been invented.

    (2) Your comparison of this analogy to Pluto’s reclassification is flawed, as well. We did not change anything about Pluto physically, nor did something we discovered cause us to realize that we had seen something wrong with its physical structure. We simply changed the meaning of the term “planet” to include a more specific definition; we narrowed it down. Which is what science is about.

    See, what I take issue with about God is not the idea of “trusting in things which cannot be or proven” (though I disagree with that, too, in a sense) so much as it is the idea that we are supposed to “go against” what we can see and observe as fact. Creationists who attack science say that we are to ignore the things we can see and instead hold a belief in things which cannot even be proven to exist (i.e. God). Do you mean to say that you can look at the computer before which you now sit and say, with any degree of honesty or faith, that you believe it isn’t there? If you can’t say that, why not? What makes you believe the desk is there, if not science, a series of observations and conclusions?

    Now lets play with that a little bit more. What if we changed our definition of what is “real” or “objective”? Could such a shift alter our perception of reality?

    That would remain to be seen; however, I don’t see any reason why we would change that definition, since it is already so clearly defined as something which can be scientifically tested, recorded, or observed.

    Also, you seem impatient with regards to science; science says that we observe everything we can by every means we can, and draw conclusions thusly. If a change occurs in the way we are able to view things, and we can see something from a new angle, then we change our definitions as well. Science’s claim is that the conclusions reached through the use of science are assumed to be true as long as there is nothing which can be observed that serves as a counterexample. If you want me to believe that something is true, all you need to do is show me something to prove it. If you demand that someone believe something without first seeing evidence to confirm it, you are asking that person to deny what he/she knows to be true and assume that the new information is somehow “more correct” than that which science shows to be true.

    So again, I say that science is not a belief system, but rather a method of exploration which allows us to reach conclusions about things based on what we can see. And yes, there is a set “correct way” to interpret evidence based on what we see. It is the things we cannot see that later come into the equation and threaten our original conclusion; this is not a problem, for science will acknowledge the new observation, test it, and determine if it is true. If it is true, then it will hold up under scientific scrutiny. The reason this works is because, simply put, we have no way of knowing if we have all the pieces to the puzzle until the puzzle is complete; as such, we have two decisions: Wait until we have proof that the puzzle is complete, or try to figure out what shape the puzzle makes as we collect the pieces; as new pieces come into the picture and contradict our old theories, we revise our theories to reflect the larger majority of the puzzle–we are “doing the best we can with what we have.” This is science.

    If you think this only applies to planets your sadly mistaken. The law of gravity. Where does it exist? It is nowhere.

    The law of gravity doesn’t actually describe a physical thing; it describes the idea that objects maintain a gravitational pull, the strength of which is directly proportionate to the quantity/density of matter present. If there is a flaw in this somewhere, then you should be able to show me an example where gravity does not apply in context.

    Also, we don’t have to know exactly what causes gravity to know that it exists. We see it, we document it, we test it, and it holds up; therefore, it is. What is your explanation for why we don’t simply float off into space?

    Meaning that you trust the symbol of “science says” over the symbol of “the bible says”?

    Simply, yes. Science shows me things that cannot be denied. The Bible tells me (not shows me) things that I can ask questions about, questions to which I cannot receive satisfactory answers.

    You failed to grasp what dawkins is saying. Because of DNA, the mechanistic universe there is no free will. A person who commits a crime is broken like a person with diabetes, he/she can not help themselves. (this isn’t me it’s dawkins remember) The idea of free will is an old fashion notion. According to Dawkins we are programed from birth by our DNA to be what we are. Free will is an illusion. I would like to know how YOU have come to the conclusion that free will is possible given that there is DNA behind nearly everything?

    You are asking me to offer a professional opinion on a matter in which I have no schooling; I am not a DNA scholar. I disagree with the idea that a person is not responsible for his/her actions, regardless of whether DNA is responsible for one’s actions. That reasoning could be applied farther down the chain, as well; if a person is not responsible for his/her actions because of DNA, then society could be said to be “not responsible” for its actions in punishing that person to prevent his/her “uncontrollable actions” from harming the rest of society.

    This statement displays an amazing lack of information on your part. The Bible is a collection of ancient document 66 differnet books written by over 30 different authors over the course of 1500 years. It is a collection of ancient documents… like a library. The only direct quote, I can think of right now, where someone said “I saw God” is in Isaiah chapter 6. You may be able to find a few more but off the top of my head that’ll all I got. Each book is evidence just like the illiad, Heroditus, Thucidities, Plato, the list could go on and on. It is a evidence that someone wrote something. (at the very least) No you don’t have to believe it but to not call it evidence is an amazingly, historically ignorant statement to make. It is evidence.

    Watch this:

    “God doesn’t exist.”

    There are libraries out there with hundreds of books that make this claim (or a similar one). The fact that a large number of people said it does not make it true, and does not serve as evidence in any way. People have free will and can say whatever they please, regardless of whether it reflects factual reality. As such, the Bible offers no physical evidence to prove that God exists (as you have failed to do).

    And you missed my point; the actual phrase “I saw God’ is not the highlight of my point. The highlight is that there is no fundamental difference between “I saw God” and a thousand compendiums of claims that people saw, heard, learned about, or otherwise encountered some form of God; they are both unsubstantiated claims.

    First: Who said anything about basing anything on anything. Please talk with me not “creationists”

    And I’d ask you to do the same to me; Richard Dawkins and I do not agree on everything simply because we are both atheists.

    Secondly: Who said we base our decisions as a society on logic and reason? I’ll tell you what.. when it comes to my children I don’t always base my decisions upon “logic or reason” As a matter of fact I rather doubt you make ALL your decisions based upon logic and reason…

    I have written articles about this subject before….no, I don’t believe humans are 100% rational beings. We are sometimes affected by emotional responses to situations. However, it is our job to learn how best to react to these emotions so that we can handle them in a socially acceptable manner. For example, if you are angry at a spouse, you should find a way to vent your anger that is productive (or at the very least, not counterproductive), as opposed to, say, bashing his or her windshield with a baseball bat–the latter will ensure that you are punished by the legal system.

    I won’t even open pandoria box by asking you “who’s reason? Who’s logic?”

    I believe you mean “Pandora’s Box.” In any case, logic and reason belong to no man. Logic and reason are the processes of using observable facts to make a decision. This does not vary from person to person; what does vary is the way a person interprets the information; some people choose to see certain proofs as evidence of something that the proofs do not suggest, for example, and others may simply misunderstand the evidence (i.e. misapply the correct logic). Another example—a common creationist argument is that childbirth proves that God exists; I disagree with that, because there is no factor of the childbirth process which points to a logical conclusion that God exists.

    P.S. are you going to start a new post so we can continue this?

    I had planned to, yes.

  • HappyNat

    Tim you have the patience of a saint. :)

  • Mike B

    I realized later that I didn’t aswer this question:

    “Do you mean to say that you can look at the computer before which you now sit and say, with any degree of honesty or faith, that you believe it isn’t there? If you can’t say that, why not? What makes you believe the desk is there, if not science, a series of observations and conclusions?”

    Actually if you listen to Plato you could question the reality of the desk, computer and chair. The question would have to be asked what do you mean by “reality?”

    Plato would say that we certainly act like the desk, chair, and computer are there but that is because our physical bodies interact with them. But because we interact with them does that make them “real” in the highest possible meaning? While our physical senses tells us about the world around us does that make them more real? The point is that even our physical senses are processed by our mind prior to anything else. Just because you believe Aristotle (which is the position you are espousing) it doesn’t mean that Plato is “wrong”. You just believe what you have always been told… that we don’t questions our senses we trust them, because they will tell us accurately about reality. But what if the physical world is just the lowest form of reality (and don’t think I’m making a case for God here)? How would we know if this were the case?

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    Plato would say that we certainly act like the desk, chair, and computer are there but that is because our physical bodies interact with them. But because we interact with them does that make them “real” in the highest possible meaning? While our physical senses tells us about the world around us does that make them more real? The point is that even our physical senses are processed by our mind prior to anything else. Just because you believe Aristotle (which is the position you are espousing) it doesn’t mean that Plato is “wrong”. You just believe what you have always been told… that we don’t questions our senses we trust them, because they will tell us accurately about reality. But what if the physical world is just the lowest form of reality (and don’t think I’m making a case for God here)? How would we know if this were the case?

    I’m aware of Plato’s philosophy, and I think it’s a very interesting question. But what it asks here is similar to the “Matrix” theory I so often hear in defense of a God or Godlike entity: what if this is all an illusion? What if there is more to the world than we can see or observe? What if there are things which cannot be seen, observed, or tested in the universe that somehow affect us?

    Well, to that I simply say this: if those things affect us, then there will be proof that they do; I haven’t read much of Richard Dawkins (I have yet to read The God Delusion or The Selfish Gene), but I believe I’ve heard him refer to this as “Fingerprint Theory.” If something that cannot be observed or detected in some way acts in such a manner as to physically affect the world around us, then we will be able to pinpoint the time and/or place at which the laws we currently respect are “broken.” For example, if the Christian God decided to revive someone from a brutal death by mauling—something we know to be impossible, as the body is no longer functional as a whole—then it would be an obvious violation of the fact that, if a human body is completely destroyed, it can no longer function. This would be “proof” that there is something greater at work here.

    However, many creationists (Christians in particular, though that’s probably just because they’re the most media-prominent of the religious communities) tend to have extremely lax definitions of what constitutes this kind of phenomenon; they provide “proof” that consists merely of a person who died on the operating table and then “came back to life,” a “phenomenon” for which there are medical explanations. I have done my fair share of searching, both through media such as the internet and libraries as well as in real personal life, and I have yet to see one documented case of a completely unexplainable phenomenon; I have heard claims by doctors that they saw muscle tissue knitting back together before their very eyes, but I have not seen proof of this kind of occurrence; I have heard only unsubstantiated claims. And at the end of the day, I will not turn aside a “fact” which evidence has “proven” to me to be true in favor of an unsubstantiated claim, no matter how many people make that same claim.

    But I digress….there are endless possible theories for the ultimate, final state of the universe, almost all of which are technically possible; however, that does not mean we (and by “we” I mean “I” or “the scientific community;” don’t get the idea that I am trying to inhibit your right to pursue whatever philosophy you choose) should waste valuable scientific effort trying to take “long shots” and prove or disprove theories that, due to their lack of a conclusion drawn from an observation and/or evidence, are either highly improbable or downright impossible to prove. That is where science draws the line; science does not take a conclusion and test it backwards to find an observation that might suggest it. Science takes an observation and draws a conclusion from it; this prevents the inevitable “evidence bias” that occurs when one tries to draw a conclusion from thin air and then work backwards to “find” evidence to support it.

    The point of all this being: Yes, one could technically question the reality of the desk; however, if one begins to distrust one’s senses in such a way as to doubt them when they so clearly imply that something is there (after all, we’re talking about a real device that you and I use daily, not a desert mirage–something we can both observe on both ends, as each of us can see that the other is responding to our posts), science is out the window. Science is based on interpreting things one detects with one’s senses. I have never supported the idea that one should distrust one’s senses because of an idea that goes against everything our senses tell us (not a theory, mind you, as it has no factual basis; it is simply an interesting idea that cannot be tested at this point, barring some scientific development which allows us to test things without using our five senses, which I don’t see as possible).

    Once we get to the stage of distrusting our senses for that purpose, we are entering the realm of paranoia; “What if the Bible and the Quran and all the religious holy books were written by sentient space robots to convince us humans to follow a leader, so we would be easier to trick once the robots came back from space and took us into slavery on an alien planet by pretending to be Jesus and Mohammed?” Yes, it’s technically possible, but it’s so outlandish that nobody would give it a second thought (in most circles), myself included. I feel the same way about any other theory that is not made using a scientific observation–I won’t discount it as a possibility, but there’s nothing I can do to prove or disprove it, so I simply don’t bother with it from a scientific standpoint.

  • Mike B

    ” so I simply don’t bother with it from a scientific standpoint.”

    That seems to be your rallying cry. I have to go but I find that interesting. I’ve made two huge posts now and neither one has “made it” to the computer. so I have to sign off for tonight. Tomorrow I may address this issue.

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    I don’t understand what you mean by “rallying cry.”

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    …..so, is that it?

  • mike brown

    Tim wrote:
    “I think you misunderstand-” What exactally did I misunderstand? You wrote both these lines:

    “I don’t assume that God doesn’t exist because of lack of evidence..”

    “to me, lack of evidence to prove a theory is evidence which suggests that the theory is invalid, or at least less valid than a more provable theory.”

    So which one of these positions is your real one? How does the so called lack of “empirical evidence” influence you?

    “I need not concern myself with theories that cannot be proven,”

    So unless a theory is “proven” you must assume that it is false. Is that about right? Well lets see how that works with some other things. How would this theory work with say “Free will?”

    Where is “free will”? where does it reside? Is there a gland that we can point to that is the “free will” gland? How about a gene? Where does free will come from? It is actually an idea
    It doesn’t exist in the empirically verifiable world. You can certainly point to “choices” that people make but as Richard Dawkins points out how do we know that it isn’t some illusion
    How do we know Free will isn’t just a process that our physical bodies put out, like poop or farts. How do we know that free will isn’t just an illusion that our “brains” play a trick on us
    So, the way our brain works is actually “wired” that way and destined? Since there is no evidence for free will, following your logic we must assume it is not real. Is this the case? Or is it
    More logical to “suspend” judgement because the “evidence” isn’t conclusive enough?

    “Simply, yes. Science shows me things that cannot be denied.”

    Concerning plato you wrote: “Yes, one could technically question the reality of the desk;”

    so in other words when “creationists” ask us to “question” our sense it’s a “extremely lax definition” but when Plato simply asks us to question reality it becomes “a very interesting question.”
    Why is this the case?

    “If something that cannot be observed or detected in some way acts in such a manner as to physically affect the world around us, then we will be able to pinpoint
    the time and/or place at which the laws we currently respect are “broken.”

    Such a statment places a pretty high premium on our ability to “pinpoint” things. According to your own statement it’s undetectable. Why should we be able to detect it? Why is this not an assumption
    Secondly, nothing in history can be pinpointed even with “science”. For example pinpoint who the first person was across the Rockies. Can’t do it, even though it was a physical person obeying all the known laws. It’s not possible
    to know this. You can’t even pin point where one person who died on Omaha beach died. Not specifically, and not exactally. All you can do is “approximate”. Everything in history 150 years ago is
    nothing but “I read what this person said.” How do we know it’s reliable? How do we know it’s true? You don’t. You take peoples word for it.

    “I’m aware of Plato’s philosophy, and I think it’s a very interesting question.”

    This and this statement is all you really said to address plato’s philosophy.

    “However, if one begins to distrust one’s senses in such a way as to doubt them when they so clearly imply that something is there…. science is out the window.”

    As I pointed out earlier “science” started out being based upon Aristotle’s metaphysics. Plato’s metaphysics is different and as far as I know
    Aristotle hasn’t been shown to be true over plato.
    Secondly I thought you were interested in finding the truth… not defending “science”
    Thirdly, you don’t dismiss a position (plato’s methaphysics) because the consequence are undesireable (science is out the window). I think you are under estimating just how committed to philosophical materialism you really are.
    Just who has the “evidence bias” here?

    Just because you don’t “want science out the window” doesn’t mean I’m not asking a legitimate question.

    Let me get to it. Your commitment to the “scientific process” is admirable but your failing to adress some critical questions. considering that every person has a point of view every person has a paradigm the idea that
    one person is able to get outside of that perspective is hubrus of the greatest degree. Immanual Kant addressed this in the 18th century in the Critique of Pure Reason.Each person is bound to their worldview. Thomas Kuhn
    points out that “science” is even possible because of this perspective.

    You wrote concerning reason:

    “This does not vary from person to person; what does vary is the way a person interprets the information;”

    This is exactally the point. What do you mean by “Facts” and “reason”? FActs themselves are up for interpretation. Think back to what you have said:

    “I feel the same way about any other theory that is not made using a scientific observation–” You said you FEEL. YOU FEEL the same way about non “scientific
    evidence” In other words you can’t provide proof that your “definition” of evidence isn’t anymore capricious or arbitrary than “Pluto’s a planet”. It is a commonly agreed upon definition it could change in a heart beat.

    Lastly: How do we know that science is telling us the truth verse telling us something that isn’t incompatiable with the outside world. Let me finish with this. How do we know that the Law of gravity isn’t true verse not
    incompatiable. There is a difference you know.

    You asked me earlier by doubting the law of gravity if people would float away. That shows how ingrained into you “science” is. Which is the given in this statement? People do not float off the planet therefore the law of gravity is true. Or
    The law of gravity (as a theory) is true so we do not float off the planet. Which statement is the “given”. You think that because I question the theory therefore I believe people float off the planet. I know that the question is why don’t we.
    Your silly question betrayed you, why would you assume I would think that people would float off the planet? Now as to true verses not incompatiable. A= b, A could also be = C, D E, F or G. The Truth is A= B, C, D, E, F and G. A more real example
    I went to the store and bought three bags of ice, a banana and I stole three candybars. When I went home my mom asks: “what did you get from the store?” I respond “I got a bag of ice.” while it may not be incompatiable with the truth it is not
    the full truth. How do we know that the law of gravity is True verse it’s a theory that just happens to work? You’ve stated that science is leading us towards the Truth, which Truth is that? thomas Kuhn pointed out that Newton physic is different than
    einstein physics. According to Kuhn it’s not that Newton was wrong as much as it wasn’t complete. einstein pysics answered more questions than Newton. How do we know that we are even asking the right questions that will lead us to the Truth?

  • Mike B

    I forgot to mention this: “If we get to the stage of distrusting our senses for that purpose, we are entering the realm of paranoia;”

    If we get to the point that we don’t question what people tell us is “true” we turn into silly parrot squak boxes. I don’t think that Plato was “paranoid” His question is concerning highest reality. What is a higher truth? That people scratch themselves OR that people make choices?

    One certainly is physical(people do scratch) one is an idea (people making choices) Which one is more a higher or more important reality? This is Plato’s point: that this world is a passing and shadowy reality that is ultimatly unimportant; however the world of ideas is actaully a higher level of reality.

    It isn’t that people don’t scratch themselves it’s the meaning of it. It’s that same way with “science”; so what, two cells merge to make a embryo. What does it mean to Parent a child? That question cannot be definitively answered by “science”.All science can say is: lots of people parent their children in lots of different ways.

    How do you know your truely being rational, verse buying what your college professors put on a tray for you to believe?

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    So which one of these positions is your real one? How does the so called lack of “empirical evidence” influence you?

    Perhaps I was unclear; allow me to rectify that. I don’t believe there is no God. I also don’t believe there is a God. I simply don’t believe anything on the matter; there is no way to test, prove or disprove His existence in either direction, so I don’t worry about it. If God exists, then we may eventually stumble upon evidence to suggest that he does. If and when that day comes, I’ll gladly submit to the possibility.

    So unless a theory is “proven” you must assume that it is false. Is that about right? Well lets see how that works with some other things. How would this theory work with say “Free will?”

    I don’t assume it is objectively false; however, I do not take it as “true,” either. I simply accept it as a possibility that cannot be proven or disproven and move on, perhaps to come back later and refute/prove it with new evidence. It’s in “ideological purgatory,” so to speak.

    so in other words when “creationists” ask us to “question” our sense it’s a “extremely lax definition” but when Plato simply asks us to question reality it becomes “a very interesting question.”
    Why is this the case?

    No, your analogy here is much too general. The idea of questioning one’s senses is an interesting concept (to me, at least), simply because of its nature. However, the question of what is real and what isn’t, when decomposed to that stage, is (in our current stage of social development) not explorable. We already have a definition of what is “real” and what is “not,” and it is flawless—things that are real are things of which we can prove the existence, and things that are not are things of which we can disprove or otherwise objectively rule out the existence. I have yet to see a particular occasion on which this reasoning becomes faulty enough to challenge (i.e. a situation in which scientific reasoning, enacted properly, has proven something to be false that we can see as objective truth, or vice-versa).

    And with regard to “lax definitions,” I was illustrating a point with the Space Robot Clause (as I call it). If we say that something should be considered a valid scientific theory simply because somebody thought of it, then we will be testing hundreds of thousands—maybe millions, or billions—of ideas which are essentially groundless and pointless. Such as, for example, the idea that Space Robots came from beyond the galaxy and wrote our religious texts in order to get us to follow them when they return to claim us for slavery in the name of “Jesus” or “Mohammed.” If I’m to believe what you’re saying, this sort of thing should be taken seriously simply because people have “theorized” it.

    Such a statment places a pretty high premium on our ability to “pinpoint” things. According to your own statement it’s undetectable. Why should we be able to detect it? Why is this not an assumption

    Well, I challenge you to give me an example of a blatant “Miracle of God” that could happen here and now—today, preferably—in an environment that would allow it to be scientifically tested, and explain to me how it would be impossible to show that such a miracle (in this context) would not be provable as a “work of God.” A counterexample to my life-from-a-rent-corpse analogy.

    Secondly, nothing in history can be pinpointed even with “science”. For example pinpoint who the first person was across the Rockies. Can’t do it, even though it was a physical person obeying all the known laws. It’s not possible

    Well, we weren’t there, so no, we wouldn’t be able to tell. There’s no way to record or measure that kind of thing. However, we know that there was a technical “first person,” because if there were any people at all, then there would have had to have been a “first person” to do it, or else nobody would have done it. In this analogy you assume that the detail of import is the identity of the person, rather than the fact that the person exists. You also make another mistake here—it’s not that science has proven something to be false that we know to be true or vice-versa, it’s simply that science is unable to observe something, which we already know to be true: unobservable things cannot be proven or disproven.

    Everything in history 150 years ago is
    nothing but “I read what this person said.” How do we know it’s reliable? How do we know it’s true? You don’t. You take peoples word for it.

    Yes, I take the word of scientists who have made a lifelong career out of testing and experimenting with different concepts, settings, ideas, and factors, because they are capable of showing me—and explaining to me—studies and tests, and allowing me to reach my own conclusion as to what the evidence means, as opposed to implying that their conclusion is the only just or possible one. Though they may describe what they feel is the “most likely” solution.

    Secondly I thought you were interested in finding the truth… not defending “science”

    As I believe science leads to the truth, that would appear to be what I’m doing, yes.

    Thirdly, you don’t dismiss a position (plato’s methaphysics) because the consequence are undesireable (science is out the window). I think you are under estimating just how committed to philosophical materialism you really are.
    Just who has the “evidence bias” here?

    This is a common argument, and I quite despise it: the idea that I am somehow “secretly supporting” (or perhaps unaware of the fact that I am supporting) an “opposing faction” to non-empiricism in general. I believe in science and scientific examination because it has shown me everything I know to be true; in order to prove this wrong, one must provide an example in which non-empiricism has shown something to be true (objectively so) in such a way as to disprove a scientific approach. In other words, a situation in which irrationality has proved something to be true that rationality has thought to have proven. But again, this is a scientific method; in which case it would seem that the only way to disprove science….is through the use of science. Because science outlines a system of logic in which things can be used to prove other things; without science nothing can be proven or disproven. Science is the process by which we can use known factors to deduce unknown factors.

    Thomas Kuhn
    points out that “science” is even possible because of this perspective

    We seem to be in agreement that science is a filter through which one passes one’s own worldview. I think where we differ is on the validity of scientific method to affirm what is objectively real (or rather, on the definition of “objectively real”).

    “I feel the same way about any other theory that is not made using a scientific observation–” You said you FEEL. YOU FEEL the same way about non “scientific
    evidence” In other words you can’t provide proof that your “definition” of evidence isn’t anymore capricious or arbitrary than “Pluto’s a planet”. It is a commonly agreed upon definition it could change in a heart beat.

    Would you prefer that I start referring to everything I feel to be true as “objective fact?” I don’t feel the need to present my beliefs as objective fact, even if I believe they are—rather, I feel the need to explain the logic behind why I feel the way I do so that others may understand (and respect, if they so choose) it. To me, referring to one’s own beliefs as objective fact (and acting petty towards anyone who does otherwise) is silly and unnecessary. Think of it as a way of keeping my arguments in perspective; if all views were as obvious as their holders believed, we wouldn’t be having this conversation right now. I understand this and am attempting to answer your questions as honestly and with the least amount of malice I can manage (which I hope you perceive as none).

    As for the definition of “fact;” I define “fact” as something that I can show to you whose existence cannot be empirically debated. An interpretation (theory/hypothesis) drawn from the fact is the next step up; if one applies logic (which is dependent on the presence of facts by which to make a decision—no different from the way a computer functions), then one will arrive at a theory that can be called “logical.”

    You think that because I question the theory therefore I believe people float off the planet. I know that the question is why don’t we.

    You misunderstand; I didn’t accuse you of believing we will float off of the planet. I asked you if you had a better explanation for why we don’t float off of the planet.

    How do we know that the law of gravity is True verse it’s a theory that just happens to work? You’ve stated that science is leading us towards the Truth, which Truth is that? thomas Kuhn pointed out that Newton physic is different than

    I explained this earlier, though I’ll repeat it for convenience’s sake (there are a lot of posts here): It’s not that I assume gravity is fully understood at this point. “Gravity” is a word we use to describe the force that results in objects being attracted to one another. As I explained earlier, we don’t require a complete understanding of the full functionality of gravity to know that it basically exists; there could be a further function that we simply haven’t discovered that factors into the process. However, since people don’t simply float from the earth, we know that there is something holding us down; the very nature of that something is, some would say, up for debate, and I don’t claim to have any expertise in that area.

    You’ve stated that science is leading us towards the Truth, which Truth is that?

    The truth as we can best understand it, given the access to resources we currently have.

    How do we know that we are even asking the right questions that will lead us to the Truth?

    Simply, we don’t, and that’s because we don’t know what the truth is. Hence science’s “quest for the truth.” If we understood all aspects of the universe, there would be no need to study or research anything.

    If we get to the point that we don’t question what people tell us is “true” we turn into silly parrot squak boxes. I don’t think that Plato was “paranoid” His question is concerning highest reality. What is a higher truth? That people scratch themselves OR that people make choices?

    The statement about “paranoia” was made with regard to things that are objectively “real” as you and I understand “real” to mean (assuming we share the same definition of “real”); if the desk is there, and you are touching it on a day-to-day basis, what reason do you have to believe it isn’t there? I am not talking about matters that are debatable even within empiricism; I’m talking about things that you and I can both agree upon as fact.

    I hate to go on the offensive in such a productive discussion, but it seems that if we discombobulate the definition of “real” to where it could literally mean anything at all–from things that we can see and feel and observe to things that exist only in the wildest imagination of the most deluded individual–then there would be no more proof for God’s existence than there is within the realms of empiricism, simply because nothing has a solid definition; in order to prove something under any definition of “prove,” one must first have a definition of what that something is. And if the term “real” no longer applies to objects of whose existence in the physical world we can be reaffirmed, then to what can it apply? For there are only two categories available at this level of reasoning: things that are, and things that are not. If we cannot call the things that are “real,” then what do we call them? Likewise, how can we determine if anything is “real” or not?

    And as for which is the greater truth; neither is greater, for they are both truths. No truth is “greater” than any other, for nothing can be “more true” than something else—everything either is or is not true. If something can be said to be “partially true,” then it is possible to break it down into smaller factors, which can then be labeled as “true” or “untrue,” for there is always a justifying reason offered as to why that alleged “truth” is only partially so.

    How do you know your truely being rational, verse buying what your college professors put on a tray for you to believe?

    Simple; I’m not in college yet. I have no college professor :)

    If you are going to challenge my motives here, then there’s not much I can “come back” with; I can’t force you to believe anything I say. If you want to question my motives in supporting science (i.e. if you wish to continue insisting that I am blindly following someone else’s lead), then I’ll have no choice but to let those comments go unanswered beyond “that’s not true.” Of course, that won’t hinder our discussion, as my intention is not to prove to you that I am thinking for myself but rather, why I feel the way I do. Whether or not you believe the reasons I give you is entirely up to you.

  • mike brown

    tim.
    Your a bright person, but your in way, way over your head here. First off

    “I don’t believe there is no God. I also don’t believe there is a God.” thats not what you said earlier:

    “To me, I don’t “not believe in God” simply because I can’t see him; I don’t believe in him because every single example I have ever heard to “prove” his existence is based on interpretation.”

    Tim this is where you’re getting frustrating. You keep trying to place yourself in somekind of “neutral” position like “look at me I’m not being biased, I require proof before I buy into something.” But yet your words are decidedly biased. You have chosen to “disreguard” God even though you have no evidence either way whether he exists. You’re on an athiest site defending the athiest position yet you have repeatedly said “I’m not taking a position… yet you are.”
    You completely ignored my point about every person having a bias. Do you understand Immanual Kant’s point concerning the power of perspective in Critique of Pure Reason? Do you understand what Thomas Kuhn meant when he said that science requires a paradigm to even function?

    “We seem to be in agreement that science is a filter through which one passes one’s own worldview.” No- you’ve missed my point. The empirical process itself is a biased processed. How do you make a hypothesis? You have to have an opinion-a world view to even make an hypothesis.

    Why do we not float off the planet? You have to assume there is a coherent process that we can understand to even come up with the hypothesis of “gravity” You have to assume that the world functions according to laws that are “logical” and not capricious. You have totally missed my point; that these are ALL Assumptions. You assume there is a coherent process that is “logical” that we can understand. And that’s even before we can come up with a hypothesis.

    “As for the definition of “fact;” I define “fact” as something that I can show to you whose existence cannot be empirically debated.”

    and yet you said earlier that we could “technically question solid physical objects.” You ignored my point concerning “free will” There is Nothing you point to that is “free will” it is a concept, an idea.

    “Would you prefer that I start referring to everything I feel to be true as “objective fact?” I don’t feel the need to present my beliefs as objective fact, even if I believe they are”

    Here you have the exact point I have been trying so hard to point out and yet you don’t get it. Of course you WOULD feel it’s “objective Fact” someone else would consider something else to be an “objective fact”. This is the delima I have been trying to point out and yet you keep beating the drum that science will lead us toward the “truth” yet you won’t acknoweldge that you have turned your “feelings” or “hunches” into “objective fact”. You keep presenting your “feelings” as being “objective” and non biased and yet here you are defending “science”. Why can’t you just admit it… Every human being has a perspective they drag into the “scientific” process with them… this perspective makes it nearly impossible to get to the “objective truth”

    Do you know why you can’t? You can’t because to admit that science isn’t as “objective” as people pass it off as it is, would be to place it within the the material world not as “above” it. This is your only hope to find “objective truth” if there is some process above mere human opinion.

    “Simple; I’m not in college yet. I have no college professor.”

    that explains much. You’re a smart person but your too smart for your own good. You think that your being “unbiased” but you’re not above me, your not above the rest of the world. I’m sorry to say buddy but your stuck here with the rest of us; stuck in the world filled with assumptions, belief, faith, and foggy disbelief.

  • Darryl

    Mike, you arrogant bastard, you’re the one who’s in way over his head. I’ve read some your ongoing idiocy with Tim as you spew your stupid, regurgitated, and fallacious arguments. It’s one thing to bore people with your never-ending, rambling and tendentious comments, but when you start saying things like so and so is “in way, way over your head,” that gets my Irish up–dumbass. You need to find some new arguments because you’re annoying the rest of us who come to this site to either laugh at a good joke or be challenged by a serious thought. You’re providing neither.

  • Richard Wade

    Imagine someone owes you a hundred dollars and you ask him for it. He assures you that he has it and he pulls out of his wallet a one hundred dollar bill and hands it to you. You see its unique details, feel its money texture, smell its money odor, and test it with a counterfeit detecting marker. You know you have been paid.

    BUT

    Imagine instead that he assures you he has the one hundred dollars but instead of taking it out and handing it to you he starts talking about the nature and history of money, the state of the economy, the difference between money and wealth, the philosophical, sociological and political concepts of ownership, and goes on with tediously intricate, long-winded and esoteric soliloquies about reality, knowledge and truth.

    Long before he’s finished you realize that he aint got your one hundred dollars. He’s got nothin’ but the air in his mouth and that’s all he’s gonna give you.

  • mike brown

    Daryl: I’m sorry if I come across as an arrogant bastard. I’m not trying to be. If you would like to post I would love to have a discussion with you. Since I’m in way over my head perhaps you can answer some of my questions. I’ve not made a single argument FOR God. All I’ve done is question. I’ve asked questions. This is why Richard Wade you’re analogy is flawed. I havn’t proposed nor have I offerend any proof about God. I’m asking you about your own position. Tim here has proposed to have found “objective Truth” that’s a pretty big claim and I would like to test such a claim does that make me an arrogant bastard?

    I’m asking how your search for “truth” is going. I’m asking tough and yes boring questions. Isn’t the very basis of “reason” based upon investigation? They may seem boring to you but that just means thinking is actually work. What are my “regurgitated, and fallacious arguments”? Please point them out for me.

    You may be bored with my questions but does that make them irrelevant? By the way nothing, absolutely nothing I have posted is “proof” about or for God. The “arguments” I’ve “regurgitated” are coming from ATHIEST philosophers, not christians. These are questions that are being asked by Michael Foucault, Jacques Derrida and others. Richard you seem to think I have to prove something. Well sorry, but so do you.

    You don’t get to ask all the questions, you too have to answer difficult questions as well. I, for one, would like an answer that is better than: “Well, just wait. Science doesn’t have an answer for that yet; but someday, way down the road I see light at the end of the tunnel. Science will give it to us “someday”.”
    That’s as bad as saying: “I don’t know. Maybe God did it.”

    While I appologize for coming across as an arrogant Bastard. You’ll notice I didn’t say Tim was over his head until he said he wasn’t in college YET. Either he is a late college attendee or he is in high school. The questions I’m asking Daryl are masters level questions. Technically, given Tim is in high school, he IS way over his head.

    He hasn’t spoken intelligently upon Kant, Kuhn, Foucault, Derrida now he’s intelligent enough to keep him mouth shut on things he doesn’t know but that only show’s he doesn’t know them yet. He’s very smart and he will probably understand them one day. Than perhaps he’ll come back to this post and whip my butt. However, saying he’s in over his head isn’t just an arrogant statement I’m simply pointing out that he doens’t understand YET (one day he will) what I’m talking about. Thus it makes this conversation difficult. I have to go. I’m sorry once again for sounding arrogant.

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    “To me, I don’t “not believe in God” simply because I can’t see him; I don’t believe in him because every single example I have ever heard to “prove” his existence is based on interpretation.”

    “I don’t believe in him” simply means that I don’t believe he exists. I don’t have to believe he doesn’t exist to not believe he does exist; I’m simply open to interpretation in either direction. There’s nothing fallacious about that—though if you believe there is, feel free to explain it to me.

    You have chosen to “disreguard” God even though you have no evidence either way whether he exists. You’re on an athiest site defending the athiest position yet you have repeatedly said “I’m not taking a position… yet you are.”

    I don’t “disregard” him completely. I think I said it best when I used the example of “ideological purgatory.” That’s where God is, to me–ideological purgatory, a place where he will stay until his existence is proved or disproved for certain.

    You completely ignored my point about every person having a bias. Do you understand Immanual Kant’s point concerning the power of perspective in Critique of Pure Reason? Do you understand what Thomas Kuhn meant when he said that science requires a paradigm to even function?

    You say that science requires a paradigm to function; simply saying it is not proof that it is true. It’s an interesting idea, but it’s simply not the case—science does not require a bias to operate. Science is the process of filtering out biases, at least it is in the way that I understand it.

    No- you’ve missed my point. The empirical process itself is a biased processed. How do you make a hypothesis? You have to have an opinion-a world view to even make an hypothesis.

    You have to have an understanding of the facts being presented, yes. But things that we consider actual “facts” are things which cannot be debated; I’m not speaking about things like whether or not God exists, I’m speaking of things that are objectively true—such as the existence of the computer before which you now sit—which will not change at all to correspond with your (or my) opinions of whether or not its existence is challenged. It is there, and the facts show that it is there. If one chooses to refuse the facts, then so be it, but the desk and the computer are still there—they can still be detected and interacted with.

    Why do we not float off the planet? You have to assume there is a coherent process that we can understand to even come up with the hypothesis of “gravity” You have to assume that the world functions according to laws that are “logical” and not capricious. You have totally missed my point; that these are ALL Assumptions. You assume there is a coherent process that is “logical” that we can understand. And that’s even before we can come up with a hypothesis.

    The laws of the universe are not random, that much we know. We may not understand all of them, but there is a pattern, plain and simple—may I suggest the periodic table of elements? That would seem to be either a grand coincidence, or the finest example of the formula of nature that I’ve ever witnessed.

    and yet you said earlier that we could “technically question solid physical objects.” You ignored my point concerning “free will” There is Nothing you point to that is “free will” it is a concept, an idea.

    (1) Yes, we could question them—that is a fine representation of free will, the ability to debate things that can be seen and proved.

    (2) With all due respect, I’m not trying to prove that free will is a physical thing. I don’t entirely understand what you’re getting at here.

    Here you have the exact point I have been trying so hard to point out and yet you don’t get it. Of course you WOULD feel it’s “objective Fact” someone else would consider something else to be an “objective fact”. This is the delima I have been trying to point out and yet you keep beating the drum that science will lead us toward the “truth” yet you won’t acknoweldge that you have turned your “feelings” or “hunches” into “objective fact”. You keep presenting your “feelings” as being “objective” and non biased and yet here you are defending “science”. Why can’t you just admit it… Every human being has a perspective they drag into the “scientific” process with them… this perspective makes it nearly impossible to get to the “objective truth”

    I don’t understand why you seem so angry here; I already have admitted that people can take biases into the scientific process. The point I was attempting to make was that proper scientific analysis does not ultimately allow for a bias; if a bias is present, the information will be inaccurate. This is what I meant when I referred to “science enacted properly”—science performed without some kind of evidential bias. Just because a person performs an experiment and claims it’s science does not automatically mean it is science.

    Do you know why you can’t? You can’t because to admit that science isn’t as “objective” as people pass it off as it is, would be to place it within the the material world not as “above” it. This is your only hope to find “objective truth” if there is some process above mere human opinion.

    That is the beauty of scientific examination, and of logic and reason; logic exists outside of the human persona. It is up to humans to identify and execute it. In that sense it is very much outside of human opinion, although human opinion can easily corrupt it.

    that explains much. You’re a smart person but your too smart for your own good. You think that your being “unbiased” but you’re not above me, your not above the rest of the world. I’m sorry to say buddy but your stuck here with the rest of us; stuck in the world filled with assumptions, belief, faith, and foggy disbelief.

    Wow; might I ask where this hostility comes from? I’m not asking you to change what you believe, and I’m not talking down to you (well, at least I’m trying not to—if I am, I sincerely apologize, as that was not my intent). I was simply explaining my viewpoint; yes, I believe science is objective. However, there is a criteria that could easily diprove science in my eyes, were it possible—and that would be the presentation of a single documented case in history in which scientific reasoning has proven something “true” that non-scientific reasoning (i.e. an absence of logic) has proven to be untrue. But the reason this is impossible is because, to prove that, one would require the use of empiricism, scientific rationale. Without science, there is no reason, and there is no logic. Therefore, all logical deductions become impossible, as does proving anything using evidence.

    “Well, just wait. Science doesn’t have an answer for that yet; but someday, way down the road I see light at the end of the tunnel. Science will give it to us “someday”.”

    Well, for me it’s more like, “science may give me the answer, but in the meantime I’ll put God on hold, since I don’t know if all of this praying is doing any good just yet.”

    He hasn’t spoken intelligently upon Kant, Kuhn, Foucault, Derrida now he’s intelligent enough to keep him mouth shut on things he doesn’t know but that only show’s he doesn’t know them yet. He’s very smart and he will probably understand them one day. Than perhaps he’ll come back to this post and whip my butt. However, saying he’s in over his head isn’t just an arrogant statement I’m simply pointing out that he doens’t understand YET (one day he will) what I’m talking about. Thus it makes this conversation difficult. I have to go. I’m sorry once again for sounding arrogant.

    For the record, I am 19 and currently saving money for college. However, I don’t think it’s quite fair to say that my points are invalid because I can’t answer your questions about those philosophers, no matter how much they may bear on the subject at hand—my beliefs don’t come from a textbook, they come from the world as I have seen and explored it. Again with all due respect, I find it somewhat evasive of you to use that as a basis for discounting my ideas, as they actually have very little to do with ancient philosophy; and unless one such philosopher shows me an idea (and proves it, as opposed to simply suggesting it as an interesting idea but nothing more) that contradicts anything I’ve said here as fact, I have a feeling that I’d be reading them, then coming back here and saying the same things.

    Long story short—I don’t believe what I do because I read it in a book somewhere. I believe what I do because, in my experience, it has been a flawless, tried-and-true method of finding out factual things, and avoiding attempts at manipulation by people who require a suspicious amount of trust with regard to certain matters.

  • mike

    Tim, I appologize for sounding “angry”. I’m frustrated with myself for my inability to properly communicate to you what I mean. (for the record Kant, Kuhn Derridea and Foucault are not ancient philosophers)

    ok, let me try again… I’m not going to parce every comment you made I’ll be short and sweet.

    Your wrote:
    “That is the beauty of scientific examination, and of logic and reason; logic exists outside of the human persona.”

    Where does logic, reason and scientific examination exist outside of the human persona? What physical object in the physical world can you point to that IS those things?

    What your probably tempted to do is cite a “logical” problem that is “inherently” contradictory. As if that would proove your point. But try using that same “logic” with a dog. It wont’ work. Pick up a dog and throw it off the top of the building and it will fall. Try logic with ANYTHING other than a human and it won’t work. It only works with humans and it works best with humans who speak the same language.

    To put it in the form of a question. Without using complicated “concepts” or “ideas” can you demonstrate logic? (with extremely minimal concepts you can communicate the idea of “dog”: point and say “dog”) The more communication is required the higher the concept.

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    (for the record Kant, Kuhn Derridea and Foucault are not ancient philosophers)

    I just assumed they were from the Plato era, since you were quoting him earlier….my mistake 0_0

    Where does logic, reason and scientific examination exist outside of the human persona? What physical object in the physical world can you point to that IS those things?

    It’s not a physical thing. There is not an object called “logic.” It is a concept that has an objective definition. If it is performed correctly, it produces results that reflect physical reality. If not, it produces results that are skewed, or that represent a biased version of reality that serves a particular cause (this is what I call “evidential bias”). I think you have misinterpreted that, in order to exist outside of the mind, something must be “physical.”

    Yes, in that the word “logic” describes a concept, it is an invention of man. However, concepts—while intangible—are not the inventions of man. They are things that exist, but take no form, and are very real; they affect everything. It is impossible to function rationally without the use of scientific examination to some degree, for science is defined by rationality. The names we give to those concepts are invented by man, but to confuse the words we give to these things with the things themselves is, in my opinion, a grave mistake.

    Take emotion, for example. An emotion is not a physical thing that one can touch, and yet there is a scientific explantion to describe what it is, how it works, and where it comes from. This displays my point quite well—that assigning a definition to a concept does not necessarily require that said concept take a physical form.

    As such, logic and reason are not physical objects, no. They describe a series of processes the brain (or any system, such as a computer) undergoes in order to reach a conclusion. It is not required that the system in question be “alive,” per se; simply that it function based on a set of factors (“laws,” in the case of nonliving matter) that have been pre-determined—which describes the scientific process well. A complex machine may use logic—take the game “Mouse Trap,” which you may remember from years ago, as an example. The game consists of players constructing a trap that will lead an object to a predetermined goal. The object in question uses logic to determine which direction it will travel; since the laws of physics prevent it from passing through other physical matter, it will only travel where there is no physical resistance, and only if it is set into motion by some force of propulsion. If the object reaches a point where it is both hindered by physical matter and unpropelled, it will stop. The objective, then, is to arrange the other matter in such a way as to cause the original object’s natural logic to lead it towards the goal, since one cannot actually move the object short of picking it up and setting it on the goal (which defeats the purpose of the game—and in real life, similar techniques may be applied to objects that are too large to simply pick up and move). The same basic concept applies to all physical matter.

    In that respect, the entire universe—both living and nonliving—uses some form of the scientific process in order to function. The driving difference between living and nonliving things is that some living things have “free will” and can choose to defy the logic that occurs to them naturally (though not the physical laws that bind them, being constrained to physical bodies as they are). Sometimes this can be benificial (humans, for example, can defy short-term logic or “instinct” in favor of long-term logic, a classic example being self-preservation that involves extreme physical harm, such as “cutting off the finger to save the hand,” though it’s still a form of logic, so logic is not really being defied at all, just applied differently), and sometimes it can be disastrous.

    As if that would proove your point. But try using that same “logic” with a dog. It wont’ work. Pick up a dog and throw it off the top of the building and it will fall.

    My point is already proven, in that one cannot “prove” anything without the use of scientific process. Without using logical thought, factors cannot be used to deduce other factors, because there is no reason to explain why Factor A implies Factor B. To assign a definition—which is necessary to even classify the factors in the first place—requires a justification for that definition, which is a scientific concept. One cannot simply call anything a “bird” under scientific process, because the logic of the word “bird” insists that the object must be alive and bear the traits of a bird. However, without logic, the word “bird” has no meaning, because there is no “reason” to explain why the word “bird” means what it does, much less why anything should be classified as such.

    To put it in the form of a question. Without using complicated “concepts” or “ideas” can you demonstrate logic? (with extremely minimal concepts you can communicate the idea of “dog”: point and say “dog”) The more communication is required the higher the concept.

    If I understand you correctly, then yes:

    The word “God.” It is defined as an entity that is omnipotent/omniscient. How do we decide who or what is God? Take a dog, for example. How do we know that a dog is not God? Because a dog is not omniscient; a dog is not capable of being in more than one place simultaneously. Since it does not fit the definition, it is not God.

    Or, if that seems too complex, we can simplify it: Dog. How do we know what is a Dog? First, we define dog; for the sake of this example, we’ll keep the definition simple: we’ll use “a canine organism with four legs and fur.” We then take the nearest visible object—a glass, sitting on my desk—and we examine that (A) it is not alive or an organism *and therefore cannot be a canine), (B) it is not furry, and (C) it does not have four legs. Therefore, it is not a dog.

    (Wow….this is completely unintentional, but I just realized that I used “Dog” and “God” which are the same word transposed!) :).

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    …so are we done now? I honestly can’t tell 0_0

  • mike brown

    Apparently this site wont’ let you copy and paste. So once again I’ll have to retype what I wrote. Tim:

    “That is the beauty of scientific examination, and of logic and reason; logic exists outside of the human persona.”

    “As such, logic and reason are not physical objects, no. They describe a series of processes the brain.” (ie inside the human persona)

    “It’s not a physical thing. There is not an object called “logic.” It is a concept that has an objective definition.” (ie outside the human persona)

    “Yes, in that the word “logic” describes a concept, it is an invention of man.” (ie inside the human persona)

    Tim I don’t mean to be rude but this is incoherent. Logic exists outside the human persona but yet is a concept that is an invention of man. At the same time logic is process of the human brain but it is also a objective CONCEPT. How can an idea have an objective definition? Example? How do we know a dog is a dog? There is nothing objective in the definition of dog? We [as english speaking people] come together and agree to call that furry little thing a dog. We can CALL it an objective definition but that’s kind of ethnocentric. In ENGLISH it’s called a dog. So, when solid objects have subjective definitions how can an idea (which has no solid physical presence) have an objective definition?)

    This post in particular bothered me because it demonstrates a complete lack of logical thinking:

    “How do we know what is a Dog? First, we define dog; for the sake of this example, we’ll keep the definition simple: we’ll use “a canine organism with four legs and fur.”

    You begin the discussion of what is a dog with defining a dog? That’s a tautology. It’s circular reasoning. A dog is “a canine organism with four legs and fur.” How do we know that? Because we have defined it. Well we havn’t logically proven anything all we’ve proven is that we can give an arbirtrary “definition” to the animal dog it logically hasn’t proven anything.

    “We then take the nearest visible object—a glass, sitting on my desk—and we examine that (A) it is not alive or an organism *and therefore cannot be a canine), (B) it is not furry, and (C) it does not have four legs. Therefore, it is not a dog.”

    You think you have proven something? You haven’t proven what you set out to prove namely: What is a dog?

    In logic you do have to define your terms but you do NOT begin the argument by defining what you are trying to determine. What is a dog? You do NOT define dog in order to determine what it is. You COULD begin by defining: furry, organism, living, four and legs and then try and demonstrate how a dog fits into these definitions.

    Secondly, even according to your own proofs all you have determined is that given the definition of “dog” and the definition of “glass” a glass is NOT a dog. You have NOT logically demonstrated what a dog IS; all you have demonstrated is what the arbitrary definition of “dog” is not.

    Tim this is what has frustrated me the entire time. I’m really not trying to be rude. I mean honestly I’m not. But this entire time you have been trying to tell me how “logical”, “rational” and “scientific” you are but anytime I point out a flaw in your logic (ie whether no “empirical” proof of God’s existance is influencial or not ) you turn the fault back to me. I misunderstood you. I am not comprehending YOU. It’s my fault that I don’t understand you.

    I’m sorry if this comes across as rude I really am not trying to be. However, I’m sure your going to point out once again how I have misunderstood you in this dog illustration; or how I have failed to understand YOU in your discussion of whether logic is internal or external, whether it’s subjective or objective. This is why this discussion is not progressing (this and how the site won’t allow me to copy and paste) You commit to a postion, I question you about it and you turn my question into how I’ve misunderstood you. I then try to get you to commit to another position and all that does is provide you the oppertunity to flip around again.

    Now this is not bad, if you believe in holding paradoxal positions than perhaps I AM misunderstanding you. However, logically either the lack of empirical proof of God’s existance is influencial or not. Logically, logic is either an external object (hence the term OBJECTIVE) or a subjective internal concept. Logically they can not both be true.

    Now your only 19, you havn’t had college logic or rhetoric yet. Our public school system does not teach good reasoning nor logic. However, unless I point out this flaw, this conversation will never develop into a reasonable nor rational conversation. It will likely degenerate into a he said / she said shouting match. I am not interested in that; I honestly am interested in a reasonable conversation with an athiest.

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    Tim I don’t mean to be rude but this is incoherent. Logic exists outside the human persona but yet is a concept that is an invention of man.

    On this we’ll simply have to disagree; the fact that we have a name for something does not warrant that something being “man-made.” Logic happens in the universe completely independent of human interaction, and therefore—as far as I am concerned—it is independent of humanity. It does not solely describe the process of the human brain, or any living thing—it describes a process by which all things in our universe operate.

    How can an idea have an objective definition? Example? How do we know a dog is a dog? There is nothing objective in the definition of dog? We [as english speaking people] come together and agree to call that furry little thing a dog. We can CALL it an objective definition but that’s kind of ethnocentric. In ENGLISH it’s called a dog. So, when solid objects have subjective definitions how can an idea (which has no solid physical presence) have an objective definition?)

    You are making that grave mistake I mentioned earlier; you seem to be confusing the name with the actual concept/thing. What language we use to describe the thing is irrelevant; the concept is the same in all languages. Whether I say “cat” or “neko,” I am still referring to a feline creature that fits the definition.

    To clarify; I am speaking of the concept of logic itself, not the English word we assign to it.

    You begin the discussion of what is a dog with defining a dog? That’s a tautology. It’s circular reasoning. A dog is “a canine organism with four legs and fur.” How do we know that? Because we have defined it. Well we havn’t logically proven anything all we’ve proven is that we can give an arbirtrary “definition” to the animal dog it logically hasn’t proven anything.

    Ah, I see; you were asking me to explain how we assign the word “dog” to a definition, am I correct? As you may know, this is a form of backwards logic; logic doesn’t start with a bank of words, then assign these words to concepts/objects/organisms. Rather, it finds such concepts/objects/organisms in nature, then concocts words to describe them. The words do not exist until they are needed. So what you are asking me to do is logically impossible and unnecessary.

    Stripping away the use of the word “dog” to describe what we know to be a dog, if one were to point to a dog (as reference) to another person that they were speaking about a dog, the knowledge of the creature being examined (a dog) would be shared between them. We assign words to these “concepts” as a means of conveying information without requiring the presence of the object/creature we are describing; one can argue the significance of the word or how it is defined, but the point remains that the word “dog” in the English language (as well as the Chinese word for “Dog,” or the Arabic word, or the Spanish word) describes a creature whose “definition” is solid and objective; no matter how we adjust the words, the dog’s shape and functionality (its “objective definition,” which is independent of human thought) will not change. Here, you again make the mistake of confusing words with independent things.

    You think you have proven something? You haven’t proven what you set out to prove namely: What is a dog?

    I have described a dog to you as we have defined it; if that is not clear enough, then there is but one last resort:

    http://www.hickerphoto.com/data/media/40/husky_puppy_T3211.jpg

    A dog is the creature in that picture.

    The word “dog” (as with most words) exists not as a thing in itself, but as a means of eliminating the inconvenience of having to tote around a dog so that one may point to said dog in an effort to describe it to someone else. This is where you and I seem to be at odds; I am not arguing that words are objective and apart from living creatures’ thoughts—in fact, on this we agree, because words are things that cannot exist without a living thing to produce them (after all, they serve no physical purpose; rather, they act as little packets of information about the surrounding world that we send back and forth to one another). Rather, I am suggesting that the concepts which those words describe are objectively real.

    In logic you do have to define your terms but you do NOT begin the argument by defining what you are trying to determine. What is a dog? You do NOT define dog in order to determine what it is. You COULD begin by defining: furry, organism, living, four and legs and then try and demonstrate how a dog fits into these definitions.

    I’m not sure you understand the process of giving a name; if we have only the word “dog,” and no definition to which to assign the word, then it doesn’t matter what we assign the word to. The definition comes about only once we assign the word; it is mere coincidence that the word “dog” means what it does in the English language, for example—another word could just have easily have come to mean the same thing (in fact, this has happened in every other language in the world). The word “dog” itself does not refer to the animal by definition of the word itself; it refers to the animal because someone assigned the word to the animal in an effort to remove the effort of requiring a visual aid to describe a dog, and now we use the word “dog” as shorthand for

    http://www.hickerphoto.com/data/media/40/husky_puppy_T3211.jpg

    Secondly, even according to your own proofs all you have determined is that given the definition of “dog” and the definition of “glass” a glass is NOT a dog. You have NOT logically demonstrated what a dog IS; all you have demonstrated is what the arbitrary definition of “dog” is not.

    I hope I have answered your question in this post :)

    I’m sorry if this comes across as rude I really am not trying to be. However, I’m sure your going to point out once again how I have misunderstood you in this dog illustration; or how I have failed to understand YOU in your discussion of whether logic is internal or external, whether it’s subjective or objective. This is why this discussion is not progressing (this and how the site won’t allow me to copy and paste) You commit to a postion, I question you about it and you turn my question into how I’ve misunderstood you. I then try to get you to commit to another position and all that does is provide you the oppertunity to flip around again.

    You’re right; I have pointed out that you have misunderstood something. And I shall continue to do so any time you misinterpret what I am saying, as I would hope you would do to me :)

    Now this is not bad, if you believe in holding paradoxal positions than perhaps I AM misunderstanding you. However, logically either the lack of empirical proof of God’s existance is influencial or not. Logically, logic is either an external object (hence the term OBJECTIVE) or a subjective internal concept. Logically they can not both be true.

    (1) What have I said that is “paradoxical,” aside from that which I have already explained?

    (2) You’re starting to lose me a little….are we talking about God, or about the process of assigning words to concepts that exist independently of the human mind? Since we’re on soapboxes for the moment…..it seems to me that when I answer one of your questions, you jump to another question that has little or nothing to do with the original one, and I answer that to the best of my ability, and you ask me a third question, which has little or nothing to do with either of the other two, and this constitutes “proof” in your eyes that I am paradoxical? I honestly don’t understand your strategy here.

    (3) The idea that something cannot exist outside the human persona without taking a physical form is ludicrous, to say the least; such an idea would mean that the laws of our universe would not function, and by that, we would not exist—and by that definition, even God becomes just a figment of the human imagination. Something isn’t required to be tangible to be real; there must be scientific reason to assume its existence, however.

    Now your only 19, you havn’t had college logic or rhetoric yet. Our public school system does not teach good reasoning nor logic. However, unless I point out this flaw, this conversation will never develop into a reasonable nor rational conversation. It will likely degenerate into a he said / she said shouting match. I am not interested in that; I honestly am interested in a reasonable conversation with an athiest.

    Honest question; how will pointing out that our public school system “doesn’t teach good logic” prevent this conversation from functioning? Again, you seem to be implying that my thought process is something gleamed from a textbook or a class. That is not true.

    And if the fact that I haven’t taken any college courses on logic and reason is all you require to dismiss me from this conversation, then so be it….but let it be known, I consider that somewhat of a cop-out.

  • Mike B

    ok tim I can’t tell you what you don’t know. You won’t listen…. When you get to school and you begin to study what ever field you get into you will realize taht every field; every field, including science, has what’s called models. These models take the information and they create systems. Every field has interpretations of the “Truth” when you have that moment, when you realize that the “objective” is actually quite subjective I hope you will remember this conversation. The reason I have “jumped” from question to question is an attempt by myself to help you see what I’m talking about. But you are not attempting to see what I am saying you only want to see what You are saying… I understand your position do you understand what I am questioning?

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    You won’t listen…. When you get to school and you begin to study what ever field you get into you will realize taht every field; every field, including science, has what’s called models. These models take the information and they create systems. Every field has interpretations of the “Truth” when you have that moment, when you realize that the “objective” is actually quite subjective I hope you will remember this conversation.

    Science is the method by which things are examined using observations and comparisons and theories and conclusions (and, ironically, the base foundation for college courses). Science does not apply to just one small thing here or there; science applies to everything. One can call some things objective truth, but that does not make them so; what makes them so is that they are. If you think it is “only a perception” that reality is real, then that is your perogative, and I won’t try to change it. However, I have no reason to believe that the things I see and examine in daily life are “not real” for the reasons you have outlined here. Science has never failed me in my life, and so I trust in it. That is all. This is not an example of “seeing only what I want to see,” it is an example of refusing to accept your unsubstantiated claim over what I observe as true.

    The reason I have “jumped” from question to question is an attempt by myself to help you see what I’m talking about.

    An easier (and much more effective) way of proving your point would be to explain it all at once. Jumping around only serves to ambiguate matters.

    But you are not attempting to see what I am saying you only want to see what You are saying… I understand your position do you understand what I am questioning?

    Contrary to what you continue to insist, I am open to alternative viewpoints. You have simply failed to pursuade me of yours (I still disagree with the idea that illogic is a more practical manner of study than logic, and I find it ironic that you are using logic and reason to try and convince me that logic and reason are not effective). But this isn’t an insult to you or your argumentative skills; I don’t believe I’m the only one (here or elsewhere in the world) who has thought about most or all of the things that factor into his/her belief systems; I wouldn’t expect a Creationist to change his/her viewpoints simply because of one “Enlightening Remark” I chipped in, and I think it’s silly to expect as much of anyone else.

    See, to me, debating/arguing is not about changing the other person’s point of view; it’s about offering them my perspective, and then allowing them to make their own decision about the information I offer them. I don’t ridicule you as a person for holding your lack of belief in the scientific process, logic, or reason (even though it is impossible to even debate in the first place without science), and so I feel it’s a shame that you should attack me personally for not sharing your beliefs. I understand that you have thought about the way you believe, and that it makes sense to you, and I wish you could do the same to me. For even if I were “just a kid” who simply “didn’t understand” your points, I would think it were possible for us to coexist peacefully, without holding each other in contempt simply for our differences in beliefs–if for no other reason than because it’s simply impossible for everyone on earth to share the same beliefs about everything.

    In any case, I’m still interested in continuing an intelligent conversation if you are. Perhaps if we can avoid personal attacks, we can keep this conversation on track?

  • Mike B

    Tim, I am trying to keep this conversation on track. I’m not trying to attack you personally. I don’t want you to accept my position. I am questioning how “rational” and logical” your own position is.

    I know you believe you have “thought” it out. I for my part believe you. However, there are some very smart people who have thought of your position before you. If you think you’re truely the first person who “trusts” science your highly mistaken.

    First off, your use of terms is extremely sloppy. What is “science”? Science is a field that relies heavily upon empiricism. The empirical method and science are not the same. They are different. What you are calling “science” is actually what is classically known as the “rationalist” position. It is a combination of philosophical materialism, empirical inquiry and western logic.

    Now this position was held in the 17-18th centuries having it’s height under Descartes, Locke, Hume ect. In a manner very similar to your own they believed that the human mind was properly apprehending the so called “laws” of the universe. They believed, very similarly to yourself, that logic is “real” in the sense that it was outside and external to anything inside of us. In other words they believed that what was “reasonable” and “logical” was inherently obvious in the world around us. Secondly they believed that if one “properly” applied the rules of “reason” and “logic” the truth was not only discoverable but it was knowable. This is considered to be the classic “rationalist” position.

    Philosophically this position was challenged by Immanual Kant in the 18th century. His work the Critique of Pure Reason, a philosophical and “reasonable” work, demolished the logical presumption that the human mind was capable of understanding the “objective Truth”(and here is the key) without a philosophical metaphysical position.

    Now if you would like to disagree with Immanual Kant, you of course may disagree. However, don’t expect me to buy into your “science tells me everything I need to know” without questioning it. My work here has NOT, mind you NOT been religous in nature. My questions are not “christian” questions. These are questions and points developed in the last three hundred years concerning the ability of “reason” to answer our fundamental questions.
    I know you think your “defeating” me but actually what your doing is attacking the philosophical developments of the last 250-300 years.

    Now, if you disagree, I would encourage you to pick up some philosophy learn some logic and jump into the discussion. (not with me because I’m not that smart, but with some really smart people) because if you know how to “prove” beyond a shadow of doubt that the human mind is capable of obtaining the “uninterpreted” Truth you could make a killing as great speaker on the lecture circuit. I know Richard Dawkins would love to have such proof. In his last book he all but ignored any kind of philosophical development in his work.

    Now, of course, I have “appealed to authority” here. Yes it’s true. I have. However, what I am doing is appealing to the ideal and concepts as put forth by those I have cited: Kant, Kuhn, Nietzche, ect. To lay all their work out would be to be redundant. Others have done a much better job before me and this post would get even MORE boring than it already is.

    So to finish up. Unless you can demonstrate to me why Kant was wrong concerning the ability of the human mind to apprehend the “objective” external world I will easily say: “You’re the one not being very “rational”.”
    However, I think the reality is you just don’t know about his work… That’s fine my only job then is to point out what you don’t know. Unless someone does that for you, you’re never going to be able to grow as a person.

    P.S. If you don’t agree with my interpretation of Kant ask some of your smarter athiest friends about their take on his work.

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    If you think you’re truely the first person who “trusts” science your highly mistaken.

    Well, this is easy to resolve: I never said that, and I don’t believe that I am.

    They believed, very similarly to yourself, that logic is “real” in the sense that it was outside and external to anything inside of us. In other words they believed that what was “reasonable” and “logical” was inherently obvious in the world around us.

    Again, very easy to resolve: I don’t believe that “logical” automatically means “obvious.” I believe I actually said something to that effect in an earlier post.

    However, don’t expect me to buy into your “science tells me everything I need to know” without questioning it.

    I don’t expect you to “buy” anything I say. I am answering what you are asking me to the best of my ability. You have every right to take it or leave it as you see fit.

    I know you think your “defeating” me but actually what your doing is attacking the philosophical developments of the last 250-300 years.

    With all due respect, you don’t have any idea what I’m thinking. It’s becoming clear to me that you will view me as a hostile entity no matter how I try to make my real intentions known, and that disappoints me greatly.

    because if you know how to “prove” beyond a shadow of doubt that the human mind is capable of obtaining the “uninterpreted” Truth you could make a killing as great speaker on the lecture circuit.

    My original position was that science is not about “proving” the objective truth to a certainty. If I have said anything to the contrary to make you see it otherwise, then I apologize; this is why I wanted to avoid presenting my beliefs as facts, because I knew it would afford this level of confusion. Science cannot know if what it discovers is the entire, unabridged truth at the time of the discovery—I admit (and have admitted) that freely. May I defer you once again to my puzzle analogy? Insofar as science is “incorrect” about something, then it is a logical (a more aggressive person might say “common sense”) assumption to believe that there is something out there that may eventually become available to us, that we could use to “prove” this new “truth” in lieu of the “old” or “flawed” one. For if it is the truth, then there will be some means by which to prove it; “reality” as science has defined it requires this much.

    Even if it were real, but there were no way to prove it, then it wouldn’t do any good, anyway, because there would be no way to objectively show it. Therefore we would never know or be affected by it in any way; for in order for us to be affected by something, there would have to be a physical means by which to produce this effect (which could be observed scientifically). So if something does exist that cannot be scientifically proven, then it would not effect us anyway, so it is basically irrelevant (unless we cross into the realm of blind speculation, which I don’t favor for obvious reasons).

    So to finish up. Unless you can demonstrate to me why Kant was wrong concerning the ability of the human mind to apprehend the “objective” external world I will easily say: “You’re the one not being very “rational”.”

    With all due respect, again, I am not arguing with Mr. Kant. I am debating the points you have specifically mentioned to me here. I imagine it’s very easy to cite someone else’s body of work as a template for your arguments, but even if you had the world’s greatest understanding of Kant’s philosophy, it wouldn’t do much good if you couldn’t cite anything specific. It’s for this reason that I have criticised your near-constant reliance on the mention of this Kant fellow; it’s not a very effective case against what I’ve said for you to simply point to (for example) a book by someone else and say, “go read that.”

    But I do have one question for you, honestly. You seem so disillusioned with the process of logic. What I want to know is, what method would you consider to be more productive than logic? Is there a better method by which to act in one’s daily life, in your opinion?

  • mike

    “My original position was that science is not about proving the objective truth to a certainty.”

    “There are some things that are objectively true, which we have come to know through science”

    You can’t logically have it both ways. Either science is about “proving” objective truth or it’s not…. This is yet again another example as to how you change your position. I cannot count the number of times you have said that “science” has shown you things that you cannot deny. If science isn’t about “proving the objective truth with certainity” than what is it about?

    As to Kant: The reason I keep pounding him is because you keep denying his essential point of Critique of pure reason. Since you don’t believe I know what I’m talking about: the essential point of Kant is that external objects have an essence in themselves, and they have an essence as we preceive them. Kant’s position is that it requires a metaphysical position (unproven belief in the essence of ultimate reality) to “bridge the gap” between the external world and the world of the mind (where perception is turned into “objective fact”).

    P.S. are we starting a new post or what?

  • mike brown

    I realized this morning I didn’t answer this:

    “You seem so disillusioned with the process of logic. What I want to know is, what method would you consider to be more productive than logic?”

    Actually I’m not disillusioned with the process of logic. I believe it’s very useful, however, I understand it’s limitations and to believe blindly that one is ONLY using logic(and not a philosphical system to base it’s assumptions upon) ignores any developments of the last 150-200 years in higher study. You are the one who has said things like:

    “science is not an ideology, but rather, a means by which to reach a commonly observable conclusion; this is what makes science powerful to me, the fact that its conclusions are commonly observable by any number of people.”

    and
    “There are some things that are objectively true, which we have come to know through science.”

    In other words science leads us towards the “truth” the truth that we all should see and know that’s how I interpret “-conclusions are commonly observable by any number of people”. I understand these statements to mean that you believe “science” has lead us and will lead us towards the “truth”. I’m not the one making all these claims about “science”. You are.

    I am simply questioning that assumption. I thought that’s what “reasonable” people do? Question assumptions.I don’t have to provide an alternative that works, I just have to question.

    Now, I would really prefer you dealt with my last post instead of this one because this one isn’t reall all that important.

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    You can’t logically have it both ways. Either science is about “proving” objective truth or it’s not…. This is yet again another example as to how you change your position. I cannot count the number of times you have said that “science” has shown you things that you cannot deny. If science isn’t about “proving the objective truth with certainity” than what is it about?

    Alright, I see what you’re saying….it would seem that I have grievously misappropriated the word “objective;” excuse me for that if you will. When I said “objective” in this instance, I actually didn’t mean that it was true “beyond the shadow of a doubt,” which is how it read. I should have said that it was true “to the best of our ability to affirm its truth;” that would be a more accurate depiction of my view.

    Apologies for the inconvenience; pardon my cheap excuse, but I’ve been working a lot these last few weeks, and I’m quite exhausted. It’s difficult to uphold this level of conversation to this duration on three hours of sleep 0_0

    Back to the point, though….when I said that science show me things that I cannot deny, it was a harsh way of saying that it is able to answer questions and solve problems that no other thought method can. When I listen to preachers talk about belief in God, for example, I say that I will believe when I see. They respond with “you must believe in order to see.” To me, that is not an adequate respnse, because it opens for the possibility that God is not real, and that he is simply interpretive. We are talking about an entire belief system, here. The magnitude of the change such a dedication requires is too great for me to deliver without an exceptional degree of explanation.

    So yes, one could argue that there are potential flaws in such a method as science. However, such “flaws” as you have mentioned are difficult–if even possible at all–to prove. They are based on factors for which there is no effective method of observation. See “Space Robot Theory.” This is not necessarily a criticism–for the possibility that something could be true is reason alone not to completely disqualify it–but if something works as effectively as science does, it seems silly to argue that we should debunk all that it does based on what amounts to a worry. I, in turn, argue that it is the best method by which to accurately observe reality based on what we currently know, and that it should be upheld until another ideology is proven to have reflected reality as effectively as science.

    And on that note, how would you respond to the argument that reason and logic are the natural (“default”) recourses of the human brain? And do you disagree with science alone, or are you criticizing logic and reason as well? I think I know the second answer, but I’d like to hear you say it to be sure.

    As to Kant: The reason I keep pounding him is because you keep denying his essential point of Critique of pure reason. Since you don’t believe I know what I’m talking about: the essential point of Kant is that external objects have an essence in themselves, and they have an essence as we preceive them. Kant’s position is that it requires a metaphysical position (unproven belief in the essence of ultimate reality) to “bridge the gap” between the external world and the world of the mind (where perception is turned into “objective fact”).

    We think alike; I find worlds of perception to be a very interesting subject :) All in all, your point here is very well made; however, it does not “debunk” science in my mind as the most efficient thought process, given what we have today.

    In other words science leads us towards the “truth” the truth that we all should see and know that’s how I interpret “-conclusions are commonly observable by any number of people”. I understand these statements to mean that you believe “science” has lead us and will lead us towards the “truth”. I’m not the one making all these claims about “science”. You are.

    We would be in agreement–would we not?–that there are things in the world that can be observed in the same way and with the same results by multiple individuals (or all individuals in some cases).This is what I mean when I say “the truth as we understand it.” For if the “real, objective” truth ascends beyond our ability to commonly observe, then as I have explained before, it is ultimately irrelevant anyway and cannot affect us (if it could, its effect could be observed).

    I am simply questioning that assumption. I thought that’s what “reasonable” people do? Question assumptions.I don’t have to provide an alternative that works, I just have to question.

    I understand–whole-heartedly–the desire to question common acceptances. However, I am not trying to defend the “perfection” of science (though I don’t necessarily admit that it is “flawed” in the sense that the “believe to see” mentality is, for obvious reasons). I believe it is the best way to look at the universe; its core essence is about doing the best with what we have, and I fully support that. The reason I asked for an alternative is because alternate viewpoints (the most popular of which currently includes religion) go so far in some cases as to ignore information that we have in favor of a desired belief. I strongly disagree with this mindset. I don’t believe that it is a naturally hostile mindset, as it is usually derived from one or more of many emotional (and less rational) aspects of human thought; insofar as one is able to control the emotion behind this belief, it can be tolerated. But when that control is threatened, and the belief system is used to harm others in any way, is when I consider it unacceptable.

    With respect to that: I find criticism of logic itself very difficult to explore rationally, because it literally requires the use of logic to criticize logic. Because the only alternative to logic (in all its forms) is chaos.

    And on that note, I leave you with a question: Do you believe that a tree makes a sound if it falls in the woods, but there is nobody there to hear it? If so, why?

  • mike brown

    “Do you believe that a tree makes a sound if it falls in the woods, but there is nobody there to hear it? If so, why?”

    Sure, because sound is one of the effects of a falling tree.

    “I believe it is the best way to look at the universe; its core essence is about doing the best with what we have, and I fully support that.”

    this view is generally considered pragmatism. “doing what is effective.” If I have heard you correctly essentially you believe “science” because it works. I would question that. does it work in all areas of life or does it only work in a few select areas.

    The key to a complete philosophical system is that it answers all the questions. Unless a system answers all or at least a large majority of the important questions it is not a complete system and shouldn’t make a claim to “universal” truth.

    As to your sleep deprived answers it’s no problem.

    the pastors answer of believing is seeing is actully quite insightful. Kant’s point is that to “see” one has to have a paradigm into which to put the information.

    to use your own example: You stated that life was like a puzzle. well lets take it to another level. Let’s say it’s a puzzle without a picture on the front and with no edges and each piece can connect in 100 different ways. Putting that puzzle together would be nearly impossible. What a philosophy does is paint a picture with the puzzle pieces it provides the picture that allows you to put the information into a coherent mental image.

    Lets try an example:
    Waht deos tihs setnecene maen to ohtres?

    This sentence is logically incoherent however your mind, with little work, will “correct” it. In the same way your brain has become “wired” to work in a manner you don’t even realize is possible. This is what i mean when I say we have a perspective that affects us with out us even realizing it. Even our language plays a role that we don’t expect.

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    Sure, because sound is one of the effects of a falling tree.

    What has made you believe this? Have you ever actually seen a tree fall when there was nobody around, and heard the sound it makes?

    this view is generally considered pragmatism. “doing what is effective.” If I have heard you correctly essentially you believe “science” because it works. I would question that. does it work in all areas of life or does it only work in a few select areas.

    Well, it’s apparent to me that science is very effective in all areas of life. I also say this of logic and reason. I still uphold my challenge to you to present a single instance in which logic or reason has shown something to be false when illogic or lack of reason has shown it to be so; such a case would be all one needs to prove that logic and reason are ineffective in any area of life.

    The key to a complete philosophical system is that it answers all the questions. Unless a system answers all or at least a large majority of the important questions it is not a complete system and shouldn’t make a claim to “universal” truth.

    This is where we differ; you seem to be arguing that in order for science to be considered effective, it must have all of the answers to the unvierse’s most troubling questions. I disagree; if science could explain all of the universe’s questions, then scientists could stop working—science would be “over.” Science is not a process of providing one with all of the answers up front, it’s a process that involves searching for answers. This is why I do not support religious dogmas; they involve claims of knowledge about things they simply can’t know about (or can’t prove or reproduce).

    the pastors answer of believing is seeing is actully quite insightful. Kant’s point is that to “see” one has to have a paradigm into which to put the information.

    I think it’s honest, but I don’t think it’s very insightful; it is alarming to me that more and more people are able to (a) admit that their core beliefs are based on interpretation, and (b) turn around and criticize other belief systems for their alleged “imperfections,” when they have nothing more in the way of support (logically speaking) for their own ideology than the party facing criticism (I am speaking mostly of evangelistic Christians here, if it isn’t already obvious—the pastor I quoted was from an evangelistic program on TBN). They can admit that they don’t know (or can’t prove) if they are objectively right, but they still hold that against people who don’t believe the same way they do—they see nothing wrong with perpetuating a mentality of superiority in spite of a complete lack of logical support.

    to use your own example: You stated that life was like a puzzle. well lets take it to another level. Let’s say it’s a puzzle without a picture on the front and with no edges and each piece can connect in 100 different ways. Putting that puzzle together would be nearly impossible. What a philosophy does is paint a picture with the puzzle pieces it provides the picture that allows you to put the information into a coherent mental image.

    This is a sort of assumption on which science is based—that the puzzle has a “correct” solution, and that we don’t know what that is. Except it’s not really an “assumption;” we know that there are set factors that dictate the laws of our universe, mainly because we can test them and they have remained constant. Since there is no reason to believe they “change” or “shift,” it is a logical assumption that the “puzzle” has a correct solution that ultimately dictates the course of the universe.

    Simply put, “reality” can be interpreted by an individual and fit into his or her perceptions, but it cannot be changed by that perception. Scientists use this in their search for what they refer to as “objective” truth, which is to say that something is not considered “proven” scientifically unless it can be reproduced—some of the reasoning behind this being that if only one person saw it the first time it happened, it could be that the person who saw it simply misinterpreted what he/she was seeing. Or, if the conditions cannot be reproduced, then he or she could be mistaken as to what actually caused it.

    Waht deos tihs setnecene maen to ohtres?

    To be fair, that doesn’t have as much to do with my “paradigm” as it does with my understanding of English. Unless you consider a language a “paradigm.” There is no debate over the definition of “understanding of the English language”—you either understand it to some degree or you don’t.

    This is what i mean when I say we have a perspective that affects us with out us even realizing it. Even our language plays a role that we don’t expect.

    This would seem to be one of the basic problems with your criticism of logic—you don’t seem to realize that you are using logic to reach the conclusion that there is something wrong with logic. Which would support my point that logic seems to be the natural recourse of the human brain.

    My final position on logic being that it is flawless if executed properly—it reaches a decision based on the factors introduced, and it does so with 100% efficiency. Whether or not this is close to “actual truth” is irrelevant, as it is pretty much “perfect” in the sense that it draws an accurate conclusion based on known factors. If there are unknown factors, this is not a sign of a flaw in logic itself, but rather with the conditions of the experiment.

    For example, a situation in which one sees someone else shoot a third person in the head. The witness of the shooting will be lead to believe that the shooter has shot a person in the head. But what if it is later revealed that the “victim” was a hologram, constructed to identically resemble an existing person? Is the witness’ logic “flawed?” No, because he/she did not know that the “victim” was a hologram. If he/she had known that, his/her logic would not have allowed him/her to believe that a real person had been shot in the head. This example perfectly illustrates what I mean when I say that science can revise itself in light of new or contradictory information.

  • Mike B

    And we are back to where we started from …. This is kinda frustrating…

    Tim: “Well, it’s apparent to me that science is very effective in all areas of life.”

    Ok… lets try and scientifically prove music. Does music exist or is it an interpretation of tone’s and sounds that are made by various objectics?

    Ok… Let try and scientifically prove whats moral. Should you Kill a person? Using ONLY the “scientific” method can you demonstrate why murder is wrong? (P.S. Nietzche believed that morality was created by the weak to destroy the strong)

    Ok, lets determine whether the mona lisa is art. Scienifically objectively determine what is art and what is not.

    Let’s examine poetry. Is Beowulf a good poem or a bad poem? Scientifically can you tell me that?

    In relationships’ can you tell me the difference “using only the empirical method mind you” between a “good” father and a “bad” father?

    Speaking of morality can you use the empirical method and determine the difference between Good and evil?

    Do I need to go on? Scientifically “objectively”, unless you wish to be ethnocentric and state that “our morality” is superior to all other people’s and all other places in all other times, your stuck saying: “Well people believe in morality but what is actually moral or immoral well that depends upon the society.” …Well good answer… what happened to a universal truth that would tell us all things for all time for all people? Science can’t tell us can it?

    Lets try and define Art, morality, relationships, emotions, all these things can not be universally determinded via “Science”. This by the way is why the “Arts” have slipped into a free fall. Who says what’s moral? Who says what’s art? Who says whats the right emotion.

    This BEGAN with Immanual KANT in the 18th century. Kant destroyed absolutely demolished the idea that “objective truth” could be determined. Why because the “determiner” is INSIDE the system. The falicy of the Enlightenment was that man, through reason, could get outside of the world and examine it “objectively” Kant displaced that notion by placing man BACK into the “system” he was trying hard to discover.

    Imagine an ant stuck in the “ant farm” the ant claims to know what’s OUT SIDE the ant farm but, and here is the key, THE ANT HAS NEVER LEFT THE FARM. The ant is not an “objective” observer, the ant is PART of the system. In that sense it is nearly impossible for the Ant to determine anything in an “objective” sense.

    I know I have beaten you senseless with Kant but your insistance that “through reason and logic we will determine the objective truth” is nothing more than a sunday school child closing his / her eyes and praying. It’s a faith statement. Nothing more nothing less.

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    Tim: “Well, it’s apparent to me that science is very effective in all areas of life.”

    All *physical* areas of life, yes. Philosophical questions that are based on illogical premises (such as the existence of any particular religious deity, though the idea of a “creator” is still generally accepted as a scientific proposition) are not included. In other words, areas of life in which things can be physically tested (and no, this doesn’t include matters of opinion, such as what is “good” or “bad,” or who is “better” at something than someone else; those things have no objective definition—something that is genuinely good to you may be genuinely bad to me—and so no determining factor can be isolated to define them one way or the other. But this is not based on perception so much as it is basic reasoning; “good” or “bad” comes from desire. What do you want? Naturally, something that corroborates what you want is “good,” and something that runs counter to what you want is “Bad.” Something that has no effect at all with respect to getting you what you want is neither. But good and bad are mere inventions of man, not objective concepts, so no, they cannot be scientifically tested, nor do they need to be.).

    *side note* (I can’t help but notice that almost all of your challenges included separating “good” from “bad” in some way. Is this implicative of a moral concern?)

    It’s like I said; if you take a set of logical factors and put them together, it is possible (though not always obvious or easy) to isolate one or more possible correct logical deductions. And by “correct” I mean something that accurately reflects the factors.

    I can imagine that you or someone else may ask me, “Who’s definition of correct are you using?” I’d like to tackle that right now; the answer is nature (unless of course you consider nature as having a “paradigm”). If our deductions are correct, then the natural world from which the original factors are born will corroborate them. For example, if we were to deduce that a certain series of logical sequences would result in a functioning computer, but our interpretation of those sequences were inaccurate, then the circumstances would not result in a functioning computer. They would result in something else—probably an object very similar to a computer, but not functioning. Or perhaps something else entirely. It is only when our interpretations are “correct” or “objective” that we are able to control the objective world around us. And by “objective world,” I mean that which is free from the influence of our interpretation, that which does not change to conform to our beliefs (such as physical matter).

    What you seem to be saying here, in denying this, is that we “got lucky” about 1 million times in the process of getting a computer to work—that our deductions don’t accurately reflect reality for certain, in spite of the fact that nature corroborrates them, and so we can’t have figured out the objective truth of how a computer works. And yet, not a single aspect of the computer’s functionality is “up for interpretation;” there are manuals which exist that explain how to build one from the ground up. It is all known, tested, and proven. If you believe it is not, then you are burdened with explaining why the computer works as it does in spite of this.

    Do I need to go on? Scientifically “objectively”, unless you wish to be ethnocentric and state that “our morality” is superior to all other people’s and all other places in all other times, your stuck saying: “Well people believe in morality but what is actually moral or immoral well that depends upon the society.” …Well good answer… what happened to a universal truth that would tell us all things for all time for all people? Science can’t tell us can it?

    Here, you make the same mistake that people have been making for centuries; if one seeks to learn the truth about the world around him/her as best as is possible (whether it is “truly objective” or not, which, if we entertain all possibilities, no matter how wild or illogical—as you argue we should—we can never technically know), one cannot rely on general philosophies; one must break things down into observable chunks, and draw conclusions from there, taking into account things that vary from person to person (for example, “good” and “bad;” what is good to you may change over time, but for one instance, let us assume that “eating cake” is “good” to you. Is it not objectively true that, during that time, you regard eating cake as good? Is that not an objective observation? Can that not be factored into deciding what is “good” for you, from society’s standpoint?).

    This BEGAN with Immanual KANT in the 18th century. Kant destroyed absolutely demolished the idea that “objective truth” could be determined. Why because the “determiner” is INSIDE the system. The falicy of the Enlightenment was that man, through reason, could get outside of the world and examine it “objectively” Kant displaced that notion by placing man BACK into the “system” he was trying hard to discover.

    How did he “absolutely demolish” the idea? Is there maybe a specific instance you can point me to in which this occured? Perhaps a specific sentence, paragraph, page, or book? Is it not your perception that he “demolished” this idea? Whose definition of “demolished” are you using? What is so special about Kant that he is not hindered by human perception? How are we to know that what he said is even relevant?

    Imagine an ant stuck in the “ant farm” the ant claims to know what’s OUT SIDE the ant farm but, and here is the key, THE ANT HAS NEVER LEFT THE FARM. The ant is not an “objective” observer, the ant is PART of the system. In that sense it is nearly impossible for the Ant to determine anything in an “objective” sense.

    If I am correct in assuming that the ant farm represents human perception, then this analogy is quite flawed. First, the ants are unaware that they are in a farm. As far as they are concerned, they might as well be in a mound somewhere in your front yard. Humans are quite aware that there is a thing called “perception,” of which they must beware in order to avoid the risk of muddying the waters of “common perception,” or what we normally perceive as “objective reality.” (Since there is no way to observe anything outside of common perception—or rather, since there is no visible need to do so—we define common perception as “objective reality.” If you wish to challenge this definition, then there is one thing you can do to convince me; using only the known factors, illustrate an instance in which it can be proved that “objective reality” is different from the “common perception” which we define as objective. Mind, of course, that I am not speaking of things that we currently debate, such as the existence of God—for these things are not objective claims in the first place—but of things that we “know” to be true, such as the fact that your and my computers exist, or the fact that we exist physically. Something very obvious, that anybody can look at and determine as physically true or real. If you can do this, then you will have proved (or at the very least, suggested) that there is a reason to worry about whether or not “real objective reality” is different from “common perception.”

    I know I have beaten you senseless with Kant but your insistance that “through reason and logic we will determine the objective truth” is nothing more than a sunday school child closing his / her eyes and praying. It’s a faith statement. Nothing more nothing less.

    You know, I did the ctrl+f test, and I never actually typed that sentence. Rather, what I am saying is that common perception and objective truth, while technically different things by definition, are equivalent to one another, much in the way that a=c if a=b and b=c (yes, a and c are different letters, but that alone does not exclude them from sharing the same value). Things that can be reproduced, proven, and shown, are true. It is up to the person who is challenging common perception to prove that it is flawed, and in this case, that is you.

  • mike brown

    “Humans are quite aware that there is a thing called “perception,” of which they must beware in order to avoid the risk of muddying the waters of “common perception,” or what we normally perceive as “objective reality.” ”

    This sentence right here demonstrates the tautology you have gotten yourself into… According to this statement:

    Humans are aware that there is a thing called perception (their particular way of viewing objects and interpreting their meaning). humans must be aware that there is a risk of “muddying the waters” (by this I can only assume you mean detract from the “correct” understanding) of common perception. All you did was place the adjective qualifier “common” in front of the noun perception.

    so in other words humans must be aware that their perception will muddy their perception which we actually call objective reality. That’s like saying “Watching out! Your driving will affect your driving which is really what we call golfing.” Does that really make sense?

    Then you admit that our “common perspective” which perception can easily “muddy the waters” is what we CALL “objective reality”.

    You freely admit that our perception is limited and you turn around and claim it is what we call objective reality. So in your dizzing display of logic I am completely lost. Is our “common perception” the same thing as “objective reality”? Wait you did answer that.

    “Rather, what I am saying is that common perception and objective truth, while technically different things by definition, are equivalent to one another, much in the way that a=c if a=b and b=c (yes, a and c are different letters, but that alone does not exclude them from sharing the same value).”

    so “common perception” and “objective reality” are the same thing? Even though technically “common” doesn’t equal “objective” and our “perception” does not technically mean “reality” they are the same thing? Is that logical?

    One tiny flaw, you haven’t defined what you mean by “common reality” And you have not demonstrated how “common perception” is the same thing as “objective reality”

    “illustrate an instance in which it can be proved that “objective reality” is different from the “common perception” which we define as objective reality.”

    Ok, first off how do we know our “common perception” is defined as objective reality? I have heard not such definition. Secondly, any time you use the word defined it means human perception is involved. [For example: Given only the numbers 3, 7,9 what is two pluse two? I have constrained what your response can be by the “given” I provided you. And in the same way given that “common perception” (which is actually your perception which you “call” common perception) is the same thing as “objective reality” (which you still havn’t even defined) I am supposed prove( which according to you means point and describe) how common reality (which is how YOU percieve the world) is different than “objective reality”(which by definition is the same thing as your “common perception”). Given those constraints… I can’t do that. Because in your own mind your “common perception” is the same thing as “objective reality”. It doesn’t matter how much stuff I point to. In your own mind your “common perception” is “objective reality”. This is how the mind affect the interaction with “things”.

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    so in other words humans must be aware that their perception will muddy their perception which we actually call objective reality. That’s like saying “Watching out! Your driving will affect your driving which is really what we call golfing.” Does that really make sense?

    Not quite. Humans are aware that they have a perception; if you are correct in stating that a person cannot step outside of his/her perception, then the best we can do towards learning “objective truth” is to try and isolate what it is about that perception that separates it from “actual reality.” Once that is resolved, it is then possible to compare the two in such a way as to derive “real” or “objective” truth by using “perception” and filtering out the “muddying factors.”

    All you did was place the adjective qualifier “common” in front of the noun perception.

    “Individual perception” and “common perception” are two different things. “Individual perception” is thousands upon thousands of times more likely to be affected by things such as slants, illnesses, delusions, psychotic episodes, hallucinations, and the like than is “common perception,” simply due to the odds of ten thousand people suffering from the same mental illness or condition (or other sensory deceit). In the event of “mass hysteria,” one can isolate a specific “missing link” (or suspension of disbelief) in the empirical process being utilized by the “victims” of said hysteria—in a religious community, for example, this might come in the form of “one must believe in order to see”—that sets the perception apart from the truth.

    This explains mathematically why humans rely on things that can be shared in the perceptions of others in order to “prove” things. That is why we don’t simply accept new scientific developments based on somebody’s word; in order for the scientific community to consider something objectively “proven,” it must first be introduced in such a way as to be visible to multiple, differing perspectives—it must “rule out all competition.”

    And again, nature will corroborate that which is true. I bring you back to the computer example.

    so “common perception” and “objective reality” are the same thing? Even though technically “common” doesn’t equal “objective” and our “perception” does not technically mean “reality” they are the same thing? Is that logical?

    Basically, yes, but not in the way you describe. I don’t mean that something is true simply because a lot of people think it is; the results of an experiment reflect truth if they are reproducable, exactly defined, and can be shown to other people.

    Given those constraints… I can’t do that. Because in your own mind your “common perception” is the same thing as “objective reality”. It doesn’t matter how much stuff I point to. In your own mind your “common perception” is “objective reality”. This is how the mind affect the interaction with “things”.

    Alright, fair enough….let me simplify it a bit. If we can deduce things—such as the structure of, say, a light bulb—that are reproduceable to the point that they are used in common life….if we can produce things like this that work the exact same way every single time, without exception and without fail, what reason do we have to believe that the method is not “objectively proven?” What reason can you offer me to suggest that a proven method for effectively constructing a functioning light bulb is not objectively proven? What motivation do I have to believe you when you say that such a thing is not objectively true—that if you put X parts together in Y manner, you will reach result Z 100% of the time? Can you assemble a functioning light bulb based on a proven formula in such a way as to produce something other than a functioning light bulb? This is what I mean when I say they are the “same;” if they are different, it is in a way that is impossible to determine (you have demonstrated this with your stern refusal to offer even a single instance in which such a thing is possible).

    So….maybe there is an objective reality outside of what we can see and perceive—both as individuals and as a social mass—and maybe that objective reality is completely opposite from that which we can perceive. However, the very purpose of studying the world around us is to learn how better to manipulate its resources (in whatever form they may come) for our benefit in one way or another. If there indeed exists a separate “objective” reality that is completely different than the “perceived” one in which we seem to exist, then it is completely incosequential; we cannot sense it, we cannot affect it, it cannot affect us. Therefore, it is useless to us, and furthermore, since we can never know its existence, it might as well not exist at all.

  • mike brown

    “then the best we can do towards learning “objective truth” is to try and isolate what it is about that perception that separates it from “actual reality.”

    But this assumes that we know the difference between “perception” and objective reality.”

    Think of it like this: I want to know what a dog IS not what it is not but what it is. I precieve a dog, I know that my perception will affect HOW I see the dog. So according to you I must “Isolate” in my own perception what is NOT dog and then I’ll KNOW what a Dog is? Don’t I first have to have an idea of what a dog is to know what it is NOT? So right out of the gate according to you I have to know what a dog is not first, before I know what a dog is? MMM. Sorry that’s not logical. You have presumed to know that which you are trying to discover.

    “Individual perception” is thousands upon thousands of times more likely to be affected by things such as slants, illnesses, delusions, psychotic episodes, hallucinations, and the like than is “common perception,” simply due to the odds of ten thousand people suffering from the same mental illness or condition (or other sensory deceit).”

    Ok, here you completely lost me. An Invidivuals perception is prone to “be affected” while common perception is not…? You do realize that in either “common” or in “individual perception” individual people are involved in both… right? You can’t have a common perception without having individuals to “share” that common perception.

    To me this is what you are saying: Individuals are untrustworth they get ill and see things badly, but when they are with other people… well, boy oh boy do things get better! Suddenly what was “individual perception” becomes “common perception” and everybody believes the samething everybody knows the samething. And what’s even better is that mathmatically “knowing absolutely” become possible. Tim this is not logic, this is wish fulfillment.

    Tim also wrote: “That is why we don’t simply accept new scientific developments based on somebody’s word; in order for the scientific community to consider something objectively “proven,” it must first be introduced in such a way as to be visible to multiple, differing perspectives—it must “rule out all competition.”

    So for something to be proven it must first be visible to multiple differing perspectives? so unless everybody agree’s it’s not true? That should be a fun ride trying to get everybody to agree on well… anything. I think what you mean is that “scientist who are trained in empirical usage and study” must all agree. Interesting you only limited it to the “scientific community”. so people who have studies the empirical methods, believe in them whole heartedly, are committed to “higher learning” through the “scientific process” they have to agree that what is proven is proven? MMM sounds interesting. so people who share the same committment and the same values they get to determine what is “universally true”. What about those poor souls who don’t share the same values? What if they are not comitted to empiricism as an answer to everything but consider it useful and helpful. Do we listen to them or do we shut them up as “uncritical thinkers”.

    Now as to your lightbulb.

    “Can you assemble a functioning light bulb based on a proven formula in such a way as to produce something other than a functioning light bulb?” No I can not because by definition I have assembled a functioning light bulb. Can you assemble a functioning car to produce something other than a functining car? No because you have “constrained my given” Given 3,7,9 can 2 plus 2 equal 4?

    “What reason can you offer me to suggest that a proven method for effectively constructing a functioning light bulb is not objectively proven?”

    There is nothing universally true about a light bulb. It is a manipulation of the “earthy stuff” that we find around us. A light bulb is not “universally true” its like a tree or a plant. You stick a plant in the ground it will grow. science hasn’t “made” a light bulb any more than they “made” the plant grow. They manipulated the elements in a creative fashion. How has that lead us towards the “truth”. for example in the middle east an “ancient battery” was unearthed dating back at least 2000 years ago. Now this was all “before science” was able to “provide” us electricity.

    Secondly this doesn’t prove a light bulb is objectivly true. It’s an object that we CALL a light bulb. We do the same thing with everything else. This is a new and creative way for you to say: I can see it, I can touch it, it’s real.

    It’s a metaphysical position that you hold, things are the only things that are real. How does holding up a lightbulb prove that matter is the highest reality? It’s doesn’t; all it does is demonstrate that you believe that you are holding something that is “objectively true”.

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    Think of it like this: I want to know what a dog IS not what it is not but what it is. I precieve a dog, I know that my perception will affect HOW I see the dog. So according to you I must “Isolate” in my own perception what is NOT dog and then I’ll KNOW what a Dog is? Don’t I first have to have an idea of what a dog is to know what it is NOT? So right out of the gate according to you I have to know what a dog is not first, before I know what a dog is? MMM. Sorry that’s not logical. You have presumed to know that which you are trying to discover.

    It’s irrelevant; if you know what it is not, then the answer to what it “is” is simple: it “is” what it “isn’t not.” And vice-versa. It’s like putting a label on a box; we could choose to label a box based on what isn’t inside it, and it would still be accurate, though it’s simply easier to classify it based on what is inside (the alternative being to list every single physical thing in the universe that it isn’t). They are one and the same, so long as one is capable of logical deduction (all the things in the universe – the things that it isn’t = the thing that it is).

    But this assumes that we know the difference between “perception” and objective reality.”

    As you seem to be claiming that you can do (by saying that our perceptions are different from “objective reality”).

    Ok, here you completely lost me. An Invidivuals perception is prone to “be affected” while common perception is not…?

    An individual’s perception is less likely to be “affected” than that of a group, simply because the odds of something being “wrong” with it are exponentially decreased simply due to the mathematical odds of the exact same thing being wrong with all of the “individual perceptions” involved in the “common perception.” So yes, while it’s possible for the same thing to be wrong with many, many people’s perceptions of something, it is very unlikely. In some cases, the odds could be compared to those of winning the lottery ten, or twenty, or fifty times in a row.

    To me this is what you are saying: Individuals are untrustworth they get ill and see things badly, but when they are with other people… well, boy oh boy do things get better! Suddenly what was “individual perception” becomes “common perception” and everybody believes the samething everybody knows the samething. And what’s even better is that mathmatically “knowing absolutely” become possible. Tim this is not logic, this is wish fulfillment.

    I tried to explain why this is incorrect in my previous comment….if you had read this:

    Basically, yes, but not in the way you describe. I don’t mean that something is true simply because a lot of people think it is; the results of an experiment reflect truth if they are reproducable, exactly defined, and can be shown to other people.

    …you would recognize that.

    So for something to be proven it must first be visible to multiple differing perspectives? so unless everybody agree’s it’s not true? That should be a fun ride trying to get everybody to agree on well… anything. I think what you mean is that “scientist who are trained in empirical usage and study” must all agree. Interesting you only limited it to the “scientific community”. so people who have studies the empirical methods, believe in them whole heartedly, are committed to “higher learning” through the “scientific process” they have to agree that what is proven is proven? MMM sounds interesting. so people who share the same committment and the same values they get to determine what is “universally true”. What about those poor souls who don’t share the same values? What if they are not comitted to empiricism as an answer to everything but consider it useful and helpful. Do we listen to them or do we shut them up as “uncritical thinkers”.

    Well, honestly, if you want me to answer you with any degree of understanding, you’re going to have to let me make my own case, here, and not make it for me. Simply because you restrict that definition to include only scientists doesn’t mean I agree.

    And no, again your description of my position is incorrect. I never argued that something is true simply because many people believe it. Rather, I argued that something is true if it is demonstrable in multiple perspectives. For example, the lightbulb—whether you believe the lightbulb will work or not does not affect whether it works or not. Its functionality is beyond your perception, therefore it is objective. You cannot “believe” the lightbulb out of existence or functionality.

    No I can not because by definition I have assembled a functioning light bulb. Can you assemble a functioning car to produce something other than a functining car? No because you have “constrained my given” Given 3,7,9 can 2 plus 2 equal 4?

    You say “constrained my given,” I say “objectively proven.” I have objectively proven that there is an effective way to produce a functioning lightbulb from other materials. If I were to remove this so-called “constraint of your given,” then any proven method of constructing a functioning lightbulb would still be just that—an objectively effective way of constructing a functional lightbulb. It cannot be changed, wished, or believed into anything different—simple as that. A more accurate analogy than yours would be, “if you have 2 and 2, can they add or multiply together in any way to produce a number other than 4? If not, then it is an objective fact that 2 + 2 or 2 x 2 is always equal to 4, and that this is not subject to interpretation.”

    You stick a plant in the ground it will grow.

    Exactly; this is objectively true, in the same vein that it is objectively true that, if I put X materials together in Y fashion, I can obtain product Z every single time, guaranteed. I don’t see how you can differentiate these two things.

    And the argument is not that “man has made” anything; it is that if man puts X materials (which are previously available in nature and could have been created by God, for all it matters in this analogy)) together in Y fashion, product Z will be the result. It is not the origin of the materials that is at issue here; it is the process by which the materials are converted by man into a final product using a specified method.

    I am not saying “a light bulb is true,” as you seem to think I am; that alone simply makes no sense. If that were the case, I might as well say, “the number 4 is true.” That is an incomplete statement. I am saying that “the process by which a light bulb is constructed is objectively effective, no matter who performs it or under what perception; as long as the method is followed exactly, it can produce the exact same results no matter who performs it.”

    Secondly this doesn’t prove a light bulb is objectivly true. It’s an object that we CALL a light bulb. We do the same thing with everything else. This is a new and creative way for you to say: I can see it, I can touch it, it’s real.

    Again, how can a light bulb be “true?” The light bulb itself is not at issue here; it is the process by which the lightbulb is constructed, and the fact that that process exists outside of human perception. It is, it works, and it cannot be debated.

    And your insistence on dealing with the definition of the concept of the “light bulb,” instead of the actual lightbulb (which represents “Product Z” in my previous example) is measuring up to be quite frustrating….you can call it a lightbulb, or you can call it White Zinfandel, it’s still what it is. If you don’t understand then that is alright, I’ll try to explain it better, but please don’t attack me or my motives on that basis.

    It’s a metaphysical position that you hold, things are the only things that are real. How does holding up a lightbulb prove that matter is the highest reality? It’s doesn’t; all it does is demonstrate that you believe that you are holding something that is “objectively true”.

    Yet again, it is not the lightbulb itself which is “true.” If you recall in my last comment, I stated that, by your logic, there is no way for us to determine if what you define as “objective reality” even exists at all. And with respect to that—if there is no way for us to ever touch, feel, taste, hear, or smell actual reality, and what we sense is only inside our own perception (“Matrix Theory,” as I have dubbed it), then “objective reality” is meaningless, because we can never interact with it or affect it in any way (and nor can it affect us). Science studies the things that are capable of affecting other things; if something cannot affect something else in some way, then that something might as well not exist at all, for it serves no physical purpose.

    This is why it is so important for you to provide an alternative to the methods of logic, reason and science; if you have no alternative method that is capable of pursuing these claims, then your criticism is worthless—you might as well criticize me for not being able to shoot laser beams from my pupils. Is there something I am doing wrong that prevents me from shooting eye laser beams? Or is it simply that mankind’s biology separates it from the capability of such a feat?

  • mike brown

    Ok, tim… first of you have not proven what a thing IS by proving what it is “NOT” that is not … logical. for one you can not list everything in the universe and rule out that A is not (that) for one you havn’t been there nor do you know what it is. Two there is a difference between what a thing is and what it is not.

    A is not B
    A is not C
    A is not D
    (A dog is not a ladder
    A dog is not a box
    A dog is not a kitten
    A dog is not a house)

    Without an A = (?) you have not said what “A” is all you have said is what it is not. Secondly. If your trying to PROVE what “A” is how do you know that it is NOT “B” if you don’t know what it is? You have to have a (Given). Since you obviously don’t know what a (Given) is: in logic it is an assumption with which you begin. The key word is ASSUMPTION. Logic CANNOT work without a given. It cannot work without a given assumption.Period. (ie. Given that A= B AND that B= C the logical inference is that A=C). You have not proven that A= B or that B=C all you have proven is that GIVEN A= B and A= C THEREFOR it is LOGICAL to assume A=C). that is how logic works. The first step in logic Tim is know what you have proven. If you don’t believe me. Ask any philosophy professor or logic professor that if you have demonstrated what something is NOT that have you demonstrated what it IS.

    Example:
    Given that A=V
    Therefore
    A is not B
    A is not C
    A is not D
    A is not E;
    (It is true that a dog = fury, four legged creature
    Therefore
    A dog is not a Ladder
    A dog is not a box
    A dog is a kitten [remember a kitten IS a furry four legged creature so we have to refine "dog" to rule out "kitten"]
    a dog is not a house)

    A better and final example:
    What is an gruffnerkimplepod?
    We will substitute gruffnerkimplepod with X
    Is X a house? (I don’t know. What is X?)
    Is X a ladder(I don’t know. What is X?)
    Is X a box? (I don’t know. What is X?)
    Is X a kitten? (I don’t know. What is X?)
    Is X a dog? (I don’t know. What is X?)
    Without the “given” of what X equals you CANNOT rule out what X is. This is what “Given” means: it is an assumption.

    Assumptions usually are not proven. They just are not. They are Given. Given that we are really here and not in a “Matrix” type of reality then yes things are not “imaginary” / “illusionary”. But you have to realize that you have “assumed” something. AND you have to realize that you havn’t proven anything else about the nature of what “Reality” is; all you have proven is what it is NOT.

    (Given that A is not B
    AND B= C Therefore A does not =C,
    But does A = F? [I don't know A and I don't know F?]
    so I can not logically tell if A = F or not)

    Secondly, I am not going to break Kant’s argument down all the way to remake his argument for him. I am not the one who has to prove this. You want to argue with Immanuel Kant’s conclusion that “objectively knowing ANYTHING” requires a metaphysical leap go right ahead. Even better yet, please challenge my very poor and sloppy interpretation of his work. That at least could pose an interesting conversation.

    But asking me to break down an extremely complicated concept like Kant’s with a person who doesn’t understand basic logic is an impossible task and I won’t do it. So why am I here? You’re a bright person and I believe you have great potentional to be a good thinker.

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    Without an A = (?) you have not said what “A” is all you have said is what it is not. Secondly. If your trying to PROVE what “A” is how do you know that it is NOT “B” if you don’t know what it is?

    If you know enough about it to know everything it is not, then you know what it is—it “is” whatever is left over once you eliminate everything it is “not.” Need I quote Sherlock Holmes?

    Secondly, you can’t just list three or four random things it isn’t. That’s not the same thing at all. In my example, I said that if you listed everything it isn’t, then it is what is left over. But even that was merely hypothetical.

    However, if that is too complicated….once again….a “dog” is the name we give to (i.e. a word that somebody just made up to describe) a specific type of furry, four-legged creature. That is what a dog is. If you want to know why that person chose the word “dog,” then you’re out of luck. Not that it matters—why he/she chose the word he/she did is irrelevant, because it is not the word that matters but the concept.

    We call the dog a “dog” because it is a way to “package” the image of a dog and “send” it to someone by saying. It’s more convenient than lugging a dog around and pointing to it whenever you would normally say “dog,” or describing this creature in detail every time it comes up in conversation. You keep asking me to “define a dog,” but I have already done so. But the mistake you make is that you’re trying to start with a word and assign it to a definition. That simply is not the case in real life—we start with a concept, and assign a word to it (which word is inconsequential, as long as its use is commonly adopted to the point that it becomes commonplace and easy to recognize, as “dog” has).

    Which leads me to my next question….am I to understand that your argument is: “Things only exist because man has given them names?” Or perhaps, “Things to which man has not assigned names don’t exist?” Or “Things cannot exist without mankind to give them names?”

    Because things do exist independently of their names; proving this is as easy as changing the name of something. If the United States officially decided that the English word for the creature we call “dog” would be officially changed to “fruggleshmuggle” tomorrow, would that change a dog into something else? Would the dog’s physical form or functionality change in any way?

    But you have to realize that you have “assumed” something. AND you have to realize that you havn’t proven anything else about the nature of what “Reality” is; all you have proven is what it is NOT.

    I don’t care to “prove” to you what “reality” is. If I could do that, this conversation would (obviously) be over by now. I am simply debating your claim that logic and reason are somehow flawed because they cannot refute baseless claims. Your claims about “reality” being subject to perception are baseless; there is no logical factor on which you base them except for the fact that they cannot be disproved. Logic and reason can refute or confirm any claim for which there is a base. If I were to simply say that I believe there is an invisible pink unicorn that lives behind the Lincoln Memorial, you couldn’t technically disprove me there. Does that mean we should entertain the possibility that there could be such a unicorn behind the Lincoln Memorial, simply because it’s not refutable? Should we behave as though this claim is true?

    (Given that A is not B
    AND B= C Therefore A does not =C,
    But does A = F? [I don’t know A and I don’t know F?]
    so I can not logically tell if A = F or not)

    Alright. Let’s put this mathematically.

    A = dog
    B = specific variety of furry, four-legged creature (domestic)
    C = Beagle

    A = B
    A = C
    Therefore, B = C.

    None of these are “given,” except for the fact that “dog” is the word we use to describe “specific variety of furry, four-legged creature (domestic).” If we remove “A” from the equation, that does not change the remaining qualities:

    B = specific variety of furry, four-legged creature (domestic)
    C = Beagle

    B = C

    What we refer to as a “Beagle” is still what it is, even if we were to call it, say, a toothbrush. It is still a more specific variety of a specific variety of furry, four-legged creature (domestic). This is true, and neither you nor anyone else can prove otherwise, because it is the way it is—simple as that. Things exist as things (a dog as what it is, even when stripped of all titles and nomenclature, is still what it is; its appearance and functionality will not change, no matter what you or I call it). Again, you make the mistake of confusing the words we assign to these things with the things themselves.

    Secondly, I am not going to break Kant’s argument down all the way to remake his argument for him.

    I don’t expect you to. However, in order for your argument to have any credibility in my eyes, you must provide more than a basic reiteration of “logic and reason are flawed because they cannot prove claims that were made without using logic and reason,” which is an obvious truth. You seem to think that there is a better way to make decisions than by logical deduction or scientific discussion, and yet you seem unable to specify exactly what that method is.

    But asking me to break down an extremely complicated concept like Kant’s with a person who doesn’t understand basic logic is an impossible task and I won’t do it. So why am I here? You’re a bright person and I believe you have great potentional to be a good thinker.

    If you simply can’t do it, then I understand—I don’t expect you to. However, I have already admitted to you that, no, logic and reason cannot rule out the baseless claim that logic and reason may not be able to reach the objective world if it is somehow different from what our senses force us to perceive. You seem to think I “don’t understand” what you are saying, when I have actually (in a sense) agreed with you.

    And I don’t know why you’re here; needless for me to say, you’re free to leave at any time you please. Though, for future reference, you might want to know that your position ^here of, “You’re wrong, but I don’t want to tell you why, because you are intellectually inferior and I don’t have to,” isn’t very sturdy.

    And on that note….I want to say that, if one really desires to know about the so-called “objective” world, and whether or not it varies from what we can physically sense, I say, more power to him/her—I don’t see anything wrong with attempting to go beyond what logic and reason can provide, so long as one doesn’t expect myself or others to follow in his/her footsteps. However, I simply don’t believe it’s possible, given the aforementioned “restrictions” bound to us by our senses. I challenge you—or anyone else here—to name a way that we can observe the “objective” world, assuming that it is as Matrix Theory assumes (vastly different from that which we see, hear, taste, touch and smell), given such restrictions. You’ll find rather quickly that it is impossible. So in that sense, if one is to define “objective reality” as unattainable in any case, then why even entertain its existence at all, for any reason but for entertainment? And better yet, why give credit to criticisms of a certain thought process for being unable to allow humans to do that which is by its nature impossible, anyway?

  • mike brown

    “If you know enough about it to know everything it is not, then you know what it is—it “is” whatever is left over once you eliminate everything it is “not.” Need I quote Sherlock Holmes?”-

    You do realize that Serlock Holmes is a fictional literature characture? Right? Secondly, I think I get what is making your stumble. You think you know what a dog IS so your having problems with the entire concept.

    (A= dog) That is a given statement. Your saying that GIVEN it is true that we are going to substitute DOG for the symbol A.
    (B = specific variety of furry, four-legged creature (domestic)) this is another GIVEN statement. You have not PROVEN that SVOFFFLC is equal to B all you have done is substitute B for SVOFFFLC)
    (C = Beagle) Once again you have substituted C for the beagle.

    These are ALL givens ALL of them. they are STARTING points for the process of logic.

    Secondly, you have not used negatives here. You origional statement was that

    “if you know what it is not, then the answer to what it “is” is simple: it “is” what it “isn’t not.” And vice-versa. It’s like putting a label on a box; we could choose to label a box based on what isn’t inside it, and it would still be accurate, though it’s simply easier to classify it based on what is inside.”

    This logical problems get’s confusing because we both believe we know what a beagle is and is not. However, this is because the number of options for what a specific dog may be is limited by the number of species. Stop using specific creatures and use the symbols A-Z it’s get’s a lot easier to “See” what I’m talking about.

    Secondly in your little demonstration
    “A = dog
    B = specific variety of furry, four-legged creature (domestic)
    C = Beagle

    A = B
    A = C
    Therefore, B = C.”

    Your point was that you could prove what something is by ruling out what it is not. There is not a single negative statement in the above logical theorium. You have tried to prove that you can prove what something is only using negatives but yet you used only positive comments. That’s bad logic.

    “I am simply debating your claim that logic and reason are somehow flawed because they cannot refute baseless claims.”

    I don’t remember making a baseless claim. Isn’t that YOUR value of what is baseless? Just because you believe it’s baseless it does not follow that it is baseless.

    “am I to understand that your argument is: “Things only exist because man has given them names?” I didn’t make that statment. Yet you felt it was necessary to answer a question I didn’t ask or refute a statement I didn’t make.

    “Because things do exist independently of their names; proving this is as easy as changing the name of something.”

    Here you state that the claim about reality being subject to perception is “baseless” although you admit that it you are unable to “disprove” it.

    “Your claims about “reality” being subject to perception are baseless; there is no logical factor on which you base them except for the fact that they cannot be disproved.”

    Yet you turn around and claim in the same post that all this time I have been misunderstanding you.

    “You seem to think I “don’t understand” what you are saying, when I have actually (in a sense) agreed with you.”

    So do you or do you not agree with the “baseless” claim that our perception affects what we call “objective reality”? Are you going to (in a sense) disagree or agree? This is another example of how you confuse me. Would you please stick with a position and fight it out.

    On SEP 5th you wrote:
    “Simply, yes. Science shows me things that cannot be denied.”

    either you trust your sense with absolute unfailing loyality or you do not.

    “However, in order for your argument to have any credibility in my eyes, you must provide more than a basic reiteration of “logic and reason are flawed because they cannot prove claims that were made without using logic and reason,” which is an obvious truth.”

    I already told you I am not going to remake Kant’s arguments for him. I asked if every person has a “perspective” you said both that individual percpetion is questionable and it is reliable.

    SEP 21:”An individual’s perception is less likely to be “affected” than that of a group,”

    SEP 21: ““Individual perception” is thousands upon thousands of times more likely to be affected by things such as slants, illnesses, delusions, psychotic episodes, hallucinations,”

    I asked if you knew that “common” perception” is comprised of collected individual perception. And you sarcasticaly responded with: “I said this earlier:

    “I don’t mean that something is true simply because a lot of people think it is; the results of an experiment reflect truth if they are reproducable, exactly defined, and can be shown to other people.”

    Then you asked me to make a lightbulb with out making a lightbulb. Which I said by definition can not be done. I COULD however take the materials from a lightbulb and make a tea pot or a door knob or any other kind of knick knack. People were making things long before science was there to “provide” it for them.

    But you failed to answer my question earlier question. You do realize that “objectively true” is different than “objectively effective”? The two are not the same thing. I said earlier that while science is certainly effective how do we know it’s telling us the truth verse telling us what is NOT incompatiable? Just because you can combine the materials to make a lightbulb does not mean that the “universe is comprised of natural laws” People have been building houses long before “science” told us how.

    Secondly isn’t effective a subjective word? For example, a candle sheads light in a room; a light bulb does the same thing. Which is more effective? Well it actually depend upon the situation. If we are in the jungle of Africa and all I have is a lightbulb the “effectiveness” of it is next to nil. What will a lightbulb do for an African. In this way “effective” is actualy not an Objective” term but a subjective definition. We find “science” to be very helpful. That does not mean that in other “situations” it might not be so helpful.

    Lastly you keep puting the onus back on me to prove something. It is you who stated that science tells you everything you need to know about the world. I am simply questioning your belief, If you want to question my beliefs come to a site I visit and pound them with questions. I am interested in hearing how “rational thinkers like yourself” deal with philosophical question.

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim

    I don’t remember making a baseless claim. Isn’t that YOUR value of what is baseless? Just because you believe it’s baseless it does not follow that it is baseless.

    I noticed this keeps coming up, and so I guess it’s about time we addressed it….everything that everybody has ever said in the entire universe is a product of that person’s perception. If we are going to use the argument that “this is so-and-so’s definition of this,” or “this is her definition of that,” then we might as well stop now, because we’re never going to get anywhere. I could easily challenge anything you portray as fact (such as Kant’s so-called Critique of Pure Reason) as being “just somebody’s perspective,” but I do not—I prefer to resort to (an attempt at) factual debate.

    So yes, you can keep bringing this up….but it will not change that which already is. For example, you can say that the person who chose the word “dog” to describe the creature we know as a dog is just that person’s interpretation of what we know to be a “dog,” but the simple fact is this: a dog is what it is, whether we call it a toothbrush, a condom, a dog, or a buzzsaw, or who calls it that. We simply choose to call it a dog because dog is a three-letter word that is easy to say, and a dog is a common household pet. We like to have ways to portray physical things with words, to avoid the trouble of having to carry a dog around and show it to people whenever we need to describe one. So no, it’s not a “fact” that the creature we choose to call a “dog” is called a “dog.” However, it is a fact that the creature we choose to call a “dog” is what it is, regardless of what we call it. I am not arguing that the word “dog” objectively describes the creature we call a “dog,” I am arguing that the creature we refer to as “dog” has a constant shape and functionality that is not subject to interpretation. You have yet to address this, the core of my argument.

    I didn’t make that statment. Yet you felt it was necessary to answer a question I didn’t ask or refute a statement I didn’t make.

    By all means, feel free to enlighten me as to your real point. I’m listening with open ears.

    So do you or do you not agree with the “baseless” claim that our perception affects what we call “objective reality”? Are you going to (in a sense) disagree or agree? This is another example of how you confuse me. Would you please stick with a position and fight it out.

    Simply by having this argument, we are assuming that there is such a thing as “objective reality.” When this discussion first began, I classified “objective reality” as that which can be seen, felt, touched, tasted, or smelled by any person, regardless of his or her thought processes or beliefs. However, in order to address your argument, it became necessary that I temporarily shift the definition of “objective” to “that which exists outside of human perception” to coincide with yours, and since you insisted on classifying “that which exists outside of human perception” as something which can never be seen, heard, tasted, touched, or smelled because, you argued, these things by their nature are classified as “our perception,” it became necessary for me to temporarily reclassify “objective reality” to mean “a world that cannot be seen, heard, tasted, touched, or smelled by any living human being.”

    So here is my position, short and sweet, for those of you who haven’t been paying attention:

    (1) I am not debating whether or not “objective reality” exists. We are assuming that “objective reality” exists.

    (2) I am not (unless otherwise stated) debating whether or not humans are capable of accessing “objective reality.” We are assuming that “objective reality” is beyond human perception, and therefore completely and 100% inaccessible to humans due to the fact that our only means of interaction with the world around us are our five senses, which (Mike Brown argues) are by their nature part of our perception, and therefore untrustworthy with regards to the study of “objective reality.”

    (3) My position is that (while I personally classify “objective reality” as that which can be detected without contradiction between the five senses), if “objective reality” does indeed exist under such conditions that it can never be accessed by any human using any means available to us, then it is of no consequence; there is no means by which to observe its existence or any effect is has on us. For if it had an effect on us, that effect would be observable and subject to study, which would then point to conclusions that may suggest the existence of a world that defies what we know. However, given the known factors with regard to “objective reality” as the scientific community understands it (i.e. “that which can be detected without contradiction between the five senses is objectively real”), no such reality exists. Therefore, if an “objective reality” exists that is beyond our perception, then we will never be able to feel any effects from it, be inflenced by it or ifluence it in any way. Therefore, whether or not it exists at all is completely inconsequential to our existence and functionality as physical beings. As such, I feel that Mike Brown’s claim that logic and reason are flawed because they cannot detect this undetectable world to be flawed itself, for there simply is no way to detect such a world in any case. Now, if Mike Brown wishes to offer an alternative method by which such an “objective” world could be detected, then his claims would have weight; however, they are currently no different than they would be were he to criticize me for shooting laser beams from my retinas; no human can do such a thing, and therefore it is silly to criticize one person for not being able to do such a thing, just as it is silly to criticize one thought process for being unable to detect something which no thought process can detect in any case.

    either you trust your sense with absolute unfailing loyality or you do not.

    I do. I have yet to encounter a situation in which what my senses tell me has been proven to be wrong (without the use of facts that were later introduced). This is because I believe—and you have yet to prove otherwise—that, so long as there is a base for a claim (i.e. evidence to suggest it), then it is explorable through logic, reason and science. Otherwise, it is not. If something cannot be scientifically explored, it is because it has no detectable effect (which is classifiable from a scientific standpoint as having no effect), and is therefore inconsequential, as it can never bring harm nor benefit to us.

    I already told you I am not going to remake Kant’s arguments for him. I asked if every person has a “perspective”you said both that individual percpetion is questionable and it is reliable.

    It is safe to assume that, for the sake of this argument, I am agreeing with you here; it is possible that human perception is flawed with regards to the objective world, for reasons I have already explained. However, I also believe that if it is unable to detect “objective reality” to the extent you claim, then “objective reality” is inconsequential altogether (also for reasons I have explained).

    I asked if you knew that “common perception” is comprised of collected individual perception. And you sarcasticaly responded with: “I said this earlier:

    For the record, I wasn’t being sarcastic. I was attempting to demonstrate that I had already explained that to you.

    Then you asked me to make a lightbulb with out making a lightbulb. Which I said by definition can not be done. I COULD however take the materials from a lightbulb and make a tea pot or a door knob or any other kind of knick knack. People were making things long before science was there to “provide” it for them.

    And how do you know how to make those items, is what I am asking? Because there is a scientific method that explains how to do that. How was this method discovered? Through a series of logical deductions and periods of scientific understanding that lead one person (Thomas Edison) to understand that, were he to assemble certain materials in a certain fashion, he would create a functioning lightbulb.

    But you failed to answer my question earlier question. You do realize that “objectively true” is different than “objectively effective?”

    I will “realize” that if you can prove to me that the method for making a lightbulb does not end with the same result every time. The words “true” and “effective” are inconsequential here; the operative word is “objective.” This is a method that exists outside of human perception, and can be shown to other people. It produces the same result every time—it is “objective.” That would seem to defy the idea that “objective reality” can never be reached by humans using only our five sense….however, again, if one were to assume that objective reality is beyond our reach for the reasons you have, then it could simply be that the process for creating a lightbulb is an illusion, and that we are really making something else when we construct a lightbulb, but for some reason or another, we perceive that it is a lightbulb anyway. In which case it is effective anyway, and the “truth” is inconsequential, because the device at least provides us with the illusion that it fulfills the purpose for which it is designed; and if we cannot truly know the difference, then it’s all the same, because we can work at night now, thanks to the lightbulb—whether or not it is actually lighting our surroundings. We can still see at night.

    People have been building houses long before “science” told us how.

    “Science” is not an entity, or a being, or a group of people. There was no objective point in history at which “science” was established. Science, logic and reason describe processes that are natural functions of the human brain. You might as well argue that “people were fighting over things long before disagreements came about.” Deductive reasoning is a product of logic; to say that one happened before the other makes no sense. Somebody had to deduce that putting those materials together in a certain way would benefit them by providing shelter in the form of a house.

    Secondly isn’t effective a subjective word? For example, a candle sheads light in a room; a light bulb does the same thing. Which is more effective? Well it actually depend upon the situation. If we are in the jungle of Africa and all I have is a lightbulb the “effectiveness” of it is next to nil. What will a lightbulb do for an African. In this way “effective” is actualy not an “objective” term but a subjective definition. We find “science” to be very helpful. That does not mean that in other “situations” it might not be so helpful.

    “Effective” in your context is subjective, yes. However, when the goal is previously defined (i.e. we are “in a certain situation”), then it is objective what is effective. For example, it is an “objective fact” that, were your goal to light up the room as brightly as possible, a 40-watt bulb would be more effective than a 20-watt bulb. This cannot be debated.

    Lastly you keep puting the onus back on me to prove something. It is you who stated that science tells you everything you need to know about the world. I am simply questioning your belief, If you want to question my beliefs come to a site I visit and pound them with questions. I am interested in hearing how “rational thinkers like yourself” deal with philosophical question.

    Well, you are challenging my beliefs. Where your goal is solely inquisitive, I try to answer to the best of my ability. But when you ridicule me for certain aspects with which you disagree, that is a personal attack, indicative that you feel I should believe differently than I do. In that instance, it is you who is burdened with “proving” to me why I should believe differently. For if it is objectively true that I am wrong, then there will be a way to show it to me….unless we use your definition of “objective,” in which case it is impossible for you to know in the first place if I am objectively wrong for thinking that way, in which case this entire argument is pointless.

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim

    P.S. I’ve attempted to respond to the dog-related portion of this comment, but for some reason that part of the comment will not post (if I try to post it all together, it is flagged as “spam”). If anybody knows the cause of this, please let me know~

  • mike brown

    “(if I try to post it all together, it is flagged as “spam”). If anybody knows the cause of this, please let me know~”

    I know what you’re talking about… I have totally lost like 6 posts with that stupid copy and paste.

    By the way Tim that was a very coherent and good post. I thought you made your points very clearly. However, I do have to respond to them.

    “I am arguing that the creature we refer to as “dog” has a constant shape and functionality that is not subject to interpretation.”

    I know you think its not subject to interpretation but yet some might say it is. Wittgenstein proposed that language was not really about coorlation to “objective reality” but rather a series of signs and symbols or games rather. It’s kind of complicated but the end of it is that “dog” isn’t just a “dog”. (Remember this isn’t my argument it’s W’s.) So this is how I understand the argument, if someone knows it better they can jump in.

    A dog isn’t just a dog a dog. From the time we are born “dog” functions as a myriad of signs for different things. It can mean fun loving, cute and playful. It can also mean a low life and maingy. In american Idol it’s a term of endearment or a title of address. If I understand W rightly he says the “objective” meaning of the word “dog” is dependent upon the situation in which one uses it. W’s point is that we think our words are about the “outside” world but in reality they are really about how we relate to one another. I personally think there’s some merit to the argument.

    This is my view once again: I dont’ know if your bi-lingual or not but I’m studying some ancient languages and some current languages. I can not count the times we asked out teacher about why the language did that(meaning a morphing of a word in a certain way) and he would just look at us and respond “just because it is”. There was no rhyme or reason to it; it was just how the language worked.

    The more I learn about my second and third languages the more I realize that my entire view of the world grows out of my language. You don’t have to agree but COULD it be possible that (I don’t know if your bi- lingual or not) language could effect us in such a manner?

    “Therefore, if an “objective reality” exists that is beyond our perception, then we will never be able to feel any effects from it, be inflenced by it or ifluence it in any way.”

    I never said “objective reality” IS beyond our perception. What I asked was is it possible that our perception is affecting what we call “objective reality” The point isn’t that “objects” are not there. The question is can we get at them “objectively”? (by that I mean impartially, neutrally, without bias or influence) Kant’s point was: “No, we can not get at objects ‘objectively’. We drag our language into the object. We drag our expirences into the object. We drag our physiological condition into the object, and we drag or philosophy into the object.” Kant’s point is much deeper than, “Well how do we know the chair is really there?”

    tim wrote:
    “We are assuming that “objective reality” is beyond human perception, and therefore completely and 100% inaccessible to humans due to the fact that our only means of interaction with the world around us are our five senses,”

    If you want to assume that you can… I won’t stop you. But it doens’t have to be an “all or nothing” proposition. [This, by the way, is one of the flaws (in my humble opinion, I'm still flushing this out mind you) of logic. If something isn't True than it is False. I believe, that logic pushes us to deny paradoxes that we live with everyday in favor of T/F propositions that are not necessairly true. But that's just my "view" of it.]

    I never said that the “objective reality” wasn’t there. I was questioning the human minds ability to get at it “objectively”. Sure, a bus IS there but how do we think of a bus? How are we using a bus? And if you think you DON’T think about a bus in a particular manner: close your eyes and picture it. did you think of a yellow vehicle or did you think of a tiny card that goes into a computer slot? Kant’s point is that we drag out parents training, school, TV and all kinds of things into our dealing with the “objective” world.

    This makes “objectively” dealing with objects nearly impossible. For example: If I were to show you a sword right now and ask what should I do with this sword logic and reason cannot give us the answer. Some may consider it a collectors item, some may consider it an object of oppression, and others a piece of art. What is it? It’s all of that, but “Objectively” arriving at the conclusion of what to do with it is impossible. (this is just an illustration NOT a proof) Now I will make this idea a little more personal.

    Religion is an “object” (kind of, it’s an object in the sense of an idea) how should we “deal” with religion? Well the word it’s self is indictive of a particular world view. We in the West “classify” things and place Islam, Christianity, Hinduism into catagories that WE call “Religion”. But doesn’t that very classification place us in a catigory that is “above” all these “religions”. In some places what it means to be “human” is to be Islamic or hindi. So we “negate” their particular view in favor of OUR “objective” classification. Is such an interpretation of the “object” of religion possible?

    “However, I also believe that if it is unable to detect “objective reality” to the extent you claim, then “objective reality” is inconsequential altogether (also for reasons I have explained).”

    Once again, I’m not doubting that “things aren’t there”. I think Plato would question if things are “real” but you have to understand what he means by that. I believe Plato meant that “reality” is that which does not change. In that case nothing here would be “real” because everything is in a constant state of flux. (think of it like this: A car is made up of billions of atoms, iron, alumium, rust in my case. But the car is actually not real. It changes and breaks down to it’s simplest components. It’s accident’s change, what it looks like, but it’s essence is unchanging. In THIS way one could look at a car and claim it’s not really “real” but the atoms are “real”. This is actually closer to Aristotles position than Plato’s but it gets across the idea how things can be here but not “real”)

    “Science” is not an entity, or a being, or a group of people. There was no objective point in history at which “science” was established.”

    Ok, see right here is how you confuse me. How are you using the word “science”? ON SEP5 you said you belive “science tells you everything you need to know about the world.” Yet here you say that science has been around forever no one made it or found it. This is extremely unclear communication. According to Wikepedia science is either a systematic study or field or specifically the use of the scientific method to acquire knowledge. Now, you seem to believe that “science” has been around for forever. So you are either talking about the “science” that generally begins with the rationalists to the present, or you are talking about general human knowledge. Like Boneventure studied history his work could be called “science”. The bottom line: how are you using that word?

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim

    I know what you’re talking about… I have totally lost like 6 posts with that stupid copy and paste.

    If you hit “reload” or “refresh” on your browser immediately after “losing” your post, it should restore the page with your comment intact.

    The more I learn about my second and third languages the more I realize that my entire view of the world grows out of my language. You don’t have to agree but COULD it be possible that (I don’t know if your bi- lingual or not) language could effect us in such a manner?

    (1) I’m not really “bilingual,” I know some Chinese and Japanese, but that’s pretty much it….

    (2) Those are all very interesting points, but they still don’t really challenge the idea that the animal with which we associate one definition of the word “dog” is an unchanging mass with a set functionality.

    As for the term “dog,” when I speak of it in connection with the animal, I am only talking about the definition with relation to said animal. Were we to expand this to include other definitions of the word, one of two things would happen: I would be forced to exchange “dog” for a much more complicated and rarely-applied word which has only one singular definition but keep my basic point the same, or we would end up talking about languages (which, while interesting, is somewhat beside the point).

    I never said “objective reality” IS beyond our perception. What I asked was is it possible that our perception is affecting what we call “objective reality” The point isn’t that “objects” are not there. The question is can we get at them “objectively”? (by that I mean impartially, neutrally, without bias or influence) Kant’s point was: “No, we can not get at objects ‘objectively’. We drag our language into the object. We drag our expirences into the object. We drag our physiological condition into the object, and we drag or philosophy into the object.” Kant’s point is much deeper than, “Well how do we know the chair is really there?”

    First off, let me say that no, I don’t believe that perceptions can “affect” objects in our objective environment, as far as physical interaction is concerned. For example, objects are not naturally colored—color is simply light waves reflecting off of pigmentations in the material’s composition. However, the fact that our eyes detect these waves in such a way does not change the fact that objects are not by nature actually colored; we simply see them that way because of how our eyes utilize the world around us and convert it into a useful navigational medium. So no, I don’t believe our perceptions can “affect” objective reality in that way.

    Second, though, it’s actually quite simple; things that are there, are there. Whether or not they appear to us as they actually are (or whether or not they even exist at all) is irrelevant IF they serve a purpose that is testable, observable, and provable. For example, we’ll use your chair—maybe the chair does not exist. This in itself is an interesting question, and though it would seem to defy logic, it actually begins a perpetual loop in which logic may eventually (theoretically) burn out and implode in on itself, so to speak—for to question the existence of that for which there is overwhelming physical evidence would lead to questioning the validity of said evidence, which would lead to questioning its source, and so on and so forth, to the point where nothing technically means anything and nobody knows anything. However….we can prove (assuming we are under the umbrella of logic and reason, that is) that, whether or not the chair is there, our “collective perception” that it is (which is to say, the fact that it can be observed using multiple senses by multiple observers without contradiction) can be put to use. We can employ a chair as a sitting device, or as a platform to reach an object that is higher off of the ground than we can reach by ourselves. We can implement it to change the environment in such a way as to make it easier (or at least “different,” in lieu of a definition of “easy”) to interact with. Would you not agree that we can do this?

    That is why I trust in logic with respect to functionality; while logic does not “technically” concern itself with what is ultimately beyond the ability of senses to detect (which is, according to logic, impossible because it will be detectable in some measurable form or another if it exists, but even that is technically questionable), it does concern itself with changes in the physical environment. The changes which science can monitor and “prove” cannot be proved by any other method. No other thought process has this going for it; no other thought process has such a vast realm of wisdom that can be interchanged between individuals and seen in the exact same light. Take the Bible, for instance—a Christian can explain “proof” that God exists to another Christian, and the two might agree. But if a third Christian comes into play, and that third person doesn’t agree that such “proof” is substantial, then does that mean he or she doesn’t believe in God? No, it just means that he or she believes for different reasons—reasons which, and for the sake of this example we’ll assume, may differ from that of his or her fellow Christians. But there is no way (not even with logic) for one of them to “prove” that their interpretation is “right” and the other’s is “wrong,” because these “proofs” are based on things that vary by interpretation—for example, the “believe to see” argument, which says that you can technically interpret God anywhere if you bend your perception hard enough. To me, it is much less of a stretch to simply follow Point A to Point B (as logic does) than it does to start at point Z, and try to bend Point A to lead directly to point Z without passing the rest of the alphabet (as such metaphorical thought does). I can follow Point A to Point B and see, for myself, how it happens. However, to assume that Point A indicates Point Z simply because I want it to does not make it so. As one who trusts in science, logic and reason, I prefer to witness that which is before me than to take the word of someone else and bend my “perception” to suit it. And yes, the Bible is the word of someone else.

    The folly of all of this being that religious people use logic as well, even on the most fundamental stage, and even as they assault it in the media—for example, when Rod Parsely decides that (A) a person did a bad thing, and (B) that person is an atheist who believes in logic and reason over religion, then (C) the bad thing happened because he/she is an atheist and a believer in logic and reason over religion, that is a form of logic. It is flawed—it is not complete, it does not factor in all the necessary variables—but it is logic. It is an attempt to draw a conclusion from known facts.

    To use a more common example (as I know not all Christians believe that atheists are bad just by virtue of being atheist); when a Christian says that Point A is proof of Point Z (“childbirth proves that God exists,” for example), they are attempting to draw a conclusion that God exists. Again, it is flawed—they are starting with Point Z, and trying to find a Point A that has enough potential to be poetically linked to Point Z—but it is an attempt at logic.

    One final note on this particular response; the only reason I bring up religion is because people (on both sides of the “science and religion” debate) tend to view science and religion as mutually exclusive, or enemies of one another….when in reality, religious people use rationality as well (or at least try to), and without the concept of rationality, they wouldn’t be able to make even some of the ill-founded arguments they do. Without drawing conclusions from known factors, one cannot really make “decisions” about anything at all. One is limited only to “act.” The ability to “observe” and “test” and “conclude” are forsaken, leaving one with only complete and random actions.

    On that note—and at the risk of sounding pretentious—I ask you….which of those sounds better: a society founded on some degree or another of rationality and reason, or one that is founded on a lack thereof and grounded only on the concept of “act?” One needs no reason to do (or not do) anything, so one may literally proceed with any possible action in any situation, regardless of the consequences (for consequences mean nothing to one who cannot use logic to determine what is “good” or “bad” for oneself). Whether we choose something that is “wrong” or “right,” at least in a rational society we have some foundation on which to live.

    This makes “objectively” dealing with objects nearly impossible. For example: If I were to show you a sword right now and ask what should I do with this sword logic and reason cannot give us the answer. Some may consider it a collectors item, some may consider it an object of oppression, and others a piece of art. What is it? It’s all of that, but “Objectively” arriving at the conclusion of what to do with it is impossible. (this is just an illustration NOT a proof) Now I will make this idea a little more personal.

    Well, again, “what should I do?” is not a very specific question. One has to answer other questions before approaching that one as a whole: first, what will come about as a result of each of the possible decisions you could make with regard to what to do with the sword? Second; how will those things affect you, if at all? Third; what do you want to do with it?

    In this respect, yes, science does require a definition to proceed. But it is a definition that is gleamed from something in the physical world. For example, if you want to sell the sword (which will bring you money), then it is an irrefutable fact that you want to sell the sword. You know this, being yourself and knowing what you desire. As such, when a scientist makes an observation, he takes something from his environment and acknowledges something about it that is different from the thing(s) around it. Now, even if we stripped all words and meaning away from humanity at this point, the brain would still be capable of recognizing—even if it didn’t know it was doing so—that Thing A is different from Thing B. He or she might not know what “different” means, but he or she knows the thought that is associated with the word. He or she knows the “definition,” just not the word to which it is attached. A very similar thing happens when a person hears something in the media that he/she agrees with—”I’ve been trying to say that all along! Why didn’t I think of that?” He/she is at a loss for words and cannot put his/her feelings into words, but he/she knows what he/she feels. With respect to this….the scientist can see the environment and note changes and differences without ever even really knowing what “changes” and “differences” are. The brain is designed to work based on such definitions; it is a known fact that our brains do things of which we would not be aware were we to continue functioning inside our own individual perspectives. When someone applies a word to something you feel, you think, “Hey, there’s a word for that?” You already know the definition, you just didn’t know there was a word for it. So you didn’t think of it as a concept with a definition; you simply though of it as this thought you had.

    Once again, I’m not doubting that “things aren’t there”. I think Plato would question if things are “real” but you have to understand what he means by that. I believe Plato meant that “reality” is that which does not change. In that case nothing here would be “real” because everything is in a constant state of flux. (think of it like this: A car is made up of billions of atoms, iron, alumium, rust in my case. But the car is actually not real. It changes and breaks down to it’s simplest components. It’s accident’s change, what it looks like, but it’s essence is unchanging. In THIS way one could look at a car and claim it’s not really “real” but the atoms are “real”. This is actually closer to Aristotles position than Plato’s but it gets across the idea how things can be here but not “real”)

    For one, there are two base types of “reality,” as reality is a general term; there is “physical reality” and there is “conceptual reality.” The difference being that physical reality is tangible, and conceptual reality is not. We know that dirt is “physically” real because we can touch it and interact with it using physical senses. If there is anything inaccurate about the way our senses (when functioning properly) can detect physical reality, it is because the nature of this aspect transcends physical detection, not necessarily because it “isn’t real.” With respect to this, your idea that “objective reality is outside of perception” becomes gray; physical reality is there. Physically, you cannot disprove that the chair exists. Physically, you cannot disprove that the computer or the desk exists. If this is accepted as true (which it must be, simply because the definition of physical reality is both established and consistent), then it is not incorrect to say that logic can explore most—if not all—of the physical world to a startling degree of efficiency.

    Likewise, though, conceptual reality describes things that occur and can be physically observed in some way, but are not tangible. In fact, tangibility is all that separates the two—things that are physically real can be touched, and things that are conceptually real are real, but cannot be touched, because they aren’t physical things—they aren’t “physically real.” For example, the fact that objects travel down towards the earth is true. This is a “conceptual reality;” a thing that occurs and cannot be defied (physically) by perception. If you jump, you will fall to the earth.

    If one were to question the validity of the physical world (or that there is something greater or farther-reaching), then one might have an easier time challenging the definition of “reality” altogether. However, scientific examination functions pretty much flawlessly with regard to the physical world. If it is physically real, then it is provable by science. When one steps outside the boundaries of logic or science, one is refusing to acknowledge the aspects of the physical world; in this sense, the very laws of physics are somewhat of a “paradigm” by which we all function.

    However….were you to argue that there is perhaps another dimension—a dimension that is not physically measureable—you’d find that, while I don’t believe so, I don’t believe it’s impossible. I do, however, believe that, if such a thing exists, it is beyond our perception (since our perception is solely restricted to the physical world) and therefore inconsequential during our physical lifetimes.

    I guess you have accomplished one thing thus far; you have inclined me to realize that I have described “physical reality” as “objective reality.” And from a philosophical standpoint, that is not accurate, as it assumes that “objective reality” ends at “physical reality,” which is not established and cannot be known at this point. Therefore, I will heretofore refer to things which can be detected through some organization of the five senses as “physical reality.”

    As such, however….logic does not concern itself with that which does not have some observable base. Therefore, anything that exists outside of these limits effectively doesn’t exist, as far as man is concerned (as it cannot affect us on either level). It would be paramount to a “third dimension of reality,” were we to view “Physical” and “Conceptual” as the other two.

    Ok, see right here is how you confuse me. How are you using the word “science”? ON SEP5 you said you belive “science tells you everything you need to know about the world.” Yet here you say that science has been around forever no one made it or found it.

    When I say “science,” I am referring to the scientific method, not the concept of “study in a particular field.” I mean the method of using known factors to deduce a known factor based on a logical progression. And this method—for reasons I hope I’ve clarified in this post—has been around since the beginning of man. It is a base aspect of how the brain functions. For if there were no logic, there would be only “action” with no foundation.

  • Mike

    I take it your “huge” post was a type of “philosophically working out” what you think on the issue? I’m going to assume that much because there was a lot there. Some I agree with and some I do not. You seem to be very close to wrestling with metaphysics but you seem afriad to go there.

    I’m still not sold on what you mean by the difference between conceptual reality and physical reality. Much of your problem here, in my humble opinion, is that you don’t seem very clear on what you mean by “reality”. If you examined what I said about Plato it might help a little bit.

    Even if we begin with philosophical materialism we could doubt the “reality” of the car. The car is comprised of billions of atoms each of a different kind. In materialism the atom is the “reality” and the tires, steel rods, rubber belts are simply accidents or just what shape the “reality” has been formed to make. So in this way the car isn’t “real” in the sense of being completely self contained “reality” but rather a system or a collection of “reality” that combine to form an accidental shape.

    Now according to Plato the accidents are completely unimportant because they aren’t real. For him, idea’s behind the “reality” are really real. Aristotle contended that the objects contained “some reality” and in this way the study of “things” was useful.

    What does this have to do with anything? This question concerning the essence of “ultimate reality” is what we are discussing. This is kind of metaphysics, the nature of “reality”.

    Plato believed that reality was contained in the mind, the mind perception is reality.

    Aristotle contended that there was some “reality” external to ourselves.

    Kant’s point however, is that when we approach things or “objects” we bring our perception into the handeling of that very object. In that way we bring a predetermined metaphysics into the perception of that object. In other words we don’t just see and object we see and object and try to determine it’s value and use at nearly the same time. These terms “value” and “use” are not things that science, logic or empiricim can really help us handle. Yet they influence the way we “study” the object.

    “I guess you have accomplished one thing thus far; you have inclined me to realize that I have described “physical reality” as “objective reality.” And from a philosophical standpoint, that is not accurate, as it assumes that “objective reality” ends at “physical reality,” which is not established and cannot be known at this point.”

    I still don’t understand how you are using those two terms. You contrasted “physical reality” against “conceptional reality” not “objective reality”. In your mind how is “objective reality” different from “physical reality”?

    “As such, however….logic does not concern itself with that which does not have some observable base.”

    So logic is only concerned with things that can be observed? Ok this is a logical theorium:

    A=B
    B=C
    Therefore A=C

    What kind of “observable base” does this stem from? I don’t believe it does. It is a concept; logic isn’t even a concept like “falling down.” it is a model or “way of thinking” that one has to be trained into. A child is not “born” with logic. Believe me, I wish my children had it when they were born. It takes a lot of work to get a child to begin to think logically. It takes very little work to get a child to get “baba” however the above theorium would take years to get across.

    For example the idea of “true” and “false” has be understood before one even begins to learn the method of logic. Try and teach a 1 year old “true” or “false” and you will realize just how much of an advance concept it is. Teaching objects is easy compared to true or false.

    “I mean the method of using known factors to deduce a known factor based on a logical progression.”

    Once again there are no “Known factors” there are “givens” or assumptions. For logic to function one has to have a “Truth” no given’s= no logic.
    For example what does the following not prove?

    X= 1245
    Y= ?
    G= 1252
    X+Y= G
    Therefore Y= 7

    Things I can sense with my 5 senses are “reality”
    I can touch a car
    Therefore a car is reality.

    What has NOT been logically “proven”?

    “And this method—for reasons I hope I’ve clarified in this post—has been around since the beginning of man. It is a base aspect of how the brain functions.”

    How do you know this is true?

    Secondly, while logic MAY be a primary brain function how could “values” or belief’s play a roll in the brain’s use of “logic”?

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim

    Plato believed that reality was contained in the mind, the mind perception is reality.

    I simply don’t believe this; if this were true, then one could exert influence over physical reality in ways that we know to be impossible simply by believing he/she could.

    These terms “value” and “use” are not things that science, logic or empiricim can really help us handle. Yet they influence the way we “study” the object.

    “Value” is a way of logically thinking; to determine the value of something is to factor it into one’s own perception of what is “valuable” (i.e. What is my goal? Can this help me achieve my goal? If so, how?). This is a logical process; it takes two factors (my goal, how this object may or may not affect my goal) and forms a conclusion from them: this object is useful to me because it affects my goal in X way, or this object is not useful to me because it does not affect my goal at all (or affects it negatively in X way).

    I still don’t understand how you are using those two terms. You contrasted “physical reality” against “conceptional reality” not “objective reality”. In your mind how is “objective reality” different from “physical reality”?

    In my mind, “objective reality” is defined as “whatever exists that is both constant and outside of the human thought process.” For example, a car is real because it exists outside of my mind, and my feelings or perceptions cannot alter the way others perceive it to interact with themselves—your argument concerning the atoms being real as opposed to the car itself is moot in my opinion, as the car is made from the atoms; just as a light bulb exists physically, so does a car (though one could argue whether or not it exists “as a light bulb” or “as a car,” as opposed to existing as a combination of materials that function as a lightbulb; on this I would agree, but as far as what is “real” and what is not, this is irrelevant, since we can derive the same use from the end product whether or not it is “real” in that sense). The fact that it exists as a result of the combination of smaller parts does not negate the fact that said parts function as a unit when combined in X manner.

    What kind of “observable base” does this stem from? I don’t believe it does. It is a concept; logic isn’t even a concept like “falling down.” it is a model or “way of thinking” that one has to be trained into. A child is not “born” with logic. Believe me, I wish my children had it when they were born. It takes a lot of work to get a child to begin to think logically. It takes very little work to get a child to get “baba” however the above theorium would take years to get across.

    The fact that “A=B” is an observation, as is the fact that “B=C.” Furthermore, it is a logical deduction to realize that, if A=B and B=C, then A and B are the same, and B and C are the same, therefore all things which are classified as “B” are also “A,” but are also “C.” The fact that this is so fundamentally true proves my point about logic.

    As for the child “learning” logic….you seem to confuse whether a child uses logic with whether a child knows he or she is using logic. Every time a child makes a decision, he/she is using logic—it may not be complete, or it may be flawed, but it is logic. For example, if a child decides to take something that does not belong to him/her, he is opting to make a decision based on the following factors: (1) I want this thing. (2) I have the opportunity to take this thing. He/she may not realize the third option, (3) I have the opportunity to not take this thing, and simply see it as good enough reason to take it—because he/she can.

    Now, morals are a different issue. There are many possibilities with regard to how a child forms morals and values, but none of them are “proven” or “concrete.” Religious communities would like to believe that children can only have morals if they observe a certain religion (i.e. Christianity), while many scientists believe that humans are born with them. However, the problem in either case is this: Sometimes, a child raised in an environment lacking basic morality will mature into an adult with no morals. Other times, a child raised in the exact same environment will learn from that experience and form his/her own morals. The same is true on the other hand—if a child is raised in a morally rich environment, he/she may or may not turn out to hold the same morals as his/her parents or guardian(s). This would seem to imply that free will has a place in all of this; the child is able to factor in all of the input, and then make his/her own decision. This is a good argument for why I believe humans are not 100% logical beings; if they were, the same circumstances would always warrant the exact same results. However, they do not—to me, this implies that morals come from emotions. A child may see his father come home drunk often and abuse the family, and the child may resent the father. As a result, the child could, for example, either (A) distance himself from the behavior of his father and not drink himself, or (B) believe that is the way a father is supposed to act and treat his own family the same way in the future. Both choices are possible, and both have been taken many times. Some children choose to take one path, others choose the opposite. Why this is, beyond the fact that humans have free will and can choose whatever they want to do (either as a result of logic or completely devoid of it), largely remains a mystery.

    Once again there are no “Known factors” there are “givens” or assumptions. For logic to function one has to have a “Truth” no given’s= no logic.
    For example what does the following not prove?

    That is a perfect example of logical deduction; take one known factor, and use it to deduce another. We know that X is equal to 1245, and that G is equal to 1252. We know that X and Y add together and produce G. We know that, based on the laws of mathematics, we can find Y since we know the other value as well as the total. Therefore, we can subtract 1245 from 1252 and receive 7 for the other value, Y. We can even check the equation by adding 1245 and 7, which comes to 1252. There we go—we have taken known factors (“givens”) and used them to deduce uknown factors (things that are not “given”).

    Things I can sense with my 5 senses are “reality”
    I can touch a car
    Therefore a car is reality.

    That is incomplete; “Things I can sense with my 5 senses are reality” is not specific enough. All 5 senses? Any of the five senses? What if one of my senses contradicts another? If I see a hologram—I can see it, but I cannot feel, taste, smell, or hear it—does that mean it is real, or it is not? Whether or not I can sense it determines if it is real; if all 5 senses cannot detect it, then there must be an explanation provided for why this is so. Either “it has no smell,” in the case that I cannot smell it, or “it is too small to see,” if I cannot see it (for example, a microscopic pathogen that inflicts physical harm), so on and so forth. There must be complete agreement and explanation between the 5 senses to determine if something is real. That is why we have 5 physical senses; they produce a matrix effect that is able to process information from the world around us and determine whether or not things are true. Where this is not possible using the 5 senses directly, there have been some innovations in the form of devices that convert matter which is invisible to the 5 senses into a medium that can be observed by the 5 senses (for example, a radar system uses sound waves to project an image based on the way the waves interact with the environment; this can help detect matter that is not visible otherwise). But it all comes down to the use of the 5 senses.

    What has NOT been logically “proven”?

    Trillions of things have not been “logically proven” by that statement, far too many to list. It was proven, however, that Y = 7 in this equation. The point being that all of that is true, whether or not you or I deduce it—logic is not about making things true, it is about testing things to see whether or not they are true.

    How do you know this is true?

    Simple; every action is done for a reason. A baby doesn’t reach for its mother just because, it reaches because it wants its mother. Even the reason “just for the hell of it” basically amounts to “I feel like doing this.” No matter how miniscule the reason, it is still a reason. It is very, very difficult for a person to do something for absolutely no reason at all, simply because there may be a reason the person is not always aware of. For example, if you were to go out right now and do something for no reason, just to prove me wrong here, you would not be doing it for no reason—you would be doing it to disprove me, and therefore you would not be disproving me at all, because you would be illustrating my point. Why you choose the particular thing you do (assuming you would do that, which I doubt you actually would) would be up to you—perhaps what you “felt like” doing, or what you felt would bring the least risk to yourself with the greatest benefit.

    Secondly, while logic MAY be a primary brain function how could “values” or belief’s play a roll in the brain’s use of “logic”?

    Well, I have a couple of theories (a ton of theories, actually), but it still remains somewhat of a mystery exactly how morals come to form in a person’s mind, for reasons I’ve already explained. There is no real consistent, proven correlation (or lack thereof) between a person’s morals and his/her environment. If I were to take a shot in the dark, or an educated guess, I would say it’s possible that a person reaches his or her moral beliefs based on how he/she feels about his/her environment. The same environment or action can elicit a completely different emotional reaction from two or more different people (we know this much) for one or more of thousands of different reasons. It could be that the person’s early experiences shape the way he/she feels about his/her home life and experiences, and that might possibly shape the ultimate result of how that person reacts to the world around them. Whatever the case, morals are not objective or final in any person’s mind; it’s been shown time and again that, if a person is willing, he or she can “condition” him- or herself into a different mindset; for example, if a person is experiencing trouble in dealing with his/her emotional upbringing, he/she might see a psychiatrist, who would in turn examine the person, compare that person’s testimony and experience with that of his/her previous clients and his/her own training, and determine what has been empirically proven to show success in dealing with such troubles, a method by which the client would then attempt to “condition” him/herself to.(though this is not an exact science, for obvious reasons).

    I would go on to say that a person’s morals come from what he or she wants to believe, but even that is not entirely true; some people don’t want to believe that certain moral aspects are true, and yet they still feel bound by them (a former religious person who feels guilty about having premarital sexual relations, for example—he/she wants to have the relations, but feels that he/she is doing something wrong in fulfilling that desire). Perhaps one day we will understand the functionality of the human brain enough to know the answer to this question? In the meantime, we can only theorize, and use what we know to try and predict the best answer, in the same way that a meteorologist uses technology to try and predict the weather for the next week along with how best to respond to it.

  • Mike B

    “That is a perfect example of logical deduction; take one known factor, and use it to deduce another.”

    You completely missed my question with the logical deduction. Believe me I get logic. My question was in the X +Y=G what was NOT proven. In that question there are NOT lots of things that are unproven. The logical theorum did NOT prove that X= 1245 nor that G = 1245 Those are GIVENS. You were GIVEN that informaition you assumed it was true. The logic is not proven. That’s my point my point is that logic does not function with out something you can begin with as assumed truth.

    On my theorum on “anything I can sense with my five senses is reality” That theory is NOT proven. Those are the GIVENs. It is the same with “I touch a car”. What is proven from thost “givens” is that a car is “reality”. If those givens are true THAN it is logical to assume a “car” is reality.

    I am truely flummoxed that I can not communicate this simple logical truth. That’s how logic functions. You have to have an “assumed given” for it even to work.

    “The fact that “A=B” is an observation, as is the fact that “B=C.” Furthermore, it is a logical deduction to realize that, if A=B and B=C, then A and B are the same, and B and C are the same, therefore all things which are classified as “B” are also “A,” but are also “C.” The fact that this is so fundamentally true proves my point about logic.”

    The fact that you think this is SO fundamentally true demonstrates that this is a foundational value of your’s. The more obvious something seems the more basic an assumption it is. Your right A= B is an observation but that just demonstrates how our “obervations” are influenced by our perception. For example:
    All hispanics are theives.
    Rob is hispanic
    Rob is a thief.

    This IS logic, but what is not proven is that African American’s are theives. That is an unproven observation. Just because something is “observed” it does not make it true. That is my point about logic. You have to know what you have or have not proven.

    You asserted that “Every time a child makes a decision, he/she is using logic—it may not be complete, or it may be flawed, but it is logic.”

    A dog see’s a milk bone. It wants the milk bone it takes the milk bone. Has the dog employed “logic”?

    According to you a decision making process is the same as “using logic”

    Secondly, if “logic” is a decision making process than why do we have to be “trained” how to use it?
    Thirdly, if every one employs logic and uses it than who says what is the “right” way of thinking verses this is just OUR way of thinking?

    Tim wrote:
    “Whatever the case, morals are not objective or final in any person’s mind; it’s been shown time and again that, if a person is willing, he or she can “condition” him- or herself into a different mindset;”

    How do we know that “logical” thinking isn’t a “conditioning” just like we do with Morals?”

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim

    That’s my point my point is that logic does not function with out something you can begin with as assumed truth.

    First off, I’m assuming that you were using this equation metaphor to connect your point to some critique of logic/science (it doesn’t seem relevant otherwise).

    This is where what many call “common sense” comes in. Common Sense consists mostly of the idea that, insofar as anything is “real,” the things that we can detect or experience with our five senses are the closest to the “truth” that we will ever get. Now, in response to your question here, the “givens” in the case of science would be the information gleamed from our five senses.

    Now, I acknowledge what you say about logic needing a starting point, or a “given.” That is because, as I have said, logic is a process through which “facts” (however you define them) are filtered; this is to say, one takes a piece of information and uses logic to reach a conclusion based on that information. In your case, “X” and “Y” being the things we can observe with our senses. With respect to this, logic and science are flawless; using only the known (or “accepted,” if you prefer that term) factors, and when executed correctly, logic reaches conclusions that are 100% accurate. I defer you to the hologram example I used earlier. Compare this, then, with the idea that humans can never know if science is leading them to the truth or not. I raise the question: Does it matter? Do we have to worry about it, if man can never know whether or not he/she knows the “ultimate objective truth?” I redirect you to the Second Lightbulb Clause; whether or not it ultimately “exists,” we still derive a function from it as if it did exist “objectively,” or at least we perceive that we do. Either way, we can work at night. Basically, which matters more: What is “true” but not observable and therefore not provable, or what can be proved and is as a result usable?

    On a side note….I have heard the Creationist response to this argument, and it is basically: “It does matter; if the Bible is true and science cannot ever show us the real truth, then science poses a danger to us all by leading us away from salvation.” To this I have responded: There are trillions of possibilities as to the ultimate nature of the universe, none of which can be examined or studied. That is the simple truth. If we spend our time worrying about every single possibility, we will never function as a productive society. For example, is it not technically possible that the universe was created by a malevolent deity who has promised to damn all of humanity to eternal hellfire, except for those who dare to theorize and try to convince other people of its existence? Is it not technically possible that “reality” is actually an illusion, and such a deity will forever damn everyone who does not cast aside what they see before them and praise His (or Her) name? It is technically possible; but such possibilities are not taken into consideration when it comes to proving the existence or validity of any particular religious deity/prophet. *end side note*

    That theory is NOT proven. Those are the GIVENs. It is the same with “I touch a car”. What is proven from thost “givens” is that a car is “reality”. If those givens are true THAN it is logical to assume a “car” is reality.

    Show me a perception of reality that isn’t based on such givens, and I will show you a crackpot.

    I am truely flummoxed that I can not communicate this simple logical truth. That’s how logic functions. You have to have an “assumed given” for it even to work.

    There’s no need to speak down to me; I’ve already acknowledged this. I’m flummoxed that you have yet to realize this.

    This IS logic, but what is not proven is that African American’s are theives. That is an unproven observation. Just because something is “observed” it does not make it true. That is my point about logic. You have to know what you have or have not proven.

    That is incomplete logic, the thief analogy. It’s exactly like my earlier Rod Parsely analogy; it does not examine whether or not one factor is the cause the other; it simply assumes that, because the two are common, they are causically related.

    A dog see’s a milk bone. It wants the milk bone it takes the milk bone. Has the dog employed “logic”?

    According to you a decision making process is the same as “using logic”

    (1) Yes, the dog has employed logic.
    (2) Deductive reasoning is a core element of any decision-making process (or else it is not “decision-making”), so yes, decision-making is logic. Any decision-making process consists of deducing a “correct” or “most desirable” decision based on a series of factors. All sentient creatures with free will (or the illusion thereof, if we want to get philosophical) employ logic to some degree; however, some deduce incorrectly. For example, it is incorrect to deduce that, simply because a person is an atheist and a criminal, that all criminals are atheists (or that all atheists are criminals). Just because a person shares two common factors does not automatically mean that those factors are connected; to assume so would be the use of “faulty logic.”

    Secondly, if “logic” is a decision making process than why do we have to be “trained” how to use it?

    We don’t have to be “trained” to use it. We have to be trained to recognize it, just as we must be trained to recognize bodily functions we cannot control.

    Thirdly, if every one employs logic and uses it than who says what is the “right” way of thinking verses this is just OUR way of thinking?

    If by “our” you mean “humans,” then I would agree. It is “our” way of thinking, and for reasons I’ve explained, it has produced more results than any other process in recorded history.

    How do we know that “logical” thinking isn’t a “conditioning” just like we do with Morals?”

    That’s an interesting one….on the one hand, I’d say it can be conditional; for example, let’s say a person is raised in a religious community, and is taught to do things that don’t make sense to him/her. Logically, these things do not make sense, but the person does them anyway because he/she is conditioned from birth to believe that a God is watching and will judge him/her based on such actions. On the other hand, though….even this is a form of logic.

    (1) God is watching me, and he wants me to do X thing (a “given”)
    (2) If I do what God wants, Y thing will happen, and I am told that this is good (a “given”)
    (3) If I don’t do what God wants, Z thing will happen, and I am told that this is bad (a “given”)

    The person uses his/her will and logical capacity to determine which option is worth the risk; is it worth the risk to distrust the givens and act independently of “God,” in the event that God doesn’t really exist? Or is it worth the risk that one’s life is essentially wasted in devotion to that which may not even exist, to avoid the risk of eternal hellfire? To some, the former is so; to others, the latter. This is a form of logic.

    I guess what my point is….is that there really isn’t a useful alternative to logic. You criticize logical thinking, but all groups of society utilize it to some degree, though some use it more than others. The only difference between religious communities (i.e. those who are generally seen by the mainstream population as “illogical” or “counter-logical”) and the scientific communities (those who are seen as “logical”) is that the scientific communities use logic more extensively; for example, a Christian may deduce via Pascal’s Wager that it is worth the risk to believe in God simply because the loss of one’s soul is “infinite” whereas the loss of one’s life (in the event of God’s absence) is “finite” and therefore less, whereas a scientist may examine that there are trillions of other possibilities as well (not just “God exists” or “God doesn’t exist”), and may dedicate his/her life to pursuing some “truth” if for no other reason than because he/she considers it a waste to spend his/her entire life dedicated to something whose existence is ultimately in doubt.

    My point being….yes, from a philosophical standpoint, logic cannot disprove points that were made in defiance of that which can be observed. In order for logic to function, one must trust in something. For most, trusting one’s own senses falls into this category—there is more reason to believe one’s senses (i.e. “What I see looks like I see it, what I hear sounds like I hear it, what I smell smells like the way I smell it, what I touch feels like what I feel, what I taste tastes like what I taste”) than to disbelieve them; what reason to I have to disbelieve my own senses? What reason do I have to assume that what I see is not really there? Yes, it is technically possible, so one would be mistaken to say that it is not at all possible….but why would I want to believe it?

    Basically….what would you say to a person (who is open to either case) to convince them that what they see, hear, taste, touch, and smell isn’t real? Not to open them to the possibility that it isn’t, but to convince them? What can you show a person that would cause them to disbelieve the idea that what they detect with their senses does not exist?

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    P.S. I thought of something else while I was at work today….I’ll admit it’s a bit off the topic, but it’s a thought that has interested me, nonetheless. Earlier, you said this with regard to scientific studies 150 years ago:

    Everything in history 150 years ago is nothing but “I read what this person said.” How do we know it’s reliable? How do we know it’s true? You don’t. You take peoples word for it.

    Now, would you say the same thing about the Bible? Why, or why not? How is it different, if at all, and why should I take the Bible (or any other religious text) more seriously than any scientific study? If scientific studies that go back a mere 150 years or so are untrustworthy, then what makes a religious text regarding the supernatural—which may have even been passed down for eons before being written down, according to Biblical historians, and therefore possibly subject to the error of human memory many times over—more trustworthy?

  • Mike

    I have more that I want to say but I’ll start out with this one:

    Tim wrote:”Now, would you say the same thing about the Bible? Why, or why not? How is it different, if at all, and why should I take the Bible (or any other religious text) more seriously than any scientific study?”

    Actually, what I said was that history is NOT verifiable through the “scientific process”. There is NO one around now who was around 150 years ago. So it can not be tested, it can not be verified. Secondly I’ve not made any comment that you should or should not believe the scriptures. Why do you keep returning to that issue, as if by my failure to make a positive point about “religous texts” is a positive point towards “scientific investigation?”

    As you have enjoyed pointing out there are millions of possibilities about what may or may not be true. Asking me about a position I may or may not hold is not sufficient to “believe” in the scientific process. The onus is on you to demonstrate why such specific belief in the empirical procgress is merited over the objections of the likes of Kant, Foucault, Derridea and Nietzche.

    Lastly my point was not that because empirical investigation does not go back more than 150 years it is therefore unreliable. My point is that nothing past 150 years ago is verifiable by the process of Empiricism. You CAN NOT verify that Alexander the Great lived or Julius Caesar or even Henry the VIII. Empirical investigation can not give us the “truth” on this issue. As some point you have to release your grasp upon what you see and begin to trust “concepts” which you cannot see. The alternative is to doubt everything that happend before 150 year ago. I’ll deal with your other points later.

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim

    Actually, what I said was that history is NOT verifiable through the “scientific process”. There is NO one around now who was around 150 years ago. So it can not be tested, it can not be verified. Secondly I’ve not made any comment that you should or should not believe the scriptures. Why do you keep returning to that issue, as if by my failure to make a positive point about “religous texts” is a positive point towards “scientific investigation?”

    Things that were not documented, no. And technically, not even things that were documented. But what does this prove? Humans are not all-powerful—we cannot violate the laws of time and space—and no process can realize such evalution of history.

    On top of that, I’d be hard-pressed to find any scientific issues that base themselves on discoveries made over 150 years ago. Things like evolution and the dinosaurs and whatnot, these are all things that we have come to learn about due to discoveries that were made in modern times—discoveries of dinosaur skeletons, knowledge of radiation and carbon-dating to determine the approximate age of an object.

    Your argument against reason (aside from citing packaged philosophers’ quotes) seems to be that it can’t show us everything right now. I don’t really see how that’s enough of a reason for me to disbelieve in reason when discoveries are happening every day; there is progress in nearly every scientific field almost every day. I don’t mean to be rude, but your arguments here are hardly convincing enough for me to simply abandon reason the progress that humans have made as a result of reason, technologically or otherwise.

    As you have enjoyed pointing out there are millions of possibilities about what may or may not be true. Asking me about a position I may or may not hold is not sufficient to “believe” in the scientific process. The onus is on you to demonstrate why such specific belief in the empirical procgress is merited over the objections of the likes of Kant, Foucault, Derridea and Nietzche.

    I don’t know if you read me correctly, but the Bible question was beside my point; I wasn’t trying to convince you of anything by asking it, or defend my own perception. I simply wanted to know how the Bible fits into your reasoning; if indeed you’re the same Mike who posted the following comment, I can only assume that you believe in the Bible over reason:

    It has been interesting to have conversations with athiests, your site appears to have civil people open minded and willing to discuss the issue of faith. I believe it was a couple posts back some one said they tire of hearing christians give the same old lines… do you think christians might tire of hearing the same old lines from athiests? people can only browse so many athiest sites before they feel compelled to respond. Believe me believers have heard just about every “Argument” against God as you have heard “arguments” for God. there is nothing here being said that isn’t being said a hundred sites over. most arguments com from a few placed athiest: Dawkins, ect. now to be fair most christians take their arguments from a few placed christians: c.s. Lewis, blase pascal ect. the idea that your smarter than simple minded “believers” is arrogance and isn’t really that civil. As one of your bloggers pointed out most of you have had painful experiences with the church and the rejection is emotional. Christians however have had a different expirence and their attachment is equally emotional. I would challange you to be honest, you have rejected God because of the emotional baggage not because your smarter than those whom believe.

    And this belief in the Bible over reason—given your arguments—presents a few logical inconsistencies on your part.

  • http://www.wotmwatchdog.org Former Follier

    Great post. I have a special affinity to Kirk Cameron, Todd Friel and their impish little leader, Ray Comfort. If you ever need WOTM info, you know who to ask. Take care.

  • Mike

    “Your argument against reason (aside from citing packaged philosophers’ quotes) seems to be that it can’t show us everything right now.”

    No my question isn’t that it can’t show us everything right now. I am a patient person. I believe most of these people (neitache, foucault Kant) were patient people the question I am bringing up is not whether science will give us the “truth” but that is it even capable of giving us the “objective truth”?

    This statement in particular bothers me:

    “On top of that, I’d be hard-pressed to find any scientific issues that base themselves on discoveries made over 150 years ago. Things like evolution and the dinosaurs and whatnot, these are all things that we have come to learn about due to discoveries that were made in modern times”

    Are you saying that unless something was “discovered” less than 150 years ago it is unreliable? Or does that mean it is untrue?

    Tim wrote: “Yes, the dog has employed logic.”

    Logic according to Dictionary.com: “the science that investigates the principles governing correct or reliable inference.”

    “The dog see’s the milkbone the dog wants the milk bone the dog takes the milk bone.” Has the dog used any principles or even rationalized anything in it’s head? A decision making process is NOT logic.

    I see a woman I want to have sex with the woman I have sex with the woman. Have I employed logic? No, because I didn’t ask any questions about wether I should or should not act in the manner I did. I haven’t used ANY principles to know if I have made a “reliable” inference or not. In short I have not employed LOGIC. I may have followed my instincts I may have made a decision but the LAST thing I have done is employ logic.
    For example a dog see’s a yellow car. Is the car yellow or not Yes or no? The CONCEPT of True or False has to be understood in logic before you can employ it. You can’t teach a dog “Yes” or “no”. It’s an idea. You can teach him to nod his head or shake it but the concept of True or False is beyond his ability to comprehend.

    So let’s follow your logic. If a decision making process is the same thing as logic and there are multiple ways to make decisions than there are multiple logic’s. Then the statement “that’s not logical” is innan because by definition to make ANY decision is to employ “logic”. That’s like saying “You chose the yellow car, that’s not a decision.” By choosing the car you’ve made a decision.

    If that is true than your confidence in “logic” doesn’t seem very founded. You believe that logic and reason will lead us to the truth. But by logic you mean the process of making a decision (whether one considers arguments to be valid or not is irrelevant). So you’re confident that man kinds ability to make a decision will tell us the “Truth” about the universe? How does that work.

    Tim, I belive you’re a smart person but your use of terms is extremely lax. There are very few people who would consider “logical” thinking to be the same as “making a decision”. A decision can be logical or it can be illogical but that’s a way of describing a TYPE of decision that is made. .

    You most certainly are allowed to think that “logic” and “decision making process” are the same thing. However, this is how confusion occurs in conversations.

    When you are talking about logic. I believe you are speaking about the proper method of determining if a thought process is valid or invalid. To you “logic” means the process every living thing employs to make decisions. When you or I write the word “logic” we are envisioning two different things. Now here we are we both speak english. We are both employing the computer to communicate and yet… we are not comunicating. (By the way a dog is not determining if the thought process of “take the bone” is valid or invalid, logical or illogical. It is acting on instinct and taking the bone.)

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim

    Very well; perhaps I should use the word “reason” instead of “logic.” The point becomes clearer that way—everything happens for a reason. A dog does not take the bone simply to have the bone, the dog takes the bone because it desires the bone. This is a reason; that’s what I’m trying to say. Do you believe it is more accurate?

    Even if you do things for no “logical” reason, you are still doing them for a reason—if I do something just because I feel like it, then I am doing it to satisfy an emotional craving; I am doing something in order to gratify my desires.

    I apologize if this has lead to any serious confusion :(

    Are you saying that unless something was “discovered” less than 150 years ago it is unreliable? Or does that mean it is untrue?

    Not at all; you commented that scientific points which were recorded 150+ years ago were not reliable (though the Bible seems exempt from this). What I said was a response to that; basically, all of the things we now recognize as true are things that we can see (I use “see” metaphorically here to mean “observe and understand”) now—they don’t rely on things that may or may not have happened 150+ years ago. Dinosaur bones, for instance—people still dig them up to this day. We don’t trust that somebody discovered them hundreds of years ago, because we are still discovering them to this day. We know the bones exist.

  • Mike

    “Apologize if this has lead to any serious confusion”

    I wish I could just blow this one off and say no big deal. I really do. Except it is a big deal. Your belief since the very beginning has been that through: “logic” and “reason” man kind can arrive at the “truth”. You have contended that “logic” is the basis of all creatures in making decisions. You have also contended that this requires NO training what-so-ever in the development of a human being. All creatures use and employ “logic” whenever they approach any topic. You have contended that “logic” is inherent in the universe and all things use it and employ it (and if I remember correctly you even had balls employing “logic”) Our discussion over the last couple of days has centered upon this. This was your argument for us relying upon “logic” to lead us.

    Are you now changing your understanding of “logic” and are you shifting that definition over to “reason”?

    So do you still contend that “logic” is THE source for determining the objective truth about all that is around us?

    Now as to our misunderstanding
    “Not at all; you commented that scientific points which were recorded 150+ years ago were not reliable (though the Bible seems exempt from this).”

    I don’t believe I ever stated that the “bible” was exempt from anything. And I didn’t say that it’s unreliable. That is an inference based upon YOUR understanding of how I mean “empirically verifiable”. Just because something is not empirically verifiable it does NOT logically follow that anything prior to 150 years ago is therefor UNreliable.

    The implication that we can only learn about the world through “science” (and I have to narrow that down to “empiricism” so I can function logically in this paragraph) implies that prior to empiricism our “knowledge” is “unreliable”. This is because history is completely unempirical. You CANNOT test any theories about Alexander the Great, the man is dead and gone. You can’t even test any theories about Henry the VII Nothing is repeatable or therefore redemonstratable. What you have to do is employ the MINDSET of a scientist and approach the topic with dispassionate resolve.

    But as I pointed out earlier our mindset plays a pivotal roll in how we determine what is “true” and what is “false”.

    How I feel about the “bible” is this: From a historical standpoint it should be held to the same level of scrutiny that any other historial event or lit. is held too. I believe that is “fair” scrutiny.

    Tim wrote: “all of the things we now recognize as true are things that we can see (I use “see” metaphorically here to mean “observe and understand”)”

    Here you use the words pretty good. Observe and understand you have coupled with the word “seeing” this is EXACTALLY how the priest was using the word “seeing” in his conversation with you that you posted earlier. To “see” is to observe and not only observe but put the information into a useful coherent “pattern”.

    For example: imagine a person from Africa watching two kids play a video game. The information would be too much. What’s important? The black box? The X box underneith it? The sticks they push with their thumbs? The yelling? The inchoerent colors on the screen flashing and moving quickly? None of the information would make any sense to him. It would be incoherent and nonsense, because he wouldn’t understand or know what he was “seeing”. Science is like a friend who sits down beside the African and points out the colors on the screen. He helps the child “see” the car and he would help the child “see” how it reacted with the joysticks. In that way science acts like a guide “painting” a picture prior to understanding the game. In this way before the kid could play the game he would need to “see” in order to “know”.

    In that way the mentality of “science” or materialism takes the random pictures and incoherent activities and puts them into a coherent pattern so the “seer” can actually “see” what is happening.

    This pattern or “vision” is frequently called a paradigm. It is this paradigm that Kant places squarely ontop of “rationalism” and hence “science”.

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim

    Are you now changing your understanding of “logic” and are you shifting that definition over to “reason”?

    Whoa, nelly….mellow down 0_0 I was only referring to the most recent instance. In any case, you seem to believe I am only capable of holding a belief in logic, reason, or science. I believe in all three, together, simultaneously. “Logic” is a thing that is present in nature in the form of physics, yes….but in retrospect this is not the best example I could have used, since physics cannot be defied and human logic can. I should have compared natural “law” to the processes in our DNA that causes us to behave with respect to emotions and whatnot; that is something that humans cannot currently escape.

    I don’t believe I ever stated that the “bible” was exempt from anything. And I didn’t say that it’s unreliable. That is an inference based upon YOUR understanding of how I mean “empirically verifiable”. Just because something is not empirically verifiable it does NOT logically follow that anything prior to 150 years ago is therefor UNreliable.

    Yes, I “inferred” that you believe this….but it’s not as miniscule as you seem to think. You obviously have enough confidence in the Bible as fact (or at least, as a non-scientific possibility, given your disillusionment with regard to science being able to objectively prove God’s existence—or anything else—one way or the other) to drop a Bible bomb on people who don’t believe in it. If you hadn’t made that original comment, then I wouldn’t have a problem….but your original position seems to run completely contradictory to the points you’ve used in this discussion to discredit science, logic, and reason.

    In that way the mentality of “science” or materialism takes the random pictures and incoherent activities and puts them into a coherent pattern so the “seer” can actually “see” what is happening.

    The catch is, what happens in reality in response to scientific testing has the potential to confirm certain things as factual. For example (again), the fact that a lightbulb works the way it does. Let’s say that such a “paradigm” brought about the explanation for a lighbulb’s functionality (and thereafter the first lightbulb); does that mean that such a deduction is “wrong” for that reason alone, or “incapable” of reaching reality objectively? I don’t believe so; if you hold the position that we are unable to objectively discover how things work in the “real” world, then you have a lot of explaining to do with regard to the overall consistency of the physical world.

    For example: imagine a person from Africa watching two kids play a video game.

    My point exactly; the information offered is correct in this case. The facts shared by the child explaining the functionality of the game are “objectively true,” in that they exist outside of our minds. Even if none of the children existed, the game would still be capable of functioning the same way were someone else to come in and try to operate it. If we assumed your position—that “science” is unable to reach “objective reality”—then that would mean that we could never know how the game works for sure, “objectively.” But we can.

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim

    Reading back on my earlier comments as a whole, I realize that I may have become a little too forward with my proclamations….forgive me for this, and allow me to compensate by backing up just a little bit.

    First off; the reason logic, reason and science—in tandem—are the most “sensible” or “obvious” solutions to the questions of why things happen in the physical world is just as obvious to the casual onlooker: Because it can be seen, because it can be examined and interfaced with. Compare this to God, which cannot be detected at all, seen, or otherwise interacted with.

    Now, I understand your point about having to trust in something; however, in order for any thought process to function, it must begin with trust in something; whether that trust is placed in one’s own impulses, one’s own desires, or something else is not relevant so much as the fact that trust must be placed in some outside (and by “outside” I mean “beyond one’s own control”) factor in order for movement—both metaphorical and physical—can take place. If one were to refuse to take any sort of action or direction simply because “we can’t be sure if such-and-such is trustworthy” (which is true of anything, ultimately, if we take it apart and decompose it to the most basic, fundamental logical state), then actions would not take place—humanity would never advance in any direction, positive or negative.

    This would seem to open up religious thought and science, logic and reason (i.e. belief in things which can be observed) as equal alternatives; however, I disagree. Logic, reason and science should serve as a default position for any person, religious or not, simply because these things are common between every person and every force in the universe—to bring up the desk again, one can believe with all one’s heart that one is capable of passing through the desk’s physical matter composition, but that will not change the fact that one is not capable of such a feat. Physical reality is “consistent,” whether or not it is “objectively real” by your definition. Religion, on the other hand, is by its very nature subject to interpretation and basically “inconsistent.” There is no set “right” interpretation of the Bible’s many stories.

    But this does not rule out religious thought altogether; not at all. It is a common (thought not necessary or all-encompassing by any means) life strategy to center oneself around an idol, be it due to moral capacity, a particular talent, or something else. Some choose to center their lives around Jesus (both to positive and negative results which vary greatly from individual to individual, due to the overall inconsistencies in the different interpretations of the Christian Bible); others may choose to center their lives around a favorite singer, or writer, or fictional television show- or storybook-character. I don’t think you’ll find much argument with regard to this. However….danger is posed when a person’s dependence on this foreign source of influence moreso than that which can be seen and observed directly. I believe (and yes, I’m stepping out on a limb here and incorporating my own philosophy) that it can be productive if one uses one’s influence to further the course of the consistent world—for example, if a person is able to improve his/her daily life and work more efficiently because of a particular source of influence, then that will improve the quality of that person’s work and make it better than it could have been on its own. There is a danger that is posed when a person chooses to hold one’s own personal philosophy (which is subject to interpretation and personal variation) in higher regard than consistent reality (which is not). For this reason, I don’t hold it against religious folks for believing the way they do; for reasons we’ve already discussed, God’s existence (in any form) is ultimately moot, since it can never be proven through any known means (though there are several fair arguments against the existence of any particular religious deity, in my opinion).

    But back to physical reality….an example of a productive influence in my book. Think of science in relation to physically consistent “reality” as being similar to the way a doctor attempts to diagnose a patient. The “tests” scientists conduct are not done on a random impulse; they are done in response to a question that needs an answer. Without a posed question, there is no field in which to give the test a concrete purpose. Just as a doctor does not randomly test the patient for things that are not apparently affecting him/her; a doctor will measure the symptoms of a patient and use those symptoms to deduce what is wrong with the patient. A(n effective) doctor will not allow his/her own personal philosophy with regard to God’s interference in physical reality to interfere with his/her judgement of the situation; for example, he/she will not tell the patient to go home and repent because God is punishing him/her for some misdeed or another, even if he/she believes that is the case. A doctor knows that there is some physical cause for the symptoms—symptoms don’t simply take place, they happen for a reason, like all of physical reality (that is an identifying property of consistent physical reality).

    Now….if we think of “effects” that things in physical reality have on one another, we can relate these to medical “symptoms.” For example, global warming—an issue almost everyone can relate to in some way. We know that the atmospheric temperature in certain measured areas is rising very, very slightly over long periods of time—this can be observed in scientific studies conducted in various locations across the world. But to assume without further observation that humans are causing this decrease (or even capable of causing it) would be faulty, much like your thief analogy (and my Parsely analogy); it does not follow through logically to assume that two aspects are causically related simply because they are shared. So what we have is this:

    Symptom: Increasing temperature
    Probable Cause: ????

    We first developed theories as to what could be causing it; through conducting experiments that attempted to reproduce atmospheric conditions in certain environments (which, furthermore, consisted of a series of many smaller experiments which attempt to record precise, accurate and consistent depictions of said atmospheric conditions), we determined that it was almost certain that humans had some effect on this climate alteration. The question then was, to what degree? Among both conservative and liberal scientific communities, there is not much of a debate among whether or not the earth is warming, and to a lesser degree, on whether or not humans are affecting the climate. The debate seems to be centered around the urgency of the issue; some think it is a natural result of our interaction with the environment, others believe it is something that will eventually lead to natural disaster. The danger comes from neither of these sides—as debate is key in a healthy society, in order for the people to experience all of the evidence for each viewpoint—but from those who use faulty reasoning to enforce their decision. In one of Hemant’s postings on the date of this comment, he mentions Rush Limbaugh’s comments on global warming being “liberal propaganda,” citing the argument that man cannot destroy what God has created, so it’s not a problem. The reason this is wrong is because it favors one’s own personal interpretation over what has been suggested as a possibility by consistent physical reality. People like him believe that this debate shouldn’t exist—and that all who disagree with him are incorrect and need to be silenced—because of this mindset. We know for a fact that the atmospheric temperature is rising slightly; we know that there are well-founded studies which suggest that humans’ carbon emissions are responsible for this. We are simply torn over whether or not it will lead to global catastrophe in 100 years, or whether it is minimal enough to ignore.

    But I digress….all that aside, we have a symptom and a probably cause:

    Symptom: Increasing temperature
    Probable Cause: Carbon contributing to the atmosphere, which reacts with materials present in the atmosphere and creates holes in the atmospheric layers.

    Much of science operates like this; person sees a strange, seemingly disembodied effect (symptom). One desires to know the cause (disease) of this effect; one attempts to recreate the situation and study all of the factors involved (biopsy); one draws a logical conclusion (diagnosis), based on the conditions suggested by the results brought about by testing the factors. While science is not perfect—if there are unknown factors which are not observable without some further degree of technology, then the results might not be accurate—it is 100% accurate with regard to known factors. For this reason, if a person interprets the results correctly (i.e. one is generally aware of the fact that a glass of water’s inability to survive rough contact with a paved surface is not the cause of a bird’s ability to fly, because there is no connection between the two) and yet the results are still either inconclusive or inconsistent, then the only remaining physical possibility is that there are factors which have not been considered. This is how we are able to detect whether or not we know if something is physically consistent (or “real”): if there is even a single loose end somewhere, then the equation is not complete because not every factor is accounted for, and so the cycle of experimentation repeats itself.

    On a closing note (I am very tired, as I’ve been working), I want to say that, while I don’t agree with religious decisions, I don’t see them as “anti-logical” or “anti-scientific.” I believe people try to make them so by accepting illogical philosophical interpretations in place of physically consistent reality, but I don’t believe that religion is by its nature anti-progression so much as it simply tries to make leaps that cannot be scientifically enforced (the reason religion is surrounded by so much uncertainty on both sides is because there is no way to prove it one way or the other—if it could, then there would not be any debate about it.). Rather, I choose to see logic, science and reason as the foundation for other belief systems; I don’t see any harm in choosing to believe in anything, as long as logic and reason are at the foundation, and as long as those things don’t come in conflict with physically consistent reality. Physical reality is not simply a suggestion, it exists; it would not exist without reason. If we are not to trust in its existence (and in the ability of our senses to detect it), then why does it exist? With respect to that, I only think that religion is harmful when people allow themselves to believe that (A) physical reality is an illusion wherever it comes into conflict with religion, and (B) a religious person, for some reason, has the right to enact physical or emotional harm upon another person or that person’s property in the name of promulgating one’s own faith.

  • mike brown

    Tim It’s good to see you rethinking. I wish I could post more but right now I just can’t.

    The bottom line for you is that you believe “science” doesn’t require interpretation whereas “religion” does. I would challenge you to really think about that. If evolution doesn’t require interpreation why are there so many models of how it is accomplished? I’ve got to go however.

  • Mike

    tim wrote:” Reading back on my earlier comments as a whole, I realize that I may have become a little too forward with my proclamations….forgive me for this, and allow me to compensate by backing up just a little bit.”

    What are you retracting? your immediate post or many of the posts that have come before?

    Tim wrote:”First off; the reason logic, reason and science—in tandem—are the most “sensible” or “obvious” solutions to the questions of why things happen in the physical world is just as obvious to the casual onlooker:”

    some times I feel like I am saying the same things over and over again… It’s kind of like the twilight zone :). Obvious to whom? Sensible to whom?

    You retracted once again on what you mean by “reason” and “logic”. Part of our problem here tim is how your using these terms. What do you mean by “logic”? What do you mean by “reason” and what do you mean by “science”? I think you are assuming once again that I am thinking what you are thinking. But as I pointed out before… you thought that dogs employ logic. When you write the word “logic” for me I envision the method of determining wether an assertion is valid or invalid using rules of logical inference. When you wrote it you envisioned “a decision making process”. We are going to struggle in our communication until we can come together in agreement upon these terms.

    I want to affirm that I do not side with rush limbaugh on this issue so don’t think this is about global warming. You wrote:

    “Symptom: Increasing temperature
    Probable Cause: Carbon contributing to the atmosphere, which reacts with materials present in the atmosphere and creates holes in the atmospheric layers.”

    This is a logical inference true. However what HAS NOT been proven is that this temperature situation isn’t a cycle. We have only been keeping track of temperatures about 120 to 150 years. How do we know if the earth isn’t on some kind of wierd cycle where the temperature over a very long time raises and lowers? Since we have only been keeping track for 150 year or so there is no way to tell. I would say yes it is possible that our carbon emmisions have caused this problem. However, volcaones have been errupting for millions of years dumping more CO2 into our atomsphere than we ever thought of dumping. How has volcano erruptions affected CO2 input verse man made emmisions?

    Now, I will say it is entirely possible that we are to blame. It is not illogical to believe that we have caused this environmental crisis. However, while it may be logical to place blame upon ourselves LOGICALLY it MAY be something else that we have yet to identify. This is where I believe we are having problems. Just because we have been presented with a logical theorium it does not follow that the theory is actually true. For example

    I see a boy throwing a ball.
    I go upstairs and come back down and my window is broken
    Is it logical to assume the boy broke my window?
    Yes. It is logical but it does not follow that it is true.
    The best we can say without further information is the boy might have broken the window. Which is not the same as saying the boy broke the window.
    What does all this have to do with anything?

    Proclaiming that something is logical does not mean it is truthful.

    tim wrote: “This is how we are able to detect whether or not we know if something is physically consistent (or “real”)”

    Once again you have assumed to know what is real. If we are trying to determine what is “real” we do not begin by defining that which we are trying to determine.
    Question: Is physcial reality all there is?
    A: Yes
    Q: How do we know?
    A: Empiricism(science) denies us the ability to test anything not physcially there.
    Q: Doesn’t that imply that our method of inquiry may be limited?
    A: No, because we know that physical reality is all there is.
    Q: How do we know that?
    A: Because! Empiricism denies us the ability to test anything not physically there.

    If I were to sum up the last 30 days of interaction it would look something very similar to this. Much of our interation has centered upon this… This by the way is Kants point. A metaphysical position is ASSUMED inorder to build up a perspective that allows “reason” to function.

    You have begun this discussion with the assumption that physical reality is all that there is and that “science” tells us exactally what we “know” about this reality.

    I have to confess I kind of set you up with my television illustration. Yes, science is like the friend who sits down beside the lost african boy and “illustrates” the video game. However, the illustration ASSUMES the other boy is in a superior position to the african. To have a consistant illustration neither boy should be able to “understand” the game perfectly. In my illustration the other boy is like GOD he know’s what the game is about he knows the rules and how they all interact perfectly. But, and Kant makes this point very well, there is no one who approaches the game with a “blank” mind capable of viewing the “images” and “actions” with “impartial, neutral objectivity”. Such a person would be GOD like- perfect in all knowledge and in all ability. So in short there is no other boy who in God like perfection paints “objective reality” so we can understand it as it really is.

    Every once in a while a new boy sits down beside us and he revolutionizes the way we view and understand the “game”.

    Thomas Kuhn’s work points out that our Knowledge is truely “incoherent”. Inother words if we truely operated only on what we “know” reality would be incoherent. How does Justice fit in with Islam? How does death fit in with the Indy 500? Facts NEVER speak for themselves, they require interpretation.

    Try this with me. Get a book out that has the classic “evolution” picture. You know the ones with all the creatures in a sort of time line. Cut them all out and lay them on the floor in a incoherent haphazzard manner. Then try and put them back together. Your mind will remember that time line and force the “facts” of the “short necked” four legged creature and the “horse”it is related to together. This isn’t your fault. I would do the same thing because through education and training we are trained to view extinct animal through the lense of how they progress towards modern animals. That’s how we have been trained to think. that is the power of training.

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    Well, I’m not really even talking about evolution. I’m just talking about physical reality. Everything else that we have learned about the world comes from the most basic elements, that which we can observe—the physical world. I don’t care to get into a specific debate about creationism versus evolution, simply because I don’t have a formal education in either of those areas (though I do have a basic understanding) and on top of that, there are simply too many points to go through here, but the point remains that physical reality cannot be altered by our interaction in the sense that matter cannot be created nor destroyed; all we can do is move matter around, reconfigure it. No religious process has attempted to get around this basic fact, aside from citing it as “proof” that we can’t destroy what God has made—all such process seem to regard physical reality as completely irrelevant in the ultimate scheme of things, not in spite of its irrefutable consistency but because of it, which I consider to be the ultimate logical fallacy.

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    Once again you have assumed to know what is real. If we are trying to determine what is “real” we do not begin by defining that which we are trying to determine.
    Question: Is physcial reality all there is?
    A: Yes
    Q: How do we know?
    A: Empiricism(science) denies us the ability to test anything not physcially there.
    Q: Doesn’t that imply that our method of inquiry may be limited?
    A: No, because we know that physical reality is all there is.
    Q: How do we know that?
    A: Because! Empiricism denies us the ability to test anything not physically there.

    The point of my placing “real” in quotations was that, for the duration of my statement, I was placing the assumption that physical reality was all there is. I am not separately stating that this is true….

    And I have not denied the possibility that there is more than the physical world….all I have denied is that there is a way to interact with what may or may not exist outside of the physical world. Human beings are physical beings, and are therefore restricted to the laws of the physical world. I will gladly reconsider my position if you can offer some non-empirical, rational (i.e. not assumptive) way of consistently observing this world which may or may not exist outside of our own.

    All of which serves my other main point, which is that you are criticizing these thought processes for being unable to consistently do something that no other thought process is capable of doing consistently. If this is not true, then you should at least be able to prove me wrong.

    P.S. One of the things that irritates me most about the creationist community (in general) is that, on the one hand, they lash out at scientific communities for reasons similar to yours here (minus the textbook references). But on the other hand, they see how mass amounts of people flock to empiricism for answers, and so they try to classify their own non-empirical claims as empirical. This seems very hypocritical to me.

  • mike brown

    tim wrote: “Well, I’m not really even talking about evolution.”

    I really didn’t want to talk about it either. my point was that our education has taught us how to approach topics prior to us approaching a topic. In other words we are shown what to look for and then act all surprised when we find it.

    Our fundamental problem at communication center upon your assumption that if there is another “reality” empiricism should be able to find it. By it’s own methodology it CANNOT find it.

    tim wrote:”And I have not denied the possibility that there is more than the physical world….all I have denied is that there is a way to interact with what may or may not exist outside of the physical world.”

    So while you deny the ability to know if there is or is not more than physical reality you affirm that it does not interact with “physical reality”.
    How do you know this?
    Secondly, seeing that you have trained yourself to believe only that which is “empiricially” verifiable how would you know “evidence” even if you seen it? You have trained your self to believe only that which comes from “empirical” sources.

    tim wrote: ” I will gladly reconsider my position if you can offer some non-empirical, rational (i.e. not assumptive) way of consistently observing this world which may or may not exist outside of our own.”

    I havn’t asked you to reconsider your position. However, I cannot offer a non assumptive way of observing the world. We have spoken about his at great length. Every perspective has to assume something you affirmed this yourself:

    “however, in order for any thought process to function, it must begin with trust in something; whether that trust is placed in one’s own impulses, one’s own desires, or something else is not relevant so much as the fact that trust must be placed in some outside-”

    so I cannot give you what you’r asking for. I can say many people have had many experiences that are difficult to explain “empiricall” or “naturallisticaly”. I had friends involved in occultic practices come home and find their pots and pans swirling around their kitchen. They were heavily involved in occult practices and it scared them badly. They did become christians mainly because of that particular expirence.

    But what does that prove? nothing. As soon as you read that your mind probably (I won’t presume to know what your thinking) began creating alist of things that might have “rationally” caused such an event. There are hundreds of events like that but what does that prove? It proves nothing, because according to how we are trained to think everything happens for a coherent and logical reason. This will continue until YOU are confronted with something that shifts your perspective. Me pecking away on a computer… can’t do that. It requires an AH HA moment.

    Kuhn spoke about such moments and called them paradigm shifts. It’s when information that was ordered in one coherent pattern get’s shifted around and turns into another completely different but equally coherent pattern. Kuhn called it a paradigm shift, christians have been calling it “conversion” for centuries.

    So the short of it is that while I could create a list as long as your arm you won’t be able to see it as “proof” of anything. it’s not proof unless you see it as such. That’s the way I see it anyway.

    So why am I speaking with you? I’m hoping that while we are conversing you may have an AH HA moment and see what I am speaking about when it comes to how our perspective limits our ability to “know” objectively.

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    Our fundamental problem at communication center upon your assumption that if there is another “reality” empiricism should be able to find it. By it’s own methodology it CANNOT find it.

    No, my assumption was that, if there is another reality that can affect our own, empiricism will confirm its existence. And that, if another such reality exists but cannot affect us in any way, then it is ultimately inconsequential.

    so I cannot give you what you’r asking for. I can say many people have had many experiences that are difficult to explain “empiricall” or “naturallisticaly”. I had friends involved in occultic practices come home and find their pots and pans swirling around their kitchen. They were heavily involved in occult practices and it scared them badly. They did become christians mainly because of that particular expirence.

    I’m glad you brought this up, because the experience of having pots and pans swirling around one’s kitchen is empirically verifiable….and yet, for some reason, every single time such a claim has ever surfaced, it has always been in a situation in which the actual act was only observed by one person, and that person always seems to have been involved in the occult (or religion in general) anyway, creating a bias with interest to letting others know (for Christians, similar unvarifiable claims are often used as “evidence” that God exists, used to convert others, which creates a conflict of interest).

    If such a thing ever happens and is empirically confirmed, I will gladly forfeit my current position on the matter (which is that such claims are basically “hooey”).

    This will continue until YOU are confronted with something that shifts your perspective. Me pecking away on a computer… can’t do that. It requires an AH HA moment.

    I’m glad you realize this; your ability to influence my beliefs in that which cannot be proved in some way is completely moot. Many people don’t seem to realize this about themselves.

    Your statement here is also why I support people’s freedom to choose their own religious beliefs, as well as the idea that no religion is affirmably “right” in the grand scheme of things.

    So why am I speaking with you? I’m hoping that while we are conversing you may have an AH HA moment and see what I am speaking about when it comes to how our perspective limits our ability to “know” objectively.

    Aye….we have already discussed this, have we not? I am not arguing our ability to know “objectively” anymore. I am arguing the potential for the “great beyond” to influence us here on earth. My point still stands that, were something from “beyond physical reality” to influence us in any way, then we would be able to empirically confirm it; by the very nature of influence, something must change. This creates an alteration in the physical world; something that was one way is now another way. If this difference completely contradicts a fundamental physical truth (i.e. matter cannot be created or destroyed), then this is evidence that something from beyond the physical world has interacted with the physical world (since it cannot be something of physical origin, as all physical objects are bound by the fundamental laws of physics).

    If there is no way to observe the change, then no such change has taken place….because we would be able to observe that something is different.

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim

    P.S.

    I need to amend one thing I said….

    No, my assumption was that, if there is another reality that can affect our own, empiricism will confirm its effect on our world. And that, if another such reality exists but cannot affect us in any way, then it is ultimately inconsequential.

  • Mike B

    Tim that was a well put together post an quite coherent. I’m not interested in proving how anything can interact with the physical world. I’m interested in your philosophy and your world view and your ability to rationally communicate such view.

    Tim wrote:”we have already discussed this, have we not? I am not arguing our ability to know “objectively” anymore. I am arguing the potential for the “great beyond” to influence us here on earth.”

    You never really made it clear to me that you had conceded the point that we cannot objectively know about the world around us.

    Timr wrote: “No, my assumption was that, if there is another reality that can affect our own, empiricism will confirm its effect on our world. And that, if another such reality exists but cannot affect us in any way, then it is ultimately inconsequential.”

    I really don’t like to do this: But lets take tony dungy for example. Tony dungy won the super bowl and praised God for his teams win. It was his contention that God took them through the longer route to win the superbowl. Now Tony dungy has proclaimed that so it has had an affect upon our world. It is not the effect that you are looking for but it has affected our world. Dungy is a physcial being, empirically we have it on tape that he said it. Wether God is physically real or not there has been a documented effect upon our world because of this idea.

    It’s would work the same with the pathagorium theorium.
    A2+B2 = C2 There is no physical reality that equalls the pathagorium theory it just so happens to have an effect upon our world. It is an idea a theory that when you try it on triangles it just happens to work. But it’s not physically real… it’s a concept an idea. In the same way… God may not be real in the terms of physically real but it has affected our world in many many ways.

    Like I said I don’t really like to do this because now we’ll quibble about my view instead of about what youre thinking but it’s only fair because I’ve been pecking you for a while…

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim

    I really don’t like to do this: But lets take tony dungy for example. Tony dungy won the super bowl and praised God for his teams win. It was his contention that God took them through the longer route to win the superbowl. Now Tony dungy has proclaimed that so it has had an affect upon our world. It is not the effect that you are looking for but it has affected our world. Dungy is a physcial being, empirically we have it on tape that he said it. Wether God is physically real or not there has been a documented effect upon our world because of this idea.

    That’s not the same thing at all….the idea of God is not God Himself. I am talking about the actual entity, God. To say that the effect of the idea is somehow equivalent to action on the part of the deity Himself is ludicrous. Anybody can say God did anything, the bottom line is (according to your reasoning) that we can’t know for sure either way if God was actually involved. I could just as easily say that I know God didn’t bring him through the super bowl, and the point would be just as unreliable.

    Also, the idea that “God helped him win the super bowl” is not a concrete interference. How did God help him win the super bowl? He would have had to cause something to happen that, physically, would not have happened without his intervention. This is where the potential to “prove” God’s interaction appears.

    I’d be the first one to agree with you on the idea that the idea of God has affected our world greatly (the Crusades, anyone?). But God Himself doesn’t even have to exist for that to happen; the idea of Allah has done the same. By your rationale, that makes Allah real, and all of Muslim valid as well, which nullifies Christianity, creating a paradox.

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim

    P.S.

    You never really made it clear to me that you had conceded the point that we cannot objectively know about the world around us.

    September 23:

    (2) I am not (unless otherwise stated) debating whether or not humans are capable of accessing “objective reality.” We are assuming that “objective reality” is beyond human perception, and therefore completely and 100% inaccessible to humans due to the fact that our only means of interaction with the world around us are our five senses, which (Mike Brown argues) are by their nature part of our perception, and therefore untrustworthy with regards to the study of “objective reality.”

  • Mike

    Tim wrote:”To say that the effect of the idea is somehow equivalent to action on the part of the deity Himself is ludicrous. Anybody can say God did anything, the bottom line is (according to your reasoning) that we can’t know for sure either way if God was actually involved.”

    True, I will conceed that the idea of God is not the same as God acting himself. However, dungy has attributed changes in his life to an encournter with God himself. Many christians have attributed a change in their life to an “encounter” with God. But as you say, “we can’t know for sure either way if God was actually involved”. I can go with that. That would be where “faith” and trust comes into play.

    Tim wrote on the 23rd as well: “if “objective reality” does indeed exist under such conditions that it can never be accessed by any human using any means available to us, then it is of no consequence; there is no means by which to observe its existence or any effect is has on us.”

    In other words while you conceeded that objective reality was unknownable you also stated it was of “no consequence” so forgive me if I mistook your “concession” as a temporary concession for the sake of argument. You likewise went on to argue how animals use “logic” and reason. So if your concession on the 23rd was a real conession than the concession above is equally a “real” concession.

    So I would question such a conession. Just because we cannot know “objectively” about the world around us, does it therefore deny us the abiltiy to know anything at all? Isn’t it possible that while we confess that we cannot know perfectly we do know somethings “imperfectly” albeit with our perspective tainting our conclusions? Isn’t that possible?

    tim wrote:
    “…and yet, for some reason, every single time such a claim has ever surfaced,”

    What an amazing claim. You don’t know these people… you don’t know me, You don’t know the situation yet you have assumed that this situation is “just like every other time.” You have presumed to know about a situation that you don’t know all the fact. How can you do this? THAT is what I mean by approaching a topic with a set of assumptions. You have approached the evidence with a bias that has influenced your decision. Before you even knew the situation you assumed certain things about it.

    Tim wrote: “it has always been in a situation in which the actual act was only observed by one person,”

    What does that have to do anything? Just because it was observed by only one person it does not automatically follow that it is unrealiable. There are many many things that have happened where only a person saw the event. The question is wether that person is reliable and has a motivation to lie. You don’t know these people how do you know if they are liars or not? You don’t.

    Tim wrote: “and that person always seems to have been involved in the occult (or religion in general) anyway,”

    So let me get this straight only non religious people can observe something impartially? Are you implying that religious people by default are more biased than non religious? Where is your evidence for such a claim? How do you know this? Are you claiming that only atheist approach evidence “objectively”?

    tim wrote: “creating a bias with interest to letting others know.”
    This is a fancy way of calling a person a liar. What do you mean by “creating a bias with an interest”? Are you implying that people you don’t know anything about are lying about something they claim they observed? Calling a person a liar-even if you don’t mean it that way- is a large claim one that I would hope you would take very seriously. One you weren’t there; and two you have no way of know what happened objectively.

    This is the logical conclusion concering the power of perspective. If “religious” people are biased than so are “non religious” people. It just so happens that you argee with non religious people hence they “seem” more rational. Where as I agree with religious people and they “seem” more rational.

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim

    In other words while you conceeded that objective reality was unknownable you also stated it was of “no consequence” so forgive me if I mistook your “concession” as a temporary concession for the sake of argument. You likewise went on to argue how animals use “logic” and reason. So if your concession on the 23rd was a real conession than the concession above is equally a “real” concession.

    I am conceding that, according to the rationale you have offered here, no, it is not possible for us to know if we know things for sure. However, as it is my perogative to place trust in that which I can immediately experience (i.e. my five senses and whatnot), I believe that science, logic and reason are consistent enough to provide us with useful devices and methodoligies (though I acknowledge your point that they cannot test or observe things which may not play by the rules of physical reality, even though I doubt the existence of such things for reasons I’ve explained). But that is not the point; if I understand our points correctly, this discussion is not about changing what either of us believe so much as it is reaching a common-ground understanding (and, if possible, agreement) about certain things.

    So I would question such a conession. Just because we cannot know “objectively” about the world around us, does it therefore deny us the abiltiy to know anything at all? Isn’t it possible that while we confess that we cannot know perfectly we do know somethings “imperfectly” albeit with our perspective tainting our conclusions? Isn’t that possible?

    Well, by your own statement….if “objective reality” is separated from us by our perceptions, then it is technically impossible to know if what we know is objective. So we can understand that which is physical, and we can know it, understand it and observe it….but since we are by our nature limited to the physical world, we can never truly understand anything that does not interact with such a world in some way or another.

    What an amazing claim. You don’t know these people… you don’t know me, You don’t know the situation yet you have assumed that this situation is “just like every other time.” You have presumed to know about a situation that you don’t know all the fact. How can you do this? THAT is what I mean by approaching a topic with a set of assumptions. You have approached the evidence with a bias that has influenced your decision. Before you even knew the situation you assumed certain things about it.

    I do know that there is no hard proof of such incidents. If there were, then it would be documented (as “hard proof” is that which can either reproduce the original incident or prove that it took place), and these sorts of things would be accepted scientific facts. Just like with God—people say that there’s proof one way or the other, but if there was, then the debate itself wouldn’t exist on such a massive scale.

    What does that have to do anything? Just because it was observed by only one person it does not automatically follow that it is unrealiable. There are many many things that have happened where only a person saw the event. The question is wether that person is reliable and has a motivation to lie. You don’t know these people how do you know if they are liars or not? You don’t.

    Again….by your own statement, the event is restricted to that person’s perception, marking it as flawed. Second, a person’s claim is never evidence to support something. I can prove this right now:

    “Anyone who looks at the sky can clearly see that it is plaid.”

    Is that “evidence” to support the “claim” that the sky is obviously plaid? No; it is a claim. I would require evidence to support that claim before most people would believe me.

    So let me get this straight only non religious people can observe something impartially? Are you implying that religious people by default are more biased than non religious? Where is your evidence for such a claim? How do you know this? Are you claiming that only atheist approach evidence “objectively”?

    First; not so much a “bias” as a conflict of interest. A Christian, for example, has a conflict of interest with regard to the truth; his/her goal is to convert someone like me into a belief into the supernatural. Therefore, he/she might feel a need to “bend” the truth, perhaps thinking that my own belief in the supernatural is more important than the actual truth; “the means justify the ends,” as some would say. Not that all religious folk think like this, but can you honestly tell me that such a conflict of interest wouldn’t skew your opinion in a similar (but perhaps non-religious) situation? For example, if a major corporation sponsored a study which showed that rainforests actually polluted the atmosphere, and then you found out that the corporation in question had a vested financial interest in the destruction of rainforests, wouldn’t you have at least some reason to perceive a conflict of interest?

    Second; no, I don’t mean to say that only athiests approach matters objectively. It only appears that way here, as it involves matters of the supernatural—I’m sure there are several atheists out there who may not be open to belief in the supernatural (I don’t claim to know all atheists anymore than I claim to know all religious people), and as a result they would deny even a good argument for the supernatural. But it goes the other way, too—a religious person with a potential ulterior motive for convincing me of such things is hardly a convincing source. I—not unlike many others—would be more likely to believe a person who had no such motive in the debate at hand (such as an atheist or a scientist), though this isn’t to say that I would automatically believe someone just because he/she claimed to be an ex-atheist who had witnessed the supernatural and thereby converted (that’s a popular conversion tactic on the Biblical networks).

    This is a fancy way of calling a person a liar. What do you mean by “creating a bias with an interest”? Are you implying that people you don’t know anything about are lying about something they claim they observed? Calling a person a liar-even if you don’t mean it that way- is a large claim one that I would hope you would take very seriously. One you weren’t there; and two you have no way of know what happened objectively.

    I’m not calling anyone a liar, I feel that’s very clear. I am simply stating that, with regard to such serious matters as the state of the physical world and that which may or may not lurk beyond, I tend to require more evidence or support for claims which go against that which it opposes, and that for which I have already seen evidence (I have seen hundreds of debunked “supernatural” claims, and so yes, I admit I am somewhat biased here….but that is because of this stated interest that so many people have in convincing the rest of the world of the supernatural’s existence. If the supernatural really does exist, then why do so many people feel they have to lie about it?). My point being that I’m not adverse to belief in the supernatural (you know how much easier my life would be if I could wake up one day and just believe all of this?), but I do require proof. I don’t just take random people’s word for such important matters.

    This is the logical conclusion concering the power of perspective. If “religious” people are biased than so are “non religious” people. It just so happens that you argee with non religious people hence they “seem” more rational. Where as I agree with religious people and they “seem” more rational.

    Well, I believe that there are rational religious people, as well as rational atheists. I believe fundamentalists are outrageous and irrational, and I want nothing to do with them—fundamentalists and evangelicals act as if they’re more concerned with “turning me over to their side” than with actually making a change in the world. It is this interest which makes all of their “positive” efforts seem like an attempt to validate their beliefs to me—”see, look! We can be good people! Now come join us!” But I’d be the first to tell you that not all religious folk are like that; I know plenty of people with whom I have had peaceful, condescension-free discussions about religion, and with whom I have had agreed to disagree on matters of religion. We respect each others’ beliefs, and we’re both fine with that (ironically, because of arguments very similar to the ones you and I have made here). My only real “beef” with religious folks (and really only “fundies” at that) is with the ones who feel that they need to “acquire” as many people as possible. I believe in peaceful coexistence, and this kind of empire attitude is a turn-off (and in some ways a threat) for people like me.

  • Mike

    Tim wrote: “But that is not the point; if I understand our points correctly, this discussion is not about changing what either of us believe so much as it is reaching a common-ground understanding (and, if possible, agreement) about certain things.”

    I can agree that we are trying to find a common ground. That’s what I have been trying to do… I’ve been trying to find a common starting point that is solid so I can relate to you in a consistant mannor. I hope you don’t feel I’ve been condecending. I’ve been frustrated I’ve been a bit obnoxious, but I hope I’ve not be condecending.

    Tim wrote:
    “Well, by your own statement….if “objective reality” is separated from us by our perceptions, then it is technically impossible to know if what we know is objective. So we can understand that which is physical, and we can know it, understand it and observe it….but since we are by our nature limited to the physical world, we can never truly understand anything that does not interact with such a world in some way or another.”

    This paragraph is easily broken into two segments. The first is inconsistent with the second.Let me demonstrate:
    ” if “objective reality” is separated from us by our perceptions, then it is technically impossible to know if what we know is objective.”

    If you mean by “objective” that it’s impartial and wihout bias; than yes I believe there is no way to know if what we claim to know is actually untainted.

    But the above statement is inconsistant with the sentence directly following it. The first sentence was that you agree we cannot know wether we “know” something is “objective” or not. The second sentence is this:

    “So we can understand that which is physical, and we can know it, understand it and observe it.”

    You used the word “So” to me that implies that: “as a result of the proceeding things” or “because of what I just said this statement should logically follow”. So we can understand that which is physical…. ? How is this possible? The sentence proceeding you just stated that we cannot know if we know “objectively”. Then you turn around and state that we know the physical world and observe it…. Like we are observing something “objectively” Now in your head there maybe a logical flow here that I am missing… but I am missing it.

    If we cannot know if our understanding of the world is “objective” (meaning impartial and without bias) than how can we claim to “know” the physical world “objectively”? If our perception taits the way we percieve the physical world than our very interaction and observation of the physical world is tainted as well. That’s what is significant about the concession that our perspective taints our ability to be “objective”. It places everything is discord and disarray. It calls nearly everything into question. That’s the bugaboo that Immanual Kant opened up in the 1700th century. Philosophically the bugaboo hasn’t been put back into the box not at least to my knowledge.

    Let’s take your own assessment of my humble “evidence”

    Tim wrote: “I do know that there is no hard proof of such incidents.”

    Do you know there is no hard proof or have you actually only listened to people who have told you there is no hard proof? Let me be clear here. To KNOW is to have studied EVERY SINGLE (I’ll even insert) significant argument and circumstance, to be be able to conclusively state that it is beyond a shadow of doubt without merit. I wouldn’t claim to KNOW there is no hard proof of Gods non existance. You’re only 19 I am highly doubious that you have studied in depth in history, philosophy, ancient manuscripts, historigraphy ect… to be able to claim to KNOW there is no evidence.

    Tim wrote: “If there were, then it would be documented (as “hard proof” is that which can either reproduce the original incident or prove that it took place), and these sorts of things would be accepted scientific facts.”

    Not every single event is documented. Secondly, you don’t throw out something because it is undocumented, that’s bad thinking. Where is your documentation for Free will? Where is the “evidence” that it exists? Not your little “arguments” I want documented “empirical evidence” that conclusively states that “Man kind has a free will.”. Where is your “evidence” for Love? Or morality?

    You tried this argument earlier remember, I went on and on about things with which science can’t deal effectively. Science can’t deal with certain things very well. Because science can’t prove morality does that mean we throw it out? Accorinding to your theory of knowledge unless a thing is “documented” and accepted as “evidence” it is therefor dismissed. Is that logical? If you recall I asked you that same question earlier. Is is logical to throw out something just because you lack evidence? Life isn’t a courtroom. In theory it sound great to “act accorinding to science” but if you are consistant you soon begin to realize that science (if you’re using is properly) is very limited. Now if you mix philosophical naturalism with “science” than…. well you’ll get a whole lot of stuff… but you really shouldn’t call it “science” than should you?

    tim wrote:”First; not so much a “bias” as a conflict of interest. A Christian, for example, has a conflict of interest with regard to the truth; his/her goal is to convert someone like me into a belief into the supernatural.”

    Tim I’m sorry but the part of the post where you wrote all this about Christians being this that and another is no better than racial slurrs. All christians seek converts over truth. Really, lets try your assertions with an ethnic group? All hispanics are have a conflict of interest between truth and conversion. Therefore whenever I speak with a hispanic I automatically distrust what they say because I know they are in conflict between truth and conversion. When it comes to hispanics I need MORE evidence than I usually would when it comes to things about the physical world because they may feel the need to “bend the truth”

    Tim if you wrote what you wrote about ANY ethnic group would it be a good example of racism? Do you think you may have a bias against people of religious leanings? Is it possible that your “requirement for more evidence” can never be met because the bias is affecting your judgement?

    Tim wrote: “I’m not calling anyone a liar, I feel that’s very clear. ”
    Actually no that’s not very clear. What do you mean by “bending the truth” isn’t that’s a white wash way of saying “lie”?

    When you say “conflict of interest” don’t you mean they may feel tempted to LIE about what they saw inorder to get you to convert?

    When you say you “require more evidence” don’t you mean that you begin the assessment with doubt in your mind? You don’t believe this person? You think they may be LYING?

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    You used the word “So” to me that implies that: “as a result of the proceeding things” or “because of what I just said this statement should logically follow”.

    That would not be correct. In this instance, I use “so” to mean, “in other news, we can see that….” I meant it only as a transitional word, nothing more~

    If you mean by “objective” that it’s impartial and wihout bias; than yes I believe there is no way to know if what we claim to know is actually untainted.

    Well, which is it—do you believe that we can objectively know things, or do you think our perceptions keep us from knowing things? If it’s possible in the way you seem to be implying now—if it is possible to know things objectively, though not devoid of some bias—then that would make it possible to know things objectively. Something is not “not real” simply because it exists within our perceptions; by in assuming that it is, you also assume that something is the opposite of real simply because we can perceive it. And you know as well as I do that that’s completely false—what other standards do we have to judge our surroundings, other than seeing and observing them for ourselves? Even if we rely on someone else’s word, that person is relying on those same senses to reach the conclusion he/she has.

    Note that when I say “real,” I mean “real as best as we can understand reality.” I don’t mean “objectively, finally real.” Which is to say, for the sake of this statement, that I am not assuming physical reality is the final truth.

    If we cannot know if our understanding of the world is “objective” (meaning impartial and without bias) than how can we claim to “know” the physical world “objectively”?

    We can understand the physical world objectively, to a degree. However, for reasons we have already discussed, we cannot know if the physical world is itself “objective” if our methodologies are restricted to the physical world.

    Think of it like this: The physical world encompasses the “known factors.” The world or worlds which may or may not exist beyond the physical world represent the “unknown factors.” As logic is capable of functioning with 100% efficiency with regard to the known factors, examination/comparison of pure physical factors is capable of measuring physical aspects with 100% efficiency with regard to physical factors. So no, we cannot determine if there is a world beyond the physical one using only physical means, just as we cannot logically “observe” unknown factors. For that is all logic is, by itself—observation. And to observe, one must first be provided with something to observe, as I think you’ll agree.

    I wouldn’t claim to KNOW there is no hard proof of Gods non existance. You’re only 19 I am highly doubious that you have studied in depth in history, philosophy, ancient manuscripts, historigraphy ect… to be able to claim to KNOW there is no evidence.

    I don’t claim to know that there is no hard proof of God’s non-existence, or vice-versa. I claim that no hard proof of a supernatural incident has been made available to the masses. All of the “irrefutable proofs” often cited by supernatural enthusiasts are interpretive by nature, and it is this very nature that supernatural enthusiasts use to try and discredit logic/reason/science, simply because they would seem to frown upon such supernatural theories.

    Not every single event is documented. Secondly, you don’t throw out something because it is undocumented, that’s bad thinking. Where is your documentation for Free will? Where is the “evidence” that it exists? Not your little “arguments” I want documented “empirical evidence” that conclusively states that “Man kind has a free will.”. Where is your “evidence” for Love? Or morality?

    (1) Who are you to tell me what is “bad thinking?”

    (2) I don’t need documentation to prove things that I can experience myself, as I have no desire to prove such things as free will, love, or morality (as general concepts) to others. Proof is only necessary where one desires to convince another. Besides, your examples here are abstract ideas with many definitions; the idea of whether or not a specific incident relating to the supernatural is provable or not is not an abstract concept.

    (3) You seem to think that I’m claiming knowledge of such incidents, in one way or another. I’m not doing anything of the sort—I’m simply placing the burden of proof on he or she who wishes to convince me of the supernatural’s existence. I currently have no stance here (though I’m inclined against belief in the supernatural, I don’t firmly disbelieve it—I feel I’m open to irrefutable evidence, should such evidence ever surface). Much in the same way I don’t stop random people in public whom I overhear holding discussions about God and try to convince them that God doesn’t exist unless I have some irrefutable proof in my hands (which I feel I’m intelligent enough to realize doesn’t exist), I wouldn’t expect someone to challenge my lack of belief in the supernatural (or hold it against me in any way) unless he or she had irrefutable evidence to the contrary. And “irrefutable evidence” is, by its nature, evidence which points to a limited set of conclusions, all of which support the supernatural. If it can be explained in any physical way, no matter how unlikely, I will tend to believe the physical explanation over the supernatural. Why? Simple: The laws of physics have yet to be objectively “broken” by man. Why should I believe that something which (as far as we know) is impossible has taken place, when there is a solution (however unlikely) that obeys the laws I currently respect?

    You tried this argument earlier remember, I went on and on about things with which science can’t deal effectively. Science can’t deal with certain things very well. Because science can’t prove morality does that mean we throw it out? Accorinding to your theory of knowledge unless a thing is “documented” and accepted as “evidence” it is therefor dismissed.

    I can’t help but notice that your argument is to take all of my points and try to apply them to every situation, no matter how irrelevant to the one at hand. I don’t believe that all undocumented ideas are unworthy of my acknowledgement. However, if something challenges what I know to be true (i.e. cups cannot simply float in midair on their own), I require a great deal of evidence before I will change my entire worldview simply to accomodate a single technically “impossible” event.

    The reason “love” and “morality,” for example, don’t fit this generalization, is simply because I do not know them to be false.

    Tim I’m sorry but the part of the post where you wrote all this about Christians being this that and another is no better than racial slurrs. All christians seek converts over truth.

    I would be more inclined to believe that all Christians do not have a potential conflict of interest with regard to conversion (or that most or all of them do not hold an inherent desire to convert non-Christians) if this were not clearly expressed in their Holy Book. I have close Christian friends who have agreed to disagree with me, but I’m not so naive as to think that they wouldn’t be happy if I woke up tomorrow and converted to Christianity (one of them actually related this to me, though I don’t feel offended by it because he and I have already agreed not to discuss matters on which we are pretty much locked in disagreement).

    All hispanics are have a conflict of interest between truth and conversion.

    This makes no sense, as hispanic is a race, not a religion (one cannot choose one’s race; one can choose one’s religion). Hispanics have no holy book which calls them to “save” other people and convert them to the Hispanic race (which is impossible, anyway, so that’s probably good). On top of that, I wasn’t referring to all Christians with my point; I was referring to Christians who specialize in proving the existence of the supernatural. Religious folks do have a vested interest in physical proof of the supernatural, even those that don’t feel a personal commitment to conversion efforts.

    Do you think you may have a bias against people of religious leanings? Is it possible that your “requirement for more evidence” can never be met because the bias is affecting your judgement?

    I have already “admitted” to you that I would be much more likely to accept a person who does not have a conflict of interest in the matter (in the supernatural example, I used a scientist and a religious person, as a scientist has nothing to gain by “proving” that the supernatural is impossible, whereas a Christian has a primary duty to convert). I don’t think it’s narrow of me to be suspicious of an explanation by a person who has a clear conflict of interest with regard to said explanation.

    When you say “conflict of interest” don’t you mean they may feel tempted to LIE about what they saw inorder to get you to convert?

    That depends. In some cases, obviously (Benny Hinn), yes. Some might actually believe things which they can’t know to be true; in some cases, for example, people claim to have “felt the presence of a higher power.” They may believe that what they felt was the presence of a higher power, but it may have been something else. There is no way to “prove” what they felt, however, for obvious reasons, so to say the person is “lying” would be quite a stretch….however, simply because the person believes he/she saw or felt into the afterlife (or simply something beyond the physical world) is not proof enough for me.

    When you say you “require more evidence” don’t you mean that you begin the assessment with doubt in your mind? You don’t believe this person? You think they may be LYING?

    (1) Please get over your paradigm about me “lying.” If I haven’t explained it to you clearly enough by now, then there’s nothing more I can do, so you’ll either have to go on thinking I’m calling people I don’t know “liars,” or you’ll have to accept my explanation. Personally, I don’t care which, as I’m not going to argue over semantics, though I’ll admit it would help if you would at least consider what I’m saying instead of ignoring my explanation and inserting your own.

    (2) Yes, I enter the situation with doubt in my mind. This is the case anytime somebody challenges common knowledge, and it does not (contrary to popular belief) automatically mean that I am not open to alternatives. I am open to the possibility of the supernatural’s existence, but that does not mean I will readily accept it without substantial evidence, or that I will seek evidence to support it. As I stand, I believe the probability of its existence is small. However, as with any other point, if someone showed me particularly compelling evidence, I would gladly reconsider my view. However, at the end of the day, all of the facts need to line up—everything must be consistent. If one point contradicts another, then the overall skew must be reconsidered. This is how a reasonable understanding of the physical world works.

  • MB

    tim wrote: “Who are you to tell me what is “bad thinking?”

    Ok, fair enough question….

    I stated :”Secondly, you don’t throw out something because it is undocumented, that’s bad thinking.”

    Do you think that it is good thinking that because something is undocumented that it is therefore untrue? You tell me? Does it logically follow that all true events are documented SO undocumented events are untrue? Is that logical?

    tim wrote: “I don’t need documentation to prove things that I can experience myself, as I have no desire to prove such things as free will, love, or morality (as general concepts) to others.”

    You know my friends I was telling you about they wouldn’t need documentation to “prove” the existance of “demons” either. Of course you wouldn’t need documentation it’s coming out of your own perspective. Of course you would think that it’s “common sense” because YOU can observe it. But tim not everyone has the same experience nor do people interpret the same expirence the same way. People are different therefore their interpretations of what things mean is equally different. Where you might look at a criminal as a person who made a “bad choice” another person might see the exact same person and see someone who came out of an environment and therefore with a limited ablity to choose.

    tim wrote: “Yes, I enter the situation with doubt in my mind. This is the case anytime somebody challenges common knowledge, and it does not (contrary to popular belief) automatically mean that I am not open to alternatives.”

    Tim, you seem to think that “common knowledge” is the same with everyone particulary with those who think like you. Christians look at the world around them and can’t help but see God in activity. You look around and see natural laws in effect and nothing else. Both people look at the other and claim “their not using their heads” but is that true tim? If there is such a thing as “common knowledge” please write a book and describe it because there are lots of philosophers who would love such a proof. It’s the bugaboo I was speaking about in my earlier post, no one know’s how to get at “common knowledge” tim. You claim that there are things that people know that are just “common knowledge” but what they are are collections of assumptions that are unproven that just happen to function.

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    Do you think that it is good thinking that because something is undocumented that it is therefore untrue? You tell me? Does it logically follow that all true events are documented SO undocumented events are untrue? Is that logical?

    Read again. I didn’t say it’s concretely not true because it isn’t documented. I said it’s not concretely true because it isn’t documented. Which is to say, I don’t think it’s objectively untrue (as I’ve said, I’m willing to listen to evidence if you or they have any), but rather that it’s not objectively true. It’s in “ideological purgatory,” and ultimately inconsequential to my views until further proof is iterated.

    Where you might look at a criminal as a person who made a “bad choice” another person might see the exact same person and see someone who came out of an environment and therefore with a limited ablity to choose.

    This is a terrible example; nobody (devoid of chemical mental disorder) has a “limited ability to choose.” The fact that he/she didn’t think of the right choice doesn’t mean he/she didn’t have the ability to think of it. I’ll have you know that I strongly resent the “DNA defense” with regard to criminal offenses.

    You know my friends I was telling you about they wouldn’t need documentation to “prove” the existance of “demons” either.

    And if they choose to believe in demons as a result of that, then I see nothing wrong with that—perhaps they really did see something that convinced them of this. However….if they wish to convince me of that, then they will need to prove it somehow.

    I believe that everyone has the right to his/her own perspective. It is only when one attempts to overlap one’s own perspective with someone else’s that some kind of common factor (i.e. “concrete evidence”) is required.

    Tim, you seem to think that “common knowledge” is the same with everyone particulary with those who think like you.

    “Common knowledge” as I use it simply refers to that which is accepted by the masses to some degree of majority. Common knowledge consists of such obvious facts as, “The sky is sometimes blue during the day,” or, “humans must breathe in order to survive.” Things that most people would require evidence to disbelieve.

    You claim that there are things that people know that are just “common knowledge” but what they are are collections of assumptions that are unproven that just happen to function.

    So you’re saying all of functioning, proven science is “just a coincidence?” I say that’s a pretty bold assumption, that we just happened to “get lucky” and that nothing we know is true. You claim to know this for sure?

  • Mike

    tim wrote : “It’s in “ideological purgatory,” and ultimately inconsequential to my views until further proof is iterated.”

    This idea of “ideological purgatory” seems to be a common theme with you. If by “purgatory” you mean that your decision is “on hold” I would questions such a statement. If your decision is “on hold” than how can you claim that it’s inconsequential? It seems to me that it can only be inconsequential if your absolutely sure about the situation.

    This is a common theme among atheist I have found. no one wants to “defend” their position they would rather put it in “purgatory” and leave it undecided. This wouldn’t bother me so much if it was actually how people like yourself acted. But Tim your not acting like it’s in “ideological purgatory” you’re on an atheist site defending naturalism and “science” standing against “religion” and yet when I ask you to defend your decision you revert back to “well I haven’t made a decision, it’s in ideological purgatory.”

    Thats bull, you HAVE made a decision and you’ve shown it by calling it “ultimately inconsequential”. You’re acting like the supernatural is untrue, you’re speaking about it like it’s untrue. You’re talking about science like you know it untrue. But you don’t want to commit on the issue. I find this truely amazing especially from someone like yourself who hates anything that smacks of “interpretation”

    Why don’t you just say: “Mike it’s full of !@#$. I don’t buy it; I don’t believe it.” and then defend it. But for me, it feels dishonest when you speak about how you don’t believe this or don’t by that; or how it’s going to take more evidence than it normally would, and then say… “Oh, that issues not yet decided, I’ve left it in ‘ideological purgatory’” It feels dishonest to me Tim. You’ve not left it undecided; everything that you have said over the last month screams: “I don’t believe it, I don’t buy it.”

    Personally, I think you know why you say it’s in purgatory yet act like its untrue. This is my opinion mind you: In my opinion you believe it’s too difficult to defend a claim as absolute as “I know there is no such thing as the supernatural.” So instead of admitting it’s too difficult, you claim that the issue is undecided and therefore it become MY burden to prove that such a thing exists(notice how many times you have made THAT statement). Which of course is extremely difficult. If it’s impossible to “prove a universal negative” which is the atheist montra, it’s only slightly less difficult to prove the supernatural. This becomes especially more difficult when ANY proof offered can be shot down with: “Christian’s are biased.”, “Why isn’t it documented better?”, and “we just know the universe doens’t work like that.”

    Personally, I have more respect for people who own up to their beliefs and defend them than people who want to play games. If you don’t believe in God, fine you’re a big boy you’ll live with the consequences, but silly games like “well it’s really undecided for me” but everything I have written says otherwise is silly. You havn’t put it in purgatory it’s in the “that is silly” pile.

    tim wrote: “This is a terrible example; ”

    Really? The fact that some people see criminal choices as a result of DNA coding and others believe in free will is a “terrible example” of how people see things differently? Exactally how is this a terrible example especially when your last sentence was this:

    “I’ll have you know that I strongly resent the “DNA defense” with regard to criminal offenses.”

    You “strongly resent” what? That some lawyers in court try to use this as an excuse for criminal behavior? Is that what you meant? If my example was “terrible” than what do you have to “resent”? Either my example is excellent enough that lawyers are fighting about its use in court so much that you “resent” it’s use; or it’s “terrible” because EVERYONE is in agreement as to how they view criminal behavior. In short if my example is “terrible” than why do you resent it’s employment in the court room? If you resent that defense than it’s an excellent example of how people view things differently.

    Tim wrote:
    “Common knowledge” as I use it simply refers to that which is accepted by the masses to some degree of majority. Common knowledge consists of such obvious facts as, “The sky is sometimes blue during the day,” or, “humans must breathe in order to survive.” Things that most people would require evidence to disbelieve.

    Tim, just how dumb do you think I am? I know that’s what you were refering to. That’s exactally what I was talking about. That “common knowledge”; that specifically is what Kant was refering to when he spoke about the influence of perspecive upon the mind. Did you think I wasn’t “getting” what you were talking about? Yeah, i got it. By common knowledge you believe that there are some things that just “can’t be denied”. The sky is blue, the cat is orange.

    Kants point is that those things that “can’t be denied” precicely CAN be called into question. I don’t mean this by using Plato either. Now lest you think this is some “christian philospher” Kant was a structuralist; he believed that there were things that were “objectively” true about the world that transcended our perspective. So don’t mistake this for some post modernistic mumbo jumbo. Like I said earlier, Kant is in philosphy 101 in college you’ll get to know him soon enough.

    tim wrote: “You claim to know this for sure?”

    Nope I haven’t claimed to know anything for sure. I’ve just been bringing up what others have written and given you my INTERPRETATION of their work. If someone else wants to read Kant and say I’m full of crap, go right ahead. If you want to read up on him and challenge my interpretation we could have a good discussion. That by the way is what the majority of this has been about. I’ve given you some basic 101 college level philosophy and you’ve fought with me about it. I’ve been trying to “show you” how I understand his points. My view however, could be terribly flawed.

    In an end note SOME of what I’ve written is philosophy 101, some of it is my logical extrapolation about how we COULD apply it to topics like “science”. So while I have claimed that ALL I have done is explain I will retract that and say about 75% of what I’ve said is my interpretation of Kant while 25% is a direct attack on “science”. There are other writters like foucault or Derrida, who HAVE directly challenged science (ironically enough they were atheists) and I’ve used some of their ideas in my critique. I just want to be fair and honest.

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim

    But Tim your not acting like it’s in “ideological purgatory” you’re on an atheist site defending naturalism and “science” standing against “religion” and yet when I ask you to defend your decision you revert back to “well I haven’t made a decision, it’s in ideological purgatory.”

    I think I see why you have a problem with this: you’re trying to unify my ideas about science and God. They are not the same; my ideas about God are undecided and open to evidence one way or the other (think of it as a court case that is still in session—I have seen “evidence” for both parties, but not enough to make a sure decision). My ideas about science are pretty firm, but if someone offers the evidence I have described in some of my earlier posts, I would be willing to reconsider. Otherwise, though, I have been quite thoroughly convinced through my life experience that science, logic and reason are more reliable than religious doctrine (In other words, the method by which I have disqualified religious doctrine as “reliable” has nothing to do with my belief (or lack thereof) with regard to a supernatural world or “afterlife.” Religion and the supernatural are not one and the same.). That is all; I have listed what it would take to “convert” me to this, and you yourself have admitted that you cannot do that for whatever reason. So I don’t think we’ll get much farther with regard to my position on science as far as my own life is concerned~

    In other words….I’d like to agree to disagree on the subject of my view of science with regard to my own worldview. I don’t think you’ll be able to change my mind (though you’re free to try).

    Thats bull, you HAVE made a decision and you’ve shown it by calling it “ultimately inconsequential”. You’re acting like the supernatural is untrue, you’re speaking about it like it’s untrue.

    This is a classic evangelical argument—”You’re with us or you’re against us.” I’m neither. I don’t “not” believe in God. I don’t “believe” in God. I don’t care. It’s up to people who would convert me to convince me why God’s existence is true (or even important to me). Until that happens, I maintain my stance on God: “No comment.”

    And if you absolutely insist that I am secretly “against God” or whatever, then feel free, though it’s not going to change my stance. I am atheist—yes, I admit that I don’t have a belief in God. But there is no one “set” belief system for atheists; some believe that there is no God, some are simply not sure. I admit that I do not know if God exists, and therefore I won’t worry about it. If someone wants me to believe He is, then I am open to evidence—since it’s not technically impossible—but it’s not good enough to simply reclassify what I consider evidence to try and bend my reason to suit your purpose—again, you must appeal to me on my own terms. Until then, God remains in ideological purgatory.

    But you don’t want to commit on the issue. I find this truely amazing especially from someone like yourself who hates anything that smacks of “interpretation”

    I don’t believe science is “flawless” in the way you have described (though I do believe it has a pretty good track record with regard to the physical world), no, so I don’t want to “commit” to it. Nor do I want to commit to religious doctrine, though, as it has an even worse track record than science with regard to manipulation, mass murder, and factual inaccuracy (might I redirect you to the ages when people stricken by the Plague were told to “go home and pray” to get better?).

    One of my biggest problems with religion is that it abhors curiosity—”the Bible tells me everything I need to know,” so on, so forth—and I am a curious person. I am drawn to science because it embraces curiosity, and promotes the idea that we don’t know everything, as opposed to the idea that the physical world is just a place we pass through on the way to wherever and is therefore irrelevant. I am interested in the mechanics and whatnot of this world, and I treasure the time I have here—to spend my life in dedication to something in which I don’t believe would be a travesty of a wasted opportunity, in my book.

    Not to bash other believers, for the record; religion simply isn’t for me. I believe everyone has the right to his/her own paradigm.

    (and for the record, this is why I wanted to avoid presenting my opinions as fact….that creates the illusion that they transcend my life experiences, which they do not.)

    Why don’t you just say: “Mike it’s full of !@#$. I don’t buy it; I don’t believe it.” and then defend it. But for me, it feels dishonest when you speak about how you don’t believe this or don’t by that; or how it’s going to take more evidence than it normally would, and then say… “Oh, that issues not yet decided, I’ve left it in ‘ideological purgatory’” It feels dishonest to me Tim. You’ve not left it undecided; everything that you have said over the last month screams: “I don’t believe it, I don’t buy it.”

    You seem offended that I believe someone other than you (or the Bible). Just because I don’t believe in your religion as much as I believe in something else doesn’t mean I am somehow “actively engaged in disbelief” in your religion. I just don’t care; it is inconsequential to me or my worldview. I’ve tried to avoid being so blunt about how I feel about religion, but you don’t seem to understand it any other way.

    “I know there is no such thing as the supernatural.” So instead of admitting it’s too difficult, you claim that the issue is undecided and therefore it become MY burden to prove that such a thing exists(notice how many times you have made THAT statement). Which of course is extremely difficult. If it’s impossible to “prove a universal negative” which is the atheist montra, it’s only slightly less difficult to prove the supernatural. This becomes especially more difficult when ANY proof offered can be shot down with: “Christian’s are biased.”, “Why isn’t it documented better?”, and “we just know the universe doens’t work like that.”

    (1) You probably(?) knew I was going to say this, but you’re wrong, that’s not how I think~

    (2) If you cannot prove what you believe, then how do you expect me to believe it? That’s what you’ve said to me, is it not?

    (3) *sigh*….again, I do not claim to “know that the supernatural doesn’t exist.” I simply haven’t seen any solid evidence to suggest it. I don’t disregard it as untrue. However, there is one great question which remains to be answered with regard to the supernatural: If it really exists, then why do so many people have to lie or hoax in order to “prove” it?

    (4) You seem to be arguing that Christianity (or any religion, really) is free from this “paradigm-restricted thinking” you describe in relation to science. If what you say is true about paradigms, then Christianity is ultimately no different than science, no more or less valid, simply a different worldview. Why can’t we just stick to that? I like that.

    Personally, I have more respect for people who own up to their beliefs and defend them than people who want to play games. If you don’t believe in God, fine you’re a big boy you’ll live with the consequences, but silly games like “well it’s really undecided for me” but everything I have written says otherwise is silly. You havn’t put it in purgatory it’s in the “that is silly” pile.

    Alright….I’m going to be rude for a minute, so excuse me in advance:

    You don’t know what I’m thinking any more than I know what you’re thinking. Are you God? Can you see into my brain? Am I “lying” simply because I can’t (or won’t—you don’t know, it could be either) see the world the way you do? I’ve tried very hard to avoid attacking you as a person, but with comments like this you make that a very hard criteria to uphold….I have even less respect for people with this kind of sense of entitlement with regards to other people. Do you feel you’re justified in making such an assumption simply because you’re frustrated with my refusal to alter my worldview to coincide with yours? You’re not, any more so than I am entitled to attacking to you as a person because we believe differently.

    I try very hard not to have a problem with religious people, in spite of the crap I hear on TV and in my personal life on a daily basis, because I know that all religious people are not the same. However, when someone starts spouting aggressive nonsense like what you’ve said here, I lose a little bit of faith in the notion that there are fewer religious morons out there than I thought.

    There, I’m done being rude. Hopefully we can just skip this stupid argument and get back to the intelligent parts?

    Really? The fact that some people see criminal choices as a result of DNA coding and others believe in free will is a “terrible example” of how people see things differently? Exactally how is this a terrible example especially when your last sentence was this:

    I’ll give you this point. After going back and reading your example, I realize that I misunderstood what you were saying.

    Kants point is that those things that “can’t be denied” precicely CAN be called into question. I don’t mean this by using Plato either. Now lest you think this is some “christian philospher” Kant was a structuralist; he believed that there were things that were “objectively” true about the world that transcended our perspective. So don’t mistake this for some post modernistic mumbo jumbo. Like I said earlier, Kant is in philosphy 101 in college you’ll get to know him soon enough.

    (1) How is what Kant believes as “objective” about the world any less subject to perception than what you or I believe? You still have yet to answer this.

    (2) I believe that anything can be called into question; however, I also believe in preponderance of evidence. If there is evidence to believe something is true, and yet no evidence at all to believe something is not true, then what reason to I have to reconsider my worldview? What evidence is there to suggest that physical matter which I can see and touch does not really exist?

  • Mike

    tim wrote: “what reason to I have to reconsider my worldview”
    Also: ” because you’re frustrated with my refusal to alter my worldview to coincide with yours?”
    And then:”Am I “lying” simply because I can’t (or won’t—you don’t know, it could be either) see the world the way you do?”

    I never implied that you SHOULD reconsider your worldview. Please copy and paste what I wrote that communicated to you that I believe you MUST change your worldview.

    tim wrote: ” You probably(?) knew I was going to say this, but you’re wrong, that’s not how I think~”

    Fine, if you noticed I wrote that I don’t know what your thinking. I said that it was my opinion. I DON’T know what you are thinking I wouldn’t claim to know what your thinking.

    tim wrote: “If you cannot prove what you believe, then how do you expect me to believe it? That’s what you’ve said to me, is it not?”

    This is exactally what I wrote. Except I never asked you to believe what I believe. don’t change this around where I am trying to prove anything about God. I am interested in talking about YOUR position not mine. Like I said before if you want to talk with christians go to a christian site and ask them. I’m here to learn about atheists not convert them.

    Tim wrote: “again, I do not claim to “know that the supernatural doesn’t exist.” I simply haven’t seen any solid evidence to suggest it.”

    I’ll admit you have taught me alot about the atheist position. One of those things is that in your mind (as i understand it) there is a difference between not believing in something (ie lacking belief) and not believing in God. Now I don’t know how this is significant but it apparently it is to you.

    If I didn’t believe in faries on the planet mars and didn’t care about it in any way so I could consider it “inconsequential” I would consider myself an “unbeliever” in martian faries. But to you there is a difference between a person who “lacks belief” in martian faries and a person who actively disbelieves in martian faries. To me I am completely flummoxed as to how this is possible. I would like an explanation because to me a person who lacks belief is the same as a person who does not believe.

    tim wrote: “Alright….I’m going to be rude for a minute, so excuse me in advance:”

    No problem.

    Tim wrote:”I have even less respect for people with this kind of sense of entitlement with regards to other people. ”

    I can see I ticked you off and I appologize. I think you mistook my bluntness for anger. I am not expecting you to see the world like I do. I don’t want you to. However, this distinction that you have in your mind between not believing and “lacking belief” truly has me confused. To you it is crucial; it somehow excempts you from having to defend any position you hold.

    To me it feels like you’re playing Games. Let me explain: I am unconvinced of the argument for evolution. In that way you would consider me an “unbeliever” in evolution. My reasons are not religious as much as philosphical and “scientific” I am open to it however, I have some serious reservations that I don’t feel have been properly addressed. Now I am an “unbeliever” in terms of evolution. I wouldn’t say I simply “lack belief”. I remain unconvinced and am therefore an “unbeliever”. If you were to ask me to defend my unbelief and I were to retort “but I’m not an unbeliever. I just lack belief in evolution” Would you feel cheated? I don’t believe in evolution so I should be able to articulate that unbelief. If I were to frequent a site that actively promoted disbelief in evolution would it be “irrational” to expect me to defend my “lack of belief”? Is such an expectation too great to ask?

    tim wrote:”How is what Kant believes as “objective” about the world any less subject to perception than what you or I believe? You still have yet to answer this.”

    this is an unclear sentence… but I think you mean: how do we know that Kant’s view isn’t as perception dependent as our own?

    We don’t. But as far as I know no one has been able to seriously demonstrate how it IS possible for mankind to “objectively” access the outside world.

    tim wrote: ” I believe that anything can be called into question; however, I also believe in preponderance of evidence. If there is evidence to believe something is true, and yet no evidence at all to believe something is not true, then what reason to I have to reconsider my worldview? What evidence is there to suggest that physical matter which I can see and touch does not really exist?”

    Once again I’m not here to convert you. You’re the one who claimed that “science” tells you everything you need to know. You are the one that claimed that science is beyond questioning. You’re the one who claimed a great many things. Remember I am here to see what YOU believe not to convert you to what I believe.

    I know you believe that this arguement is “silly” but it is this that is really at stake. You have claimed that your “open” that means to me that your being “objective” that you have no bias what so ever. Kant has a direct impact upon this “silly” stuff because you are claiming a superior “objective” position this position is exactally what he called into question. I know you don’t like it but that’s the issue. This is how philosophy is critically practical.

  • Mike

    I forgot to answer this one

    tim wrote: “You seem to be arguing that Christianity (or any religion, really) is free from this “paradigm-restricted thinking” you describe in relation to science. ”

    I have NEVER argued that christianity is paradigm free. That’s an inference on your part. You see to think that because I am questioning your claim that science is “beyond interpretation” and deals with “objective reality” that by default therefore Christianity IS beyond interpretation. I have never made such a claim. According to Kant everyone is subject to their own paradigm. Reread what I have written and you will not see this assertion. I’ve never made it.

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    To me it feels like you’re playing Games. Let me explain: I am unconvinced of the argument for evolution. In that way you would consider me an “unbeliever” in evolution.

    Well, let me simplify it a bit. It all starts with one very, very important factor: I am interested in what is true, and what is “right.” These are philosophical concepts, yes, but we must start from scratch, must we not? That’s the only way you and I can come to terms on this, seeing as how our worldviews differ so greatly. Now….when I look for what is right (philosophically speaking), I look at all the things around me—I see science, I see religion, I see wars, I see poverty, and I see politics. I see the world as it was yesterday, and the way it’ll be tomorrow, and the way it is now. I see my own position as mostly inconsequential with regard to these things. As limited as my position seems to be, I am left with only one thing: a desire to learn and understand what I can. I can’t really explain to you how it is that I’ve come into such a strong belief in the capabilities of science, since it’s not a simple process. I understand it fully myself, but it’s one of those things (much like a person’s religious faith, I imagine) that’s very difficult to convey in words. It’s a very personal decision, also—even if I communicated to you exactly what I feel at this moment, I don’t think it would necessarily sway your position, because the conditions apply to my own perception and not yours. This is why I think we should agree to disagree there.

    But I digress….there *is* a grave difference between “lack of belief” and “active disbelief.” If I don’t believe something, yes, I am an “unbeliever” in that thing. With respect to that, I am a “disbeliever” or “unbeliever” in any religious deity. However, the reason I seek to differentiate the two is because I feel you’ve misrepresented what it means to “disbelieve.” You portray it as a hostile gesture, that I “look down” on people who believe, or that I think it’s “silly.” When the real case is simply that I’m not convinced. I have no emotional relationship with my actual disbelief in God; it’s with the people who think I should that I have issues with. I guess you’d say, “my disbelief is between me and God, not with any person.”

    Yes, on the one hand, I do feel that some religious rules are archaic (for example, how the Bible forbids its followers to wear mixed fibers in their clothing….why is that, I wonder?). But I don’t look down on people who choose to follow those rules. Remember when I said that there are literally trillions of possibilities for the “truth” of the universe, and that it’s insane to try and accomodate all of them “just in case?” Well, I don’t think it’s your or my place to tell someone they can’t believe in one of those possibilities. My problem lies not with people who believe certain things, but with people who act on such beliefs. For example….a homophobe can hate gays until the cows coem home, and I simply don’t care. But when that person hurts, harasses, or kills a person because of that belief, I think it’s wrong. So in that respect, no, I don’t have a problem with—or look down on—people who have certain beliefs, even if those beliefs don’t make sense to me. I do have a problem with people who try to undermine the rights of those of us whose opinions differ; for example, politicians who try to force religious tests onto elected officials. That pretty much ensures that I won’t be able to legally elect a congressman who reflects my views, because my views don’t include such religious angles.

    The point being….the difference between a non-believer and someone who actively disbelieves is simply the perspective; if the person believes there is no God, that means the person has made a decision that he/she firmly believes, for some reason or another, that there is no God, case closed, end of story. If the person simply doesn’t know if there is a God or not, then the case is open, but unresolved—a “mistrial,” if you will. It’s in “ideological purgatory.” I speak as though God does not exist because, from what I can tell, He does not affect my life in any way. Some people feel that God affects me in subtle ways, but I can follow the chain of events and “disprove” them in all such cases. For example, if I’m playing a game and I make a good score, and someone says, “God helped you do that!” I can (and do) say, “How?” They say, “Your score is better because God helped you move your hands more effectively!” And I say, “that’s the same way I move my hands every time I play this game. I’ve just practiced and gotten better; every time I play, my score is better than the last time.” The person might say, “Well, God made the events in the game happen differently so that you scored better!” In which case I say, “The game happens the exact same way every time. I just learned it inside and out, devised an effective strategy, and perfected it until my score was maxed out.” All of which brings me to my point: I don’t think there is no God, I’m simply not convinced by the evidence that one does exist. I’m not convinced that one doesn’t exist, either; my decision is not final yet. I am open to evidence because this is a question that has not been answered in my mind. I behave as though God does not exist because it would not make sense for me to behave as though he did; I don’t believe in taking such actions “just in case,” because that would not be true faith, and therefore it would be somewhat sacreligious.

    We don’t. But as far as I know no one has been able to seriously demonstrate how it IS possible for mankind to “objectively” access the outside world.

    What I’ve been saying is that I, in turn, haven’t seen anyone seriously demonstrate how it is possible that what we see is not objective. Yes, it is theoretically possible, but that alone is not enough to prove that what we see is not objective. We can’t know for sure either way if it is or is not objective; therefore, to claim knowledge in one way or the other seems foolish. There is an attempt at varification on the part of reality’s objectivity in our five senses; the evidence to show that matter exists lies in our ability to detect it. What evidence is there to show that physical matter does not exist, though?

    I know you believe that this arguement is “silly” but it is this that is really at stake. You have claimed that your “open” that means to me that your being “objective” that you have no bias what so ever. Kant has a direct impact upon this “silly” stuff because you are claiming a superior “objective” position this position is exactally what he called into question. I know you don’t like it but that’s the issue. This is how philosophy is critically practical.

    This is what I mean when you second-guess that I think this is “silly.” When I said “this argument” was stupid, I was talking about the part where you accused me of lying about my motives. There’s no way I can prove to you that what I say is what I believe; it’s up to you to take it or leave it. I’m not going to argue about that—that’s what I was saying.

    I am not claiming a “superior objective position.” You asked me why I felt science was superior, not why it was superior. You’re naturally going to receive my perception. This is why I was trying to avoid presenting my opinions as fact. Needless to say, that didn’t go as intended….

  • Mike

    Tim wrote: “Well, let me simplify it a bit. It all starts with one very, very important factor: I am interested in what is true, and what is “right.” These are philosophical concepts, yes, but we must start from scratch, must we not?”

    I can agree that we need to start from scratch. You spoke about “science”, you spoke about “religion”, “poverty”, “politics” and “war”. You spoke about how these have affected your vision. I actually agree that these have affected the way you view the world. This is exactally what I am talking about. Your past and experiences have a direct impact upon the way you view the world. This is exactally why it is impossible for you to claim a neutral or “objective” position.(this is impossible because your experiences have shaped you to think and feel a certain way about things; this is prior to evidence about the universe or God so you approached the evidence already with an existing bias)

    Your experiences have influenced the way you view the world. They have influenced the way you examine things and the way you determine “truth”. For example if you were born in 650 A.D. you would view the world differently than if you were born in the 19th century. What you would consider “rational” would be somewhat different than how you view it now. It is the same with logic and reason. How do you know that your position is “rational” and the 650′s person’s view is not?

    tim wrote: “I can’t really explain to you how it is that I’ve come into such a strong belief in the capabilities of science, since it’s not a simple process.”

    But you did say it. You said exactaly how you came to this view. You looked around and your experiences shaped the way you view the world. This is even more true when you examine how our cultures “trains” people to think in certain ways. The way we have been taught to think is that “this process” of thinking is “rational” and “right”. Is it any surprise that you believe it? I don’t think it should surprise you in the least. Nor does it surprise me. Look at this quote:

    “Yes, on the one hand, I do feel that some religious rules are archaic (for example, how the Bible forbids its followers to wear mixed fibers in their clothing….why is that, I wonder?)”

    It doesn’t surprise me that you feel the religious rules are “archaic”. For one why is “archaic” a bad thing? The ancients used to believe the older a thing was the better it is. In our culture old things are bad and new things are good. This is a preference; but that very preference has influenced the way you view “religious rules”. So by your own admission you look at religious rules with a biased view

    Tim wrote: “You portray it as a hostile gesture, that I “look down” on people who believe, or that I think it’s “silly.”

    I can see how you would see that I was portraying your view as hostile.

    I want to make sure I understand you. When you said this: ” I have no emotional relationship with my actual disbelief in God; it’s with the people who think I should that I have issues with.”
    You mean that a person who “lacks belief” in God is a person who has no emotional attachment to their disbelief. However a person who is a “disbeliever” is someone who HAS an emotional attachment and is therefore what? Is that person wrong? Is that person irrational? Is that person biased? It’s unclear what you mean here. No I will tell you how I see what your saying. I may be wrong but it’s how I view it.

    By emotional I believe you consider an “emotional attachment” to be a sign of a “biased” view. So in an attempt to display your unbiased view you claim that your perspecive is unemotional and therefore “unbiased”.

    However, is emotional influence the ONLY sign that a perspective is biased? Is it possible that a person could claim no emotional attachement but yet still have a view that is biased? (this by the way is the philosophical importance of Kant’s critique of pure reason, he claimed that NO view is with out blind spots or biases)

    Tim wrote: “If the person simply doesn’t know if there is a God or not, then the case is open, but unresolved—a “mistrial,” if you will.”

    This is called being agnostic NOT being an atheist.

    tim wrote:”I behave as though God does not exist because it would not make sense for me to behave as though he did.”
    This is according to your own perspective. If you don’t know wether it’s true or not than it makes as much sense to act like it is true than it does to act like it’s untrue. If you don’t know… You don’t know. It’s a choice it has nothing to do with “what makes sense” or what is “rational”. You have chosen to act and believe like he does not exist. I consider that playing games. Examine this quote:
    “I speak as though God does not exist because, from what I can tell, He does not affect my life in any way.”

    What does “from what i can tell” mean other than: “in my view” or “according to my perspective” he does not affcet my life? (isn’t that your perspective tainting your ability to view things “objectively”)

    tim wrote: “What I’ve been saying is that I, in turn, haven’t seen anyone seriously demonstrate how it is possible that what we see is not objective.”

    Didn’t you just say this on oct 8th:
    “I am conceding that, according to the rationale you have offered here, no, it is not possible for us to know if we know things for sure. However, as it is my perogative to place trust in that which I can immediately experience.”

    Do you see how I could be confused by how often you change your position. On oct 8th you conceded that we can’t know anything as “objectively” true and here on Oct 14 less than a week later your saying that you have been claiming the exact opposite the whole time…. Can you explain this to me?

    tim wrote:”Yes, it is theoretically possible, but that alone is not enough to prove that what we see is not objective.”

    I know I have said this but you really need to read and understand Kant’s argument. It’s one thing to not know or understand a particular argument but to willfully sit in ignorance and purposefully ignore evidence is not a good use of “reason”. I’ll help; you can find some stuff on Kant here.

    http://www.philosophypages.com/hy/5f.htm#intro

    If you want “evidence” try reading it.

    tim wrote:”There is an attempt at varification on the part of reality’s objectivity in our five senses; the evidence to show that matter exists lies in our ability to detect it”

    tim how can I say this… this isn’t about wether matter is there or not… it’s about our ability to “get at it” objectively and in an unbiased manner. this I have been saying for quite a while. you seem to have confused my simplistic platonic argument for Kant’s position.

    tim wrote: “When I said “this argument” was stupid, I was talking about the part where you accused me of lying about my motives.”

    I was questioning wether or not you were influenced by your own limited perspective. If you want to take it that I was calling you a liar than you should understand how I would interpret your assessement that my friends were “biased” in their rendition of their pots and pans story. By the way I don’t think your a liar as much as unknownly self deceptive.

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim

    I can agree that we need to start from scratch. You spoke about “science”, you spoke about “religion”, “poverty”, “politics” and “war”. You spoke about how these have affected your vision. I actually agree that these have affected the way you view the world. This is exactally what I am talking about. Your past and experiences have a direct impact upon the way you view the world. This is exactally why it is impossible for you to claim a neutral or “objective” position.(this is impossible because your experiences have shaped you to think and feel a certain way about things; this is prior to evidence about the universe or God so you approached the evidence already with an existing bias)

    Exactly. And when I have personally experienced (in many cases) what amounts to a perfect counterexample to the ideas perpetrated by certain tyrannical religious factions, I am that much less inclined to engage in their goings-on. Not that I have anything against spirituality, inherently; I am actually not a very material person at all, at least in the literal sense. What I do have a problem with is the misuse of religion in politics today—how networks like TBN try to slant religion for the benefit of certain political factions (not unlike Islamic factions in the Middle East), or how people like Benny Hinn use it to make money. I resent that because, insofar as there is any spiritual “truth” to the world around us (i.e. if there is a world beyond the physical one), such pursuits only serve to alienate those of us who are otherwise open-minded. With respect to that, I consider myself artistic, though not necessarily “spiritual”….I prefer a more personal, singular approach to spiritual matters. I believe religion corrupts this experience by filtering into an “acceptable whole” image that may cause one to slant one’s own beliefs in the interest of “fitting in” or “being right.”

    And I don’t claim that my views are “100% objective” so much as I claim they are valid.

    For example if you were born in 650 A.D. you would view the world differently than if you were born in the 19th century. What you would consider “rational” would be somewhat different than how you view it now. It is the same with logic and reason. How do you know that your position is “rational” and the 650’s person’s view is not?

    Though I see your overall point, this is a poor example in my opinion….in the 19th century we didn’t have access to the information we have access to today, so naturally “logic” and “science” would function differently. People back then were (as they always are) trying to do the best with what they had. If they turned out to be “wrong,” then that doesn’t mean all of the pursuits that got them to that particular realization were “wrong” as well; in fact, had they not undergone those pursuits, they may never have come to the realization that they were “wrong” about some things (like the “four elements” and whatnot).

    But you did say it. You said exactaly how you came to this view. You looked around and your experiences shaped the way you view the world. This is even more true when you examine how our cultures “trains” people to think in certain ways. The way we have been taught to think is that “this process” of thinking is “rational” and “right”. Is it any surprise that you believe it? I don’t think it should surprise you in the least. Nor does it surprise me. Look at this quote:

    In a literal sense, yes. But why I feel that way upon examining my surroundings is not so easy to articulate.

    It doesn’t surprise me that you feel the religious rules are “archaic”. For one why is “archaic” a bad thing? The ancients used to believe the older a thing was the better it is. In our culture old things are bad and new things are good. This is a preference; but that very preference has influenced the way you view “religious rules”. So by your own admission you look at religious rules with a biased view

    This reminds me of an interesting sentence I read in an amplifier ad awhile back. Something to the effect of, “In a world where ‘vintage’ is often assumed to be synonymous with ‘better,’ X company delivers.”

    I don’t automatically equate “new” with “good,” nor do I automatically equate “old” with “bad,” or any degree thereof. Likewise, the phrase “archaic” has multiple uses. If I were talking about archaic architecture, or archaic speech, then I might be speaking of how I thought the technical aspects were very interesting; in that context, it would not be negative. The reason it is negative here is because—as I said before—the Bible claims to be “unerring.” It, like so many other holy books, claims to be the sole source of inner peace in the world, and that it is impossible to find “salvation” in any other place than with Jesus Christ. So I am struck with skepticism when I find happiness elsewhere. It has nothing to do with “preference” so much as “contradiction.” Or rather, my experience of a contradiction.

    You mean that a person who “lacks belief” in God is a person who has no emotional attachment to their disbelief. However a person who is a “disbeliever” is someone who HAS an emotional attachment and is therefore what? Is that person wrong? Is that person irrational? Is that person biased? It’s unclear what you mean here. No I will tell you how I see what your saying. I may be wrong but it’s how I view it.

    What I mean by having no emotional attachment thereof is simply that I don’t feel one way or the other (positively or negatively) with regards to “God Himself.” If He exists, then I’ll gladly accept evidence….but I am very, very skeptical of evidence that comes from a Biblical enthusiast. In the past, I have encountered hundreds upon hundreds of particular individuals who took it upon themselves to “prove” to me that God exists, and their “evidence” is always beyond that which can be confirmed one way or the other. I find it very difficult to believe, for example, that an all-powerful God only works when nobody’s looking.

    So while I have an “emotional relationship” with the person delivering the “proof,” I don’t really have any such relationship with the idea of God’s existence. It seems complicated, but it’s really not—it can be easily summed up in any of these questions: If God really does exist, then why is the “proof” always so vague? Why can a person simply provide me with simple, undeniable proof? Why must the other party so often claim that their evidence is “irrefutable” when it clearly is not, for the very reasons you and I have discussed here?

    And on top of that….why should God’s existence be assumed to be consistent—why should he automatically ‘win by default’ if his existence cannot be disproven—whereas the existence of something so plainly visibile as a desk must be questioned and broken down until it is technically inconclusive? Why must the religious party only provide proof that suggest God doesn’t not exist, whereas the physical party must provide proof that what is clearly visible does exist beyond the shadow of a doubt?

    I have more confidence in that which I can see for myself; I don’t have much confidence in the visions or words of others, in general. This is not an issue of trust; it’s simply an issue of potential misunderstanding, misinformation, and whatnot. The same is true of things as simple as a trip to the grocery store—if a person says to me that the store is out of X product, I will probably go and check myself, just to be sure, as the person may have simply not seen X product on the shelf. It’s not that I don’t trust the other party, but that I am ultimately not convinced simply because of the possibility that the other party fudged up somewhere; after all, that is not technically impossible, no matter how trusted the other party is. I am the same way with religious parties, even more so with respect to those I don’t personally know (like televangelists). Which makes it very, very unlikely that I will ever be “converted” by a televangelist….but that’s another story altogether~

    This is called being agnostic NOT being an atheist.

    I’ll choose my own label, thank you….I prefer the term “atheist” for many specific reasons.

    Didn’t you just say this on oct 8th:
    “I am conceding that, according to the rationale you have offered here, no, it is not possible for us to know if we know things for sure. However, as it is my perogative to place trust in that which I can immediately experience.”

    Crap…I made a fudgie. One moment….

    tim wrote: “What I’ve been saying is that I, in turn, haven’t seen anyone seriously demonstrate how it is certain that what we see is not objective.”

    Such is the result of a copy-and-paste retort….mur.

    I defer you to my earlier point….in my mind, physical reality is “objective.” I said that I conceded that, “according to the rationale you offered here”—which I may or may not agree with—we cannot know what is objective. Which is to say, I was conceding to the argument on your terms, as opposed to picking a fight over the idea of objectivity. It’s a separate argument I don’t see us getting anywhere on.

    Do you see how I could be confused by how often you change your position. On oct 8th you conceded that we can’t know anything as “objectively” true and here on Oct 14 less than a week later your saying that you have been claiming the exact opposite the whole time…. Can you explain this to me?

    It’s called “hypothetical stance.” Playing devil’s advocate, in other words. If I ask you a question, it’s not a safe assumption to believe that it automatically reflects my worldview. I will usually state it if it does (ex. “I believe that….”).

    I know I have said this but you really need to read and understand Kant’s argument. It’s one thing to not know or understand a particular argument but to willfully sit in ignorance and purposefully ignore evidence is not a good use of “reason”. I’ll help; you can find some stuff on Kant here.

    The problem with this is that senses, unlike emotional or philosophical perceptions, are not subject to change with experience. They can be damaged—a person’s eyesight may not function properly, and so he/she may not be able to perceive “sight” as a healthy person might—but they perceive the same things. The same reality is observed by anyone who “looks” at it (I’m speaking literally, not philosophically). If I place an apple in front of two healthy individuals with functioning eyes, they will both see the same object. They might not call it the same thing, but they will both taste the same thing if they bite it. They will both feel the same texture on their skin. They will both feel the same things, no matter how their philosophical views differ. With respect to this….it seems that your point about “perceptions” being “biased” only applies to “philosophical perspectives.”

    In other words….physical observation through use of the five senses is the “root” or “base” evidence that becomes filtered through one’s philosophical views to reach a conclusion. For example; a scientist might see the results of an experiment and conclude a new scientific law, whereas a religious person might see it as evidence of a higher power. They both interpret the same evidence, but in different ways…..but the evidence is still the same. The philosophical interpretations do not change what the evidence is, physically.

    In this respect, yes, I believe “perception” affects one’s viewpoint in the form of a potential “bias.” However, I simply do not believe that physical matter in and of itself is subject to change based on interpretation. One cannot “interpret” iron into gold, or “interpret” water into wine.

    tim how can I say this… this isn’t about wether matter is there or not… it’s about our ability to “get at it” objectively and in an unbiased manner. this I have been saying for quite a while. you seem to have confused my simplistic platonic argument for Kant’s position.

    So which is it? It seems to me that you are the one changing perspectives; first it was, “we cannot get at reality objectively,” then it was, “we can get at it objectively in some ways,” and now it’s back to the first one. It’s either all or nothing; you can’t “sort of” get at reality objectively (unless you have some roundabout explanation for that, as well).

    I was questioning wether or not you were influenced by your own limited perspective. If you want to take it that I was calling you a liar than you should understand how I would interpret your assessement that my friends were “biased” in their rendition of their pots and pans story. By the way I don’t think your a liar as much as unknownly self deceptive.

    Touche. And on that it seems we’ll have to agree to disagree; I believe these “friends” are either lying or wrong in some way, and you believe that I am wrong without knowing it. If I can’t convince you otherwise, I won’t try.

  • MB

    tim…. did you even go to the site I found? Did you even read the work? It’s a pretty good assessment of Kant’s work. I have no problem discussing this issue with you however, you need to do a little; not a lot, but a little bit of work on your own. Claiming to be a “rational” person and refusing to even examine evidence is the worst sort of bias.

    Tim wrote:”ideas perpetrated by certain tyrannical religious factions,”

    Is this an example of your “ideological purgatory” If you don’t know if what they are saying is true or not what criteria can you use to determine if they are “tyrannical”or not?

    tim I’m at heart a historian. I enjoy history I love learning about how things have evolved and changed over time(I’m using evolution in terms of change). When you say things like what I’m about to post it rials me up… I try very hard not to be but it does.

    tim wrote:”in the 19th century we didn’t have access to the information we have access to today, so naturally “logic” and “science” would function differently.”

    Exactally what are you implying? Are you saying that everyone should think “like us” if only they knew what we know? Here is why this bothers me.. it implies that these people were burdened by ignorance and irrationality that our century does not have. It bothers me because it implies ignorance of a qualitiative degree verses a quantitative degree. For example: in the 10 century no one knew the “law of gravity” does that mean everyone thought they could fly? No. They knew if you throw your self off the notre dame cathdral you would probably die. They knew this some how without the intimate knowledge of “gravity”. They “knew” gravity without our “scientific” understanding. they understood it differently than we do but for their world view it was not necessary.

    And by the way this statement IS playing games:

    “I don’t automatically equate “new” with “good,” nor do I automatically equate “old” with “bad,” or any degree thereof.”

    Are you telling me that when you used the word archaic you were meaning it in a technical sense and not a negative way? Then you turn around and say this:

    “The reason it is negative here is because—as I said before—the Bible claims to be “unerring.” It, like so many other holy books, claims to be the sole source of inner peace in the world, and that it is impossible to find “salvation” in any other place than with Jesus Christ.”

    So you admit that you’re using it in a negative way and then you explain why it’s OK to use it in a negative way. If you go back an look at my post I said that your word “archaic” betrays a bias on your part. THAT was my point. NOT that you were wrong to be biased but THAT you WERE biased in your assessment. You keep wanting to turn this conversation towards religion and faith and God. I am not trying to convert you to the “unerring” scriptures. You don’t have to attack a position I’m not proposing. I’m not even going to address the 1/3 of your post about God, the bible, scripture what not that’s not what I am interested in talking about. I get it; youre hostile towards religion even though your only “lacking belief”.

    tim wrote:”I defer you to my earlier point….in my mind, physical reality is “objective.”

    tim your unbeleiveable, please go back and examine OCT 7 at 5:37 p.m. I stated that you had not made it clear to me that you had conceeded this point…. You refered me to another quote by yourself that conceeded such a point, but in a hypothetical manner. Now which post is your real position?

    Tim wrote: “The philosophical interpretations do not change what the evidence is, physically.” I know you didn’t read the kant post because it delt this this issue specifically. According to Kant getting at what something really IS is a question of metaphysics (almost purely a analytical process lacking empiricism) not a question of the senses. Now if you’r simplistic assertion is that I can’t THINK water into wine: ok… I’m pretty sure I never said one could think water into wine. Once again please post such quotes from me where I have said such.

    Kant’s point seems to illude you, perhaps because it is too complicated. Kant’s point is that objects, lets say water for example, there is water as we experience it (phenomina) and then there is water as it truely is(nounouma). We can ONLY talk about water as phenomina. However, we can only talk about water as nounouma in a theoritical sense . This is how we experience water as phenomina. Getting at what water truely IS objectively is a theoritical metaphysical assertion(a mind game if you will).

    Kant’s ultimate brilliance is that this metaphysical assuming is not limited to the nounouma. He claims that our phenomina is directly impacted by a synthetic blending of theory and experience that makes “understanding” possible. Now this theoricial blending is not all bad it allows us to make “common sense” decisions. For example I see a man walk off a cliff and disappear. I conclude that if I continue walking I too may disappear. I am employing a cause and effect relationship theory between the cliff and his disappearance and I theorize that there is a relationship between the two. This happens to function very well, the synthesis between objects and theoritical thought works so closly together that theory and “object” perception become nearly blurred. In other words we can’t tell that we’re making assumptions about reality because our theory and our senses work so closely together and so effectively.
    I can’t make Kant any more clear than this.. it’s extremly simplistic and I’m leaving out quite a bit but it’s as simple and clear as I can be.

    Tim wrote:”So which is it? It seems to me that you are the one changing perspectives; first it was, “we cannot get at reality objectively,” then it was, “we can get at it objectively in some ways,”

    I’ll bet you enjoyed writting that with a sense of firm satisfaction…

    Let me get as clear as I can…. I am asking you how you can claim to get at”objective” reality and the “truth” about the universe when philosophers like Kant (who’s over 200 year old by the way) have been hacking away at our ability to access “objective” reality through reason for quite a while. In other words your view that “science” and “reason” can tell us the objective truth about reality is a philosophical archaic (I mean this in a technical sense) perspective. It’s old, it is philosophically out of date and very few philosphers buy into that version of rationalism. Now scientists are different, sure some hold to that line mainly because they have as much philosophy as you do. All that being said you may have a new philosphical revolution coming about. Perhaps it can start here. I for one would like to hear your reasoning given these rational evidences against your assertions.

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim

    And by the way this statement IS playing games:

    Actually, it isn’t. You claimed that what I said was automatically defamatory simply because I had used the word “archaic.” You were wrong, because it is not the “archaic” nature of the rules that makes them “bad” to me; it is the fact that they are inconsistent with my own life experience. I used the word archaic here because it was most accurate—I have moved on in my life far past the point at which the Bible would have me remain, and so yes, I consider its rules “archaic” in many respects, one of which being that they do not acknowledge things I am aware of.

    THAT was my point. NOT that you were wrong to be biased but THAT you WERE biased in your assessment.

    Already there, buddy:

    And I don’t claim that my views are “100% objective” so much as I claim they are valid.

    I get it; youre hostile towards religion even though your only “lacking belief”.

    I’m hostile towards religious entities rooted in the world of man (such as churches, religious leaders/figures, etc.), yes. Faith, spirituality and whatnot, I’m fine with. If you can’t tell the difference, that’s fine, but don’t try to incorporate me into that mindset as well.

    Now which post is your real position?

    I don’t know if you typed that right or not, but it seems to me that you just answered your own question…..I conceded the original point hypothetically, for the sake of exploring your perspective, and you are surprised that I later reasserted that original position for the duration of a single question?

    Let me explain to you a little bit about how my brain works; when you (or anyone else) makes a statement, I immediately try to see if I can come up with a counterexample. Said counterexample may or may not always agree with the position I am supporting; if you say that something is always a certain way, I will try to find a circumstance in which it is not. If I cannot, then I will gladly concede your point. But if I can, I ask you how you would respond to that situation given the reasoning you offered. This is not “contradictory,” this is not “being shifty,” or “changing positions,” it’s trying to examine a claim from different angles. And one of your claims I’ve been having a lot of problems with is the idea that Kant’s claims are not “just perspective,” as you claim mine to be anytime they contradict his. So what, because he said it it’s true? How do you know we can’t get at objective reality? Have you seen it?

    So how do you know he’s right at all, then? It’s a nice idea, but hardly “certain truth.”

    (P.S. sometimes, the best way to get someone to explain a point concisely is to attack it.)

    Another thing you don’t seem to understand is that I know what you are talking about when you talk about Kant’s points. His point, paraphrased, is that deductive reasoning allows us to “learn” things using associative reasoning and logic, but that we can’t actually “know” those things—we are only operating on assumption, and if it works, then great, but how or why it works is not 100% certain just because we made an educated guess and got it right. Basically, it’s the idea that, since it wasn’t hand-written somewhere by God Himself, it’s not technically “proven,” and the only way it could be considered “proven” is if we could examine it actually occuring (as opposed to reaching the same conclusion through deductive reasoning).

    One more thing you seem to not understand is that I have already responded to this point, as well: The scientific community performs tests every day and discovers new things. They carefully document very, very specific fine-tuned experiments with countless variables that cover thousands upon thousands of possible situations, then they isolate the variables one at a time and measure the effect this has. It’s not perfect, but it’s damn close. In the end, the scientific community winds up with something that is consistently effective; in your mind, it’s not “objectively true,” but it might as well be, because it works as though it is. No, we didn’t actually see it occuring—spelled out in black and white—in nature, but it’s possible for us to reproduce the situations to such an exact approximation that there is no other possible explanation for whatever phenomona is/are being studied, then test it hundreds more times to “check” the results and make sure that they are consistent. This is the criteria which must be fulfilled for something to be consistently, scientifically “proven.”

    For a fundamentalist Christian, though (for example), it only needs to be written down in the Bible. The Bible is “inerrant” and anything—actual experience or otherwise—is disregarded in favor of the Bible’s “truths.”

    Now….if I were a foreign life-form coming to this planet from another, and I had no knowledge of science or the Bible, which do you think I would choose? The one that offered me at least a semblance of verification, or the one that required that I trust in something which I not only can’t see, but often come into direct contradiction with? The one that has reliably provided consistent efficiency in the form of, say, machinery that aids mankind in his/her daily tasks? Or the one that challenges those exact scientific progressions on the basis that “it’s not spelled out for everyone to see, we have to figure it out for ourselves, so it’s not trustworthy?”

    No, maybe we can’t “technically” know with 100% certainty that “science is 100% accurate” in the sense that we may never be able to see certain things literally happening and fully understand/comprehend what they signify. But deductive reasoning, science, logic, and all that jazz is about isolating the cause and effect relationship between physical things; for example, the way a lightbulb works. It creates light, but not just for the hell of it; if we change any one single aspect of the lightbulb that affects the process of transforming energy into light, it will not transform energy into light. Is this simply because “we got lucky” and happened to isolate the variables which affect this process, and we don’t actually know at all how it works? Or is it because we (rather, Edison) researched the structure of the filament, experimented, and produced a result based on what amounts to a process of trial and error?

    The bottom line being….physical reality is consistent. Its governing laws do not “change” or “shift.” If they did, then discoveries we made in the past would no longer apply. We have made many discoveries which have since been proved wrong, but not because of anything that has changed in the physical world’s governing laws—rather, because of unknown factors. For example, people used to think disease was “God punishing them,” but once microorganisms were discovered, they realized they were wrong because they hadn’t known they were being affected by organisms so small they couldn’t be seen. When we develop new ways of interacting with the world, we see new things and change our views to accomodate these new things. This is what first attracted me to science; it accomodates its views to suit that which anyone can see and verify for him/herself, as opposed to the other way around (denying any physical reality which contradicts one’s own view). Religious doctrine implies (and in some cases, directly states) that the religion in question is “inerrant” or “perfect,” and so naturally the inference is that nothing in reality should contradict it. So what do religious leaders do when reality contradicts religion? One of two things: change the doctrine to reflect reality to feed the illusion that the doctrine is “inerrant,” or simply ignore the aspect of reality that contradicts the doctrine. The difference between religious doctrine and science is that science admits and acknowledges that this change is a part of the learning process, while religious leaders try to revise history and doctrine to suit reality and feed the illusion of said doctrine’s inerrancy (And technically, it is inerrant, if we continue to rectify it to reflect what we know to be true. So if that’s all it takes to make something inerrant….science is inerrant, is it not?).

    Now if you’r simplistic assertion is that I can’t THINK water into wine: ok… I’m pretty sure I never said one could think water into wine. Once again please post such quotes from me where I have said such.

    “Think” and “interpret” are two entirely different things. If you perceive water as wine, that does not mean it becomes wine. Even if you believe it is….does that mean everyone else is potentially wrong simply because of your perception?

    I’ll bet you enjoyed writting that with a sense of firm satisfaction…

    The idea of speaking with a hypocrite does not satisfy me in the least….quite the opposite, actually.

    And for the ump-teenth time, I am not claiming a 100% objective viewpoint. Re-read this post however many times it takes for you to understand that, please….I am claiming that our so-called “perspective” of observing the environment and drawing conclusions from things which obviously cause other things consistently allows us to utilize a functioning, consistent set of circumstances. It doesn’t matter if this is “technically objective” because, if objective reality is as inaccessible as you claim it is, then it is inconsequential to our physical existence and cannot affect us in any way (this is where you normally say that we can technically get at objective reality in some ways….in which case, there you go, we can get at objective reality). The difference between you and I is that I don’t make the technical differentiation between that which works consistently, can be seen, tested, observed, reproduced, reenacted, and interchanged between different viewers all to the same end and this thing you call “objective reality.” What you call “objective reality” is ultimately inconsequential; we don’t even technically know if it exists, by your terms—except, there’s that problem where people whose perceptions don’t coincide with physical reality end up coming off as “crazy,” such as people who think they can fly or people who think they can pass through solid matter. If what you say were true—if the consistency of “objective reality” were actually capable of being changed by perception—then people who perceived that they were walking through walls would actually do so.

    If you deny this, then you admit that objective reality is consistent, do you not?

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim

    P.S.

    I was reading today’s post, and I followed a link or two and found a couple of paragraphs that almost exactly describe what I feel when I talk to people about religious matters:

    I get angry when believers say things like, “Yes, of course, the human mind isn’t perfect, we see what we expect to see, we see faces and patterns and intention when they aren’t necessarily there… but that couldn’t be happening with me. The patterns I see in my life… they couldn’t possibly be coincidence or confirmation bias. I’m definitely seeing the hand of God.” (And then, once again, those same believers accuse atheists of being close-minded and only seeing what we want to see.)

    I’m angry at believers who have so little respect for the physical world their God supposedly created that they feel perfectly content to ignore the mountains of physical evidence piling up around them about that real world; perfectly content to see that world as somehow less real and true than their personal opinions about God.

  • MB

    Wow. I must have really ticked you off. I appologize for that… For what ever reason you have become offended by my questions I appologize. Once again i am NOT trying to convert you. I’m trying to see just how consistant and thought through your own world view is. some of the questions I have asked you are not necessairly my own… as much as seeing how you respond to arguments made by others. Here’s the reason I have to do that. You claim that religious people are turning off their mind and ignorning the evidence against God (or evidence that you construe as anti god). Well there are some things that are hacking away at “science” and modernism specifically. I don’t necessairly buy them myself. However, I do have to have an answer for them. Which.. believe it or not I do have answers (at least enough to satisfy myself). Is it fair that only christians have to provide answers? No, I think that anyone claiming an objective and universally true doctrine should have to deal with these issue.

    Now what does that have to do with everything we’ve been speaking about? The first major hurddle to moderism came in the form of Immanual Kant in the late 18th century with his critique of pure reason. It was the first major obstacle philosophically to a consistant universal rationalism (by that I mean a constructed system that can tells us everything about everything) Christianity is such a universal system, Isam is as well. So is modernism. Modernism can usually be traced by to Locke, Descartes philosphers each of them.

    Now I have been trying to illustrate, describe, point you towards, direct you to understand his argument about the limitations of human reason. The essence of your retorts have been…. “how do we know he was telling the truth”…

    Actually? We don’t know. But in the academic community one usually reads and understand a position prior to disbelieving. This was your summation of Kant’s point:

    “Basically, it’s the idea that, since it wasn’t hand-written somewhere by God Himself, it’s not technically “proven,”

    That’s not exactally what he was saying. One of his points was that knowledge is not possible with a priori judgements that connect information into a meaningful whole. We do this with everything, we do this even with what we “experience”.

    His perspective is not to look at the object and try and find a way to “get at it” He was looking at the observer “us” and describing how we “get at it”. This isn’t about the objective world; this is about US and our ability to objectively get at objects as they truely are. Kant took his entire life to work on this problem, it was his greatest work and one that I believe is worth examining.

    Tim wrote:”Now….if I were a foreign life-form coming to this planet from another, and I had no knowledge of science or the Bible, which do you think I would choose?”

    I don’t know… I’m not sure how you would know what a foreign life form would be looking for… You can assume to know but that’s no more evidence than me saying I assume to know. Logically how can you know what a life form that you don’t even know exists would be looking for?

    Tim wrote:”It doesn’t matter if this is “technically objective” because, if objective reality is as inaccessible as you claim it is, then it is inconsequential to our physical existence and cannot affect us in any way”

    What does “technically objective” mean? Do you mean that because we don’t KNOW it’s 100% true it’s irrelevant? Life is not all or nothing. Just because we can’t “get at” what reality truely is “objectively” it does not follow (logically) that it is therefore a) irrelevant or b) not really there.

    What you could say…. and you have hinted at it that while it’s not truely objective it seems to work for us. You did say that here: “but it might as well be, because it works as though it is.”

    Now I would let this argument go if you would simply admit, and stick with it mind you, that no, we don’t know that what we are experiencing is 100% objectively true. This would then stop your claims of “science tells me everything.”; “Science tells us the “truth” about the natural world.” It would stop this assertion: “science is above interpretation”(by definition it is an interpretation of reality that just happens to function very well for us). ”

    If we really understand Kant, than we begin to realize that “science” precicely IS interpretation. I highly doubt you would admit these assertions. By the way none of these assertions leads to “faith” or “God” it just requires you to release your assurance that everything you’ve been told is “objectively true” is really an interpretation of reality(one that seems to function very well mind you but interpretation none the less)

    Also I’m very tired of talking about “religions”, “God”, the “inerrant scriptures” I get it; I know you don’t believe… .Fine, I want to talk about what you do believe. That is science, reason, logic and rationalism.

    Tim wrote:”I am not claiming a 100% objective viewpoint.”

    You also wrote: “Kant’s claims are not “just perspective,” as you claim mine to be anytime they contradict his. So what, because he said it it’s true? How do you know we can’t get at objective reality? Have you seen it?”

    So while you’re claiming 100% objectivity you also question Kant’s assertion. This is why I keep returning to him you question is assertion, and turn around and say I’m ignoring you when you say your not really objective. Secondly about the second quote. You fail to realize that Kant’s assertion isn’t about “objective reality” it’s about us and how we “access” reality. You have to examine just how you access “things”. Is it true that if you were to see a man disappear off a cliff that you would assume a cause and effect relationship between the cliff and the disappearance of the man? It may be a safe assumption. It may be a logical assumption, it may even be a rational assumption… but isn’t it an assumption?

    Tim wrote: “couple of paragraphs that almost exactly describe what I feel when I talk to people about religious matters:”

    I told you I don’t want to talk about religious matters. you are the one who keeps returning this back to faith and God as if by my questioning these things it automatically means something about God… It doesn’t. I have proven NOTHING about God. All I’m trying to do is speak with you about your claims: that science is above interpretation, it tells you everything you need to know and is telling us the truth about reality.
    Don’t turn this in to something it’s not.

    Tim wrote: ” If what you say were true—if the consistency of “objective reality” were actually capable of being changed by perception.”

    I have NEVER said that one could change physical objects by perception. I never said that…. Please copy and paste ANY quote where I said one could change the physical properties of any physical object by my or anyones perception. I never claimed it, I never asked a question about it. I never said anything like. THAT is a strawman argument. Proping up something I never asserted and then knocking it down is a strawman argument.

    Tim wrote: “If you deny this, then you admit that objective reality is consistent, do you not?”

    If I read Kant properly I say: I don’t know what “objective reality” is that’s nounoumia or a thing as it is in it’s self. What I do believe with pretty good certainty is that my experience with objects(phenomina) doesn’t usually change with my percpetion. Ie I can’t think water in to wine.

    Now as to your question: If we can’t get at “objective reality” with 100% certainty, as you claimed you have been saying all along, than how do you KNOW that “objective reality” is consistent enough to ask me that question about walking through walls?
    This question shows that you DO know that “objective reality” is accessible with 100% certainty. So either you don’t believe Kant’s argument and we can access “objective reality” enough to KNOW it is consistant or you do believe Kant and we shouldn’t be talking about KNOWING “objectively realty” but we should start talking about what we BELIEVE about “objective reality”.

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    No, I think that anyone claiming an objective and universally true doctrine should have to deal with these issue.

    I have to tell you, it’s very probable that what we know right now (scientifically speaking) is not the “final truth” of the universe. That, again, is what I enjoy so deeply about scientific research; it allows me to change my perceptions/beliefs/what-have-you to suit what I can see. If I believe something is impossible, and someone clearly demonstrates it and explains how they can do it, and I can follow those directions and do it myself, then I will alter my beliefs—the act is no longer “impossible,” it is demonstrably possible.

    However….religious doctrine, as I have said, does not allow for this alteration. Take the application form for scientists desiring to work at the Creationist Museum; it clearly states that one must discount even personal experience if it goes against the word of scripture. To that I ask this question: Did God not create this physical world, according to Christianity? In which case, that which we can see and observe is the will of God. So to ignore it seems contradictory, does it not?

    That’s not exactally what he was saying. One of his points was that knowledge is not possible with a priori judgements that connect information into a meaningful whole. We do this with everything, we do this even with what we “experience”.

    No, that’s not “exactly” what he was saying (hence my use of the term “paraphrase”). But to me, though his argument has technical merits, it ultimately amounts to an excuse to criticise rationality and science. It criticizes these systems for being unable to perform that which no other system can demonstrably perform (“seeing objective reality objectively”). Christianity does not offer this; Islam, Buddhism, Shinto, Wicca, none of those faiths offer this. No thought process I’ve ever researched does this. Yes, it is important that we keep this principle in mind—we must not ever claim that what we know is the “final truth about everything,” but of course I could have told you that years ago—but to use it as an actual attacking point on science is ludicrous; science does not claim to be able to discover the final, ultimate, objective truth about everything. It claims to be able to make useful rational deductions about our environment, which we can then put to work for us.

    It’s part of my belief system that we must never become placid in our beliefs; we must always be on the lookout for ways to improve our worldviews. Science and rationality offer this to me in ways that religion does not—religion simply offers me different ways of interpreting the same “evidence” at the first sign of dissent, and charges me with the burden of “believing” or “not believing” at the risk of “eternal damnation.” Religion comes with the burden of moral dilemmas that I cannot reconcile (such as, using Christianity again, the idea that wives are to submit to their husbands, an ideology of which I am not fond). Science offers a progression, a way of changing and evolving to suit current needs, and most importantly of all, it requires a rational explanation for that which religion so often disguises as “morality.”

    If anything, I would say that religion is the party worthy of being charged with claiming objectivity. Why should women obey their husbands blindly? Because God said so, it’s moral. Why is homosexuality wrong? God said it’s an abomination. All of the ethics and morals I hold true to have rational bases, however odd they may seem—I don’t believe in murder because I wouldn’t want someone to kill me, and so I don’t do it to other people (we call people who do things to others yet expect differently in return “hypocrites,” and they are generally not likable individuals). I believe in universal human equality because, if I am going to claim that I have the right to do something simply by virtue of my existence, I must apply that claim to everyone who shares that same virtue, otherwise my argument is defunct. So naturally, anything I find myself “entitled” to, I must consider everyone else entitled to, as well. I admit that these are not “objective truths,” but that they are my decisions. But that in no way means I recognize them as “invalid” or “incorrect.”

    I don’t know… I’m not sure how you would know what a foreign life form would be looking for… You can assume to know but that’s no more evidence than me saying I assume to know. Logically how can you know what a life form that you don’t even know exists would be looking for?

    It was a metaphor….

    Assume a human no different from you or I were to arrive in this world, having only a basic fundamental understanding of his/her own existence and knowing nothing whatsoever about science or religion. Whatever; the semantics and details weren’t the point. It’s obvious you missed that much.

    What does “technically objective” mean? Do you mean that because we don’t KNOW it’s 100% true it’s irrelevant?

    By “technical,” I mean in theory, figuratively. There is no evidence to suggest that it is not objective, but simply by virtue of possibility we cannot claim that it is, and therefore it is “technically” not objective.

    Just because we can’t “get at” what reality truely is “objectively” it does not follow (logically) that it is therefore a) irrelevant or b) not really there.

    This makes no sense. You claim that we cannot reach objective reality by virtue of being limited to our own perceptions. That means we can never reach it, because we will always have perceptions as you define them; they are a fundamental part of our development and our personality. If we can never reach it, then we will never know one way or the other. We can only speculate. Also, if what you say is true, then we have technically hit a “wall” with regard to deducing “true reality,” in that we can never reach it due to our limited perceptions. Any way we examine what you claim about objective truth, we can never see it or sense it it any way, and it can never affect us in any way (because if it could, we could perceive it and it would no longer be “objective” because it would be diluted by our perception). So yes, logically speaking, it is inconsequential in a technical sense if we can never use it or interact with it. It’s useful for art and poetry and thought and all, but as for having an actual physical use, it’s completely pointless.

    Now I would let this argument go if you would simply admit, and stick with it mind you, that no, we don’t know that what we are experiencing is 100% objectively true.

    So you’ll actually believe me when I tell you this time? Alright: we don’t technically know what is objectively true, by virtue of possibility.

    However, that’s not good enough reason for me to dismantle my rationality with regard to science and progression. Don’t know if that’s what you were going for or not, but I felt it was important to mention anyway.

    This would then stop your claims of “science tells me everything.”

    Ahem….science tells me everything I can know.

    “science is above interpretation”(by definition it is an interpretation of reality that just happens to function very well for us). ”

    I never said it’s above interpretation. Early, early on in this discussion I made some of the other comments you have made, but I must admit, I honestly didn’t think we’d get this far along. Usually I just express my confidence in science in general terms, expecting the other person to condemn me to hell and walk away. Perhaps if I had seen this level of discussion coming beforehand, I would have chosen my words more precisely.

    So while you’re claiming 100% objectivity you also question Kant’s assertion.

    I’m getting to the point where I think you might be joking, with all of these points about my “claiming 100% objectivity.” Can you not understand that I have already admitted that I do not claim 100% objectivity? If you carefully re-read my last two or three comments, you’ll see that I have consistently stated this in almost every single one. However….if I see what I perceive as a flaw in your rationale regarding objective reality, I will gladly ask you questions that may rise from the perspective of one who wishes to believe that he/she is capable of viewing reality objectively.

    As for Kant….I don’t question his assertion because I necessarily think we can get at objective reality objectively. I question his assertion because it is, in essence, a logical paradox; if we cannot know reality objectively, then how can Kant himself make an observation of objective reality that is true, when his own statement says we cannot reach objective reality objectively? If what he says is “true,” then that means it is “objective truth” in that it cannot be disputed. An objective truth which, according to his own testimony, we cannot ever reach, because we are limited to our perceptions. Do you see the problem this presents?

    All I’m trying to do is speak with you about your claims: that science is above interpretation, it tells you everything you need to know and is telling us the truth about reality.
    Don’t turn this in to something it’s not.

    Well, if it makes you feel better, I’ll apologize for my religious deviations. I guess I just get bored waiting for you to acknowledge what I’ve already said.

    I have NEVER said that one could change physical objects by perception. I never said that…. Please copy and paste ANY quote where I said one could change the physical properties of any physical object by my or anyones perception. I never claimed it, I never asked a question about it. I never said anything like. THAT is a strawman argument. Proping up something I never asserted and then knocking it down is a strawman argument.

    Touche. I’ll give you that one.

    Now as to your question: If we can’t get at “objective reality” with 100% certainty, as you claimed you have been saying all along, than how do you KNOW that “objective reality” is consistent enough to ask me that question about walking through walls?

    Technically, I don’t. I’m speaking from my experience. I’ve never been able to walk through walls, I’ve never seen anyone else do it, and I’ve never observed a documented account of anyone having done so. Have you?

    Well, then what reason do I have to believe it is possible? By your logic it is “technically possible,” but that doesn’t automatically mean I believe it is possible. I assume it is not (because it would not be a safe assumption for me in my daily life to assume that physical matter is no longer a constant, for I could easily be led to believe that, say, oncoming cars will do me no harm) until it is demonstrated to me that it is possible.

    Do you see how this is scientific, and not a claim that I can see objective reality objectively? I make a claim that is basically an educated guess based on my experiences. I will (arrogantly, some might say) proclaim this to be basically correct until someone proves me wrong. Then I will “go quietly” and change my beliefs to fit the evidence. If I claimed that this was 100% objective reality, then I would not be subject to changing my opinions in light of new evidence—I would simply ignore the new evidence, or anything else that came into conflict with my worldview.

  • Mike B

    Tim that was a great post! I can’t talk now about it. I will answer more tomorrow. But I agree with most everything you said and I believe we can get away from Kant.

    mike

  • Mike B

    Tim wrote: “I can follow those directions and do it myself, then I will alter my beliefs—the act is no longer “impossible,” it is demonstrably possible.”

    How does this method work with things that have happened in history? Does everything have to be completely redemonstrated or can you take people “word for it”? The reason I say this is that there are things that have happened historically that are extremely difficult to believe. For example the battle of Thermoplyae. It seems impossible that 4000 greeks could hold off as many men as Heroditous claimed. There is no way to reduplicate it in this case empiricism is nearly worthless. What process of decision making can you employ that allows you to determine what happened?

    Tim wrote:”However….religious doctrine, as I have said, does not allow for this alteration.”

    As I said earlier I’m not interested in that right now. It’s pretty obvious you have zero respect for any kind of “faith system” other than science. Slamming religious ideas does not automatically prove “scientific” belief.

    Tim wrote: “No, that’s not “exactly” what he was saying (hence my use of the term “paraphrase”). But to me, though his argument has technical merits, it ultimately amounts to an excuse to criticise rationality and science. It criticizes these systems for being unable to perform that which no other system can demonstrably perform (”seeing objective reality objectively”).”

    I am glad you finally read Kant’s work; what is amazing to me is how it can have “technical merits” but be an “excuse”. I don’t think your getting the full weight of his work. Kant wrote in a time when reason and rationalism was at it’s apex. Nearly everyone believed exactally as you do that it was only a matter of time before we discovered everything about everything. Kant was a structuralist who believed that there was structure and form to the universe. his cirticism isn’t to destory science as much as to demonstrate the limits of human reason. In other words it wasn’t about destroying science as much as helping it to understand it’s limits. Kant wasn’t criticizing “reason” like he was picking on it he was just describing what “reason” is incapable of accomplishing.

    Any way it wasn’t kant that began picking away at science. However, Kants ideas demonstrated a clear flaw within rationalism. This flaw was exploited by later philosophers.

    Tim wrote:”Usually I just express my confidence in science in general terms, expecting the other person to condemn me to hell and walk away.”

    I can understand how you could make such an assumption it’s perfectly understandable. However, this should demonstrate just how assumptions can affect our decisions. By the way it’s a LOT easier to just admit when you’ve said something you don’t really believe and appologize rather than to continue to fight it out like you really do believe it. It’s no big deal for me.

    Tim wrote:”I question his assertion because it is, in essence, a logical paradox; if we cannot know reality objectively, then how can Kant himself make an observation of objective reality that is true, when his own statement says we cannot reach objective reality objectively?”

    I won’t mention how THIS statement compares to your “I don’t question Kant’s assertion.” Secondly Kant’s assertion isn’t about “objective reality”because it’s not about things. Kant’s brilliance is that he precicely turned the question of “How can we get at things objectively?” on it’s head by asking “How do we get at things at all?” In other words he wasn’t examining objects and demonstrating how we can’t get at them, but rather he was describing our ability to “get at” things and demonstrated our limitations. In other words he wasn’t making an absolute assertion about objective reality, but was making a subjective assessment of our ability to access “objective reality” The thing is that no one has seriously disproven his assessment, subjective as it is, most thinking people believe his assertion. You don’t have to. You can reject it if you want; call it a paradox and tell your college philosophy professor that Kant’s full of crap. More than likely he’ll pat you on the head and send you on your way out the door. But if I was you… This is just me mind you… I might tell your proff you don’t understand his philosphy and say that it looks to you like a paradox and ask him if he might clairify it for you. But that’s just me.

    Tim wrote: “Do you see how this is scientific, and not a claim that I can see objective reality objectively?”

    Actually, no I don’t see. This sentence confuses me. What is scientific? Are you claiming to see objective reality objectively?

    Now for my own questions: Now that you have admited that you don’t view the world objectively but rather with a paradigm that is subjective how has this admission affected the way you view science? In other words what are some way’s that our perceptions or paradigm might affect the way we use and employ the empirical method? or does our perception or bias affect the way we use empiricism?

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    The reason I say this is that there are things that have happened historically that are extremely difficult to believe. For example the battle of Thermoplyae.

    You’d be better off asking a historian about that; I don’t know very much at all about European history, much less to a specific-enough point to explain that kind of issue. Although, for what it’s worth, I don’t think that would have been impossible—unlikely, perhaps, but not impossible.

    As I said earlier I’m not interested in that right now. It’s pretty obvious you have zero respect for any kind of “faith system” other than science. Slamming religious ideas does not automatically prove “scientific” belief.

    I have little respect for organized religion, yes. I have little reason to believe that, at this time, it is anything other than a political tool. I know enough to believe that there are “true believers” out there (my mother, and my dad’s closest friend, for example), but as for the idea that there is a “One True Interpretation” of any religious text as vague as the Bible, yes, I am opposed to that greatly.

    In other news: I’m not “slamming religious belief” in an attempt to prove scientific views, not at all. I’m simply providing context for my argument; the reasons I see so many things about science as positive partially include science’s context with religions and other thought processes; thus, it is necessary to include them in my analysis. Whether or not you “care” for my opinion about religion doesn’t much sway me in this respect.

    Which brings me to another interesting point….physical methodologies and facts already do exist in a basic sense, that’s how we can interact with them. In a sense, this is where Kant’s point about perspectives seems most important—not so much that science is “flawed” because of perspectives, but because science is useless without perspectives. For example, what good does it do to know how to build a lightbulb if one does not need to build a lightbulb? What good does it do to know how to stay alive if one is not concerned with staying alive? The bottom line of which is, I guess, no thought process is useful without some kind of original perspective. I mean, insofar as the thought process is capable of existing separately from the human mind (only in a conceptual sense, not in a literal, physical sense), it is “useful,” for example, the way to produce a lightbulb is true, effective and useful….but only if one needs to know it. Otherwise, it has no practical use. If I’m stranded on a desert island with only sand and seawater, then it won’t do me much good to know how to build a lightbulb, because even if I wanted to, I couldn’t—the materials (or means by which to convert them) aren’t available to me.

    And naturally, the interests of society will dictate the course of science; this is due to our “perspective” of what we need to know. When there is heavy debate over an issue (such as global warming), then science tends to resolve it more quickly than with issues that are of little general consequence (fill in your own blank here). Of course, very few scientific discoveries were made on purpose; so in that sense, even the course of science itself is ultimately beyond our control. We just pick a direction to set it into motion, but where it ultimately ends up is beyond our ability to know.

    I am glad you finally read Kant’s work; what is amazing to me is how it can have “technical merits” but be an “excuse”.

    I meant it seems like an excuse on your part. You seem to think his argument is simply an open-and-shut case with regard to science and rationalism; mainly, what bothers me is that you speak as though science promises the “eventual discovery of all things,” and you use Kant as a launchpad for your attack on rationality from there. As I said in my previous comment, science is concerned with deriving useful methodologies from the world around us, not “perfection” — if it were concerned with perfection, I would not have as strong a desire to pursue it, as I believe flaw is a basic human quality; perfection is something of which only machines are capable, and only in the basest sense. Science is not a “perfect” process; I’d be among the first to tell you that.

    By the way it’s a LOT easier to just admit when you’ve said something you don’t really believe and appologize rather than to continue to fight it out like you really do believe it. It’s no big deal for me.

    It’s not that I “don’t believe” certain things, so much as I don’t explain them properly. I don’t just outright lie to random people about what I believe; however, all too often it seems that they’re more interested in converting me than in having a discussion (the “used car salesman” approach, as I call it), so I just give a half-assed retort and move on. Judging from your drive-by attempt early on, I expected as much in this case.

    I won’t mention how THIS statement compares to your “I don’t question Kant’s assertion.”

    I didn’t say, “I don’t question his assertion,” I said, “I don’t question his assertion on the basis that I disbelieve it, necessarily. Rather, I question it on the basis that it seems to bring about a logical paradox.

    My point being that you hold his argument as a “final truth.” You are unable to consider the possibility that his argument is flawed in some way (though I’m not necessarily saying it is). This is the same “perspective flaw” of which you accuse me with regard to science—that I simply “take other peoples’ word for it,” or that I don’t question popular assumptions. By any thinking person’s rationale, I shouldn’t not question Kant just because someone tells me not to. I should examine it from all angles until it either makes sense or is debunked.

    What you don’t understand is that I’m not “attacking” it, per se, so much as I am “questioning” it. You seem irritated at the idea of someone questioning Kant, which sort of amuses me.

    Actually, no I don’t see. This sentence confuses me. What is scientific? Are you claiming to see objective reality objectively?

    (1) No, no, no….for the ump-teenth time, I don’t claim to see objective reality objectively as a final truth.

    (2) I was referring to the content of the paragraph in which I asked you the question you quoted. The idea that it makes perfect scientific sense to act based on certain assumptions if those assumptions are well-founded and not likely to be contradicted (the consistency of physical matter, for instance). The entire process, really—the process of acting on likely assumptions (what I call “proven assumptions,” but we’ll use your word here) until those assumptions are proven to be untrue or less likely than another likely assumption. The point being; I don’t want to know things just to know them. I want to know them so I can apply them in real life. If the consistency of physical matter had no effect on my daily life or that of anyone else, do you think I would much care about it? Perhaps I would for thought’s sake, but not for any practical purpose. When you challenge my beleifs about the physical world, I don’t think you understand that the priority of my physical safety and experience comes before any “technical” logical probabilities to the contrary. I will follow whichever path seems most likely to keep me alive, in other words.

    Now that you have admited that you don’t view the world objectively but rather with a paradigm that is subjective how has this admission affected the way you view science? In other words what are some way’s that our perceptions or paradigm might affect the way we use and employ the empirical method? or does our perception or bias affect the way we use empiricism?

    Well, my basest priority is (obviously, I think) staying alive—we’ll start simple. So using my above example, my “bias” with regard to perceiving physical matter would be to search for a way to interact with it that would not cause me physical harm. For example, knowing what I know about matter and such….say I want to cross the street, but there are cars coming from either direction. Now, I “know” that physical reality is basically consistent; it is not amorphous or in flux. I also know that since the car appears to be moving down a straight line (the road), it is likely to continue moving in that direction until another direction becomes available, at which point a multiple-probability circumstance arises. I also know that multiple instances of matter cannot exist in the same physical space. I am to assume two things based on all of this, again keeping my own safety in mind:

    (1) the car will keep moving down the road.
    (2) since my matter and the car’s matter cannot exist in the same space, one of us will have to move if we come in contact. The car is larger, denser, and heavier than I am, as well as moving much more quickly, so I will likely be flung away from it at a high velocity, thus receiving numerous physical injuries.

    So, in the interest of my own safety, I will not cross the road until it is clear of traffic; if I were to try, I would most likely be hit by a car. There is a small chance that one such car might stop in time if I run out in front of it, but multiple cars may not be able to stop in time, or even see me at all through the clutter of traffic. Therefore, I assume the most minimal risk to myself by crossing when there is no traffic.

    You may have spotted one or more “technical” problems (i.e. assumptions) in the above example. This is because I am taking the assumption that is most likely true based on what I know. Understanding the world around me and bending my own actions to accomodate it is the only other choice when I exist in a world that basically refuses to accomodate to my own needs. This is my priority when thinking rationally about the physical world; other such priorities exist, but I chose this one because it was the easiest to illustrate simply.

  • Mike

    Tim wrote:”You’d be better off asking a historian about that; I don’t know very much at all about European history, much less to a specific-enough point to explain that kind of issue.”

    The question was not that complicated. I asked how scientific empiricism (your epistomology of choice) works in terms of history. When you are claiming to know abot the world history is not that complicated. For example, if you don’t know “much about european history” how do you know enogh to reject the “scriptures” I recall you said that they were not “evidence” of any kind. If you don’t know about history enough to speak about it then how do you know what is or is not “good evidence” in terms of history?

    Tim wrote: “but because science is useless without perspectives.”

    I agree that the methodology of empiricism needs an overarching philosphical framework in order to function. do you think it is because of this influence of “perspectives” upon science that we can have such divergent views concerning critical issues?

    Tim wrote: “And naturally, the interests of society will dictate the course of science; this is due to our “perspective” of what we need to know.”

    I actually really agree with you on this issue as well. I have no problem believing that science isn’t about “discovering the truth” but about solving perceived problems and discovering ways to make it fit with our perspective.

    Tim wrote:”I meant it seems like an excuse on your part. You seem to think his argument is simply an open-and-shut case with regard to science and rationalism; mainly, what bothers me is that you speak as though science promises the “eventual discovery of all things,” and you use Kant as a launchpad for your attack on rationality from there.”

    Actually, I have said if you don’t want to agree with Kant, that’s your business. for me it’s not a matter of “open and shut” so much as some one ought to know and understand the argument before shooting it down. By the way I wasn’t the one who said that science would discover all things. If you recall you may have said something to that effect before you realized this conversation wouldn’t end up with you “being throw in hell” by me. And actually yes I have used Kant as a launch point for attacking rationalism, part of knowing what one believes is being able to defend that belief. the humanities have been steadily philosphically criticizing sciences unquestioned position in our society.

    Tim wrote: “I didn’t say, “I don’t question his assertion,” I said, “I don’t question his assertion on the basis that I disbelieve it, necessarily. Rather, I question it on the basis that it seems to bring about a logical paradox.”

    Ok, it’s not that you disbelieve it but that it “seems to bring about a logical paradox” and so because it “seems to bring about a logical paradox” that means that you….. what? don’t believe it?

    Tim wrote:”My point being that you hold his argument as a “final truth.” You are unable to consider the possibility that his argument is flawed in some way.”

    Actually i am perfectly willing to listen to any reasoned argument concering kant. As long as the reason is coming from an informed position. (I can tell a doctor his opinion is biased and not agree with it but i’d better be as informed as I can. Saying I don’t believe it… is not an argument) As to a final truth… i am willing to say that in my perspective his view does not necessairly conflict with my own… so can use him as i wish.

    tim wrote:”By any thinking person’s rationale, I shouldn’t not question Kant just because someone tells me not to.”

    I agree… I don’t think people should just accept things blindly either… However, just how long did it take you to actually do the research that I suggested as far back as mid september?

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim

    For example, if you don’t know “much about european history” how do you know enogh to reject the “scriptures” I recall you said that they were not “evidence” of any kind. If you don’t know about history enough to speak about it then how do you know what is or is not “good evidence” in terms of history?

    Well, for one, the particular historical claim you cite does not claim supernatural occurrence took place—that a man came back to life—whereas the Bible does just that. Therefore, I am inclined not to believe the Bible on such an account. As for the historical account itself, I don’t claim to “know” about it because, honestly, I’ve only heard of that particular account once or twice in recent years (mostly in school courses). I don’t know about it. As for the Bible; no, I don’t know what happened back then. I’m not rejecting it solely on the basis that I wasn’t there to verify it (though that helps), but rather I am rejecting it on the basis that it claims that supernatural events happened publicly for all to see. Why does this level of “magic” not happen in today’s world? And better yet, if such magic is incapable of occurring in today’s world, then how am I to believe that it took place in ancient times?

    That’s what entertains me the most about religions; their greatest “miracles” hide behind the veil of history. Supposedly, there was always some great prophet who came about centuries ago and did the impossible for all to see, clearly proving the existence of the supernatural….yet, conveniently, that all happened so far back along the timeline that it’s not technically verifiable. In 1984, George Orwell made a very interesting remark that I think pertains to this discussion: “It’s very easy to invent a dead person.”

    It is also quite easy to fabricate events that have long passed.

    But also….the idea of believing in any religion is so much more complicated than, “well, we don’t know if that one is true.” There are hundreds of religions, many of which have “ancient tomes” that date back to thousands of years ago—some farther back than Christianity. For a believer in that faith, the Bible is evidence against other faiths—if a believer trusts the Bible, then to that person it might as well be fact. But to someone like me, who doesn’t innately trust the Bible….if I am going to even consider religious belief (which I am not—I’ve been and gone down that road—but let’s play hypothetically here), then I must consider every possible religion. Islam and Judaism also both claim to be universally correct. How, without citing the Christian Bible as hard evidence and without resorting to how man has abused the faith in recent years, would a Christian pose an argument to a person who doesn’t believe in God (or, perhaps, believes in another faith)? Christians I talk to refuse to abandon Christianity just because it’s being used for American political purposes; they simply frown upon its usage in such a manner.

    The point being….where there are multiple conflicting accounts, that much more scrutiny is required, scientific or otherwise.

    I agree that the methodology of empiricism needs an overarching philosphical framework in order to function. do you think it is because of this influence of “perspectives” upon science that we can have such divergent views concerning critical issues?

    I think there is a serious problem with concern to perspective in the way science is explored in modern society, yes; different political groups have the most money, for example, so the greatest sources of information with regard to public study projects come from such groups. And since 99% of such groups are extremely polarized to the left or right, we almost always come out with a skewed test that supports one side over the other while leaving out crucial arguments. Whether it’s global warming or whether or not married women should work, there’s almost always some bias (intended or otherwise) in almost every media outlet, both independent and mainstream. On the one hand, it is very important that our society work to purgue this vagueness….but for that to work, the common American would require a level of knowledge beyond the scope of what is currently considered “mainstream knowledge,” in order to seek and verify information for him/herself, which is not actively enforceable. The point being, people are only as informed as they want to be; some people will stop when they reach the point that they want to hear, whereas others aren’t so sure about the finality of that point and will continue study.

    I actually really agree with you on this issue as well. I have no problem believing that science isn’t about “discovering the truth” but about solving perceived problems and discovering ways to make it fit with our perspective.

    You know, we could have saved so much time….:)

    Actually, I have said if you don’t want to agree with Kant, that’s your business. for me it’s not a matter of “open and shut” so much as some one ought to know and understand the argument before shooting it down.

    Once again, I’m not “shooting down” Kant’s point. I actually agree with it in a basic sense. It’s the way you were using that point that I disagreed with.

    Ok, it’s not that you disbelieve it but that it “seems to bring about a logical paradox” and so because it “seems to bring about a logical paradox” that means that you….. what? don’t believe it?

    Okay, see, this is one of those hypothetical questions I was talking about. I wanted to know how you would answer it. I’m sure there’s more to it than that, since Kant has made it as far as college-level ethics books, but it doesn’t make sense on the surface. My mother happens to have an ethics textbook lying around from her college days, so I’ll probably just end up looking it up there instead.

    Actually i am perfectly willing to listen to any reasoned argument concering kant. As long as the reason is coming from an informed position. (I can tell a doctor his opinion is biased and not agree with it but i’d better be as informed as I can. Saying I don’t believe it… is not an argument) As to a final truth… i am willing to say that in my perspective his view does not necessairly conflict with my own… so can use him as i wish.

    First off, I’m not debating whether you can use him as you wish—that’s beyond my concern or my ability. However….you do use him as a tool for attacking other rationalities, and the reason this is a problem is because, if one were to refer to objective reality in the sense that Kant does, then technically, any thought process becomes vulnerable and flawed. Religion, science, reason, whatever—they are all vulnerable to human perception. And since we don’t disagree on the idea that science is not about “pursuing the ultimate, final truth,” then I ask: what is your point?

    I agree… I don’t think people should just accept things blindly either… However, just how long did it take you to actually do the research that I suggested as far back as mid september?

    Well, first I’ll suggest that you do some “research” yourself and read through my comments to see where I first started addressing that….but then I’ll answer your question and say, “a couple of hours.”

  • Mike

    tim wrote:”Well, for one, the particular historical claim you cite does not claim supernatural occurrence took place—that a man came back to life—whereas the Bible does just that.”

    Actually the bible doesn’t claim that…. the books of matthew, mark, luke and John claim that. The book of mark in it’s most ealier form simply doesn’t have the last section concerning the resurrection. There are several other books that date to twenty years after christ that claim it however, they were not eyewitnesses. These books are collected together and colled “the bible” but as I said earlier there are 66 seperate books. If you want to talk about histotry each of these books should be taken as ancient artifacts and examined, historically, in context. It is an extreme misnomer to lump all these into one book and claim anythign about it. the bible is a library used by the “church” if you don’t like the library, fine but the books in that collection ARE ancient documents and have to be accounted for.

    Tim wrote:”And since we don’t disagree on the idea that science is not about “pursuing the ultimate, final truth,” then I ask: what is your point?”

    I rarely start from the back and work my way forward but I thought this one was good. So what is my point. You have repeatedly claimed that you’re “open” to discussing the evidence for God, then you make claims like this in your last post

    tim wrote: ” But to someone like me, who doesn’t innately trust the Bible….if I am going to even consider religious belief (which I am not—I’ve been and gone down that road—”

    Now I don’t care if you believe or not… however to claim that belief in God is in “ideological puragory” and to claim that your completely “open” (implying a neurtality/objectivity) to the supernatural and yet openly admit that no matter what I say nothing can influence you; is a logical paradox.

    As I stated before I don’t mind if you want to be an atheist or a agnostic that’s your business. However, the claim of “objectivity” or neutral disattachment is a joke. That is my point with Kant. When you are approaching the evidence your approaching it with a biased perspective.

    Tim wrote”The point being….where there are multiple conflicting accounts, that much more scrutiny is required, scientific or otherwise.”

    I agree when there are conflicting accounts scrutiny is required. So does that mean you have seriously scrutinized christianity, islam, hinduism?

    tim wrote:”The point being, people are only as informed as they want to be;”
    I totally agree, does this axiom apply to yourself as well?

    tim wrote: “some people will stop when they reach the point that they want to hear,”

    By this I can only assume you mean that they stop when they have “enough” evidence to convince themselves. First, why would this be a bad thing? Should you continue to examine evidence well beyond your required point of belief?

    Tim wrote: “However….you do use him as a tool for attacking other rationalities, and the reason this is a problem is because, if one were to refer to objective reality in the sense that Kant does, then technically, any thought process becomes vulnerable and flawed.”

    Yes, I will readily admit I am using his arguments as a launching point to attacking “science” and “rationalism”. And yes I would gladly conceed that every thought process is subject to Kant’s criticism. Yes I belive we are limited by our perspective that we bring into our “rational” approach to topics. I don’t know why this is such a problem for you? Am I not supposed to question “science” or “reason”?

    As to this being a “flaw” why is it a flaw? Why can’t it simply be a logical and reasonable limitation? For example empiricism can be a very useful tool for providing a framwork for our use of things. It just can’t tell us anything about things like: ethics, mathmatics, logic, art, religion, and good or evil. Looking at Kant as somekind of win or loose thing is kind of immature. It doens’t have to be that way.

  • http://www.battlecry.com/howitza Dana

    Anyone can read the bible, but it takes someone with Wisdom and Heavenly knowledge from God to actually understand it. And there are that many numerals that man could seriously not figure out it is proven in so many thousands and millions of different ways that the bible is true. You can try to atheist anyone you like, but I’m taking as many souls as I can with me to Heaven, and if you want to go to Hell that’s honestly your own choice but I have endure some pretty tough times here on Earth and they are by far nothing compared to what hell will be like. Kirk Cameron, only told you that you were a liar, a blasphemer and an adulterer because that’s what EVERYONE is and he was just trying to get you to understand that the wages of sin IS DEATH. and the only way to eternal life, is Jesus Christ. All you get is heaven and hell buddy, nothing else out there. I find it hard that an atheist believes in believing nothing, because it contradicts itself. You look around and there has to be a creator. If there is a painting, there has to be a painter. the world is God’s canvas. And we stuffed it up, there for now we have to make choices. And the choices you’ve made so far, are screwed up. I don’t even know you yet the bible tells me to love everyone and the whole reason why anyone would go out of their way to tell you that someone died for you, is because they do it out of fear of God and love. You didn’t deserve for anyone to die for you so that you could to heaven, you don’t deserve for anyone to love you that much, let alone die for you. And you know what, neither do I. But Christ died to save me, and save you. We live in an unfair world. But that has saved your life, if you chose it. And you know, God has already won the battle. You lose buddy, unless you chose Christ. God bless you. xoxo

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim

    Now I don’t care if you believe or not… however to claim that belief in God is in “ideological puragory” and to claim that your completely “open” (implying a neurtality/objectivity) to the supernatural and yet openly admit that no matter what I say nothing can influence you; is a logical paradox.

    As I stated before I don’t mind if you want to be an atheist or a agnostic that’s your business. However, the claim of “objectivity” or neutral disattachment is a joke. That is my point with Kant. When you are approaching the evidence your approaching it with a biased perspective.

    I’m not going to argue with you about this anymore, I’m sorry. I believe what I believe, I feel the way I do about God, and I am open to compelling evidence. You can believe it or not believe it, or see it as a paradox, or whatever you want to do with it—I don’t care. It’s irrelevant to the discussion at hand, as far as I’m concerned. I don’t see what you’re getting at when you use the word “objective” here, either—I’m not claiming objectivity. I’m saying that I’m predisposed to not believing in God, yes, but I’m not ready to say that He (in any religious incarnation) does not exist altogether. Again, though, I find it very unlikely that any one particular religious deity exists.

    Actually the bible doesn’t claim that…. the books of matthew, mark, luke and John claim that. The book of mark in it’s most ealier form simply doesn’t have the last section concerning the resurrection. There are several other books that date to twenty years after christ that claim it however, they were not eyewitnesses. These books are collected together and colled “the bible” but as I said earlier there are 66 seperate books. If you want to talk about histotry each of these books should be taken as ancient artifacts and examined, historically, in context. It is an extreme misnomer to lump all these into one book and claim anythign about it. the bible is a library used by the “church” if you don’t like the library, fine but the books in that collection ARE ancient documents and have to be accounted for.

    Whatever semantic filter you need apply; “a book from the Bible” claims that. Whether or not they are all the same or individual accounts is completely irrelevant; they are collectively used as a basis for criticizing every other thought process on the planet. That is how the religious communities (both here and elsewhere) refer to them, and that is how I refer to them.

    I agree when there are conflicting accounts scrutiny is required. So does that mean you have seriously scrutinized christianity, islam, hinduism?

    When I was much younger, I simply took religious claims for granted; I think most children—having no grasp of the limitations of the physical world—are predisposed to believing in the supernatural. However, as I began to realize that the “supernatural” had a much shadier consistency than that of the physical world, and that supernatural claims were almost always “up for interpretation,” I began to have less faith in them. I eventually arrived at the decision that supernatural claims were, for the most part, not credible. Once I started viewing the supernatural with a much closer degree of scrutiny than I had before, I realized that they were not as believable as I had once found them (such as the “witchcraft” often practiced by those of the Wiccan faith). The “results” or “effects” of certain “spells” one might cast on another through the use of religious methods were, a staggering 100% of the time, vague or unclear. Perhaps they could have worked; or perhaps it was a coincidence. Sort of how Pat Robertson predicts that “something bad will happen” in the upcoming year, and when something does (as it always does, regardless of his claims), he claims that it is what he predicted. Sure, it’s technically possible….but the original criteria was so vague to begin with that it’s not trustworthy.

    The point being; to some degree or another, yes, I have scrutinized all major faiths of which I am completely aware. As far as their physical historical value, I am not comfortable stating with any degree of certainty that they are “true” or “false.” However, with regards to the supernatural aspects….I am confident in saying that I simply don’t believe they happened. As per my core belief system—a fierce opposition to complacency in idealism—I am open to compelling evidence to the contrary, but I will admit that it would take a lot of hard work to convince me that the supernatural is actually possible. This is, of course, speaking of the supernatural in general, and not any particular religion.

    I totally agree, does this axiom apply to yourself as well?

    Of course it does. I’m part of “everybody.” Aren’t I?

    By this I can only assume you mean that they stop when they have “enough” evidence to convince themselves. First, why would this be a bad thing? Should you continue to examine evidence well beyond your required point of belief?

    If it is possible, yes, one should continue past the criteria for belief. For example, I would believe that God exists if I saw Him. This is true. However….if I saw him, and I immediately abandoned all my doubt and thought, “He exists, then, end of story,” I would not be properly scrutinizing the situation. Perhaps further probing would reveal some sort of hoax? Or perhaps it would only further prove that He exists? Only extensive scrutiny would tell; to simply abandon all other possibilities (even those which have yet to be disproven or proven to be very unlikely) simply because “I have enough information” goes against my primary ideology—I never have enough information. As long as the opportunity exists to procure more information about the subject at hand, why refuse it?

    Yes, I will readily admit I am using his arguments as a launching point to attacking “science” and “rationalism”. And yes I would gladly conceed that every thought process is subject to Kant’s criticism. Yes I belive we are limited by our perspective that we bring into our “rational” approach to topics. I don’t know why this is such a problem for you? Am I not supposed to question “science” or “reason”?

    I’m perfectly content with your criticism of science and reason; I am convinced that you have a slight misunderstanding of how science takes place—this is evident to me based on your Kant-related example regarding the cliff—but I don’t believe this is a hostile gesture. I think you’re simply too determined to see it a certain way. But that’s just my opinion; don’t get the idea that I’m trying to second-guess you. I’m only trying to understand where the limits of your perception are—when you stop being aware of the flaws in your logic.

    *By the way…what I meant with regard to your cliff example was this; you say that if I see a man standing on a cliff, then turn away, then look back, and see that the man is gone, that it is a logical assumption that the man jumped over the cliff. Your mistake is the assertion that science/logic ends here; science is not a simple observation. It is a testing of that observation, a furthering of the example. Science would consist of approaching the cliff and looking over it to see if the man is down there, and if he is not, examining the surrounding area. Science examines multiple possibilities, not just the most obvious. Look at medicine; it is one of the most scrutinized areas of science, perhaps because it most directly affects our lives (or deaths). The point being, there is much more to science than you seem to be content in criticizing. Does science have limitations? Yes. I’d be a fool to insist that any thought process doesn’t have limitations; it is limited to the nature of the subject matter it regards as the highest form of evidence, in this case physical evidence. It is a thought process that only acknowledges what we can examine through the process itself. Religion does the same thing, except it holds an unseen force in higher regard than that which is visible. The reason I mention religion here, by the way, is to put science in context. Yes, it has limitations, but as far as I’m concerned, it is the best method of observing the physical world. I’ve asked you before to present me with an example in which religion (or any non-scientific, non-rational, or non-logical process) can discern an obvious truth where logic, science or reason cannot, and you have faltered every time, citing that it is “not relevant,” since you are “only questioning” science. Now that alone, I understand. It is when you make comments regarding, for example, the fact that you see religious believers as more rational than non-religious folk, that I become confused; I understand your criticism of science, and I accept it. However….how can you see religion as “more rational” than science? That is what I want to know.

    Just think of it as returning the favor; you’ve asked many questions about me, in the interest of better understanding my beliefs (or so you claim). I’m only doing the same in return.

    As to this being a “flaw” why is it a flaw? Why can’t it simply be a logical and reasonable limitation? For example empiricism can be a very useful tool for providing a framwork for our use of things. It just can’t tell us anything about things like: ethics, mathmatics, logic, art, religion, and good or evil. Looking at Kant as somekind of win or loose thing is kind of immature. It doens’t have to be that way.

    I don’t understand what you mean by “win or lose thing.” And on the note of reasonable limitation….why do you not apply that same rationale to science? Why is one man’s opinion (which, according to his own logic, is limited to his own perception, and in no way reflects the true objective world beyond that perception) subject to such liberties? This seems to be a double-standard, does it not?

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim

    Anyone can read the bible, but it takes someone with Wisdom and Heavenly knowledge from God to actually understand it. And there are that many numerals that man could seriously not figure out it is proven in so many thousands and millions of different ways that the bible is true. You can try to atheist anyone you like, but I’m taking as many souls as I can with me to Heaven, and if you want to go to Hell that’s honestly your own choice but I have endure some pretty tough times here on Earth and they are by far nothing compared to what hell will be like.

    Ah, I see. So I’m just ignorant because I don’t see it the way you do, is that right?

    Secondly, I don’t “atheist” people, I don’t even know how to “atheist” people (whatever that means).

    And that’s so wonderful that you have such a high opinion of yourself; what makes you think you have any control over who goes to Heaven and Hell? That’s pretension at the very least; the idea that you can control someone’s fate to that extent. Are you God?

    You look around and there has to be a creator. If there is a painting, there has to be a painter. the world is God’s canvas.

    Flawed logic, at its best. Just because something exists does not warrant the presence of a conscious creator or creators. When lightning strikes a tree and causes it to catch fire, who created the fire?

    *waits for a logical loophole explanation about how God did it*

    All you get is heaven and hell buddy, nothing else out there.

    And you know this how? Let me guess: It’s in the Bible, so it must be true? What if I don’t believe the Bible?

    *waits to hear “then you’re damned to hell, blah blah”*

    I find it hard that an atheist believes in believing nothing, because it contradicts itself.

    Nothing contradicts itself? How so?

    And we stuffed it up, there for now we have to make choices.

    I don’t know about you, but I haven’t “stuffed” anything up. I’ve made some bad choices in my life, yes (who hasn’t?), but honestly, they are mine to deal with and not yours. As such, my worldview is also my own to form.

    And the choices you’ve made so far, are screwed up. I don’t even know you yet the bible tells me to love everyone and the whole reason why anyone would go out of their way to tell you that someone died for you, is because they do it out of fear of God and love.

    See, that’s my problem; you fear God. How can you love what you fear? That is no different than a wife who “loves” her husband even though he beats her. Fear is not love, I’m sorry. You have every right to believe it is, but I refuse to follow that twisted ideology.

    And you know, God has already won the battle. You lose buddy, unless you chose Christ. God bless you. xoxo

    If people like you wind up in Heaven, I’d rather see Hell.

  • http://1word.wordpress.com/ mark

    You might enjoy this Televangelist post on my site: http://1word.wordpress.com/2007/11/22/televangelist/

  • http://www.cjradical.nl Edward Hazebroek

    Hey…check this one….but you are warned!!! You might gonna believe the bible….

    http://www.drdino.com/downloads

  • http://www.drdino.com/downloads Edward

    I think all people gave their life to the Lord…
    I see no post here since mine…
    Praise the Lord!

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim

    I think all people gave their life to the Lord…
    I see no post here since mine…
    Praise the Lord!

    I hope you’re joking….but actually, we all decided to be mature and stop squabbling over something as stupid as whether or not an invisible man in the sky is watching us (or ever has been). We pretty much agree that there’s no way to know for sure whether or not something which, by its very nature, is unknowable one way or the other, even exists.

    As for my ‘religious’ status, I think what Greg Graffin said applies best:

    I’m Materialist
    Call me a Humanist
    It’s there for all to see
    So don’t talk of hidden mysteries
    With me

    I’m Materialist
    I ain’t no deist
    I guess I’m full of doubt
    But I’ll gladly have it out with you

    Like Rome under Nero
    Our future’s one big zero
    Recycling the past to meet immediate needs
    And through it all we ramble forth
    To persevere and climb
    Our mountains of regret to sow our seeds.

  • http://www.drdino.com/downloads Edward

    Empty words dude…

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim

    Empty words dude…

    It’s alright if you don’t understand them; I don’t expect you to, really (since you clearly disagree with them). But I have actually learned a lot from Greg Graffin; I wouldn’t be nearly as tolerant of other people’s belief systems as I am today if not for Bad Religion. Also, it’s nice to see another atheist actually out there making noise in today’s world. Sort of a confidence booster for me, if you will~

    Other such memorable quotes from “The Graffin” that have affected me:

    (1) “There is no such thing as human debris.”

    To me, this means that nobody is “ruined;” just because a person has had a bad experience in life or has fallen victim to a nasty habit doesn’t mean they’re just disposable. Everybody deserves a chance.

    (2) “When we are scared we can hide in our reveries/but what we need is a change of ideas.”

    This says to me that it’s okay to have differing (or even weird) ideas about different things, as long as we remember that we, as human beings, share a common goal of furthering our collective well-being. The way things are going right now (and the way they’ve been going for some time), we are tearing each other apart. I try to remember this when I talk to Christians about political matters; I understand that they, like myself, have certain extravagant points they defer to in moments of doubt. When I feel doubtful about something, I listen to some NOFX or Bad Religion to get pumped up again and restore my confidence, whereas a Christian might go read the Bible or watch a religious program (or listen to a religious band).

    (3) “And believe these words you hear when you think your path is clear….you have no control.”

    This is as true as anything, really; ultimately, we can’t control other people. I can try to convert people from Christianity until the cows come home, but ultimately, that’s a personal decision that’s best left to the other party. The same goes for the other way, of course~ But this also applies to other matters — a person with a drinking problem cannot be forced to quit, but he or she can choose to quit of his/her own accord. We can not force people to make certain decisions, although we can influence the world around them so as to produce an environment in which the decision we want them to make is considered the “most preferable.” But ultimately, the choice is still up to them — make the decision you want them to, or deal with those other consequences you try to force onto them. It’s a very helpful thing to remember; whenever I’m having a really shitty day, I just think that I’m not supposed to be able to control everything, and it lightens the load considerably. Amazing, really~

    (4) “There’s no such thing as hell/but you can make it if you try.”

    Self-explanatory, really. I think it’s hellish of Christians (in the sense that they turn their lives into a sort of Hell) to resign themselves to a life of trying (in vain) to convert every other person on the planet to Christianity. We are diverse creatures by nature; it’s an impossible expectation to change everyone to the same ideology, and it’s even more absurd to simply write off the people who don’t want to change like that. I think that anytime someone subscribes him- or herself to an impossible standard, he/she is setting him/herself up for disappointment; I wouldn’t do that to myself, and I kind of feel bad in a way for the people who do it to themselves.

  • Name?

    What about Jess Moody? With his boys…

  • http://www.drdino.com/downloads Edward

    Well I don’t have to prove God excists, if the people here don’t want to serve Him, that’s their choice…
    I just don’t believe that people don’t believe God excists…
    Even if I could prove it, you still wouldn’t want to serve Him…
    I am not Gods lawyer, but I am His witness!!!

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    What about Jess Moody? With his boys…

    …um, I’m not sure I follow you…?

    Well I don’t have to prove God excists, if the people here don’t want to serve Him, that’s their choice…

    I am extremely satisfied that you have reached this conclusion. Thank you for your time :)

    I just don’t believe that people don’t believe God excists…

    That seems odd. For clarity’s sake; do you believe I’m lying to you, or do you believe that I’m secretly hiding a desire to believe (or belief itself)?

    Even if I could prove it, you still wouldn’t want to serve Him…

    Why would you want to prove it? I’m no Biblical scholar, but they used to tell me to live by example and hope other people would follow my lead of their own accord….besides, if anybody could “prove” that God exists (or doesn’t), then that would pretty much wrap up everything for everybody, wouldn’t it? I mean, that’s one of the central debates that’s been destroying societies since the beginning of time.

    I am not Gods lawyer, but I am His witness!!!

    I actually recall a case where somebody tried to sue God….who was that again? I believe I might actually get you a name with regard to God’s defense attorney, if you’re willing to wait. I think the link is on this site 0_0

  • Name?

    FYI, Jess Moody was this television preacher who was always surrounded by teenage boys, and every once and a while he would hear someone’s complaints and tell them that he and “his boys” would pray over it later.

    Anyone wanna guess what the boys told people, years afterward…?

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    FYI, Jess Moody was this television preacher who was always surrounded by teenage boys, and every once and a while he would hear someone’s complaints and tell them that he and “his boys” would pray over it later.

    Ah, I see. I just started watching TBN (for reconnaissance purposes only, of course) last year, so I’m not up-to-date with all of the references and whatnot.

  • http://www.drdino.com/downloads Edward

    Allways adding the wrong people to take an example..haha…
    But that’s ok, since you guys can not pick the real christians out of the fake…
    I quess that’s lack of knowledge….

  • Richard Wade

    There are fake Christians???

    Edward, we were naively assuming all Christians are real just because they say they’re Christians, but now you tell us some are fake. That’s pretty scary. Please help us since as you say, we lack the knowledge of how to tell the real Christians from the fake. So then what if you were a fake one and were calling all the real ones fakes, while the real ones were calling you a fake? Are you a real Christian, or a fake? You might be real or fake but as you say, we don’t know. Help us out. It’s so confusing. Please, what is the knowledge you have to be able to tell the real Christians from the fake ones? How hard is it to tell? Is it possible for a Christian to fool even himself? Could a fake Christian not know it and think he was real? Or could a real Christian not know it and think he was a fake? This is getting complicated. Do some real and fake Christians who know what they are infiltrate each other’s groups? In that case those might be called fake real Christians and fake fake Christians.

    Shivers, something really creepy just occurred to me. What if there are………fake atheists?

  • http://heathendad.blogspot.com/ HappyNat

    Richard,

    I’m confused now as well. Maybe Edward has some secret glasses he uses to spot fake christians (like in They Live with the aliens)? Or maybe there is a blood test? A secret handshake? Magical underwear (nah that is too silly)? Edward, do you have a chart so we can tell the real ones from the fakes ones? I think we need to form an investigative unit. Roman Rational Athiests mount up!

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    The real Christians have the “true christian” trademark after their name. I’ve seen examples of that on some pages on the landoverbaptist website.

  • http://www.drdino.com/downloads Edward

    Like you didn’t know…
    I should say: Read the bible!
    You can try to make a complete fool of me, but I don’t care…
    I quess time will tell who is right, right?
    Let’s say…if I am right..you have a big problem!
    If you are right, I have nothing to loose!
    Whatever, every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord!
    Even you, my friend!
    If you want to know more about Jesus, you can email me any time…

    I hope you’ll find grace in time…

    Greetings Edward.

  • Richard Wade

    Like you didn’t know…

    Edward, you just said that we don’t know. Now are you saying that we do know? Please make up your mind. I genuinely don’t know a real Christian from a fake Christian. I have met Christians who have said that other Christians are “not real Christians,” and then I have heard those Christians say the same thing about the first ones. Generally Christians dismiss others as fakes only when the others are behaving in a way that embarrasses Christians in general. I’d say that is not a very stable criteria for genuineness. It is the “No True Scotsman” argument.

    If you are right, I have nothing to loose!

    You do have at least one thing to lose: the time and effort you spend preaching to us.

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    Like you didn’t know…
    I should say: Read the bible!

    I’ve read most of the Bible, but I don’t understand how you believe you’re entitled to tell who is fake and who is not.

    You can try to make a complete fool of me, but I don’t care…

    I’m not out to “make a fool” out of anyone. I’m asking honest questions here — that, believe it or not, I don’t have the answers to — and you seem more interested in challenging me for asking you in the first place than in answering me. Which is fine, I guess, but it doesn’t really progress the discussion at all. A little disappointing, I admit.

    I quess time will tell who is right, right?

    Well, if it matters to you, I don’t care who is right or wrong. My man Graffin once asked, “Would you give it all up to live again?” To which I respond with a quote from my man Joey Ramone, “I don’t want to live my life again.” I don’t care “who is right,” I just want to make it through this existence as best I can with a little needless conflict as possible.

    Let’s say…if I am right..you have a big problem!
    If you are right, I have nothing to loose!

    Pascal’s Wager. I ask this to you: When you bite the dust, was it for purpose or for trust?

    I don’t expect you to answer that, nor do I expect it to change your mind. I just wanted to show you how condescending it looks in practice.

    I hope you’ll find grace in time…

    I work with a girl named Grace. Does that count?

  • http://heathendad.blogspot.com/ HappyNat

    You do have at least one thing to lose: the time and effort you spend preaching to us

    and 10% of his income.

  • http://www.drdino.com/downloads Edward

    Haha, at least you guys have sence of humor!
    I don’t mind spending time in preaching..that’s what Jesus wants me to do…
    And I am saved from the burdens of sin…HALLELUJAH!!!

  • Richard Wade

    Haha, at least you guys have sence of humor!

    Yes, Edward we do have a sense of humor, and I hope that you have one too. It would be tough to get through life without one. I don’t really want to spend much of my humor making fun of someone because that begins to resemble unkindness. I generally use humor to lighten up a conversation and move it beyond tension and anger.

    I don’t mind spending time in preaching..that’s what Jesus wants me to do…

    I however do mind being preached to. I will converse with someone who actually offers original thoughts of his own rather than parroting scripture or sound bites that he heard while sitting in a pew. That is like talking to a Chatty Cathy doll.

    And I am saved from the burdens of sin…HALLELUJAH!!!

    I’m glad you feel better. However if you have also been saved from the burden of thinking for yourself, then we really don’t have much more to talk about.

  • http://www.drdino.com/downloads Edward

    But my thoughts ARE the original,they are from God!
    And I am not parroting,man… I have a personal relationship with the King of Kings, the maker of all, and His gladness lives in me and has to come out somehow!
    Many people have the wrong idea of christians…
    They think we are just living some kind of rules, that is written is a book!
    Man, taht’s a farytale… We know Jesus, by having Him in our hearts and our rules are written in our hearts!
    We are born again and became a complete other person, who don’t want to sin anymore!

  • http://heathendad.blogspot.com/ HappyNat

    But my thoughts ARE the original,they are from God!
    And I am not parroting,man…

    Are your thoughts original or are the from God? How can they be both? If God is giving you some thoughts he has never given anyone else (making them original) then aren’t you parroting God since they aren’t your thoughts? No offense intended but you confuse me.

    They think we are just living some kind of rules, that is written is a book!
    Man, taht’s a farytale… We know Jesus, by having Him in our hearts and our rules are written in our hearts!

    So the rules written in your heart are different than than the rules in the Bible?

  • http://www.drdino.com/downloads Edward

    I meant, that God IS the origin…
    And no, i am not living by the written law anymore, since Christ died for my sins and He forfilled the law, which no man could forfill…
    Now I am living under His grace!

  • Richard Wade

    Edward, I have gone back and re-read every one of your comments. Without exaggeration, there is not one statement that I haven’t heard hundreds of times before. Where is the Edward who because of his genetic background and his life experiences is a unique person who is capable of original thoughts? You say:

    We are born again and became a complete other person, who don’t want to sin anymore!

    The completely new person you have become is from a cookie cutter of a “person” whom you think you are supposed to resemble. I’m sorry, but you talk word-for-word, exactly like hundreds of other Christians (real or fake) I have listened to before. I have had this mechanical conversation many, many times with other Edwards. They just had different names.

    Are all of your thoughts now coming from God? Are you allowed any Edward thoughts that are not from God? Or do you now consider all thoughts that don’t come from God to be sin?

    You are copy-catting the people you hang around, trying to be a stereotype. You are mimicking the words, even the constant excitement, the giddy joy. Put down the script and go ad lib. Try just one thought, one idea that only Edward could think. One statement that doesn’t sound like what you think born again Christians are supposed to say.

    This grows tedious. If I read another Chatty Cathy response, I’ll not return.

  • http://www.drdino.com/downloads Edward

    Haha, that’s because we all have the same Holy Spirit in us…
    That proves that fatith in God is real!
    Copy-catting? Come on….
    You don’t want to hear or read what I am saying?
    Now that’s what I call “stuck in your religion”…
    Well at least I have told you you should give your life to Jesus, tohether with my brothers and sisters, who did also…so that you cannot say: “but God, I never heard about You and they never told me to give my life to You..”.

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    You don’t want to hear or read what I am saying?

    Here’s what I tell most people; I’m listening to what you’re saying, I really am. I’m listening because, deep down, I have this shred of faith that you might, just maybe, have something really and truly original that I have never heard before that might cause me to change my mind (or at least think about something differently). Not to be rude, but I am disappointed so far. I mean, what would you say if I told you that logic “proves” there is no God? Wouldn’t that annoy you, if I acted like the issue was already resolved and that I’m just hanging around here to antagonize you? This is how I view your actions; you want to preach, but you don’t want to listen. Take a tip from Jesus, if you must — if the Bible is any indication, that man knew how to listen.

    My advice (not that I expect you to take it, of course) is to stop thinking in sound-bytes; stop trying to sound witty when you talk about God. I can tell you that I am much more receptive to a person who isn’t trying to make every word out of his mouth sound like a Christian Newspaper Headline. You don’t have to be witty, smarmy, or condescending to get your point across. If you’re frustrated, that’s fine (because I understand frustration), but if you’re seriously trying to make a point to me, then you’re failing miserably.

    This is why I don’t believe most Evangelists really want to convert. This is just my own rumination, but….I believe people like you only think you’re supposed to “evangelize” other folks, so you come in with a pre-rendered speech (that you have, no doubt, given to countless others before me), knowing full well from your own experience with others like me that I am almost guaranteed not to convert based on your testimony alone, and then when exactly that happens, you abandon the discussion with a remark like, “well, I’m saved, so I don’t care what you think,” as if you’ve really tried to convert me, or even thought about it at all.

    Look, I may talk like a pretentious asshat, but I really am quite humble with respect to religion. I know that I can’t say with 100% irrefutable certainty that there is no god (or God, if you prefer), but I also don’t believe there is a god/God. If God/gods is/are real, then I will gladly acknowledge this, but alas, I am also a student of rationality. “Faith,” or a desire to believe….neither of these things are evidence to me of a god/God’s existence. May I approximate Douglas Adams?

    [GOD: "I refuse to prove that I exist, for proof denies faith, and without faith, I am nothing."
    MAN: "Well, the [insert whatever you consider to be proof of God's existence here] proves that you exist! As faith is no longer necessary, and faith sustains your existence, you cannot exist, Q.E.D.”
    GOD: “Oh, really? I hadn’t thought of that.” *promptly disappears in a puff of logic*]

  • http://www.myspace.com/brad_fjf Brother B – r a d

    This site is awesome! But where are Paul and Jan Crouch!?

    Rexella Van Impe is pretty great btw. But Jan Crouch takes the seat at my alter.


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