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Old 03-25-2010, 03:34 PM
 
Location: Texas
12,092 posts, read 5,367,826 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham222 View Post
Hi All

First time post. I'm open minded and my philosophy is "above all else, common sense should prevail", I am on a personal journey to find answers. Physicists tell us that energy cannot be created only transferred. So let's start at the beginning...How can something come from nothing?

What is there before a beginning?
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Old 03-25-2010, 10:27 PM
 
240 posts, read 205,354 times
Reputation: 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by GldnRule View Post
JustNobody:::What you are not considering is that man is much more an emotional creature than he is a logical creature.
First I've considered everything within the limits of any human. Maybe statistically most humans act more on their emotional impulses than their logical ones, but that doesn't make people more emotional than logical. Whether to be emotional, logical or something else is entirely a matter of choice. The fact you think "man is more an emotional creature" is due to most religions being strongly tied to emotions or put it another way you see things more in an "emotional" way so you assume everyone should be the same as you - typical.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GldnRule View Post
The absence of emotion would make a person void of what makes us human
What makes us humans has more to do with logic and understanding than emotion. Emotions are what make us animals.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GldnRule View Post
Not every activity of the human brain is based on logic and reason.
Your point?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GldnRule View Post
Our feelings and emotions motivate us much more than logic and reason.
Feelings and emotions aren't the same; try and not to confuse them. Neither feelings, emotions, logic, nor reason "motivate us"; we are driven by desire, and desire only. Feeling is a sensation one experiences. Emotion is the effect one gets in one's behavior when imaginative desires are overexpressed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GldnRule View Post
Faith is like love or hate.
No, it isn't. Faith is a belief formed as a result of a desire in order to bring about the fulfillment of a desire.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GldnRule View Post
It(faith) is more of a feeling or perception.
No faith is a logical equality that is stored that we use to make decisions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GldnRule View Post
It needs no logic, or proof, to be real...just as one needs no logic or basis in proof as to why they love something or somebody.
Everyone has a reason why they love someone, even if they are not consciously aware of that reason. To love someone is a choice we make.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GldnRule View Post
Such is faith. You don't need proof, just the feeling...and then what you have faith in is elevated to something that is real rather than conceptual.
And so you only serve to prove my point that those of faith in general have no interest in logic in general.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GldnRule View Post
It is my opinion that faith has it all over logic and reason.
Faith is just something we do because we have limited knowledge, so we make rules based on our limited knowledge so we can know how to act, but the problem is when people of faith refuse to adapt to new knowledge. It isn't faith that is the problem; it is the refusal to grow and remain a child that is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GldnRule View Post
But faith...now you have something!
Yea, in the case of most people who use the word, faith, you have delusion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GldnRule View Post
and it is the person that requires proof before they can make a determination that lives the sad life
Well, even scientists have beliefs and make decisions based on a limited amount of information, but they go back to the facts, continue to do new experiments, and retest old ideas, and are willing to change what they believe in light of new understanding. And that is what is so beautiful about the scientist. If knowing the truth is a "sad life", then I'd rather be miserable. If "proof" is a "sad life", then knowledge is the source of such sadness. Truth is rulers don't like the peasants to think for themselves.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GldnRule View Post
Some get very deep into it like the practitioners of Zen Buddhism. Scientists have done brain wave tests on the Zen masters when they meditate and can actually chart when they reach what they call "nirvana". So, as you guys would say, "science" has "proved" it.
Proved what, exactly? All scientists have proved is that mediation results in unique brain states - nothing more. Plus what do you know of "nirvana"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GldnRule View Post
It's not about being delusional, it's about being enlightened beyond just basic thinking and reasoning...enabling the person of faith to realize things beyond what they are able to behold.
Going to church and practicing your faith versus meditating to reach an altered state are two different things and the fact you are implying they are the same leads me to believe you know nothing of enlightenment or mediation and are just using it to prop up your idea of faith given its no weak foundation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GldnRule View Post
It is an additional mental capability to critical thinking and deductive reasoning, not a flaw in the ability to think and reason.
You are equating faith, specifically faith which one holds unwaveringly even in the face of evidence, to a state experienced while practicing meditation. They are not the same. It is unwavering faith in light of contradictory evidence to the content of one's faith that is delusion, not some meditative state, which is unrelated to a typical religious person's faith.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GldnRule View Post
Like I said, you have to be capable of it to be able to experience it and understand it fully.
I have experienced faith, and so can most people, so most do understand it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GldnRule View Post
But just because I am not capable of some mental process that doesn't mean I dismiss it as "delusional thinking".
But people are "dismiss[ing]" "mental process[es]" which they are capable of experiencing, and have experienced, so your point is mute.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GldnRule View Post
Just as, although I don't know how Kreskin does what he does...he has obviously found a way to tap into mental powers few others are able to access...
He is a mentalist; you really should read a book on the subject. But in short people are incredible predictable, like to make things fit when they don't, mostly followers, reading body language, and via another person's subconsciousness, you can to a degree control them if you know the tricks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GldnRule View Post
]I wouldn't say he is nothing more than a "wishful thinker". I think you both know all this, but for whatever reason don't like it, so you lobby against it.
He is a specific kind of magician, a mentalist. Not sure who is calling him a "wishful thinker".

Quote:
Originally Posted by GldnRule View Post
]I am not a person of deep faith. I wish I was. You can dismiss faith all you want, but it exists (and thus the object of faith is validated in the mind if the fathful)...and it is waaaaaaay more powerful than logic and reason---If you are looking for facts, try that one.
Faith has no power. Neither does logic or reason. The power lies in energy and how we use that energy according to our desires. And so faith exists, your point? Who is denying it exists?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GldnRule View Post
Konraden:::I never said, or even suggested, faith was "better" than logic and reason--I said it was much more powerful to motivate. I also never suggested that faith was MORE valid than logic (to determine what is, and what isn't) but that it IS valid. What is "better" is to have both--information through logic and reason, and enlightenment through faith.
You don't get "enlightenment through faith", you get it via experimentation and hard work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GldnRule View Post
I submit that faith is just as useful a tool to make factual determinations as logic, reason, and hard evidence.
Only if your faith is based on science, otherwise it is major fail.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GldnRule View Post
Especially useful when the "smoking gun" is not visible or apparent. It's a whole other arsenal of mental power.
Only if you are using faith in an experimentary sense, and are closely examining the results of your faith.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GldnRule View Post
They were warning Columbus not to sail just 600 yrs ago. On a side note--If they had read the Bible they would have found the right answer.
People already knew the earth was round. The vikings for one had already been to the Americas way before Columbus. It was the stupid Catholic Church lead by the king of fools who said it wasn't and people believed them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GldnRule View Post
It tells of "God...dwelling above the CIRCLE of the earth...that he is HANGING UPON NOTHING". I wonder how those people writing about that thousands of years ago got it completely correct in the face of contrary "evidence"?...Hmmmmm, it leads one to at least wonder. Rafius' noting that "scientific fact" was BIGTIME wrong, bolstered MY contention that "proof" and "evidence" isn't all it's cracked up to be.
The ancient Greek mathematicians knew the earth was round way before the formation of Christianity, as did other ancient cultures. Problem is fools think they know more than those who did, and usually fools run things and not those who understand the world.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GldnRule View Post
My point is, in many situations a good way to come to a conclusion as to what is and what isn't is to use our "gut feeling", "the heart", and our "intuition". I other words::HAVE FAITH IN IT.
All that basically is the imagination doing its thing and giving us impressions or precondition responses to some circumstances just acting themselves out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GldnRule View Post
Before I get flamed to a crisp
Don't go into the oven if you don't want its flame-light. And don't shine your own light, if you don't want others to do the same.

Last edited by JustNobody; 03-25-2010 at 10:39 PM..
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Old 03-26-2010, 12:47 AM
 
3,178 posts, read 1,264,949 times
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Default Faith--faith--faith--faith--faith

JustNobody:::Look, I can see you are the type that quote line after line of a post you don't agree with, stating why you think they are wrong and you are right. Which indicates a total contrast in style, and most likely personality & attitude, from those like you and those like me. I identify more with the style of debate of a contributor like The Matrix...and your style is almost identical to contributors like Rafius. Coincidently, the more open style seems to coincide with a more open "vision" for the possibilities of obtaining information that we use to make our determination of what is, what isn't, and what actions to take or avoid.

The OP was asking, "How can something come from nothing?", and I was making the point that mans curiosity about that could be satisfied as much, if not more, through faith, as it would be by trying to figure it out exclusively by logic and reason.

Faith is a complete trust that our intuition is correct whether or not it is supported by facts, or even contrary to what are considered as facts. Ya know, the more I debate the issue the more I'm inclined to submit: All that exists is FAITH. Our determination based on "facts" is no stronger than our FAITH that our proof is as valid as we BELIEVE that it is. I could even argue from the position that nobody could ever be ABSOLUTELY sure of anything no matter how they came to their conclusion. You can never be "sure" of your conclusion...you could only have FAITH in it. I suppose the premise has been posed that there are no "facts", only FAITH in the merit of ones "knowledge". This universe very well could be the creation of a much more advanced entity that created it from nothing. Nobody can "prove beyond all doubt" that it is or isn't. It's not like creation isn't POSSIBLE. And I would venture to say, more plausible for most people...thus the perception of the creative "God" entities.

So, there is my new position:::Not only is it a false premise that "proof" and "evidence" is all that "counts", there is no such thing as "proof" (just what we think we know) and FAITH is the end all and be all of any determination we come to. Of course, I have great FAITH that my new position is the only logical and reasonable position...and anyone that doesn't concur lacks understanding and enlightenment. As well as having great FAITH that you will not agree...which is what makes all of this interesting enough for us to spend our time doing it.

All the best.
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Old 03-26-2010, 01:09 AM
 
366 posts, read 312,251 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustNobody View Post
Trust is by definition belief in someone or some entity.
I think you're wrong about that. I'm not sure why you would say trust is by definition belief. According to whom? Words have multiple senses. If you want to define trust as belief, go right ahead. But it looks like a category mistake to me. Typically, when we talk about trust we're talking about an act of the will. You trust your wife to be faithful. You trust your friend to keep her promise. It's not a belief, though obviously there are beliefs involved in the background. But it looks to me like you are confusing categories.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustNobody View Post
How can an atheist be considered insane if they doesn't believe in anything irrational or unknowable or immoral that would give one cause to say they are insane. You tried to redirect the burden, but you failed miserably.
I didn't try to redirect any so-called "burden" (I don't know what you're even referring to). I was making a joke as I pointed out that courage and insanity are logically consistent--something you seemingly didn't acknowledge. Recall that you wrote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by JustNobody View Post
Faith absent any indication that one's belief is true and without some way of eventually verifying the object of one's faith as being true or false is insanity, not courageous.
The point is minor, and I thought you would see that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustNobody View Post
Faith is based on belief; it is not interested in knowledge. You have two distinct human thought processes. You can sometimes investigate the claims of one's faith, though few religious believers care to. Faith is formed as the result of some desire one has. Knowledge is based on the ability to discriminate. If you were disciplined enough to base faith on knowledge, you would be left with nothing but doubt.
Now here you claim that faith is based on belief. But elsewhere (below, and other posts) you say faith IS belief. Are you making both claims?

I don't think I agree with you that faith is formed as a result of some desire. Desire may have something to do with it, but you make it sound as though this is the only factor. Beliefs can be factors, passions can be factors. It's intellectually dishonest to say that faith is simply the result of desire (if this is what you are saying). Some people (I don't agree with them) hold that faith is actually a form of knowledge. So you would at the least need to deal with them.

Now, I might agree that "if faith is based on knowledge, then there is nothing but doubt." There is an element of epistemic uncertainty in faith. I don't take faith to be a form of knowledge. But your suggestion raises questions. If we are to base beliefs on knowledge, what does this amount to? That we should only believe things that we know? There would then be absolutely no room for uncertainty--we can only believe that which we know. Or maybe we can only believe that which "reasonably follows" from what we know. How do we know what "reasonably follows"? We would have to know that before we can arrive to any conclusions. In either case, we should probably jettison a great many beliefs we hold. As I said, I generally agree that faith is not a form of knowledge, but in this regard I don't think it's any different from any beliefs we hold, but that we are epistemically uncertain about. We can't even be absolutely certain that out cognitive faculties are reliable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustNobody View Post
I'm not saying there is "absolutely no evidence", since that implies all knowingness, but I would say noone has in general been able to provide sufficient cause for rationally believing in the existence of a god.
As I said in my previous post, you haven't seen anything you find convincing. But that doesn't rule out someone else finding reasons they find convincing to believe and have faith.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustNobody View Post
Most people of faith have no interest in evidence, which is why they loathe science or certain sciences so much.
"Most"? "Loathe science"? I doubt it. I know plenty of religious people who are very interested in science and evidence.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustNobody View Post
I don't think any ordinary human being is capable of finding evidence of God; it seems an impossible thing to accomplish and maybe we are asking the wrong question.
Possibly. It's also possible that we are applying the wrong epistemic standards.

It's also possible that people who do not see any evidence are influenced by underling emotions, which cloud their otherwise sharp thinking processes. There are plenty of possibilities here to explain why some believe and some do not (or some have faith and some do not). I prefer to stay neutral about it, and my default position is this: I don't know why we don't agree. It's certainly not because one group is smarter than the other, or because one is free of the emotional tug to believe (or not believe). Any of these claims could be turned right back at me, if I made them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustNobody View Post
But faith is in most cases just "merely a belief". It all comes down to belief in a book, because who has seen God? Even if Jesus knew God, he isn't around anymore, and to think otherwise is delusion. But the basic premise of Jesus's teachings was to know God while you were still alive, because there certainly isn't any guarantee you will know God once you're dead, but that is what most believers live for is to die, crossing their fingers that things will be better after life, and that is a sad way to live.
That's where we differ. I don't think it's sad, any more than I think the the life of a Hindu or Buddhist or Jew is sad. I respect such people. I can admire many of them. Faith is more than merely a belief. It's choosing how you are going to live your life, and for many this choice is made after seeing the uncertainty of their background beliefs. We all die before we can figure it out. Our lives are not long enough to really piece everything together--so much is left uncertain for us! And yet we have to choose a way to live. Religious people choose a life of faith, in that the way they live will have lasting meaning, that the universe is not simply and ultimately unintelligible. In the end, really, we don't have enough time to figure out what we are truly certain about, and we have to act.

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Originally Posted by JustNobody View Post
Selfless love is the only sane justified reason for action.
Our of curiosity, how do you know this is true?

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Originally Posted by JustNobody View Post
I don't see what is courageous about being a theist anyways, which is what you are implying, that is usually what people are raised with. It takes real courage to go against the crowd when you are told you will go to hell for your belief in atheism or agnosticism or rather disbelief in theism, their specific brand of, usually of the Christian, Jewish, or Muslim variety, and be ostracized from the community, persecuted for their beliefs, jailed, and potentially even killed for them. So no, in general I don't consider theists all that courageous, but rather cowards for bowing down to the opinions of men and women, and having the audacity to call it following the will of the creator, and ignoring their own inborn ability to reason.
If "theism" just means "believing there is a God," then that obviously doesn't take courage. But faith takes courage because it is fallible. You could be wrong. And you know it. But you choose to live a certain way. And I think you are way, way, off to say theists are cowards and ignore their inborn ability to reason. That's just ridiculous.

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Originally Posted by JustNobody View Post
This whole rant speaks "existential" crisis...
It's always a pleasure talking with you too.

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Originally Posted by JustNobody View Post
Nature itself is evidence of nature. God itself is evidence of God
Tautologies. You said nothing.

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Originally Posted by JustNobody View Post
Nature can only be "evidence of God", if you can establish a casual link between nature and God, but to do that, you'd first need evidence of God, and therein lies the predicament.
Let me get this straight. It looks like you are saying: (1) nature can only be evidence of God if we can show a causal link between nature and God. (2) To show a causal link between A and B we first need to show that both A and B exist (or, that there is evidence of both A and B). (3) Therefore, evidence of God is impossible, since this presupposes that there is a causal link, which presupposes that there is evidence...etc. Say we fly to another galaxy and on some lonely planet we find what looks like the remains of a city. This can only be evidence of other life forms if we can establish a causal link between this seeming city and these presumed other life forms--so we need to first find evidence of these other life forms before we can establish a causal link between them and the city. Something about this seems wrong, and it looks like there are problems with your argument.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustNobody View Post
First of all obvious strawman, and a repeated one at that. Atheists aren't claiming "that there is" "absolutely no evidence for God"; they are claiming "that there is" "no evidence for God". You are using a qualifier that atheists don't think in terms of, which is in absolute terms, i.e. I know 100% that such and such is true, which in order to do so, one must know all that there is to know, which is absurd. Strawman are for the birds, so I say burn it.
Thanks. My point doesn't depend on the "absolute" claim. So I guess it's not a straw man.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustNobody View Post
To conclude, your whole diatribe is basically an attempt at justification of faith, in and of itself, which is an logical impossibility.
I appreciate that. And your claim about "logical impossibility" is really something of a cliff hanger.
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Old 03-26-2010, 02:20 AM
 
3,178 posts, read 1,264,949 times
Reputation: 376
Default Keep the FAITH!

Wow Matrix, I'm impressed. You took the "line by line dissection debate technique" and threw nothing but strikes. It's like you can fluently speak another "debate language"...I don't know if I'd be very good at it. A true master of debate to compete against another using the others style. Much props!

FAITH is not only justified and a logical possibility, but is necessary for the adoption of any position one takes with conviction on anything. We need FAITH in our position to put it out there. I agree that FAITH takes courage...but it might be even more brave to try to debate a determination on something as weak as so-called facts and evidence. FAITH has a way stronger foundation than those fickle facts. Give me an Army of men fighting for what they have great FAITH in against an Army of men that are fighting using nothing but what they have determined to be PROVEN military tactics. And I have great FAITH in science...great FAITH that it will end up revising most of it's "facts" as soon as it finds out it's original "proof" and "evidence" was all wrong. Funny, I spent from when I was a kid until I was out of the Army drinking three glasses of whole milk per day...for the benefit to my health the "scientists" told me it would give. I needed statin drugs to get my cholesterol down while I modified my diet after the "scientists" found out that whole milk was in fact going to kill me if I kept drinking it. Five years from now they'll probably say it's good for me again.

But hey, what do I know? I'm just one of those illogical dupes that acts on faith. Luckily, I've got lots of company.

All the best.
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Old 03-26-2010, 03:19 AM
 
240 posts, read 205,354 times
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Originally Posted by GldnRule View Post
JustNobody:::Look, I can see you are the type that quote line after line of a post you don't agree with, stating why you think they are wrong and you are right. Which indicates a total contrast in style, and most likely personality & attitude, from those like you and those like me. I identify more with the style of debate of a contributor like The Matrix...and your style is almost identical to contributors like Rafius. Coincidently, the more open style seems to coincide with a more open "vision"
I have a multitude of styles, but when there are no general sweeping statements to make, I sometimes default to just quoting people. I've already made previous generalized statements in this thread, maybe you should refer to them, but otherwise, I don't have anything more to say without responding specifically to someone's words. The Matrix quotes too, so not sure what your point is. What do you mean by "more open "vision""? Could you be any more vague?

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
I think you're wrong about that. I'm not sure why you would say trust is by definition belief. According to whom?
I based it on a dictionary definition I looked up and the fact that the two words are often used interchangeably.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
Now here you claim that faith is based on belief. But elsewhere (below, and other posts) you say faith IS belief. Are you making both claims?
Yes, but your confusion lies in the fact I am using two slight variations in the way the word faith is used. One kind of faith is like one's faith, which is like a collection of beliefs, like one's religious faith, which also usually has a condition placed on it that it isn't concerned with evidence. The other kind of faith is a single belief. I hope that clears things up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
I don't think I agree with you that faith is formed as a result of some desire. Desire may have something to do with it, but you make it sound as though this is the only factor. Beliefs can be factors, passions can be factors.
But passion is a desire. Thing is about desire is we have desires, which aren't normally even recognized as desires.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
It's intellectually dishonest to say that faith is simply the result of desire (if this is what you are saying). Some people (I don't agree with them) hold that faith is actually a form of knowledge. So you would at the least need to deal with them.
It is only "intellectually dishonest" if I am actually being "dishonest", which I am not. Even if I am wrong that doesn't make me "intellectually dishonest", and you haven't given me reason to believe I am wrong.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
Now, I might agree that "if faith is based on knowledge, then there is nothing but doubt." There is an element of epistemic uncertainty in faith. I don't take faith to be a form of knowledge. But your suggestion raises questions. If we are to base beliefs on knowledge, what does this amount to? That we should only believe things that we know? There would then be absolutely no room for uncertainty--we can only believe that which we know. Or maybe we can only believe that which "reasonably follows" from what we know. How do we know what "reasonably follows"? We would have to know that before we can arrive to any conclusions.
I wasn't saying faith is a form of knowledge. Things that "reasonably follow" follow from observation and mathematical analysis.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
In either case, we should probably jettison a great many beliefs we hold.
I have already to a degree "jettison[ed]" "a great many beliefs". Basically I question everything and look at things from multiple beliefs, even ones I disagree with. To me beliefs are like tools, one in which you have to try them all out to see which one works the best; and when you are done you put all your tools back in the toolbox. I don't see one belief as necessarily being a universal fix all kind of thing. But I haven't found belief in God to fix any kind of problem, so it would basically be an unuseful kind of belief, but maybe I just haven't found the right problem or maybe I need another tool to go with that tool.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
As I said, I generally agree that faith is not a form of knowledge, but in this regard I don't think it's any different from any beliefs we hold, but that we are epistemically uncertain about. We can't even be absolutely certain that out cognitive faculties are reliable.
Faith isn't necessarily "any different from any beliefs we hold", but then we start bundling beliefs together about unobservable objects, usually supernatural objects with incredible properties, and we are told not to question those beliefs, and then people call it having religious faith, and therein it becomes "different".

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
As I said in my previous post, you haven't seen anything you find convincing. But that doesn't rule out someone else finding reasons they find convincing to believe and have faith.
If someone has seen God and could teach me to do the same, then I could be convinced; I'd also be very thankful as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
"Most"? "Loathe science"? I doubt it. I know plenty of religious people who are very interested in science and evidence.
Well a lot of people who go to church don't really buy into it as much at some do, i.e. they don't have the kind of extreme faith I am referring to. They might believe in God, but they don't believe in a lot of the other stuff. But still a lot of people of religious faith believe in some kind of creationism or intelligent design, and disagree with evolution. Do most Christians believe in evolution? If so that is news to me. What about Muslims? What about how the universe came into existence? Did God just poof everything into existence?

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
It's also possible that people who do not see any evidence are influenced by underling emotions, which cloud their otherwise sharp thinking processes. There are plenty of possibilities here to explain why some believe and some do not (or some have faith and some do not). I prefer to stay neutral about it, and my default position is this: I don't know why we don't agree. It's certainly not because one group is smarter than the other, or because one is free of the emotional tug to believe (or not believe). Any of these claims could be turned right back at me, if I made them.
Like I said I don't know if there is any God or not; I mean what would be the consequences of a God existing, because it certainly wouldn't be anything like what most religious believers would think would be evidence of God. If I could experience another plane of reality, investigate that other reality thoroughly and be able to prove such a reality exists to skeptics, and such a reality were more fundamental than the physical reality, that in and of itself would not constituent proof of a God to me, even if I were immortal in said reality. I would need something solid, something foolproof.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
Our of curiosity, how do you know this is true?
By process of elimination and looking at casual relationships. Situations where one person considers their desires, their needs over humans and life as a whole results in zero-sum games, which lead to hatred, war, and eventually death. Selfishness eventually results in degrees of insane behavior. And an eye for an eye is not necessarily a just way to run things. An eye for an eye kind of justice results in prisons, retaliation, which results in more and bigger prisons, and increased retaliation. Selfishness and retaliation/revenge result in wars, which result in bigger wars, and if people don't forgive one another, then eventually war spreads to everyone, and eventually nearly everyone dies. So love is the only thing that is left. Everything else seems to lead to people dieing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
If "theism" just means "believing there is a God," then that obviously doesn't take courage. But faith takes courage because it is fallible. You could be wrong. And you know it. But you choose to live a certain way. And I think you are way, way, off to say theists are cowards and ignore their inborn ability to reason. That's just ridiculous.
How can you have courage if you have nothing to lose? There has to be a risk of losing something valuable for there to be courage. There has to be something real worth fearing. I'm sorry, but what do you lose or potentially lose by having faith? A lot of theists are "cowards" by accepting what their priests and ministers tell them and not thinking for themselves. Why do you think Islamic terrorism is so prevalent. The experience I got from going to church and bible studies and other whatnot, and I went to a variety of them and conversed with a variety of different people, is they were looking for someone to tell them what to believe, how to interpret the bible, and how in general to live their life. Plus a lot of people came for the social benefits of religious associations. Maybe after you'd gone through being told talking in tongues was a spiritual duty, as well as laying of the hands (touching people and expecting them to get better, I guess), that aliens were really demons, and that the bible predicted tanks, and atomic bombs, and a host of other science things, silly monotonous repetitive mind-numbing rituals, and then watching all the petty disagreements religious people get into, and the hatred that many have for gay people, and hatred of people with certain kinds of disabilities, use of control fear tactics(threats), and the use of shame to keep people in line, and seeing people against abortion, but also against childcare, yet for the death penalty, and having seen so many willing to kill in the name of their religion; you will have to please forgive me for thinking that most religious people are cowards, and not the courageous people you think they are. Maybe I'm just jaded by my experience.

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Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
It's always a pleasure talking with you too.
Your speech was textbook "existential crisis", sorry if you were offended, but maybe you should look it up.

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Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
Tautologies. You said nothing.
I said a lot, but maybe you should learn to read in-between the lines. Things that happen in the natural world have natural causes. Things that happen in the supernatural world have supernatural causes. To say something that happens in the natural world has a supernatural cause is non-sequitur; it doesn't follow unless you can provide adequate evidence for a casual link between the two.

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Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
Let me get this straight. It looks like you are saying: (1) nature can only be evidence of God if we can show a causal link between nature and God. (2) To show a causal link between A and B we first need to show that both A and B exist (or, that there is evidence of both A and B). (3) Therefore, evidence of God is impossible, since this presupposes that there is a causal link, which presupposes that there is evidence...etc. Say we fly to another galaxy and on some lonely planet we find what looks like the remains of a city. This can only be evidence of other life forms if we can establish a causal link between this seeming city and these presumed other life forms--so we need to first find evidence of these other life forms before we can establish a causal link between them and the city. Something about this seems wrong, and it looks like there are problems with your argument.
Like I said when one talks about nature and when one talks about God, one is talking about two incredibly different kinds of objects. God is a kind of object with impossible properties and is a super-generalized object, so much so, people can make it mean anything they want it to mean. When people talk about God, it is just some conceptual, purely imagined object. People can talk about God all day and yet what are we even really talking about. And as far as your remains of a city, that is first a natural object in this natural world. As far as your remains of a city, it depends on what is actually in the city. But for arguments sake, let's say the city is made out of purely naturally occurring materials like limestone, marble, etc. Maybe it formed via some strange confluence of volcanic activity, wind storms and water erosion. Also maybe some robots, which aren't conscious robots, built it. Or maybe even if life built it, it wasn't due to anything remotely intelligent and was like the leftover shell of a lifeform, like corals.

Also you have the possibility of maybe some kind of being or thing(maybe byproduct of another universe) created the physical universe, but it isn't God, and it isn't necessarily immortal, and maybe you can see why I don't see God as being necessary to make sense out of our present conditions.

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Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
Thanks. My point doesn't depend on the "absolute" claim. So I guess it's not a straw man.
Then why did you use the word "absolute", but aside from that, where is this proof you speak of?

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Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
I appreciate that. And your claim about "logical impossibility" is really something of a cliff hanger.
Feel free to jump off the cliff, that is what it is there for. I promise the water is fine. You can substitute "logical impossibility" for circular logic, if that makes it any clearer for you, but basically if your faith is wrong, how can it be justified by more faith?

Last edited by JustNobody; 03-26-2010 at 03:28 AM..
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Old 03-26-2010, 07:01 AM
 
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Originally Posted by GldnRule View Post
They were warning Columbus not to sail just 600 yrs ago.
The warnings had nothing to do with him falling off the face of the earth. They were warning him that his estimates of the distance to Asia were wrong. He was lucky that the Americas were there, but that doesn't change that his facts were wrong. And before you trot out the "but he had faith that he'd be OK" - no, he didn't use faith to figure out the distance, he used research and evidence. He was wrong but lucky. He didn't set sail with faith that he'd find the new world. He thought he'd landed in Asia. So even if he did have faith that his numbers were correct they led him to the wrong conclusion. This is just an example of how crazy decisions are sometimes bailed out through luck.

It's a myth that people in those times believed the earth was flat. It's a bit counterproductive to use examples (taken from others on faith) that are factually wrong to tell us that faith is a good way to learn about the world.

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On a side note--If they had read the Bible they would have found the right answer. It tells of "God...dwelling above the CIRCLE of the earth...that he is HANGING UPON NOTHING".
A circle is 2 dimensional i.e. flat. That's consistent with the idea put forth in Genesis that the earth is a flat plain covered by the solid dome of the sky. The circle is formed where the dome intersects the earth. But that doesn't mean they thought the earth was round - far from it.

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I wonder how those people writing about that thousands of years ago got it completely correct in the face of contrary "evidence"?
The Greeks had pretty good estimates of the size of the earth and they got it through experimentation, not faith. So did astronomers in the middle ages. Heck, Thomas Aqunas wrote about the evidence used by various researchers to figure out the size of the earth so it was hardly a secret even to people who valued faith.

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My point is, in many situations a good way to come to a conclusion as to what is and what isn't is to use our "gut feeling", "the heart", and our "intuition". I other words::HAVE FAITH IN IT.

All the best.
As you can see, people in the past used evidence and logic to figure out the shape and size of the earth (quite accurately). You've taken it on faith that they never did this and ended up being wrong about the facts. That's not exactly the best way to demonstrate that faith is useful.

Last edited by KCfromNC; 03-26-2010 at 07:19 AM..
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Old 03-26-2010, 07:07 AM
 
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Originally Posted by GldnRule View Post
The OP was asking, "How can something come from nothing?", and I was making the point that mans curiosity about that could be satisfied as much, if not more, through faith, as it would be by trying to figure it out exclusively by logic and reason.
So then get on with it - how does faith give us an answer to this question? You're spending an awful lot of time telling us that faith gives us great insight into things that reason can't, but you keep avoiding telling us what this great insight actually is. Instead we get word games where faith is redefined into meaninglesness - from "belief despite evidence" to "belief in anything which isn't 100% air tight certain without doubt" - in order to try to apply it to everyone.

That you have to resort to this kind of semantic games instead of actually listing WHAT KNOWLEDGE FAITH ACTUALLY GIVES US is pretty telling.

Last edited by KCfromNC; 03-26-2010 at 07:20 AM..
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Old 03-26-2010, 11:07 AM
 
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First, a general observation. I've said that the atheist position involves courage, and I've never said that atheists are stupid, or that they have abandoned reason--I always maintain that atheists can be very intelligent people. I further suggested that faith also involves a kind of courage. In response I was told that faith compares to insanity, that it is cowardice and people of faith have basically abandoned reason. These are charges that seem to come up with regularity. So it seems it's not enough to simply say that faith is wrong, or that it is false, or whatever; some nontheists have to completely discredit the religious view. Doesn't this seem more like a visceral reaction than anything else? I have no problem with atheists or agnostics. But you respect a person by showing some respect for their views. When you can't seem to give any credit whatsoever to a view you disagree with, are you really respecting the person who holds that view? How is meaningful dialogue sustainable? As JustNobody might say, the only thing worth acting on is selfless love.

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Originally Posted by JustNobody View Post
I based it on a dictionary definition I looked up and the fact that the two words are often used interchangeably.
The dictionary is a great place to start when trying to get clear on conceptual distinction. But I looked it up in two different dictionaries (OED and the dictionary on my computer), and in neither place is trust identified with belief. It's seen as a "confidence in" or a "belief IN.' Note that there is a difference between "belief that" and "belief in."

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Originally Posted by JustNobody View Post
Yes, but your confusion lies in the fact I am using two slight variations in the way the word faith is used. One kind of faith is like one's faith, which is like a collection of beliefs, like one's religious faith, which also usually has a condition placed on it that it isn't concerned with evidence. The other kind of faith is a single belief. I hope that clears things up.
It does.

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Originally Posted by JustNobody View Post
But passion is a desire. Thing is about desire is we have desires, which aren't normally even recognized as desires.
I don't see passion as desire. Courage could be said to be a passion, but it's not a desire (though we may have a desire that coincides with courage). Following Plato we might say there are "three parts of the soul": the intellectual part, the appetitive part, and the passionate part.

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Originally Posted by JustNobody View Post
It is only "intellectually dishonest" if I am actually being "dishonest", which I am not. Even if I am wrong that doesn't make me "intellectually dishonest", and you haven't given me reason to believe I am wrong.
I retract it. I didn't mean that you were being dishonest. My comments came out wrong.


(I snipped a bunch of your post that was pretty thoughtful and honest--which I appreciate.)

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Originally Posted by JustNobody View Post
Your speech was textbook "existential crisis", sorry if you were offended, but maybe you should look it up.
I wasn't offended. But I thought you were trying to offend. There wasn't any "tone" for me to read. What I said was obviously existential, but the phrase "existential crisis" is thrown around today as a way of saying someone is "going through something."

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Originally Posted by JustNobody View Post
Things that happen in the natural world have natural causes. Things that happen in the supernatural world have supernatural causes. To say something that happens in the natural world has a supernatural cause is non-sequitur; it doesn't follow unless you can provide adequate evidence for a casual link between the two.
The problem of causality is a big one. Establishing "causal links" between anything is difficult. And there are different senses of "cause." But in general your claim here is merely another way of affirming metaphysical naturalism (which involves the claim that the world is a closed system of physical causes and effects). But there are at least two ways in which to understand the relation between God and the world: (1) that God created ex nihilo, and (2) the world has always existed and God is the ultimate reason and explanation for its existence. In neither case do I see the need to establish a typical causal relation before we can say anything further (and in the first case there cannot be such a typical relation). I don't see pitting "natural" vs "supernatural" to be helpful here, as if we were talking about two different kinds of "substances," as they would say in the early modern period. I don't see why we have to carve reality up into two different, mutually exclusive causal realms: the "natural" and the "supernatural."

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Originally Posted by JustNobody View Post
Like I said when one talks about nature and when one talks about God, one is talking about two incredibly different kinds of objects. God is a kind of object with impossible properties and is a super-generalized object, so much so, people can make it mean anything they want it to mean. When people talk about God, it is just some conceptual, purely imagined object. People can talk about God all day and yet what are we even really talking about.
Similar issues arise for much more mundane things: like the mind, or properties, or numbers. Yet these things must have some reality.

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Originally Posted by JustNobody View Post
And as far as your remains of a city, that is first a natural object in this natural world. As far as your remains of a city, it depends on what is actually in the city. But for arguments sake, let's say the city is made out of purely naturally occurring materials like limestone, marble, etc. Maybe it formed via some strange confluence of volcanic activity, wind storms and water erosion. Also maybe some robots, which aren't conscious robots, built it. Or maybe even if life built it, it wasn't due to anything remotely intelligent and was like the leftover shell of a lifeform, like corals.
I think my counterexample basically stands against your argument.


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Originally Posted by JustNobody View Post
Also you have the possibility of maybe some kind of being or thing(maybe byproduct of another universe) created the physical universe, but it isn't God, and it isn't necessarily immortal, and maybe you can see why I don't see God as being necessary to make sense out of our present conditions.
Your suggestion doesn't answer the question of why there is something rather than nothing. Even if the universe is the product of another universe, or some other being that created our universe, the question would still hang. Only a necessary being can answer this question--if there is no necessary being, then there is no answer, and the world is ultimately unintelligible. This isn't an argument for the existence of a necessary being, but it suggests that it is plausible to believe there is such a being. None of this, in itself, says anything about the characteristics this being would have.

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Originally Posted by JustNobody View Post
Then why did you use the word "absolute", but aside from that, where is this proof you speak of?
I should have been more careful with my word choice. And about "proof," I'm not sure what you mean, since I was really only trying to articulate a way to understand faith.

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Originally Posted by JustNobody View Post
Feel free to jump off the cliff, that is what it is there for. I promise the water is fine. You can substitute "logical impossibility" for circular logic, if that makes it any clearer for you, but basically if your faith is wrong, how can it be justified by more faith?
It doesn't make it any clearer. These are claims, not arguments. What does it mean to say "faith is wrong"?

Last edited by The Matrix; 03-26-2010 at 11:16 AM..
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Old 03-26-2010, 02:37 PM
 
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Default Faith rules

Never mind people that thought the earth was flat in the time of Columbus, there are people TODAY that think so. Google "Flat Earth Society", you'll see.

EVERYONE gets their information through their 5 senses. There is no other way...unless you are a proponent of telepathy. The argument I make about FAITH has nothing to do with acquiring information, but it's relevance in our acceptance of the information. Ultimately the acceptance of any information as having merit is based on FAITH in the source. We have to BELIEVE our intuition that our assessment of the viability and validity of the source of our information is accurate. Unless we are obtaining virgin information through our own experience or research we obtain it, through our senses, from an outside source...and to give it merit we must have FAITH in the source. WHY we have FAITH in the source is variable, but not that it comes down to having FAITH.
NOTHING is "factually wrong"...there are no "facts"...only FAITH in the source of information. We don't really "know" anything...except that we believe (have FAITH) that it is so. Once we have FAITH in the source of information we then label that information "knowledge". Which doesn't mean squat...except that that's what you think you know (have knowledge of)...because even though you have FAITH in the source of your information that doesn't make it infallible.

It is the "facts", "evidence", and "proof" crowd that plays the semantic games. We take in information...we assess it with our mind through deductive reasoning, critical thinking, comparative analysis, intuition, the "vibe" it gives us, or what ever way we choose to process it...then, if we have FAITH the information is accurate we consider it knowledge. IT ALL COMES DOWN, ULTIMATELY, TO FAITH!
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