Does God Exist?

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PeterCai
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby PeterCai » Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:12 am UTC

Ghavrel wrote:Hm. This statement should be provable through reason, if true. I don't think it is. Of course, you run into incompleteness theorems with things like this, but I really think that only furthers my point.

I apologize for the epistemological diversion.


Well, logic is not the sole representation of reason, it's a tool for reasoning. Using logic to prove reason to be the only way to arrive at truth wouldn't be impossible, unless you consider all philosophical proof impossible.

For example:
premise1: we can arrive at truth through reason
premise2: we can not arrive at truth through any other means

conclusion: we can only arrive at truth through reason.

The two premises, like all philosophical premises, are supported through observable evidences.

For example in another logical system like math, you can't prove math by math, but you can still prove that we can use math to solve an equation. How? By solving it.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Ghavrel » Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:30 am UTC

PeterCai wrote:premise1: we can arrive at truth through reason

...

The two premises, like all philosophical premises, are supported through observable evidences.


Please correct me if I am wrong, but it seems to me that as these observable evidences are grounded in empiricism, using them to support premise 1 is a circular argument. And if these observable evidences are not grounded in empricism, then you have invalidated your second premise.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby PeterCai » Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:40 am UTC

Ghavrel wrote:Please correct me if I am wrong, but it seems to me that as these observable evidences are grounded in empiricism, using them to support premise 1 is a circular argument. And if these observable evidences are not grounded in empricism, then you have invalidated your second premise.


Yes they are, but we are not trying to prove the correctness of reason here, so there's no circular logic. We are trying to prove reason to be the only way to arrive at truth.

Of course, for someone who rejects reason completely, this whole thing doesn't make sense, but on the the premise that reason is correct (since we are using reason to prove something), and since reason dicates that empiricism is the only way to arrive at any valid philosophical premise, this proof is correct.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Ghavrel » Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:54 am UTC

PeterCai wrote: Of course, for someone who rejects reason completely, this whole thing doesn't make sense, but on the the premise that reason is correct (since we are using reason to prove something), and since reason dicates that empiricism is the only way to arrive at any valid philosophical premise, this proof is correct.


Right, right. But in either case it is necessary at some point to take it axiomatically that reason is valid. And I think this is the crux of the matter; the arguments regarding God and reason tend to go in circles because people approach them from separate metaphysical models. There's no real way for us to have a discussion if we are assuming different starting points.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby PeterCai » Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:06 am UTC

Ghavrel wrote:Right, right. But in either case it is necessary at some point to take it axiomatically that reason is valid. And I think this is the crux of the matter; the arguments regarding God and reason tend to go in circles because people approach them from separate metaphysical models. There's no real way for us to have a discussion if we are assuming different starting points.


Exactly, as rational human beings, we must by definition argue under the systme of reason and logic, and we must by definition regard someone who doesn't use reason as their metalphysical system to be entirely wrong. People often view this incompatibility as an indication that the religious folks have a point, but that's nonsense. You can't argue with a schizophrenic about reality either, that doesn't make their views any closer to the truth.

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Eebster the Great
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Eebster the Great » Tue Feb 22, 2011 11:17 am UTC

This argument is about as circular as it gets. You seem to be saying that reason allows us to arrive at truth because it is reasonable.

Personally, I have yet to find a satisfactory, consistent, non-circular foundation for empiricism.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Greyarcher » Tue Feb 22, 2011 12:48 pm UTC

I don't think it's really a problem, Eebster.

We wouldn't demand a proof of reason's legitimacy that doesn't employ reason, while stating that employing reason would be circular--it's a nonsensical challenge that practically doesn't interfere with our use of reason. We can put the issue of "foundations" aside.
At the same time, we wouldn't demand a proof that reason allows us to reach "truths" about the world, while stating that worldly evidence is inadmissible. It's the same problem as before: the challenge doesn't undermine the practical merits of the activity. And thus, the demand that the activity prove itself in some unrelated way isn't really concerning.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby uncivlengr » Tue Feb 22, 2011 2:04 pm UTC

I agree that it's not an issue - it's like asking to prove that we exist without relying on our existence. You could try, and ultimately fail, but that doesn't make your existence dubious.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Eebster the Great » Tue Feb 22, 2011 2:17 pm UTC

I didn't say that I found such a foundation necessary; otherwise I would hold my own position to be illegitimate. I just said that I have yet to find any.

uncivlengr wrote:I agree that it's not an issue - it's like asking to prove that we exist without relying on our existence.

That doesn't seem to be an unreasonable demand at all. If I leave grooveshark on for an hour without touching it, it demands I prove I exist by clicking a box :/.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby DSenette » Tue Feb 22, 2011 2:29 pm UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:I didn't say that I found such a foundation necessary; otherwise I would hold my own position to be illegitimate. I just said that I have yet to find any.

uncivlengr wrote:I agree that it's not an issue - it's like asking to prove that we exist without relying on our existence.

That doesn't seem to be an unreasonable demand at all. If I leave grooveshark on for an hour without touching it, it demands I prove I exist by clicking a box :/.

but you have to exist to prove that you exist. and your existence is only proven by you existing
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Eebster the Great » Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:59 pm UTC

DSenette wrote:but you have to exist to prove that you exist.

So? That doesn't make it circular. You don't have to assume you exist in order to prove you exist.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby PeterCai » Tue Feb 22, 2011 7:00 pm UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:This argument is about as circular as it gets. You seem to be saying that reason allows us to arrive at truth because it is reasonable.

Personally, I have yet to find a satisfactory, consistent, non-circular foundation for empiricism.


Well no. That proof is not at all circular. All proof within a system requires the basic premise that such system is correct. You seem to be saying that we can't prove that math can calculate 1+1=2 because that's like saying math is mathy. We aren't trying to prove any premise here, hence no circular argument.

Plus, circular argument is only a fallacy under the system of reason. Which means that it also assumes reason to be correct.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby uncivlengr » Tue Feb 22, 2011 7:43 pm UTC

This whole aside is odd to me - I can't imagine what one would propose as a system of thought of any kind outside reason, much less on that could provide one with insight into the true nature of the universe - you can't even consider using an alternate system without using reason, and the only thing I can see that would be left would be instinct.

Now, if you've been talking about reason but meant empiricism, then I can see a valid point. In reality, I think a_toddler just asked a silly question and people ran with it.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby a_toddler » Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:54 pm UTC

uncivlengr wrote:In reality, I think a_toddler just asked a silly question and people ran with it.


lol, to you all my questions are silly :p

I was actually trying to draw out the whole "the thing of greatest authority must stand by itself" claim I made ages ago. The authority doesn't have to be something which demands absolute truths, but it's the method or thing from which we derive truth.

If reason is the method to discover truth, yet we back it up with observations, wouldn't then our observations be the primary method we use to discover truth? In which case, why? The argument for the greatest authority must be circular, because if you claim something else confirms it then that something else has more authority.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Azrael » Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:59 pm UTC

a_toddler wrote:lol soz...
a_toddler wrote:lol,


We are not your text buddies. Use your words please.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby uncivlengr » Tue Feb 22, 2011 11:20 pm UTC

a_toddler wrote:I was actually trying to draw out the whole "the thing of greatest authority must stand by itself" claim I made ages ago.
So you made a claim... why are you suggesting that there's a "thing" which consititutes "greatest authority", and why must it stand by itself? Seems pretty obvious that you're just setting yourself up again to come to a conclusion that you've already decided upon.

Perception and reason work together in our brains, and we can compare the two to see how they fit together - on top of that, interacting with other humans adds further means of comfirmation of our understanding of the universe. None of these things stand alone, and there's no reason to assert that they need to.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Greyarcher » Tue Feb 22, 2011 11:24 pm UTC

a_toddler wrote:I was actually trying to draw out the whole "the thing of greatest authority must stand by itself" claim I made ages ago. The authority doesn't have to be something which demands absolute truths, but it's the method or thing from which we derive truth.

If reason is the method to discover truth, yet we back it up with observations, wouldn't then our observations be the primary method we use to discover truth? In which case, why? The argument for the greatest authority must be circular, because if you claim something else confirms it then that something else has more authority.
I'm not sure authority is really the best concept here; at least, I wouldn't use it. Makes me think of someone asking whether a piano or a violin is more productive with regards to producing music. It sort of makes sense, but at the same time it's off.

Reason underlies thought; the observable world gives us stuff to think about, and a place to test the accuracy of our thoughts. The observable world gives us concrete things that we can mutually experience--a solid, common basis for agreeing upon statements that we call "truths".

If you punch me, and it hurts, and I punch you, and it hurts, then we can agree that it hurts; there's no need to indulge in abstraction, because common experience provides sufficient support for us to agree upon the statement "that hurts". Abstract foundations or arguments that are denounced as circular aren't an issue.


Edit: ninja'd!
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Eebster the Great » Wed Feb 23, 2011 10:26 am UTC

PeterCai wrote:
Eebster the Great wrote:This argument is about as circular as it gets. You seem to be saying that reason allows us to arrive at truth because it is reasonable.

Well no. That proof is not at all circular. All proof within a system requires the basic premise that such system is correct. You seem to be saying that we can't prove that math can calculate 1+1=2 because that's like saying math is mathy. We aren't trying to prove any premise here, hence no circular argument.

Earlier in the thread they were "proving" that reason was the best way to learn truth, basically because it is reasonable. Obviously if I disagree that reason is valuable, I will also disagree that being reasonable is necessarily good. Of course it's circular.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby uncivlengr » Wed Feb 23, 2011 11:34 am UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:Earlier in the thread they were "proving" that reason was the best way to learn truth, basically because it is reasonable. Obviously if I disagree that reason is valuable, I will also disagree that being reasonable is necessarily good. Of course it's circular.
I've already highlighted the fact that reason can be summarized as human mental processes outside of instinct (at least that's my impression), so we're still left with the issue of what's left as an alternative to reason, and whether there's any point in talking about human search for "truth" without it.

Aside from that, I don't think anyone has argued that "reason is reasonable", and if they did indirectly, they were using either of the words in a colloquial sense, and should have been more precise in their terms.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Charlie! » Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:41 pm UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:
PeterCai wrote:
Eebster the Great wrote:This argument is about as circular as it gets. You seem to be saying that reason allows us to arrive at truth because it is reasonable.

Well no. That proof is not at all circular. All proof within a system requires the basic premise that such system is correct. You seem to be saying that we can't prove that math can calculate 1+1=2 because that's like saying math is mathy. We aren't trying to prove any premise here, hence no circular argument.

Earlier in the thread they were "proving" that reason was the best way to learn truth, basically because it is reasonable. Obviously if I disagree that reason is valuable, I will also disagree that being reasonable is necessarily good. Of course it's circular.

The assumption is a bit weaker, it's merely "reason works in this case."

But that's still quite a strong assumption. Why reason rather than alphabetical sorting, or answering randomly, or anti-empiricism (something happening makes it less likely to be true)?

The trick is perhaps that since this is more a dialogue than a universal justification, I can use the premises that the other person does too, and "reason works at least for some cases" is probably one of those.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby uncivlengr » Thu Feb 24, 2011 2:15 am UTC

Charlie! wrote:The assumption is a bit weaker, it's merely "reason works in this case."

But that's still quite a strong assumption. Why reason rather than alphabetical sorting, or answering randomly, or anti-empiricism (something happening makes it less likely to be true)?
It's not an assumption that particular forms of reason work over others - that's a demonstrable fact, as we can see that when we belief anything that starts with the letter 'A' that our understanding doesn't map well onto our experiences. You might suggest that we assume that we can experience an actual universe (as opposed to say, a hallucination), but even if I'm batshit crazy and imagining the entire world around me in a manner that's indistinguishable from an actual universe, I'm still obviously hallucinating in a manner that my "false" experience allows me to construct accurate models of the "false" universe that allow me to feel like I can function in it.

Then you might say I'm assuming that my experience of a consistent universe itself is an assumption, but at that point I begin to question the point of speculating on possibilities all the way down the rabbit hole that we have absolutely no reason to believe are true, or more importantly, should be thought to potentially be true. The totality of our existence has been perceived as a predictable and reliable universe, so speculating on the possibility of an unreliable universe might be fun, but it's not something that necessarily draws into question our perception of reality.

In my first paragraph I mentioned particular forms of reason because again, as soon as anybody even considers the truth, they are reasoning - an ant cannot contemplate the nature of the universe because it lacks the capacity to reason and behaves purely from instinct. A person that bases their beliefs on faith is still using reason, but it's demonstrably not a good kind of reasoning, because there's simply no evidence that it reliably leads to a better understanding of the universe compared to empiricism.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Zcorp » Thu Feb 24, 2011 4:53 am UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:Earlier in the thread they were "proving" that reason was the best way to learn truth, basically because it is reasonable. Obviously if I disagree that reason is valuable, I will also disagree that being reasonable is necessarily good. Of course it's circular.

Reason is a word that describes a process or tool. The goal of the process is to learn more about reality or truth.

Reason is the process we have developed to learn truth.

You are essentially asking me to prove to you that hammers are better at pounding in nails than a toothbrush is. Then saying that after demonstrating you the efficacy of using a hammer compared to a toothbrush in doing so that I'm being circular.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Vellyr » Thu Feb 24, 2011 7:55 am UTC

A person that bases their beliefs on faith is still using reason, but it's demonstrably not a good kind of reasoning, because there's simply no evidence that it reliably leads to a better understanding of the universe compared to empiricism.


When you say "demonstrably" I assume you mean "demonstrable by using empiricism" since that's really the only thing "demonstrate" can mean. That's not a very good argument for someone who doesn't accept empiricism as the best way to understand the universe. You're trying to bring evidence against someone who has decided not to accept evidence.

I think a better way to look at it is this: empiricism is internally consistent. You can glean information from empirical sources that lead to repeatable results using empirical means. Faith cannot claim the same thing, since it is entirely subjective. There is no correct answer to the question "What is god?" because even the concept of "correct" and "incorrect" is a result of empiricism.

So debating "Does god exist?" is an utterly pointless exercise. Just deciding one way or the other would require the use of empiricism, which is incompatible with faith. There's a reason that nobody has won this debate in all of human history.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Eebster the Great » Thu Feb 24, 2011 11:48 am UTC

Zcorp wrote:
Eebster the Great wrote:Earlier in the thread they were "proving" that reason was the best way to learn truth, basically because it is reasonable. Obviously if I disagree that reason is valuable, I will also disagree that being reasonable is necessarily good. Of course it's circular.

Reason is a word that describes a process or tool. The goal of the process is to learn more about reality or truth.

Reason is the process we have developed to learn truth.

You are essentially asking me to prove to you that hammers are better at pounding in nails than a toothbrush is. Then saying that after demonstrating you the efficacy of using a hammer compared to a toothbrush in doing so that I'm being circular.


This response is also intended for uncivlengr.

Obviously I am aware that reason is a tool. But you cannot demonstrate its efficacy without using it. One might say, for example, that "most of the time, using reason has produced better results than using any other method of finding the truth." But even if that is true, it does not show that reason is effective, nor that it will be as effective in the future. Furthermore, in order to determine such correlations in the first place, we rely on reason.

Another way of looking at this problem is as a problem with empiricism. How can I demonstrate that empirical observations are best at determining the truth without relying on empirical observations?

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby uncivlengr » Thu Feb 24, 2011 12:21 pm UTC

Vellyr wrote:
A person that bases their beliefs on faith is still using reason, but it's demonstrably not a good kind of reasoning, because there's simply no evidence that it reliably leads to a better understanding of the universe compared to empiricism.


When you say "demonstrably" I assume you mean "demonstrable by using empiricism" since that's really the only thing "demonstrate" can mean. That's not a very good argument for someone who doesn't accept empiricism as the best way to understand the universe. You're trying to bring evidence against someone who has decided not to accept evidence.
You can demonstrate something in a number of ways without physical evidence - you don't use empiricism to prove a proposition in a certain system of mathematics, for example, because the proposition can be consistent inside the system. However, if you intend to apply that proposition to the real world, then you're necessarily going to need to be able to show that it's valid, and the only way is through empiricism.

Whether or not a particular person stubbornly decides that they can rely purely on faith is immaterial - they're demonstrably wrong whether they agree or not, and making them understand or agree with this isn't a requirement of doing so.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby uncivlengr » Thu Feb 24, 2011 12:24 pm UTC

Vellyr wrote:
A person that bases their beliefs on faith is still using reason, but it's demonstrably not a good kind of reasoning, because there's simply no evidence that it reliably leads to a better understanding of the universe compared to empiricism.


When you say "demonstrably" I assume you mean "demonstrable by using empiricism" since that's really the only thing "demonstrate" can mean. That's not a very good argument for someone who doesn't accept empiricism as the best way to understand the universe. You're trying to bring evidence against someone who has decided not to accept evidence.
You can demonstrate something in a number of ways without physical evidence - you don't use empiricism to prove a proposition in a certain system of mathematics, for example, because the proposition can be consistent inside the system. However, if you intend to apply that proposition to the real world, then you're necessarily going to need to be able to show that it's valid, and the only way is through empiricism.

Whether or not a particular person stubbornly decides that they can rely purely on faith is immaterial - they're demonstrably wrong whether they agree or not (by the simple fact that faith leads people to contradictory beliefs), and making them understand or agree with this isn't a requirement of doing so. When someone rejects the idea that the earth is a spheroid, it doesn't make the world a little bit more flat. If their standard for belief is such that it can't be shown that a particular belief is valid or not, then it's inferior to one in which it can be.

Vellyr wrote:Another way of looking at this problem is as a problem with empiricism. How can I demonstrate that empirical observations are best at determining the truth without relying on empirical observations?
If we're talking about "truth" as the nature of the actual universe around us, then the answer is self-evident; you come to understand the universe by observing it. What other option is there that we can be assured won't lead to false beliefs?

On the other hand, if you define truth as anything you can come up with that makes you sleep well at night, then you're open to believe almost anything you like, and empiricism will probably work against this goal.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Bean_Delphiki » Thu Feb 24, 2011 3:44 pm UTC

Vellyr wrote:A person that bases their beliefs on faith is still using reason, but it's demonstrably not a good kind of reasoning, because there's simply no evidence that it reliably leads to a better understanding of the universe compared to empiricism.


When Einstein came up with the theory of relativity, he was basing it on some mathematics but also a leap of faith (to my understanding) regarding a theory about which he had no empirical evidence. Afterward, empiricism seems to prove that he was correct...or at least on the right track...

What I'm trying to communicate here is that personal religion is (hopefully) based on some reason but requires a leap of faith, and that the leap of faith is also perfectly reasonable...and while it may not be the BEST kind of reason, I wouldn't necessarily say that it's "not a good kind" of reasoning. (for my money/soul, "My dad gave me this book" is as reasonable a method as any for coming up with beliefs regarding subjects which Science magazine has yet to explain thoroughly)

...the most dangerous people (and probably scientists too) are the ones who forget (or don't understand) the leaps of faith which underline their beliefs. The most boring people & scientists are the ones who take no leaps of faith. Leaps of faith should be celebrated (and remembered and monitored). If you live in a world where there is no faith but only empiricism...i get it...I'm just not holding my breath for any big scientific advances coming from your work...

uncivlengr wrote:Whether or not a particular person stubbornly decides that they can rely purely on faith is immaterial - they're demonstrably wrong whether they agree or not (by the simple fact that faith leads people to contradictory beliefs), and making them understand or agree with this isn't a requirement of doing so.


I agree that relying purely on faith for a lifetime's worth of decisions is pretty silly. What I have a problem with is the assertion that faith is somehow faulty because it leads people to contradictory beliefs. I don't think faith leads people to contradictory beliefs, I think that life leads people to contradictory beliefs, and people either chose to resolve the conflict...or they don't.

Are you saying that the scientific path doesn't lead to contradictions?

You start out in physics class and F=ma...holy shit, F=ma!...this is so cool!...I can tell you how fast a baseball will go if you push on it with 20N for 5s. Hey, guess what...U=mgh...holy shit, U=mgh!...I can tell you how fast a roller coaster will be going if it rolls down a 50ft ramp. And then... "none of this shit is really true"...it just looks true...but there's all this other shit going on which F=ma doesn't explain. F=ma is wrong.

Now you're exposed to a conflicted belief structure (or at least I am, you may be perfect empirical machines, but when I submitted my physics exam rocking the F=ma, I believed that I would get an A because I was RIGHT!!!)...What you do with these conflicted beliefs is up to you. (if you're like me, you run off to mechanical engineering where me and F=ma can be happy together...forever).

...But the main point is that conflicted beliefs aren't indicitive of a faulty process, they are part of a good process.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby uncivlengr » Thu Feb 24, 2011 4:54 pm UTC

Bean_Delphiki wrote:I don't think faith leads people to contradictory beliefs, I think that life leads people to contradictory beliefs, and people either chose to resolve the conflict...or they don't.
Faith is the acceptance of something without proof - logical, material, or otherwise. The beliefs you choose to have faith in are completely arbitrary, or it wouldn't require faith. You can't prove your beliefs are true or false, and you can't argue that anyone else's are true or false. That's not a system that allows people to know that their beliefs are true.

Bean_Delphiki wrote:Are you saying that the scientific path doesn't lead to contradictions?

You start out in physics class and F=ma...holy shit, F=ma!...this is so cool!...I can tell you how fast a baseball will go if you push on it with 20N for 5s. Hey, guess what...U=mgh...holy shit, U=mgh!...I can tell you how fast a roller coaster will be going if it rolls down a 50ft ramp. And then... "none of this shit is really true"...it just looks true...but there's all this other shit going on which F=ma doesn't explain. F=ma is wrong.
Those are examples of models that have certain applications. A baseball isn't behaving according to our equations, our equations predict the behaviour of the ball in certain situations, and when we use the better models, we get a better prediction. Science and empricism don't ever claim to dictate the manner in which the universe works, they instead dictate the ways in which we can expect to understand how the universe works. "Truth" presents itself in the spots where out understanding of the universe and the actual universe coincide.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Feb 24, 2011 5:00 pm UTC

Bean_Delphiki wrote:
Vellyr wrote:A person that bases their beliefs on faith is still using reason, but it's demonstrably not a good kind of reasoning, because there's simply no evidence that it reliably leads to a better understanding of the universe compared to empiricism.


When Einstein came up with the theory of relativity, he was basing it on some mathematics but also a leap of faith (to my understanding) regarding a theory about which he had no empirical evidence. Afterward, empiricism seems to prove that he was correct...or at least on the right track...


I guess it depends how you define "leap of faith". I would say that Einstein developed a hypothesis. He made a claim "If you do this experiment, this should be the result you get"; he turned out to be right, so his theory gained credibility. Had the experiment failed, his theory would have been rejected. I'm not sure where you feel that a leap of faith fits in there at all.

Bean_Delphiki wrote:(for my money/soul, "My dad gave me this book" is as reasonable a method as any for coming up with beliefs regarding subjects which Science magazine has yet to explain thoroughly)


Unless you can establish the book is credible, no, it really isn't. What's wrong with just not being sure? Why do you have to have beliefs about a soul (assuming it exists)?

Bean_Delphiki wrote:...the most dangerous people (and probably scientists too) are the ones who forget (or don't understand) the leaps of faith which underline their beliefs. The most boring people & scientists are the ones who take no leaps of faith. Leaps of faith should be celebrated (and remembered and monitored). If you live in a world where there is no faith but only empiricism...i get it...I'm just not holding my breath for any big scientific advances coming from your work...


I don't think "leap of faith" means what you think it does.

Bean_Delphiki wrote:Are you saying that the scientific path doesn't lead to contradictions?

You start out in physics class and F=ma...holy shit, F=ma!...this is so cool!...I can tell you how fast a baseball will go if you push on it with 20N for 5s. Hey, guess what...U=mgh...holy shit, U=mgh!...I can tell you how fast a roller coaster will be going if it rolls down a 50ft ramp. And then... "none of this shit is really true"...it just looks true...but there's all this other shit going on which F=ma doesn't explain. F=ma is wrong.


What? F=ma is perfectly valid. It doesn't work for all types of problems, and depending on how precise you need to be, you may need to take into account some very difficult to measure forces. But it isn't "wrong". It just isn't as universal as we originally thought it was. You don't have to believe in F=ma, however. You can test and measure it yourself. Belief isn't required.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Zcorp » Thu Feb 24, 2011 5:35 pm UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:This response is also intended for uncivlengr.

Obviously I am aware that reason is a tool. But you cannot demonstrate its efficacy without using it. One might say, for example, that "most of the time, using reason has produced better results than using any other method of finding the truth." But even if that is true, it does not show that reason is effective, nor that it will be as effective in the future. Furthermore, in order to determine such correlations in the first place, we rely on reason.

Another way of looking at this problem is as a problem with empiricism. How can I demonstrate that empirical observations are best at determining the truth without relying on empirical observations?

Much you can not demonstrate the efficacy of a hammer without use it. Thats kind of how tools work. Tools are created to achieve a goal. If they are ineffective at that goal or the goal some how changes, i.e. we redesign nails, We also redesign the tool.

That the tool works shows that it is effective, and if there is some failing in the future we will account for it within reason as its purpose is to find truth.

How can you find truth if truth is entirely subjective to each individual, is prone to change within that individual and no other person can learn how another person subjectively sees truth? Truth at that point is entirely useless except to a single individual, an individual who is unlikely to even think that consciousness other than their own exists.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby uncivlengr » Thu Feb 24, 2011 5:43 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:
Bean_Delphiki wrote:...the most dangerous people (and probably scientists too) are the ones who forget (or don't understand) the leaps of faith which underline their beliefs. The most boring people & scientists are the ones who take no leaps of faith. Leaps of faith should be celebrated (and remembered and monitored). If you live in a world where there is no faith but only empiricism...i get it...I'm just not holding my breath for any big scientific advances coming from your work...


I don't think "leap of faith" means what you think it does.
Yeah, just to expand on this, having a scientific view of reality doesn't make someone into some sort of cold, calculating machine. Taking chances with the unknown seems to be what Bean_Delphiki is referring to, but that's not the same thing as pretending something unknown is known, which is all that faith does.

Taking chances in science is precisely the means by which some unknown phenomenon becomes known, in fact - it's sitting back and assuming that you already know what the phenomenon is that you fall into a rut and cease to progress.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Bean_Delphiki » Thu Feb 24, 2011 7:20 pm UTC

uncivlengr wrote:Faith is the acceptance of something without proof - logical, material, or otherwise. The beliefs you choose to have faith in are completely arbitrary, or it wouldn't require faith. You can't prove your beliefs are true or false, and you can't argue that anyone else's are true or false. That's not a system that allows people to know that their beliefs are true.


Faith (to me) is the faith (circular logic anyone?) that something is true without proof. Faith includes a measure of uncertainty.

I will argue religion until the day I die hopefully, in a way to challenge my beliefs to find out what I actually believe (this forum has been great by-the-way...thanks all). Do I think that somebody else's beliefs are wrong? Almost never, but that would depend on how they were explaining them.

LaserGuy wrote:I don't think "leap of faith" means what you think it does.


I think a "leap of faith" is observable human behavior in the presence of system uncertainty, where a system hypothesis is chosen and there is some utility cost to the human due to the behavior.

LaserGuy wrote:I would say that Einstein developed a hypothesis. He made a claim "If you do this experiment, this should be the result you get"; he turned out to be right, so his theory gained credibility. Had the experiment failed, his theory would have been rejected. I'm not sure where you feel that a leap of faith fits in there at all.


That sounds pretty cut and dry. I would say that he probably spent a number of days in front of the chalkboard when he'd rather be drinking beer and banging german bitches. Why would he do that? Faith is my answer, but that's just a hypothesis...I think he saw a meaning behind what he was doing. A meaning which was completely unobservable at the moment and may be unobservable still.

LaserGuy wrote:What? F=ma is perfectly valid. It doesn't work for all types of problems, and depending on how precise you need to be, you may need to take into account some very difficult to measure forces. But it isn't "wrong". It just isn't as universal as we originally thought it was. You don't have to believe in F=ma, however. You can test and measure it yourself. Belief isn't required.


What? Hinduism is perfectly valid, it doesn't work for all types of problems, and depending on whether you want to pledge your eternal soul to the one true God (christian god, of course...and don't tag along Muslims...your God of Abraham is a totally different guy than our God of Abraham). Hinduism isn't "wrong", it just isn't the fundamental organization of the heavens like Christianity is. (I'm not trying to troll, just to make a point, and nothing against Hinduism...but I had to pick something..."religion A" vs. "religion B" doesn't have the same affect. )

uncivlengr wrote:...having a scientific view of reality doesn't make someone into some sort of cold, calculating machine. Taking chances with the unknown seems to be what Bean_Delphiki is referring to, but that's not the same thing as pretending something unknown is known, which is all that faith does.

I agree completely...pretending that something unknown is known is not good. But (to get into semantics) that's not how I define faith, and not how I use the word. I define faith as belief in the full knowledge to yourself (and others) of the inherent uncertainty. This is just to explain how I use the word. If you meet somebody from Westboro Baptist Church who wants to talk to you about "faith"...I recommend running.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby DSenette » Thu Feb 24, 2011 7:31 pm UTC

Bean_Delphiki wrote:
uncivlengr wrote:...having a scientific view of reality doesn't make someone into some sort of cold, calculating machine. Taking chances with the unknown seems to be what Bean_Delphiki is referring to, but that's not the same thing as pretending something unknown is known, which is all that faith does.

I agree completely...pretending that something unknown is known is not good. But (to get into semantics) that's not how I define faith, and not how I use the word. I define faith as belief in the full knowledge to yourself (and others) of the inherent uncertainty. This is just to explain how I use the word. If you meet somebody from Westboro Baptist Church who wants to talk to you about "faith"...I recommend running.

YAY! lets spend another 6 pages defining faith since there's a new guy!


Faith: : firm belief in something for which there is no proof

Leap of Faith: A leap of faith, in its most commonly used meaning, is the act of believing in or accepting something intangible or unprovable, or without empirical evidence.

dictionaries are awesome.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby uncivlengr » Thu Feb 24, 2011 7:55 pm UTC

Bean_Delphiki wrote:
uncivlengr wrote:...having a scientific view of reality doesn't make someone into some sort of cold, calculating machine. Taking chances with the unknown seems to be what Bean_Delphiki is referring to, but that's not the same thing as pretending something unknown is known, which is all that faith does.

I agree completely...pretending that something unknown is known is not good. But (to get into semantics) that's not how I define faith, and not how I use the word. I define faith as belief in the full knowledge to yourself (and others) of the inherent uncertainty. This is just to explain how I use the word. If you meet somebody from Westboro Baptist Church who wants to talk to you about "faith"...I recommend running.
If you're trying to set this up in a way that puts science and religion at a level playing field in terms of explaining the universe, as it seems you're doing, then refer back to the discussion with a_toddler.

You can imagine anything, call it a religion, and have faith in it - you can't do that with science. Science deals with what can be verified, while faith dismisses the need for verification. They aren't the same, they aren't equal in providing explanatory power.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Feb 24, 2011 8:02 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:I don't think "leap of faith" means what you think it does.

Bean_Delphiki wrote:I think a "leap of faith" is observable human behavior in the presence of system uncertainty, where a system hypothesis is chosen and there is some utility cost to the human due to the behavior.


Okay, this is easy. No, that's not a leap of faith at all. A leap of faith is choosing to believe in something for which there is no evidence (that is, by faith).

Bean_Delphiki wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:I would say that Einstein developed a hypothesis. He made a claim "If you do this experiment, this should be the result you get"; he turned out to be right, so his theory gained credibility. Had the experiment failed, his theory would have been rejected. I'm not sure where you feel that a leap of faith fits in there at all.


That sounds pretty cut and dry. I would say that he probably spent a number of days in front of the chalkboard when he'd rather be drinking beer and banging german bitches. Why would he do that? Faith is my answer, but that's just a hypothesis...I think he saw a meaning behind what he was doing. A meaning which was completely unobservable at the moment and may be unobservable still.


"Faith" in what? This doesn't even make sense. He came across a problem that he found interesting, and he studied it. That's what most scientists do. Intellectual curiousity has nothing to do with faith.

Bean_Delphiki wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:What? F=ma is perfectly valid. It doesn't work for all types of problems, and depending on how precise you need to be, you may need to take into account some very difficult to measure forces. But it isn't "wrong". It just isn't as universal as we originally thought it was. You don't have to believe in F=ma, however. You can test and measure it yourself. Belief isn't required.


What? Hinduism is perfectly valid, it doesn't work for all types of problems, and depending on whether you want to pledge your eternal soul to the one true God (christian god, of course...and don't tag along Muslims...your God of Abraham is a totally different guy than our God of Abraham). Hinduism isn't "wrong", it just isn't the fundamental organization of the heavens like Christianity is. (I'm not trying to troll, just to make a point, and nothing against Hinduism...but I had to pick something..."religion A" vs. "religion B" doesn't have the same affect. )


No, here's the difference. Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, etc. are equivalent in their uselessness. There is no possible way to demonstrate that Hinduism is more or less correct than Christianity. Neither is there a way to test any of their major claims: the existence of God, the existence of an afterlife, the existence of an eternal soul. There is no evidence for any of these things. There is evidence that F=ma is valid. You can go out and test it. And you'll find that it works pretty well, most of the time. In the places where it does fail, we can demonstrate that it does fail, and have, for the most part, found theories that describe the regimes where F=ma is no longer valid and understand why it doesn't work in those regimes.

Bean_Delphiki wrote:I agree completely...pretending that something unknown is known is not good. But (to get into semantics) that's not how I define faith, and not how I use the word. I define faith as belief in the full knowledge to yourself (and others) of the inherent uncertainty. This is just to explain how I use the word. If you meet somebody from Westboro Baptist Church who wants to talk to you about "faith"...I recommend running.


If you don't use the conventional definitions of words, don't expect people to understand you. I'm not even sure what your definition means. I think there's a word or maybe some punctuation missing.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Bean_Delphiki » Thu Feb 24, 2011 8:25 pm UTC

DSenette wrote:YAY! lets spend another 6 pages defining faith since there's a new guy!


New guy!?!?!

uncivlengr wrote:If you're trying to set this up in a way that puts science and religion at a level playing field in terms of explaining the universe, as it seems you're doing, then refer back to the discussion with a_toddler.

You can imagine anything, call it a religion, and have faith in it - you can't do that with science. Science deals with what can be verified, while faith dismisses the need for verification. They aren't the same, they aren't equal in providing explanatory power.


I don't know if science and religion belong on the same playing field (I do see them as interrelated, to me if not to anybody else) but as I've spoken of before on this thread:

There's something about religion in that it appears to deserve some place to play. If religion is such a stupid question, why are you on a religious thread when there are many fine and completely-logical threads going on here. You all don't seem like trolls, so you're not here just to pick on the bible-thumpers...

LaserGuy wrote:LaserGuy wrote:
I don't think "leap of faith" means what you think it does.

Bean_Delphiki wrote:
I think a "leap of faith" is observable human behavior in the presence of system uncertainty, where a system hypothesis is chosen and there is some utility cost to the human due to the behavior.

Okay, this is easy. No, that's not a leap of faith at all. A leap of faith is choosing to believe in something for which there is no evidence (that is, by faith).


A book (or books) which is historically accurate in some limited ways, is not "no evidence"...it's uncertainty. It's not certain enough for me to stone some girl to death because she spoke to a boy without her parents present, but it's (i hope) enough certainty for me to turn the other cheek when somebody hits me...

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Feb 24, 2011 8:32 pm UTC

Bean_Delphiki wrote:A book (or books) which is historically accurate in some limited ways, is not "no evidence"...it's uncertainty. It's not certain enough for me to stone some girl to death because she spoke to a boy without her parents present, but it's (i hope) enough certainty for me to turn the other cheek when somebody hits me...


Historical accuracy does not provide any evidence about the supernatural claims. There are many books that are historically accurate but nonetheless completely fictional. It's like saying that because Harry Potter was set in the real England, magic must also exist. One does not follow from the other.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Bean_Delphiki » Thu Feb 24, 2011 8:41 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:If you don't use the conventional definitions of words, don't expect people to understand you. I'm not even sure what your definition means. I think there's a word or maybe some punctuation missing


Conventional definitions? I like items 1 and 2 from dictionary.com (I especially like the little use-this-word-in-a-sentence thing for #2...I hope it explains my use of the word in context of the whole Einstein thing):

Faith -
1. confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability.
2. belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.

(The underlining is theirs, not mine...well it was theirs, but then I had to do it myself to get the post to format correctly...so this underlining is mine, but it's based on theirs):

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby uncivlengr » Thu Feb 24, 2011 8:43 pm UTC

Bean_Delphiki wrote:A book (or books) which is historically accurate in some limited ways, is not "no evidence"...it's uncertainty. It's not certain enough for me to stone some girl to death because she spoke to a boy without her parents present, but it's (i hope) enough certainty for me to turn the other cheek when somebody hits me...
There's no certainty in a textual account of a miracle, or any of the other dubious things in religious texts. When L. Ron Hubbard made up his religion and wrote it in a book, that doesn't constitute the slightest bit of evidence - it's just a story in a book. The fact that someone else did it a few thousand years ago with other stories doesn't constitute evidence, either.

How certain are you that Islam or Hinduism aren't what you should be following? What little concession do you make to that uncertainty?
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Feb 24, 2011 8:50 pm UTC

Bean_Delphiki wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:If you don't use the conventional definitions of words, don't expect people to understand you. I'm not even sure what your definition means. I think there's a word or maybe some punctuation missing


Conventional definitions? I like items 1 and 2 from dictionary.com (I especially like the little use-this-word-in-a-sentence thing for #2...I hope it explains my use of the word in context of the whole Einstein thing):

Faith -
1. confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability.
2. belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.

(The underlining is theirs, not mine...well it was theirs, but then I had to do it myself to get the post to format correctly...so this underlining is mine, but it's based on theirs):


Great. I'm okay with that definition. But that's not the same as this:

I define faith as belief in the full knowledge to yourself (and others) of the inherent uncertainty. This is just to explain how I use the word. If you meet somebody from Westboro Baptist Church who wants to talk to you about "faith"...I recommend running.


You may have just phrased this weirdly, but there is nothing in your definition that I would even remotely connect to either of the ideas you're describing above.


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