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  Topic: No reason for a rift between science and religion?, Skeptic's chance to prove his claims.< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 06 2007,07:39   

All,

The wheel turns, and yet again we are getting the following from Skeptic:

Quote
Louis, referencing our earlier discussion, this is the damage that radical atheists can do.  There is no reason for a rift between science and religion and to perpetuate the lie is damaging.  This in no means exonerates the religious who attempt to do the same thing but I hold science to a higher standard and you can not have an argument by yourself.


Skeptic has been remarkably silent about the evidence for the wanton damage we nasty old radical atheists (if indeed we are all nasty old radical atheists, which I know we're not, but seems to have escaped Skeptic) cause, but he does rear up every now and again and tell us that religion and science are not in conflict and (along with certain naughty religious people) we are responsible for world destruction and kittens dying. Or something.

We also get the very strong claim from Skeptic that it is a LIE (not merely wrong, but intentionally dishonest no less) to perpetuate the claim that the existance of a deity or set of deities is open to scientific scrutiny. Well dear friends, Skeptic included of course, I am going to shock you all to your cores and disagree with Skeptic. I know, I know, an amazing surprise!

I'm going to disagree on 3 bases:

1) Epistemiology: Very briefly and roughly speaking science at its core is the acquisition of knowledge by the application of reason and observation. Religion at its core claims to garner knowledge by faith and relevation. These mechanisms (faith/revelation and reason/observation) are diametrically opposed.

Now I want to be very careful about a potential misreading here, I do not mean that in the day to day practise of science there is no use of "faith" by individual scientists (with a very small f), or that people who practise religion are incapable of reason or that in religious teachings no reasoned or observational elements exist. To claim that would be a rampant straw man version of the epistemological argument, so best to get it out the way right now. I also do not mean that a false dilemaa exists; one is either 100% a person of reason, or 100% a person of faith, again this is a straw man.

What I DO mean is that the mechanisms of acquiring knowledge about the universe advocated by science and religion are very different and give different results. They are absolutely anathema to each other, and this is where the very real, very valid conflict between science and religion has its basis.

2) The existance of a deity/set of deities: There is a habit amongst some of our religious chums to define their deity/deities out of existance. See Carl Sagan's "Dragon in the garage" analogy in "A Demon Haunted World" for an excellent example. Like squid, our religious chums are occasionally prone to hiding behind clouds of ink when threatened. The word salad doesn't impress.

Unless one is going down the deist (Spinoza, Einstein etc) route (or perhaps the pantheist or panentheist routes) then the believer has problems because their deity or set of deities interacts with the material universe in some manner. If their deity created the universe a specific way that claim is in principle a scientific one and as such open to scrutiny. IF however, as some of our more learned chums claim, the deity in question did remarkably subtle work, using the mechanisms of the universe (i.e. not miracles) then (as mentiuoned above) then they have defined their god out of existance and have nothing but their faith (no reason, no observation) that this is the case. They multiply logical terms and claims unnecessarily.

Now I don't really have much of a problem with that, live and let live and all, but I at least hope that people can acknowledge it honestly. The faith in a tinkerer deity who moved this particle or this allele and so on, is pretty innocuous. However, if we are honest, we must acknowledge that in principle (even if in practise it is beyond our ability to figure out at this time) these tinkerings are detectable. This is the god of very very very small gaps!

Even the deist/pantheist/panentheist deities have problems logically, and upset good old uncle Ockham, however they do at least move themselves beyond the point where we can currently even conceive of scrutinising their existance. I will say this though, that which is totally undetectable is indistinguishable from that which doesn't exist. In the end, the believer always resorts to an appeal to faith, revelation or some combination of personal prejudice and ignorance. I have no problem with that on a personal level. I really don't care what exciting things people believe (I believe a few myself), what I DO care about is that claim that such beliefs have a rational, reasoned, evidenciary basis when they don't.

3) The "Radical" atheists charge, or as I like to call it the "Because you shout as loud as me, you are equally fundamentalist" fallacy: Reality does not necessarily lie halfway between two equally vocally expressed claims. There is another mechanism for deciding between the validity of two equally vocally expressed claims. See above for a hint!

Skeptic's employment of the "Tu Quoque" fallacy is noted. Nasty radical atheists are fuelling the fire of this rift (to mix my metaphors) because they have the temerity to ARGUE with religious people. They do it, thus we can do it and vice versa.

In the USA (and increasingly across the first world, rather annoyingly) resurgent relgious sects are demanding that their views and faith based claims be treated as equally as claims based on evidence, even where the evidence demonstrates the falsity of their faith based claims. Secularists (some of whom are religious), scientists (some of whom are religious) and even some atheists (none of whom are religious) have been opposing this with words and argumentation. No planes have been crashed into buildings, no people killed, no effigies burnt. The tally is slightly biased in that respect, the false equation is obvious. We "radical" athiests argue because the premises and claims of the various resurgent religious sects and cults are demonstrably false and are agressively marketed and privileged. We are not trying to force everyone to be an atheist (a common straw man), we are trying very hard not to be forced to be a member of some religion or to grnat some religions and religious people special privileges based only on their faith. Other than that, go in peace.

That should do for starters.

Louis

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Bye.

  
skeptic



Posts: 1163
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 06 2007,07:44   

Thank you, Louis.  I was kicking this around last night and I appreciate the opportunity to explore it further.  I'll put together my post and get it up by this afternoon.

  
k.e



Posts: 1948
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 06 2007,08:46   

Damn you Louis, damn you to (atheist) hell, which is probably similar to a blog thread giving skeptic a chance to bloviate. I prefer just to poke him with a stick. (snikker)

To wit.

Skeptic, if god exists then why are there creationists?

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The conservative has but little to fear from the man whose reason is the servant of his passions, but let him beware of him in whom reason has become the greatest and most terrible of the passions.These are the wreckers of outworn empires and civilisations, doubters, disintegrators, deicides.Haldane

   
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 06 2007,11:06   

Skeptic,

Make sure you notice the combination of good humour and exasperation! ;-)

Louis

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Bye.

  
k.e



Posts: 1948
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 06 2007,11:26   

Quote (Louis @ Aug. 06 2007,19:06)
Skeptic,

Make sure you notice the combination of good humour and exasperation! ;-)

Louis

Don't forget charm and genius :>

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The conservative has but little to fear from the man whose reason is the servant of his passions, but let him beware of him in whom reason has become the greatest and most terrible of the passions.These are the wreckers of outworn empires and civilisations, doubters, disintegrators, deicides.Haldane

   
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 06 2007,11:43   

Yours, mine, or his?

Actually, forget I asked!

Louis

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Bye.

  
J-Dog



Posts: 4402
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 06 2007,13:15   

Louis - outstanding work - as usual.  I hope you don't mind that I appropriated one of your lines...

Most of the time I agree with k.e. - "poke them with a stick", but I do realize that engaging in dialogue ala this post is the best route to take for us civilized types.  

But, just so you know Louis, like I told Kristine earlier, just cuz you Brits are smarter, better looking and talk prettier than us Colonials, don't mean you're better than us.

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Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
IanBrown_101



Posts: 927
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 06 2007,14:08   

Quote (J-Dog @ Aug. 06 2007,13:15)
Louis - outstanding work - as usual.  I hope you don't mind that I appropriated one of your lines...

Most of the time I agree with k.e. - "poke them with a stick", but I do realize that engaging in dialogue ala this post is the best route to take for us civilized types.  

But, just so you know Louis, like I told Kristine earlier, just cuz you Brits are smarter, better looking and talk prettier than us Colonials, don't mean you're better than us.

No, but the fact you invented NASCAR does.


Sorry, low blow, low blow.....

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I'm not the fastest or the baddest or the fatest.

You NEVER seem to address the fact that the grand majority of people supporting Darwinism in these on line forums and blogs are atheists. That doesn't seem to bother you guys in the least. - FtK

Roddenberry is my God.

   
heddle



Posts: 124
Joined: Nov. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 06 2007,14:49   

Quote (IanBrown_101 @ Aug. 06 2007,14:08)
No, but the fact you invented NASCAR does.


Sorry, low blow, low blow.....

NASCAR rocks!  Much better than that effeminate F1 racing, where nobody ever passes for the lead.

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Mysticism is a rational enterprise. Religion is not. The mystic has recognized something about the nature of consciousness prior to thought, and this recognition is susceptible to rational discussion. The mystic has reason for what he believes, and these reasons are empirical. --Sam Harris

  
IanBrown_101



Posts: 927
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 06 2007,14:50   

Quote (heddle @ Aug. 06 2007,14:49)
Quote (IanBrown_101 @ Aug. 06 2007,14:08)
No, but the fact you invented NASCAR does.


Sorry, low blow, low blow.....

NASCAR rocks!  Much better than that effeminate F1 racing, where nobody ever passes for the lead.

Oh trust me, I am NOT a fan of F1 either.

--------------
I'm not the fastest or the baddest or the fatest.

You NEVER seem to address the fact that the grand majority of people supporting Darwinism in these on line forums and blogs are atheists. That doesn't seem to bother you guys in the least. - FtK

Roddenberry is my God.

   
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 06 2007,15:00   

Quote (heddle @ Aug. 06 2007,14:49)
Quote (IanBrown_101 @ Aug. 06 2007,14:08)
No, but the fact you invented NASCAR does.


Sorry, low blow, low blow.....

NASCAR rocks!  Much better than that effeminate F1 racing, where nobody ever passes for the lead.

Normally I have zero interest in either. Things have changed a jot with Hamilton leading the competition in his rooky year. Kinda schoolboy comic stuff.

Now since you are here you could head onto the educated creationist thread and explain why physics demands an older Earth than 6K years? Please.

  
heddle



Posts: 124
Joined: Nov. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 06 2007,15:08   

I'll trundle over.

The coolest thing about Lewis Hamilton is that he presents a delightful political correctness conundrum for the American press. I believe USA Today has referred to him as a "British African-American F1 Driver."

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Mysticism is a rational enterprise. Religion is not. The mystic has recognized something about the nature of consciousness prior to thought, and this recognition is susceptible to rational discussion. The mystic has reason for what he believes, and these reasons are empirical. --Sam Harris

  
carlsonjok



Posts: 3324
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 06 2007,15:17   

Quote (heddle @ Aug. 06 2007,14:49)
Quote (IanBrown_101 @ Aug. 06 2007,14:08)
No, but the fact you invented NASCAR does.


Sorry, low blow, low blow.....

NASCAR rocks!  Much better than that effeminate F1 racing, where nobody ever passes for the lead.

Uh oh. No religious wars allowed here.



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It's natural to be curious about our world, but the scientific method is just one theory about how to best understand it.  We live in a democracy, which means we should treat every theory equally. - Steven Colbert, I Am America (and So Can You!)

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 06 2007,15:17   

Quote (heddle @ Aug. 06 2007,15:08)
I'll trundle over.

The coolest thing about Lewis Hamilton is that he presents a delightful political correctness conundrum for the American press. I believe USA Today has referred to him as a "British African-American F1 Driver."

That is damn funny.
Something that I heard (pure anectdote) is an American (USA) reporter insisting in calling/labeling Nelson Mandela as "African-American."

Sorry for going way off-topic.

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 06 2007,17:02   

Hey Heddle, there's some guy in the "Educated Creationist" thread who thinks he is God's Spokesman.

Since YOU are, you might want to pop on over and set him straight.

--------------
Editor, Red and Black Publishers
www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 06 2007,17:50   

Quote (J-Dog @ Aug. 06 2007,13:15)
Most of the time I agree with k.e. - "poke them with a stick", but I do realize that engaging in dialogue ala this post is the best route to take for us civilized types.  

Screw "civilized".  They're all nuts.

Pass me a stick.

--------------
Editor, Red and Black Publishers
www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
J-Dog



Posts: 4402
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 06 2007,18:25   

Here Lenny - use mine.  I'm not using it right now, as I am now going through my "civilized" phase, but I am pretty sure I will want it back later.  Probably right after Pat Robertson makes another pronouncement, or sceptic makes another post.

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Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
skeptic



Posts: 1163
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 06 2007,20:32   

As usual, great post Louis but, as usual, we have some differences of opinion.  I'm going to try to be as brief as possible and lay out my thoughts as well as address yours but I expect it will take a number of posts to really get into it.  

First, I'd like to address the general assumption that there must be a rift between science and religion.  In order for a conflict to arise between two disciplines they would have to trying to answer the same questions.  For example, look at astronomy and particle physics.  Both deal with the actions of massive bodies and have working theories to examine their respective spheres.  Unfortunately, the two theories are incompatible with each other.  They're both trying to answer the same questions from two different viewpoints and are in conflict.  Fortunately, because both are "speaking the same language" there is not only the inclination but the possibility of unifying both theories.

Now lets contrast that to science and religion.  First, the two are not even trying to answer the same questions.  Science is no more equipped to tell someone how to live a moral life as religion is able to calculate the acceleration due to gravity.  As practical issue this does not pose a real problem.  Science relies upon data, evaluation of data and confirmation of theories using those data.  This is man's attempt to explain the universe using his senses, the only source he really has, through his limited abilities.  The picture that science gives us is one that is incomplete and dynamic and limited to those areas in which data can be collected and evaluated.

Religion, on the other, does not rely upon empirical data.  In fact, actual sources of knowledge are varied and open to interpretation.  Appropriately enough so are the questions that religion attempts to answer.  How do I treat others?  What is goodness?  What is the purpose of my life?  The answer to any of these questions can hardly be "42" or some other hard answer.  Whether through inspiration or revelation the answers given still must be digested individually and implemented personally.  This again is in contrast to science as each answer is technically universal.  It is not for religion to say how the heavens work just where Heaven is and how to get there.  This leaves open the question concerning the existence of God and which discipline should claim superiority.  We'll get back to that question later.

So in my opinion, why does the creationist get a free ride while the scientist is subject to scorn.  To put it plain, I expect more of the scientist.  Just speaking of the US, the vast majority of Americans are religious, 80-90% depending upon which poll you accept.  In similar polls a minority of people reject evolution.  That leaves a large percentage of Americans who are both religious and accept evolution.  Now stick with me because these people are very important.  That also leaves a very vocal minority that rejects not only evolution but the science behind it.  Scientists are supposedly governed by rationality and yet some feel compelled to respond to this vocal minority.  The YECs/IDs do not deal in scientific fact, something the scientists know something about, but still some scientists cannot resist.  Why is this a problem?  On it's face, there is no problem as long as the scientists restrict their criticism to inaccuracies of fact and data but the ultimate bait is still out there and a vocal minority of scientists rise to it.  They go after God and attempt to refute the existence. We can disagree on whether this is even possible but I contend it is not and it compromises the credibility of the scientist.

Now comes in the large group that previously had no crisis between science and religion.  The scientists enjoy more popular exposure and media credibility and their message is released.  Now a conflict arises between an anti-God message and a less threatening more familiar religion.  Remember, religion is very much a part of culture that begins very early and can have deep roots.  Science, on the other hand, is not shared extensively by the general population and to many not utilized in everyday life.  Given these choices it's not a wonder which direction people tend to move.  This heats up the rhetoric on both sides and continues to widen a rift that shouldn't exist in the first place.

So, I think science should not engage religion on religious topics but stick to science.  This removes the perception that science is anti-religion and refocus the debate on science.  It's much more productive to tell people about chemistry then how chemistry supposedly eliminates the need for God.

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 06 2007,20:47   

Um, hey Skeptic, in case you haven't noticed, it's not the scientists who are trying to pass laws to force their religious opinions into school classrooms and textbooks by lying to people and claiming those religious opinions are actually "science" . . . .

Fix that, and all the scientists will happily go back to their science and ignore all the religious nutters again.

--------------
Editor, Red and Black Publishers
www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
Nerull



Posts: 317
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 06 2007,20:53   

Astronomy is a theory? And it competes with particle physics? Wow...just...wow.

As an astronomer (unfortunatly not professional) that is possibly the funniest thing I've read yet today - and I've been reading up on Hovind, so your doing pretty well.


As for the rest, sounds like you just want to protect the IDers, to me. They can bring their books into schools, get teaching of evolution banned, and any other tactics that seem to be OK with you - but scientists shouldn't dare respond.

It's clear your motive has nothing to do with the prattle you write here, which is pretty thinly veiled. Your real motive is to advance that causes that you pretend to belittle here.

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To rebut creationism you pretty much have to be a biologist, chemist, geologist, philosopher, lawyer and historian all rolled into one. While to advocate creationism, you just have to be an idiot. -- tommorris

   
Henry J



Posts: 5117
Joined: Mar. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 06 2007,22:12   

Re "For example, look at astronomy and particle physics."

Just wondering, but did you mean general relativity and quantum mechanics?

Henry

  
skeptic



Posts: 1163
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 06 2007,22:51   

Yes, comparing GR and QM brings you to an impasse but the quest for a Unified Theory goes on because of the reasons I stated.

Lenny, there's no problem with discussing science in an ID sense.  I don't accept ID as science and it is very easy to point out why.  This doesn't require attacking a religion or God in order to do so.  It's like being goaded by a three year old, when you bring yourself down to his level by arguing with him then you both look like three year olds.

Nerull, you obviously don't have a clue what my motives are but you could easily rectify that by going back and reading what I've said...over and over and over again.  You'll see that I've been pretty consistent over the last year and a half.

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 07 2007,07:23   

Quote (skeptic @ Aug. 06 2007,22:51)
Lenny, there's no problem with discussing science in an ID sense.  I don't accept ID as science and it is very easy to point out why.  This doesn't require attacking a religion or God in order to do so.  

Um, you DO understand that the vast majority of people (and scientists) who attack ID, are not only NOT "attacking religion or God", but are actually theists themselves.

Right?

You DO understand that, yes . . . .?


Have you ever read any of my big long wars with PZ Meyers?

Ring any bells for you?


Or, like all fundies everywhere, do you just want to whine and bitch and moan about how oppressed and downtrodden you are . . . . .

--------------
Editor, Red and Black Publishers
www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
k.e



Posts: 1948
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 07 2007,07:24   

Hey skeptic where is heaven again? And how long does it take to get there? (Please convert to parsecs per fortnight)

And you still haven't answered my question, if a god exists why are there priests and pastors?

No rush, take your time. You soul savers seem to think eternity is the same as the attention span of an UD contributor.

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The conservative has but little to fear from the man whose reason is the servant of his passions, but let him beware of him in whom reason has become the greatest and most terrible of the passions.These are the wreckers of outworn empires and civilisations, doubters, disintegrators, deicides.Haldane

   
Darth Robo



Posts: 148
Joined: Aug. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 07 2007,09:45   

"They go after God and attempt to refute the existence."

Refuting ID and Creationism is not the same as refuting God.  Then the fundies complain about people like Dawkins who got that way by putting up with fundie bull for years.

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"Commentary: How would you like to be the wholly-owned servant to an organic meatbag? It's demeaning! If, uh, you weren't one yourself, I mean..."

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 07 2007,17:25   

Skeptic's basic complaint is that he wants the barrier between "science" and "religion" to be one-way only, just as he wants the wall of separation between "church" and "state" to be just one-way.

For me, the walls between science and religion, and between church and state, act equally on both sides.  Otheriwse they are gateways, not walls.

For Skeptic, those walls are indeed gates -- one-way gates that open only to one side.  He has no gripe at all if religion starts pronouncing itself on things scientific, and he has already delcared that he has no gripe with church invading state.  For Skeptic, the walls between science and religion, and church and state, are nothing but shields that he wants to be able to hide behind whenever his side moves on the other side and starts getting their holy little tookuses kicked for it.  It's his equivilent of "Safe zone! You can't beat me up anymore when I'm in here!"

If the goddamn fundies would keep their crap in church where it belongs, and stop trying to drag it into public schools and public governmental institutions, there'd be no problem, and we could all go home.

And by making excuses for the goddamn fundies and declaring that those walls don't apply to them, Skeptic only reinforces the problem.

--------------
Editor, Red and Black Publishers
www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 07 2007,17:39   

Quote (Darth Robo @ Aug. 07 2007,09:45)
"They go after God and attempt to refute the existence."

Refuting ID and Creationism is not the same as refuting God.  Then the fundies complain about people like Dawkins who got that way by putting up with fundie bull for years.

Indeed, the fundies have been telling people for DECADES that science and religion are incompatible, and that if the Bible isn't literally true in every detail, then there is no God.

Odd that Skeptic wants to bitch and moan when some scientists simply take the fundies at their own word.

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Editor, Red and Black Publishers
www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
skeptic



Posts: 1163
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 07 2007,19:36   

I'm waiting for some intelligent responses but I'll deal with these in the mean time.

k.e., is English your second language?  If so I can find the appropriate translation to get my point across.  If English is indeed your native tongue then I'll try to speak very slowly.  Ready?  Here goes...

It is impossible to either prove or disprove the existence of God.

What part of that statement do you not understand and I'll be happy to clarify it for you.  As far as your other question, it is completely nonsensical.  Its akin to say if there is garbage, why is there garbage collectors?  Maybe it is a typo, that would explain it...well maybe not.

Lenny, as usual, you didn't comprehend what I was saying.  Not only is there no barrier between science and religion but there is no overlap.  Different questions, different methods, different purposes, no common ground.

Also, if religious people attempt to refute science from a theology perspective then they can easily be disputed from a scientific perspective.  They are in the wrong and can easily be corrected.  To compound their error by attacking them religiously does much more harm and has the potential of swaying the opinions of the onlookers.  

Discussions of the Establishment Clause are better left elsewhere as we fundamentally disagree on its intent but I will say an excellent example of how ID proponents should be reacted to could be seen in Dover.  Not the court decision but the subsequent elimination of the ID supporters from the school board.  That is democracy in action in the spirit of the Founders' intent.

  
IanBrown_101



Posts: 927
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 07 2007,19:47   

Quote
Discussions of the Establishment Clause


That's the one where it talks about congress shall not favour any religion or somesuch, right?

What the hell DO you think it means Skeptic?

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I'm not the fastest or the baddest or the fatest.

You NEVER seem to address the fact that the grand majority of people supporting Darwinism in these on line forums and blogs are atheists. That doesn't seem to bother you guys in the least. - FtK

Roddenberry is my God.

   
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 07 2007,19:49   

Quote (IanBrown_101 @ Aug. 07 2007,19:47)
Quote
Discussions of the Establishment Clause


That's the one where it talks about congress shall not favour any religion or somesuch, right?

What the hell DO you think it means Skeptic?

Yeah, Skeptic --- go ahead and tell him what YOU think it means . . . .

(reaches for popcorn and beer)

This should be fun . . . . . . . . . .

--------------
Editor, Red and Black Publishers
www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
skeptic



Posts: 1163
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 07 2007,20:27   

It's not relevant to this discussion and I'm going to try to stay on topic, if possible.

  
IanBrown_101



Posts: 927
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 07 2007,20:28   

Quote (skeptic @ Aug. 07 2007,20:27)
It's not relevant to this discussion and I'm going to try to stay on topic, if possible.

Then PM me.

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I'm not the fastest or the baddest or the fatest.

You NEVER seem to address the fact that the grand majority of people supporting Darwinism in these on line forums and blogs are atheists. That doesn't seem to bother you guys in the least. - FtK

Roddenberry is my God.

   
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 07 2007,20:52   

Quote (IanBrown_101 @ Aug. 07 2007,20:28)
Quote (skeptic @ Aug. 07 2007,20:27)
It's not relevant to this discussion and I'm going to try to stay on topic, if possible.

Then PM me.

No, no, no ---- start another thread so EVERYONE can see.

(snicker)  (giggle)

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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 07 2007,20:53   

Quote (skeptic @ Aug. 07 2007,20:27)
It's not relevant to this discussion and I'm going to try to stay on topic, if possible.

Oh, I think it is EXTREMELY relevant.

I've already explained why.

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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 07 2007,20:57   

Quote (skeptic @ Aug. 07 2007,19:36)
Also, if religious people attempt to refute science from a theology perspective then they can easily be disputed from a scientific perspective.  They are in the wrong and can easily be corrected.  

Alas, Skeptic, as you well know, ID and creationism are NOT "scientific" issues, NOR are they "religious" issues --- they are POLITICAL issues.


And THAT is what gets your panties all atwitter.

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k.e



Posts: 1948
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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 08 2007,02:46   

Quote
k.e., is English your second language?  If so I can find the appropriate translation to get my point across.  If English is indeed your native tongue then I'll try to speak very slowly.  Ready?  Here goes...



Well coming from a frigging Yank that's pretty funny Septic. When I was last in the 'land of the brave' the great majority of your countrymen and women that I met were barely able to speak anything that would pass for English in what once constituted the 'British Empire' where I am happy to inform you they have never named their children as nouns or verbs or have pet cemeteries. I don't hold you personally responsible but on the other your hubris appears to be approaching archetypical proportions.

Quote
It is impossible to either prove or disprove the existence of God.


That's a testable hypothesis, are you sure you want to continue considering your intellectual ability and your grasp of language, oh and your nationality considering your president has 'gods' support for his war on sanity.

If you do want to continue, then first of all define god and just for my amusement where that matches pres. Bushes 'definition' for your god.

Are you sure you’re not a hypocrite rather than a skeptic?

Creation Science 101

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The conservative has but little to fear from the man whose reason is the servant of his passions, but let him beware of him in whom reason has become the greatest and most terrible of the passions.These are the wreckers of outworn empires and civilisations, doubters, disintegrators, deicides.Haldane

   
Renier



Posts: 276
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 08 2007,06:05   

Quote
It is impossible to either prove or disprove the existence of God.


Uh, is it also impossible for God to prove his own existence? Let's face it, God could come down here, right now and introduce himself, and, all knowing as he is, he *must* know what he could do to prove himself to people, even the hardcore Atheists. So, it *is* possible to prove the existence of God, especially if the god in question lifts his ass and manifests himself in a way that would leave no doubt, you know, actually DO something for a change. Such a feat should be easy, for an all-knowing, all-powerful god, no?

But, since God has done such a great job of hiding himself it makes one wonder why some people are so full of sh*t to think they know God, what God does, why God does and who God does (Mary). Since some people also believe they have a special communication system (prayer) could they please request that God comes down here and stick up for himself, because we are tired of all the imaginations and cr*p that people offer up as reasons to even think that a God exists. Since God is not doing his part lots of precious souls are going to fry (and currently is frying) in Hell for being unable to place their faith in something (God) that cannot be differentiated from nothing.

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 08 2007,07:01   

I have no desire to see yet another pointless Holy War.

I simply point out that Skeptic is BS'ing all of us.  I have had knockdown drag-out fights with more than one hyper-atheist on all of this (just ask PZ what he thinks of me) -- but I have never ever seen "Skeptic" question even one fundie or creationist, ever.  His criticisms are entirely one-way, his "wall of separation" is entirely one-way, and his "skepticism" is entirely one-way.

It's just a shield that he hides behind when his side is getting its butt beaten.

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skeptic



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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 08 2007,07:18   

Just a quick one here and I'll be back later for some more.  As a clarification, I don't think ID is either science or religion, it is a philosophy.

God, ultimately, is a personal concept and in truth it has no bearing on God's existence what anyone's personal concept is.  Just a quick example, if I could take every single religious text on Earth (every faith) and thoroughly disproves every single line in them it still would mean nothing when the question of God's existence is approached.  I know that's hard to accept but I believe your resistance comes from the fact that you're trying to frame this as a scientific question and it is not one.

Lenny, go back again and read.  You'll see that I've questioned AFDave, FtK, Reddot, to name a few.  I will always question YECers scientifically because I believe they are in the wrong as I will question anyone perverting science to make claims about faith because they are also absolutely wrong.

  
IanBrown_101



Posts: 927
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 08 2007,08:51   

Quote (skeptic @ Aug. 08 2007,07:18)
God, ultimately, is a personal concept and in truth it has no bearing on God's existence what anyone's personal concept is.  Just a quick example, if I could take every single religious text on Earth (every faith) and thoroughly disproves every single line in them it still would mean nothing when the question of God's existence is approached.

But why should we believe in god? If it's not to do with any religion, why does god HAVE to exist?

Sorry if this is off topic.

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I'm not the fastest or the baddest or the fatest.

You NEVER seem to address the fact that the grand majority of people supporting Darwinism in these on line forums and blogs are atheists. That doesn't seem to bother you guys in the least. - FtK

Roddenberry is my God.

   
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 08 2007,09:00   

It's worth remembering that this topic got some thrashing here.

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Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
Nerull



Posts: 317
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 08 2007,09:30   

Quote (skeptic @ Aug. 08 2007,07:18)
Just a quick one here and I'll be back later for some more.  As a clarification, I don't think ID is either science or religion, it is a philosophy.

God, ultimately, is a personal concept and in truth it has no bearing on God's existence what anyone's personal concept is.  Just a quick example, if I could take every single religious text on Earth (every faith) and thoroughly disproves every single line in them it still would mean nothing when the question of God's existence is approached.  I know that's hard to accept but I believe your resistance comes from the fact that you're trying to frame this as a scientific question and it is not one.

Lenny, go back again and read.  You'll see that I've questioned AFDave, FtK, Reddot, to name a few.  I will always question YECers scientifically because I believe they are in the wrong as I will question anyone perverting science to make claims about faith because they are also absolutely wrong.

Oh yes, you give some half-assed criticisms to some of the craziest, but you still give cover to all the others, including the IDers.

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To rebut creationism you pretty much have to be a biologist, chemist, geologist, philosopher, lawyer and historian all rolled into one. While to advocate creationism, you just have to be an idiot. -- tommorris

   
k.e



Posts: 1948
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 08 2007,09:36   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ Aug. 08 2007,15:01)
I have no desire to see yet another pointless Holy War.

I simply point out that Skeptic is BS'ing all of us.  I have had knockdown drag-out fights with more than one hyper-atheist on all of this (just ask PZ what he thinks of me) -- but I have never ever seen "Skeptic" question even one fundie or creationist, ever.  His criticisms are entirely one-way, his "wall of separation" is entirely one-way, and his "skepticism" is entirely one-way.

It's just a shield that he hides behind when his side is getting its butt beaten.

Thou weasling is duly noted. :>

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The conservative has but little to fear from the man whose reason is the servant of his passions, but let him beware of him in whom reason has become the greatest and most terrible of the passions.These are the wreckers of outworn empires and civilisations, doubters, disintegrators, deicides.Haldane

   
Shirley Knott



Posts: 148
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 08 2007,10:47   

Quote (k.e @ Aug. 08 2007,02:46)

Quote
... When I was last in the 'land of the brave' the great majority of your countrymen and women that I met were barely able to speak anything that would pass for English in what once constituted the 'British Empire' where I am happy to inform you they have never named their children as nouns or verbs or have pet cemeteries.
...


Sorry, K.E., stick to surrealistic poetry.
The pet cemetary in Portmeirion, Wales, predates the demise of the empire.
Roger is a common British name, and was a verb, a rather 'earthy' verb, for no small period of time.
While one may freely consider the language use of "yanks" to be abominable, one cannot truthfully assert that the two language crimes you assert never occurred in the Empire.

hugs,
Shirley Knott

  
k.e



Posts: 1948
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 08 2007,11:24   

Quote (Shirley Knott @ Aug. 08 2007,18:47)
[quote=k.e,Aug. 08 2007,02:46][/quote]
Quote
... When I was last in the 'land of the brave' the great majority of your countrymen and women that I met were barely able to speak anything that would pass for English in what once constituted the 'British Empire' where I am happy to inform you they have never named their children as nouns or verbs or have pet cemeteries.
...


Sorry, K.E., stick to surrealistic poetry.
The pet cemetary in Portmeirion, Wales, predates the demise of the empire.
Roger is a common British name, and was a verb, a rather 'earthy' verb, for no small period of time.
While one may freely consider the language use of "yanks" to be abominable, one cannot truthfully assert that the two language crimes you assert never occurred in the Empire.

hugs,
Shirley Knott

...Ahem...er ...collateral damage (mine)

I knew that a bit of blood might get on some innocent bystanders, but in my defense I would just like to say.... er...yer honor "It was a vicious hairy beast and I forgot my garlic necklace ..."

.....Oh waitaminute...... THAT'S FRIGGEN WALES THEY DON"T EVEN SPEAK ENGLISH!!!!!

You better be right about that Welsh pet cemetery. I've been  blaming them on the rise of American poetry, what with the 'whispering glades' and 'valley of enchanted dreams' not to mention 'I love the smell of formaldehyde in the morning ...it smells of loved ones'  etc.

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The conservative has but little to fear from the man whose reason is the servant of his passions, but let him beware of him in whom reason has become the greatest and most terrible of the passions.These are the wreckers of outworn empires and civilisations, doubters, disintegrators, deicides.Haldane

   
Darth Robo



Posts: 148
Joined: Aug. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 08 2007,11:25   

skeptic:

"As a clarification, I don't think ID is either science or religion, it is a philosophy."

Whether or not there is a creator may be a philosophical idea, but ID is not.  It's creationism disguised as science.  That's PURELY what it was invented for.


Shirley Knott:

"The pet cemetary in Portmeirion, Wales, predates the demise of the empire."

I was just thinking of that one!  I've been there.   :)   Had no idea it was that old, though.  I just assumed it was a modern thing.   :O

Maybe I should've taken a closer look at the dates on those graves.    :p

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"Commentary: How would you like to be the wholly-owned servant to an organic meatbag? It's demeaning! If, uh, you weren't one yourself, I mean..."

  
k.e



Posts: 1948
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 08 2007,11:37   

Quote (Darth Robo @ Aug. 08 2007,19:25)
Shirley Knott:

"The pet cemetary in Portmeirion, Wales, predates the demise of the empire."

I was just thinking of that one!  I've been there.   :)   Had no idea it was that old, though.  I just assumed it was a modern thing.   :O

Maybe I should've taken a closer look at the dates on those graves.    :p

OK this is a conspiracy.

Probably by Tiddles that fiendish 12th century Welsh dicator with the Hitler moustache


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The conservative has but little to fear from the man whose reason is the servant of his passions, but let him beware of him in whom reason has become the greatest and most terrible of the passions.These are the wreckers of outworn empires and civilisations, doubters, disintegrators, deicides.Haldane

   
Darth Robo



Posts: 148
Joined: Aug. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 08 2007,11:40   

That would be Tiddles KITLER!

:p

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"Commentary: How would you like to be the wholly-owned servant to an organic meatbag? It's demeaning! If, uh, you weren't one yourself, I mean..."

  
IanBrown_101



Posts: 927
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 08 2007,12:00   

Sorry again K.e. but this comment you made

Quote
THAT'S FRIGGEN WALES THEY DON"T EVEN SPEAK ENGLISH!!!!!


Is also quite, quite wrong. Most of the Welsh have English as their first (and in many cases only) language. Welsh itself is hardly spoken.

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I'm not the fastest or the baddest or the fatest.

You NEVER seem to address the fact that the grand majority of people supporting Darwinism in these on line forums and blogs are atheists. That doesn't seem to bother you guys in the least. - FtK

Roddenberry is my God.

   
Chris Hyland



Posts: 705
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 08 2007,12:48   

Quote (skeptic @ Aug. 08 2007,12:18)
God, ultimately, is a personal concept and in truth it has no bearing on God's existence what anyone's personal concept is.

I know that's hard to accept but I believe your resistance comes from the fact that you're trying to frame this as a scientific question and it is not one.

Since this is turning into a fairly one sided discussion I will jump in and agree with skeptic on this point. That's certainly how the vast majority of religious people I know view it.

  
C.J.O'Brien



Posts: 395
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 08 2007,13:07   

Quote (Chris Hyland @ Aug. 08 2007,12:48)
Quote (skeptic @ Aug. 08 2007,12:18)
God, ultimately, is a personal concept and in truth it has no bearing on God's existence what anyone's personal concept is.

I know that's hard to accept but I believe your resistance comes from the fact that you're trying to frame this as a scientific question and it is not one.

Since this is turning into a fairly one sided discussion I will jump in and agree with skeptic on this point. That's certainly how the vast majority of religious people I know view it.

I don't buy it. It's just like saying, "Yes all psychics are frauds and charlatans. Not a one of them has any actual paranormal abilities... But, I know psychic powers are real."

If nobody, including those who claim to know the most about God, can give a non-self-contradictory account of the attributes of this entity, and, further, if none of these accounts agree with each other, what possible reason can you give me to believe? What does the name "God" even refer to, beyond a concept, in Skeptic's post above? If something exists, but it need have none of the attributes traditionally assigned to gods, what justification do we have for calling it a god?

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The is the beauty of being me- anything that any man does I can understand.
--Joe G

  
skeptic



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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 08 2007,14:19   

I can see where this is heading and I'm not sure if it is productive to go that way.  We could quickly get off into theology and philosophy and lose sight of the question at hand.

The question on the table is not "Should one believe in God" but "Can the concept of God be approached scientifically?"

BTW, just to give credit where credit is due, k.e. your responses to Shirley were hilarious.  I thought for a moment I might have to change pants.

  
C.J.O'Brien



Posts: 395
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 08 2007,14:31   

The two questions can't be entirely untangled.

Can the concept of leprechauns be approaced scientifically?

Not really, because (in part) nobody believes in leprechauns.

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The is the beauty of being me- anything that any man does I can understand.
--Joe G

  
Richardthughes



Posts: 11117
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 08 2007,14:36   

Quote (k.e @ Aug. 08 2007,11:37)
Quote (Darth Robo @ Aug. 08 2007,19:25)
Shirley Knott:

"The pet cemetary in Portmeirion, Wales, predates the demise of the empire."

I was just thinking of that one!  I've been there.   :)   Had no idea it was that old, though.  I just assumed it was a modern thing.   :O

Maybe I should've taken a closer look at the dates on those graves.    :p

OK this is a conspiracy.

Probably by Tiddles that fiendish 12th century Welsh dicator with the Hitler moustache

Kitlers

--------------
"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
"ATBC poster child", "I have to agree with Rich.." : DaveTard
"I bow to your superior skills" : deadman_932
"...it was Richardthughes making me lie in bed.." : Kristine

  
swbarnes2



Posts: 78
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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 08 2007,15:28   

Quote (skeptic @ Aug. 08 2007,14:19)

The question on the table is not "Should one believe in God" but "Can the concept of God be approached scientifically?"


This is so obvious, I wonder why you ask it like it is the question of the ages.

Science tests physical phenomena.

If you want to insist that your God leaves no physical phenonena of any kind to be tested, then science has nothing to do.

But plenty of other people claim that God does all kinds of physical things...like flooding the whole planet.

Those claims can be tested, and if people put their god up to tests that he will fail, too bad for them and their god.

But if you are secure in your belief in a God who didn't cause a flood, who hasn't in fact, done anything in the real world, knock yourself out.

Just don't forget the lessons of history.  Humans get things wrong.  A lot.  Big things, small things, all the time.  The only method we have to getting rid of wrong beliefs is testing those beliefs in such a way that we can jettison them if we prove they are wrong.  That's why science has done so much in a few hundred years, compared to other methods of thinking, because it fixes errors.

If you believe in something that you can't test this way, especially if it's something that you wish were true, odds are, you are simply wrong.

  
Gunthernacus



Posts: 235
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 08 2007,17:00   

Quote (k.e @ Aug. 08 2007,02:46)
Quote
k.e., is English your second language?  If so I can find the appropriate translation to get my point across.  If English is indeed your native tongue then I'll try to speak very slowly.  Ready?  Here goes...

Well coming from a frigging Yank that's pretty funny Septic.

That's gold, k.e., gold!
Quote
When I was last in the 'land of the brave' the great majority of your countrymen and women that I met were barely able to speak anything that would pass for English in what once constituted the 'British Empire' where I am happy to inform you they have never named their children as nouns or verbs or have pet cemeteries.

Not so much in defense of my countrymen - our English is horrible, and the internets ain't H3lP1N6 - but the timing is too good to miss:
RU 4Real
Quote
A New Zealand couple is looking to call their newborn son Superman -- but only because their chosen name of 4Real has been rejected by the government registry.


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Given that we are all descended from Adam and Eve...genetic defects as a result of intra-family marriage would not begin to crop up until after the first few dozen generations. - Dr. Hugh Ross

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 08 2007,17:22   

Quote (skeptic @ Aug. 08 2007,07:18)
Lenny, go back again and read.  You'll see that I've questioned AFDave, FtK, Reddot, to name a few.  I will always question YECers scientifically because I believe they are in the wrong as I will question anyone perverting science to make claims about faith because they are also absolutely wrong.

Oh, don't bullshit us, Skeptic.

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www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
Chris Hyland



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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 08 2007,17:39   

Quote
But plenty of other people claim that God does all kinds of physical things...like flooding the whole planet.

Those claims can be tested, and if people put their god up to tests that he will fail, too bad for them and their god.
The point is that many people don't make claims about their God that can be scientifically tested. You can argue that this makes God meaningless, but that's different argument.

  
Paul Flocken



Posts: 290
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 08 2007,19:22   

Quote (C.J.O'Brien @ Aug. 08 2007,14:31)
The two questions can't be entirely untangled.

Can the concept of leprechauns be approaced scientifically?

Not really, because (in part) nobody believes in leprechauns.

How does one exactly approach scientifically a human construct that has had millennia to evolve to avoid capture.  The people of 5000 years ago were just as smart as we are and were no doubt just as argumentative.  Religion as a meme was too valuable to the perpetrators to permit it to be lost and too important to the peace of mind of its victims.  The two were probably inextricable linked.  Its importance to its victims is what made it valuable to its perpetrators.  I haven't had enough sleep today, so I will stop babbling now.

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"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie--deliberate, contrived, and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic.  Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."-John F. Kennedy

  
k.e



Posts: 1948
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 08 2007,23:43   

Quote (IanBrown_101 @ Aug. 08 2007,20:00)
Sorry again K.e. but this comment you made

Quote
THAT'S FRIGGEN WALES THEY DON"T EVEN SPEAK ENGLISH!!!!!


Is also quite, quite wrong. Most of the Welsh have English as their first (and in many cases only) language. Welsh itself is hardly spoken.

To be quite honest young man, how can possibly you say that? Yes I will have to agree the words coming out of their mouths may be English but it could be reasonably argued that they don't actually think in English. I hardly need mention that for instance India speaks English and they are without a doubt completely understandable on a phone line when suggesting delivery of free telephones direct to your front door and to me they sound Welsh.

There has to be some degree of acceptance for this not so radical idea and considering that most true Welshmen don't like Tiger Rogan Josh (with real Tiger) then I think the case has been made.

God some people are sticklers for detail.

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The conservative has but little to fear from the man whose reason is the servant of his passions, but let him beware of him in whom reason has become the greatest and most terrible of the passions.These are the wreckers of outworn empires and civilisations, doubters, disintegrators, deicides.Haldane

   
k.e



Posts: 1948
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 08 2007,23:49   

Quote
BTW, just to give credit where credit is due, k.e. your responses to Shirley were hilarious.  I thought for a moment I might have to change pants.


Thank you Skeptic *high five* I prefer to be stired rather than shaken.

--Assume the position--

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The conservative has but little to fear from the man whose reason is the servant of his passions, but let him beware of him in whom reason has become the greatest and most terrible of the passions.These are the wreckers of outworn empires and civilisations, doubters, disintegrators, deicides.Haldane

   
IanBrown_101



Posts: 927
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 09 2007,03:25   

Quote (k.e @ Aug. 08 2007,23:43)
 
Quote (IanBrown_101 @ Aug. 08 2007,20:00)
Sorry again K.e. but this comment you made

   
Quote
THAT'S FRIGGEN WALES THEY DON"T EVEN SPEAK ENGLISH!!!!!


Is also quite, quite wrong. Most of the Welsh have English as their first (and in many cases only) language. Welsh itself is hardly spoken.

To be quite honest young man, how can possibly you say that? Yes I will have to agree the words coming out of their mouths may be English but it could be reasonably argued that they don't actually think in English. I hardly need mention that for instance India speaks English and they are without a doubt completely understandable on a phone line when suggesting delivery of free telephones direct to your front door and to me they sound Welsh.

There has to be some degree of acceptance for this not so radical idea and considering that most true Welshmen don't like Tiger Rogan Josh (with real Tiger) then I think the case has been made.

God some people are sticklers for detail.

Because I've spent a fair portion of my life in Wales?

My family, one half at least, are from there, and I spent at the very least about a month per year of the first 16 of my life their?

Because I live their most of the year, and have for the past 2?

I think we can safely conclude I know a tiny bit more about the Welsh than you, k.e.

Sorry I'm a stickler for detail.

--------------
I'm not the fastest or the baddest or the fatest.

You NEVER seem to address the fact that the grand majority of people supporting Darwinism in these on line forums and blogs are atheists. That doesn't seem to bother you guys in the least. - FtK

Roddenberry is my God.

   
k.e



Posts: 1948
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 09 2007,04:43   

And (if true) they have the worlds oldest PET CEMETRY which makes them as devilish as Americans!

I'm actually sorry to hear you have spent so much time there; it seems to have done nothing for your sense of humour. Taking on every 'Yank' obviously was not as big a mistake as taking on a single person who occasionally lives in Wales, no wonder Dylan Thomas drank himself to death.

I’ll be more careful next time, icky thump someone else next time OK?

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The conservative has but little to fear from the man whose reason is the servant of his passions, but let him beware of him in whom reason has become the greatest and most terrible of the passions.These are the wreckers of outworn empires and civilisations, doubters, disintegrators, deicides.Haldane

   
IanBrown_101



Posts: 927
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 09 2007,04:48   

Damn straight mo fo.

Sorry, I can't even type that with a straight face.

Appologies K.E., I don't mean to be an uptight arse.

Much.

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I'm not the fastest or the baddest or the fatest.

You NEVER seem to address the fact that the grand majority of people supporting Darwinism in these on line forums and blogs are atheists. That doesn't seem to bother you guys in the least. - FtK

Roddenberry is my God.

   
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 09 2007,05:04   

Wait, you're part Welsh?

BAN HIM! BAN HIM NOW!

I will not tolerate close harmony singing, leeks, daffodils, any form of rarebit, or generalised whiny Celtic bollocks.

I will however tolerate Katherine Jenkins.

In fact I'd tolerate her quite a lot.

Louis

P.S. 62-5. Poh!

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Bye.

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 09 2007,07:16   

Quote (Louis @ Aug. 09 2007,05:04)
I will however tolerate Katherine Jenkins.

Nice necklace.   :)

--------------
Editor, Red and Black Publishers
www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
k.e



Posts: 1948
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 09 2007,09:42   

Quote (Louis @ Aug. 09 2007,13:04)
Wait, you're part Welsh?

BAN HIM! BAN HIM NOW!

I will not tolerate close harmony singing, leeks, daffodils, any form of rarebit, or generalised whiny Celtic bollocks.

I will however tolerate Katherine Jenkins.

In fact I'd tolerate her quite a lot.

Louis

P.S. 62-5. Poh!

Oh that's right; bring on the special ops Welsh glee squad. (curses …release the hounds Smithers)

HELLO ---- THEY HAVE A DEAD CAT HAVEN!!!

Next you'll be having Catherine Zeta Jones nude with a daffodil poking out of her posterior.

Well the only ones I’ve met were all called Taffy and were the biggest booze artists in the Pilbara (a rough mining region in North Western Australia) one of them had a liver turned into an amusement park ride.

--------------
The conservative has but little to fear from the man whose reason is the servant of his passions, but let him beware of him in whom reason has become the greatest and most terrible of the passions.These are the wreckers of outworn empires and civilisations, doubters, disintegrators, deicides.Haldane

   
JohnW



Posts: 3073
Joined: Aug. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 09 2007,11:11   

Quote (IanBrown_101 @ Aug. 09 2007,03:25)
Because I've spent a fair portion of my life in Wales?

My family, one half at least, are from there, and I spent at the very least about a month per year of the first 16 of my life their?

Because I live their most of the year, and have for the past 2?

Oh, you poor, poor man.

--------------
Math is just a language of reality. Its a waste of time to know it. - Robert Byers

There isn't any probability that the letter d is in the word "mathematics"...  The correct answer would be "not even 0" - JoeG

  
IanBrown_101



Posts: 927
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 09 2007,11:17   

Quote (JohnW @ Aug. 09 2007,11:11)
Quote (IanBrown_101 @ Aug. 09 2007,03:25)
Because I've spent a fair portion of my life in Wales?

My family, one half at least, are from there, and I spent at the very least about a month per year of the first 16 of my life their?

Because I live their most of the year, and have for the past 2?

Oh, you poor, poor man.

Precisely what is so bad about Wales?

Honestly, you church burnin' ebola boys are beyond the pale.....

--------------
I'm not the fastest or the baddest or the fatest.

You NEVER seem to address the fact that the grand majority of people supporting Darwinism in these on line forums and blogs are atheists. That doesn't seem to bother you guys in the least. - FtK

Roddenberry is my God.

   
k.e



Posts: 1948
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 09 2007,11:24   

Quote (IanBrown_101 @ Aug. 09 2007,19:17)
Quote (JohnW @ Aug. 09 2007,11:11)
Quote (IanBrown_101 @ Aug. 09 2007,03:25)
Because I've spent a fair portion of my life in Wales?

My family, one half at least, are from there, and I spent at the very least about a month per year of the first 16 of my life their?

Because I live their most of the year, and have for the past 2?

Oh, you poor, poor man.

Precisely what is so bad about Wales?

Honestly, you church burnin' ebola boys are beyond the pale.....

Oh nothing...except Catherine Zeta Jones married an American sex fiend...I rest my case.

--------------
The conservative has but little to fear from the man whose reason is the servant of his passions, but let him beware of him in whom reason has become the greatest and most terrible of the passions.These are the wreckers of outworn empires and civilisations, doubters, disintegrators, deicides.Haldane

   
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 09 2007,11:52   

Quote (IanBrown_101 @ Aug. 09 2007,17:17)
Precisely what is so bad about Wales?

You can't fool me, I've been there.

Quote
Honestly, you church burnin' ebola boys are beyond the pale.....

Well OBVIOUSLY! Hey wait...beyond the pale...are you saying I'm black?

HATE CRIME!!!!!

Welsh AND a racist!

BAN HIM!!! BAN HIM!!! BAN HIM UNTIL IT REALLY HURTS!!!!

--------------
Bye.

  
JohnW



Posts: 3073
Joined: Aug. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 09 2007,14:26   

Quote (Louis @ Aug. 09 2007,11:52)
Quote (IanBrown_101 @ Aug. 09 2007,17:17)
Precisely what is so bad about Wales?

You can't fool me, I've been there.

Me too.  I spent ten years there one summer.

--------------
Math is just a language of reality. Its a waste of time to know it. - Robert Byers

There isn't any probability that the letter d is in the word "mathematics"...  The correct answer would be "not even 0" - JoeG

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 09 2007,16:43   

There was quite a serious earthquake in Cardiff last year. It did 10 million pounds worth of improvements.

Thankyew. Try the fish, I'm here all week.

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 09 2007,16:52   

Quote (k.e @ Aug. 09 2007,09:42)
Next you'll be having Catherine Zeta Jones nude with a daffodil poking out of her posterior.

(raises hand)

I wouldn't mind seeing that.


:)

--------------
Editor, Red and Black Publishers
www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 10 2007,04:57   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ Aug. 09 2007,22:52)
Quote (k.e @ Aug. 09 2007,09:42)
Next you'll be having Catherine Zeta Jones nude with a daffodil poking out of her posterior.

(raises hand)

I wouldn't mind seeing that.


:)

I'll send you the video.

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 10 2007,06:21   

Skeptic,

1) There is no assumption of a rift between science and religion, it's a fact. It exists because of the epistemological differences between the two (an issue I notice you ignored completely). You claim science and religion aren't trying to understand the same things. I'm worried Skeptic. Very worried. Have you recently sustained head trauma? Taken some serious drugs? Been very drunk? I hope it's one of the above because otherwise you are willfully ignoring reality (never good). In time a decent bit of head trauma could be recoverable from! ;-)

I'll take "Creationism" for $400 please Alex. Creationism in all stripes from all religions is precisely an attempt to explain features of the natural, physical, observable universe. This is the simplest and easiest example of religions doing things that can be considered "trying to answer the same questions" as science.

There are of course others, for example your repeated use of the falsehood that religion is about telling people how to live their lives/morals etc. Morality does not derive from religion...but this is an issue I'll get to later. My point here is that ethics, morals, social behaviour and so on ARE things that are precisely within the remit of reasoned, rational, observational study, i.e. science. Of course their rational study is in it's relative infancy (despite a long and worthy history) due to the availability of the mechanisms for exchanging information regarding these issues. The internet, ease of travel and communication, ease of access to records etc are all tools that can be used to study moral, ethical and social on a rational basis.

Be clear about this, religion is the specific use of faith and revelation as mechanisms of acquiring knowledge about the universe, science is the most refined use of reason and observation as such a mechanism. So whilst we won't perhaps get a "grand unified theory of morals" in the same sense as we would say a physical or biological (or even sociological) theory, we CAN get reasoned and rational theories of social behviours, derivations of ethics and so on that are based on the evidence (for example). The fact that one's morals do not derive from religion should be equally obvious. Do you shun certain seafoods? Work on the sabbath? Do you stone adulterers and pagans? No of course you don't and very very few people advocate all of these moral pronouncements of certain religions. Why? Because the moral zeitgeist has changed. Of course religion as part of your culture and social environment informs SOME of your morals/ethics/socialisation, but it doesn't inform all. Obviously there is some other source, some other basis for moral judgements etc.

However, that said, this doesn't mean that the ethical/social/moral ideas religions have come up with over the years are not based on observation and reason etc. It's a mixed bag. I think the best way to explain a decent bit of thinking on the matter is to point to an article by Douglas Adams. It's called "Is there an artificial god?".

Text and audio available here.

So to head off a strawman before it comes, I am not saying that the religions of the world have nothing useful to say, but that the useful things they have to say are those based on reason, rational thought and observation. Or at least those things that turn out to be supported by reason, rational thought and observation (if you see the distinction).

Using faith or relevation to decide an issue is a total non starter. Appeals to faith and revelation alone can be used to justify ANYTHING. Where an article of faith or revelation coincides with reality it is not faith or revelation that determines or decides this, it is reason, rational thought and observation. I.e. an appeal to the evidence.

You repeatedly claim that there is no basis for a conflict between science and religion, Skeptic. To be blunt you can only do so out of total ignorance, or a deep desire not to see the evidence. Legions of philosophers (both religious and secular) from Aquinas to Russell, from Hume to Kant, from Plato to Popper have recognised the epistemological differences between faith and reason, and their greatest exponents religion and science. For your claim of "no rift should or does exist" to be true you would have to overturn all of this, you would have to rewrite what faith and reason are. Forgive me if I think that your confused claims above fail to do that. I suggest you familiarise yourself with what has gone before, BEFORE you tell everyone it is in error.

I'm going to skip over your appallingly inaccurate and woefully miused analogy with physics, although I will say I am a bit shocked that someone as qualified as you are is so rampantly ignorant of basic science in a discipline not their own.

2)  
Quote
Religion, on the other, does not rely upon empirical data. In fact, actual sources of knowledge are varied and open to interpretation


Bolding mine.

Actual sources of knowledge? What are these then? Show me these actual sources of knowledge and how you know they are sources of knowledge. What knowledge do they contain and how do you know it is knowledge? You must NOT use evidence, reason, rational thought or observation to show this. Why can't you do this? Because for these to be genuinely different sources of knowledge derived from genuinely different mechanisms for acquiring knowledge than those that science uses, you can't very well use the mechanisms science does and claim it as a win for religious mechanisms. That would be cheating, dishonest, stupid etc. And we all want to avoid that!

As for your questions "how do I treat others?" what makes you think that this is not open to rational scrutiny, why does religion have something to say here that reasoned, rational, evidence based enquiry does not? "What is goodness?" is that even a valid question? "What is the purpose of my life?" again, what makes this a valid question. I can phrase questions left and right, it doesn't mean they make sense or deserve an answer. "What is the temperature of jealousy in pine wardrobes?" A sincere question I desperately want an answer to. I REALLY deeply need that question answered, my soul bruns in torment every second I live wothout an answer. Does any of that make it a reasonable question? One that actually CAN be answered? No.

My point here is simple: not every question that can be asked, no matter how sincere or how deeply felt, deserves an answer or is even a rational question, formed in a logically coherent manner. Religion doesn;t help here either, and this is the really sad part. What is the religious answer to the question "what is the purpose of my life?" for example? More importantly, how is the answer to that question even dependant on religion? Why does the answer have to be religious? It can after all be a reasoned, rational, observation and evidence based answer. Why rely on faith and revelation to answer it? Again the point is not that religions have nothing to offer, just that the things they DO offer that work are those based on/derived from reason, rational thought and observation, NOT faith and revelation.

3) IDCists and creationists. Regardless of how many of them there are, they have (in the USA at least) some political clout. Politicians are asked questions about evolutionary biology as part of the interviews candidates get when running for the presidency of your nation (or the candidacy for the presidency if you see what I mean!). Creationists try to (and in many cases succeed) obtain positions of influence within the education establishments of many nations, most prominently the USA and the use that position toforce their religious ideas (for creationism is derived only from religion, never forget that, the roots are well documented) into science classes. These ideas are not only not scientific but are deliberately used to undermine science, scientific thought and the scientific enterprise. Why do they do this Skeptic? Because they realise that reason, rational thought and reliance on observation and evidence are anathema to faith and revelation and they are afraid. They have faith in a specific set of propositions and they will defend those propositions in the face of the evidence. This is why scientists fight back. No one gives a shit about what kooky beliefs some chap or chapess has. But you'll find that people give a massive shit about those kooky beliefs being claimed to be science when they are not and shoehorned into science classes when they have not earned the right to be there. THAT is the issue with creationists nothing more, nothing less. If no one opposes their lies (for lies they are) then they have free rein to infiltrate schools, ruin the science education of millions of children and so on and so forth. That vocal minority has enormous (disproportionate) influence precisely because of people like you Skeptic. People who defend religion because they believe in belief. More on this later.

4) Disproving god. First and foremost, you cannot prove a negative, so the sentence "I can prove god does not exist" is logically erroneous. False. A fallacious piece of drivel. No scientist worth the title would ever claim to be able to disprove the existence of god (depending on the definition used). No one is attempting to "refute the existence" as you awkwardly put it. What people ARE trying to do is show that religious ideas are not held up to the same scrutiny that other ideas are, even other "beliefs". The existence of such mythical entities as the existence of unicorns, bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster, space aliens and your comprehension of the subjects at hand are open to rational scrutiny, why not the existence of deities?

Let's get one thing clear, I couldn't care less if you or anyone believes in a deity or set of deities. It really doesn't bother me. What I DO care about and what DOES bother me is when you or other believers claim that their beliefs deserve special privileges or that they deserve special privileges based on their beliefs or if they claim theire belief is supported by the evidence. And there is a LOT of that going around Skeptic, so please don't annoy me by denying obvious reality.

I'll give you an uncontroversial example:

Carl Sagan's "The Dragon in my Garage".

It's not that god or gods do not exist absolutely, it's that there is no reasonable, rational, reproducible evidence that they do indeed exist. Saying that isn't the point, whining about persecution or how bad it makes me look for saying is just some much special pleading. I can make the identical case for the Flying Spagetti Monster and it is only your prejudice that prevents you from acknowledging it.

A second point. Whilst I am more than happy to admit to the philosophical, scientific and epistemological nuances of understanding the universe (i.e. the limits of observation and induction, uncertainty, all knowledge being provisional, the asymptotic nature of the accumulation of knowledge etc etc) I am also very happy to say that as far as anyone can tell god or gods do not exist at all. Just like unicorns. Just like pixies. Just like teapots in orbit around Mars or Jupiter. See here for brief details on the teapot. Evidence isn't the point? Ok then, I have a bridge to sell you. It was given to me by god, I am his agent and he commands you to buy it. Prove me wrong (but don't use any evidence now!).

5) The Framing Debate. Scientists look bad if they take on the existence of god(s) issue. Really?

Bullshit.

For every frame there is an audience. Some frames work for you, some for me. There is no One Tactic To Rule Them All. Perhaps if scientists followed your straw man version of reality it might be a problem (and incidentally I would be equally vocal about THEIR poor reasoning of they did), but they don't. Take your ridiculous analogy at the bottom of your post: chemistry supposedly eliminates the need for god. Who makes this sort of claim? NO ONE. Not Dawkins, not me, not anyone. The "need" for god (depending on how one defines "need") is eliminated by several things: 1) the lack of evidence for his/her/its/their existence, 2) a rational understanding of one's desires and their context, 3) the realisation that we do not understand the universe around us, or acquire knowledge of it, by recourse to faith and revelation but by reason, rational thought and observation. I agree we are better to spend our time teching people about how chemistry does work, but we keep getting these pesky distractions. Ignorant fools telling us that their beliefs trump the evidence, or that such and such cannot be so because they neither believe nor understand it. And so on and so forth. Like it or not scientists are part of society and as such very much entitled to defend hard won knowledge from destruction at the hands of willful fools who are afraid that reality doesn't match the picture in their heads. This isn't just religious people, I can point to scientists like this (Fred Hoyle for example, a freaking genius of a man who refused to go with the evidence in some few cases to his detriment), political ideologies (some of the more exciting elements of capitalist thought and communist thought are cases in point), and downright woo woo (homeopathy, astrology, etc etc etc).

6) Lastly, belief in belief. I think I know why you are such a vigourous defender of religion, why you want it off limits. You believe in belief and are threatened by rational inquiry into your beliefs. I suggest very strongly you read Dan Dennett's "Breaking the Spell". Firstly it is the best of the "new atheist" books out there by a country mile, mainly because it is the "nicest" (and I hate both the terms in quotes with a passion. There is nothing new in almost any of these books that hasn't already been said. The tragedy is that there are fools who necessitate this stuff be said repeatedly. Resurgent religious loons need to be confronted with reality once in a while). Secondly because he explains what he means by "belief in belief" better than I can.

And on that note...

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
k.e



Posts: 1948
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 10 2007,06:52   

CHRIST LOUIS!!!! now I have to go back and read that. You realise its 7:30 pm on a Friday, I've had 3 large glasses of a 1/2 decent boxed red at around €0.50 a glass (The Chinese have dumped the $ *sniff-sorry god-* and after all cheap wine is Australia's gift to the whole world) She who must be obeyed has gone for a weekend away with her pals on secret Womens business PLUS I've just had Pasta for dinner, the humidty is 65%, the temperature is 14 degrees Centigrade and the speed the Earth hurtles around the sun has not changed (much).

It better be good.

--------------
The conservative has but little to fear from the man whose reason is the servant of his passions, but let him beware of him in whom reason has become the greatest and most terrible of the passions.These are the wreckers of outworn empires and civilisations, doubters, disintegrators, deicides.Haldane

   
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 10 2007,07:08   

Sorry K.e.

I wouldn't bother! I've been adding to it for a couple of days in a spare minute or two. It's probably a load of old shit.

Drink more Chardonnnay!

Louis

P.S. Oh no the Aussies have given us more than cheap wine. There's the rotary washing line, Steve Irwin (Crikey!), much good Ocker fun, Carlton Cold and much much more. Honestly, it's not like your some degenerate nation of wirey haired, short arsed whiners like the Welsh* or something.

*I know, I know. I actually like the Welsh and Wales, nowt wrong with them or it, but I also like taking the piss out of Ian and other touchy taffies. I'm a bad person. I've never denied this. Mind you, come rugby time when my normal liberal self disappears behind a steel wall of nationalist jingoism that would make the Duke of Edinburgh blush, I ceaselessly mock the Aussies (convicts), Welsh (sheep shaggers), Kiwis (big sheep shaggers, best be a bit careful, also convicts), French (garlic smelling, easily conquered gallic ponces), Irish (thick, terrorists), Scots (skirt wearing ponces, possible sheep shagging), Italians (greasy), Argentinians (greasy, shag horses), South Africans (racists. Yes I am aware of the irony, that IS kind of the point) because that is part of the rugby thing. I also fully expect to be mocked in return by the gentlemen and ladies of these fair nations. 'Tis the done thing. Then we all get to leap into a huge bath together, drink excessively and sing about women's genetalia and physically impossible sexual practises whilst pretending not to look at each other's willies. Come on England!

--------------
Bye.

  
k.e



Posts: 1948
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 10 2007,07:43   

Louis with due respect I know the boy is a bit of a wind up but look which side of fence he prefers to sit, amongst us heathens, he can't be all that bad.

Louis quoting skeptic:
 
Quote
Religion, on the other, does not rely upon empirical data. In fact, actual sources of knowledge are varied and open to interpretation


This is the most intelligent thing Skeptic said and I'm afraid he is right.

Myth, which I will use as a substitute for religion, is the public source of the universal meaning of being human , it is not concerned with nature per se but with Man's (not Men's) nature. The language of myth comes from poerty, music and dream it is the gap between drudgery and dance.

I am talking about the space over which one must leap between the reality of everyday life and that place which we would all like to inhabit, the ideal.

Now that the Western world has abolished poverty in a biblical sense and almost brought the equality that a certain radical a long time ago preached, yes even racial into USA, male/female elsewhere, what remains?

Can we congratulate ourselves or should more be done?

The answer to that question is purely subjective and a reflection I at least personally feel of individual desire.

Something more ameniable to a context couched in terms of morals and personal and group horizons, in other words religion, which I will point out derives from the latin word meaning "That which binds us together".
Need not include any dogma from past mistakes but can draw on the vast field of public dreams which are Myth and the basis for all religion bar none.

--------------
The conservative has but little to fear from the man whose reason is the servant of his passions, but let him beware of him in whom reason has become the greatest and most terrible of the passions.These are the wreckers of outworn empires and civilisations, doubters, disintegrators, deicides.Haldane

   
J-Dog



Posts: 4402
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 10 2007,07:50   

Louis -Damn!  Too bad I do not know anyone on the Pullitzer Committee - Your 1,000 word essay makes more sense than some books I have read on the subject.  Yes, I think I will have to save it under "Death To Sceptic" or "Reason vs. Religion", something like that.
Seriously - good stuff - thanks.

Your learned sociological treatise about various cultures and their traditions should also be published, although your summary of the Scots needs to be edited:  "Scots (skirt wearing ponces, possible sheep shagging),".  I think that based on the obvious evidence that we can all agree to remove the weasel-word "possible", can't we?

--------------
Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
k.e



Posts: 1948
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 10 2007,07:52   

Quote
Come on England!


All together now--- get stuffed you pommie bastards.

A rugby boot stud in  your eye.

--------------
The conservative has but little to fear from the man whose reason is the servant of his passions, but let him beware of him in whom reason has become the greatest and most terrible of the passions.These are the wreckers of outworn empires and civilisations, doubters, disintegrators, deicides.Haldane

   
k.e



Posts: 1948
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 10 2007,07:59   

JDOG to understand why the sun never set upon the British Empire you need to view this

The Masters Rugby Match

--------------
The conservative has but little to fear from the man whose reason is the servant of his passions, but let him beware of him in whom reason has become the greatest and most terrible of the passions.These are the wreckers of outworn empires and civilisations, doubters, disintegrators, deicides.Haldane

   
J-Dog



Posts: 4402
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 10 2007,08:04   

Quote (k.e @ Aug. 10 2007,07:59)
JDOG to understand why the sun never set upon the British Empire you need to view this

The Masters Rugby Match

k.e. - I have this on my PC under "favorites".  

Some Americans realize that Rugby is a Real Sport, and "American football" is played by woosies that insist on wearing helmets and padding.  

Have you seen this?:

http://groups.northwestern.edu/womensrugby/links_thebrushback.htm

--------------
Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 10 2007,08:41   

Quote (k.e @ Aug. 10 2007,13:43)
Louis with due respect I know the boy is a bit of a wind up but look which side of fence he prefers to sit, amongst us heathens, he can't be all that bad.

Louis quoting skeptic:
   
Quote
Religion, on the other, does not rely upon empirical data. In fact, actual sources of knowledge are varied and open to interpretation


This is the most intelligent thing Skeptic said and I'm afraid he is right.

Myth, which I will use as a substitute for religion, is the public source of the universal meaning of being human , it is not concerned with nature per se but with Man's (not Men's) nature. The language of myth comes from poerty, music and dream it is the gap between drudgery and dance.

I am talking about the space over which one must leap between the reality of everyday life and that place which we would all like to inhabit, the ideal.

Now that the Western world has abolished poverty in a biblical sense and almost brought the equality that a certain radical a long time ago preached, yes even racial into USA, male/female elsewhere, what remains?

Can we congratulate ourselves or should more be done?

The answer to that question is purely subjective and a reflection I at least personally feel of individual desire.

Something more ameniable to a context couched in terms of morals and personal and group horizons, in other words religion, which I will point out derives from the latin word meaning "That which binds us together".
Need not include any dogma from past mistakes but can draw on the vast field of public dreams which are Myth and the basis for all religion bar none.

K.e.

Oh I know Skeptic's not all bad (or even slightly bad, and not because of which side he's on), I don't mean to come over all harsh....but I am harsh, why deny my true and deeply harsh nature? ;-)

On the utility of religion angle, I think the Douglas Adams piece sums up my views. It might indeed have its uses and those derived from religere not least amongst them. This is why I want to be careful about where we are going and what use of "religion" and other words we are using. This is why I've been careful to stick to epistemological considerations, and also because those are the relevant aspects of religion to the science/religion rift that Skeptic denies exists.

Obviously there are many other facets to religion, but Skeptic is denying that it is in fact religion that tries to make models of the physical universe (and thus opens itself up to scientific scrutiny on that basis) rather than science goes after religion as some kind of persecution of religion and religious people. It's on that basis that I am dissecting religion, not other ones per se.

Ahhhh meaning and myth. What are these things? The stories we tell about ourselves to make us feel better, perhaps even make us act better, those things we find pleasurable or unpleasurable. I'm not saying they are insignificant or worthless, far from it. What I am saying is that faith and revelation are not effective ways of developing myth or meaning and reason and observation are. Faith and revelation are at the core of religion, reason and observation at the core of science. The emphasis I was making was the epistemological one I made above. I agree there are other emphases that one can make, but they weren't relevant to the point of Skeptic's objection.

Interestingly, these group stories and subjective details can be reasoned and observational. There is a whole swathe of study (which I am certain I don't need to tell you about) about semiotics and symbols, narrative and understanding of myths etc. However, these things are based on reason and observation, not just of the textual materials or the stories themselves but of the accuracy of their relation to the world around them. Granted it isn't as precise a use of the reasoning/observational tools as science is, but that's not the point. The same tools are being used, no one is making appeals to "different ways of knowing" and such.

Cheers

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
George



Posts: 315
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 10 2007,08:49   

Quote (Louis @ Aug. 10 2007,07:08)
... Aussies (convicts), Welsh (sheep shaggers), Kiwis (big sheep shaggers, best be a bit careful, also convicts), French (garlic smelling, easily conquered gallic ponces), Irish (thick, terrorists), Scots (skirt wearing ponces, possible sheep shagging), Italians (greasy), Argentinians (greasy, shag horses), South Africans (racists. Yes I am aware of the irony, that IS kind of the point)...

No offense taken.

By the way, what's your address?

(looks up number of nearest recently unemployed balaclava model and knee surgeon)

  
George



Posts: 315
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 10 2007,08:56   

My take on this subject, and maybe it's the middle point btwn Louis and Skeptic, is that religion and science should not come into conflict, but often do.  As Louis has said, they are based on two completely different ways of understanding the world and humanity.  Neither should try to answer questions that are best addressed by the other.  Religion can't usefully answer questions about the natural world and science can't usefully questions about what it means to be a human.  The problems arise when people forget this.  Usually creationists.

My €0.02.  Maybe not very enlightening or useful, but must dash now.

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 10 2007,08:57   

Quote (J-Dog @ Aug. 10 2007,13:50)
Louis -Damn!  Too bad I do not know anyone on the Pullitzer Committee - Your 1,000 word essay makes more sense than some books I have read on the subject.  Yes, I think I will have to save it under "Death To Sceptic" or "Reason vs. Religion", something like that.
Seriously - good stuff - thanks.

Your learned sociological treatise about various cultures and their traditions should also be published, although your summary of the Scots needs to be edited:  "Scots (skirt wearing ponces, possible sheep shagging),".  I think that based on the obvious evidence that we can all agree to remove the weasel-word "possible", can't we?

J-Dog,

I can't remove the word "possible" for one reason: Highlanders shag sheep, lowlanders drink vastly too much and eat huge quantities of deep fried pizza. I was trying to be inclusive!

Pullitzer? Hardly! But thanks! {blushes} And I'm a sociological dilettante (as I know you know!), but I have read a book by Russell or two.

To illustrate how I think about this I'll tell you a story: When I was at school I started reading the Discworld series. A friend of mine also enjoyed the series and he laboriously drew a detailed map of the discworld based on elements of the story. I also had a map in mind (I'd read the stories too) and did a brief sketch, but then I thought "I wonder if Pratchett has already done this?" so off to the library I went to find out if he had. I was pleased to find that he had made a map of the Discworld and promptly showed my friend. My vague map was useless and nothing like the "authoritative" version. Unfortunately my friend's was also way off. He had a massive huff about it, and ceased reading the Discworld novels because Pratchett's map was different from his (he'd made a few mistakes in his cartography). I on the other hand shrugged my shoulders and carried on enjoying the Discworld novels.

The shorter version of this I learned during my PhD: "An hour in the library can save a month in the lab".

The point being that we all have ideas, and we as a species have been having them quite a lot for quite a while. It's possible, but unlikely, that we'll be the one person who has a genuinely different idea so it is best for us to check our supposedly "novel" ideas a bit before we phone the Swedish Academy of Sciences.

So I had ideas as a kid about morals and what have you, and I checked them out a bit. I was right that time! Doesn't happen often! Right about the nature/study of morals I mean, not the morals I had. Oh no, my personal morals are bloody terrible. Proud of it! ;-)

Louis

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Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 10 2007,09:01   

Quote (George @ Aug. 10 2007,14:49)
Quote (Louis @ Aug. 10 2007,07:08)
... Aussies (convicts), Welsh (sheep shaggers), Kiwis (big sheep shaggers, best be a bit careful, also convicts), French (garlic smelling, easily conquered gallic ponces), Irish (thick, terrorists), Scots (skirt wearing ponces, possible sheep shagging), Italians (greasy), Argentinians (greasy, shag horses), South Africans (racists. Yes I am aware of the irony, that IS kind of the point)...

No offense taken.

By the way, what's your address?

(looks up number of nearest recently unemployed balaclava model and knee surgeon)

My address is:

Mr T Blair
George Bush's Rectum
USA (and occasionally the MIddle East)

Please go and break his my legs.

Anyway, we all know (when it comes to rugby) the English are arrogant, whiny, boring and old. We'd shag sheep, but they've all got foot and mouth.

Louis

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Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 10 2007,09:18   

Quote (George @ Aug. 10 2007,14:56)
My take on this subject, and maybe it's the middle point btwn Louis and Skeptic, is that religion and science should not come into conflict, but often do.  As Louis has said, they are based on two completely different ways of understanding the world and humanity.  Neither should try to answer questions that are best addressed by the other.  Religion can't usefully answer questions about the natural world and science can't usefully questions about what it means to be a human.  The problems arise when people forget this.  Usually creationists.

My €0.02.  Maybe not very enlightening or useful, but must dash now.

George,

Well as we know, I disagree on epistemological grounds. Reigion and science are the most notable uses of two very different mechanisms that we humans have developed for acquiring knowledge of the universe around us.

I'm happy to be pluralist about this and admit that there are aspects of religion and science that don't overlap or conflict in any way, but I really don't buy this Non Overlapping Magisteria stuff at all, for the reasons stated. I'd also disagree that science can't answer questions about what it means to be human. There's a huge swathe of psycholgical, philosophical and neurological data that is at least a fledgling attempt to answer just these sorts of questions. We can ask questions like "why do I feel this way?" or "why does this mean so much?" or "what is it to be human?" etc and get very rational answers based on reason and observation. What do faith and revelation offer in the way of answers to these questions that a) isn't actually reason, rational thought and observation in disguise or at it's root, or b) trite and dismissable on the basis that the identical answer can be provided by faith in anything or revelation of anything.

I really don't the fact that because religious answers are easily packaged and haven't "shown their workings" that they are somehow different or not based on reason etc. Again, take Douglas Adams' point about Feng Shui: load of old bollocks, but is it telling us something useful? Is it a meta-system that has struck on a more profound factual truth? If so, how do we examine it? What principles can we learn from it etc? The utility gained from understanding Feng Shui (for example) doesn't prove the spiritual guff associated with it, nor does it provide support for the existence of dragons.

This is the thing with religion. I'd be singularly amazed if all relgious ideas from all religions over all time turned out to be totally useless. In fact it would be a staggering (and interesting) clue if they were. As it turns out, not all the ideas contained in religion are totally useless, some of them, many of them are quite useful. But a) how do we know they are useful, b) how did they develop, and c) how do we examine them and extract the useful bits? The answer to those three questions is not "faith and revelation". The answer is "by careful reasoning, rational examination of their claims and coherence, careful observation of their effects and basis, and scrutiny of the evidence they claim in support". The useful bits of religions are not only discernable by reason and observation, they are derived from them and can be reverse engineered on that basis. The fact that we have forgotten how they arose, or that their workings are hidden is no more significant than the fact that some part of our brain does very rapid and complex differential calculus when we catch a ball, or that we don't show the full proofs of number theory when we add two and two to get four.

I hope that helps.

Cheers

Louis

P.S. And it was enlightening and useful to me at least!

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k.e



Posts: 1948
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 10 2007,09:29   

"Oh well the Augustin route, wenching, drinking and blaspheming, then the discovery of God later in life" Gore Vidal on Malcolm Muggeridge  
- keep up the good work Louis.

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The conservative has but little to fear from the man whose reason is the servant of his passions, but let him beware of him in whom reason has become the greatest and most terrible of the passions.These are the wreckers of outworn empires and civilisations, doubters, disintegrators, deicides.Haldane

   
J-Dog



Posts: 4402
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 10 2007,09:31   

Quote (k.e @ Aug. 10 2007,09:29)
"Oh well the Augustin route, wenching, drinking and blaspheming, then the discovery of God later in life" Gore Vidal on Malcolm Muggeridge  
- keep up the good work Louis.

Yeah.  Much better than the other way around...

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Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 10 2007,09:38   

Re: The Augustin Route:

On noticing a marked tendancy towards piety in his aging friends, an Australian gent remarked to one of them "Swotting for the finals, eh?".

I thought it summed it up nicely. Now if I could only remember where I heard the anecdote.

Louis

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k.e



Posts: 1948
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 10 2007,09:39   

Quote (J-Dog @ Aug. 10 2007,17:31)
Quote (k.e @ Aug. 10 2007,09:29)
"Oh well the Augustin route, wenching, drinking and blaspheming, then the discovery of God later in life" Gore Vidal on Malcolm Muggeridge  
- keep up the good work Louis.

Yeah.  Much better than the other way around...

Chin chin darling

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The conservative has but little to fear from the man whose reason is the servant of his passions, but let him beware of him in whom reason has become the greatest and most terrible of the passions.These are the wreckers of outworn empires and civilisations, doubters, disintegrators, deicides.Haldane

   
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 10 2007,09:48   

Quote (k.e @ Aug. 10 2007,15:39)
Quote (J-Dog @ Aug. 10 2007,17:31)
Quote (k.e @ Aug. 10 2007,09:29)
"Oh well the Augustin route, wenching, drinking and blaspheming, then the discovery of God later in life" Gore Vidal on Malcolm Muggeridge  
- keep up the good work Louis.

Yeah.  Much better than the other way around...

Chin chin darling

Oh is it cocktail time already?

{looks at watch}

Yikes I'm late!

TO THE BAR!

Louis

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Bye.

  
JohnW



Posts: 3073
Joined: Aug. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 10 2007,10:56   

Quote (Louis @ Aug. 10 2007,07:08)
P.S. Oh no the Aussies have given us more than cheap wine. There's the rotary washing line, Steve Irwin (Crikey!), much good Ocker fun, Carlton Cold and much much more.

And Rolf Harris.  How could you forget Rolf Harris?

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Math is just a language of reality. Its a waste of time to know it. - Robert Byers

There isn't any probability that the letter d is in the word "mathematics"...  The correct answer would be "not even 0" - JoeG

  
George



Posts: 315
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 10 2007,11:38   

Quote (Louis @ Aug. 10 2007,09:18)

George,

Well as we know, I disagree on epistemological grounds. Reigion and science are the most notable uses of two very different mechanisms that we humans have developed for acquiring knowledge of the universe around us.

I'm happy to be pluralist about this and admit that there are aspects of religion and science that don't overlap or conflict in any way, but I really don't buy this Non Overlapping Magisteria stuff at all, for the reasons stated. I'd also disagree that science can't answer questions about what it means to be human. There's a huge swathe of psycholgical, philosophical and neurological data that is at least a fledgling attempt to answer just these sorts of questions. We can ask questions like "why do I feel this way?" or "why does this mean so much?" or "what is it to be human?" etc and get very rational answers based on reason and observation. What do faith and revelation offer in the way of answers to these questions that a) isn't actually reason, rational thought and observation in disguise or at it's root, or b) trite and dismissable on the basis that the identical answer can be provided by faith in anything or revelation of anything.


Back again.  You've expanded on my narrow ideas on science and religion to talk about faith and reason.  I was going to make the point that a lot of religion, although grounded in faith, actually uses reason and logic in developing theology.  But you've made that point for me.  We need to be careful not to conflate science with reason.

Certainly science and reason can answer some questions about being human, like the above "why do I feel this way"?  Prime candidate for the psych people.  What I meant were the big fluffy questions like "what is the meaning of life", "why am I here" and "how can I be a good person."  Reason can only go so far I think with these questions.  At the root of logical analysis of these are assumptions made using something else, philosophy, faith or something.  These are the questions I think are better addressed by religion or other disciplines like philosophy or art.

As for your point b), you'll have to explain in what sense triteness necessarily follows.

Quote

This is the thing with religion. I'd be singularly amazed if all relgious ideas from all religions over all time turned out to be totally useless. In fact it would be a staggering (and interesting) clue if they were. As it turns out, not all the ideas contained in religion are totally useless, some of them, many of them are quite useful. But a) how do we know they are useful, b) how did they develop, and c) how do we examine them and extract the useful bits? The answer to those three questions is not "faith and revelation". The answer is "by careful reasoning, rational examination of their claims and coherence, careful observation of their effects and basis, and scrutiny of the evidence they claim in support". The useful bits of religions are not only discernable by reason and observation, they are derived from them and can be reverse engineered on that basis. The fact that we have forgotten how they arose, or that their workings are hidden is no more significant than the fact that some part of our brain does very rapid and complex differential calculus when we catch a ball, or that we don't show the full proofs of number theory when we add two and two to get four.


A couple of thoughts here.  Sometimes it may not be possible to extract the useful "bits" as they lose their value when removed from other apparently useless bits of context, support, etc.  The Catholic mass comes to mind.  On its own, incense or responses by the congregation mightn't be very useful in isolation, but they can combine to benefit individuals and arguably society.  The definition of "useful" is also tricky in this context and its definition conditions the ability of reason to analyse religious beliefs and aspects.  Beliefs that are useful in producing a happy, productive society are easily analysed by logical, rational methods.  Certain practices or customs may not have any obvious utility, but may be good for an individual.  Often religion and "religious bits" may be useful or good for one person or in one context, but not others.  Can be a bit messy I think.

All that said, I'm in large agreement with you on heavy doses of reason and logic in religion.  A lot of religion can be understood with reason and logic, but fundamentally religion is irrational and illogical.  I'm not exactly sure how the non-overlapping magisteria idea is defined.  But I would agree that science in the strict sense and religion don't overlap if properly applied.  It's in the misapplication that the conflicts occur.

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 10 2007,12:17   

Quote (Louis @ Aug. 10 2007,06:21)
Skeptic,

1) There is no assumption of a rift between science and religion, it's a fact. It exists because of the epistemological differences...etc.

Seriously good post Louis. Thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 10 2007,12:23   

Hi George,

Since I already explained a lot of what is dealt with above in the long reply to Skeptic (including why I was talking about faith and reason for example), I thought I'd deal with this:

Quote
Reason can only go so far I think with these questions.  At the root of logical analysis of these are assumptions made using something else, philosophy, faith or something.  These are the questions I think are better addressed by religion or other disciplines like philosophy or art.


How do you know?

This is a serious question.

Oh and science IS the application of reason, rational thought and observation etc. It is the very epitome of it. I'm not conflating the two at all, there's no conflation to be made. The difference between the use of reason etc in science and it's use in other fields is merely the difference, to use a surgical analogy, between the careful strokes of a master surgeon's scapel and the broad strokes of a butcher's knife (in some cases the wild swings of a bastard sword! But that's a different matter).

Again, the fact that reason etc can be applied "unconsciously" or with no "significant showing of workings" is insignificant. Precisely as insignificant as the fact that the calculus your brain does is "unconscious" when you catch a ball. The ability to reason is an evolved trait, and for good reasons (to mix definitions!).  Also the fact that one individual might find something useful and another might not is again no more significant than one likes strawberries and another doesn't. Diversity of preference is to be expected. Perhaps the next bit will clarify this.

You cannot fence off religion from scruntiny. This "religion properly applied" stuff is purest bunk. Religion, in part, seeks to inform us about the universe (I would say "and ourselves" but the illusion that we are seperate from the universe is just that, an illusion). In trying to inform us about the universe it makes models and claims and conjectures (like any other area of enquiry). In part those models etc are based on faith: I believe X to be so as a matter of faith, or because god revealed it to me. Regardless of reasoning downstream from this the axioms of faith and revelation are very different from the axioms of philosophy or reason or anything else. By definition an axiom of faith/revelation (and hence religion, the greatest exponent of these mechanisms of "acquiring knowledge") is an unchallengable edict from the creator(s) of the universe. No where else will you find such an in principle unchallengeable edict. Simply because all forms of epistemological tool kits have some axioms does not mean all axioms are equal nor as productive.

Religions use their faith and revelation derived ideas to describe the universe around us. Religions use their faith and revelation derived ideas to make moral, social and ethical claims. On what basis can any religion state that these physical descriptions and moral claims are valid? If it claims them by faith alone then I can make an equally supported faith claim of the polar opposite. Who is right and how do we decide?

Faith and revelation are at their core anti-reason, anathema to it, its polar opposite. That one can combine the two to form ideas is not in doubt, that useful ideas, or accurate ideas, or indeed that any knowledge at all can be gained from faith and revelation is. Examine two faith based propositions. Again, how can one distinguish between them? The only basis one has is reason. That should be a massive clue!

The conflict between science and religion has this very epistemological conflict at its heart. Religions make faith derived claims about the universe. Religion in this sense is overlapping on science's territory (although to frame this as a territorial dispute is false, it's more like a Venn diagram). Epistemologically religions are making the claim that in addition to reason etc, faith and revelation are methods of acquiring knowledge about that universe that work. This is a claim open to scrutiny, and thus far every time it has been scrutinised it has been found wanting. Coincidence happens, but any scrutiny of faith derived claims causes their faith based nature to waft away. The claim to "different ways of knowing" is nothing more than special pleading, wishful thinking and an appeal to prejudice and ignorance.

The tools of art, philosophy etc etc are just the same as the tools of science (as mentioned above) the difference is a quantitative one, not a qualitative one. Again, how something makes one feel is a reasoned response no matter how unconscious. It is bog standard "stimulus-response". The bagges we associate with it is also based on other stimuli, claiming an undemonstrated (and undemonstrable) "other" dimension to it is simply over emphasising the "unconscious" element.

Lastly, to answer your question about triteness, well I thought the rest of the sentence did that, but obviously I didn't explain myself very well. Give me a question of the type you/I mention and the religious answer to it and I'll show you what I mean.

Louis

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swbarnes2



Posts: 78
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 10 2007,13:59   

Quote (George @ Aug. 10 2007,11:38)
 I was going to make the point that a lot of religion, although grounded in faith, actually uses reason and logic in developing theology.


And one can use pure logic to extrapolate about hen's teeth.

I think the utter absence of hen's teeth (barring fun tricks in the laboratory) proves that reason badly applied is pretty stupid.

     
Quote
We need to be careful not to conflate science with reason.


I don't think "we" need to be careful at all.  I think all the science advocates here are perfectly aware that what makes science so darn useful is that it's reason combined with empirical testing.

That's what distinguishes science from theology, which is reason built on...things not empirical.

     
Quote
What I meant were the big fluffy questions like "what is the meaning of life", "why am I here" and "how can I be a good person."


Your third question is amendable to scientific inquiry, because we probably can build a definition for "good" person that we can observe in the physical universe. You could start by saying that a "good person" is the kind of person that most people feel improves their society.  Or that a "good person" follows closely the Golden Rule, which is valued as useful by pretty much every society on the planet ever.

We probably can't make a purely objective definition, but we can at least ground our definition in observable behaviors.

But your other questions are meaningless unless you start with the assumption that your life has a "meaning" and a "reason".  And that you can't demonstrate.  You just believe it on religious grounds.  So we're back to impeccably reasoned treatices on hen's teeth.

 
Quote
But I would agree that science in the strict sense and religion don't overlap if properly applied.


Okay, so who defines "proper"?  Religions once proclaimed that the best way to ensure a good crop was to rip the queen's sacred consort to shreds over the fields.  They thought that was a proper application of religious thinking.  And why isn't it "proper" to learn about, say, a global flood from reading a book that your religion tells you is suppsoed to describe it utterly faithfully?

I suppose the best answer to how to "properly" apply science and religion is: "science works with physical phenomena, and religions work for non-physical phenomena".  You are just stuck with the problem that you can't know if there are any of the latter, you just have to hope there are, and call that wish "faith".

  
skeptic



Posts: 1163
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 13 2007,23:00   

I hate getting this far behind because I can't possibly respond to everything that's been said so I'll just make a few quick points.

First, nice thorough post Louis however much I disagree with what you said.  

The term creationist is being thrown around alot and I think slightly misused.  You could lump every single religious person into this catagory because whatever mechanism God used, the universe was still created.  Now the small subset of this group are the YECs and IDers who attempt to construct a rigis framework to the creation story.  They are incorrectly straying into science just as the scientist who  mistakenly applies empiricism to faith.  They are part of the problem but not the norm.  I'll use Genesis as an example but it applies to all creation stories.  Genesis is poetry written by a man.  Careful reading of Genesis quickly reveals that it is not a science text, there is no evidence presented nor observations recorded.  The point is to demonstrate the power of God and reinforce the concept of the special nature of mankind (this is an over-simplification but I'm just hitting the high points) not to layout the blueprint for universe creation.  Remember the author, Moses or Aaron or other, did not see any of this take place nor interview anyone who did.  Any attempt to say that Genesis is develops a model for the physical universe is groundless.  Genesis lays the groundwork for a spiritual model of the universe.  Huge difference.

The questions that faith and reason try to answer are in NO way similar.  Take for instance the brain.  Science will tell me about the neurons that form networks that lead to higher functions.  How they fire, what stimuli drive these responses, etc and so forth.  What science can not tell me is anything about the Mind, who I am, where I reside in this brain.  These questions are outside of rational thought as are love, sadness, goodness and morality.  These questions must be answered in some other ways and faith is one of these avenues.  And just to make my thoughts plain, there is no such thing as true morality in the absense of God everything else is just a human construct and therefore flawed.

But before we go round and round I wanted to make an observation.  Based upon what you've said I think you are much more optimistic concerning man's ability to apply reason and rationality to these questions and find the answer.  I do not believe that is possible as our capacity is limited and those questions are beyond reason.  I see why you insist on the conflict because you believe it is science's role to answer these questions using it's methods as opposed to the methods used by faith.  Science can not answer these questions and in error when it tries and the same applies to faith.

One last thing, both science and faith seek knowledge but of a completely different sort and for a completely different reason.  I believe Crick ran right out to the local pub after the discovery of the structure of DNA and promptly declared that they had discovered the meaning of life.  What was not doscovered was the meaning of Life and that is a question only Faith can answer.

  
Renier



Posts: 276
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 14 2007,01:28   

Quote (George @ Aug. 10 2007,08:56)
My take on this subject, and maybe it's the middle point btwn Louis and Skeptic, is that religion and science should not come into conflict, but often do.  As Louis has said, they are based on two completely different ways of understanding the world and humanity.  Neither should try to answer questions that are best addressed by the other.  Religion can't usefully answer questions about the natural world and science can't usefully questions about what it means to be a human.  The problems arise when people forget this.  Usually creationists.

My €0.02.  Maybe not very enlightening or useful, but must dash now.

Perhaps you are right with "science can't usefully questions about what it means to be a human". But, how does religion do any better with answering questions about being human? Is philosophy not perhaps better at this and does it mean that non-beleivers like Atheists and Agnostics cannot answer questions about being human because they have no religion to help them?

I don't buy it. There are many people who uphold NOMA, for obvious reasons, even reasons that I can understand but I don't agree with it. Religion is just pissed because science has refuted so much opinions that their holy texts had about the universe and world we live on.

*Disclaimer: As Lenny would surely point out, there are many religious people that stands up for science, even against people that share their faith. My above comments are therefore not a blanket.

  
Louis



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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 14 2007,04:52   

Skeptic,

So your reply is to handwave away generations of evidence that contradict your claims and simply reassert them?

Wow, well I'm impressed!

1) The mentions of creationists were:

a) in response to a point that you made claiming that people don't use faith to understand/claim knowledge of the world, the existence of creationists proves that claim wrong, Skeptic. You can say they are wrong to do so all you like, but you haven't answered the question of how you know they are wrong to do so. You are merely asserting that they are wrong, you are not demonstrating it. How do you know they are wrong? And remember Skeptic you are not allowed to use reason, logic, evidence and observation because if you do you prove my point.

b) You made a (false) claim about scientists being naughty for daring to counter creationists. That claim has been refuted, ergo the mention of creationists was relevant.

You go on about Genesis being poetry, great, I agree. How do you know Skeptic. All though this you are merely asserting these things by faith alone. If I were to come up with a contradictory position based on faith alone, then how would you demonstrate which was right and which wasn't (if indeed either of them were)?

2) No one is applying empiricism to faith. All anyone is asking is what knoweldge comes from faith/revelation and how do we know. You have avoided that question. Just as you have avoided the question about how we distinguish between two faith based positions that are mutually contradictory.

3) You are very keen on defining things as beyond rational study and yet you give no support for these claims. Worse than that the claims you make are actually false. We CAN rationally study morals and ethics. We CAN rationally study aspects of the mind (not "merely" the brain, although what is "mere" about it I'll never know! Looks bloody complicated to me). No one is saying these studies are perfect or 100% complete but appeals to mind/brain dualism (long since refuted by the evidence) don't work.

4) It's not a matter of my optimism or my beliefs or a desire to see science answer something it "shouldn't" (not my claim, but yours. Totally unsubstantiated on your part you'll note), Skeptic. It's a matter of the evidence. All the knowledge we have that deserves the title derives solely from reason and observation. Show me what knowledge faith and revelation have contributed and how we know that it is knowledge and not mere fantasy. All the evidence we have demonstrates beyond doubt that reason, observation, rational thought etc can provide us with answers to every coherent question we can ask. My faith/desire/belief is immaterial, it doesn't even enter into the question. I might want completely the opposite, or believe in limits, but I cannot honestly deny the success of the methods of acquiring knowledge about the universe we have developed.

Back to your false dualism, we know for a fact that alterations in brain structure and chemistry alter aspects of what was once thought to be the province of the "mind" or "spirit" as entities distinct and disembodied from the brain. We can induce religious experiences of awe and love with an electromagnetic field or a chemical. Experiences indistinguishable from the "natural" occuring ones. This alone disproves your comments about reason being incapable of probing the mind.

Again, no one denies humanity's limits or lack of infinite attributes but so what? Simply declaring things off limits because you don't like them is not an answer. We haven't reached the end of what we can study yet, when and if we do you *might* have a point, but as it stands we haven't and you don't. (Actually you wouldn't have a point, because the appeal to mystery is a) logically fallacious and b) open to ANY mystery anyone wishes to insert). I suggest you start trying to answer the epistemological question rather than flapping around avoiding the issue.

5) Meaning of life? Go on then, how does faith/revelation answer it better than reason. In fact how does it answer it at all. Why is the question even worth answering or meaningful (and I DO NOT mean from a personal perspective)?

You keep making the assertion that reason and faith are attempts to answer different questions and yet you a) haven't established this and b) whenever this point is refuted (because they do have questions in common at least) you run away or re-assert that it is misapplication of these methods of acquiring knowledge with no support.

6) No "true" morality in the absence of god, eh? Oh really! Eat a lot of porridge do you? Put and sugar on it? Which god Skeptic, and how do you know? Stop dodging the question.

Oh and no one denies the imperfections of human morality, imperfections don't equal a problem. Unless of course one is a fool seeking absolutist ideals, demonstrated decades (hell, centuries) ago to be false and fallacious. Again Skeptic you believe this because you want to, despite the fact that it flies in the face of all of the evidence.

The simple fact that different societies have different morals utterly refutes your appeal to absolutist morals. Unless of course you can demonstrate that the basis for you moral claims is more valid than the basis for a different set of moral claims. Let me clue you in a second: the appeal to prejudice won't cut the mustard.

So Skeptic, you have a lot of work to do. For your assertions to be true you have to:

a) Demonstrate that faith/revelation provide knowledge about the universe. I.e. that they are valid mechanisms of acquiring knowledge, be it physical or "spiritual" (whatever that means, we'd need a definition, and some evidence it even exists, because saying that reason cannot examine love [for example] is merely yet another reassertion of the original claim).

b) Demonstrate a method for distinguishing between two faith based claims. (this includes your moral claims)

c) Demonstrate that reason etc cannot penetrate the areas you claim faith/revelation can, because at the moment all of your examples have been either i) mere reassertions of your original point or ii) derived solely from your personal ignorance of the topics at hand.

d) Demonstrate that questions such as "what is the meaning of life?" are valid questions, and that faith/revelation can answer them.

Oh and you have to do this WITHOUT recourse to reason, logic, rational thought and observation. Why? Because I have taken the position that all knowledge acquired by humanity since the dawn of time is derived solely from reason, logic, rational thought and observation (unless one really wants to retreat into solipsism and nihilism). I can conclusively demonstrate (as far as any such thing can be conclusive) that appeals to faith and revelation alone are indistinguishable from any other appeal to faith and revelation, and thus mere fantasy. It is you that is claiming "different ways of knowing" to reason thus you who has to justify that claim. Simply reasserting them and stamping your foot and saying "They ARE different" doesn't acheive this.

Louis

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Bye.

  
skeptic



Posts: 1163
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 14 2007,07:34   

This will have to be quick but I will get back later to address this fully.  One thing I'm seeing is the criticism that I'm making statements about faith by faith alone without proving them.  That sounds like a catch-22 to me.  How can I possibly supply evidence in a field that I conclude is beyond reason? : D

You are absolutely right.  You can not prove that you're statements by faith are any more valid than my statements of faith.  Again, these opinions are not subject to empirical analysis.  This is not about truth in a scientific sense and that may be hard to accept.

Be back for more later...

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 14 2007,07:50   

Quote (skeptic @ Aug. 14 2007,13:34)
This will have to be quick but I will get back later to address this fully.  One thing I'm seeing is the criticism that I'm making statements about faith by faith alone without proving them.  That sounds like a catch-22 to me.  How can I possibly supply evidence in a field that I conclude is beyond reason? : D

You are absolutely right.  You can not prove that you're statements by faith are any more valid than my statements of faith.  Again, these opinions are not subject to empirical analysis.  This is not about truth in a scientific sense and that may be hard to accept.

Be back for more later...

Great! Then what knowledge value do they have? How do I distinguish "true" faith claims from "false" faith claims. And if I can't, why listen to either when I have so excellent an alternative to both at my disposal?

It isn't about truth in a scientific sense? LOL Skeptic, it ain't about "truth" at all. It's about the probelm the majority of humanity have with a) dealing with reality, and b) the exciting little hypocritical circles they run in when confronted about it.

Louis

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Bye.

  
IanBrown_101



Posts: 927
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 14 2007,07:50   

Quote (skeptic @ Aug. 14 2007,07:34)
This is not about truth in a scientific sense and that may be hard to accept.

Please define other types of proof (if by proof you mean overwhelming evidence, if you DON'T, then that's another problem entirely)

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I'm not the fastest or the baddest or the fatest.

You NEVER seem to address the fact that the grand majority of people supporting Darwinism in these on line forums and blogs are atheists. That doesn't seem to bother you guys in the least. - FtK

Roddenberry is my God.

   
Occam's Toothbrush



Posts: 555
Joined: April 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 14 2007,09:08   

Quote
But, how does religion do any better with answering questions about being human?

Well, it's much faster and easier.  For instance, if you asked a mathematician "what's the smallest prime number of more than a trillion digits?"  It would probably take him/her a long time and a large amount of effort and resources to figure out the answer. OTOH, you could ask me the same question and I could instantly blurt out "fifty seven point oh-six-three."  From the standpoint of response time and ease of calculation at least, my answer is superior.  Stupid, useless and wrong, but faster and easier.

And so children, that's how religion helps us understand the answers to questions about what it means to be human.

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"Molecular stuff seems to me not to be biology as much as it is a more atomic element of life" --Creo nut Robert Byers
------
"You need your arrogant ass kicked, and I would LOVE to be the guy who does it. Where do you live?" --Anger Management Problem Concern Troll "Kris"

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 14 2007,09:14   

Quote (Occam's Toothbrush @ Aug. 14 2007,15:08)
Quote
But, how does religion do any better with answering questions about being human?

Well, it's much faster and easier.  For instance, if you asked a mathematician "what's the smallest prime number of more than a trillion digits?"  It would probably take him/her a long time and a large amount of effort and resources to figure out the answer. OTOH, you could ask me the same question and I could instantly blurt out "fifty seven point oh-six-three."  From the standpoint of response time and ease of calculation at least, my answer is superior.  Stupid, useless and wrong, but faster and easier.

And so children, that's how religion helps us understand the answers to questions about what it means to be human.

AH But Occam's Toothbrush, the answer "I haven't a bastard clue" is equally short, rapid, useless, and easy but with the additional virtue of (in my case at least) being absolutely true.

Therefore ignorance is knowledge, black is white, war is peace, love is hate, slavery is freedom and I'm a little teapot.

All together now.....

Louis

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Bye.

  
Occam's Toothbrush



Posts: 555
Joined: April 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 14 2007,09:28   

Quote (Louis @ Aug. 14 2007,09:14)
AH But Occam's Toothbrush, the answer "I haven't a bastard clue" is equally short, rapid, useless, and easy but with the additional virtue of (in my case at least) being absolutely true.

The answer "I don't know" is always a more useful answer to any real question than "goddidit."  At least when you say "I don't know," the door is still open for someday figuring out the real answer.

--------------
"Molecular stuff seems to me not to be biology as much as it is a more atomic element of life" --Creo nut Robert Byers
------
"You need your arrogant ass kicked, and I would LOVE to be the guy who does it. Where do you live?" --Anger Management Problem Concern Troll "Kris"

  
skeptic



Posts: 1163
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 14 2007,09:51   

I see that our disagreement is very fundamental.  We are two ships passing in the night with you seeking certainty and I saying there is none.

Consider this example.  I ask you to prove that you love your wife and you give me your evidence.  I reject your evidence because IMO you don't love your wife you just like her.  Why?  Because love can not be broken down to an equation or proven as a theorem.  No matter how unsatisfying that answer is it is simply true.  In these cases we turn to poetry, philosophy and faith to answer questions such as these.

Example number 2.  Let's take the Bible and assume that everything in it is proven absolutely false.  It's just one big novel with some very interesting stories.  What does this mean for the existence of God, any God?  Nothing.  God's existence, or more correctly the existence of anything, is independent of our ability to comprehend or recognize it.  In order to gain knowledge of something we have to observe it, measure it, touch it, etc.  In the case of God, science is unable to supply these observations whereas revelation, inspiration, meditation, etc are exactly suited to this kind of knowledge.

I understand you desire to know everything or assume that everything is theoretically within reach for mankind.  The truth is it's not and that is very hard for some people to accept.  In fact, in some cases, it's just that realization that allows people to find comfort in their faith.  This may be an alien concept.

anyway gotta go for now...

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 14 2007,10:51   

Quote (skeptic @ Aug. 14 2007,15:51)
I see that our disagreement is very fundamental.  We are two ships passing in the night with you seeking certainty and I saying there is none.

Consider this example.  I ask you to prove that you love your wife and you give me your evidence.  I reject your evidence because IMO you don't love your wife you just like her.  Why?  Because love can not be broken down to an equation or proven as a theorem.  No matter how unsatisfying that answer is it is simply true.  In these cases we turn to poetry, philosophy and faith to answer questions such as these.

Example number 2.  Let's take the Bible and assume that everything in it is proven absolutely false.  It's just one big novel with some very interesting stories.  What does this mean for the existence of God, any God?  Nothing.  God's existence, or more correctly the existence of anything, is independent of our ability to comprehend or recognize it.  In order to gain knowledge of something we have to observe it, measure it, touch it, etc.  In the case of God, science is unable to supply these observations whereas revelation, inspiration, meditation, etc are exactly suited to this kind of knowledge.

I understand you desire to know everything or assume that everything is theoretically within reach for mankind.  The truth is it's not and that is very hard for some people to accept.  In fact, in some cases, it's just that realization that allows people to find comfort in their faith.  This may be an alien concept.

anyway gotta go for now...

Skeptic,

Fuck me you really do like your straw men don't you!

Me? Certainty? Can't you read for comprehension. All knowledge is provisonal, I've never said different. You do realise that this means there isn't any certainty don't you? Lawks Skeptic, but you can be a tiresome idiot.

Ships passing in the night? Crikey, will you do anything to avoid defending your claims?

Let's deal with your examples:

1) I love my wife. I can demonstrate that I act towards my wife in a certain way consistent with the defition of love. I can, as far as can be ascertained, demonstrate to an impartial observer that I love my wife by the use of evidence and reason and observation. Is there some modicum of doubt? Of course, as I said above there is always some element of doubt, knowledge is provisional.

I didn't say anywhere that things could be broken down into equations, that is a strawman of your own confection. Please don't you it again or I shall be moved to exceedingly harsh language! ;-)

You end your first example by simply restating your original claim, again. What on earth makes you think that art and philosophy are not founded on and utilising reason and observation? As I have said possibly umpteen times now, the fact that one doesn't sit down and work out one's desires or emotions on a calculator does not in any way mean they are not reasoned responses to stimuli. The fact that they are perhaps unconsciously processed is no more indicative of magic or faith or "different ways of knowing" than is catching a ball. Try again.

2) The bible: Apart from the fact that it deals with some demonstrably real places, occasionally some demonstrably real people and events, and that it contains the anecdotes of many people some of which bear up to scrutiny, it HAS BEEN proven absolutely false! But that aside your "example" is nothing of the sort, it is simply you restating BY FAITH ALONE that some things are unexaminable by reason. You then couple this with some patronising falsity about my seeking certainty.

If there is a theistic deity or set of deities that interact with the universe in such a way as to alter it (i.e. not a deistic god), then those interactions are by definition detectable (no one is saying that it's necessarily an easy job!). Deities that tinker with the material world are open to disproof (as far as such things can be accomplished) simply on the basis that no interaction of that nature can be shown to be occuring. Of course absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, and there could be a deity lurking somewhere, but not the one's describe by current world faiths. Why? Because those descriptions include properties we simply do not observe.  As I said right at the start you are trying to constantly redefine your deity away from scrutiny and you simply cannot honestly do that.

Skeptic, try very very hard to understand the fact that you are merely repeatedly ASSERTING your claims, you are NOT demonstrating them. You have continually reasserted that reason cannot understand some things whilst being incapable of pointing out what those things are. You have to date (IIRC, I can't be bothered to wade through your shit to find them all) said that reason cannot examine:

a) the mind
b) meaning
c) emotions (e.g. love)
d) god(s)
e) morals and ethics

In every case you are staggeringly wrong, and not because I merely assert that this is the case.

a) The studies of psychiatry, psychology and neurology are (despite their flaws) doing precisely what you claim they cannot. They are probing the nature of the "mind" tha arises from the physical functioning of the brain. There is no reason to expect a "ghost in the machine" separate from the brain's operation. Is it a complex and imperfectly understood relationship and set of processes? Yes of course it is. Is it in principle unexaminable by reason? Demonstrably no.

b) Meaning can be explored rationally through various branches of philosophy and the arts. Not only do these fields rely on reason and observation but the very things that underpin them are derived from the interaction of the brain anf the universe around it. Where the questions involved are not non sequiturs, reason can explore them. Where the questions are irrational, there is a) no reason to expect them to even have answer and b) no reason to expect that faith and revelation can answer them. Assertion that this is the case is merely a restatement of the original claim, not a validation of it.

c) Emotions can not only be explored and understood psychologically but they have definite bases in biological processes that we know the workings of. If I wish to demonstrate I love my wife for example, I can behave in a manner consonent with the defintion of love towards her. The fact that I cannot demonstrate if it is "true" love or not is a) logially fallacious (no true scotsman) and b) irrelevant in exactly the same way that "is the colour purple you see the same as the colour purple I see" is. We can demonstrate the brain responds the same way to the same frequencies of radiation in the brains of different people, both of whom refer to that stimulus as seeing the colour purple. That is as close as it is possible to get to anything approaching certainty. Certainty is itself unreachable.

d) Gods. If they interact with the material universe they are in principle a claim about the material nature of the universe and thus open to falsification on that basis. Thus far, no single event consonent with any current operating defintion of any deity conceived of by humanity has been observed. This far, no logical or rational argument from ontology to teleology and beyond has been found that can demonstrate the existence of a deity ab initio and as a matter of principle. Any deity described in such a way that it is utterly undetectable is uttrely indistingushable from a  non-existent deity, and thus as a matter of parsimony can be said not to exist. All so far totally open to reason and rational enquiry, nothing thus far unpenetrable by reason.

e) Morals and ethics are demonstrably social contructs. Rationalisations of current behaviours and desires about future or general behaviours. Centuries of study in philosophy, sociology, anthropology, ethology etc etc etc (all reasoned and observational) have demonstrated this beyond any reasonable doubt. Again, all open to reason.

Your examples, Skeptic and you claims are not only unsubstantiated but utterly refuted thus far. Care to do any better?

Louis

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Bye.

  
J-Dog



Posts: 4402
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 14 2007,10:56   

Shouldn't "skeptic" be changed to
"Not a skeptic", or maybe "I'll believe any old thing if it's in a dusty old book"?

Aren't there Truth In Advertising laws anymore?

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Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
skeptic



Posts: 1163
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 14 2007,13:19   

on points a)-e), I completely disagree on every point and it can not be any plainer than that.  You put you faith in man's ability to collect knowledge on these concepts and you couldn't be more wrong.

The Mind, not the mind, define it for me please.  Explain how the function and structure of the brain gives rise to the emergence of the Mind and (just for kicks) consciousness.

Meaning in life is rationally subjective and can not be pinned down to a time, place or culture.  The only universal solution is if it is based upon something transcendate to time, place and culture.

Emotions or the chemical reactions leading to emotions have nothing to do with what Love is or what Sadness is.  For that matter, if you've ever known a woman you know that emotions are in no way rational.

God.  Well this is the point of the discussion but it is extreme arrogance to assume that if God exists you should be able to detect him or them.  Prove that to me and you win.

Morality is also subjective and it depends upon time, place and culture unless rooted upon something uninfluenced by these factors.  Resorting to rationality to define morality results in nothing but relativism.  But again, if you believe otherwise, prove it.

I keep having to repeat myself because you just aren't getting it.  You're appling humanistic reasoning but it is severely limited and if it wasn't then these concepts would be defined by now and we wouldn't be having this discussion.

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2780
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 14 2007,13:23   

Quote (skeptic @ Aug. 14 2007,13:19)
The Mind, not the mind, define it for me please.  Explain how the function and structure of the brain gives rise to the emergence of the Mind and (just for kicks) consciousness.

Skeptic, you've got to be kidding.

Please remove your brain and let us know if you retain consciousness.

Or, if that seems a bit extreme, please outline for us the scientific evidence for a mind/brain dualism.

thanks

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Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
Shirley Knott



Posts: 148
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 14 2007,14:23   

Quote
Meaning in life is rationally subjective and can not be pinned down to a time, place or culture.

Quite demonstrably false.
As you go on to show later in your own post...

 
Quote
Morality is also subjective and it depends upon time, place and culture unless rooted upon something uninfluenced by these factors.


Trying to have it both ways, eh?

 
Quote
You're appling humanistic reasoning but it is severely limited and if it wasn't then these concepts would be defined by now and we wouldn't be having this discussion.


I have to assume you intended to say 'human reasoning' rather than humanistic.  Otherwise, kindly define and demonstrate just what the heck 'humanistic reasoning' is other than plain old everyday human reason.
And insofar as you mean 'human reasoning', you are using the same thing [to be charitable.  The content of your posts suggests that you might not be...]
It is the only kind of reasoning we have available to us.
And it is the starting point for anything you do; if it is flawed, the flaws apply equally to you and the products of your mentation.
Secondly, "then these concepts would be defined by now".
Says who?  Why must this be the case?
Concepts appear at a point in time, and our understanding of that to which the concept, or proto-concept refers, grows and evolves over time.
Contra to your first point, but somewhat in synch with your second, and devastating to your third-and-a-half.

no hugs for thugs,
Shirley Knott

  
skeptic



Posts: 1163
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 14 2007,16:09   

Alba, you raise a very interesting question.  Let me put something together for you.

Shirley, you do not.  Look up "humanism."

  
Shirley Knott



Posts: 148
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 14 2007,16:52   

I'm *quite* familiar with the general and specific meanings of 'humanism'.
I am at a loss as to how any of them help clarify your effluent.
Your screed was all but meaningless in the technical sense of the term.  What little meaning was actually there was confused, largely self-refuting, and embarrassing to anyone with more than 2 functioning brain cells.
And you have ignored the challenge embedded in your own post, while trivializing a response that both points that out and asks a meaningful and specific question about just what it is you are going on about.
It is on that basis that I conclude:
You, sir, are an idiot.
Not a sceptic, an idiot.
A singularly clueless, smug, supercilious idiot.
Kindly intercourse elsewhere and expire.

no hugs for thugs,
Shirley Knott

  
skeptic



Posts: 1163
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 14 2007,19:22   

*smiles*

Thank fine lady but I will kindly turn down your offer and apply my two functioning brain cells to the question at hand.

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 15 2007,03:02   

Quote (skeptic @ Aug. 14 2007,19:19)
on points a)-e), I completely disagree on every point and it can not be any plainer than that.  You put you faith in man's ability to collect knowledge on these concepts and you couldn't be more wrong.

The Mind, not the mind, define it for me please.  Explain how the function and structure of the brain gives rise to the emergence of the Mind and (just for kicks) consciousness.

Meaning in life is rationally subjective and can not be pinned down to a time, place or culture.  The only universal solution is if it is based upon something transcendate to time, place and culture.

Emotions or the chemical reactions leading to emotions have nothing to do with what Love is or what Sadness is.  For that matter, if you've ever known a woman you know that emotions are in no way rational.

God.  Well this is the point of the discussion but it is extreme arrogance to assume that if God exists you should be able to detect him or them.  Prove that to me and you win.

Morality is also subjective and it depends upon time, place and culture unless rooted upon something uninfluenced by these factors.  Resorting to rationality to define morality results in nothing but relativism.  But again, if you believe otherwise, prove it.

I keep having to repeat myself because you just aren't getting it.  You're appling humanistic reasoning but it is severely limited and if it wasn't then these concepts would be defined by now and we wouldn't be having this discussion.

Skeptic,

This is getting beyond farcical.

We are not merely exchanging subjective opinions, and my "faith" in humanity's ability to study things is not faith at all but observation of what is occurring/has occurred. I need no faith in it at all, it's happening all around me and we as a species have been doing it since the dawn of time and writing about it for only slightly less time! It doesn't matter than some of the conclusions and data we have are in error (or were in error or will be in error) the fact is beyond doubt that we can rationally investigate these things.

I know you don't understand this but you are making a claim that (for example) all of psychiatry, psychology and neurology cannot study the things they study! It's not up to me to get a psych textbook and regurgitate it for you, it's up to you to support your claim that, in contradiction to enormous quantities of evidence available at your local library no less, that the rational study of topics such as minds, morals and men is an impossibility.

I'll repeat it to help you:

Throughout this entire "conversation" (for I now realise I have been casting pearls not merely before swine but into a black hole of utter ignorance and stupidity) you have made various claims about the impossibility of things being studiable. You have in no way expanded on how or why you know this to be the case, you have merely continually reasserted them without basis. You can disagree all you like but all you are doing is sticking your fingers in your ears, plugs up your nose, and a blindfold over your eyes and singing "LALALALALA the universe isn't the way I want it to be so I won't admit anything". So again Skeptic, how do you know, i.e. on what basis, do you make the claim that (for example) the mind is not open to rational enquiry.

You claim to keep repeating yourself because *I* don't get it? Jesus fucking H Corbett, Skeptic! For an utterly clueless moron you don't suffer from the virtue of humility do you! LOL Honestly old bean your attempts at "argument" have been laughable. You now claim that if these concepts were open to rational enquiry then they would already be settled? Skeptic, crack a book, THEY ARE! The fact that many people are too biased, apathetic stupid or ignorant to know about/understand/care about the relevant data isn;t a data point in your favour! Pick up a neurology text, or a psych text, go and read Hume and Russell on ethics (hell, go and read the Greeks, no need to trouble you with anything from the last century or two!), it's all out there.

Oh and meaning and morals ARE relative! That's the point I've been trying to get you to comprehend for a while now. There is no transcendant moral code to which human morals are merely a poor reflection and the different cultural moral codes are a key indicator (but by no means the only one) of this. That's the whole point, morals vary from culture to culture (as does attempt at meaning etc). We can study (and do very effectively) the origins and nature of different cultures' morals and ethics, again crack a book and you'll find the world open up around you.

Oh and Skeptic, you really need to lay off the straw men:

a) I do live with a woman (and I've known a few, I believe my mother is one, although I'll have to ask her) and her emotions are perfectly rational whilst at the same time being totally irrational (just like mine, yours, anyone's. Oh and your abject sexism is noted, well done Skeptic, a new low). Guess what, the word "rational" can be used in different ways. I was very explicitly (and very clearly to anyone with a reading age over 5) using "rational" in the EPISTEMOLOGICAL sense of the word, not the colloquial one. Pissing about with definitions makes you look very silly. Please don't act the cunt with me because I will slap you down.

b) I never said that if god(s) exists then we should be able to detect it (them). I said that if god(s) exist AND interact with the universe (answer prayers, move matter about to create X or Y) then BY DEFINITION that is an interaction with the material universe that is detectable. How easy or hard it might be to do that is a different matter. If god(s) only move single photons, then our chance of detecting them are vanishingly small, still finite, but beyond modern technology unless it's a photon we currently happen to be looking at very carefully. That's the difference Skeptic, and I think you'll find it's a key one. Appeals to undetectable deities don't butter any parsnips. First undetectable looks a lot like nonexistant. Second it's not exactly parsimonious. Appeals to tinkerer gods (liek the one described above) are dangerous because thus far all gods defined by the human race have attributes that are open to detetction. Claiming (for example) that hurricanes are sent by god is a big no no. We KNOW how hurricanes work and arise, no god there at all.  If you want to make the utterly asinine claim that "ahhhhhh well it's really god behind it all but you can't see him" then you know I am going to ask "how do you know?" and "how do you know which god it is? Or if it's not pixies etc?" and since you are relying solely on faith to suuport your claim then those contradictory and mutually exclusive faith claims are equally as valid, so you lose out once again.

Oh and Skeptic, if I prove something to you I've won? Sweetie I hate to break this to you but if there was winning and losing to be done, I won a while ago. I was also unaware that conversation involved winning or losing. You think this is a debate? LOL Skeptic my dear sweet little munchkin, if this was a debate, the debate moderator would have removed you for failing to meet the minimum intellectual requirements both in terms of your abilities as a prticipant and the lack of cohesion in your claims and arguments. You would have been ruled out of order and sat on the sidelines so that a more capable debater could take the floor. PErhaps some kind of vegetable.

What you are currently doing is flannelling around and repeating the same claims you made at the start. Even a sympathetic reader would be ashamed of your drivel, but don't take my word for it. Capitalising words like Mind and Love don't change their meaning, and as some supposedly capable of understanding basic chemistry (although no eevidence of this has ever arisen I note) you seem curiously ignorant about the basics of drug action and biological chemistry. Want me to prove you can feel a sincere and abiding love just on the basis of your body's chemistry? Easy peasy, take an E, go to a club. You'll love everyone in the room very sincerely indeed because of the lovely little biological pathways through your brain that E stimulates.

I'm giving you an F, must try a lot harder. Now are you going to answer the questions or not?

Here they are again:

1) How does one distinguish between two faith based claims?

2) Demonstrate that faith/revelation provide knowledge about the universe. I.e. that they are valid mechanisms of acquiring knowledge, be it physical or "spiritual" (whatever that means, we'd need a definition, and some evidence it even exists, because saying that reason cannot examine love [for example] is merely yet another reassertion of the original claim).

3) Demonstrate that reason etc cannot penetrate the areas you claim faith/revelation can, because at the moment all of your examples have been either i) mere reassertions of your original point or ii) derived solely from your personal ignorance of the topics at hand.

4) Demonstrate that questions such as "what is the meaning of life?" are valid questions, and that faith/revelation can answer them.

Four simple questions you have yet to answer, and yet you continually (ever more frantically) reassert your claims without basis. Whining that you do so "because I don't get them" is a) untrue (quite demonstrably so) and b) a logically fallacious special plead. Not only do I "get" your claims Skeptic, but since post number one I have shown them to be utterly false at every turn.

It's quite simple: the rational study of the universe works and is going on all around you despite your ignorance of it. You can stamp your feet and shout "BUT IT CAN'T" all you like, the simple fact is that it can, it does, it is and you are in denial. Asserting by faith alone that something is not open to rational enquiry does not constitute evidence for your claims. The very fact that we can and do investogate things like morals, mind and what have you rationally proves your claims false. The fact that we investigate these things and produce reproducible, reliable data from their study that can be used to predict future phenomena before we've even observed them (why, that seem like science! Gosh, it is!) is the icing on the cake. Not only can we investigate these matters perfetcly rationally, we can do so successfully. So your claims aren't merely false, they are in direct contradiction to what we already know. Hence why you have to show on what basis you make those claims. Good luck!

Louis

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Bye.

  
skeptic



Posts: 1163
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 15 2007,11:58   

Louis, for the first time, I'm sad to say, you utterly demonstrate that you just don't know what you are talking about.  It appears that you are just so rooted in materialism that you just can not accept that there may be knowledge that can not be accessed by rational means.  We are continuially reasserting the same premises because we are talking past each other.  For my part, I mistakenly assumed that you acknowledged the different types of knowledge.

There is a distinct difference between the mind and The Mind and if you don't see that then this conversation is in real trouble.  Certainly, Alba raises a valid criticism as to the actual existence of The Mind but I'll get back to that.  If you can not understand what is meant by spiritual or you fail to understand the limitations of psychology, neurology or any other ology that you seem to think can absolutely reveal reality then we must go back and reeducate you on the basics of knowledge.

I'm really surprised.  It is one thing to differentiate between the different types of knowledge accessable by science and faith but it is another thing entirely to completely deny that faith can offer any types of knowledge and that not only is science the only source of "true" knowledge but all knowledge is completely accessable to it.

You're gonna have to provide some proof because I'm just not buying it and I really don't think you know what you're even implying.  Otherwise you're just endlessly repeating yourself and making ridiculous claims such as ectasy-induced chemical reactions are equivilent to Love.  Louis, that's just laughable and I think you know it.

P.S. the comment about emotional women was an attempt at levity (failed apparently) but it does reflect the fact that no emotions are rational and that I will stand by.

  
Erasmus, FCD



Posts: 6349
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 15 2007,12:11   

God presuppositionalist dualists are so fekking boring.  

It boils down to this:  

Skeptic "faith is a valid epistemology"

Louis "You can't prove it"

Skeptic "I've got your nose.  Look, I've got your nose"

Louis "That's your bloody thumb, not my nose"

Skeptic "You materialist".

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You're obviously illiterate as hell. Peach, bro.-FtK

Finding something hard to believe based on the evidence, is science.-JoeG

the odds of getting some loathsome taint are low-- Gordon E Mullings Manjack Heights Montserrat

I work on molecular systems with pathway charts and such.-Giggles

  
Darth Robo



Posts: 148
Joined: Aug. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 15 2007,12:34   

Hark!  Can it be?  My net working @ home?  Time will tell...   :O

If so, then YAY!   :p

(ahem)

Quote
It appears that you are just so rooted in materialism that you just can not accept that there may be knowledge that can not be accessed by rational means.


Quote
You're gonna have to provide some proof



Malfunction:  Logic circuit failure!  Organic grey matter flaw detected!  

In other words:  Huh?

???

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"Commentary: How would you like to be the wholly-owned servant to an organic meatbag? It's demeaning! If, uh, you weren't one yourself, I mean..."

  
swbarnes2



Posts: 78
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 15 2007,12:42   

Quote (skeptic @ Aug. 15 2007,11:58)
It appears that you are just so rooted in materialism that you just can not accept that there may be knowledge that can not be accessed by rational means.


Knowledge about what subjects?  The tooth fairy?  Pixies?  How do you know those things are real?

How do you know that your "knowledge" isn't just making things up?

The thing about knowledge about the physical world is we all agree that rocks, DNA, cannonballs exist.  And we all agree that ballistics correctly predicts what cannonballs do.

But how do you know that the "Mind" exists?  And how do you know that your "knowledge" about the Mind is accurate?

You've been asked this over and over again.  You know you have no answer.  We all know you have no answer.  

Really, you are just embarassing yourself.

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 15 2007,12:45   

Skeptic,

Wow! *I * have to go back and learn about epistemology etc? Irony meters the world over are melting!

I would be overjoyed if there were exciting supernatural/faith based/ revelatory claims for which reason cannot suffice. Tell me what they are* because at the moment all you are doing is yet again reasserting your claims with still no support and twatting about with the usual straw men.

Tell me, oh wise Skeptic what the difference between the Mind and the mind is. Enlighten me as to why a chemically induced sensation is not the same as a "real" one.

Oh and whilst your at it, try answering a fucking direct question would you.

Louis

*Added in edit: this should be "Tell me what they are AND how you know" because otherwise Septic will merely restate his claims ever louder and ever more undeservingly patronisingly.

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Bye.

  
Erasmus, FCD



Posts: 6349
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 15 2007,12:57   

this is parallel to a conversation I am having with fundies at worldblog.  I was told that I can never have a coherent understanding of what love or other emotions are since I have, in their estimation, a materialist evilutionist atheistic Hate Of God (just kidding heddle, they didn't say that.  

I'm fairly convinced I am talking to a penguin or a porcupine over there and not a thinking person.  What do you say to this argument that is so obviously dumb that I can't fathom why any one would advance it?

*edited to fix the goddam html code

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You're obviously illiterate as hell. Peach, bro.-FtK

Finding something hard to believe based on the evidence, is science.-JoeG

the odds of getting some loathsome taint are low-- Gordon E Mullings Manjack Heights Montserrat

I work on molecular systems with pathway charts and such.-Giggles

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 15 2007,13:53   

One of the things that is amusing me greatly about Skeptic's "argument" (and I hesitate to glorify what is the dumpings of an inadequant mind as "argument") is it is the bog standard endless goalpost movement of the drivelling loon. It's a classic everyone should be aware of.

Loon: Ah but science can't cross this line!!1one!

Scientist: Umm it did centuries ago.

Loon: Ah but science can't cross THIS line!!!!one!11!

Scientist: Why on earth do you think that, we've been doing precisely that for the last decade or more.

Loon: Ah but science can NEVER cross THIS line !!!!!!!!!!1111111one !11111111!!!!!!!!1!!1!!!!!1!

Scientist: Well that line is defined by a logical fallacy why do you even expect that there is a genuine line there to be crossed? But if we examine the issue in this way I think you'll find that mdoern science has indeed crossed that line and is investigating the limits of it as we speak.

Loon: Ah but your evil materialist science can never, EVER, EVVVVEEEERRRRRRRRR with cherries on top cross THIS line!!!!!one!!!!11!1!!11111!1!1!!!!!!!!!!!!!1!!!!11!!!1!!1!1oneoneoneoneoneoneone!!!!!

Scientist: Well, it certainly is true that we haven't crossed it yet, but we're working towards it and we hope to be able to cross it in a few years. What makes you think that it is an uncrossable line?

Loon: Ah your materialist bias is so strong you cannot admit to the unknowables. I shall capitalise words and not define them, you can cross the line but never the True Line. All you want is certainty waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

Scientist: Um, no. All knowledge is provisional, we may have mentioned that before. Look calm down and have a cup of tea there's a good chap. Or even better do fuck off quietly, I have real work to do.

Louis

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Bye.

  
C.J.O'Brien



Posts: 395
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 15 2007,14:29   

Pssssst. Louis!

Don't scare him away. Supposedly he's about to openly espouse dualism. That should be good for a laugh at least.

*drums fingers*

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The is the beauty of being me- anything that any man does I can understand.
--Joe G

  
skeptic



Posts: 1163
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 15 2007,16:18   

I find it ironic that I'm taking the negative position and you the positive and yet I'm the one that proof is being demanded of.  Hmm.

Anyway, let's look at an easy one.  Love.  We can examine people who say the are in love and monitor reactions and interactions in the course of them displaying this love.  We're into a subjective realm already unless you just want to rely on a consensus but we'll proceed anyway. Now we've identified various chemicals that are involved in these reactions and maybe even presumed at their optimum levels.  Do this mean that everything we need to know about what we think we're studying, Love, can be determined by the levels of testosterone, phenylethylamine , dopamine, etc.  Does this tell us what love feels like?  Or why a mother charges into a burning building to save her child?  Or why a spouse will die of a "broken heart" following the death of their beloved?  Or why people will knowingly sacrifice themselves for family, friends, country and God? NO. NO. NO, and NO.

The true meaning of love can not be divined from reactions and chemical levels and may actually be beyond our ability to comprehend.  A reductivist analysis of love is hollow and swallow and in the end tells you nothing about Love.

Now I acknowledge that there are those out there that do not believe that things like Love, Good, Evil and the Mind actually exist.  To those people, it may all be reactions and chemical levels or human desires and firing neurons.  I say that there is so much more and those people live in a pale, colorless world without sampling the beauty around them.  I pity those people.

more soon on the dualism question,  I find it intriguing because I have to admit I've sort of taken it for granted.

  
IanBrown_101



Posts: 927
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 15 2007,16:28   

Quote (skeptic @ Aug. 15 2007,16:18)
Now I acknowledge that there are those out there that do not believe that things like Love, Good, Evil and the Mind actually exist.  To those people, it may all be reactions and chemical levels or human desires and firing neurons.  I say that there is so much more and those people live in a pale, colorless world without sampling the beauty around them.  I pity those people.

"...TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THEN  SHOW ME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY. AND YET- Death waved a hand. AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME... SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED.

Death, speaking in The Hogfather.

Why must you imply there is good and evil? Why must you imply that love is more than the reactions of the brain producing strong surges of chemicals causing people to do things for others?

Why does there have to be ANYTHING beyond what we can see, and measure?

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I'm not the fastest or the baddest or the fatest.

You NEVER seem to address the fact that the grand majority of people supporting Darwinism in these on line forums and blogs are atheists. That doesn't seem to bother you guys in the least. - FtK

Roddenberry is my God.

   
C.J.O'Brien



Posts: 395
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 15 2007,16:32   

Quote
I say that there is so much more and those people live in a pale, colorless world without sampling the beauty around them. ?I pity those people.


Good Christ skeptic!

Could you blither ANY more patronizingly?

Was there "so much more" to a thunderstorm when the average person believed there was heavy cosmic activity going on up there in the heavens to cause the brilliance of lightning and the rumble of thunder?

Pray tell, how, exactly is my awe at the spectacle of a great big storm (I grew up in the midwest --we like big storms) impoverished by my understanding of electromagnetism and meteorology?

Short form of my question: What is better about experience if you put a veil of imaginary incomprehensibility between yourself and the realities of life?

Please, let's have the dualism soon, if it's so easy.
I'm primed to deliver a good smackdown after that last bit of wooier than thou BS.

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The is the beauty of being me- anything that any man does I can understand.
--Joe G

  
Erasmus, FCD



Posts: 6349
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 15 2007,16:47   

One doesn't have to blindly take the dualist or positivist approach to this question.  

love may be analyzed via material relations and processes.  is this all love is?  you can never know.  we might discover something tomorrow we had never measured before.  so in my view this is a relatively useless position as well.

of course dualism is easily shown to be contrived as well.  no need to explicate that (i think louis' suggestion to take some E and go dancing is a great experiment).  

skeptic has shown how poor one's thinking can be when one tosses about sloppily defined words.  semantic disagreements don't get to the substance of the debate.

How about this:  "All propositions that refer to non-material entities are indistinguishable from nonsense".

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You're obviously illiterate as hell. Peach, bro.-FtK

Finding something hard to believe based on the evidence, is science.-JoeG

the odds of getting some loathsome taint are low-- Gordon E Mullings Manjack Heights Montserrat

I work on molecular systems with pathway charts and such.-Giggles

  
Gunthernacus



Posts: 235
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 15 2007,16:50   

Quote (skeptic @ Aug. 15 2007,16:18)
...love is hollow and swallow...

Catchy slogan.

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Given that we are all descended from Adam and Eve...genetic defects as a result of intra-family marriage would not begin to crop up until after the first few dozen generations. - Dr. Hugh Ross

  
argystokes



Posts: 766
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 15 2007,19:09   

Quote
Anyway, let's look at an easy one.  Love.  We can examine people who say the are in love and monitor reactions and interactions in the course of them displaying this love.  We're into a subjective realm already unless you just want to rely on a consensus but we'll proceed anyway. Now we've identified various chemicals that are involved in these reactions and maybe even presumed at their optimum levels.  Do this mean that everything we need to know about what we think we're studying, Love, can be determined by the levels of testosterone, phenylethylamine , dopamine, etc.  Does this tell us what love feels like?  Or why a mother charges into a burning building to save her child?  Or why a spouse will die of a "broken heart" following the death of their beloved?  Or why people will knowingly sacrifice themselves for family, friends, country and God? NO. NO. NO, and NO.

Bull. Give me infinite technology and take away my sense of medical ethics and I could devise experiments to test each one of those questions, and produce results indistinguishable from the "real thing." Do you really think that a "love potion" is theoretically impossible?

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"Why waste time learning, when ignorance is instantaneous?" -Calvin

  
Erasmus, FCD



Posts: 6349
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 15 2007,19:38   

Quote
argystokes Posted on Aug. 15 2007,19:09
Quote
Anyway, let's look at an easy one. ?Love. ?We can examine people who say the are in love and monitor reactions and interactions in the course of them displaying this love. ?We're into a subjective realm already unless you just want to rely on a consensus but we'll proceed anyway. Now we've identified various chemicals that are involved in these reactions and maybe even presumed at their optimum levels. ?Do this mean that everything we need to know about what we think we're studying, Love, can be determined by the levels of testosterone, phenylethylamine , dopamine, etc. ?Does this tell us what love feels like? ?Or why a mother charges into a burning building to save her child? ?Or why a spouse will die of a "broken heart" following the death of their beloved? ?Or why people will knowingly sacrifice themselves for family, friends, country and God? NO. NO. NO, and NO.

Bull. Give me infinite technology and take away my sense of medical ethics and I could devise experiments to test each one of those questions, and produce results indistinguishable from the "real thing." Do you really think that a "love potion" is theoretically impossible?


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You're obviously illiterate as hell. Peach, bro.-FtK

Finding something hard to believe based on the evidence, is science.-JoeG

the odds of getting some loathsome taint are low-- Gordon E Mullings Manjack Heights Montserrat

I work on molecular systems with pathway charts and such.-Giggles

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 16 2007,06:05   

MASSIVE LENGTH WARNING (This is not a knob joke)

Skeptic,

Preamble

First of all I am not making any positive claim, I'm merely informing you about the nature of reality (i.e. that in fact reason can be used to analyse certain phenomena that you claim on no basis it cannot) such as humans have uncovered over millenia. Your repeated shrill denials do not constitute evidence. You are making the positive claim that reason cannot examine X and faith can. That is the claim (or rather one of the claims) you have to justify. You are claiming limits on rational enquiry that don't appear to be there, you are making a claim in contradiction to the evidence we have collected as a species thus far. So yes, the burden of proof falls to you. You are also supporting a dualism based on nothing more than an appeal to ignorance, a dualism long since disproven by the evidence, so yet again the burden of proof falls to you.

My point has never been that all things have been explained already by the use of reason, but that thus far we have not encountered anything that is in principle inexplicable by reason and that we have no reason (see, one word used two different ways! Whoa, what a revelation!) to expect we will. I for one am getting exceedingly tired of your endless straw men.

_


Section 1: Dealing with stupid questions:

All that aside let's deal with what has to be the stupidest example of all time, your comments on love:

1) Behavioural. Lets make a general definition of "love" as "behaviour consistent with X" it doesn't matter what X is, it merely matters that one can describe it in a consistent manner. It doesn't even matter that the definition is not all invclusive. We can observe people behaving in a manner consistent with X and thus say that by our definition these people are exhibiting the quality we have defined as love. If we see other behaviours that we think we need to include and thus modify our definition we can make it "behaviour consistent with X and Y and/or Z" and so on. Regardless of how subjective that definition is, this is a rational process, i.e. ONE rational, reason based mechanism by which we can explore the concept of love and study it. I'll deal with your appeal to Platonic ideals such as "LOVE" exisiting in the ether later, or there being some ideal "LOVE" of which human love is a poor imitation. The point here is not that this completely explains and encompasses "love" but that it shows in principle just one method of rationally investigating and understanding it.

2) Biological ?and mechanistic concerns: Yes we know about the hormonal and other chemical influences on emotional states, including love. And despite your assertion (again with no support) that these tell us nothing about love, you are completely wrong. They tell us a lot. Even better we know that we can chemically and physically (by use of electromagnetic stimulation) manipulate the emotions. So we kow that we can cause euphoric feelings or affectionate feelings by using certain physical methods. We also know that when we test people with these methods they report that the feelings are indistinguishable from the "real" thing. Does this mean that this alone explains and encompasses all the details of a concept as poorly defined and variable as "love"? No of course not, and no one claims it does (that is another of your fucking pathetic straw men Skeptic. Stop it, you're making a mockery of what could be a sensible conversation by being a deluded little fuckwit). What it DOES show (in part along with a huge set of other data) is that our emotional states, even those which we prize most highly, are at least partly the result of our biochemical state.

Even more than that, the fact that we can physically induce emotional states in others by biochemical/physical means and that those people report identical sensations or report identical emotional experiences shows that there is some commonality of experience between people that is based on identical physical mechanisms. Another rational, reasoned way to investigate the phenomenon.

Add to that MRI studies of people in emotional states, or thinking about complex topics. Add to that investigations of people that have suffered specific brain trauma and have changed emotional abilities or mental capabilities afterwords. Add to that the known mechanism of serotonin in depression. Add to that....

Get the point? The point is not that we know everything right now, but that we have successfully interrogated the nature of the phenomena thus far on a mechanistic basis and there is no reason to suppose that there are phenomena relating to these mechanisms and yet undiscovered mechanisms that we cannot investigate.

Oh and incidentally, yes, this does in part tell us why a spouse will die of a broken heart. Excessive stress hormone production, rapid reuptake of seratonin, a dampening of endorphin production caused by sedentary behaviour after bereavement all contribute to a depressive mental sate (they are not the ONLY thing, but they are a demonstrate PART of it, there are more contributary factors I'll mention later) and all have a profound effect on the body's biochemistry (heart function is particularly affected by increased stress hormone levels for example). It is very possible to die of stress for well understood biochemical reasons (and bereavement and grief are types of biological stress). Do these explain everything there is to know about being a grieving spouse? No of course not, nor is it claimed they do, but the point is they a) do explain something and b) are a rational mechanism by which the phenomenon can be examined.

Equally, this tells us something about why (to clump your other "examples" into one) people endanger themselves for people or concepts. Again we have stress hormone overproduction, adrenaline coursing through your system etc etc etc. These biochemical changes affect the emotional and psychological state of the person. Yet again, this isn't even intended to be a complete explanation which encompasses every facet and nuance of the concept of "love" but it is (yet again) a rational and reasoned area of enquiry into the phenomenon which goes some way to explaining various behaviours.

Again, the point here is not that all this completely explains and encompasses "love" but that it shows in principle just one method of rationally investigating and understanding it. Now we have two broad methods, the behavioural and the biochemical/physical.

3) Sociological and psychological mechanistic concerns. Specific sets of behaviours can be conditioned by one's social context and one's individual psychology. Love is a good one to explore here. For example, we all know the anecdotal stories about men or women who fall in love with people who abuse them. Guess what Skeptic? The phenomenon has been investigated! Patterns of behaviour can be expected from people who themselves have suffered abuse as children. By no means are these universal, or indeed as mechanistically clear as the biochemical/physical mechanisms mentioned above, but again we have some fledgling understanding of these things by rational means. Now I am no psychologist (that much should be evident!) but even I know that one's psychological state affects one's behaviour. A depressed person will react differently to various stimuli and situations than will a non-depressed person (I mean clinical depression here, not merely a bit sad because you got Malibu Barbie for Christmas instead of Ballerina Barbie). A manic depressive (oops sorry bipolar depressive) will react perhaps differently, a schizophrenic another way and so on and so forth. Again the point is not that all of love is encpmpassed by these investigations, but that an understanding of psychology can allow us to understand the phenomenon of "love" in some ways.

Sociological concerns are another mechanism. Different societies express "love" differently (incidentally they have the same biochemical/physical basis, part of the studies mentioned above was to test people from different races/cultures). There are striking similarities (more on this later). In some societies physical contact between men and women who are not married (even to the extent of hugging someone who is crying) is a massive taboo. I would think nothing of comforting a crying, dearly loved female friend by giving them a hug and my wife would have no problem with it either (she would behave the same way and also think I was doing the "right thing"). Her mother though would see it as extremely rude of me to express my love for my friend this way. The point here is that the manner of expression of an emotional state is not merely governed by one's biochemisty but also by one's social context and one's psychological state. We can investigate "love" on these bases. The behavioural aspects mentioned above can be corrected for social context and expression of love can be investigated in different societies to see if there are commonalities (and indeed there are).

We can research the literature and art of different people and societies and see if expressions of "love" in words and art have commonalities (and they do, despite their equally fascinating differences). There are a plethora of things to investigate on this basis.

Again, the point here is not that all this completely explains and encompasses "love" but that it shows in principle just another pair of methods of rationally investigating and understanding it. Now we have four broad methods, the behavioural, the biochemical/physical, the psychological and the sociological.

4) Evolutionary mechanisms. Can we understand "love" from the persepctive of evolution? Can we explain the commonalities of behaviour we observe across cultures, even across species, by an understanding of whether these things confer an adaptive benefit, or whether they are legacies of other evolved things (which evolved for a previous adaptive reason and are now defunct), or whether they are simply byproducts of other evolved things etc etc. In the case of one aspect of love "altruism", it turns out we can. Rather than go into a lengthy explanation of the whole thing here (for my intention is not to prove we have all the answers, merely that these phenomena are understandable by rational means in principle) I'll merely mention a few key elements: kin selection, the adaptive behaviour of organisms to favour those other organisms closely related to them has been demonstrated by ethologists (and anthropologists) studying animal (and human) behaviour. In addition, it's been demonstrated very clearly to be effective by the use of game theory. Game theory has also been very useful in determining successful evolutionary strategies such as "the golden rule" and reciprocation and social altruism. Apparently altruistic behaviours can be also understood in less flattering "selfish" terms, asking such questions a "who benefits" when approaching (for example) herding behaviours etc.

Again, the point here is not that all this completely explains and encompasses "love" but that it shows in principle just one method of rationally investigating and understanding it. Now we have five broad methods, the behavioural, the biochemical/physical, the psychological, the sociological. and the evolutionary.

I'll stop there, there are others!

Again Skeptic, and I am going to keep hammering this home in spite of your repeated straw men and utter avoidance of the point: no one claims that all these fields and all the work done to date have all the answers or a perfect answer. What IS being claimed is that we can rationally investigate the phenomenon of "love" (for example) and come to some understanding of it. That that understanding is at the present moment imperfect, or that some aspects of what we understand are wrong (as undoubtedly some of them are) is not an argument against what I am saying. For the umpteenth time, I am not saying we have the 100% perfect certain answer to all questions everywhere, just that we have an excellent method of investigating phenomena which not only has never let us down (i.e. failed to successfully investigate the phenomenon in question) but has yet to encounter a phenomenon it cannot be applied to the investigation of. That's a very powerful method! (And incidentally a claim so different from the straw man you make of what I am saying that you keep touting as to be laughable!).

So sorry Skeptic, but the answer to your questions:

?
Quote
Does this tell us what love feels like? ?Or why a mother charges into a burning building to save her child? ?Or why a spouse will die of a "broken heart" following the death of their beloved? ?Or why people will knowingly sacrifice themselves for family, friends, country and God?


Are actually: Yes partially up to the limits of what is in fact knowable, yes partially but actually that's quite a big part. yes partially but this is also quite a big part, and yes partially although this does get a bit vague in places, we are working on it however.

Before I move on to the next section, I'll give you two quotes from my favourite physicist:

?
Quote
Science is a way to teach how something gets to be known, what is not known, to what extent things are known (for nothing is known absolutely), how to handle doubt and uncertainty, what the rules of evidence are, how to think about things so that judgements can be made, how to distinguish truth from fraud, and from show


?
Quote
You see, one thing is, I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than it is to have answers which might be wrong. I have approximate answers and possible beliefs and different degrees of certainty about different things, but I'm not absolutely sure of anything and there are many things I don't know anything about, such as whether it means anything to ask why we're here....

I don't have to know an answer. I don't feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in a mysterious universe without any purpose, which is the way it really is as far as I can tell. It doesn't frighten me.


R P Feynman.

_

Section 2: Dealing with stupid claims:

Claim 1: ""True" love, or how love "truly" feels, or what love "truly" means cannot be understood by rational methods."

Well, first and foremost this is a logical fallacy (No True Scotsman, look it up), a special case of goal post shifting. When I advance any rational understanding of love, you insert the word "true" in there to move the goalposts beyond reach. So sorry Skeptic but no dice.

Secondly, this is in fact totally untrue. The simple fact that by a variety of rational means we can explore not merely any aspect of the phenomenon "love" we choose to, but that we can (drum roll, this is important) explore the common elements of "love" expressed by different people (and even different species, but let's not complicate things yet, you're having enough trouble with reading for comprehension and forming a coherent argument) shows that there is an avenue available for the exploration of what love "feels" like and what love "means". That self same set of commonalities is a shining beacon of a clue. We can understand what love means by questioning people, by investigating expressions of love etc etc etc ad nauseum and thus we can come to some understanding of what it "feels" like to feel love or what love "means" to an individual. These might be imperfect methods (and they are, but remember there are also more refined methods that we can use, see above) but they are entirely rational and reason based modes for exploring the "feeling" and "meaning" of love.

Thirdly, as I mentioned before:

?
Quote
The fact that I cannot demonstrate if it is "true" love or not is a) logially fallacious (no true scotsman) and b) irrelevant in exactly the same way that "is the colour purple you see the same as the colour purple I see" is. We can demonstrate the brain responds the same way to the same frequencies of radiation in the brains of different people, both of whom refer to that stimulus as seeing the colour purple. That is as close as it is possible to get to anything approaching certainty. Certainty is itself unreachable.


This is a point about the limits of observation, in fact the very limits of what we can know by any means. If you and I both look at a purple object, I have no knowledge that the "purple" you see in your brain is the same "purple" I see in mine. It is forever unknowable by any means, appeals to faith or revelation cannot help you and it is beyond the ability of any mechanism of acquiring knowledge to ascertain. However, I can know that we are looking at an identical object, I can know that the frequencies of radiation absorbed and reflected by it are identical for you and for me, I can know that your sensory cells in your eyes respond identically to mine and that the areas of your brain that are stimulated are exactly the same as the areas in mine and that that stimulation takes the same form, I can know that a shared cultural and social and linguistic heritage allows us to describe the same frequency of reflected raditiation as being called "purple", I can know that our shared evolutionary heritage means that we are so close to being biologically identical that the likelihood of our identical reactions to an identical stimulus means that the experience we have is very likely to be identical. And so on and so forth. That's a HELL of a lot I DO know.

I can use this commonality to exchange information with you usefully, if I ask you to select the purple ball from the set of coloured balls I have with me, you can pick the purple one out. If I am an airport security guy monitoring the cameras and I say to you (another airport security guy) "get the guy in the purple jacket" I can rely on the commonality of our experience and knowledge to know that you will go for the right guy. Again, and so on and so forth. This is also a HELL of a lot of stuff to know.

In what meaningful sense of the word "knowledge" is the possibility that what you see as purple I might see as green despite our identical reactions is "knowledge"? Answer: it isn't. It's a linguistic trick. We can explore the commonalities of our experience to degrees of accuracy that put uncertainty into the fractions of fractions of a percent (remember 100% certainty is unacheivable). What significant doubt is there about the purple you see being identical to the purple I see? Answer: None.

The self same thing applies to more complex phenomena like love. We can define it, we can explore it, we can understand it by a variety of rational means. We can also explore the commonalities of experience expressed by different people when they say they feel "love". Is it as accurately determined as the above example with "purple"? No of course it isn't, it's first and foremost a far broader concept with a far more complex physical and social and psychological sets of phenomena underpinning it, it shouldn't be expected to be as easy to deal with as "purple", but this is a quantitative difference not a qualitative one.

Yet again, the point is that (your goalpost shifting dishonest bullshit aside) one can explore the concept, the phenomenon by the use of reason. Does this mean all the answers are in and perfect, lined up like ducks for the shooting? Nope, but then it never did.

Claim 2: "Reductionist understanding of "love"etc is hollow (I take this to indicate meaningless, emotionally unsatisfying). People who do not believe that "Love" etc exist as some form of abstract entities outside of their human context live in a pale, colourless world and miss the beauty around them and are thus deserving of pity"

My first thought was: Well fuck me! Aren't you a undeservingly patronising, sub intellectually normal cunt? Actually Skeptic, when it comes to you, that is rapidly becoming ym abiding thought, but nonetheless I shall continue to cast pearls before swine in the hope that you wake the fuck up and stop being such a contemptible, drivelling little moron. (See, we can all be nasty and abusive, and boy, I am far, FAR better at it than you so don't bother).

My second thought was: this is coming from a supposedly qualified scientist? Where did he get his education? From the back of a cereal box? He better hand those degrees he claims to have back to the diploma mill he got them from, because they ain't worth the paper they are printed on.

My third thoughts were vastly more constructive and useful!

This claim essentially boils down to the exact same claim made by the Romantic poets, the best example of which I think is probably Lamia by Keats. The important lines are:

?
Quote
What wreath for Lamia? What for Lycius?
What for the sage, old Apollonius?
Upon her aching forehead be there hung
The leaves of willow and of adder?s tongue;
And for the youth, quick, let us strip for him
The thyrsus, that his watching eyes may swim
Into forgetfulness; and, for the sage,
Let spear-grass and the spiteful thistle wage
War on his temples. Do not all charms fly
At the mere touch of cold philosophy?
There was an awful rainbow once in heaven:
We know her woof, her texture; she is given
In the dull catalogue of common things.
Philosophy will clip an Angel?s wings,
Conquer all mysteries by rule and line,
Empty the haunted air, and gnomed mine?-
Unweave a rainbow, as it erewhile made
The tender-person?d Lamia melt into a shade.


There of course is also Blake's Auguries of Innocence the key passages of which are:

?
Quote
He who mocks the infant's faith
Shall be mock'd in age and death.
He who shall teach the child to doubt
The rotting grave shall ne'er get out.

He who respects the infant's faith
Triumphs over hell and death.
The child's toys and the old man's reasons
Are the fruits of the two seasons.

The questioner, who sits so sly,
Shall never know how to reply.
He who replies to words of doubt
Doth put the light of knowledge out.


However, I prefer the start of the poem which I will come to later (as well as some of the other sentiments) and I strongly disagree that doubt is bad or harmful Sorry Blake!

The basic claim is that understanding reduces mystery and thereby beauty and passion and love and all those good things. Let's simplify it to "Understanding is anathema to appreciation of beauty" for that is not only the essence of the claim but the answer to it is easily translatable to the other aspects of it.

I have to say that this claim has always staggered me. I have always been thoroughly amazed that anyone could think this is the case, or that for example science is merely the passionless recitation of equations or facts or data.

How is the beauty of the rainbow destroyed by understanding that it is due to light being refracted by droplets of water? How is my love for my wife in any way diminished by the fact that I know it has a biochemical basis? How does understanding something reduce appreciation of its beauty at a superficial level?

The simple answer is it doesn't. The even better answer is understanding opens up greater opportunity to appreciate beauty.

I defy anyone who understands them to not appreciate the beauty of (to name a few examples): the mathematical formulation of quantum electrodynamics, the kinship of all living organisms as is clearly demonstrated by evolutionary biology, the elegance of Patrick Harran's synthesis of Diazonamide A (to name things that have been on my mind this week!). The elegance of the Kreb's cycle, the intermeshings of metabolism that give rise to maitotoxin and other polyketide natural products. All wonderfully complex and detailed bits of science, all extremely beautiful.

Take a phenomenon with which I am familiar: red tides. Red tides are (simply put) algal blooms. They turn coastal woaters a red colour (or sometimes brown etc) and can be quite striking.



Is such a phenomenon made less beautiful by the fact I know it is caused by algal blooms? Is it made less beautiful by the fact that I know that it is responsible for all manner of harmful sea food poisoning such as ciguatera? Is it made less beautiful by the fact that I know that, for example, the dinoflagellates responsible for red tides and sea food poisoning are organisms like Gambierdiscus toxicus



and Karenia brevis



Is it made less beautiful by the fact that I know that among many of the toxic agents made by these dinoflagellates are Brevetoxin A



and Maitotoxin?



Is it made less beautiful that I know that some of the spectroscopic data for Maitotoxin looks like this:



and that I know how to interpret it?

The answer, of course, is no. Understanding increases one's opportunity to experience beauty and wonder. The awe I feel for the natural world increases because I understand it better every day. DOes this mean I shall acheive some perfect total understanding nirvana of purest ecstasy? No. Nor do I even desire to. Like Feynman I am content to live in doubt, and to struggle to understand as best I can. I don't need to have false certainties and appeals to mystery to find things beautiful or meaningful or worthy. The joy of understanding and the beauty contained in the intricate, quite reductionist, details of nature are more than sufficient for any needs I could have.

I can, could and probably WILL go on!

"But what of love?", I hear Skeptic whine. Surely love, eros and philos, passion, expression, torment, divine, sublime, emotional, irrational love cannot be understood and kept beautiful? Two words: Bull and shit.

As I said before, what the hell does understanding the modes of expression I use for love, the biochemical mechanisms my love is based on, the social and psychological conditions that in part dictate what, who and even how I love take away from my feeling of love? How does understanding that (for example) increased serotonin levels within my brain make me feel an elated love, or that endorphins not only assuage pain and give one a euphoric feeling that is also associated with love (and incidentally quite vigourous sex!). Answer: it doesn't.

So yet again, Skeptic, you raise a straw man. That understanding cripples beauty. That by understanding love it is somehow destroyed. It doesn't and it isn't.

The first lines of Blake's poem are, incidentally:

?
Quote
To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.


That (rather ironically considering Blake's later line, in my opinion) expresses precisely the sort of wonder one gets from understanding.

If you complain that the understanding we gain from rational enquiry into love fails to encapsulate its every nuance, then I am sorry but I disagree. As stated above, actually as DEMONSTRATED CONCLUSIVELY above, the meaningful aspects of love that can be encapsulated at all can be ONLY be understood by reasoned enquiry. Their explanation or "reduction" (to use your horrible, lying, vile and twisted, little term) does nothing to destroy them, in fact it makes them more beautiful.

_

Section 3: Dealing with stupid people:

Well Skeptic, what a nice time I've had playing with your infantile drivel. However, all this is really a moot point, we knew it all already, What we don't yet have is anything other than whiny, shrill, unsupported bullshit from you. It's all well and good for you to ask me questions, but the problem you have, sweetie, is that I can answer, do answer and have answered them. I know a total fuckwit like you will not be able to wrap your pathetic little mind around the concept, but I'll try to ram it home anyway: even if everything I have said is untrue, utterly false and completely wrong, how does it in any way constitute proof of, or evidence for, your claims?

Answer: It doesn't.

You have yet to a) answer the questions you need to answer to prove your claims, b) provide even the merest shred of evidence to support them, and c) (even better than all the rest) you haven't shown how faith and revelation can even begin to answer the questions you yourself claim are not open to reason.

If reason fails, on what basis can or do you claim, that faith and revelation are sufficient to take over the task?

Answer: None. You have no basis. Not only is your claim false, but it is also fallacious, a total non-sequitur.

By the way, I find it hilarious that you are doing exactly what I described above in the Kook Line Drawing post above, even AFTER I identified it publicly. Goal post shifting and shrill restatements of your original claims, STILL WITH NO CORROBORATION I note, do not constitute an argument, Skeptic. I wonder when you are going to make one that I didn't deal with in the first post.

{Golf Clap}

So well done, no really, I'm impressed. Even I didn't expect you to be this incompetant. I'm going to be interested to see if you raise your infantile and utterly laughable straw men AGAIN without answering the questions about your claims. Which incidentally are:

?
Quote
1) How does one distinguish between two faith based claims?

2) Demonstrate that faith/revelation provide knowledge about the universe. I.e. that they are valid mechanisms of acquiring knowledge, be it physical or "spiritual" (whatever that means, we'd need a definition, and some evidence it even exists, because saying that reason cannot examine love [for example] is merely yet another reassertion of the original claim).

3) Demonstrate that reason etc cannot penetrate the areas you claim faith/revelation can, because at the moment all of your examples have been either i) mere reassertions of your original point or ii) derived solely from your personal ignorance of the topics at hand.

4) Demonstrate that questions such as "what is the meaning of life?" are valid questions, and that faith/revelation can answer them.


And remember all of that has to be accomplished WITHOUT recourse to reason, evidence observation, logic and rational thought. Otherwise you prove my point for me. Good luck. Again. Do you think you could demonstrate a modicum of intellectual honesty and, ohhhhh I don't know, actually answer the fucking questions?

Louis

Oh and P.S. Just FY(everybody's)I, I am stuck at home today waiting for a plumber to come and clear the drain of shit. The joy of living in a Victorian property I have discovered is that the drains block because the sewer access is shared by several houses. The entire place reeks of shite, and so I thought that if some poor sod was going to come and wade through shit so I can do the washing up, the least I could do whilst waiting for him was wade through the asinine bafflegab shite of the terminally confused Skeptic, and thus gain some empathetic sense of solidarity. Right, so that's two hours killed!

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Bye.

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 16 2007,06:14   

Oh and I know that Skeptic meant that a reductionist understanding of love is hollow and shallow (not swallow), so people, I reckon we have ourselves another Piranha moment!

Well done Skeptic, both incompetant at argumentation AND simple English......oh all right, considering the MASSIVE number of stupid typos I make, I'll forgive you the English bit.

Anyway, love is hollow and swallow? HELLZ YEAH! Hollow and swallow? Cheap, dirty, round the back of the nightclub in the alley type love? All good. But use protection children. And remember: nice girls don't like Dirty Sanchez on a first date.*

Louis

*Or actually any date I would imagine, what a revolting concept.

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Bye.

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2780
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 16 2007,08:03   

Louis,

Well done and quite thorough!  An excellent way to wait out a plumbing disaster.

I think you hit on something in that post that truly distinguishes science (and perhaps scientists) from the rest. Feynman articulates it quite well. "I don't have to know an answer." Sure, answers are nice, and even nicer when you discover them yourself, but if you don't have one (or many), it's still OK. Every practicing scientist understands that, but it seems to be baffling to lots of folks, who don't understand how anyone can live that way.

I honestly think that some folks absolutely cannot fathom that possibility; to them it is as alien as Neptune's rings. So they auto-generate answers like DaveScot, or pretend that some ancient text provides the answers like FtK, or imagine (like Skeptic) that some other "way of knowing" will give them all the answers. They are incapable of living with uncertainty, and I think it is hard-wired. You really will never reach them, because for them to think like you, they will have to be re-wired to understand that living and working on the edge of knowledge can be even more fun than looking up the answers in a book.

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 16 2007,08:55   

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Aug. 16 2007,14:03)
Louis,

Well done and quite thorough! ?An excellent way to wait out a plumbing disaster.

I think you hit on something in that post that truly distinguishes science (and perhaps scientists) from the rest. Feynman articulates it quite well. "I don't have to know an answer." Sure, answers are nice, and even nicer when you discover them yourself, but if you don't have one (or many), it's still OK. Every practicing scientist understands that, but it seems to be baffling to lots of folks, who don't understand how anyone can live that way.

I honestly think that some folks absolutely cannot fathom that possibility; to them it is as alien as Neptune's rings. So they auto-generate answers like DaveScot, or pretend that some ancient text provides the answers like FtK, or imagine (like Skeptic) that some other "way of knowing" will give them all the answers. They are incapable of living with uncertainty, and I think it is hard-wired. You really will never reach them, because for them to think like you, they will have to be re-wired to understand that living and working on the edge of knowledge can be even more fun than looking up the answers in a book.

Alabatrossity2,

I'm not so sure it is a wiring or immutable thing. Mind you, I will freely admit that this varies depending on the day of the week and who/what I have recently encountered! Perhaps I try to keep myself sane by being a "glass half full"  about the prospects of other people's ability to reason. Perhaps, the attempts have failed, who knows!

Perhaps where I go wrong is, despite the evidence sometimes, I really do think people think like me. By which I mean they use the same sorts of processes, not that they agree with my every word or have the same abilities (or lack thereof) and ideas that I do. This idea has a vague biological basis: we're the same species after all, if they are of the opposite sex it is likely we could breed successfully etc, i.e. we are sufficiently similar that the balance of probability is that we do think alike in many respects.

Add to that the fact that I see people making perfectly rational decisions and choices given their circumstances, I find it hard to believe (for it would be a belief) that they think so staggeringly differently from me. I'll say something some people might think is shocking as an example. Perhaps I think it's shocking because I am an out and out atheist of the fully nasty, very intolerant, very radical type, I make no secret of it and thus I come across the usual straw men. The shocking thing is this: Being religious is a rational choice in modern Western (particularly USAian) society. That's right, you heard me, I think it's a perfectly rational decision to either be religious or to profess one's religiosity in the modern USA (less so in other Western nations, but it still carries a certain social currency).

I think it's a rational decision because your average USAian is so deeply immersed in an incredibly religious society it takes an enormous amount of either effort or simple affrontery to not only realise but admit one is not religious. (Incidentally, if any cretinous Yank godder* is currently patting themselves on the back, just remember I think the same thing about Iran for exactly the same reasons) There are negative social consequences to coming out as an atheist in modern America. Yes, this is less the case now than in days past, and yes this is less the case in some areas than others. But the point still stands that most people are brought up in most nations (esp USA etc) across the globe with a decidedly superstitious bent to their thinking, be it religious or "spiritual" (whatever THAT term means) or what have you. Magical thinking is a highly common set of memes.

Add to that the bog standard stuff about humans being pattern recognising geniuses/agency obssessives and false positives, and BLAM, you have a huge set of very good reasons why standing out from the relgious/magical thinking crowd is not an easy decision to come to. Far better to stay with the herd and hope nothing picks you off from the edges.

I don't mean this in a derogatory sense because to varying extents in varying ways we all do this, we are all socialised in many fashions. No man, after all, is an island. Hawaii is an island, Sean Connery is a man. I would hope by now that people had learned to tell the difference. Well unless he is a very, very big man....but anyway.

I see people buying second hand cars, very few of whom look to the skies instead of kicking the tyres or checking the car's history etc. People then drive those cars by using the brake and accelerator and gears, not by chanting and performing an interpretive driving dance (involving much use of the middle finger of each hand) designed to appease Phukkyew, the God of Driving. My stark staringly obivous point is that people use reason every day in every way. They have merely been conditioned into thinking it doesn't apply elsewhere.

Like you say that conditioning can be linked to other things like emotive beliefs and fears etc, but I don't see it as an unbreakable thing. Perhaps I am vastly too optimistic!

Oh well, another 20 minutes killed! Back to my stack of journals.

Louis

*This category is a subset of all three sets: cretins, Yanks and godders. It is specifically the subset where all three sets intersect. Thus, for the hard of thought: not all cretins are Yanks, not all Yanks are godders and not all godders are cretins. Yay verily, though some of them do try very hard to give the impression that the Venn diagram I have just drawn is actually a series of perfectly overlapping, concentric circles. This is a standard disclaimer, not aimed at anyone in particular.

And yes I am still waiting for a plumber. He better hurry up he has 3 hours before I go to the gym, and I REALLY cannot afford to miss the gym.

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Bye.

  
k.e



Posts: 1948
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 16 2007,09:31   

Love=Hollow and swallow ?....looks like a Fruedian slip by someone not getting enough of either.

However, that reminds me of a throw away anecdote by

Vilayanur S. Ramachandran
at his Reith Lectures 2003 The Emerging Mind . He is not only a fine thinker but a great raconteur and he deals with dualism thusly.

 
Quote
A young male medical student goes home to his girlfriend and says sadly "I learned today that love is just a bunch of neurons firing in our brains" and she says "See! I told it was real"


HEY HOMOS, ID ISN'T DUALISM IT'S TRI-ALISM, I ACCUSE, JUDGE AND SENTENCE YOU IN DEMBSKI'S UD COURTHOUSE. -dt

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The conservative has but little to fear from the man whose reason is the servant of his passions, but let him beware of him in whom reason has become the greatest and most terrible of the passions.These are the wreckers of outworn empires and civilisations, doubters, disintegrators, deicides.Haldane

   
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2780
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 16 2007,10:47   

Louis,

But there is a big difference between the ability to make rational decisions (i.e., kick the tires/tyres rather than pray to a skydaddy when buying a car) and the ability to be comfortable with the unknown. The former is a reasonable expectation; the latter seems substantially more uncommon in the general populace. It is not at all linked to the "ability to reason", but is a psychological state similar to being afraid of snakes, or heights, or clowns. The latter is what what I was referring to as "hard-wired".

You probably encounter those who are comfortable on the edge of knowledge and peering over that edge quite often; the proportion of such folks tends to be higher among hard science types compared to the general populace.

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 16 2007,11:02   

Albatrossity2,

Very good point, I didn't think of that. Damn, too optimistic again!

Speaking of being afraid of clowns and hard science (fiction)...no let's not. Why do I want cheesy poofs?

Louis

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Bye.

  
Occam's Toothbrush



Posts: 555
Joined: April 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 16 2007,11:08   

Quote
We can examine people who say the are in love and monitor reactions and interactions in the course of them displaying this love. We're into a subjective realm already unless you just want to rely on a consensus but we'll proceed anyway. Now we've identified various chemicals that are involved in these reactions and maybe even presumed at their optimum levels. Do this mean that everything we need to know about what we think we're studying, Love, can be determined by the levels of testosterone, phenylethylamine , dopamine, etc. Does this tell us what love feels like? Or why a mother charges into a burning building to save her child? Or why a spouse will die of a "broken heart" following the death of their beloved? Or why people will knowingly sacrifice themselves for family, friends, country and God? NO. NO. NO, and NO.

Does the current lack of a comprehensive "materialistic" explanation for each one of these phenomena provide the slightest shadow of a scintilla of a hint of a suggestion of the tiniest, most microscopic little piece of evidence that there's anything non-materialistic behind them? NO. NO. NO. NO, NO, NO, and uh-uh.

Please, let us know as soon as you find some of this non-materialistic evidence. Or when you can suggest what evidence might eventually be found. Or how we might find it. Even hypothetically. Please. Otherwise and until then, you're just talking out your ass and spouting the same arguments from ignorance/false dichotomies as the stupID IDiots. As usual.

Meanwhile science marches on, providing more and more (admittedly provisional and incomplete) explanations of those same phenomena your woo tells us utterly, absolutely NOTHING useful about. Believe whatever you want, but arguing with smarter people (I'm not including myself in this group) who know more about the subject just makes you look stupid. er.

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"Molecular stuff seems to me not to be biology as much as it is a more atomic element of life" --Creo nut Robert Byers
------
"You need your arrogant ass kicked, and I would LOVE to be the guy who does it. Where do you live?" --Anger Management Problem Concern Troll "Kris"

  
skeptic



Posts: 1163
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 16 2007,11:12   

Quote
First of all I am not making any positive claim, I'm merely informing you about the nature of reality (i.e. that in fact reason can be used to analyse certain phenomena that you claim on no basis it cannot) such as humans have uncovered over millenia. Your repeated shrill denials do not constitute evidence. You are making the positive claim that reason cannot examine X and faith can. That is the claim (or rather one of the claims) you have to justify. You are claiming limits on rational enquiry that don't appear to be there, you are making a claim in contradiction to the evidence we have collected as a species thus far. So yes, the burden of proof falls to you. You are also supporting a dualism based on nothing more than an appeal to ignorance, a dualism long since disproven by the evidence, so yet again the burden of proof falls to you.


You have not demonstrated that this evidence exists just your continued sayso.  I'll get back after I read your "book,"  just wanted to point that out real quick.

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 16 2007,11:14   

ALL IMPORTANT PLUMBER UPDATE

Not only has he now arrived but I wish to defeat a creationist claim whilst he is here. I have seen it said by creationists that we humans are not related to monkeys because they throw shit around and play with it on the floor etc. If the creationists could see what this plumber is doing.....

Thank you.

Louis

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Bye.

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 16 2007,11:16   

Quote (skeptic @ Aug. 16 2007,17:12)
Quote
First of all I am not making any positive claim, I'm merely informing you about the nature of reality (i.e. that in fact reason can be used to analyse certain phenomena that you claim on no basis it cannot) such as humans have uncovered over millenia. Your repeated shrill denials do not constitute evidence. You are making the positive claim that reason cannot examine X and faith can. That is the claim (or rather one of the claims) you have to justify. You are claiming limits on rational enquiry that don't appear to be there, you are making a claim in contradiction to the evidence we have collected as a species thus far. So yes, the burden of proof falls to you. You are also supporting a dualism based on nothing more than an appeal to ignorance, a dualism long since disproven by the evidence, so yet again the burden of proof falls to you.


You have not demonstrated that this evidence exists just your continued sayso. ?I'll get back after I read your "book," ?just wanted to point that out real quick.

{Slaps forehead}

Fuck me, you're a stupid bastard Skeptic.

Louis

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don_quixote



Posts: 110
Joined: Aug. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 16 2007,11:20   

Great thread Louis!

Skeptic, I couldn't let this one go by:
Quote
Do this mean that everything we need to know about what we think we're studying, Love, can be determined by the levels of testosterone, phenylethylamine , dopamine, etc. ?Does this tell us ... why a spouse will die of a "broken heart" following the death of their beloved?

That would be Takotsubo cardiomyopathy. :)

  
Occam's Toothbrush



Posts: 555
Joined: April 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 16 2007,11:22   

Quote (Louis @ Aug. 16 2007,11:16)
?
Quote (skeptic @ Aug. 16 2007,17:12)
?
Quote
First of all I am not making any positive claim, I'm merely informing you about the nature of reality (i.e. that in fact reason can be used to analyse certain phenomena that you claim on no basis it cannot) such as humans have uncovered over millenia. Your repeated shrill denials do not constitute evidence. You are making the positive claim that reason cannot examine X and faith can. That is the claim (or rather one of the claims) you have to justify. You are claiming limits on rational enquiry that don't appear to be there, you are making a claim in contradiction to the evidence we have collected as a species thus far. So yes, the burden of proof falls to you. You are also supporting a dualism based on nothing more than an appeal to ignorance, a dualism long since disproven by the evidence, so yet again the burden of proof falls to you.


You have not demonstrated that this evidence exists just your continued sayso. I'll get back after I read your "book," just wanted to point that out real quick.

{Slaps forehead}

Fuck me, you're a stupid bastard Skeptic.

Louis

Professor Feynman, er, I mean Louis, can you prove that there isn't any non-materialistic evidence that Skeptic isn't a stupid bastard? NO. NO. NO, NO and NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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"Molecular stuff seems to me not to be biology as much as it is a more atomic element of life" --Creo nut Robert Byers
------
"You need your arrogant ass kicked, and I would LOVE to be the guy who does it. Where do you live?" --Anger Management Problem Concern Troll "Kris"

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 16 2007,12:30   

Quote (Occam's Toothbrush @ Aug. 16 2007,17:22)
Professor Feynman, er, I mean Louis, can you prove that there isn't any non-materialistic evidence that Skeptic isn't a stupid bastard? NO. NO. NO, NO and NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok I know you're being funny but never call me "Feynman" again or refer to me favourably with regards to that genius. I am unworthy to lick the soles of his long dead shoes. As far as I have heros that man is the paramount one amongst them, save one other.

But seriously (for you know the above is humourously meant, although most of it are true) of course I can prove that there isn't any non materialistic evidence that Skeptic isn't a stupid bastard, I shall now do so:

Here isn't the evidence.

Quod erat demonstratum*

Louis

*Or as some genius coined when dealing with AFDave at the RDF "Quod erat davenstratum" for when Dave thought he had proven something he hadn't. Personally I preferred my complimentary term "Embiblical Davidence", but it was not taken up with as much fervour, and thus, died a sad and lonely death. There's no accounting for taste. We now have to come up with a term for Skeptic. I can't think of any off hand except forthe fact that I am writing a book called "Skeptic Potter and the Red Shifting Goalposts". YES, YES, YES, YES, NO, YES and YES! Well I'm spent, cigarette?

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Bye.

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 16 2007,12:33   

Quote (don_quixote @ Aug. 16 2007,17:20)
Great thread Louis!

Skeptic, I couldn't let this one go by:
Quote
Do this mean that everything we need to know about what we think we're studying, Love, can be determined by the levels of testosterone, phenylethylamine , dopamine, etc. ?Does this tell us ... why a spouse will die of a "broken heart" following the death of their beloved?

That would be Takotsubo cardiomyopathy. :)

Thanks on two counts, but most especially for that titbit of information. I didn't know that's what the condition was called.

Louis

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Bye.

  
Henry J



Posts: 5117
Joined: Mar. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 16 2007,12:41   

Quote
of course I can prove that there isn't any non materialistic evidence that Skeptic isn't a stupid bastard, I shall now do so:


What's the marital status of his parents got to do with it? ;)

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 16 2007,12:54   

Quote (Henry J @ Aug. 16 2007,18:41)
Quote
of course I can prove that there isn't any non materialistic evidence that Skeptic isn't a stupid bastard, I shall now do so:


What's the marital status of his parents got to do with it? ;)

I refer the honourable gentleman to a book called "The Meaning of Liff" by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd.

See entry for "Gastard"

Gastard (n.):
USeful specially new-coined word for an illegitimate child (in order to distinguish it from someone who merely carves you up on the motorway, etc.)

The language has moved on. ;)

Louis

P.S. COMEDY PLUMBER UPDATE

The plumber has just sucked air over his teeth and made some feeble excuse about needing some piece of kit and he'll be back on Monday. The plumber has just come within in an inch of having his head kicked in. Happily I managed to avoid this by delicately informing the plumber that the piece of kit he needs is in his van (it is actually, he was making an obvious excuse to get home in time for Eastenders, he's part of a franchise company who I happen to know keep this kit in their vans. Knowledge is power!;). The plumber is now fixing my drains. I shall go and keep an eye on the comedy individual and offer him a cup of tea. Granted I should be nice because he can fuck up my drains, but he doesn't know what I can put in his tea so I reckon we're even. Today is not a good day to mess with me I am thinking. ;)

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Bye.

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 20 2007,10:24   

So to sum up thus far, we've had no evidence for dualism or his initial claims from Skeptic. No actual arguments only increasingly shrill restatements of the initial claims from Skeptic. And of course the usual straw men and attempts to shift either the goalposts or the burden of proof by Skeptic.

Well I'm bored. Anyone for a game of poker?

Louis

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Bye.

  
skeptic



Posts: 1163
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 20 2007,16:32   

Sorry Louis, been a bit busy the last couple of days.  Actually, somewhere in the middle of your dissertation I started laughing and just couldn't get back into it.  I wasn't laughing at you but at myself and what really precipitated it was Alba's question.  I'll try to explain.

To recap, the initial discussion referenced the rift between science and religion but I'm going to alter that description slightly.  It is not a rift it is a chasm and I think we've proved that over the last 5 pages.

Alba asked me to prove that the Mind existed and you, in effect, were asking me the same thing for any of the non-physical universal ideals or concepts.  I fell victim to the temptation and contradicted myself by busily applying myself to the task at hand.  The problem was the question of the Mind was something I couldn't even prove to myself because it isn't independent of Me.  Nice little trap I put myself in but finally your post brought it home and I couldn't help but feel alittle silly.

I believe in God and so by definition I believe in concepts or existence beyond the physically measurable universe.  Things like Love, Beauty, Good, Evil, Hope, etc are all real things for me because I have experienced them and accept them as transcendent.  The Mind, I can only infer because, to me, the others exist and so the Mind can exist and I believe I am a unique being so I take a leap of faith on that one.  What I'm saying is I believe in these things and accept them to be real even though I can provide no evidence that they exist.

You do not believe in God and whether by cause or effect you do not accept the existence of anything beyond physical (or potentially) measurement.  These things, ideas, concepts, etc have no meaning for you beyond what can be measured and defined either by science or consensus.   Here comes the chasm.  I can not accept your definition of  physical reality because I've already experienced things beyond that simplistic framework.  By the same token, you can not accept my view until and if you actually experience these things as transcendental ideals.  You are more than happy to jump into the science of lust and attraction but that's all love will ever be for you unless you recognize and experience Love.  The same goes for all of these example including God.

This is why there can be no conflict between science and religion.  I can not reveal religion and faith to you because I can not prove them to you in the way that you require.  Nor can you disabuse me of my beliefs because to do so would require me to deny that which I already know.  We are at an impasse and it is one that science and religion have forever been at.  Regardless of the progress of human knowledge, the width of this chasm will never shorten.  The comforting thought for me after browsing through the library today is we are not alone.  Many more before us have made the mistake that I did and it will continue to be made long after me.  Truth be told, I'm not so sure that I won't make the same mistake again but I'll chalk that up to my human failings and move on.

  
IanBrown_101



Posts: 927
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 20 2007,16:46   

Quote (skeptic @ Aug. 20 2007,16:32)
Here comes the chasm.  I can not accept your definition of physical reality because I've already experienced things beyond that simplistic framework.

Ohhh....bad move Skeptic. This is an assertion. You can't make that without evidence, unless you would like to show how people cannot be mistaken as to what they believe they feel.

Quote
By the same token, you can not accept my view until and if you actually experience these things as transcendental ideals.  You are more than happy to jump into the science of lust and attraction but that's all love will ever be for you unless you recognize and experience Love.  The same goes for all of these example including God.


So basically, we have to accept the premise to be able to accept the premise? I smell circular reasoning...

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I'm not the fastest or the baddest or the fatest.

You NEVER seem to address the fact that the grand majority of people supporting Darwinism in these on line forums and blogs are atheists. That doesn't seem to bother you guys in the least. - FtK

Roddenberry is my God.

   
C.J.O'Brien



Posts: 395
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 20 2007,17:27   

Quote
Nor can you disabuse me of my beliefs because to do so would require me to deny that which I already know.

Wrong. You don't know these things:
Quote
What I'm saying is I believe in these things and accept them to be real even though I can provide no evidence that they exist.

By your own admission, you believe these things without, or in spite of, evidence. That is not knowing.

And you have not provided any sort of argument as to why we should care one whit about your religious opinions or what in Falwell they have to do with the rift between science and reliigion. You start out claiming there are these two, equally valid ways of knowing, and end with admitting that one way isn't knowing at all.

Lame.

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The is the beauty of being me- anything that any man does I can understand.
--Joe G

  
J-Dog



Posts: 4402
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 20 2007,18:27   

Quote (C.J.O'Brien @ Aug. 20 2007,17:27)
Quote
Nor can you disabuse me of my beliefs because to do so would require me to deny that which I already know.

Wrong. You don't know these things:
Quote
What I'm saying is I believe in these things and accept them to be real even though I can provide no evidence that they exist.

By your own admission, you believe these things without, or in spite of, evidence. That is not knowing.

And you have not provided any sort of argument as to why we should care one whit about your religious opinions or what in Falwell they have to do with the rift between science and reliigion. You start out claiming there are these two, equally valid ways of knowing, and end with admitting that one way isn't knowing at all.

Lame.

Yes.  Lame is the word skeptic.

Louis writes a damn fine book answering you, defining terms, and doing his usual splendid upper-crust English curmudgeon act, up-dated for this century with a "fuckwit" thrown in for your benefit, and you write a two paragraph "Ooops, sorry, I was kidding" excuse for not answering? What?

Sorry old boy, we just can't have this, don't you know.  

You know what you have to do.

(Skeptic leaves room.  Sound of religious discusion with Heddle erupts through closed door...)

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Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
qetzal



Posts: 311
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 20 2007,20:30   

Skeptic,

I just want to know what The Mind is, and how it differs from the (or a) mind.

Is it one thing? Some all pervasive consciousness that permeates the universe? And if so, how is The Mind related to God? I assume it's not the same as God, or there'd be no reason to call it The Mind. (Does The Mind = the holy ghost?)

Or do we each have a Mind? And if so, how is it different from our minds?

  
skeptic



Posts: 1163
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2007,01:16   

seriously, there's probably many different ways to answer that question depending upon your definition.  I name the Mind to be my Mind and that which is Me.  it is more than just the physical me because that changes everyday and me yesterday is not me tomorrow and yet I still consider myself the same person.  You could call it the sum total of my experiences but I prefer to think of it in terms of a soul.  That is something I believe in and it fits my definition well.  But, no Louis, I have no proof of that nor can I prove it to you...unless you could read my mind, lol.  Boy, is it getting late.

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2007,02:39   

Well I apologise for all the "fuckwits" and sundry vileness. I confess to an overactive curmudgeon gland and a deep lack of tolerone (the hormone of tolerance). Mea culpa. Being patronised (undeservedly) always brings out the worst in me.

Skeptic,

How on earth can you think that is an answer to anything?

Equally, how on earth can you honestly attempt AGAIN to shift the "blame" to me? You have no idea whether or not I believe in supernatural/non-material/non-physical things/Platonic truths and the question of whether or not I do is utterly irrelevant. Equally, your faith in these things is utterly irrelevant.

The argument was based on your claim that there exist things that are in principle unexamineable by the use of reason and that where reason fails faith/revelation succeed. I am not asking you to prove things to me personally (my assent or dissent is irrelevant) I am asking you to justify the claims you make on some basis other than "Because I say so".

So yet again Skeptic you simply reassert your claims and appeal to your own beliefs as support for them (since the claims in question are your beliefs this is entirely circular). You then run away! Would you like me to give you a point by point detailed explanation of how pathetic that is?

You AGAIN claim that science and religion are not in genuine (epistemological) conflict after it has been more than adequately demonstrated to you that they are. I'm beginning to question your ability to read, think and comprehend basic concepts.

In the interest of progressing a discussion with you (ANY discussion) and attempting to garner some impression that you can actually follow an argument, I am going to ask you one question at a time. Try to answer it instead of running away and pretending it doesn't exist.

You claim that you know certain things based on your faith/revelation alone. Let's just say for the sake of argument that one of those faith derived bits of knowledge is that sheep walk on their 9 legs (the actual belief isn't important, I'm at least relatively sure you don't believe this). I know, based on my faith/revelation that sheep have no legs, they in fact hover on methane bruning jets of awe and wonder. These two claims are mutally exclusive, they cannot both be simultaneously true. Sheep cannot both be legless hover-sheep AND have 9 legs which they walk around on. Both of these faith/revelation bits of knowledge are about aspects of a bit of the universe which is neither you nor me (unless you are a sheep, and believe me, this is an idea I have given some consideration of late). They are both by definition claims based on faith/revelation about the universe around us. How do we tell which (if any) of these two beliefs is an accurate representation of that bit of the universe we are discussing?

Try to answer that question, Skeptic. Stop obfuscating. Stop simply restating your orignal claims and acting as if this some how supports them. Stop appealing to mystery. Stop shifting the goalposts and the burden of proof. Stop raising straw men. Just get on with the business of having a productive intellectual discussion. You might be amazed at the progress you get if you try.

Louis

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Bye.

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2007,03:36   

Oh and whilst I remember it:

Skeptic,

You're utter lack of anything approaching intellectual engagement in this discussion and your abject failure to demonstrate the validity of your claims in any sense means that from this point onwards (until such time as you DO demonstrate your claims) they are forfeit.

So (for example) you can say "I believe there is no conflict science and religion based on my faith alone. No evidence other than my own faith supports this claim" or words to that effect, but you cannot say that "There is no conflict between science and religion" as if it were a statement of fact BECAUSE TO DO SO WOULD BE A LIE. And you know how much I love liars, Skeptic. As long as you and I both post here I will forever remind you (whenever you bring these claims up) that you have failed to demonstrate them or even argue rationally in their favour should you even seem to be attempting to claim otherwise.

Why will I do this? Two reasons:

1) The simple exchange of unverified or unverifiable opinion is all well and good. Unfortunately not everything in the universe is governed or defined by opinion. The fact that you can make asinine special pleads for your faith, which itself is a defence for your ignorance, is no demonstration of your claims. Reality and you differ, your ignorance and willful denial of that fact do not constitute evidence against it. Trying to claim that this debate is simply due to a matter of differing yet equaly supported beliefs is manifest dishonesty of the first water.

2) You persist in your ignorance ONLY because of your ramapant hypocrisy and denial. You live in a highly privileged society founded from its very conception on the principles of the Enlightenment. Reason foremost amongst them. You claim scientific credentials and a scientific career. Doubtless you avail yourself of the products of generations of rational enquiry into the mechanisms of the universe such as technology and medicince. And yet at every possible turn you eschew reason as it suits you. You might tolerate liars and hypocrites, Skeptic, I do not.

So, as I said, until such time as you demonstrate your claims they are utterly forfeit. Every time you raise them here as if they were fact I, or I hope someone else, will remind you that you have been given ample opportunity to defend them and you have failed. As such they are whimsy, mere fantastic articles of your faith alone and they have no demonstrated bearing on reality at all. Thus they should be paid no mind, being as they are nothing more than the vacuous, childish pleas of someone who cannot be bothered to make even the basic effort required to investigate the world around them.

Louis

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Bye.

  
k.e



Posts: 1948
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2007,09:56   

You see this is all the fault of Freud.

He proposed the super ego and and gambling as masturbation.

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The conservative has but little to fear from the man whose reason is the servant of his passions, but let him beware of him in whom reason has become the greatest and most terrible of the passions.These are the wreckers of outworn empires and civilisations, doubters, disintegrators, deicides.Haldane

   
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2007,09:58   

Quote (k.e @ Aug. 21 2007,15:56)
You see this is all the fault of Freud.

He proposed the super ego and and gambling as masturbation.

Gambling as masturbation? Does that involve scissors?

Louis

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Bye.

  
k.e



Posts: 1948
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2007,10:03   

Did I mention? All his subjects were frustrated.

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The conservative has but little to fear from the man whose reason is the servant of his passions, but let him beware of him in whom reason has become the greatest and most terrible of the passions.These are the wreckers of outworn empires and civilisations, doubters, disintegrators, deicides.Haldane

   
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2007,10:38   

Quote (Louis @ Aug. 21 2007,02:39)
You AGAIN claim that science and religion are not in genuine (epistemological) conflict after it has been more than adequately demonstrated to you that they are.

Well, of course, there ARE questions which cannot, in principle, be answered by reason or by science.

No amount of scientific reasoning can ever tell us whether brunettes are cuter than blondes.

No amount of scientific reasoning can tell us whether abortion is wrong or not.

No amount of scientific reasoning can tell us whether it's OK or not to keep a wallet full of money that we find on the sidewalk.

No amount of scientific reasoning can tell us whether we should marry this person or that one.

Those are all questions that simply cannot be answered using scientific reasoning. That is why philosophers and theologians have been arguing over them for thousands of years.  There is simply no way to answer the question.

Scientific reasoning CAN, of course, provide us with reams and reams of INFORMATION about all those questions, right down to the molecular reasons why this person may prefer one answer and that person may prefer another answer.  But that, in and of itself, doesn't answer the question.  Only we can do that, each of us for ourselves.  

No matter how much biological detail science gives us about the process of embryological development --the exact second in which a fetus develops feelings, or which it becomes aware, or which it can feel pain -- that won't answer the question of when or whether abortion is right or wrong.

Even if we determine that the presence of this amino acid in this particular gene produces biochemistry that leads to a genetic predetermination for attraction to blondes, while THIS particular amino acid in this particular gene produces biochemistry that leads to a genetic predetermination for attraction to brunettes -- that still doesn't tell us whether brunettes are or are not actually cuter than blondes.

So in a way, Skeptic is right (though, as usual, he is too blinded by his ideology to see any of it).  It so happens that many of those very same questions that science simply can't answer -- "is it right or wrong to do this?", "how should I act towards other people?" -- are indeed answered by religion (or, more correctly, religion gives answers to those questions to people who are either too afraid or too uncertain to try to answer those questions for themselves).  Hence, there can, indeed, be a clear division between "science" and "religion", with no overlap between them, and hence no conflict.

However, this is true only insofar as religion limits itself to those "moral" and "ethical" questions which science simply cannot answer.

As Skeptic demonstrates so clearly, religions (well, most of them anyway) can't do that.  Instead, they insist on dealing with matters of "authority", which inevitably leads to them blathering a lot about supernatural this and supreme being that, which in turn inevitably tempts them into questions such as "how does the world work?" and "how did things get to be the way they are?".  Alas for them, that is the realm of science, not of religion.

If Skeptic REALLY understood what he was saying, he would recognize that he is a part of the problem, not of the solution. But alas, Skeptic's "faith" is completely dependent upon an external authority (his Big Daddy in the Sky), and therefore he simply cannot tolerate the existence of two sources of authority (science and faith).  As his Book tells him, it's impossible to serve two masters.

Once one gives up that dependence upon external authority, though, the entire "problem" of "science vs religion" disappears completely.  After all, instead of trying to serve two masters, its easier to serve none at all. But, as Skeptic demonstrates so often, his dependence upon external authority is complete and total.  He is utterly terrified to depend upon the only person he  can really count on --- himself.

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Editor, Red and Black Publishers
www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
Erasmus, FCD



Posts: 6349
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2007,10:46   

Sheep are boring, even with 9 legs or propped afloat on awe and wonder.  I prefer the more obvious example, that you darwinist materialist from ATBC cannot understand (insert some czech-y sounding pith here)

All human beings have wings.  Every one of them.  You just can't see them.  You have to accept it on faith.  Until you accept that humans have wings, you will forever fail to understand just what it is to be human.  You will not have a coherent narrative of why wings are important to being a human.

Don't bother looking for the wings.  They're there.  You just can't see them.  Trust me.  It was revealed to me.

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You're obviously illiterate as hell. Peach, bro.-FtK

Finding something hard to believe based on the evidence, is science.-JoeG

the odds of getting some loathsome taint are low-- Gordon E Mullings Manjack Heights Montserrat

I work on molecular systems with pathway charts and such.-Giggles

  
k.e



Posts: 1948
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2007,10:54   

Quote (Erasmus, FCD @ Aug. 21 2007,18:46)
Sheep are boring, even with 9 legs or propped afloat on awe and wonder. ?I prefer the more obvious example, that you darwinist materialist from ATBC cannot understand (insert some czech-y sounding pith here)

All human beings have wings. ?Every one of them. ?You just can't see them. ?You have to accept it on faith. ?Until you accept that humans have wings, you will forever fail to understand just what it is to be human. ?You will not have a coherent narrative of why wings are important to being a human.

Don't bother looking for the wings. ?They're there. ?You just can't see them. ?Trust me. ?It was revealed to me.

Don't bogaart that book 'rasmus.

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The conservative has but little to fear from the man whose reason is the servant of his passions, but let him beware of him in whom reason has become the greatest and most terrible of the passions.These are the wreckers of outworn empires and civilisations, doubters, disintegrators, deicides.Haldane

   
Erasmus, FCD



Posts: 6349
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2007,11:14   

'eeeeeeere

i'm kinda hungry now.

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You're obviously illiterate as hell. Peach, bro.-FtK

Finding something hard to believe based on the evidence, is science.-JoeG

the odds of getting some loathsome taint are low-- Gordon E Mullings Manjack Heights Montserrat

I work on molecular systems with pathway charts and such.-Giggles

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2007,11:19   

Hi Lenny,

Actually I disagree to an extent, although I am happy to admit that there are areas of science and religon that don't overlap. I am however less happy to agree that there are areas of reason and faith that don't overlap. Reason and faith are both tools that humanity has developed for the acquisition of knowledge, they have been developed for the same purpose. Religion is the most notable exposition of the use of faith, and science that of reason.

I've been quite careful to note that science is one application of the use of reason, perhaps the most precise and careful application, but an application nonetheless. It's the use of reason which I have been defending, and the epistemological differences at the heart of science and religion which I argue cause the conflict.

I think a reasoned understanding of human psychology etc can tell you who is hotter the blonde or the brunette, as you note. It might not answer the question for me or you personally (although I am sure we could reason our way through it), but it might be able to answer the question in a statistical fashion. Again the same applies (only more so) to each of your other examples. Our love of blondes (or brunettes) is a function of our personal history, be that genetic or environmental (or more properly some combination of both). This is eminently open to rational study both on an individual and a grander basis.

Yes of course if one whiles away the hours carefully reasoning out one's love for blondes or brunettes then both have disappeared long ago and you will die a virgin, but that's hardly the point. The point is that despite the "unconscious" nature of one's personal preferences those personal preferences have developed for reasons environmental and genetic. I know btw you don't dispute that. The fact that a lot of this processing is done "unconsciously" is no more significant than the fact that the processing for you to catch a ball is done "unconsciously". Of course if you sit down and do the calculus required to catch the ball by hand the ball is on the fround before you've written the first equation, but this doesn't deny the fact that sound mathematical calculation underpins your ability to catch (either balls or blondes!). Simply put: like it or not these things are products of reason, conscious or unconscious, not any other mysteriosu mechanism.

Similarly for morals and ethics, these things can and have been developed and understood by reason alone. No recourse to faith or what have you. Is our understanding of them perfect? Nope, never said it was. But this doesn't mean that they are somehow inaccessible to rational enquiry which is Skeptic's (and your it would appear) basic claim. Can reason tell us about abortion or wallet finding and keeping being right or wrong? Sure it can! Carefully define the parameters for what constitute right and wrong and BOOM you can reason your way through it. That ethical and moral systems proceed from axioms doesn't mean that they are unreasoned. Nor does it mean that we have to naively appeal to the Is/Ought fallacy to set those axioms. We can agree to a set of axioms for moral/ethical systems.

Also, morals and ethics are situational. Can anything tell you if any act is ultimately, once and for all, independant of all context Right or Wrong? No! Can anything tell you if any act is right or wrong within a given social context, and/or proceeding from certain given axioms? Yes! The abortion example is a great one. Catholic person A believes that abortion is always ethically and morally wrong. I believe that it is not always ethically and morally wrong. If we left it at that, we have two opposed beliefs, no way to distinguish between them and an almighty fight! However, if we examine the consequences (to take a consequencialist view for a second) of the positions "no abortions" vs "some abortions in some circumstances" we can make a judgement about which has the least/most harmful consequences. That is an entirely reasoned, rational approach. It's based on observation, evidence and hell, bits of it might even be scientific! Is it infallible? Nope. Does it provide a universal answer? Nope. But then what is and what does? Knowledge is a provisional entity, certainty an unacheivable illusion. On what basis do you or anyone claim (implicitly or otherwise) that there is some ultimate answer to each moral question out there? There's simply no evidence to support that.

Again the claim is made for religion as being able to answer these questions! How does it do this? How does one determine from two different, mutually exclusive, religious answers to a moral question, which one is the "correct" one? Faith simply provides no more answer to any question than the answer I can merrily pull out of my arse. When one abandons reason, appeal to observation and evidence in any situation, moral, preferential or otherwise, what else does one have? Faith? Great! What are the results of that? Make sure you don't use any reason, observation or rational thought because to do so proves my point.

I've got no problem with someone's personal faith, someone's personal choice to follow this or that ethical system. I DO have a big problem with these grandiose claims made for the power of faith/revelation to answer questions universally. Whatever gets you through the night is all well and good for you, but the claim that because you (and I don't mean you personally, I mean you plural/general) believe X, X is therefore true is utterly vacuous. Personal faith I have no truck with, the erroneous extension of personal faith to universality I do have a problem with.

So no, I don't agree that if religion limits itself to "moral" and "ethical" questions that there is no basis for a conflict between science and religion a) Because religion doesn't actually answer those questions at all, and b) if it does so successfully it is demonstrably doing so by using reason and thus what's the need for all the religious claptrap? (Unless we are talking about metasystems as I did in the very first post). If religion is restricted to personal questions it doesn't conflict with science/reason on a universal basis, but then people aren't that disciplined in restricting their faith based claims to themselves, so it inevitably leaks out.

Does this mean I am an evil atheist who wants to ban religion and burn religious people at the stake? Nope. Does this mean I am an intolerant fucker, unwilling to grant kudos where it is not deserved? Yup. But then I may have said this before.....

Louis

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k.e



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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2007,11:23   

Har har this is Louis ........who is blond.

Louis who is blond

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Louis



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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2007,11:31   

Pfff if I was that good looking and female, I wouldn't be wasting my time talking to you drongos, I'd be out there getting me some hot, throbbing....

{The completion of that sentence and the following sentences have been removed to protect the innocent. We now return you to your regularly scheduled abuse}

Louis

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k.e



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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2007,11:42   

If was by Rudyard Kipling

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The conservative has but little to fear from the man whose reason is the servant of his passions, but let him beware of him in whom reason has become the greatest and most terrible of the passions.These are the wreckers of outworn empires and civilisations, doubters, disintegrators, deicides.Haldane

   
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2007,12:13   

Quote (Louis @ Aug. 21 2007,11:19)
I think a reasoned understanding of human psychology etc can tell you who is hotter the blonde or the brunette, as you note. It might not answer the question for me or you personally (although I am sure we could reason our way through it), but it might be able to answer the question in a statistical fashion.

But alas, that doesn't answer the question at all.  It tells us how MANY people think blondes are hotter than brunettes (at this particular time and place). It might even tell us WHY more people prefer this particular answer over that one (again, at this particular time and place).  But that doesn't answer whether blondes really ARE hotter than brunettes.

Unless, of course, we are willing to make, a priori, the assumption that "truth" is a democracy, and that if more people think brunettes are hotter, or that abortion is wrong, or that people should return lost wallets, then that makes it "true".  And I see no reason to make such a (subjective and non-rational) assumption.

Subjective questions (such as moral or ethical questions)simply cannot be answered logically or rationally.  If they could be, there'd be nothing left to argue.  The "debate" would have ended centuries ago.  Nobody still argues whether the sun is a chariot in the sky. That is not a subjective question.  But everybody still argues what it means to be a "good person".  That IS a subjective question.  And science simply can't answer it.

Religion can't, either -- but it can at least offer people alternative answers to choose from. Science can't. Science is not a philosophy, not a worldview, not a religion, not a way of life, not an ethical or moral system of thought.  Answering subjective questions about morality or ethics, is not science's job.

That is why science should (indeed, MUST) stick with objective questions, while religion should stick with subjective questions.

The only "conflict" that happens is when science trieds to answer subjective questions, or when religion tries to answer objective questions -- something that neither one CAN do.

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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2007,12:15   

Quote (Louis @ Aug. 21 2007,11:19)
The point is that despite the "unconscious" nature of one's personal preferences those personal preferences have developed for reasons environmental and genetic. I know btw you don't dispute that.

But that does not equate to "rational".

And it still doesn't answer the ethical or moral question.  Just because we are evolved to be child molestors or murderers, for instance, does not make it "ethical" or "moral".

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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2007,12:20   

Quote (Louis @ Aug. 21 2007,11:19)
Carefully define the parameters for what constitute right and wrong

Well, BOOM !  ----  there's your problem right there.  

Who the heck gets to define "right" and "wrong", and why are a "scientist's" definitions of "right" and "wrong" any better than those of my car mechanic or my veterinarian or the kid who delivers my pizzas?  

Alas, "science" and "reason" can't "define the parameters of right and wrong" any more than my grandmother can. (shrug)

You can try all you like --- you simply cannot escape the fact that all ethical and moral questions are, at root, subjective, and simply cannot be answered rationally or scientificaloly.  At best, one can utilize information derived from science or reason to justify, post priori, an ethical decision which you already prefer.  But that does not make your decision any more rational or scientific than anyone else's.

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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2007,12:33   

Quote (Louis @ Aug. 21 2007,11:19)
Again the claim is made for religion as being able to answer these questions!

That was Skeptic's claim, not mine, so I'll let Skeptic flounder about trying to answer it.

MY claim, which I'll repeat again for clarity, was that religion CAN'T answer those questions (since there ARE no objective answers).  At best, religion can help each of us answer those questions OURSELVES; at worst, religion simply provides a series of prepackaged answers which people can then pick and choose according to their own subjective preference.  As I've often said, people choose their religion, their religion does not choose them.

What *most* religion does, alas (and, particularly, what FUNDAMENTALIST religion does), is give answers to those people who are too insecure or too afraid to find their OWN answers.  For people like that, it is a matter of "faith" that the given answer is "correct".  That, of course, does not make it any more objectively "correct" than would the fact that my grandmother also believes it.  But, as I also noted, most religions (though not all) bolster their "answers" by appealing to divine authority.  To the problem "if religions all give differing answers to subjective questions, then how do I know which one is the right one?", the authority-based religions (such as Skeptic's) answer "because God says so". It is of course entirely a subjective decision on the part of the religious person whether or not to accept that authority.  

The non-authority-based religions (such as Buddhism or Taoism) take an entirely different approach.  To the question "what is right or wrong?", they say, "Only YOU can answer that.  And you can answer it only for you."

Since religions like these do NOT base their answers on any external authority, they have no need for supernatural sky daddies to tell everyone what to do.  Nor do they have any need to pretend that their subjective answers are really objective.  Hence, they have no need to use "religion" to answer objective questions -- and no need to have any "conflict" with science.

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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2007,12:36   

Quote (Louis @ Aug. 21 2007,11:19)
Personal faith I have no truck with, the erroneous extension of personal faith to universality I do have a problem with.

Indeed.  Precisely because answering questions for one's SELF keeps them subjective.  What's right for you, is right for you.  But when you move from that to declaring that what's right for you is right for EVEYONE, then you've moved from subjectivity to objectivity -- to a claim of universal moral or ethical truth.  Many religions (and particularly fundamentalism) DO make that claim.  And it's what gets them into trouble with science.

The religions that do NOT make that claim, don't have any gripe with science, and vice versa.

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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2007,12:42   

Quote (Louis @ Aug. 21 2007,11:19)
If religion is restricted to personal questions it doesn't conflict with science/reason on a universal basis, but then people aren't that disciplined in restricting their faith based claims to themselves, so it inevitably leaks out.

Then your gripe isn't with "religion" at all -- it is with those people (and fundamentalists are of course the primary offenders) who abuse and mis-use religion and force it to intrude into areas where it doesn't belong and doesn't have anything useful to say.

Oddly enough, that is precisely my gripe, too.



The barrier is NOT non-existent. Skeptic is right about that. Oddly enough, though, Skeptic is himself the best example of why the barrier is so tempting to climb over.

And he has no idea why he is.

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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2007,13:32   

Quote (Louis @ Aug. 21 2007,11:19)
When one abandons reason, appeal to observation and evidence in any situation, moral, preferential or otherwise, what else does one have? Faith? Great! What are the results of that? Make sure you don't use any reason, observation or rational thought because to do so proves my point.

As an aside, this entire thread reminds me of Spock in the Star Trek movies.

In one movie, we see Spock at the cusp of attaining  Kohlinar, total logic, complete rationality, flawless reason.  

And in another movie, we see the result:  he can flawlessly configure warp injection systems, he can derive mathematical formulas, he can cite metaphysical principles, he's the best science whiz ever.

But he can't answer the question "How do you feel?"



One of the reasons I like Star Trek so much is that it deals precisely with those same subjective questions that humans have grappled with since the beginning.  Do we trust our head or our heart?  Reason or faith?  Logic or emotion? Spock represents the logical objective scientific mind; Bones McCoy represents the emotional subjective heart and soul.  Both are fused in Kirk, who alone, but with the help of both, is capable of actually commanding the ship.

Gene Roddenberry was a Zen master.  I bow to his Buddha-nature.   :)

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Erasmus, FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2007,14:31   

Buddha-nature is dried dung.

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Henry J



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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2007,16:36   

I don't get referring to faith as a means of acquiring knowledge. Doesn't a person have to have already heard about something before developing faith in it?

Henry

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2007,18:13   

Quote (Erasmus, FCD @ Aug. 21 2007,14:31)
Buddha-nature is dried dung.

Or five pounds of flax.


;)

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skeptic



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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 22 2007,17:17   

Thanks, Lenny, you make my point so much better and with more credibility but I would like to add a few points.

Louis, I'm not shifting the "blame" to you.  I'm just trying to point out your position to demonstrate why we are at odds.  Also, let's not be coy, if you believed in God then we wouldn't be having this discussion because you would get what I was saying even though I'm apparently not as elegant as Lenny.  You see rational thought or science as a sphere within which knowledge and potential knowledge is contained.  Within this same sphere you see the tumor of irrational thought or faith that is attempting to address this same knowledge or potential knowledge and in doing so is slightly corrupting to the whole.  As far as you're concerned there is nothing that is beyond the investigation of rational thought.  Everything can be reduced, characterized and understood or potentially understood.  There is nothing wrong with this view as it is just as valid as the alternative which is mine.

I believe that there are things (not quite the right word) beyond rational examination.  I see two separate spheres that address two completely different types of knowledge.  They only overlap in the Mind of the observer.  Thanks again to Alba and getzal, the questions on Mind have been a great starting point for me and I have been heavily focused upon them for the past few days.  Anyway, one difference I have with your characterization, Louis, is that you continually insist that science and faith are trying to answer the same questions.  They not only are not but they should not.  I agree with Lenny (I hope you're sitting down, Lenny) and I believe that the conflict would disappear if faith stuck to faith and science stuck to science.  I can see your problem with this statement because you don't view faith as valid to answer any questions and certainly not the questions that you believe can be answered by reason.  You might be right.  There may be no other true source of knowledge but reason and we've just been fooling ourselves for thousands of years.  In this life, we'll never know but enough people think and have thought that the questions are beyond reason that as these questions have been pondered they will continue to be pondered.

So the conclusion (lol), there are many worldviews and the two on display here are:

a) Science and religion are always at odds because the only true source of knowledge is science and religion attempts to intrude upon this quest.  There is an opposite to this which we don't see here but we run into quite often and that is that religion is the only true source of knowledge, blah, blah, blah.  Again, in this case religion and science are always at odds.

b) science and religion are two independent areas of knowledge asking different questions, using different methods and having no impact upon each other.

Neither can be proven as a better worldview because initial inclinations dictate which one you accept and the other never appears adequate from that point on.

On a side note,  I wanted to quickly address Alba and getzal's question and hit on something Lenny was trying to tell me last year.  I had a great deal of trouble working through this question of the Mind as I've mentioned.  But as I kept looking at my idea of the two separate areas in dawned upon me.  There must be some overlap between the physical and non-physical otherwise we would no awareness of the non-physical as we are decidedly physical.  That overlap is the Mind.  The point at which we experience the non-physical and translate that into our physical thoughts, feelings, actions, etc.  That raises two questions, is the non-physical real or just a human construct and how or where does this overlap occur?  In the case of the second question, I must punt because I've really just moved the overlap internal to each individual but not really said anything about it specifically.  In the case of the second question, it is a matter of belief.  Some will believe that these do not really exist and view them within the framework of reason while others with accept their independent existence.  Not a real good answer, I know, but it reminds me of Lenny's discussion last year about authority.  It only took me this long to really get it but I did want to focus on one point.  Even though my view acknowledges an external authority it is still me who holds the final authority.  It is still my Mind that must experience and evaluate the non-physical and process it for consumption.  Because it still must go through the filter of my Mind then it is up to me to decide how I should act, feel and think based upon in.  The buck stops here as we say and that is still something that every individual must do for themselves.  That is, of course, unless there is only one Mind that we are all just parts of and if that's the case then I'm out to lunch and I have no idea where go with that.    :D

  
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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 22 2007,17:25   

Quote (skeptic @ Aug. 22 2007,17:17)
Even though my view acknowledges an external authority it is still me who holds the final authority. ?It is still my Mind that must experience and evaluate the non-physical and process it for consumption. ?Because it still must go through the filter of my Mind then it is up to me to decide how I should act, feel and think based upon in. ?


?

Well, perhaps there is hope for you yet, young Jedi . . .

Now, you need to take the next step, and understand that this external thing that you filter through your mind, is actually not separate from you at all; it is a part of you, and you are a part of it.  It is only your Mind that makes it appear separate from you.

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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 22 2007,17:28   

Quote (skeptic @ Aug. 22 2007,17:17)
?Also, let's not be coy, if you believed in God then we wouldn't be having this discussion

Let me just note once more, for those who may have forgotten, that I do not assert, and I do not accept, the existence of any god, goddess, or any other supernatural entity whatsoever, in any way shape or form.

I see no need for any such entity, either scientifically, philosophically, or religiously.

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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 22 2007,17:29   

Quote (skeptic @ Aug. 22 2007,17:17)
That is, of course, unless there is only one Mind that we are all just parts of and if that's the case then I'm out to lunch and I have no idea where go with that. ? ?:D

There is, of course, only one place you CAN go . . . .

Oddly enough, you've been there all along.

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skeptic



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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 22 2007,19:14   

good Lenny

good Lenny

Bad Lenny!!

LOL

  
Darth Robo



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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 22 2007,20:02   

Quote
it is a part of you, and you are a part of it.  It is only your Mind that makes it appear separate from you.



"No different!  Only different in your mind.  You must UNLEARN what you have 'learned'."

:p

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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 22 2007,20:23   

skeptic is riding the ox in search of the ox.

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You're obviously illiterate as hell. Peach, bro.-FtK

Finding something hard to believe based on the evidence, is science.-JoeG

the odds of getting some loathsome taint are low-- Gordon E Mullings Manjack Heights Montserrat

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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 22 2007,21:32   

Quote (Darth Robo @ Aug. 22 2007,20:02)
Quote
it is a part of you, and you are a part of it. ?It is only your Mind that makes it appear separate from you.



"No different! ?Only different in your mind. ?You must UNLEARN what you have 'learned'."

:p

I am wondering if anyone has yet written "The Tao of Yoda".   Sort of along the lines of "The Tao of Pooh".
It'd be a great book.


(turns to another browser page for a moment . . . )


Hmmm, nothing at Amazon under that title . . . .


I think I've just found my next writing project.

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skeptic



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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 22 2007,22:02   

Now, Lenny, if I don't miss my guess, that is a statement rooted in capitalism.  :D

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 22 2007,22:34   

Quote (skeptic @ Aug. 22 2007,22:02)
Now, Lenny, if I don't miss my guess, that is a statement rooted in capitalism. ?:D

I, uh, doubt very much I'll be able to retire on the earnings.


Indeed, I doubt very much I can even pay a month's rent on the earnings.

-edit-  One thing I *don't* doubt very much is that the entire manuscript will be available on the Web, complete, for free.  Just like every other manuscript I've done.

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skeptic



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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 23 2007,01:49   

now that's the Lenny I know

  
Darth Robo



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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 23 2007,04:31   

Problem also is that the big GL could probably sue you.  

Maybe you could pitch the idea to him?  I'd buy it!   :D

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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 23 2007,09:04   

Quote (Darth Robo @ Aug. 23 2007,04:31)
Problem also is that the big GL could probably sue you. ?

Maybe you could pitch the idea to him? ?I'd buy it! ? :D

Yeah, that's probably why nobody has already done the book.

Anyone have GL's email address . . . .?

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Louis



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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 23 2007,10:03   

Hi Lenny,

First off, I suspect if you read back you'll find I've dealt with almost all of the comments you make already, if not I'll try to do them justice here.

1)

Quote
But alas, that doesn't answer the question at all.  It tells us how MANY people think blondes are hotter than brunettes (at this particular time and place). It might even tell us WHY more people prefer this particular answer over that one (again, at this particular time and place).  But that doesn't answer whether blondes really ARE hotter than brunettes.


This is equivocating on the meaning of words in the question. It is essentially the "no true Scotsman fallacy" writ large. It's rhetorical pissing about and nothing more.

In what sense can the question "Are blondes hotter than brunettes?" be answered without appeal to evidence or reason? Answer: it can't. Complaining that all the information obtained by rational inquiry is merely information about this facet of the issue or that facet of the issue doesn't cut the mustard. That's all the information we can ever get by any means (as I've said before). The "are blondes hotter than brunettes" question is a question about group's or individual's preferences, that is a question studiable by reason. If you want to know the answer to a universal version of that question, then a you are asking something beyond the limits of any mechanism of acquiring knowledge about the universe and b) asking an illogically framed question. My point is, was and has always been that the ONLY information you can get about this question (or indeed any other) derives from rational, reason based investigation of it. Again, I can ask any number of illogical questions "what is the sock preference of my banana tree?" for example. It doesn't mean that I am asking a question that a) means anything, or b) has an answer.

It does not in any way rely on an appeal to post modernist subjective/democratic truth. What it does rely on is the basic realisation of the limits of what we can know about a particular thing by any means, reasoned or otherwise. The question itself is either a question about preferences or it is a meaningless appeal to a universal idea derived solely from the misapplication of a concept. The concept that blondes could be universally hotter than brunettes (i.e. without any appeal to subjective preferences) is a total non sequitur. The concept of hotness relies specifically on subjective preference, ergo it's a question about a subjective issue. Trying to extend that beyond its meaning to objective universality is logically inconsistent.

More than that, if we do various studies and find that blondes are really the preferred female hair colour (or whatever) then we have found out something objective. It's not a democratic truth at all. we have found out which hair colour is more preferred. Therefore on that basis and within those limits we CAN say that blondes are hotter than brunettes. There's the point about limits again. Extending that to "blondes are universally hotter than brunettes" would be fallacious because we don't have the information to say that, and as I mention above, even the question of whether blondes are universally hotter than brunettes is utterly meaningless.

Again, to ram it home: the only useful information that can be gained from answering that question is obtained from rational, reasoned enquiry however that is done.

You then go into EXACTLY the sort of shit Skeptic has been doing which is stamping your foot and repeating by decree that reason cannot answer ethical/moral questions. This is utter shit as I have demonstrated before and will cheerfully do so again. (See below) Oh and incidentally, the equivocation of science and reason when I have made in plainly clear in what sense I am using both words is more than a touch annoying. It's also a strawman.

2)  Morals, ethics etc.

First and foremost, by referring me to your pizza boy you have utterly missed the point of what I was saying. Also by asking the question what makes a "scientist's" moral axioms better than anyone else illustrates this too.

I have not said, will not say, and am not saying that my or any scientist's moral axioms are or ever will be better than anyone else's. To even think that I am makes me think you cannot read, and Lenny, I KNOW you can read, so I guess you are playing devil's advocate or you fucked up. (Better than Devil's Advocaat, which is a horrible drink). ;)

All I have said, all I will say, is that morals/ethics etc are explorable by reason and are relative. Nothing more complex than that. I'd also say that they are more examinable than as mere post priori rationalisations of preferences. You and I agree that in questions of morals and ethics there are no objective 100% certain etc answers. What there ARE are objective answers to moral questions within certain moral systems. (I.e. it's a question of propositional logic: given limits X, Y and Z, and goals P, Q and R which of scenarios A and B best sticks within those limits and fulfills those goals) Hence my point about consequentialism above (I was using it as an example, not as a preferred moral system). I can say that within a given system X behaviour is right or wrong based on the axioms and workings of that system. I didn't say that equates to universal right or wrong. And I won't!

Incidentally, something I find amusing is in the first instance (the one of preference of blondes or brunettes) it's you (wrongly) extending subjective ideas beyond their defined limits to objective truths, and then on the moral questions you accuse me (wrongly) of doing just that and take me to task for it. I did laugh about that.

Anyway, back to the res.

As for your Buddhist comments re morals, I totally agree. Only you can answer moral questions for you and you can only answer them for you. However, when one is trying to set up a system of morals for a group, although the same principle applies (morals are after all relative), one can develop a system (not as an authority but as a collaboration. It's not always "authority" vs "whatever" you know Lenny! Bloody commies ;) ) based on reason. Of course one has to set those axioms right at the start somehow, and of course those axioms can be informed by reason and of course it's likely those axioms will be at least partly in error when the kinks and consequences are worked out.

This is the unfortunate area of compromise! If we are going to live together in groups and if we are going to have laws and organisations and social structures and so on and so forth then sadly we are going to have to develop some sort of ethical/moral system. This doesn't imply or mean that that system has to be inflexible or authoritarian, one can after all engage in social contract (the privileges/benefits of group living can be conferred to the individual provided they agree to the contract etc). The axioms that underpin any moral or ethical system are (or at least bloody well should be) open to question, change and debate. The virtues/pitfalls of group living are incidentally a different debate, one eminently informed by reason, observation and not a small amount of evolutionary biology and other scientific data.

Incidentally this is why I would advocate not merely a REASONED approach to moral questions but a SCIENTIFIC approach, because science fundamentally tests everything up to and including its own underpinnings. If there were a better way of acquiring knowledge about the universe than reason (etc) science would incorporate it because science is about most closely modelling what does happen as opposed to imposing what we want to happen on reality. This is a matter of personal preference, wi