RSS 2.0 Feed

» Welcome Guest Log In :: Register

Pages: (37) < ... 28 29 30 31 32 [33] 34 35 36 37 >   
  Topic: No reason for a rift between science and religion?, Skeptic's chance to prove his claims.< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  
skeptic



Posts: 1163
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 02 2007,13:20   

Quote
Like I said, what do you want as evidence? The relevant sociological studies demonstrating the relativist nature of morals?


I'm gonna stop reading your crap right here, way too many words, btw.

This is the root of your problem.  You can not empirically assess morals.  Morality is an abstract concept.  In order study morals in this manner you must convert the subject in order to be viewed objectively.  You don't get any evidence about morals all you answer is the question that you construct.  This is what Lenny was trying to tell you and you still don't get.

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 02 2007,14:28   

Quote (skeptic @ Dec. 02 2007,19:20)
i'm gonna stop reading your crap right here, way too many words, btw.

BWAAHAHAHAHA!

What an amazingly intellectual attitude! Such scholarship!

Ok then, I'm wrong. Wonderful. Show me where. Show me how I am wrong, show me where I made my mistakes and teach me how to do it right.

I'm serious. I'll accept that I've fucked up if all you do is show me how and where. That simple. Quote my arguments, explain the flaws in them, show me the logical errors, provide some evidence and I'll cheerfully celebrate my wrongness, and your rightness. Please do it.

Oh and FYI, Lenny showed nothing, like you, he didn't even deal with the argument I was making, he dealt with the argument he wanted me to be making. There is a difference you know.

You know what doing that entails don't you?

Louis

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

  
skeptic



Posts: 1163
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 02 2007,20:08   

I was mulling over this and realized that we are never really gonna agree on much.  This goes beyond stated arguments.  If given any situation I don't see us coming to the same determination.  This is not a bad thing but I think unavoidable based upon our difference in thinking.  Not a criticism but an observation.  For example, I'm gonna bet you'll find my final statement shocking.  Even if I were to go into extensive detail as to why I think this you would disagree.  In many ways it would completely contradict the way you think and again this is not a bad thing I think it's just where we're at.

Philosophy, in many ways sociology, and pure mathematics are not science.  To stipulate otherwise, in any way, is to completely misunderstand science and the nature of knowledge, IMO.  I could go into this in greater detail and maybe even extensive but really, what's the point?  You saying to yourself "What the @$%!?" and that's just where we're at with no resolution in sight.

  
Erasmus, FCD



Posts: 6349
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 02 2007,20:29   

That's just the thing.  It's really easy to render presuppositionalists incoherent.  simply claim different presuppositions, then render them unvailable to retrospection via some sort of po-mo compartmentalization.  so skeptic i agree with you completely about 'we are never going to agree'.    

by the way, you did it again.  the evidence free fact free argument by assertion thing.  thought someone should tell you.  we all know your opinion by now.  

i am curious, what is the difference between 'personal' experience and 'prior' experience?

--------------
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

  
skeptic



Posts: 1163
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 03 2007,02:12   

just making a distinction between personal and extra-personal.  That's not the right word really but I'm trying to say evidence that comes from an external source.  That's better, external-personal.  In the Absolute case we can never be sure that external personal experience actually exists.  We have to make the assumption that reality as we experience it actually exists and is not our own personal construct.  Is that a better distinction?

As for the rest of your comments, I'm not ashamed to say I didn't really understand them.

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 03 2007,03:14   

Quote (skeptic @ Dec. 03 2007,02:08)
I was mulling over this and realized that we are never really gonna agree on much. This goes beyond stated arguments. If given any situation I don't see us coming to the same determination. This is not a bad thing but I think unavoidable based upon our difference in thinking. Not a criticism but an observation. For example, I'm gonna bet you'll find my final statement shocking. Even if I were to go into extensive detail as to why I think this you would disagree. In many ways it would completely contradict the way you think and again this is not a bad thing I think it's just where we're at.

Philosophy, in many ways sociology, and pure mathematics are not science. To stipulate otherwise, in any way, is to completely misunderstand science and the nature of knowledge, IMO. I could go into this in greater detail and maybe even extensive but really, what's the point? You saying to yourself "What the @$%!?" and that's just where we're at with no resolution in sight.

Skeptic,

No actually, once again you are a poor predictor of my thinking. You'd actually have to have read something I've written for comprehension to know what I think. You manifestly have not done this, and Skeptic, you manifestly do not even begin to understand what I think. Not my opinion, but the clear record that a moderately intelligent reader of this thread would spot in an instance. I may have mentioned it.

When you say philosophy, sociology and pure maths are not science (or at least not science in every way in the case of sociology), guess what? I agree. They're not (entirely in one case) science, but they ARE reasoned.

This may have been a distinction I've been banging on about since page one. It may also have been a distinction I've been very clearly making just so we didn't get the kind of asinine straw men that you and Lenny raised. Please, I beg of you, try reading for some modicum of comprehension.

Just in case you chuck another tantrum and don't read further, did you see that bit there about the stuff I agree with? If not, double check.

In fact if you go back and read what I've written Skeptic, you'll find that not only do I agree but I've said EXACTLY this from the very first post. Is it possible you are STILL missing the distinctions I have been clearly making in big bold letters right from the start? Wow! Everyone else seems to have understood them (except Lenny, but then he was on his anti-fundy trip and wasn't listening to anyone).

You've been duffing up straw men since page one Skeptic. Please, PLEASE stop. All the very genuine frustration and anger you've seen from me is based on simply that single thing: i.e. you have not been engaging what I HAVE said, you've been engaging what you want me to have said. They're different! Very, very different. I think I've made a few very key, very relevant, distinctions too, you might want to check them out, I've repeated them at least 4 times IIRC, in long and short posts, with and without explanation.

As I've said from the very start Skeptic, you don't know what my arguments are or my thinking is because you haven't read my arguments and thus couldn't encapsulate my thinking if you tried.

I may have pointed this out once or twice. It was subtle, you might have missed it.*

If you want resolution, which may indeed be possible, then sorry old fruit but you are going to have to deal with the arguments I have actually made at some point.

You love to define things as impossible don't you? "We can't understand this so faith's the only way, we can't do understand that so faith's the only way, because I don't know you can't know etc etc etc." I wish you'd stop. Another thing I wish you'd stop is declaring any agreement out of the realms of possibility based on your gross misundertandings of what I actually think.

No one agrees with your interpretation of what I have written Skeptic. Not one person (again excepting Lenny, but he had to quote mine me to manage this, I wouldn't cite him as a supporter if I were you). This doesn't mean they agree with me about the conclusions or arguments I've made, it simply means that almost everyone but you has read what I've written and demonstrably understood it. This should wake you up, Skeptic. After 33 pages of someone telling you "WHOA!!!!! I DIDN'T SAY THAT! GO BACK AND DEAL WITH WHAT I DID SAY!" the thought should at least flit across your mind that it is actually YOU who has fucked up. Is any of this getting through I wonder?

Louis

*Sorry but this IS sarcasm. Thhe rest? Not so much sarcasm.

P.S. ADDED IN EDIT: A question for you Skeptic: Can you understand how, if what I say about you misrepresenting my arguments is true (assume for the moment, whether you agree in reality or not, it is) that a) it might be a little frustrating to deal with someone who continually misrepresents your arguments and b) having you define the limits of what we can and cannot agree on and the state of the current discussion when you don't even understand what I have said but are simpoly arguing against the bunnies in your head is so laughably sanctimonious, stupid and ignorant, that it beggers belief?

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

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 03 2007,03:16   

Quote (Erasmus, FCD @ Dec. 03 2007,02:29)
by the way, you did it again. the evidence free fact free argument by assertion thing. thought someone should tell you. we all know your opinion by now.

Erasmus,

I'm shocked. No one, least of all on this thread, has EVER pointed out this to Skeptic. The very idea is unthinkable.

Louis

P.S. Yes I AM a sarcastic prick, what of it?

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

  
skeptic



Posts: 1163
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 03 2007,08:28   

Actually, I do find it frustrating dealing with someone who hears nothing but their own voice.  Also, on many instances, individuals on this thread have voiced agreement with something I have said.  I'm sorry "Budda" but you're position isn't correct just because you sayso.

One question for you, if philosophy is not science how can you continually promote ideas to "fact" and toss these out as evidence that you are right and everyone else is wrong?  A specific case, Hume vs. Paley, is one of these positions right?

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 03 2007,08:33   

Quote (skeptic @ Dec. 03 2007,14:28)
Actually, I do find it frustrating dealing with someone who hears nothing but their own voice. Also, on many instances, individuals on this thread have voiced agreement with something I have said. I'm sorry "Budda" but you're position isn't correct just because you sayso.

One question for you, if philosophy is not science how can you continually promote ideas to "fact" and toss these out as evidence that you are right and everyone else is wrong? A specific case, Hume vs. Paley, is one of these positions right?

One is logically coherent and consistent with what we observe in the natural world (incidentally it takes a little more than this to manage to be science. I've explained this before 'twould seem). One isn't.

Oh and FYI, where do I claim I am right and everyone else is wrong? Are you making little straw men again Skeptic? Like I've said: try agruing against what I have said, NOT what you think I have said.

Guess which.

Have you STILL missed the distinction I made, right at the start, between science and reason?

Please go back and read Skeptic.

Louis

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

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 03 2007,08:38   

Oh and Skeptic, to be accused by you of only hearing my own voice is so ironically ignorant of demonstrable reality as to have caused a rift in spacetime. Find me one question you've got that I haven't already answered.

Do you understand that you a) haven't understood any argument I've made, and b) certainly haven't presented any rebuttal of them (or indeed support for your own claims and assertions, you've yet to make an argument)?

Why do I ask? Of course you don't. Pity, everyone else understands it, again as demonstrated by the written words in this very thread. Try reading them, you might be amazed!

Louis

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

  
BWE



Posts: 1901
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 03 2007,11:20   

Quote
No one agrees with your interpretation of what I have written Skeptic. Not one person (again excepting Lenny, but he had to quote mine me to manage this, I wouldn't cite him as a supporter if I were you). This doesn't mean they agree with me about the conclusions or arguments I've made, it simply means that almost everyone but you has read what I've written and demonstrably understood it. This should wake you up, Skeptic. After 33 pages of someone telling you "WHOA!!!!! I DIDN'T SAY THAT! GO BACK AND DEAL WITH WHAT I DID SAY!" the thought should at least flit across your mind that it is actually YOU who has fucked up. Is any of this getting through I wonder?


1. Lenny didn't agree with Skeptic. Lenny was talking about zen. He tried to use shorthand that didn't work. He actually agreed with Louis but couldn't manage to allow Louis' monological gaze upon the world as the only source of truth. Of course definitions matter. Lenny couldn't go down that path and skeptic didn't seem to get that Louis had offered definitions for his quite philosophical question.

And apparently there is a reason for a rift as least between scientists and religious apologists.

2. Skeptic, you missed the boat. How the heck could you have written that last post?

Seriously, go back and reread this thread. It's long but it's good. Louis has been quite clear.

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 03 2007,11:28   

Quote (BWE @ Dec. 03 2007,17:20)
Quote
No one agrees with your interpretation of what I have written Skeptic. Not one person (again excepting Lenny, but he had to quote mine me to manage this, I wouldn't cite him as a supporter if I were you). This doesn't mean they agree with me about the conclusions or arguments I've made, it simply means that almost everyone but you has read what I've written and demonstrably understood it. This should wake you up, Skeptic. After 33 pages of someone telling you "WHOA!!!!! I DIDN'T SAY THAT! GO BACK AND DEAL WITH WHAT I DID SAY!" the thought should at least flit across your mind that it is actually YOU who has fucked up. Is any of this getting through I wonder?


1. Lenny didn't agree with Skeptic. Lenny was talking about zen. He tried to use shorthand that didn't work. He actually agreed with Louis but couldn't manage to allow Louis' monological gaze upon the world as the only source of truth. Of course definitions matter. Lenny couldn't go down that path and skeptic didn't seem to get that Louis had offered definitions for his quite philosophical question.

And apparently there is a reason for a rift as least between scientists and religious apologists.

2. Skeptic, you missed the boat. How the heck could you have written that last post?

Seriously, go back and reread this thread. It's long but it's good. Louis has been quite clear.

Whoa!

I do not claim any monological view that is the only route to truth. I claim that thus far reason, in all its very varied forms, is the only working mechanism of acquiring knowledge about the universe we can demonstrate we have. That's a bit different, and doesn't involve "truth" which is an awfully slippery concept.

And I know Lenny didn't 100% agree with Skeptic, but he had to quote mine me to disagree with me on the bits he disagreed with me on. I'd say Skeptic would have quote mined me too, but that would mean he'd have actually had to read what I have written and done so for some modicum of comprehension. He hasn't. You can't quote mine something you have neither read nor understood. The similarities in their arguments lie on precisely that line: they both accused me of making a claim I'm not making, admittedly for different reasons. That claim being that science can do anything and tell us everything. Never said that. Never will.

I've made the distinctions pretty clearly several times. Skeptic and Lenny both had to work pretty hard in their own individual ways to miss them. THAT, incidentally, is what annoys me. I may have mentioned it.

Louis

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

  
skeptic



Posts: 1163
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 03 2007,11:36   

You're getting semantic, Louis.  You've said that science or reason is the only thing able to tell us anything.  You say so just in the above post, and anything in the absense of an alternative is everything.

Also, concerning Hume and Paley, neither is more true than the other.  Both are opinion and nothing more.  You may like one argument over the other but that still can not make it more true.  The idea that one reflects reality and the other doesn't is just your personal justification for accepting that argument.  This is a very easy concept and something I assumed you could grasp.  Why is it so difficult for you?

  
Lou FCD



Posts: 5412
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 03 2007,11:37   

Quote (Louis @ Dec. 03 2007,12:28)
You can't quote mine something you have neither read nor understood.

Sure ya' can.  Slimy Sal (and by extension Ftk via cut n paste) does it all the time.

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

Work-friendly photography
NSFW photography

   
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 03 2007,11:42   

Quote (skeptic @ Dec. 03 2007,17:36)
You're getting semantic, Louis. You've said that science or reason is the only thing able to tell us anything. You say so just in the above post, and anything in the absense of an alternative is everything.

Also, concerning Hume and Paley, neither is more true than the other. Both are opinion and nothing more. You may like one argument over the other but that still can not make it more true. The idea that one reflects reality and the other doesn't is just your personal justification for accepting that argument. This is a very easy concept and something I assumed you could grasp. Why is it so difficult for you?

No Skeptic, I'm NOT getting semantic. It's a distinction I made in the first post. Try reading it, and some of the subsequent ones sometimes.

You missed the comment about logical coherence, invalidating the rest of your post. Philosophy being entirely mere opinion is a claim I think you need to justify, because, erm, well everyone who knows even basic philsophy disagrees with it.

Why do I have to retype every post I've made for you Skeptic when you didn't read them the first time around?

GO BACK AND READ!

Louis

P.S. Also, you haven't supported your claim that I've done nothing but argue by assertion. Find me one example. Stop lying.

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

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 03 2007,11:48   

Incidentally I can't believe you are putting Paley's watchmaker analogy up there as an unrefuted argument. Not only did Hume eviscerate it's basis (before it was even written btw) but a few minor subsequent things have happened like....oooooh I don't know....the theories of biological evolution....that destroy the analogy all over again.

As usual Skeptic, your attempt to retreat to almost post modernist lengths is astoundingly stupid. I may have mentioned that before too.*

Louis

*EDITTED TO ADD: Just HOW on earth do you think the sort of extreme solipsist/nihilist crap you are tacitly advocating is going to fly for even a second? If I walk up to some chap in the street and smack him in the head with a 2 by 4 is it merely his opinion that I have done this? Is my opinion that I haven't done so equally valid? Is the opinion of the CCTV camera operator that caught the whole thing on tape equally valid? There comes apoint, Skeptic, when your hypocrsiy gets the better of you. Now get on with your reading my arguments and supporting your claims. You have a lot to do.

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

  
Erasmus, FCD



Posts: 6349
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 03 2007,12:24   

Almost postmodern relativism, Hell!

Louis, your opinions about opinions are in my opinion just opinions about opinions and therefore no more valid than any other opinions about opinions.  it is the opinion of this commenter that opinions thus are immaterial proving the existence of Moses and also quantifying the number of angels that can have a celestial moresome on the apex of a pin (the head of a pin being just an opinion anyway).  Finally, the corollary of this opinion, in my opinion, proves that you are a materialist and also a mean bastard who probably beats puppies and very likely an atheist too.  And your shoes stink.

--------------
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: Dec. 03 2007,12:30   

Quote (Erasmus, FCD @ Dec. 03 2007,18:24)
Almost postmodern relativism, Hell!

Louis, your opinions about opinions are in my opinion just opinions about opinions and therefore no more valid than any other opinions about opinions. it is the opinion of this commenter that opinions thus are immaterial proving the existence of Moses and also quantifying the number of angels that can have a celestial moresome on the apex of a pin (the head of a pin being just an opinion anyway). Finally, the corollary of this opinion, in my opinion, proves that you are a materialist and also a mean bastard who probably beats puppies and very likely an atheist too. And your shoes stink.

All true. For a given value of true.

I want to know if Skeptic would stand by his retreat to a weird combination of solipsism, nihilism and post modernist relativism if the chap in the street I hit with a 2 by 4 (see addition in editted post above) was him.* I'm betting not.

Louis

*This is not in any way shape or form a) an advocacy of hitting ANYONE with a 2 by 4, least of all Skeptic, b) a statement of desire to hit ANYONE with a 2 by 4, least of all Skeptic. My point is simply that the hypocritical deniers of reality seem curiously keen to un-deny it when it is convenient for them. Watch how this will be misunderstood. It should be funny.

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

  
BWE



Posts: 1901
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 03 2007,12:53   

Quote (Louis @ Dec. 03 2007,11:28)
Whoa!

I do not claim any monological view that is the only route to truth. I claim that thus far reason, in all its very varied forms, is the only working mechanism of acquiring knowledge about the universe we can demonstrate we have. That's a bit different, and doesn't involve "truth" which is an awfully slippery concept.

And I know Lenny didn't 100% agree with Skeptic, but he had to quote mine me to disagree with me on the bits he disagreed with me on. I'd say Skeptic would have quote mined me too, but that would mean he'd have actually had to read what I have written and done so for some modicum of comprehension. He hasn't. You can't quote mine something you have neither read nor understood. The similarities in their arguments lie on precisely that line: they both accused me of making a claim I'm not making, admittedly for different reasons. That claim being that science can do anything and tell us everything. Never said that. Never will.

I've made the distinctions pretty clearly several times. Skeptic and Lenny both had to work pretty hard in their own individual ways to miss them. THAT, incidentally, is what annoys me. I may have mentioned it.

Louis

Louis, I know you didn't claim the only route to truth. I used the word sloppily to illustrate the problem lenny was trying to address. Truth in fact is something you addressed head on between p.1 and 3 and between p.15 and 22.

That is the part that both of them missed. Like I said, Lenny actually agreed with you on your point (knowledge rather than truth) but wanted you to be far more explicit (and thus  precise-possibly too precise) about excluding truth from your point:
 
Quote
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.


What I was getting at is summed up (sort of) in this summary of another work (oh the irony) which I linked to earlier:

 
Quote
 Hierarchically ordered structures and emergents (properties or capacities that emerge de novo at certain levels of hierarchy) cannot be interpreted simply in terms of, nor considered as parts of, lower order phenomena. For example, when atoms of hydrogen and oxygen combine, the result is a molecule of water with novel emergent properties, such as wetness. These emergent properties are totally unpredictable from the properties of its constituent atoms and cannot be described in terms of atoms--and, of course, the water molecule is not contained within its atoms.

So too life, or the biosphere, is not simply contained in, reducible to, or explicable simply in terms of, the physiosphere: the realm of pure matter. Life has emergent properties not found in the properties of its chemical constituents. Life, in other words, has properties and capacities that seem to defy description in terms of the movements of the mere molecules. Likewise, the noosphere (the realm of sentient life) emerges from and is not simply in the biosphere. That is, the noosphere is not a component of the larger whole called biosphere but is an emergent that in some sense transcends it. Ontologically, the noosphere thus cannot be reduced to, or considered merely as, a strand of the biosphere. And humans are compound individuals comprised of all three "spheres" or levels; we cannot be regarded simply as strands of the biosphere which comprises only the physical and biological levels.

This is a difficult but important argument which can only be sketched briefly here. It appears to resolve a number of puzzles that have plagued ecological thinking such as how one can accord greater value to some forms of life, including humans, than others while simultaneously honoring all life. Wilber argues at length that this perspective is not antiecological, as it might appear at first glance. Rather, he insists that it naturally results in an enhanced concern for life and the environment which are now recognized as parts of one's own compound individuality.

The Four Quadrants

The schemes and hierarchies considered so far all deal exclusively with exteriors since general systems theories try to be empirical. Hence they almost entirely overlook interiority or subjectivity. Systems theories are essentially theories of surfaces or exteriors.

To understand interiors--subjectivity, experience and consciousness--requires another approach, namely empathy, introspection and interpretation. In short, systems theories have given us a very valuable but very partial view of systems and evolution. This in itself is not bad. However, major troubles ensue when systems scientists claim, as all too many of them do, to be mapping, or at least capable of mapping, all domains of reality.

Wilber wants to expand this view. He argues that comprehensive approaches need to include objective studies not only of the external behavior of individual holons but also of social or group holons and, in addition, the interior or subjectivity of both individuals and groups. He therefore introduces what he calls "the four quadrants" model, with individual and social holons in the upper and lower halves respectively, and exterior and interior in the right and left halves respectively.

Reductionism can seem reasonable since all holons do in fact have both left- and right-hand quadrants and empirical data can be so obvious. However no quadrant is wholly reducible to another and both gross and subtle reductionism can be destructive. This can be insidious in the case of systems theorists, for example, because these people believe that they are truly embracing all reality in a holistic manner and seem quite unaware of just how much, and how much of value, is often missing from their worldview.


And, while this has both a WTF? and a Woo element, it is summarily supported and speaks to lenny's issue (ithink). Skeptic's issue on the other hand, appears to be the assertion that religion has value. (That period at the end of the last sentence denotes finality)

Skeptic wrote:
 
Quote
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.


Louis wrote:
 
Quote
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.
...

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).
...

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.


Which is the point that skeptic and Lenny both seem to have stopped cold with. They set up the strawman to use Louis' words.

I'm going to guess that Lenny's objection flows from his meditation training. Being someone who practices some zen meditation techniques I can attest to the claim that zen practitioners make that there is something actually learned by meditation, purely experiential and which is exactly impossible to describe. This thing eludes quantification. It also has nothing whatsoever to do with faith. Lenny either actually achieved this knowledge or at least got close enough to see it through the only means available: meditation. This objection I wholeheartedly agree with but couldn't defend in any perfect way other than to teach you to meditate.

I said it differs from faith. It is actually more like a tool or instrument to record a previously unseen spectrum. The trick is to learn to see your brain work. It takes a fair bit of practice and leads to an experiential understanding of the difference between the words we use to describe and the things we describe.

Skeptic wants to piggyback "meditation on a mythology until it becomes true" on that notion. Not the same thing.

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 03 2007,13:15   

Quote (BWE @ Dec. 03 2007,18:53)
I'm going to guess that Lenny's objection flows from his meditation training. Being someone who practices some zen meditation techniques I can attest to the claim that zen practitioners make that there is something actually learned by meditation, purely experiential and which is exactly impossible to describe. This thing eludes quantification. It also has nothing whatsoever to do with faith. Lenny either actually achieved this knowledge or at least got close enough to see it through the only means available: meditation. This objection I wholeheartedly agree with but couldn't defend in any perfect way other than to teach you to meditate.

I said it differs from faith. It is actually more like a tool or instrument to record a previously unseen spectrum. The trick is to learn to see your brain work. It takes a fair bit of practice and leads to an experiential understanding of the difference between the words we use to describe and the things we describe.

Skeptic wants to piggyback "meditation on a mythology until it becomes true" on that notion. Not the same thing.

Ok I'll cut to the interesting bit.

How is this an UNreasoned process? The fact that it is a) difficult to put into words/the results are difficult to put into words or b) derived from an unconscious set of brain processes doesn't make it either UNreasoned, ANTIreason, or something else. Again my analogy with catching a ball is relevant here.

I'm more than happy to admit we don't know everything about brain function, I'm more than happy to admit to a plurality of techniques for generating knowledge in a personal sense, but how you go about actually figuring out if these personally generated items actually constiute anything useful or real is a precisely reasoned process (i.e. comparison with external reality).

You're caught coming and going with this one. If you claim it is knowledge that you have acquired by this mechanism then the question is "how do you know it's knowledge?". If at any point in the answer there is reference to a reasoned process or some form of experience or communication then it's exactly as I have been arguin. If there is no reasoned or external reference then it's indistinguishable from any faith claim, and faces exactly the same problems.

Nota bene: I am not saying meditation provides you with invalid ideas or is it self invalid. It could be a perfectly valid way to access other brain processes and thus move the brain's attention from current stream of consciousness type thoughts to other aspects of the brain and its interaction with the world around it.

The only thing I can think it sounds like to me, and I have tried to meditate with limited success (I need to try more often. It's not that I lack the capacity if you see what I mean), is a hallucinogenic experience. Taking mushrooms gave me a few clues. My brain didn't create anything that wasn't already there it merely focussed on different processes. How accurate any of this is I simply don't know, I am no expert on neuroscience.

I've drifted!

The point is simple: meditation gives you some form of knowledge, right? How do you know this? The only way you can know this is by some reason based process either as a mechanism of generating this knowledge in your head, or as a mechanism of checking what is in your head and demonstrating it to be not-fantasy, or more precisely, both.

Erm, that wasn't particularly clear, mibad. Did it come through ok? I think I explained it better before.

Louis

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

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 03 2007,16:01   

Louis -

BWE's experience is not unlike those I reported to you by PM.

Try this:

Central to meditation is "de-verbalizing" experience. What one harvests thereby is not propositional content, but a different sort of experience, one that is available throughout life but that remains un-accessed by most people because obscured by the constant representational threshing of language.

I conceptualize that experience after the fact by means of images and similies. Language is an extraordinarily importent and successful human adaptation, wired into us by evolution. The engine of language begins running at age 12 months and, barring unusual circumstances such as a stroke or dementia, never ceases. So effective is language as a representational tool, so crucial is it to erecting the common conceptual space we inhabit with our fellows, and so accustomed to residing within the representations we create individually and jointly by means of language, that we often don't even recognize that we are dwelling within that real-time representational matrix. Moreover, we mistake our own unceasing contribution (both public and silent) to that matrix for one's "self." We travel down the corridors we communally erect by means of language with ever recognizing that we are thereby contained.

Successful meditation sets that all aside. One comes to parse one's own internal experience somewhat differently - very like the above 99% of the time, but with the option of setting that aside and doing it somewhat differently if one desires. This takes practice and repeated effort. And although only a small portion of each day may be given to the practice, my experience has been that a measure of calm and of reduced anxiety carries throughout one's life by virtue of that practice.

Simultaneously, the perhaps necessary drive to verbalize (internally or privately) and the engine of anxiety (and the foreknowledge of death that stokes that engine) become more apparent by virtue of these brief respites from that drive. One comes away with a better understanding of the role that language plays within that experiental/neural economy, and a bit freer of it, as well. One can't really come to that understanding by traveling the corridors of language ever more rapidly or skillfully or cumulatively - ultimately, one must at least briefly sit aside from that maze and rest away from it to clearly see it, and its essential place in one's life. When that occurs, it is reasonable to state that one 'knows' something that was previously unknown - not 'knowledge' in the sense of public propositional content, but rather a more skillful real-time parsing of one's own internal states, yielding better rest, and, at times, interesting insights.

Of course, any propositional content stimulated by such an experience can and does become lumber for the mills of reasoning. And, the above describes somewhat of an ideal state; the reality (at least with the limited levels of skill I attained) is much more an admixture of internal chatter and brief moments of free of that chatter.

[minor edit vis chatter]

--------------
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

  
Ftk



Posts: 2239
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 03 2007,16:10   

Wow...doesn't Bill write elegantly?

Didn't understand a word of it, but, man it was beautiful.

--------------
"Evolution is a creationism and just as illogical [as] the other pantheistic creation myths"  -forastero

  
skeptic



Posts: 1163
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 03 2007,16:15   

If you take meditation as the soft example then I will illustrate the same point by jumping to the extreme.

Assume for a moment that God exists and is the Absolute Judge of Moral behavior.  God says "thou shalt not kill!"  I agree that God is the Absolute Judge so I agree to abide by "thou shalt not kill."  It makes no difference whatsoever that in retrospect I look back and say "God sure makes a lot of sense here, I shouldn't kill."  I gained knowledge from His first statement everything after that is just the processing of that knowledge.  The only avenue left is to say that God came by that command through a reasoned process but we'll never know that.

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 03 2007,16:46   

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Dec. 03 2007,22:01)
Louis -

BWE's experience is not unlike those I reported to you by PM.

Try this:

Central to meditation is "de-verbalizing" experience. What one harvests thereby is not propositional content, but a different sort of experience, one that remains available throughout life but that remains un-accessed by most people because obscured by the constant representational threshing of language.

I conceptualize that experience after the fact by means of images and similies. Language is an extraordinarily importent and successful human adaptation, wired into us by evolution. The engine of language begins running at age 12 months and, barring unusual circumstances such as a stroke or dementia, never ceases. So effective is language as a representational tool, so crucial is it to erecting the common conceptual space we inhabit with our fellows, and so accustomed to residing within the representations we create individually and jointly by means of language, that we often don't even recognize that we are dwelling within that real-time representational matrix. Moreover, we mistake our own unceasing contribution (both public and silent) to that matrix for one's "self." We travel down the corridors we communally erect by means of language with ever recognizing that we are thereby contained.

Successful meditation sets that all aside. One comes to parse one's own internal experience somewhat differently - very like the above 99% of the time, but with the option of setting that aside and doing it somewhat differently if one desires. This takes practice and repeated effort. And although only a small portion of each day may be given to the practice, my experience has been that a measure of calm and of reduced anxiety carries throughout one's life by virtue of that practice.

Simultaneously, the perhaps necessary drive to verbalize (internally or privately) and the engine of anxiety (and the foreknowledge of death that stokes that engine) become more apparent by virtue of these brief respites from that drive. One comes away with a better understanding of the role that language plays within that experiental/neural economy, and a bit freer of it, as well. One can't really come to that understanding by traveling the corridors of language ever more rapidly or skillfully or cumulatively - ultimately, one must at least briefly sit aside from that maze and rest away from it to clearly see it, and its essential place in one's life. When that occurs, it is reasonable to state that one 'knows' something that was previously unknown - not 'knowledge' in the sense of public propositional content, but rather a more skillful real-time parsing of one's own internal states, yielding better rest, and, at times, interesting insights.

Of course, any propositional content stimulated by such an experience can and does become lumber for the mills of reasoning. And, the above describes somewhat of an ideal state; the reality (at least with the limited levels of skill I attained) is much more an admixture of internal chatter and brief moments of free of that chatter.

[minor edit vis chatter]

Bill,

Gotcha! (BTW that was wonderfully expressed).

Thanks for taking this to the public arena. I should have saked you to do it (again) sooner!

So if I have this correctly, and being a little geeky, it's akin to the concept of "grokking" an idea, right? An understanding of an idea that consumes one and transcends one's ability to describe it?

Again though, as you note, the minute a propositional element enters the bargain, reason snaps back into place.

At the risk of getting a little self-referential, could this be thought of as the one set of brain processes acting on another set? i.e.The shift of emphasis I mentioned above in relation to hallucinations. What evidence is there, or even could there be, that this is not merely (and I use the word with some trepidation because nothing about this is "mere") the synthesis of existing data collected the usual ways, that synthesis being obscured by the everyday chatter. Again, as mentioned in PM (IIRC) wasn't there some thought that dreams were the brain "shuffling" experiential data? Whatever the rightness or wrongness of that specific idea, the principle I'm groping towards is that of altered brain states. Silencing the chatter being one mechanism by which other brain states become examined.

The thing that concerns me a little is that this is really a discussion of the mechanisms of internal thought and brain operation, and not as epistemologically significant as it might first appear. The thing that concerns me a lot is I don't know enough about it! ;-)

Louis

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

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 03 2007,21:30   

Quote (Louis @ Dec. 03 2007,17:46)

So if I have this correctly, and being a little geeky, it's akin to the concept of "grokking" an idea, right? An understanding of an idea that consumes one and transcends one's ability to describe it?

What I am describing is much more concrete and, in a sense, more physical or perhaps immediate than an "idea." Much more inhabiting one's body with less mediation, settling into one's breathing (and the urgencies that ensure that you take the next breath), and resting within one's embodied, creaturely consciousness with less distracting intrusion from the "idiot monologue." So this yields less an idea and more an alternative way of directly experiencing yourself as an instance of conscious organism in the world (quite an astonishing thing, really). Having done so you "know" more about what it is to be an embodied, conscious organism. But what you know is more easily shown than said.
Quote
At the risk of getting a little self-referential, could this be thought of as the one set of brain processes acting on another set? i.e.The shift of emphasis I mentioned above in relation to hallucinations.

Yes. Or perhaps observing another set. Not just horizontally, to other areas of cortex and the high level processing, but also "downward," into what we know by other means to be mid and hind brain and probably hypothalamic maintenance of internal milieu. But I don't want to overstate that - I'm not claiming to have experienced my hindbrain (which would sound pretty whack to me, too). But I have experienced the quiet, immediate urgency that results in my next breath being taken - something I observe, but don't directly participate in - as have we all, an urgency that certainly originates at levels far below cortex. It can be interesting to dwell there for a bit.
Quote
What evidence is there, or even could there be, that this is not merely (and I use the word with some trepidation because nothing about this is "mere") the synthesis of existing data collected the usual ways, that synthesis being obscured by the everyday chatter. Again, as mentioned in PM (IIRC) wasn't there some thought that dreams were the brain "shuffling" experiential data? Whatever the rightness or wrongness of that specific idea, the principle I'm groping towards is that of altered brain states. Silencing the chatter being one mechanism by which other brain states become examined.

"Data" expresses something more propositional than I am describing above. But I think what you suggest does happen, too. What is interesting about dreams is that they arise when the cortex is stimulated utterly randomly by characteristic bursts of hindbrain activity, activating various representations that other brain levels work heroically to integrate into a coherent narrative.
 
Quote
The thing that concerns me a little is that this is really a discussion of the mechanisms of internal thought and brain operation, and not as epistemologically significant as it might first appear. The thing that concerns me a lot is I don't know enough about it! ;-)

At some level, it certainly IS really that. Everything in experience is, at some level, a manifestation of the physical organization of and processes going forward within one's brain and body.

(Errrp, sounding gnomish I am.)

--------------
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

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 03 2007,21:37   

Quote (skeptic @ Dec. 03 2007,17:15)
If you take meditation as the soft example then I will illustrate the same point by jumping to the extreme.

Assume for a moment that God exists and is the Absolute Judge of Moral behavior. God says "thou shalt not kill!" I agree that God is the Absolute Judge so I agree to abide by "thou shalt not kill." It makes no difference whatsoever that in retrospect I look back and say "God sure makes a lot of sense here, I shouldn't kill." I gained knowledge from His first statement everything after that is just the processing of that knowledge. The only avenue left is to say that God came by that command through a reasoned process but we'll never know that.

But what you are describing, Skeptic, is emerging with a strongly felt proposition in hand: "Murder is absolutely wrong." There the analogy breaks down. Our ordinary thinking and reasoning processes certainly ARE (IMHO) the sole origins of such propositional content - that's what we all do so effortlessly by means of language, 24/7, from year one to year 91. Meditation doesn't yield propositional content. Were I to emerge from a deep session with the notion that "there are a lot of cats in the neighborhood," it is a safe bet that I've distilled into awareness something that was already there, as suggested by Louis.

It would be a strange world indeed if we were compelled to accept assertions as true because someone strongly believes them to be true.

--------------
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

  
skeptic



Posts: 1163
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 03 2007,22:03   

No, not simply because we believe them to be true but because the Absolute Judge says that they are.  In the case of murder we can look to God's command to Moses.  If God really exists and He really commanded Moses "thou shalt not murder" where in this process does reason belong?

  
BWE



Posts: 1901
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 04 2007,00:16   

Quote (skeptic @ Dec. 03 2007,22:03)
No, not simply because we believe them to be true but because the Absolute Judge says that they are.  In the case of murder we can look to God's command to Moses.  If God really exists and He really commanded Moses "thou shalt not murder" where in this process does reason belong?

Sorry, I haven't read past this yet. I was writing a beautiful and eloquent response to Louis when I noticed that Bill pre-empted me and phrased it better. Language is a barrier to a certain experience. Therefore science can't really help you gain that knowledge. I have no doubt that science will be able to describe what it looks like to possess that knowledge but the method of quantifying information can't get you there. But Bill said it better. I had to laugh that FTK chimed in and said she had no idea what he was talking about. (FTK, That's positively freudian-I forget the stage).

Anyway, Skeptic, How the fuck can ou be so dense? If little fairies wanted me to jack off at LAX in the luggauge taxi line, wouldn't I know something?

Have your god, go have chips and soda pop with him if you want. But you haven't demonstrated jack. Nada. And that last comment plus this one- sheesh. Where in this process does reason belong? Right before the part that goes, "If God really exists..."

You have demonstrated no knowledge of anything god says and I'm beginning to wonder if you have knowledge of what anyone says. You would be making a positive claim and thus subject to science. In this case psychiatry.

Try to go back and respond to Louis' posts just with answers. Look at his arguments, and respond to them. You aren't doing that and you're being thick.

Edit:

HAHAHA. I was at the end but stopped at Skeptic's comment because it just needed response so dearly.

Louis,

I am still digesting the thread. AFAICT, all your arguments are valid, clear and even sprinkled with a bit of wit and possibly a little sweat and semen. Or maybe that's my monitor. Who knows.

I will try to respond intelligently as soon as I can. In the meantime, R. Bill expressed my reservations clearly. You may see a little bit more on it form me on the morrow. Now it's bedtime.

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
skeptic



Posts: 1163
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 04 2007,01:13   

BWE, you missed my point.  "When God says..." can be replaced by revelation, meditation, whatever, but it's an external source.  Once knowledge comes from that external source there is no need for reason if you accept the source.  Is reason required to accept the authority of the source?  In some cases, maybe, but not always and hence the knowledge can come externally without the use of reason.  This is all predicated on the assumption that you believe in the source, in this case God.  If you believe in God then this makes perfect sense and if you don't then it appears that I'm out to lunch.

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 04 2007,02:35   

Quote (skeptic @ Dec. 04 2007,04:03)
No, not simply because we believe them to be true but because the Absolute Judge says that they are. In the case of murder we can look to God's command to Moses. If God really exists and He really commanded Moses "thou shalt not murder" where in this process does reason belong?

There's a LOT of ifs in that sentence. Even a few you forgot to put in there.

How do you know that the revelation you are havig is from the god you think it is? How do you know it's not from satan or the pixies or it's merely a fantasy? How do you know god said that to Moses? How do you know Moses even existed? How do you know that, for example, sikhism is not the correct religion, and your christianity is a sham?

AAAAAAAAAAAAAND we're back to the start. Again.

Answer those for starters.

The other thing is meditation, from what I understand from Bill and BWE is not an external source of knowledge but a different internal process of generating knowledge to the set of internal processes we use to interact with the universe around us. I'm sure they'll correct me if I messed that up!

Louis

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

  
  1091 replies since Aug. 06 2007,07:39 < Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

Pages: (37) < ... 28 29 30 31 32 [33] 34 35 36 37 >   


Track this topic Email this topic Print this topic

[ Read the Board Rules ] | [Useful Links] | [Evolving Designs]