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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. 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.

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

  
k.e



Posts: 1948
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2007,11:23   

Har har this is Louis ........who is blond.

Louis who is blond

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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 2007,11:31   

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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Bye.

  
k.e



Posts: 1948
Joined: Mar. 2006

(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



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(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.

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

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(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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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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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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