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Posted: 04 January 2009 06:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]  
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eucaryote - 03 January 2009 09:21 PM

What won’t pass through the doors of perception, we call non-sense.

Have you ever perceived the square root of a negative one?

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Posted: 04 January 2009 06:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]  
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unknown zone - 03 January 2009 09:48 PM

To my way of seeing things, Bruce, the good/evil paradigm is a perversion or miscasting of the biological force of pleasure/comfort vs. pain/challenge. Hard-core good/evil visions of morality, such as in traditional religions, are typically little more than crude attempts at shorthand that replace the poetic breadth of nature that can be viewed through science-oriented perspectives.

Nature “uses” pain and pleasure to mold the behavior of her creatures, and your vision of God apparently does something similar.

If it turns out that there is no God, your explanation is viable.  Since my personal experience includes subjective encounters with God and a NT paradigm that explains those encounters, I include God in my explanation of reality.

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Posted: 04 January 2009 06:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]  
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Carstonio - 03 January 2009 10:41 PM
Bruce Burleson - 03 January 2009 08:27 PM

The suffering that is in the world, as horrible as it is, will ultimately serve to teach us how to use the gift of our freedom as children of God in the coming ages.

I can appreciate the idea of learning from one’s suffering. But any claim about an endowed purpose behind suffering must be analyzed scientifically, since that’s a claim about something having real-world existence. There’s no evidence for an endowed purpose, and it’s no different from the hateful claim that suffering is a divine punishment. It’s one thing if someone claims that his gods have a purpose for himself, but when the person claims that his gods have purposes for others, it’s only right that others demand evidence for such purposes.

This consistently has been your position. And my position consistently has been that scientific analysis is one way, but not the only way, to gain information about reality.

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Posted: 04 January 2009 07:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]  
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Bruce Burleson - 04 January 2009 11:49 AM

And my position consistently has been that scientific analysis is one way, but not the only way, to gain information about reality.

What other ways would there be? There are actually two types of reality - the one we perceive with our senses and the one that resides in our minds. The latter can influence the former through our actions, but the former trumps the latter - imagining that a cute co-worker or classmate is interested in you doesn’t make it true.

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Posted: 04 January 2009 07:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]  
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Bruce Burleson - 04 January 2009 11:42 AM

Have you ever perceived the square root of a negative one?

That would have only conceptual existence in our minds - it would have no “physical” existence, meaning existence outside the human mind. Any claim to a purpose endowed by gods (I use “gods” instead of “God” to avoid monothestic bias) is a claim that some event happened outside the human mind, and thus must be analyzed scientifically. And any further claim that the endowed purpose has the same type of existence as a square root is really a claim that the purpose exists only in the claimant’s mind.

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Posted: 04 January 2009 10:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]  
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Bruce

I’m really puzzled by this. You don’t agree with my theology, so you think I’m going to harm you?  This is an irrational fear.

It’s a metaphor for distrust.  It’ s difficult for me to trust someone who uses religion and god to rationalize the suffering of people.  The means (suffering) don’t justify the ends (utopia). 


Are you personally going to harm me?  I don’t have any fear of that.  It is your ideologies I am distrustful and leary of.  Nothing irrational about that.

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Posted: 04 January 2009 11:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]  
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lindajean - 03 January 2009 08:25 PM

Bruce, Peter, Rick… (and the list goes on an on)... A Trinity of souls I don’t want to ever meet in a dark alley, so help me, god.

Here is what you actually said before you started back-peddling.  “Dark alley” really has only one connotation here - a secluded place where one is in danger because of bad people lurking in the shadows. You chose the words, not me. I have no history of violence. Your fear is irrational. There is no basis for you to fear me in any way.

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Posted: 04 January 2009 11:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]  
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I’m always amazed and perplexed by people who claim to know what god thinks and intends, through “personal revelation.”  There are millions of people who make that claim, that they have had some direct contact with their god. but they cannot seem to agree what god said, or there are millions of gods with different messages?  I do observe that theists seem able to find that their god has somehow approved of whatever it is they believe, even as they war on each other over those beliefs.  How convenient. 

Dennis

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Truth, especially “moral truth,” is that elusive human creation whose exclusive apprehension is claimed by many, who then sanctimoniously condemn anyone else who does not agree with their particular apprehension, while denying that any question can be posed about their own apprehension.  I will try to avoid that tendency.  DEC

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Posted: 04 January 2009 11:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]  
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Carstonio - 04 January 2009 12:14 PM
Bruce Burleson - 04 January 2009 11:49 AM

And my position consistently has been that scientific analysis is one way, but not the only way, to gain information about reality.

What other ways would there be? There are actually two types of reality - the one we perceive with our senses and the one that resides in our minds. The latter can influence the former through our actions, but the former trumps the latter - imagining that a cute co-worker or classmate is interested in you doesn’t make it true.

Direct revelation is one way of acquiring information apart from scientific analysis and sensory perception (I assume by “senses” you mean the classical five senses).  An example of this was shared with us by the atheist Duckphup about a year or so ago.  He related an experience in which he suddenly “knew” that his father had passed away, although his father was not sick and was thousands of miles away.  He later confirmed that his father, in fact, had died about the time he received this knowledge. The knowledge was not transmitted to him by the classical five senses, nor was it transmitted to him by scientific analysis or logical deduction. In some manner, his brain acted as a receiver and received this knowledge.  He gained information about reality through means other than sensory perception/observation, empirical means, or logical deduction.

In the future, we may be able to explain this in scientific terms.  We can’t do it now, but that does not prevent accurate information being transmitted to us by means other than science and observation.

Have you ever “known” that the telephone was about to ring and “known” who was on the other end?  Sometimes our thoughts cause us to disregard signals that we pick up and we don’t process the information being transmitted. But sometimes we are cognizant of it.  Applying this to God, if there is a supreme being who exists in another dimension (like the alternate universes and dimensions posited by M Theory), why couldn’t he transmit a message to us? If he did, we would be the recipients of information, even though we could not verify it scientifically in the interim.

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Posted: 04 January 2009 11:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]  
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Dennis Campbell - 04 January 2009 04:11 PM

I’m always amazed and perplexed by people who claim to know what god thinks and intends, through “personal revelation.”  There are millions of people who make that claim, that they have had some direct contact with their god. but they cannot seem to agree what god said, or there are millions of gods with different messages?  I do observe that theists seem able to find that their god has somehow approved of whatever it is they believe, even as they war on each other over those beliefs.  How convenient.

Yes, I understand how perplexing that might seem. But I don’t claim to “know” what God thinks and intends, only to “believe” that he intends X. There is a difference. And I’m not going to go to war over it. Discussing it is about as far as I’m willing to go. So am I a little less amazing and perplexing to you, Dennis?

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Posted: 04 January 2009 11:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]  
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Bruce Burleson - 04 January 2009 11:37 AM
GAD - 03 January 2009 09:04 PM

Once again in the coming kingdom of god there will be no sin, death, evil, pain or sadness. Gods does away with them, and you can’t have them even if you wanted to. Therefore experience is irrelevant in heaven.

God will do away with evil in at least two ways: 1) he will remove the source of the temptation to do evil (satanic forces); and 2) he will remove the compulsion to lean toward evil that is in people.  The second prong is accomplished, at least in part, by the shaping of the character of his children, which is accomplished by what we experience in this life. So, experience in this age is not irrelevant to our experience in the next.

No Bruce. The party line is that sin, death, evil, pain and sadness are gone forever, you couldn’t chose them even if you wanted to. Therefore experience of such things is irrelevant.

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Posted: 04 January 2009 12:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]  
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Bruce Burleson - 04 January 2009 11:46 AM

Since my personal experience includes subjective encounters with God and a NT paradigm that explains those encounters, I include God in my explanation of reality.


Bruce,  when your explanation of reality remains something you apply to yourself, I’ve no objection.  When you apply that to what other people should do, then I may have some objections.  Your “personal encounter” is your business; it is not a sufficient basis for then applying that to social governance.  That’s exactly what those theists who injure, kill or otherwise behave in an aggressive manner against others do: they claim they’re acting in god’s name.  The distinction between “belief” and “knowledge” becomes of little interest to the recipient of that aggression. 

Dennis

[ Edited: 04 January 2009 12:42 PM by Dennis Campbell]
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Truth, especially “moral truth,” is that elusive human creation whose exclusive apprehension is claimed by many, who then sanctimoniously condemn anyone else who does not agree with their particular apprehension, while denying that any question can be posed about their own apprehension.  I will try to avoid that tendency.  DEC

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Posted: 04 January 2009 12:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]  
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Bruce Burleson - 04 January 2009 04:16 PM

In some manner, his brain acted as a receiver and received this knowledge.  He gained information about reality through means other than sensory perception/observation, empirical means, or logical deduction.

While I don’t reject the possibility that our brains are capable of that type of perception, such anecdotal stories don’t qualify as evidence because they cannot be tested or repeated. Bad things happen all the time that we do not expect, but we only remember the times when we had some feeling that something was happening. The burden of proof is on any claim that such feelings are not simple coincidences. Not to impugn Duckphup’s motives, but the flaw in any such story is that we’re asked to simply take the claimant’s word for it - anyone can claim to have had a psychic experience.

Bruce Burleson - 04 January 2009 04:16 PM

Have you ever “known” that the telephone was about to ring and “known” who was on the other end?  Sometimes our thoughts cause us to disregard signals that we pick up and we don’t process the information being transmitted.

Your theory is unlikely because it involves too many assumptions, far more than the alternate explanation of simple coincidence.

Besides, why would you as a conservative Christian give any credence to psychic phenomena? Most of the conservative Christians I know equate it with demonic possession and devil worship, or at least see it as a slippery slope to those things.

Bruce Burleson - 04 January 2009 04:16 PM

Applying this to God, if there is a supreme being who exists in another dimension (like the alternate universes and dimensions posited by M Theory), why couldn’t he transmit a message to us? If he did, we would be the recipients of information, even though we could not verify it scientifically in the interim.

Even if psychic abilities were proven to exist, that would do nothing for the hypothesis of gods, because such gods may have nothing to do with human brain abilities. There is no reason to take the word of anyone who claims to receive communications from gods - he could be honestly mistaken or he could be deliberately lying, and there’s no way to independently verify the claim.

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Posted: 04 January 2009 12:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]  
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Carstonio - 04 January 2009 05:10 PM

While I don’t reject the possibility that our brains are capable of that type of perception, such anecdotal stories don’t qualify as evidence because they cannot be tested or repeated. Bad things happen all the time that we do not expect, but we only remember the times when we had some feeling that something was happening. The burden of proof is on any claim that such feelings are not simple coincidences. Not to impugn Duckphup’s motives, but the flaw in any such story is that we’re asked to simply take the claimant’s word for it - anyone can claim to have had a psychic experience.

You will not accept any evidence that contradicts your rationalist dogma. Duckphup’s story passes the legal standard for evidence - it happened to him personally (not hearsay), and furthermore it is a “statement against interest” in that he, an avowed atheist, was telling us about an event that actually undercut his rationalistic leanings. Your dogma - that only scientifically testable events can ever qualify as evidence - is itself not provable by evidence. It is simply a shield behind which you hide in order to simplify your world view. 

Furthermore, nobody calls Duckphup a liar and gets away with it. You’re phuped.

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Posted: 04 January 2009 01:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]  
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Bruce Burleson - 04 January 2009 05:26 PM

Duckphup’s story passes the legal standard for evidence - it happened to him personally (not hearsay), and furthermore it is a “statement against interest” in that he, an avowed atheist, was telling us about an event that actually undercut his rationalistic leanings.

Duckphup’s story is hearsay for everyone else simply because it’s one person’s word. The same would be true if the incident had happened to me and I discussed it here, and I would expect and even demand to be greeted with skepticism. How could such a story qualify as evidence? Perhaps if the incident had happened to many people simultaneously and there was a way to repeat it. Or if we discovered some aspect of physical matter that would make such incidents possible.

Bruce Burleson - 04 January 2009 05:26 PM

Furthermore, nobody calls Duckphup a liar and gets away with it. You’re phuped.

I don’t question that Duckphup experienced something that he could not explain. What I question is your claim that it constitutes proof of psychic phenomena. With such claims, one person’s word is NEVER sufficient, and pointing that out does NOT constitute calling Duckphup or anyone else a liar. I’m saying that evaluating the veracity of psychic claims comes down to trust, which is an emotional issue and not a scientific one. Because of the extreme nature of such claims, the level of skepticism must necessarily be high.

[ Edited: 04 January 2009 01:17 PM by Carstonio]
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