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Posted: 28 December 2006 01:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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[quote author=“milanst”]agnosticism was originated by Thomas Huxley in 1869.  He said “agnosticism is not a creed but a method, the essence of which lies the vigorous application of a single principle.  Positively the principle may be expressed as, in matters of the intellect, follow your reason as far as it can carry you without other considerations.”

Burt, it is this reason that I think calling your self agnostic is a cop out.  ‘Do you believe in god’ is a yes or no question.  Yes = theism, no=atheist.  Agnostic is just how you got there.

It seems to me that the only proper answer to that question (assuming that nobody is standing there with a gun at my head in case I give the wrong answer) is to refuse to answer—any positive answer given is bound to be misunderstood because everybody has their own idea of what the word God means.

I don’t consider myself an agnostic either.  grin  I do have an intuition that there is something beyond the material world, but my approach in general is that of the ancient (rather than modern) skeptics, suspension of judgment.  “Doubt is a perfect mistress but a nagging wife.”

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Posted: 28 December 2006 02:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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Well, if I define God to be “that which is not understood”, then God is timeless and eternal.
In addition, I will share the Christians’ desire to consume God, and transform him to my own substance (i.e gain understanding).

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Posted: 28 December 2006 02:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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Thanks Sander, I was hoping to hear that sort of sentiment. So many (weak) people of all philosophical stripes are looking for the next dogma or the next personality cult, and perhaps the other comments here are correct, that it’s actually dogma that we need to struggle against. At any rate, it’s good to hear there are people listening for signs of fighting extremism with extremism.

-M


Hey Emvem,

There is a difference between harassment and conversational intolerance, which is what Sam advocates.
Furthermore children do not “practice their faith”, they parrot their primary educators.

There is a real danger though that some atheists could resort to violence against Muslims.
Just because you don’t believe in fairy tales doesn’t exempt you from murderous tendencies.
I have seen some very disturbing posts on this forum that were blatantly hostile towards Muslims and basically advocated their murder.


Sadly, one of my family members is an atheist and also a racist and a bigot.
This person lived through WW2 and saw what the Nazis did to the Jews and other unfortunate people.
This same person, when passing a group of young Muslim girls, said to me: “They are just like cockroaches.”

I have read enough history to know what happens right after one group of people starts to refer to another group in animal terms.

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Posted: 28 December 2006 03:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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[quote author=“camanintx”] After reading EOF, I started searching online for various arguments for and against the existence of God and soon reached the conclusion that scientific evidence isn’t necessary since the concept of God preached by most major religions is logically impossible.

True

Since my lack of belief in God is now based on reason, it cannot be considered dogmatic in any way

False

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Posted: 29 December 2006 02:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
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[quote author=“burt”]Don’t put that much faith in logic, it is a very limited instrument.

Interesting comment coming from a mathematician. How would we have developed anything beyond algebra or geometry without logic?

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Posted: 29 December 2006 02:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
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Quote:
Since my lack of belief in God is now based on reason, it cannot be considered dogmatic in any way


False

This is another example of a “belief” or “opinion” being labled as dogma simply because it is an idiosyncratic belief or opinion.  But remember that dogma is a term which is not synonomous with belief or opinion.  So you can’t say that a person who believes something factual is subscribing to dogma. It just doesn’t fit the definition.

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Posted: 29 December 2006 02:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
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[quote author=“camanintx”][quote author=“burt”]Don’t put that much faith in logic, it is a very limited instrument.

Interesting comment coming from a mathematician. How would we have developed anything beyond algebra or geometry without logic?

Logic has its uses, but is, indeed, limited.  It always depends on the initial assumptions.  Theologians make very logical arguments for various religious claims, for example, and if you check in Kurt Gödel’s collected works you will find a formalization of the ontological proof for God.  It all depends on what initial axioms are choosen.  Reason itself goes far beyond logic.

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Posted: 29 December 2006 04:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]  
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[quote author=“burt”]Logic has its uses, but is, indeed, limited.  It always depends on the initial assumptions.  Theologians make very logical arguments for various religious claims, for example, and if you check in Kurt Gödel’s collected works you will find a formalization of the ontological proof for God.  It all depends on what initial axioms are choosen.  Reason itself goes far beyond logic.

I define logic as a system for analyzing reasoning to determine if it is correct or not. As you say, reason goes beyond logic, but not always in the direction of truth. Take your example of Gödel’s ontological proof of God. A person might accept it as a reasonable argument while logically the assumptions are contradictory.

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Posted: 29 December 2006 05:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]  
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[quote author=“burt”]Reason itself goes far beyond logic.

Can you please, puh-leaze, try to explain to me how it does so in any useful way? This is really just a request for your definition of “reason”. Keep in mind that you may be using a definition of “reason” that is itself completely idiosyncratic, and that you may care little for empiricism.

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Posted: 29 December 2006 12:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]  
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[quote author=“camanintx”][quote author=“burt”]Logic has its uses, but is, indeed, limited.  It always depends on the initial assumptions.  Theologians make very logical arguments for various religious claims, for example, and if you check in Kurt Gödel’s collected works you will find a formalization of the ontological proof for God.  It all depends on what initial axioms are choosen.  Reason itself goes far beyond logic.

I define logic as a system for analyzing reasoning to determine if it is correct or not. As you say, reason goes beyond logic, but not always in the direction of truth. Take your example of Gödel’s ontological proof of God. A person might accept it as a reasonable argument while logically the assumptions are contradictory.

Sorry, but his assumptions are logically consistent, Gödel was, after all, the preeminent logician of the 20th century.  It is a matter of whether or not you accept the assumptions, not whether or not they are consistent.  As far as the definition of logic, there are various sorts.  Formal logic, for example, predicate calculus, dialectical logic, and so on.  The concept of truth is also problematic.  Does it mean truth within a formal system. truth via correspondence with empirical evidence, or what.  The whole question goes to how we can use reason to construct viable world models and this is not a question that has been fully answered (an likely will never be).  Even if you appeal to science there are questions since science evolves and there is no reason to suppose that the science we have today is the ultimate form for science to take.  Actually, there are good reasons to think that another major scientific revolution is in the making.

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Posted: 29 December 2006 12:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]  
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[quote author=“Salt Creek”][quote author=“burt”]Reason itself goes far beyond logic.

Can you please, puh-leaze, try to explain to me how it does so in any useful way? This is really just a request for your definition of “reason”. Keep in mind that you may be using a definition of “reason” that is itself completely idiosyncratic, and that you may care little for empiricism.

 

The word reason derives from the proto-Indo-European word ar, which means something like “fitting together.”  So my most general definition for the word is as a mental process of fitting things together.  This could be in language or symbols, or composition of a symphony, or a meal, or whatever.  When I said that reason goes beyond logic, I was using logic in the restricted way that I assumed the person I was responding to used it.  The root for the word logic is leg, meaning “to collect together, to speak.”  So for me, a logic is a way of collecting things together into categories that can be named and spoken about.  So logic is a tool of reason, it allows us to construct the mental categories that we then operate on with reason to fit our thoughts and worldviews together.

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Posted: 30 December 2006 03:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]  
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[quote author=“burt”]The word reason derives from the proto-Indo-European word ar, which means something like “fitting together.”  So my most general definition for the word is as a mental process of fitting things together.  This could be in language or symbols, or composition of a symphony, or a meal, or whatever.  When I said that reason goes beyond logic, I was using logic in the restricted way that I assumed the person I was responding to used it.  The root for the word logic is leg, meaning “to collect together, to speak.”  So for me, a logic is a way of collecting things together into categories that can be named and spoken about.  So logic is a tool of reason, it allows us to construct the mental categories that we then operate on with reason to fit our thoughts and worldviews together.

You are simply splitting hairs between “fitting together” and “collecting together”. Sure, preparing a meal or composing a symphony involves “fitting together” in some sort of order, just as conducting a scientific experiment does, or organizing the data you get from it. Congratulations, you now have something so general as to be quite useless: Everything that is coherent, even the ravings of a psychotic, could be “reasonable” simply because they are in some sort of “order” imposed by the thinker himself.

You’re a Class A example of how a philosopher can utterly, utterly lose his grip.

Do us a favor and stay safely away from engaging with reality. You’ll only hurt yourself, and probably others as well.

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Posted: 30 December 2006 04:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]  
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[quote author=“Salt Creek”][quote author=“burt”]The word reason derives from the proto-Indo-European word ar, which means something like “fitting together.”  So my most general definition for the word is as a mental process of fitting things together.  This could be in language or symbols, or composition of a symphony, or a meal, or whatever.  When I said that reason goes beyond logic, I was using logic in the restricted way that I assumed the person I was responding to used it.  The root for the word logic is leg, meaning “to collect together, to speak.”  So for me, a logic is a way of collecting things together into categories that can be named and spoken about.  So logic is a tool of reason, it allows us to construct the mental categories that we then operate on with reason to fit our thoughts and worldviews together.

You are simply splitting hairs between “fitting together” and “collecting together”. Sure, preparing a meal or composing a symphony involves “fitting together” in some sort of order, just as conducting a scientific experiment does, or organizing the data you get from it. Congratulations, you now have something so general as to be quite useless: Everything that is coherent, even the ravings of a psychotic, could be “reasonable” simply because they are in some sort of “order” imposed by the thinker himself.

You’re a Class A example of how a philosopher can utterly, utterly lose his grip.

Do us a favor and stay safely away from engaging with reality. You’ll only hurt yourself, and probably others as well.

Don’t be an idiot.  Think about what I am saying.  For everything coherent there is a “logic” of how it must work.  The ancient Pythagoreans introduced the term logos for this (and it was later hijacked).  That is the essence of science, to discover the inner logic of the world.  All the rest is constructing the tools and methods for doing this. 

So tell me, what is your background that you are able to make such a judgment about what I say?  Have you researched anything carefully?  Have you published papers in respected journals?  Have you taught a course in scientific reasoning for the past 15 years?  Have you ever thought carefully and deeply about anything, and they tried to construct a linguistic and symbolic description that communicates your conclusions in an unambiguous way?  Or you just mouthing off?

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Posted: 30 December 2006 07:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]  
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[quote author=“burt”]Don’t be an idiot.  Think about what I am saying.  For everything coherent there is a “logic” of how it must work.  The ancient Pythagoreans introduced the term logos for this (and it was later hijacked).  That is the essence of science, to discover the inner logic of the world.  All the rest is constructing the tools and methods for doing this. 

So tell me, what is your background that you are able to make such a judgment about what I say?  Have you researched anything carefully?  Have you published papers in respected journals?  Have you taught a course in scientific reasoning for the past 15 years?  Have you ever thought carefully and deeply about anything, and they tried to construct a linguistic and symbolic description that communicates your conclusions in an unambiguous way?  Or you just mouthing off?

Burt,

I know that over there in the philosophy department, you’ve been sweating bullets to come up with those hyper-fine distinctions betweeen “fitting together” and “collecting together”. You’ll have to forgive my lack of sympathy for your prodigious efforts. I seriously doubt that you have ever been on the business end of a piece of scientific apparatus. Teaching a course in “scientific reasoning”, even for 15 years, is no substitute for actually having exercised scientific reasoning, and it is no guarantee that you really know anything at all about the subject.

I have, in fact, “researched things carefully” and published scientific papers in peer reviewed journals on subjects you have no inkling of. So, no, I am not just “mouthing off”.

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Posted: 30 December 2006 11:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]  
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[quote author=“Salt Creek”][quote author=“burt”]Don’t be an idiot.  Think about what I am saying.  For everything coherent there is a “logic” of how it must work.  The ancient Pythagoreans introduced the term logos for this (and it was later hijacked).  That is the essence of science, to discover the inner logic of the world.  All the rest is constructing the tools and methods for doing this. 

So tell me, what is your background that you are able to make such a judgment about what I say?  Have you researched anything carefully?  Have you published papers in respected journals?  Have you taught a course in scientific reasoning for the past 15 years?  Have you ever thought carefully and deeply about anything, and they tried to construct a linguistic and symbolic description that communicates your conclusions in an unambiguous way?  Or you just mouthing off?

Burt,

I know that over there in the philosophy department, you’ve been sweating bullets to come up with those hyper-fine distinctions betweeen “fitting together” and “collecting together”. You’ll have to forgive my lack of sympathy for your prodigious efforts. I seriously doubt that you have ever been on the business end of a piece of scientific apparatus. Teaching a course in “scientific reasoning”, even for 15 years, is no substitute for actually having exercised scientific reasoning, and it is no guarantee that you really know anything at all about the subject.

I have, in fact, “researched things carefully” and published scientific papers in peer reviewed journals on subjects you have no inkling of. So, no, I am not just “mouthing off”.

What makes you think I’m in a philosophy department?  I am a physicist working in a math department.  I’m glad that you think you know something about reality.  I will admit that the last time I was actually doing experimental physics was as an undergrad, but I do think that I have established enough credentials in various branches of science to claim to know something about scientific reason (published in general relativity, mathematical biology and ecology, and various areas of complex systems. 

What you refer to as “hyperfine” distinctions are no such thing.  Collecting things toghether has to do with the criteria for distinctions.  I assume that you do that in your work.  Fitting together has to do with the way that you then operate on the distinctions made, what rules do you use to analyze empirical results for example.  Buying a new car.  You collect information on the various possibilities, then do an analysis based on the criteria you have established.  It is just because these definitions are so general that they point to the essential nature of being human (Aristotle’s definition: man is the rational animal).  The general point is that the sort of reasoning we do depends on the context we’re doing it in.  Different contexts have different validity criteria.

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