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Intelligent Design
Posted: 27 March 2007 10:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 46 ]  
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[quote author=“CanZen”]Andonstop, you say,

“Art is only the evidence of its creator, it is foolish to assume that art created itself.”

First of all you picked for the core of your premise something that is obviously created by someone “art” and then you come to your conclusion . . .  but to take this analogy into something like “flowers” or “mountains” or “monkeys” simply doesn’t hold.  In the case of naturally occurring phenomena, you cannot say that these are “evidence of their creator” and then make the “foolish to assume” conclusion.

Sorry, I don’t buy it.

“Only a poet can discern poetry in the commonplace prose of routine existence.”

Would you consider it logical to assume there is life on other planets?

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Posted: 27 March 2007 11:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 47 ]  
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[quote author=“snapshot1”][quote author=“andonstop”][quote author=“snapshot1”]But again, you’re calling it a statement of faith. It’s not faith. It’s a statement of subjective fact. If I say something is good, I’m not making a statement about God—like you do when you say something is either good or bad—, I’m making a statement about my preference. I’m not declaring something as being inherently good or bad. It’s not a statement of faith whatsoever. It’s a fact that you can accept if you trust my own judgment’s judgment (my ability to assess myself correctly).

My earnest friend, it is no more reasonable for you to deny you have faith than for traditional religionists to deny the evolutionary nature of life.

Faith exists whether anyone is willing to accept it or not, just as surely as the earth was round even before anyone thought to question that it was flat. Faith comes out of the necessity created by the condition of living in a world in which all things are not knowable. Whether one calls it “subjective interpretation”, “subjective fact” or “faith” does not change what it is.

Atheists are often accused of having faith in something. The only faith an atheist would ever need would be faith that this our existence isn’t an illusion, that our experience right now is more real than anything we could possibly imagine, so that we live long enough to reason ourselves out of such irrationality. We don’t need anything more than reason to conclude that believing this reality is an illusion and not to be trusted is disadvantageous. Number one, we don’t know this reality is an illusion. That hasn’t been concluded. Number two, I don’t know what non-existence feels like, but I do know that happiness feels better than depression, and being optimistic and feeling good about our ability to assess our own existence is enough to keep anyone out of that hole in the ground: faith. With this reasoning, the last of our faith flies out the window.

We realize that, illusion or not, we have been placed in a puzzle that is rational and apparently solvable. Nobody, it seems, is going to figure it all out before they die. Every generation contributes to solving the puzzle. The people who don’t contribute are the people who think understanding this reality is unimportant; that science is a waste of time or disadvantageous and convoluted; that are scientists aren’t smart enough to conclude anything, anytime.

Scientists know enough about stuff to make cool things happen and in doing so express their ability ability to fairly assess reality. But it doesn’t matter to the faithful that science is a methodology that self-corrects toward consistency with the reality in which they exist. They don’t want to believe or trust anyone but their own faith and people who, by no fault of their own, happen to agree with them.

As Sam Harris said,

If the history of science tells us anything, it tells us that we shouldn’t rush to draw metaphysical conclusions from our failures of intuition. We now know a fair amount about how bad our intuitions can be—with respect to causality, probability, logical dependence, and a wide range of other parameters that determine our commonsense (and erroneous) view of the world..

He’s saying that coming up with conclusions about anything outside of our existence is futile since, first of all, you don’t have information streaming in from any other reliable or rational existence but the one you’re standing in (notice how God always says something a little differently to everyone else), and secondly, we can reliably predict our intuitions to be wrong when we neglect the rational aspects of nature. We do it all the time. We can’t possibly assume that intuiting anything strongly enough to be believable would be wise (or moral, says Sam-and me) when positing the creator of all existence. As I said before, it’s divisive, and it breaks down group moral; it’s an isolationist’s perspective. If you want to disassociate yourself from Reality and the rest of us, that’s going to require a lot of faith, and I know religious people are full of it (faith).

At its lowest level, faith is simply reactionary to the necessity of environmental conditions. Perceived reasons for this low level of faith can be fear, self-centeredness, and/or dogged unwillingness to think too far outside the box of comfortable, knowable materialism.

At its highest levels, faith includes the majesty and balance of love, trust, loyalty, courage, grace, kindness, compassion, tolerance, and wisdom—all those values which are outside the realm of science; all those traits which are outside the bounds of measurability; all those intangibles which winning coaches understand.

To value more highly the knowable laws of science than the creator of those laws is comparable to valuing the work of a master artisan over the artisan. Art is only the evidence of its creator, it is foolish to assume that art created itself.

I think something faith should also teach modesty in what we are able to intuit. Science has brought nothing but modesty to its practice. Scientists tend not to assume things they can’t explain unless it’s advantageous in helping to prove themselves right or wrong.

This is why I can’t stand it when the faithful tell me I, too, have faith. They don’t understand that not everyone thinks like they do. They think that everyone else has as tough a time coping with reality as they do, and atheists, too, need to come up with similar psychological defense mechanism (faith), even if they don’t use it to believe in God.

Also, you think that those “higher” levels of human experience require faith? I beg to differ. We don’t need to believe anything on insufficient evidence to experience a wide spectrum of human emotion. Though, one could certainly experience a wide range of emotions without ever rationally experiencing the natural causes of those emotions by using faith. But I think if you’re saying that everyone needs faith in order to experience these emotions, I can only say that’s a very arrogant stance to take.

Atheists don’t need or want faith. And just because we might have it does not mean we don’t want to get rid of it. We try to rid ourselves of it while religious people cling to it and try to build upon it. The consequences are the atheists are more in tuned with this reality, and the faithful or more in tune with whatever reality their faith is conjuring up in their heads.

If atheists have any faith at all, it’s that we believe we shouldn’t be relying on anything other than Reality to cope with fact that we exist. We all cope with this fact in different ways. (If you don’t even believe that you exist, there’s no point in arguing). Atheists turn to each other, who attempt to use the rationality of the given environment to discover their predicament. The faithful, on the other hand, like to gather and groups and hope beyond hope that this isn’t all there is. It just can’t be. It doesn’t make any sense. Why are we here? What is life?! GET ME OUT OF HERE!!!

“The argumentative defense of any proposition is inversely proportional to the truth contained.” In other fields, some might consider yours a phobic reaction.

I can only reaffirm what I’ve said earlier: Faith is like sex. It exists in all of us. It has always been with us. It will always be with us. To some it is a casual social thing; to some it is a means to an end; to others it is a completing part of a deeply committed relationship. Some choose not to participate. As one matures, one’s approach to sex generally matures as well, becoming more spiritual and less an unthinking animal reaction. The question to me is whether it enriches life to reject faith or sex. I think not.

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Posted: 28 March 2007 05:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 48 ]  
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Yes, you are a charming egg burt.

I do understand what you are saying and I agree all the way to the belief, we indeed create meaning . . .  but I would add that for some meaning-makers there’s a bit of magic that goes into the mixture before the belief is confirmed/believed.  I like magic, like poetic thinking, but if you wish to show up atheists as non-poetic, I guess that’s your agenda but I don’t buy it. Atheists are poetic in a different sense than theists are.

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Posted: 28 March 2007 05:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 49 ]  
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Andonstop asked,

“Would you consider it logical to assume there is life on other planets?”

Yes, I would, but not on other planets in this solar system.  Now explain that connection to me.

As far as your notion that “faith is like sex” - are you just pulling rabbits out of a hat?  So if someone rejects faith, then they are just as likely to reject sex?  The connection here is so vague as to be unconnected.  I do agree that atheists have certain levels of faith in their repertoire of understanding (I have faith in the fact that the equations physicists write out do indeed tell them what they say they tell them even though I dont’ conclude anything from those mathematical formulas.  You could say that I have faith that these people are telling the truth, but I also understand that there are scientific ways to corroborate their findings. If someone wrote an equation on the board that proved aliens had visited the earth I would laugh at that, but if someone wrote a probablity equation that showed the likelihood that life exists on other planets, I would believe that conclusion.)

Anyway I think snapshot1 said the most persuasive thing on this subject

“Atheists don’t need or want faith. And just because we might have it does not mean we don’t want to get rid of it. We try to rid ourselves of it while religious people cling to it and try to build upon it. The consequences are the atheists are more in tuned with this reality, and the faithful or more in tune with whatever reality their faith is conjuring up in their heads.”

Bob

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Posted: 28 March 2007 05:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 50 ]  
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[quote author=“CanZen”]You could say that I have faith that these people are telling the truth, but I also understand that there are scientific ways to corroborate their findings.

No. I could say that you have faith that these people are seeking the truth, and are willing to subject their investigations to empirical scrutiny.

You can have no such confidence about theists. Seeking what one calls truth without subjecting it to scientific scrutiny is a sham.

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Posted: 28 March 2007 06:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 51 ]  
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[quote author=“CanZen”]
I do understand what you are saying and I agree all the way to the belief, we indeed create meaning . . .  but I would add that for some meaning-makers there’s a bit of magic that goes into the mixture before the belief is confirmed/believed.  I like magic, like poetic thinking, but if you wish to show up atheists as non-poetic, I guess that’s your agenda but I don’t buy it. Atheists are poetic in a different sense than theists are.
Bob

 

No desire to show atheists as non-poetic, why would belief or disbelief in a God relate to whether or not one was poetic.  The magic is in the creativity itself, as I see it.  Certain forms of eductation support creativity, others can destroy it (including fundamentalist religious education), and discussion of the differences and ways to encourage creativity could be useful.

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Posted: 28 March 2007 06:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 52 ]  
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[quote author=“burt”]The magic is in the creativity itself, as I see it.

Burt: Not all forms of creativity are to be honored. Those who invent stories of aliens and flying saucers to promote conspiracy theories about their duly elected governments are not necessarily to be honored. They could come up with better scenarios for questioning things.

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Posted: 28 March 2007 10:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 53 ]  
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Maybe I was con-fusing different posts from you burt and from andonstop who quoted

“Only a poet can discern poetry in the commonplace prose of routine existence.”

Since you are often reciting poetry in your posts, I though you meant to imply that the quote above (from andonstop with no source cited) could be transcribed into
“Only a theist can discern god in the commonplace activity of routine existence.”

I guess both statements simply describe the intuitive sense of ‘poets’ and ‘theists’ but not that the two can be con fused into the same meaning.  Of course I consider myself to be a poet, but also an atheist, so even though you did not mean to imply that theists were more like poets than atheists are like poets, in my own estimation I would’ve refuted that statement (that you did not ever make or even imply) with my own existence.

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Posted: 28 March 2007 10:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 54 ]  
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[quote author=“Salt Creek”][quote author=“burt”]The magic is in the creativity itself, as I see it.

Burt: Not all forms of creativity are to be honored. Those who invent stories of aliens and flying saucers to promote conspiracy theories about their duly elected governments are not necessarily to be honored. They could come up with better scenarios for questioning things.

But aren’t you making a large leap of faith yourself to say that aliens and UFOs do not exist, therefore anyone who says they have proof is a liar?  What do you know about UFOs other than the fact you have never knowingly seen one yourself?

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Posted: 28 March 2007 12:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 55 ]  
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[quote author=“andonstop”]
“The argumentative defense of any proposition is inversely proportional to the truth contained.” In other fields, some might consider yours a phobic reaction.

You can consider it an emotional reaction. I don’t think I am irrationally scared, but my emotions certainly tend to flare up when people tell me things like this:

I can only reaffirm what I’ve said earlier: Faith is like sex. It exists in all of us. It has always been with us. It will always be with us. To some it is a casual social thing; to some it is a means to an end; to others it is a completing part of a deeply committed relationship. Some choose not to participate. As one matures, one’s approach to sex generally matures as well, becoming more spiritual and less an unthinking animal reaction. The question to me is whether it enriches life to reject faith or sex. I think not.

I still think it is very arrogant of you to assume that I have faith when I have attempted to make it exceedingly clear just how much faith I have—little to none. I mentioned the only faith one really needs is that this reality is not an illusion. But I don’t even really have to have faith because it’s a negative statement and positive statements outweigh the need for faith—that optimism is apparently more rational in this reality. One could, but it’s completely unnecessary. It requires more faith to say that this reality is an illusion.

Now, if you would do me the honor of attempting to raise arguments where my defense of non-faith would become indefensible, I would sincerely respect that much more than just flat out telling me, “You need faith like humanity needs sex.”

You need rationality like a post-pubescent virgin needs sex, but I’m not shoving that aspect down your throat. I’m trying to show you the way to that by giving you arguments.

I hope you can see the difference in our approaches. I do not tell you that you are irrational even though, to be honest, I think that you are. I simply give you all the ways in which I am rational and, through the use of hopefully logical argument, show you that I do not need faith.

So please just don’t tell me that I have faith or need faith without some kind of argument. Your analogy between sex and faith is fallacious (as in the logical fallacy of the false analogy) in my opinion because you didn’t show the correlation. You just blatantly stated your position with no support whatsoever. Please try to be more considerate of my feelings by using arguments instead of demands (that I listen to you when you tell me that I have faith whether I like it or not).

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Posted: 28 March 2007 12:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 56 ]  
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[quote author=“Salt Creek”][quote author=“burt”]The magic is in the creativity itself, as I see it.

Burt: Not all forms of creativity are to be honored. Those who invent stories of aliens and flying saucers to promote conspiracy theories about their duly elected governments are not necessarily to be honored. They could come up with better scenarios for questioning things.

Certainly, nor are leaders who cook up stories to get votes.  But now we are getting into the area of aesthetics.  Stories of alien abduction, for example, can be judged on at least two levels: first, as just bad science fiction; second, in terms of what sort of psychological quirks would a person have to have to produce these stories (other than, perhaps, simple greed).  To bring it down to something even simpler, I think there is magic (at least of the Arthur C. Clark variety) even in the everyday ability to suddenly get that a collection of apparently disparate items fall under a general concept.

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Posted: 29 March 2007 06:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 57 ]  
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[quote author=“burt”][quote author=“Salt Creek”][quote author=“burt”]The magic is in the creativity itself, as I see it.

Burt: Not all forms of creativity are to be honored. Those who invent stories of aliens and flying saucers to promote conspiracy theories about their duly elected governments are not necessarily to be honored. They could come up with better scenarios for questioning things.

Certainly, nor are leaders who cook up stories to get votes.  But now we are getting into the area of aesthetics.  Stories of alien abduction, for example, can be judged on at least two levels: first, as just bad science fiction; second, in terms of what sort of psychological quirks would a person have to have to produce these stories (other than, perhaps, simple greed).  To bring it down to something even simpler, I think there is magic (at least of the Arthur C. Clark variety) even in the everyday ability to suddenly get that a collection of apparently disparate items fall under a general concept.

And an equally dangerous and magical ability to place a label on these items without losing site of the philosophy behind the label.

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Posted: 29 March 2007 11:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 58 ]  
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[quote author=“CanZen”]Andonstop asked,

“Would you consider it logical to assume there is life on other planets?”

Yes, I would, but not on other planets in this solar system.  Now explain that connection to me.

I think so too. But there is no factual basis for that. We can’t see it, we can’t prove it, but we believe it’s there. Strikingly similar to other kinds of faith, don’t you think?

As far as your notion that “faith is like sex” - are you just pulling rabbits out of a hat?  So if someone rejects faith, then they are just as likely to reject sex?  The connection here is so vague as to be unconnected.

 
Don’t know how you got that out of it. Was simply trying to point out the parallels: both are a choice, both can be good or bad, both can be embraced at different levels or ignored, and both are inescapably inherent in the human condition.

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Posted: 29 March 2007 11:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 59 ]  
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[quote author=“snapshot1”]So please just don’t tell me that I have faith or need faith without some kind of argument. Your analogy between sex and faith is fallacious (as in the logical fallacy of the false analogy) in my opinion because you didn’t show the correlation. You just blatantly stated your position with no support whatsoever. Please try to be more considerate of my feelings by using arguments instead of demands (that I listen to you when you tell me that I have faith whether I like it or not).

Sorry, didn’t mean to offend you. Was just trying to point out people cannot escape having to accept as true some things which they simply cannot know, whether or not they feel they want to or need to. I argue that is faith. I think Salt Creek gets it in post 3/28/07 8:56 a.m. and MdBeach in post 3/28/07 1:18 p.m.

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Posted: 29 March 2007 11:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 60 ]  
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[quote author=“CanZen”]“Only a poet can discern poetry in the commonplace prose of routine existence.”

I though you meant to imply that the quote above… could be transcribed into:
“Only a theist can discern god in the commonplace activity of routine existence.”

That’s good, CanZen. Would you consider poetry reality?

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