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Intelligent Design
Posted: 23 March 2007 01:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]  
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[quote author=“snapshot1”]You can separate church and state, but you can’t separate religion and politics.

Politics is a religion.

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“We have it recorded in a book called the Bible.”

To be blunt, the Bible records all manner of silly shit.

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Posted: 23 March 2007 02:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]  
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Politics is a religion if you are a monkey in the tree. 

Time to say now that philosophy is a religion too…8)

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Posted: 23 March 2007 07:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]  
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[quote author=“andonstop”][quote author=“snapshot1”]I know the truth will not always make me happy, but I don’t think I’d like to forgo knowledge so that I may live a blissfully ignorant life. I’m afraid I’ve seen too much of the light to want to cover my eyes and ignore the truths that I don’t want to believe in. For these reasons, I try be as skeptical as possible about the things I want to believe are true. Perhaps contrary to prior belief, I really hope God exists. But I won’t set different standards of credulity for accepting these claims. If I want the most accurate version of reality, I have to maintain a rigorous skepticism so I don’t fall into the natural trap of being drawn into believing those things that I really wish were true.

A noble manner of living. I think you are living proof that one can lead a rich, exemplary and gracious life on earth without faith in God. For me personally, and I think this is something which is true for most people to some degree, there was a sense (a skepticism?) that something was missing from a purely evidential material approach to living. When I finally did reach the conclusion that there was indeed something more, it was like, “a-a-ah, so that’s it. Now to get on with living.”

I trust that we are no more capable of fully comprehending God than we are of comprehending the vastness of the universe. For me it is a relationship more of wordless understanding than of conversation, as impossible to describe as how something tastes; to be understood, it must be experienced. All I know is I went from thinking faith in God was quaint to thinking not having faith in God was quaint.

I still think those who profess to accept unreasonable “religious” creeds and doctrines are at best being intellectually dishonest with themselves. I continue to struggle with the word “worship” as a relationship with God, as it invokes too many images of groveling and subservience. I would call it more of a respectful, dignified and loyal appreciation for another caring being, not unlike the manner which you display in your agreeable disagreements with me.

Then I can only question one of your motives.

Why even use a divisive term such as “God?” I almost have less of a problem with people just having faith than using a word which creates a chasm of wiggle room for interpretation of this one word.

Do you even know what you’re talking about when you say the word “God?” I find it hard enough to get a straight answer when people attempt to define faith, but why can’t you just say, “I’m not worried. I’m just going to be a good person and it will all be OK.” It’s almost like you believe that if you don’t say the word then somehow you don’t have faith. I view “God” like I view the word “n****r.” Yes, it’s just a word. But you don’t have to say it, and when you do, there is an inherent divisiveness because when attempting to define it, it creates so many arbitrary arguments because nobody has any clue what they are talking about.

Is God not a mystery? Is there anything that you can say about God that wouldn’t be synonymous with the definition of “mystery” as it pertains to the origins of existence and the meaning we find in this world?

I have many problems with people, and even though I’m acting like this is the definitive problem of society, it’s not so bear with me.

Do you actually feel like if you didn’t use the word “God” when you said, “I have faith,” that you would be punished? People use the word as if it had some magical power. It does have power, the power to create divisions amongst people who disagree over it’s meaning when nobody has a monopoly on its meaning.

I don’t understand how people can not feel guilty for using the word as anything else but a placeholder for something that we do not understand at all and that may or may not exist. What certainly exists is the mystery. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind about that. But to treat the word as if it were something other than a mystery is, to me, egotistical and intentionally divisive and I can’t square how people can use the word when they know for a fact that they know nothing about God. Scientists don’t pretend to know what dark matter and dark energy are, but they use the words to describe their consequences. We exist and we don’t know why we should, therefore we’ll call this mystery the “God” mystery.

Do you not see a problem with even using the word? Do you not see a problem with using the word “God” to validate your interpretation of reality?

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Posted: 23 March 2007 08:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]  
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Your response to andonstop was right on the mark, snapshot1.  It’s curious to me that what you are advocating takes us back to the very origins of Judaism and to many other primitive forms of “religious” thought (better to say spritiualisms).  The Great Spirit was often exactly what you have indicated, namely “the mystery itself.”  In fact the name of this entity was usually forbidden to be spoken, because speaking it does exactly what you don’t want done - i.e., to specify the Being referred to as such.  I think also of the Daoist directive “The dao that can be named is not the real Dao.” 

But I wait to hear the reply from andonstop.  Does he use the word ‘God’ because he wants (or even needs) this mystery to be intelligent?  If the mystery is not intelligent (better to say “not intelligible”) then does that fall short at some level for him and for others like him?

Bob

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Posted: 24 March 2007 04:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]  
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[quote author=“CanZen”]Your response to andonstop was right on the mark, snapshot1.  It’s curious to me that what you are advocating takes us back to the very origins of Judaism and to many other primitive forms of “religious” thought (better to say spritiualisms).  The Great Spirit was often exactly what you have indicated, namely “the mystery itself.”  In fact the name of this entity was usually forbidden to be spoken, because speaking it does exactly what you don’t want done - i.e., to specify the Being referred to as such.  I think also of the Daoist directive “The dao that can be named is not the real Dao.” 

Hence YHWH, the ineffible name of G_d. I’ve noticed some Christian’s spell God’s name that way. However, I don’t like YHWH or G-D because as soon as you name something, you’re limiting it. We don’t even know what we’re limiting. Therefore, calling it a mystery allows it to be all encompassing.

But yeah, you’re exactly right. I didn’t realize I was doing what the Jews did at their origins.

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Posted: 24 March 2007 04:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]  
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[quote author=“snapshot1”]Then I can only question one of your motives.

Why even use a divisive term such as “God?” I almost have less of a problem with people just having faith than using a word which creates a chasm of wiggle room for interpretation of this one word.

Do you even know what you’re talking about when you say the word “God?” I find it hard enough to get a straight answer when people attempt to define faith, but why can’t you just say, “I’m not worried. I’m just going to be a good person and it will all be OK.” It’s almost like you believe that if you don’t say the word then somehow you don’t have faith. I view “God” like I view the word “n****r.” Yes, it’s just a word. But you don’t have to say it, and when you do, there is an inherent divisiveness because when attempting to define it, it creates so many arbitrary arguments because nobody has any clue what they are talking about.

Is God not a mystery? Is there anything that you can say about God that wouldn’t be synonymous with the definition of “mystery” as it pertains to the origins of existence and the meaning we find in this world?

I have many problems with people, and even though I’m acting like this is the definitive problem of society, it’s not so bear with me.

Do you actually feel like if you didn’t use the word “God” when you said, “I have faith,” that you would be punished? People use the word as if it had some magical power. It does have power, the power to create divisions amongst people who disagree over it’s meaning when nobody has a monopoly on its meaning.

I don’t understand how people can not feel guilty for using the word as anything else but a placeholder for something that we do not understand at all and that may or may not exist. What certainly exists is the mystery. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind about that. But to treat the word as if it were something other than a mystery is, to me, egotistical and intentionally divisive and I can’t square how people can use the word when they know for a fact that they know nothing about God. Scientists don’t pretend to know what dark matter and dark energy are, but they use the words to describe their consequences. We exist and we don’t know why we should, therefore we’ll call this mystery the “God” mystery.

Do you not see a problem with even using the word? Do you not see a problem with using the word “God” to validate your interpretation of reality?

I use the term “God” because it is the closest term in the English language to what I am attempting to describe. I use “God” and try to explain what I think it means because I think Godophobia needs to understand that because both the descriptor and the descriptee have historically often been misrepresented and misunderstood does not mean they must remain that way. Individuals may decide for themselves whether my interpretation makes more sense than historical interpretations.

“There is no bad in the universe from which good does not spring. And there always comes a time when the good outweighs the bad”—this to me reveals a high level of faith. Anyone can believe this, but this kind of thinking only has justification if one accepts there is a loving creator.

It is clear to me that scientists accept creationism on their own level. They will carbon date a leaf-shaped piece of flint and call it a 6000-year-old arrowhead and “an exciting find.” It is “exciting” because it was created—they presume. How do they know this stone is an arrowhead? It couldn’t have been shaped by natural forces they say. Yet how much more intricate is a lilly ?

Historical religions tell us the universe was created. Common sense tells me the universe is being created.

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Posted: 24 March 2007 04:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]  
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[quote author=“andonstop”]
I use the term “God” because it is the closest term in the English language to what I am attempting to describe. I use “God” and try to explain what I think it means because I think Godophobia needs to understand that because both the descriptor and the descriptee have historically often been misrepresented and misunderstood does not mean they must remain that way. Individuals may decide for themselves whether my interpretation makes more sense than historical interpretations.

“God’s consequences” need not be misrepresented. We only need to agree on what reality is. “God” however has never been represented at all. “God” is nothing but misrepresentation because, like I said before, no one has any clue what they are talking about when they talk about God.

This is the third time I’m bringing up this analogy, but I think it’s still appropriate because it is an example of scientific reasoning:

We have names for the unexplained consequences of why our galaxies don’t fly apart and why our Universal expansion is accelerating and not collapsing. They are called “dark matter” and “dark energy” respectively. No scientist claims to know what these actually are, and if they did, it would create rifts in the scientific community because the people who did would be a lot like the people who claim to know what “God” is—they wouldn’t have any evidence or proof to back up their claims. Nobody pretends to know what they are talking about when they discuss dark matter and dark energy.

There is no bad in the universe from which good does not spring. And there always comes a time when the good outweighs the bad”—this to me reveals a high level of faith. Anyone can believe this, but this kind of thinking only has justification if one accepts there is a loving creator.

There is no good or bad in the Universe. The Universe does not care if you’ve been good or bad. It’s going to keep moving like clockwork whether you’re the son of God or not. Good and bad, good and evil are human concepts that do not transpose when seen from the perspective of the Universe. Your concepts of good and bad only represent the human condition, but say nothing about the physical reality of the Universe in general.

In contrast, good and bad are always balanced. You cannot tell if something is good without bad to contrast. If there was only good or only bad, they would be meaningless concepts. They only make sense when both of them exist. Hence, of course good arises from bad. Bad also comes from good. But this is an argument about morality, and unless you want to talk about how morality is absolute, the consensus thus far holds that morality is relative and not an indicator of the reality of the physical Universe.

It is clear to me that scientists accept creationism on their own level. They will carbon date a leaf-shaped piece of flint and call it a 6000-year-old arrowhead and “an exciting find.” It is “exciting” because it was created—they presume. How do they know this stone is an arrowhead? It couldn’t have been shaped by natural forces they say. Yet how much more intricate is a lilly ?

An arrowhead was created by natural processes. Humans are natural processes. Scientists are able to discern which natural processes created what. A great flood may create something like an arrowhead, but it’s much more likely that a human being did it. If the evidence were to point away from the human, scientists would not assume as much. Nevertheless, if someone decided that an arrowhead was not actually an arrowhead, it would not cause the entire scientific community to fall to its knees.

Historical religions tell us the universe was created. Common sense tells me the universe is being created.

If you have read the exchange between Sam Harris and Andrew Sullivan, I suggest you do.

http://www.beliefnet.com/story/214/story_21446_1.html

Here is a snippet that I think is relevant.

[quote author=“Sam Harris to Andrew Sullivan”]The fact that we have a biological tendency to attribute agency to forces in nature does not suggest that it is wise (or moral) to nurture this disposition. And the fact that we find it difficult to conceive of our own nonexistence does not mean that we are likely to persist in some numinous form after death. 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. Spend a little time thinking about the Monty Hall problem , and once you understand it, witness how difficult it is to explain to someone who has never thought about it before. Even profoundly simple situations can confound us.

If you don’t accept evolution as the best theory on our existence, then I can’t help you. You need to help yourself in overcoming your incredulity to scientific consensus. If you can accept the fact that we are able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that we evolved because you can’t wrap your head around it, that sounds like a personal problem to me.

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Posted: 25 March 2007 11:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]  
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[quote author=“snapshot1”]If you don’t accept evolution as the best theory on our existence, then I can’t help you. You need to help yourself in overcoming your incredulity to scientific consensus. If you can accept the fact that we are able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that we evolved because you can’t wrap your head around it, that sounds like a personal problem to me.

I appreciate your desire to help, but I get the impression your idea of help is to change my faith to yours.

To me, there is no such thing as scientific consensus. With science, something is either a provable fact, or it is not. Consensus is within the domain of faith, and a strong consensus of people on earth believe in God.

It seems to me you and I each have our own faith, and we each have our own skepticisms. You have faith that science will ultimately provide all answers about life and the universe, while being skeptical about the existence of a creator/creative team. I have faith that a creator/creative team exists, and am skeptical about the ability of science to answer all of life’s questions.

We agree that without bad we can’t have good, but to say good and bad must balance is a statement of faith, and I think an erroneous one. I argue that good can outweigh bad because it is the potentiality of bad which enables good, not the bad itself.

Thank you for the recommended reading of Sam Harris’ exchange with Andrew Sullivan, but reading Letter to a Christian Nation has already given me a clear picture of how Sam thinks. Please view my opening post for what I think are the weaknesses of his position. In reading that post, you should realize we are in agreement that humans evolved from lower life forms. (You should also know that from my earlier posts in this thread.)

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Posted: 25 March 2007 02:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]  
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I just read you actually agree with evolution; I honestly felt like you simply appreciated my thoughts on intelligent design from our exchange, but I never got the impression that you actually accepted it fact and theory. I honestly didn’t read much of your exchanges with anyone else.

Nevertheless, I care little about that fact since I already wrote out this diatribe; the devil’s advocate attack on evolution that I counter in this reply is relevant to the statements made later about faith. I’m happy that you accept the theory of evolution (and if you meant something else then please do me the honor of a more precising definition of your beliefs).

[quote author=“andonstop”][quote author=“snapshot1”]If you don’t accept evolution as the best theory on our existence, then I can’t help you. You need to help yourself in overcoming your incredulity to scientific consensus. If you can accept the fact that we are able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that we evolved because you can’t wrap your head around it, that sounds like a personal problem to me.

I appreciate your desire to help, but I get the impression your idea of help is to change my faith to yours.

You seem to have this tendency to move toward this word “faith.” I didn’t notice it until now, but it seems like every time you misunderstand something I say, you act—whether the misunderstanding is my fault or your fault—like you can get away with misunderstanding just by calling it “faith.”

When I’m giving you my subjective interpretation of that facts, I’m not giving my “faith,” I’m giving you my subjective interpretation of the facts. I try to let most of my facts exist in the objective world so other people can make sense of the same concepts I do. Evolution is one of those facts. Just because people with faith can’t distinguish between fantasy and reality does not make us both crazy.

 

To me, there is no such thing as scientific consensus. With science, something is either a provable fact, or it is not. Consensus is within the domain of faith, and a strong consensus of people on earth believe in God.

Concerning science itself: You’re frankly asking way too much of science, allowing it to fall short in order to make room for God. The scientific consensus is never all right, it is always only mostly right. There has never been a moment in scientific history (barring when the churches were the leaders in science in the Dark Ages) when a scientist said s/he had found out all that needed to be known.

Concerning Facts: Facts are statements that can be proved to be true. Proof in science means beyond a reasonable doubt. There is no certain proof except in mathematics and logic. Facts correlate directly with observable reality. They are the best statements we can make about the world as we know it.

It seems to me you and I each have our own faith, and we each have our own skepticisms. You have faith that science will ultimately provide all answers about life and the universe, while being skeptical about the existence of a creator/creative team. I have faith that a creator/creative team exists, and am skeptical about the ability of science to answer all of life’s questions.

I don’t have faith that I will ever have all the answers, even after death. I do not know what’s going to happen and don’t claim to. If you do then I have some constructive criticism for you… Science is available to inform us of the state of our knowledge about the Universe. It doesn’t say anything about God, yet it does help us to determine how unlikely all the God hypotheses are when judged from a scientific perspective (scientific is essentially synonymous with realistic, as in Reality).

I think your main concern is that you do want all of life’s questions answered, and you can’t even wait until you die to see if that comes true. You need to know it now, for some reason. If I had to guess, I’d say it was because your scared of the unknown. You afraid there really might be a God who judges and punishes people who don’t at least give him credit through praise for their existence. With this fear comes the hope that you’ll be rewarded in some way after death for being one of those who was able to decipher reality better than all those arrogant, godless scientists who couldn’t see God for themselves. You haven’t fallen in love with the mystery of life. You’re making love to this delusion that ‘you think you know what’s on the other side,’ and you’re irrationally pessimistic in your conclusions. I dare say you need first realize that, even if you are right, this irrational faith is making you say and think some pretty crazy things that don’t at all line up with the reality that everyone else is experiencing—and can prove they are experiencing (through consensus). Next you need to realize that pretending to be certain (having faith) in metaphysical claims is something that automatically isolates you from the entire population by creating a barrier impenetrable to rationality.

We agree that without bad we can’t have good, but to say good and bad must balance is a statement of faith, and I think an erroneous one. I argue that good can outweigh bad because it is the potentiality of bad which enables good, not the bad itself.

You’re neglecting the fact that “good” and “bad” are relative terms—relative to the time and relative to the situation—and are severely limiting in their ability to assess value. However, the balance does come from our ability to assess the world in terms of beneficial and not beneficial (bene in latin means “good”) and not from an equal number of things being good and bad.

There come times when things that were once good are now bad and vice versa. Nothing is inherently good or bad, not unless you first posit a creator to grant the monikers of “good” and “bad” to everything in existence—only to test humans later to see if they got it right.

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).

Thank you for the recommended reading of Sam Harris’ exchange with Andrew Sullivan, but reading Letter to a Christian Nation has already given me a clear picture of how Sam thinks. Please view my opening post for what I think are the weaknesses of his position. In reading that post, you should realize we are in agreement that humans evolved from lower life forms. (You should also know that from my earlier posts in this thread.)

If not for Sam, read it for Andrew Sullivan in defense of faith.

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Posted: 27 March 2007 12:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]  
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[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.

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.

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Posted: 27 March 2007 05:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]  
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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.

Bob

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Posted: 27 March 2007 06:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]  
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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.

Bob

Or, for the artists among us…, beauty is in the eye of the beholder :wink:

              “The Blind Webster

It is not necessary to understand; it is enough to adore.
The god may be of clay: adore him; he becomes GOD.
We ignore what created us; we adore what we create.
Let us create nothing but GOD!
That which causes us to create is our true father and mother;
we create in our own image, which is theirs.
Let us create therefore without fear; for we can
create nothing that is not GOD.”

Aleister Crowley
The Book of Lies, Chapter 21

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Posted: 27 March 2007 06:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]  
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OK burt, I’ll believe Crowley when I see you create that new monkey “the marmoburt.”

Bob

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Posted: 27 March 2007 09:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]  
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[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!!!

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Posted: 27 March 2007 12:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]  
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[quote author=“CanZen”]OK burt, I’ll believe Crowley when I see you create that new monkey “the marmoburt.”

Bob

I am but an egg. 

But, if beauty actually is in the eye of the beholder, are we not creating the meaning of our presence in the world all the time?  Ah!  The responsibility, the responsibility!  Maybe it’s time go out shopping for a package of instant meaning, just add belief.

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