Jump to content


Photo

Faith, Reason and Truth


  • Please log in to reply
200 replies to this topic

#51 Mortem Desino

Mortem Desino

    Uber member

  • Development Role
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2443 posts

Posted 26 July 2010 - 09:19 PM

Well, I certainly agree that religion and Christianity can't solely be based on faith; the amazing human mind isn't that stupid. It's logical fallacy to point your finger at someone smarter (even God) and say, “See? Because he thinks so, and because his book is right, it must be acceptable/unacceptable.” This is the teetering point that demands the aforementioned leap of faith. I, in my childlike faith, believe the Bible to be infallible truth, despite there being some things I don't comprehend or have evidence for. I kinda like the 'Spiderman' example.

Nobody has explicitly done so yet, but it's getting dangerously close: Don’t go on a theodicy and quantize God’s actions, or explain why you think He did this and that. Consider that Uberbeings do things for reasons beyond human reasoning sometimes.

Oh yes, I have looked into such things very much. If there's anything in my studies that demands rationalism and logic, it's exegesis. In my Ancient Greek and Ancient Hebrew classes, we regularly examine historical and biblical manuscripts. We also do similarly in early Latin pieces. While exegesis might not be the most telling to the idle observer, I've got to say how brilliantly close several writers are to a flood story (critically analyzing Epic of Gilgamesh Vs Noah), or many Latin and Greek personal letters telling of a "Saul Paulus" evangelizing around Europe.
yay seuss crease touss dome in ouss nose tair

#52 jdude

jdude

    Uber member

  • Development Role
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4001 posts

Posted 27 July 2010 - 01:46 AM

I wish my school offered those classes. I'd love to learn more about those subjects.

#53 Springheel

Springheel

    Creative Director (retired)

  • Admin
  • 37756 posts

Posted 27 July 2010 - 08:33 AM

I have to assume you haven't either :P One example is the Ipuwer Papyrus. Many say that it has nothing to do with Exodus, many say it does,


Yes, religious people who want to find some evidence to support Exodus sometimes point to the Ipuwer Papyrus, however actual Egyptologists reject the idea. And even in that story there is no mention of Moses, Aaron, hebrew slaves, or most of the plagues (there are references to the river turning to blood, but that's about it--nothing about frogs, locusts, boils, hail or the death of all the firstborns) etc, etc.

As for myself I think it's a possibility that it does and a possibility that it doesn't. My beliefs don't need to be 100% either way


In the absence of conclusive evidence, that's a reasonable position. I'm not claiming, "the Exodus story never happened". I'm saying that we have no evidence that it did. There is nothing wrong with saying, "I don't know."

You can't, however, get from "I don't know" to, "it's rational to believe it".

Often I find people associate our modern life with the assumption that 'generally people are smarter than 10,000 years ago.' I feel this assumption is wrong.


People are massively better educated now. Even grade school students know more about how the world works than the smartest people 10,000 years ago. That doesn't necessarily mean people have more common sense now, but it does mean we have far better tools to understand the world around us. We no longer have to invent supernatural explanations for weather, disease, or death.

Often people speak of changed lives after adopting a religion. Even if the divine had nothing to do with it the fact remains their life changed and it makes sense that that belief had something to do with it.


Yes, their "belief" may have had something to do with it, but that doesn't in any way imply that their belief is true. Someone who believes they have won the lottery will no doubt feel real, tangible joy at that moment. That says nothing about whether they actually did win the lottery, however.

Obviously there's faith when believing something like the Bible or any religion but I don't think it's all 100% faith.


You said earlier that you thought "One can rationally believe in a religion." Do you still think that's true? I'd still like to know how you think that's possible, if so.

It's logical fallacy to point your finger at ... (even God) and say, “See? Because ... his book is right, it must be acceptable...”

I, in my childlike faith, believe the Bible to be infallible truth,


So aren't you committing a logical fallacy by your own definition?

Also, what do you mean by infallible truth? Surely you don't mean you take everything the Bible says literally? Do you actually believe the universe was magically created in six days? That there was a worldwide flood with every type of animal on earth living in a wooden boat for 40 days? That bats are actually birds?

You seem far too reasonable a person for that.
TDM Missions:   A Score to Settle   *   A Reputation to Uphold   *   A New Job   *    A Matter of Hours
 
Video Series:   Springheel's Modules   *   Speedbuild Challenge   *   New Mappers Workshop  *   Building Traps

#54 jdude

jdude

    Uber member

  • Development Role
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4001 posts

Posted 27 July 2010 - 01:12 PM

I'm getting sick of posting here, I don't think I can communicate well enough through just text. (This is why I hate texting on cell phones too), so I'm gonna keep my ideas short:


In the absence of conclusive evidence, that's a reasonable position. I'm not claiming, "the Exodus story never happened". I'm saying that we have no evidence that it did. There is nothing wrong with saying, "I don't know."

You can't, however, get from "I don't know" to, "it's rational to believe it".

Because in my mind it's possible it did or that it's an allegory for something else. That's how I rationally believe in it, I don't need a factbook to do so.

Yes, their "belief" may have had something to do with it, but that doesn't in any way imply that their belief is true. Someone who believes they have won the lottery will no doubt feel real, tangible joy at that moment. That says nothing about whether they actually did win the lottery, however.

I'm pretty sure I just said that but I said it's obvious how someone would see it as a rational explanation.

You said earlier that you thought "One can rationally believe in a religion." Do you still think that's true? I'd still like to know how you think that's possible, if so.


Lol yea, and that's been the entire point of this discussion. Do you think you need 100% facts to observe the world and people around you to be a rational person? (see what i said before about faith)

#55 SneaksieDave

SneaksieDave

    QA Lead

  • Development Role
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 10125 posts

Posted 27 July 2010 - 01:16 PM



#56 Springheel

Springheel

    Creative Director (retired)

  • Admin
  • 37756 posts

Posted 27 July 2010 - 03:13 PM

Because in my mind it's possible it did or that it's an allegory for something else. That's how I rationally believe in it,


So let me get this straight. You think that it is rational to believe in something because it's "possible" that it happened? Have you thought much about that? It's "possible" that the leaves in my backyard change colour in the autumn because fairies paint them. After all, we can't prove 100% that it doesn't happen. Would you honestly say it's rational for a person to believe that fairies exist?

Lol yea, and that's been the entire point of this discussion. Do you think you need 100% facts to observe the world and people around you to be a rational person?


In order to be rational, you need to make sure your beliefs are based on good, solid evidence, not on wishful thinking, logical fallacies, or how it makes you feel. It's not complicated.

You have yet to provide any evidence at all to support belief in a religion, other than that it "might" be true (which is far from sufficient for a rational belief, as just about anything might be true).

I don't think I can communicate well enough through just text.


That's certainly possible; I don't always understand what you're trying to say. It's fine with me if you'd like to leave it at that. I'm willing to muddle through if you'd like, though, as I enjoy these kinds of discussions.
TDM Missions:   A Score to Settle   *   A Reputation to Uphold   *   A New Job   *    A Matter of Hours
 
Video Series:   Springheel's Modules   *   Speedbuild Challenge   *   New Mappers Workshop  *   Building Traps

#57 Mortem Desino

Mortem Desino

    Uber member

  • Development Role
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2443 posts

Posted 27 July 2010 - 05:47 PM

Hee hee, isn't Christianity an incredible pain the ass to explain? :D There's a reason why the Lutheran doctrine of conversion calls for planting a 'mustard seed of faith', and not demanding that 'this is the way it must be!' Bingo! I made a giant this-doesn't-make-any-logical-sense by my faith.

The way you define 'literal' doesn't quite match my own. A literal translation or definition is that we can conceive in our time what they understood in their time, despite that we might have better scientific tools now. Not literalistic which is often non-idiomatic, ambiguous, or awkward. Exegesis of the Bible works kind of like an expert reading his observations back from when he was a layman.

I believe that the bible is to be taken literally, except for the few occurrences that God inserts obvious figurative 'picture language' and such (see also parts of Daniel, Ezekiel, Revelation, are more). Hell, if I believe in an Almighty God, why couldn't He have created the universe in 6 days, flooded the world for 40 days, turned the Nile to blood? Sure, much of it makes no sense. But God created science, so I don't deny that He may have miraculously and powerfully used a natural occurrence to part the Red Sea (just for example).

In order to be rational, you need to make sure your beliefs are based on good, solid evidence, not on wishful thinking, logical fallacies, or how it makes you feel. It's not complicated.

You have yet to provide any evidence at all to support belief in a religion, other than that it "might" be true (which is far from sufficient for a rational belief, as just about anything might be true).

Yes, that's right. Yet you can't live entirely by Decarte said (paraphrased): I am all that logic can affirm exists. Logic is a necessary thing, but don’t become a robot to it. That's why a religious faith can be appealing, and not necessarily rational.

Talking like this likely won't change anyone's beliefs. But I do like these discussions, it gives me a chance to pull out my collection of doctrine, old homework, and philosophy books. And you can speak better than my fellow students who have fingers-in-ears syndrome.
yay seuss crease touss dome in ouss nose tair

#58 jdude

jdude

    Uber member

  • Development Role
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4001 posts

Posted 28 July 2010 - 04:01 AM

So let me get this straight. You think that it is rational to believe in something because it's "possible" that it happened? Have you thought much about that? It's "possible" that the leaves in my backyard change colour in the autumn because fairies paint them. After all, we can't prove 100% that it doesn't happen. Would you honestly say it's rational for a person to believe that fairies exist?


:wacko:
Yea okay spring..


Let me ask you this, what WOULD make it rational in your mind? And what WOULD make it NOT dangerous?

#59 bambini

bambini

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 101 posts

Posted 28 July 2010 - 06:01 AM

Whoa. So I checked in on this thread, thinking "how is this topic still clinging to life?", only to dscover that a conversation about the OP's prejudices and paranoia (and let's face it, that's all it is) has turned into a discussion on postmodernism and epistemology! I really don't want the read the whole thread, so would someone mind telling me how we got here?
"We were travelling in the night of first ages, of those ages that are gone, leaving hardly a sign — and no memories" - Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

#60 nbohr1more

nbohr1more

    Darkmod PR, Wordsmith

  • Development Role
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 9508 posts

Posted 28 July 2010 - 06:25 AM

Well a person using self-reflection to fight against their own prejudices and paranoia is bound to get philosophical no? ;)
Please visit TDM's IndieDB site and help promote the mod:

http://www.indiedb.c...ds/the-dark-mod

(Yeah, shameless promotion... but traffic is traffic folks...)

#61 Sotha

Sotha

    Vertical Contest Winner

  • Active Developer
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 5664 posts

Posted 28 July 2010 - 07:44 AM

@bambini:
I suppose fingers will be pointing at least at me, for it was at least my hand on the lever labeled 'highjack thread.' There were many hands there, so I am uncertain who pulled the lever in the end. Could have been me.:blush:

I don't know about prejudice and paranoia you're mentioning, but I've been monitoring this thread ever since the highjacking to the religious context. Really interesting stuff, because of the fundamentally different aspects. The different sides can barely understand each other. For me this thread is about understanding why people with religious background think the way they do. I have already learned many useful things!
For Spring, I think it is the enjoyment of a intellectual discussion (correct me if I'm wrong).

What would be the best weapon against prejudice and paranoia, than good clear non-censored discussion? Without discussion, prejudice and paranoia will increase as we have no hope of understanding the other party.

@Sneaksie:
I loved the cats in your video. They are much more intelligent beings than they are given credit for.
The song was annoying.

@Jdude:

Let me ask you this, what WOULD make it rational in your mind? And what WOULD make it NOT dangerous?

The question was not aimed at me, but since I'm still here, here is my take on the topic:
I suppose it is the thing that faith is simply not rational. You are believing something without any kind of verification, experiment, or something like that. People with faith just choose to believe what it reads in a holy book. Or the doctrine of their chosen faith. It could be fairies painting the leaves or a white bearded man sitting on a cloud.

Faith's idea is to attempt to give us answers to the things we do not yet understand. As we gain knowledge, we can drop the bizarre beliefs we have and stick to the facts we have learned. It is dangerous to have people who function fundamentally within the guidelines of the bizarre beliefs. They do not know the facts and they do tend to stick to the old information. If this kind of people reach decision making positions, there will be trouble. Everyone may get harmed by the bizarre beliefs of this one person.

Beliefs would NOT be dangerous, if people would accept new information and facts, re-adjust themselves with the new knowledge. The problem is that strongly religious people tend to stick to conservatism and thus it may even be in their interests to impede the spreading of the new knowledge.

I believe that if I would take a copy of Harry Potter -books and teleport it in the past, the religious people of our time could be saying 'alohomora' instead of 'amen' and praying for protection against Voldemort instead of the devil. Needless to say how rational the above is... But it may give some insight.:)
Clipper
-The mapper's best friend.

#62 nbohr1more

nbohr1more

    Darkmod PR, Wordsmith

  • Development Role
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 9508 posts

Posted 28 July 2010 - 08:08 AM

@Sotha:

Thanks again for your take on things. I can't help but be entertained by your colorful use of language (many native speaker/writers could only wish for such a skill).

But I can't let you take any kind blame for a "derail" (as if such a foolish original topic could be derailed :laugh:... Even though I understood that he meant "the current course of discussion" I got a good chuckle when jdude claimed that you "ruined" the thread as if the thread wasn't "ruined" to begin with :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: ).

Bambini has brought up a good point though. Through my efforts to find out how to navigate what seemed to be an irrational request from God to "do something dammit!". I forgot to explore the other factor of prejudice.

I firmly believe that ALL people are inherently racist, sexist, age-ist, etc.

I was actually HOPING that a bunch of folks would post in this topic yelling at me for being an age-ist bastard.

I would much rather believe that the "creepy feeling" came from some prejudice that I could work out psychologically than believe that God is calling me to action.

I would again rather be a prejudiced and paranoid fool rather than be guilty apathy to child abuse.

The problem with prejudice being the root of this issue is that now I have an experimental "control".

Yet another single-child family with ancient parents were walking through our neighborhood and I had no "creepy feeling" what so ever about them. Perhaps that is another prejudice because they were dressed like hippies and I've always liked hippies :laugh:.

So feel free to accuse me of age-ism. I cant deny it. I, in fact, firmly believe that it is an intrinsic part of the human
condition. And (bonus) it will further reduce any feelings of guilt I may have for not going on some raving mad investigation.

(No more lightning so I think God's cool with all this self-reflection instead of the vigilante investigation option... :unsure:)
Please visit TDM's IndieDB site and help promote the mod:

http://www.indiedb.c...ds/the-dark-mod

(Yeah, shameless promotion... but traffic is traffic folks...)

#63 bambini

bambini

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 101 posts

Posted 28 July 2010 - 08:46 AM

@Sotha:

Sorry, maybe I was unclear. The prejudice and paranoia referred to nbohr1more's beliefs about his neighbours, beliefs that he acknowledged were irrational. And yes, now that we have shifted to a different topic we are having an equally (if not more) interesting discussion.

At risk of repeating something that has already been said (I haven't read the last posts thoroughly) My two cents are that we should probably take the time to realise that no one's right. There is no "one ultimate truth" and the belief in science is no more likely than the belief in God.

I myself am a staunch atheist because, for me, these answers fit my understanding of life, the universe and everything better than the other theories. However I don't for a second proclaim that I'm right. This it the postmodernist view, and yes, I think of myself as a postmodernist. To quote a Bright Eyes song, "If you say that there's no truth, and who cares, how can you say it like you're right?"

Form what I can tell there's been a bit of a misunderstanding of science here, too. Science doesn't produce "facts", nor does it provide "certainties". All science does examine a set of circumstances and, on the basis of what is known and observable, provide a theory as to the most likely cause. Good science will NEVER say "A causes B" (although for the sake of brevity people might say this), but in fact says "We know that when we manipulate A, B also changes. The most likely explanation is that A causes B". So the idea of God, or fairies painting our leaves in autumn, may be considered by modern science as highly unlikely, but they can never be considered impossible.

Philosophers have long argued that there are inherent limits to all ways of understanding the world because anything we "know" is based on our senses, which is processed through our own perceptions. This introduces bias, which means that we can never know actual truth. We only "know" a tree exists because our eyes give raw information to our brain and our brain comes to the conclusion that it exists.

Immanuel Kant (I think) argued that for something to exist to humanity, it must exist within time and space. We can only perceive a chair if it occupies space in the universe and if it exists for a period of time (if a chair exists for 0 seconds then humans can't know it exists. This leaves a whole void of experience that is beyond our grasp - that which (theoretically) exists outside of time and space. God, or fairies, or anything else for that matter, might exist in this realm and we would never know about it. Or it might not. The point is that Kant created this theory using his mind, which, as I said earlier, is fallible. So there's a massive paradox there that means that we can never know absolute truth, and so all possibilities are up for grabs.

OK, ramble over. My point is that we could all be equally right, or equally wrong, but we will never know. So my take on it is that as long as what you believe in doesn't distress you (as in people with distressing psychotic symptoms), you can believe what you want. If you want to believe in God, Harry Potter, fairies, aliens, science, fate or free will, then go for it. Pick one (or several) view(s) of the world that suits you and accept that other people have the right to disagree with you, but also accept that they are no more right or wrong than you are. I picked atheism and science (although you could also label me a humanist).

Just never believe you're right, never force your beliefs on others and never harm others on the basis of your beliefs (think The Crusades, KKK or Islamic extremists).

Edited by bambini, 28 July 2010 - 08:59 AM.

"We were travelling in the night of first ages, of those ages that are gone, leaving hardly a sign — and no memories" - Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

#64 bambini

bambini

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 101 posts

Posted 28 July 2010 - 09:08 AM

@nbohr1more:

Just wanted to pick up on your point: yes, we are all inherently biased. We make sweeping generalisations about everyone else as a way of making sense of the world. It would use too much of your brain to make individual assessments of everyone around you. The point of self-reflection is that you recognise these limitations, and find ways to work with them for personal development. You're doing that, so well done you. My guess is that the setup of the family is a little unusual, given the age differences, you're aware of this and it makes you uncomfortable. As for the reason this makes you uncomfortable, I think you're going down the wrong road. Use this experience to develop a little, and move on from it.

Just to be clear though, this weird feeling you're getting around this couple is more than likely to be a red herring, and even if it turns out that they are sexually abusing that child, it would be just a coincidence that you had this weird feeling. I think that you are aware that not doing anything is the best solution at the moment, as you have no evidence. However, in the unlikely event that they are abusers, how would you be morally responsible? If you happened to be talking about plane crashes on 9/11, would you have caused the attack on the World Trade Center? No. It would just be a coincidence.

I've come into contact with a great number of sex offenders in my line of work, and there is no "type", "look" or any way you can tell that they are a sex offender based on appearances. They aren't all slimy, their eyes aren't too close together and they don't have weird comb-overs :).
  • nbohr1more likes this
"We were travelling in the night of first ages, of those ages that are gone, leaving hardly a sign — and no memories" - Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

#65 nbohr1more

nbohr1more

    Darkmod PR, Wordsmith

  • Development Role
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 9508 posts

Posted 28 July 2010 - 09:24 AM

Thanks Bambini.

The only reason why I gave any of these feelings any heed was because of a dream where God seemed to be yelling at me. This is what spurred the factions who are for "trying to listen to God" and those who are for "ignoring anything that seems irrational even if it appears to come from God"... into the discussion.

I am probably the epitome of the Agnostic as I constantly teeter between a purely Scientific world-view and a belief that God is intervening in my life. Seeing this back and forth is like listening to my own internal dialog except the language and discussion points are far more entertaining and interesting :).
Please visit TDM's IndieDB site and help promote the mod:

http://www.indiedb.c...ds/the-dark-mod

(Yeah, shameless promotion... but traffic is traffic folks...)

#66 Springheel

Springheel

    Creative Director (retired)

  • Admin
  • 37756 posts

Posted 28 July 2010 - 09:51 AM

Let me ask you this, what WOULD make it rational in your mind?


What would make what rational? Religion? I could give several answers of things that would be rational reasons to believe in a religion, if they existed. However, that is basically shifting the burden of proof on to me. You're the one that claimed that there are rational reasons to believe in religion, but you still haven't given me any.

If you want to backtrack and say that there aren't rational reasons, that's fine, but until that happens I'm going to keep asking you to answer the question.

@ Mortem:

Hee hee, isn't Christianity an incredible pain the ass to explain?


I used to be a Christian myself at one point, so feel free to assume I understand the fundamentals.

I believe that the bible is to be taken literally, except for the few occurrences that God inserts obvious figurative 'picture language' and such



The rather glaring problem I see there is how you measure "obvious figurative" language. Is the Genesis story meant to be taken literally, or is it figurative? When God sends bears to rip 42 children into pieces in 2 Kings, is that meant to be taken literally? By what measuring stick would you decide what is "infallible" and what isn't?

Talking like this likely won't change anyone's beliefs. But I do like these discussions


I generally do as well. However, I'm not entirely sure where we disagree. If you accept that rationality is the best way to develop a realistic worldview, and you're agreeing that belief in religion is irrational (without going back and scanning earlier posts, that's what I believe you said), I'm not sure we'll have even enough common ground for a debate. Our disagreement may come down to this single issue: do you care whether or not your beliefs about the world are true?

@ Bambini

My two cents are that we should probably take the time to realise that no one's right. There is no "one ultimate truth" and the belief in science is no more likely than the belief in God.


I absolutely disagree with that assertion. The earth is either round or it's not. There is a "truth" there, even if we happened to lack the tools to determine what the truth is.

Claiming that "all beliefs are equal" is the height of intellectual relativism, which I think is profoundly incorrect (and frankly, lazy). You may just as well say that belief in a round earth is no more likely than belief in a flat earth. In any kind of rational, concrete discourse, such a notion is ridiculous.
TDM Missions:   A Score to Settle   *   A Reputation to Uphold   *   A New Job   *    A Matter of Hours
 
Video Series:   Springheel's Modules   *   Speedbuild Challenge   *   New Mappers Workshop  *   Building Traps

#67 Sotha

Sotha

    Vertical Contest Winner

  • Active Developer
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 5664 posts

Posted 28 July 2010 - 10:05 AM

At risk of repeating something that has already been said (I haven't read the last posts thoroughly) My two cents are that we should probably take the time to realise that no one's right. There is no "one ultimate truth" and the belief in science is no more likely than the belief in God.


There is certainly no ultimate truth, but science is not a belief system, which could be compared to religions. This seems to be frighteningly common conception. Beliefs do not require any kind of experiments or justifications for itself, but science requires well proved base.

Form what I can tell there's been a bit of a misunderstanding of science here, too. Science doesn't produce "facts", nor does it provide "certainties". All science does examine a set of circumstances and, on the basis of what is known and observable, provide a theory as to the most likely cause. Good science will NEVER say "A causes B" (although for the sake of brevity people might say this), but in fact says "We know that when we manipulate A, B also changes. The most likely explanation is that A causes B". So the idea of God, or fairies painting our leaves in autumn, may be considered by modern science as highly unlikely, but they can never be considered impossible.

Certainly. But but in the spoken language we can talk about facts. I am a practical man, and it gets highly tediuos of saying 'with high probability' at all times. But the highly-probables (facts) build up. And with a pile of facts we can understand the universe far better. We can say we know a fact when we understand something natural well enough to do some nice application for. Like electricity. We probably will not reach the one-and-only-truth, but we can understand the secrets of the universe well enough to master it. With science.
We talk about the same thing, but use different words.

Philosophers have long argued that there are inherent limits to all ways of understanding the world because anything we "know" is based on our senses, which is processed through our own perceptions. This introduces bias, which means that we can never know actual truth. We only "know" a tree exists because our eyes give raw information to our brain and our brain comes to the conclusion that it exists.

Immanuel Kant (I think) argued that for something to exist to humanity, it must exist within time and space. We can only perceive a chair if it occupies space in the universe and if it exists for a period of time (if a chair exists for 0 seconds then humans can't know it exists. This leaves a whole void of experience that is beyond our grasp - that which (theoretically) exists outside of time and space. God, or fairies, or anything else for that matter, might exist in this realm and we would never know about it. Or it might not. The point is that Kant created this theory using his mind, which, as I said earlier, is fallible. So there's a massive paradox there that means that we can never know absolute truth, and so all possibilities are up for grabs.

OK, ramble over. My point is that we could all be equally right, or equally wrong, but we will never know. So my take on it is that as long as what you believe in doesn't distress you (as in people with distressing psychotic symptoms), you can believe what you want. If you want to believe in God, Harry Potter, fairies, aliens, science, fate or free will, then go for it. Pick one (or several) view(s) of the world that suits you and accept that other people have the right to disagree with you, but also accept that they are no more right or wrong than you are. I picked atheism and science (although you could also label me a humanist).

A humanist! How wonderful! I really think you should go back a bit in this thread. I'm sure there is a lot of material there you'll find most interesting.. :)

Just never believe you're right, never force your beliefs on others and never harm others on the basis of your beliefs (think The Crusades, KKK or Islamic extremists).


A good rule, except that you have to rely on something. It's truly a shame that almost no one abides it. I suppose it is a human quality.
Clipper
-The mapper's best friend.

#68 jdude

jdude

    Uber member

  • Development Role
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4001 posts

Posted 29 July 2010 - 12:01 AM

What would make what rational? Religion? I could give several answers of things that would be rational reasons to believe in a religion, if they existed. However, that is basically shifting the burden of proof on to me. You're the one that claimed that there are rational reasons to believe in religion, but you still haven't given me any.

If you want to backtrack and say that there aren't rational reasons, that's fine, but until that happens I'm going to keep asking you to answer the question.

Now your spinning my words around sir. I can't help but get the feeling your arguing for the sake of arguing.

Your telling me rationality this can't change from person to person? I suppose you know the ultimate authority on rational then?
http://dictionary.re...browse/rational
What is rational to one can be irrational to another who fails to understand that person's perspective.

#69 bambini

bambini

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 101 posts

Posted 29 July 2010 - 06:25 AM

@Sotha:

There is certainly no ultimate truth, but science is not a belief system, which could be compared to religions. This seems to be frighteningly common conception. Beliefs do not require any kind of experiments or justifications for itself, but science requires well proved base.


Of course science is a belief system. We blur it with words like "evidence" of "a well proved base", but ultimately the entire concept of science asks us to believe that by carrying out experiments and collecting data, we will reach a "truth". There's no concrete proof that this will be the case, but we believe it anyway. This is the same for religion. Replace "evidence" or "scientific methods" with "God" (or Allah, etc.) and you have the same conundrum.

You can see that the rain falls, but why it does so is a matter of belief. Some (most?) people believe that science has gathered evidence, that this evidence means something if interpreted correctly and that the answers lie in this evidence, while others believe that God makes the rain and so He is the answer. In the West we put a lot of faith in science, but it is faith nonetheless. You have also got to remember that most religions (with the exception of the likes of Scientology) were formed over decades or even centuries, on the basis of observation and seeking answers, in much the same way as science does.

Certainly. But but in the spoken language we can talk about facts. I am a practical man, and it gets highly tediuos of saying 'with high probability' at all times. But the highly-probables (facts) build up. And with a pile of facts we can understand the universe far better. We can say we know a fact when we understand something natural well enough to do some nice application for. Like electricity. We probably will not reach the one-and-only-truth, but we can understand the secrets of the universe well enough to master it. With science.


I agree, for the sake of shorthand, it's fine to say "facts" rather than "the most likely explanation". I also agree that science has provided us with massive advances in our understanding of the universe and I'm in no way belittling it. But there are huge areas with big question marks over it in science. How did life begin? How did the dinosaurs die out? What came before the Big Bang? Some scientists put their hands up and say "we don't know", others put forward a theory based on the most likely explanation of the evidence. A theory requires people to believe in it. As you say, we may understand the workings of electricity, but migh never understand how or why it exists in the first place.

@jdude:

I absolutely disagree with that assertion. The earth is either round or it's not. There is a "truth" there, even if we happened to lack the tools to determine what the truth is.

Claiming that "all beliefs are equal" is the height of intellectual relativism, which I think is profoundly incorrect (and frankly, lazy). You may just as well say that belief in a round earth is no more likely than belief in a flat earth. In any kind of rational, concrete discourse, such a notion is ridiculous.


I stand corrected. There is indeed an ultimate truth, and you've argued it well there. However, whether or not there is ann ultimate truth is irrelevant. Let me explain why.

We can never say with absolute certainty what it is, as we are humans and therefore have limitations. It's true that the Earth is either round or not, although the concept of "not round" is incredibly vast to the point of being meaningless. It could be infinite number of shapes. The key issue is how can we know with 100% certainty what shape it is? It's actually a great example. We can only ever see one side of the Earth at any one time. The other side is filled in by our brains to create a belief that there is another side to the Earth, but we just can't see it. This is called object permanence - just because we can't see something, we are still able to hold in our minds that it exists. However, on what basis? What evidence to we have that the other side of the Earth doesn't simply cease to exist when we aren't looking at it?

Think of a chair. When we see a chair, we know it's there. If we walk out of the room, all we have is a memory of a chair. Our brain tells us that chair still exists even though we can't see it, but we don't know for certain. On the basis of our knowledge and understanding of the universe, it's completely reasonable to assert that the chair doesn't pop in and out of existence, but there is always, and must always be, an element, of doubt, however small. Now here's the clincher. If I was to believe that if I can't see something it simply doesn't exist, how could you say with absolute certainty I was wrong? Of course it's absurd and in all likelihood I'm totally off the mark, but that element of doubt means that I could be right.

I think we agree on this so far. However, I think you've misunderstood what I was saying if you think I'm suggesting that "all beliefs are equal." Of course they aren't. But everyone has the right to believe what they want, and no one can ever tell someone with absolute certainty that they're wrong. There might well be a God. There might well be gnomes living in your trousers. I'm not saying that all beliefs are on a level footing, but there is no way to tell beyond all doubt that any belief is a fallacy.

In science we gather evidence and look at what is likely, but ultimately it's all a matter of probability, not fact. To proclaim that you are definitely right in your beliefs is narrow-minded and frankly, wrong. Or not Posted Image
"We were travelling in the night of first ages, of those ages that are gone, leaving hardly a sign — and no memories" - Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

#70 Springheel

Springheel

    Creative Director (retired)

  • Admin
  • 37756 posts

Posted 29 July 2010 - 11:23 AM

@ Jdude

Now your spinning my words around sir. I can't help but get the feeling your arguing for the sake of arguing.


If I'm spinning your words, please tell me how. As I said, I find your writing difficult to interpret sometimes.

Your telling me rationality this can't change from person to person? I suppose you know the ultimate authority on rational then?


Of course rationality cannot change from person to person. Rational thinking is rational thinking (I'm not sure what the dictionary link is supposed to prove).

I've already said that two people can use rational thinking and come to different conclusions. That's something completely different. When evidence changes, it is rational to change your beliefs to accommodate the new evidence. If two people had access to different sets of data, they might rationally draw two different conclusions.

So I ask again (for the fifth time now) what rational reasons do you think there are for believing in religion? If you don't want to answer the question, just say so.

@ Bambini

The key issue is how can we know with 100% certainty what shape it is?


I've never argued that we can know anything with 100% certainty. However, as I've said earlier in this discussion, we should still attempt to get as close to that percentage as possible, and the most effective way of doing that is through rational, critical thought.

The claim that we can't know anything with 100% certainty does not translate into the fact that everything is equally likely to be true. If I look at a jar full of jellybeans that I'm not allowed to touch, I can't know with 100% certainty how many beans are in there. But that doesn't mean all guesses are therefore equally likely to be right. We can immediately rule out certain guesses as highly unlikely--a guess of twelve when you can clearly see dozens, or a guess of twelve million. The best way to get closest to the actual number is to use reason and rational thought. I can look at the size and volume of the jar, the size of the beans, and then make a reasonable guess. Picking my favourite number, my birthdate, or some other irrationally-chosen number is highly unlikely to be as accurate.

I think you've misunderstood what I was saying if you think I'm suggesting that "all beliefs are equal." Of course they aren't.


Damn, that will teach me to start replying before reading the whole message. :)

Although, to be fair, you did make that claim in a previous post: "Pick one (or several) view(s) of the world that suits you and accept that other people have the right to disagree with you, but also accept that they are no more right or wrong than you are" (emphasis mine)

If that's not what you meant, that's fine, but it is what you said.

But everyone has the right to believe what they want, and no one can ever tell someone with absolute certainty that they're wrong. There might well be a God. There might well be gnomes living in your trousers. I'm not saying that all beliefs are on a level footing, but there is no way to tell beyond all doubt that any belief is a fallacy.


Yes, I agree with the above. But that doesn't rule out judging people's beliefs as being more or less likely to be true. It doesn't even rule out judging some beliefs (such as Harry Potter being a true story) as bat-shit crazy.
TDM Missions:   A Score to Settle   *   A Reputation to Uphold   *   A New Job   *    A Matter of Hours
 
Video Series:   Springheel's Modules   *   Speedbuild Challenge   *   New Mappers Workshop  *   Building Traps

#71 Sotha

Sotha

    Vertical Contest Winner

  • Active Developer
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 5664 posts

Posted 29 July 2010 - 11:49 AM

Of course science is a belief system. We blur it with words like "evidence" of "a well proved base", but ultimately the entire concept of science asks us to believe that by carrying out experiments and collecting data, we will reach a "truth". There's no concrete proof that this will be the case, but we believe it anyway. This is the same for religion. Replace "evidence" or "scientific methods" with "God" (or Allah, etc.) and you have the same conundrum.

I have to disagree with this totally. The comparison with religion with science is unfair. You should keep in mind that science provides us with a method to formulate predictable models with which to understand the reality. And exploit it. Beliefs do not provide this function.

I agree, for the sake of shorthand, it's fine to say "facts" rather than "the most likely explanation". I also agree that science has provided us with massive advances in our understanding of the universe and I'm in no way belittling it. But there are huge areas with big question marks over it in science. How did life begin? How did the dinosaurs die out? What came before the Big Bang? Some scientists put their hands up and say "we don't know", others put forward a theory based on the most likely explanation of the evidence. A theory requires people to believe in it. As you say, we may understand the workings of electricity, but migh never understand how or why it exists in the first place.

Science cannot provide answer to everything. All it basically does is to explain rationally phenomenons we encounter. You cannot present any kind of rubbish as a scientific high-probable (fact), as you need to back you claims up with multiple experiments with supporting observations. In beliefs the situation is entirely different, you can make any claim and everyone should accept it as anyone can believe in anything.

They are entirely different things.

We can never say with absolute certainty what it is, as we are humans and therefore have limitations. It's true that the Earth is either round or not, although the concept of "not round" is incredibly vast to the point of being meaningless. It could be infinite number of shapes. The key issue is how can we know with 100% certainty what shape it is? It's actually a great example. We can only ever see one side of the Earth at any one time. The other side is filled in by our brains to create a belief that there is another side to the Earth, but we just can't see it. This is called object permanence - just because we can't see something, we are still able to hold in our minds that it exists. However, on what basis? What evidence to we have that the other side of the Earth doesn't simply cease to exist when we aren't looking at it?

Think of a chair. When we see a chair, we know it's there. If we walk out of the room, all we have is a memory of a chair. Our brain tells us that chair still exists even though we can't see it, but we don't know for certain. On the basis of our knowledge and understanding of the universe, it's completely reasonable to assert that the chair doesn't pop in and out of existence, but there is always, and must always be, an element, of doubt, however small. Now here's the clincher. If I was to believe that if I can't see something it simply doesn't exist, how could you say with absolute certainty I was wrong? Of course it's absurd and in all likelihood I'm totally off the mark, but that element of doubt means that I could be right.

Depends if the room is properly visportalled, whether the chair is there or not.. ;)
But seriously, c'mon! This isn't very practical approach. Philosophy of this type can only provide us with meaningless difficuly as we cannot really rely on anything. Sure, it makes nice party talk and we sound clever, but in practical things it is useless: "Woo, I could actually be a butterfly only DREAMING I am a human." It's better to stick to the facts you know that will work and proceed onwards from there.

However, I think you've misunderstood what I was saying if you think I'm suggesting that "all beliefs are equal." Of course they aren't. But everyone has the right to believe what they want, and no one can ever tell someone with absolute certainty that they're wrong. There might well be a God. There might well be gnomes living in your trousers. I'm not saying that all beliefs are on a level footing, but there is no way to tell beyond all doubt that any belief is a fallacy.

In science we gather evidence and look at what is likely, but ultimately it's all a matter of probability, not fact. To proclaim that you are definitely right in your beliefs is narrow-minded and frankly, wrong. Or not Posted Image


So it is okay to allow people being deliberately misguided? It is okay for me to allow people to believe what they want as long as they are given the correct information and then they get to choose. But forcing irrational beliefs to people in school as scientifically proven facts is entirely different thing, don't you think.
  • nbohr1more likes this
Clipper
-The mapper's best friend.

#72 jdude

jdude

    Uber member

  • Development Role
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4001 posts

Posted 29 July 2010 - 05:07 PM

All this is becoming is a debate of ideology vs ideology.

Group A wants concrete evidence of the world around them and views other that don't as irrational thinkers and a danger to society. Nothing here will make them change their philosophical life views.

Group B thinks rationality is subjective to one's interpretation of the world around them, which is rejected by B.

As I said before, there's no point in debating anyone's theology or life view, and this started off as a discussion but has turn into a debate.

@ Spring, I think you've misinterpreted what I've been writing then :P I've already told you some rationality to believe in it, if you don't find my point rational then I dunno what to tell you, since rational is all based on perspective (if you don't agree with this then just say so since this is the entire basis of the thread and we can leave it at that.)and we obviously have two different perspectives.

Of course people adapt to change their views when new altering evidence is presented. Isn't that the entire point of creativity and the scientific method? I really don't understand what you're trying to prove here.

#73 Springheel

Springheel

    Creative Director (retired)

  • Admin
  • 37756 posts

Posted 29 July 2010 - 07:34 PM

I've already told you some rationality to believe in it, if you don't find my point rational then I dunno what to tell you, since rational is all based on perspective (if you don't agree with this then just say so since this is the entire basis of the thread and we can leave it at that.)and we obviously have two different perspectives.


1. You made the claim, "One can rationally believe in a religion."

2. I asked you to give me an example of a rational reason to believe in a religion, to back up your claim.

3. You responded by saying that some of the people, places and events have been verified historically.

As far as I know, that's the only evidence you provided, and I already explained why it is not rational to believe in a religion based on that evidence. Just because a book talks about some historical people, places, and/or events that actually happened, it doesn't mean that the entire book should be believed. To be honest, I'm a bit bewildered that anyone would suggest otherwise. Greek myths refer to historical cities, people and events as well, does that mean it's rational to believe in Zeus and Apollo?

That example simply does not provide any rational reason for believing in a religion. I've asked you for a better example, but you seem determined not to provide one.
TDM Missions:   A Score to Settle   *   A Reputation to Uphold   *   A New Job   *    A Matter of Hours
 
Video Series:   Springheel's Modules   *   Speedbuild Challenge   *   New Mappers Workshop  *   Building Traps

#74 jdude

jdude

    Uber member

  • Development Role
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4001 posts

Posted 29 July 2010 - 09:43 PM

And you ignored the part I wrote about it having measurable life quality impacts on people.
Most my reasons are highly personal and I don't feel like sharing them, but the discussion was limited to the book of Moses I thought.

#75 bambini

bambini

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 101 posts

Posted 30 July 2010 - 06:52 AM

OK, so I've now read through the previous posts (on Sotha's recommendation) and have realised that much of what I've been saying has been covered in-depth and by much more learned people than myself Posted Image . I won't bang this drum much longer, but I thought I might reply to some comments.

@springheel:

[quote]Although, to be fair, you did make that claim in a previous post: "Pick one (or several) view(s) of the world that suits you and accept that other people have the right to disagree with you, but also accept that they are no more right or wrong than you are" (emphasis mine)

If that's not what you meant, that's fine, but it is what you said.[/quote]

So I did. Silly me. I could make a post-modernist case that your interpretation of what I said is subjective and call into question what you can possibly claim to know about what I said, but that would just be silly Posted Image

@sotha:

[quote name='Sotha' date='29 July 2010 - 05:49 PM' timestamp='1280422150' post='225539']
I have to disagree with this totally. The comparison with religion with science is unfair. You should keep in mind that science provides us with a method to formulate predictable models with which to understand the reality. And exploit it. Beliefs do not provide this function.[/quote]

Agreed. Science is more systematic and analytical. However, as I said previously, religion was developed in a similar way - by examining and interpreting the information presented and reaching a conclusion. And they also come up with a way of understanding reality. It just so happens that the answer, more often than not, is "God did it."

[quote]Science cannot provide answer to everything. All it basically does is to explain rationally phenomenons we encounter. You cannot present any kind of rubbish as a scientific high-probable (fact), as you need to back you claims up with multiple experiments with supporting observations. In beliefs the situation is entirely different, you can make any claim and everyone should accept it as anyone can believe in anything.[/quote]

All I'm saying is that "multiple experiments" and "supporting observations" are unavoidably flawed, because of the inherent limitations of the person making those experiments and observations. I'm not knocking science, I just feel that at times it's overvalued as the be all and end all, while the limitations get conveniently glossed over. For instance, science can never answer the question of whether or not there is a God, as it cannot be conclusively proven either way. I agree that this makes them different from beliefs, in the sense that where a scientist might shrug his shoulders and say "I don't know", a theologist would insert a plausible explanation. But this doesn't necessarily make the theologist wrong.

I'm also not saying that "you can make any claim and everyone should accept it as anyone can believe in anything". I'm saying that we are all entitled to disagree, and we are entitled to think that some ideas are implausible or absurd. However, we are not entitled to pronounce someone as wrong. You don't have to swallow the notion of God (I don't) but you do have to accept that we as humans can't (and never will be able to) rule him out as a possibility, even using the best scientific methods.

[quote]Depends if the room is properly visportalled, whether the chair is there or not.. Posted Image[/quote]

lol Posted Image

[quote]But seriously, c'mon! This isn't very practical approach. Philosophy of this type can only provide us with meaningless difficuly as we cannot really rely on anything. Sure, it makes nice party talk and we sound clever, but in practical things it is useless: "Woo, I could actually be a butterfly only DREAMING I am a human." It's better to stick to the facts you know that will work and proceed onwards from there.[/quote]

Agreed. On a practical, day-to-day level, the subjectivity of the human experience makes not one jot of difference. To use your butterfly example, it's hard to see how it matters. We would still live a full life, grow old, invent hover cars, etc., etc. However, when it comes to the bigger questions we need to be aware of our limitations, and the limitations of the scientific approach.

[quote]So it is okay to allow people being deliberately misguided? [/quote]

The idea of being "misguided" is subjective. I think that scientology is misguiding but, that's because I don't believe in it. A scientologist might therefore say that I'm misguided. However, that's an aside. What I disagree with is the financial exploitation of scientology as a faith (and I use "faith" in the loosest possible way). Someone can believe in scientology if they want, but they should not be led into believing in scientology for the profit of others.

[/quote]It is okay for me to allow people to believe what they want as long as they are given the correct information and then they get to choose. But forcing irrational beliefs to people in school as scientifically proven facts is entirely different thing, don't you think.[/quote]

Again, agreed. I dislike the idea of creationism being taught in schools to the exclusion of the theory of evolution. But I'd also hate to see the opposite situation, where creationism is excluded totally. That, to me, counts as forcing beliefs on others. However, the idea of creationism is a very different ball game. Unlike the great unprovables, it is possible to gather evidence that stacks strongly against creationism (like the age of the Earth, dinosaurs, etc.), and this also needs to be made clear.

Ideally, there should be a "here's one set of ideas about where we come from, based on our scientific understanding of the world, but there are other theories too." Personal belief is just that. People shold be presented with information and left to make their own decisions.

An interesting aside here is the idea that the creation of life through a promordial soup has to be right. Why does it? If you really look at it, then it seems a little far-fetched. It would require a vey specific set of circumstances (right temperature, right pH, exactly the right combination of elements in exactly the right quantities) just to create the first amino acids, let alone making those combine to make the first proteins. Sure, in an infinite universe these circumstances are bound to crop up from time to time, but in terms of probability, why is this more likely than intelligent design?

Incidentally, have you ever seen the episode of South Park on the creationism is schools debate? Genius Posted Image

Edited by bambini, 30 July 2010 - 07:15 AM.

"We were travelling in the night of first ages, of those ages that are gone, leaving hardly a sign — and no memories" - Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users