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Paul S
22-08-2004, 03:15 PM
As promised in another thread "Blood on Hands" (and to keep Kevin happy ;) :P ), I have started a thread about the existence of God.

The main reasons why I believe that God exists is due to simple logic and laws of probability.

Now, if there is NO God, then the following would have happened by sheer chance after (according to most atheists) the most destructive force in history (the "Big Bang"):
1) Random particles just happened to form themselves into the planet Earth, at 93 million miles from the Sun, which is the right distance from the Sun to sustain life (closer to the Sun, Earth would be too hot to sustain life; further away from the Sun, Earth would be too cold to sustain life).
2) The earth just happens to spin at the right velocity to keep it in orbit (any slower and it would be sucked into the sun; any faster and it would spin off into space).
3) The average human being consists of 100 trillion cells (100,000,000,000,000) and each individual cell is an incredibly complex structure. What are the odds that these 100 trillion cells just happened to align themselves in the most convenient and beneficial order for human life (as opposed to say having our anus where our nose presently is, or our eyes where say our left big toe is? ).

Need I go on? I think there is enough above to indicate that the probability of all this happening by sheer chance (ie without a designer/planner, viz God) are too remote to be seriously considered, regardless of whether there was a "Big Bang" or not!

One more thing with regards to the "Big Bang" (which is the most generally accepted view of creation by most atheists). Assuming the "Big Bang" to be true, this would have been the most destructive explosion ever, and many billions of times bigger than the biggest explosions on earth (eg atomic bombs). So, how can the biggest explosion of all time (the "Big Bang") end up in the creation of life when NONE of the many far lesser explosions (eg atomic or conventional bombs) have resulted in creation of life (in fact they have in many cases resulted in the destruction of life!

PHAT
22-08-2004, 05:17 PM
1) Random particles just happened to form themselves into the planet Earth, at 93 million miles from the Sun, which is the right distance from the Sun to sustain life (closer to the Sun, Earth would be too hot to sustain life; further away from the Sun, Earth would be too cold to sustain life).
2) The earth just happens to spin at the right velocity to keep it in orbit (any slower and it would be sucked into the sun; any faster and it would spin off into space).
3) The average human being consists of 100 trillion cells (100,000,000,000,000) and each individual cell is an incredibly complex structure. What are the odds that these 100 trillion cells just happened to align themselves in the most convenient and beneficial order for human life (as opposed to say having our anus where our nose presently is, or our eyes where say our left big toe is? ).


1. Yes. Gravity and the the remainants of first generation star super nova. So what?
2. Yes. Law of the conservation of momentum as it applies to fliud mechanics. So what?
3. Yes. BIG odds, about 10^42^42:1. But the odds on any/all specific events are that big. The universe is just so big that the dice is rolled 10^42^42 times.


Assuming the "Big Bang" to be true, this would have been the most destructive explosion ever...

Nope. The big bang was not destructive at all - there was nothing to destroy. In fact it was the begining of a very successful construction :owned:


Paul, mate, you have to go and "do" some university level science. You are on a hiding to nothing with this sh.t - You might as well argue for the Flat Earth theory as try to argue that the structure of life/universe is so awsome that there must be a god. I agree, it is all awsome. I say it is even more awsome, that it all came together under its own steam, and not under a metaphysical creator.

antichrist
22-08-2004, 05:25 PM
Paul,
I suggest the Selfish Gene and his one after that. Also philosophy David Hume re blind watchmaker, when you finish I will give you another 20.

It is just as involved as chess, i.e., endless.

Goughfather
22-08-2004, 05:32 PM
David Hume is occasionally interesting, but generally speaking, unconvincing.

I'm sorry that I've just criticised your Holy Writ, but I've got no time for Humean inerrancy and those who adhere to his writings with little discernment and a blind faith.

antichrist
22-08-2004, 05:37 PM
David Hume is occasionally interesting, but generally speaking, unconvincing.

I'm sorry that I've just criticised your Holy Writ, but I've got no time for Humean inerrancy and those who adhere to his writings with little discernment and a blind faith.

I studied this ten years ago and only remember basic principles so I am not going into again. I suggest Assos Prof. Allen Oldings "Modern Biology and Natural Theology" where he thinks Hume has failed but he (Olding) proves the point by another method.

Kevin Bonham
22-08-2004, 07:07 PM
1) Random particles just happened to form themselves into the planet Earth, at 93 million miles from the Sun, which is the right distance from the Sun to sustain life (closer to the Sun, Earth would be too hot to sustain life; further away from the Sun, Earth would be too cold to sustain life).

We already know that life on earth sustains itself in a wide range of very extreme conditions, including (among others) volcanic vents in deep trenches on the ocean floor, and salt lakes buried deep beneath ice sheets in Antarctica. Productive ecosystems capable of sustaining human life occur in environments where daily maximums are frequently over 40 deg C and in places where daily minimums are frequently well below zero. Earth has sustained life consistently in the past through considerable fluctuations in mean temperature. Based on this, an "earthlike" planet would probably have tens of millions of km leeway in the distance from the Sun it could form at and still sustain life (possibly even "advanced life", though it might not look like us.) Since we know there are four planets within the first 200 million km of the sun the odds are not that bad. Also scientists take seriously the possibility of life of some kind (either in the past or future, if not the present) on at least three other bodies in our present solar system (Mars, Europa, Titan).


2) The earth just happens to spin at the right velocity to keep it in orbit (any slower and it would be sucked into the sun; any faster and it would spin off into space).

Also true of other bodies in our solar system. Formation of several stably orbiting planets around certain kinds of stars appears to be a common process.


3) The average human being consists of 100 trillion cells (100,000,000,000,000) and each individual cell is an incredibly complex structure. What are the odds that these 100 trillion cells just happened to align themselves in the most convenient and beneficial order for human life (as opposed to say having our anus where our nose presently is, or our eyes where say our left big toe is? ).

This is a common objection but the problem with it is that these cells do not just happen to align themselves "by chance", but through a long process in which designs that work tend to outperform designs that don't, and because the design is genetic in basis the better-working designs tend to become commoner, while the non-working or less effective ones are sifted out. If you had to get everything right in one go by chance it would never happen - but if any element that is got right "by chance" is retained it becomes heaps easier.

This sort of experiment is sometimes used to show the difference: Take 20 dice and try rolling 20 sixes at once. You'll be there most of the rest of your life. Instead, try taking 20 dice, but whenever you roll a 6, keep it and just reroll the others until all 20 dice have rolled a 6 once. Won't take half an hour. The difference in how long it takes to get a working design by "directed" evolution as opposed to complete chance is similar to this.


Need I go on? I think there is enough above to indicate that the probability of all this happening by sheer chance (ie without a designer/planner, viz God) are too remote to be seriously considered, regardless of whether there was a "Big Bang" or not!

Another point I'll add here is that it's common to try to prove that the evolution of human life was very improbable. It's actually not that difficult to do because when enough precise data are included any event can be made to seem very improbable. But the question properly asked is not: what are the odds of humans living on Earth now, but: what are the odds of a life form similarly complex to ourselves, living somewhere in the universe, at some stage? Even if the probability there comes out low (I personally reckon it comes out pretty close to 1) that still doesn't prove God exists. Maybe if it came out very very low we could start getting suspicious.


So, how can the biggest explosion of all time (the "Big Bang") end up in the creation of life when NONE of the many far lesser explosions (eg atomic or conventional bombs) have resulted in creation of life (in fact they have in many cases resulted in the destruction of life!

Compared to the scale of the Big Bang all the human-made explosions that have ever occurred on earth, put together, are next to nothing. The start of life post-BB would have occurred not as a result of the explosion itself but through complex post-BB chemical interactions which would not have even started until the earth formed as a stable body and cooled enough to sustain life of some sort. Even then the initial seeds of life would have been a miniscule proportion of all the chemicals slopping around on the entire planet.

I should note that none of the above are intended as disproofs of the existence of God - I just mean to show that there's nothing so improbable in the formation of life as we know it to make God necessary. There are a very wide range of probability-based arguments for God of this sort but I've never come across one that hangs together.

Paul S
23-08-2004, 12:02 AM
You are on a hiding to nothing with this sh.t -

On this BB with its large percentage of atheists (and going up against the BB's #1 debater, Kevin), I may well be on a hiding to nothing (at least in terms of numbers opposing my views, anyway)! :eek:

I still stand by the statements in my original post, though! :D

firegoat7
23-08-2004, 12:22 AM
Dear Paul,

It may be useful to clarify some points in your arguement. Firstly, I recommend that you get some definition from people as to what god actually is. That way both your supporters and objecters can at least share some common understandings.

Cheers FG7

Rincewind
23-08-2004, 12:45 AM
On this BB with its large percentage of atheists (and going up against the BB's #1 debater, Kevin), I may well be on a hiding to nothing (at least in terms of numbers opposing my views, anyway)! :eek:

I still stand by the statements in my original post, though! :D

Paul,

the existence of God is one of the central questions of the human situation and one worth some very serious thought. The arguments you provided in your opening post are scientifically naive and better ones than those certainly do exist. However, I agree with KB that when you look at them all, none of them hang together. Which leaves you with a choice.

(1) You choose to have faith in the existence of God - probably due to a deeply help convinction that a universe without a creator would be meaningless and hence life itself would be meaningless, or equivalent mumbo-jumbo

(2) You decide to admit there is no logical reason to assume the existence of God and therefore you will deny his existence until some logical reason to suspect his existence is discovered

I suggest you do some reading. University level science is not necessary as there are plenty of good popular science literature out there. However, it is important to be able to discern good science from bad science, and a skeptical frame of mind should be employed at ALL times.

I hope you decide to embark on this journey of discovery. Without it I doubt anyone would experience a change of heart on so important an issue. However, it is precisely its importance which should compel you start researching this area.

Garvinator
23-08-2004, 12:54 AM
i hope i dont burst a bubble of yours barry ;) . I remember previously sending an article to matt sweeney when we were debating god issues a long time ago. (i dont have it anymore)

The main crux of it was:
Reliable statistics gathered showed that the highest percentage of non religious types belong to the university students, or those who have done quite a bit of university study.

My theory on this is, university people have to study, research and find conclusive data, especially when writing a thesis in a data based field. they learn very quickly to realise a poor argument when they see it.

As these students look more and more at the debate about god/religion, they feel more and more that there is very little if no scientific basis for the belief that god exists (and similiar thoughts regarding religion).

Rincewind
23-08-2004, 01:16 AM
i hope i dont burst a bubble of yours barry ;) . I remember previously sending an article to matt sweeney when we were debating god issues a long time ago. (i dont have it anymore)

The main crux of it was:
Reliable statistics gathered showed that the highest percentage of non religious types belong to the university students, or those who have done quite a bit of university study.

My theory on this is, university people have to study, research and find conclusive data, especially when writing a thesis in a data based field. they learn very quickly to realise a poor argument when they see it.

As these students look more and more at the debate about god/religion, they feel more and more that there is very little if no scientific basis for the belief that god exists (and similiar thoughts regarding religion).


It would seem that it is effective communication of this message beyond the groves of Acadame which is lacking.

As an aside, that stats would be interesting as I seem to bump into a reasonable proportion of god-bothers at university. Particularly it would be interesting if the stats were based on research at American campuses.

PS I didn't think I had a bubble. It's just I have never meet someone who changed their opinion on theism based on a "Do Gods Exist?" debate. However, if the debate can raise enough questions to make someone go and do some real reading and reflection on the question, then people can change opinions. It shortens the whole process if we can cutout the middle man and go straight to the important bit.

Cat
23-08-2004, 08:43 AM
It depends which God you're talking about. Prince Phillip is a God to a tribe in West Africa and I know he exists!

PHAT
23-08-2004, 03:58 PM
I suggest [Paul] do some reading. University level science is not necessary as there are plenty of good popular science literature out there. However, it is important to be able to discern good science from bad science, ...

And how, pray tell, does a lay person discern good from bad science, without practising the art of higher level learning obtained only at a university? Pop sci lit doesn't cut the mustard for teaching how to dercern quality - it just says trust me. If you (Barry) than say to paul, "be sceptical," he must then be sceptical of the pop sci lit. Where does that leave him other than back in the kindergarten of magical thinking.

PHAT
23-08-2004, 04:06 PM
It's just I have never meet someone who changed their opinion on theism based on a "Do Gods Exist?" debate. However, if the debate can raise enough questions to make someone go and do some real reading and reflection on the question, then people can change opinions.

I reckon spending 12 months in a child sexual assult investigation unit would be enough to turn most people, at the least agnostic.

An omnipotent and loving god is in line for more than a disciplinary interview.

Oepty
23-08-2004, 04:13 PM
This a very broad question and really does it matter if a god exists if it doesn't have any impact on our life. There could theoretically be a god out there who has no interest in us and has given absolutely nothing away to there existance. It is impossible in my view to prove or disprove this God exists.

I do believe that a god exists though as I expect you all realise. This is the God that is talked about in the Bible. So if you ask me why I believe that God exists I would say because the Bible exists and testifies to God's existance.

Scott

Alan Shore
23-08-2004, 05:10 PM
This a very broad question and really does it matter if a god exists if it doesn't have any impact on our life. There could theoretically be a god out there who has no interest in us and has given absolutely nothing away to there existance. It is impossible in my view to prove or disprove this God exists.

I do believe that a god exists though as I expect you all realise. This is the God that is talked about in the Bible. So if you ask me why I believe that God exists I would say because the Bible exists and testifies to God's existance.

Scott

And what Bible is that Scott? The Tanakh, the Qu'ran, The New Testament?

And if it's the NT, is it the KJV, the NIV? There is no 'The Bible'. There should be evidences of God throughout everyone's life - if he is to exist, he exists 'out there' not in a book written, rewritten and reinterpreted by men.

Alan Shore
23-08-2004, 05:15 PM
Paul S, regarding your arguments, you really should know about something called 'the anthropic principle'. I'll post a partial section of a paper I wrote about the effects of chance world view on purpose.


When we speak of purpose and what is required to give rise to it, or indeed to life in general, it seems to be a quite a miracle that we are able to exist, based upon the physical laws of our universe. The notion that the laws of physics are in exact harmony to be capable of producing life is known as the Anthropic Principle. To illustrate just how seemingly remote the chances are of life existing, Gribbin and Rees examine the origins of carbon, the building block of life, inside stars where nuclear fusion takes place. At first glance there was a puzzle as to how so much carbon formed in the universe as a helium-4 atom was required to collide with beryllium-8; yet with the latter being incredibly unstable there would apparently be no time for carbon-12 to form in the limited window of 10^-17 seconds. However Fred Hoyle discovered a phenomenon known as atomic resonance, which meant due to the higher combined energy percentage of carbon-12 than the sum of helium-4 and beryllium-8, it could form, whereas other atoms such as oxygen-16 were much less likely to form due to its lower energy sum.
The next puzzle was, how carbon, along with the other heavier elements, escaped the inside of stars. The answer lay in the supernova - when a star being at least some 25 times the mass of our sun reaches the end of its life, exhausting its supply of hydrogen, then helium and other heavier elements, explodes outward, hurtling its remnants across space. The process required neutrinos (formed in great number in the last moments of the star's life) to hurtle outward when the star has burned out the last of its heavier elements, taking with it the outer layers of the star. The point we take out of these cosmological wondrous events is if there were to be slight differences, the carbon we require for life would neither be created, nor escape the prison of the inside of the star. Similarly if the atomic force of a weak nuclear interaction was different, the neutrinos may not have escaped the core or interacted with the shockwave to expel the required elements out into space. Not only this but at the inception of the universe, altering this force may well have meant a complete and total absence of hydrogen (Gribbin and Rees).
Considering these factors, the window for all events to occur as they have is a very narrow one. However, Gribbin and Rees also provide an alternative to the Anthropic Principle and make the distinction between things evolving in tune with their environment and the constant physical laws of the world around them. An analogy of a perfect-fitting suit is used to explain this anthropic principle; whether it was created specifically tailored to the individual or whether there were a vast array available to choose from. The latter is in actuality referring to the theory of alternative universes - that there may have be a large or even infinite set of them; yet the one in which we reside (perhaps the only one) was fortunate enough to sprout life.
The basis for this 'Many Worlds' theory has its origins in quantum physics. There are probabilities involved regarding the position of electrons at a given point, giving us the ability to predict where it may likely be but without absolute certainty. Using these probabilities we can observe atomic behaviour and calculate accordingly, yet it's not possible to apply these principles to the universe at large for it must be observed from the outside, and as yet it is impossible to traverse the boudaries of our universe in order to do so. Due to these probability anomalies, the Many Worlds theory provides a solution insofar as that we can have all quantum possibilities in existence - with the same measurements taken in alternate universes yielding different answers (Gribbin and Rees). Since Many Worlds has the ability to provide a description of the entire universe in terms of quantum mechanics, it is a favourable theory. Does it allow for a sense of purpose? If these all these alternate worlds are in existence then I'd contend there's nothing to say they were not created for a purpose too, for it's feasible life could exist there too in forms we have not even begun to imagine, that may not breathe oxygen or be composed of carbon but may yet exist.
Due to the presence of life, it may be inferred that we exist in a fine tuned, anthropic universe, perchance designed by a creator. However as Dowe points out, it is not necessarily an explanation, as effect does not necessarily explain its cause; in this case, the fact we exist is insufficient evidence for a fine tuned universe, despite its attractiveness in terms of the 'inference to the best explanation' (for something to be an explanation it must raise the probability), where the anthropic hypothesis would surely have a superior probability of being correct than pure randomness (as per Hoyle's view of the universe as essentially a 'monstrous series of accidents'). To build upon this, the further argument made by Leslie is that the probability of fine tuning, given God as a creator is greater than the probability of fine tuning on its own, based upon God wanting life and observers to the creation, hence providing a suitable environment for the observers to exist. This would certainly create a sense of purpose if it were to be the case.
Some final points to consider regarding chance events and coincidences - are they really chance or are some events controlled by this creator beyond our own epistemological understanding? Is it feasible for both chance and a version of determinism to coexist? To illustrate, consider the creator using a kind of rough deterministic map that defines things to a point, until letting things go, like umpiring for half a football match, or when things have gotten too large to manage, simply controlled the important things, influencing events when possible and leaving the rest to chance? Perhaps such a combatibilist view would be fanciful to adopt but I do believe it may go a fair way into making puzzle pieces fit from all sides of the table.

Garvinator
23-08-2004, 06:01 PM
i think your post bruce might get the url treatment ;) if that is possible :lol:

Rincewind
23-08-2004, 06:18 PM
And how, pray tell, does a lay person discern good from bad science, without practising the art of higher level learning obtained only at a university? Pop sci lit doesn't cut the mustard for teaching how to dercern quality - it just says trust me. If you (Barry) than say to paul, "be sceptical," he must then be sceptical of the pop sci lit. Where does that leave him other than back in the kindergarten of magical thinking.

Don't go post-modern on me!

Skepticism is, I think, the most important quality there is in determine fact from fiction. It is a hard quality to nail down with a succinct definition but with reading, reflection, further research, etc it is (I believe) possible to discern for an interested reader with a high-school level of education to sort most of the sheep from the goats in the pop sci lit and everyone needs to develop their skepticism on their own.

A good place to start is perhaps something on basic informal logic which will at least help one quickly identify fallacious arguments.

antichrist
23-08-2004, 06:42 PM
If God exists why doesn't he come down and argue his case. If he doesn't
b-u-g-g-e-r him. Maybe he is scared of the same treatment he got last time he came.

Kevin Bonham
23-08-2004, 07:16 PM
I do believe that a god exists though as I expect you all realise. This is the God that is talked about in the Bible. So if you ask me why I believe that God exists I would say because the Bible exists and testifies to God's existance.

But why do you think that whatever the Bible says about God must be true?

Kevin Bonham
23-08-2004, 09:52 PM
The latter is in actuality referring to the theory of alternative universes - that there may have be a large or even infinite set of them; yet the one in which we reside (perhaps the only one) was fortunate enough to sprout life.

This is one way out. Another one is that while we talk about various preconditions for life involving carbon and so on, we are really only talking about life as we know it. It's not impossible for life to have a different chemical basis (especially if you allow a little variation in the nature and properties of other elements similar to that required in arguing that life as we know it could easily not have happened) - we just haven't yet found any that does. There may well actually be such other life even within our universe.

I mention this because some scientists find the multiple universe picture to be an odd one to be boxed into - given that (as you mention) other universes can only be inferred through theory and not experimentally proven to exist. On some definitions of "existence" the idea that such other universes even can "exist" could get a little bit dodgy.

The no-God view flies just fine with or without other universes. The God view is also compatible with either, although some scriptures may not be.


If these all these alternate worlds are in existence then I'd contend there's nothing to say they were not created for a purpose too, for it's feasible life could exist there too in forms we have not even begun to imagine, that may not breathe oxygen or be composed of carbon but may yet exist.

That and "life" (whatever that is) is not required for a universe to have a "purpose" anyway.

(Not that I believe the universe as a whole does have a purpose - or that whether it does makes any difference to the E of G debate.)


However as Dowe points out, it is not necessarily an explanation, as effect does not necessarily explain its cause;

I wonder if this is the same Dowe who lectures philosophy here and writes a lot of stuff on topics like this (Phil Dowe). Formerly a pinupboy for FOCUS (Christian students group), later publicly semi-recanted.


To build upon this, the further argument made by Leslie is that the probability of fine tuning, given God as a creator is greater than the probability of fine tuning on its own, based upon God wanting life and observers to the creation, hence providing a suitable environment for the observers to exist.

Only builds on it to any meaningful degree if the additional condition "God is the creator" is significantly probable. Some Christian arguments on points like this get very circular.


Is it feasible for both chance and a version of determinism to coexist?

Yes (to the extent of partial determinism - not "free will") in a universe without a creator. Perhaps in a universe with a creator but that depends on whether that creator is all-knowing or not. If an all-knowing creator:


simply controlled the important things, influencing events when possible and leaving the rest to chance?

... then such a creator would be limited in either power or knowledge, for otherwise that creator could have anticipated what would happen "by chance" and must have chosen not to alter it.

Alan Shore
23-08-2004, 10:25 PM
I mention this because some scientists find the multiple universe picture to be an odd one to be boxed into - given that (as you mention) other universes can only be inferred through theory and not experimentally proven to exist. On some definitions of "existence" the idea that such other universes even can "exist" could get a little bit dodgy.

I wouldn't say they can never be experimentally proven to exist.. there are some interesting paradoxes though. Dowe actually believes the flaw with the Many Worlds theory is found in being unable to return to one's own universe if you are arriving at a time in the past, creating a logical contradiction.


That and "life" (whatever that is) is not required for a universe to have a "purpose" anyway.

Could you elaborate? What would be the purpose of the universe without life? Difficult one to grasp.. I can't see it happening without some form of sentience/consciousness.


I wonder if this is the same Dowe who lectures philosophy here and writes a lot of stuff on topics like this (Phil Dowe). Formerly a pinupboy for FOCUS (Christian students group), later publicly semi-recanted.

Actually, it is Phil Dowe, he now lectures at my university. I knew he was an expat Taswegian.. how much do you know about him? (Actually he reminds me a lot of Darryl Johansen in a way, hehe).



Only builds on it to any meaningful degree if the additional condition "God is the creator" is significantly probable. Some Christian arguments on points like this get very circular.

Well I think it's inherently assumed he is the creator.. I can see how it could be circular though, not a huge fan of the argument myself.


... then such a creator would be limited in either power or knowledge, for otherwise that creator could have anticipated what would happen "by chance" and must have chosen not to alter it.

Assuming you choose to retain both properties of omnipotece and omniscience, but given that you run into a similar argument agaisnt the Problem of Evil: I would say one theory is the structure of the universe in this manner is somehow optimal for some things to be left to chance and other things to be tinkered with - it may seem malevolent but I think it has a lot of merit if you give it a chance.

Alan Shore
23-08-2004, 10:26 PM
i think your post bruce might get the url treatment ;) if that is possible :lol:

No, not possible, it's my own work.. consider it a long post with a lot of good points in it :P

Kevin Bonham
23-08-2004, 11:21 PM
Dowe actually believes the flaw with the Many Worlds theory is found in being unable to return to one's own universe if you are arriving at a time in the past, creating a logical contradiction.

I'm not sure how you'd empirically distinguish between this kind of universe and things simply disappearing from the universe you were in (under certain conditions). Maybe it could be done somehow.

Incidentally, the many-universe view that I would hold (if I had to believe firmly in many universes) would probably simply be one of universes composed of totally different forms of matter that in no way interacted with each other. These could then "exist" simultaneously with no problems.


Could you elaborate? What would be the purpose of the universe without life? Difficult one to grasp.. I can't see it happening without some form of sentience/consciousness.

This is tricky for me too because I don't make too much sense of claims for a purposive universe with God anyway. However if there is a purpose to the universe, why would that purpose necessarily involve "life"? The only obvious reason is that life has capacities for experience, consciousness, learning, worship etc - but I'm not convinced that "consciousness" is much beyond being able to record and retain certain information concerning yourself and your condition - which a non-alive structure like a computer can also, at least in theory, do.


Actually, it is Phil Dowe, he now lectures at my university. I knew he was an expat Taswegian.. how much do you know about him?

Not a great deal because he became prominent just after I escaped from that department. As I mentioned he was involved with FOCUS and widely considered to be a fundie, but then made a public statement to the effect that being a Christian does not necessarily make you a better person, which were viewed as distancing himself from FOCUS. He taught time-travel type stuff and a unit called "Chance, Coincidence + Chaos".

I saw him defending his religious views at a Why I Am/Am Not a Christian type debate series and us students in the audience could hardly get a word in during question time because the atheist academic philosophers (eg most of his departmental colleagues) had come along to pick highly technical holes in his arguments.

Interview published in the student rag in 2000 has him making the following comment about his book Physical Causation: "It's written in impenetrable philosophical language. P***es me off, actually." Also talks about him using time-travel stuff in pop SF as example material in lectures, and playing electric guitar.

Alan Shore
23-08-2004, 11:37 PM
Not a great deal because he became prominent just after I escaped from that department. As I mentioned he was involved with FOCUS and widely considered to be a fundie, but then made a public statement to the effect that being a Christian does not necessarily make you a better person, which were viewed as distancing himself from FOCUS. He taught time-travel type stuff and a unit called "Chance, Coincidence + Chaos".

I saw him defending his religious views at a Why I Am/Am Not a Christian type debate series and us students in the audience could hardly get a word in during question time because the atheist academic philosophers (eg most of his departmental colleagues) had come along to pick highly technical holes in his arguments.

Interview published in the student rag in 2000 has him making the following comment about his book Physical Causation: "It's written in impenetrable philosophical language. P***es me off, actually." Also talks about him using time-travel stuff in pop SF as example material in lectures, and playing electric guitar.

The above excerpt was from my final essay for the very subject, Chance, Coincidence and Chaos. Also taking a subject this semester by him called Time Travel. Can attest to the SF material, he was referring to how Terminator was a consistent time travel story whereas T2 was not - one assignment I just did was a tv/film review of something with a sci-fi plot and to comment whether it was a consistent story.. I did mine on Red Dwarf :cool:

Actually Kev, has your religious persuasion changed at all in the last few years? I didn't recall you being as far removed from God as you appear ot be now.

Kevin Bonham
24-08-2004, 12:06 AM
Actually Kev, has your religious persuasion changed at all in the last few years?

No.


I didn't recall you being as far removed from God as you appear ot be now.

I probably come across as very agnostic sometimes because my politics when it comes to religion are very much a leave-me-alone-and-I'll-leave-your-religion-alone kind of view. Also I drift around a little bit, for instance over whether the simple little sentence "God exists." is meaningful and almost certainly false, meaningless and false, simply incomprehensible or just plain irrelevant.

arosar
24-08-2004, 09:22 AM
The above excerpt was from my final essay for the very subject, Chance, Coincidence and Chaos. Also taking a subject this semester by him called Time Travel.

What the hell's wrong with youse young people these days - gettin' yourselves roped in to these fancy gobbledegook? Listen mate, you gotta study stuff that'll help you get a job mate. Study accounting, economics, marketing, IT or any of them physical sciences. I mean all this you're studyin' mate sound like they're just comic book stuff.

AR

Cat
24-08-2004, 11:29 AM
What the hell's wrong with youse young people these days - gettin' yourselves roped in to these fancy gobbledegook? Listen mate, you gotta study stuff that'll help you get a job mate. Study accounting, economics, marketing, IT or any of them physical sciences. I mean all this you're studyin' mate sound like they're just comic book stuff.

AR

Agreed AR. There is no logical argument that can ever be used to determine this kind of question, the question is entirely emotive. Either one has faith and one chooses to believe, or one can hold no view about the issue, or one finds no reason to believe, nor wants to believe. At the end of the day it comes down to choice, not reason. It as simple as that. Attempts to find logical arguemnt are entirely pretentious.

Commentator
24-08-2004, 11:41 AM
At the end of the day it comes down to choice, not reason. It as simple as that. Attempts to find logical argument are entirely pretentious.

Would that be involuntary choice or voluntary choice? As in the old saying
"The Devil made me do it.", which would make it involuntary.
Or is it in the genes?

C

Goughfather
24-08-2004, 11:55 AM
Agreed AR. There is no logical argument that can ever be used to determine this kind of question, the question is entirely emotive. Either one has faith and one chooses to believe, or one can hold no view about the issue, or one finds no reason to believe, nor wants to believe. At the end of the day it comes down to choice, not reason. It as simple as that. Attempts to find logical arguemnt are entirely pretentious.

I may be willing to subscribe to this argument ... as long as there is no pretension as to any intrinsic reason in this line of argument. Perhaps this is not an argument of reason, but rather of choice and expedience.

Cat
24-08-2004, 01:16 PM
I may be willing to subscribe to this argument ... as long as there is no pretension as to any intrinsic reason in this line of argument. Perhaps this is not an argument of reason, but rather of choice and expedience.

No intrinsic reason whatsoever, not expedient, simply a preference.

PHAT
24-08-2004, 04:09 PM
Incidentally, the many-universe view that I would hold (if I had to believe firmly in many universes) would probably simply be one of universes composed of totally different forms of matter that in no way interacted with each other.


Be a little more imaginative, KB. There is no reason why another universe has to have matter, and/or energy, and/or time, and/or space. :cool:

PHAT
24-08-2004, 04:20 PM
Or is it in the genes?



Yes, the capacity to have "faith" is probably a consequence of both genetically determined personality traits and instincts.

antichrist
24-08-2004, 06:52 PM
So Paul, you can see from all the earlier posts that simplistic belief doesn't cut. And in spite of what others say about Hume I recommend the five reasons that he puts forward as to why people believe in miracles. This much I remember.

Hey KB,
Post them up, you would have easier access than me. thanks.

antichrist
24-08-2004, 07:07 PM
Would that be involuntary choice or voluntary choice? As in the old saying
"The Devil made me do it.", which would make it involuntary.
Or is it in the genes?

C


In the early days before the Devil evolved from Angel Gabrail, what evil got into God to creat Gabrail how he would evolve into the Devil? God must be intrinicly evil or not knowing what doing (like Matt in chess) or has no moral values.

Or is the Devil good and God evil, as the Devil wanted to feed Adam & Eve from the forbidden Tree of Knowledge?

Or is the Tree of Knowledge an incarnation of modernist, liberal believers who don't want to struggle with the stupidity of a physical devil and apples etc..

Kevin Bonham
24-08-2004, 08:55 PM
Attempts to find logical arguemnt are entirely pretentious.

Being no good at philosophical argument, it's no surprise you'd say a thing like that (which also ignores AR's point, which was about vocational value.)

It's true you rarely see a logical point in the argument change a person's opinion. Maybe they add to lingering doubts one way or the other though, and affect whether or not social pressure or trauma cause a person to switch views later. Even if not, it is helpful to see how well the other side can (or cannot) defend their position.

Kevin Bonham
24-08-2004, 08:59 PM
Be a little more imaginative, KB. There is no reason why another universe has to have matter, and/or energy, and/or time, and/or space. :cool:

Fair enough, my use of "matter" was overly restrictive. The crucial point is that however the other universes are composed, they do not interact with our own.

Kevin Bonham
24-08-2004, 09:08 PM
Hey KB,
Post them up, you would have easier access than me. thanks.

Looking for a copy online ... if I find one I will post a link.

Alan Shore
24-08-2004, 09:34 PM
What the hell's wrong with youse young people these days - gettin' yourselves roped in to these fancy gobbledegook? Listen mate, you gotta study stuff that'll help you get a job mate. Study accounting, economics, marketing, IT or any of them physical sciences. I mean all this you're studyin' mate sound like they're just comic book stuff.

AR

Amiel, I left studying IT and science to pursue greater things - to traverse the boundaries of what we know of our universe and our place in it. To get a corporate job would be to limit yourself and ignore the greater world around you. If that means studying philosophy and religion and being a professor in the field so be it; it's still a 'job' in your terms but it would be doing something you love and I see no reason to affiliate it with 'comic book stuff'. You may as well turn your attention to professional chess players if you want to criticise people living in a fantasy world - tell them to get a real job instead of playing a game, or perhaps our professional athletes competing at the olympics.

Cat
24-08-2004, 09:45 PM
Being no good at philosophical argument, it's no surprise you'd say a thing like that (which also ignores AR's point, which was about vocational value.)

It's true you rarely see a logical point in the argument change a person's opinion. Maybe they add to lingering doubts one way or the other though, and affect whether or not social pressure or trauma cause a person to switch views later. Even if not, it is helpful to see how well the other side can (or cannot) defend their position.


Lets call a truce on the insults, it adds nothing to debate. The concept of an omniscent, omnipotent God seems ridiculous, but all concepts put forward to seek meaning in our existence are equally ridiculous. There is nothing to philosophise, we exist, that's it.

So if any choose to believe in a God, if they feel it helps them in some way, who the hell are you to try to take that away from them? That you find no meaning in the concept, fine - but you cannot offer anything more valuable to them, you are not in a position to judge what is valuable to them. Respect their choice, and if you have your own feelings about existence, then they are no more or less valid than theirs. They belong to you, its your personal choice, nothing more, nothing less -there is nothing heroic about it.

Kevin Bonham
24-08-2004, 11:52 PM
Put the reply to the on-topic parts of David's post here in case the rest blows up and needs to be moved - as, given the abysmally weak position Dave and Bruce have kicked off from, I'm rather hoping that it will. :rolleyes:


The concept of an omniscent, omnipotent God seems ridiculous, but all concepts put forward to seek meaning in our existence are equally ridiculous.

Indeed. However:

(i) the point of this thread was to discuss whether God exists. If the concept is ridiculous, then it remains ridiculous irrespective of its ability to furnish meaning, and irrespective of that of any competing doctrine. Sorry to break it to you, but it doesn't appear that the whole universe rearranges itself to suit a bunch of evolved organic flotsam and their desire for "meaning". The issue of meaning has no bearing on the question of what exists, and the inability of any doctrine about reality to support human meaning if true would be no objection to that doctrine's truth.

(ii) I would agree that all concepts put forward to seek an objective and general meaning in human existence are ridiculous (perhaps even equally so) but that is only because the general meaning of life question is a category error - meaning is a subjective perception that you either find for yourself, or don't, your ability to find it depending on your own psychology and circumstances.


There is nothing to philosophise, we exist, that's it.

Well, if that's it, then no higher being exists, and there is no God.


So if any choose to believe in a God, if they feel it helps them in some way, who the hell are you to try to take that away from them?

Firstly you assume that people choose to believe anything, as if they simply wake up one day and say "I'd like to believe in Buddhism today" and lo, for that day, they are a Buddhist. As far as I know, my late grandmother was the only person in human history whose religious beliefs were determined quite like this. :eek:

Second you assume that people believe in God because they think it helps. This may well - at least subconsciously - influence their belief - but the assumptions involved, if so, may well be mistaken, and are irrelevant to the question of whether God exists anyway. You don't just wish something into existence. I mean, suppose I woke up one morning and said "It would help me to believe I had one million dollars in the bank. Therefore I have one million dollars in the bank". In any sphere of human thinking except religion this would get you locked up by lunchtime, but in many branches of religious apologetics this kind of thinking is actually defended and encouraged. :hmm:

Thirdly, you ask who the hell we are to "try to take that away". You will notice, if you are observant for one miniscule moment of your existence, that this thread was started by a theist. :eek: People can believe what they will, but if a person wants to say that God exists in a public place then the answer to your "who the hell am I?" question is - I am a person who has my own view and am entitled to express it.

In any case, I don't care if people believe in God or not. What I do want them to see is that the no-God position is logically sound way beyond their wildest hopes of refuting ... and hence to realise that many Christian attitudes to unbelievers are indefensible (eg the idea that a just God discriminates against people for not having "faith"). From this I would like to see Christians support a position of complete seperation of Church and State. (And no, I don't care if it's never happened before or the original concept was different.)


That you find no meaning in the concept, fine - but you cannot offer anything more valuable to them, you are not in a position to judge what is valuable to them.

Irrelevant, the question is whether God exists, not what is valued. You certainly have no hope of offering much of value to me on this or most other threads - so why don't you follow your own illogic and shut up?


Respect their choice, and if you have your own feelings about existence, then they are no more or less valid than theirs.

More trolling garbage here - just because A disagrees with B's opinion does not mean A disrespects B's opinion - although, when it comes to your post that I'm now replying to, I'm quite happy to say I have no respect for said post at all and hope it was just dumb trolling. :P

Also, the point of debating these issues is to attempt to establish whose views may be more or less valid. It is only from a perspective of refusing to debate the issue further that each opinion is equally "valid" - because both positions cannot be simultaneously true, and the illusion that they are comes out of ignorance alone. It is indeed possible that we cannot prove which is correct, but even this is an issue which can be argued about rationally and conclusions drawn.


They belong to you, its your personal choice, nothing more, nothing less -there is nothing heroic about it.

Who said it was "heroic"? Only one round here who rates themselves as a hero is you. :hand:

arosar
25-08-2004, 10:29 AM
Something to put inyour diaries fellas. Looks like it could be interesting.

http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/08/24/1093246518389.html

AR

Cat
25-08-2004, 11:16 AM
Kevin Bonham]


(i) the point of this thread was to discuss whether God exists. If the concept is ridiculous, then it remains ridiculous irrespective of its ability to furnish meaning, and irrespective of that of any competing doctrine. Sorry to break it to you, but it doesn't appear that the whole universe rearranges itself to suit a bunch of evolved organic flotsam and their desire for "meaning". The issue of meaning has no bearing on the question of what exists, and the inability of any doctrine about reality to support human meaning if true would be no objection to that doctrine's truth.

The answer to the question 'does God exist' in entirely emotive, because God means different things to different people and because in the case of the omnipotent God, it cannot be discovered by any reasoned argument. In discovering 'God' some people do indeed find meaning in their lives in a very personal sense. If it allows them to function better as an individual, then it serves a purpose.


I would agree that all concepts put forward to seek an objective and general meaning in human existence are ridiculous (perhaps even equally so) but that is only because the general meaning of life question is a category error - meaning is a subjective perception that you either find for yourself, or don't, your ability to find it depending on your own psychology and circumstances.

That's right


Well, if that's it, then no higher being exists, and there is no God.

It seems very unlikely. However, if you remain faithful to logical argument, one cannot be entirely sure, because anything is possible, even if it stands outside the physical confines of our universe. The multiple universe argument is similar, though logic tells us this is perhaps far more likely than a omniscent being. Also the chances of an omniscent being having any interest in planet earth, other than to create a new hyperspace bypass perhaps, is equally unlikely.



In any case, I don't care if people believe in God or not. What I do want them to see is that the no-God position is logically sound way beyond their wildest hopes of refuting ... and hence to realise that many Christian attitudes to unbelievers are indefensible (eg the idea that a just God discriminates against people for not having "faith"). From this I would like to see Christians support a position of complete seperation of Church and State. (And no, I don't care if it's never happened before or the original concept was different.)
?

It certainly sounds like you do, very much as it happens. People don't believe in God because it's logically sound, they don't care very much about the logic of it at all. What they are trying to find is personal to them, probably love, probably security, probably meaning. They are distilled from that wonderful human trait called emotion, and personally I'd like very much to keep that within the human race, even if it is illogical. The fact you don't care to pay attention to the lessons of history just displays the extent of your ignorance.


Also, the point of debating these issues is to attempt to establish whose views may be more or less valid. It is only from a perspective of refusing to debate the issue further that each opinion is equally "valid" - because both positions cannot be simultaneously true, and the illusion that they are comes out of ignorance alone. It is indeed possible that we cannot prove which is correct, but even this is an issue which can be argued about rationally and conclusions drawn.

And who is to be judge and jury about who's view is more valid? I reckon it would be the friends and families of the debaters, as to how much they love and respect them, as to how they appear to their community. Maybe how much they are valued in their community, how many loyal friends they have at birthdays and their funeral, or maybe whether their kids want to be with them?

Paul S
25-08-2004, 03:36 PM
Yes. BIG odds, about 10^42^42:1.

Thankyou for that, Matthew. This figure would be about right for the Universe to be created by sheer chance.

In plain language anything with odds of 10^42^42:1 will NEVER happen.

Which of the following two options is easier to believe?

1) That something with odds of 10^42^42:1 happening (ie the creation of the Universe by sheer chance).
2) A Creator (ie God) created the Universe.

Kevin Bonham
25-08-2004, 03:50 PM
The answer to the question 'does God exist' in entirely emotive, because God means different things to different people and because in the case of the omnipotent God, it cannot be discovered by any reasoned argument.

I think it is too early to be drawing that conclusion. For instance there is probably still much to be said about whether "God exists." is a meaningful sentence and whether "existing" is the sort of thing "God" as commonly defined could actually do. Also I think that if the universe as it presented itself to us was radically incoherent when seen through the eyes of science, so that almost nothing around us was predictable, then that would have some kind of sway on a reasoned view.


In discovering 'God' some people do indeed find meaning in their lives in a very personal sense. If it allows them to function better as an individual, then it serves a purpose.

For them it does. Still irrelevant to the question of whether God exists.


However, if you remain faithful to logical argument, one cannot be entirely sure, because anything is possible, even if it stands outside the physical confines of our universe. The multiple universe argument is similar, though logic tells us this is perhaps far more likely than a omniscent being.

An important difference is that if you say there are more universes, you are just proposing that there is more of something than you are able to observe. Whereas if you say there is only one universe but also one God, you are proposing an extra class of beings - with properties radically different to what you know - with no prior evidence that other examples of such beings "exist". And I'm not saying there are more universes, I'm only saying that there might be. So adding God raises a lot more Occam's Razer type issues.

On the question of being "sure", it is possible to object to being "sure" of anything using trite arguments of the "...but what if it is all a dream...", "...but what if I'm really just a brain in a vat..." type. These don't really obstruct "certainty" (if that word is to have any actual meaning at all) because they are untestable. The onus is on the believer to establish tests for the existence of God and place "but what if there was really an all-powerful being that created the universe" on a much higher footing than those kinds of trite-scepticism type arguments.


Also the chances of an omniscent being having any interest in planet earth, other than to create a new hyperspace bypass perhaps, is equally unlikely.

Ah, the truth is revealed, you were a Vogon worshipper all along. Just don't read us any of your poetry. :eek:


It certainly sounds like you do, very much as it happens.

What I meant is that my support for what I see as full seperation of church and state is not affected by any arguments concerning the past history of such ideas. I threw that in in anticipation of Goughfather jumping in with his usual line on that question. I like to save people effort. :D


People don't believe in God because it's logically sound, they don't care very much about the logic of it at all. What they are trying to find is personal to them, probably love, probably security, probably meaning. They are distilled from that wonderful human trait called emotion, and personally I'd like very much to keep that within the human race, even if it is illogical. The fact you don't care to pay attention to the lessons of history just displays the extent of your ignorance.

As you will see from my comment you are missing the point of what I said. People can go and find their God in the way you mention as much as they like, that is their business. It is only when they get political about it or make inaccurate statements about the rational basis of the beliefs of others that we have an issue. If they get emotional about being corrected, well isn't emotion just a "wonderful human trait"? Surely you wouldn't want to sanitise emotion so that believers lived in coccoons and only experienced religious happiness and were never confronted with dout? :P


And who is to be judge and jury about who's view is more valid? I reckon it would be the friends and families of the debaters, as to how much they love and respect them, as to how they appear to their community. Maybe how much they are valued in their community, how many loyal friends they have at birthdays and their funeral, or maybe whether their kids want to be with them?

That would turn philosophy into a popularity contest. A person could be deluded in almost everything and yet still loved for their character, just as another person could be almost invariably correct and hated for theirs. A person's character does not reflect much about the truth of their beliefs - particularly not given that moral conduct is subjective anyway.

Paul S
25-08-2004, 04:17 PM
We already know that life on earth sustains itself in a wide range of very extreme conditions, including (among others) volcanic vents in deep trenches on the ocean floor, and salt lakes buried deep beneath ice sheets in Antarctica. Productive ecosystems capable of sustaining human life occur in environments where daily maximums are frequently over 40 deg C and in places where daily minimums are frequently well below zero. Earth has sustained life consistently in the past through considerable fluctuations in mean temperature. Based on this, an "earthlike" planet would probably have tens of millions of km leeway in the distance from the Sun it could form at and still sustain life (possibly even "advanced life", though it might not look like us.) Since we know there are four planets within the first 200 million km of the sun the odds are not that bad. Also scientists take seriously the possibility of life of some kind (either in the past or future, if not the present) on at least three other bodies in our present solar system (Mars, Europa, Titan).

I have doubts that anything could live on any planet except Earth (in our Solar System), although it is theoretically possible that (at best) some type of lichen/algae could exist in an "extremely favourable location" on Mars or microscopic lifeforms next to volcanic vents on say Europa. Even if they did/could, such "life" would be of a very basic/primitive nature compared to what is on Earth.


Also true of other bodies in our solar system. Formation of several stably orbiting planets around certain kinds of stars appears to be a common process.

Indeed. Which begs the questions:
1) Could all these planets like Mars, Jupiter etc have been created by sheer chance?
2) What are the odds on misellaneous clumps of matter just happening to come together by sheer chance (ie without a designer/planner, God) and form planets that just happen to rotate at the right velocity around the sun (any slower they would be sucked into the sun; any faster they would spin off into space).


This is a common objection but the problem with it is that these cells do not just happen to align themselves "by chance", but through a long process in which designs that work tend to outperform designs that don't, and because the design is genetic in basis the better-working designs tend to become commoner, while the non-working or less effective ones are sifted out. If you had to get everything right in one go by chance it would never happen - but if any element that is got right "by chance" is retained it becomes heaps easier.

This sort of experiment is sometimes used to show the difference: Take 20 dice and try rolling 20 sixes at once. You'll be there most of the rest of your life. Instead, try taking 20 dice, but whenever you roll a 6, keep it and just reroll the others until all 20 dice have rolled a 6 once. Won't take half an hour. The difference in how long it takes to get a working design by "directed" evolution as opposed to complete chance is similar to this.


So who/what is doing the "directing"? Who/what is doing the "designing"?



Another point I'll add here is that it's common to try to prove that the evolution of human life was very improbable. It's actually not that difficult to do because when enough precise data are included any event can be made to seem very improbable. But the question properly asked is not: what are the odds of humans living on Earth now, but: what are the odds of a life form similarly complex to ourselves, living somewhere in the universe, at some stage? Even if the probability there comes out low (I personally reckon it comes out pretty close to 1) that still doesn't prove God exists. Maybe if it came out very very low we could start getting suspicious.

Compared to the scale of the Big Bang all the human-made explosions that have ever occurred on earth, put together, are next to nothing. The start of life post-BB would have occurred not as a result of the explosion itself but through complex post-BB chemical interactions which would not have even started until the earth formed as a stable body and cooled enough to sustain life of some sort. Even then the initial seeds of life would have been a miniscule proportion of all the chemicals slopping around on the entire planet.


Some more points to consider (in addition to the 3 mentioned in my post at the beginning of this thread):
1) Is it just sheer chance that the Earth's atmosphere has just the right make-up to shield the earth from harmful (excess) UV radiation (sun) yet at the same time keeps in the life giving compostion of gases to sustain life on Earth?
2) Is it just sheer chance that the Earth's atmosphere has just the right proportion of gases to sustain life?
3) Is it just sheer chance that other planets like Mars, Jupiter etc have been created? What are the odds on miscellaneous clumps of matter just happening to come together by sheer chance (ie without a designer/planner, God) and form planets (Mars, Jupiter etc) that just happen to rotate at the right velocity around the sun (any slower they would be sucked into the sun; any faster they would spin off into space).


I should note that none of the above are intended as disproofs of the existence of God - I just mean to show that there's nothing so improbable in the formation of life as we know it to make God necessary. There are a very wide range of probability-based arguments for God of this sort but I've never come across one that hangs together.

Maybe my arguments above will convince you! ;) :P :lol:

PHAT
25-08-2004, 04:58 PM
Thankyou for that, Matthew. This figure would be about right for the Universe to be created by sheer chance.

In plain language anything with odds of 10^42^42:1 will NEVER happen.

Which of the following two options is easier to believe?

1) That something with odds of 10^42^42:1 happening (ie the creation of the Universe by sheer chance).
2) A Creator (ie God) created the Universe.

Sorry Paul. The "42" is a reference to a BBC radio show/book called "Life, the Universe and Everything"

The chance of a/our Universe becoming a reality is exactly 1. ie certain - because it the only alternative answer is zero. Since zero is not true (we are here!), the chance must be 1.

As for the chances of god being true, it is somewhere between zero and 1 inclusive.

So, a betting person would be a fool to back god against certainty.

arosar
25-08-2004, 05:03 PM
That's very interesting. Which reminds me: any1 know how you calculate the p-value of a t-statistic?

FMD! I'm so shite at maths.

AR

Rhubarb
25-08-2004, 05:23 PM
A word to the wise, Paul. Your best chance is asking him how to spell "separate".

*disappears*

Alan Shore
25-08-2004, 05:24 PM
That's very interesting. Which reminds me: any1 know how you calculate the p-value of a t-statistic?

FMD! I'm so shite at maths.

AR

Yeah, use tables (at the back of the textbook!)

Recherché
25-08-2004, 05:51 PM
By all means, have faith in a God if that's what floats your boat, but it's pretty pointless trying to prove her existence by "logical" arguments (or any other kind).


Now, if there is NO God, then the following would have happened by sheer chance...[etc]

I think a quote from a Douglas Adams speech should suffice here:


This is rather as if you imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, ‘This is an interesting world I find myself in—an interesting hole I find myself in—fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!’

antichrist
25-08-2004, 07:20 PM
Looking for a copy online ... if I find one I will post a link.

I think it is called Hume's Treatise on Miracles. I only have a fraction of my books with me here, but I will look for tomorrow. I condensed them into five points years ago.

Kevin Bonham
26-08-2004, 01:20 AM
I have doubts that anything could live on any planet except Earth (in our Solar System), although it is theoretically possible that (at best) some type of lichen/algae could exist in an "extremely favourable location" on Mars or microscopic lifeforms next to volcanic vents on say Europa.

But Mars is considered to have done its dash - eg the water that may have once been freeflowing is now sub-surface or gone. Before all that happened it may have been a very different story. I'm not aware of any reason why Mars could not have had complex life in the past.


Indeed. Which begs the questions:
1) Could all these planets like Mars, Jupiter etc have been created by sheer chance?
2) What are the odds on misellaneous clumps of matter just happening to come together by sheer chance (ie without a designer/planner, God) and form planets that just happen to rotate at the right velocity around the sun (any slower they would be sucked into the sun; any faster they would spin off into space).

It can't be too improbable, because even based on our limited ability to perceive planets orbiting distant suns, astronomers have already recognised several other cases of planets doing so. Given how few solar systems can even be assessed using our existing technology, and given that several planets have been found out there, there's bound to be other systems pretty much like ours out there.

I'm not an expert on planetary mechanics but I would assume that early in a solar system's life there is all kinds of rubbish flying around at all kinds of velocities - some bits getting sucked into the sun, some bits spinning off into space, and some very few bits (miniscule compared to the sun and the size of the system) stabilising at a distance. If this is so it would be unusual for a star the size of our sun not to have anything orbiting it.


So who/what is doing the "directing"? Who/what is doing the "designing"?

No-one - the "direction" in the process is simply because designs that work better succeed (in general) and designs that work worse don't. It's like an algorithm in maths, an algorithm can converge on a particular value but that doesn't mean anyone is steering it there.


1) Is it just sheer chance that the Earth's atmosphere has just the right make-up to shield the earth from harmful (excess) UV radiation (sun) yet at the same time keeps in the life giving compostion of gases to sustain life on Earth?
2) Is it just sheer chance that the Earth's atmosphere has just the right proportion of gases to sustain life?

Actually both of these things owe their existence to the development of basic life (blue green algae) around a billion years ago. There was no UV shield like we have now and the atmosphere was very different before early life forms freed O2 through photosynthesis. These O2 molecules were split by UV rays to form O3 (ozone) which formed the UV-block so useful for higher forms of life as we now know it. Lucky? I'm not sure - think of all the zillions of other chemical interactions going on that did absolutely nothing to sustain life or even harmed it, is it so unreasonable that one of them was actually useful?

Even if we are "lucky", it still comes down to the equivalent of "I won the lottery therefore God exists", which doesn't really work.

Kevin Bonham
26-08-2004, 01:27 AM
A word to the wise, Paul. Your best chance is asking him how to spell "separate".

*disappears*

I shall have to make an effort to actually learn that one permanently. Sad to say, apart from learning how to spell "necessary", my spelling has not really improved since about age ten. :eek:

Cat
27-08-2004, 12:59 AM
[QUOTE=Kevin Bonham]I think it is too early to be drawing that conclusion. For instance there is probably still much to be said about whether "God exists." is a meaningful sentence and whether "existing" is the sort of thing "God" as commonly defined could actually do. Also I think that if the universe as it presented itself to us was radically incoherent when seen through the eyes of science, so that almost nothing around us was predictable, then that would have some kind of sway on a reasoned view.

Not for me it's not, life's too short. The 'if's' & 'but's' are irrelevant, the Universe is what it is.



For them it does. Still irrelevant to the question of whether God exists.

Objectively but not subjectively. If I want to believe in a God that's my perogative, I don't have to reason or justify my belief.



An important difference is that if you say there are more universes, you are just proposing that there is more of something than you are able to observe. Whereas if you say there is only one universe but also one God, you are proposing an extra class of beings - with properties radically different to what you know - with no prior evidence that other examples of such beings "exist". And I'm not saying there are more universes, I'm only saying that there might be. So adding God raises a lot more Occam's Razer type issues.

Yes, that's why I said a God is a far less likely possibility.


On the question of being "sure", it is possible to object to being "sure" of anything using trite arguments of the "...but what if it is all a dream...", "...but what if I'm really just a brain in a vat..." type. These don't really obstruct "certainty" (if that word is to have any actual meaning at all) because they are untestable. The onus is on the believer to establish tests for the existence of God and place "but what if there was really an all-powerful being that created the universe" on a much higher footing than those kinds of trite-scepticism type arguments.

There is no onus on the believer to justify anything. If I said Genesis was the best rock band of all time, you and everybody else mught think I was ridiculous, but I can still believe that if I choose, its entirely my perogative.


Ah, the truth is revealed, you were a Vogon worshipper all along. Just don't read us any of your poetry. :eek:

Don't tempt me.



What I meant is that my support for what I see as full seperation of church and state is not affected by any arguments concerning the past history of such ideas.

Why not? Surely experiences like the Cultural Revolution have much to teach us - that perhaps there is little difference between pastoral and secular dogma.


People can go and find their God in the way you mention as much as they like, that is their business. It is only when they get political about it or make inaccurate statements about the rational basis of the beliefs of others that we have an issue.

Politicians make inaccurate statements all the time, many of then have made it an art form. Why hold a different standard for Christians? Maybe you hold the same prejudices against Genesis fans, or people with bent noses?


If they get emotional about being corrected, well isn't emotion just a "wonderful human trait"? Surely you wouldn't want to sanitise emotion so that believers lived in coccoons and only experienced religious happiness and were never confronted with dout? :P

This is just obscene, religious vilification. These comments are simply ignorant bigotry, you should be ashamed, KB.


That would turn philosophy into a popularity contest. A person could be deluded in almost everything and yet still loved for their character, just as another person could be almost invariably correct and hated for theirs. A person's character does not reflect much about the truth of their beliefs - particularly not given that moral conduct is subjective anyway.

No, I wasn't talking about philosophy, I was talking about love - a wonderfully illogical, unreasoned, stupid and pointless human behaviour.

Kevin Bonham
27-08-2004, 03:03 AM
Not for me it's not, life's too short.

But not too short for you to waste time defending the proposition that life's too short, or posting hundreds of posts of completely ineffectual ratings beatups. You ought to reconsider your priorities, dude. :lol:


Objectively but not subjectively. If I want to believe in a God that's my perogative, I don't have to reason or justify my belief.

I question whether people believe because they consciously want to, but anyway, no-one indeed "has" to hold reasons or justify them. That is not at issue, we are talking about what reasons can or can't be used by those who wish to attempt to use reason in the debate. The rest can wait outside.


There is no onus on the believer to justify anything. If I said Genesis was the best rock band of all time, you and everybody else mught think I was ridiculous, but I can still believe that if I choose, its entirely my perogative.

So do you actually think that Genesis was the best rock band of all time?

(rest of this quote - see above.)


Don't tempt me.

Consider yourself not tempted. :lol:


Why not? Surely experiences like the Cultural Revolution have much to teach us - that perhaps there is little difference between pastoral and secular dogma.

Read Goughfather's opening post on the C+S thread to see why this is not an authentic instance of "separation of Church and State". When the two are truly separate, neither imposes forcefully on the other.


Politicians make inaccurate statements all the time, many of then have made it an art form. Why hold a different standard for Christians? Maybe you hold the same prejudices against Genesis fans, or people with bent noses?

Genesis fans ... hmmm. Don't tempt me. :lol:

I actually spend far more time bagging out pollies and political activists for using weak arguments than I do bagging out Christians for the same. It's just that this board is more interested in religious issues than political ones.


This is just obscene, religious vilification. These comments are simply ignorant bigotry, you should be ashamed, KB.

The ignorant one who should be ashamed is you. You made no attempt to read the comment you quoted, which contained no criticism of believers whatsoever but simply pointed out why your argument based on "emotion" is rubbish.


No, I wasn't talking about philosophy, I was talking about love - a wonderfully illogical, unreasoned, stupid and pointless human behaviour.

All the more reason not to consider it useful in answering questions about whose beliefs are correct.

Though, FWIW, I do believe you sell it short. I have done this myself sometimes, but only for effect. :P

Cat
27-08-2004, 08:37 AM
All the more reason not to consider it useful in answering questions about whose beliefs are correct.



This answers all the points you've raised, it comes down to this, which beliefs are correct. Because that's all this is - belief, nothing more, nothing less. The 'point' of belief is to sustain the individual, it equates with hope. There's nohing logical about it, it cannot be reasoned, it emerges from our insinct to survive.

And why is any belief more correct than any other? Because a belief system simply permits an individual to interact with the world around them. How do you measure correctness? Impossible but perhaps happiness is the closest correlation and the measure of correctness might be the degree to which the individual integrates within their community.

Because the most powerful of our instincts is survival. For example, it might be entirely rational for an individual that has reasoned that the existence of a God is almost impossible, or entirely illogical at the very least, to become a devout Christian if his extended community were entirely devout Christians. Because to him the most important consideration might be integration, social acceptance, the ability to form allegiances - survival. The logic of the argument whether God exists becomes entirely superfluous.

Rincewind
27-08-2004, 09:54 AM
This answers all the points you've raised, it comes down to this, which beliefs are correct. Because that's all this is - belief, nothing more, nothing less. The 'point' of belief is to sustain the individual, it equates with hope. There's nohing logical about it, it cannot be reasoned, it emerges from our insinct to survive.

And why is any belief more correct than any other? Because a belief system simply permits an individual to interact with the world around them. How do you measure correctness? Impossible but perhaps happiness is the closest correlation and the measure of correctness might be the degree to which the individual integrates within their community.

Because the most powerful of our instincts is survival. For example, it might be entirely rational for an individual that has reasoned that the existence of a God is almost impossible, or entirely illogical at the very least, to become a devout Christian if his extended community were entirely devout Christians. Because to him the most important consideration might be integration, social acceptance, the ability to form allegiances - survival. The logic of the argument whether God exists becomes entirely superfluous.

Sounds like you should be debating on the topic, Does it make sense to consider whether god exists? But that is not the opic of this thread.

Obviously scientific method has been applied to almost every field of endeavour with a great deal of success. The advancement of technology, understanding of the physical world, medicine, etc have all advanced in leaps and bounds.

Why should the existence of god be any different then to the existence of the ether, for example? In the first half of the 19th century the dominent scientific theory was that space was permiated by an ether, which was the medium by which light-waves propogated.

Of course no one was able to measure this ether but they reasoned it should exist, otherwise the light had no way to get from here to there. Then of course Michelson and Morsley (sp check) conducted their famous experiments which through considerable doubt on the existence of the ether.

The debunking of the ether allowed Einstein to theorise about there not existing any single frame of reference which is better than any other and the speed of light being constant for all observers and the rest, as they say, is history.

So explain why we can investigate the existence of the ether with huge benefits for human understanding but you are saying the same approach is invalid when applied to gods.

Surely if there is some claim made by religious adherents which is scientifically falsifiable, then it is natural that experiments should be done, observations made and hypothesis disproven or otherwise. Saying hands off this subject makes no sense as you are setting an arbitrary boundary on scientific investigation.

Cat
27-08-2004, 06:50 PM
Sounds like you should be debating on the topic, Does it make sense to consider whether god exists? But that is not the opic of this thread.

Obviously scientific method has been applied to almost every field of endeavour with a great deal of success. The advancement of technology, understanding of the physical world, medicine, etc have all advanced in leaps and bounds.

Why should the existence of god be any different then to the existence of the ether, for example? In the first half of the 19th century the dominent scientific theory was that space was permiated by an ether, which was the medium by which light-waves propogated.

Of course no one was able to measure this ether but they reasoned it should exist, otherwise the light had no way to get from here to there. Then of course Michelson and Morsley (sp check) conducted their famous experiments which through considerable doubt on the existence of the ether.

The debunking of the ether allowed Einstein to theorise about there not existing any single frame of reference which is better than any other and the speed of light being constant for all observers and the rest, as they say, is history.

So explain why we can investigate the existence of the ether with huge benefits for human understanding but you are saying the same approach is invalid when applied to gods.

Surely if there is some claim made by religious adherents which is scientifically falsifiable, then it is natural that experiments should be done, observations made and hypothesis disproven or otherwise. Saying hands off this subject makes no sense as you are setting an arbitrary boundary on scientific investigation.

Nice argument. What you're really talking about is empirical observation, without which one merely has postulation. The question is what exactly are you trying to empirically investigate? God only exists in words, without language there is no tangable Godly presence. Our God doesn't physically exist outside vocabulary and our psyche.

In order to use empirical enquiry to investigate the existence of God, one would have to measure some specific aspect of Godly behaviour. According to the word, Our God is everything. In effect the Universe is God and all behaviour is Godly by definition, if its an omniscient, omnipotent God we're talking about. So any outcome to any experiment in effect becomes a validation of God's existence and empirical enquiry breaks down.

Rincewind
27-08-2004, 07:16 PM
Nice argument. What you're really talking about is empirical observation, without which one merely has postulation. The question is what exactly are you trying to empirically investigate? God only exists in words, without language there is no tangable Godly presence. Our God doesn't physically exist outside vocabulary and our psyche.

In order to use empirical enquiry to investigate the existence of God, one would have to measure some specific aspect of Godly behaviour. According to the word, Our God is everything. In effect the Universe is God and all behaviour is Godly by definition, if its an omniscient, omnipotent God we're talking about. So any outcome to any experiment in effect becomes a validation of God's existence and empirical enquiry breaks down.

Sounds like you want to define the universe as God. This might be fine in a New Age sense, but such a neat redefinition clearly is not the God of Western Christian tradition. This God has a personality, a personal relationship which his creation involving an ongoing dialogue as described in the Bible.

The tradition of miracles, for example, is an example of Western Christian religious belief which is open to scientific enquiry. I would say science has pretty much killed the miracle business, as not one reliably documented miracle which was scientifically investigated is known to me.

Alan Shore
27-08-2004, 08:18 PM
I would say science has pretty much killed the miracle business, as not one reliably documented miracle which was scientifically investigated is known to me.

How could it be scientifically investigated? Happened 2000 years ago!

Actually there was an interesting study being conducted at hospitals.. if you recall those who have near-death experiences usually report a strange sensation of looking down at themselves from above. To test, apparently experimenters hid some items in the room that could only be seen from a top-view and see if the patients reported. Unfortunately the instance of it happening to one of the patients in the study would be very slim, so doubt there'd be any meaningful data yet. Neuroscientists did actually find something odd; when stimulating the hypothalamus there were reports of replicating the sensation of seeing themselves from above, yet I don't think this has been completely substantiated yet.

Kevin Bonham
27-08-2004, 09:44 PM
The 'point' of belief is to sustain the individual, it equates with hope. There's nohing logical about it, it cannot be reasoned, it emerges from our insinct to survive.

Then why do individuals sometimes give their lives for beliefs (including those that are false) rather than adopt other beliefs which would enable them to survive much better?

And irrespective of what factors may sway the irrationally disposed to believe in nonsense, we are talking about what sway reason may have for those disposed to listen to it. You will have a very tough time convincing me that there are really no such people.


And why is any belief more correct than any other? Because a belief system simply permits an individual to interact with the world around them. How do you measure correctness? Impossible but perhaps happiness is the closest correlation and the measure of correctness might be the degree to which the individual integrates within their community.

In other words a person's belief is "correct", according to you, to the extent to which it enables the individual to conform. But in that case the group could believe things about the natural world that were clearly wrong, resulting in disaster for all, and up to the point where this happened they would all stack up as "correct" on your criteria. We have many examples from science of cases where a belief persecuted by the majority of the time was ultimately extremely useful to later communities, and uncontroversially accepted as correct by those later communities. There are also examples where new knowledge gave an individual no new ability to interact but gave that ability to others, or examples where new knowledge made it harder for an individual to make sense of the world (eg by disproving a convenient theory) but was nonetheless clearly correct.

By the way your paragraph above reads like the kind of mega-shonky argument used by the dodgiest of alternative therapists to defend their practices against modern medicine, or used by religious fanatics to suppress scientific truth because it would alarm the commoners. You should know better, and for someone in a scientific discipline to even publicly joke about believing this rubbish is pathetic. :whatthe:


Because the most powerful of our instincts is survival. For example, it might be entirely rational for an individual that has reasoned that the existence of a God is almost impossible, or entirely illogical at the very least, to become a devout Christian if his extended community were entirely devout Christians. Because to him the most important consideration might be integration, social acceptance, the ability to form allegiances - survival. The logic of the argument whether God exists becomes entirely superfluous.

Not true. In this case if might be most rational for that individual to feign being a Christian, but so long as they knew it was all probably rubbish they would not really, in their own mind, be one. Unless you are defining Christianity institutionally, in which case religion has nothing to do with belief anyway so your point is irrelevant.

Goughfather
27-08-2004, 09:50 PM
This answers all the points you've raised, it comes down to this, which beliefs are correct. Because that's all this is - belief, nothing more, nothing less.

Belief must always have a foundation. What if I believe I can fly? In this case, my belief is going to be sorely disappointed.


The 'point' of belief is to sustain the individual, it equates with hope. There's nohing logical about it, it cannot be reasoned, it emerges from our insinct to survive.

Well, let me be the first to say that, using your own words, there is nothing reasonable or logical about the belief that you hold. I'm guessing some kind of cognitive dissonance is playing a part here.


Because the most powerful of our instincts is survival. For example, it might be entirely rational for an individual that has reasoned that the existence of a God is almost impossible, or entirely illogical at the very least, to become a devout Christian if his extended community were entirely devout Christians. Because to him the most important consideration might be integration, social acceptance, the ability to form allegiances - survival.

And indeed, if you wish to be consistent with your argument, this applies equally to atheistic belief. I wonder what role an instinct of survival plays in your sub-par Kierkegaardian belief structure?


Nice argument. What you're really talking about is empirical observation, without which one merely has postulation. The question is what exactly are you trying to empirically investigate? God only exists in words, without language there is no tangable Godly presence. Our God doesn't physically exist outside vocabulary and our psyche.

Amusingly enough you make a truth claim here. As you've said before, belief holds no objective reality, and is only an indicator of environmental circumstances. Following this train of thought renders your argument entirely meaningless and without any sense of objective merit. Why then do you persist in the subjective belief that you are contributing anything meaningful to this discussion. But I guess if it makes you happy, that's all that matters.


In order to use empirical enquiry to investigate the existence of God, one would have to measure some specific aspect of Godly behaviour. According to the word, Our God is everything. In effect the Universe is God and all behaviour is Godly by definition, if its an omniscient, omnipotent God we're talking about. So any outcome to any experiment in effect becomes a validation of God's existence and empirical enquiry breaks down.

It breaks down because you are suggesting a pantheistic God, of which Barry correctly asserts never even closely resembles the God as represented in the Christian Canon. Accordingly, since your first premise is faulty, all further enquiry breaks down.

Kevin Bonham
27-08-2004, 10:00 PM
The question is what exactly are you trying to empirically investigate? God only exists in words, without language there is no tangable Godly presence. Our God doesn't physically exist outside vocabulary and our psyche.

Believers argue that God does not physically exist in a way detectable by us directly, but affects our physical world in some way (even if, in some versions, only by creating the universe then taking a back seat). Any view that God has impacted on the universe post-creation amounts to an empirical statement that things have happened that either would not have happened otherwise or would have been less likely otherwise. Such claims can be made empirically testable.


In order to use empirical enquiry to investigate the existence of God, one would have to measure some specific aspect of Godly behaviour.

False - see above. You could also measure a consequence.


According to the word, Our God is everything. In effect the Universe is God and all behaviour is Godly by definition, if its an omniscient, omnipotent God we're talking about. So any outcome to any experiment in effect becomes a validation of God's existence and empirical enquiry breaks down.

Total rubbish - if an experiment fails to show evidence of anything incompatible with a no-God view, then it has not "validated God's existence."

Alan Shore
27-08-2004, 10:06 PM
It's all very well for Goughfather to criticise Dave's reasoning yet I'm wondering if/when he'll present his own 'logically sound' justifications for his beliefs?

Goughfather
27-08-2004, 10:20 PM
As I've stated in previous threads Bruce, my attempt to justify my faith rests in the veracity of the Resurrection. I've gone over it dozens of times in various forums and found online discussion to be particularly unfruitful. However, the next time you are in Sydney, I would would be more than happy to sit down with you over a glass of red, or fifteen, should you have a spare eleven hours up your sleeve.

Let's stick to the question at hand. What do you find objectionable about my line of argument against David Richards?

Alan Shore
27-08-2004, 10:27 PM
Goughfather, I find no fault in your reply to David, in fact I quite enjoyed it. I was just curious why you didn't present some of your own arguments to justify your beliefs.

I remember from our last 4-hour conversation that your faith boiled down to the resurrection.. good Indian food that night, hehe.

I'd be happy to join you next time I'm in town.. actually it's nice of you to extend such an invitation, I remember last time we spoke you were pretty annoyed with me for 'other' reasons.. :confused:

Rincewind
27-08-2004, 10:30 PM
How could it be scientifically investigated? Happened 2000 years ago!

If you say the resurrrection was a once off and only miracle God then his followers certainly have very vivid imaginations. The tradition of miracles dates back centuries and goes on to this day.

Divine visions, healing by prayer, weeping statues, that sort of thing.


Actually there was an interesting study being conducted at hospitals.. if you recall those who have near-death experiences usually report a strange sensation of looking down at themselves from above. To test, apparently experimenters hid some items in the room that could only be seen from a top-view and see if the patients reported. Unfortunately the instance of it happening to one of the patients in the study would be very slim, so doubt there'd be any meaningful data yet. Neuroscientists did actually find something odd; when stimulating the hypothalamus there were reports of replicating the sensation of seeing themselves from above, yet I don't think this has been completely substantiated yet.

Sounds like one that would be hard to get past the ethics board to me.

Alan Shore
27-08-2004, 10:36 PM
If you say the resurrrection was a once off and only miracle God then his followers certainly have very vivid imaginations. The tradition of miracles dates back centuries and goes on to this day.

Divine visions, healing by prayer, weeping statues, that sort of thing.

Ah, ok, wasn't clear on which miracles you were referring to. I think visions are quite acceptable, widely documented stuff. Naturally you can't infer the cause was divine, for coincidence is just as viable an explanation... I would regard miracles as things that violate natural (physical) law, so yes, there has been no scientific proof (that I know of) of these other phenomenon.




Sounds like one that would be hard to get past the ethics board to me.

No, I think it even had the permission of its participants, so no forseeable ethical issues. On that topic though, ethics boards suck. I'm tempted to conduct a host of cool experiments and publish them all after my death.. so much has been learned from past psychological studies that wouldn't have an icicle's chance in hell of getting past an ethics board.

Rincewind
27-08-2004, 11:26 PM
No, I think it even had the permission of its participants, so no forseeable ethical issues.

If the participants are expecting to have a near death experience their state of mind might be called into question. Therefore, the permission of the participants doesn't necessariy give the research a green-light, ethics-wise.


On that topic though, ethics boards suck. I'm tempted to conduct a host of cool experiments and publish them all after my death.. so much has been learned from past psychological studies that wouldn't have an icicle's chance in hell of getting past an ethics board.

So the end justifies the means? Perhaps you should adopt the former pseudonym of Goughfather. ;)

Cat
28-08-2004, 08:06 AM
[QUOTE=Barry Cox]Sounds like you want to define the universe as God. This might be fine in a New Age sense, but such a neat redefinition clearly is not the God of Western Christian tradition. This God has a personality, a personal relationship which his creation involving an ongoing dialogue as described in the Bible.

Yes, part of the paradox! Catholics certainly believe God is omniscient & omnipotent and yet from the bible writings he has distinctly human qualities. How can an infinite being have limitations similtaneously? I'm not redefining God, the God I'm referring to is certainly the God I understood in my youth - as a Roman Catholic. It's certainly the God of my wife and her friends.


The tradition of miracles, for example, is an example of Western Christian religious belief which is open to scientific enquiry. I would say science has pretty much killed the miracle business, as not one reliably documented miracle which was scientifically investigated is known to me.

Of course, empirical enquiry has only been around for a few hundred years and so far I know of no miracles (during that time) that have disobeyed the known natural laws of the Universe (as well as we can understand them), except one.

Cat
28-08-2004, 08:11 AM
How could it be scientifically investigated? Happened 2000 years ago!

Actually there was an interesting study being conducted at hospitals.. if you recall those who have near-death experiences usually report a strange sensation of looking down at themselves from above. To test, apparently experimenters hid some items in the room that could only be seen from a top-view and see if the patients reported. Unfortunately the instance of it happening to one of the patients in the study would be very slim, so doubt there'd be any meaningful data yet. Neuroscientists did actually find something odd; when stimulating the hypothalamus there were reports of replicating the sensation of seeing themselves from above, yet I don't think this has been completely substantiated yet.


Hypoxia produces a whole range of hallucinatory experiences, the higher cortical functions then tries to 'make sense' of those experiences, sub-consciously of course.

Hypoxia has also been used to heighten sexual arousal, and one Conservative MP was found dead with the bag still over his head.

Cat
28-08-2004, 08:33 AM
[QUOTE=Goughfather]Belief must always have a foundation. What if I believe I can fly? In this case, my belief is going to be sorely disappointed.

Of course, this is the strength of religious belief. Much of what has formulated religious belief stem from an understanding of man's interaction of the natural world, and observance of the consequences thereof, some of which is often hard to predict. For example, pork is a major carrier for salmonella poisoning. Understanding eating pork could sometimes lead to disease or death (natural law), it becomes incorporated into religious law.

Similarly, times of food shortage became times of religious fasting, harvest time became harvest festival, when food was abundance.




Well, let me be the first to say that, using your own words, there is nothing reasonable or logical about the belief that you hold. I'm guessing some kind of cognitive dissonance is playing a part here.

And indeed, if you wish to be consistent with your argument, this applies equally to atheistic belief. I wonder what role an instinct of survival plays in your sub-par Kierkegaardian belief structure?

What belief is that?



Amusingly enough you make a truth claim here. As you've said before, belief holds no objective reality, and is only an indicator of environmental circumstances. Following this train of thought renders your argument entirely meaningless and without any sense of objective merit. Why then do you persist in the subjective belief that you are contributing anything meaningful to this discussion. But I guess if it makes you happy, that's all that matters.

That's right, it's a simple choice - to believe in some higher being, or following the obvious, objective logic that we are complex, replicating bichemical systems, trapped by our survival mechanisms into seeking some meaning in our meaningless existence. That may be objectively true, but it dosen't mean subjectively, that we still can't enjoy ourselves.




It breaks down because you are suggesting a pantheistic God, of which Barry correctly asserts never even closely resembles the God as represented in the Christian Canon. Accordingly, since your first premise is faulty, all further enquiry breaks down.

God is all things to all people, and you can choose any God you like. However, many people believe that all that transpires is the will of God. No matter what the outcome of the experiment, is can still be construed to be the will of God, because most people, no matter what their belief, believe that their God is beyond the physical confines of the Universe and so beyond natural law. Empirical enquiy is based on a limited understanding of the natural laws of the Universe and therefore breaks down in the super-natural realm. What else does super-natural imply?

Cat
28-08-2004, 08:51 AM
[QUOTE=Kevin Bonham]Then why do individuals sometimes give their lives for beliefs (including those that are false) rather than adopt other beliefs which would enable them to survive much better?

Of course all self-sustaining mechanisms can break down. Individuals become depressed & suicidal as a consequence of impaired brain chemistry. Nothing's perfect!


And irrespective of what factors may sway the irrationally disposed to believe in nonsense, we are talking about what sway reason may have for those disposed to listen to it. You will have a very tough time convincing me that there are really no such people.


Again survival plays a powerful part here. There is a natural biological advantage in developing alliances and loyalties, so persuading others of your point of view, of things (at a subconscious level) that seem to promote your survival is entirely logical.


In other words a person's belief is "correct", according to you, to the extent to which it enables the individual to conform. But in that case the group could believe things about the natural world that were clearly wrong, resulting in disaster for all, and up to the point where this happened they would all stack up as "correct" on your criteria. We have many examples from science of cases where a belief persecuted by the majority of the time was ultimately extremely useful to later communities, and uncontroversially accepted as correct by those later communities. There are also examples where new knowledge gave an individual no new ability to interact but gave that ability to others, or examples where new knowledge made it harder for an individual to make sense of the world (eg by disproving a convenient theory) but was nonetheless clearly correct.

Yes of course, there is an evolutionary process at work. Some systems work poorly and fail, systems that interact well with the real world survive. Sometimes things proceed down an evolutionary dead-end and other enterprising systems become obliterated before they can gain a foothold. There really are no surprises.



By the way your paragraph above reads like the kind of mega-shonky argument used by the dodgiest of alternative therapists to defend their practices against modern medicine, or used by religious fanatics to suppress scientific truth because it would alarm the commoners. You should know better, and for someone in a scientific discipline to even publicly joke about believing this rubbish is pathetic. :whatthe:

Yes, as I was writing it I thought it could be construed as Post-Modernist. In fact it's very simple. Scientific enquiry relies on empirical observation, that has been the basis of our enlightenment. Even scientific theory owes almost every to empirical observation.


Not true. In this case if might be most rational for that individual to feign being a Christian, but so long as they knew it was all probably rubbish they would not really, in their own mind, be one. Unless you are defining Christianity institutionally, in which case religion has nothing to do with belief anyway so your point is irrelevant.

Oh come on, since when did you have to believe in God to be a Christian? Really!!!!

Cat
28-08-2004, 08:56 AM
[QUOTE=Kevin Bonham]Believers argue that God does not physically exist in a way detectable by us directly, but affects our physical world in some way (even if, in some versions, only by creating the universe then taking a back seat). Any view that God has impacted on the universe post-creation amounts to an empirical statement that things have happened that either would not have happened otherwise or would have been less likely otherwise. Such claims can be made empirically testable.

Everything that has happened since creation is through the will of God, no ifs or buts about it.


False - see above. You could also measure a consequence.

All consequences are as God intended. Otherwise how else would he be All-Powerful?


Total rubbish - if an experiment fails to show evidence of anything incompatible with a no-God view, then it has not "validated God's existence]

OK, devise an experiment, smart -ass!

Rincewind
28-08-2004, 09:36 AM
Yes, part of the paradox! Catholics certainly believe God is omniscient & omnipotent and yet from the bible writings he has distinctly human qualities. How can an infinite being have limitations similtaneously? I'm not redefining God, the God I'm referring to is certainly the God I understood in my youth - as a Roman Catholic. It's certainly the God of my wife and her friends.

Are your wife and her friends also "orthodox" catholics?


Of course, empirical enquiry has only been around for a few hundred years and so far I know of no miracles (during that time) that have disobeyed the known natural laws of the Universe (as well as we can understand them), except one.

And what, pray tell, was that?

Rincewind
28-08-2004, 09:37 AM
OK, devise an experiment, smart -ass!

There is no need. It is a straightforward application of Occham's razor.

Goughfather
28-08-2004, 01:58 PM
Of course, this is the strength of religious belief. Much of what has formulated religious belief stem from an understanding of man's interaction of the natural world, and observance of the consequences thereof, some of which is often hard to predict. For example, pork is a major carrier for salmonella poisoning. Understanding eating pork could sometimes lead to disease or death (natural law), it becomes incorporated into religious law.

Similarly, times of food shortage became times of religious fasting, harvest time became harvest festival, when food was abundance.

This may be coincedentally true at points, but as Kevin states, this is not always, or even usually applicable.


What belief is that?

The belief that you espouse in your line of argument.


That's right, it's a simple choice - to believe in some higher being, or following the obvious, objective logic that we are complex, replicating bichemical systems, trapped by our survival mechanisms into seeking some meaning in our meaningless existence. That may be objectively true, but it dosen't mean subjectively, that we still can't enjoy ourselves.

I'm sorry Dave, but you can't smuggle in an objective truth claim about to one of your beliefs when you regard belief as subjective in its essence. What is one's "obvious, objective logic" is another's trailer park scholarship. You speak as if your argument holds some kind of transcendant truth, but in doing so, contradict your original stance.


God is all things to all people,

This is a meaninglessly subjective truth claim veiled in the language of objective truth claim.


and you can choose any God you like.

Likewise. Let's look at your original statement:


According to the word, Our God is everything.

If you make an objective truth claim like this, you'd be well advised to demonstrate some kind of attempt to justify the belief from Scripture. Otherwise, your depiction of the Christian position (be it Catholic, Protestant or Orthodox) looks rather unfounded.


However, many people believe that all that transpires is the will of God. No matter what the outcome of the experiment, is can still be construed to be the will of God, because most people, no matter what their belief, believe that their God is beyond the physical confines of the Universe and so beyond natural law. Empirical enquiy is based on a limited understanding of the natural laws of the Universe and therefore breaks down in the super-natural realm. What else does super-natural imply?

Firstly, this has nothing to do with pantheism. Secondly, this takes a reductionist position regarding the will of God. Many, particularly Calvinists would regard everything as the will of God, but this does not suggest that there is no "ungodliness" and evil in this world. Most believers would regard such phenomenon as the "permissive" will of God.

Kevin Bonham
28-08-2004, 07:42 PM
Of course all self-sustaining mechanisms can break down. Individuals become depressed & suicidal as a consequence of impaired brain chemistry. Nothing's perfect!

I am not talking about depressive suicide - I am talking about people willingly dying for a cause and even desiring martyrdom.


Again survival plays a powerful part here. There is a natural biological advantage in developing alliances and loyalties, so persuading others of your point of view, of things (at a subconscious level) that seem to promote your survival is entirely logical.

Irrelevant - I was talking about whether there are people who care about the logical outcome of the debate with best play, not what reasons such people might have for doing so.


Yes of course, there is an evolutionary process at work. Some systems work poorly and fail, systems that interact well with the real world survive. Sometimes things proceed down an evolutionary dead-end and other enterprising systems become obliterated before they can gain a foothold. There really are no surprises.

But now you have substituted a long-term view of a successful belief for your former support for "happiness" as the criterion of a successful belief - which destroys the point you were trying to make about beliefs being "right" if they promoted group harmony. Our experience suggests that the methods of science and reason are very effective in generating knowledge claims that will later be accepted as uncontroversially true. (This is not to say that all claims they generate are like this, but nothing else seems to work too well in generating any such claims at all.)


Oh come on, since when did you have to believe in God to be a Christian? Really!!!!

You wrote this in reply to a paragraph where I wrote "Unless you are defining Christianity institutionally, in which case religion has nothing to do with belief anyway so your point is irrelevant. " - so I had already covered your point.


Everything that has happened since creation is through the will of God, no ifs or buts about it.


All consequences are as God intended. Otherwise how else would he be All-Powerful?

Both only true if God (of a certain sort) exists. You're committing the same fallacy involved in many versions of the ontological argument. You're saying that conducting an experiment to shed light on the existence of God would be futile because if God exists then no experiment could prove anything. Obviously this argument collapses if God does not exist.


OK, devise an experiment, smart -ass!

No need, onus is on the believer. Believers come up with all kinds of experiments, like experiments on the power of prayer to cause healing at a distance and so on. None of them have been consistently replicated.

One problem here is that while a series of positive results might eventually lead in the direction of an interventionist God, no number of experiments can "disprove" the existence of a "God of the gaps" so defined as to always be consistent with our knowledge of the universe, at the expense of actually doing anything apart from kickstarting the show. However, such a God concept is probably meaningless.

Cat
28-08-2004, 10:15 PM
[
QUOTE=Barry Cox]Are your wife and her friends also "orthodox" catholics?

Yes, they are orthodox catholics - I'm not quite sure why the 'also' and the quotation marks are in there. Do you think I might be an unorthodox catholic?


And what, pray tell, was that?]

Kylie Minogue.

Cat
28-08-2004, 10:58 PM
[QUOTE=Goughfather]This may be coincedentally true at points, but as Kevin states, this is not always, or even usually applicable.

Nothing coincidental about it, it was simple observation of nature that generated early religious laws. This is well documented in the historical archive, you just need to do a little more reading.

In many ways, early religious philosophers were the scientists of their day. Through the centuries, observation of natural phenomenon became noted and transcribed into religious law. Greek scholars were wll versed in all areas of academic pursuit, distinctions between subjects were not clearly delineated as they were today. Plato, for example, was quite an athletic performer, as was expected at the time of scholars.

However, literacy was really only beginning to emerge to any great extent about this time. There really wasn't language available to articulate scientific principle as we know it today. Pythogarus' writing was as much concerned about religious belief, as it was geometry. To him geometry was the physical manifestation of divine being, the symmetry being something of divine beauty. It was all about attempting to understand nature and the super-natural forces behind nature. The only way available to express natural law was within the language of religious belief.

What Newton did, really for the first time, was create a whole new mathematical and scientific language, in which subsequently scientific ideas and mathematical concepts could be expressed. Through his childish fascination for planetary movement he decided to invent calculus, simply to depict and predict their movements. It's very instructive to read Newton's papers.

So in other words, until Newton there really was no platform on which to articulate scientific discourse in an empirical sense, and certainly through antiquity there was little distinction between subject matter. It was all knowledge, and since everything was subservient to the divine, divinity encompassed all knowledge.




I'm sorry Dave, but you can't smuggle in an objective truth claim about to one of your beliefs when you regard belief as subjective in its essence. What is one's "obvious, objective logic" is another's trailer park scholarship. You speak as if your argument holds some kind of transcendant truth, but in doing so, contradict your original stance.

I didn't say objective truth, I said objective logic. If I'm completely objective about it, I'd have to say that the odd's there's a God out there that care's for me is pretty remote. Truth is another matter entirely. I'm not claiming any truth at all. As I've said repeatedly, none of us really have very much insight into this. What any of us believe is likely to be wrong. I have no more a right to truth than anybody else, on this matter anyway. You could be entirely correct in everything you say. I'd say it's pretty unlikely, but I wouldn't deny you that possibility.




This is a meaninglessly subjective truth claim veiled in the language of objective truth claim.

It's called a cliche




If you make an objective truth claim like this, you'd be well advised to demonstrate some kind of attempt to justify the belief from Scripture. Otherwise, your depiction of the Christian position (be it Catholic, Protestant or Orthodox) looks rather unfounded.


Again, I didn't make any claims about truth - I don't know the truth. What I was alluding to was the subjective nature of God, which God, who's God, all God's. We all have different version of God and as he's supernatural and mysterious, none of us can really know. Let's just say he's not confined by the natural laws of our universe, as best we understand them.

Cat
28-08-2004, 11:20 PM
[QUOTE=Kevin Bonham]I am not talking about depressive suicide - I am talking about people willingly dying for a cause and even desiring martyrdom.

In the first place, the biochemistry's broken down, in the second case some social structure has broken down.



Irrelevant - I was talking about whether there are people who care about the logical outcome of the debate with best play, not what reasons such people might have for doing so.

It wasn't irrelevant at all to the point you made. This simply bcomes a loop as we're back to saying this debate is not one of logic, it's one of emotion.



But now you have substituted a long-term view of a successful belief for your former support for "happiness" as the criterion of a successful belief - which destroys the point you were trying to make about beliefs being "right" if they promoted group harmony. Our experience suggests that the methods of science and reason are very effective in generating knowledge claims that will later be accepted as uncontroversially true. (This is not to say that all claims they generate are like this, but nothing else seems to work too well in generating any such claims at all.)

No one is arguing about science and reason generating knowledge and understanding. Social structure and belief systems have gone through evolutionary processes - culture evolves. This is on a social scale. On an individual basis, a biological sense, survival is determined by an individual's ability to adapt to his environment. To do so, they can indeed experiment, find empirical reasons for behaving in such a way.

Sometimes hwoever, it useful to have a rule book to help us interact with our environment. Religious cultural belief occupies several pages of that rule book.




You wrote this in reply to a paragraph where I wrote "Unless you are defining Christianity institutionally, in which case religion has nothing to do with belief anyway so your point is irrelevant. " - so I had already covered your point.

Both only true if God (of a certain sort) exists. You're committing the same fallacy involved in many versions of the ontological argument. You're saying that conducting an experiment to shed light on the existence of God would be futile because if God exists then no experiment could prove anything. Obviously this argument collapses if God does not exist.


What I'm saying is you'd get exactly the same result whether he existed or not. All empirical, scientific enquiry relies on the understanding of the natural laws of the universe and experimentation is a means to test those laws. God is not subject to those laws at all, so it's not possible to predict behaviour - you have no blueprint.


No need, onus is on the believer. Believers come up with all kinds of experiments, like experiments on the power of prayer to cause healing at a distance and so on. None of them have been consistently replicated.

There's no onus on anyone to do anything. Someone believes because they choose to do so, no one has to justify their beliefs.



One problem here is that while a series of positive results might eventually lead in the direction of an interventionist God, no number of experiments can "disprove" the existence of a "God of the gaps" so defined as to always be consistent with our knowledge of the universe, at the expense of actually doing anything apart from kickstarting the show.

Thats right


However, such a God concept is probably meaningless.

Not to the person who believes in that God, not necessarily.

Kevin Bonham
29-08-2004, 12:06 AM
Nothing coincidental about it, it was simple observation of nature that generated early religious laws.

Many, but I'd be surprised if it was all. Furthermore no point about the origin of religious law is relevant to any discussion about whether God exists or not. Actually the above point contradicts your "if they're happy then that's fine" line about belief, because many fundamentalist doctrines still require adherence to these rules based on ancient observations. The observations often do not apply anymore, because of changed technology and farming practices, and so these codes are actually limiting believers' options and contributing nothing to wellbeing or happiness in the process.


Truth is another matter entirely. I'm not claiming any truth at all.

You claimed that beliefs could be "valid" on account of how many friends the person holding them collected. If this was not a truth claim you should have been much more careful to distinguish it from one.


We all have different version of God and as he's supernatural and mysterious, none of us can really know.

This is a contradiction - you say that God is supernatural and mysterious (as if this is a certainty) but at the same time that none of us can really know. Some of us do not believe there is a God at all, and others believe She is either not "supernatural" or else not "mysterious".


In the first place, the biochemistry's broken down, in the second case some social structure has broken down.

Through history though, the latter has happened rather often, so from what standpoint (other than a moral one) would you be so sure it is disfunctional? Furthermore can it really be termed a breakdown when some of those who martyr themselves in this way are then idolised by the happy believers you referred to elsewhere?


It wasn't irrelevant at all to the point you made. This simply bcomes a loop as we're back to saying this debate is not one of logic, it's one of emotion.

:wall: :wall: :wall: You have been arguing that the debate itself is about emotion. However this is not relevant to my point about whether there are people for whom it is not. If you have evidence that this debate is about emotion for everybody I ask you to produce it.


No one is arguing about science and reason generating knowledge and understanding.

You were, by proposing alternative standards for the validity of a belief. Remember that religious belief structures often include empirically false statements.


Sometimes hwoever, it useful to have a rule book to help us interact with our environment. Religious cultural belief occupies several pages of that rule book.

See point at the top. Material within religious texts can be helpful or harmful to understanding the world around us. Much of the material that is harmful would have been dropped ages ago but for religious texts. The material that is helpful is generally available elsewhere and better.


What I'm saying is you'd get exactly the same result whether he existed or not. All empirical, scientific enquiry relies on the understanding of the natural laws of the universe and experimentation is a means to test those laws. God is not subject to those laws at all, so it's not possible to predict behaviour - you have no blueprint.

This is wrong for reasons previously dealt with - with the exception of the God of the gaps types, most believers claim that God has impacts on outcomes within our physical universe. Even if God cannot be empirically detected, these footprints could be detected - eg through inexplicable violations of normal physical laws. The existence of God could in theory become a scientifically meaningful hypothesis if such experiments eliminated all simpler alternatives. However the most that Christianity has to show for itself on this issue is a 2000 year old story about someone getting nailed to a cross.


There's no onus on anyone to do anything.

You continue to repeat claims in this debate, ignoring any context that has been used and returning to general claims that are no longer relevant. In this case, there is no onus on anyone to do anything in general but there is an onus on the believer to propose an experiment in the specific context we were talking about - namely, that the believer wishes to demonstrate the existence of God.


Someone believes because they choose to do so, no one has to justify their beliefs.

Prove it. :lol:

What I specifically want you to prove is that people choose to believe things.


Quote:
However, such a God concept is probably meaningless.

Not to the person who believes in that God, not necessarily.

Not the same kind of "meaning". Philosophy uses two different sorts of meaning:

(i) purpose to existence, motivation etc (the one you were using)
(ii) significance of a sentence as a truth claim (the one I was using).

Sentences are sometimes said to be meaningless (sense (ii)) if they cannot be tested in any way and do not generate any new information that is testable.

Cat
29-08-2004, 12:56 AM
[QUOTE=Kevin Bonham]Many, but I'd be surprised if it was all. Furthermore no point about the origin of religious law is relevant to any discussion about whether God exists or not. Actually the above point contradicts your "if they're happy then that's fine" line about belief, because many fundamentalist doctrines still require adherence to these rules based on ancient observations. The observations often do not apply anymore, because of changed technology and farming practices, and so these codes are actually limiting believers' options and contributing nothing to wellbeing or happiness in the process.

I didn't quite put it like that, but there's no contradiction. The rules are not absolutes, they're never going to be correct 100% of the time, I reckon 51% would be pretty good. I've already written about fundamentalism many times.

KB, there's good & bad in everything, you seem to have a deep seated hostility to religious belief and at times you sound as if you're desperate to find anything to pin on religion. The observations very much apply in many arenas today. We could go on all night about which laws are effective, which ones aren't. By & large the majority are ok.




You claimed that beliefs could be "valid" on account of how many friends the person holding them collected. If this was not a truth claim you should have been much more careful to distinguish it from one.

I didn't say that, I said they served a purpose if it improved their inter-personal relationships, that emotions were more important in determining the adoption of religious beliefs than logic.



This is a contradiction - you say that God is supernatural and mysterious (as if this is a certainty) but at the same time that none of us can really know. Some of us do not believe there is a God at all, and others believe She is either not "supernatural" or else not "mysterious".

Tis true, God is indeed a contradiction, almost an impossibility.



Through history though, the latter has happened rather often, so from what standpoint (other than a moral one) would you be so sure it is disfunctional? Furthermore can it really be termed a breakdown when some of those who martyr themselves in this way are then idolised by the happy believers you referred to elsewhere?


You reckon? Well I've seen many individuals commit suicide but I ain't never seen a matyr. It depends on your perspective, I'd call death a pretty poor outcome generally, no matter what transpires afterwards.


:wall: :wall: :wall: You have been arguing that the debate itself is about emotion. However this is not relevant to my point about whether there are people for whom it is not. If you have evidence that this debate is about emotion for everybody I ask you to produce it.

Ok, God exists, now prove I'm wrong! You can't because it's just about impossible through simple reason, to prove that something that doesn't exist doesn't exist. Not completely impossible, just almost impossible.



You were, by proposing alternative standards for the validity of a belief. Remember that religious belief structures often include empirically false statements.

Beliefs and understanding are two entirely separate things. They may overlap occasionally. All belief structures often include empirically false statements, whether they're religious or not.



Material within religious texts can be helpful or harmful to understanding the world around us. Much of the material that is harmful would have been dropped ages ago but for religious texts. The material that is helpful is generally available elsewhere and better.

That's simply your belief. That's how you choose to live your life. Thankfully our society is pleuristic and many opinions abound. Yes, there is good and bad in relgion but relgion has always occupied space within human society. Take it away and you have a vacuum, and what fills the vacuum is sometimes worse, not always, just usually.

To use the evolutionary analogy again, most mutations are bad mutations, occasionally a good mutation arises. Belief systems that have stood the test of time have some merit in that they weren't quickly discarded.



This is wrong for reasons previously dealt with - with the exception of the God of the gaps types, most believers claim that God has impacts on outcomes within our physical universe. Even if God cannot be empirically detected, these footprints could be detected - eg through inexplicable violations of normal physical laws.

Of course, experience has taught us when we see violations, it's simply because we haven't understood the laws properly. We will never know will we, was it God, or do we have it wrong? At least until we gain a better understanding and can explain the principle more precisely. And so on, and so on.


You continue to repeat claims in this debate, ignoring any context that has been used and returning to general claims that are no longer relevant. In this case, there is no onus on anyone to do anything in general but there is an onus on the believer to propose an experiment in the specific context we were talking about - namely, that the believer wishes to demonstrate the existence of God.

If one holds a belief, one doesn't necessarily need to prove it. I say Genesis were the best band of all time, I believe it, I don't care whether you believe it or not. I might rejoice in my kookiness. I might believe it for personal, sentimental reasons, even though I might know logically it's absurd. I might not want to face up to the possibilty I am wrong, I might want to continue in ignorant bliss with memories which mean nothing to anyone but me.



What I specifically want you to prove is that people choose to believe things.

All decisions demand us to choose, one cannot complete a decision without making a choice.




Not the same kind of "meaning".

Yes I know.

Kevin Bonham
29-08-2004, 02:18 AM
I didn't quite put it like that, but there's no contradiction. The rules are not absolutes, they're never going to be correct 100% of the time, I reckon 51% would be pretty good. I've already written about fundamentalism many times.

Indeed you have. But once you've accepted that nowhere near everything in the Bible works, then taking wisdom just because its in the Bible at random becomes a waste of time because other sources work better.


KB, there's good & bad in everything, you seem to have a deep seated hostility to religious belief and at times you sound as if you're desperate to find anything to pin on religion.

Untrue - if this was true I would resort to a pile of false or simplistic "village atheist" style responses, whereas actually I have quite high quality control in what I use against religion.

In this thread, the issue is not whether religion is good or bad, it is whether God exists. Religion could, in theory, be considered good even if it is clear that God did not exist - or bad even if God did. The issues are quite independent.

I don't have any more hostility to religious belief in general than to any other form of belief that I consider clearly false, of which there are many. However, I have no time at all for Christian fundamentalism, and serious contempt for illiberalism in the name of religion. I don't consider religion to be universally harmful, but I will dispose of arguments promoting the goodness of religion if those arguments are poor.


The observations very much apply in many arenas today. We could go on all night about which laws are effective, which ones aren't. By & large the majority are ok.

Fine by me if we go on about laws in this way! "By and large" isn't good enough, see above. Or if it is, perhaps the church should issue patches every now and then like Microsoft does. (Or is that called Catholicism? :lol: )


I didn't say that, I said they served a purpose if it improved their inter-personal relationships, that emotions were more important in determining the adoption of religious beliefs than logic.

Funny how your recollection of what you wrote is almost always worse than mine. Maybe that's because I check your past words before discussing them. You said: "And who is to be judge and jury about who's view is more valid? I reckon it would be the friends and families of the debaters, as to how much they love and respect them, as to how they appear to their community."


You reckon? Well I've seen many individuals commit suicide but I ain't never seen a matyr.

There are plenty of others on this planet at the moment who would have the reverse perspective (except to the extent that martyrdom is itself a form of suicide.) Irrelevant aside: since suicide's not a crime, why do we still talk about people "committing" it?


It depends on your perspective, I'd call death a pretty poor outcome generally, no matter what transpires afterwards.

So would I, but there are plenty out there who glorify it in certain circumstances, even without having been anywhere near it themselves.


Ok, God exists, now prove I'm wrong! You can't because it's just about impossible through simple reason, to prove that something that doesn't exist doesn't exist. Not completely impossible, just almost impossible.

Irrelevant to what I was asking you to do. You have this habit of using the other person's words as an excuse to just relaunch another part of your pet diatribe without actually taking much account of what they are saying, I was asking you to discuss whether there are people who attempt to resolve the existence of God issue through reason rather than emotion, not even whether I am one of them.

As it happens I will respond to the above with reason by pointing out that an unsubstantiated assertion does not contribute to the debate and that Occam's Razor does not require me to take an unfounded claim about God existing seriously until evidence is added. You seem to be confusing the idea of rationally discussing the existence of God with the assumption that the negative side aims to prove God doesn't exist. Generally this is not the case - the negative side just aims to disprove claimed "God proofs".


Beliefs and understanding are two entirely separate things. They may overlap occasionally. All belief structures often include empirically false statements, whether they're religious or not.

Bit of a sweeping generalisation there. My point was that if a belief is empirically false then it would not normally be considered "valid". Valid is either a synonym of "true" or a synonym of "reasonable". That which is empirically false is neither.


That's simply your belief. That's how you choose to live your life.

No, it is an empirical fact. For instance if a foodstuff is considered forbidden because there were hygiene issues associated with it that led early religious figures to declare it off the menu by order of God, and those issues have now been resolved, then the religious ban is counterproductive and those who follow that ban for religious reasons are needlessly restricting themselves. I fully support their right to do that but it cannot be defended by arguing from their happiness or wellbeing, because it is actually not doing them any favours at all.


To use the evolutionary analogy again, most mutations are bad mutations, occasionally a good mutation arises. Belief systems that have stood the test of time have some merit in that they weren't quickly discarded.

The evolutionary utility of a belief is irrelevant to whether it is true. Evolution has a lot of slack, especially in the case of a species that is flourishing.


Of course, experience has taught us when we see violations, it's simply because we haven't understood the laws properly. We will never know will we, was it God, or do we have it wrong? At least until we gain a better understanding and can explain the principle more precisely. And so on, and so on.

Experience has not taught us any such thing in the case of experiments claimed to test the existence of God, because no such experiment has ever demonstrated anything beyond existing scientific knowledge. If believers were able to continually propose tests for God, these kept succeeding, and there was no other way to explain them (eg if there was no regularity to the way they happened), then we would have some thinking to do. Rather, what puzzling finds are made that do force rethinks of theory have always happened in areas irrelevant to the God debate, so your point above has no merit.


If one holds a belief, one doesn't necessarily need to prove it. I say Genesis were the best band of all time, I believe it, I don't care whether you believe it or not. I might rejoice in my kookiness. I might believe it for personal, sentimental reasons, even though I might know logically it's absurd. I might not want to face up to the possibilty I am wrong, I might want to continue in ignorant bliss with memories which mean nothing to anyone but me.

Not a good example because when most people say "<insert band here> are the best band of all time" what they really mean is just "<insert band here> are my favourite band of all time", ie they are just expressing a subjective preference. There is no point arguing with a subjective preference, unless it is for nu-metal or bimbo-pop. :lol: If you made the stronger claim (ie that Genesis was the objectively best band of all time, to the point that anyone who liked another band more was irrational or mistaken) then you would have a serious argument on your hands.


All decisions demand us to choose, one cannot complete a decision without making a choice.

You're still not getting outside the problem here, because you're suggesting that an individual "decides" to believe in God. Suppose I open the door and see water falling out of the sky in lots of little drops and land on the road. Do I think "Now,I have to decide whether it is raining or not, let me choose what I will believe."? No, I think "it is clearly raining". It is a conclusion and not a decision. The difference may sound small, but I still want to see if there is anything to your idea that belief is in some sense "voluntary". It is actually quite an interesting question. By "voluntary" I mean that the individual thinks about which one to believe and then says "I could just as easily believe in option B, but I am deciding to believe in option A" and then henceforth thinks that option A is true. Do people really think like this? I know I never do.

Rincewind
29-08-2004, 09:02 AM
Yes, they are orthodox catholics - I'm not quite sure why the 'also' and the quotation marks are in there. Do you think I might be an unorthodox catholic?

Also in addition to being panthiests.
The quotation marks was to avoid confusion with the Eastern Churches who generally refer to themselves as orthodox.


Kylie Minogue.

Everyone needs good neighbours.

Cat
29-08-2004, 04:17 PM
[QUOTE=Kevin Bonham]Indeed you have. But once you've accepted that nowhere near everything in the Bible works, then taking wisdom just because its in the Bible at random becomes a waste of time because other sources work better.

'Work better' for what? What is 'better', what is 'valid'. This is simply your judgement, what you consider to be better in life. You choose to play chess. Why? It's an entirely pointless exercise, of no real value other than the joy you recieve from it. People live religious lives for similar reasons and if its helpful in encouraging social behaviour in the process, as it does in the majority of cases, all well and good.



Fine by me if we go on about laws in this way! "By and large" isn't good enough, see above. Or if it is, perhaps the church should issue patches every now and then like Microsoft does. (Or is that called Catholicism? :lol: )

Only you could say something like this!




Funny how your recollection of what you wrote is almost always worse than mine. Maybe that's because I check your past words before discussing them. You said: "And who is to be judge and jury about who's view is more valid? I reckon it would be the friends and families of the debaters, as to how much they love and respect them, as to how they appear to their community."

What I was referring to is 'valid' is simply your sense of value, the paradigm as you describe it. What's of value to someone else may be quite different to yours. Different value systems, what we percieve as 'important' depends on our perspective.



There are plenty of others on this planet at the moment who would have the reverse perspective (except to the extent that martyrdom is itself a form of suicide.) Irrelevant aside: since suicide's not a crime, why do we still talk about people "committing" it?

Yes, because they make national news. If all the suicides were on national news we'd have wall-to-wall coverage.

Suicide is a crime against those who loved and depended on that person. One can't generalise, but for example a father who suicides because of debt, etc. Often its a cowardly act, as it transposes the problems to those around, families are often left devastated, sometimes angry.


I was asking you to discuss whether there are people who attempt to resolve the existence of God issue through reason rather than emotion, not even whether I am one of them.

Of course there are, it was such a pointless question I thought I'd add some flavour.


As it happens I will respond to the above with reason by pointing out that an unsubstantiated assertion does not contribute to the debate and that Occam's Razor does not require me to take an unfounded claim about God existing seriously until evidence is added. You seem to be confusing the idea of rationally discussing the existence of God with the assumption that the negative side aims to prove God doesn't exist. Generally this is not the case - the negative side just aims to disprove claimed "God proofs".

This is a semantic distinction. Anyway, some people accept biblical text as evidence, others scrolls, miracles, etc. They require little in the way of evidence, the evidence may be very circumstantial, tenuous and thin, but they ask no more. In our human experience we create most of our possessions, isn't it quite natural to suspect there was a creator for the universe? Its a postulate and a valid, if implausible one at that. The only difference between such a postulate, and any other 'scientific' postulate is that a scientific postulate can be tested against known natural laws. God is super-natural, the creator, he is beyond the natural laws we understand.



No, it is an empirical fact. For instance if a foodstuff is considered forbidden because there were hygiene issues associated with it that led early religious figures to declare it off the menu by order of God, and those issues have now been resolved, then the religious ban is counterproductive and those who follow that ban for religious reasons are needlessly restricting themselves. I fully support their right to do that but it cannot be defended by arguing from their happiness or wellbeing, because it is actually not doing them any favours at all.

Mankind hasn't even began to discuss empirically, how we live together. A classic example is good old Dr Spock, 'spare the rod, save the child.' Children are a little angels, born to love and all we need to do is love them and they'll all be wonderful human beings, it's all society's and the parents fault. So what happens, we end up raising a generation of spoilt brats.

Turns out he got it completely wrong. Children are little savages, beast, monsters, entirely egocentric, demanding, perfectly equiped for survival. They are greedy, self-obssessed and attempt to control and manipulate everything in their environment. Turns out that traditional parenting was far closer to the mark than 'the scientists'.

Quite simply institutions anchor societies against harmful diversions. In older cultures like the UK, established institutions buffer the society against extremes. Changes take place slowly, the status quo protects against the implementation of half-baked ideas, These ideas can only be tested empirically on the community itself and if the idea turns out to be flawed, then the damage has already been done.

Younger countries like Australia can move more quickly held down with only lightweight fledgling institutions. Sometimes this can be an advantage, but the risks are also much greater. The introduction of the cane-toad is a good example, seemd like the sensible application at the time, turned out to be a disaster. Respect for creation the 'way God had intended it' may have prevented the disaster.



Experience has not taught us any such thing in the case of experiments claimed to test the existence of God, because no such experiment has ever demonstrated anything beyond existing scientific knowledge. If believers were able to continually propose tests for God, these kept succeeding, and there was no other way to explain them (eg if there was no regularity to the way they happened), then we would have some thinking to do. Rather, what puzzling finds are made that do force rethinks of theory have always happened in areas irrelevant to the God debate, so your point above has no merit.

Seems to me the only one'sasking for proof are the atheists!



Not a good example because when most people say "<insert band here> are the best band of all time" what they really mean is just "<insert band here> are my favourite band of all time", ie they are just expressing a subjective preference. There is no point arguing with a subjective preference, unless it is for nu-metal or bimbo-pop. :lol: If you made the stronger claim (ie that Genesis was the objectively best band of all time, to the point that anyone who liked another band more was irrational or mistaken) then you would have a serious argument on your hands.

Nonsense, I could say I believe in God, you believe in what you want, entirely subjective. No one's demanding for you to believe anything. In fact your the one making all the demands.



You're still not getting outside the problem here, because you're suggesting that an individual "decides" to believe in God. Suppose I open the door and see water falling out of the sky in lots of little drops and land on the road. Do I think "Now,I have to decide whether it is raining or not, let me choose what I will believe."? No, I think "it is clearly raining". It is a conclusion and not a decision. The difference may sound small, but I still want to see if there is anything to your idea that belief is in some sense "voluntary". It is actually quite an interesting question. By "voluntary" I mean that the individual thinks about which one to believe and then says "I could just as easily believe in option B, but I am deciding to believe in option A" and then henceforth thinks that option A is true. Do people really think like this? I know I never do.

Yes, but at a sub-conscious level. What you're describing is verbalisation of the problem. Individuals make decisions all the time without verbalising them. Without language it would be impossible to verbalise, but you could still make a decision.

But of course, all decisions depend to some extent on brain biochemistry. Whether biochemistry determines the outcome of the decision is another mater.

antichrist
29-08-2004, 05:41 PM
Bruce Dickinson:
Ah, ok, wasn't clear on which miracles you were referring to. I think visions are quite acceptable, widely documented stuff. Naturally you can't infer the cause was divine, for coincidence is just as viable an explanation... I would regard miracles as things that violate natural (physical) law, so yes, there has been no scientific proof (that I know of) of these other phenomenon.

AC
I was in the Philippines when the BVM was supposedly appearing above the guave tree in La Union in about 1993. The put the powerful tv cameras on where she was supposed to be and nothing showed up. Also they interviewed the masses assembled, one question was: what colour clothes was she wearing -- well they got answered: white, blue and red -- enough said.

Kevin Bonham
31-08-2004, 02:16 AM
'Work better' for what? What is 'better', what is 'valid'. This is simply your judgement, what you consider to be better in life. You choose to play chess. Why? It's an entirely pointless exercise, of no real value other than the joy you recieve from it. People live religious lives for similar reasons and if its helpful in encouraging social behaviour in the process, as it does in the majority of cases, all well and good.

You completely miss the point again. What I mean by "work better" is that other sources are more reliable in providing factual information in whatever field the facts are useful (eg we mentioned the health of different foods.) This is not an issue of meaning, it is an issue about basic material facts useful to all people whatever their religion or views on "meaning". It is not useful to a person to "know" that a food is taboo if the reason for the taboo is no longer relevant because of increased knowledge since.


Only you could say something like this!

Um ... are you watching John Safran's show? :lol:


What I was referring to is 'valid' is simply your sense of value, the paradigm as you describe it.

In that case you were asserting that a person's sense of value in their life should be measured only by how many friends they have. Since not everyone finds "sense of value" in this way, your claim was incorrect and limiting anyway.


Suicide is a crime against those who loved and depended on that person. One can't generalise, but for example a father who suicides because of debt, etc. Often its a cowardly act, as it transposes the problems to those around, families are often left devastated, sometimes angry.

I sort-of agree but because there are cases where the person taking their own life was not loved or depended upon by anyone much (and even where this is a contributing factor) I think it is dangerous to imply that there was always something irresponsible about it.


Of course there are, it was such a pointless question I thought I'd add some flavour.

Well thank you so much for topping a half-decent dinner with an enormous pile of your usual stale cheese. :lol:

It is not a pointless question - by agreeing with me you have now retracted any claim that the E of G question must be about emotion. It may be about emotion for some, reason for others, or some combination. Those of us seeking to discuss the reasoned arguments on the existence of God can therefore do so without it being "pointless".


This is a semantic distinction.

Oh no it isn't. Suppose that you are told about a drug which is not yet approved for use and you are told the following two things by two different people:

(i) The drug has been proven not to work.
(ii) The drug has not yet been proven to work.

Surely you would agree that (i) and (ii) are not the same?

Now, suppose only one study had been done on this drug, and that study claimed the drug did work, but you could tell the study was methodically flawed. Does this mean you believe (i) and (ii), or just (ii)?

(Very basic scientific method questions here - if you can't tell the difference, just get yourself struck off.)


Anyway, some people accept biblical text as evidence, others scrolls, miracles, etc. They require little in the way of evidence, the evidence may be very circumstantial, tenuous and thin, but they ask no more.

Inadequate evidence is not "evidence", it is excuses. :hand:


In our human experience we create most of our possessions, isn't it quite natural to suspect there was a creator for the universe?

It may be for some, it isn't for me. We only "create" (actually transfrom assemble - there is no analogy for creation from nothing) a tiny proportion of all the material we can observe. Nor is there any reason to believe the universe is either a posession or a tool.

This is an example of what I meant by an excuse. People who "want to believe", or are not very sophisticated thinkers may find such trashy analogies natural, few others are likely to.


Its a postulate and a valid, if implausible one at that.

It is not valid, it is fatally flawed.


Mankind hasn't even began to discuss empirically, how we live together. A classic example is good old Dr Spock, 'spare the rod, save the child.' Children are a little angels, born to love and all we need to do is love them and they'll all be wonderful human beings, it's all society's and the parents fault. So what happens, we end up raising a generation of spoilt brats.

Your example is irrelevant because it is about human psychology. I was talking about examples involving the health value of foodstuffs.


Turns out that traditional parenting was far closer to the mark than 'the scientists'.

I am not sure whether psych theories of that time stack up all that well as "science" rather than "theory".


These ideas can only be tested empirically on the community itself and if the idea turns out to be flawed, then the damage has already been done.

But believers in scripture will often block innovations even after they are tested successfully.


The introduction of the cane-toad is a good example, seemd like the sensible application at the time, turned out to be a disaster. Respect for creation the 'way God had intended it' may have prevented the disaster.

At the time the overwhelming interpretation of scripture in the area of environmental ethics, by far, was the dominion theory according to which man was entitled to control the natural world to his own ends. It's very unlikely that churches would have counselled decision makers to not introduce the cane toad. It probably would have seemed like a gift from God to many.


Seems to me the only one'sasking for proof are the atheists!

Rubbish, what about all the dodgy studies into the supposed power of prayer being put about by believers all the time? Or believers devoting their lifetimes to trying to prove the Shroud of Turin is genuine? etc


Nonsense, I could say I believe in God, you believe in what you want, entirely subjective.

If you say that you believe in God and I say that I do not then we have a disagreement on a matter of fact, not a matter of preference. If you believe God exists then you also believe that everyone who does not believe that is incorrect.


No one's demanding for you to believe anything. In fact your the one making all the demands.

This is the kind of misuse of language that tempts me not to bother discussing this stuff with you. It is just so hard to get the most basic philosophical points across without having to constantly point out all your letters-to-the-editor style pop cliches.

If by the "demand" you mean "saying you're wrong if you disagree" then the above is false. A person who says they reckon God exists is saying that they reckon anyone who thinks otherwise isn't correct.

If by "demand" you mean "force" then I am not forcing anyone to believe anything and the above is again wrong.


Yes, but at a sub-conscious level. What you're describing is verbalisation of the problem. Individuals make decisions all the time without verbalising them.

That does not mean that every time someone does something without verbalising it, it is a decision. It could be that their subconscious thought processes all point in one direction and that even subconsciously there is no "choice". If you want to convince me that a person decides to believe, even at subconscious level, I need evidence.


But of course, all decisions depend to some extent on brain biochemistry. Whether biochemistry determines the outcome of the decision is another mater.

Exactly.

Trent Parker
31-08-2004, 09:36 AM
God does exist full stop. I have not read this thread. Frankly i dont want to, and it will probably be my one and only post.

.

antichrist
31-08-2004, 09:52 AM
God does exist full stop. I have not read this thread. Frankly i dont want to, and it will probably be my one and only post.

[edited - response to antichrist's post which I considered to be inciting religious hatred - KB].



Trent
It reminds me when the Catholics were attacking the Prodos in France, literally rivers of blood, there are two movies on it, one called Queen Margot or something like that. The general or someone asked the bishop something like: how do we know which are Catholics so we can kill the rest. The bishop replied: Kill them all, God will know his own. Which he preceded to do.

What should have the general done???

Rincewind
31-08-2004, 10:09 AM
It reminds me when the Catholics were attacking the Prodos in France, literally rivers of blood, there are two movies on it, one called Queen Margot or something like that. The general or someone asked the bishop something like: how do we know which are Catholics so we can kill the rest. The bishop replied: Kill them all, God will know his own. Which he preceded to do.

Yep Queen Margot did have a depiction of the Saint Batholomew's Day Massacre of the Huguenots. The number killed has been estimated at 50,000.

It is a notorious historical event and would have be depicted in more than two films I would guess.

arosar
31-08-2004, 10:09 AM
As AR warned me, that is how it is with our BB Christians. You are casting pearls to swine.

WTF are you talkin' about?

AR

Goughfather
31-08-2004, 10:57 AM
As AR warned me, that is how it is with our BB Christians. You are casting pearls to swine.

The idea that you could cast anything remotely resembling pearls is somewhat laughable.

antichrist
31-08-2004, 05:24 PM
[QUOTE=arosar]WTF are you talkin' about?



Some post somewhere about two weeks ago you warned me about Scott. I am not checking it up.

antichrist
31-08-2004, 05:27 PM
The idea that you could cast anything remotely resembling pearls is somewhat laughable.

My echo - no prizes for coming second

Kevin Bonham
31-08-2004, 09:05 PM
I have edited some material off this thread. Please do not make posts that infer that violence is an acceptable response to religious belief.

antichrist - I shall continue casting pearls before swine in the hope that someday the swine may swallow them. :P

Cat
31-08-2004, 10:26 PM
Originally Posted by antichrist
As AR warned me, that is how it is with our BB Christians. You are casting pearls to swine.


WTF are you talkin' about?

AR

If it's me you're talking about, then I think you're mistaken Peter. What I value and defend is our pleuralistic society. What I dislike and attack is bigotry and narrow-mindedness. It's very easy to criticise someone who has declared a position - invariably it will contain some flaws and only cowards would find any pleasure in exposing those flaws. Better to hold a position than to waffle on the fence. Better a bad plan than no plan at all.

Kevin Bonham
31-08-2004, 11:15 PM
If it's me you're talking about, then I think you're mistaken Peter. What I value and defend is our pleuralistic society. What I dislike and attack is bigotry and narrow-mindedness. It's very easy to criticise someone who has declared a position - invariably it will contain some flaws and only cowards would find any pleasure in exposing those flaws. Better to hold a position than to waffle on the fence. Better a bad plan than no plan at all.

The irony is that I defend pluralism too - but I actually know what it is, whereas you conflate it with a kind of namby-pamby backpatting of every viewpoint, however stupid and explicitly intolerant [strict sense], unless it is actually true. Pluralism is a society where different values are permitted to exist - it doesn't mean you're not allowed to disagree strongly with others' views.

By the way, I've just discovered a new medicine which cures all forms of cancer. Works really well, except it doesn't actually do anything, oh and it kills 5% of patients. It's very easy to criticise someone who has developed a medicine- invariably it will kill some people, and only cowards would find any pleasure in saving those lives. Better to have a cure for cancer than to waffle about still looking for one. Better a bad plan than no plan at all.

:wall:

Cat
31-08-2004, 11:27 PM
[QUOTE=Kevin Bonham]You completely miss the point again. What I mean by "work better" is that other sources are more reliable in providing factual information in whatever field the facts are useful (eg we mentioned the health of different foods.) This is not an issue of meaning, it is an issue about basic material facts useful to all people whatever their religion or views on "meaning". It is not useful to a person to "know" that a food is taboo if the reason for the taboo is no longer relevant because of increased knowledge since.

No I understood you're point. I was just trying to get you to take your blinkers off. OK were going down some ld ground, but I'll try to make it clearer to you.

All the technological advances that have improved our understanding have come from empirical enquiry. As Carl Sagan put it, it's the 'candle in the dark' and if we loose our sense of value for empircal enquiry, which the Post Modernists are attempting to undermine, it spells disaster.

However, empirical enquiry, as important as it is, is not the only source of insight. Not all understanding and knowledge can be derived in this way - what a grey world that would be. For example, where would we be without Shakespear. Not only did he provide a heritage of immeasuralbe wealth, he essentially invented the English language. Sure before Shakespear there was grammar, vocabulary, and maybe Chaucer, but Shakespear changed the meaning of expression, his mind gave birth to an arcadia previously unimaginable.

Similarly Newton - nothing we know today would have been possible without the mathematical language he invented. This language didn't come from empirical enquiry, although he was taking measurements that's true. But calculus simply exploded from his mind , his imagination. It's simply an abstract concept/language which happens to be very good at describing our universe, but no amount of empirical enquiry would ever have discovered calculus, because it doesn't exist in the real world.

Similarly, the Bible stories, as maligned as they are, contain wonderful metaphors & symbolism about human existence. Some of the concepts are simple and you know, that's what makes them so wonderful. Because the Bible can do something the New England Journal of Medicine could never do. Sometimes, if handled with loving care, it can inspire little children to feel love and empathy to their fellow man. Because it's an incredibly efficient vehicle to disseminate this kind of information - it's well read, it's well loved and its easily understood. Many more people read the Bible than the New England Journal of Medicine and I reckon that's not such a bad thing.





In that case you were asserting that a person's sense of value in their life should be measured only by how many friends they have. Since not everyone finds "sense of value" in this way, your claim was incorrect and limiting anyway.

No, I was asserting you or I have no right to determine what other people determine to be valuable to them. The love of friends and relative happens to be more important to most people than intellectual supremecy.


I sort-of agree but because there are cases where the person taking their own life was not loved or depended upon by anyone much (and even where this is a contributing factor) I think it is dangerous to imply that there was always something irresponsible about it.

Nothing is ever cut & dried, as I say there are always exceptions.



It is not a pointless question - by agreeing with me you have now retracted any claim that the E of G question must be about emotion. It may be about emotion for some, reason for others, or some combination. Those of us seeking to discuss the reasoned arguments on the existence of God can therefore do so without it being "pointless".

What I said was that reason will never be able to deny the possibility of the existence of God even though it would seem irrational and highly improbable. What I said was that most people don't believe in God for intellectual reasons, they believe in God for emotional reasons and their ont interested in the intellectual arguments. I also said that any other attempts to find reason are just as likely to be as improbable, so why does it matter what anyone believes, as long as it does no harm to themselves or anyone else?


Oh no it isn't. Suppose that you are told about a drug which is not yet approved for use and you are told the following two things by two different people:

(i) The drug has been proven not to work.
(ii) The drug has not yet been proven to work.

Surely you would agree that (i) and (ii) are not the same?

Now, suppose only one study had been done on this drug, and that study claimed the drug did work, but you could tell the study was methodically flawed. Does this mean you believe (i) and (ii), or just (ii)?

(Very basic scientific method questions here - if you can't tell the difference, just get yourself struck off.)

Gee, you're clutching a straws. Look, I'll simply restate my point that there are no super-natural laws either because they don't exist, or we're not aware of them. I think the latter is very improbable, but one cannot say that such laws cannot exist, maybe not in this universe. We can never entirely know what is possible and correct and a little humility and respect of the beliefs of other would make the world a far better place.



It may be for some, it isn't for me. We only "create" (actually transfrom assemble - there is no analogy for creation from nothing) a tiny proportion of all the material we can observe. Nor is there any reason to believe the universe is either a posession or a tool.

I know, but that doesn't mean that everyone has to hold to that opinion. You nor I have any idea about what this Universe is or how it come to be, other than to say it's possible. For you, for me that's fine, but not everyone will feel that way, and I'm pretty glad they don't. It would be an absolute disaster for humanity if everyone thought and acted in the same way.



This is an example of what I meant by an excuse. People who "want to believe", or are not very sophisticated thinkers may find such trashy analogies natural, few others are likely to.

I'd say you were the unsophistcated thinker because you're trying to rationalise the unrationalable. The correct answer of course to the meaning of life, existence and everything is 'buggered if I know'.



Your example is irrelevant because it is about human psychology. I was talking about examples involving the health value of foodstuffs.

Well pardon me for using my imagination!


I am not sure whether psych theories of that time stack up all that well as "science" rather than "theory".

Yes you're not sure, an honest response for once.


But believers in scripture will often block innovations even after they are tested successfully.

Again just another example of your bigotry KB. Let's kill all the believers, all Genesis fans, anyone who looks a little different, because you never know if you can trust them. They may even be black and trying to hide it.



Rubbish, what about all the dodgy studies into the supposed power of prayer being put about by believers all the time? Or believers devoting their lifetimes to trying to prove the Shroud of Turin is genuine? etc

Lets put them on the cross and crucify them.



If you say that you believe in God and I say that I do not then we have a disagreement on a matter of fact, not a matter of preference. If you believe God exists then you also believe that everyone who does not believe that is incorrect.

Not at all. Whatever you believed KB, I would respect that belief. As I say, all belief systems are wrong anyway, so it really wouldn't matter to me what you believed.


If by the "demand" you mean "saying you're wrong if you disagree" then the above is false. A person who says they reckon God exists is saying that they reckon anyone who thinks otherwise isn't correct.

No their simply expressing their belief. They're not saying anything about what anybody else believes. Most of us don't have to feel we need to be right all the time, what are you afraid of KB?


If by "demand" you mean "force" then I am not forcing anyone to believe anything and the above is again wrong.

No, you're demanding they prove the existence of their God. They're not asking you to disprove it are they? They respect your point of view.


That does not mean that every time someone does something without verbalising it, it is a decision. It could be that their subconscious thought processes all point in one direction and that even subconsciously there is no "choice".

I didn't say that, I said that some choices are made without any verbalisation.

Cat
31-08-2004, 11:34 PM
The irony is that I defend pluralism too - but I actually know what it is, whereas you conflate it with a kind of namby-pamby backpatting of every viewpoint, however stupid and explicitly intolerant [strict sense], unless it is actually true. Pluralism is a society where different values are permitted to exist - it doesn't mean you're not allowed to disagree strongly with others' views.

:wall:


I reckon you must be one of the most bigoted persons I've ever encountered. To say religious believer are stupid and explicitly intolerant is like saying blacks are inferior. A huge swathe of humanity hold religious beliefs, some of them very intellegent. It is one of the most enduring traits which has high penetrance in all civilisations. As Matt said, it's us atheists that are the odd-fellows.

Goughfather
01-09-2004, 12:29 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goughfather
The idea that you could cast anything remotely resembling pearls is somewhat laughable.


My echo - no prizes for coming second

No, you implied that you were capable of casting pearls. I said, that based upon the evidence that I have received thus far, I found such a claim to be amusing. To echo you would be to suggest that I'm casting pearls towards you - a claim I never made.

I suggest you try harder next time.

Kevin Bonham
01-09-2004, 01:32 AM
I was just trying to get you to take your blinkers off.

You get the plank out of your own eye before you go fibbing about there being a splinter in mine. :hand:

I've cut your Shakespeare and Newton quotes - they are irrelevant distractions. Language is not knowledge, it is a tool for communicating it. Mathematics is indeed non-empirical in character but concerns basic manipulations of logic and quantity and other abstract entities. And then we come to:


Similarly, the Bible stories, as maligned as they are, contain wonderful metaphors & symbolism about human existence. Some of the concepts are simple and you know, that's what makes them so wonderful. Because the Bible can do something the New England Journal of Medicine could never do. Sometimes, if handled with loving care, it can inspire little children to feel love and empathy to their fellow man. Because it's an incredibly efficient vehicle to disseminate this kind of information - it's well read, it's well loved and its easily understood. Many more people read the Bible than the New England Journal of Medicine and I reckon that's not such a bad thing.

Even if all this is true (it reads like a very skewed view given how many not-so-good messages are present in the mix), it is utterly irrelevant to the point I was making, which is that religious tradition is not a good source for specialist truths best found in more recently developed fields. That is all I was getting at and there is no need for this huge irrelevant tangent into pet rants. You might think that I am implacably hostile to all your assertions that religion has value. This is not true - I am quite openminded on that issue - all I am doing is exposing all the rubbish you keep using to push your case.


No, I was asserting you or I have no right to determine what other people determine to be valuable to them. The love of friends and relative happens to be more important to most people than intellectual supremecy.

Most indeed. You were the one who implied that it applied to all and you are the one who has no (intellectual) right to so determine. I have made no such attempt - I simply assert that there is empirical variation in what gives meaning to different people's lives.


Nothing is ever cut & dried, as I say there are always exceptions.

No, there are usually exceptions, and most things are not cut and dried. You need to start using words like "most" and "usually" a lot more in all debates; you make far too many incorrect generalisations, including that one.


What I said was that reason will never be able to deny the possibility of the existence of God even though it would seem irrational and highly improbable.

Yes - although I disagree because close study of the concept "God" and the concept "existence" may reveal that the whole deal is logically incoherent.


I also said that any other attempts to find reason are just as likely to be as improbable, so why does it matter what anyone believes, as long as it does no harm to themselves or anyone else?

From a political perspective it does not matter.
From other perspectives it does, and I have given examples of cases where strict adherence to dogma can cause a person to harm themselves. What about the groups who choose to refuse medical treatment and die rather than receive blood transfusions?
To me that is their problem - just pointing out that not all religious beliefs are harmless.


Gee, you're clutching a straws. Look, I'll simply restate my point that there are no super-natural laws either because they don't exist, or we're not aware of them. I think the latter is very improbable, but one cannot say that such laws cannot exist, maybe not in this universe. We can never entirely know what is possible and correct and a little humility and respect of the beliefs of other would make the world a far better place.

This was in response to me challenging you to defend your view that the difference between (asserting God definitely doesn't exist) and (asserting that God has not been proven to exist) is "semantic". Making no effort to respond to my counter-point, you accused me of "clutching at straws". The above is all utterly irrelevant to the issue of whether my point was semantic. So you're drowning before you can find a straw to clutch at. :eek:

As for humility, you show none of it in your debates with me or Bill (indeed your lectures on humility are condescending, haughty, arrogant and hilariously lame), so I will ignore your rubbish on that point.


I know, but that doesn't mean that everyone has to hold to that opinion. You nor I have any idea about what this Universe is or how it come to be, other than to say it's possible. For you, for me that's fine, but not everyone will feel that way, and I'm pretty glad they don't. It would be an absolute disaster for humanity if everyone thought and acted in the same way.

Irrelevant again - no relevance to whether the beliefs of others are natural or right, which was what we were discussing.


I'd say you were the unsophistcated thinker because you're trying to rationalise the unrationalable. The correct answer of course to the meaning of life, existence and everything is 'buggered if I know'.

You have no evidence that I am trying to rationalise anything - I am just saying that all religious efforts to rationalise the "unknown" so far have failed. The almost certainly correct answer to the meaning of life is that the traditional concept of "meaning of life" is a category error, but that different people may find meaning for themselves in their lives in all kinds of ways, as circumstances permit. Oh, and it is not necessary to hold false beliefs to do this, though some seem to struggle to do it any other way.


Well pardon me for using my imagination!

Not the point - imagination is useful, and yours is, in some respects, all too fertile but all analogies should be checked for relevance before use in debates.


Yes you're not sure, an honest response for once.

A cheap slur without evidence, as usual. I am very honest about when I am sure or not sure, eg "I am sure that you are the worst debater on this board but totally unsure of why you even bother." :P


Again just another example of your bigotry KB. Let's kill all the believers, all Genesis fans, anyone who looks a little different, because you never know if you can trust them. They may even be black and trying to hide it.

See below on "bigot" - you are just foaming irrationally here, I am merely pointing out some limits of some forms of religious belief to counter false claims you have made, not suggesting any action against believers.


Lets put them on the cross and crucify them.

Another graceless resignation of a point there.


Not at all. Whatever you believed KB, I would respect that belief.

Either that or your bigot call was lying. For what it's worth, based on what I've read from you, I may respect some views you hold, but I do not respect your process of belief formation and defence, it is among the most pathetic I've ever encountered.


As I say, all belief systems are wrong anyway, so it really wouldn't matter to me what you believed.

You don't really believe that, you just know that yours is, and are overgeneralising.


No their simply expressing their belief. They're not saying anything about what anybody else believes. Most of us don't have to feel we need to be right all the time, what are you afraid of KB?

Idiotic trolling again. :wall: :wall: :wall: Surely even you are not this stupid.


No, you're demanding they prove the existence of their God. They're not asking you to disprove it are they? They respect your point of view.

The point of this thread is to discuss claims for the existence of God. I'm saying that if a person wants me to believe God exists (as some here would dearly love to) then they should show me evidence. If they don't care what I believe, and don't wish to impose their beliefs on me by force, that's fine. As soon as they raise it in public I may raise my disagreement.


I reckon you must be one of the most bigoted persons I've ever encountered.

I know that you are one of the lamest trolls and worst debaters I have ever encountered.

My dictionary gives "bigot" as "an obstinate and intolerant believer in religion, political theory etc" (and also gives only the strict sense of intolerance.) So I clearly don't qualify, I am just a person who has a few opinions.


To say religious believer are stupid and explicitly intolerant is like saying blacks are inferior.

Give your lame activist-style word-twisting a permanent break. :rolleyes: I said "every viewpoint, however stupid and explicitly intolerant" in reference to a spectrum of viewpoints of which some are stupid and explicitly intolerant. Obviously not all are.


A huge swathe of humanity hold religious beliefs, some of them very intellegent.

Yes, some very intelligent people do hold such beliefs, though in his recent debate with William Lane Craig, one of my favourite atheists Victor Stenger (http://www.colorado.edu/philosophy/vstenger/) said that "only 7% of the National Academy of Sciences believe in the personal God worshipped by perhaps 90% of other Americans".


It is one of the most enduring traits which has high penetrance in all civilisations.

So do murder, theft and warfare.


As Matt said, it's us atheists that are the odd-fellows.

You are a very odd-fellow indeed. Just as Goughfather gets stuck into some of his fellow Christians here for their poor defences of the faith I have to say that your rubbish, the sincere and insincere parts alike, are not even village-atheist level. :hand:

Now David, I've had a gutful of your extremely poor debating abilities. It is a waste of my time and I think you can do better. Your next effort, if it is lengthy, will be marked for relevance of reply to each point of mine that you quote and if more than half the replies do not address my points, then it is quite likely I will not bother wasting my time on this further.

Cat
01-09-2004, 04:09 PM
You have no evidence that I am trying to rationalise anything - I am just saying that all religious efforts to rationalise the "unknown" so far have failed. The almost certainly correct answer to the meaning of life is that the traditional concept of "meaning of life" is a category error, but that different people may find meaning for themselves in their lives in all kinds of ways, as circumstances permit. Oh, and it is not necessary to hold false beliefs to do this, though some seem to struggle to do it any other way.


OK, lets keep it simple. Let's agree that we live in a pluralistic society in which we have to learn to live with and respect the ethical beliefs of others. Let's not discriminate against people based on their colour, creed, or preference in pop music. Let us all be grateful we hold differing opinions and see that as strength in our society not a weakness. :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

arosar
01-09-2004, 04:22 PM
This KB sounds like a pompous bas.tard sometimes, doesn't he? But mosty fair I think.

AR

Alan Shore
01-09-2004, 04:39 PM
This KB sounds like a pompous bas.tard sometimes, doesn't he? But mosty fair I think.

AR

Only sometimes? I thought KB's middle name was pomposity ;)

But mostly fair, for sure. It's just the way it goes, sometimes if you've got the goods you've got the arrogance to go with it, you only need to look at some of the world's top chess players.

Kevin Bonham
01-09-2004, 06:34 PM
OK, lets keep it simple.

Red rag to a bull there. "For every complex problem there is a solution which is simple, neat and wrong" - H.L. Mencken :P


Let's agree that we live in a pluralistic society in which we have to learn to live with and respect the ethical beliefs of others.

Live with - yes; respect - depends.


Let's not discriminate against people based on their colour, creed, or preference in pop music.

That has not been at issue unless you confuse "discriminate" with "disagree with".


Let us all be grateful we hold differing opinions and see that as strength in our society not a weakness.

Diversity of opinion on open questions is a good thing.

Shoddy argument is not.

Cat
01-09-2004, 07:12 PM
This KB sounds like a pompous bas.tard sometimes, doesn't he? But mosty fair I think.

AR

He's a bit of a fascist, intolerant of people he doesn't agree with, ready to discriminate and isolate groups and individuals for their beliefs, and who knows what else. I guess this is what goes in Tasmania, we could never accept it on the mainland. Our forefathers fought and died to our preserve freedom and to protect the rights of all individuals. The only thing I'm not sure of is who would he eliminate first, the Jews or the Christians?

antichrist
01-09-2004, 07:41 PM
I have edited some material off this thread. Please do not make posts that infer that violence is an acceptable response to religious belief.

antichrist - I shall continue casting pearls before swine in the hope that someday the swine may swallow them. :P

Reply:
That quote from my old right-wing mentor actually referred to political belief. He was a religious believer. Even then it was only meant figuratively I think, he took Norm Gallagher to the High Court and beat him. He died ages ago so I can't ask him.

2nd Part: I shall have to answer you with another Biblical quote: you don't cast seeds on barren ground. I will have you know I still have my prizes from school days for being first in Christian doctrine. I throw them at door-to-door preachers when they accuse me of not knowing about Christian doctrine.

antichrist
01-09-2004, 07:47 PM
If it's me you're talking about, then I think you're mistaken Peter. What I value and defend is our pleuralistic society. What I dislike and attack is bigotry and narrow-mindedness. It's very easy to criticise someone who has declared a position - invariably it will contain some flaws and only cowards would find any pleasure in exposing those flaws. Better to hold a position than to waffle on the fence. Better a bad plan than no plan at all.

Reply: I can't find the original quote yet and the internet shop is about to close. But I am sure I addressed it to KB advising him not to waste his time debating Christians. He won't take notice, he is still wasting his time.

Bill Gletsos
01-09-2004, 08:39 PM
The only thing I'm not sure of is who would he eliminate first, the Jews or the Christians?
Probably quacks. :lol:

Kevin Bonham
02-09-2004, 01:00 AM
Reply: I can't find the original quote yet and the internet shop is about to close. But I am sure I addressed it to KB advising him not to waste his time debating Christians. He won't take notice, he is still wasting his time.

The irony is I'm wasting most of my time defending a supposed atheist who argues exactly like some of the worst defenders of Christianity I've come across, only more so.

antichrist
02-09-2004, 02:34 PM
The irony is I'm wasting most of my time defending a supposed atheist who argues exactly like some of the worst defenders of Christianity I've come across, only more so.

Thanks for the compliment. With friends like these...

Bill will get jealous if you get stuck into me.
Figuratively not...

Kevin Bonham
02-09-2004, 05:29 PM
Thanks for the compliment. With friends like these...

Actually I was talking about David, not you. And I meant to write "debating", not "defending". :oops: I don't bother defending atheists of David's kind; if he converts or gets savaged by a Christian I can't see how that does the more credible forms of atheism any harm at all, or even changes the balance of the debate.

Cat
02-09-2004, 06:13 PM
Actually I was talking about David, not you. And I meant to write "debating", not "defending". :oops: I don't bother defending atheists of David's kind; if he converts or gets savaged by a Christian I can't see how that does the more credible forms of atheism any harm at all, or even changes the balance of the debate.

Why are you picking on Peter now? Gee you've got some venom in you, he was being polite to you. Take a cool shower, buddy.

Kevin Bonham
02-09-2004, 11:08 PM
I. will. not. feed. the. troll.

Rhubarb
03-09-2004, 03:15 AM
And nor should you, KB! You've thoroughly whipped him in every corner of this bb.

PHAT
03-09-2004, 06:43 AM
I. will. not. feed. the. troll.

Then, you will starve.

Alan Shore
03-09-2004, 07:20 AM
Then, you will starve.

LOL, that may well be true... KB can't argue against himself.. (well, he can but then we might have to send the men in white coats)

Cat
03-09-2004, 09:58 AM
And nor should you, KB! You've thoroughly whipped him in every corner of this bb.

Keep up the encouragement Greg, I reckon he might need it right now!

Rincewind
03-09-2004, 10:09 AM
Keep up the encouragement Greg, I reckon he might need it right now!

I am small. You should wait for my brother, he is much bigger than me.

Bill Gletsos
03-09-2004, 11:20 AM
Keep up the encouragement Greg, I reckon he might need it right now!
The day KB needs encouragement to out do you in any debate is the day hell freezes over.

arosar
03-09-2004, 11:44 AM
When the Miss Universe herself commits a faux pas like that, you know that there's a God.

So, boys, lemme ask: if you could do a Bruce Almighty, what would you do?

AR

Rincewind
03-09-2004, 01:11 PM
So, boys, lemme ask: if you could do a Bruce Almighty, what would you do?

Remove all traces of Jim Carrey films.

arosar
03-09-2004, 01:12 PM
Remove all traces of Jim Carrey films.

Man, you need to be more cultured.

AR

Rincewind
03-09-2004, 01:23 PM
Man, you need to be more cultured.

Coming from you, I'll take that as a compliment. ;)

Speaking of culture I heard a great song on JJJ the other night. It was a live recording by Ani di Franco and the song is called "Self Evident". I believe it is on a compilation called "Peace not War" or something. Check it out.

Alan Shore
03-09-2004, 01:31 PM
When the Miss Universe herself commits a faux pas like that, you know that there's a God.

So, boys, lemme ask: if you could do a Bruce Almighty, what would you do?

AR

I am Bruce Almighty! Seriously though, if it's part of what's possible for him, to travel back in time. I'd love to witness the greatest events throughout history. I'd maintain these events can't be changed though.. logically impossible.

Of course it would be funny to make Bill talk in tongues too.

arosar
03-09-2004, 02:09 PM
For some reason I keep imagining Bazza to be in his 50's!! But why does he listen to JJJ - cos, you know, only young people listen to that?

AR

Rincewind
03-09-2004, 02:55 PM
For some reason I keep imagining Bazza to be in his 50's!! But why does he listen to JJJ - cos, you know, only young people listen to that?

Not in my fifties. I'm not even in my forties, yet! Lets just say I'm on the upper end of JJJ's target age demographic. ;)

I listen to ABC radio almost exclusively. JJJ because I get to hear something different from time to time. Radio National mainly just because they broadcast the cricket and commercial radio gives me the Jimmy Brits. Although I don't mind James O'Loghlin, Macca is enough to drive me to commercial radio.

PHAT
03-09-2004, 04:27 PM
For some reason I keep imagining Bazza to be in his 50's!! But why does he listen to JJJ - cos, you know, only young people listen to that?

AR

For some reason I keep imagining arosar to be a short white kid wearing a flanno shirt and uggies, driving a noisy low slung car with a fat girlfriend pulling bongs in the passenger's seat.


My genius wife, at 42, lerves jjj. :confused:

arosar
03-09-2004, 04:33 PM
For some reason I keep imagining arosar to be a short white kid wearing a flanno shirt and uggies, driving a noisy low slung car with a fat girlfriend pulling bongs in the passenger's seat.


:clap: :lol:

ROTFL!!

That's hilarious.

AR

PHAT
03-09-2004, 04:35 PM
And nor should you, KB! You've thoroughly whipped him in every corner of this bb.

Have some sympathy, dude. DR has a very difficult assignment. It is like presenting a paper called "All You Need is Love" at a science convention in nutrition. :)

KB should not be praised for his skill in shooting fish in a barrel. :eh:?

Kevin Bonham
03-09-2004, 10:40 PM
KB should not be praised for his skill in shooting fish in a barrel. :eh:?

The fish should not be praised for jumping in there. :hand:


Then, you will starve.

Over-eat, more likely. Think I'll just help myself to your unoriginal dinner too.

Cat
04-09-2004, 02:12 PM
A group of international physicists are lobbying governments to build a $5.4 bn accelerator to search for the mysterious God Particle, or Higgs Boson, a theoretical particle first described over 40 years ago which permeates the entire Universe and is thought to explain why even the most fleeting sub atomic particles appear to possess a mass.

Apparently, an increasing number of anomalies have been described in relation to the behaviour of sub atomic particles, and it is thought that the discovery God Particle may help to explain these anomalies.

However, it begs the question, what if the particle doesn't exist? What if its not the "God Particle" but simply "God", the particle doesn't exist. Is this the hand of God????

(Article taken from the latest Edition of Cleo)

Rhubarb
06-09-2004, 01:07 AM
Keep up the encouragement Greg, I reckon he might need it right now!
Now really, David, I'm sure Kevin didn't expect such sour grapes from you! You put up a ... well you put up something anyway. It's true, that on every single point of debate or fact, you were soundly defeated, and you retreated further and further into the domain of woolly-eared blather, but you did at least try! Don't take it so badly, David, many people of your intellectual level never even get an opportunity to engage intelligentsia many standards of deviations above your own, so you have done well! You can go back to your stupidfolk and hold your head up high, and say, "Well at least I tried." Well done, David!!

Rhubarb
06-09-2004, 01:53 AM
Have some sympathy, dude. DR has a very difficult assignment. It is like presenting a paper called "All You Need is Love" at a science convention in nutrition. :)

No sympathy, Matt. The thread's title is clear. If DR wants to claim he's so much more of a humanitarian than everyone else, then he can start a thread called "All You Need is Love".


KB should not be praised for his skill in shooting fish in a barrel. :eh:? It's more about which gun he uses.

Cat
06-09-2004, 11:15 AM
Now really, David, I'm sure Kevin didn't expect such sour grapes from you! You put up a ... well you put up something anyway. It's true, that on every single point of debate or fact, you were soundly defeated, and you retreated further and further into the domain of woolly-eared blather, but you did at least try! Don't take it so badly, David, many people of your intellectual level never even get an opportunity to engage intelligentsia many standards of deviations above your own, so you have done well! You can go back to your stupidfolk and hold your head up high, and say, "Well at least I tried." Well done, David!!

Greg, maybe KB could do with your help? However, to engage in the debate you'd need to use your brain instead of your spleen. The question is, where to find your brain Greg? You might be able to trace it back from your anus, it's meant to control sphincter function. Pulling hard, see if you can stop yourself defaecating over the BB. KB might help you with this, he's an expert on anal retention. Next you must try to get those nerve cells to communicate, but don't try it on your own, or it might leave a nasty mess which we'll all have to clear up for you. Remember, one step at a time.

Bill Gletsos
06-09-2004, 04:17 PM
A group of international physicists are lobbying governments to build a $5.4 bn accelerator to search for the mysterious God Particle, or Higgs Boson, a theoretical particle first described over 40 years ago which permeates the entire Universe and is thought to explain why even the most fleeting sub atomic particles appear to possess a mass.

Apparently, an increasing number of anomalies have been described in relation to the behaviour of sub atomic particles, and it is thought that the discovery God Particle may help to explain these anomalies.

However, it begs the question, what if the particle doesn't exist? What if its not the "God Particle" but simply "God", the particle doesn't exist. Is this the hand of God????

(Article taken from the latest Edition of Cleo)
The mysterious Richards Particle is a theortetical particle with a postulated half-life of between 30-60 years and is in an extremely slowly decaying orbit (to the extent that it appears to be chasing itself) around the Gletsos Particle which at its centre has the mystical Glicko2 Particle. Due to the Richards Particle's almost infinitessimal mass any collision with the Gletsos Particle would have no effect whatsoever. This however will never actually happen as the closer the Richards particle approaches the Gletsos particle the stronger the resistence exerted upon it. This is due to the Gletsos Particles ability to draw upon the resources of the Glicko2 Particle.
Along with the Richards Particle is the equally mysterious Sweeney Particle. This particle although similar to the Richards Particle orbits the Gletsos Particle in mostly random patterns but occasionaly manages to either duplicate a previous orbit or on several occasions be in some sort of relationship with the Richards Particle where both particles move in a very close proximity to each other. The attraction these two particles exhibit towards each other is inversely proportional to their proximity to the Gletsos Particle.
Both the Richards and Sweeney particles have at times entirely disappeared up themselves (some theorise into another dimension) only to eventually reappear in their previous positons.

Also orbiting the Gletsos Particle are the Cox and Bonham Particles. Both these particles have been know to collide with the Richards and Sweeney particles diverting their trajectories and causing them to completely change course.

A relatively new particle to enter the proximity of these other particles has been the Canfell Particle. Based on observations of the Glicko Particle it is clear the Canfell Particle is the strongest of the above mentioned particles.
It has demonstrated virtual disdain for the Richards Particle (more so even than the Gletsos Particles reactions to the Richards and Sweeney particles)and has recently taken to directly colliding it. This collision has resulted in no effect whatsoever on the Canfell Particle. What effect it may have on the miniscule Richards Particle is yet to be determined.

The insignificant and totally chaotic antichrist Particle occasionally appraoches only to be driven away by the majority of the other particles.
The exact reason for this particles existence is a mystery to all as it appears to serve no useful purpose.

A number of other particles have been known to approach the Gletsos Particle to commune in some ritualistic manner so as to obtain enlightenment from the Glicko2 particle. Their needs satisified they depart. Some return on a regular basis for renewal of enlightenment from the Glicko2 Particle.

arosar
06-09-2004, 04:31 PM
I think we should have another Best Post award. This time no money, just for notoriety.

I nominate that one. Very creative Bill!

AR

PHAT
06-09-2004, 04:56 PM
I recant everything I ever said about BG billing the most humourless and unimaginative tossers of all time. He isn't a realy tosser. ;)

Kevin Bonham
06-09-2004, 05:29 PM
Greg, maybe KB could do with your help?

Doesn't look like Greg needs any help from me whatsoever to reduce you to a blubbering jelly of spiteful sweenetic anatomical insults. Looks like Matthew's bad influence has found another way to rub off on you. :lol:

Bill - that was hilarious. Well done. :clap: :clap: :clap:

Cat
06-09-2004, 06:24 PM
The mysterious Richards Particle is a theortetical particle with a postulated half-life of between 30-60 years and is in an extremely slowly decaying orbit (to the extent that it appears to be chasing itself) around the Gletsos Particle which at its centre has the mystical Glicko2 Particle. Due to the Richards Particle's almost infinitessimal mass any collision with the Gletsos Particle would have no effect whatsoever. This however will never actually happen as the closer the Richards particle approaches the Gletsos particle the stronger the resistence exerted upon it. This is due to the Gletsos Particles ability to draw upon the resources of the Glicko2 Particle.
Along with the Richards Particle is the equally mysterious Sweeney Particle. This particle although similar to the Richards Particle orbits the Gletsos Particle in mostly random patterns but occasionaly manages to either duplicate a previous orbit or on several occasions be in some sort of relationship with the Richards Particle where both particles move in a very close proximity to each other. The attraction these two particles exhibit towards each other is inversely proportional to their proximity to the Gletsos Particle.
Both the Richards and Sweeney particles have at times entirely disappeared up themselves (some theorise into another dimension) only to eventually reappear in their previous positons.

Also orbiting the Gletsos Particle are the Cox and Bonham Particles. Both these particles have been know to collide with the Richards and Sweeney particles diverting their trajectories and causing them to completely change course.

A relatively new particle to enter the proximity of these other particles has been the Canfell Particle. Based on observations of the Glicko Particle it is clear the Canfell Particle is the strongest of the above mentioned particles.
It has demonstrated virtual disdain for the Richards Particle (more so even than the Gletsos Particles reactions to the Richards and Sweeney particles)and has recently taken to directly colliding it. This collision has resulted in no effect whatsoever on the Canfell Particle. What effect it may have on the miniscule Richards Particle is yet to be determined.

The insignificant and totally chaotic antichrist Particle occasionally appraoches only to be driven away by the majority of the other particles.
The exact reason for this particles existence is a mystery to all as it appears to serve no useful purpose.

A number of other particles have been known to approach the Gletsos Particle to commune in some ritualistic manner so as to obtain enlightenment from the Glicko2 particle. Their needs satisified they depart. Some return on a regular basis for renewal of enlightenment from the Glicko2 Particle.

Hillarious is a bit generous, but it's great to see you've discovered your sense of humour. We'll all feel better for it. A genuine well done Bill!

Rincewind
06-09-2004, 06:47 PM
Nice bit of satire, Bill.

One should remember not to get too hung up on the physical certitude of modern particle physics. It is a field which has been trying hard to build predictive models without even having the time to worry about explanitory models. So while they postulate about the "existence" of this or that particle, I would take the usage of the word "existence" at it broadest meaning. The exist in the conventional sense that things exist because presuming that they do helps you predict certain phenomena. It is not existence in the same sense that we know kangaroos exists and bunyips don't. (PS Please don't splinter off into a cryptozoology debate ;) )

Cat
06-09-2004, 06:52 PM
Nice bit of satire, Bill.

One should remember not to get too hung up on the physical certitude of modern particle physics. It is a field which has been trying hard to build predictive models without even having the time to worry about explanitory models. So while they postulate about the "existence" of this or that particle, I would take the usage of the word "existence" at it broadest meaning. The exist in the conventional sense that things exist because presuming that they do helps you predict certain phenomena. It is not existence in the same sense that we know kangaroos exists and bunyips don't. (PS Please don't splinter off into a cryptozoology debate ;) )

I know, we could call them 'super-natural particles' BJC?

Kevin Bonham
07-09-2004, 02:50 AM
Hillarious is a bit generous, but it's great to see you've discovered your sense of humour.

Meanwhile you've forgotten how to not quote big chunks of text for a few lines of reply. Only a few days since your last lesson too. :rolleyes:

Spiny Norman
07-09-2004, 06:58 AM
A huge swathe of humanity hold religious beliefs, some of them very intelligent.


<chuckles>

I'm a huge swathe of humanity (not as huge as I used to be mind you ... I've lost 12 kilos this year ... 8 to go before I look fit again).

Intelligent? My IQ? ~140. I have only ever had it informally measured. Who knows whether such tests are either remotely accurate, or even meaningful. I reckon there's lots of different kinds of intelligence (e.g. mathematical, spatial, musical, social, linguistic, etc). My specialty is mathematical.

I hold down a responsible job as IT Manager for a financial services company, so hopefully I'm not a complete loser in the intelligence stakes. Even won a small chess tournament once (Ringwood Club Championship, 1988) so some might even suggest that I can "play" a bit too. <laughs>

Yeah, I'm one of those "crackpots" who believes in the existence of a personal God (not some kind of force, but rather a distinct/discrete and active personality).

I remember a period in my life where I didn't believe. My belief, my faith, is based on a personal experience. There's no amount of argument or "logic" or "science" that could realistically convince me otherwise.

I don't try to convince others based on facts or logic. If anyone is ever interested I tell them "my story". Up to them what they do about that.

Good to see it all being discussed in a (semi)constructive fashion. I like a good debate...

Cheers,

Frosty

Cat
07-09-2004, 08:33 AM
<chuckles>

I'm a huge swathe of humanity (not as huge as I used to be mind you ... I've lost 12 kilos this year ... 8 to go before I look fit again).

Intelligent? My IQ? ~140. I have only ever had it informally measured. Who knows whether such tests are either remotely accurate, or even meaningful. I reckon there's lots of different kinds of intelligence (e.g. mathematical, spatial, musical, social, linguistic, etc). My specialty is mathematical.

I hold down a responsible job as IT Manager for a financial services company, so hopefully I'm not a complete loser in the intelligence stakes. Even won a small chess tournament once (Ringwood Club Championship, 1988) so some might even suggest that I can "play" a bit too. <laughs>

Yeah, I'm one of those "crackpots" who believes in the existence of a personal God (not some kind of force, but rather a distinct/discrete and active personality).

I remember a period in my life where I didn't believe. My belief, my faith, is based on a personal experience. There's no amount of argument or "logic" or "science" that could realistically convince me otherwise.

I don't try to convince others based on facts or logic. If anyone is ever interested I tell them "my story". Up to them what they do about that.

Good to see it all being discussed in a (semi)constructive fashion. I like a good debate...

Cheers,

Frosty

Nice testimony Frosty! Time to stand up to the Thought Police. Thought I would again slice the whole thing, symbol of freedom, what?

Kevin Bonham
07-09-2004, 05:20 PM
I remember a period in my life where I didn't believe. My belief, my faith, is based on a personal experience. There's no amount of argument or "logic" or "science" that could realistically convince me otherwise.

I don't try to convince others based on facts or logic. If anyone is ever interested I tell them "my story". Up to them what they do about that.


Feel free to tell, if you feel so inclined.

In my experience, most people who argue from personal experience do so on the basis of either an extremely unlikely and convenient event, or else some sob story about how they had ruined their life with bad lifestyle choices when the Lord reached out a hand.

It would be interesting to hear something different to the above. These two common "experiences" are useful in understanding why a given individual believes but contribute nothing to the question of whether God exists.

antichrist
07-09-2004, 05:21 PM
BG: The insignificant and totally chaotic antichrist Particle occasionally appraoches only to be driven away by the majority of the other particles.
The exact reason for this particles existence is a mystery to all as it appears to serve no useful purpose. (also well done)

Reply:
But this is the only particle that has single atomically done anything new in the Sydney chess scene in the past 10 years probably, and had to overcome a quantum of opposing particles constantly colliding. Maybe a dark power with such a name but all the firepower of the forces of light could not extinguish. Is fashioned on anti-matter.

Spiny Norman
07-09-2004, 05:44 PM
Feel free to tell, if you feel so inclined.

Probably not a lot of value to be derived from that. Without knowing me as a person its pretty hard to understand the significance of the personal experiences I've had (and I've had some doosies) that seem extraordinarily unlikely (from a mathematical likelihood point of view).

e.g. I can tell you until I'm blue in the face that I'm a seriously logical thinker, but until you know the sort of person that I am (for yourself) you can't assess the impact my experiences have had in modifying that basically logical core.


In my experience, most people who argue from personal experience do so on the basis of either an extremely unlikely and convenient event, or else some sob story about how they had ruined their life with bad lifestyle choices when the Lord reached out a hand.

I agee. Certainly my life experiences fall partly into one category and partly into the other. But I don't think either is necessarily valuable in "proving God's existence". They simply show why one normally logical, intelligent, sensible person believes that He does exist, based on a consistent "testing of the proposition" (e.g. my life choices consistently reflecting my beliefs and resulting in "coincidences" that further reinforce those beliefs).

Infuriating to some I suppose. It annoys me sometimes too ... <chuckles>.


It would be interesting to hear something different to the above. These two common "experiences" are useful in understanding why a given individual believes but contribute nothing to the question of whether God exists.

I'm not going to try to convince anyone here that "God exists".

But I believe He does. I believe I'm a rational person. I can't prove either of those premises though.

I don't believe anyone can. Its a faith equation ... trying to "approach God" through any other mechanism seems futile to me ...

Cheers,

Frosty

arosar
07-09-2004, 05:52 PM
I'm not going to try to convince anyone here that "God exists".

But I believe He does. I believe I'm a rational person. I can't prove either of those premises though.

I don't believe anyone can. Its a faith equation ... trying to "approach God" through any other mechanism seems futile to me ...

And that ought to be good enough for everyone - atheists and believers alike. Problem with some of our resident so called rational atheists is that they're a bit too rabid and downright disrespectful the f**kers.

AR

Kevin Bonham
07-09-2004, 06:31 PM
I agee. Certainly my life experiences fall partly into one category and partly into the other. But I don't think either is necessarily valuable in "proving God's existence". They simply show why one normally logical, intelligent, sensible person believes that He does exist, based on a consistent "testing of the proposition" (e.g. my life choices consistently reflecting my beliefs and resulting in "coincidences" that further reinforce those beliefs).

It's really impossible for me to comment on claims like this either way without knowing an extraordinarily great amount of detail about the person in question. Coincidence is a very tricky beast. When it happens and reinforces a pattern we were expecting it leaps out at us like a sign. When it could have happened and fails to happen we forget about it five minutes later. And yet, there could be individuals who persistently put their faith or other such belief to the test and keep getting suggestive results, at least over a certain number of samples. Indeed with the number of people out there looking for signs there would probably be some such cases by chance.

AR - you have left yourself wiiiiiiide open there. I reckon I'll let Garvin do the honours this time. :lol:

Paul S
07-09-2004, 11:50 PM
But this is the only particle that has single atomically done anything new in the Sydney chess scene in the past 10 years probably, and had to overcome a quantum of opposing particles constantly colliding. Maybe a dark power with such a name but all the firepower of the forces of light could not extinguish. Is fashioned on anti-matter.

Don't flatter yourself, Peter! From where I sit, you are more like a "vacuum cleaner without a dustbag" than a genuine reformer of NSW (and ACT) chess.

Paul S
07-09-2004, 11:54 PM
The mysterious Richards Particle is a theortetical particle with a postulated half-life of between 30-60 years and is in an extremely slowly decaying orbit (to the extent that it appears to be chasing itself) around the Gletsos Particle which at its centre has the mystical Glicko2 Particle. Due to the Richards Particle's almost infinitessimal mass any collision with the Gletsos Particle would have no effect whatsoever. This however will never actually happen as the closer the Richards particle approaches the Gletsos particle the stronger the resistence exerted upon it. This is due to the Gletsos Particles ability to draw upon the resources of the Glicko2 Particle.
Along with the Richards Particle is the equally mysterious Sweeney Particle. This particle although similar to the Richards Particle orbits the Gletsos Particle in mostly random patterns but occasionaly manages to either duplicate a previous orbit or on several occasions be in some sort of relationship with the Richards Particle where both particles move in a very close proximity to each other. The attraction these two particles exhibit towards each other is inversely proportional to their proximity to the Gletsos Particle.
Both the Richards and Sweeney particles have at times entirely disappeared up themselves (some theorise into another dimension) only to eventually reappear in their previous positons.

Also orbiting the Gletsos Particle are the Cox and Bonham Particles. Both these particles have been know to collide with the Richards and Sweeney particles diverting their trajectories and causing them to completely change course.

A relatively new particle to enter the proximity of these other particles has been the Canfell Particle. Based on observations of the Glicko Particle it is clear the Canfell Particle is the strongest of the above mentioned particles.
It has demonstrated virtual disdain for the Richards Particle (more so even than the Gletsos Particles reactions to the Richards and Sweeney particles)and has recently taken to directly colliding it. This collision has resulted in no effect whatsoever on the Canfell Particle. What effect it may have on the miniscule Richards Particle is yet to be determined.

The insignificant and totally chaotic antichrist Particle occasionally appraoches only to be driven away by the majority of the other particles.
The exact reason for this particles existence is a mystery to all as it appears to serve no useful purpose.

A number of other particles have been known to approach the Gletsos Particle to commune in some ritualistic manner so as to obtain enlightenment from the Glicko2 particle. Their needs satisified they depart. Some return on a regular basis for renewal of enlightenment from the Glicko2 Particle.

Excellent post, Bill!!!

This is (so far and IMHO) the post of the year!

:clap: :clap: :clap:

PHAT
08-09-2004, 12:39 AM
Don't flatter yourself, Peter! From where I sit, you are more like a "vacuum cleaner without a dustbag" than a genuine reformer of NSW (and ACT) chess.

And Bill is a vacuum cleaner without an off switch. :owned:

Bill Gletsos
08-09-2004, 12:52 AM
And Bill is a vacuum cleaner without an off switch. :owned:
Yes, well you demonstrated you abilties for doing nothing and making no contribution whatsoever, for everyone to see whilst you were on Council.
You are just a do nothing blowhard.

PHAT
08-09-2004, 01:05 AM
Yes, well you demonstrated you abilties for doing nothing and making no contribution whatsoever, for everyone to see whilst you were on Council.
You are just a do nothing blowhard.

You are such a nong you missed the "and you are a vaccum cleaner without an on switch."


BTW, I do not buy the idea that your "particals" post was entirely your own. I reckon you have seen "particles" piece somewhere else and simply adapted it idea to your own circumstances. Call me scepical, but that post of yours was sooooo unBill, that I do not buy it.

Bill Gletsos
08-09-2004, 01:09 AM
You are such a nong you missed the "and you are a vaccum cleaner without an on switch."


BTW, I do not buy the idea that your "particals" post was entirely your own. I reckon you have seen "particles" piece somewhere else and simply adapted it idea to your own circumstances. Call me scepical, but that post of yours was sooooo unBill, that I do not buy it.
I'm more prone to call you a moron.
You can thjink what you like dipstick, but it was completely original.
In fact it would have been longer if I hadnt had to go and leave the office for a meeting.

PHAT
08-09-2004, 01:30 AM
I'm more prone to call you a moron.
You can thjink what you like dipstick, but it was completely original.
In fact it would have been longer if I hadnt had to go and leave the office for a meeting.

"Moron", "dipstick". :clap: Originality from organality.

Bill Gletsos
08-09-2004, 01:32 AM
"Moron", "dipstick". :clap: Originality from organality.
At least I dont descend to your level where you have to resort to crudity and vulgarity.
You are a complete joke.

PHAT
08-09-2004, 01:42 AM
At least I dont descend to your level where you have to resort to crudity and vulgarity.
You are a complete joke.

I am fine, here, not a**ending to your level.

Bill Gletsos
08-09-2004, 01:46 AM
I am fine, here, not a**ending to your level.
You are the master of the a**eend.
After all you nearly always speak out it.

Kevin Bonham
08-09-2004, 01:58 AM
And Bill is a vacuum cleaner without an off switch. :owned:

Vacuums all your rubbish off the floor here without any trouble.


BTW, I do not buy the idea that your "particals" post was entirely your own.

You're just jealous.

PHAT
08-09-2004, 01:59 AM
You are the master of the a**eend.
After all you nearly always speak out it.

I think you mean "asinine". But I know you aren't too sharp, so I'll let you ride your own donkey script :owned:

Bill Gletsos
08-09-2004, 02:02 AM
I think you mean "asinine". :owned:
You cant even tell the truth in the shoout box.
You said you were going off to bed 12 minutes ago.

PHAT
08-09-2004, 02:05 AM
You cant even tell the truth in the shoout box.
You said you were going off to bed 12 minutes ago.

I was, but thought, ahhh don't worry about it. Besides, the absinth is starting to cut in with some weirdness. :cool:

JGB
08-09-2004, 05:22 PM
I was, but thought, ahhh don't worry about it. Besides, the absinth is starting to cut in with some weirdness. :cool:

Your a one and only mate. ;)

antichrist
08-09-2004, 06:50 PM
And that ought to be good enough for everyone - atheists and believers alike. Problem with some of our resident so called rational atheists is that they're a bit too rabid and downright disrespectful the f**kers.

AR

Are you talking about me. Religion belief only enters vacuums.

"Man will only be free when the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest." Paine or Voltaire

antichrist
09-09-2004, 02:49 PM
Don't flatter yourself, Peter! From where I sit, you are more like a "vacuum cleaner without a dustbag" than a genuine reformer of NSW (and ACT) chess.

You should be shirty Mr Nondescript, you did not even get a mention.

Paul S
09-09-2004, 09:10 PM
You should be shirty Mr Nondescript, you did not even get a mention.

I am not shirty at all, Peter. If I was shirty, why did I make the response I did in post #155 of this thread? :doh:

If anyone is nondescript, it is you, Peter. Did you read what Bill said about you in post #139 in this thread? That the Antichrist "particle" is insignificant and totally chaotic? :doh: I suggest you do this, Peter :wall: :wall: :wall:

I get on OK with Bill, even though we disagree on some chess matters. Like just about anyone in the "Australian Chess Community" who does about 10 times more chess admin work than me, Bill is someone I have respect for (which is more than I can say about my opinion of you!).

Peter, you delude yourself into thinking that you are some sort of "Australian Chess visionary". In reality you are like a vacuum cleaner without a dustbag, in that you only make messy situations worse (BTW this applies not only to chess related matters but also issues like Israel versus Palestine, existence of God etc). This is not just from my own personal experience with you (I had to put up with you for 5 years at Canterbury :rolleyes: !), but mainly from what others have told me about you over the last 2 years or so. Despite the biggest problem in chess being the lack of people doing the Admin work, IMHO the chess community is better off without your "help"! :evil:

To plagiarise the hit song "Give It Up" by KC and the Sunshine Band (sing to the tune of this song)................"Peter Give it Up, Give It Up, Peter Give it Up.........Han-na-Han-na-Han-na-Han-na-Han-na-Han-na-Han-na-Han-na,............. Peter Give it up, Give It Up, Peter Give It Up......Han-na-Han-na-Han-na-Han-na-Han-na-Han-na-Han-na-Han-na-Han-na............."

Spiny Norman
09-09-2004, 09:24 PM
"Man will only be free when the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest." Paine or Voltaire


I'm not familiar with the former ... but the latter is somewhat amusing, at least in respect to his predictive capabilities:

"In 100 years this book [the Christian Bible] will be forgotten and eliminated ..." Voltaire

Shortly after his death Voltaire’s private residence was converted into the headquarters of the Geneva Bible Society.

So I guess God might have a sense of humour?

Cheers,

Frosty

antichrist
10-09-2004, 12:49 PM
I'm not familiar with the former ... but the latter is somewhat amusing, at least in respect to his predictive capabilities:

"In 100 years this book [the Christian Bible] will be forgotten and eliminated ..." Voltaire

Shortly after his death Voltaire’s private residence was converted into the headquarters of the Geneva Bible Society.

So I guess God might have a sense of humour?

Cheers,

Frosty

I don't know of the case you mentioned re his residence. But the Church had a habit of trying to turn back history and re-writing it. It even had deceased free-thinkers' bones dug up, put on trial, found guilty of blasphemy and then seized all his families assets, leaving them destitute. So it does not surprise me at all what Christians get up to. That is how low they go. Yet they want respect. Just as we don't respect dictatorical commos, Nazis etc, well we should not respect Christianity.

Rincewind
10-09-2004, 12:52 PM
I don't know of the case you mentioned re his residence. But the Church had a habit of trying to turn back history and re-writing it. It even had deceased free-thinkers' bones dug up, put on trial, found guilty of blasphemy and then seized all his families assets, leaving them destitute. So it does not surprise me at all what Christians get up to. That is how low they go. Yet they want respect. Just as we don't respect dictatorical commos, Nazis etc, well we should not respect Christianity.

A more common example of that, in Voltaire's case, is his supposed death-bed recantation of his atheist position.

antichrist
10-09-2004, 12:53 PM
Paul,
I have not bothered reading you post. You should know by now that I don't really care what anyone says or think about me. Look at the public demos I have done. I have done at least a dozen like that -- all single-handed.

I am sorry to be so frank but to me you will always be Mr. Nondescript Nobody who never had an original thought. End of story.

Paul S
10-09-2004, 07:58 PM
Paul,
I have not bothered reading you post. You should know by now that I don't really care what anyone says or think about me. Look at the public demos I have done. I have done at least a dozen like that -- all single-handed.

I am sorry to be so frank but to me you will always be Mr. Nondescript Nobody who never had an original thought. End of story.

Peter

Rest assured that I am NOT concerned about your opinion of me!

Spiny Norman
11-09-2004, 08:22 AM
I don't know of the case you mentioned re his residence.

It'd be easy enough to verify, one way of the other.


But the Church had a habit of trying to turn back history and re-writing it. It even had deceased free-thinkers' bones dug up, put on trial, found guilty of blasphemy and then seized all his families assets, leaving them destitute. So it does not surprise me at all what Christians get up to. That is how low they go. Yet they want respect. Just as we don't respect dictatorical commos, Nazis etc, well we should not respect Christianity.

<laughing> ... look, if you can't see the funny side of a Bible Society setting up in Voltaire's house, fair enough.

But don't bother drag in all this other stuff.

You've got your (clearly staked out) position ... and so have I ... not worth debating it.

Cheers,

Frosty

antichrist
11-09-2004, 01:02 PM
It'd be easy enough to verify, one way of the other.



<laughing> ... look, if you can't see the funny side of a Bible Society setting up in Voltaire's house, fair enough.

But don't bother drag in all this other stuff.

You've got your (clearly staked out) position ... and so have I ... not worth debating it.

Cheers,

Frosty

Reply: If they paid for the house fair enough. But it is not funny leaving a fatherless family destitute because they could not catch and burn him at the stake when he was alive. The lazy priests got fat off someone else's back.

Spiny Norman
11-09-2004, 06:11 PM
Reply: If they paid for the house fair enough.

No idea whether they did, or didn't. I hope they did ...



But it is not funny leaving a fatherless family destitute because they could not catch and burn him at the stake when he was alive. The lazy priests got fat off someone else's back.


I don't think that's funny either.

Christianity (as opposed to church, or religion) is supposed to be against that sort of thing.

A lot of nasty stuff has been done over the centuries. None of the nasty stuff is even remotely defensible.

FWIW, I'm against it too ... so lets agree on that?

Regards,

Frosty

antichrist
12-09-2004, 11:55 AM
No idea whether they did, or didn't. I hope they did ...





I don't think that's funny either.

Christianity (as opposed to church, or religion) is supposed to be against that sort of thing.

A lot of nasty stuff has been done over the centuries. None of the nasty stuff is even remotely defensible.

FWIW, I'm against it too ... so lets agree on that?

Regards,

Frosty

If you believe in souls and afterlife well the nasty stuff can be justified. The rationale was to burn the body to save the soul. So do you believe in souls and afterlife??

Spiny Norman
12-09-2004, 12:39 PM
If you believe in souls and afterlife well the nasty stuff can be justified. The rationale was to burn the body to save the soul. So do you believe in souls and afterlife??

Yep.

Frosty

antichrist
12-09-2004, 12:43 PM
Yep.

Frosty

Well can't burning at the stake be justified? Surely it is better than letting people like myself burn forever in hell, remember f-o-r-e-v-e-r. If you are so certain in your knowledge than burn me, you re doing me a favour. You aren't all of a sudden are you.

Spiny Norman
12-09-2004, 12:51 PM
Well can't burning at the stake be justified? Surely it is better than letting people like myself burn forever in hell, remember f-o-r-e-v-e-r. If you are so certain in your knowledge than burn me, you re doing me a favour. You aren't all of a sudden are you.

No chance of me "burning you" ... either physically, or verbally.

You'll make your own choices about your life, and I'll make my choices about mine.

I find it difficult to conceive of an outcome where both our points of view turn out to be correct.

So I guess, after we're both dead-n-buried (or burned???<g>) we'll either find out that I was right (and you're in deep sh*t) ... or I was wrong ... in which case there is no afterlife, no soul ... so no harm done (at least, no harm done PROVIDED I haven't burned you or anyone else in this life).

Cheers,

Frosty

antichrist
12-09-2004, 01:36 PM
No chance of me "burning you" ... either physically, or verbally.

You'll make your own choices about your life, and I'll make my choices about mine.

I find it difficult to conceive of an outcome where both our points of view turn out to be correct.

So I guess, after we're both dead-n-buried (or burned???<g>) we'll either find out that I was right (and you're in deep sh*t) ... or I was wrong ... in which case there is no afterlife, no soul ... so no harm done (at least, no harm done PROVIDED I haven't burned you or anyone else in this life).

Cheers,
-----------------

Frosty


Reply:
There is harm done if you are wrong -- you have sacrificed your integrity and intelligence for primitive superstition. We only way we are superior to the apes is our reasoning, you are tossing that away.

What about the other different stories about afterlife that you conveniently ignoring? You could end up in a "hell" afterall. You are only covering one of tens of thousands of different religious scenarios.

Also it is an arrogrance to accept a belief that you cannot prove. Just as you cannot disprove other people's religions.

Spiny Norman
12-09-2004, 01:44 PM
Reply:
There is harm done if you are wrong -- you have sacrificed your integrity and intelligence for primitive superstition. We only way we are superior to the apes is our reasoning, you are tossing that away.

What about the other different stories about afterlife that you conveniently ignoring? You could end up in a "hell" afterall. You are only covering one of tens of thousands of different religious scenarios.

Also it is an arrogrance to accept a belief that you cannot prove. Just as you cannot disprove other people's religions.

Live and let live ... I have no axe to grind here.

Cheers,

Steve

antichrist
12-09-2004, 02:54 PM
Live and let live ... I have no axe to grind here.

Cheers,

Steve

Steve who, you know who are you, I'm a boy,

Alan Shore
12-09-2004, 03:53 PM
Steve who, you know who are you, I'm a boy,

WTF?

Spiny Norman
12-09-2004, 03:55 PM
Steve who, you know who are you, I'm a boy,

Que?

For crying out loud, use a grammar checker or something!

Frosty

Rincewind
12-09-2004, 04:51 PM
So I guess, after we're both dead-n-buried (or burned???<g>) we'll either find out that I was right (and you're in deep sh*t) ... or I was wrong ... in which case there is no afterlife, no soul ... so no harm done (at least, no harm done PROVIDED I haven't burned you or anyone else in this life).

There is a third option. There is a supreme being but one who who has gone to such incredible lengths to keep his identity secret. (S)He rewards those in the afterlife only those who were atheists in this life. Theists of all demoninations spend the rest of eternity trapped in the Telstra IVR from hell.

In which case I'm OK and you're in deep sh*t. ;)

Actually, there are an infinite number of "possible" scenarios with various paybacks but all are completely contrived and meaningful probabilities cannot be ascribed to any of them. Therefore any Pascal's wager analysis of the advantages of theism is fundamentally flawed. (No pun intended). But no doubt, you already knew that.

Spiny Norman
12-09-2004, 05:25 PM
Theists of all demoninations spend the rest of eternity trapped in the Telstra IVR from hell. In which case I'm OK and you're in deep sh*t. ;)

Now ... ain't THAT the truth!

<chuckles>

Frosty

antichrist
13-09-2004, 12:08 PM
Que?

For crying out loud, use a grammar checker or something!

Frosty

Haven't you seen the add on SBS re an oldie goes to youngie in record shop after "The Who", hip hoppie doesn't know what he is on about, so oldie quotes a few of their titles. HH thinks he is being propositioned so calls manager.

There is a few more but can't remember.

The Who may be mysterious but we do know that they did exist.

Spiny Norman
13-09-2004, 11:40 PM
Haven't you seen the add on SBS re an oldie goes to youngie in record shop after "The Who", hip hoppie doesn't know what he is on about, so oldie quotes a few of their titles. HH thinks he is being propositioned so calls manager.

Ah, now that you mention it, I have seen it ... the older I get, the slower I am on the uptake.

Frosty

antichrist
15-09-2004, 03:17 PM
Ah, now that you mention it, I have seen it ... the older I get, the slower I am on the uptake.

Frosty

Before you signed yourself off as "Steve", Steve who??

Spiny Norman
15-09-2004, 03:31 PM
Before you signed yourself off as "Steve", Steve who??

Ah, Stephen Frost. Most people call me Steve. Or "Frosty". My first company was called "Frostbyte" because I'm in the IT space.

Did you think I was someone else ... or just curious?

I'm in the outer-eastern suburbs of Melb. Used to play at Ringwood Chess Club, back when it existed a long time ago.

Average strength player I guess ... I think the highest formal rating I ever got was around 1390 but that was as a junior ... I think my playing strength was probably more around the 1600 mark the year I won the club championship. Some of the stronger players had moved on from the club by that time, so its hard to judge, but I scored about 7/8 from memory (would have to check my scorebook).

Cheers,

Steve a.k.a Frosty

antichrist
15-09-2004, 04:40 PM
I just got to realise that JC was a big hypocrite. He says to others "give unto Caesers what is Caesers..." but when Caesers subordinate sentences him to death he flies the pen after only 36 hours. Where is truth in sentencing?

Spiny Norman
15-09-2004, 05:00 PM
I just got to realise that JC was a big hypocrite. He says to others "give unto Caesers what is Caesers..." but when Caesers subordinate sentences him to death he flies the pen after only 36 hours. Where is truth in sentencing?

Yeah, He got a better offer ... didn't want to hang around.

Frosty

Rincewind
15-09-2004, 08:45 PM
I just got to realise that JC was a big hypocrite. He says to others "give unto Caesers what is Caesers..." but when Caesers subordinate sentences him to death he flies the pen after only 36 hours. Where is truth in sentencing?

I don't think he believed his life was Caesar's to take.

antichrist
16-09-2004, 02:42 PM
I don't think he believed his life was Caesar's to take.

But you haven't disputed the point that JC appears hyprocritical? To be a moral teacher one has to be seen to be consistent and moral.

He was lucky that John Laws did not rule the airwaves like he does now, the shock jockeys would be having a field day. I'm going to report him to Pauline Hanson, she is running again. He won't be saying thank God for that - will he!
What would he be saying in his prediciment??

Rincewind
16-09-2004, 05:24 PM
But you haven't disputed the point that JC appears hyprocritical? To be a moral teacher one has to be seen to be consistent and moral.

He was lucky that John Laws did not rule the airwaves like he does now, the shock jockeys would be having a field day. I'm going to report him to Pauline Hanson, she is running again. He won't be saying thank God for that - will he!
What would he be saying in his prediciment??

No but the give to Caesar what is Caesar's was more directed at the question of whether one should pay taxes not whether Caesar has the right to take the life of a Judean. By most accounts Jesus, or the person(s) he was based on was quite rebellious and would not have been siding with the Roman's on that particular question.

antichrist
17-09-2004, 05:33 PM
No but the give to Caesar what is Caesar's was more directed at the question of whether one should pay taxes not whether Caesar has the right to take the life of a Judean. By most accounts Jesus, or the person(s) he was based on was quite rebellious and would not have been siding with the Roman's on that particular question.

I thought both concepts came under the same cateorgy (?) - we often hear of "money or your life". If Caeser could take one well then he could also take the other.

Rincewind
17-09-2004, 09:41 PM
I thought both concepts came under the same cateorgy (?) - we often hear of "money or your life". If Caeser could take one well then he could also take the other.

That some people may be willing to trade one for the other doesn't necessarily equate to the same thing.

antichrist
18-09-2004, 02:57 PM
If for argument's sake JC did exist and returned wouldn't there be a diplomatic standoff. The Vatican would be giving him amnesty while Rome would want him to complete his capital punishment.

Spiny Norman
18-09-2004, 03:34 PM
If for argument's sake JC did exist and returned wouldn't there be a diplomatic standoff. The Vatican would be giving him amnesty while Rome would want him to complete his capital punishment.

No stand-off IMO ... I'll bet that Roman law only said that you had to be nailed to the cross until you were dead ... probably says nothing at all about the occasional resurrection event.

So I reckon He did his time, paid His debt to society, His rehabilitation is complete.

Frosty.

antichrist
19-09-2004, 12:28 PM
[QUOTE=Frosty]No stand-off IMO ... I'll bet that Roman law only said that you had to be nailed to the cross until you were dead ... probably says nothing at all about the occasional resurrection event.

So I reckon He did his time, paid His debt to society, His rehabilitation is complete.


Reply:
If a life sentence is 10 years a death penalty should be at least double that. If he did not want to stay dead he should not have let them kill him. He only made a fool of them and himself. What moral lesson is there to be learnt, if you can escape punishment it is okay?

antichrist
19-09-2004, 12:45 PM
According to SMH in the Middle Ages the Germans believed that sneezing momentarily expelled the soul from the body, allowing demons to enter through the nose.

The Muslims of Egypt are known to say "Praise be to Allah" when someone sneezes, as a gesture of religious celebration, they think it is a cause for great joy because the world was created out of one of Allah's sneezes.

So what does all this mean -- that religions know nothing and what they believe is only relative to time and place.

arosar
21-09-2004, 01:29 PM
As if youse boys haven't had enough 'does God exist' forums . . . well, here's a forum on the NY Times site: http://forums.nytimes.com/top/opinion/readersopinions/forums/national/thequestionofgod/index.html?page=recent

Go on antichrist . . . have fun!

AR

antichrist
21-09-2004, 10:35 PM
As if youse boys haven't had enough 'does God exist' forums . . . well, here's a forum on the NY Times site: http://forums.nytimes.com/top/opinion/readersopinions/forums/national/thequestionofgod/index.html?page=recent

Go on antichrist . . . have fun!

AR

I think they want me to pay money which is against my religion. Will check out again later. thanks. I will stir them don't you worry.

antichrist
26-09-2004, 02:57 PM
On Sept 21 Ultra-Orthodox Jews swing chickens above their head during the Kaparot Ceremony, supposed to transfer the sins of the past year to the chicken and is performed before Yom Kippur.

Now what can we extract out of this?

Sin exists.
That these Jews do not want to be responsible for their own sins.
Presumably they must believe that chickens also have souls, for the sins to be transferred to. If so this is a departure from traditional thought.
They don't care for chickens that much -- they are scapechickens.

If you start with a stupid conclusion, that God exists, then you must continually come up with equally-stupid supporting ritual etc. to support your original point. What have the chickens done to hurt anyone.

Alan Shore
26-09-2004, 03:31 PM
On Sept 21 Ultra-Orthodox Jews swing chickens above their head during the Kaparot Ceremony, supposed to transfer the sins of the past year to the chicken and is performed before Yom Kippur.

Now what can we extract out of this?

Sin exists.
That these Jews do not want to be responsible for their own sins.
Presumably they must believe that chickens also have souls, for the sins to be transferred to. If so this is a departure from traditional thought.
They don't care for chickens that much -- they are scapechickens.

If you start with a stupid conclusion, that God exists, then you must continually come up with equally-stupid supporting ritual etc. to support your original point. What have the chickens done to hurt anyone.

You really are a first-class fool aren't you? You do not even pretend to understand the context of these things and what they represent so any comment from you is for the most part, worthless.

antichrist
27-09-2004, 03:37 PM
You really are a first-class fool aren't you? You do not even pretend to understand the context of these things and what they represent so any comment from you is for the most part, worthless.

AC:
How would you like it if the pigs held a ceremony transferring their waste products to Jews!! Animal liberation!

Now the boot is on the other hoof you don't like it -- do you. Do onto others....

Don't accuse me of being anti-Semitic, I pick on all religions equally.

antichrist
29-09-2004, 05:48 PM
According to the stupid old OT, Noah and his kin were the only ones to survive the great flood.

What are the implications:

1.
Noah was a Jew so therefore all decendents of him have Jewish blood.
2.
His family were the only ones that survived, therefore everyone on Earth are their decendants and are Jews.
3.
Where have the other races come from, for e.g., Chinese, Africans blah blah.
4.
Everyone is allowed to go and live in Israel.

Spiny Norman
29-09-2004, 09:05 PM
Hmmm, looks like the fish aren't biting tonight.

Try a different river ... this one's all fished out.

Frosty ;)

p.s. Noah predates the Jews (my recollection is that they track their heritage back to Abram/Abraham, who hailed from somewhere roughly where Iraq is today) ... so Noah was simply "middle eastern" ... thus, your first two questions seem to be based on a false premise? The Palestinians would be just as much "sons of Noah" as the next bloke.

p.p.s. Yeah, yeah, simply posting is a "bite" ... but I do so ENJOY your posts!

antichrist
01-10-2004, 10:48 AM
[/QUOTE]

If Noah predates the Jews that is conceding that religious beliefs are subject to cultural evolution, that is only relative and not absolute. Don't let them hear you say that. Jews have also told me that they originally came from present Iraqi region maybe linking them to linage.

Re sons of Noah does that include all the different races? So Noah is another Eve.

Spiny Norman
01-10-2004, 03:45 PM
If Noah predates the Jews that is conceding that religious beliefs are subject to cultural evolution, that is only relative and not absolute.

Its conceding that Jews, Arabs and others have a common ancestry or lineage (which seemingly must be true, regardless of whether one believes in evolution or special creation).

Cultural and religous are closely intertwined, especially in that part of the world. Both evolve over time ... new revelations, new understanding, adjustments to the culture of the moment ... but usually with consistent core beliefs (so I guess that means tweaking around the edges, but not fundamental changes).

Yes, beliefs change. I don't hold to ALL the beliefs I held when I was a child. My understanding has grown. I have put away some of the childish things and replaced them with something more robust, and "deeper".

The danger is going down the road of "core" and "non-core" promises (oops, i meant beliefs).

I thought that much of the Palestinian (and Arab generally?) ancestry was derived from Noah. That's what the Bible teaches anyway. The Jewish people hold that their group came from one of the sons of Noah. There's quite a detailed list in Genesis of what people groups came from what lineage.

Frosty

antichrist
01-10-2004, 05:47 PM
I have a book somewhere that says ancient Judaism had also a female god, a pair.

But we cannot equate creation with evolution because one claims hundreds of thousands of years of human existence for which ancient religions cannot account for. That is man living in ignorance and sin.... without god.

The Islamic version of paradise is the one that attract me but the trouble is that it does not exist.

arosar
14-10-2004, 07:08 PM
For your reading: http://chronicle.com/temp/reprint.php?id=fpd2zupjokkpo9yhqb7pls8b2jag2sv

AR

antichrist
15-10-2004, 12:05 PM
[QUOTE=antichrist]I have a book somewhere that says ancient Judaism had also a female god, a pair.

But we cannot equate creation with evolution because one claims hundreds of thousands of years of human existence for which ancient religions cannot account for. That is man living in ignorance and sin.... without god.

The Islamic version of paradise is the one that attracts me but the trouble is that it does not exist.

antichrist
20-10-2004, 04:26 PM
In today's SMH it tells that according to Orthodox Christianity all the homosexuals were banished by an angel in time for Jesus's arrival (maybe be could not stand the competition). There we have it! That is what I cannot fathom, gay Catholics etc. who have nothing but p-o-o-p put on them by the Church but still want to be Catholics - tell them to shove it.

antichrist
09-11-2004, 11:28 AM
On TV the other night it showed a Taiwanese man in a lion's cage being mauled. What we he doing in there? Trying to convert the lions to Christianity and claimed God would protect him. Religious stupidity has no bounds!

arosar
09-11-2004, 11:35 AM
Surely you must now be called the BB's poster boy for fundamentalist atheists. Leave christians alone. And christians leave atheists alone.

Peter mate, your constant harpin' on about this and that is friggin' getting annoying. You don't like religious people. You hate jews. We get it already OK!

AR

antichrist
09-11-2004, 11:53 AM
Surely you must now be called the BB's poster boy for fundamentalist atheists. Leave christians alone. And christians leave atheists alone.

Peter mate, your constant harpin' on about this and that is friggin' getting annoying. You don't like religious people. You hate jews. We get it already OK!

AR

I don't hate Jews!! I hate what some doing to my blood brothers and getting away with due to general racism towards Arabs.

Australia has taken a position of supporting the building the separation wall in Palestine, i.e., condoning another great land robbery and more misery.
Australians collectively are responsible for their govt's actions so I am just reminding them.

When your country was in crisis (when you still in shorts) I did participate in demos etc against the human rights abuse taking place there. In that time someone very close to me nearly knocked a Philipino soldier out because of a gun being pointed at him. The soldiers thought they could do anything.

arosar
09-11-2004, 12:14 PM
When your country was in crisis (when you still in shorts) I did participate in demos etc against the human rights abuse taking place there. In that time someone very close to me nearly knocked a Philipino soldier out because of a gun being pointed at him. The soldiers thought they could do anything.

Look dude, thanks very much that. The entire Filipino nation is grateful.

But honestly, you'd be better off picketing Michael Costa's offices and get him to improve train services to and from Bankstown. Speaking of Bankstown, how about you badger your own kind, those lebos, to quit trying to turn Bankstown and surrounding suburbs into the new Beirut. If they don't stop, it won't be long before we see Leopard tanks on my street mate.

AR

antichrist
10-11-2004, 04:59 PM
Look dude, thanks very much that. The entire Filipino nation is grateful.

But honestly, you'd be better off picketing Michael Costa's offices and get him to improve train services to and from Bankstown. Speaking of Bankstown, how about you badger your own kind, those lebos, to quit trying to turn Bankstown and surrounding suburbs into the new Beirut. If they don't stop, it won't be long before we see Leopard tanks on my street mate.

AR

Would you believe that I have not been there for years. I believe they are pretty terrible there. I think it is too late to turn the place around. Bad luck.

When I was giving the Pope what for many years ago my own cousins from Punchbowl set upon me. They didn't know who I was. I knew to protect my head. They are religious fanatics. You can't go near the women either or they will be cut out.

antichrist
13-11-2004, 05:55 PM
[QUOTE=arosar]Look dude, thanks very much that. The entire Filipino nation is grateful.

I will have you know that a year ago a friend working for Nesle's in RP and all rest of the workers were laid off due to their going on strike trying to get decent wages. If you cared you could arrange a boycott of their products in Aussie, we used to do it before. I will even help you.

antichrist
14-11-2004, 02:59 AM
Well not only is the writing forbidden but also the use of anything electronic (carrying over from the prohibition of fire) so using those digital clocks is out too. I remember from the 2000 Aus Junior that a certain Jewish someone I know had to get a half-point bye on the Saturday. (They wouldn't even give him a full point bye.. how rude!)

That somebody should not have been given any bye for such a feeble reason. Imagine if everyone turned up with their superstitious reasons why they could not play on a certin day, comps would be thrown into dissray.

Fundantalist Jews could refuse to play female players or demand that declare if they are having their monthlies, as that would deem them unclean and unfit to mix with such puritans.

I wonder if Jewish fundamentalists obey traffic lights on the Sabbath, even as pedestrians or do they look the other way and get wiped out?? If they had true convictions they would put their faith to the test, knowing that if get slaughtered they would get to paradise.

I also wonder if they honour electronic sirens on the Sabbath warning of a terrorist attack, or would they delay launchng one of their nuke bombs on the Sabbath, or those in the army would not use electronic sensors or weapons on the Sabbath. No they abuse their Sabbath to avoid military call-up. Their fundamentalist religious arrogance is the straw they breaks the camel's back of the Palestinians, stealing so-called Biblical lands etc. and an apartheid/sectarian state. That is they cause a lot of trouble and then avoid the consequences by avoiding the military call up.

All fundamentalist religions contain contradictions and dysfunctionalism. As I half expect this post to be sent to hell I have also posted in Does God Exist thread.

P.S. If a comp went over middnight in ordinary and daily saving time and hence into the Sabbath would the Fundamentalist Jew then resign their game etc.. Would ordinary observnt Jews stop recording their moves or looking at the electronic clock.

arosar
16-11-2004, 12:00 PM
Did youse blokes see that new report about some scientist who discovered the 'God gene'? Apparently belief is controlled by this gene.

AR

Spiny Norman
16-11-2004, 05:58 PM
Did youse blokes see that new report about some scientist who discovered the 'God gene'? Apparently belief is controlled by this gene.


Way-hay!!! :owned: I got me one of dem genes!

<whispers level=quietly to self>
I think I got something AR hasn't got ... :cool: ... sssshhhhhh ...
</whispers>

antichrist
16-11-2004, 09:47 PM
Did youse blokes see that new report about some scientist who discovered the 'God gene'? Apparently belief is controlled by this gene.

AR

This come out at least a year ago. Scientists could stimlate a certain gene or action and the person would get a high similar to religion. Now you know why I am against such false beliefs. Science sets up free but the misinformed don't want to know about it, they want to stay superstitous. They are insulting science. I must rave you know how I am.

Alan Shore
16-11-2004, 09:59 PM
Did youse blokes see that new report about some scientist who discovered the 'God gene'? Apparently belief is controlled by this gene.

AR

Is this actually something that controls belief or a part of the brain that simulates what may be described as a powerful 'religious experience'? I'll assume it's the latter because I heard of that one myself. A similar thing was performed by stimulating the hypothalamus and simulating an 'out-of-body' experience.


This come out at least a year ago. Scientists could stimlate a certain gene or action and the person would get a high similar to religion. Now you know why I am against such false beliefs. Science sets up free but the misinformed don't want to know about it, they want to stay superstitous. They are insulting science. I must rave you know how I am.

Couldn't you make the same comparison between sex and masturbation? You're stimulating the area but not for its true intended purpose ;)

Cat
16-11-2004, 11:52 PM
Is this actually something that controls belief or a part of the brain that simulates what may be described as a powerful 'religious experience'? I'll assume it's the latter because I heard of that one myself. A similar thing was performed by stimulating the hypothalamus and simulating an 'out-of-body' experience.



Robert Winston performed studies on identical twins reared apart and found a very strong correlation to propensity to religious belief. Those studies are a few years old now.

Alan Shore
16-11-2004, 11:57 PM
Robert Winston performed studies on identical twins reared apart and found a very strong correlation to propensity to religious belief. Those studies are a few years old now.

Wouldn't surprise me. Those twin studies show some amazing correlations...

I remember this one where these two ended up both marrying girls that looked the same and had the same name, they both were police officers, they both had mustaches and I think there was more too but those things are startling enough.

antichrist
17-11-2004, 05:51 PM
BD:Couldn't you make the same comparison between sex and masturbation? You're stimulating the area but not for its true intended purpose
__________________

I don't have experience with masturbation - I will leave that to you the expert, but do consider religion "communal wanking". The only time you will hear that word from me on BB.

A big difference between the sexual and god stimulation is with the maturbation where there is smoke there is fire. Whereas the god variety, if we accept that nothing can come nothing, it is only a mirage or illusion.

antichrist
17-11-2004, 05:55 PM
AC: Fundantalist Jews could refuse to play female players or demand that declare if they are having their monthlies, as that would deem them unclean and unfit to mix with such puritans.

Bruce
How could you let this one go to the keeper and the rest of the post.

Someone has to defend the indefensible.

Alan Shore
17-11-2004, 09:35 PM
Because you are not worthy of response Peter. Replying to your tripe would only waste valuable time. Come back when you have something intelligent to say.. guess I'll see you in about 10,000 years then!

antichrist
18-11-2004, 06:14 PM
Because you are not worthy of response Peter. Replying to your tripe would only waste valuable time. Come back when you have something intelligent to say.. guess I'll see you in about 10,000 years then!

I will have you know that my comments have been original as far as I am concerned, i.e., thought them up myself. But I have since the same arguments brought up in SMH by feature writers and letters to editor.
So I am not alone. One was reprinted from a Guardian feature article, saying exactly the same thing.

I consider many of you have no arguments so only try to denigrate the opponent. You can all hehaw together as they do in church, it still amounts to nothing.

I have been told by people who have lived in Israel that there are even Jewish intellectuals who refuse to accept the State of Israel because of the injust method it was established, how it trod over other people's human rights. Uri Daniel's type I guess. Will send to Blood on Hands thead as well.

JGB
22-11-2004, 05:36 AM
I have been told by people who have lived in Israel that there are even Jewish intellectuals who refuse to accept the State of Israel because of the injust method it was established, how it trod over other people's human rights. Uri Daniel's type I guess. Will send to Blood on Hands thead as well.

How or why could these people call themselves a member of the state of Israel, and regard themselves as intellectuals if they were to remain in the very nation that they regard the very method by which it was established to be unjust?

I don't regard the way the English Colonised Australia as just, but I do accept it and am very proud citizen of the nation of Australia.

antichrist
22-11-2004, 02:42 PM
How or why could these people call themselves a member of the state of Israel, and regard themselves as intellectuals if they were to remain in the very nation that they regard the very method by which it was established to be unjust?

I don't regard the way the English Colonised Australia as just, but I do accept it and am very proud citizen of the nation of Australia.

AC:
There are some very well respected, intellectual people in Austalia who say we cannot hold our head up high until we take responsibility for our past.

These people could be staying in Israel for a number of reasons, they may not be able to obtain permanent residence in another country and their families are there, and maybe they want to stay and fix the problem of a serious injustice and which prevents the Jewish state from been legitimate in the eyes of many people. If they were to run away they would also be criticised!

In discussion with my friend Ophir last night, he likes to repeat and repeat that Arafat was a terrorist (standard Israeli tactic), but then immediately conceded when I mentioned Begin's name. Also could not argue against that Arafat does not have the authority to sign away other people's right of return to their occupied terrorities, i.e., Israel. will t/f to Blood on Hands thread

JGB
26-11-2004, 12:28 AM
God must exist, Chessbase even claims to know which country is his own, but sadly they dont state much more. :(
http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=2027
Antichrist, I hope your not devistated? ;)

arosar
26-11-2004, 08:24 AM
Buy today's AFR.

AR

antichrist
26-11-2004, 04:18 PM
God must exist, Chessbase even claims to know which country is his own, but sadly they dont state much more. :(
http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=2027
Antichrist, I hope your not devistated? ;)

I entered that thread and could not see the god connection. I was invited to that place about ten years ago to give a talk on God's (non) existence , I should have went.

Was it Neitzche who said "If God does exist we would have to kill Him"?

antichrist
26-11-2004, 04:19 PM
Buy today's AFR.

AR

what does it have in it? I will try and check out.

Goughfather
28-11-2004, 11:23 PM
I entered that thread and could not see the god connection. I was invited to that place about ten years ago to give a talk on God's (non) existence , I should have went.

Was it Neitzche who said "If God does exist we would have to kill Him"?

Are you sure that this quote wasn't simply the product of your overactive imagination?

And for the love of God (pun intended), if you're going to pretend to speak about Neitzsche with some degree of falsely contrived authority - at least learn to spell his name correctly!

Alan Shore
29-11-2004, 03:12 AM
Are you sure that this quote wasn't simply the product of your overactive imagination?

And for the love of God (pun intended), if you're going to pretend to speak about Neitzsche with some degree of falsely contrived authority - at least learn to spell his name correctly!

Isn't it actually Nietzsche? :P

But right you are, that quote is wrong.. it is rather 'God is dead - we have killed him, you and I'. as part of the famous 'Madman' monologue in 'The Gay Science'.

Rincewind
29-11-2004, 10:10 AM
Isn't it actually Nietzsche? :P

Yeah, I think you're right.


But right you are, that quote is wrong.. it is rather 'God is dead - we have killed him, you and I'. as part of the famous 'Madman' monologue in 'The Gay Science'.

This is more your area than mine, but isn't actually...


Gott ist tot: aber so wie die Art der Menschen ist, wird es vielleicht noch jahrtausendlang Höhlen geben, in denen man seinen Schatten zeigt.

Which translates to...

God is dead: but considering the state the species Man is in, there will perhaps be caves, for ages yet, in which his shadow will be shown.

:P

Alan Shore
29-11-2004, 11:34 AM
Yeah, I think you're right.

This is more your area than mine, but isn't actually...

Which translates to...

God is dead: but considering the state the species Man is in, there will perhaps be caves, for ages yet, in which his shadow will be shown.

Yes, that's a further section in Gay Science - another instance of him writing the famous phrase. Rather a poignant one this passage too.

P.S. I got my grades back last night: all distinctions and high distinctions, woohoo!

Rincewind
29-11-2004, 12:12 PM
P.S. I got my grades back last night: all distinctions and high distinctions, woohoo!

:clap:

Garvinator
29-11-2004, 12:18 PM
P.S. I got my grades back last night: all distinctions and high distinctions, woohoo!
now we dont have to be subjected to posts of how little time you have for your studies and too much to do with them ;)

Alan Shore
29-11-2004, 12:52 PM
Thanks for the kudos guys. Now holidays.. I'm already getting bored though, will have to look for some work.

ursogr8
29-11-2004, 01:10 PM
P.S. I got my grades back last night: all distinctions and high distinctions, woohoo!




BD

My congratulations. Well done.
A good use of your time.

starter

Garvinator
29-11-2004, 01:12 PM
Thanks for the kudos guys. Now holidays.. I'm already getting bored though, will have to look for some work.
you could play in a chess event in eastern victoria if you wish ;) apparently i have heard there is a chess event held late December, early january :P ;) :lol: