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It seems there is a lot of controversy over this topic on Brainden.... Understandable... Well I just mean spiritual as in God but also as in ghosts and things. What is your opinion?

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I don't know everything and I don't have the confidence that you have that science has long term useful answers to the practical reality of our lives. Science has influenced our planet for what, 500 years? Longer if you include Aristotle and Plato, etc.

That "longer" uncertainty is important. It's fuzzy. Technically Science has been around for a few hundred years. But before that (with a lot of cross over) it was philosophy, a great deal of which would be considered science (if only primitive science.)

A (very) rough (and misleadingly singular) sketch might go like this:

First we used imagination and emotion to come up with speculative answers to explain the things we experienced - storms, and earthquakes, nature in all its wonder and complexity. One thread that arose from that kind of thinking was religion and belief in the "supernatural." Invisible spirits and demons cause the things we saw, it was only natural to imagine them to be much like us in many ways; intentional beings.

From there we progressed to add reasoning to the mix; the developed into philosophy (the love of wisdom) which eventually developed more rigorous systems of the search for understanding, eventually developing into science (the search for knowledge.) Which was originally known as Natural Philosophy.

Each is a progression upon the earlier.

And you might just see there a major reason for my distaste for Faith, especially the promotion of it as a god thing.

But it has not succeeded in pointing humanity in a direction that is sustainable. Life got along fine without science for what, 500 million years, conservatively? Until science has sustained itself for at least a few million years, we're not going to be sure we have reached a sustainable balance with this new and radical way of operating an ecosystem.

This implies that science is a thing, a static tool as it were, rather than a part of a steady progression.

I think sustainability is becoming a major focus for the world of late, and in the sciences in particular. The reason it wasn't is not a failure of science. but of man; for too long "we" thought that we could go on pretty much as we liked, with no consequences, with no loss of precious resources. We are now waking up to that folly.

One only has to look at those opponents to such new insights (the global warming issue comes to mind) to see that the problem is not coming from "science" but closed minded people. The very antithesis to science.

Look what we've done with our reason and our science. Population is exploding, resources are being exploited, our nest is soiling. We have the theoretical answers; but they are competing with things beyond the scope of science, such as greed, and with massive, sometimes superficially compassionate abuses of science, such as overuse of antibiotics.

Bottom line: I am very, very dissatisfied with the part of the universe that science has exposed, and want to work hard to restore our whole being's balance with it.

You seem to be conflating the things people tend to be using the discoveries of science for, and the directions some choose to take it (profit making, making our lives easier, having stuff) with the sciences that are from where that original term "Natural Philosophy" arose: The science of discovering the nature of the universe, of how things work.

The problem is in how people are using (abusing) science, not the science itself.

Look at the "Nuclear" thing. What was that; why simply the search for an improved understanding of how matter and energy operate, and their properties. Just one way of improving our understanding of the universe we live in. It was individual human interests and desires that took that information and turned it to "Useful Energy production" and weapons.

Science has little to say about which ethical or values-based choice to make most of the time. So again, I find science to be merely a small part of a balanced existence.

Of course. Science is simply one facet of Reason, as applied to understanding of the nature of things. Philosophy is much broader, encompassing much more (including questions on what "the best" life is for example.) Reason is the foundation for both, and more (depending on just how widely one defines philosophy of course.) As Plato put it all those centuries ago; Reason is what should govern the other two 'powers' of the human soul/mind (whatever you want to call it.) Note: Govern; not suppress or ignore.

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Of course that is merely anthropomorphism, as "the universe" does not have desires or intentions.

Your assertion is unprovable, unless you have learned how to prove a negative.

But yes, I was taking poetic license, since I only entertain vague whimsical notions that "the universe is alive."

That's clearly nonsense.

Most people don't 'take' Newtons laws at all, they have no clue as to what they are.

The fact that we recognise them as approximations shows that we do not take them on Faith. Only a fool would "believe" let alone "have Faith" in Newton's laws. They are simply descriptions of the phenomena observed.

Rather than argue the semantics, I'll assume you have some serious objection to my assertion that we take Newton's laws on faith. It follows directly from your narrow definition of faith: willful abandonment of reason. Reason says that Newton's laws are imperfect. We choose to wilfully neglect that. What is your objection?

Actually I have stated numerous times that "wilful" applies to active Faith, Faith can be passive as well. I now put it like this:

Faith: Belief through the (wilful) abandonment of Reason.

One tiny little problem with your definition:

It wasn't one!

It was a claim of what use it has, not a definition at all.

How is it 'useful' in dealing with things like emotions?!

Or with the unsolved questions of science?!

Faith, as I definie it, includes acceptance of systems to which reason does not apply or to which the use of reason provides insufficient, trivial or uninteresting outcomes. I posted very recently about accumulated human wisdom. An example of my definition of faith applies to faith in another person.

Here is an exaple of how faith is useful in dealing with emotions: Faith in a pastor when you're grieving over losing your child can help you to heal.

How is faith useful in dealing with the unsolved questions of science? One poses hypotheses. These hypotheses are statements of faith by my definition of that word. They are critical to the advancement of science. We must forever be playing with "what we believe on faith", thereby "thinking outside the box" in order to "imagine" new solutions to unsolved problems.

Basically your "definition" was asserting that it (whatever it is - that would have been the definition) had some uses in certain areas, and then failed to explain what any of those uses actually were!

I hope I've cleared things up a little.

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Yet again we're confronting the bad historical reputation that burdens theology. I reject anyone who would willfully ignore reason. Before we can meaningfully communicate on this subject, we have to agree that a modern discussion of theology does not have to throw away *any* accepted fact gleaned by science. Let me know if you can't accept that premise.

Absolutely. I agree with it, and to throw a name about: Richard Dawkins agrees with it. He says as much when he says that he considers the existence of gods to be a scientific question.

Okay first things first; what is "theology"; it's the study of the existence or attributes of gods. Noting wrong with that at all. I am not what I would call an anti-theist. I do not disapprove of th every idea of believing in gods. The problem I have is with how most if not all such beliefs are founded, that is poorly and irrationally.

One major stumbling block for much of what is called theology is that these theologians all too often start with the assumed premise that god (often a fairly specific one) exists, and make no effort to question, not honestly, not in a way where there is any hint that they could possibly accept the possibility that they could reach the conclusion that it does not exist after all.

Science works best with physical phenomena. Theology works best with ethical phenomena. Both have roughly equal applicability with social and mental phenomena.

That is a common NOMA kind of claim, but it simply does not hold at all! Yes science is basically about the "physical or natural." About WHAT is. But theology or religion is not Ethics - that is a branch of philosophy and has nothing intrinsically to do with gods, does it?

Theology is by definition about gods and their attributes: That is about ontology, the question of what is, not of ethics; what ought to be. Religions on the other hand, as pre scientific and philosophical though, is as far reaching as both, and makes claims about every area that they do! Pick a religion; see what it tells you about; what there is, why it is as it is, what is moral/immoral, just, beautiful... all of it!

I am sorry, it is just mindbogglingly fallacious to characterise religion in that way! I have never understood it. The merest glance at the teachings of religions will immediately demonstrate that they most certainly do not constrain themselves to questions of ethics!

It is also ridiculously presumptuous and unfounded to claim that religion can answer such questions any better (or even remotely close to as well) as we can and do through philosophical ethics.

The real divide between Science and Religions is that one seeks the truth (through reason) the ther makes claims and assertions of truth.

I understand that the word "theology" itself is part of the problem, since it originates from the Greek word for "god" and God is a hot button concept among so many thoughtful and rational people. (I never could understand why atheists would want to associate themselves so intimitely with something they deny as to include it prominently in the name of their movement.)

"We" didn't "Atheist" was a religious slur.

Be that as it may, in my world atheism and theology are complementary, not mutually exclusive. The intangible phenomena of life are inherently spiritual. Science is kludgy and cumbersome as a tool to study these things. In our era it is popular to deny the value of spiritual pursuits in tangibly bettering our lives. But we've discussed the need for our social structure and value systems to catch up with the explosion of science and technology. This is where I see value in studies of the human spirit.

The (all too common) mistake is to assume that since science can't answer it, religion can!

No, science is far from perfect (it is a progressive dynamic seeking of improved understanding after all,) but going back to the far more primitive system that religion represents is hardly the solution.

That's like seeing that Einstein's relativity physics broke down, and instead of coming up with quantum mechanics, we choose instead to try Newtonian physics again.

Actually come to think of it that analogy is more like replacing science with philosophy, perhaps going back to Aristotelian concepts fits more aptly there. ;)

"Studies of the human spirit": Sure sounds a lot like science to me, probably a healthy mix of philosophy and science actually. I see nothing hinting at "theology" in this. Unless you are using a vastly different meaning of the word than is generally understood.

It really seems like you are one of those people who doesn't believe, but wants to hold onto, for some reason, some "semblance" of the religious. Twisting words to seem as if connected when your actual meanings mean something quite different. The problem I see with that is that invites the religious mystical woo crap a way in, and gives people a sense of felling justified in believing, not in the honest rational way it seems you wish to, but in the old 'traditional' religious ways. And it also invites the slipping back into such beliefs as well.

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sorry bout going on like that but i get a little touchy when people make try to disprove of other beliefs. like i don't believe in ghosts, or reincarnation because i'm catholic and thats the way i was born and will always be. some other religions may belive in those things but you don't have to go and try to disprove them.

Sure; believe whatever nonsense you like; God, Allah, Fairies. Who cares?

But when one states a belief, makes a claim, are we not free to argue the point? In fact is it not such arguing and debate that improves human understanding? And helps people rid themselves of erroneous beliefs?

For instance if you came to believe in ghosts through some means; an argument or whatever, and that belief was false (as you currently believe) would you not appreciate that someone such as I took the time to come along and help you reason out that belief, reveal it's flaws , and thus help you rid yourself of that false belief?

Where would we be in no one ever challenged anyones beliefs? Up to our necks in all kinds of mystical woo and ridiculous nonsense, that's where. Our mental hospitals would be far less crowded though :lol:

I for one don't engage in these dicussions in order to dispove anyone's beliefs, for all I know they might be correct. But there are things I do and can argue, and that is on the value of the arguments themselves. For example:

You don't believe in ghosts etc.? OKay, that's nice.

You don't BECAUSE you are a Catholic? Now here we have a reason, more than a simple what you believe, but a why. That can be challenged. Such as by a question: "Is that really a good enough reason to believe something?! It's pretty weak, basically you admit to bowing down to some authority, and just believing whatever it is they dictate that you believe! What if the Catholic authorities are wrong about somethings, how could you ever know?"

And then one could point out the incredible closed-mindedness of claiming that you "will always be." And the practical admission that you only believe because you have been indoctrinated from birth to do so.

You see: Whatever the truth values of what you believe may happen to be, even your little blurb there leaves plenty to argue about. And none of it need be ones personal desire to disprove your beliefs, but simply critical assessment of YOUR words, an assessment of what you had to say. ;)

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from my point of view it is o.k. to ask questions about people's religions but not to ask the kind of questions that criticize another person's religion

Oh; so what about other beliefs then?

People's beliefs about races, sexes, sexual orientations, slavery, use of military force.... If those, then why is it just religion that gets the free ride?!

I can't criticise someones conviction that their god is real and wishes me to kill all infidels? Then what right to I have to criticize racists, sexists, pro-slavery claimants? Or even serial killers for that matter?

Or is it the same for them; I can ask questions about their beliefs that racism, sexism, slavery, murdering people is acceptable, but not ask in such away to 'criticise' or challenge those convictions?!

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Your assertion is unprovable, unless you have learned how to prove a negative.

But yes, I was taking poetic license, since I only entertain vague whimsical notions that "the universe is alive."

Ha! Was expecting that as I wrote it. But for once I chose no to play the constant philosophical "agnosticism" game. (And THAT is why, as some may wonder and some actually comment on, why I do that "bet Hedging.")

You are right of course, the universe might indeed be sentient, and give a damn about us tiny little specks within. No reason to think it does, but who knows right? ;):lol:

Rather than argue the semantics, I'll assume you have some serious objection to my assertion that we take Newton's laws on faith. It follows directly from your narrow definition of faith: willful abandonment of reason. Reason says that Newton's laws are imperfect. We choose to wilfully neglect that. What is your objection?

Calling my definition "narrow" is rather pointless if you don't explain how this is the case.

Yes, reason allows us to recognise their imperfection. Reason also allows us to recognise when and where those approximations are sufficient for the purposes they are put to. Using Newtonian physics for example has saved the lives of astronauts after an accident required those on earth to quickly calculate a landing strategy. Einstein's would have been more accurate, but; more accurate than required, Newton's was more than adequate, and they are so much more complicated that the craft would have crashed and burned long before that calculation would have been done. It's not wilfully neglecting anything; it's using the right tools for the job.

Faith, as I define it, includes acceptance of systems to which reason does not apply or to which the use of reason provides insufficient, trivial or uninteresting outcomes.

Um, what?

Faith is about Belief.

I posted very recently about accumulated human wisdom. An example of my definition of faith applies to faith in another person.

Yes; it's called Equivocation when you conflate different meanings of a word, where they are not appropriate.

This I avoid such fallacies by saying that I do no have faith in another person (my wife for example) but I do trust them.

I just got out of a long, tiresome, pointless discussion on Faith, so I'm a little frazzled on the subject right now. But it is one that interests me greatly.

BUT primarily where Faith is used as a reason someone uses for believing some TRUTH claim: Not inane equivocations about trust or comforting delusions.

And you, like so many, seem to be implying that using reason somehow negates the use of emotion and/or imagination! When that is about as far from the truth as one can get.

Here is an exaple of how faith is useful in dealing with emotions: Faith in a pastor when you're grieving over losing your child can help you to heal.

So here we have an example of believing something for no good reason can make people feel better? Yes it can, it can even have very real physical results; as in the powerful placebo effect. It's a lousy path to truth, real understanding or wisdom however. Having Faith in what was actually a placebo effect is what leads to people paying a fortune to "homeopathic medicine" quacks rather than getting needed treatment from real medical professionals.

Perhaps talking to a pastor (especially if you look up to him as an authority figure due to religious indoctrination) might make you feel better. When he tells you that your child survived his own death and is playing in some mystical happy place. :rolleyes: False comfort is still comfort. The inherent danger of course is that if the assertions given are unfounded then they may unravel -

*Reminds me of the woman who had just this problem; her very young, unbaptised, child died. And her priests etc. comforted her in their story about such babies going to purgatory. She took great comfort in it (otherwise the church said that the unbaptised go to hell) for many years. Until that is; the Pope decreed that there was no such place after all. She was most upset "You can't tell me that!!!!"

And yes, they receive some training in this, from senior pastors. Personally I would prefer someone actually practice in actual grief counselling without the mystical woo gumming up the works and twisting things.

And one reason why one might TRUST a pastor on such matters, might be an understanding of his experience and his successes with others. Faith might be then trusting any pastor simply because he is a pastor. Risky indeed!

How is faith useful in dealing with the unsolved questions of science? One poses hypotheses. These hypotheses are statements of faith by my definition of that word.

No they are not. They simply aren't. No one is expected to believe them to be true. In fact that is why they are called "hypotheses" and not beliefs or truths!

They are critical to the advancement of science. We must forever be playing with "what we believe on faith", thereby "thinking outside the box" in order to "imagine" new solutions to unsolved problems.

Nonsense, utter nonsense.

Thinking of possible explanations is NOT the same thing as believing things, certainly not "on Faith."

We have "interesting ideas." We test (not believe) them. They appear to have some real explanatory power as expected observations are explained by the ides; they become theories. They are critically tested (the opposite of having Faith) to see if they crack or stand up. Then they may become theories. Not a shred of Faith involved.

I hope I've cleared things up a little.

Yes; you seem to be enamoured by the idea of Faith, so conflate comfort, and all manner of levels of trust into the term to justify it's value.

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Oh nooo, we don't want to hurt people's (nonexistent) right to not be offended! Criticizing is bad, it hurts feelings and creates doubts! Repent! Repent!

More seriously, why should religion be above criticism? Because it makes people feel bad? What if science were above criticism? Would every theory be accepted because no one is 'mean' enough to tell its creator that s/he's wrong? If someone's belief system is flawed, and other people know that, I think it's basically our job to point it out. People didn't want to accept that we lived in a helio-centric universe (oh noes, we're not special!), but they got over it. People will get over religion. Or mystical creatures. Or whatever the hell we're talking about.

..Heh.. I told someone I'd stop debating.. :ph34r:

Nah... you made a good point! ;)

OFF TOPIC: I've been to church yesterday, accompanying my friend (she went to have a confession). Everything was fine (people were constantly repeating the same thing and it was going on for a while), but when the guy with an ax in his bag showed up, we both split.

ON TOPIC: I have a question about the spiritual world. If God is everywhere, why do people have to go to church and pray there, why can't they do it at home? It's all about the money... isn't it? :dry:

I'm an agnostic, but I don't mind going to church when there's no one around, no sermon or anything, just peace and quiet.

But when the priest starts to pontificate, I'm getting the hell out of there!!

Edited by andromeda

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ON TOPIC: I have a question about the spiritual world. If God is everywhere, why do people have to go to church and pray there, why can't they do it at home? It's all about the money... isn't it? :dry:

Bingo. ;) That's something my grandma told me when I was little. The Romans didn't believe in Christianity, they had their gods for hundreds of years, but they realized the potential for followers and funds.

I love NOFX, some of their lyrics for "I'm Going To Hell For This One"

Jesus Christ will resurrect

He's got his BMI royalty to collect

He's not the white fragile hippie

He looks and acts more like an indignant ICE-T

Jesus Christ is coming back

He wants to kick Mel Gibson's a55

Superstar, The Passion of

He wants his money, not your love

Off-topicish: I had an awesome idea for a shirt design a while ago. (Which none of you are allowed to steal. ;) ) It'd be black and white, with hard-core font, and on the front say, in quotation marks, "Sex and drugs, I abstain." and then on the back: I think Christians are insane. With the flag in

video at 3:01 underneath.

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What intangible phenomena? For simplicity, ethics, grieving, suffering. How do I know they are spiritual? In order to not get too long winded, I'll just present an example: a pastor is trained to help you address these things. You don't have to believe what he believes to get help that is useful to you. But the source of that help is intangible and inevitably entangled with the pastor's beliefs. You reap the benefit of the spiritual world even if you don't believe in it.
The last statement is a matter of belief. Otherwise, it is true that a pastor might potentially offer some wisdom and advice on matters of ethics and suffering. But then, so might anybody. I don't doubt that pastors think about these things a lot, and some of them may be really good at dealing with them. But they are also, unfortunately, representatives of religion. There's no point in asking a Catholic priest about the ethics of wearing a condom, for example. On the one hand, you can avoid unwanted pregnancy and the spread of AIDS and other diseases. On the other, lots of innocent little sperm are denied the chance to turn into human beings. Most sensible people wouldn't have difficulty in understanding that condoms are useful and potentially life saving. But alas the Catholic church has painted itself into a corner on that issue and couldn't own up to being wrong without losing a lot of face. So our unfortunate priest has to make a compromise between his own common sense and the foolishness foisted upon him by his religion.

Hopefully many pastors can give sensible advice on the basis of their own personal judgement, and not go dishing out some of the not-so-good ethics of their holy books (The missus can't prove she was a virgin when you married her? Kill her!!! Homosexuals? Kill them!!! Rebellious teenagers? Kill them!!! - that sort of thing). However, if their skills were not "inevitably entangled with the pastor's beliefs" you could be a little more sure of that. It's good that people are trained to help with personal and ethical matters but the religious element must get in the way of handling them with an open mind.

Anyhow, I'm still a little confused as to why these intangible phenomena can be said to be inherently spiritual...?

Is there a better tool than science to study these things? The tools that work best for spiritual studies are the wisdom of experience. Human wisdom is so complex that science, with its ponderous requirement for full control of an experiment, has no hope of unraveling how it works. Human wisdom is an accumulation of vast experience. It is set down in written texts that get frozen and become dogma, but at its best, it can provide guidance. Think of it as an elective form of government. We elect senators to make decisions for us because they are more wise than we and can devote more time to studying the issues than we can. Think of your senator as your spiritual leader. Think of the ... (choose your favorite inspirational or guiding text) ... as your elected leader. You aren't going to agree with everything that results. But when does everything go exactly the way we want it to?
Wisdom, experience and intuition are often the basis for scientific hypotheses. But within science it is not enough to accept wisdom without objective testing. Untested hypotheses and written guidance are a form of study, but we should be wary of accepting the word of authority figures as truth. Often what passes for wisdom can be convincing and inspirational but still wrong. There's no harm in listening to advice and maybe taking it, but it's still just somebody's opinion, no more. I agree that on certain matters, that's all we have, for now, but science is always pushing into new areas.

This gets into a really deep philosophical level. You are *assuming* the existence of something you call "clearly defined".
"Existence" in what sense? We say a thing "exists" if it forms a subset of our universe, but that's not relevant here. Either a thing has definite properties or it doesn't, I'm simply making the distinction. Where's the assumption?

You can conceive of that in your mind, but when the rubber hits the road, does it exist in the real world?
There goes that word "exist" again, and "real" too. I don't know what you mean! :D

Mathematics can divide the Planck length into an infinite number of smaller segments. But what are they, physically? "Having clearly defined properties" only works in quantum mechanics if the properties are clearly defined as "undefinable".
Who's to say that properties in quantum mechanics are undefinable? Unmeasurable, from our point of view, maybe. You might not be able to predict the outcome (from our point of view) of quantum events but the probability waves that determine them seem to be very precise indeed. You have to take a "God's-eye-view" on this one, our inability to see and measure everything is beside the point.

(Oh, How I love paradox :lol: It really is the basis of my "religion".)
A brief spell of ObjectPAL programming was enough to put me off paradox for life.

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If God is everywhere, why do people have to go to church and pray there, why can't they do it at home? It's all about the money... isn't it? :dry:

I believe church is about the communtity, also since i am young its easier for me to listen to my teachers than actually read the bible, but i still do read it when i need answers.

and i dont thing its the money, most of the money goes to making the church better.

The Romans didn't believe in Christianity, they had their gods for hundreds of years, but they realized the potential for followers and funds
.

As for the romans they were just greedy pigs who didnt get the point. the jewish pharisees in jesus time did the same thing they took the money for themsleves.:angry:

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ON TOPIC: I have a question about the spiritual world. If God is everywhere, why do people have to go to church and pray there, why can't they do it at home? It's all about the money... isn't it? :dry:

Well money and power: "The Church" (often) sets itself up as an authority, oh they claim they merely represent that authority of their god, but it's really them in control. The Catholic Church changing it's position on certain things (the existence of purgatory being a rather powerful example) shows who is really making the plays. In history of course "the church" has had at times extraordinary levels of power, essentially or literally ruling nations. Now they have been diminished to controlling willing individuals (although in their millions) and influencing government policy etc. in a more indirect and circumspect manner. But it is still very much about control, power and prestige.

That's one major reason why they freaked out when the first mass printing presses started churning out bibles; they didn't like the idea of the people reading it for themselves. They made all kinds of excuses why, but clearly a major factor is that it weakened their position of domination - only they had "the word of God" and they could cherry-pick and use it to manipulate the masses in whatever direction they chose!

*It also somewhat amused me (although as is common with religion; it was of those "I don't know if I should laugh or cry" moments) when the Catholic Church came out to assure their flocks that, in paying off that $800,000 in out of court settlements for their priests molesting children, not one single golden candle stick or anything had to be sold to pay them off (but a little extra in your offering plates would be appreciated of course ;) )

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Faith is about Belief. ...

I just got out of a long, tiresome, pointless discussion on Faith, so I'm a little frazzled on the subject right now. But it is one that interests me greatly.

To me it is dreary to argue definitions. A rose by any other name ... My 3000 page Webster's Third New International unabridged dictionary (Merriam-Webster) has a synonym for faith that pretty much sums up my point of view on the word: Weltanschauung. (World View). That includes all the stuff you insist I can't conflate into your version of the definition.

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To me it is dreary to argue definitions. A rose by any other name ... My 3000 page Webster's Third New International unabridged dictionary (Merriam-Webster) has a synonym for faith that pretty much sums up my point of view on the word: Weltanschauung. (World View). That includes all the stuff you insist I can't conflate into your version of the definition.

Language is a funny thing in that words often have many meanings. You may find it dreary, but I'm afraid you brought it on yourself by using unintended or out-of-context definitions on several occasions. You cannot have a meaningful discussion unless everybody agrees to use a common terminology, or be clear what they mean at all times. If I can choose whatever dictionary definition I like, I can end this discussion immediately: I have found the Spirit World, and it is located at 7156 Pecos St., Denver, CO.

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To me it is dreary to argue definitions.

It can be dreary. But also quite important when two people are using the same words but talking about different things. Or, as most often seems the case with "Faith", one of the people espousing a thing does not themselves fully understand what it is they are defending.

Or worse; try to bring up one use of the word (Faith in your wife, Faith as a worldview as in "Mormonism is my Faith") in order to justify, validate, a quite different use of that same word. "You have Faith in your wife, you have a 'Faith' (Science or Reason or something - even though that word for "worldview" even begins to sound silly when it is used for reason based worldviews) therfore , if that's reasonable to you, then my Faith in a Magical Super Genie is just as reasonable!!!!!"

That is what is known as Equivocation. :dry:

A rose by any other name ... My 3000 page Webster's Third New International unabridged dictionary (Merriam-Webster) has a synonym for faith that pretty much sums up my point of view on the word: Weltanschauung. (World View). That includes all the stuff you insist I can't conflate into your version of the definition.

See there you go: Worldviews are fine and dandy. It's not what religious people are talking about when they "have Faith" or when they are claiming that "Faith is a Virtue" or that they know things (like their magic man is real) based on, or using, Faith.

Try to substitute "worldview" in there, and see where it gets you. :rolleyes:

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dath: are you implying that modern religions and modern religious organizations lack the greed and corruption they used to have?

When you think about it, some do, and some don't. I can't say which is which because there are over 4,000 different ones to choose from. We have a few religions here and there that use their offerings for humanitarian aid, and building more churches. Some religious figures swear poverty upon themselves. It isn't so much about greed these days, I'm not to sure if it was back then, but today it's more of what you might call, religious mania.

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ON TOPIC: I have a question about the spiritual world. If God is everywhere, why do people have to go to church and pray there, why can't they do it at home? It's all about the money... isn't it? :dry:

I'm an agnostic, but I don't mind going to church when there's no one around, no sermon or anything, just peace and quiet.

But when the priest starts to pontificate, I'm getting the hell out of there!!

Here's my take on it. Sorry, but it's not cynical. The congregation of individuals for a single purpose helps the individual focus on that purpose. If prayer is the purpose, a joint community prayer just feels somehow "bigger" or more important. Not everybody feels that sense of forming a "shared presence" or a "community spirit", so organized church "services" are not for everybody. But the existence of lots of churches demonstrates that they have some value to significant segments of our society. Of course the institutions need some money to function. Most churches have honorable motives. Yes, I know that famous quote of L. Ron Hubbard "If you want to get rich, you start a religion." On the other hand, Rick Warren gives away ("tithes") 90% of his income. On the other other hand, most of us can't even dream of making 10% of Rick Warren's income.

Hey! Maybe I got cynical after all! :P

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Anyhow, I'm still a little confused as to why these intangible phenomena can be said to be inherently spiritual...?

In order to discuss this comprehensively, I want to go back to the initial reference to that statement in its context: I said:

"... in my world atheism and theology are complementary, not mutually exclusive. The intangible phenomena of life are inherently spiritual. Science is kludgy and cumbersome as a tool to study these things. In our era it is popular to deny the value of spiritual pursuits in tangibly bettering our lives. But we've discussed the need for our social structure and value systems to catch up with the explosion of science and technology. This is where I see value in studies of the human spirit."

Now in the conversational (rather than formal debate) style of a discussion board, I made a bunch of statements here that can be picked apart for being loose semantically. But we no longer seem to be discussing the meaning of this original statement. The important point I'm making is that humanity has advanced in the area of science and its application while at the same time our spiritual side (the part of our mental processes that perceives and regulates our ethical choices, for example) has failed to keep pace, or has even atrophied. And my call is for us to work to restore a balance between these two sides of our brain (if indeed the left-brain/rignt-brain concept can be said to apply). To do so I am arguing that it is most efficient to acknowledge the inherently spiritual nature of things that science has a hard time dealing with. There is imperfect but useful spiritual guidance that can help us on the way. We don't need to take that guidance as "gospel". We take it as a useful launching point for a modern renaissance of spiritual thinking.

OK. Given that context, what I was trying to say when I said that "The intangible phenomena of life are inherently spiritual" is that the intangible phenomena of life inherently contain a significant element that is addressed most efficiently by starting with traditional spiritual guidance. Please accept my apologies for not having the skill and for not taking the time to be more precise. This apology is global--it also refers to all my future comments :P

Wisdom, experience and intuition are often the basis for scientific hypotheses. But within science it is not enough to accept wisdom without objective testing. Untested hypotheses and written guidance are a form of study, but we should be wary of accepting the word of authority figures as truth. Often what passes for wisdom can be convincing and inspirational but still wrong. There's no harm in listening to advice and maybe taking it, but it's still just somebody's opinion, no more. I agree that on certain matters, that's all we have, for now, but science is always pushing into new areas.

Scientists often remind us that even its results are "just somebody's opinion, no more." Science does not claim to have found any immutable absolutes, be they God or something less profound. Indeed reality itself is shifting. As our universe ages, new distant objects are moving out of the realm of the unknown and into our world line (crossing the "horizon" as their light reaches us for the first time.) There is no guarantee that "The Kingdom of God" or some horrible natural destructive phenomenon (some would argue the two are the same :lol: ), or whatever, is approaching us from beyond that horizon.

What I'm trying to emphasize is the fluid nature of knowledge and understanding. And my wider argument is that even the rigorous rules used by science are not absolutes (even if they are not corrupted by the scientist's desire for recognition or funding or by subtle peer pressures.) Underpinning them is fundamental human wisdom and experience (our Weltanschauung). That's what we use to choose which scientific experiments to perform and which not to perform. That choice (what to study and what to blissfully ignore) is anything but trivial. It has huge, often irrationally guided, consequences in terms of what we define as "knowledge" and how we interpret it.

"Existence" in what sense? We say a thing "exists" if it forms a subset of our universe, but that's not relevant here. Either a thing has definite properties or it doesn't, I'm simply making the distinction. Where's the assumption?

There goes that word "exist" again, and "real" too. I don't know what you mean! :D

Who's to say that properties in quantum mechanics are undefinable? Unmeasurable, from our point of view, maybe. You might not be able to predict the outcome (from our point of view) of quantum events but the probability waves that determine them seem to be very precise indeed. You have to take a "God's-eye-view" on this one, our inability to see and measure everything is beside the point.

But what is not beside the point is our inherent inability to know that we are using the proper tools to perceive the "God's eye view." What I'm desperately and repeatedly trying to say is that the "god's-eye-view" can not be taken in isolation. Doing so gives an incomplete picture of the totality of reality. You must simultaneously take the "god's-eye-view" and the "mortal's-eye-view". Where's the assumption, you ask? The assumption is that 'reason works' and that our particular form of reason conceives things that elucidate the "god's-eye-view" and are relevant to the "mortal's-eye-view." You're making huge assumptions regarding the meaning of "definite properties" and about whether the current human skill set has any special qualification to distinguish them.

This discussion began when you wrote the following:

"Consider, a clearly defined mathematical structure has certain properties. Those properties don't depend on the structure having been created, or even discovered. They are derived from its structure, and they are what they are even if nobody knows about them. Without a clear definition, no properties can be derived, and there is no structure. Note that this "definition" needn't be known or created either, mathematics is not affected by our knowledge of it. So maybe "having clearly defined properties" is a more useful term, which doesn't really presuppose anything about the nature of logic. That's the important feature of our universe, and in order to explain why our universe has clearly defined properties, I need only point out that we would not be here observing it if it didn't."

I see that statement as a completely unsupported statement of belief. You are pre-supposing (assuming) that humans have some priviliged ability to perceive the nature of some underlying structure that nobody has to observe or conceive of. Originally we were talking about "truth" and you abandoned that term and proposed your alternative statement above. My question about "truth" that you seemed to want to avoid was "Did truth self-organize out of randomness." You haven't avoided the question, however. Did "clearly defined properties" self-organize out of randomness or are they universal? And your last sentence above does not answer that question--it invokes the anthropic principle that says that somehow our "mortal's-eye-view" is priviledged or special.

My position is that the really, really big picture underlying all reality is pure indifferent randomness out of which local pockets (subsets) of this ultimate reality naturally self-organize into pockets of apparent meaning. It's like looking at a table of random numbers and finding an "interesting" string, like a bunch of 7's in a row. In our universe some of these "interesting strings" learned to replicate (life), making them more self-sustaining than purely random strings. Thus, out of that initial pure chaos emerged us rational beings and our gods and all this crap we're debating about. :rolleyes:

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It really seems like you are one of those people who doesn't believe, but wants to hold onto, for some reason, some "semblance" of the religious. Twisting words to seem as if connected when your actual meanings mean something quite different. The problem I see with that is that invites the religious mystical woo crap a way in, and gives people a sense of felling justified in believing, not in the honest rational way it seems you wish to, but in the old 'traditional' religious ways. And it also invites the slipping back into such beliefs as well.

After my last post above, this assessment seems even more valid. But it is dead wrong.

I believe there is a Spirit World. In fact I believe that there are two manifestations of the Spirit World that are compatible with our current knowledge of the universe. The first is the personal Spirit World and the second is a Universal Spirit World.

I believe that the personal Spirit World is manifest and sustained by focused thinking (prayer). Physics tells us that small particles have a quantum nature that allows them to manifest a presence everywhere and anywhere. People make claims for the "power of prayer". Who's to say that we haven't learned to "wield" the universal presence of the electrons that our brains process during prayer?

I believe that the universal Spirit World is manifest and sustained by a precursor bit of "information", not unlike DNA, that reached us through the "information veil" of the big bang. I base this idea on the concept of the quantum nature of space-time itself, which requires that the Big Bang was not actually a singularity but has some minimum initial size and some precursor. I argue that the dazzling array of odds-defying "coincidences" in terms of physical constants and laws of physics of our universe did not happen at random but evolved to create a universe favorable to human life though a sucession of ancestor universes that probably numbers in the trillions. This belief naturally leads to the belief that our personal spirit world, by wielding the essence of our universe through prayer, can create a better, more welcoming "signature" of our universe that is somehow passed on to succeeding universes that our universe somehow spawns. Physicists have already theorized a number of ways in which our universe can spawn new universes. I'm saying that in this process, the "amazing coincidences" that balance our universe and make it favorable for sentient life are honed and refined by our prayer and that, if we are prayerful, we actually can refine the constants yet further and pass on to our descendent universes an even more "welcoming" environment. To repeat, I believe that the "life" of our universe is guided by this "WORD", the analog to DNA, and I believe the Big Bang is an analog to the birth of the individual human being's consciousness.

To rectify the above statements with the statement I made in my last post that the "really, really big picture" of reality is random and indifferent and meaningless: I believe that our "meaningful space" (our universe and its precursors) originated from chaos immeasureably long ago--the equivalent of trillions of trillions of years. In light of the incredible odds-defying values of some of the required parameters of our universe, I believe that this hypothesis stands the test of Occam's Razor.

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It can be dreary. But also quite important when two people are using the same words but talking about different things. Or, as most often seems the case with "Faith", one of the people espousing a thing does not themselves fully understand what it is they are defending.

Or worse; try to bring up one use of the word (Faith in your wife, Faith as a worldview as in "Mormonism is my Faith") in order to justify, validate, a quite different use of that same word. "You have Faith in your wife, you have a 'Faith' (Science or Reason or something - even though that word for "worldview" even begins to sound silly when it is used for reason based worldviews) therfore , if that's reasonable to you, then my Faith in a Magical Super Genie is just as reasonable!!!!!"

That is what is known as Equivocation. :dry:

See there you go: Worldviews are fine and dandy. It's not what religious people are talking about when they "have Faith" or when they are claiming that "Faith is a Virtue" or that they know things (like their magic man is real) based on, or using, Faith.

Try to substitute "worldview" in there, and see where it gets you. :rolleyes:

As a general proposition, you and d3k3 are right. One must be careful not to equivocate. And in my haste I probably wasn't as careful as I could be. But in the case of the word "faith", my dictionary lists the words "trust, belief, and religion" as synonyms. And it lists the definition of synonym as "a word having the same meaning as another word." So in the case of this particular word, some of its definitions encompass others. Some are subsets of others. I stand by my contention that your definition of faith is artificially limited. I venture to guess that is why you have had those "frazzling, tiresome, pointless" discussions about the term. You seem (IMHO) to be trying to force a definition of faith that you can safely criticize/condemn. It would seem to me to be easier to make progress on the substantive issues if you didn't spend your time championing a radical definition.

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As a general proposition, you and d3k3 are right. One must be careful not to equivocate. And in my haste I probably wasn't as careful as I could be. But in the case of the word "faith", my dictionary lists the words "trust, belief, and religion" as synonyms. And it lists the definition of synonym as "a word having the same meaning as another word." So in the case of this particular word, some of its definitions encompass others. Some are subsets of others.

Yes there are often (but not always) overlaps with the various definitions of words. "Faith" is one example. Another from a the opposite direction is that believe, think, view and opinion all overlap. But usually these different words are not entirely synonymous. There are places where one word fits and another does not, or fits less well. And often calling something by a particular label just invites confusion and mis-attribution.

I stand by my contention that your definition of faith is artificially limited.

Indeed it is. It is concerned with a very particular thing, which theists tend to call "Faith." Not the other things which having some aspects in common, are also labeled with that same word.

By anaology the defintion of theism:

Theism: The belief in god(s.)

Is also "artificially limited" it excludes entirely those who suffer from that medical condition caused by drinking to much tea!

I venture to guess that is why you have had those "frazzling, tiresome, pointless" discussions about the term. You seem (IMHO) to be trying to force a definition of faith that you can safely criticize/condemn. It would seem to me to be easier to make progress on the substantive issues if you didn't spend your time championing a radical definition.

Oh not this crap again!

No, the ONE "frazzling, tiresome, pointless" discussion was that way because my antagonist had nothing but the claim that she "Just knew things" and that was Faith. And went on and on, making arguments while getting upset if anyone dared point out that they were logically fallacious, claiming that her arguments were are course Irrational (while completely true; 'cause she just knew with her Faith) because Faith was irrational. And around and around it went.

Other such discussions have had their own issues; mystical woo words covering complete ignorance, playing the equivocation of "Faith" game, and the all to favoured emotional response card: You know the kind of thing; when one can't defend (or explain) their cherished position, they resort to accusing their 'opponent' (As they see us) of being dishonest, mean, closed-minded, and so on. Accusing me of forcing my definition of them and so on.

Which brings me to your previous post, which will have to be split into this and the next post of mine, due to quote block limitations of this forum:

After my last post above, this assessment seems even more valid. But it is dead wrong.

More valid, but dead wrong?! Must have missed that one in my formal logic papers! ;)

I believe there is a Spirit World. In fact I believe that there are two manifestations of the Spirit World that are compatible with our current knowledge of the universe. The first is the personal Spirit World and the second is a Universal Spirit World.

Okay, so this is just an "I believe" fluff piece then.

Okay fine you believe that, so what? I've had some dealings with the mentally ill, I could tell you some stories about what some people believe.

"Spirit world" sounds like mystical woo. Brings to mind the idea of mysterious other realms beyond this universe where "spirits" - ghosts, 'the departed', angels, gods and demons - frolic and play. If that is not what you mean, then why use the wording?

Add to that "Faith" "(power of) prayer" and so on, justs begs for naive superstitious idiocy.

Continued...

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I believe that the personal Spirit World is manifest and sustained by focused thinking (prayer). Physics tells us that small particles have a quantum nature that allows them to manifest a presence everywhere and anywhere. People make claims for the "power of prayer". Who's to say that we haven't learned to "wield" the universal presence of the electrons that our brains process during prayer?

Woo! :blink:

"Spirit World" "manifest" and "Prayer"! That is a lot of irrational mystical type jargon (manifest being so in this context) yet followed by some half-arsed science-speak. So you are one of those New Age types who sort of try to bring the old superstitious nonsense with the new shiny science stuff together. Not (no longer) being satisfied with those old religions, while retaining a hankering, a desire, to hold on to the comfort and so on it brings, being impressed with the new scientific mindset, but believing that "cold, sterile and emotionless: canard about it. So basically totally bastardising both to heave your cake and eat it too? :dry:

As far as I have seen, that crap is as bad as the Young Earth Creationists; undermining what little is good in religion as well as modern science, to serve their own ends and desires.

Do you seriously think that such weak perceived connections between hypothetical scientific ideas and mystical woo would impress anyone with an honest love of reason?!

Yes the physics of sub-atomic particles (in fact pretty much all of quantum mechanics) is fascinating. The connections ideas especially, as one should expect; a great deal of this is concerned with the underlying structure of the universe after all. Claiming that this might in any way, beyond the level of possible, which includes celestial teapots and a dragon being in my garage, as in even remotely plausible, have anything to do with prayer (talking telepathically with supernatural sentient entities or whatever) is so unbelievably unwarranted, that it is simply ludicrous.

But no; If that's what you believe, then go right ahead, doesn't bother me.

"Who's to say"? Well who can say that your wild idea there is not true? Not I. Of course I can't say that Odin or Sinterklaas definetly don't exist either, so how far does that get you? Sounds disturbingly like an Appeal to Ignorance to me.

And it is here where I have to make a small confession: I kind of deliberately stated something as fact, made an assertion, rather than do the old hedge-bet just in case thing and say something like "As far as can be ascertained..." in order to test a suspicion of sorts (not a personal suspicion, but a general one.)

Interesting that you were so quick to jump on that so quickly: "Your assertion is unprovable, unless you have learned how to prove a negative." Yet you seem more than willing to use such doubts and uncertainties to support (in the eyes of the naive and gullible at least) your cherished position.

That is why some non-theists ("atheists" if you must) feel the need, as rationally problematic as it is, to ACT as if as convinced as the died in the wool dogmatic believer about the concepts of science and reason etc. Because theists are so eager to just pounce on any perceived openings of doubt or lacking absolute proof: because their god (or whatever) might be there!

It's that semantic wordplay thing again. I wouldn't keep bringing it up if people like use didn't keep abusing it. You say that "[We might have] learned to "wield" the universal presence of the electrons that our brains process during prayer" ("Who's to say that we haven't"; same thing.) Of course technically this is accurate, unless we have been able to "Prove this negative" (hmm; a problem you implied you are aware of.) But you know full well that many (probably the vast majority) would read that as suggesting that that ludicrously wild notion is actually Rationally Plausible!

Your wording clearly shows that your intent is to suggest far more than the weak possible nature of the statement, but it is by no means anything beyond that base position, and you have offered no reason to think otherwise. You have however used phrasing that could lead the gullible and naive to believe that there is something in it - beyond everything else imaginable that is equally possible, no matter how silly or implausible. :dry:

It is just this kind of pseudo-intellectual rhetoric which provide the reason we Reasonists and reason based Atheists argue as we do. People often ask us why we argue so, this is why; such abuses to reason need to be confronted head on, or else they will spread, undermining the human ability to reason itself.

I believe that the universal Spirit World is manifest and sustained by a precursor bit of "information", not unlike DNA, that reached us through the "information veil" of the big bang.

Yet more mystical woo and "sciency" words, all mashed together.

It's all gibberish of course; but (too) many people are impressed by that; it springs from their own 'upbringings; an indoctrinated reverence for the mystical and mysterious, a love of such "magical" words and phrases. Coupled with an observation borne sense of respect and awe for "science" (the things that gave them iPods and television...) Not an understanding or an informed appreciation understand; but a more distance respect, the same kind of respect and bowing down to authority we see when people pay attention to an ACTOR in a white lab coat pushing an "alternative medicine" product on TV :rolleyes: For them all you need is words they recognise as "Scientific" and they are all too willing to bow down to the imagined wisdom, knowledge and authority of the speaker. Combining the two, well you can imagine!

I base this idea on the concept of the quantum nature of space-time itself, which requires that the Big Bang was not actually a singularity but has some minimum initial size and some precursor.

Forgive me, but I very much doubt that you base it even close to entirely on that.

But just in case you do:

The "quantum nature of space-time" is meaningless. Spacetime has a "quantum nature" in the same way that we have an "atomic nature." Sure; we are made up of atoms, and everything is made up of somethings even smaller (that's what "quantum" means; really small.)

Quantum physics requires nothing of the big bang. It is around that point in time (and space) where quantum and relativity physics clash, so we don't really know what the hel was going on around or 'before' that point. Was there a singularity, or was it something of a set size (perhaps the Planck length), it's unclear - You do not get "Requires" out of uncertainty! You are claiming to have answers of quantum and relativity physics that no one has.

And actually some physics in that area suggests that there was no "precursor" because that word is time bound and the dimension we know as "time" was formed during the initial moments of the Bing Bang, and that the universe itself is "unbound" around that event (No "beginning" but to time proceeding back further either.)

I argue that the dazzling array of odds-defying "coincidences" in terms of physical constants and laws of physics of our universe did not happen at random but evolved to create a universe favorable to human life though a sucession of ancestor universes that probably numbers in the trillions.

Oh so you bring a lot of Intelligent Design Creationism baggage in with your new age woo as well. "Information" and now the appeals to probability, coincidences, "laws and constants" and the good old time honoured: "Random" straw man. :dry:

You say you "argue" but it sounds more like "assert."

Bringing in Multiverse "hypotheses" instead of gods doesn't really add anything more to your game (and it won't shake most of the arguing atheists of the hunt either - not me, that's for sure; my concerns are on what is rational and true, not theism or religion per se.) It's still the same one the creationists and their ID spawn have been playing for ages: The argument from Ignorance, or as Richard Dawkins like to call it: The argument from personal incredulity.

One interesting observation is that the universe seems perfectly suited ('designed' if you are not foolish enough to take that as implying a designer) not for "life" but for the optimal generation of Black Holes. And as a consequence of the properties of "the perfect Black Hole generator" the constants and laws to achieve that are bound to being forth the odd smattering of life. Throws a nice little curve-ball into the whole "universe designed to support life" canard I feel. :P

This belief naturally leads to the belief that our personal spirit world, by wielding the essence of our universe through prayer, can create a better, more welcoming "signature" of our universe that is somehow passed on to succeeding universes that our universe somehow spawns.

Uh, no it most certainly DOES NOT naturally lead to any such thing, unless you already have some beliefs and/or baggage in such directions to begin with.

Sorry, I just do not fall for such "clobber" words as "naturally" or "obviously" etc. Don't presume to tell me what the "natural" conclusion is. I guess I was given the greatest warning from such thing i assessing Descartes Meditations for a presentation on them in a Modern Philosophy paper I had to give (I hate public speaking like that - freaks me out) You sound rather like Descartes here when he was 'proving' the existence of God in his third Meditation. :rolleyes: (The one that one of our lecturers forbade first years focusing on in their essays, because he was sick of so many doing so - the flaws being so blatant and obvious (well as I discovered, some of them anyway, there are plenty more under the surface.)

The rest there is yet more pseudo-intellectual woo conflating religion and scientific hypotheses, so I won't even bother touching it.

Physicists have already theorized a number of ways in which our universe can spawn new universes.

Yes they have. Although "hypothesised" would be more accurate. Unfortunately scientists themselves are often too quick to use the "T" word themselves. Perhaps because in their 'world" their peers can get the distinctions, they don't need to be that precise. Unfortunately that is not the case for most laymen audiences.

Interesing ideas, but so what?

I'm saying that in this process, the "amazing coincidences" that balance our universe and make it favorable for sentient life are honed and refined by our prayer and that, if we are prayerful, we actually can refine the constants yet further and pass on to our descendant universes an even more "welcoming" environment.

Favourable for "sentient" life now is it?

Yes, there is some some smattering of such life one ONE tiny little Blue Dot of a planet, circling a rather ordinary single star (binary stars being more common) 2/3s out in a rather dull spot on a spiral arm of a common little galaxy in a rather dull 'corner' of the universe. But that hardly qualifies as favourable in terms of the entire universe.

That's like finding a single small lizard in the middle of the Gobi desert and declaring, from that single specimen, that desert "favourable to life"!

There is of course no evidence whatsoever that prayer refines anything.

But seriously?! You really believe that "being prayerful" (I guess by that you mean praying a lot - to what exactly?) can actually alter the universal constants?! What on earth would make to believe that?! Wow! :blink:

And "even more welcoming"? Are you suggesting that THIS universe is welcoming to life? Even though we have no idea if life does (or even can, sentient life especially) live anywhere else in the universe. I mean we are talking about one tiny world with a surface area of a mere 510,072,000 km2 most of that water, and a volume of less than 1.1 × 1012 km3 out a universe who's observable diameter is something like 93 Billion lightyears across!

I would say; you do the math, but why bother? The sample size that it appears you are looking at (your immediate surrounding) is insanely insufficient for making any such judgements.

By the way; the kind of "constants so fine tuned for life" type rhetoric you seem to be relying on, were derived from apologists who looked from a decidedly homo-centric perspective. Looking at the constants etc. and seeing how well they suited us - Of course they do, we are here aren't we?! That is how Confirmation bias is achieved.

To repeat, I believe that the "life" of our universe is guided by this "WORD", the analog to DNA, and I believe the Big Bang is an analog to the birth of the individual human being's consciousness.

So the old ID favourite "Information" miraculously transforms into the typically religious "WORD" :rolleyes:

The rest is yet more conflation and rather silly analogies.

To rectify the above statements with the statement I made in my last post that the "really, really big picture" of reality is random and indifferent and meaningless: I believe that our "meaningful space" (our universe and its precursors) originated from chaos immeasureably long ago--the equivalent of trillions of trillions of years. In light of the incredible odds-defying values of some of the required parameters of our universe, I believe that this hypothesis stands the test of Occam's Razor.

You really think that your "in light of the" Argument from Ignorance story stands the test of Occam's Razor? Really?! You actually think that passes the test of relying on as few assumption as possible?! What observable predictions does your little "interesting idea" (and it's assumptions) make? Any?

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dath: are you implying that modern religions and modern religious organizations lack the greed and corruption they used to have?

Well i also believe some do and some dont like what Romulus said

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Well i also believe some do and some dont like what Romulus said

If you don't mind me asking, what are your religious views?

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The "quantum nature of space-time" is meaningless. Spacetime has a "quantum nature" in the same way that we have an "atomic nature." Sure; we are made up of atoms, and everything is made up of somethings even smaller (that's what "quantum" means; really small.)

Quantum physics requires nothing of the big bang. It is around that point in time (and space) where quantum and relativity physics clash, so we don't really know what the hel was going on around or 'before' that point. Was there a singularity, or was it something of a set size (perhaps the Planck length), it's unclear - You do not get "Requires" out of uncertainty! You are claiming to have answers of quantum and relativity physics that no one has.

Read up on Loop Quantum Gravity.

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