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Any person can comment on this post, but it's geared towards Christians (Catholics, Presbyterians, Baptists, Lutherans, etc.) Anyone can post the first subject of conversation. Just discuss issues about the religion (Heaven, evangelism,etc.) :rolleyes:

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Feeling Fine :thumbsup: Why do you ask?

Why because of that lump of word Salad you just spewed, of course. :(

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Hey, I'm all for LACKING Faith. :lol:
I think you read me wrong there. Lacking faith in your intelligence, and being "humble" (in the sense of considering yourself unable to make rational judgements), as advocated by Hambone, is the kind of openmindedness that opens your mind up to accepting fallacies. As I've pointed out, such fallacies tend to have emotional hooks which make them addictive by nature, so you need a certain confidence ("pride" as Hambone put it) in your ability to differentiate between what is or is not supported by reason, in order to avoid such things. In my playful little way, I couldn't help but consider it a kind of faith. After all, we have no way of knowing that our perception and intelligence is valid, except that it maintains consistency (or appears to), but if we abandon the use of it, we are open to all manner of nonsense.

Faith in your own intelligence is always open to doubt, and I was pointing out the way in which this fact is exploited to install belief systems. As long as we can recognise it to be in that context, we can be reasonably confident that it is not a valid challenge. It's like if I were to say to you "The government is lying to you, they don't want you to obtain the wonderful health benefits of cigarettes. Why have blind faith in them? Just try smoking 20 a day for a year and then tell me you don't feel better. Come on, give it a try! What have you got to lose?". You might reasonably suspect deception because trying out smoking will subject you to its addictive effects. If you subsequently found out that I was employed in an advertising capacity by a tobacco company you would have further reason to doubt my word. So while I may have made a valid argument by calling your faith in government advice into question, in context you can see that the argument is used in an exploitative way to push a specific agenda.

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Yeah I was just funning with ya there octopuppy :lol:

But no, I wouldn't consider that Faith, at least not in the sense that I choose to refine it too.

By way of example: Do I have Faith in my wife? No. I trust her, but that trust is reason based (as far as I am able of course.) It is not an abandonment of reason and choosing to believe anyway, but an application of reason, that does not, need not, demand absolute certainty, or even anything close to that.

On that front we (I at least ) rely on our intellect (and the intellect of others) because not only does it "maintain consistency" or at least a close approximation of it, but more importantly because it is the ONLY means that has ever been discovered thus far for ascertaining truth (again; at least the most reliable approximation thereof we can muster - and we never stop; we keep working on it) in any remotely reliable manner.

Or to put it more succinctly with the ultimate format of reasoning; Science:

science_square_5.jpg

And while on that topic:

Science.jpg

Edited by ADParker

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On that front we (I at least ) rely on our intellect (and the intellect of others) because not only does it "maintain consistency" or at least a close approximation of it, but more importantly because it is the ONLY means that has ever been discovered thus far for ascertaining truth (again; at least the most reliable approximation thereof we can muster - and we never stop; we keep working on it) in any remotely reliable manner.
Ah but let me play Jebus' advocate for a moment there and ask you if that previous statement is not an article of faith.

That which you discover using intellect is pretty consistent with itself, but does that make it the truth, the whole truth, and the only truth? If I were to propose that there is a higher truth which can only be attained through the wilful abandonment of reason, to which you are blind because you refuse to do so, who are you to refute this? In itself, my assertion that reason cannot tell you the whole truth is not, IMO, beyond consideration (just as it is not beyond possibility that the government is lying to you about things). Even my assertion that we need to abandon reason in order to perceive the bigger picture is not totally absurd. Maybe some part of our mind has evolved to connect with the supernatural, but your crude and half-developed conscious mind is too blunt an instrument, and gets in the way. Maybe those who have successfully abandoned reason have attained a greater wisdom, a world view which ends up being as consistent and complete as your own, but which encompasses your own and far more besides, and exposes your world view as blinkered and incomplete.

The problem is that if this were the case, we are left with no reliable means of determining the greater truth, and some treacherously unreliable means (a fact which calls my assertion into question). IMO reason is justified in the same way that democracy is; we lack anything that works better. But to say that it ascertains truth may be a matter of faith. Who's to say it doesn't just paint a consistent picture of a limited subset of experience, which itself may be fundamentally incorrect?

Of course, if I use that argument to encourage you to take on a belief system that is in itself absurd and is maintained by transparent fallacies which hold us in an emotional trap so long as we do not apply reason to expose their fallacious nature, a belief system that would by its nature encourage me to promote it and develop ever more effective ways of mentally snaring its adherents, then I'm overstepping the line. I might call your adherence to reason a matter of faith, but more to the point is the context in which I am asking you to abandon it. It's no accident that those who argue most strongly against religion often tend to be people like you and me who have been religious in the past. Knowing what lies on the other side of the fence allows us to denounce it with a degree of confidence. Otherwise the question remains: "How do I know that this religion is a load of rubbish? How can I be sure that it is not the perception of a greater truth?".

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Ah but let me play Jebus' advocate for a moment there and ask you if that previous statement is not an article of faith.

Okay, but I can tell you right now that it's not. :P

But this will be fun; remember that you chose to play the Jebus advocate, while I proceed to rip you a new one. :ph34r:

That which you discover using intellect is pretty consistent with itself,

Self-consistency is pretty much worthless actually. The valuable consistency is with reality. The proof is in the pudding as they say. Again science presents the most telling examples, in which conclusion lead to predictions (large and small) which then bear fruit. Intelligence doesn't simply conclude that things like teh computers we are using will work; it is borne out by the building of such devices and heir actually working as predicted.

but does that make it the truth, the whole truth, and the only truth?

Well as you know I am about as far from that position as one can get. All conclusions are open to revision and improvement. I don't believe (and this is through reasoning and study of both science and philosophy primarily) that we have any ultimate truths (unless by dumb luck of course) but only approximations of truths, as well as "useful models" that may be largely in error in many respects.

In fact, on the contrary, that believing that one has found that one and only whole truth, is in itself irrational. And probably an act of Faith!

See that last image in my last post again; Science: if you can't accept that you are [or might be] mistaken; then you are not doing it at all. There is a rather common saying on another forum I frequent, that Science doesn't do proof. In other words concluding that one has ultimately solved the problem is an error in reasoning at best.

If I were to propose that there is a higher truth which can only be attained through the wilful abandonment of reason, to which you are blind because you refuse to do so, who are you to refute this?

An assertion I have been challenged with far too many times than is healthy. :duh:

My response in a nut shell: Demonstrate it. Show what this "higher truth" reaching method is. And I reject out of hand that just abandoning reason is that method. Because that's just stupid. It is like claiming that one's tool kit would be improved by throwing away your hammer! :lol:

And it is also blatantly false, because I, and probably everyone alive has abandoned reason from time to time. And no; "higher truth" is not the result, but sloppy thinking and frequently daft decisions that one comes to regret.

In itself, my assertion that reason cannot tell you the whole truth is not, IMO, beyond consideration (just as it is not beyond possibility that the government is lying to you about things).

And I, through years of critical reasoning on the subject; completely agree with you. - Ain't that just one of the coolest things about reason?! That you can even apply it to itself! There is even a named field of philosophy dedicated to that: Epistemology.

As a matter of fact I am willing to go one step further and postulate that it is probable that we can't ever know the whole truth (we can stumble upon, or reach it, but never know for sure that that is what we have.) Except (perhaps) the the extremely limited purely conceptual realms of Mathematics and Formal Logic.

Even my assertion that we need to abandon reason in order to perceive the bigger picture is not totally absurd.

Oh it's absurd. As it has no support.

In fact as "Absurd" means:

1: ridiculously unreasonable, unsound, or incongruous <an absurd argument>

2: having no rational or orderly relationship to human life : meaningless <an absurd universe>; also : lacking order or value <an absurd existence> - Merriam-Webster

It is by definition absurd, as all of those are grounded in abandonment/failure of reason. ;)

Maybe some part of our mind has evolved to connect with the supernatural, but your crude and half-developed conscious mind is too blunt an instrument, and gets in the way.

Not that I have any clue what "supernatural" means, nor I suspect does anybody else, not really. But sure it may be possible. But as I have argued elsewhere; "possible" doesn't get you very far. The list of things that are possible is endless. As we agreed above we know next to nothing, that means that "next to everything" fits within that "possible" bucket, no matter how reasonable or absurd.

Maybe those who have successfully abandoned reason have attained a greater wisdom, a world view which ends up being as consistent and complete as your own, but which encompasses your own and far more besides, and exposes your world view as blinkered and incomplete.

Maybe.

Should I, or anyone accept such a claim? In the absence of any evidence? Of any demonstration of any of this claimed "greater wisdom" manifesting in any way?

Or should we just abandon reason, and just accept those assertions as well?! :lol: See where that path leads? :blink:

The problem is that if this were the case, we are left with no reliable means of determining the greater truth, and some treacherously unreliable means (a fact which calls my assertion into question). IMO reason is justified in the same way that democracy is; we lack anything that works better.

And I agree; Reason is the best tool we have, as far as can be ascertained anyway. And not only do we not know if we will ever reach the ultimate truths (and we have been trying to find out for millennia, the pre-Socratic philosophers dwelt on this stuff, and that search hasn't stopped since!) but there is reason to suspect that reason is not actually up to that task. But that does not mean (yes I have heard this assertion as well) that something else is, it may be that there is no such means to obtaining true Knowledge.

What's the saying? Ah yes:

It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried. - Sir Winston Churchill.

And I concur; Reason is much like that. Except perhaps that reason is somewhat more open and prone to improvement than that.

But to say that it ascertains truth may be a matter of faith.

I agree; to say such a thing would be a matter of gross irrationality.

What it can be used to ascertain is more, and the most thus far found, reliable approximations of truth. And it is only through further reasoning (as far as we can tell) that those approximations are likely to be improved further still.

Too be continued due to forum quote tag limitations...

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...Continuing from last.

Who's to say it doesn't just paint a consistent picture of a limited subset of experience, which itself may be fundamentally incorrect?

In some areas is most likely does. And that is where paradigm shifts shed some light. Paradigm shifts are notable sharp shifts in thinking and understanding, on how we even approach, look at and question certain subjects. They actually change how we ask the questions, what we ask. And hence leads to new (still tentative) conclusions, new "pictures" or models of reality. They too may be "fundamentally incorrect" as well, while still being clearly improved approximations of reality.

As an example we 'know' this is the case for many aspects of science due to the discoveries of quantum physics. And about gravity; we know Newton's model is flawed, but the mathematics is stil useful; it tells us truths, if not the ultimate truth. And the current models of gravity are even known to be flawed as well, but still succeed in informing us further still. That is how scince and reason works. It's not perfect, but it is progressively valuable, the most progressively valuable tool known to be available to us.

Of course, if I use that argument to encourage you to take on a belief system that is in itself absurd and is maintained by transparent fallacies which hold us in an emotional trap so long as we do not apply reason to expose their fallacious nature, a belief system that would by its nature encourage me to promote it and develop ever more effective ways of mentally snaring its adherents, then I'm overstepping the line.

Indeed.

Again I feel the urge to note that an belief system that abandons, fails to include, Reason, is by definition; absurd. :D

I might call your adherence to reason a matter of faith,

You could, and you would be in error. My adherence to reason is a matter of reason. Reason is self-supporting.

And that is why I am happy to label myself a Reasonist, A lover of Reason. One of the few labels that I proudly and comfortably wear.

but more to the point is the context in which I am asking you to abandon it.

NEVER!

:D

I honestly can not imagine how anyone could possibly convince me of that. Because they would have to provide me with nothing short of a rationally sound reason to abandon reason. Which just sounds self-contradictory and insane, doesn't it?! :blink:

It's no accident that those who argue most strongly against religion often tend to be people like you and me who have been religious in the past. Knowing what lies on the other side of the fence allows us to denounce it with a degree of confidence.

:thumbsup:

And more importantly I think; the mindset, the ways of thinking and foundations of belief.

Otherwise the question remains: "How do I know that this religion is a load of rubbish? How can I be sure that it is not the perception of a greater truth?".

Not really our job. Never forget who properly has the Burden of Proof. The rational default is not to accept a claim until sufficient reason is given to do so.

They may be correct. Any one of the 30,000+ differing sects of Christianity for instance. But the mere possibility doesn't even begin to be a reason to even seriously postulate that any of them are.

And all the irrational flawed arguments apologists make only hurt their various cases, to be blunt about it. Not because that is direct evidence against their claims, but because it is evidence (of a sort) that their reasons for their beliefs are poorly founded. Why on earth should I believe as they do if they insist on demonstrating that they are believing things for quite frankly silly and bad reasons?

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It's no accident that those who argue most strongly against religion often tend to be people like you and me who have been religious in the past.

So what do I not argue strongly enough or am I just an exception?

I never took religion seriously. My parents encouraged me to go to sunday school etc. but never tried to force or oblige. I learned very early in life that there was more than 1 religion. In fact I learned that at about the same time as I learned about the existence of any religion. It seemed rather obvious to me that if there is more than 1 religion they cannot all be right and if they cannot all be right then chances are none of them are. This opinion became even more entrenched when i got interested in mythology. When myths were used to explain things such as creation of man, the seasons etc. it became fairly obvious that all modern religions were just offshoots of this. Ask a stong believer in god why they believe, at some point usually at the very start they say well where did the universe and life come from? obviously it had to have been created and thus it proves gods existence. My automatic response is always, where did god come from. Their reply invariably is god always existed. Never once do they consider the universe simply existing. It always seemed like a fallacious arguement. They cant understand something so they create something to explain it, without realizing they have just moved the problem back one step.

However I admit the possibility of god existing, just that it is unlikely. Makes me an agnostic not an athiest though I do tend towards athiesm as it seems more likely.

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So what do I not argue strongly enough or am I just an exception?

i noticed the quote said "tend to" meaning many who argue are like that, but not all of them are.

I think that the point was i used to be religious, and many people who are athiest/agnostic here used to be (although i dont "battle" as much anymore). not all, but many. I dont think he was counting your out, he was just saying that many people used to be religious, and now arent.

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So what do I not argue strongly enough or am I just an exception?
An exception! Hope I worded my assertion well enough not to cause offence. When confronted with lots of people believing strongly in something, is it not human nature to wonder "What if they are right? Or have at least some tiny hold on some truth that I lack because I will not embrace their beliefs?". I personally could not confidently state otherwise until I had dived into those waters. Reason aside, a tendency to respect others' beliefs, and to hold my own view of things open to question dictated this. Now I feel I have a much better sense of how religion actually works. If you can get there without being religious, so much the better, but I still feel that would probably put you in a minority. All the more credit to you.

I learned very early in life that there was more than 1 religion. In fact I learned that at about the same time as I learned about the existence of any religion. It seemed rather obvious to me that if there is more than 1 religion they cannot all be right and if they cannot all be right then chances are none of them are. This opinion became even more entrenched when i got interested in mythology. When myths were used to explain things such as creation of man, the seasons etc. it became fairly obvious that all modern religions were just offshoots of this.
As an atheist parent bringing up a young child in a religious society I have some tough choices about how to approach the subject. I do feel that teaching mythology gives a useful overview, and your experiences seem to confirm that. Good to know.:thumbsup:

Right, *girds loins*, now for AdParker...

You could, and you would be in error. My adherence to reason is a matter of reason. Reason is self-supporting.

And that is why I am happy to label myself a Reasonist, A lover of Reason. One of the few labels that I proudly and comfortably wear.

That's circular reasoning, I refute it on the basis that it is

a. circular

and

b. reasoning

Reason, is by definition; absurd. :D
Correct.

As an advocate of Jebus I am allowed to take things out of context. It's for the Greater Good. :D

Seriously though...

octopuppy, on 12 April 2011 - 08:56 PM, said: But to say that it ascertains truth may be a matter of faith.

I agree; to say such a thing would be a matter of gross irrationality.

Ahem...
On that front we (I at least ) rely on our intellect (and the intellect of others) because not only does it "maintain consistency" or at least a close approximation of it, but more importantly because it is the ONLY means that has ever been discovered thus far for ascertaining truth (again; at least the most reliable approximation thereof we can muster - and we never stop; we keep working on it) in any remotely reliable manner.
Well, you came pretty close to saying it anyway! I'll let that slide and consider your statement to mean that relying on intellect / reason is a means of getting approximations to the truth. Now, let's suppose that all we can ascertain through reason, repeatable observation, and experimentation is a system which in itself works and is pretty complete, but which still isn't the whole picture. Bring in the supernatural...

Not that I have any clue what "supernatural" means, nor I suspect does anybody else, not really.
True enough, but I've adopted a kind of pet definition of my own. I take it to mean "that which defies understanding* but which nevertheless is claimed to exist". I'd define "magic" the same way. IMO that's what people really mean by it.

* Clarification: The supernatural defies understanding not because we lack the capacity to understand it but because it is intrinsically impossible to understand, at least for physical, rational minds such as ours. Lack of reliable evidence tends to be a characteristic of the supernatural since such a thing would lead to some degree of understanding. I think that's also what people generally mean by it.

Now, proceeding under that basis, suppose that there is such a thing as the supernatural. Reason will get you nowhere with it, you have a whole big subset of reality, to which reason will not provide any approximation. Now before you say "prove it!" or any such thing, remember that I am attacking your assertion that reason gives us approximation to the truth. To defend that assertion, the burden of proof is on you to show the supernatural does not exist :ph34r:

A bit of a side issue...

Show what this "higher truth" reaching method is. And I reject out of hand that just abandoning reason is that method. Because that's just stupid. It is like claiming that one's tool kit would be improved by throwing away your hammer! :lol:
Well, if your tool kit contained a lot of small delicate tools it might be worth taking out your hammer first and putting it aside while rummaging around... *loses interest in overworked metaphor* ...

Well, anyway, it's not so ridiculous! If reason gives you access to a particular framework of knowledge, clinging to it will limit you to that framework. That seems to me to be the general assertion of people pushing all sorts of spiritual whatever. I'm not saying I believe it, but there's some consistency to the idea that you tune into a deeper experience of reality using the part of your brain that doesn't consciously think, and that conscious thought will only interfere. It's not the only form of experience that cannot be attained through reason. Try reasoning your way to an orgasm!

Supposing there was some useful understanding to be attained that way, there's no use you saying "give me proof of this in rational fashion". It can't be done, and you miss out by insisting on this before partaking of the experience.

Well, enough of that nonsense, on a more constructive note:

octopuppy, on 12 April 2011 - 08:56 PM, said: It's no accident that those who argue most strongly against religion often tend to be people like you and me who have been religious in the past. Knowing what lies on the other side of the fence allows us to denounce it with a degree of confidence.:thumbsup:

And more importantly I think; the mindset, the ways of thinking and foundations of belief.

That's very much what I meant. Without understanding the machinery of belief there is always the temptation to think there might be some underlying truth in it. It's not easy to see, but worth seeing, that in fact it functions in a way completely regardless of truth.

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no I didnt take offence anyone, Its hard to convey the tone when typing :)

OCTO: glad my experiences could be of help.

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So what do I not argue strongly enough or am I just an exception?

Just possibly in the minority. how much of a minority I couldn't say.

However I admit the possibility of god existing, just that it is unlikely. Makes me an agnostic not an athiest though I do tend towards athiesm as it seems more likely.

Actually (technically, use what ever labels you like ;) ) it makes you an Agnostic-Atheist. You don't know (agnostic, from the Greek Gnosis: "Knowledge") and don't believe (atheist, from the Greek Theos: Gods.) :D

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Ahem... Well, you came pretty close to saying it anyway! I'll let that slide and consider your statement to mean that relying on intellect / reason is a means of getting approximations to the truth.

That I did.

My mistake is that I think like that, to me "the truth" is the best approximation of truth available (otherwise I could never say that anything is a fact, for example.) So it takes some effort to add in those qualifiers when the need arises. :blush:

Now, let's suppose that all we can ascertain through reason, repeatable observation, and experimentation is a system which in itself works and is pretty complete, but which still isn't the whole picture. Bring in the supernatural...

Let's not. :lol:

Even supposing that to be the case (which I do,) that does not justify making shite up, in order to PRETEND that we can go further, perhaps even to true knowledge.

True enough, but I've adopted a kind of pet definition of my own [for "supernatural"]. I take it to mean "that which defies understanding* but which nevertheless is claimed to exist". I'd define "magic" the same way. IMO that's what people really mean by it.

That is much like how I see it. I see terms like "the supernatural", "magic", as well as those like "transcendent" and "luminous"... when used in this context, as cover words for The Unknown, voiced in a (possibly self-) deceptive manner as if it is known in some way.

* Clarification: The supernatural defies understanding not because we lack the capacity to understand it but because it is intrinsically impossible to understand, at least for physical, rational minds such as ours. Lack of reliable evidence tends to be a characteristic of the supernatural since such a thing would lead to some degree of understanding. I think that's also what people generally mean by it.

But then there is nothing to say about it, not beyond the level or pure empty speculation. Unfortunately too many people don't do that; they male claims as if they do know this unknown. Starting that there is anything there to begin with.

Now, proceeding under that basis, suppose that there is such a thing as the supernatural. Reason will get you nowhere with it, you have a whole big subset of reality, to which reason will not provide any approximation. Now before you say "prove it!" or any such thing,

Not what I was going to say. Not that you should prove it, because you have already defined this imagined thing as something that is impossible to understand. As such it is useless. I might just say "okay; enjoy your little delusion" to one making such assertions. Because how can one argue (i.e. reason) with anyone determined to abandon and ignore reason?! I have actually asked a number of people who have argued this way why they even bothered to argue about it, if the very tools of argument mean nothing to them!

remember that I am attacking your assertion that reason gives us approximation to the truth. To defend that assertion, the burden of proof is on you to show the supernatural does not exist :ph34r:

Heh, nice try.

But actually weren't you accepting that reason gives us approximation to the truth, but that there is something else that offers something superior, perhaps even actual truth?

Well, anyway, it's not so ridiculous! If reason gives you access to a particular framework of knowledge, clinging to it will limit you to that framework.

That can happen in some areas. This is actually a good point. But you would have to justify that this applies to reason, something that is known to lead to paradigm shifts, and thus at least appears to be more flexible in it's methodology. I fact I have argued before that one of the triumphs about reason is that it is not fixed, but dynamic! A major part of reasoning is improving our "tool set" (accidental reference back to the metaphor) of looking for and devising new ways to look at things. Because Reason is not simply a tool, but it uses tools as well; it uses (Plato said governs) imagination and emotion for a start. So one aspect of reasoning is paying attention to, and actively engaging in imaginative thought; just throwing out possibly wild ideas out there, to see what sticks; making shite up, but not believing that shite, but using it as an "interesting idea" and investigating and testing to see if it have any value. Which is something of an inbuilt way out of many a reached limit.

So I don't know, don't know if anybody knows, the limits or boundaries of human reasoning.* If there are limits, that would limit our thinking, we haven't come up against them yet I don't think.

*Recall the rather apocryphal story of man in the U.S. patent office suggesting that it be closed down as "everything that can be invented has been invented" - in 1899. (What was actually said, I forget, but it was not nearly as fallacious as the popular story.)

That seems to me to be the general assertion of people pushing all sorts of spiritual whatever.

A part of it yeah. Which is fine to a point. The mistake I think is in then asserting that they have something better, something that "transcends" those limits. Then fail miserably to demonstrate anything close to that. Often quite the reverse; that their thinking is PRE-rational, that they rely on imagination and emotion, confined by adherence to "appeal to authority" derived doctrine. Basically resulting in them unwittingly claiming that their sloppy thinking is superior to rational thought.

I'm not saying I believe it, but there's some consistency to the idea that you tune into a deeper experience of reality using the part of your brain that doesn't consciously think, and that conscious thought will only interfere.

Fine. But can anyone validate that? Does anything of value come from such methods? Beyond the superficiality of it making one feel better and/or special?

Personally I think doing that is just fine (it in in line with my imaginative spit-balling above), but ultimately worthless unless you then REASON on what you experienced. It is always (in my experience and opinion) reason that ties it all together and distinguishes the Wheat from the chaff.

It's not the only form of experience that cannot be attained through reason. Try reasoning your way to an orgasm!

Red herring. The topic is not "experience" but understanding, knowledge and finding truth. An orgasm is just an experience, not a truth.

I have had the odd intellectual "orgasm in my time though. :lol: When I finally understood how the "twins paradox" in Einsteinian physics worked for example. How the theory is that when objects travel in space they 'borrow' that speed from their motion through time! In other words as you travel faster through the three spacial dimensions you necessarily slow down through that of time! And the 'sum' total of ones speed always remains a constant; the "speed of light." Ones 'absolute' speed through spacetime always equals the speed of light.

...

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... (I won't bow down to your petty 10 quote limit BrainDen Bwah ha ha ha!)

Supposing there was some useful understanding to be attained that way, there's no use you saying "give me proof of this in rational fashion". It can't be done, and you miss out by insisting on this before partaking of the experience.

Yet without reason, how could one possibly know that what they come to accept/believe through such means is as all reliable or real?! There's the rub.

You can meditate and/or take mind-altering drugs or whatever, and believe that you have tapped into some "higher truth." But have you? and how could you really know? Except by assessing the truth-value of it through examining how it maps to reality, how much (if anything) it explains, it's predictive power etc.? In other words: through REASONING on it. :lol:

Well, enough of that nonsense, on a more constructive note:

But it was fun, and one can hope of use to someone who comes across it. Who knows?

That's very much what I meant. Without understanding the machinery of belief there is always the temptation to think there might be some underlying truth in it. It's not easy to see, but worth seeing, that in fact it functions in a way completely regardless of truth.

What can I say but :thumbsup:

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That can happen in some areas. This is actually a good point. But you would have to justify that this applies to reason, something that is known to lead to paradigm shifts, and thus at least appears to be more flexible in it's methodology. I fact I have argued before that one of the triumphs about reason is that it is not fixed, but dynamic! A major part of reasoning is improving our "tool set" (accidental reference back to the metaphor) of looking for and devising new ways to look at things. Because Reason is not simply a tool, but it uses tools as well; it uses (Plato said governs) imagination and emotion for a start. So one aspect of reasoning is paying attention to, and actively engaging in imaginative thought; just throwing out possibly wild ideas out there, to see what sticks; making shite up, but not believing that shite, but using it as an "interesting idea" and investigating and testing to see if it have any value. Which is something of an inbuilt way out of many a reached limit.
All of that is very good stuff, but your tool set is still limited to what your conscious mind can work with. Assessing the limits of that is difficult to do and might justify a topic in itself, I'll just say that it's a crude instrument, a bit of an evolutionary afterthought, and may not be up to the whole task. Also your evidential basis is limited to what can be considered acceptable for reasoning purposes (in other words, repeatable, independently measurable observation). Both of those limits are potentially restrictive to your point of view.

The mistake I think is in then asserting that they have something better, something that "transcends" those limits. Then fail miserably to demonstrate anything close to that. Often quite the reverse; that their thinking is PRE-rational, that they rely on imagination and emotion, confined by adherence to "appeal to authority" derived doctrine. Basically resulting in them unwittingly claiming that their sloppy thinking is superior to rational thought.
Exactly. And I'm not defending that. The general thrust of what I've been saying in this topic recently is to discuss the various ways people get stuck on bogus belief systems. The jumping-off point for those beliefs is a rejection of the assertion that reason can tell us all we need to know about life. What I'm saying is that the jumping-off point is not necessarily wrong. What happens after, generally is.

But then there is nothing to say about it, not beyond the level or pure empty speculation. Unfortunately too many people don't do that; they male claims as if they do know this unknown.
I think that's a stronger claim than can be supported. Lots of people make lots of claims to having great spiritual awareness and it bringing them inner peace and greater understanding. Can we be sure that they are all completely wrong? Now I know I defined the supernatural as being impossible to understand, and I had my doubts about using that definition in this context, but since it's the working definition I generally go with, I thought best to stick with it for honesty's sake. However, understanding is not a clear-cut thing, and I have intentionally applied a blurred distinction between that and experience. If you have experienced love, does that mean you now understand it? Maybe not, but at least you have a little food for thought. The experience is worth something, you are generally a bit the wiser for it. There is much information we apply successfully in our lives without really understanding it. And here the subconscious also comes into play, this being the more well-evolved part of our minds. That part of our minds has its own way of apprehending things (I use the word to create a fine distinction with understanding) which does not lend itself to expression in symbolic language and cannot therefore be expressed, subjected to reason, and built upon in the way that has made humans what they are, and so is not true understanding in the sense I've been using. Nevertheless, it has capabilities which far outstrip the conscious mind. Who knows what we can apprehend subconsciously but never express? The point I'm making is that our ability to consciously understand something is not the deciding factor in whether that thing is worth bothering with.

Heh, nice try.

But actually weren't you accepting that reason gives us approximation to the truth, but that there is something else that offers something superior, perhaps even actual truth?

What I'm suggesting (and I'm wary of suggesting anything too specific lest anyone mistake it for a belief), is that the Truth (complete knowledge of everything) may be completely beyond us, that reason will allow us to understand a limited subset of the Truth (not the same as an approximation), and that through methods which may involve the (temporary) abandonment of reason we might be able to apprehend, in some way, something of what remains.

Now I'll admit straight off that all I just said was complete speculation, but the point is (and here I think we come to the main bone of contention), is it so speculative that we may completely ignore the possibility of it being so? Can you justifiably say that it is not so?

Of the following assertions:

1) There is some significant truth beyond what we can ascertain through reason

2) There are ways to access and benefit from that truth which do not involve reason

...I don't think either can be considered false beyond reasonable doubt.

I'm well aware that people tend to use the above as a starting point for believing all kinds of unsubstantiated nonsense, but if that sways you to reject it then you are not being reasonable. The end doesn't justify the means.

I hope nobody reads this and thinks it backs up whatever gibberish they want to believe. If you're that person, think again; read my posts in the last 3 pages of this topic to put this in context.

The problem with abandoning reason is that you no longer have the tools to distinguish truth from falsehood, and since there are so many attractive and addictive falsehoods out there, you inevitably end up believing in a falsehood.

My stance is pedantic rather than practical. But it's nice to argue the other side for a change.:lol:

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All of that is very good stuff, but your tool set is still limited to what your conscious mind can work with. Assessing the limits of that is difficult to do and might justify a topic in itself, I'll just say that it's a crude instrument, a bit of an evolutionary afterthought, and may not be up to the whole task. Also your evidential basis is limited to what can be considered acceptable for reasoning purposes (in other words, repeatable, independently measurable observation). Both of those limits are potentially restrictive to your point of view.

Yup, but as far as can be ascertained; it's all, the best, we've got.

Exactly. And I'm not defending that. The general thrust of what I've been saying in this topic recently is to discuss the various ways people get stuck on bogus belief systems. The jumping-off point for those beliefs is a rejection of the assertion that reason can tell us all we need to know about life. What I'm saying is that the jumping-off point is not necessarily wrong. What happens after, generally is.

And I of course agree with that. That in fact to assert "that reason can tell us all we need to know about life" is itself a misapplication (or failure of application) of reason. That understanding too comes through reason. (I was going to say "from reason" but reasoning is a methodology, not a source.)

While reading the section your quoted from me here, I recalled something even worse than what I previously said; that not only do some apologists claim that there is something that extends beyond reason to uncover truth, but that as Reason fails to find absolute truth and knowledge Therefore there is something else that does! :wacko:

Again, I think that's a stronger claim than can be supported.

It was a point of opinion.

Lots of people make lots of claims to having great spiritual awareness and it bringing them inner peace and greater understanding. Can we be sure that they are all completely wrong?

Literally sure? No, of course not (can we be sure of anything for that matter?) But as it stands it is an entirely empty assertion, isn't it?

I can claim that I can fly like a bird. Can you be sure that I am completely wrong?

The question is; does that claimed "greater understanding" count for anything? What fruits, if any, do they bear?

Now I know I defined the supernatural as being impossible to understand, and I had my doubts about using that definition in this context, but since it's the working definition I generally go with, I thought best to stick with it for honesty's sake.

I am happy to water it down to the Supernatural being the unknown, whether ultimately unknowable or not, myself. (of course it stops being the Supernatural when it become known.)

However, understanding is not a clear-cut thing, and I have intentionally applied a blurred distinction between that and experience. If you have experienced love, does that mean you now understand it? Maybe not, but at least you have a little food for thought. The experience is worth something, you are generally a bit the wiser for it.

Sometimes. And then sometimes if that experience is poorly interpreted one can be a damn sight less wise for it.

There is much information we apply successfully in our lives without really understanding it. And here the subconscious also comes into play, this being the more well-evolved part of our brains.

Sure (although "more evolved" is a bit of a confused term, but no matter.) We do get by in many little ways and areas without much if any reasoning at all. But that is not understanding,nor a reliable approximation of knowledge of truth. No denying that. Reason is what we use, the only 'tool' we are known to have, to improve upon that, to further understanding beyond those base levels.

That part of our brain has its own way of apprehending things (I use the word to create a small distinction with understanding) which does not lend itself to expression in symbolic language and cannot therefore be expressed, subjected to reason, and built upon in the way that has made humans what they are, and so is not true understanding in the sense I've been using. Nevertheless, it has capabilities which far outstrip the conscious mind. Who knows what we can apprehend subconsciously but never express? The point I'm making is that our ability to consciously understand something is not the deciding factor in whether that thing is worth bothering with.

No real argument there.

Interestingly I happen to be reading a book called "Moral Minds: How Nature Designed Our Universal Sense of Right and Wrong." which looks into somewhat related things.

The problem is that you are really moving this into a different direction. One focused more on why we think, and act, the way we do. As well as why it tends to work as well as it does, and why and how it maps (and conflicts) with reality. That is a different matter than how to ascertain truth and obtain knowledge.

What I'm suggesting (and I'm wary of suggesting anything too specific lest anyone mistake it for a belief), is that the Truth (complete knowledge of everything) may be completely beyond us, that reason will allow us to understand a limited subset of the Truth,

To which I whole heartedly agree. That is something that really hit home during the papers I took on epistemology.

and that through methods which may involve the (temporary) abandonment of reason we might be able to apprehend, in some way, something of what remains.

While possible, it is of no real value without at least some reason to think that is the case. And I would currently think that if this is possible at all (it may not be, the limits of human reasoning may be the human limits of understanding) it is more plausible to expect that it would be some as-of-yet-unknown thing used in conjunction, on top of, reasoning. Or more likely more and better tools on which to base reasoning on. I mean; what is reason really, but the careful and critical examination and assessment of everything we have available to us, including our observations, imagination and emotions, and the thinking thereon?

I must admit that it baffles me how anyone can even suggest abandoning that, especially as a path to truth! It's a fantastic way to clasp onto a conviction of things that you want to believe to be true though.

...

Edited by ADParker

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...

Now I'll admit straight off that all I just said was complete speculation, but the point is (and here I think we come to the main bone of contention), is it so speculative that we may completely ignore the possibility of it being so? Can you justifiably say that it is not so?

No more than anything else. But honestly; so what?

Of the following assertions:

1) There is some significant truth beyond what we can ascertain through reason

2) There are ways to access and benefit from that truth which do not involve reason

...I don't think either can be considered false beyond reasonable doubt.

The second is unrelated to the first though. It does not involve ascertaining truth (or approximations.) They are two different areas. And the second doesn't add anything to the first, so I don't see the value. And I think it fallacious to assume that whatever it is that we "access" through evolved intuitions and so forth, is "that truth" which is beyond that we can ascertain through reason. On the contrary reason has brought us far far beyond anything our "middle world primate" non-reasoning faculties have ever brought us! Just look at what Physics, chemistry, biology, geology and engineering/technology have achieved!

I'm well aware that people tend to use the above as a starting point for believing all kinds of gibberish, but if that sways you to reject it then you are not being reasonable. The end doesn't justify the means.

Thanks. But that has nothing to do with it, not for me.

'Their' primary problem is that they so often claim to be using something beyond reason, not requiring reason (they rarely admit to abandoning it, but it amounts to the same) when all they are truly doing is abandoning reason, not replacing it with anything, just resorting to the pre-rational tools of imagination and emotion. :dry:

This is why I sometimes, when people claim that they have Faith which is that claimed something more, relate adding Faith to a situation is like adding negative 2 (-2) to an equation. They think they are using something more, an extra tool, when in fact they are doing nothing but using one tool less; Reason.

I'm enjoying this! Nice to argue the other side for a change.:lol:

It is fun sometimes isn't it?

Edited by ADParker

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And I think it fallacious to assume that whatever it is that we "access" through evolved intuitions and so forth, is "that truth" which is beyond that we can ascertain through reason.
And that's really the problem with the point I'm making, which is why I felt constricted (as an afterthought on my last post, might not have been there when you replied) to point out that I'm really indulging in an exercise in pedantry here. Without reason we have no means of distinguishing truth from any old crap we care to imagine. Considering again the statement you made (underlined bit now brought more to my attention)...
On that front we (I at least ) rely on our intellect (and the intellect of others) because not only does it "maintain consistency" or at least a close approximation of it, but more importantly because it is the ONLY means that has ever been discovered thus far for ascertaining truth (again; at least the most reliable approximation thereof we can muster - and we never stop; we keep working on it) in any remotely reliable manner.
...I must concede the point. :thumbsup: You are quite right, because reliability fails by any other means. Even though we might apprehend the truth some other way, we don't know that it is the truth. And that's the attraction of faith right there. If what you think might be true, should you reject it just because you don't know that it is? Put like that it could almost seem like a good idea, but once accepted as a principle, it's the thin end of a bit fat wedge of irrationality. I'm implying a false dilemma anyway, there are other alternatives, like testing what you think, questioning why you think what you think, and above all, remembering that it is unknown rather than true.

Well, I feel we've bashed that about as much as we can. It's been fun.

Any Christians in the den?

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Well, I feel we've bashed that about as much as we can. It's been fun.

It has, yes. :D

Any Christians in the den?

Yes please.

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Can I pretend, and you defend against my horrable skills?

*puts on religious hat*

Chrstian #1 (I may switch every so often):

"I may not follow the bible to every point it makes, but what about miracles, pieces of history that are in both the bible and real life? Plus, how could this world be made without a higher being? A world cannot make itself. Think about it: trees grow, but they did not make themselves: they CAME from something - just like everything. While God may not have made every little dot in this world, he made the origin. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? no one knows, that was god. we build a house, brick by brick, but the house doesnt build itself!!! Explain that!!"

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ADPArker i refute the agnostic-athiest label. I do not disbelieve in god nor do I believe there is no god. I believe we cannot know. In any case gods existence or non existence is irrelevant. What i said was that i tend towards there being no god. I guess i should clarify, I meant that there is no CHRISTIAN god. As to a great creater god like being i have no clue.

Chrstian #1 (I may switch every so often):

"I may not follow the bible to every point it makes, but what about miracles, pieces of history that are in both the bible and real life? Plus, how could this world be made without a higher being? A world cannot make itself. Think about it: trees grow, but they did not make themselves: they CAME from something - just like everything. While God may not have made every little dot in this world, he made the origin. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? no one knows, that was god. we build a house, brick by brick, but the house doesnt build itself!!! Explain that!!"

simply reply WHERE DID GOD COME FROM? explain that. You cannot. just because you do not know the answer to a question does not mean that GOD had to be behind it, it simply means that we are ignorant of all the facts.

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simply reply WHERE DID GOD COME FROM? explain that. You cannot. just because you do not know the answer to a question does not mean that GOD had to be behind it, it simply means that we are ignorant of all the facts.

#1:

cant i just use your argument? No one knows, as we are ignorant of the facts. The only person who knows is God. You cannot say that I am silly because i cannot answer the question you ask me, without using the same responce. Maybe god always was, and always will be, and maybe not. We dont know. But you're right, i cannot explain that just as you cannot explain how the earth and the galaxies were made WITHOUT god. you say you are ignorant of the facts, and so am i, but of different facts. That is the CONSTANT rebuttal to the question we ask, and yet we find a way to answer it, all differently. you only answer with another question, and also by adding on that you do not know.

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That i why I am agnostic I admit I do not know. But to claim you do know seems the hight of hubris.

You were the one who asked where did trees come from. Then stated that a house is built by man and thus god exists. a silly arguement I merely replied to your argument. Like I said I'm agnostic I'm not trying to disprove god. I am pointing out that there is no, nada, nil, zilch, sweet f*** all proof of gods existence.

We know for a fact that most religions claim to explain the creation of the universe. The explanations vary wildly, leading to the reasoned conclusion that they cannot all be right and are probably all created by man. Also religion has and continues to be used as a means of gaining power over others. All this leans me towards the conclusion that ALL religions are BOGUS. There are many more reasons, but those are the two strongest. Now saying all religions are bogus is not the same as saying god does not exist, just the god as described in those religions.

I also accept the possibility of there being more than 1 god. but for sake of this arguement i will use god in the singular to also mean the plural.

Edited by Quag

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#1:

"hight of hubris"???

Im sorry, but im confused.

"a silly argument i merely replied..." what did u reply? that theres no knowledge? And you're twisting my words: I said a house is made my man, and that THE HOUSE DOES NOT JUST APPEAR. I was trying to make...a metaphor of sorts? I dont knwo what to call it, but the way your twisting my words makes it sound like im the idiot. Im sure you understood what i was trying to say. your agnostic. great. your not trying to disprove, your jsut trying to confuse. great. theres is also no, nada, nil, zilch, sweet f*** all proof of gods NON-existence.

2nd P:

1) yes they do. science doesnt, says it came from an explosion or that it just always WAS

2) just because they differ doesnt mean science is the immediate "go-to." Science isnt in a catagory all by itself, but just saying "i dont know" is not the answer. one of those "myths" could be true, and others BASED on it just got it wrong. just because they differ doesnt mean that science is suddenly right.

3) "ALL religions are BOGUS" wow. religions differ widly, and the main common thing (ONLY common thing really) is that they believe some higher power. dont dismiss them all because you find one wrong. again, refer to point #2.

4) now your saying that all religions are bogus, but then your saying that god might exist although you seem to be fighting against it. im kind of confused. Just because you dont subscribe to any one relgion doesnt make them bogus. I dont like to eat beets, but i dont want to wipe them off the earth.

5) and now your saying it could be 1 god, or many. again: dont dismiss religions if your not happy with them. you dont know, but that doesnt mean that everyone else is suddenly stupid for believing what they believe. you just seem to be in the place of "i dont know, so dont touch me cause thats my argument," yet seem to be fighting against theists. again: im confused.

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1.Claiming to KNOW either gods existence or non existence is the height of hubris. Point I was trying to make was thet it is rather arrogant to claim to KNOW something that is inherently unknowable. You can BELIEVE but not KNOW, seems people often confuse the two.

The seeing a house and thus you know it was built by someone is an old arguement used by creationists. rather than go into it again i just dismissed it. sorry if i was cavalier didnt try and paint you as an idiot. but it is a falacious arguement.

I am not trying to confuse I am actually trying to enlighten. There is no proof of god and no proof of lack of god. All people who claim to have proof really have nothing. Please go back and reread the proof of god thread if you want elaboration.

2.Science best theory ATM is the big bang and there could have been an infinite number of big bangs. Last time I checked they were still debating whether the universe will continually expand or eventually recollapse on it self. Point is they admit it is a theory and so far it fits best with our limited understanding. Religion on the other hand claims to KNOW, there is a big difference.

3.I agree a myth could be true, and the search for the truth is a good and noble thing. However there is absolutely no way anyone who is seriously looking at the question can use a book that was written thousands of years ago and translated several times as a source of reliable information.

4.I am refering to the creation of the universe. Religions have contradictory views on that and thus cannot all be right. When you add the fact that logic points to religion as being created to 1. explain the universe around us and 2. manipulate and control people, it makes it even more likely that they are all bogus. my personal belief is based upon logical reason but I have no solid proof that they all are bogus just that all but 1 have to be. Please dont confuse disbelief in religion as disbelief in god they are not the same thing. I never said that religions had to be destroyed dotn knwo where that came from, but I have to admit i'm not a fan of beets either.

5.Its not that im unhappy with religions just as i said before only 1 can be right. I do not think someone is stupid for believing in a religion, it is a personal thing. I believe people should come to their religious beliefs after thinking about it. Most people have their beliefs because of their upbringing. Very unlikely someone will grow up Christian in Pakistan or Buddhist in Salt Lake city. If your parents are Hindu chances are you will be Hindu etc... Please dont be confused I have stated it several times before but i will state it again I dont KNOW if god exists but I do not BELIEVE any religion is correct. This some people take for Atheism but it isnt, Atheism is the disbelief in god.

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I think it's a bit ignorant to claim you know everything. Regardless if it's true, we've created an alternate version of history. Even if it's completely random, it just comes into account, and we don't know everything. Since others have come to respect that belief, we must respect, but we don't need to believe in it.

On a side note: I seriously think religion was thought of over a couple of primitive guys taking some Shrooms. Stern face serious.

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