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Author Topic: Religion Matters: Take 3  (Read 55147 times)
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ronkny

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« Reply #1280 on: Feb 14, 2018, 03:47PM »

Your claim that Byron and bill's biases override the evidence is just that, an unsupported claim.

They claim to be closer to correct because they use the methods of science to avoid fooling themselves to the maximum extent possible.

You claim to be closer to correct because you get direct revelation from supernatural creatures.

Both positions are possible, but not equally probable. 
unsuported claim? You’re not paying attention then. (That’s a byronism).
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« Reply #1281 on: Feb 14, 2018, 03:51PM »

Can a proven assumption remain an assumption somehow?
Can you every fully prove something? Completely? Isn't that part of your certain uncertainty?


And how are genuinely tested or proven assumptions different from religious beliefs?
 I'm not sure that's true. I keep seeing you state this as fact, but I don't think you've made much of a case for it, regardless of whether it's true or not. I haven't decided if it's a linguistic disconnect, purely a rhetorical device that's important for presuppositionalism, or if there's merit to the allegation. I'm pretty sure there's practical merit in the large majority, but I'm not sure it an absolute barrier to objectivity, as you seem to be arguing.
More merit than most of your arguments anyhow. Do you even have an argument here other than, "one time, when I was young, I gave up on religion. the end"?

Cute rhyme, but I don't see any meat yet.
It is hard to see with your eyes closed...
 
You seem to be suggesting I can't for example observe the shadow of the sun at the equator, then at a point halfway up to the North Pole, and then deduct facts about the shape of the Earth without making assumptions. Even if that's true, then those assumptions are of a fundamentally different character than assumptions about an alleged being that created the Sun and the Moon and the Earth. Then there's the host of other beasties that live in the same realm outside of our perception.
You seem to suggest that your personal assumptions are about more than yourself.

If anything you could argue that I started with both and jettisoned the religious ones because they failed under genuine scrutiny
You could argue it, but I doubt you have much to go on. After all, that is your one big push at critical thinking that you can name, it happened 20+ years ago, and you never actually tried anything else. Where is the genuine scrutiny?
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Baron von Bone
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« Reply #1282 on: Feb 14, 2018, 04:10PM »

What I said was the evidence will always be inconclusive because without a framework the evidence doesn't provide a full picture.
Here's where the problems apparently start.
 
What do you mean exactly by full picture and how are you using inconclusive here? Because these don't sound like problems to me unless you're trying to deny your uncertainty.
 
The full picture each of us holds to is dependent upon a framework and that framework always has a key element of subjectivity in it.
Sounds like you accept that presuppositionalism doesn't validate any full pictures.
 
That subjectivity means that our pre-commitments will always play a role.  A pre-commitment to naturalism will always color the framework, just as a pre-commitment to theism will.
How about just a pre-commitment to accept whatever evidence tells us, including what it can't tell us and leaves us without a means of reliable verification rather than just digging in and doubling down on biases as if that changes them into truths because when you invest in the same biases you come up with the same "truths".
 
As Kuhn argues, we always hold on to our paradigms until paradigm overload kicks in.  I believe that they are holding on to a naturalistic paradigm and I see no real evidence-- if I can use that term here :) -- that anything would overturn their POVs, in spite of what they might claim.  They have strong commitments to naturalism, which are inherently subjective, not objective.  That's the point I'm making.
And by naturalism you mean the notion that nothing non-evidential exists, no?
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« Reply #1283 on: Feb 14, 2018, 04:15PM »

Because these don't sound like problems to me unless you're trying to deny your uncertainty.
You do realize that no one has claimed religion has all the answers, yes? Just answers that matter.

How about just a pre-commitment to accept whatever evidence tells us, including what it can't tell us and leaves us without a means of reliable verification rather than just digging in and doubling down on biases as if that changes them into truths because when you invest in the same biases you come up with the same "truths".
You wife tells you she loves you. Emotions have no direct evidence. And the gestures that come from it, can be faked. How do you validate? How do you measure? If you can't, do you take it as an unknown?
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Baron von Bone
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« Reply #1284 on: Feb 14, 2018, 04:52PM »

You wife tells you she loves you. Emotions have no direct evidence. And the gestures that come from it, can be faked. How do you validate? How do you measure? If you can't, do you take it as an unknown?

Basically, yeah. Why would you want to measure it in an empirical way unless you're into the physiology (in which context we can measure it, but it's got to be pretty arbitrary since the concept is so inherently dicey it can't be defined in anything near a complete or universal or specific or detailed way)?
 
I expect this very popular apologetic territory will begin to shrink as we learn more about neurology, and in yet another field of science research dispels the vagueneato that religious apologetics so often depend upon.
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« Reply #1285 on: Feb 14, 2018, 05:11PM »

One notable thing in this ... discussion, is that none (neither) of the mere naysayers has shown the cojones to answer the question about challenging assumptions.
 
JtT hasn't either, but I don't see him going for the ruler approach, and I'm just hoping we haven't run Driz off.
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ronkny

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« Reply #1286 on: Feb 14, 2018, 06:08PM »


Basically, yeah. Why would you want to measure it in an empirical way unless you're into the physiology (in which context we can measure it, but it's got to be pretty arbitrary since the concept is so inherently dicey it can't be defined in anything near a complete or universal or specific or detailed way)?
 
I expect this very popular apologetic territory will begin to shrink as we learn more about neurology, and in yet another field of science research dispels the vagueneato that religious apologetics so often depend upon.
Neurology has nothing to do with what you are talking about.
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« Reply #1287 on: Feb 14, 2018, 06:18PM »



My point is that we all do that, but that you seem to be denying that you really do, at least to any significant degree. 

Because noone has shown that we really do, to any significant degree, at least with anything objective enough to be tested or measured. 
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Tim Richardson
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« Reply #1288 on: Feb 14, 2018, 06:33PM »

Basically, yeah. Why would you want to measure it in an empirical way unless you're into the physiology ?
Good question. Between how far away a random star is and finding a woman to love you, hopefully one is clearly more important than the other.

After all, which has more real consequence on your life. How the universe began (be it big bang or God or whatever), or the love of you life and possibly mother of your child. One can be examined, debated, verified and maybe measured, the other is real and impacts your life.
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« Reply #1289 on: Feb 14, 2018, 07:45PM »

Martin said:
I would think that you would assume things like:
- that reality is entirely natural and that it is as we perceive or measure it

-------------
Byron said:
Nope. Again, and this is going to be the response every time this one comes up just as it has been every time prior, it's about what we can know--observations we can verify are in fact observations of reality rather than the imposition of our biases upon reality. In other words, we have to have some pretty solid assurances that we're not fooling ourselves. That's what science and critical thinking boil down to, ultimately.


That's exactly the problem: its about what we can know and how we can know it.  And we have come to different  conclusions on that. (unless there is a newly minted scientific theory that allows you to discard them, but I doubt it)

- You are dependent on the scientific method which is pretty good on natural things but works on the principal of methodological naturalism which explicitly excludes the consideration of the supernatural.  Do you see the problem of using science to make theories about the supernatural?  What you mean there are not scientific theories of the supernatural?!  
- you state that "observations we can verify are in fact observations of reality rather than the imposition of our biases upon reality"  I can see how that is consistent with the assumptions of your world view but it is not an assumption we make.

- we include revelation as a valid source of knowledge.  That opens up issues of how you differentiate true revelations from false ones and ones that are just made up.  that is an issue that we have to face in our worldview.

Quote
This is accepting the unknown and the limitations that all human brain owners have to work with--perhaps the most fundamental, definitive facts of life in terms of our experience and understanding of it. If you don't warm up to this one, I'm not sure much in the way of genuine understanding is at all likely. But since we all function through our senses that's not necessarily as much of a thing as it sounds--most of our basic, visceral understanding of the personal cosmos (that which is the immediate world of our experience)

And I agree that science is great at helping us understand the way our natural world works.  But because of the limitations that all human brain owners have it and the limitations of our senses to the natural visceral world, it doesn't help at all with helping us beyond that.

Can we get a genuine understanding of each other's positions?  I do think its possible to understand each others view, even when we disagree with them.


You also asked me to explain some of the assumptions that I thought you had:

1. that reality is entirely natural and that it is as we perceive or measure it
 - This was covered above
  
2. that reality is all potential
 - I don't know what I meant here: I think I forgot to finish the sentence

3. that the supernatural does not affect the natural cosmos
 - I remember you stating that because God is supernatural he couldn't intervene in reality

4. that history is a result of a cause and effect chain
 - this was in contrast to some of the eastern religions that see history as cyclical

5. that there is no afterlife
 - similar issues to 1 above - no natural data, so assume no data

6. that truth has a high value
 - You've shown that you think truth is important and should be maintained and sought after and not sullied with untruth.  I don't disagree with that position.  The point I was making is that it suggests to me that you might assume that truth is important and it should be protected and sought after.  


And there were some other points you made and questions you asked but this post is long enough so I'll pass on them
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drizabone
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« Reply #1290 on: Feb 14, 2018, 07:46PM »

Quote from: drizabone on Yesterday at 02:42:33 PM
I would think that you would assume things like:
- that reality is entirely natural and that it is as we perceive or measure it
- that reality is all potential
- that the supernatural does not affect the natural cosmos
- that history is a result of a cause and effect chain
- that there is no afterlife
- that truth has a high value

Assumptions are an important part of the scientific process but, like a catalyst, are only needed for the development of an hypothesis.  Once a theory is minted, the assumptions can be thrown away.

Agreed (with caveats) but I can't see how that addresses any of the assumptions Byron was making. Or are their 'minted' theories that cover them?

I think that you wrote another post on this.  I'll look for it when I can.

Thinking about your statement more: do you really through the assumption away of does it become something else that is more trusted.  Like if you assume gravity and test for it and come up with some cool equations that seem to model it and test it some more and it becomes a law you don't throw gravity away, you become more confident in the truth of that assumption and may give it a more authoritative name.  Isn't that how it works?

So if my approach (I could call it a God Hypothesis if I wanted to sound scientific) was that I assume the God exists and then test that assumption in my life: building up my understanding of the world based on that assumption.  I find that this hypothesis has good explanatory power and gives me an understanding of people that I find useful.  It gives me a structure that helps me make sense of the world and live a satisfying life.  So I can be more confident in the truth of that assumption.  Is that acceptable?

So I make an assumptions and test the results of that assumption.  And find that the results are mostly as expected and are good.  I think I'll keep on with God as a working hypothesis and see if the results keep coming out good.
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drizabone
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« Reply #1291 on: Feb 14, 2018, 07:51PM »

One notable thing in this ... discussion, is that none (neither) of the mere naysayers has shown the cojones to answer the question about challenging assumptions.
 
JtT hasn't either, but I don't see him going for the ruler approach, and I'm just hoping we haven't run Driz off.

Nah,  I took some time off to do some trombone practice and when I came back there were 5 pages of discussion to wade through.  I'll catch up eventually.

Can you make it easy for me by repeating the challenge.
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« Reply #1292 on: Feb 14, 2018, 08:43PM »

We were talking about Okham's Razor and Bill gave a justification of it from the naturalistic PoV.

Isaac Newton gives us the Theistic PoV

Quote
One of the most famous scientific endorsements of Ockham’s Razor can be found in Isaac Newton’s Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy (1687), where he states four ‘Rules of Reasoning’. Here are the first two:

Rule I. No more causes of natural things should be admitted than are both true and sufficient to explain their phenomena. As the philosophers say: nature does nothing in vain, and more causes are in vain when fewer suffice. For nature is simple and does not indulge in the luxury of superfluous causes.

Rule II. Therefore, the causes assigned to natural effects of the same kind must be, so far as possible, the same. Examples are the cause of respiration in man and beast, or of the falling of stones in Europe and America, or of the light of a kitchen fire and the Sun, or of the reflection of light on our Earth and the planets.

Newton doesn’t do much to justify these rules, but in an unpublished commentary on the book of Revelations, he says more. Here is one of his ‘Rules for methodising/construing the Apocalypse’:

To choose those constructions which without straining reduce things to the greatest simplicity. The reason of this is… [that] truth is ever to be found in simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things. It is the perfection of God’s works that they are all done with the greatest simplicity. He is the God of order and not of confusion. And therefore as they that would understand the frame of the world must endeavour to reduce their knowledge to all possible simplicity, so it must be in seeking to understand these visions…

Newton thinks that preferring simpler theories makes sense, whether the task is to interpret the Bible or to discover the laws of physics. Ockham’s Razor is right on both counts because the Universe was created by God.
quoted from https://aeon.co/essays/are-scientific-theories-really-better-when-they-are-simpler

Do you notice the difference between Newton's version and Bill's?

One does note that Okham's Razor is not proven by either science or theology, but it works pretty well most of the time.
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« Reply #1293 on: Feb 14, 2018, 09:13PM »


 Until you try to unpack it anyway.
 
It works exactly like magic in this sense. Magic is a simple "answer", but then if you try to unpack what it means--what magic is and how it works (we have to assume it works for the sake of exposition here), we should very quickly realize it's only the appearance of "Occamism" if you don't really think about the "answer" so much.

I disagree I think.  "Magic" would be analogous to "Physics" as a potential answer to how things work: they are both hypothetical mechanisms by that explain the way things work in reality.

But for me God would be different on 2 counts:
 - he is the funadamental reality in my worldview: he has created and runs the cosmos that we see and can "unpack" but is not a subset of that cosmos
 - he is a person and not a set of rules.

I agree that you can investigate the God hypothesis to understand how what he does works.  Physics works well for some of that.   

ISTM that you have assumed that God can be unpacked to find out how he works as though he is a part of creation that conforms to your unpacking and analysis rules.

Quote

So I'd say this is a good analog for religious apologetics, but not at all Occam, as you suggest.

I don't see this investigation as an apology for Christianity, but rather getting to know you. And I think that its teased out some more of your assumptions
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« Reply #1294 on: Feb 15, 2018, 04:51AM »

I see that overnight Martin has filled in a lot of answers to some of your questions that I find helpful.  I'm not sure how much access to the computer I'll have today, but I'l try to chime in as I have time.

I think one of the key points Martin has made is that assumptions are not simply thrown away after their early use as Bill has suggested, but they continue to be used-- indeed they often become unspoken parts of what we assume has been proven.  His gravity example is a good one-- wish I have thought of something like that. :)
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« Reply #1295 on: Feb 15, 2018, 06:26AM »


So if my approach (I could call it a God Hypothesis if I wanted to sound scientific) was that I assume the God exists and then test that assumption in my life: building up my understanding of the world based on that assumption.

That would be an interesting approach.

I have two problems with it.

One is that I've never seen anybody do it.  Testing assumptions is tantamount to heresy, and most people are going to shy away from that.  Certainly it is not part of the standard religious consensus. 

The second is that some of the assumptions are in a realm where no testing can be done.  E.g., I assume there is an afterlife, and I assume that only X% of the population who die make it there.  How can I check? 
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« Reply #1296 on: Feb 15, 2018, 06:33AM »

Testing assumptions is tantamount to heresy, and most people are going to shy away from that.  Certainly it is not part of the standard religious consensus. 
Where do you keep getting the idea that any questioning or testing of scripture or faith is heavily shunned in christian communities? Was there an episcopal church you visited that considered your questions heresy?

The second is that some of the assumptions are in a realm where no testing can be done.  E.g., I assume there is an afterlife, and I assume that only X% of the population who die make it there.  How can I check?
How do you test scientific theories that are in a realm where no testing can be done? You do the best you can with what you can.
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« Reply #1297 on: Feb 15, 2018, 06:36AM »



And I agree that science is great at helping us understand the way our natural world works.  But because of the limitations that all human brain owners have it and the limitations of our senses to the natural visceral world, it doesn't help at all with helping us beyond that.


(I changed the order of your paragraphs)  Martin, your last clause implies that A) there must be worlds beyond the natural world, and B)  that there must be ways (other than science) of examining them.  I will grant you A for the sake of argument, although some will demand evidence, but B) is a problem.  

Quote
- we include revelation as a valid source of knowledge.  That opens up issues of how you differentiate true revelations from false ones and ones that are just made up.  that is an issue that we have to face in our worldview.

When we get revelation about the natural world, we have a way to test the validity.  (it fails)
When we get revelation about a supernatural world, there is no validity testing that is possible.  Differentiation between real and false does not seem to work.  John is sure (not just sure, 100% certain, willing to bet his eternal soul) that the body of Christian revelation that he accepts is valid, and that the revelations from the Angel Moroni to Joseph Smith are not.  How does he know, and why is he so sure?  
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« Reply #1298 on: Feb 15, 2018, 06:41AM »

Where do you keep getting the idea that any questioning or testing of scripture or faith is heavily shunned in christian communities? Was there an episcopal church you visited that considered your questions heresy?


Bob,
Q:  What happens here when someone from an atheistic background or a liberal Christian background questions an interpretation of scripture or offers an alternate explanation?
A:  John appears and explains why they are wrong. 

Not just part of the time, all of the time.  And John is one of the most intelligent and educated apologists you will ever find, certainly the most I've run into or read. 

You, ronkny and dd are part of his base here - what parts have you ever questioned? 
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« Reply #1299 on: Feb 15, 2018, 06:46AM »

(I changed the order of your paragraphs)  Martin, your last clause implies that A) there must be worlds beyond the natural world,
Higher physics does as well. String theory, multiverse, and others propose there is a good bit beyond what we currently know as the natural world.

B)  that there must be ways (other than science) of examining them.  I will grant you A for the sake of argument, although some will demand evidence, but B) is a problem.
Currently science can't define what makes a living organism actually living... but we can examine ourselves and see that we are alive.  

When we get revelation about the natural world, we have a way to test the validity.  (it fails)
Not always.

When we get revelation about a supernatural world, there is no validity testing that is possible.  Differentiation between real and false does not seem to work.
It falls apart in testing more complex areas of the natural world as well. ex: Quantum physics and other items that follow more of a probability based model than calculations that play out consistency true/false.

It also falls apart in the everyday life. How do you scientifically validate the strength of someone's character? How do you validate love for another? You have to use non-scientific methods and other ways of thinking/perceiving.

John is sure (not just sure, 100% certain, willing to bet his eternal soul) that the body of Christian revelation that he accepts is valid, and that the revelations from the Angel Moroni to Joseph Smith are not.  How does he know, and why is he so sure?
Maybe you should ask him?
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