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Burl

CIA whitepaper on consciousness

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17 hours ago, PaulS said:

I will watch the video and comment but a brief Google search would suggest this woman's argument is biased as she is already a believer in ESP.  It seems she was one of two experts asked to review the statistical information - she claims it supports ESP, the other scientist said it didn't support any such notion.  I'll provide further info later (bit busy today).

Actually the other was a skeptic that participated and they both agreed that statistically remote viewing had statistical proof. The problem is it is subjectively experienced so it is not an exact science but i went over the military results in the CIA papers myself and they were obviously more than coincidence to me and i think any open minded mathematician. I think you would agree there is something there if you looked at the drawings and notes and setup of each experiment. Some higher ups were against the study from the start and call it inconclusive, lucky guesses or quackery but the results far exceeded the likely chance of guessing what was being viewed. Enough so it is still used in crime  solving along with individuals claiming ESP with some amazing results that have been verified. There was a time when the world is round/oval was unverifiable yet it was still reality. Therefor how can one call something not reality just because it has not yet been verified to the satisfaction of others?

 

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55 minutes ago, Burl said:

Belief in anthropogenic global warming Is an excellent example of confirmation bias and the power of Scientism.  We have had several good threads on this in the past.

There is little nuance involved in understanding the AGW fraud.  Hard data going back to the Ordovichian period indisputably proves the only relevant variables affecting climate change are astrophysical and that CO2 levels are irrelevant.  Several prominent physicists and ecologists have explained this very simply in short YouTube clips.  

It's not difficult material, but the public is being deliberately misled by know-nothing celebrities like Bill Nye and Al Gore waving a science banner.  

 

I forgot to mention conspiracy theories as one key element of the current anti-intellectualism and anti-expertism. Thanks for the demonstration.

 

I won't hijack the thread to debate climate change so I'll drop this right here. Feel free to take one last swing if you want, but I won't respond. 

Edited by Jack of Spades

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31 minutes ago, Jack of Spades said:

 

I forgot to mention conspiracy theories as one key element of the current anti-intellectualism and anti-expertism. Thanks for the demonstration.

 

I won't hijack the thread to debate climate change so I'll drop this right here. Feel free to take one last swing if you want, but I won't respond. 

A reminder that the recent release of JFK documents showed 'conspiracy theory' was a CIA created term invented to slander people who disagreed with the false, government created explanation.

The driver for climate is the sun.  Solar intensity cycles, distance from earth, tilt of earth axis.  Thoroughly documented by ice and soil cores, fossils and tree rings.

Data, dude.

image.jpg

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8 minutes ago, Burl said:

Data, dude.

 

You had your last word. If you have no other professional ambitions, I recommend becoming a climate scientists and revolutionizing the field, since you have proven the consensus of the field wrong.

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1 hour ago, Jack of Spades said:

 

You had your last word. If you have no other professional ambitions, I recommend becoming a climate scientists and revolutionizing the field, since you have proven the consensus of the field wrong.

Please stop the personal insults and move back to ideas.  Science does not work by consensus, especially politically motivated consensus.  I can discuss the arguments on both sides of climate change, natural and man-made.  I suspect you are influenced largely by second-hand summaries, so I posted the data showing how CO2 and climate are not significantly related.

Do you deny there was at least one ice age between two rather warm periods that were caused completely by natural means?  I'm talking global glaciation, not a 2% temperature rise.

Did you know on Sep. 17, 2017 a paper in "Nature Geoscience"  demonstrated how the model of CO2 related climate change was fatally flawed?  https://newstarget.com/2017-09-19-climate-change-science-implodes-as-ipcc-climate-models-found-to-be-totally-wrong-temperatures-arent-rising-as-predicted-hoax-unraveling.html

Look deeper and on all sides of a question.  Think for yourself based on data not somebody else's opinion.  Be able to state all factors and have an estimate of the relative importance of each.  

Don't be a climate change NPC.

 

 

Edited by Burl
Sept not Nov.

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2 minutes ago, Burl said:

Think for yourself based on data...

 

I already informed you that I'm not going to debate climate change. There is no point in debating it. It's settled science, there is a consensus on the field. Denying it is denying science the same way as denying gravity is denying science.

 

For comparison, I'm myself a professional at something related to money. I'm a capitalist. I could give you a 5 hour lecture about something related to my profession, and you'd walk away thinking that I'm obviously right. That wouldn't mean I'm right, though, I could be intentionally misleading you. It would simply mean that I have too deep background knowledge about my field for you to accurately judge whether I'm right or wrong at all. Professionals can be convincing, even when they are wrong or intentionally misrepresenting something. That is why following the expert consensus is the best way, because amateurs simply don't have all the necessary expertise to interpret the data presented to them.

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8 hours ago, thormas said:

I think Jack is on to something with his idea of non verifiable reality. After all, we already have touched on realities (big bang, black hole, evolution, etc,) that are real but were  (are) not verified for much of the life of humanity. Thus, these and other non verified things exist; they are indeed real - whether verified or not. 

So too, one can say God Is: God is non verifiable yet it doesn't follow that God is not or that God is not Real. Facts may have to be verifiable (well, then again there is the matter of black holes) but it doesn't follow that all that is real is subject to verification (again, black holes). It is evident that not all Truth is verifiable, not all reality is verifiable. 

To reduce reality or existence to that which is verifiable is to miss most (since, seemingly we are only a very small part of everything) of what actually exists in the universe(s).

I'd go with non verifiable reality when it comes to things we don't know, but my point concerns positive claims made about something existing, but then not being able to demonstrate it exists, not even with a scientific theory than has some credibility.  All of those things you mention (black holes, evolution, big bang) are acknowledged as not fully understood but scientific justification is provided for what we think we know about them.   If I said to you that I know that pink unicorn poo is rainbow coloured, well as you can't disprove that then it must be reality going by how you seem to justify the determination of reality.  I do think that generally people would not accept my belief based on lack of evidence.  But you seem to believe that if enough people believed it over a period of time, then it must be true, it just can't be verified.

Facts DO have to be verifiable, otherwise they are not facts as described by the English language.  Black holes are not 'facts' per se as the science is not complete about them.  There is much evidence there to suggest what and how they are, but it is still being worked through.  So the fact is we think we have black holes and why, but we are still trying to understand it.  There is some mathematical evidence to suggest what and why they are -  not just a personal feeling.  I simply disagree that It is evident that not all Truth is verifiable, not all reality is verifiable as you are giving new meanings to existing words to suit your purposes.

I don't know how you jump to "To reduce reality or existence to that which is verifiable is to miss most (since, seemingly we are only a very small part of everything) of what actually exists in the universe(s)".  I mean, do you feel you are missing out on the pink unicorn experience?

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4 hours ago, JosephM said:

Actually the other was a skeptic that participated and they both agreed that statistically remote viewing had statistical proof. The problem is it is subjectively experienced so it is not an exact science but i went over the military results in the CIA papers myself and they were obviously more than coincidence to me and i think any open minded mathematician. I think you would agree there is something there if you looked at the drawings and notes and setup of each experiment. Some higher ups were against the study from the start and call it inconclusive, lucky guesses or quackery but the results far exceeded the likely chance of guessing what was being viewed. Enough so it is still used in crime  solving along with individuals claiming ESP with some amazing results that have been verified. There was a time when the world is round/oval was unverifiable yet it was still reality. Therefor how can one call something not reality just because it has not yet been verified to the satisfaction of others?

 

This is all I can find concerning what 'the skeptic' had to say regarding the 'proof''.  Do you happen to have any better source material?  I can only find either ESP supportive websites that repeat comments like yours, or skeptic websites that play down any such claim.

Excerpt from a January 2008 item in the UK's The Daily Mail newspaper:
In 1995, the US Congress asked two independent scientists to assess whether the $20 million that the government had spent on psychic research had produced anything of value. And the conclusions proved to be somewhat unexpected.

Professor Jessica Utts, a statistician from the University of California, discovered that remote viewers were correct 34 per cent of the time, a figure way beyond what chance guessing would allow.  She says: "Using the standards applied to any other area of science, you have to conclude that certain psychic phenomena, such as remote viewing, have been well established."The results are not due to chance or flaws in the experiments."

Of course, this doesn't wash with sceptical scientists.

Professor Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire, refuses to believe in remote viewing.  He says: "I agree that by the standards of any other area of science that remote viewing is proven, but begs the question: do we need higher standards of evidence when we study the paranormal? I think we do.

"If I said that there is a red car outside my house, you would probably believe me. "But if I said that a UFO had just landed, you'd probably want a lot more evidence. "Because remote viewing is such an outlandish claim that will revolutionise the world, we need overwhelming evidence before we draw any conclusions. Right now we don't have that evidence."

As to your comment "Therefor how can one call something not reality just because it has not yet been verified to the satisfaction of others?".  I can't help but think your claim is a bit like Burl's concerning climate change.  The overwhelming bulk of the scientific community disagree with you both, but still you hold true to your opinions because you believe them to be true.  For me personally, that is not enough.

 

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10 hours ago, Jack of Spades said:

 

 

Oxford dictionary: Reality - The state of things as they actually exist.

 

What I'm saying is that the objective truth about the reality exists independently of human verification. That is not controversial idea, it's a scientific observation. The reality is not dependent of our verification and true things are just as true or untrue regardless of whether their existence is verified or not. New planets existed in reality before we discovered them etc.

 

With all due respect, I think you are using an appeal to emotion by hijacking the word "reality" to mean only the things which can be verified by humans. That's not the common sense meaning of the word.  Human experience can sometimes be ahead of the scientific knowledge, and in those cases, that particular human experience is more accurate guide to the reality than scientific knowledge is. For a historical example, again, the new continents. The human experience of the people who ended up in those continents described the reality (using the Oxford dictionary's meaning) more accurately than the scientific consensus of the time.

 

To be clear, I'm not saying that the same is necessarily the case with remote viewing etc. but I'm mentioning the possibility that it could be.

Scientific observation certainly does leave room for something existing that we do not know about, but it does not allow for claims of existence without verification.  I don't know any scientific observation method or theory that says something exists without verification.

I'm not an English professor, but I suspect the word reality does actual mean something that exists and is actually verifiable.  When people make outlandish claims we easily dismiss them as not reality if they cannot be substantiated.  I don't know if you can determine the root for the word reality, but it does seem to mean something physical, a thing.

To be clear also, if I am misusing the word reality, it is only because I am trying to draw a line between what we can verify and prove as existing as opposed to what we can claim to exist but cannot verify or prove existence of.  If it can't be proven/verified then I am saying one can't state as a fact that it exists (whatever 'it' may be).  As much as one may believe it or feel in their bones that it is true, commonly speaking we usually leave room for doubt or argument around that thing precisely because we cannot verify/prove it.  I think that is a fair representation of how we view the world and how we communicate with one another.

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1 hour ago, PaulS said:

((snip)

As to your comment "Therefor how can one call something not reality just because it has not yet been verified to the satisfaction of others?".  I can't help but think your claim is a bit like Burl's concerning climate change.  The overwhelming bulk of the scientific community disagree with you both, but still you hold true to your opinions because you believe them to be true.  For me personally, that is not enough.

 

Fair enough. I hold to my view because for me it is reality from my own experience and i respect your right to require more proof or experience it for yourself. Though i have presented some data of others in my posts my view is not dependent on that data. For me it is real. The majority of the scientific community may disagree but that certainly is not the last word and the majority have often been wrong  in the past. Perhaps they will change their mind in the future as more studies are done. A level of skepticism is after all healthy in my view.

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13 minutes ago, JosephM said:

Fair enough. I hold to my view because for me it is reality from my own experience and i respect your right to require more proof or experience it for yourself. Though i have presented some data of others in my posts my view is not dependent on that data. For me it is real. The majority of the scientific community may disagree but that certainly is not the last word and the majority have often been wrong  in the past. Perhaps they will change their mind in the future as more studies are done. A level of skepticism is after all healthy in my view.

And I respect your views, opinions and beliefs.  My whole point has only been that I don't think we can say something is fact without proving it.  It may be very real to the individual, but how we use our language is important if we want to try and communicate clearly and I don't think we can change the meaning of words simply because we want to - i.e. we believe/feel strongly that something is true so we call it fact/reality/actually in existence, without being able to verify it as we commonly understand the meaning of verification and proof to be.

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I agree, I don't think i used the word fact but rather the words " in my experience ".  To me it is true but that in no way makes it a fact to you  or another. I understand that.

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20 minutes ago, JosephM said:

I agree, I don't think i used the word fact but rather the words " in my experience ".  To me it is true but that in no way makes it a fact to you  or another. I understand that.

I can't recall if you or anyone for that matter specifically used the word fact but rather I am referring to the intent that several posts in this thread (maybe you, maybe others, i can't remember each one and the detail) supported the notion that Remote Viewing was a reality and was adequately proved to be so.  Clearly I disagree with that.  That was the only point I was trying to make about RV. 

That said, if anybody can remotely view where my wife mislaid a gold nugget we were given years ago, I will change my mind in an instant.  It's worth about $5k and she stored it in an old handbag in the cupboard which we think she later either threw away or donated to a charity bin some time ago!).  Bugger.

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12 hours ago, PaulS said:

I'd go with non verifiable reality when it comes to things we don't know, but my point concerns positive claims made about something existing, but then not being able to demonstrate it

Agreed: there is non verifiable reality; there is the reality of things we don't know or can't (yet) verify. However, I have not been talking about things, some of which are not verifiable, but the very possibility of all things, that which many call "God." 

Simply because one 'believes' there is something 'more' to reality or there is the 'ground' of reality, it does not follow that if is not, could not be Real or True. It simply is beyond verification either way. I am not talking about things like the poo of pink unicorns, which one cannot verify as existing in the world and which others would rightly call delusional. The alleged pink unicorn is a thing or at least imagined to be a thing and things can bet verified (seemingly sooner or later). The ground of reality is not a thing.  

You are repackaging the old canard that if you can't prove, demonstrate, verify or provide evidence for God, then God does not exist. I get that you don't believe, which is fine but in spite of your protestations that you accept all (as long as no harm is done), you still attempt to set the parameters within which such belief much take place and the rules of evidence to which belief must submit. This is a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of belief and what the word "God"  means for many, most especially progressive Christians. 

I have never spent much, or actually any time, contemplating pink unicorns (or should that be singular) so I have never thought I was missing out on the experience but if you ever verify a pink unicorn, let me know cause I want a selfie but I'll leave the rainbow poo selfie for you :+}

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13 hours ago, PaulS said:

That said, if anybody can remotely view where my wife mislaid a gold nugget we were given years ago, I will change my mind in an instant.  It's worth about $5k and she stored it in an old handbag in the cupboard which we think she later either threw away or donated to a charity bin some time ago!).  Bugger.

I see it in a landfill ?

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On 10/20/2018 at 9:53 PM, PaulS said:

 

The understanding of god as a filler for what can't be explained in yours (and others who rail against a theistic god): not all Christians (or religious people), especially progressives, profess such a god.  Actually, for progressive Christians, the notion of a god who merely fills in the blanks is absurd on its face. 

Concerning the Bible: I concentrated primarily on Eden, prophecies and victories in battle.  A literal reading gets us creation about 4 thousand or so years ago, human beings walking around with god, men foretelling future events and god as the chess master in a battle of thrones. Whereas a non-literal reading presents a very different ‘reality.’ So, it is valid to ask whether these stories were meant as 'literal' histories of what actually happened, especially in light of the scholarly consensus that the authors were writing stories with religious truths, not history. Serious biblical scholars do not read these stories as literal, historical fact. 

Then we turn to stoning: certainly some people then as now believe they know what God wants, especially concerning sinners and of course they themselves are not sinners. It doesn't follow then (or now) that God wills or wants what they do (a’ la Jesus in similar situation). So, on this topic, some believed this what was God was about but then we recognize the evolution of religious thought even by the time of Jesus where God is not understood in this way. That some still go to such violent episodes and say, "See, God wants/wills it" interestingly ignores the steps made in Judaism itself and, for Christians, the step taken by their Christ in further understanding the true God.

The battles: some (then and now) believed god wanted and willed their victories. However, the writing are theological interpretations of events in the history of the 'chosen people of God.' They ‘show’ that God favors them and things go well (at least for them) when they are faithful. Compare this to how they interpret the reason for their defeats or enslavement by conquerors. The writers were giving religious interpretations to events in their history. So the question remains: should 'we' read this as literal history and literally what a theistic, intervening god was doing, or should we read these 'stories' and try to see what the authors were saying, for example, about faithfulness to God and what it meant to be in covenant? In the time of Jesus, this God disappears or is reinterpreted and a 'new covenant' is struck. So, to answer your question, in a debate, I would side with Jesus (and win). We are no longer "at that time."

Rather than creating God in my image, I am reflecting the insights of critical biblical scholars and theologians and attempting to 'see' what is there and how to understand it. Read Eden, who was there to witness the events as they have been told? Where is the mention that Adam left or passed on his memories of those days? Not literal. When are the stories of the prophets written and when did the prophets actually live. Not literal. Read the Jesus of Mark and the Jesus of John. Not literal: they are good news not histories. 

Some OT authors might, indeed, have believed differently that we living today – after all, they were theists who had a very different view of the universe and its workings - but their religious meanings are intact and shared by modern believers. If one doesn't read Eden as literal history, what does it reveal about the divine/human relationship? What role does the prophet (including Jesus) play in society (then and now)? They are gadflies, reminding their people of what the covenant means (and actually it's not about stoning). What does winning and losing in battle, in life, say about relationship with God? Faithfulness brings life; unfaithfulness results in death (just don’t understand such death literally. The ‘truth’ remains: it is not wrong and it is not merely a convenient alignment with societal norms.

It is not 'in our image' because sincere persons of faith are always looking over their shoulders to make sure they are 'in tune' with the prophets, the authors, and, especially Jesus. It is always anchored in the Testaments but never weighed down by them for the effort is always to (re) present the good news, the Reality that is God.

_________

What I see in these discussions is that Christianity no longer speaks to you - which is fine. You look back, see certain writings and actions and see the nasty God that was written about and imitated down through the ages. I, and others, look back and seek to understand and lift from the words and actions of an earlier time, the insights and wisdom (the divine/human relationship; the need for the gadfly to upset our complacency; the power of forgiveness and love; etc.) that can still speak (still be good news) to men and women if only it can be presented to them in a way that respects their current language, their understanding of themselves and their understanding of the universe - all which makes each generation, of the same human family, unique. 

Moving on: you said, “.......a tyrant may find his way of life far more suitable and enjoyable than one of their subjects who pronounces love is better.”

However, it is not just about the tyrant: we must look to those who are touched by the tyrant’s tyranny. Are their lives more suitable and enjoyable? Human history says no. Love enhances the life of the lover (who gives himself away) and the life of the beloved; love gives life, tyranny not so much! The tyrant commits the age-old sin of Adam by continually choosing self over Love at the expense of the many. 

You also said, “For me, the delusional psychopath's reality is just as valid as the God believers reality, in that neither can be regarded as reality but can be regarded as opinion. I couldn't care less what others believe ….. But they are not free to claim the title reality just because they feel it is real.”

You say you don't care what others believe but you then create conditions for their belief. Whereas, I give free rein for your beliefs but remain free to say, "I disagree." Therein, lies the difference! You have simply gone to the old stand by against religious belief: there must be proof, there must be verification, there must be evidence, or it's not real. Yet there is never any proof, any evidence offered against such belief to prove it is not real or doesn't reflect Truth.

Your ‘openness’ is revealed, for what it is, in your comparison of religious belief to the delusions of a psychopath. Delusion is radically different from the philosopher or the theologian or the religious person who says “there is a ‘ground’ for all that is and of which all is; there is a way to be; and, there is a reason to be. ‘It Is’ is ‘Mystery’ that is given the name God, through the ages of man: God is the Reality within which all finds reality.” 

You said, “That long dead relative doesn't affect you because of their 'presence' but rather they affect you because of how you remember or think of their actions, their words, their body language, their demeanor, etc.”

Actually they do but not in the way you suggest and it is not simply memory. If one had a great relationship with somebody, for example Mother, Father, Grandparent, Uncle or friend - it is not merely a memory of how they walked or talked (actually my Father's and my Grandmother's voices no longer exist in my memory nor does a particular word that my Mother spoke or my Uncle's body language); it is the 'person' (not the mere memory of a look, a word or demeanor) that has 'presence' in one's life - and is a greater presence than things which are proximate or near in space and time to that person. The dead Father or friend is (present tense) a greater influence on who I am, how I live - than much of what is physically close, i.e. present to me.  

Such 'presence' is not mere interpretation (as if one sits over a cup of coffee and interprets what their Mother means to them - how artificial is that?). Such 'presence,' actually, truly, and really influences who one is. It is a 'reality' that is non verifiable (especially for others who never knew your Father, Mother, Friend or Uncle) - but this reality, this truth is evident; it's reality is lived.  'Reality,' what is real (and true) is not merely what is evident to others or objectively verifiable.

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5 hours ago, thormas said:

You are repackaging the old canard that if you can't prove, demonstrate, verify or provide evidence for God, then God does not exist. I get that you don't believe, which is fine but in spite of your protestations that you accept all (as long as no harm is done), you still attempt to set the parameters within which such belief much take place and the rules of evidence to which belief must submit. This is a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of belief and what the word "God"  means for many, most especially progressive Christians. 


Without referring to PaulS particularly, but as a general statement I've come to realize over the years that there will never be real mutual acceptance between theists and atheists or supernatural-believing and supernatural-denying people. The best we can do is to have a cease-fire and tolerate each others. Trying to find unity while having such vastly different ideas about the reality is unrealistic idealism.

 

It's been said that language is the first weapon of every conflict, and this world view conflict is not an exception. I have personally been involved close-up in one well-intentioned attempt at community building with the idea of including both, theists and atheists. What in practice will happen, is that one side becomes dominant and the other side will then get bullied into submission by constant belittling and neverending arguments over what kind of language is proper and accurate. The dominant side then subtly demands the losing side to adopt the "correct language" and de facto acknowledge rhetorically that the dominant side is right and the other side is wrong (of course stopping short of actually explicitly demanding it to be stated, just implied at every turn). Finally, when the losing side gets fed with the uphill fighting, they will either leave the community or adopt the correct language that the victors demand. That might look like unity, but in fact it's a submission.

 

There is an inbuilt conflict between fundamentally different world views, and more intense and intimate the community is, the more likely it is that the conflict will explode until there is a winner who then becomes dominant.

Edited by Jack of Spades

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1 hour ago, Jack of Spades said:

I've come to realize over the years that there will never be real mutual acceptance between theists and atheists or supernatural-believing and supernatural-denying people. The best we can do is to have a cease-fire and tolerate each others. Trying to find unity while having such vastly different ideas about the reality is unrealistic idealism.

I have no problem with acknowledging that atheists, agnostics, fundamentalists, and others disagree with my position on God while affirming that, in the end, what matters is how we act in the world. I have not had your experience building a community of radically different beliefs and can understand where the mythos (what they believe) takes precedence over the ethos (how one behaves). Perhaps if the former were put on the back burner such a community build around a common ethos would be more successful.

 

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10 hours ago, thormas said:

Simply because one 'believes' there is something 'more' to reality or there is the 'ground' of reality, it does not follow that if is not, could not be Real or True. It simply is beyond verification either way. I am not talking about things like the poo of pink unicorns, which one cannot verify as existing in the world and which others would rightly call delusional. The alleged pink unicorn is a thing or at least imagined to be a thing and things can bet verified (seemingly sooner or later). The ground of reality is not a thing.  

I'm not saying something could not be real or true, I am saying that by all common standards of the use of the English language, you don't get to state something as reality unless you can validate or verify it.  That is the standard, common use of the term 'reality' when we say something exists.  If you want to use the term to support the notion that something exists but cannot be validated or verified beyond all reasonable doubt, then Personally I don't think you should use the term reality.  But maybe that's just my opinion.  I'm happy for you to have yours, I just choose to debate it. 

Pink unicorns are an exaggerated example but just as valid - if they cannot be substantiated they are regarded as not reality by most.  God, whatever that term means to whomever, is in a similar boat but unlike unicorns, it is an old canard because for whatever reason, some people insist it is real to them.  I'm not debating that it is not real to them but am simply stating that from the point of view of a person who does not find it real, that there is no evidence to support this notion or to substantiate it as reality.  Now of course this can be different in different cases because we all know that nobody has a single, absolutely agreed by everybody else, position of what God is precisely.

10 hours ago, thormas said:

You are repackaging the old canard that if you can't prove, demonstrate, verify or provide evidence for God, then God does not exist. I get that you don't believe, which is fine but in spite of your protestations that you accept all (as long as no harm is done), you still attempt to set the parameters within which such belief much take place and the rules of evidence to which belief must submit. 

No, I'm just trying to point out that words, to the best of their ability, try to convey meaning so we can communicate with and understand one another.  If we start to fudge those words (as in the definition of reality) then we are really starting to move the goal posts in my opinion.  The parameters 'I' set are simply the use of the English language I would suggest, and I don't think I was the one to set them.

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Thormas,

In relation to your comments about evolving religious belief and how in relation to God's violence in the OT, that I was reading the bible literally.  Let's be clear:

I said “That's a bit too convenient and biased of a summation for me.  Gods have forever been vengeful, jealous, harmful and just plain nasty to humankind throughout the history of Gods. 

You said “…And, in your references to the OT you rely on a literal reading whereas many believe this is not the way to read the OT.   

I said “I don't rely on a literal reading, I rely on the author writing stories about their God and it's pretty clear they held a view (in many cases) that 'their' God was on 'their' side and chose them to win battles and gave them instructions to destroy others etc. 

You said “You don't but others do and thus we have the nasty God. Actually, the biblical authors' view is not pretty clear as even the greatest biblical scholars debate whether, for example, the biblical writer literally believed in Adan & Eve or simply use it to say something about man, woman, mortality, evil and God. 

I said “This is just way off track.  Are you saying some bible authors wrote that God wanted people stoned for certain reasons, but didn't mean it?  Some authors wrote that God gave his 'chosen people' favouritism in defeating enemies and wanted those people to dash children's heads against stones, and take virgins as prisoners?  

I am confused how you can mistake some of the violence in the OT as simply myth and/or misinterpretation and then say that it's modern's people's interpretation of the OT that makes God nasty.  Whilst stories like Adam and Eve are clearly myth and other stories are a way of explaining things, there are, without a doubt, numerous stories written by authors who believed God was a God of war (but on their side), God was in favour of violent justice (but that's okay because it is God), that God supports the idea of violence against others under certain circumstances (genocide, stonings, etc) because God decrees it as okay.  That's not interpretation of what is written, that IS what was written by certain OT bible authors.  There is no alternate view to some of the more violent laws and decrees and statements about God wanting violence enacted upon others - that is what they thought God stood for and wanted.

Now you might not agree with these authors, but that in no way takes away from them that this is how they viewed God.  Most scholars actually agree that a number of authors in the OT wrote of a violent God because they believed in a violent God.  So myself and others are not interpreting a view that didn't exist to many of these authors (and I think you would agree, but that's not how I see you having expressed yourself).

Traditional Christianity accepts that OT God is part of the Trinity including the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ.  So traditional Christianity struggles in today's world justifying those violent and abusive God beliefs that some OT authors held.  I would suggest this is why movements such as Progressive Christianity arose - to try and maintain beliefs which people feel are valid but to also deal with the ones that people today see as invalid.  Like I said previously though, if you were to debate some of these original authors today, then i would suggest they would think you misunderstand God - and they'd probably seek to have you stoned to death for it too, because that's their 'reality' of God.

I never disagreed that we do have an evolution of Christian thought and changing beliefs in what God is and represents.  I would suggest these changes are a reflection of society and not the other way around, but we aren't debating that so I will only make the point that I agree beliefs about God have changed, I just don't necessarily agree that they have changed to more accurately reflect a 'reality' that some say exists but which has not be verified/validated by all common understanding and use of the term 'reality'.  

That God wanted people stoned to death for certain offences (a barbaric and cruel punishment) was part of the 'reality' of God for the authors of Deuteronomy, Exodus, and Leviticus.  Other who viewed the reality of God as wanting acts of genocide committed and babies dashed upon rocks also include the authors of Hosea, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Judges.  I think most biblical scholars would agree that the 'reality' of God for many of these OT authors was that God justified violence that today we consider abominable, and rightly so.  

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Paul,

You miss or ignore what I have said: that "God" is not 'some thing.'  If we're not dealing with a thing, then "the standard, common use of the term 'reality'" and your demand for verification pertaining to things is off point. The (Christian) position is that God is Real, to say then that God is not Real doesn't work. To say that God is Really Real is also met with demands for proof. Therefore to state that God is Real is to reject that God is fiction; it is to reject (as you have said) that religious belief (in God) is comparable to the delusions of a psychopath. Therefore, the religious person states that "God is Real." I have no problem debating but your insistence on the verification of things completely misses what the term "God" means for Progressives. 

The only thing that has to be said about pink unicorns, is, they would be things or objects in the world, and therefore subject to verification. If not verified, if we cannot find them on a unicorn hunt, if science doesn't posit the existence of these magical creature, yet someone out there insists a pink unicorn is real, then they would (probably) be considered delusional (not really sure because that is not my field). The pink unicorn (a thing) is not at a valid example in reference to God who is not-a-thing. 

Real and reality, as commonly used, speak of 'things.' If we are looking for a new term, the phrase Really Real (used above and previously) has been used in philosophy/theology. In addition, the term being has been used which harkens back to the story of Moses: God is "I AM." However even this term does not mean that god is thought of a 'a being' or 'having being' - rather it is a statement that God/Being is Ground/Source of all.  The position remains that God IS.......... Real - the ground/possibility of all things, all that is, all reality. 

 

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7 hours ago, thormas said:

Paul,

You miss or ignore what I have said: that "God" is not 'some thing.'  If we're not dealing with a thing, then "the standard, common use of the term 'reality'" and your demand for verification pertaining to things is off point. The (Christian) position is that God is Real, to say then that God is not Real doesn't work. To say that God is Really Real is also met with demands for proof. Therefore to state that God is Real is to reject that God is fiction; it is to reject (as you have said) that religious belief (in God) is comparable to the delusions of a psychopath. Therefore, the religious person states that "God is Real." I have no problem debating but your insistence on the verification of things completely misses what the term "God" means for Progressives. 

No, I don't miss or ignore it - I get what you're saying about God not being a thing.  For me, as I have said earlier, we can validate emotion and feelings - these are not 'things' either.  So I think the requirement for evidence of God sits in the same basket for convincing me of 'reality' and requires validation.  You feel that validation.  I don't.  Does that make you right and me wrong - I don't think so. 

Well may the Christian position be that God is real - that does not make it right. To say then that "God is not real doesn't work" - not sure how that fits into sense of logic - "because it doesn't work for me I won't say that?".  You can reject God as fiction and say God is real all you want - that will not change the reality, whatever that may be.  The logic you have laid out in the above paragraph makes no sense - Just because you don't like something said a certain way in no adds to or subtracts from the reality of it.  And well may religious belief be comparable to the delusions of a psychopath, in certain ways.  History has certainly demonstrated religious belief and tendencies that have provided obscene results.   So debate away but we will have to agree to disagree when considering what one considers verifiable reality and what one doesn't.  No hard feelings.

As for me missing what the term 'God' means for Progressives, can I ask if you are including agnostic or skeptic Progressives in that statement?  Do you have a clear definition of who can call themselves a Progressive and who can't?.  I think you're making a very broad assumption there about who and what is a Progressive and what standard of verification of reality such may consider appropriate.  Are you referring to some documented dogma somewhere that says precisely what 'Progressives' mean by the term 'God'?  Not your version, but if there is there any agreed version anywhere that clearly states that this is what 'Progressives' will accept and won't accept when using the term 'God'?  From what I can tell, 'Progressives' have views ranging from outright scepticism and atheism, through to views closer to your own so I suspect not all, possibly not even the majority, fit into the box you are saying they do.  But maybe that's for another debate some time.

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9 hours ago, PaulS said:

No, I don't miss or ignore it - I get what you're saying about God not being a thing.  For me, as I have said earlier, we can validate emotion and feelings - these are not 'things' either.  So I think the requirement for evidence of God sits in the same basket for convincing me of 'reality' and requires validation.  You feel that validation.  I don't.  Does that make you right and me wrong - I don't think so. 

You still miss the point: although emotions and feelings are different than books, desks and other things - they are still things in that they can be, as you say validated; they are objects that we can look at, examine and categorize. Not so God. God is not like a desk, book, person or the feelings and emotions of a person; God is the very possibility of all those things. God doesn't have being like these things, God does not participate in being like these things - God is the very possibility that these things have (their) being. Even your use of 'the same basket' shows you don't get this. It is not that God sits in the same basket (with anything, including feelings): to use your image, God is the basket without which noting would be in it. I feel no validation as there is no validation for the 'Really Real' or 'Being.'

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One can choose to believe there is no creator , designer or higher intelligence behind the universe in which we live and say everything came into being by itself or by chance. Or one can reason by that which is manifested before us including  the wonder of mankind, all we see, the uniform laws of nature, mathematics, physics, the programming of DNA, our knowledge of cause and effect relationships that there is a source of all this that is responsible for its existence and sustaining it in its present form of being. What that source or substrate is we may fail miserably at defining but  creation itself is the proof. And we call this mystery God.

Science is an amazing, wonderful undertaking: it teaches us about life, the world and the universe. But it has not revealed to us why the universe came into existence nor what preceded its birth in the Big Bang. Biological evolution has not brought us the slightest understanding of how the first living organisms emerged from inanimate matter on this planet and how the advanced eukaryotic cells—the highly structured building blocks of advanced life forms—ever emerged from simpler organisms. Neither does it explain one of the greatest mysteries of science: how did consciousness arise in living things? -- AMIR D. ACZEL

 Science cannot disprove God and Fundamental Christianity has failed by its defining of God with characteristics  of men. We can come to a belief  God  exists through reason but then religion often asks the person to abandon reason from that point and accept by faith the teachings of men.  In my view and experience, reason and logic need not be abandoned but  transcendence is necessary to go beyond the limitations of reason and this is done by looking within instead of without where God can be known but not explained.

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2 hours ago, JosephM said:

Science cannot disprove God and Fundamental Christianity has failed by its defining of God with characteristics  of men. We can come to a belief  God  exists through reason but then religion often asks the person to abandon reason from that point and accept by faith the teachings of men.  In my view and experience, reason and logic need not be abandoned but  transcendence is necessary to go beyond the limitations of reason and this is done by looking within instead of without where God can be known but not explained.

I guess some religions still 'suggest' that people look to them and not science. I believe you're right about that science can't disprove and that some Christians take too literally the descriptions of God: the 'characteristics.' 

I get that some come to belief through reason but others seem to have a sense or belief in God (perhaps in large part they are born into it) and then (depending on how they 'picture' God)  find that their belief is reasonable or simply that it is not at odds or the opposite of reason. 

 

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