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Burl

CIA whitepaper on consciousness

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4 hours ago, JosephM said:

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.

I find it interesting that your 'reason' goes so far as to think that a 'creator' must be behind all this otherwise 'all this' has just happened by itself or by chance, but your reasoning stops at considering how such a creator came into being - either by itself or by chance or something else.  I'm sure you're aware of this argument, but you seem to be making that very point, that is, we need to attribute 'all this' to some higher power because we can't understand how it could happen without such, yet we seem content to allow that higher power to simply exist without a creator.  I don't see creation itself as any such proof.  In fact, the fact that one uses the word creation shows that we already have a bias (due to our lack of knowledge and understanding of how and why 'all this' started - we already assume something needs to be 'created'by a creator).  So i take none of this as any such proof of a creator but rather accept that we don't know the answers yet (although we have remarkably improved over recent centuries so I hold out hope that we might work it out one day).

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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.

I would argue that such 'reason' has already been abandoned if one has come to a belief in God existing because 'reasoning' just doesn't cut it in getting to that point.  One has believed because they believe for whatever reasons they have personally deduced, but I don't see a logical, demonstrable reasoning process that can stand up to any sort of rigour.  It seems apparent to me that believers 'reason' each in their own way to come to a conclusion about God (hence the many different varieties of belief in God - what God means. what God stands for, what God wants, what God doesn't want, that God doesn't want or not want at all, etc).  I am not mocking believers in any way but rather am saying faith in God is not a demonstrable ';reasoning process' but rather, a personal matter.  If it was 'reason' I would suggest one would need to be able to demonstrate the process and validate such reasoning, which currently cannot be done.

 

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9 hours ago, thormas said:

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.'

To me, your point makes no sense at all.  Clearly it does to you, but I suggest that is a matter of personal belief and faith as opposed to reason and logic as we commonly use those terms.  I'm sure with every single other decision and thing you do in life, you expect validation and evidence otherwise you wouldn't believe it, participate in it, expect from it, contribute to it, etc.  But when it comes to defining God, all that seems to go out the window and you seem to just say "God can't be validated because God simply is".  That seems nonsensical to me.  But I don't think we're going to get anywhere with it - I say God, like Remote Viewing, needs validation and evidence, not just personal belief.  Of course people are free to believe what they want, I'm just saying that to claim reality one typical needs to establish that reality through validation and evidence.  You don't agree and continue to say that God doesn't need evidence and/or can't be validated or proved as reality.  It's almost as if we're on two different planes of discussion, so i don't think we should progress this any further.  You can have the last word if you like.

 

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17 hours ago, PaulS said:

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.

Well. I was going to respond in some detail but......... we have been over this: you miss my point (even when the logic is exquisite), and it seems absurd to go line by line and end up in the same place. You lost most people and probably all religious and spiritual people of all beliefs when you doubled down on religious belief being comparable to the delusions of a psychopath. Hey, but at least you're open. Is the psychopathic delusion comment the secular equivalent of the (some) fundamentalist views about non believers (they they must be deluded if they don't accept the Lord)?  Well, at least you didn't cause any harm or insult anyone in the entirety of the religious world, thank god:+}

I use the term, progressive, broadly and having been on this site and interacting with people on this and other progressive sites, it is apparent that, in addition to atheists and agnostics and those of other faith expressions, many, many, many are Christians or as Spong puts it, 'Alums.' I have found most of the 'progressive Christians,' including the Alums and even many who are skeptics, have moved from the concept of a theistic, external, intervening God - a god who is sort of........... thing-like to a Spong like view of God as 'ground of Being' which I too have used. So, I am on solid progressive Christian (so to speak) ground. However, many of the views that I bring to the site have been around since the 70s, before that to the 2nd Vatican Council and before that as well (and this thinking is indeed 'progressive'). So not all progressives but probably many, many, many of the Christians who are progressive are probably in agreement or lean to Spong, Tillich, Echhart and others, as do I in my statements. Of course on a site such as this, my statements are open to all but, specifically, I speak not simply as a progressive but as a progressive Christian. 

It is only fair to respond that you are making broad assumptions about progressives Christians, reality, God and, your favorite topic, verification that such may consider inappropriate. 

 

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1 hour ago, thormas said:

Well. I was going to respond in some detail but......... we have been over this: you miss my point (even when the logic is exquisite), and it seems absurd to go line by line and end up in the same place. You lost most people and probably all religious and spiritual people of all beliefs when you doubled down on religious belief being comparable to the delusions of a psychopath. Hey, but at least you're open. Is the psychopathic delusion comment the secular equivalent of the (some) fundamentalist views about non believers (they they must be deluded if they don't accept the Lord)?  Well, at least you didn't cause any harm or insult anyone in the entirety of the religious world, thank god:+}

I know I said I'd let you end this discussion, but I do need to correct your misunderstanding of what I said.  I clearly said that "well may religious belief be comparable to the delusions of a psychopath, in certain ways".   I doubt you would disagree with me that a psychopath considers their delusion as very real, true and beyond question.  Similarly do you about your religious/spiritual beliefs.  It seems that neither party can verify their belief in any practical way recognised by the world as verifiable, yet they still passionately believe.  Is that not a certain way that they are comparable?  That's the only similarity I draw.  if it offends you and possibly all other religious and spiritual people then I feel it is their loss that this offends them so much.  My intention is to discuss and debate, not offend.

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I use the term, progressive, broadly and having been on this site and interacting with people on this and other progressive sites, it is apparent that, in addition to atheists and agnostics and those of other faith expressions, many, many, many are Christians or as Spong puts it, 'Alums.' I have found most of the 'progressive Christians,' including the Alums and even many who are skeptics, have moved from the concept of a theistic, external, intervening God - a god who is sort of........... thing-like to a Spong like view of God as 'ground of Being' which I too have used. So, I am on solid progressive Christian (so to speak) ground. However, many of the views that I bring to the site have been around since the 70s, before that to the 2nd Vatican Council and before that as well (and this thinking is indeed 'progressive'). So not all progressives but probably many, many, many of the Christians who are progressive are probably in agreement or lean to Spong, Tillich, Echhart and others, as do I in my statements. Of course on a site such as this, my statements are open to all but, specifically, I speak not simply as a progressive but as a progressive Christian. 

It is only fair to respond that you are making broad assumptions about progressives Christians, reality, God and, your favorite topic, verification that such may consider inappropriate.

As for your view above, I don't agree with your assumptions, broad or otherwise, but I did say you could have the last word, so I won't address it further.

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3 hours ago, thormas said:

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. 

 

Science and the description of God (at least per Aquinas) are apophatic disproofs.  Science is a process for the determination of what is the least false and not a positive statement of truth.

Aquinas' characteristics of God were derived from the idea that God is not human.  Mankind is not perfectly good &c, but God is.  God is free from human frailty, and these are characteristics of God but not definitional.

 

 

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9 hours ago, Burl said:

Science and the description of God (at least per Aquinas) are apophatic disproofs.  Science is a process for the determination of what is the least false and not a positive statement of truth.

Aquinas' characteristics of God were derived from the idea that God is not human.  Mankind is not perfectly good &c, but God is.  God is free from human frailty, and these are characteristics of God but not definitional.

Precisely

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10 hours ago, Burl said:

Science and the description of God (at least per Aquinas) are apophatic disproofs.  Science is a process for the determination of what is the least false and not a positive statement of truth.

Aquinas' characteristics of God were derived from the idea that God is not human.  Mankind is not perfectly good &c, but God is.  God is free from human frailty, and these are characteristics of God but not definitional.

Not quite accurate, Burl.  Science is not a process for determining the least accurate but rather it seeks a systematic organisation of knowledge about the universe and its parts where this knowledge is based on explanatory principles whose verifiable consequences can be tested by independent observers. It seeks positive statements of truth but recognises potential shortcomings so is prepared to allow for change upon the introduction of new evidence.  As you would know, science encompasses a large body of evidence collected by repeated observations and experiments. But what you confuse for determining that which is least false is actually science approaching true explanations as closely as possible all whilst its investigators claim no final or permanent explanatory truths. Science changes and it evolves but verifiable facts always take precedence.  The process may well determine a positive statement of truth, it's just that science is smart enough to reserve the right to change that view if other evidence deems change appropriate.

I don't know personally how Aquinas can accurately define God's characteristics and suspect, that with all best intentions, Aquinas' opinions are no more valid than the next  person who thinks God has different characteristics to those of Aquinas' God.  God is perfect you say (or Aquinas says) - why does God have to be perfect?  Can't God make mistakes?  If not, why not?  It seems to me that it is a human ideal not to make mistakes and thus this has been imposed upon some definitions of God.  Again, more of the anthropomorphic God stuff we have seen throughout history of all Gods.  Now Aquinas is free to feel this way, but I'm not sure that he is qualified to determine God as such.

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10 hours ago, PaulS said:

I do need to correct your misunderstanding of what I said. I clearly said that "well may religious belief be comparable to the delusions of a psychopath, in certain ways".

No misunderstanding: by the mere fact that you continually compare, in any way, religious belief to the delusions of a psychopath, all know where you stand and how you truly view their religious beliefs/positions. And, you are doing it again. You actually could have found a different way to state your belief about religious belief but, instead, you continually doubled and tripled down on delusional psychopaths. 

Actually, I don't think my beliefs are beyond question either from others or myself. Nor do I consider all the particulars of my beliefs to be (absolutely) true or real as it is an ongoing quest to understand. There are many aspects of Christianity on which I hold no set, unquestioning, belief because I have not had the time to carefully and thoughfully explore and examine them. I have no problem questioning my beliefs and have for decades: that's why I went to grad school, that's why I continually read and go to lectures and write. My views are radically different than they were years ago.

But regardless, you, surprisingly and disappointingly, don't realize the gravity of your words: to say "as long as a belief causes no harm" and then state your belief by equating, in any way, a religious believer to a psychologically impaired person (some of whom need to be hospitalized and separated from society) and not see the harm is simply staggering.  I realize that anyone, in the heat of an argument, might say 'someone is (for example) crazy' but, when you have time to consider your words and their impact in an ongoing dialogue and you go there anyway? Really? Almost as amazing, not content to leave it at delusional psychopath, you once again attempt to set your parameters around belief to which it must adhere to be considered worthy. Intention (no harm) is one thing, the result is completely other.

Actually, I'm not offended. This is the flip side of debating some people who won't listen, constantly state you are wrong, that your opinions/beliefs are worthless and, to top it off, you will go to hell.  Hell is simply replaced here by delusional psychopath: in one case your spiritual health is questioned, in the other, it's your mental health. No harm.

So, no offense, just can't let statements like these, on either side, have free rein - otherwise the proponents might actually think they're right. So, the last word - unless it comes up again.

 

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1 hour ago, thormas said:

No misunderstanding: by the mere fact that you continually compare, in any way, religious belief to the delusions of a psychopath, all know where you stand and how you truly view their religious beliefs/positions. And, you are doing it again. You actually could have found a different way to state your belief about religious belief but, instead, you continually doubled and tripled down on delusional psychopaths. 

Continually?  You mean the two times I have mentioned those words in this thread?  And from that you KNOW how I truly view religious beliefs/positions?  You fall far short of understanding how I truly view people's religious beliefs/positions if you in any way think I am saying they are all delusional psychopaths.

1 hour ago, thormas said:

Actually, I don't think my beliefs are beyond question either from others or myself. Nor do I consider all the particulars of my beliefs to be (absolutely) true or real as it is an ongoing quest to understand. There are many aspects of Christianity on which I hold no set, unquestioning, belief because I have not had the time to carefully and thoughfully explore and examine them. I have no problem questioning my beliefs and have for decades: that's why I went to grad school, that's why I continually read and go to lectures and write. My views are radically different than they were years ago.

You seem pretty certain about the fact that God is not verifiable.  Are you open to changing your mind on that perhaps?

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But regardless, you, surprisingly and disappointingly, don't realize the gravity of your words: to say "as long as a belief causes no harm" and then state your belief by equating, in any way, a religious believer to a psychologically impaired person (some of whom need to be hospitalized and separated from society) and not see the harm is simply staggering.  I realize that anyone, in the heat of an argument, might say 'someone is (for example) crazy' but, when you have time to consider your words and their impact in an ongoing dialogue and you go there anyway? Really? Almost as amazing, not content to leave it at delusional psychopath, you once again attempt to set your parameters around belief to which it must adhere to be considered worthy. Intention (no harm) is one thing, the result is completely other.

Actually, I'm not offended. This is the flip side of debating some people who won't listen, constantly state you are wrong, that your opinions/beliefs are worthless and, to top it off, you will go to hell.  Hell is simply replaced here by delusional psychopath: in one case your spiritual health is questioned, in the other, it's your mental health. No harm.

So, no offense, just can't let statements like these, on either side, have free rein - otherwise the proponents might actually think they're right. So, the last word - unless it comes up again.

 

Mate, I made my case how & why I referenced aspects of delusion to religious belief.  Instead of the hyperbole, review what I say and tell me that you disagree that a delusional psychopath believes they know the truth and that they think they are right in what they understand, and tell me that this is in no way similar to many, most, if not all religious people.  That was the only comparison I was drawing and I still think it is worth discussing (but perhaps not with you obviously).

 I can't help it if there are similarities and I chose to point that out and discuss them.  Is it causing harm?  Apart from it causing offence when we really should just be having a rational discussion without all the upsetedness, I don't even begin to compare it to the harm that religious people, who you well know, have caused serious harm to many, throughout history.  So sorry if you're going to get a little upset over a sentence or two, but really, take a chill pill.  It's just a couple of sentences in a single thread.

Why are you so upset that I re-mention my parameters around belief?  You are doing the very same thing by telling me what you think God is and why I can't set parameters.  We both have views we are arguing for.  I'm not upset with yours even if I don't agree with them.  Seriously, how I am being any more offensive than you?

Free reign?  It's a discussion mate.  Talk to the point, not the person.  Accusing me of all these 'wrongs' is not debating and discussing the issues I raise but basically telling me off because I choose to raise them.  "Just can't let statements like these, on either side, have free rein - otherwise the proponents might actually think they're right" - Clearly you need to convince me that I am wrong, but of course, you're open to changing your mind and not biased in any way.  Just, wow.

 

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2 hours ago, PaulS said:

Not quite accurate, Burl.  Science is not a process for determining the least accurate but rather it seeks a systematic organisation of knowledge about the universe and its parts where this knowledge is based on explanatory principles whose verifiable consequences can be tested by independent observers. It seeks positive statements of truth but recognises potential shortcomings so is prepared to allow for change upon the introduction of new evidence.  As you would know, science encompasses a large body of evidence collected by repeated observations and experiments. But what you confuse for determining that which is least false is actually science approaching true explanations as closely as possible all whilst its investigators claim no final or permanent explanatory truths. Science changes and it evolves but verifiable facts always take precedence.  The process may well determine a positive statement of truth, it's just that science is smart enough to reserve the right to change that view if other evidence deems change appropriate.

I don't know personally how Aquinas can accurately define God's characteristics and suspect, that with all best intentions, Aquinas' opinions are no more valid than the next  person who thinks God has different characteristics to those of Aquinas' God.  God is perfect you say (or Aquinas says) - why does God have to be perfect?  Can't God make mistakes?  If not, why not?  It seems to me that it is a human ideal not to make mistakes and thus this has been imposed upon some definitions of God.  Again, more of the anthropomorphic God stuff we have seen throughout history of all Gods.  Now Aquinas is free to feel this way, but I'm not sure that he is qualified to determine God as such.

Perfectly accurate.  Reread Karl Popper.  In science, a null hypothesis claiming the experiment will have no effect is disproven.  Nothing is ever shown to be factual.  They are only shown to be infrequently incorrect at best.  

Look at all the "facts" of science which have been disproven later.  Almost everything you were taught is now considered incorrect and outdated.  

The goal of science is to prove something is incorrect with p<.01 It is a process of systematically eliminating larger errors in favor of smaller errors.

And Aquinas was far more intelligent than you or I.  You don't understand Aquinas simply because you have never read him.

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2 hours ago, PaulS said:

Continually?  

Yes, continually and you keep doing it. Just amazing. I thought I did know your view but this thread is obviously a sad turn. Rather than pause and realize the problem with your comparison (any comparison of psychopathic delusions to religious belief), you just keep coming back, trying to justify yourself and continue on and on and on. Don't use the term at all - it's actually quite simple to remedy this.

I have reviewed what you said. Just stop, admit it is not the best choice of words and move on. And, in answer to your question, "you KNOW how I truly view religious beliefs/positions?" Yes and I quote you: "a delusional psychopath believes they know the truth and that they think they are right in what they understand, and tell me that this is in no way similar to many, most, if not all religious people."  No, Paul, a delusional psychopath is someone who is ill, therefore there is no valid comparison to a healthy human being of any religious, spiritual or philosophical belief being compared to a human being who is sadly and tragically ill and has delusions. If you have a problem with religious belief, be smart enough and empathetic enough to find another way to state your position.  

So is there harm? Of course, you continually compare the beliefs of  "many, most, if not all religious people" to a psychopath's delusions. Is there offense, probably for some. For me, no offense, just can't let such statements go unanswered. Your previous statement on what you do or don't believe have never 'upset' me - however this is an entirely different kind of statement. And, not upset but to say nothing about your comparison is to accept that it has validity; it doesn't! 

Uh, oh you just rolled out another old chestnut: look what harm religious people have done. This is like Trump saying 'look over here" while he sows chaos right in front of people.

Actually, I have not set parameters, merely compared yours to typical arguments against religious beliefs. I have pointed out how God is believed to not be a thing and, therefore, there is no evidence or verification possible, for or against. The belief is that God is the very possibility or (once again) the ground of all (things, being, reality) and is indeed Real. Seeing you don't like the use of the word reality if there is no verification, I have used the terms Really Real and Being (both of which have a long history). If you have a better term, feel free to suggest it and I will give it thought and respond. I have already made my suggestions. 

So, little buddy, I have never left the real discussion, have made suggestions and merely paused to comment on your little comparison. In all cases I have been talking to the person who made the points: some of those points I simply had a different view on and offered explanations and new terms; others, I recognized as offensive and said so (hoping against hope that you would at least change your statement to something that was simply less derogatory). 

The only issue or problem with any of your statements is the delusion/religion one - on all else I will debate (agreeing or disagreeing) until the proverbial cows come home. And we did: we had a nice give and take, we simply disagreed. There was the only one statement wrong or unworthy of being raised; a statement that some others cannot give free rein to and let it stand. On this one issue if you need convincing from outside yourself, as you said, "Wow!"

 

 

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2 hours ago, thormas said:

Yes, continually and you keep doing it. Just amazing. I thought I did know your view but this thread is obviously a sad turn. Rather than pause and realize the problem with your comparison (any comparison of psychopathic delusions to religious belief), you just keep coming back, trying to justify yourself and continue on and on and on. Don't use the term at all - it's actually quite simple to remedy this.

I have reviewed what you said. Just stop, admit it is not the best choice of words and move on. And, in answer to your question, "you KNOW how I truly view religious beliefs/positions?" Yes and I quote you: "a delusional psychopath believes they know the truth and that they think they are right in what they understand, and tell me that this is in no way similar to many, most, if not all religious people."  No, Paul, a delusional psychopath is someone who is ill, therefore there is no valid comparison to a healthy human being of any religious, spiritual or philosophical belief being compared to a human being who is sadly and tragically ill and has delusions. If you have a problem with religious belief, be smart enough and empathetic enough to find another way to state your position.  

So is there harm? Of course, you continually compare the beliefs of  "many, most, if not all religious people" to a psychopath's delusions. Is there offense, probably for some. For me, no offense, just can't let such statements go unanswered. Your previous statement on what you do or don't believe have never 'upset' me - however this is an entirely different kind of statement. And, not upset but to say nothing about your comparison is to accept that it has validity; it doesn't! 

Uh, oh you just rolled out another old chestnut: look what harm religious people have done. This is like Trump saying 'look over here" while he sows chaos right in front of people.

Actually, I have not set parameters, merely compared yours to typical arguments against religious beliefs. I have pointed out how God is believed to not be a thing and, therefore, there is no evidence or verification possible, for or against. The belief is that God is the very possibility or (once again) the ground of all (things, being, reality) and is indeed Real. Seeing you don't like the use of the word reality if there is no verification, I have used the terms Really Real and Being (both of which have a long history). If you have a better term, feel free to suggest it and I will give it thought and respond. I have already made my suggestions. 

So, little buddy, I have never left the real discussion, have made suggestions and merely paused to comment on your little comparison. In all cases I have been talking to the person who made the points: some of those points I simply had a different view on and offered explanations and new terms; others, I recognized as offensive and said so (hoping against hope that you would at least change your statement to something that was simply less derogatory). 

The only issue or problem with any of your statements is the delusion/religion one - on all else I will debate (agreeing or disagreeing) until the proverbial cows come home. And we did: we had a nice give and take, we simply disagreed. There was the only one statement wrong or unworthy of being raised; a statement that some others cannot give free rein to and let it stand. On this one issue if you need convincing from outside yourself, as you said, "Wow!"

No probs.  Lest any further discussion/debate be seen on my behalf as going on and on, I'll leave your above as the last word.  Cheers.

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1 hour ago, PaulS said:

No probs.  Lest any further discussion/debate be seen on my behalf as going on and on, I'll leave your above as the last word.  Cheers.

Amen!

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On ‎10‎/‎21‎/‎2018 at 6:28 PM, PaulS said:

 I don't think we can say something is fact without proving it.  

Again Paul … regarding reality should it exist … I don't think  we can prove something per se. We can bring corroborating evidence to the table  and perhaps reduce the uncertainty to the point we can venture forth into the world with confidence. But relying on facts and knowledge, as agnostics, I would argue we should be a little circumspect.

Science ultimately is a descriptor, better than many if not most religions in my opinion, we have to face up the fact the descriptions may not be accurate, but they are useful.

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11 hours ago, romansh said:

Again Paul … regarding reality should it exist … I don't think  we can prove something per se. We can bring corroborating evidence to the table  and perhaps reduce the uncertainty to the point we can venture forth into the world with confidence. But relying on facts and knowledge, as agnostics, I would argue we should be a little circumspect.

Science ultimately is a descriptor, better than many if not most religions in my opinion, we have to face up the fact the descriptions may not be accurate, but they are useful.

No doubt - Facts today can be refuted tomorrow if new evidence is introduced or if new experiments verify new facts.  Clearly, new knowledge has  updated old knowledge a number of times throughout history.  And I agree - science is simply a descriptor.  That said, I think it is the best descriptor we have to work with than other descriptors that simply reply upon an individual's perception or understanding or 'truth'.

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On 10/23/2018 at 7:29 PM, PaulS said:

 

I find it interesting that your 'reason' goes so far as to think that a 'creator' must be behind all this otherwise 'all this' has just happened by itself or by chance, but your reasoning stops at considering how such a creator came into being - either by itself or by chance or something else.  I'm sure you're aware of this argument, but you seem to be making that very point, that is, we need to attribute 'all this' to some higher power because we can't understand how it could happen without such, yet we seem content to allow that higher power to simply exist without a creator.  I don't see creation itself as any such proof.  In fact, the fact that one uses the word creation shows that we already have a bias (due to our lack of knowledge and understanding of how and why 'all this' started - we already assume something needs to be 'created'by a creator).  So i take none of this as any such proof of a creator but rather accept that we don't know the answers yet (although we have remarkably improved over recent centuries so I hold out hope that we might work it out one day).

I would argue that such 'reason' has already been abandoned if one has come to a belief in God existing because 'reasoning' just doesn't cut it in getting to that point.  One has believed because they believe for whatever reasons they have personally deduced, but I don't see a logical, demonstrable reasoning process that can stand up to any sort of rigour.  It seems apparent to me that believers 'reason' each in their own way to come to a conclusion about God (hence the many different varieties of belief in God - what God means. what God stands for, what God wants, what God doesn't want, that God doesn't want or not want at all, etc).  I am not mocking believers in any way but rather am saying faith in God is not a demonstrable ';reasoning process' but rather, a personal matter.  If it was 'reason' I would suggest one would need to be able to demonstrate the process and validate such reasoning, which currently cannot be done.

 

Paul,

Creation is or isn't. If creation is then reason logically dictitaes creator. What that creator is we might fail miserably at defining.as i said before. But there is sufficient proof that in creation we see a relationship in cause/effect to reason thusly. We do not know how this intelligent life came into being  (first cause) but that doesn't disqualify reason from the existence of a source or substrate we can logically refer to as God because we lack an  understanding of how such a presence was created in the first place.. We can simply say that which is unmanifest may simply be without cause as a plausible explanation at this time since that which is unmanifest is most likely not subject to the same laws as creation. As a software engineer, there is much which i created  myself in my experience that is subject to the programming/laws that i gave it , yet i myself am not subject myself to that same programming/laws, whether they be cause and effect of my  programming.

This reasoning may not fit into your logic or what you consider proof but by no means is such reasoning abandoned by even scientists that may be more knowledgeable than yourself. Just because a full understanding may be lacking, reasoning and logic are not necessarily negated in the matter.

Scientists these days may be less religious than the average person, but just over half of scientists (Click here---> surveyed in 2009 ) said they believed in some sort of deity or higher power.

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39 minutes ago, JosephM said:

Paul,

Creation is or isn't. If creation is then reason logically dictates creator.  What that creator is we might fail miserably at defining.as i said before. But there is sufficient proof that in creation we see a relationship in cause/effect to reason thusly. We do not know how this intelligent life came into being (first cause) but that doesn't disqualify reason from the existence of a source or substrate we can logically refer to as God because we lack an understanding of how such a presence was created in the first place.

Or there is another explanation we don't fully grasp yet.  I don't think it is logical to say a creation needs a creator but a creator doesn't need a creator.

Rather than failing miserably at defining what the creator is, I suspect we are simply failing at identifying what is behind the big bang.  I don't say that can't be a creator, but rather that we simply don't know so it is possible that it isn't a creator.

39 minutes ago, JosephM said:

We can simply say that which is unmanifest may simply be without cause as a plausible explanation at this time since that which is unmanifest is most likely not subject to the same laws as creation. 

Yep, we can say that.  It might not be correct though, that's all.

39 minutes ago, JosephM said:

This reasoning may not fit into your logic or what you consider proof but by no means is such reasoning abandoned by even scientists that may be more knowledgeable than yourself. Just because a full understanding may be lacking, reasoning and logic are not necessarily negated in the matter.

Scientists these days may be less religious than the average person, but just over half of scientists (Click here---> surveyed in 2009 ) said they believed in some sort of deity or higher power.

I am certain that any scientist is smarter than me.  

 

 

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