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Offline pianodwarf

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"Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« on: July 19, 2011, 02:05:47 PM »
Hi WWGHA,

You must get a thousand of these. I hope you find this worth reading. My latest blog entry, which you can read at www.eatnails.net, completes a 4-part series titled "Four questions for atheists." I'd love your feedback.  The questions are (spoiler alert):

1. As an atheist, are you ready to surrender all discussion of right and wrong?
2. Evolutionarily, why do I love Pietro Mascagni?
3. If God is made up, why is His advice so good?
4. Are you ready to consider an alternate epistemology complementing, but not supplanting, the scientific method?

Also, I'm hard at work on my next entry "Two questions for believers."  Those questions are:

Why does God hide himself?

and

Why is there so much pain and ugliness in a world created by a loving and omnipotent God?

Check it out. There's also a link to your site on an earlier post.

[Name Withheld]
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Offline One Above All

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2011, 02:10:09 PM »
1. As an atheist, are you ready to surrender all discussion of right and wrong?

I don't understand what this means

2. Evolutionarily, why do I love Pietro Mascagni?

We like shiny, pretty things[1] and/or things we perceive to be similar to us.

3. If God is made up, why is His advice so good?

Disregarding the obvious contradiction (If YHWH is made up he can't give any advice), what advice? The "Kill all homosexuals" one? Or the other ones we already had before the Bible was written?

4. Are you ready to consider an alternate epistemology complementing, but not supplanting, the scientific method?

The scientific method is the best I've ever seen. If another method is better, obviously the current one must be replaced
 1. Note: I have no idea who the hell Pietro Mascagni is
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2011, 02:13:36 PM »
1. As an atheist, are you ready to surrender all discussion of right and wrong?
As ready as you are, as a theist[1], to surrender those discussions.  (A)theism is irrelevant to that topic.

2. Evolutionarily, why do I love Pietro Mascagni?
For the same reason that you like him gravitationally.  By which I mean that the question is incoherent as stated. Try again?

3. If God is made up, why is His advice so good?
Because humans are often good at giving advice.

4. Are you ready to consider an alternate epistemology complementing, but not supplanting, the scientific method?
Depends.  Is it useful, and if so, what for?
 1. Presumably.  I have no way of knowing for sure what your personal beliefs are based on your message here, but it seems reasonable - based on how your questions are framed - to conclude that you are theistic.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2011, 02:15:29 PM by Azdgari »
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Offline velkyn

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2011, 02:30:15 PM »
1. As an atheist, are you ready to surrender all discussion of right and wrong?
whee, one more ignorant theist who wants to accuse atheist of having no morals.  Sorry, you fail right off.  We do.
Quote
2. Evolutionarily, why do I love Pietro Mascagni?
oh and how not unique, the usual ignorant question by a theist asking why we “love”.  Well, dear OP, we love things because they give us pleasure.  My cat also loves his catnip and that box he likes to sit in. 
[quote3. If God is made up, why is His advice so good?[/quote] Oh, you mean when he says killing someone working on a “Sabbath” is the right thing to do?  Or how about when God says that a raped woman has to marry her rapist?  How about that good one that we need to follow any worldly ruler since all have been put there by god and we should never disobey them?  Golly, Hitler would have liked that last one. 
Quote
4. Are you ready to consider an alternate epistemology complementing, but not supplanting, the scientific method?
and finally the separate magisterial nonsense.  Sure, I’ll consider it, if you have any proof of such a thing exists. 
Quote
Why does God hide himself?
It should be “why do all gods hide themselves?  And the answer is they don’t since they doesn’t exist.  No evidence for the supertnatural at all. 
Quote
Why is there so much pain and ugliness in a world created by a loving and omnipotent God?
Indeed.  And the answers you’ll get are, essentially, we deserve it and we can’t question God’s plan. 
"There is no use in arguing with a man who can multiply anything by the square root of minus 1" - Pirates of Venus, ERB

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Offline screwtape

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2011, 02:45:28 PM »
If I'm not mistaken, this is from our new member, fizixgeek.  He's a mormon[1]
 1. tee hee!
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Offline Omen

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2011, 03:01:33 PM »
1. As an atheist, are you ready to surrender all discussion of right and wrong?

Nothing can be absolutely known, but discussions of right and wrong are simple value statements in comparison to constraints accepted within a social context.

Child rape and talking in theaters, I dislike both of them.  One represents psychological/physical suffering being enacted against a persons will and one is simply an inconsiderate act that mutually deprives others of entertainment; both deserve death by firing squad. ;)

Why would I ever give that up?

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2. Evolutionarily, why do I love Pietro Mascagni?

We respond to patterns and assign value based on biological social behaviors.

Why do you think its a mystery?

What does it have to do with atheism?

Why do you think it has anything to do with believing in superstition?

Quote
3. If God is made up, why is His advice so good?

I would have thought you were smart enough to know better than to make an argument like this one.  Obviously, even if I were to award you with the benefit of the doubt that the advice claimed in whatever religious creed you're drawing from was 'acceptable', it has nothing to do with a god existing or not.

Needless to say, I reject your religions cultural suggestions and ethics.

My problem now, is why don't you get that this is a ridiculously stupid argument?


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4. Are you ready to consider an alternate epistemology complementing, but not supplanting, the scientific method?

Whether I'm 'ready' or not is condescending bullshit, that borders on an ad hominem.  Either you have valid evidence and logical explanations to suggest your claim to be true.. or you do not.  Science is little more then the basic application of logic as an exercise into a methodology to test reality.  You can't introduce another epistemology that could exist along a different means of 'knowing', because that in itself challenges the ability to 'know' anything.   Even my request for valid evidence and a logical explanation is predicated upon an epistemology that values logic/science.

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Also, I'm hard at work

Why don't you try harder at making an argument for your claims, rather than idiotic and condescending questions?
"Religious faith is the antithesis to knowledge, it is the opposition to education, and it has to act in animosity against the free exchange of ideas.  Why? Because those things are what cause harm to a religions place in society most." - Me

Offline albeto

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2011, 03:16:40 PM »
1. As an atheist, are you ready to surrender all discussion of right and wrong?

To what end?

2. Evolutionarily, why do I love Pietro Mascagni?

Your limbic system is part of your cognition.  Here's a theory that is one person (my kid's) attempt to understand this question.  I don't offer it  as conclusive evidence by any means, but here's the "thinking out loud" methodology of a person who is familiar enough with neurology to know that the supernatural need not be invoked in explanations of human behavior. 

Quote
Recent studies suggest that the earliest hominids may have evolved with the ability to create music prior to the evolution of the ability to communicate using intricate arbitrary vocalization to convey meaning.  This may answer the puzzling enigma of why certain music contains the ability to provoke emotions.  Because the limbic system analyzes and constructs appropriate emotions for certain circumstances, and because it is generally considered to be, alongside the brainstem and the cerebellum, a component of the so-called “primitive brain,” it makes sense that, since music is more archaic than complicated linguistic proficiency, the two must, somehow, relate to each other.

link

3. If God is made up, why is His advice so good?

The advice is our advice - advice passed from generation to generation.  For the same reason Aesop's Fables make good sense, some things transcend the generations.  Advice such as treat your neighbor with respect is always good.  Advice such as feed poison to a woman in court to see if she's lying isn't so good. 

4. Are you ready to consider an alternate epistemology complementing, but not supplanting, the scientific method?

The funny thing about this question to me is that it would necessary utilize the scientific method to analyze the alternate epistemology. 

Also, I'm hard at work on my next entry "Two questions for believers."  Those questions are:

Why does God hide himself?

Same reason no one can find the Flying Spaghetti Monster. 

Why is there so much pain and ugliness in a world created by a loving and omnipotent God?

You got me there.  Oh wait, it's for his greater glory.  In his infinite mercy, god created the depths of hell for us should we prove to be undeserving of his love.  Interestingly we become deserving of his love by recognizing his story is true:

God creates man and woman and Original Sin.  He then impregnates a woman with himself as her child so that he can be born.  Once alive he kills himself as a sacrifice to himself, to save us from the sin he created for us.  For the Mormons among us, the story ends with the privilege of doing this for someone else (on our own worlds, but somehow at the same time reunited with heavenly father). 

Offline pianodwarf

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2011, 03:37:36 PM »
"Four questions for atheists." I'd love your feedback.

Ask, and ye shall receive...  I can pretty much offer two responses to each of these questions.  You can pick either one, or both.

Quote
1. As an atheist, are you ready to surrender all discussion of right and wrong?

A.  What does that have to do with atheism?
B.  No.

Quote
2. Evolutionarily, why do I love Pietro Mascagni?

A.  What does that have to do with atheism?
B.  I don't know.

Quote
3. If God is made up, why is His advice so good?

A.  Objection, Your Honor.  Assumes facts not in evidence.
B.  Fictional characters give good advice all the time.  I once read a comic book, for example, where a young boy told Spider-Man that he was being molested by his teacher.  Spider-Man told him to tell another adult that he trusted.

Quote
4. Are you ready to consider an alternate epistemology complementing, but not supplanting, the scientific method?

A.  What does that have to do with atheism?
B.  Probably not.  The scientific method has stood the test of time, and there is no reason to believe that it is lacking in any way.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2011, 03:45:38 PM »
You might need to rethink your questions.

1. As an atheist, are you ready to surrender all discussion of right and wrong?
2. Evolutionarily, why do I love Pietro Mascagni?
3. If God is made up, why is His advice so good?
4. Are you ready to consider an alternate epistemology complementing, but not supplanting, the scientific method?
1.  This makes no sense, unless you believe that concepts of right and wrong come only from God and from no other source.  In other words, it is the old misconception that you have to believe in God to have a meaningful discussion about what's right and what's wrong.

2.  Evolution affects entire species, rather than individuals per se (an individual might have a beneficial mutation which enhances their chance of surviving long enough to reproduce, thus passing on the mutation to future generations, but that's all the real effect that evolution has on an individual; if they don't survive to reproduce, that mutation might as well never have existed).  So a better question is, "evolutionarily, why do humans like music?"  The answer is probably something like "we enjoy music because pleasant sounds help to calm and relax us, thus helping us be healthier and better at what we do".

3.  If a story is made up, why is the moral of the story often good sense?  Just because something is fictional, that doesn't mean that there aren't parts of it that apply to real life.  In fact, good stories often pull from real-life experiences in order to make the story better.

4.  I'm going to need to know what "alternate epistemology" you're referring to first.  Your statement is much too open-ended to answer as it stands.

Offline fizixgeek

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2011, 05:16:11 PM »
I love all these replies. Here are my favorites (seriously)

1. As an atheist, are you ready to surrender all discussion of right and wrong?
whee, one more ignorant theist who wants to accuse atheist of having no morals.  Sorry, you fail right off.  We do.

I never said atheists don't act morally or even have morals. You're mostly sensible and kind people. I just contend that you don't act like atheists. You keep talking about morality as if we should have some common moral compass, and, to quote CS Lewis, no one ever says "To hell with your standard." We all (theists and atheists) keep talking from a common moral framework. Just pointing that out.

2. Evolutionarily, why do I love Pietro Mascagni?

Your limbic system is part of your cognition.  Here's a theory that is one person (my kid's) attempt to understand this question.  I don't offer it  as conclusive evidence by any means, but here's the "thinking out loud" methodology of a person who is familiar enough with neurology to know that the supernatural need not be invoked in explanations of human behavior. 

Quote
Recent studies suggest that the earliest hominids may have evolved with the ability to create music prior to the evolution of the ability to communicate using intricate arbitrary vocalization to convey meaning.  This may answer the puzzling enigma of why certain music contains the ability to provoke emotions.  Because the limbic system analyzes and constructs appropriate emotions for certain circumstances, and because it is generally considered to be, alongside the brainstem and the cerebellum, a component of the so-called “primitive brain,” it makes sense that, since music is more archaic than complicated linguistic proficiency, the two must, somehow, relate to each other.

link


A truly excellent response. I discussed some similar studies in the post, but hadn't seen that one.

3. If God is made up, why is His advice so good?
Oh, you mean when he says killing someone working on a “Sabbath” is the right thing to do?  Or how about when God says that a raped woman has to marry her rapist?  How about that good one that we need to follow any worldly ruler since all have been put there by god and we should never disobey them?  Golly, Hitler would have liked that last one. 
 

That question was really just a thinly-veiled invitation to atheists to try out some godly advice. The point of that post is that God doesn't reveal himself to disinterested academics, only to people with the intention to follow Him. Maybe the real question should have been, If God did exist, would I follow Him?

4. Are you ready to consider an alternate epistemology complementing, but not supplanting, the scientific method?
Depends.  Is it useful, and if so, what for?

This is, of course, the answer I've been waiting for. The goal is to get away from nonsensical "proofs" that God exists and to the nitty-gritty personal discovery of God. I realize that most of this site isn't interested in this. But for any that are, faith in God is very useful and fulfilling and you don't even have to set aside your reasonable mind. It is, in fact, the only viewpoint I've found from which the world makes sense.

I'll post here (in case anyone's interested) when I finish my "Two questions for believers" post.

-fizixgeek

Offline fizixgeek

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2011, 05:29:38 PM »
I had one more response:

4. Are you ready to consider an alternate epistemology complementing, but not supplanting, the scientific method?

The scientific method is the best I've ever seen. If another method is better, obviously the current one must be replaced

The whole point of that blog post is that the scientific method need not be thrown out to embrace faith. As an analogy, I point to the contradiction between Newtonian mechanics and special relativity. They do, undeniably, contradict one another, but Newtonian mechanics was then and is still the best way to understand lots of things. So it is with faith. Faith does not mean throwing away what you know. But, as with special relativity, it requires a fundamental reorientation and a fresh look at your place in the world.

Offline Azdgari

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2011, 05:57:31 PM »
I never said atheists don't act morally or even have morals. You're mostly sensible and kind people. I just contend that you don't act like atheists. You keep talking about morality as if we should have some common moral compass, and, to quote CS Lewis, no one ever says "To hell with your standard." We all (theists and atheists) keep talking from a common moral framework. Just pointing that out.

If atheists generally act in a certain way, and we act in that certain way, then to claim that we "do not act like atheists" is patently false.  The general behaviour of atheists (assuming there is such a thing) defines the way that atheists act.  You contradict yourself.

Regarding a common moral framework, for the most part we grow up in the same culture.  That provides a great deal of commonality.  Lewis is wrong, however - people often do dismiss the moral standards of others when values disagree.

Again, as I mentioned before, this has absolutely nothing to do with (a)theism.  If a god existed, then it would necessarily be another conscious agent with its own subjective values.

That question was really just a thinly-veiled invitation to atheists to try out some godly advice. The point of that post is that God doesn't reveal himself to disinterested academics, only to people with the intention to follow Him. Maybe the real question should have been, If God did exist, would I follow Him?

Regarding the text I underlined - that is identical to how untrue beliefs behave.  They are only evident to those who desire to believe them.  Why does belief in the existence of a god so closely mimic belief in untrue things?

Regarding your bolded text, that would depend on the god.  In the case of a "no", I suppose it would also depend on the degree of coersion and whether it would be enough to break my sense of morality.  For your own part, would you follow all concepts of 'god', or only the ones you would consider to be "good"? (Possible coersion aside, of course.)

4. Are you ready to consider an alternate epistemology complementing, but not supplanting, the scientific method?
Depends.  Is it useful, and if so, what for?

This is, of course, the answer I've been waiting for. The goal is to get away from nonsensical "proofs" that God exists and to the nitty-gritty personal discovery of God. I realize that most of this site isn't interested in this. But for any that are, faith in God is very useful and fulfilling and you don't even have to set aside your reasonable mind. It is, in fact, the only viewpoint I've found from which the world makes sense.

Your answer supplies little useful information.


EDIT:  Footnotes in a quote-separated post don't work right.  Brackets it is.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2011, 06:07:59 PM by Azdgari »
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Offline Omen

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2011, 07:22:33 PM »
We all (theists and atheists) keep talking from a common moral framework. Just pointing that out.

No we don't.

My ethics have nothing to do with conditional belief in superstition.

Quote
That question was really just a thinly-veiled invitation to atheists to try out some godly advice. The point of that post is that God doesn't reveal himself to disinterested academics, only to people with the intention to follow Him.

This isn't coherent nor applicable advice, it engages in special pleading inserting a qualification where you want to insinuate one has to have 'desire' to find your preferred superstitious god.  You already presume that they lack that desire to know the truth based on a tautological and dishonest presupposition, believing your own presuppositional nonsense to be true without having argued in the affirmative for it at any point

Just like I predicted.

Quote
Maybe the real question should have been, If God did exist, would I follow Him?

The question presupposes that a god exist, that there is a coherent meaning by the label god, and that there are coherent conditions about that belief system.  There are not.

Again, you are presupposing an entire context of mythology without arguing in the affirmative of your implications.  You are purposefully avoiding the burden of proof and condescendingly expecting others to walk into your presuppositional bullshit.

Quote
The goal is to get away from nonsensical "proofs"

Then we have instantly rendered knowledge meaningless.  If I can't draw a series of logical conclusions from A to B, there is nothing to say about A or B.  It has no virtual meaning in any context.

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I realize that most of this site isn't interested in this.

Of course, why would we be interested in a vague obfuscation?

Quote
But for any that are, faith

Faith is interchangeable with make believe, it is inserted at the point where one needs to justify what can't be separated from make believe and that can't actually been shown to be knowledge of any kind.

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in God is very useful

It was not useful to africans seeking to escape slavery, the bible was used to justify slavery.

It was not useful to jews and other non-christians escaping the holocaust, the bible was used to justify the holocast.

It was not useful to those fighting for womens rights, the bible was and still is being used to fight against womens rights.

It was not useful to those fighting for homosexual equal rights, the bible is being used to fight against womens rights.

Do I really need to go on?

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and fulfilling

Emotional satisfaction from a belief isn't evidence that that thing exists or is true.  This is the definition of delusion.

Quote
and you don't even have to set aside your reasonable mind

Yes you do.

I have to suspend what I know about reality, history, ethics, and a countless list of other information.  I have to lie about history, science, education, and accept philosophical concepts of ethics that are .. to be frank.. profoundly stupid.

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. It is, in fact, the only viewpoint I've found from which the world makes sense.

This is word for word, presuppositional apologetics.

Here let me help you:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presuppositional_apologetics

In Christian theology, presuppositionalism is a school of apologetics that aims to present a rational basis for the Christian faith and defend it against objections primarily by exposing the perceived flaws of other worldviews while the Bible, as divine revelation, is presupposed. It claims that apart from presuppositions, one could not make sense of any human experience, and there can be no set of neutral assumptions from which to reason with a non-Christian.

Presuppositionalism can be used to argue for anything and everything, it dishonestly works to avoid the burden of proof for the implications of its own claims.

I can't help but notice you avoided my posts.

I predict you will engage in sophistry, reducing the ability to know anything to a point where one can't know anything at all.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2011, 07:24:30 PM by Omen »
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Offline Astreja

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2011, 09:17:45 PM »
1. As an atheist, are you ready to surrender all discussion of right and wrong?
Why should I?  My lack of belief is a separate issue from morality.

Quote
2. Evolutionarily, why do I love Pietro Mascagni?
It probably has something to do with your cultural upbringing rather than evolution.  If one of your ancestors had survived a catastrophe due to being a Pietro Mascagni fan, and that appreciation could be traced to a particular allele, then evolution might have a role.

Quote
3. If God is made up, why is His advice so good?
Good advice  comes not from gods, but from people who have observed what works and what does not work.  Biblegod's advice is not uniformly good; in fact, some of it is simply horrid.

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4. Are you ready to consider an alternate epistemology complementing, but not supplanting, the scientific method?
If it can be shown to function consistently for all individuals regardless of their worldviews, yes.  Otherwise, back to the drawing board.
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Offline lotanddaughters

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2011, 09:59:26 PM »
1. As an atheist, are you ready to surrender all discussion of right and wrong?

No. Why else would I attend "the most addictive discussion on the internet"?

Quote
2. Evolutionarily, why do I love Pietro Mascagni?

Why? I don't know. Why do you love Joseph Smith? Keep Pietro. Drop the fucking charlatan.

Quote
3. If God is made up, why is His advice so good?

If His advice is so good, why aren't you out stoning homosexuals to death? Is it because you're a Goddamn liar?

Quote
4. Are you ready to consider an alternate epistemology complementing, but not supplanting, the scientific method?

After reading the first three questions, simply no.


Enough with your bullshit.
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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2011, 10:17:35 PM »
If Dr. Who is made up, why is his advice so good?
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline voodoo child

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2011, 10:24:17 PM »
Quote
If God is made up, why is His advice so good?

it was you're parents that told you what was good. it was their parents that told them,

that a boogie man is under the bed. 
The classical man is just a bundle of routine, ideas and tradition. If you follow the classical pattern, you are understanding the routine, the tradition, the shadow, you are not understanding yourself. Truth has no path. Truth is living and therefore changing. Bruce lee

Offline JeffPT

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #17 on: July 19, 2011, 11:13:21 PM »
The whole point of that blog post is that the scientific method need not be thrown out to embrace faith.

If that's your contention, then your either doing science wrong, or faith wrong.  There is no possible way to come to the conclusion that God exists through the scientific method.  Sorry. 

As an analogy, I point to the contradiction between Newtonian mechanics and special relativity. They do, undeniably, contradict one another, but Newtonian mechanics was then and is still the best way to understand lots of things. So it is with faith.

This is a terrible analogy.  It's apples to oranges. 

The reason we still find use for Newtonian mechanics and special relativity is because they have proven to work repeatedly, through many years of careful trial and error.  They give specific predictions and measurements within their own rights and can be independently verified by an outside, objective observer.  The analogy would be better served in comparing Newtonian mechanics with Googly Moogly theory, where Googly Moogly theory isn't functional, testable, repeatable, and offers absolutely no predictive ability whatsoever. 

You can use faith, but it offers nothing but confusion in terms of understanding the world.  It fails and succeeds at an equal rate... the same rate as Googly Moogly theory. 

Faith does not mean throwing away what you know.

Faith means throwing away those meaningless details we like to call "proof".

You see, the scientific method attempts to eliminate as many presuppositions as possible, and forms conclusions based on the evidence that arises.  With faith, you start with the belief in God, then take the facts and shove them through that belief, and watch to see what comes out the other side.  The 2 are incompatible.  They just are. 

But, as with special relativity, it requires a fundamental reorientation and a fresh look at your place in the world.

Yes, but special relativity is proven to work.  It has predictive capability.  It can be repeatedly tested and verified to work.  Nobody started with the notion of special relativity and tried to cram evidence into it.   Special relativity was born out of the evidence, not the other way around.   

You can fundamentally reorient yourself around any faith or theory you'd like.  Hinduism, Taoism, anything.... All of them will offer a "fresh look at your place in the world".  But they are all equally flawed in that there is no reliable way to know if any of the claims from them are true.  And if that is the case, then they all have an equally high chance at being wrong.  Just like Christianity.  Hell, their might be a "better" way to look at and understand the world in some ways than atheism, but for those of us who like and respect the truth, the idea that one type of belief is "better" than another doesn't interest us.  We only care about what's true.  And at this time, the most reliable method we have of determining truth in our world is the scientific method.  Everything else falls woefully short.  Religion especially.  Until something better comes along, there is no reason to place "faith" even in the same ballpark as the scientific method when attempting to discern the truth about our world.  "I have faith" is what people say when they run out of good reasons to offer as an explanation for what they believe. It deserves zero respect.  None. 
Whenever events that are purported to occur in our best interest are as numerous as the events that will just as soon kill us, then intent is hard, if not impossible to assert. NDT

Offline One Above All

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #18 on: July 20, 2011, 12:36:04 AM »
The whole point of that blog post is that the scientific method need not be thrown out to embrace faith.

Sorry, this proves you do not understand the scientific method at all. Faith is belief in something without evidence. That completely contradicts the scientific method.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
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Offline fizixgeek

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #19 on: July 20, 2011, 12:50:26 AM »
OK. So now you're (several of you) forwarding your own postulate:

"The scientific method is the only way to discover truth."

I haven't seen any good arguments to establish this.

Offline One Above All

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #20 on: July 20, 2011, 12:54:30 AM »
OK. So now you're (several of you) forwarding your own postulate:

"The scientific method is the only way to discover truth."

I haven't seen any good arguments to establish this.


...It should be self-evident. The scientific method has given us everything we have today. Faith has given us the Dark Ages. Which appears to be better?
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #21 on: July 20, 2011, 01:19:31 AM »
The whole point of that blog post is that the scientific method need not be thrown out to embrace faith. As an analogy, I point to the contradiction between Newtonian mechanics and special relativity. They do, undeniably, contradict one another, but Newtonian mechanics was then and is still the best way to understand lots of things. So it is with faith. Faith does not mean throwing away what you know. But, as with special relativity, it requires a fundamental reorientation and a fresh look at your place in the world.
What contradiction are you talking about?  To the best of my knowledge, special relativity doesn't actually contradict any part of Newtonian physics.  That's because Newton's theory doesn't give correct predictions when it comes to very specific circumstances (notably, within the event horizon of a singularity and an object approaching the speed of light).  What special relativity does is clarify Newtonian physics - that is to say, it modifies the existing theory.  None of the correct predictions of Newton's theory are contradicted by special relativity, and it's hard to argue that we should care about its incorrect predictions.

The other problem with your statement is that special relativity can be tested, measured, and examined.  Faith cannot be, at least not with anything resembling objectivity (which is absolutely essential for something to be scientific).  Faith is thus by definition nonscientific, and thus trying to compare it by analogy to any scientific theory doesn't work.

The one thing I agree with is that you don't have to throw out science in order to have faith.  But the only way that works is to be utterly ruthless towards your preconceptions, as faith cannot contradict reality.  The moment it does, it becomes fantasy.

Also, in response to your most recent post, science isn't so much a way to discover truth, as it is a way to rule out things that are false.  And that's more important in my opinion.  We may never discover 'truth', as you put it, though the scientific method, but we can systematically rule out things that are false using it.  Compare that to faith, which can neither discover 'truth' nor rule false things out; it is impossible to verify anything with faith, and thus it is wholly subjective.

Now, which do you think is better for purposes of trying to understand the way things actually work?

Offline fizixgeek

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #22 on: July 20, 2011, 01:42:10 AM »
No. If there's one thing I want to challenge you on, it's the notion that the scientific method is the only way to discover truth. Blaziken says it's self-evident or proven by some "ye shall know them by their fruits" argument. Is that what everyone thinks? If the scientific method leads to bad things, is it unreliable?

Also, not that it's a major point, but I wouldn't be fizixgeek if I didn't point out that special relativity definitely does contradict Newtonian mechanics. If I'm on a spaceship traveling close to the speed of light and I turn on the headlights, how fast is the light traveling from the viewpoint of a stationary observer? Newton says almost twice the speed of light. Einstein says exactly the speed of light. I'm sweeping a lot under the rug there, but does that make sense?

Special relativity changes everything you (and Newton) knew about mechanics--energy, momentum, time, distance, mass--all radically reformulated. We still use our non-relativistic Newtonian equations because they're easier and a good enough approximation, but they're not strictly correct. Physicists, can I get a witness?
« Last Edit: July 20, 2011, 02:23:16 AM by fizixgeek »

Offline One Above All

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #23 on: July 20, 2011, 02:00:32 AM »
No. If there's one thing I want to challenge you on, it's that notion that the scientific method is the only way to discover truth. Blaziken says it's self-evident or proven by some "ye shall know them by their fruits" argument. Is that what everyone thinks? If the scientific methods leads to bad things, is it unreliable?

I have made a mistake in my earlier post. I should've corrected what you said but I didn't, so here it goes:
The scientific method is not the only way to discover the truth, but it is the best we have come up with so far[1]

As for being reliable; results are results. What people do with them is a different issue altogether
 1. IMO
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

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Offline fizixgeek

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #24 on: July 20, 2011, 02:44:01 AM »

It was not useful to those fighting for womens rights, the bible was and still is being used to fight against womens rights.


An interesting side note here. Did you know Utah was the second state to grant women the right to vote? In 1870. Brigham Young made it a priority. link.

Omen, I had noticed we were talking past each other. You keep waiting for my proof that God exists. I keep stating that such a proof cannot be and that I have no intention of providing one. You keep saying we have nothing left to talk about, and you're possibly right, but you keep talking anyway.


Offline One Above All

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #25 on: July 20, 2011, 02:46:52 AM »
Omen, I had noticed we were talking past each other. You keep waiting for my proof that God exists. I keep stating that such a proof cannot be and that I have no intention of providing one. You keep saying we have nothing left to talk about, and you're possibly right, but you keep talking anyway.

You keep replying to him. He must reply back. Rules of the website.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Offline RNS

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #26 on: July 20, 2011, 06:00:18 AM »
i was under the impression that the theory of special relativity has been replaced by Einstein's theory of general relativity?
love and truth and love of truth

Offline Azdgari

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #27 on: July 20, 2011, 06:08:06 AM »
No. If there's one thing I want to challenge you on, it's the notion that the scientific method is the only way to discover truth. Blaziken says it's self-evident or proven by some "ye shall know them by their fruits" argument. Is that what everyone thinks? If the scientific method leads to bad things, is it unreliable?

This is a very disingenuous mischaracterization of what Blaziken said.  "Good things" and "bad things" were not a part of his post, they are a red herring.  The "results" he talks about are accurate predictions.  But you knew that and were pretending you didn't, right?

Also, not that it's a major point, but I wouldn't be fizixgeek if I didn't point out that special relativity definitely does contradict Newtonian mechanics. If I'm on a spaceship traveling close to the speed of light and I turn on the headlights, how fast is the light traveling from the viewpoint of a stationary observer? Newton says almost twice the speed of light. Einstein says exactly the speed of light. I'm sweeping a lot under the rug there, but does that make sense?

It makes sense when you consider how Relativity supplants Newtonian physics.  Relativity is simply the most accurate explanation, between the two, of what happens in nature.

Special relativity changes everything you (and Newton) knew about mechanics--energy, momentum, time, distance, mass--all radically reformulated. We still use our non-relativistic Newtonian equations because they're easier and a good enough approximation, but they're not strictly correct. Physicists, can I get a witness?

This is true.  They're good enough at slow speeds, because they don't significantly contradict the more accurate predictions of relativity at those speeds.  We don't use it because they're both true-yet-contradictory.  We use it because it's easier, even if it's inaccurate.

How is their contradiction a problem?  Anyone who knows anything about physics knows that Relativity has supplanted Newtonian physics as the more accurate model.  That Newtonian physics are still "good enough" for daily use isn't some metaphysical problem.  Hell, Aristotelian physics are "good enough" for day-to-day use, in some circumstances.  What we have is a progression from the inaccurate toward the accurate.  That is science.
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Offline Brakeman

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #28 on: July 20, 2011, 06:24:09 AM »
1. As an atheist, are you ready to surrender all discussion of right and wrong?
whee, one more ignorant theist who wants to accuse atheist of having no morals.  Sorry, you fail right off.  We do.

Speak for yourself!  Ha Ha!
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