Thanks for getting back to me. I appreciate it.
well, i don't think i have any "tactic" at all, jeff.
I didn't say you were using it to hide something. It's just something I see a lot, and I didn't know what else to call it.
with respect to scientific enquiry, i think it's useful, but i don't know of anything in the philosophy of science that asserts –with evidence—that scientific enquiry can answer all questions poised by inquisitive people. the best that can be said for science is that it answers scientific questions very well, and non-scientific questions very badly.
I would agree here. But the important thing is that we both KNOW that science answers the questions it answers well. And when we analyze HOW we know that science is good at answering scientific questions, we can point to the track record and to everything in the modern world around us that science has gotten right. Correct? We can both agree that science is top notch at answering questions about science because we can observe the results. This will become important in a few minutes.
nope. i'm happy to speak of it, explicitly, but it's off-topic here. i know people who hear voices, see visions, and experience various other supra-normnal phenomena.
And the ONLY POSSIBLE explanation for people who hear voices and see visions is the god theory? I find that to be a bit of a stretch, seeing as the human brain is prone to seeing things and hearing things that aren't there pretty regularly. Also because chemical changes in the brain, and direct, mechanical stimulus can also produce visual and auditory hallucinations.
What 'other supra-normal phenomena' have you heard of or witnessed that could only possibly be explained by the presence of a supernatural entity such as god? If they convinced you, a former atheist, that a god is more likely to exist than not, then it should, at the very least, set me back a step or 2, shouldn't it?
i'm willing to believe people i trust when they describe experiences that appear supranormal.
Of course you are. Who wouldn't? One of the problems with this, however, is the problem that people in all cultures experience things like this, and quite often they use them as proof of their own gods too. So I ask you... Given everything we know about the chemical and mechanical nature of the brain and how much we know about human behavior... Is it more likely that some people experience different phenomena than others as a result of relatively well understood biochemical and mechanical differences inside their brains, or that some sort of intelligent, invisible being is implanting visual and auditory messages inside their heads?
the most that anybody can say against that stuff is that they don't believe it, themselves. that's fine with me, because i don't think that anybody should believe in something that they don't think is adequately demonstrated.
I don't usually question the experiences unless they are over-the-top nutty. I question the conclusion that the only possible answer is god. I once had an experience where I predicted an unlikely future event in my own life with extreme accuracy. Sure, some sort of god could have put it there. But that is only one possibility. I see no evidence that would make me think it was god that did it.
As a side note, I find the entire premise that god implants messages in some peoples heads and not in others to be rather disgusting. Thousands and thousands of horrible things happen every day to people all around the world, and the thought that god is implanting largely benign messages into some people's heads and not others seems really, really wrong. If god has the capability to put a message in every person's head, then why not the little girl who is abducted by some dude, only to be beaten, raped and killed? A simple, "Hey, don't go over to that swing set", or maybe a "Hey, you're hungry now. Go find your mommy" as the man approached. Or how about a message in the rapists head? "Hey, you don't want to rape that little girl. If you do, I'm gonna mash the living fuck out of you. Love, God" Why would ANYONE worship a god like that, I don't know.
for the reasons i gave pages ago, that i choose to believe in god on the basis of other ideas than morality, and that morality does not prove god, but is consistent with it.
Everything you believe about god is consistent with god. Everything a Hindu believes is consistent with the Hindu gods. Everything Islamics believe about god is consistent with their god. There's nothing inconsistent about a god that is believed to be able to do literally anything it wants. I could create one right now if you like.
But why would an all powerful being give us all the same version of morality knowing that we were not going to be able to comprehend it the same way?
because we all are capable of it, to the extent that we are required to understand.
Capable of what? Capable of understanding that version of morality that god implanted in our heads? How do you know we are capable of that? In order to be sure of that, someone, at some point in time had to reach it, right? If, as you say, every single person in the world has an acuity problem, who do we go to in order to understand what god really wants from us? If you are going to say we have this morality implanted in us, and that it is our goal to try and reach it, then you would have to know what that version of morality actually IS in order to know whether you are getting closer to, or further away from that goal, would you not? I go back to the analogy of the game. It's as if you are dropped in a wide open field and God says, "We're playing a game. You'll never know what your goal is, or what the rules are, and you won't have a single clue whether or not you are getting close to scoring until you're dead...Go!"
Is this what you are arguing for?
If god gave us a universal moral sense, but did not give us the universally equal ability to perceive that moral sense, then either god is not very bright, or he did it on purpose without giving us a reason for doing it.
or he allowed it happen.
That's the same as saying he did it on purpose without giving us a reason for it. If god exists, everything that's ever happened... he allowed to happen.
may i eat your children? why or why not?
If you are asking my permission, then no. But if you had them tied up in your basement and you killed them, you really could physically eat them.
but i believe that we measure nature with error, and i do not exclude morality from that measure. there's nothing in the world that's 100 percent black and white, jeff, not morality, not chemical reactions, not brownian motion.
That doesn't mean we should use unreliable, unproven methods to solve the gray.
i believe that morality is an extension of the intentions of god, and the general revulsion that people feel for obvious violations of moral codes are consistent with a god explanation.
You are forced to come up with a moral view that is consistent with god because you first
believe in god and you must square that notion with a reality that's shaped like a circle. If you start with the premise, "What is the most reasonable reason for our moral compass?" instead of, "Since god is real, what is the most reasonable way that morality came to be?", then I believe you are searching for the truth. The first does NOT eliminate the possibility of a deity, it only puts it in the same realm of probability with everything else.
Here you point to the notion that we all share a general revulsion for obvious violations of moral codes, and that this is consistent with the god explanation. As I said before, you could make anything up and it would be consistent with the god explanation. You could say god is just likes good practical jokes and I'd be at a loss to prove you wrong. But what about things like genital mutilation? Is this not an example of how we don't all feel revulsion at obvious violations of moral codes? I mean... here is a little boy and we go hacking away at his penis so we can do right by god. To me, that's absolutely awful. To others, it's not. And then take the little girl who gets her clitoris hacked off in order to do right by god. To me, that's absolutely awful. To others, it's not. The most important question we have to ask ourselves here Kevin is this... Who is right and how do you know? My answer is simple. Nobody is cosmically right or wrong; we all just have our opinions about it.
I have to ask you... Do you see any holes in the idea that morality came from culture, evolution and experiences? And not from an "I don't like it" perspective. I mean from a logical, reasonable, evidence based perspective?
that's exactly what i mean, but it's religion, not science. and i believe we are responsible to no more than the extent that we understand.
But by your own admission, nobody really understands, right? I mean... it's inside us, but nobody REALLY sees it clearly. Just think this through for a moment.
Everyone who claims they DO understand gods morality should realistically be held accountable to prove that. And how could you prove that? The only way I could think of would be to see exactly what god wanted in the first place. Since this is not possible, then we're left completely in the dark as to who is doing things right and who is doing things wrong. How can we be held responsible in such a scenario?
The danger of believing as you do is that you could justify your desire to eat my children by simply saying you are attempting to do what you believe god would like you to do. Has this not been the cause of some of the most horrific events in all of human history? And if that is the reasoning you used, who could prove you wrong? Or worse yet, given that we have absolutely no idea what the TRUE version of this moral download actually is (Is it morality_2.3, or 2.4? Should I get the upgrade to morality_3.0?) is it not possible that eating my children is seen by god as a step in the right direction?
judging god because he doesn't act like you would if you were god is the old SPAG argument, jeff—Self-Projection Against God, where god is assumed to be unlikely because he isn't jeff-like in nature or behavior. it isn't a logical refutation of the idea, but it shows up a lot, just like here. how does the fact that a possible god is different from what you would be if you were god make the idea of god more or less likely?
You would have saved yourself a lot of words here if you'd just said, "God is mysterious Jeff. Sometimes we don't understand him."
BTW, I've seen more SPAG than you can shake a stick at.
belief is a funny thing, and doesn't depend on any single way of evaluating the universe, although people who are trained in one method or another will obviously favor the method of explaining the universe that fits their preconcieved ideas of how the universe should be explained.
Very interesting sentence here, Kevin. The word 'should' is a surprising choice. I do not believe the universe 'should' be explained in any way at all. Science is the only method we currently have that CAN explain at least parts of the universe. That is not a preconceived notion. To the best of our knowledge, it's a statement of fact. I wasn't born thinking science 'should' explain things.
i tend to weight certain kids of data differently than you might weight them, and that's where a lot of the differences in our views derive, i think.
This is where the notion of a track record comes back into play. Yes. In situations where it is useful, I use the only method that I know of that has a proven track record. And with the things I don't yet understand, I don't claim knowledge about. You do the first part as well, but you switch to another completely unreliable and unproven method with things you don't fully understand. I just don't see why.
because you and i start with different assumptions about how the world is likely to work, we derive different suites of tools that we use to investigate it. you use a single tool--science-- and assert that all phenomena must be conformable to that tool, else they have no real existence.
I would appreciate you not putting words into my mouth in the future. This is completely untrue, and let me clarify it for you. I use a single tool--science-- when that tool is appropriate for the job, because it has a proven track record of success. When that tool is NOT appropriate for the job, I do not attempt to use a different tool without knowing whether or not it is going to do the job I need it to do.
i use two tools-- science and religion-- and base my decisions on which tool to use upon which questions i am interested in answering. from your point of view, i'm claiming that i can drive a nail that you know is obviously incapable of being driven.
Not quite. To borrow from your analogy... From my point of view, I'm asking why you think that the tool you have chosen is capable of driving the nail in in the first place. More to the point, I'm wondering why you're holding the hack saw. It's a tool that has no proven track record on nails (IOW, religion as an explanation has gotten things wrong over and over again). Why use it?
from my point of view, i see you try to drive that nail with a hand saw, and point out that if you use a hammer, then that nail-- and many others-- can be driven in straight and deeply.
Hehe, it's not my nail Kevin. It's yours. I'm going to use a hammer for a nail, like I use science to understand things in the scientific realm. It's a proven tool. It works. And when I am faced with a job where I don't know what tool is going to do the trick, I don't go grabbing for random tools. I might just make things worse. You are the one reaching for tools that have no track record of success.
all a matter of point of view, i think.
Maybe, but the truth doesn't care about what point of view we're using. Why should we?