Note to moderators: Please move this thread to a more appropriate area if you feel its warranted. I wasn't sure where to place this.
Warning to Screwtape: This post contains an analagy
This thread is a follow up to "If not God, how was the universe created".
In the other thread I asked the question "How was the universe created", and the concensus amongst you was pretty much 'we don't know, but we 're getting closer to knowing, and you can't logically say it was God'.
I then asked 'is it possible there is some intelligence behind the universe' and the consensus seems to be 'it's possible, in the sense ANYTHING is theoretically possible, but highly unlikely'.
I pretty much expected ths, given I have been on the forum long enough to have a reasonable insight into what most of the regulars believe regarding such matters. But, I thought it polite to ask anyway.
For a few weeks now I've been thinking about the nature of truth and logic, and the role our brain plays in this. I've been discussing it privately with a couple of members via email, just to get some viewpoints which might differ from mine.
In a nutshell, here's whats been troubling me:
There are varying degrees by which we can validate the truth of something. For instance, we can be told that there is a wardrobe in a room. We might believe this even without validation, if we have no obvious reason to doubt the person telling us. We could ask somebody not privvy to the conversation to walk into the room and tell us what it contains. If they say " a wardrobe ", we can pretty much take that to the bank. Or we can validate it 100% by walking into the room and seeing it for ourselves.
Thats just a basic example, and If I thought long enough and had the time I'm sure I could come up with an example where there were 10 or more ways of validating something, with a progressing level of certainty leading up to the point of 100% validation.
At what point, then, is it possible to consider somebody 'foolish' for believing something to be true? If person A is convinced at point 4, and person B is convinced at point 6 or 7, but nobody has gotten to point 10 ( 100% validation ), then is person B really entitled to act all superior, as if they are more rational?
Leading on from that, I have been wondering this: if person A is convinced to their satisfaction that something is true, wouldn't they be acting dishonestly if they gave up on that belief simply because person B wasn't convinced, or if person B thought the available evidences led to a completely different conclusion?
Which led me to thinking about the role our brain plays in all this, and how much we can rely on it. If one assumes that the human brain has no external intelligence behind it, as you all do, then how can you ever say that the beliefs you form are more valid than those formed by somebody else, using their brain? In other words, how can you trust your brain to be interpreting things correctly? What is correct, what is true, ultimately? How could you say for sure?
It seems to me the answer lies with what we experience. That seems to me a good validation of truth. Our brain might tell us one thing, when experience tells us different. So doesn't it make sense to go with what you personally experience, even if your experience is at odds with somebody elses, or seems contrary to what somebody's elses brain tells them?
And finally, it seems to me the absolute validation of truth is when what your brain tells you is true and what experience tells you is true meet. If that happens, how the hell can somebody tell you that you're wrong?
The conslusion I reach? My brain and my experience convince me 100% of God's existence. It's a lock, for me. I took it to the bank years ago.
You're telling me that your brain, and presumably your expereince, tells you that God does not exist.
But if you can't point to some 100% validation, and if you can't demonstrate that the product of your thinking is somehow more valid than mine (remembering that your brain has no external, ultimate intelligence backing it up) then can you really claim the high ground in our differences?
Appreciate your thoughts, but I'll be a few days off the forum now.