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Offline mhaberling

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #116 on: December 29, 2012, 09:45:08 PM »
I would like some definition for communicating and answering prayers... Do you me like a request line or simply just getting questions answered

This is hardly difficult - its largely what it says on the tin. Its only what lots of religious people tell us - that they pray to god and that they get answers. Let's leave it loose and you answer as to the way you see or experience things.

Ok, Ill say that it is answers without intervention... So you may be answered by god but not in a way to where he does things for you... I don't really think this is testable though..
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Offline screwtape

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #117 on: December 29, 2012, 10:20:23 PM »
I don't really think this is testable though..

why not?  if there is an effect in reality, it should be measurable, detectable and statistically significant.  Otherwise, it is indistinguishable from background noise, and not considered to be an actual effect, ie, not real.
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Offline JeffPT

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #118 on: December 29, 2012, 11:02:53 PM »
Ok, Ill say that it is answers without intervention... So you may be answered by god but not in a way to where he does things for you... I don't really think this is testable though..

The fact that you can find nothing testable, measurable, or predictable about the way god answers you should raise some suspicion on your part.  If that is the case, then it holds a lot in common with every other religious belief I've ever heard of. 

Imagine that I told you I prayed to a special red rock every day.  If you asked me to describe how it communicated with me, could I not say that the rock gives me 'answers without intervention'?  I could say that I prayed for rain and if it rained, the rock answered me yes.  If it didn't rain, it answered me no.  If it rained later in the day, then the rock wanted me to wait for it.  Is this similar to what you're talking about when you say you get answers without intervention? 

If you can't distinguish the way your god responds to prayers from the way a rock responds to prayers, then I'd say you really need to revisit your position. 

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 mhaberling

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #119 on: December 30, 2012, 04:05:51 AM »
Ok, Ill say that it is answers without intervention... So you may be answered by god but not in a way to where he does things for you... I don't really think this is testable though..

The fact that you can find nothing testable, measurable, or predictable about the way god answers you should raise some suspicion on your part.  If that is the case, then it holds a lot in common with every other religious belief I've ever heard of. 

Imagine that I told you I prayed to a special red rock every day.  If you asked me to describe how it communicated with me, could I not say that the rock gives me 'answers without intervention'?  I could say that I prayed for rain and if it rained, the rock answered me yes.  If it didn't rain, it answered me no.  If it rained later in the day, then the rock wanted me to wait for it.  Is this similar to what you're talking about when you say you get answers without intervention? 

If you can't distinguish the way your god responds to prayers from the way a rock responds to prayers, then I'd say you really need to revisit your position.
great point but it doesn't apply... I am forwarding that God answers prayers in an advisory standpoint in some cadoesnt do things independently to affect the world... Like to sat a farmers prayer for rain would fall to death ears
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Offline wheels5894

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #120 on: December 30, 2012, 04:59:28 AM »
great point but it doesn't apply... I am forwarding that God answers prayers in an advisory standpoint in some cadoesnt do things independently to affect the world... Like to sat a farmers prayer for rain would fall to death ears

You are not making this easy, are you? Please be a lot more specific about what you are saying - i.e.

1. "!God answers prayers in an advisory standpoint" Do you mean by this that you consider god advises you of what action to take?

2. Are you also saying that the god you propose cannot or will not intervene to do physical things in the world such as making it rain?
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline Skinz

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #121 on: December 30, 2012, 06:56:53 AM »
(DISCLAIMER: This is my opinion, and therefore is my truth. I am, however, willing to cede to brilliant and unstoppable debate. Being proved wrong is the only way we ever learn :)

Truth is a human construct, and therefore is made up of opinion, concensus, research and communication. Fact is immutable.

Example: When Ptolemy asserted that the earth was the center of the universe, he was telling what he honestly thought was the truth. He used his own and other's observations to arrive at a hypothesis, he and other astronomers/astrologers (They were the same thing at this time) tested it with his little device. It was accepted by Government, populace and the vast majority of the scientific community.

However, Ptolemy was not in possesion of all the facts, and that is directly because he was willing to make minor concessions to support his truth. But he believed it completley.

Therefore, truth is a shaky pillar on which to build anything. Fact is far harder to obtain, but the aquisition and application of fact is the only reason we are not crawling in the mud.

P.S. We can delve right into a fantastic philosophical discussion about individual perception re: Fact vs. Truth, but without facts to support it, I don't know how far we'll get.
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Offline 3sigma

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #122 on: December 30, 2012, 08:20:13 AM »
Ok, Ill say that it is answers without intervention... So you may be answered by god but not in a way to where he does things for you... I don't really think this is testable though..

In other words, you have no way to distinguish your belief from imagination.
A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence. – David Hume 1711–1776

Online ParkingPlaces

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #123 on: December 30, 2012, 11:17:39 AM »
(DISCLAIMER: This is my opinion, and therefore is my truth. I am, however, willing to cede to brilliant and unstoppable debate. Being proved wrong is the only way we ever learn :)

Truth is a human construct, and therefore is made up of opinion, concensus, research and communication. Fact is immutable.

Example: When Ptolemy asserted that the earth was the center of the universe, he was telling what he honestly thought was the truth. He used his own and other's observations to arrive at a hypothesis, he and other astronomers/astrologers (They were the same thing at this time) tested it with his little device. It was accepted by Government, populace and the vast majority of the scientific community.

However, Ptolemy was not in possesion of all the facts, and that is directly because he was willing to make minor concessions to support his truth. But he believed it completley.

Therefore, truth is a shaky pillar on which to build anything. Fact is far harder to obtain, but the aquisition and application of fact is the only reason we are not crawling in the mud.

P.S. We can delve right into a fantastic philosophical discussion about individual perception re: Fact vs. Truth, but without facts to support it, I don't know how far we'll get.


Welcome Skinz.


I would argue about this with you but right now I have to go to a meeting of my local Flat Earth Society.  ;D


Yep, truth is truth, our take on it is distorted, but at least through science we can be a heck of a lot closer to it than we can via guessing.


Religion is a guess, non-testable. And given that where the Greeks were, 300-400 years before Christ, scientifically, religion is a pretty uneducated guess. Yes, the Greeks were more wrong that we are today, but at least they were basing many of their theories on observation, not obvious fictions.

Not everyone is entitled to their own opinion. They're all entitled to mine though.

Offline wheels5894

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #124 on: December 30, 2012, 12:08:14 PM »
great point but it doesn't apply... I am forwarding that God answers prayers in an advisory standpoint in some cadoesnt do things independently to affect the world... Like to sat a farmers prayer for rain would fall to death ears

You are not making this easy, are you? Please be a lot more specific about what you are saying - i.e.

1. "!God answers prayers in an advisory standpoint" Do you mean by this that you consider god advises you of what action to take?

2. Are you also saying that the god you propose cannot or will not intervene to do physical things in the world such as making it rain?

That's the point of the above. It gives a chance to fix a god in a permanently unreachable place  - at the cost of his pointlessness - or into the realms of potential scientific checking, in which case he could be shown not to exist as described.

These definitions are all very well but, in the end, they are guesses and those who guess are trying to make sure they have a god who is some use but, at the same time, can never be traced. I claim these positions are not compatible as a god who cannot, at least in principle, be shown to affect matter on earth cannot be any use at all and is demonstrated to be a figment of the imagination of those claiming its existence.
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline screwtape

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #125 on: December 30, 2012, 02:32:36 PM »
I am forwarding that God answers prayers in an advisory standpoint in some cadoesnt do things independently to affect the world...

I do not understand what you mean.  Please explain your position further.

Quote
Like to sat a farmers prayer for rain would fall to death ears

deaf.
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #126 on: December 31, 2012, 07:03:00 AM »
I would like some definition for communicating and answering prayers... Do you me like a request line or simply just getting questions answered

Well, mhaberling, what I am asking is how - or if - this communication backs up your assertion about your god.  Let's review:

I believe God's nature is the following...
Knower of the Truth...
 loves us, wants the best for us...

I've highlighted the parts that begin to describe your god.  Lets see if they are testable.

Knower of the Truth - potentially testable, though requires that the god can be reliably communicated with and will impart the Truth when requested.....
loves us, wants the best for us - possibly testable, depending again on whether the god is willing to reliably communicate. 

So two possibilites exist to test your god hypothesis.

1) Question the god directly.  How would you propose that this is carried out?

How do you intend to test for your hypothetical god's love, your hypothetical god's wanting the best for us?  IS there a test you can perform, or is this, also, an unprovable claim?

We are, after all, after ways to determine the TRUTH - not wishful thinking, or assumptions.  You'vemade some specific claims there, mhaberling.  Are any of them testable?

You made two very specific claims about your god, both of which could definitely be tested via communication.  "The truth" could be tested by asking (and receiving answers to) certain specific questions, and "wants the best for us" could, again, be tested by receiving direct and specific answers to decision points in our lives.

With the latter, for example, the assertion "wants the best for us" could be evidenced by having direct and specific answers to specific questions in life.  I want the best for my children, so I will answer their questions when they ask them, and offer advice, and assistance.  What I will NOT do (while wishing to retain the description of "wants what is best") is at any point give non-answers, or be vague, or give no answer at all.

So when you ask about communication, what I am asking is whether there is a communication route that enables you - and, crucially, someone else with identical questions - to verify those two specific claims that you have made.

That's the nub of it.  How do you verify the claims you have made?  I've suggested that "communication" would allow verification, so you now need to either demonstrate how communication CAN verify the claim - or admit that communication CANNOT verify your claim, and instead demonstrate the alternative means by which your claims can be demonstrated to be true.....which is, after all, the point of this thread, is it not?  How we can establish the nature of truth?
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline JeffPT

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #127 on: December 31, 2012, 09:21:22 AM »
great point but it doesn't apply... I am forwarding that God answers prayers in an advisory standpoint in some cadoesnt do things independently to affect the world... Like to sat a farmers prayer for rain would fall to death ears

That's fine to say, but you still haven't distinguished your god's answers from someone who claims that a rock 'advises' them.  You'll need to do that before it can be taken seriously.  And again, if you can't, you need to really think it through.  That voice in your head giving you advice could just be you.

It's interesting to note that devising a test for the person who believes that a rock gives them special advice has the exact same difficulties as devising a test for the person who believes that God gives them advice.  Does that tell you anything? 
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 12 Monkeys

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #128 on: December 31, 2012, 11:46:54 AM »
here is the nature of "truth"

 4000 hungry children per hour starve......out of those 4000,some if not all are praying for food. As they die their prayers go unanswered. Is God ignoring their pleas?

 Now we move to the western world and the middle aged white guy praying to God for a good return financially for his efforts or that the doctor finds his test results to be good news. Either way God answers,either negative or positive is the will of God.......God cant lose.
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Offline mhaberling

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #129 on: January 02, 2013, 01:47:38 AM »
great point but it doesn't apply... I am forwarding that God answers prayers in an advisory standpoint in some cadoesnt do things independently to affect the world... Like to sat a farmers prayer for rain would fall to death ears

That's fine to say, but you still haven't distinguished your god's answers from someone who claims that a rock 'advises' them.  You'll need to do that before it can be taken seriously.  And again, if you can't, you need to really think it through.  That voice in your head giving you advice could just be you.

It's interesting to note that devising a test for the person who believes that a rock gives them special advice has the exact same difficulties as devising a test for the person who believes that God gives them advice.  Does that tell you anything?

I Guess I don't so much care if A person is getting advice from a rock... Would you agree that there is a statistically significance between the people who claim to get there questions answered by rocks and those answered by God... As to the test, you aren't exactly correct. A rock is a physical object, you could destroy it and have it replaced with an Idnetical rock without the believer knowing... God is a metaphysical concept so testing God is harder to do.
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Offline Skinz

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #130 on: January 02, 2013, 02:33:06 AM »
Would you agree that there is a statistically significance between the people who claim to get there questions answered by rocks and those answered by God...

No, I certainly would not.[1]

There is one study out there that found the power of intercessionary prayer helped people, but it was overturned as a massive fraud[2].

On the other hand, the power of positive thinking, aka the placebo effect, is validated by many studies... Maybe you're thinking about that?
 1. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/31/health/31pray.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
 2. http://www.csicop.org/si/show/columbia_university_miracle_study_flawed_and_fraud
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Offline mhaberling

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #131 on: January 02, 2013, 03:03:27 AM »
Would you agree that there is a statistically significance between the people who claim to get there questions answered by rocks and those answered by God...

No, I certainly would not.[1]

There is one study out there that found the power of intercessionary prayer helped people, but it was overturned as a massive fraud[2].

On the other hand, the power of positive thinking, aka the placebo effect, is validated by many studies... Maybe you're thinking about that?
 1. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/31/health/31pray.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
 2. http://www.csicop.org/si/show/columbia_university_miracle_study_flawed_and_fraud

No... what I said, was there is a much larger amount of people who pray and believe they get answers from a god as compared to those getting advice from rocks
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Offline Skinz

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #132 on: January 02, 2013, 03:11:27 AM »
No... what I said, was there is a much larger amount of people who pray and believe they get answers from a god as compared to those getting advice from rocks

You most certainly did! Sorry man, I totally misread your post... Apologies and retractions.
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #133 on: January 02, 2013, 05:46:12 AM »
Would you agree that there is a statistically significance between the people who claim to get there questions answered by rocks and those answered by God...

Nope.  Because it bears no relation to the truth of the matter, its an appeal to popularity.

Rocks, in fact, answer ALL prayers.  They have senses beyond ours, and so "hear" all prayers that all people make to all gods, and it amuses them to "answer" those prayers as if from the god prayed to.

Initially, people found it more plausible that a "god" answered them, rather than a rock, so more people believed that was in fact what was going on.  So very quickly, you had more people with stories of god-miracles than people with stories of rock-miracles.....and so the undecided found it more socially acceptable and a "safer bet" to pray to god.....and, like I said, the rocks answered those prayers.  The effect snowballed, and we arrived at the situation today, where WAY more people believe in gods than in rocks - but where the rocks STILL answer all the prayers.

The only way your "we've got more, so we must be right" argument would in any way be demonstrable (given the scenario I have posited) is if you could point to studies that showed that devout prayers to a particular god were answered more than similar devout prayers to other gods - or to the rocks. 

Which is why we've been asking for the TESTABLE evidence for your god - and why you've found it so hard to actually show any, and why you prefer these tangential arguments.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline screwtape

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #134 on: January 02, 2013, 09:27:21 AM »
No... what I said, was there is a much larger amount of people who pray and believe they get answers from a god as compared to those getting advice from rocks

bold mine.  Who cares what they believe?  People believe all sorts of stupid shit.  Homepathy is but one annoying example.  Belief does not make it fact.
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Offline JeffPT

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #135 on: January 02, 2013, 11:59:55 AM »
I Guess I don't so much care if A person is getting advice from a rock...

You should care about as much as the person who claims that an invisible sky man gives them advice.  Both claims deserve equal consideration.  If you don't think they do, then you're adding your personal bias.

Would you agree that there is a statistically significance between the people who claim to get there questions answered by rocks and those answered by God...

Do you mean a numbers difference?  Sure, I would agree that there is a larger number of people who claim to get their questions answered by a god than there are who get questions answered by rocks.  Do you think that matters?  Do you think the two claims should be analyzed differently?  Why? 
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 mhaberling

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #136 on: January 02, 2013, 04:06:58 PM »
What I am saying is that the population of this planet praying to rocks is much less then that praying to god, If that wasn't true this Site would Be called "Why Won't Rocks Heal Amputees?" Since many people believe they receive answers from a god, you would need to show me proof of a flaw in their consciousness that causes them to falsely perceive it, If you can't do that then who is to say that you are not the broken ones??

(PS this is so completely off subject, but I feel that it is the only thing left being discussed in this thread so Ill continue for a bit more at least)
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Offline pianodwarf

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #137 on: January 02, 2013, 04:11:46 PM »
Since many people believe they receive answers from a god, you would need to show me proof of a flaw in their consciousness that causes them to falsely perceive it

This is a combination of two logical fallacies.

The first is "Appeal to Popularity".  Here, you are saying that since so many people believe something, there must be something to what they believe.  Reality doesn't work that way.

The second is "Begging the Question".  You have not provided any evidence that any of the individuals in question are actually perceiving anything.  Before you can prove or disprove a phenomenon, you must first ascertain whether the phenomenon exists.
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Offline Bagheera

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #138 on: January 02, 2013, 04:51:01 PM »
What I am saying is that the population of this planet praying to rocks is much less then that praying to god, If that wasn't true this Site would Be called "Why Won't Rocks Heal Amputees?" Since many people believe they receive answers from a god, you would need to show me proof of a flaw in their consciousness that causes them to falsely perceive it, If you can't do that then who is to say that you are not the broken ones??

(PS this is so completely off subject, but I feel that it is the only thing left being discussed in this thread so Ill continue for a bit more at least)

I'm kind of late to this party. I hope it doesn't feel like a pile-on.

Part of being rational creatures is that not only can we believe something, we can come up with a system that tests those beliefs to determine if the results validate the belief. After all, life requires results.

If someone claims that they are talking to god, and that god is answering them, is it possible to test that belief? Or does god only answer in ways that either cannot be tested (or that is indistinguishable from imagination)?

It would be helpful if you could outline your thoughts on the matter. The site isn't called Why Wont Rocks Heal Amputees, it's WWGHA, because for millenia humans have stated as a fact that that praying to god produces results; in other words, that god exists and  does intervene directly and materially in ways  that we can perceive. That is what people all over the world believe: Prayer produces results.

While people have been believing this for a long, long time, now that we have developed disciplines that can quantify results, we find that the only results prayer achieve are those identical to placebo. Belief in imaginary things can produce similar physiological results to belief in "real" things.

Since many people believe they receive answers from a god, you would need to show me proof of a flaw in their consciousness that causes them to falsely perceive it...

The common belief is that god answers prayers in ways that produce material results in relation to the prayer. Analysis of prayer and result shows that there is no connection beyond the psychological change achieved by merely believing, whether the thing you believe in is real or imaginary. It does not have any effect beyond the person doing the praying, and even that effect is very limited. Believing I am strong enough to lift a tank with my bare hands will NOT make it happen, nor will believing I am genius level IQ enable me to invent perpetual motion machines.

Believing that god answers prayers directly and materially when it can be demonstrated that does not happen, is the flaw in the consciousness. All attempts to prove otherwise achieve results consistent with the statement "god answers only in the same way rocks answer prayers", except that in a pinch you can pick up the rock and throw it at someone.

There's your flaw in their consciousness.

Offline Bagheera

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #139 on: January 02, 2013, 04:55:33 PM »
want to know where people are at on this issue... is truth definite or relative? (im in the definite side) but i want to know how the communit is split up on it... and fight!

My opinion? All truth is relative. Yet that statement in and of itself means that even that statement is relative, so there are some truths that are objective, and that statement is one objective truth: All truths are relative.

Basically, we carry our universes around in our brains. Interfere with that brain, and your perception of the universe changes. Whatever our perception of the universe, that's our truth, because that's the only way we can interact with the universe. Measurements, scientific inquiry, logic, reason are all useful tools for fine tuning universal truth, but eventually that's all that it is. And everything springs from that.

Offline mhaberling

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #140 on: January 02, 2013, 09:02:24 PM »
want to know where people are at on this issue... is truth definite or relative? (im in the definite side) but i want to know how the communit is split up on it... and fight!

My opinion? All truth is relative. Yet that statement in and of itself means that even that statement is relative, so there are some truths that are objective, and that statement is one objective truth: All truths are relative.

Basically, we carry our universes around in our brains. Interfere with that brain, and your perception of the universe changes. Whatever our perception of the universe, that's our truth, because that's the only way we can interact with the universe. Measurements, scientific inquiry, logic, reason are all useful tools for fine tuning universal truth, but eventually that's all that it is. And everything springs from that.
Hey! that has something to do with the OP alright!!! No but seriously this is the first on track post in a while and I thank you for that...

I have a request to the claimer of relative truth. Please say "The truth is relative" without forwarding a definite truth..
« Last Edit: January 02, 2013, 09:06:09 PM by mhaberling »
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Offline mhaberling

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #141 on: January 02, 2013, 09:05:51 PM »
Pianodwarf... If a significant people claim that they pray and receive answers from god inside their own consciousness, And you say that they are wrong... You have accepted the burden of proof, and then should provide a reason why their consciousness is faulty and yours is not. Can you do that?
"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." - Benjamin Franklin

Offline pianodwarf

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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #142 on: January 02, 2013, 09:46:29 PM »
Pianodwarf... If a significant people claim that they pray and receive answers from god inside their own consciousness, And you say that they are wrong... You have accepted the burden of proof, and then should provide a reason why their consciousness is faulty and yours is not. Can you do that?

I did not say they were wrong.  I simply said that just because a whole bunch of people say and/or believe something, that doesn't mean that they're right.
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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #143 on: January 02, 2013, 09:56:10 PM »
Pianodwarf... If a significant people claim that they pray and receive answers from god inside their own consciousness, And you say that they are wrong... You have accepted the burden of proof, and then should provide a reason why their consciousness is faulty and yours is not. Can you do that?

No, the burden of proof is on the recipients of god's word. If god can tell them something they had no way of knowing, and they can prove they received the information from no other source, then it's considerable, else it's no different from me meditating on an issue and my subconscious providing an answer.

MH, you generally debate with flair and honesty, but now you are asking people to prove the unprovable, i.e. "Prove that there IS no creator!", an obfuscating tactic I thought was below you. I'm sure you've heard this one before, but please think hard about it: Once upon a time, everyone thought the world was flat, and the sun went around us. IT DID NOT MAKE IT SO. Their reasoning was faulty, or they gave credence to bad reasoning, but either way, they were dead wrong and their rock solid belief didn't change a damn thing.

And to head you off at the pass, I know we are speaking of the metaphysical here, not the physical, but if anything that simply places a greater burden on you to prove the metaphysical. Unwise, in my eyes, but then again I play too much chess.
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Re: nature of truth
« Reply #144 on: January 02, 2013, 10:30:37 PM »
If prayer were actually working, then statisticians could easily work out which religious group is doing better than anyone else. Which group has less cancer, fewer birth defects, better cure rates for hard to cure diseases, better home life, better than average driving records, etc. If people were actually benefitting from prayer, actuarial tables would be on the side of the right religion.

Actuarials would think that fact so cool that they would tell us. They haven't. Better luck next time.



Not everyone is entitled to their own opinion. They're all entitled to mine though.