Author Topic: Event has a good outcome w/a rational explanation, but god will get the credit.  (Read 1440 times)

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Offline Schizoid

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An explanation:  I am the representative payee for my 21 year old goddaughter who is on SSI and since she was a baby she has been like a daughter to me.  She has a mental illness as well as substance abuse issues.  She has been on probation since last November and is to stay out of trouble and not use any alcohol or controlled substances.  She drank last Friday and was picked up by the police and sent straight to jail on a probation violation with no bond.

She had been working at a job that she absolutely loved and could not wait to go to work, the only job she has ever kept for more than a month.  She had missed 6 days of work (they knew nothing of her personal situation or that she was in jail) so her caseworker and myself were pretty sure her job was lost.  Amazing though, she still has her job. 

A miracle?  I am sure that believers would claim it was the hand of god that saved her job beyond all expectations.  My supervisor and coworker who is a devout believer although he respects my atheism will doubtlessly claim that.  Myself, I am not so easily convinced because I see a rational explanation for my goddaughter's good fortune concerning her job:

1.  On Saturday morning when I found out she was in jail I called her work to tell them that for personal reasons she would not be in to work that day or for awhile.  I could tell them no more than that.  This opposed to her simply not showing up for work that day and for the following days which I am sure would have assured she would have been fired.

2.  Her employment specialist went to her work today to explain her situation in the hope that a good work reference could at least be salvaged (she was an excellent worker who always showed up on time and would stay late when asked).

3.  Unknown to my goddaughter one of her coworkers was being considered on being promoted to a shift leader, and in the past week he received that promotion.  He has always liked her as a good worker and so when he heard about her situation from her employment specialist he told her that my goddaughter could come back to work when she was ready (she will move from jail to a temporary mental health facility for a few days before she goes home--she's just waiting for an open bed). 

Needless to say, my goddaughter is elated and overjoyed.  I know that she attributes her good fortune to prayer and the hand of god and I'm ok with that--whatever helps her to get through this and to stay on the right track.  If she needs to believe in a higher power to help her through this because she does not have the strength within herself to succeed, then that's fine by me.  I'm not an evangelical atheist who has a calling to convince others to change their beliefs to mine.

But, although I do believe that points 1, 2, and 3 add up to a plausible and rational explanation for her still having the job she loves I will not even try in any way to convince her of it.  I know.  However I will argue my case to my coworker although I know I will not change his mind.  That's ok though.

Offline bgb

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One of my biggest pet peeves.  Giving god undue credit.
The whole point of science is that most of it is uncertain. That's why science is exciting--because we don't know. Science is all about things we don't understand. The public, of course, imagines science is just a set of facts. But it's not.  Freeman Dyson

Offline Anfauglir

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People here did stuff, with the result that other people decided not to fire her.

For god to be credited, he would have had to get inside a lot of people's heads, and make them do something they would not otherwise have done, whether that be to speak on your goddaughter's behalf or to decide to keep her in her job.

So it is possible to credit god....but only if we assume that he is absolutely prepared to override free will and to take direct action in order to make things turn out the way he wants.

The first negates any bleating that things have to happen the way they do because of free will.  If god will overrule free will for something relatively trivial, then free will is clearly unimportant.

And the second means that god IS responsible for every other bad thing on earth.....because he has proved he can and will take action to force a particular outcome, he bears responsibility for those times he chooses to do nothing.

So it IS possible to claim "goddidit" in this situation - but only by causing the entire house of cards to come tumbling down.
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 LoriPinkAngel

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I think for something to be considered a miracle it is supposed to defy logic, science, etc...
If this young woman proved herself to be a good worker it would be logical to let her keep her job.  It costs less to keep a good employee than to find, hire and train a new one.
It doesn't make sense to let go of something you've had for so long.  But it also doesn't make sense to hold on when there's actually nothing there.

Offline Mooby

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A human made the decision not to fire her.  A believer would be hard-pressed to claim that such a thing is impossible without supernatural intervention.

Is it possible the prayer had some effect?  Yes.  It's also possible it had no effect.  There's no real way to know the answer to that for sure without the ability to travel to parallel universes.
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Offline LoriPinkAngel

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Travelling parallel universes would be awesome. ;D
It doesn't make sense to let go of something you've had for so long.  But it also doesn't make sense to hold on when there's actually nothing there.

Offline Mooby

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*Is a Sliders fan.*  (Even the bad seasons.)
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Offline LoriPinkAngel

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Loved Sliders until they killed off the Professor.
It doesn't make sense to let go of something you've had for so long.  But it also doesn't make sense to hold on when there's actually nothing there.

Offline Mooby

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True, Prof. Arturo was the best character on the show, and I never was a big Maggie fan.  I was sad when Wade left too, though I really liked Colin.  IMO the biggest hit was when Quinn and Colin left; Season 5 just felt dead without them (plus the budget slash which basically reduced the show to 1 set.)

I do think it's funny that Rembrandt is the only one to make it to the end, since I always saw him as the guy who was just there.
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Online JeffPT

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A human made the decision not to fire her.  A believer would be hard-pressed to claim that such a thing is impossible without supernatural intervention.

Is it possible the prayer had some effect?  Yes.  It's also possible it had no effect.  There's no real way to know the answer to that for sure without the ability to travel to parallel universes.

The believer would be hard pressed, eh?

A human also made the bad decision to drink.  Would the same believer be hard pressed to claim that the decision to drink was not caused by God, but the decision not to fire her, was?  Hypocrisy be damned, probably not.  Especially since, if God exists, God saddled the girl with mental health problems and a substance abuse issue.  But yes, lets give thanks to God, instead, for not getting her fired.     &)

But it doesn't matter either way.  A few years ago, I said a prayer to the almighty Phlegmorph from the Etherworld.  Now, I don't know if Phlegmorph exists or not, but in that prayer I asked that all prayers to the Christian God be heard and answered by Phlegmorph.  So it's equally possible that the prayer to God made its way to Phlegmorph and was answered.  If only we could travel to parallel universes to find out. 

If neither Phlegmorph or God existed, however, is it possible that people just made decisions that they thought were right at the time, that people sometimes have mental health and substance abuse problems, and that prayer to any and all Gods is completely useless?  Sure, that's possible.   Occam's razor, do your stuff. 
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 LoriPinkAngel

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But it doesn't matter either way.  A few years ago, I said a prayer to the almighty Phlegmorph from the Etherworld.  Now, I don't know if Phlegmorph exists or not, but in that prayer I asked that all prayers to the Christian God be heard and answered by Phlegmorph.   

If I chose to ditch Chirsitianity I think The Giant Flying Spaghetti Monster is a way cool alternative.  Go Pastafarians.  &)
It doesn't make sense to let go of something you've had for so long.  But it also doesn't make sense to hold on when there's actually nothing there.

Offline Mooby

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The believer would be hard pressed, eh?
Yes, I think so.  Especially with an intellectually honest believer or a believer talking to a decently competent nonbeliever there to keep said believer honest.

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A human also made the bad decision to drink.  Would the same believer be hard pressed to claim that the decision to drink was not caused by God, but the decision not to fire her, was?
Considering that I think a believer would be hard pressed to do A, I do indeed think that the believer would be slightly harder pressed to do A + B.  Though not super hard pressed, unless we had evidence that someone was praying to God for her to drink, and not super duper hard pressed, unless we had evidence that the believer believes that God grants curses.

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But it doesn't matter either way.  A few years ago, I said a prayer to the almighty Phlegmorph from the Etherworld.  Now, I don't know if Phlegmorph exists or not, but in that prayer I asked that all prayers to the Christian God be heard and answered by Phlegmorph.  So it's equally possible that the prayer to God made its way to Phlegmorph and was answered.
"Equally possible?"  I'm interested in how you calculated/estimated the probabilities.

Also, a God by any other name would still smell as sweet...

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If neither Phlegmorph or God existed, however, is it possible that people just made decisions that they thought were right at the time, that people sometimes have mental health and substance abuse problems, and that prayer to any and all Gods is completely useless?
As I mentioned in my previous post, that's possible even if God exists.

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Occam's razor, do your stuff.
Ah, Occam's Razor, one of the most overused, misused, and underproven concepts on the Internets.

You've screwed your razor application with your intervening if clause.  Doing so ensured that the hypothesis were not equal, and thus the spurious heuristic does not apply.
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Offline Razel

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Is it possible the prayer had some effect?  Yes.  It's also possible it had no effect.  There's no real way to know the answer to that for sure without the ability to travel to parallel universes.

Possibilities aren't important.  The only thing that's relevant is whether or not you have a reason to believe it's true.

Is it possible that praying to a milk jug had some effect?  Yes.  Is there any reason to believe that it did?

Offline Astreja

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If I chose to ditch Chirsitianity I think The Giant Flying Spaghetti Monster is a way cool alternative.  Go Pastafarians.  &)

I particularly like the fact that instead of 10 "thou shalt not" commandments, the FSM has the 8 "I'd really rather you didn't" guidelines, including:
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I'd really rather you didn't build multimillion-dollar synagogues / churches / temples / mosques / shrines to [His] Noodly Goodness when the money could be better spent ending poverty, curing diseases, living in peace, loving with passion and lowering the cost of cable.
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Offline Schizoid

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And the second means that god IS responsible for every other bad thing on earth.....because he has proved he can and will take action to force a particular outcome, he bears responsibility for those times he chooses to do nothing.

There is NO way that Christians would ever allow or admit that their god is ever responsible for any bad thing.  It violates the heads, god wins--tails, god wins philosophy that allows their delusion to continue.

The "he bears responsibility for those times he chooses to do nothing"  is one of the primary reasons I am now an atheist because I cannot swallow how it is explained away.  God knows ahead of time what is going to happen and still chooses to do nothing.

Online JeffPT

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But it doesn't matter either way.  A few years ago, I said a prayer to the almighty Phlegmorph from the Etherworld.  Now, I don't know if Phlegmorph exists or not, but in that prayer I asked that all prayers to the Christian God be heard and answered by Phlegmorph.  So it's equally possible that the prayer to God made its way to Phlegmorph and was answered.
"Equally possible?"  I'm interested in how you calculated/estimated the probabilities.
The variables and the formula I used are irrelevant for the calculation here for the simple fact that the value of the variables would be identical for each proposed deity.  So no matter which formula I used, putting identical numbers into the variables would not change the outcome.  How do I know this?  Simple.  Here's how I figured it out... 

Can't see God = 1 point
Can't see Phlegmorph = 1 point

Prayers are sometimes answered in the affirmative -> Evidence that God answers prayers = 1 point
Prayers are sometimes answered in the affirmative -> Evidence that Phlegmorph heard my prayer and then answered the prayer to God = 1 point. 

Prayers are sometimes answered in the negative -> Evidence that God doesn't answer prayers sometimes = 1 point.
Prayers are sometimes answered in the negative -> Evidence that Phlegmorph heard my initial prayer but doesn't answer prayers to God sometimes = 1 point. 

Every time God gets a point, Phlegmorph also gets one. 

Just keep going like that for as many comparisons as you like and then tell me where you'd see a difference.  That's what I did.  If all the numbers are the same, which they absolutely would be, then no matter what formula I use, putting them both in would result in the same outcome, right?  Show me a reasonable reason to believe that the scenario I listed above does not cover the answer to every single prayer ever considered to have been answered since I said my prayer a few years ago. 

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If neither Phlegmorph or God existed, however, is it possible that people just made decisions that they thought were right at the time, that people sometimes have mental health and substance abuse problems, and that prayer to any and all Gods is completely useless?
As I mentioned in my previous post, that's possible even if God exists.
It's also possible, if you exclude all hypothesized deities. 

I've always considered you one of the worst Mooby.  You're smart.  And that gives you no excuses with this God stuff.  I tend to give stupid people a pass with God belief, because much of the time they can't think straight, but I don't understand you.  I'll never get why you buy the idiocy. 
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 Schizoid

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I think for something to be considered a miracle it is supposed to defy logic, science, etc...
If this young woman proved herself to be a good worker it would be logical to let her keep her job.  It costs less to keep a good employee than to find, hire and train a new one.

I don't think that Christians would claim it was a miracle, but that the hand of god was involved in her rehiring.  However, had the outcome not been good then nothing about god would be mentioned and what would have been heard was that she got what she deserved.

Offline Schizoid

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I worked today and saw my Christian coworker and he did attribute my goddaughter's keeping her job to god (he also knew and accepted that as an atheist I would not see it that way).  I did point out to him that there were a number of things and actions that resulted in her being allowed to keep her job and that if any one of them did not occur she would not have been retained:

1. that she was a good worker, always was on time and would stay late;
2. that I called in last Saturday to let them know she would not be at work for personal reasons;
3. her employment specialist did  go to them to explain the situation (this was done primarily to at least get a good work reference);
4. another employee who liked her and her work became the manager and thus had the power to allow her to continue to work there when she was ready.

So for Christians this is just another example of no proof being required, but their god getting the credit for a good outcome (even to the point of using an atheist, or maybe even more than one, to attain that outcome).

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Offline Mooby

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Possibilities aren't important.  The only thing that's relevant is whether or not you have a reason to believe it's true.
See the first part of my post that you quoted.  You're reading too much into the second part; Reply #5 is about the right depth of reading for it.



Just keep going like that for as many comparisons as you like and then tell me where you'd see a difference.  That's what I did.  If all the numbers are the same, which they absolutely would be, then no matter what formula I use, putting them both in would result in the same outcome, right?
If all comparisons between the two are equal, then by the transitive property they're the same deity.  Hence the Shakespeare reference in my last post.

I'll leave it to you to establish the differences between God and that thing you made up, since I don't know what distinctions (other than name) are present in your head.  Or, I should say currently present, in case you take the preceding sentence as a challenge to start thinking some up.

Also, with your hypothetical example, you're adding the extra step of a meta-prayer.  Thus, you're relying on the answering of two prayers with the second being conditional on the first, rather than just the first.  From what I remember of probability theory, conditional probability is calculated differently than the probability for one element. 

Lastly, I fail to see how your scoring system relates to probability calculations at all (how does a "point" map to increased or decreased likelihood?)

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If neither Phlegmorph or God existed, however, is it possible that people just made decisions that they thought were right at the time, that people sometimes have mental health and substance abuse problems, and that prayer to any and all Gods is completely useless?
As I mentioned in my previous post, that's possible even if God exists.
It's also possible, if you exclude all hypothesized deities. 
Yes, you said that in the text I replied to.  I even quoted it for you so you would remember saying it.  If you'd like, I could reply with, "It's also possible if the hypothesized deities are not excluded."  Then we could put quotes in our quotes so we could quote while we quote.

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I've always considered you one of the worst Mooby.  You're smart.  And that gives you no excuses with this God stuff.  I tend to give stupid people a pass with God belief, because much of the time they can't think straight, but I don't understand you.  I'll never get why you buy the idiocy.
Ah, the old "too smart to be a Christian" line: a wonderfully delightful backhanded compliment for me while you slyly pat yourself on the back.  ;)

By contrast, I think I'm actually a bit too "smart" to be an atheist (in quotes because there are some absurdly intelligent atheists, putting no real cap on the intelligence of atheists.)  The more I learn, the more painfully aware I become of how little I actually know, such that there's no way I could ever claim God's nonexistence with any sort of intellectual honesty.  Were I to switch, it would likely be from agnostic theist to agnostic atheist, with it being subtle enough that most people probably wouldn't notice it unless I specifically announced it.

And considering some absolute geniuses have had quite prominent beliefs in God (such as Andrew Magdy Kamal and Christopher Langan), I don't think we can put a cap on the intelligence of theists, either.
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Online Azdgari

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One would think that the greater intellectual humility you describe would make you less certain of your theistic beliefs, rather than more certain.  But I guess that's not how it works.
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Offline Mooby

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One would also think that someone who identifies with the smarter philosophy would be able to read and comprehend the second clause of the third sentence of the eighth paragraph, but I guess that's not how it works, either.

Life is just full of disappoipntments.
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I read and understood it, Mooby.  You never mentioned becoming closer to the "switch" you described.  Instead, you described in the second sentence of that paragraph how learning more about our human ignorance solidifies your theistic position.  Which is what I addressed.

There's no need for you to make snide insults here, Mooby.  Aside from habit, anyway.
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Online JeffPT

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If all comparisons between the two are equal, then by the transitive property they're the same deity.  Hence the Shakespeare reference in my last post.
Yes, and 2 professionals with the same batting average, OPS, slugging percentage, walks, hits and RBI's could only be the same player, right? 

I could list you a whole host of made up crap that could be different between the 2 deities (just like your deity is a bunch of made up crap), but still the scenario I gave you could be real, right? How would you distinguish what's really going on?  You'd have to prove that ONLY your God was responsible.  Go ahead and try.  Feel free. 

In the real world, if I said my neighbor mowed my lawn, and someone claimed that it was my best friend who mowed my lawn, we could find evidence based ways to figure out which one did it, right?  How could you differentiate what God did versus what Phlegmorph did as a result of hearing my prayer?   

I'll leave it to you to establish the differences between God and that thing you made up, since I don't know what distinctions (other than name) are present in your head.  Or, I should say currently present, in case you take the preceding sentence as a challenge to start thinking some up.
Does it matter what they are?  All you have to know is that Phlegmorph answered my prayer and my prayer alone and you couldn't distinguish that between what your God supposedly does and what Phlegmorph does. 

In fact, I could make Phlegmorph massively MORE believable than your God by simply saying that Phlegmorph likes some people and dislikes other people when he is deciding which prayers to answer.  I could tell you that he has a vindictive streak in him and that sometimes he moody.  I could also say he has a good sense of humor and occasionally plays jokes on people.  That would explain, much more succinctly than any ridiculous explanations that satisfy God believers, why horrible things to happen to some people and not to others. 

Also, with your hypothetical example, you're adding the extra step of a meta-prayer.  Thus, you're relying on the answering of two prayers with the second being conditional on the first, rather than just the first.  From what I remember of probability theory, conditional probability is calculated differently than the probability for one element. 

Wrong Mooby.  In my scenario, God doesn't exist but Phlegmorph does.  There is only one prayer that actually has any bearing on the outcomes.  Mine.  Which he obviously answers every single time without fail.  There is no condition in which Phlegmorph decides he will no longer answer mine.   

Lastly, I fail to see how your scoring system relates to probability calculations at all (how does a "point" map to increased or decreased likelihood?)
Tell you what then Mooby.  If you can't understand that the variables that are relevant to the outcome would be exactly the same, come up with a formula and variables and I'll make up Phlegmorphs data.  It will not differ from your made-up God's data, I assure you.  All I have to do is make all powerful, and out of the bounds of reasonable detection. 

Ah, the old "too smart to be a Christian" line: a wonderfully delightful backhanded compliment for me while you slyly pat yourself on the back.  ;)

You don't HAVE to be smart to be an atheist.  In fact, I don't know if I'm smarter than you or not in the grand scheme of things.  But intelligence LEADS to atheism in much the same way that being a pilot leads to being able to land a plane.  Or being a biologist leads you to understanding and accepting evolution. 

The more I learn, the more painfully aware I become of how little I actually know, such that there's no way I could ever claim God's nonexistence with any sort of intellectual honesty.
For ALL gods, you're right, you can't.  For one single brand of well defined theism?  The chances are a lot better. 

But given the sheer fact of how little you and I actually know, and the fact that we can literally come up with trillions of possible truths about our universe, and the fact that so few things are ACTUALLY true about our universe, and the miniscule evidence of the Christian version of God which is equal to the miniscule evidence of all the other versions of god,  in conjunction with the billions of believers that are equally convinced of their positions that are mutually exclusive to yours, believing that any one version is more correct than any other is the pretty ridiculous. 

Were I to switch, it would likely be from agnostic theist to agnostic atheist, with it being subtle enough that most people probably wouldn't notice it unless I specifically announced it.

But your not simply an agnostic theist, Mooby.  If I remember, and please correct me if I'm wrong, but you're Catholic.  So you say... I don't know if God is real, and I can't prove that it is or isn't, but I believe it is and I believe it's this exact version.  I'd feel more respect toward you if you were a deist, but Catholic isn't deist. 

And considering some absolute geniuses have had quite prominent beliefs in God (such as Andrew Magdy Kamal and Christopher Langan), I don't think we can put a cap on the intelligence of theists, either.

I am confused by them as well.   

I noticed you didn't list any Muslims, Hindu's, Jews, or people of other religions.  They can be really smart too, and they believe different things than you.  Does that confuse you?  Would you not be a bit baffled by a really smart man who comes up to you and says he wants to die killing infidels so he can get his 72 virgins? 
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 Mooby

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I read and understood it, Mooby.  You never mentioned becoming closer to the "switch" you described.  Instead, you described in the second sentence of that paragraph how learning more about our human ignorance solidifies your theistic position.  Which is what I addressed.
Failure to come closer to deconverting does not make one a stronger theist, just as failure to become a strong atheist does not send one on a path that will ultimately lead them to theism.  Failure to move from 3 to 5 on the Dawkins scale is not the same as moving from 3 to 1.

I never said learning about our human ignorance solidifies my theistic position.  I said that learning about my own ignorance makes me less likely to claim God's nonexistence (which you might recognize as strong atheism.)  My point being that were I to ever deconvert, the change would more likely be in practice than any real paradigm shift.



Yes, and 2 professionals with the same batting average, OPS, slugging percentage, walks, hits and RBI's could only be the same player, right?
Before answering that, I still get the same deal, right?  This one: "Just keep going like that for as many comparisons as you like"

I could list you a whole host of made up crap that could be different between the 2 deities (just like your deity is a bunch of made up crap), but still the scenario I gave you could be real, right? How would you distinguish what's really going on?  You'd have to prove that ONLY your God was responsible.  Go ahead and try.  Feel free.
1. We have primary source evidence via your direct admission that your creation's qualities consist of "made up crap."  Do we have the same level of evidence that God's qualities consist of "made up crap?"
2. If your proposed being and God are completely indistinguishable other than name, then there's no distinction to be made as a name is a label and not an intrinsic quality of a thing, so the two are transitively the same, and we must simply clarify the label.

In the real world, if I said my neighbor mowed my lawn, and someone claimed that it was my best friend who mowed my lawn, we could find evidence based ways to figure out which one did it, right?  How could you differentiate what God did versus what Phlegmorph did as a result of hearing my prayer?
If your best friend and neighbor share every characteristic, including age, height, address, exact absolute location at the time your lawn was mowed, etc., then by the transitive property your neighbor and friend are the same person and there is no need to differentiate.

You're committing the masked man fallacy.

Also, with your hypothetical example, you're adding the extra step of a meta-prayer.  Thus, you're relying on the answering of two prayers with the second being conditional on the first, rather than just the first.  From what I remember of probability theory, conditional probability is calculated differently than the probability for one element. 

Wrong Mooby.  In my scenario, God doesn't exist but Phlegmorph does.  There is only one prayer that actually has any bearing on the outcomes.  Mine.  Which he obviously answers every single time without fail.  There is no condition in which Phlegmorph decides he will no longer answer mine.
You're ignoring the probability he will answer the other prayer.  Any way you slice it, you're adding extra variables.

Also, now that your scenario changes the probability of existence, "If all the numbers are the same" no longer holds.

Tell you what then Mooby.  If you can't understand that the variables that are relevant to the outcome would be exactly the same, come up with a formula and variables and I'll make up Phlegmorphs data.
I never claimed to have such a formula.  It is you who claimed that the probabilities were calculable per "the formula I used."  I expressed interest in your calculations ("I'm interested in how you calculated/estimated the probabilities") precisely because I do not have them on hand, and would like to educate myself.  In fact, I implied earlier that it might be easier to just avoid calculating the probabilities altogether and simply run an experiment in a parallel universe.

Are you suggesting here that you have not, in fact, found a way to calculate or estimate the probabilities?

You don't HAVE to be smart to be an atheist.  In fact, I don't know if I'm smarter than you or not in the grand scheme of things.  But intelligence LEADS to atheism in much the same way that being a pilot leads to being able to land a plane.  Or being a biologist leads you to understanding and accepting evolution.
So you're comparing it to direct procedural training and prerequisite education?  Those aren't even the "same way" to each other.

What evidence do you have that "intelligence leads to atheism" in either of those ways, or in any way?

But given the sheer fact of how little you and I actually know, and the fact that we can literally come up with trillions of possible truths about our universe, and the fact that so few things are ACTUALLY true about our universe, and the miniscule evidence of the Christian version of God which is equal to the miniscule evidence of all the other versions of god,  in conjunction with the billions of believers that are equally convinced of their positions that are mutually exclusive to yours, believing that any one version is more correct than any other is the pretty ridiculous.
Mutually exclusive?  I see no evidence for this, and such a notion is specifically rejected within my own religion's teachings.

But your not simply an agnostic theist, Mooby.  If I remember, and please correct me if I'm wrong, but you're Catholic.  So you say... I don't know if God is real, and I can't prove that it is or isn't, but I believe it is and I believe it's this exact version.  I'd feel more respect toward you if you were a deist, but Catholic isn't deist.
"Theist" is a blanket term that in its most general sense describes only belief in at least one deity.  In its more narrow sense, theism is contrasted to deism as having different basic views on gods' relation to observed reality.  Yes, many agnostic theists have been deists, but deism isn't some form of God-lite theism.  It's its own set of belief systems about a specific type of deity, just as theism is its own set of belief systems about a specific type of deity.

One of the IGI members made a series of blog posts describing the differences between the belief systems; here's the one on the different types of deism.  Agnostic deists also say, "I don't know if God is real, and I can't prove that it is or isn't, but I believe it is and I believe it's this exact version," it's just a different version than theists (in the more narrow sense of "theist.")

So why would you have more respect for me if I were a deist?  Simply because it's more palatable to your atheism?

I am confused by them as well.
Why?  Can you not fathom that intelligent people can hold different beliefs than you?

I noticed you didn't list any Muslims, Hindu's, Jews, or people of other religions.  They can be really smart too, and they believe different things than you.  Does that confuse you?
The answer's more simple then that:

When I Googled for intelligence lists and high IQ lists, I did not see any Muslims, Hindus, Jews, or people of other religions at the top of those lists.  I found someone who was quoted talking about "spirit," but I left him off the list due to some sites claiming his IQ was self-estimated.  I also found someone who had one site say he believed in God and another say he had "no signs of being atheist" (whatever that means), but no direct quotes for him so I excluded him.  I found a few others who have never given public indication of their beliefs (or lack thereof), so I excluded them.

I didn't check every person on every list, and some lists had people with Asian or Arabic names that could very well be members of non-Christian religions.  But I only looked at the tops of lists, those who had held world records for IQ tests, and those who have been billed as "smartest X in Y."

I personally have known many intelligent Muslims, Hindus, and Jews, and have never felt particularly confused in my interactions with them.  Should I?
« Last Edit: April 14, 2013, 03:36:58 PM by Mooby »
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Online JeffPT

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1. We have primary source evidence via your direct admission that your creation's qualities consist of "made up crap."  Do we have the same level of evidence that God's qualities consist of "made up crap?"
Actually, Mooby.  What we have is personal testimony from a single person.  If you are going to consider my blathering on a website as a primary source of evidence or non-evidence for Phlegmorph, I would think you a bit daft.  I hardly expect you to accept my personal testimony alone.  If you went to a Scientology website and someone made claims that Xenu existed, would that be enough to satisfy you that it exists?  If not, then why should my insistence that Phlegmorph DOESN'T exist sway you?  I'm just one person with an opinion.  I would expect you to look for evidence for Phlegmorph on your own.  Whether I believe it exists or not has no bearing on whether it is a universal truth. 

If I said the Christian God is made up crap, am I the ultimate source for that as well?  Should I consider you a primary source on God and accept or reject it just based on what you say? 

Now, I don't know if Phlegmorph exists, but I believe his existence to be entirely made up by me.  This fact, however, has no bearing on the truth or untruth about whether this character actually heard my prayer and has been secondarily answering every prayer uttered to God since I first uttered my prayer to it.  I'd like to see you prove it doesn't work that way.

And besides, it was a misspelling anyway.  I meant to say 'made up carp' not 'made up crap'.  Phlegmorph is part fish, and he was made from a lump of Blrailkjrtanium found on the planet Zarhicr, at which time it was somehow imbued with magical powers.  Phlegmorph is mysterious.


2. If your proposed being and God are completely indistinguishable other than name, then there's no distinction to be made as a name is a label and not an intrinsic quality of a thing, so the two are transitively the same, and we must simply clarify the label.

Is your God part fish made from a lump of metal on a distant planet and imbued with magical powers that allow it to answer prayers? 

We are talking about the presentation of answered prayers Mooby.  That's the part where I make no distinction.  They may differ widely in theology, makeup, desires, wants, looks, etc.  My claim is that it is impossible to distinguish whether the magical fish answered my prayer, of whether the Christian God answers prayers, because the result would be the same.  So, if you'd like to find a way to distinguish it, be my guest.   

If your best friend and neighbor share every characteristic, including age, height, address, exact absolute location at the time your lawn was mowed, etc., then by the transitive property your neighbor and friend are the same person and there is no need to differentiate.

Ummm.  I never said they did.  It seems that's what you are saying here.  In my analogy, they are 2 distinct people. 


Also, now that your scenario changes the probability of existence, "If all the numbers are the same" no longer holds.

Alright, fine then.  I don't know if God exists or Phlegmorph exists.  I prayed to Phlegmorph a few years ago to answer all prayers to God for me.  Now, prove to me that Phlegmorph didn't hear me, but God hears other people.  Distinguish it somehow. 

I never claimed to have such a formula.  It is you who claimed that the probabilities were calculable per "the formula I used."
I said the probability was the same, and I never gave you a formula precisely because the values of the variables that would go in to such a calculation would not differ, and thus the outcome would always be the same, no matter what formula I used. 

But here is the formula I used for Phlegmorph and God.  A + B = C, where A doesn't matter, B doesn't matter and C doesn't matter because they are the same for God and Phlegmorph. 

I expressed interest in your calculations ("I'm interested in how you calculated/estimated the probabilities") precisely because I do not have them on hand, and would like to educate myself.  In fact, I implied earlier that it might be easier to just avoid calculating the probabilities altogether and simply run an experiment in a parallel universe.
I don't know what to tell you Mooby.  I've answered you a few times now. 

Are you suggesting here that you have not, in fact, found a way to calculate or estimate the probabilities?
I have no formula on hand, no.  Nor do I need one in order to understand that putting the same values in will generate the same results.  If you'd like to come up with a forumla, let me know what variables you pick and we'll put them in. 


"Theist" is a blanket term that in its most general sense describes only belief in at least one deity.
Therefore, 'atheist' is a blanket term that describes only disbelief in at least one deity.  Perhaps the term polyatheist has some relevance after all. 

In its more narrow sense, theism is contrasted to deism as having different basic views on gods' relation to observed reality.  Yes, many agnostic theists have been deists, but deism isn't some form of God-lite theism.  It's its own set of belief systems about a specific type of deity, just as theism is its own set of belief systems about a specific type of deity.

How nice of you to answer for all deists.  I disagree with you.   I bet there's lots of people out there who 'just think there's something out there'.  That's a deist to me.  And it's respectable.  They might be right.  But to say there is a deity out there, and to take it any further than that, is theism. 

One of the IGI members made a series of blog posts describing the differences between the belief systems; here's the one on the different types of deism.  Agnostic deists also say, "I don't know if God is real, and I can't prove that it is or isn't, but I believe it is and I believe it's this exact version," it's just a different version than theists (in the more narrow sense of "theist.")
The sentence you put in quotations is the pure definition of an agnostic theist.  How does YOUR position differ than anything in that sentence?  An agnostic deist says 'I don't know if something is out there, but I believe there's something out there'. 

So why would you have more respect for me if I were a deist?  Simply because it's more palatable to your atheism?
Think of it this way...  I have more respect for people who say 'I don't know whether aliens are real, but I believe they are', than I do for the people who say 'I don't know if aliens are real, but I believe they are, and I know they want X, Y, and Z because I have an old book that tells me so'. 

Why?  Can you not fathom that intelligent people can hold different beliefs than you?
It's more that I have a hard time figuring out how you know so much about religion, and yet you still think it's true.  Those 2 people you mentioned with the high IQ's might be intelligent but might not have ever really studied their religion.  You have, AND you're intelligent.  That is where the problem lies. 


I personally have known many intelligent Muslims, Hindus, and Jews, and have never felt particularly confused in my interactions with them.  Should I?
In general conversation, probably not. But that's not what I'm asking.  Muslims believe they will get 72 virgins in paradise if they die becoming a martyr and killing people like you.  If a really smart Muslim came up to you and said that out of the blue, what goes through your mind?  It makes me shake my head.  It's almost forcing me into cognitive dissonance.  On one hand, smart person.  On the other hand, holds a ridiculous position that isn't remotely provable.  That's what I think about you.  It's just not right to think such stupid things in regard to one topic when they are otherwise really smart in other realms of their life.  It's like they've forgotten to apply their intelligence to their religion. 
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 Mooby

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I'm just one person with an opinion.  I would expect you to look for evidence for Phlegmorph on your own.  Whether I believe it exists or not has no bearing on whether it is a universal truth.
You are the only source for this thing of yours, and you've openly admitted to making up all characteristics about it.  This suggests that you are a primary source for whatever notion you have, it's a work of fiction created by you, and it's even your intellectual property.

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If I said the Christian God is made up crap, am I the ultimate source for that as well?  Should I consider you a primary source on God and accept or reject it just based on what you say? 
Neither you nor I are a primary source for Christianity's founding, as it was founded approximately 2000 years before either of us were ever born.  Neither you nor I can be sourced as the inventor of God's characteristics, as they have been published in numerous sources for centuries before either of us were born.  There is ample evidence against God being a work of fiction created by either you or I, as this would mean that God did not emerge as a concept until one of us created Him, and chronology points to that as an impossibility.  God is neither of our intellectual property, as there is no evidence of either of us inventing God.

Again, do we have the same level of evidence for God and whatever you're making up this week?

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And besides, it was a misspelling anyway.  I meant to say 'made up carp' not 'made up crap'.  Phlegmorph is part fish, and he was made from a lump of Blrailkjrtanium found on the planet Zarhicr, at which time it was somehow imbued with magical powers.  Phlegmorph is mysterious.
Oh, so your thingy is a created being.  This makes it quite different from God, so there goes your claim that all the factors determining probability are the same. 

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We are talking about the presentation of answered prayers Mooby.  That's the part where I make no distinction.  They may differ widely in theology, makeup, desires, wants, looks, etc.  My claim is that it is impossible to distinguish whether the magical fish answered my prayer, of whether the Christian God answers prayers, because the result would be the same.  So, if you'd like to find a way to distinguish it, be my guest.   
You just gave me one.  You've just divorced your thingy from God on the most basic, fundamental metaphysical level.

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Therefore, 'atheist' is a blanket term that describes only disbelief in at least one deity.
No, that is not correct.  Atheists lack a belief in all deities.

If the set of deities you believe in is empty, then you're an atheist.  If it is not empty, you're a theist of some sort, with more specific terms used depending on the elements of that set.

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How nice of you to answer for all deists.  I disagree with you.   I bet there's lots of people out there who 'just think there's something out there'.  That's a deist to me.
Your opinion is irrelevant.

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The sentence you put in quotations is the pure definition of an agnostic theist.  How does YOUR position differ than anything in that sentence?
It doesn't, as I'm an agnostic theist.

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An agnostic deist says 'I don't know if something is out there, but I believe there's something out there'. 
You're thinking of Ietsism.

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Think of it this way...  I have more respect for people who say 'I don't know whether aliens are real, but I believe they are', than I do for the people who say 'I don't know if aliens are real, but I believe they are, and I know they want X, Y, and Z because I have an old book that tells me so'. 
The deistic deities (the most classic being the monodeistic God) have characteristics.

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It's more that I have a hard time figuring out how you know so much about religion, and yet you still think it's true.  Those 2 people you mentioned with the high IQ's might be intelligent but might not have ever really studied their religion.  You have, AND you're intelligent.  That is where the problem lies. 
The one had been billed as the smartest man in America, and is quoted as saying, "I believe in the theory of evolution, but I believe as well in the allegorical truth of creation theory. In other words, I believe that evolution, including the principle of natural selection, is one of the tools used by God to create mankind. Mankind is then a participant in the creation of the universe itself, so that we have a closed loop. I believe that there is a level on which science and religious metaphor are mutually compatible."

The other set a new record on IQ tests last year, making him possibly the smartest known person on Earth (assuming the score is accurate), and he is a devout Coptic Christian who founded his own youth group.

So yeah, I think it's safe to say they have at least a working knowledge of their beliefs.

I have studied my religion extensively, and I'm religious because of (not in spite of) that.  Of course, that shouldn't surprise you at all.  After all, studies have shown that more educated people tend to become more engaged in their religious beliefs, and are less likely to renounce religious affiliation.  The studies also show, incidentally, that more educated people are less likely to be literalists and exclusivists, and since I have said numerous times that I am neither of those two things, you should also not be surprised.

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In general conversation, probably not. But that's not what I'm asking.  Muslims believe they will get 72 virgins in paradise if they die becoming a martyr and killing people like you.
No they don't.  The Qur'an states that every person gets some "maidens."  A hadith (sayings attributed to Muhammad with varying levels of authority) states that the minimum reward for every person is 80,000 servants and 72 wives.  Most Muslims believe this is allegorical, especially since the hadith is not graded at an authoritative level.  Plus, while martyrdom is praised in Islam, suicide is explicitly forbidden, and in many Muslim eyes suicide bombing is suicide dressed up to look like martyrdom.

Have you ever talked to an actual Muslim?  The sheer ignorance you're demonstrating here is what I'd expect from someone who only knows about Islam from FOX News.

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If a really smart Muslim came up to you and said that out of the blue, what goes through your mind?
That they're part of the 1% of Muslims that are fanatics and thus they are not representative of the other 99% of Muslims who are not fanatics.  I might also be thinking about a possible escape route, since with high end estimates there's up to a 5% chance that fanatic is a terrorist, especially since it's the terror cells that erroneously use the "72 virgins for martyrs" thing to goad their members to attack.

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It's just not right to think such stupid things in regard to one topic when they are otherwise really smart in other realms of their life.
You're telling me, buddy.  Luckily I'm not a Muslim, or I'd really be calling you out.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2013, 11:28:43 PM by Mooby »
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Sort of similar event but not exactly with bad outcome w/a rational explanation, no one gets any credit, people are stupid...

1. My boyfriend's 18 year old nephew is on probation, condition of probation is to be employed... reason for probation is alcohol related car accident, lied about being on probation to get job
2.  Probation Officer calls job (probably to verify employment and identifies self) kid gets fired, BF says for being on probation, I say for lying about being on probation
3. BF insists kid had no shot at getting job if he told the truth about being on probation, I say he would still have his job if he hadn't lied about it since his offense had nothing to do with his job
4. BF is having a cow that the PO called the kids job, I say the kid shouldn't have lied
« Last Edit: April 16, 2013, 03:56:22 AM by LoriPinkAngel »
It doesn't make sense to let go of something you've had for so long.  But it also doesn't make sense to hold on when there's actually nothing there.

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I'm just one person with an opinion.  I would expect you to look for evidence for Phlegmorph on your own.  Whether I believe it exists or not has no bearing on whether it is a universal truth.
You are the only source for this thing of yours, and you've openly admitted to making up all characteristics about it.  This suggests that you are a primary source for whatever notion you have, it's a work of fiction created by you, and it's even your intellectual property.

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If I said the Christian God is made up crap, am I the ultimate source for that as well?  Should I consider you a primary source on God and accept or reject it just based on what you say? 
Neither you nor I are a primary source for Christianity's founding, as it was founded approximately 2000 years before either of us were ever born.  Neither you nor I can be sourced as the inventor of God's characteristics, as they have been published in numerous sources for centuries before either of us were born.  There is ample evidence against God being a work of fiction created by either you or I, as this would mean that God did not emerge as a concept until one of us created Him, and chronology points to that as an impossibility.  God is neither of our intellectual property, as there is no evidence of either of us inventing God.

Again, do we have the same level of evidence for God and whatever you're making up this week?

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And besides, it was a misspelling anyway.  I meant to say 'made up carp' not 'made up crap'.  Phlegmorph is part fish, and he was made from a lump of Blrailkjrtanium found on the planet Zarhicr, at which time it was somehow imbued with magical powers.  Phlegmorph is mysterious.
Oh, so your thingy is a created being.  This makes it quite different from God, so there goes your claim that all the factors determining probability are the same. 

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We are talking about the presentation of answered prayers Mooby.  That's the part where I make no distinction.  They may differ widely in theology, makeup, desires, wants, looks, etc.  My claim is that it is impossible to distinguish whether the magical fish answered my prayer, of whether the Christian God answers prayers, because the result would be the same.  So, if you'd like to find a way to distinguish it, be my guest.   
You just gave me one.  You've just divorced your thingy from God on the most basic, fundamental metaphysical level.

Thing is, Jeff did NOT make Phlegmorph up.  I suspect that Jeff read the scriptures I wrote years back about Phlegmorph (following my revelations from Him (PBTHF)).  Of course, in the intervening time, Jeff has got some of the details confused, which is understandable, for who of us can truly know Him (PBTHF), quite apart from it being some time ago.  For example, Phlegmorph is not "made from a lump of Blrailkjrtanium", but rather he resembles same - at least when appearing to folk on this planet.  Why, who knows - He works in mysterious ways (PBTHF), and its no stranger than allegedly appearing as (say) a burning bush, or a column of fire.

As far as the theology goes, it pleases Phlegmorph to answer prayers that are ostensibly directed towards Yahweh, and to answer then in manner and fashion as if He were that deity (PBTHF).  Why?  Again, who knows?  But that is the revelation that Phlegmorph gave to me.

And THAT is why, as Jeff says, it is impossible to determine if a prayer were answered by Yahweh, or by Phlegmorph.  Of course, I KNOW it was Phlegmorph, because He told me so in revelation (PBTHF).  Same as He vouchsafed to me that every revelation you have had from Yahweh was really from Phlegmorph .
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?