Author Topic: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?  (Read 34655 times)

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Offline junebug72

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #290 on: May 18, 2013, 10:45:08 AM »
Quote from: junebug72
If God was a projection of me we'd be in trouble.  ;)
As nobody here believes in your version of god, then the only person in trouble would be you.

I was just trying to make PinkAngel smile.  Hopefully your joke does as well. ;D 

That's deep when you think about it.
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Offline neopagan

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #291 on: May 18, 2013, 11:06:58 AM »
I think we are always happiest with the gods we create ourselves - they are so much like us and follow all our rules - we can always twist them into pretzels to serve our theology/soteriology/eschatology, etc. 

I can appreciate believers for their ability to follow such a god(s) - I mean I did for years too.  I don't think that necessarily makes it rational, but the brand of theists I hung around (fundamentalists) generally cared little about rationalizing anything - it was just jeezus and me when it all came down to it.  I just realized the circle jerk mentality got me nowhere...



If xian hell really exists, the stench of the burning billions of us should be a constant, putrid reminder to the handful of heavenward xians how loving your god is.  - neopagan

Offline Greenandwhite

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #292 on: May 19, 2013, 02:16:36 AM »
     Dualistic arguments have continually failed to show any necessity (or even a coherent definition) of "non-physical persons", and they ultimately boil down the argument from ignorance fallacy. "I can't understand X phenomena. Therefore, it must be 'non-physical.'" Yes, I've read J.P. Moreland's Body & Soul, his Scaling the Secular City, and many others on these topics but none of them is convincing. It always boils down to, "Well, this argument sounds intuitive. So I'll just go with that b/c I want to keep believing what the bible says." That's not convincing to me, and I really don't see why it would be convincing to anyone. So why are you convinced that there is anything "spiritual" or "immaterial" at all?

          I have not actually read any of J.P. Moreland’s books, so perhaps you could summarize one of his arguments instead of just summarizing your generic rationale for rejecting all of his arguments.  At any rate, your statement that all dualistic arguments boil down to “I can’t understand X phenomena; therefore, it must be ‘non-physical’” seems false.  How does that kind of rationale apply to dualistic arguments based on Leibniz’s Law of Identity?

Offline Greenandwhite

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #293 on: May 19, 2013, 02:19:20 AM »
Atheism is not a belief. It is a LACK OF BELIEF.

As far as I know my parent's cat has a 'lack of belief' in God - does that make him an atheist?

Just like the lack of evidence for your alleged deity, there is also a lack of evidence that cats (or any other lower mammal for that manner) have "beliefs". Thus, your question is nonsense.

     I don’t think my question is any more nonsensical than is your characterization of atheists.  The atheists that I know personally don’t exhibit a ‘lack of belief’, and I certainly don’t think that the members of this forum whom I have been in contact with exhibit a ‘lack of belief’ either.  Are you going to tell me that you ‘lack belief’ about the potential truthfulness of the following statement: “the Christian God does not exist”?  You make a positive assertion when you say that ‘God does not exist’ – an assertion I am presuming you believe to be true.  Consider the following characterizations of ‘atheism’:
1. http://www.iep.utm.edu/atheism/ - (1. What is Atheism) “It has come to be widely accepted that to be an atheist is to affirm the non-existence of God.”
2. http://www.philosophypages.com/dy/a9.htm#athe – Atheism: “Belief that god does not exist. Unlike the agnostic, who merely criticizes traditional arguments for the existence of a deity”
3. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/atheism - “Unlike AGNOSTICISM, which leaves open the question of whether there is a God, atheism is a positive denial”

     I find it interesting that belief has such a bad rap on this forum because it doesn’t seem to me that it is belief per se that atheist’s object to – it is belief without adequate justification that is objected to.  In my brief time here I don’t get the sense that I am being criticized for ‘believing’; but rather, I am being criticized for believing something that you feel doesn’t have any supporting evidence.  As such there shouldn’t be any shame in holding a belief in something for which you feel you have adequate supporting evidence; as a matter of fact, unless we are dealing with a field such as mathematics, belief will be an inevitable consequence when forming a world view. 

Offline Greenandwhite

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #294 on: May 19, 2013, 02:20:56 AM »
     Again, it depends upon the claim. You apologists seem to have a very low standard of evidence when it comes to the one particular religion you were raised to accept, but a high standard for all other claims to the supernatural. Why is that?

     I don’t hold other religions to a higher standard of evidence than my own.  My attempted defense of religious experience as a sort of ‘non-communicable’ evidence was not meant to be used to convert members of other religions – I was attempting to use it as personal justification to believe if I were at a point of evidential indifference (that is why I said in my original post “if I had to give up all the normal theistic arguments…”; I was trying to isolate personal experience to see what kind of introspective evidential merit it has).  If I was to debate a Muslim, for instance, I would grant him his personal experiential evidence in addition to the evidential merit of the various generic theistic arguments. I would attempt to persuade him to become a Christian by examining the life, ministry, and claims of Christ – e.g. which book paints the correct picture of the person of Christ - the Bible or the Qur’an? In the context of such a debate I don’t see how I am requiring him to meet higher evidential standards than I demand of myself – we would both attempt to appeal to similar kinds of evidence.
     I am wondering what exactly you mean by a ‘low standard of evidence’ – either something is evidence for the question at hand or it isn’t.  The admissibility criteria for evidence says nothing of the potential weight that some piece of evidence might have – for instance, one could have a legitimate piece of evidence that only provides 1% evidential merit over indifference.  One must then transfer the evidential merit of a piece of legitimate evidence into degrees of belief, but this is a process that governed by a person’s background assumptions and experience.  As an example, I could show two people an accurate statistic that gives them a 99% chance of surviving a sky diving episode; the first person might ‘jump’ at the opportunity to skydive whereas the second person would never be caught dead getting into the plane – the exact same piece of evidence; two very different degrees of belief.  The difference in their actions is a result of personality, personal experiences, and background assumptions, not their standards for admitting and weighing evidence. 

Offline Greenandwhite

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #295 on: May 19, 2013, 02:23:37 AM »
     I'm merely pointing out that your assertion regarding "non-communicable evidence" is self-contradictory (and specifically the way in which you are using that term). Call it personal experience or whatever you want to. It still isn't evidence.

     I said that I would drop my ‘personal experience as evidence for God’s existence argument’ – for now; however, I find it objectionable that you have now used my retreat as an opportunity to state that there is no such thing as ‘non-communicable’ evidence – that I certainly did not acquiesce to.  You said in post #267: “there is no such thing as 'non-communicable evidence'. That is a contradiction in terms. Evidence is, by it's nature and definition, DEMONSTRABLE to others”.  I asked you in post #273 if you were thinking of any particular definition in an online dictionary or philosophy glossary and you have now responded with: “no actually, I wasn’t”.  Essentially you are admitting that this is just your own opinion, which is ironic given your repeated statements that I have no evidence for what I believe.  Now when I ask you to back up one of your assertions you refuse to? 
     If you check out this article on introspection at http://www.iep.utm.edu/evidence/ you will find anything but a categorical denial of the admissibility of personal experience as evidence.  Personal experience (e.g. non-communicable evidence) may have its detractors, but there certainly are many philosophers who support its use as evidence.  Consider the case of a patient who goes to a doctor and states that the searing pain in his lower back constitutes evidence that pain killers are required.  How exactly is the patient to communicate his subjective pain experience to the physician?  The patient can certainly communicate about his experience: he can say where he feels it, how much it hurts, when it started, and how it is affecting his quality of life.  The doctor could even do an MRI and find that a certain part of his brain is more active than normal, but this certainly is not the same thing as actually communicating the experience.  To do that the patient would have to transmit his subjective experience to the doctor’s consciousness.  As Amy Kind writes in her article on introspection: “it makes no sense to demand evidence for an experience. Indeed, how can I give evidence for a pain in my lower back?”

Offline pianodwarf

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #296 on: May 19, 2013, 08:11:44 AM »
     I don’t think my question is any more nonsensical than is your characterization of atheists.  The atheists that I know personally don’t exhibit a ‘lack of belief’, and I certainly don’t think that the members of this forum whom I have been in contact with exhibit a ‘lack of belief’ either.  Are you going to tell me that you ‘lack belief’ about the potential truthfulness of the following statement: “the Christian God does not exist”?  You make a positive assertion when you say that ‘God does not exist’ – an assertion I am presuming you believe to be true.

This is a very common misconception, one that atheists have been having to work very hard to correct.  Part of the problem is that believers are highly resistant to being enlightened regarding this matter.  Very often, if you try to tell a believer that you're an atheist, and you try to explain your views, the believer will insist, sometimes vehemently, that you are not actually an atheist.  It's infuriating.

Most atheists do not, in fact, say that god does not exist.

Quote
Consider the following characterizations of ‘atheism’:
1. http://www.iep.utm.edu/atheism/ - (1. What is Atheism) “It has come to be widely accepted that to be an atheist is to affirm the non-existence of God.”
2. http://www.philosophypages.com/dy/a9.htm#athe – Atheism: “Belief that god does not exist. Unlike the agnostic, who merely criticizes traditional arguments for the existence of a deity”
3. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/atheism - “Unlike AGNOSTICISM, which leaves open the question of whether there is a God, atheism is a positive denial”

You need to be careful about using dictionary definitions, especially when it comes to contention areas such as this one.  It wasn't so long ago, for example, that if you looked up "atheist" in a dictionary, one of the definitions you would find is "an evil person".  This has only been corrected very recently; I remember seeing current-edition dictionaries listing this definition as recently as the mid to late 80s or so.  That definition is still listed in Merriam-Webster, in fact, although they do have it listed as "archaic".  (By the way, Merriam-Webster is owned and published by the Christian Science church.  For some enlightenment in this area, try looking up their definitions of words such as "God" and "Christ".)

Relatedly, two of the three definitions you give above attempt to make a differentiation between "atheism" and "agnosticism", when the two actually have nothing to do with each other.  Atheism is about belief, agnosticism is about knowledge.  Most atheists, in fact, self-identify as agnostics -- specifically, agnostic atheists.
[On how kangaroos could have gotten back to Australia after the flood]:  Don't kangaroos skip along the surface of the water? --Kenn

Offline JeffPT

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #297 on: May 19, 2013, 10:49:09 AM »
The atheists that I know personally don’t exhibit a ‘lack of belief’, and I certainly don’t think that the members of this forum whom I have been in contact with exhibit a ‘lack of belief’ either.  Are you going to tell me that you ‘lack belief’ about the potential truthfulness of the following statement: “the Christian God does not exist”?  You make a positive assertion when you say that ‘God does not exist’ – an assertion I am presuming you believe to be true. 
You can't assert that something doesn't exist until someone asserts that it does.  We don't have words to label the people that assert that things for which nobody asserts exist, don't exist.  If Christians weren't going around saying God exists, we wouldn't have to spend so much time adamantly telling them how wrong they are. 

I don't believe in any gods at this time.  That includes the Christian God, Zeus, Thor, Odin, and all of them.  What is your personal position on Zeus?  Do you lack belief in Zeus?  Are you going to assert that "Zeus does not exist"... an assertion I am going to presume you believe to be true?  If you were living in a country where people were worshiping Zeus freely, and there were Zeus churches on every corner, and where believing in Zeus was the norm, how would you approach them when they asserted to you that Zeus was real?  The reason you can safely just sit in your house and 'lack belief' in Zeus is because nobody is pushing that nonsense on you. If nobody was pushing Christian nonsense onto everyone, we could do the same thing. 

When you understand that we feel the same way about the Christian God that you probably do about Zeus, and you couple that with just how much Christianity affects our everyday life, you'll understand how we are forced to approach the situation G&W. 

 
I find it interesting that belief has such a bad rap on this forum because it doesn’t seem to me that it is belief per se that atheist’s object to – it is belief without adequate justification that is objected to. 
Many of us think belief in God is a bad thing and have a good reasons to think that way.  Belief without adequate justification just happens to be the actual situation. 

In my brief time here I don’t get the sense that I am being criticized for ‘believing’; but rather, I am being criticized for believing something that you feel doesn’t have any supporting evidence. 

Know why? Because you appear to be articulate and knowledgeable.  Which means you might... just might be susceptible to reasonable and logical arguments.  Your position doesn't have any real supporting evidence, and showing that to someone who seems capable of reasoning through it may be a successful tactic in freeing them from the delusion of religion. 

As such there shouldn’t be any shame in holding a belief in something for which you feel you have adequate supporting evidence; as a matter of fact, unless we are dealing with a field such as mathematics, belief will be an inevitable consequence when forming a world view.
If you have adequate supporting evidence, you should be able to present it to everyone.  If not, then you must consider that you don't actually have it, and that it's all in your head.  Once you've reached the position of neutrality on the subject, and you're now asking 'Is God real' instead of saying 'God is real', then you can freely look at the supporting evidence seriously. 

It is also important to look at what you consider adequate supporting evidence, and whether or not the evidence you consider adequate in terms of God belief would pass the test with any other position you might be weighing. 
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 median

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #298 on: May 19, 2013, 12:45:50 PM »
     Dualistic arguments have continually failed to show any necessity (or even a coherent definition) of "non-physical persons", and they ultimately boil down the argument from ignorance fallacy. "I can't understand X phenomena. Therefore, it must be 'non-physical.'" Yes, I've read J.P. Moreland's Body & Soul, his Scaling the Secular City, and many others on these topics but none of them is convincing. It always boils down to, "Well, this argument sounds intuitive. So I'll just go with that b/c I want to keep believing what the bible says." That's not convincing to me, and I really don't see why it would be convincing to anyone. So why are you convinced that there is anything "spiritual" or "immaterial" at all?

          I have not actually read any of J.P. Moreland’s books, so perhaps you could summarize one of his arguments instead of just summarizing your generic rationale for rejecting all of his arguments.  At any rate, your statement that all dualistic arguments boil down to “I can’t understand X phenomena; therefore, it must be ‘non-physical’” seems false.  How does that kind of rationale apply to dualistic arguments based on Leibniz’s Law of Identity?

Why does it seem false? What about the indiscernability of identicals (as it may pertain to the ontological assertions of dualism) makes the fallacy of the argument from ignorance any less fallacious? Merely pointing to a difference between what we call brain and what we call mind doesn't justify any true ontological difference. It just demonstrates the perpetual credulous jumping-to-conclusion that is so often the case when one doesn't yet understand something (aka - "It doesn't seem any other way to me. Therefore, it must be a non-physical spirit/mind"). How unwarranted!

Regarding Moreland, he doesn't give any specifically new arguments for dualism. He just attempts to lengthen/expand them (and present sophisticated arguments from ignorance - aka "X is just impossible to me. So it must be non-physical mind"). It is just more credulity in a lab coat.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Carl Sagan

Offline median

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #299 on: May 19, 2013, 01:47:43 PM »

     I don’t think my question is any more nonsensical than is your characterization of atheists.  The atheists that I know personally don’t exhibit a ‘lack of belief’, and I certainly don’t think that the members of this forum whom I have been in contact with exhibit a ‘lack of belief’ either.  Are you going to tell me that you ‘lack belief’ about the potential truthfulness of the following statement: “the Christian God does not exist”?  You make a positive assertion when you say that ‘God does not exist’ – an assertion I am presuming you believe to be true.  Consider the following characterizations of ‘atheism’:
1. http://www.iep.utm.edu/atheism/ - (1. What is Atheism) “It has come to be widely accepted that to be an atheist is to affirm the non-existence of God.”
2. http://www.philosophypages.com/dy/a9.htm#athe – Atheism: “Belief that god does not exist. Unlike the agnostic, who merely criticizes traditional arguments for the existence of a deity”
3. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/atheism - “Unlike AGNOSTICISM, which leaves open the question of whether there is a God, atheism is a positive denial”

You have presumed wrong, and are grievously mistaken once again - trying to tell me what my position is (instead of allowing me to tell you what it is). Would you like it if I did that to you? I DO NOT SAY - and have not said - "There is no god", for I could not know this. Thus, I have made no positive claim. Secondly, the statement, "There is no Christian God" is something entirely different, sir (and that it is indeed a position I hold) - but it does not speak to atheism! Far from it. So, your links to alleged definitions of what you think I SHOULD hold (an attempt to make your job easier and more palatable) are miserable failures. Sorry to disappoint you, but we are NOT on equal (positive claim) ground. Your claim is the positive one which bears the burden of proof.

     I find it interesting that belief has such a bad rap on this forum because it doesn’t seem to me that it is belief per se that atheist’s object to – it is belief without adequate justification that is objected to.  In my brief time here I don’t get the sense that I am being criticized for ‘believing’; but rather, I am being criticized for believing something that you feel doesn’t have any supporting evidence.  As such there shouldn’t be any shame in holding a belief in something for which you feel you have adequate supporting evidence; as a matter of fact, unless we are dealing with a field such as mathematics, belief will be an inevitable consequence when forming a world view.

Yet you've made another grievous error. There is no "I don't know" worldview. It is the utter desperation of the credulous to "form a worldview" out of the instinctual desire to have immediate answers to impending philosophical questions which often plague the mind. No, we do not "need to know" and the often wishful thinking that derives from the strong wanting to know is responsible for all kinds of disgusting actions which have their derivation in metaphysical leaps toward the mystical and superstitious.

To your first point, I cannot speak for others here but my thought is this. "Belief" (aka - faith) is both unnecessary and closely antonymous with a rational expectation based on evidence (for which we often have no other choice, and can be easily changed or altered when counter evidence is presented). Yes, I do think your faith in Christianity is unwarranted and I would say the same to a Muslim, regarding his religion, or a Mormon regarding his. As far as I'm concerned, neither of you have any better evidence than the other (and certainly nowhere near sufficient for accepting the atrocious claims of your respective religious texts). Why is your bar set so low, so as to accept your personal interpretation of your alleged non-communicable experience (which so easily can be misinterpreted via confirmation bias) without any additional strong supporting evidence? Wouldn't you require more than just this, not less?
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Carl Sagan

Offline median

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #300 on: May 19, 2013, 11:26:09 PM »
     Again, it depends upon the claim. You apologists seem to have a very low standard of evidence when it comes to the one particular religion you were raised to accept, but a high standard for all other claims to the supernatural. Why is that?

     I don’t hold other religions to a higher standard of evidence than my own.  My attempted defense of religious experience as a sort of ‘non-communicable’ evidence was not meant to be used to convert members of other religions – I was attempting to use it as personal justification to believe if I were at a point of evidential indifference (that is why I said in my original post “if I had to give up all the normal theistic arguments…”; I was trying to isolate personal experience to see what kind of introspective evidential merit it has).  If I was to debate a Muslim, for instance, I would grant him his personal experiential evidence in addition to the evidential merit of the various generic theistic arguments. I would attempt to persuade him to become a Christian by examining the life, ministry, and claims of Christ – e.g. which book paints the correct picture of the person of Christ - the Bible or the Qur’an? In the context of such a debate I don’t see how I am requiring him to meet higher evidential standards than I demand of myself – we would both attempt to appeal to similar kinds of evidence.
     I am wondering what exactly you mean by a ‘low standard of evidence’ – either something is evidence for the question at hand or it isn’t.  The admissibility criteria for evidence says nothing of the potential weight that some piece of evidence might have – for instance, one could have a legitimate piece of evidence that only provides 1% evidential merit over indifference.  One must then transfer the evidential merit of a piece of legitimate evidence into degrees of belief, but this is a process that governed by a person’s background assumptions and experience.  As an example, I could show two people an accurate statistic that gives them a 99% chance of surviving a sky diving episode; the first person might ‘jump’ at the opportunity to skydive whereas the second person would never be caught dead getting into the plane – the exact same piece of evidence; two very different degrees of belief.  The difference in their actions is a result of personality, personal experiences, and background assumptions, not their standards for admitting and weighing evidence.

If mere personal preference were the only standard by which one should judge a claim true or not (whether in regard to potential harm in skydiving or some alleged 'supernatural' experience) I might agree with you. But it's not. The analogy fails on multiple fronts. For one, because we actually have evidence (statistical, etc) for skydiving safety rates. We do NOT, however, have evidence for your alleged claim to some 'non-communicable' experience with a supernatural deity. In fact, we DO have multiple examples throughout history of lying men making up these claims in an effort to deceive people for their own ends - and to that effect we have ample examples of human frailty, misapprehension, credulity, mis-interpretation, and self deception/delusion when it comes to claims to the supernatural. Thus, we have a landfill of evidence against your claim to an alleged supernatural experience and no reason to think your attestation is a correct one (let alone different from any other).

Now, regarding this "introspective evidential merit" of which you speak - pertaining to personal experience of the alleged supernatural - I say you have a low standard of evidence pertaining to it (aka - you aren't being critical enough), especially when it comes to such an extraordinary claim as speaking/conversing/communicating with an alleged deity figure. Why do I say this? Well, the first reason I have already mentioned, as well as the second. We have ample evidence of men creating false religions and influencing people to be gullible, and we also have ample demonstrations of human credulity, misapprehension, pattern seeking, confirmation bias, and the like. What we DO NOT have is a demonstration of your extraordinary claims to supernatural communication. It's all smoke and mirrors! "Oh, I have this experience but I just can't talk to you about it." Do you even hear yourself? It's absurd, and quite looney sounding (which I know you must understand if you believe Paul in 2 Cor 4 but that begs the question).

However, there is another telling thing you mentioned here - namely that people's beliefs are influenced by background assumptions. Amen! And since you know this, what have you done about it? What critical precautions have you taken to ensure that you are not falling prey to self-deception and/or confirmation bias? Why are you not requiring MORE evidence than mere personal experience (which you interpret as supernatural)? Again, why is your standard of evidence this low - where you are simply going off of ONE all too often frail and mistaken avenue of fact finding? These are the signs of someone who doesn't really care whether or not his/her beliefs are actually true.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2013, 11:27:50 PM by median »
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Carl Sagan

Offline median

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #301 on: May 19, 2013, 11:59:24 PM »
     I said that I would drop my ‘personal experience as evidence for God’s existence argument’ – for now; however, I find it objectionable that you have now used my retreat as an opportunity to state that there is no such thing as ‘non-communicable’ evidence – that I certainly did not acquiesce to.  You said in post #267: “there is no such thing as 'non-communicable evidence'. That is a contradiction in terms. Evidence is, by it's nature and definition, DEMONSTRABLE to others”.  I asked you in post #273 if you were thinking of any particular definition in an online dictionary or philosophy glossary and you have now responded with: “no actually, I wasn’t”.  Essentially you are admitting that this is just your own opinion, which is ironic given your repeated statements that I have no evidence for what I believe.  Now when I ask you to back up one of your assertions you refuse to? 

WOW. You completely missed what I wrote. Incredible. Please go back and read it again. You asked if I was thinking of any particular definition of evidence "in an online dictionary or philosophy glossary", and I said...NOPE. This does not, in any way, mean that I wasn't thinking of any definition, period! It's quite absurd that you would try to draw that conclusion but I can understand why you would. Do you think of dictionary/textbook definitions of every term you decide to use in a discussion?? I don't admit to anything except for the fact that you are practicing uncritical credulity when it comes to some alleged experience you think you had/are having (which is claimed by nearly all religions of the world). How is this any different from superstition?

Personally, I don't care if you have now retracted the personal experience argument and no longer intend to use it as evidence for the Yahweh brand deity. I want to know (and I'm sure many others here are curious) why you are buying this interpretation and 'non-communicable' argument when so much is at stake.


     If you check out this article on introspection at http://www.iep.utm.edu/evidence/ you will find anything but a categorical denial of the admissibility of personal experience as evidence.  Personal experience (e.g. non-communicable evidence) may have its detractors, but there certainly are many philosophers who support its use as evidence.  Consider the case of a patient who goes to a doctor and states that the searing pain in his lower back constitutes evidence that pain killers are required.  How exactly is the patient to communicate his subjective pain experience to the physician?  The patient can certainly communicate about his experience: he can say where he feels it, how much it hurts, when it started, and how it is affecting his quality of life.  The doctor could even do an MRI and find that a certain part of his brain is more active than normal, but this certainly is not the same thing as actually communicating the experience.  To do that the patient would have to transmit his subjective experience to the doctor’s consciousness.  As Amy Kind writes in her article on introspection: “it makes no sense to demand evidence for an experience. Indeed, how can I give evidence for a pain in my lower back?”

Just b/c you post an article, doesn't mean I'm going to agree with it. And your motivation for doing so (in this regard) makes me question your willingness and ability to critically investigate facts pertaining to your alleged supernatural 'experience' in as disinterested a manor as possible.

As pertaining to your example of a patient, trying to communicate his pain to a doctor, this analogy fails ones again. Pain is demonstrable. Levels of pain are measurable (not to mention quite common and unextraordinary). This alleged supernatural non-communicable experience you are claiming as "evidence" is not like that at all - and really, if we applied it (straightway) to your analogy, using your methodology, we would have a pandemic of liars and fakes, all claiming "pain" (without evidence) and asking for drugs (and getting them!). We have physical evidence of pain. We have clear causal links between injury and pain. But we DO NOT have anything like that when it comes to this thing you are trying to call "evidence". The patient who has pain is nothing like your alleged 'non-communicable' experience of some Yahweh thing. So the two are not parallel.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Carl Sagan

Offline Greenandwhite

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #302 on: May 20, 2013, 02:15:46 AM »
     WOW. You completely missed what I wrote. Incredible. Please go back and read it again. You asked if I was thinking of any particular definition of evidence "in an online dictionary or philosophy glossary", and I said...NOPE. This does not, in any way, mean that I wasn't thinking of any definition, period!

     That's fine if you don't want to refer to the types of online sources that I suggested - there are other places to find reputable information on the nature and definition of 'evidence' though I don't think it is fair to expect me to give an exhaustive list in my question.  So I will ask you a THIRD time: find me a reputable source that backs up your claim that "evidence is, by it's nature and definition, DEMONSTRABLE to others". 

Just b/c you post an article, doesn't mean I'm going to agree with it. And your motivation for doing so (in this regard) makes me question your willingness and ability to critically investigate facts pertaining to your alleged supernatural 'experience' in as disinterested a manor as possible.

     I wasn't posting a link to an article with the expectation that you would agree with it; I was posting it in an attempt to provide source material for the claims that I have made about the possibility that personal experience can be considered to be evidence. 

     
     As pertaining to your example of a patient, trying to communicate his pain to a doctor, this analogy fails ones again. Pain is demonstrable. Levels of pain are measurable (not to mention quite common and unextraordinary).

     In some cases there is demonstrable evidence of pain (e.g. swelling, redness, loss of function, etc...), but the actual subjective experience of pain is not demonstrable let alone communicable.  This 'analogy' does not fail because it is not an analogy.  As I told you in my last post, I am not currently arguing that my personal experience constitutes evidence for God's existence; rather, I am arguing that personal experiences can indeed constitute evidence.  Perhaps you should read my post over again.

     This alleged supernatural non-communicable experience you are claiming as "evidence" is not like that at all - and really, if we applied it (straightway) to your analogy, using your methodology, we would have a pandemic of liars and fakes, all claiming "pain" (without evidence) and asking for drugs (and getting them!).

     You don't know much about the medical field do you?  The fact of the matter is that we do have a "pandemic of liars and fakes, all claiming 'pain' and asking for drugs (and getting them!)". That, in case you are wondering, is how a good portion of street traded oxycontin gets into circulation.  Patients go to their doctors complaining of pain (e.g. nerve related back pain) and because the doctors, contrary to what you have said, have no way of objectively measuring or ruling out a pain state, drugs often are given out. 

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #303 on: May 20, 2013, 02:25:31 AM »
I don't think "evidence" by itself means much. However, when coupled with the qualifier "repeatable", it means that the evidence can be produced, with much lower chances of wrongness and fakery, and can become the backbone of some field of knowledge.

An artifact may be evidence of Atlantis, but it may have been faked. If the finder can point to a site, where lots of artifacts can be found, in places which would be hard to fake, then the evidence becomes repeatable, and the basis for some serious theorising.

Having a sudden experience of God is "evidence", but could be just about anything. If it can be made to repeat in the same person, or others, then it becomes much more something that can be studied.

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #304 on: May 20, 2013, 04:02:23 AM »
.....find me a reputable source that backs up your claim that "evidence is, by it's nature and definition, DEMONSTRABLE to others". 

Can I ask - what is the value, to me, of evidence that you are unable to demonstrate to me?  And for what reason should I value one person's undemonstrable testimony over another's?
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Offline jdawg70

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #305 on: May 20, 2013, 10:02:23 AM »
     This alleged supernatural non-communicable experience you are claiming as "evidence" is not like that at all - and really, if we applied it (straightway) to your analogy, using your methodology, we would have a pandemic of liars and fakes, all claiming "pain" (without evidence) and asking for drugs (and getting them!).

     You don't know much about the medical field do you?  The fact of the matter is that we do have a "pandemic of liars and fakes, all claiming 'pain' and asking for drugs (and getting them!)". That, in case you are wondering, is how a good portion of street traded oxycontin gets into circulation.  Patients go to their doctors complaining of pain (e.g. nerve related back pain) and because the doctors, contrary to what you have said, have no way of objectively measuring or ruling out a pain state, drugs often are given out.
What does that have to say then regarding the reliability of 'non-communicable evidence', and how much weight you should ascribe to it when evaluating the truth-value of the associated claim?
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Offline median

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #306 on: May 20, 2013, 02:59:44 PM »
     That's fine if you don't want to refer to the types of online sources that I suggested - there are other places to find reputable information on the nature and definition of 'evidence' though I don't think it is fair to expect me to give an exhaustive list in my question.  So I will ask you a THIRD time: find me a reputable source that backs up your claim that "evidence is, by it's nature and definition, DEMONSTRABLE to others".

This question/demand of yours is, once again, misplaced (as well as irrational) and it demonstrates how committed you are to 'authority' figures by which to use language and separate fact from fiction. You are giving much weight to a feeling, a hunch, an alleged "experience", and indeed basing your entire life upon it (and likely the presumptions upon which you accepted prior to interpreting it as such - namely those regarding the bible as some "word of God", etc). Of this I am aware, because I used to attempt your same argument for years. Well, this argument fails miserably as any kind of good standard for the deciphering of what is true from what is false. It opens the door for any kind of false interpretation of claimed "experience" as fact, and attempts (which it seems you are doing deliberately) to blur the lines between what is mere subjective - internal - opinion and what is true.

No sir, unlike you I do not require some authority figure defining for me what is evidence and what is not. I simply need a healthy amount of skepticism - the same kind which would save me from a futile "purchase" of the Mormon religion, and the internal "feelings" they (like you) claim to confirm their faith.

     I wasn't posting a link to an article with the expectation that you would agree with it; I was posting it in an attempt to provide source material for the claims that I have made about the possibility that personal experience can be considered to be evidence.

And I've already demonstrated at least two of the reasons I disagree with this claim. 

     In some cases there is demonstrable evidence of pain (e.g. swelling, redness, loss of function, etc...), but the actual subjective experience of pain is not demonstrable let alone communicable.  This 'analogy' does not fail because it is not an analogy.  As I told you in my last post, I am not currently arguing that my personal experience constitutes evidence for God's existence; rather, I am arguing that personal experiences can indeed constitute evidence.  Perhaps you should read my post over again.

Even if I (for the sake of argument) were to agree with your assertion (which I do not), this speaks absolutely nothing to the OP. Indeed, you've already demonstrated that this thing you call 'evidence' is something for which you are unwilling to alter the interpretation. Are you just a troll here then, poking and prodding to find the "weakness" in those of us to reject your "Yahweh" belief while refusing to admit that your "faith" is unfalsifiable? It certainly seems that way.


     You don't know much about the medical field do you?  The fact of the matter is that we do have a "pandemic of liars and fakes, all claiming 'pain' and asking for drugs (and getting them!)". That, in case you are wondering, is how a good portion of street traded oxycontin gets into circulation.  Patients go to their doctors complaining of pain (e.g. nerve related back pain) and because the doctors, contrary to what you have said, have no way of objectively measuring or ruling out a pain state, drugs often are given out.

I obviously do know more than you, since somehow you are confused as to what the term pandemic means. Your example is NOT a pandemic. It is an EXCEPTION to what regularly occurs and, on the contrary, when a doctor notices an alleged patient demonstrating signs of addiction, dependency, and/or deceit such drugs are NOT given out. This is why I reject your definition of evidence. A mere claim doesn't cut it and neither does a self-diagnosed/self interpreted "experience" to the alleged supernatural. But if your assertion is correct,  are you willing to admit, then, that you are like those liars - lying/having self-delusion about pain (aka Yahweh) or thinking it's real when it's not?
« Last Edit: May 20, 2013, 03:02:48 PM by median »
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Carl Sagan

Offline magicmiles

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #307 on: May 21, 2013, 09:41:45 AM »


Here though, it sounds to me more like you're worming out of it with yourself.  Having faith that Hell is a good thing, versus feeling/believing that it is a good thing...could you explain the difference?

No No No No! Hell is a fucking terrible thing. How could you possibly not get that, from all I've said? Why did Jesus come and suffer it in our place, if not for the fact it's terrible?

I believe it's a reality. That doesn't make it a good, desirable or pleasant reality. What you're clearly not willing to contemplate is why it should even be a reality.

I mean the existence of Hell being good in the Grand Design, not the prospect of actually going there being good from our perspective.  Clearly, God wills its existence, from a Christian perspective.  And from a Christian perspective, that makes it good, even if we don't understand why with our feeble human intellects and morals.


I disagree. I don't think God takes any pleasure in His anger or in human rebellion. Why would you think He does?

If hell was good in any way at all, why would God go to such lengths to provide a way for us to avoid it?
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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #308 on: May 21, 2013, 09:52:33 AM »
If hell is a truly terrible place, and god agonizes over the thought of any of his creation suffering there, it is within his power to change that.  The only restraints on god are those which he imposes upon himself.  If hell exists and is an awful place where people are tormented and this is objectionable even to god, he's the only one with the power to change that.  Trying to place the responsibility for that on the shoulders of people who did not create it or write the rules is backwards.  The only reason to take that point of view is to try and harmonize the existence of such a place with a being who personifies love and compassion.

Offline magicmiles

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #309 on: May 21, 2013, 09:57:24 AM »
Not at all. I believe that my sense of justice, right and wrong exist because I was created in God's image.  ...

That is not what the Bible says.  It says we were created ignorant of right and wrong, good and evil.  That knowledge is what we gained (in the story) when Eve and Adam ate from the Tree of Knowledge (of good and evil).  That's kind of the point of the story, no?

Clearly, you don't believe everything in the Bible to be truth.

The bible clearly teaches we were created in God's image. Truth be told, its always confused me somewhat why the tree was called by God the 'tree of the knowledge of good and evil'. I have no answer to that. However, it seems pretty clear to me that however you take the strory, literally or not, the clear teaching is that mankind failed its first test of obedience and this caaused death to enter the world.  Seems harsh. True.

That doesn't alter the fact that my sense of good, evil and justice is a reflection of ultimate versions of those things.
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Offline magicmiles

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #310 on: May 21, 2013, 09:59:47 AM »
No No No No! Hell is a fucking terrible thing. How could you possibly not get that, from all I've said? Why did Jesus come and suffer it in our place, if not for the fact it's terrible?

I believe it's a reality. That doesn't make it a good, desirable or pleasant reality. What you're clearly not willing to contemplate is why it should even be a reality.

Oh, I contemplate it.  But I have no understanding at all of why it WOULD be a reality, assuming that your god is both loving, and desiring that we are saved.

Justice. God can't let sin go unpunished. Hard to grasp, impossible if you are of the no free will mindset.

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Offline magicmiles

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #311 on: May 21, 2013, 10:01:57 AM »

Yet all of this theological mumbo jumbo is a red herring to this discussion. And what more is there to talk about if you aren't even willing to admit that you could be wrong regarding this assumed interpretation you have made?

Read my first post in the thread. I addressed the OP. The conversation just went on from there, as it does.
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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #312 on: May 21, 2013, 10:09:10 AM »
its always confused me somewhat why the tree was called by God the 'tree of the knowledge of good and evil'. I have no answer to that.

I have an answer. The idiot who wrote it had writer's block, and couldn't think of anything mediocrely dumb to say, so he said something stupider than normal. I'm sure it would please him that his uninterpretable whim confused Jewish people for 2600 years.
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Offline magicmiles

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #313 on: May 21, 2013, 10:21:00 AM »
Not at all. I believe that my sense of justice, right and wrong exist because I was created in God's image

That is completely non-scriptural.  You, my funny accented friend, are a heretic[1] and possibly a blasphemer[2].  According to scripture, your sense of morality comes from Eve taking the initiative and eating the magical fruit from the magical Tree of Moral Knowledge and then feeding it to her slow witted mate.  It gave them moral knowledge equal to that of the gods.

You get an F in bible studies for today.
 1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heresy
 2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blasphemy

Whether my morality was only possible after the fall or not, it is certainly a reflection of God's essence.


It's why I do the wrong thing even when I know its wrong. Same as you, same as everyone.

This is also not scriptural.  You are a sinner because the original sin of A&E altered the universe.

I'd give you something lower than an F, if I could.

I'd ask for a re-mark if it was important, because my statement as it stands is absolutely correct. A and E ensured I was born with sin, and most definitely I am unable to avoid it. But I freely commit my sins just the same. I know myself pretty well.


Goodness and love originate with God.

I don't know what that means.  God was the first to experience g&L?  god made g&l like the chinese make conterfeit Gucci bags?  g&l are created within god like honey in a beehive and somehow it is piped in to us, like the public water system?  Please explain.

I really can't, beyond recognising goodness and love and believing that God created the world 'good'. I believe Jesus death was the worlds greatest act of love. I also know that's so much nonsense to all who don't believe it was needed.


Those things exist.

Where?  In what way?  This relates to the previous question.  Please define your model of how this all works.  Are g&L  things?  Is there a Lake of Goodness, a warehouse with boxes of Love?  If so, where?  Does that mean we need god to create Anger and Badness too (because they must also exist)? 

Please explain this, because right now I am completely baffled as to how you think this works.

I'm afraid I'll have to leave you baffled. I might see goodness and love entirely different to you. Of course, I could list 100 or more acts I consider demonstarte an innate goodness, but my understanding is that you don't see the goodness as being anything larger than the act itself. I see it as being a quality of God that we can experience and use.



That does not clear it up for me.  I will hold off until you more completely explain your position.  But as it stands, I don't see how I'm wrong.

It probably still hasn't, but it won't get any better now. It's 1.25am here.
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Offline magicmiles

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #314 on: May 21, 2013, 10:23:21 AM »
In the meantime, what I know of God and what I know of my own very, very dark heart is enough to tell me God is a God of love first and foremost, but is also a God of justice. It's our desire to set the level of the justice that is the problem.

But is that true?  Is your heart really "very, very dark?"  You don't strike me as a bad person.  You don't seem mean, you don't seem cruel, you don't appear to be a malicious person.  You come across as someone who tries to do well by others and give a good accounting of himself. 

My bad qualities outweigh my good easily.
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Offline jdawg70

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #315 on: May 21, 2013, 10:29:07 AM »
No No No No! Hell is a fucking terrible thing. How could you possibly not get that, from all I've said? Why did Jesus come and suffer it in our place, if not for the fact it's terrible?

I believe it's a reality. That doesn't make it a good, desirable or pleasant reality. What you're clearly not willing to contemplate is why it should even be a reality.

Oh, I contemplate it.  But I have no understanding at all of why it WOULD be a reality, assuming that your god is both loving, and desiring that we are saved.

Justice. God can't let sin go unpunished. Hard to grasp, impossible if you are of the no free will mindset.

What is this means of justice exactly?  Is it an 'eye for an eye' kind of thing?  I disagree with that as a notion of justice.  It is especially disagreeable when the form of punishment does not allow, by design, any means for the suffering sentient entity to be rehabilitated.

If it isn't an 'eye for an eye' thing, is it a 'learning from your mistakes'/'learning empathy' thing?

Within your view, magicmiles, I can think of at least one entity that has free will, knowledge of right and wrong, freely chooses to not do wrong, and did not arrive at that state through some manner of punishing 'sinful' behavior.  This entity didn't need any form of corrective action applied to him/her/it.  Why is such a reality not possible for god to manifest within humanity?
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Offline median

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #316 on: May 21, 2013, 10:46:32 AM »

That doesn't alter the fact that my sense of good, evil and justice is a reflection of ultimate versions of those things.

Merely claiming that your sense of right/wrong are "a reflection of 'ultimate versions' of those things" doesn't make it so. This is mere assuming what you need to prove.

Btw, you didn't answer the question in #311.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2013, 10:50:36 AM by median »
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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #317 on: May 21, 2013, 11:38:32 AM »
I disagree. I don't think God takes any pleasure in His anger or in human rebellion. Why would you think He does?

I think this is a fundamentally incoherent idea - God having pleasure or anger.  Pleasure and anger are small, mortal emotions and unbefitting the omnipotent creator of all being.  However, it does reflect the small-time and arbitrarily petty god that grew to become God - yhwh.  yhwh was pissed off at everything, but mainly idolatry.  Murder didn't bother him much - he often ordered it - and slavery was fine as long as you were a hebrew and followed a few rules.  This little god from a middle eastern backwater was a god of many emotions, but mainly jealousy.

I'll not get into the idea of "taking pleasure from his anger".  Suffice it to say it reflects a kind of ignorance of the English language

If hell was good in any way at all, why would God go to such lengths to provide a way for us to avoid it?

Such lengths?  Seriously?  You make it sound like god had to jump through all sorts of hoops and rig up a Rube Goldberg machine to keep us from going to hell.  All he did was wear a human suit for a little while.  Big whoop.  And let's not pretend that was even necessary.  He's God, allegedly.  All he really had to do was make up his mind to forgive people who actually intended the best and actually felt bad for the rotten things they did.  No theatrics.  No rituals. No bullshit.

You also conveniently forget that god made hell the default setting for all of us.  We are the ones who have to go through lengths to avoid it.  All the responsibility is on us.  God just sits around on his fat ass not helping people and ignoring real suffering. 

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Re: What Would It Take For You To Change Your View?
« Reply #318 on: May 21, 2013, 11:49:28 AM »
Whether my morality was only possible after the fall or not, it is certainly a reflection of God's essence.

No, it's not.  It is a reflection of the essence of the fruit of the Tree of Moral Knowledge.  Does your heresy know no bounds?

I'd ask for a re-mark if it was important, because my statement as it stands is absolutely correct. A and E ensured I was born with sin, and most definitely I am unable to avoid it. But I freely commit my sins just the same. I know myself pretty well.

Still wrong, Miles.  You said:
I believe that my sense of justice, right and wrong exist because I was created in God's image. But an image is just that, it isn't a perfect replica.

But that is to imply that Adam, who was also created in yhwh's image, was also created imperfectly, and the whole sordid affair with the fruit was completely ancilliary to the Fall and moral knowledge.  All that is completely unscriptural.  You may believe it, but it makes you a heretic.

You cannot say these things and say the bible is your guide.  These ideas of your are explicity contradictory to the biblical story.

I also know that's so much nonsense to all who don't believe it was needed.

Then if you know it will be interpreted as nonsense, and you know you cannot articulate what you mean, kindly stop baiting people with this kind of post. 


I'm afraid I'll have to leave you baffled. I might see goodness and love entirely different to you. Of course, I could list 100 or more acts I consider demonstarte an innate goodness, but my understanding is that you don't see the goodness as being anything larger than the act itself. I see it as being a quality of God that we can experience and use.

Then stop trolling us.

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