Author Topic: Event has a good outcome w/a rational explanation, but god will get the credit.  (Read 1569 times)

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Offline screwtape

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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?

Bold mine.  Jeff, I think you misread Mooby's post.  He's using a double negative.  I believe he's saying a believer would be hard pressed to claim supernatural intervention.  Which is a rational thing to say.

Or else, I've misread it.
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Offline 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?

Bold mine.  Jeff, I think you misread Mooby's post.  He's using a double negative.  I believe he's saying a believer would be hard pressed to claim supernatural intervention.  Which is a rational thing to say.

Or else, I've misread it.

You might be right. I've done that before.

Apologies if I did.
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 JeffPT

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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.
Does any of  that make it less true?  Is it not possibly still true?  Can you prove it's not true? Just because only one person has considered it true (or even if NO ONE considered it true), does that make it less likely to be true?  Not in the least. 

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.
I'll agree with you here to an extent that I'll explain below, but I don't know what it matters.   

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.
In terms of God itself, nobody can be sourced for the inventor of God's characteristics because so many people disagree as to what God's characteristics actually are.  It's often very difficult to determine which version of this God thing people are actually talking about because its not something we all have a similar concept of like 'chair' or 'pencil', which we can all observe and study ourselves.  If you put 10 people in a room with an object, all 10 of them will likely say similar things about the object.  Put 10 people from around the world in a room and tell them to talk about god, it's going to be interesting. 

And since we have none of the earliest writings and nothing directly from the original inventors of so many different versions of god, and so few things that we can observe ourselves that allows us to differentiate between them in terms of truth versus fiction, we are left to speculate as to whether or not their 'intellectual property' is any more or less reasonable than mine. 

In the end; all that matters is whether or not those original people were on the right track with their intellectual property.  If they weren't, then everything that followed is based on something that's not true.  Including, in all likelihood, what you now believe. 

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. 
I will agree that there is ample evidence that God wasn't created by me, and that chronologically, neither of us could be responsible for the creation of the bible stories.  But as I see it, every single person has a different concept of God running through their heads.  So in many ways, the God you believe in was invented by you, because you are the only one that believes in the God you believe in.  You may say it is inspired by this or that, and that it's similar to this person's over here, but that doesn't change the fact that the God in your head will not be the same as the person sitting next to you... even in church. 

As an aside, that's what makes it so difficult here sometimes.  Every theist has their own brand of crap we have to sort through.  It would be much easier if you all got your stories straight. 

The bible, if nothing else, is a literary compilation of many different authors, all spewing their own versions of the God that was running around in their heads.  You, currently, would disagree with a good many of them, I'm sure.  Therefore, how can you say their concept is the same as yours? 

God is neither of our intellectual property, as there is no evidence of either of us inventing God.
Not totally on board with you there.  The God you believe in is your somewhat plagiarized intellectual property.  It is your own invention that just so happens to share much in common with many others because you've been fed some of the characteristics of it by people you trusted.  But it's not the same.  Much like Phlegmorph shares much in common with Poseidon, but isn't Poseidon. 

Someone wrote the bible.  I think we can both agree on that.  In that respect, it was a whole bunch of people's intellectual property, and people have been borrowing from it for centuries.  It's been happening with all religions.  I'm trying to understand why it matters whether its your, my, or their intellectual property.  Are you trying to make the point that just because it was written a few thousand years ago, it wasn't someones intellectual property?  I don't see how that is correct or how it even matters at all.  I don't see that as having a single thing to do with the possibility that Phlegmorph or God are real, or how they answer prayer.   

Again, do we have the same level of evidence for God and whatever you're making up this week?
Of course we do.  You've given me no reason to think that we have different levels of evidence here.  Just because the 2000 year old concept of the Christian God (which, to this day, differs from person to person) wasn't invented by you or me, doesn't mean it wasn't invented by someone, or a group of someones who may or may not be correct about it.  If Phlegmorph was invented 2000 years ago and had a sizable modern following, that wouldn't change anything about the evidence for it.   


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. 

I never said they were the same in every way.  The values for the variables are the same.  So when we input 'how are prayers supposedly answered' into the equation (whatever it is) that determines the probability that Phlegmorph or God answers prayers; magic and holy spirit (or whatever you say God uses to answer prayers) are going to be identical in presentation, and thus should receive the same value unless you can prove otherwise. 

Phlegmorph is MAGIC.  Can you distinguish the way prayers are considered answered by God from being answered by a being with the ability to do magic? 

You just gave me one.  You've just divorced your thingy from God on the most basic, fundamental metaphysical level.

He doesn't have to be metaphysical to respond to prayers, does he?  In saying he was magic, I assigned a reasonable characteristic to Phlegmorph that simulates exactly (in presentation, capability, etc) the way in which your God answers prayers.  While I have declared him a physical being, and thus given a differentiation between God and Phlegmorph, by asserting that Phlegmorph uses magic to answer prayers, I have given you a mechanism by which prayers could be answered with the exact same presentation as those purported to be answered by God.  Thus, the value of the variable is the same in any probability equation.  The probability that magic cast from a sentient being is responsible for answered prayers is equal to the probability that God answers prayers in whatever the hell it is that you say God does to answer prayers. 

Maybe you could show me how magic would differ (presentation or capability wise) from the way that God answers prayers. 

Better yet, since this is all tongue-in-cheek that's starting to bore me, maybe you could show me proof that prayers are responded to by anything in the first place. 

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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Does any of  that make it less true?  Is it not possibly still true?  Can you prove it's not true? Just because only one person has considered it true (or even if NO ONE considered it true), does that make it less likely to be true?  Not in the least.
If the primary source of a claim is clearly rooted in fiction, then the notion that we should not spend resources investigating further is, at worst, a pretty strong heuristic. 

For instance, there is no significant need to debunk claims made about Hogwarts, because Hogwarts is clearly rooted in fiction.  Since the set of things that exist is finite and the set of things humans can imagine is near infinite, the likelihood of Rowling incidentally describing something that exists is pretty low.  Likewise, since it is far less common for humans to claim something they know as fact is fiction than the other way around, we don't really have a strong reason to investigate unless we have some basis on which to suspect motive to do so.  Thus, we can safely apply the heuristic and stop investigating.

The questions you ask as objections can be asked about any claim ever made about reality, which is part of the reason I think that logical positivism is self-defeating as a world view.  But that's a topic for another time.

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In the end; all that matters is whether or not those original people were on the right track with their intellectual property.  If they weren't, then everything that followed is based on something that's not true.  Including, in all likelihood, what you now believe. 
The thing is, we don't know that the original ideas were their intellectual property as products of their own imaginations.  When we read Harry Potter, we know from the author herself that the book is fictional.  When we read something like the mythology surrounding the Battle of Troy, we don't know what was actually experienced and what was the product of someone's imagination.  We can hastily apply a heuristic to Harry Potter and consider it fiction, but with something like Troy we're forced to make an "educated assessment of how much historical knowledge is present."

In other words, it's not simply enough to say, "They might have been right so I'll believe" or "They might have been wrong so I'll disbelieve."  If we're going to make a judgement, then we need to investigate enough to find out whether we find it convincing.  Or we can not investigate and reserve judgement.  But there's no intellectually sound option to not investigate and then make a judgement.

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So in many ways, the God you believe in was invented by you, because you are the only one that believes in the God you believe in.  You may say it is inspired by this or that, and that it's similar to this person's over here, but that doesn't change the fact that the God in your head will not be the same as the person sitting next to you... even in church. 
Is that the Vanilla Ice argument?  (Specifically 1:48-2:06)



You're using the variation of the continuum fallacy.  You could claim that in many ways, baldness was invented by me, because the percentage of hair loss I consider "bald" might be slightly different than the person next to me.  But that's nonsense semantics.  While variation exists in how humans conceptualize God, those conceptions fall into several distinct groups as can be seen in the various religions.  I no more invented my conception of God than Vanilla Ice invented the base line he sampled, and an extra spiritual hair on the head of faith does not change that.

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The bible, if nothing else, is a literary compilation of many different authors, all spewing their own versions of the God that was running around in their heads.  You, currently, would disagree with a good many of them, I'm sure.  Therefore, how can you say their concept is the same as yours? 
See above.  Also, it's worth noting again for posterity that I don't belong to a sola scriptura denomination.

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Again, do we have the same level of evidence for God and whatever you're making up this week?
Of course we do.  You've given me no reason to think that we have different levels of evidence here.  Just because the 2000 year old concept of the Christian God (which, to this day, differs from person to person) wasn't invented by you or me, doesn't mean it wasn't invented by someone, or a group of someones who may or may not be correct about it.  If Phlegmorph was invented 2000 years ago and had a sizable modern following, that wouldn't change anything about the evidence for it.
I think we have some miscommunication here.  As I mentioned in the sentence prior to your quote, we have primary source evidence that Phlegmorph is "made up crap."  In other words, we have "direct, unmediated information about the object of study" with regards to Phlegmorph.  I asked you if we have that same "direct, unmediated information" establishing that God is "made up crap."  If so, please provide the "direct, unmediated information" that establishes God is "made up crap."

If you cannot find such "direct, unmediated information" establishing God as "made up crap," then you do not have any primary source evidence of God.  If one side has primary source evidence (Level P) and one side does not have primary source evidence (not on Level P), then how can they have the same level of evidence?  If you are on Level P of the parking garage, and I'm on some other level of the parking garage, then how can we be on the same level?

So, with that in mind, I ask again:
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?"


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I never said they were the same in every way.  The values for the variables are the same.
So the value for the variable "is created" is the same for both?  Please clarify.

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Maybe you could show me how magic would differ (presentation or capability wise) from the way that God answers prayers. 
Simple: a being has to exist before it can answer prayers.  And you've suddenly made it very, very difficult for yourself to claim that the probability for the existence of God and Phlegmorph is equal without providing some concrete arguments, because you've now lost your out to claim that the metaphysical arguments for or against God's existence are exactly the same as those for or against Phlegmorph's existence.  And so you're stuck trying to explain how you can claim that two things that differ at the most basic (infinitely different) metaphysical level have an equal probability of existence without specifically demonstrating it.

And if both don't have an equal probability of existence, then you're stuck trying to show how the numbers for all the variables in your estimation of prayer probability can possibly be equal with the glaring ambiguity of that quite important variable.  And if you can't do that, then you're stuck trying to show how you can know that the probabilities of prayer being answered by either are equal.

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Better yet, since this is all tongue-in-cheek that's starting to bore me, maybe you could show me proof that prayers are responded to by anything in the first place.
Are you assigning me positions to take?  Nowhere in this thread have I issued the claim that prayers are responded to by anything.  If you would that position defended and proven, you are welcome to take that position for yourself.  I am obliged to defend the positions I take, not the positions you wish me to take.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2013, 11:44:32 PM by Mooby »
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