Author Topic: A question about the WWGHA text...  (Read 13297 times)

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Offline Odin

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Re: A question about the WWGHA text...
« Reply #203 on: March 16, 2009, 07:46:39 PM »
What, of all I have said, led you to make this comment? Was it directed at what you assume are my views?

1. The evidence (to me) points strongly to God existing.
2. The existence of evil is a problem I cannot understand, and neither really can you.
3. If I allow it to negate the other evidence, then it undercuts itself, and creates other problems I cannot understand.
4. Therefore it is simplest, creates less problems and is more in accordance with the facts to continue to believe.

To me, that list defines faith while abdicating the need for evidence.  If I understand your logic correctly, you have elected to ignore problems you don't have evidence for (understanding of), and which conflict with your basic evidence of god existing, which has to be based mainly on faith.

Your #4. above:  what facts?  There are no facts which lead to belief.  Only faith creates facts where not exist.  The existence of Jesus is not a proven fact.  Outside the Bible itself, there is scant evidence that Jesus was a real man, who walked on this earth.

I allow myself to get caught up in superfluous arguments, and not stay on the main theme of this site:  god does not answer prayers.  Since making supplications of our creator, with expectations of divine intervention and/or answers, is one of the major tenants of all religions, and all belief in god, then all evidence of god fails on the face of itself.

Odin, King of the Gods

Offline unklee

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Re: A question about the WWGHA text...
« Reply #204 on: March 16, 2009, 07:56:54 PM »
Fridge, realdemocracy:

I said I'd answer your questions about the evidence I see as pointing to the probable existence of God. It took a while to compile, and it's a bit longer than I would prefer, but I have now completed it. I decided it would take this discussion too far off topic, so I have started a new topic for my answer - here.

I have not attempted to prove anything, merely outline and explain. My hope is that this explanation shows that there is plausible evidence on which my conclusions are based, regardless of whether that evidence convinces others.

Of course, I now realise that this answer will likely generate a raft of replies from people who disagree - far more than I can possibly answer. I will just have to cope with that! : ) Thanks for your interest.
"Between the idea, and the reality .... falls the shadow." T S Eliot. Avoid the shadow, find out Is there a God?

Offline unklee

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Re: A question about the WWGHA text...
« Reply #205 on: March 16, 2009, 08:03:20 PM »
Let this be a lesson to all of us.

I leave my thread for a couple of days in what I thought were the safe hands of my erstwhile supporter UnkleE, who would protect the integrity of its argument and repel all attempts at de-railing it.

And look at it now...

<sigh>

I'm going to have a lie-down...  I may return when I'm feeling a little stronger (as the discussion on the problem of evil is rather interesting... but THAT'S NOT THE POINT, GODDAMNIT !!).

<sigh>

Gnu.

I have sinned, Father Gnu! But I couldn't control myself! (I bet you've heard that one before!)

I had thought that your discussion was now inviolate, its integrity well established and far beyond needing any protection from such a weak follower as myself, and settled in your favour. So, forgive me, I allowed a few side passages to be explored (allowed? How could I stop it?). I humbly crave your forgiveness.

In my favour, I have now commenced a new thread which will surely enrage the caged beasts and divert attention like a good matador's cape away from this topic, whence it can rest in peace once more. Is that sufficient restitution, good Gnu?

Best wishes.
"Between the idea, and the reality .... falls the shadow." T S Eliot. Avoid the shadow, find out Is there a God?

Offline Gnu Ordure

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Re: A question about the WWGHA text...
« Reply #206 on: March 16, 2009, 08:22:15 PM »
Vad/Fridge (my bolding, and numbers):

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To be honest, 1. I don't believe in evil. Evil the way it is presented in the argument assumes it is caused by an external source. The main assumption in the argument is that god exists. 2. If god exists, why is he not doing anything about the suffering and pain? If you reject the assumption that god exists, all of the "evil" can be described naturally, on an individual basis. You can't really say that Event A and Event B is evil, because it depends entirely on whose perspective you're viewing it from. 3. That's why technically, no action is ever wrong or right universally. It depends on the frame of reference.


1. Vad, I understand that you don't believe in the Devil. but evil exists. People do evil. So how can you not believe in it ?

2. Suffering and pain aren't evil in themselves  - deliberately causing suffering and pain may be evil, but the suffering itself isn't. It's a necessary element of life.

People experience reality in dualities. A implies NotA. The concept of up (A) is incomprehensible without its implied opposite down (NotA).

So there can be no love without hate, no pleasure without pain, no black without white, no joy without sorrow, no left without right, no heaven without hell.

So suffering has to exist.

3. "no action is ever wrong or right universally" - Really ? Can I draw your attention to The Universal Declaration of Human Rights ? Which includes in its title the words universal and rights ?

The UDHR is possibly the most humane and intelligent product of political secular thinking, forged as it was in the recently-acquired knowledge of what had been happening in Germany during the war.

Vad, I recently read William Shirer's classic The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. There is a (mercifully) short section on Nazi medical experiments in the concentration camps.

I'm sorry, but the actions of those doctors were 'universally wrong'. And evil.

As the UHDC confirms.

Do you disagree ?

Gnu.

Offline Ambassador Pony

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Re: A question about the WWGHA text...
« Reply #207 on: March 16, 2009, 08:35:16 PM »
Proposal.

Evil is a label created by labelling primates (humans) to describe a collection of perceived stimuli.

Seperate from the primate brain, evil does not exist. Only the collection of stimuli exist independantly.   

You believe evolution and there is no evidence for that. Where is the fossil record of a half man half ape. I've only ever heard about it in reading.

Offline Gnu Ordure

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Re: A question about the WWGHA text...
« Reply #208 on: March 16, 2009, 08:35:35 PM »
UnkleE:
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I have sinned,
Hey, who hasn't ?
 
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I humbly crave your forgiveness.
Chill.

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Is that sufficient restitution, good Gnu?
No.

I need cash.

Lots of cash.

Offline Fridge

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Re: A question about the WWGHA text...
« Reply #209 on: March 16, 2009, 08:43:27 PM »
I disagree. I said I don't believe in a universal evil. That's why I also stated that pain and suffering would be a better term for the problem of evil. So, in essence, rename "the problem of evil" to "the problem of pain and suffering". It doesn't really matter who caused it, or how it appeared, but why is god not preventing it.

And I disagree with a universal evil. Universal means it is accepted by everyone, not just a majority. In other words, an evil that necessarily exists. Such is the kind of evil presented in the Bible. They're portraying evil as if every evil action is a universal evil and it is caused by one source.

Do I still find things evil? Yes, but it's from my perspective. Universal Rights is a majority of more developed countries, it is not true universality. I'm sure there are several Islamic countries that do not agree with it.
"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. " - Martin Luther King Jr.

"He wants us to stop sinning- to stop hurting each other.  And one of the ways we do that is by coming to Jesus and eating His flesh and drinking His blood"
-theist

Offline Gnu Ordure

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Re: A question about the WWGHA text...
« Reply #210 on: March 16, 2009, 09:37:28 PM »
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And I disagree with a universal evil. Universal means it is accepted by everyone, not just a majority.

I rather think that everyone agrees that Nazi medical experiments, in which innocent people were deliberately and painfully killed, were evil.

If you can produce evidence of any sane person justifying them, I'd be interested to see it.

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Universal Rights is a majority of more developed countries, it is not true universality.

It's the duty of the developed countries to help the development of the under-developed countries.

It's a work in progress.

Gnu.

Offline dmnemaine

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Re: A question about the WWGHA text...
« Reply #211 on: March 16, 2009, 09:43:47 PM »
I rather think that everyone agrees that Nazi medical experiments, in which innocent people were deliberately and painfully killed, were evil.

If you can produce evidence of any sane person justifying them, I'd be interested to see it.

Fridge used the word "everyone" with no qualifiers based on sanity.
The Nazis themselves did not think they were evil from their own perspective.  I think this is what Fridge is saying.  Correct me if I'm wrong, Fridge.

Offline Fridge

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Re: A question about the WWGHA text...
« Reply #212 on: March 16, 2009, 09:53:13 PM »
I rather think that everyone agrees that Nazi medical experiments, in which innocent people were deliberately and painfully killed, were evil.
If you can produce evidence of any sane person justifying them, I'd be interested to see it.

I don't want to justify them because it could be used against me, sorry. But I still disagree. The Nazis felt they were completely moral in doing their business. Morality, after all, is derived from our environment. The small quantity of cultural anthropology courses I've taken backs that up pretty well. How would you describe an indigenous male initiation rite where the young boy has to have oral sex with a male adult?

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It's the duty of the developed countries to help the development of the under-developed countries.

That's what we think, and we're imposing our morality on every other nation. Which is wrong, IMO. dmnemaine has it right... universal means without exception.
"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. " - Martin Luther King Jr.

"He wants us to stop sinning- to stop hurting each other.  And one of the ways we do that is by coming to Jesus and eating His flesh and drinking His blood"
-theist

Offline unklee

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Re: A question about the WWGHA text...
« Reply #213 on: March 17, 2009, 03:25:12 AM »
G'day Deus.

Thanks for your reply. As I intimated before, I am not about to enter into a lengthy debate, preferring this time around to limit myself as much as possible to asking and answering questions. So I appreciate what you have said, but only have brief responses.

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Demanding that one supplies 'naturalistic' explanations for Life, the Universe and Everything and summarily declaring by fiat that, once such an explanation is not forthcoming, 'supernaturalism' wins by default (let alone any specific brand of 'supernaturalism') would not be a good argument to present here.

I wasn't actually summarily declaring by fiat (if only I could!), just answering some questions. But I note that, when all is said and done, you did not provide a naturalistic explanation for the matters I raised, so you will forgive me for continuing to prefer theism because it does provide an explanation.

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how would you defend the Problem of Evil against a deist?

I'm sorry, but I'm not sure I understand this question. I don't actually offer much defence of the problem of evil; I admit the problem it presents to theism (less so to deism), compare it to the logical/evidential problems inherent in abandoning theism (such as the ones alluded to above) and decide the balance still favours theism.

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I trust that you would not attempt to validate your own argument by means of a fallacious tu quoque fallacy and guilt-by-association fallacy (poisoning the well), would you?

I think you claim too much for what I was saying. At the start of this little exchange, I asked Fridge how he would justify a particular statement. I then offered a comment about how unbelievers know about a God they don't believe in, on the basis that God is a being, a super-person if you like, and can therefore be known personally. On that basis, a believer may know things about God that an unbeliever cannot. But this wasn't a major line of argument. The major line was the request for support for the statement, which wasn't actually provided from memory.

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that is "God of the gaps" reasoning

I disagree. God of the gaps is when God is used to explain something that lies in the realm of science, and eventually science provides a better, natural, explanation. I am not doing that. I am not even, ultimately, trying to explain something in the realm of science. I am trying to assess whether God or no-God is the better conclusion, and I am using science as one of the tools. I take whatever science has demonstrated and ask how that adds to the evidence either way. If/when science changes, I can re-assess. And really that is what has happened to the age-old cosmological and teleological arguments - their general thrust remains the same, but scientific discoveries change the details.

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would it make any difference to your beliefs if such phenomena were discovered to have natural explanations?

Who knows? I would then need to ask if those explanations had implications. Would it make any difference to you if in a few decades time naturalism still couldn't explain the things it doesn't seem to be able to explain now?

Best wishes
"Between the idea, and the reality .... falls the shadow." T S Eliot. Avoid the shadow, find out Is there a God?

Offline unklee

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Re: A question about the WWGHA text...
« Reply #214 on: March 17, 2009, 03:38:33 AM »
1. The evidence (to me) points strongly to God existing.
2. The existence of evil is a problem I cannot understand, and neither really can you.
3. If I allow it to negate the other evidence, then it undercuts itself, and creates other problems I cannot understand.
4. Therefore it is simplest, creates less problems and is more in accordance with the facts to continue to believe.

To me, that list defines faith while abdicating the need for evidence.

Odin, mate, you may be king of the gods, but did you see what you have just said? You quote my point #1 about my conclusion being based on evidence, then accuse me of abdicating the need for evidence.

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If I understand your logic correctly, you have elected to ignore problems you don't have evidence for (understanding of), and which conflict with your basic evidence of god existing, which has to be based mainly on faith.

I'm sorry, but your premise is incorrect. I haven't ignored the problems raised by evil, rather I have balanced the conclusion one might draw from that evidence that God might not exist against the other evidence that leads to the conclusion that God might exist. And faced with conflicting evidence or conflicting conclusions, I do what I think is logical and choose the one that is more strongly based - which I conclude is theism. Is that clear now?

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Your #4. above:  what facts?  There are no facts which lead to belief

Like Miracle Max says ...... You may like to check out the new topic I started in answer to similar comments from Fridge and realdemocracy, here.

I hope that better explains my views. Best wishes.
"Between the idea, and the reality .... falls the shadow." T S Eliot. Avoid the shadow, find out Is there a God?

Offline Odin

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Re: A question about the WWGHA text...
« Reply #215 on: March 17, 2009, 06:39:17 AM »
Odin, mate, you may be king of the gods, but did you see what you have just said? You quote my point #1 about my conclusion being based on evidence, then accuse me of abdicating the need for evidence.

Odin, Being the All-Knowing God He Is, has already discounted your "evidence."

Actually, unklee, in all seriousness, I did not give sufficient credence to your evidence.  I have searched and searched, and I find no "evidence" of god. 

When someone finds evidence, but then rejects all other issues with the evidence that contradict it, as your statement seems to imply, then the evidence rises to the level of faith.

But, enough of this.  I now jump to your new thread.  The issues there have been debated and re-debated, ad infinitum.  I'm not sure where it's supposed to lead.  Each of the subjects will devolve into something like:

(Cosmological Argument) The probability that we could be here just exactly as we are is impossible.  Therefore, there has to be a probability-maker, therefore that maker has to be god, therefore it's Jesus, god in the flesh who returned to heaven. 

Let's continue there...

Odin, Creator of the Cosmos

Offline unklee

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Re: A question about the WWGHA text...
« Reply #216 on: March 17, 2009, 07:05:43 AM »
When someone finds evidence, but then rejects all other issues with the evidence that contradict it, as your statement seems to imply, then the evidence rises to the level of faith.

I'm sorry, Odin, but you are still ascribing to me views that are contrary to what I say. I am determined to be patient, but can you please read this carefully.

I said:
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"I haven't ignored the problems raised by evil, rather I have balanced the conclusion one might draw from that evidence that God might not exist against the other evidence that leads to the conclusion that God might exist."

You said:
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"When someone finds evidence, but then rejects all other issues with the evidence that contradict it, as your statement seems to imply"

Can you see, if you look carefully, that I said I have considered the evidence both for and against God, whereas you say I have rejected contradictory evidence? Can you see these two statements are contradictory? Can you see you have either misunderstood me or just continued with your preconceived view regardless.

Can you also please read this request very carefully ....

If you don't believe me when I say I consider both sides of the evidence, please say so, and I can ignore you from now on. If you do believe me, please modify your understanding of me accordingly.

Please?

I know it is a common atheist view, almost atheist dogma, that christians don't consider evidence, but that view is nonsense. I know it is difficult to break away from such dogma, but please do me the honour of doing your best. : )

Best wishes.
"Between the idea, and the reality .... falls the shadow." T S Eliot. Avoid the shadow, find out Is there a God?

Offline Ambassador Pony

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Re: A question about the WWGHA text...
« Reply #217 on: March 17, 2009, 07:27:36 AM »
I am sure that some can view evidence, with their eyes. They can read it, think about it, but, ultimately, their perception of it, their processing of it, is determined by a time-tested inculcation process.

Your other thread, UnkleE, is full of that. You list a bunch of nonsense, yes, nonsense, then claim to have approached it fair mindedly, and been utterly convinced it tips the scales of probability.

When you talk about probability, does that mean that you undersand that your beliefs can be invalid, no jesus, yaweh, the bible is just mythology...etc. Can you admit that? If so, I should thank you, and apologize for a few assumptions of my own.

Ambassador Pony, King of the Ambassadors, and you personal Lord and Saviour.


You believe evolution and there is no evidence for that. Where is the fossil record of a half man half ape. I've only ever heard about it in reading.

Offline Deus ex Machina

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Re: A question about the WWGHA text...
« Reply #218 on: March 17, 2009, 08:13:27 AM »
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Demanding that one supplies 'naturalistic' explanations for Life, the Universe and Everything and summarily declaring by fiat that, once such an explanation is not forthcoming, 'supernaturalism' wins by default (let alone any specific brand of 'supernaturalism') would not be a good argument to present here.

I wasn't actually summarily declaring by fiat (if only I could!), just answering some questions. But I note that, when all is said and done, you did not provide a naturalistic explanation for the matters I raised, so you will forgive me for continuing to prefer theism because it does provide an explanation.

In which case you are declaring it by fiat. You don't care how misleading or erroneous such an explanation might be - so long as there is one. You prefer theism because it hands you some answers that make you feel comfortable - never mind if they're nonsense. That's not a quest for truth. It's simply a means of self-validation. So no, I cannot forgive you for doing that - not on this forum. That's just an abdication of intellectual integrity.

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how would you defend the Problem of Evil against a deist?

I'm sorry, but I'm not sure I understand this question. I don't actually offer much defence of the problem of evil; I admit the problem it presents to theism (less so to deism), compare it to the logical/evidential problems inherent in abandoning theism (such as the ones alluded to above) and decide the balance still favours theism.

Your error is in assuming that an admission of ignorance somehow presents a 'problem' in abandoning theism. It does not. Why should lack of knowledge or certainty be a problem? No-one promised nice, trite, easy answers. No-one promised that such explanations would become available in our lifetimes.

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I think you claim too much for what I was saying. At the start of this little exchange, I asked Fridge how he would justify a particular statement. I then offered a comment about how unbelievers know about a God they don't believe in, on the basis that God is a being, a super-person if you like, and can therefore be known personally. On that basis, a believer may know things about God that an unbeliever cannot. But this wasn't a major line of argument. The major line was the request for support for the statement, which wasn't actually provided from memory.

I think you claimed too much to begin with, as your argument is essentially circular: it presupposes that a God can be known. The probability of such may in fact be zero. So I'd retract the 'suggestion'.

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that is "God of the gaps" reasoning

I disagree. God of the gaps is when God is used to explain something that lies in the realm of science, and eventually science provides a better, natural, explanation. I am not doing that. I am not even, ultimately, trying to explain something in the realm of science.

Oh, no; you're just declaring that since science doesn't currently have an explanation, therefore Goddidit is a 'better' explanation. That is god-of-the-gaps reasoning, unklee, pure and simple.

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I am trying to assess whether God or no-God is the better conclusion, and I am using science as one of the tools.

Abusing it, you mean. As above, lack of an explanation is used as a means to shoehorn 'Goddidit' into the equation.

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I take whatever science has demonstrated and ask how that adds to the evidence either way.

What are the falsification criteria for 'Goddidit'? What are the validation criteria?

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If/when science changes, I can re-assess. And really that is what has happened to the age-old cosmological and teleological arguments - their general thrust remains the same, but scientific discoveries change the details.

Which is precisely how 'god of the gaps' reasoning works.

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would it make any difference to your beliefs if such phenomena were discovered to have natural explanations?

Who knows? I would then need to ask if those explanations had implications. Would it make any difference to you if in a few decades time naturalism still couldn't explain the things it doesn't seem to be able to explain now?

No, because I don't demand that everything must have a ready explanation. I am content to accept that some things don't readily admit of an explanation, and we cannot explain everything (yet, or perhaps hever). I do not conjure up some deus ex machina to solve all my unexplainables for me. Why do you (apparently)?
« Last Edit: March 17, 2009, 08:19:35 AM by Deus ex Machina »

Offline Gnu Ordure

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Re: A question about the WWGHA text...
« Reply #219 on: March 17, 2009, 01:49:29 PM »
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Fridge used the word "everyone" with no qualifiers based on sanity.

Yes, I see your point, DM, but when I'm considering morality and human rights, I tend not to take into account the views of obviously insane or evil people.

Who does ?

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The Nazis themselves did not think they were evil from their own perspective.

Not all of them - only the insane ones. Some knew perfectly well what they were doing. These were the ones who killed themselves at the end of the war, rather than face justice. They knew what the judgment of history, and of the courts, would be.

Fridge said :
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I don't want to justify them because it could be used against me, sorry.

The Nazi medical experiments were completely and utterly unjustifiable.

No civilized, sane person would disagree.

If you want to argue the point, Fridge, please do so. Otherwise my assertion remains.

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But I still disagree. The Nazis felt they were completely moral in doing their business.

See above.

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Morality, after all, is derived from our environment. The small quantity of cultural anthropology courses I've taken backs that up pretty well. How would you describe an indigenous male initiation rite where the young boy has to have oral sex with a male adult?

That seems a poor example, Fridge, as I can't see anything wrong with it at all. Assuming that this is an initiation into adulthood, and that the boy is therefore considered by his tribe to be emotionally mature enough for such a step - and is thus over the age of consent - what's the problem exactly ?

But, your point is that morality is relative, not absolute, yes ?

And that good and evil are therefore somehow interchangeable ?

Gnu.

Offline Fridge

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Re: A question about the WWGHA text...
« Reply #220 on: March 17, 2009, 02:08:23 PM »
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when I'm considering morality and human rights, I tend not to take into account the views of obviously insane or evil people.

This makes no sense at all, it's circular. How do you define an evil person?
"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. " - Martin Luther King Jr.

"He wants us to stop sinning- to stop hurting each other.  And one of the ways we do that is by coming to Jesus and eating His flesh and drinking His blood"
-theist

Offline Gnu Ordure

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Re: A question about the WWGHA text...
« Reply #221 on: March 17, 2009, 06:57:59 PM »
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This makes no sense at all, it's circular. How do you define an evil person?

I'm glad you asked me that, Fridge, as I wanted to clarify the point. I don't consider people to be either good or evil; generally, they are a mixture of the two. Sometimes they do good things (Hitler loved his dog), sometimes they don't. In varying proportions.

I also wanted to clarify that insane people are not evil - they're ill. When insane people kill people, they are generally found not guilty of murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility - ie it wasn't their fault.

Would you agree with that ?

So, bearing that in mind, to answer your question (in general terms):

Good   people         know the difference between good and evil, and tend to do good things.
Insane people don't know the difference between good and evil, and tend to do    anything.
Evil     people         know the difference between good and evil, and tend to do evil   things.

That fits with the world as I see it.

What do you think ?

Offline Fridge

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Re: A question about the WWGHA text...
« Reply #222 on: March 17, 2009, 07:45:14 PM »
How do you distinguish good from evil?
"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. " - Martin Luther King Jr.

"He wants us to stop sinning- to stop hurting each other.  And one of the ways we do that is by coming to Jesus and eating His flesh and drinking His blood"
-theist

Offline Gnu Ordure

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Re: A question about the WWGHA text...
« Reply #223 on: March 17, 2009, 08:31:00 PM »
I don't know about anyone else, but I use a combination of moral judgement, gut intuition, empathy and conscience.

How do you do it, Fridge ?

Offline dmnemaine

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Re: A question about the WWGHA text...
« Reply #224 on: March 17, 2009, 08:32:07 PM »
I don't know about anyone else, but I use a combination of moral judgement, gut intuition, empathy and conscience.

How do you do it, Fridge ?

That kind of makes it subjective, doesn't it?

Offline Gnu Ordure

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Re: A question about the WWGHA text...
« Reply #225 on: March 17, 2009, 09:19:30 PM »
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That kind of makes it subjective, doesn't it?

Yes, but it's a numbers game.

You ask ten thousand sane, civilized (and/or religious) people to use a combination of their moral judgement, gut intuition, empathy and conscience to decide whether the Nazi medical experiments were ethical or unethical.

They will all say they were unethical.

In which case we have moved beyond the merely subjective.




DM, I confess I don't see your point here.

The Nazis were evil vicious bastards.

They created hell on earth. If you'd been a homosexual german in the thirties, DM, you'd have been cast directly into that hell, tortured without mercy until you were dead.

Deciding whether such behaviour is good or bad seems a bit of a no-brainer.

Gnu.

Offline Fridge

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Re: A question about the WWGHA text...
« Reply #226 on: March 17, 2009, 09:27:03 PM »
Sorry Gnu, but I still disagree. It may be the majority, even the most rational, but by definition it is subjective:

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–adjective
1.    existing in the mind; belonging to the thinking subject rather than to the object of thought (opposed to objective ).
2.    pertaining to or characteristic of an individual; personal; individual: a subjective evaluation.
3.    placing excessive emphasis on one's own moods, attitudes, opinions, etc.; unduly egocentric.
4.    Philosophy. relating to or of the nature of an object as it is known in the mind as distinct from a thing in itself.
5.    relating to properties or specific conditions of the mind as distinguished from general or universal experience.
6.    pertaining to the subject or substance in which attributes inhere; essential.

Wrong is entirely perspective based.
"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. " - Martin Luther King Jr.

"He wants us to stop sinning- to stop hurting each other.  And one of the ways we do that is by coming to Jesus and eating His flesh and drinking His blood"
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Offline dmnemaine

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Re: A question about the WWGHA text...
« Reply #227 on: March 17, 2009, 09:48:29 PM »
Yes, but it's a numbers game.

You ask ten thousand sane, civilized (and/or religious) people to use a combination of their moral judgement, gut intuition, empathy and conscience to decide whether the Nazi medical experiments were ethical or unethical.

They will all say they were unethical.

In which case we have moved beyond the merely subjective.




DM, I confess I don't see your point here.

The Nazis were evil vicious bastards.

They created hell on earth. If you'd been a homosexual german in the thirties, DM, you'd have been cast directly into that hell, tortured without mercy until you were dead.

Deciding whether such behaviour is good or bad seems a bit of a no-brainer.

Gnu.

I'm in no way avocating what the nazis did.  I think what they did was evil.  No question about that.   But just because many people believe as you and I do about this, doesn't make it absolute.  The only way that it would be absolute is if every single person in the world from that time to now also believed that they were evil.  You cannot say this with certainty.  You cannot even say that every sane person believes that with certainty.  The Nazis believed that they were doing the world a service (good) by ridding the world of what they considered to be bad for the world (evil).   And there are unfortunately, still people in the world today who think that what the Nazis did was morally acceptable.   

Because there were and are people who have their moral standards, what the majority of the world feels about the Nazis is almost, but not quite an absolute.

Offline unklee

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Re: A question about the WWGHA text...
« Reply #228 on: March 17, 2009, 10:11:18 PM »
G'day Deus,

It seems I am already provoking you to some asperity, for which I am sorry.  In the end, this is not a philosophical exercise for me. (I'm not suggesting it is or isn't for you, just stating where I'm at.) The possible existence of God is important enough for me to want to make a choice if I can. I don't believe the choice is certain, either way, and not making a choice is effectively a choice in itself.

I review the evidence, and I find God's existence is most probable. As the saying goes, I'm not going to die wondering. I commit, question myself almost constantly, keep my thinking updated, and adjust as I go. I also live daily with God via prayer, reading the Bible, acting as I think God calls me to, etc, matters which I don't discuss much here because people don't accept that stuff. But my life reinforces my intellectual choices. It holds together, intellectually, personally.

So of course I will continue. And of course you can find uncertainties and things you disagree with. But your arguments, while powerfully and skillfully written, don't really address the issues that are formative for me, I'm sorry. The philosophical fine points you raise don't seem to me to cut much ice. I believe in logic, but I believe also in being practical. And on those terms, the world looks to me more like a world that was created by God than one which was not, for reasons I've given many times.

Thus, I could answer all your points to my satisfaction, though doubtless not yours, and then you could answer my answers to your satisfaction but doubtless not mine. We would go round and round and prove nothing except our collective perseverance. So this time around I am eschewing such drawn out debates and trying to stick to asking and answering questions, challenging myself and others, and trying to make new friends.

Please don't be pissed off at me for not living up to the macho atheist vs theist debate model - life's too short. Let's just be friends and enjoy the chat. What do you say?

Peace.
"Between the idea, and the reality .... falls the shadow." T S Eliot. Avoid the shadow, find out Is there a God?

Offline Odin

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Re: A question about the WWGHA text...
« Reply #229 on: March 18, 2009, 06:20:51 AM »
1. The evidence (to me) points strongly to God existing.
2. The existence of evil is a problem I cannot understand, and neither really can you.
3. If I allow it to negate the other evidence, then it undercuts itself, and creates other problems I cannot understand.
4. Therefore it is simplest, creates less problems and is more in accordance with the facts to continue to believe.

unklee,

Perhaps I don't understand your logic above, so let me tell you how I interpret it, and then you can set me straight.  (This is unklee speaking, as in the first person.)

3.  If I allow the existence of evil, which is a problem no one can really understand, to stand in the way of any other evidence that points for the existence of God, then it undercuts the evidence of the existence of God and creates other problems, with this and other evidence, which I cannot understand.

4.  Therefore, for simplicity, I continue to believe in the evidence that shows God exists (for me), and I ignore the other evidence that I, and everyone else, cannot understand.

If that is not what you are saying, I apologize.  Let me know the alternative interpretation. 

Odin

Offline unklee

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Re: A question about the WWGHA text...
« Reply #230 on: March 18, 2009, 07:12:39 AM »
Perhaps I don't understand your logic above, so let me tell you how I interpret it, and then you can set me straight.  (This is unklee speaking, as in the first person.)

Thanks for the apology in advance, I appreciate that. I don't expect you to agree, but I do hope you can make a reasonable attempt to understand. Corrections to reflect my actual thought shown below.

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3.  If I allow the existence of evil, which is a problem no one can really understand, to lead me to conclude that no God exists, I am then not giving due weight to what I regard as strongerstand in the way of any other evidence that points for the existence of God, then it undercuts the evidence of the existence of God and this creates other and larger problems, with this and other evidence, which I cannot understand of evidence and reason than are created by the problem of evil in the first place. Further, the argument from evil cannot stand without some of those other evidences (e.g. it depends on an objective moral code which atheism cannot provide.

4.  Therefore, on the basis of choosing the most reasonable conclusionfor simplicity, I continue to believe in the evidence that shows God exists (for me), and I ignore while also grappling with the other evidence of evil that I, and everyone else, cannot understand.

It was harder to correct what you wrote than I first expected, you can see there's really very little left, But I hope the exercise was worth it. Please note why I have continued with this topic. It is somewhat tiresome to have done a lot of thought, read a lot of books, tried to be thoughtful, honest and rational, and then be told over and over again by people who don't know me and cannot know how I think, that I haven't done any rational thought and my conclusions are all delusional. I have no difficulties with people disagreeing, but such name-calling and misunderstanding is puerile and denigrating. I can only conclude that many atheists cannot emotionally cope with thinking that someone intelligent and well-read can possibly disagree with them, and so they have to call me names. I feel you have done this too, though not in a very nasty manner, but I thank you that you have been willing to at least try to understand.

Best wishes.
"Between the idea, and the reality .... falls the shadow." T S Eliot. Avoid the shadow, find out Is there a God?

Offline Odin

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Re: A question about the WWGHA text...
« Reply #231 on: March 18, 2009, 09:27:57 PM »
(e.g. it depends on an objective moral code which atheism cannot provide).

See, that is a leap of faith.  If you can agree that there is a possibility, regardless of how large or small, that god does not exist, then there is a possibility that ALL morality came from man.  Man might need god to use as a higher authority to give weight to the moral code, but the code itself was developed by man.

We don't really need a god to tell us some things are wrong: murder, rape, incest, stealing. 

No one can argue that you don't believe in your own evidence, which meets your own criteria.  However, when held up to higher criteria of proof, I believe it falls on its face.

Odin, King of the Gods