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Give me some proof.


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In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2012 9:55:40 AM PDT
rowley32256 says:
Irish Lace: "God" cannot be falsified.

Rowley: True, within the current state of knowledge about the laws of nature, but quite irrelevant. For the reason you state, God cannot be included in the body of knowledge determined by science. Period. We don't live our lives solely according to what science has determined. Appreciation of art, enjoyment of music, subjective experiences of any kind ... are just as much a part of life as the objective. If a person believes in God, tolerates those who don't and keeps an open mind in case his belief is one day shown to be untrue, then how could you objectively judge that behavior to be less rational than the unbeliever who also exhibits tolerance and an open mind? The fact that experience is subjective, i.e. personal and incapable of independent validation, does not devalue the experience unless it can be shown to be false. You, yourself, believe this in relation to all kinds of subjective experience; you simply choose not to believe it in relation to other folks' experience of spirituality. I certainly don't blame you for determining that for yourself, but it is without merit to extrapolate that personal choice into a maxim applying to others.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2012 10:06:09 AM PDT
rowley32256 says:
Irish Lace says: "One does not need "prayer" for this."

Rowley: With respect, Ann, you can only speak for yourself here. I accept that you feel you do not need prayer for this but you cannot extrapolate that to what might work for others. If there is a God, that would be a more rational interpretation of interaction with God than continual asking for what the supposed believer considers wrong with the world God created. Even Jesus included the words "if it be your will" or "thy will be done" in supplication since to do otherwise denies the omniscience of God.

Irish lace: "To assume the existence of a god worthy of belief assumes that the god knows better than ourselves what is good for us. Thus, when bad stuff happens to us or ours, we can only assume - without any justification whatsoever - that god knows that this bad stuff is really good stuff if we just keep assuming god knows better because to question the god's judgement about our well-being is to deny the existence of a god worthy of belief."

Rowley: Eureka! Yes - that's correct, apart from the "without any justification whatsoever" bit. You see, a true believer doesn't select the kind of milquetoast God they might like to imagine exists, he experiences the awe that any rational person would feel upon thinking through the implications. Suppose for just one moment that you became convinced of God's existence - I'm not asking you to admit that you could do any such unthinkable thing - but if you could imagine it, wouldn't it rock your world?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2012 10:11:40 AM PDT
Re rowley, 7-15 7:44 AM: "These respective theories are not proven; ..." Correct -- but the important point is that there is at least the possibility that one could do so. Not so with respect to the "transcendent entity": precisely because it IS transcendent, there is no way, even in principle, that one could prove or disprove its existence. Which renders its possible existence pure speculation -- of no use for any purpose whatever.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2012 10:15:19 AM PDT
Re Irish, 7-15 9:45 AM: "they CANNOT be "disproven." " Exactly correct.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2012 10:37:22 AM PDT
rowley32256 says:
The reason why we profoundly disagree, Robert, is the way in which each of us uses the word "evidence." The meaning of the word "evidence" is simply that which is considered in determining the truth of something. The highest quality of evidence is that which is unequivocally sufficient to establish the truth or falsehood of a statement, proposition or possibility in and of itself. In science, the only kind of evidence admissible is empirical evidence - evidence accumulated by repetitive experimentation proving the conclusion to be falsifiable and independent of the subject(ive). In a court of law, where a conclusion has to be determined on the best evidence available, whether or not it meets the scientific standard, an accused would properly be acquitted if the strong balance of probability determined that he could not have been in the location at the relevant time. Both of these milieux, science and the legal system, have laws governing what constitues admissable evidence. But most of don't spend the majority of our time in the science lab or the courtroom and we have to make our judgments as best we can. When you say: "how could you have failed to figure out that the premises are silly and the whole thing is trash?" ... my response is that's how I feel about materialism. If a proposition requires that I deny most of what I know about the experience of being human, then I reject that proposition. I'm familar with John Loftus and have reviewed one of his books; I haven't yet read the one you reference but I shall in due course. I find him more rational and reasonable than the likes of Harris, the late Hitchens RIP, Dawkins et al but when you reflect on his arguments, they all suppose the validity of materialism.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2012 10:46:53 AM PDT
rowley32256 says:
Robert: "precisely because it IS transcendent, there is no way, even in principle, that one could prove or disprove its existence"

Rowley: No, that is not a necessary inference of transcendence ... hence invalidating the conclusion. Transcendence simply means going beyond - and in the context of this discussion, going beyond the material world. You are assuming both of two conditions: (1) that the transcendent entity never manifests itself in the material world; and (2) that nothing in the material world is capable of reaching beyond it. Condition (1) would be falsified by showing an event to have occurred for which no material explanation could suffice. Condition (2) would be falsified by showing that a human had achieved contact with the non-material milieux. However improbable you may feel these two possibilities to be, they meet the criteria for validation. I have never met a materialist who takes seriously either of these possibilities, but that's sheer prejudice.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2012 11:01:44 AM PDT
I'll offer up from historical sources, the 17th century Miracle of Calanda (in Spain), about a farmer's leg, which had been amputated 2 years earlier being restored to him.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2012 11:33:22 AM PDT
Irish Lace says:
Nice discussion, Robert.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2012 11:38:35 AM PDT
Re rowley, 7-15 10:46 AM: "the transcendent entity never manifests itself in the material world ..." If it did, it would (by YOUR definition) not be transcendent.

"Condition (1) would be falsified by showing an event to have occurred for which no material explanation could suffice." Correct. But this in fact cannot be shown, because we cannot know whether or not a material explanation COULD suffice: we don't know all the rules, and cannot do so.

"Condition (2) would be falsified by showing that a human had achieved contact with the non-material milieux." Correct again -- but it should be obvious that no such showing can be made. How could one tell?

"they meet the criteria for validation." If they could be demonstrated, they would indeed. But my point is that they can't.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2012 11:41:54 AM PDT
JP says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2012 11:50:03 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 15, 2012 12:11:07 PM PDT
Irish Lace says:
"Rowley: True, within the current state of knowledge about the laws of nature, but quite irrelevant. For the reason you state, God cannot be included in the body of knowledge determined by science. Period."

I'm pretty sure that's what I said, rowley. So, on what basis do you claim the existence of God as "knowledge"?

"We don't live our lives solely according to what science has determined. "

I am not addressing how we "live our lives." We were discussing reasons to believe in the existence of a thing/being which is proposed but cannot be falsified or even tested and has not a shred of accessible evidence that you can share with me or anyone else. The only thing you or any believer has to offer is unsubstantiated assertion. Again, rowley, why should I accept that "god is"?

"Appreciation of art, enjoyment of music, subjective experiences of any kind ... are just as much a part of life as the objective."

Irrelevant, unless you are telling me that "god" is merely a creative exercise on your part that I am failing to properly appreciate.

"If a person believes in God, tolerates those who don't and keeps an open mind in case his belief is one day shown to be untrue, then how could you objectively judge that behavior to be less rational than the unbeliever who also exhibits tolerance and an open mind? "

The BEHAVIOR is not the issue, rowley. The behavior you describe would never be criticized by me as irrational; I'd likely respect and praise it (although I question the frequency of the existence of a believer who "keeps an open mind in case his belief is one day shown to be untrue", although if you say that's you, I'll accept your word.) What I WILL call "irrational" is the belief in God. One of my favorite people in the world believes her home is occupied by ghosts. I respect everything about her behavior; I think her belief is irrational.

"The fact that experience is subjective, i.e. personal and incapable of independent validation, does not devalue the experience unless it can be shown to be false. "

Again, I agree. But there is nothing in your experience that provides any basis for using it as a reason why anyone _else_ should believe this being exists.

The rest of this post is a straw man. What I do or do not believe about my personal experiences is irrelevant as I do not ask anyone else to believe anything without evidence.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2012 12:03:24 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 15, 2012 12:13:35 PM PDT
Irish Lace says:
"Irish Lace says: "One does not need "prayer" for this."

Rowley: With respect, Ann, you can only speak for yourself here. I accept that you feel you do not need prayer for this but you cannot extrapolate that to what might work for others. "

Fair enough. Without seeming to pick nits, however, your very next sentence referred to "we" on the subject of what god will or will not know about what is good for "us." Perhaps you can understand my confusion. If you are speaking solely for yourself and not on behalf of anyone else who prays, then I withdraw my own assertion.

"Rowley: Eureka! Yes - that's correct, apart from the "without any justification whatsoever" bit. You see, a true believer doesn't select the kind of milquetoast God they might like to imagine exists, he experiences the awe that any rational person would feel upon thinking through the implications. Suppose for just one moment that you became convinced of God's existence - I'm not asking you to admit that you could do any such unthinkable thing - but if you could imagine it, wouldn't it rock your world?"

I did believe, rowley, for a long time. Eventually, having become, by increasing degrees unimpressed by the "power of God" I actually began questioning the concept. What rocked my world was my recognition that it wasn't I who was irrational because I couldn't make any sense of it; it was the concept that was irrational. When I looked for some indication that the concept was in any way valid, I simply couldn't find one except my own wish that it were. Eventually, I realized I really did NOT wish that; I just thought I was supposed to.

That you could read that round-and-round description of circular reasoning that I wrote and declare "Eureka! Yes-that's correct" is further evidence that belief in magical beings who control the universe is irrational.

Edit: PS: This has been fun, however!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2012 12:20:56 PM PDT
rowley32256 says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2012 12:50:03 PM PDT
rowley32256 says:
Irish Lace says: "on what basis do you claim the existence of God as "knowledge"?

Rowley: As personal, as opposed to shared knowledge, by the same way that I know most things - by my personal experience. You, and only you, know what it is like to be you. And the word "know" is correct in that sentence. The fact that you cannot transfer that knowledge accurately to anyone else does not diminish its value as knowledge to you.

Irish Lace: "We were discussing reasons to believe in the existence of a thing/being which is proposed but cannot be falsified or even tested and has not a shred of accessible evidence that you can share with me or anyone else. The only thing you or any believer has to offer is unsubstantiated assertion. Again, rowley, why should I accept that "god is"?

Rowley: You should not. If your personal experience gives you no indication of the existence of God and you believe the material to provide better explanations of reality than an extant God would, I cannot think of any reason why you should accept that God is.

Irish Lace: " ... unless you are telling me that "god" is merely a creative exercise on your part that I am failing to properly appreciate."

Rowley: No, I'm saying that holistic experiences such as the ones I listed do not appear the same as the sum of their (material) parts. Moreover, I think the very experience of being a person is more than can be explained in terms of the material. The molecules of which we are constructed change constantly through our lives yet our personality remains integrated. We can lose a limb or other organ and the same is true the personality is an integer that cannot be reduced scientifically. That causes me to want to know what it is of holism that reductionism is missing. The existence of God would explain why life is more than the material.

Irish Lace: "What I WILL call "irrational" is the belief in God. One of my favorite people in the world believes her home is occupied by ghosts. I respect everything about her behavior; I think her belief is irrational."

Rowley: I accept you feel that way. But as a committed disciple of the scientific method, you're surely not asking me to accept the statement that it is irrational to believe in God as a statement of fact? If it were true, then how would you square that with the millions of rational believers in the world? As to the idea that someone's house is occupied by ghosts, I should want to know why they thought so. While I find it highly improbable, I don't think it completely irrational that there could be some kind of communication channel with the deceased.

Irish Lace: " ... there is nothing in your experience that provides any basis for using it as a reason why anyone _else_ should believe this being exists."

Rowley: Agreed.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2012 12:55:23 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 15, 2012 12:58:16 PM PDT
rowley32256 says:
Irish Lace: "I did believe, rowley, for a long time. Eventually, having become, by increasing degrees unimpressed by the "power of God" I actually began questioning the concept. What rocked my world was my recognition that it wasn't I who was irrational because I couldn't make any sense of it; it was the concept that was irrational. When I looked for some indication that the concept was in any way valid, I simply couldn't find one except my own wish that it were. Eventually, I realized I really did NOT wish that; I just thought I was supposed to."

Rowley: I respect your opinion and how you came by it. My experience was quite the opposite and I'm quite content to accept that intelligent folks can come to different conclusions. I'll explain why I believe and defend that explanation but I don't expect you to value what I alone experienced.

Irish Lace: "That you could read that round-and-round description of circular reasoning that I wrote and declare "Eureka! Yes-that's correct" is further evidence that belief in magical beings who control the universe is irrational."

Rowley: LOL - A bit of light relief on my part but at least you saw the funny side.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2012 1:05:51 PM PDT
T.R. says:
The platypus.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2012 1:42:37 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 15, 2012 1:53:10 PM PDT
"No, Fingers, _science_ is a process for finding out how the real world works."

No, Lace, "science" is a method of work that you can use for anything from changing a light bulb to fixing a carburetor to launching a moon probe. It doesn't have to be for something as grandiose as "finding out how the world works" if it's even possible to do that.

Wikipedia:

"A construct in the philosophy of science is an ideal object, where the existence of the thing may be said to depend upon a subject's mind."

Construct.

"In a scientific theory, particularly within psychology, a hypothetical construct is an explanatory variable which is not directly observable."

"Science" is a construct. The "laws of nature" are constructs. The idea that science and the laws of nature are constructs is a construct.

Posted on Jul 15, 2012 3:08:59 PM PDT
Hey y'all! Just letting everyone know that I haven't left the party--I'm preparing to go out of town for a couple of days, but I'm keeping up with this thread on the sidelines. The discussion just gets more and more fascinating, and both sides are making excellent points. I can't wait to jump back in when I have a little extra time, which will hopefully be soon (maybe on some down time on my trip tonight or tomorrow!); I still have my reply to Saunders, plus comments on everything that's being said in the interim.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2012 3:10:21 PM PDT
rowley32256 says:
Bon voyage and safe travels!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2012 5:56:09 PM PDT
Bohemian Man says:
JP say's "Creation of man. Next question".

Did you mean the creation of primates?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2012 6:04:03 PM PDT
Bohemian Man says:
Jim says: "love is a miracle, life is a miracle, you and I are miracles. Go up to a high place and look around you and you will see miracles".

WOW! I never thought of that Jim! Thank you.

Let me add a few more...

1) Hurricane Katrina
2) Cancer patients at Childrens Hospital
3) Starving people on the African deserts

All we need to do is "look around" to see the miracles of God.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2012 6:23:24 PM PDT
Bubba says:
The Platypus is a bizarre creature, it is not a miracle.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2012 6:26:38 PM PDT
Bohemian Man says:
Thanks Bubba,

I wasn't in the mood to even TRY to answer that one. (:

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2012 6:41:29 PM PDT
Bubba says:
The Platypus is very interesting animal. Among its other attributes it has electroreceptors located on its bill to detect insect larvae, worms or other freshwater insects while underwater. The male Platypus has venomous spurs on both hind legs, that are able to kill a small dog or cause excruciating pain in humans.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2012 7:24:42 PM PDT
Re JP, 7-15 11:41 AM, responding to request for instance of a miracle: "Creation of man." Sorry, that does not qualify: you have not shown (and CANNOT show) that any sort of god was necessarily involved -- or, indeed, involved at all.
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Discussion in:  Christianity forum
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Initial post:  Jun 12, 2012
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