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Customer Discussions > Religion forum

What is an agnostic? Am I an agnostic?


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In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012 3:18:44 AM PDT
AxeGrrl says:
Mark Hornberger wrote: "That's basic reasoning, not an article of faith. In deductive reasoning, the strength of your conclusion comes from the premises. They are the foundation. If the premises are just assumptions, how strong can the conclusion be? We routinely look at premises first to see how valid they are. If they're actually contentious statements, then the conclusion also is in question. Everyone uses this reasoning all the time. At what point did it become a leap of faith?"
~~~~

Mark, you articulated that perfectly.

*saving it for potential future use*

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012 3:36:14 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 10, 2012 3:40:57 AM PDT
ScoopingCatLitter - "Your conclusion can be very strong if your premises are just assumptions. Your conclusion follows from your premises. "

I'm going to need a source for that.

EVERY source I've found reinforced the basic idea that the conclusion is only as strong as the premises. Deductive reasoning leads to a true conclusion ONLY from premises that are known to be true, or just defined as true.

And how strong are your premises if they're just assumptions that you don't have any way of knowing are true?

Here are some sources:

"Deductive reasoning involves using given true premises to reach a conclusion that is also true" - Wikipedia

"In the process of deduction, you begin with some statements, called 'premises', that are assumed to be true, you then determine what else would have to be true if the premises are true." - Copi, Introduction to Logic, http://www.psych.utah.edu/gordon/Classes/Psy4905Docs/PsychHistory/Cards/Logic.html

"Deductive reasoning is the kind of reasoning in which, roughly, the truth of the input propositions (the premises) logically guarantees the truth of the output proposition (the conclusion), provided that no mistake has been made in the reasoning" - Joshua Schechter, Brown University (long link, but you can search for it or I can provide it if necessary)

"A deductive inference succeeds only if its premises provide such absolute and complete support for its conclusion that it would be utterly inconsistent to suppose that the premises are true but the conclusion false. " - http://www.philosophypages.com/lg/e01.htm

In all of these cases, the truth of the premises must be established before we can deduce a true conclusion. In no circumstance does the truth of the premises not matter. And if we don't know that the premises are true, we certainly can't infer that the conclusion is true.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012 4:03:59 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 10, 2012 4:04:59 AM PDT
Mark Hornberger,

"Deductive arguments is one in which the premises are intended to guarantee the conclusion." The Power of Logic

"To test an argument's validity, assume that all the premises are true and then see whether the conclusion follows automatically from them. If the conclusion automatically follows, you know it's a valid argument. If not, the argument is invalid...Logic is the study of argument validity, which is whether a logical argument is valid (good) or invalid (bad)." Logic For Dummies

"A deductive argument is intended to provide logically conclusive support for its conclusion...A deductive argument that succeeds in providing such decisive logical support is said to be valid; a deductive argument that fails to provide such support is said to be invalid. A deductively valid argument is such that if its premises are true, its conclusions must be true. That is, if the premises are true, there is no way that the conclusion can be false. In logic, valid is not synonym for true. A deductively valid argument is simply has the kind of logical structure that guarantees the truth of the conclusion if the premises are true. "Logical structure" refers not to the content of an argument but to its construction, the way the premises and conclusion fit together. Because of the guarantee of truth in the conclusion, deductively valid arguments are said to be truth-preserving." The Power of Critical Thinking: Effective Reasoning About Ordinary and Extraordinary Claims

You will notice that if they mention truth it says nothing about the premises actually being true. They mention that "IF" the premises are true, which means that we assume that they are true. Once we assume that they are true we see if the conclusion follows. In short, deduction is only concerned about the *form* of the argument, and checks to see if the form is *valid*. So a good deductive argument does not have to have true premises. Here is a good deductive argument that would be accepted in any logical classroom. "No men are mortal; Socrates is a man; Socrates is not mortal." But your line of reasoning, my argument would not appear to be a deductive argument because the first premise is not known to be true and even appears to be false. But in deductive logic this is an good argument. The conclusion follows from the premises. The form is perfect, the argument is valid, and if the premises are true then the conclusion is true.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012 4:13:40 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 10, 2012 4:23:34 AM PDT
ScoopingCatLitter - "You will notice that if they mention truth it says nothing about the premises actually being true."

Every single source said that deduction derives true conclusions only from true premises. I quoted this directly from the sources.

"That is, if the premises are true, there is no way that the conclusion can be false. "

Read that sentence again. "IF THE PREMISES ARE TRUE..." It only works if they *are* true.

"which means that we assume that they are true."

Who's "we"? Your conclusion is only as strong as that assumption. If you've assumed things you actually have no way of knowing, why would I share your assumptions? So the Kalam argument is only 'strong' for someone who already shared the assumption that the premises were true. But that's the classically circular argument from necessity--God exists because He is necessary, and He is necessary because I've assumed the universe is such that it could not exist without God--who is the only thing exempt (because I said so) from the necessity (which also applies because I said so) that everything, and I mean *everything*, (other than God--see "because I said so") needs an external cause. So I'll assume all this stuff to be true, and what do you know, I've arrived purely by logic at the conclusion I started with, which is that God exists. And if you object to any of my assumptions, that's just a leap of faith, far inferior to my watertight logic. Did I leave anything out?

"But in deductive logic this is an good argument. "

In structure, but not in content. Texts on deductive reasoning do cover faulty premises. Making an assumption that a false premise is true does not lead to a true conclusion just because you've called it deduction.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012 4:23:21 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 10, 2012 4:39:17 AM PDT
Mark Hornberger,

Actually, none of the quotes say that deduction derives true conclusions only from true premises. It never once said that. If you check your sources and the ones I presented, they said "If...." which means assume. It does not say that the premises have to be true. But you appear to keep saying there is a problem with assuming something to be true.

Here is another example: "It is important to stress that the premises of an argument do not have actually to be true in order for the argument to be valid. An argument is valid if the premises and conclusion are related to each other in the right way so that if the premises were true, then the conclusion would have to be true as well...Whether or not the premises of an argument are true depends on their specific content. However, according to the dominant understanding among logicians, the validity or invalidity of an argument is determined entirely by its logical form. The logical form of an argument is that which remains of it when one abstracts away from the specific content of the premises and the conclusion, i.e., words naming things, their properties and relations, leaving only those elements that are common to discourse and reasoning about any subject matter, i.e., words such as "all", "and", "not", "some", etc. One can represent the logical form of an argument by replacing the specific content words with letters used as place-holders or variables."

http://www.iep.utm.edu/val-snd/

"The first question is a matter of "logical correctness." An argument is considered to be "logically correct" when it satisfies the following condition: If the premises were true, this fact would constitute good grounds for accepting the conclusion as true.

Notice that this condition presupposes that one is dealing with statements that are capable of being true or false. Nevertheless this condition is not concerned with whether the premises are in fact true. In evaluating arguments for logical correctness one is concerned with the relation between the premises and the conclusion not with the question of whether the premises are in fact true.

To make this condition more specific we have to specify what we take to be "good grounds". Certainly the truth of the premises guaranteeing the truth of the conclusion would mean the truth of the premises provided good grounds for accepting the conclusion as true. The criterion of logical correctness that requires the guarantee is called "the deductive criterion" of logical correctness: An argument form is deductively valid if and only if it is impossible that its conclusion is false given its premises are true.

Notice that this criterion for deductive validity does not require that the premises are true, nor that the conclusion is true, rather it says that IF the premises are true, the conclusion must be true. Deductive validity is a function of the form, or structure, of the statements in the argument and not a function of whether the statements are in fact true."

https://www.msu.edu/user/blmiller/BasicLogic/DeductiveArguments.htm

So logic is only concerned about the form, because the form guarantees the conclusion follows from the premises. Whether the premises are true or not are not a concern of logic. That is for epistemology. But we do know that if the premises are true then the conclusion is true, but we do not know that the premises are true or that the conclusion is true. That does not really matter for deduction.

You also make this strange stance that "Deduction only works if they *are* true". But I gave you a deductive argument that no logician would turn down. "No men are mortal; Socrates is man; Therefore Socrates is not mortal." What is deductively wrong with that argument? Is the argument not valid? You appear to be looking for sound arguments, while logic is concerned with valid arguments. Epistemology will say what is a sound argument.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012 4:40:03 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 10, 2012 4:49:20 AM PDT
ScoopingCatLitter - ""It is important to stress that the premises of an argument do not have actually to be true in order for the argument to be valid...."

"Validity" refers to the structure of an argument, and does not mean that you conclusion maps to actualized reality. Yes, you can reach a conclusion that is logically valid, but its overall truth is only as strong as the assumptions you've made. Validity is not truth. That you've followed your assumptions to a conclusion does not mean I have any reason to share your assumptions. And that was my original point. I was addressing the assumptions made by the Kalam argument. If you already accept the assumptions, then yes, the conclusion is logically valid. Where we differ is that you have tried to characterize any rejection of or skepticism towards the premises as a leap of faith. It is the assumptions themselves, not skepticism towards them, that constitute a leap of faith.

"So logic is only concerned about the form"

This is within the context of a deductive argument. When I was discussing the validity of conclusions based on assumptions about the universe around us, I was not talking about syllogisms.

""Deduction only works if they *are* true""

I was not being clear, and I apologize for that. When I said that deduction only "works" if the premises are true, I meant it in terms of coming to a conclusion that I have a good reason to think is true. You can have a logically valid but still false conclusion, one accurately reasoned from false premises. Yes, that is true. I think we were talking at cross-purposes. I should have been more clear. I'm talking about how to arrive at an accurate idea of reality. I admit freely that you can erect a logically valid argument on any premises you choose to make up. Your premises could even be lies, thinks you actually KNEW to be false, and a conclusion reached from them would be logically valid, though false. Logic is necessary but not sufficient for our understanding of truth.

Enthusiasts of the Kalam argument should perhaps clarify that it's a logically valid proof of God's existence, but only if one already shares all of the assumptions on which it rests. But then again, I'd wager that people who already shared the assumptions already believed in God.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012 4:47:41 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 10, 2012 4:55:10 AM PDT
Mark Hornberger,

Now that we have settled on deduction, I think we can make one more step forward. So it appears that we agree that one may present a good deductive argument, i.e. the form is valid, even though it might not have some true premises.

You are right that validity does not show truth, but we know that a valid argument will lead to a true conclusion if the premises are true. This is a sound argument. It is both valid and has true premises. You appear to want to "map reality". But how would you know that an argument "maps to actualized reality"? By what "criterion" is something said to "map reality"? It would appear that one would have to know reality in order to say that something "mapped reality".

And just to point out, you are not a skeptic if you reject a premise. A skeptic withholds judgement on the premise either being true or false, they neither affirm or deny. A dogmatist either affirms or denies the premise. So if you are skeptic then you do not reject a premise. You suspend judgement on it.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012 4:59:54 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 10, 2012 5:01:25 AM PDT
M. Gaudet says:
From what i understand its a fence sitter between atheism and religious belief. A comedian said an agnostic is an atheist without conviction, i believe the term he used was without balls.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012 5:02:10 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 10, 2012 5:16:56 AM PDT
ScoopingCatLitter - "o it appears that we agree that one may present a good deductive argument, i.e. the form is valid, even though it might not have some true premises."

I'd stick with "logically valid." I won't extend that to "good." One can present a logically valid argument based on known falsehoods. I wouldn't call that a "good" argument, though it would pass your test.

"But how would you know that an argument "maps to actualized reality"? By what "criterion" is something said to "map reality"? "

Do you know what "reality" is? How do you "know" that you "exist"? I've gone down this road before, with believers who want to reduce everything to faith so that no belief can ever be faulted for lack of evidence, logic, etc. No thanks. We don't pretend to have a paralyzing ignorance or uncertainty as to what truth means in our everyday lives, despite our capacity for error, so I'll just trundle along as usual. I've acknowledged that one can present logically valid arguments from even false premises. Yes, we can continue with "how do you know what 'false' really means?" but I've not found that generally productive. My non-belief in God is no more likely to push me into an epistemological morass than my non-belief in Mithra or Huitzilopochtli. And since no one calls me to task and assigns epistemological heavy-lifting to see why exactly I don't believe in all those *other* gods, I don't see much of a big deal here either.

"And just to point out, you are not a skeptic if you reject a premise. A skeptic withholds judgement on the premise "

By 'reject' I mean not assenting to its truth, not a counterclaim that it is false. You can make any claim you like about the world. All I can do is ask why you think as you do, and try to understand the inner logic and underlying baggage as best I can. If I find your assumptions untenable, I probably won't share your conclusions. Day-to-day intellectual life doesn't afford one many opportunities for syllogisms. Our reasoning is usually a bit more informal, but not without structure. If you think that everything is faith, you're welcome to that conclusion.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012 5:09:52 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 10, 2012 5:18:26 AM PDT
Mark Hornberger,

I have only asked you by what criterion is something said to "map reality"? This does not appear to be a very difficult problem. We appear to agree that someone may come up with valid arguments, which means you have nothing to fault in their reasoning for their belief. So you appear to have to critique their premises, and this would appear to entail by saying that the premise is either false or it is unknown if the premise is false. But you would need some criterion for telling if something is true or false, which appears to be your "mapping reality". But you appear to not want to go down this road. This makes for a strange turn of events. This would appear to make your claims beyond rebuke because you would not defend them or explicate them, which appears to mean that it is just an assumption. So it appears that you hold that the conclusion has to follow from the premises *and* the premises have to be true. This would appear to mean that the biggest thing is "What is the criterion for something to be true?".

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012 5:33:36 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 10, 2012 5:44:06 AM PDT
ScoopingCatLitter - "We appear to agree that someone may come up with valid arguments, which means you have nothing to fault in their reasoning for their belief."

We are using subtly different meanings of "reasoning", aren't we? I look at premises, as does everyone else. And if the premises are shoddy, I don't accept the conclusion. "But it's logically valid! You can't find a logical problem, can you?" doesn't quite cut it if you're trying to persuade me that what you're saying is true. And I mean true, not merely valid. If you want to characterize me not believing what someone is saying as faith, go right ahead.

"But you would need some criterion for telling if something is true or false"

At a more basic level I reflect on whether you would have any way of knowing what you claim to know. And if you can't/won't explain yourself, my confidence is not exactly going to rise. Axioms work great in mathematics, but bald assumptions about the entire universe seems a somewhat different animal.

""mapping reality".

All I meant by "does it map to reality" is whether or not what you've said is real or true. Not could be real, not 'we can't prove it isn't,' not 'I guess we'll never know,' but do I have (what I consider to be) a decent reason to believe you? If you aren't even willing to defend your premises, my confidence in you is going to be somewhat thin. A secular application of the phrase would be with cosmology. I've read a handful of books on the subject, and though the ideas are fascinating (and in some cases have tenuous empirical support), we have no idea which, if any, map to reality, meaning we don't know if they describe actual reality in any way. The scientists are pretty frank about that, which I respect immensely.

"This would appear to make your claims beyond rebuke"

What claims? I've made no claims about the origin of the universe, or the existence of God.

Do you actually consider "your conclusion is no stronger than your assumptions" to be an article of faith, no different than belief in Zeus? Is that what you were referring to?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012 5:42:18 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 10, 2012 5:42:54 AM PDT
Mark Hornberger,

It appears that no one can persuade you of the truth of many things, at least this is because you appear to not state what criterion is used to see if something is true or not. It appears that no one can persuade you of what is true there appears to be no criterion of what is true, unless it is just what you feel is right. In this situation you could reject many things because it does not feel right to you.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012 5:55:17 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 10, 2012 5:59:55 AM PDT
ScoopingCatLitter - "It appears that no one can persuade you of the truth of many things"

I don't happen to believe in believing in many things. That happens to be accurate. I'm a big fan of "I don't know," though I'm willing to entertain a wide variety of ideas.

"because you appear to not state what criterion is used to see if something is true or not."

Different claims would be evaluated with different means. A claim that John killed Shirley is not subject to the same evaluation methodology as the claims that Shiva cures cancer or such-and-such Aztec god created the world. Give me a specific claim, and I will address it as best I can.

"In this situation you could reject many things because it does not feel right to you. "

With *any* idea I reject*, I can tell you why. But you have to actually give me something to evaluate.

*By "reject," I mean ideas that I don't see sufficient reason to think are true, NOT ideas that I can show are false.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012 6:05:23 AM PDT
Mark Hornberger,

If you are a big fan of "I don't know", then would it not be the case that you do not know how come you reject something? But I am willing to venture that you do know why you reject something, which appears to now be something of "sufficient reason". So now it appears that it has to be valid, has to be true, and has to have sufficient reason. But you appear to have never brought up the criterion of true and appear to bring up no criterion of sufficient reason.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012 6:16:47 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 10, 2012 6:19:06 AM PDT
ScoopingCatLitter - "If you are a big fan of "I don't know", then would it not be the case that you do not know how come you reject something?"

As I said, for any claim I don't put credence in I can tell you why.

"But I am willing to venture that you do know why you reject something"

That would be the reasons I give for rejecting it. I generally sort of list them right there in my response.

"But you appear to have never brought up the criterion of true"

I said explicitly that the criterion would depend on the idea being evaluated. If you give me a claim to evaluate, we can field test this idea.

"and appear to bring up no criterion of sufficient reason. "

The reasons sufficient to believe that Motrin is good for headaches are different than the sufficient reasons to believe in Bigfoot. There is no single all-purpose criterion of which I am aware. So either enlighten me, or stop pretending that I'm waffling.

It's still not clear why you think that not believing something is a leap of faith.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012 6:22:21 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 10, 2012 6:23:03 AM PDT
Mark Hornberger,

It appears that in order to test this idea, you would have to have some sort of criterion in order to test it. How can you test it if you have nothing to test it with? So it appears that this already contains some criterion already contained within it.

If there is no single all-purpose criterion then by what criterion did you use in order to come to that conclusion? This would appear to be based on some criterion itself. I do not seem to be pretending that your waffling, you appear to be waffling. You cannot answer some simple questions like what criterion do we use to tell if something is true, or what criterion do we use to see if something has sufficient reason. None of these appear to be very tough to answer but you never appear to answer these questions.

Posted on Jun 10, 2012 6:27:06 AM PDT
mark says:
Mark, SCL,

A perfectly executed, articulate, dialectic exchange.

Outstanding. Thank you both.

Peace.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012 6:31:51 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 10, 2012 6:36:13 AM PDT
ScoopingCatLitter - "How can you test it if you have nothing to test it with?"

There is a reason that responses are particular to the ideas to which they are a response.

Your query is sort of like demanding what method a math student will use to solve a problem, when they have no idea what the problem is. That they can't tell you until they see the problem doesn't mean they have no method. It means the method is particular to the problem at hand.

"You cannot answer some simple questions like what criterion do we use to tell if something is true"

It depends on what the 'something' is. That *is* an answer, and has been stated several times. If you ask the question again, you will get the same answer. That you don't find the answer convenient doesn't mean your question was not addressed.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012 8:25:13 AM PDT
mark says:
FR,

You are confusing the phenomenal experience of "red" with an a priori experience of "transcendent knowledge".

"red" is an attribute of a physical object, enabling cognition to differentiate between specific appearances. Its self-contained reality may be understood by a mind without the perception of it, simply by its definition. No experience does not mean no understanding, and understanding becomes its own reality.

Pure transcendent knowledge, on the other hand, because it has already been conceptually experienced by a "subjective, finite mind", must remain as a concept, until it becomes another experiential reality through means beyond undefinable, pure understanding, which requires a form of cognition not available to rational humans.

"...for those who know..."
(Who are they?)

"...stepping outside the subjective, finite mind..."
(and step into....what?)

"...If one believes they can give that necessary Transcendent perspective to others via their own finite mind... they are delusional...."
(how is it that a subjective, finite mind would have an idea of any necessary condition whatsoever, of a transcendent experience it does not have? This is equivalent to saying a subjective, finite mind knows there is a necessary perspective attributed to transcendent knowledge, yet lacks the transcendent knowledge which is required to verify there is an analytic, necessary perspective attributable to it, which serves to condition that knowledge as being transcendent.)

All that being said, you still lack a definition from experience of what transcendent knowledge is, which means you still have not understood the meaning of its attributes, because you do not know what they are. If you could define it, by your own qualification, you have a means of cognition other than a subjective finite mind. The common colloquialism of pure, a priori experience without pre-cognition is "revelation", which requires no more than the subjective, finite mind to understand. Otherwise, nothing is "revealed", which means it is not a revelation.

While it may not be impossible to understand pure transcendental knowledge, until a means to do so is found other than the subjective, finite mind of all rational humans, it must be no more than a "suggestion" of supernatural in substitute metaphoric clothing.

Peace.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012 8:29:19 AM PDT
Faithradha says:
jpl - "I don't recognize agnosticism. "

Mark says: Do you recognize the idea of "I have no way of knowing that"? That doesn't seem a very subtle idea. If you have no way of knowing, how can you claim to know?

FR: Perhaps it would be more accurate to preface that statement with....... ~ With one's current limited understanding of Reality .... they have no way of knowing. ~

The understanding remains that this state of unknowing could SHIFT to knowing via the subjective mind OR even Realizing via Transcendent Knowledge. The point being... we do not YET know what we do not YET know. New information can enter one's finite awareness at any moment... from a 'place' one does not YET realize.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012 8:33:10 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 10, 2012 9:05:44 AM PDT
sfon says:
Zen says: "Agnostic: I have no idea if God exists. Atheist: God does not exist. Believer: God exists. It's as simple as that."

Yours is simple, yes, but it is inaccurate, as atheism is not a statement or condition of omniscient knowledge but merely one of 'no belief'... and, as the focus of a capitalized 'god' is only the focus of a monotheistic believer. Try this:

Agnostic: I don't know if any deities exist or not.
Atheist: I don't believe that any deities exist.
Theist: I believe in one or more deity/deities.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012 8:36:25 AM PDT
Faithradha says:
Mark says: If I don't find their reasons convincing, I have no foundation by which I could share their belief. Mine is not a position of faith.

FR: Understood... but is it safe to say that religion accepts, for whattever reason, the reality of "God" and most Atheists do not? Can we say you have a lack of Belief? If you were simply neutral wouldn't you be an Agnostic as I was. What is the difference then with remaining as a neutral Agnostic .. neither accepting OR rejecting... holding no belief either way and your Atheistic stance?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012 8:42:12 AM PDT
Faithradha says:
Scoop says to Mark:
How is your position not one of faith when you are not disbelieving in their position because it is false? You only appear to disbelieve in their reasoning that lead to their position, not their position itself. Those appear to be two different things.

FR: THanks for that point Scoop.. this was my take on Marks' post also.
Personally I rejected the reasoning, or lack thereof, of dualistic and dogmatic religion back when I was 13, however rejecting religion's approach to "God" does not assume a rejection of some Higher Consciousness. They are two VERY different discussions.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012 8:50:56 AM PDT
AxeGrrl says:
SCL wrote: "Actually, none of the quotes say that deduction derives true conclusions only from true premises. It never once said that."
~~~~

So what? you should be able to figure that out yourself. Think about it SCL, if the premises are dubious, how on earth can you rely on the conclusion?

I don't know why you're having trouble appreciating this.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012 9:22:18 AM PDT
faithradha - "Perhaps it would be more accurate to preface that statement with....... ~ With one's current limited understanding of Reality .... they have no way of knowing"

That applies equally to our understanding of everything, all the time. Do you preface every statement you make with that disclaimer? I'd think you'd find that time-consuming.
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