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Old 04-09-2014, 10:13 AM #85
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Old 04-09-2014, 10:16 AM #86
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Originally Posted by Savage Mikey View Post
This is a good discussion...my thoughts below.


Rationality having limits is not an excuse to allow people to make claims about religion or religous experiences and expect others to conform to it or accept it, which is realy where the problem lies...i dont care if people have odd or undetermined experiences just dont expect others to take your word for it when asked why. To counter your complex systems statement...the universe is what i would call a complex system with a large amount of interdependent variables...yet using logic and rational thought we can send people into space, land remote contol vehicals on other planets and see far off stars. Name a "religious experience" did has accomplished any of that.

By expanding my toolkit...what do you mean. Are you suggesting that supernatural things exist and that i should look into them? Are you saying to pray or meditate?
In response to the utility of religion versus science, well, the utility of either is not on equal terms. For example, science doesn't form a basis for collective action, nor does it provide meaning. It certainly doesn't speak to men's hearts. The value and utility of religion in this regard can be found in many examples. I'll take Christianity as an example: In the wake of Rome's collapse, the religion provided a strong motivation for unprofitable but necessary action in that wake. You had institutions, economic sectors and urban districts in rubble which left little to no means of turning a profit. The emerging feudal States had to get by without the highly centralised Roman system with limited resources that often meant the sprawling advancements of Rome were gutted and repurposed. The important point though is that Christianity gave the people in those States direction and motivation to build infrastructure provide necessary goods and a foundation for civility through shared values.

If you look at the collapse of every society throughout recorded history, you'll find that religion is the one institution that doesn't fail. It's the one that provides framework for a gradual renewal.

Faith is the human response to questions that can't be answered with proofs but must be answered in order to function. Faith always rests on values and that's why values are just as important as facts. Which is also why religion is just as valuable as science. Even when ages of rationalism replace traditional theistic religions such as Progress replaced Christianity, civil religions spring up to answer those ultimate questions of value. You can say you tell me you don't use faith, but that's a lie.

Within the context of empiricism, faith is placed in empiricism as a reliable means of ascertaining truth. The body of work produced by empiricism is held true because it was derived empirically. To say otherwise is circular logic.

You aren't countering my arguments about rationalism. What you're doing is asserting subjective valuations of rationalism over theistic religion without understanding the difference of utility I pointed out earlier. It's worth pointing out that the civil Religion of Progress which is the core mythology of our Age of Rationalism provided a critical motivation to get to the stars in the first place. You can look at it like the cultural influence of science fiction on the development of technology. The inspiration, motivation and meaning precede the invention.

By expanding your toolkit I mean be open to all dimensions of the human experience by placing as much value on the products of the heart and the will as you do on the intellect. Part of that process requires a recognition of the limits and utility of each of these faculties.

---

TSA,

Thank you sir!

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Old 04-09-2014, 10:21 AM #87
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So if someone truly in their heart of hearts believes they are justified in committing genocide, then they are justified?

So Hitler did nothing wrong?
This is very hard to take seriously and is a gross misunderstanding of what I was saying.

People as a group decide what is considered taboo, wrong, right, illegal, legal socially acceptable and so forth. So...Hitler can and has been judged by the 'group' as being wrong. In this case the group is pretty much everyone in the world now, with some expections. People in general have deemed killing, murder and genocide as "bad". A diety, is not needed for people to come to the conclusion that in most cases killing each other is a bad thing to do.
I'd like to point out that since genocide seems to be your favorite example, the tribal god depicted in the bible practically made genocide his pastitme.

A person may in their own mind think they are justified in doing anything but this doesn't prevent concequences to their actions or having to deal with how the general society views the action. Its not just the individual you need to look at but the group. Group can be a family unit or up to the worlds population.
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Old 04-09-2014, 10:55 AM #88
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So an appeal popularity. Lolk.

All instances of good or bad right or wrong are just abstraction. The moral framework that has developed amongst men is entirely arbitrary with no discernible source.

Kant's doing barrel rolls in his grave right now.
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Old 04-09-2014, 11:23 AM #89
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Originally Posted by TheSilentAssassin View Post
In post 71 and 75, he is essentially appealing to a modified reform epistemology, while weakening the evidentialist objection in 77. He is somewhere between my 2 and 3 right now.

But I'll wait and let him spell them out for you.
Getting away from utility and back towards evidence:

I lean mostly towards three because these experiences are not readily reproducible, therefore are not falsifiable. I'm not explicitly at three because I believe one can "test" for validity by undergoing the rituals and practices. However, as stated prior, the success and the interpretation of these actions is highly subjective and irreducibly personal.
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Old 04-09-2014, 11:52 AM #90
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[quote=Iamamartianchurch;80593410]In response to the utility of religion versus science, well, the utility of either is not on equal terms. For example, science doesn't form a basis for collective action, nor does it provide meaning. It certainly doesn't speak to men's hearts. The value and utility of religion in this regard can be found in many examples. I'll take Christianity as an example: In the wake of Rome's collapse, the religion provided a strong motivation for unprofitable but necessary action in that wake. You had institutions, economic sectors and urban districts in rubble which left little to no means of turning a profit. The emerging feudal States had to get by without the highly centralised Roman system with limited resources that often meant the sprawling advancements of Rome were gutted and repurposed. The important point though is that Christianity gave the people in those States direction and motivation to build infrastructure provide necessary goods and a foundation for civility through shared values.

I disagree. Science can form the basis of collective action. Take the space program for example. It also can provide meaning since it is each individual that provides their own meaning. I know many that are religious that claim to help others due to a religious reason but I also know many atheists help people for the sake of helping people. Meaning is subjective. As for science not being able to “speak to men’s hearts”, that’s not true for me and I am fairly certain the late Carl Sagan would also disagree. Science can provide awe, wonder, exploration, contemplation and much more. Not everyone gets as excited about new scientific research as I do but I can say that I have a deep amount of feeling associated with that. When a doctor presents new methods for treating disease, I feel hope.
Religion can provide a utility to some degree but it comes with a lot of baggage. Christianity has done more damage to the world in my opinion then good. This doesn’t mean all Christians are responsible or bad people but the religion as a whole has been more divisive and corrupt then useful. What we call the ‘dark ages’ alone is a glaring example. Christianities ‘shared values’ are also incredibly damaging. Whether is condoning slavery, treating women as lesser people, stoning those who you think are not following gods laws and worst of all the idea that we all have something wrong with us from the moment we are born…original sin and that faith is a reliable way of knowing things.
The pagan and atheistic cultures that did not have contact with a monotheistic religion or specifically Christianity ended up having most of the ‘good ‘ values that Christianity does have but they valued rational thought more than dogma so far less baggage.

If you look at the collapse of every society throughout recorded history, you'll find that religion is the one institution that doesn't fail. It's the one that provides framework for a gradual renewal.
They would have rebuilt their society regardless of a religious presence.

Faith is the human response to questions that can't be answered with proofs but must be answered in order to function. Faith always rests on values and that's why values are just as important as facts. Which is also why religion is just as valuable as science. Even when ages of rationalism replace traditional theistic religions such as Progress replaced Christianity, civil religions spring up to answer those ultimate questions of value. You can say you tell me you don't use faith, but that's a lie.
You must have a different view of what faith means and that is why there is so much disagreement in this regard. People tend to fill in the blank so to speak when they don’t know an answer because it often more advantageous to do something then nothing. This has more to do with how we function physiologically then any religious reasons. Religion may be valuable to you but it isn’t to me. Within the context of empiricism, faith is placed in empiricism as a reliable means of ascertaining truth. The body of work produced by empiricism is held true because it was derived empirically. To say otherwise is circular logic.
No, I don’t have faith in empiricism or science or anything for that matter. I trust that those methods are the best we have for finding truth. Trust is not faith. Trust is something that science has earned. Religion can hardly be trusted nor can the claims made as the result of a religious experience, take Joseph Smith for example.
You aren't countering my arguments about rationalism. What you're doing is asserting subjective valuations of rationalism over theistic religion without understanding the difference of utility I pointed out earlier. It's worth pointing out that the civil Religion of Progress which is the core mythology of our Age of Rationalism provided a critical motivation to get to the stars in the first place. You can look at it like the cultural influence of science fiction on the development of technology. The inspiration, motivation and meaning precede the invention.
I’ll refer back to TSA’s post to counter each point. It will be easier to keep track of that way. You’re taking ideas like progress and rationalism and attaching the words religion and myth to them as of if they are the same. This is a popular tactic among religious people now days but it isn’t correct.
By expanding your toolkit I mean be open to all dimensions of the human experience by placing as much value on the products of the heart and the will as you do on the intellect. Part of that process requires a recognition of the limits and utility of each of these faculties.
So equal value? So if you know something to be rational and others agree and it can be something confirmed somehow…but your “heart” or a religious experience tells you otherwise…which wins if they are all on equal footing?

Last edited by Savage Mikey : 04-09-2014 at 11:54 AM.
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Old 04-09-2014, 01:08 PM #91
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[quote=Savage Mikey;80593801]
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Originally Posted by Iamamartianchurch View Post
I disagree. Science can form the basis of collective action. Take the space program for example.


You need to look at the underlying culture that says these things are important. Scientific inquiry is driven by culture and not the other way around.

Quote:
It also can provide meaning since it is each individual that provides their own meaning.
Please explain in detail how the scientific method produces meaning.

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I know many that are religious that claim to help others due to a religious reason but I also know many atheists help people for the sake of helping people.
This is completely and totally irrelevant to the example I listed.

Quote:
Meaning is subjective.
No disagreement. Still, you have to settle on something or else you end up at nihilism. That choice is a matter of faith.

Quote:
As for science not being able to “speak to men’s hearts”, that’s not true for me and I am fairly certain the late Carl Sagan would also disagree. Science can provide awe, wonder, exploration, contemplation and much more. Not everyone gets as excited about new scientific research as I do but I can say that I have a deep amount of feeling associated with that. When a doctor presents new methods for treating disease, I feel hope.
See above about culture and importance. Carl Sagan Is an important theologan in the civil religion of progress - the underlying culture that feeds our fascinations.

Quote:
Religion can provide a utility to some degree but it comes with a lot of baggage. Christianity has done more damage to the world in my opinion then good. This doesn’t mean all Christians are responsible or bad people but the religion as a whole has been more divisive and corrupt then useful. What we call the ‘dark ages’ alone is a glaring example. Christianities ‘shared values’ are also incredibly damaging. Whether is condoning slavery, treating women as lesser people, stoning those who you think are not following gods laws and worst of all the idea that we all have something wrong with us from the moment we are born…original sin and that faith is a reliable way of knowing things.
The pagan and atheistic cultures that did not have contact with a monotheistic religion or specifically Christianity ended up having most of the ‘good ‘ values that Christianity does have but they valued rational thought more than dogma so far less baggage.
So you disagree that theistic religion has utility because some bad stuff happens as the result of values? Welcome to reality friend. You're free to disagree with the example of utility I gave, but could you please address it directly and show where I am wrong?

As it stands, my assessment of the utility of religion is grounded in practicality, yours is grounded in subjective value judgements. Are you sure you're a purely rational thinker? Because from your arguments so far, that isn't true


Quote:
You must have a different view of what faith means and that is why there is so much disagreement in this regard. People tend to fill in the blank so to speak when they don’t know an answer because it often more advantageous to do something then nothing. This has more to do with how we function physiologically then any religious reasons. Religion may be valuable to you but it isn’t to me.


There's not much differences between our understands of faith. The primary difference though, is that my definition is free of hubris and is accepting that not all questions, specifically those of values, can be answered with concrete proofs. You're free to hold onto your understanding but please recognize the extreme bias. The effects of that bias are demonstrated by yourself below:

Quote:
No, I don’t have faith in empiricism or science or anything for that matter. I trust that those methods are the best we have for finding truth. Trust is not faith. Trust is something that science has earned. Religion can hardly be trusted nor can the claims made as the result of a religious experience, take Joseph Smith for example.
Please address my argument directly and demonstrate how the first principles of a system of knowledge are not articles of faith in a way which does not produce a circular argument. Faith and trust are categorically similar so let's avoid the semantics.

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You’re taking ideas like progress and rationalism and attaching the words religion and myth to them as of if they are the same. This is a popular tactic among religious people now days but it isn’t correct.
I'm using well established concepts. Religion as a categorical term describes a very specific set of human behaviors and tendencies that include the supernatural as often as they omit it. Mythology is properly defined as "a significant cultural narrative." It's important to frame this conversation in the patterns of history and the examples of these concepts as they exist today because they shape how we think and what motivates us. If we are to have a discussion as free of the mental biases of Religion and Mythology, it is imperative that we recognize them. That is why I'm taking the time to point it out to you so that you may recognize hidden influences on your thinking with the hope you will see a more open perspective.

Quote:
So equal value? So if you know something to be rational and others agree and it can be something confirmed somehow…but your “heart” or a religious experience tells you otherwise…which wins if they are all on equal footing?
We know from thousands of years of human experience that we have a tendency to follow the heart and the will but the capacity to use the intellect to guide them. It's never one or the other, always all three.

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Old 04-09-2014, 02:11 PM #92
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Originally Posted by Iamamartianchurch View Post
Getting away from utility and back towards evidence:

I lean mostly towards three because these experiences are not readily reproducible, therefore are not falsifiable. I'm not explicitly at three because I believe one can "test" for validity by undergoing the rituals and practices. However, as stated prior, the success and the interpretation of these actions is highly subjective and irreducibly personal.
You may already know this but I think you would like Pascal a lot (and I mean the real Pascal not the bull**** we pretend is Pascal's argument). He speaks a lot to finding truth through a commitment towards rituals and practices.

Additionally, I'm hearing some semblance of Wittgenstein in this. And not tractatus Wittgenstein. Language-game, system of reference, and all that.
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Old 04-09-2014, 02:26 PM #93
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Hey guys, religion was cool to bring us out of our caveman ways and all, but that fairy tale is over now.

It was tough as a child realizing that Santa and the tooth fairy were made up.

Somehow it was easy to comprehend there is no god though.

They tried to raise me catholic - and I was able to talk my parents out of religion after my first year in college.

Resist all scams!
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Old 04-09-2014, 04:38 PM #94
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Hey guys, religion was cool to bring us out of our caveman ways and all, but that fairy tale is over now.

It was tough as a child realizing that Santa and the tooth fairy were made up.

Somehow it was easy to comprehend there is no god though.

They tried to raise me catholic - and I was able to talk my parents out of religion after my first year in college.

Resist all scams!
so euphoric
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Old 04-09-2014, 05:29 PM #95
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[quote=Iamamartianchurch;80594185]
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You need to look at the underlying culture that says these things are important. Scientific inquiry is driven by culture and not the other way around.
Yes, but scientific inquiry has shaped and changed culture and in my opinion it has done more for humanity than any other idea or concept.



Please explain in detail how the scientific method produces meaning.

It's not the method, its the things you do with science and where science leads you to new discoveries that has meaning. The difference is science can be tested and regarless of who is doing the test the results will be the same as long as the method is followed...the same cannot be said of religion.


This is completely and totally irrelevant to the example I listed.

Might have misread it...but this isnt the main point anyway
.



No disagreement. Still, you have to settle on something or else you end up at nihilism. That choice is a matter of faith.

I'll discuss faith below.


See above about culture and importance. Carl Sagan Is an important theologan in the civil religion of progress - the underlying culture that feeds our fascinations.
I'm not sure he ever considered himslef a theologan..i'll address the word religion below along with faith.


So you disagree that theistic religion has utility because some bad stuff happens as the result of values? Welcome to reality friend. You're free to disagree with the example of utility I gave, but could you please address it directly and show where I am wrong?

I disagree because the utility that religions can have do not need any of the supernatural aspects to be usefull. But without the supernatural aspects...its isnt religion anymore, more below.

As it stands, my assessment of the utility of religion is grounded in practicality, yours is grounded in subjective value judgements. Are you sure you're a purely rational thinker? Because from your arguments so far, that isn't true

The point is anything that a religion has done that happened to benifit mankind could have been accomplished without any supernatural beliefs.




There's not much differences between our understands of faith. The primary difference though, is that my definition is free of hubris and is accepting that not all questions, specifically those of values, can be answered with concrete proofs. You're free to hold onto your understanding but please recognize the extreme bias. The effects of that bias are demonstrated by yourself below:

There is a difference... i'll write it below.


Please address my argument directly and demonstrate how the first principles of a system of knowledge are not articles of faith in a way which does not produce a circular argument. Faith and trust are categorically similar so let's avoid the semantics.

Below...


I'm using well established concepts. Religion as a categorical term describes a very specific set of human behaviors and tendencies that include the supernatural as often as they omit it. Mythology is properly defined as "a significant cultural narrative." It's important to frame this conversation in the patterns of history and the examples of these concepts as they exist today because they shape how we think and what motivates us. If we are to have a discussion as free of the mental biases of Religion and Mythology, it is imperative that we recognize them. That is why I'm taking the time to point it out to you so that you may recognize hidden influences on your thinking with the hope you will see a more open perspective.

Below...


We know from thousands of years of human experience that we have a tendency to follow the heart and the will but the capacity to use the intellect to guide them. It's never one or the other, always all three.
As far as i know what you describe as the "heart'" and "will" are phsycological concepts of the mind and how we describe different types of thinking. When people refer to an "inner voice" or "intuition" I believe its really just your own brain working to solve a problem. Same when someone says "my heart" tells me such and such, its still electrical signals in your brain.

Okay...on to the words religion and faith.

First i'll discuss faith since its coming up more. Faith and trust are not interchangable. They are different words for a reason and each can be missused. The may fall within the same category but so do apples and oranges. Both are fruit and if a friend asks you to pick up some fruit from the store your fine getting either, but if they ask for a specific one, only that one will meet what was asked. Faith is used when there either isnt evidence and also when there is evidence against and is almost exclusivly used in a religious context becuase of that.

Religion-- When people use this word they are implying something along the lines of Christianity, Islam, Wicca, or any of the many religions out there. They dont neseccarilty need a diety to to considered a religion but there is always a supernarual aspect to it...otherwise those things would just be refered to as a club or group and many other descripters. Buddhism in some forms is like that...not all have a belief in a diety but re-incarnation is a common theme accross the board in all demoninations of it.

I'll try to give this as an example of how we see these things differently:
A book is coming out soon by Sam Harris that is about meditation and how contemplative science can benifit people. He uses the word spiritual to describe the mental states but divorces the word from the religious meaning it now has. Originally it just meant breath. I plan to get this book as i think it could benifit my life. You may see this as me having faith that this book could be good for me. I would say I trust that Dr. Harris has done his research and that i can learn from it. In the end if i am wrong and the book is not benificial to my life, nothing is lost but a few hours reading and meditating. But if wrong i could no longer say that i still trust that his book will be benifial to my life. I could however say that i still have faith that the book will benifit my life, even after knowing it didnt. Because the word faith can be used even when the there is evidence against the idea. Thats why i dont use the word.

My goal of posting this thread was to simply answer questions people may have of someone who is an atheist, not to win arguements or discussions. i appreciate you taking the time to discuss this with me but i think we just see things too differently. This is going down more of a philosophical road than i intended. I do not give much thought to philosophy because from what i have seen in it so far is a lot of bickering about what ifs and not a alot of definitive answers. Every philosopher is a little different than the next and its difficult to work out what are just word games and what is truth. Maybe my mind just doesnt comprehend all of what philosophy has to say or for that matter what you are saying. If you dont mind I will continue discussing some of this but i'd rather keep the posts to one thing at a time...this current set up with many points in a post is getting hard to keep up with.
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Old 04-09-2014, 05:38 PM #96
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Originally Posted by automagsrule View Post
So an appeal popularity. Lolk.

All instances of good or bad right or wrong are just abstraction. The moral framework that has developed amongst men is entirely arbitrary with no discernible source.

Kant's doing barrel rolls in his grave right now.
I would say it came along as a process of brain developement in our ancestors and people suriving in group situations. I could be wrong but that makes the most sense to me.
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Old 04-09-2014, 07:35 PM #97
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Sam Harris
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Carl Sagan
I feel like this is what is happening right now:

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Originally Posted by TheSilentAssassin View Post
I found these entertaining so I thought I'd pass them along.

http://i.imgur.com/45XKX7i.png
http://i.imgur.com/xtmj5bE.png
http://i.imgur.com/N8QEVVD.jpg

The last one is the best IMO
The irony of automag's post and the part about Kant in comic three is phenomenal (yes, that was also a pun).
--

Also, this made me smile.

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Carl Sagan Is an important theologan in the civil religion of progress - the underlying culture that feeds our fascinations.
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Old 04-10-2014, 07:58 AM #98
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Haha I shared all of those comics when you originally posted them. So good.
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Old 04-10-2014, 10:06 AM #99
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Yes, but scientific inquiry has shaped and changed culture and in my opinion it has done more for humanity than any other idea or concept.
You have yet to validate these opinions. I pointed out that the utility of science and the utility of religion are weighed on different scales. You have yet to refute that notion with anything other than a shoddy opinion of how going to space is of greater importance than building a civilization. As if the yardstick used to measure either of those tasks is the same. It isn't.

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It's not the method, its the things you do with science and where science leads you to new discoveries that has meaning. The difference is science can be tested and regarless of who is doing the test the results will be the same as long as the method is followed...the same cannot be said of religion.
The scientific method produces the body of work you refer to. The first sentence doesn't answer my question and ultimately amounts to "because I said so." The second sentence has nothing at all to do with the question of producing meaning from scientific inquiry.

This is completely and totally irrelevant to theexampl


Quote:
I'm not sure he ever considered himslef a theologan..i'll address the word religion below along with faith.
Looks like a duck quacks like a duck....it's a duck. I don't consider myself overweight but in reality I'm a fat cow. Or for a more prudent example, practitioners of the Vedic Traditions don't think of themselves as religious. They see it all as the facts and ways of life. Doesn't make them irreligious, categorically.

Quote:
I disagree because the utility that religions can have do not need any of the supernatural aspects to be usefull. But without the supernatural aspects...its isnt religion anymore, more below.
Except for the cussed fact that theistic religions DO contain supernatural elements. That's not something you can just toss away you know. A lot of things don't have to be the way they are you know, but they are the way they are and that's not changing. Every period of Rationalism that literate civilizations has gone through have discarded their Gods and reliably each of those fell back on theistic religion. It doesn't have to be this way, but it is and I have history backing me up. What do you have?

Quote:
The point is anything that a religion has done that happened to benifit mankind could have been accomplished without any supernatural beliefs.
except that's how it's happened is how it's happening. There's no changing those facts. I can make the case that it's going to keep happening in these ways through the repeating patterns of the past that, details aside, are fairly constant as far as civilization goes. Your beliefs are irrelevant next to the hard facts of reality.


Quote:
As far as i know what you describe as the "heart'" and "will" are phsycological concepts of the mind and how we describe different types of thinking. When people refer to an "inner voice" or "intuition" I believe its really just your own brain working to solve a problem. Same when someone says "my heart" tells me such and such, its still electrical signals in your brain.
I'm using familiar cultural references. The Greeks called them the passions, desires and intellect in their conception of the three faculties. Doesn't matter. What matters is you understanding which dimensions of the human experience I'm talking about. Causality between the mind and the brain hasn't been proven so right now your opinions are conjecture.

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First i'll discuss faith since its coming up more. Faith and trust are not interchangable. They are different words for a reason and each can be missused. The may fall within the same category but so do apples and oranges. Both are fruit and if a friend asks you to pick up some fruit from the store your fine getting either, but if they ask for a specific one, only that one will meet what was asked. Faith is used when there either isnt evidence and also when there is evidence against and is almost exclusivly used in a religious context becuase of that.
Stop defending your semantic argument because you associate the word faith with "cold prickly feelings." Yes I've already said that faith is used to decide on things that cannot be proved by concrete facts but must be decided upon to function in the world. Your emotional bias is making this discission almost impossible and that is proven by completely missing our agreement on a definition. That agreement only goes so far. You believe everything that is real can be proven concretely. I don't share that belief since I don't believe the human intellect is omniscient in the way you do. Again:hubris.

P.S. you're still dodging my argument of first principles. Is it safe to assume you have no idea how to address it? I'm not trying to be an arrogant *** or anything but you claim to be all for logic and reason as well as being well versed in it so I'd like to see you put that into practice at some point.

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Religion-- When people use this word they are implying something along the lines of Christianity, Islam, Wicca, or any of the many religions out there. They dont neseccarilty need a diety to to considered a religion but there is always a supernarual aspect to it...otherwise those things would just be refered to as a club or group and many other descripters. Buddhism in some forms is like that...not all have a belief in a diety but re-incarnation is a common theme accross the board in all demoninations of it.
Religion isn't a very specific phenomon. It's a category invented by people to describe familiar patterns of behavior and tendencies of human beings to codify sets of emotionally charged narratives that have a claim to meaning in the world. Robert Bellah wrote an excellent essay on what is termed "civil religions" which makes the case that wholly secular religions exist. I highly recommended all atheists read it.

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I'll try to give this as an example of how we see these things differently:
A book is coming out soon by Sam Harris that is about meditation and how contemplative science can benifit people. He uses the word spiritual to describe the mental states but divorces the word from the religious meaning it now has. Originally it just meant breath. I plan to get this book as i think it could benifit my life. You may see this as me having faith that this book could be good for me. I would say I trust that Dr. Harris has done his research and that i can learn from it. In the end if i am wrong and the book is not benificial to my life, nothing is lost but a few hours reading and meditating. But if wrong i could no longer say that i still trust that his book will be benifial to my life. I could however say that i still have faith that the book will benifit my life, even after knowing it didnt. Because the word faith can be used even when the there is evidence against the idea. Thats why i dont use the word.
I'm not unclear about your take on the word faith. It's only your association of that word with negative emotions that prevents you from having clarity on this subject.

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My goal of posting this thread was to simply answer questions people may have of someone who is an atheist, not to win arguements or discussions. i appreciate you taking the time to discuss this with me but i think we just see things too differently. This is going down more of a philosophical road than i intended. I do not give much thought to philosophy because from what i have seen in it so far is a lot of bickering about what ifs and not a alot of definitive answers. Every philosopher is a little different than the next and its difficult to work out what are just word games and what is truth. Maybe my mind just doesnt comprehend all of what philosophy has to say or for that matter what you are saying. If you dont mind I will continue discussing some of this but i'd rather keep the posts to one thing at a time...this current set up with many points in a post is getting hard to keep up with.
You're in the religion/PHILOSOPHY section. Atheism is a philosophical position. You can't expect, in a public forum, to put your beliefs out there without others subjecting them to scrutiny. You made the bold claim that your beliefs are guided by fact, logic and reason. Going so far as to say only that which can hold up to scrutiny can be valid. Well, here we are.

I've consciously avoided a discussion of values because doing so from different perspectives is fruitless as I've made the case that values and meaning are not provable. A case you claim to the contrary through the assertion that science provides meaning. An assertion you have yet to prove. We can however talk facts, history, logic, language and behavior relatively free of perspective differences since they are more concrete.

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Old 04-10-2014, 11:41 AM #100
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I know people will subject my views to scrutiny and have no problem with it. I dont have a diety whispering in my ear that I am 100% correct and my views can never be revised (not claiming that you do, dont take that the wrong way). It seems I have some things to learn, specifically in philosophy. I can't say that your arguements have proven anything to me but they have made me think more about my position on these matters. Perhaps i am going to far in what I am claiming regarding experience.

Do you have an issue with people who call themselves atheists? Not the people themselves but the title? I have no clue what if anything you consider yourself but it seems like your arguments are trying to push towards some sort of theism?
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Old 04-10-2014, 12:02 PM #101
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It seems I have some things to learn, specifically in philosophy.
This is by no means an obligation, but if you like I can throw together a list of the "must-reads" introductory stuff. Shoot me a pm if you are interested.

Other than that, I can only simply persuade you to avoid "pop-atheist" literature: Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris. Anyone who does serious work in this field will be quick to tell you that they are not worth your time. They are riddled with fallacious arguments and empty rhetoric. I am not claiming that their aren't valid arguments for atheist. Read Hume. Read Sartre. If your interested in naturalistic explanations for religious experience, Durkheim is worth a read. If you have any interest in a true earnest understanding of the philosophy of religion, please just avoid their nonsense.
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Old 04-10-2014, 12:21 PM #102
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Yes, please send me a list of the "must reads". I have read those authors Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris but they are not responsible for my atheism. I came to that position over time in my own way and before any of those authors released their books. My interest in Harris is his research in the brain and how experience works from a scientific view. I can't say he is completely right on the matter and the research is still a bit new to draw many conclusions. Dawkins's is a kick *** evolutionary biologist, as a writter he could use some help and as far as anything else, i dont personally know him. Hitch, I think is a great writter and was not affraid to put his opinion out there. I do disagree with Hitch on some things but still respect his critical view of religion. I havn't read of Daniel Dennet's work, what is your opinion of his books? He is often grouped with the forementioned authors but he is still even critical of their books.
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Old 04-10-2014, 12:31 PM #103
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Originally Posted by Savage Mikey View Post
I know people will subject my views to scrutiny and have no problem with it. I dont have a diety whispering in my ear that I am 100% correct and my views can never be revised (not claiming that you do, dont take that the wrong way). It seems I have some things to learn, specifically in philosophy. I can't say that your arguements have proven anything to me but they have made me think more about my position on these matters. Perhaps i am going to far in what I am claiming regarding experience.

Do you have an issue with people who call themselves atheists? Not the people themselves but the title? I have no clue what if anything you consider yourself but it seems like your arguments are trying to push towards some sort of theism?
I don't have a problem with atheism but I am annoyed by atheists of the brand TSA mentions below precisely because all the lip service they pay to fact, rationalism, empiricism and the like doesn't count for a dammed thing in the bodies of work they produce. Dawkins might be a good biologist, but he's a bad philosopher and an even worse historian.

It's all to common to champion the value of logic, reason and empiricism without demonstrating a proficient understanding of any of those. THAT is troublesome and it overshadows legitimate work by others who can address the complicated nature of reality from an atheist perspective with remarkable clarity.

I'm not advocating theism. I'm really only advocating a grounded view of values, meaning, fact and experience. I also like to push the idea that regardless of how one feels about theism, theres an identifiable ebb and flow to it and we all need to accept these patterns.
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Old 04-10-2014, 01:08 PM #104
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Tsa, martian - as always I enjoy reading what you have to post.

Tsa - mind if I hit you up for that list also?
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Old 04-10-2014, 01:11 PM #105
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THAT is troublesome and it overshadows legitimate work by others who can address the complicated nature of reality from an atheist perspective with remarkable clarity.
Who are these others that you think are doing legitimate work in this area? I know TSA offered to send a list of books but I was wondering if you had a list that may be different. Should I start with a particular author or order?
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