"Turn him loose as a theorist..."

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Re: "Turn him loose as a theorist..."

Postby Bean_wannabe » Tue May 22, 2012 12:25 pm

Not quite sure how to parse your statement. Can you re-phrase that, please?
Sorry. I was trying to say that from an impartial viewpoint, that treats everything the Bible calls 'sin' as equal (as the Bible says is the case) then legalising civil partnerships is no different to passing a law that condones any other sin. I stand against it in the same way I would stand against a law that recognised (as an extreme example) thievery as a legitimate lifestyle choice.

Which is not to say I hold anything against those who choose to live that way, any more than I go around denouncing those who lie or just aren't Christian.
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Re: "Turn him loose as a theorist..."

Postby Taalcon » Tue May 22, 2012 12:53 pm

I don't see this thread going anywhere productive on this track. Any. Where. Productive.

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Re: "Turn him loose as a theorist..."

Postby Boothby » Tue May 22, 2012 5:14 pm

Dave,

Personally? I'd like to continue.


BWB,

What about heterosexual couples that are "wed" via "Civil Unions." Would you say that my wife and I have been living in sin? That our two children were born out of wedlock? That they're bastards? I mean, we've called ourselves "married," because it's a convenient term, but we were "married" by a Justice of the Peace, not a priest, pastor, rabbi, imam, etc.

Would you be in favor of, or opposed to, accepting civil partnerships as equivalent to Christian Marriages...if they were civil partnerships of HETEROSEXUAL couples? Are heterosexual civil unions OK, but not Homosexual ones? Because then you ARE opposed to homosexuals, even though the NT has nothing other to say about them.

And I'm not sure what you mean regarding what the requirements of a Christian marriage are, especially since (and I'll fight you to the death on this one), the United States is NOT a Christian nation.

I mean, Ephesians 5; 21-33 states:
21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. 22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her; 26 that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body. 31 For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each individual among you also love his own wife even as himself; and let the wife see to it that she respect her husband.
We failed miserably at 21, and 22, 23, 24, not quite sure what to say about 26, failed at 27, etc.

What part of the NT do you use for the "one man/one woman" thing? And why that part and not Ephesians 5? Who gets to pick?
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Re: "Turn him loose as a theorist..."

Postby Taalcon » Tue May 22, 2012 8:42 pm

< Hey Steve, just read this article today (it was just published today), thought it was relevant to some of the side discussion. Specifically addressing reactions to Mormonism, but its scope is in the context of religious stories and tenets in general. "Is Mormonism Ridiculous?", @ Patheos.com >

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Re: "Turn him loose as a theorist..."

Postby Boothby » Tue May 22, 2012 9:16 pm

Thank you, Dave. I will say that I've come across other sites (that I have not brought in to play here) that are rather harsh about Mr. Smith's history in upstate NY (my stomping grounds).

One of the things I noticed about the article you linked to--it doesn't talk about any religion as possessing any sort of "truth" (as in "The Truth'). It talks about religion as a way of thinking about things. That's an interesting discussion, but, unfortunately, that is not the extent of any particular religion's claims.

From the article:
Like most religious traditions, Mormonism emerged to resolve some kind of spiritual or intellectual problems it’s early adherents saw in the competing options available to them.
This statement also implies that religions are man-made (as I firmly believe they are), sort of blowing a hole in the whole "divinely inspired" aspect of most (all?) religions, including Mormonism. After all, it's one thing to be a Lutheran ("I don't like this religion, I think I'll keep some things, and reinterpret other things to my liking) and a totally different thing to have discovered a series of golden plates, to have translated them, creating an entirely new Shadow series, and have an angel swing by to pick up the tablets to either 1) Protect them/retrieve them back to heaven, or 2) give you an excuse as to why no one else can take a look at them in an attempt to decipher them.

BTW, Taylor Petrey seems to have a lot of good background, and has written some very interesting articles. But when I was reading THIS one (the one you linked to), I kept thinking "This guy sounds like a Mormon apologist." He is Mormon, and the article has a "skirting the real issue by pointing all over the place" sense to it.

http://www.hds.harvard.edu/news-events/ ... ble-mormon" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: "Turn him loose as a theorist..."

Postby Taalcon » Tue May 22, 2012 11:04 pm

Thank you, Dave. I will say that I've come across other sites (that I have not brought in to play here) that are rather harsh about Mr. Smith's history in upstate NY (my stomping grounds).
There are two fantastic and thorough books that examine Joseph, and his early New York context. The first is Rough Stone Rolling, by Richard Bushman, which is a full-lifo bio of Joseph. While a member, the book is written very even handedly, and 'warts and all'. You can tell he did a good job being middle of the road, because it makes very conservative Mormons uncomfortable, and has evangelical anti-mormons saying it was too nice.

The second is by a non-Mormon, non-supernatural believer named Dan Vogel, called Joseph Smith: The Making of a Prophet. I think you'd like this one, Steve. It's as long as Rough Stone Rolling, but only covers up through the New York years (he's planning a few follow up volumes). I, too, find it a fantastic, useful, well-researched resource. It is absolutely not apologetic in anyway, but it doesn't paint Joseph as a diabolical villain, either.
One of the things I noticed about the article you linked to--it doesn't talk about any religion as possessing any sort of "truth" (as in "The Truth'). It talks about religion as a way of thinking about things. That's an interesting discussion, but, unfortunately, that is not the extent of any particular religion's claims.

From the article:
Like most religious traditions, Mormonism emerged to resolve some kind of spiritual or intellectual problems it’s early adherents saw in the competing options available to them.
This statement also implies that religions are man-made (as I firmly believe they are), sort of blowing a hole in the whole "divinely inspired" aspect of most (all?) religions, including Mormonism.
Religions comes down to men and/or women who have some sort of experience of inspiration/enlightenment, and use that experience as an interpretative framework that addresses their and their community's concerns. Call the source of the inspiration God, call it a dream, call it a drug-induced stupor. The point is, communities are built, and stories are told that add value and purpose, and hope, and meaning to individuals' lives, and to a community.

[quote[and have an angel swing by to pick up the tablets to either 1) Protect them/retrieve them back to heaven, or 2) give you an excuse as to why no one else can take a look at them in an attempt to decipher them.[/quote]

While it's not hitting at the core of your argument, a note of clarification - contrary to the claims of the Book of Mormon musical, there are 12 individuals who were shown, and claimed to be witnesses of the plates. While three of them claimed to see them in a vision experience (which I would understand your discounting), the other 8 experienced a hands-on, non-vision, walk-in-the-woods and look and heft deal. Whether you feel their witness is reliable is a different story, but several were shown and allowed to handle the plates - scroll down to read the testimony of the 3 and the 8).
BTW, Taylor Petrey seems to have a lot of good background, and has written some very interesting articles. But when I was reading THIS one (the one you linked to), I kept thinking "This guy sounds like a Mormon apologist." He is Mormon, and the article has a "skirting the real issue by pointing all over the place" sense to it.
You want your head to explode? Check out this by him: Towards a Post Hetero-sexual Mormon Theology

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Re: "Turn him loose as a theorist..."

Postby Boothby » Tue May 22, 2012 11:11 pm

I saw that last one...thanks for the link; I'll have to go back to it later. Must. go. to bed....
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Re: "Turn him loose as a theorist..."

Postby Tiny genius » Sat Jun 02, 2012 6:02 am

Just to clear up some earlier posts:

I do NOT believe that we will soon be seeing the arranged marriages of dead infants. Like I said, they were disturbing tangential side thoughts.

I resent that Steve saw me as coming across as an idiot-class, right-wing, fundamentalist Christian, theocratic wannabee and (lord help me) AMERICAN. I'm an Australian with bouts of temporary madness. --> Whilst mad I had a dream. I didn't do anything religious with it. I wrote an apocalyptic poem with 2 sequels.

My gender hasn't been established in ANY thread, not that I'm aware of.

I agree with Dave that that (or is it this one still... tired again) argument doesn't seem to be going anywhere useful. I mean, how are you guys going to crack the Skasis Paradigm, which I created this thread to do, if you keep going on like this? :)

(edit)> THAT'S what I was going to say. I just remembered. Now I know it's dangerous giving pyromaniac Steve matches and petrol to play with but here goes. I was talking about some family history and found out that various relatives of mine who had been adopted out (as babies) into (not on purpose) non-Christian families all came to believe in the same interpretation Christianity. Now I know that this isn't so much of a coincidence but it got me thinking that some may see it as "the need for a delusional belief in a God is genetic, it's something to do with the way their minds develop that they have to believe in order to function properly".
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Re: "Turn him loose as a theorist..."

Postby Boothby » Sat Jun 02, 2012 10:46 am

T/G,

Here in the US, one of the common Right-Wing Christian arguments against homosexual marriage is that it "will lead to people marrying children, dogs, horses, sticks, etc." so for you to go talk about "arranged marriages of dead infants" you were striding right down along that same path. I responded in a similar vein. And the "Arranged marriage of dead babies" also reminded me of the Mormon "Baptism for the dead."

And, trust me, I did not treat you as an idiot-class, right-wing, fundamentalist Christian, theocratic wannabee. You would have known if I was treating you as one of those.
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Re: "Turn him loose as a theorist..."

Postby Tiny genius » Sat Jun 02, 2012 8:19 pm

Riiiight..., chm... yeah, okay.

I never said you treated me like one just that I didn't like to think I was coming across as one. I am not opposed to homosexuality and I'm not going to get involved in the gay marriage argument because no matter what position I take someone's going to have a go at me, calling me a homophobe or a hypocrite.

I already explained that I don't think the things I listed would happen if we allowed gay marriage. That would be ridiculous. I just said THEY - WERE - THOUGHTS - THAT - CAME - TO - ME - TRIGGERED - BY - NEWS -STORIES - ABOUT - VARIOUS - ASPECTS - OF - THE - IDEA.
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Re: "Turn him loose as a theorist..."

Postby neo-dragon » Sun Jun 03, 2012 1:37 am

My gender hasn't been established in ANY thread, not that I'm aware of.
I think that my confusion is understandable after these previous quotes from you:
Why do people keep assuming I'm male?
I'm just curious that everyone seems to guess male. It's a bit odd considering, like you said yourself, mine's a gender-neutral name.
It would be nice if you gave us your pronoun of choice (if not your actual biological gender) if for no other reason than to avoid future "why do you assume I'm male/female?" incidents when someone uses any gender specific pronoun in reference to you, because frankly I find the intentional ambiguity to be silly and I will probably just refer to you as "it" from now on if you don't give a preference.
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Re: "Turn him loose as a theorist..."

Postby Tiny genius » Sun Jun 03, 2012 3:30 am

"It" is fine by me. I won't give a preference and I was only wondering at the consistency of people's guessing at my gender. I'll not make comments when any gender-specific pronoun is used. Bear in mind I didn't intend the ambiguity, it's a side-product of intentional anonymity.

Refer to me as she, he, it... whatever, I really don't care. I's just surprised.

I can see though, given that I said I was surprised that people thought me male that people would draw the conclusion that I'm female.
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Re: "Turn him loose as a theorist..."

Postby Dr. Mobius » Sun Jun 03, 2012 5:25 am

I'm guessing Tiny is a third wave feminist. I can't think of anyone else who would raise such a fuss over gender while insisting they don't care.
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Re: "Turn him loose as a theorist..."

Postby neo-dragon » Sun Jun 03, 2012 11:05 am

Bear in mind I didn't intend the ambiguity, it's a side-product of intentional anonymity.
Whatever floats your boat.

I understand wanting to maintain anonymity, but it does seem odd that you've reveled your age and home country, but draw the line at gender. That does suggest that you place some special importance on it. I'm not trying to make you admit or deny that that's true so feel free not to comment, but that's just how it looks to me and probably to others.
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Re: "Turn him loose as a theorist..."

Postby Boothby » Sun Jun 03, 2012 3:36 pm

A:
I resent that Steve saw me as coming across as an idiot-class, right-wing, fundamentalist Christian, theocratic wannabee and (lord help me) AMERICAN
B:
I never said you treated me like one just that I didn't like to think I was coming across as one.

No, you didn't say I treated you as one, merely that I saw you as one.
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Re: "Turn him loose as a theorist..."

Postby Tiny genius » Sun Jun 03, 2012 9:53 pm

I understand wanting to maintain anonymity, but it does seem odd that you've reveled your age and home country, but draw the line at gender. That does suggest that you place some special importance on it. I'm not trying to make you admit or deny that that's true so feel free not to comment, but that's just how it looks to me and probably to others.
How many 15 year olds are there in Australia? How many creepy old men pretending to be 15 year olds in Australia are there? How many paranoids are there that will pretend to be both 15 and Australian to mislead the Pentagon? I don't see that information as a solid means of locating someone.

I try not to use the same screen name on any two sites and don't link my screen name with my real name.

P.S. Mobius, I didn't think I made a fuss over my gender just that people always took me to be male.

P.P.S. It's been discussed enough, can we shut up about it now?
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Re: "Turn him loose as a theorist..."

Postby neo-dragon » Sun Jun 03, 2012 10:13 pm

I understand wanting to maintain anonymity, but it does seem odd that you've reveled your age and home country, but draw the line at gender. That does suggest that you place some special importance on it. I'm not trying to make you admit or deny that that's true so feel free not to comment, but that's just how it looks to me and probably to others.
How many 15 year olds are there in Australia? How many creepy old men pretending to be 15 year olds in Australia are there? How many paranoids are there that will pretend to be both 15 and Australian to mislead the Pentagon? I don't see that information as a solid means of locating someone.
That's kind of my point. There are a lot more males (for instance) of all ages in Australia than 15 year olds. As well as a lot more males in the world than Australians of any age.

My point is that if you want to be really picky about it, your gender is far less specific than the other things you revealed. There are billions of males on the planet, but only about 22 million Australians. (And lying about your location is pointless since mods can see your I.P.)

Just sayin'.
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Re: "Turn him loose as a theorist..."

Postby Tiny genius » Sun Jun 03, 2012 10:17 pm

Just sayin' back...

It doesn't matter what I say because anything could be a lie.
I mayn't be using my own computer right now or when I created my account.

Nothing's certain online and in real life nothing makes sense unless you want it to. Like the inexplicable feeling you get that someone is watching you, or in my case that there are gun-sights trained on my head/neck half the time. I'm not joking, the feeling's strange...
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Re: "Turn him loose as a theorist..."

Postby Boothby » Mon Jun 04, 2012 10:32 am

oooookaaaaay.....
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Re: "Turn him loose as a theorist..."

Postby elfprince13 » Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:37 am

I'mmmm baaa-acccck. I'm pretty sure this is going to throw the thread all over the place.
Yeah, I guess... I still haven't looked up "Inaugurated Eschatology" :).
It goes along with the belief that the Kingdom of God is going to be established on a restored Earth. What it actually entails, is the belief that the "end times" were inaugurated in the life + death + resurrection of Jesus, and so there aspects of the kingdom which are already established, and aspects which are not yet established. Take a look at http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/201 ... ehind.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; (disclaimer, I'm related to the author) to get an idea of where I fall on that particular issue.
Or time to say "there's little mathematical advantage in believing in a God," and choose to believe (or disbelieve) for genuine reasons (instead of trying to hedge your bets).
:stamp:
Although I'm Christian, my views often tend towards agnosticism. I'm inclined to believe that we probably just cease to exist when we die.
So what do you consider to be the defining attributes of a Christian faith? I don't want to do too much Bible thumping, but it's hard to understand the purpose of a Christian faith that denies the resurrection of the dead. Paul hits the nail on the head
12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised,(AD) our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. ... 30 And as for us, why do we endanger ourselves every hour? 31 I face death every day—yes, just as surely as I boast about you in Christ Jesus our Lord. 32 If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus with no more than human hopes, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised,

“Let us eat and drink,
for tomorrow we die.”
I understand where you're coming from about your faith. I was born and raised Christian but my academic and professional career has been all about science and science education. I'm certainly not the most knowledgeable scientist here, but I pride myself on being about to look at things rationally and with minimal bias (no bias being generally impossible for us humans), so I recognize that there is no logical reason to believe in a God, or pray to him, but I just do... although I get a bit agnostic at times and will often take the agnostic/atheist side of arguments when I feel that one's faith is blinding them, or because it's often the more fun side to argue.

I think that there is a very subtle difference between "blind faith" and "blinding faith". Both are resolute and powerful, but the latter closes one's mind to anything outside of preconceived notions. Blind faith can in fact change and grow, blinding faith is rigid and distorts one's worldview, forcing reality to fit into one's own beliefs rather than adapting one's beliefs to fit reality. I'm wary of people who exhibit "blinding" faith, and that includes atheists. Yes, people can and do have blinding faith in atheism, and the effect is very much the same.
As a Christian & a scientist, it's easy to find oneself in the crossfire between anti-intellectual religious people and anti-religious intellectuals. More than anything else in arguments of this sort, I try to shoot down sloppy/poorly constructed lines of reasoning, which is where I think you're associating with being on the agnostic/atheist side of arguments. I think the difference is that you seem to be exclusively a rationalist, while maintaining a Kierkegaardian view of faith in God (agnostic theism); whereas I lean more towards Kant - relying heavily on reason to inform and defend my worldview, but recognizing that reason has limits. Sorry if I'm misinterpreting you, that's just what I'm getting from this post, and the conversations we've had in the past. I appreciate your distinction between blind faith and blinding faith, but I also strongly disagree that blind faith is a desirable attribute (even if it's better than blinding faith) - particularly given the strong strains of empiricism present in Biblical models of faith.

There is no rational proof for such a being.
...

2) Prove that it exists.
There is no rational proof for any construction outside of pure mathematics. Don't be silly.
And yet, as we all know, OSC is very much a theist.

In Xenocide, Qing Jao's entire character is practically an essay on the dangers of magical thinking, but in the same novel I recall that at least one character suggests that the miraculous discovery of a means of faster than light travel, which also happened to provide cures for the descolada and Miro may well have been an answer to the Lusitanian's prayers. That it may not have been possible until they asked and God made it so. So is OSC sending mixed messages?
As I point out earlier in my post, faith in God and magical thinking are hardly synonymous, which is the distinction between the Judeo-Christian Biblical tradition and essentially every other religion I'm aware of. The neo-Platonic influence on Protestant theology is probably the worst thing to happen (theologically) in the history of the Church, because it strongly encouraged the backslide towards magical thinking and a denigrated view of Creation. In Jewish (and early Christian) thought, a miracle is an attesting sign to validate spiritual authority (a primitive form of public-key authentication, if you will). No other religion with which I'm familiar makes the magic-trick/miracle distinction, and therefore provide no rational basis by which to authenticate people who may or may not be speaking on God's behalf (prophets). Islam (or at least every Muslim with whom I've had theological discourse, and as far as I can determine from reading the Qur'an + a selection of hadith), for example, assigns no significance to miracles beyond "huh, that's interesting".

I just ask that you take my word for it, a practicing, active Mormon, that our historical tradition, scripture, and accompanying theology - is not always easily placed into soundbyte form in a way that is true to the wide spectrum of beliefs of all its members. It's become a bit of an axiom among those who study LDS history, tradition, and theology (I'm one of 'em!) that determining settled LDS Doctrine is somewhat like nailing Jell-o to a wall. It ain't easy, and can be kind of messy!) - It's part of the fun of being part of a tradition with a perpetually open canon, and without a doctrine of scriptural or prophetic infallibility.
Can you explain the reasoning behind this, particularly in light of my proceeding paragraph?
Sorry. I was trying to say that from an impartial viewpoint, that treats everything the Bible calls 'sin' as equal (as the Bible says is the case) then legalising civil partnerships is no different to passing a law that condones any other sin. I stand against it in the same way I would stand against a law that recognised (as an extreme example) thievery as a legitimate lifestyle choice.
Bean_wannabe, why do you believe that the government has the authority to tell people what to do, beyond protecting our natural rights? We don't have the right (or the wisdom) to protect people from themselves. It's an impossible task on multiple levels (the government is made up of the same fallen humans that they are trying to govern), and we can't force people to seek God. Furthermore, a civil partnership isn't a license to have sex (people do that whenever and with whoever they want already), it's a way for the government to recognize a financial and social contract between two people who are providing each other's social safety net; and this has a long history outside of any context of marriage (i.e., embrotherment in medieval france). The legal definition of a household (shared finances, hospital visitation rights, etc), should not be tied to the religious + cultural institution of marriage.
< Hey Steve, just read this article today (it was just published today), thought it was relevant to some of the side discussion. Specifically addressing reactions to Mormonism, but its scope is in the context of religious stories and tenets in general. "Is Mormonism Ridiculous?", @ Patheos.com >
I'd actually have rather seen the article address some of Mormonism's rather...interesting...historical/archaeological claims than supernatural aspects of faith in general.

We've got the atheists and agnostics saying that "good" and "evil" are just descriptive terms without any real physical "existence", and we've got the various flavours of theists afraid to claim that they believe that "good" and "evil" are in some way, shape, or form, actual, physical objects, with idealized representational entities (God and Satan).
I'd much rather speak in terms of whole relationship and sin (broken relationships) than good and evil, since those are much more concrete and descriptive terms, that are addressing the same fundamental terms. I also like to steer away from idealized representational entities, since I'm not a Platonist, but subject to various quibbles "goodness" and (my understanding of) God could be installed in something approximating that relationship for the purpose of this discussion. Obviously we tend to think of evil as the opposite of good, but Satan isn't the opposite of God, so he can hardly be an idealized representational entity for evil. If anything, he's the archetypical sinner, and the evil (not-goodness) that he causes is a result of his rebellion against/broken relationship with God.
Bell's conjecture (unproven theorem)
You don't want to go there. You seem suspicious of this particular bit of physics. Airing those suspicions publicly will make you a subject of mockery for physicists in the same way that suspicion of the Incompleteness Theorems will make you a subject of mockery for logicians/mathematicians/computer scientists. To get an idea of what I'm talking about, take a look at the brouhaha over on Scott Aaronson (an MIT professor + quantum complexity theorist)'s blog, and the abject scorn with which that sort of nonsense is treated. http://www.scottaaronson.com/blog/?p=993" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; and http://www.scottaaronson.com/blog/?p=1028" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: "Turn him loose as a theorist..."

Postby Boothby » Thu Jun 21, 2012 11:54 am

There is no rational proof for any construction outside of pure mathematics. Don't be silly.
I think you've just invoked Boothby's 2nd Law: how can we ever really know anything?

In all honesty, further discussions with you are useless and a waste of time.
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Re: "Turn him loose as a theorist..."

Postby elfprince13 » Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:39 pm

There is no rational proof for any construction outside of pure mathematics. Don't be silly.
I think you've just invoked Boothby's 2nd Law: how can we ever really know anything?

In all honesty, further discussions with you are useless and a waste of time.
That's not all what I said. I simply pointed out the concept of proof only applies to deductive reasoning. In essence what you're asking for (a proof of God) is a trick question intended to allow you to criticize circular reasoning or infinite regress. Phrased slightly differently, I can ask you a much more pointed question which reveals the silliness of what you ask. Specifically, I'd like you to define the set of axioms under which a deductive proof of God would be admissible to you. The following actually is a proof for the existence of God (the symbology is explained here):

Image
But even as a theist, I would reject that particular proof on axiomatic grounds, since Axiom 5 in particular is pretty questionable.
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Re: "Turn him loose as a theorist..."

Postby Boothby » Thu Jun 21, 2012 6:00 pm

Didn't I already express my displeasure with St. Anselm's claim?

And since when is ACTUAL existence better than theoretical existence?

My current (STBX) wife, for instance, would have been better as a theoretical wife. As an actual wife, she falls far short.

The cheddar bacon cheeseburger you want will be, in most cases, better than the cheddar bacon cheeseburger you actually GET (especially if you get it at McDonalds or Burger King).


But you DID say "There is no rational proof for ANY construct outside of pure mathematics," which falls under the heading of Boothby's THIRD law (discounting of all epistemology; not the 2nd law as I had previously, and incorrectly, mentioned).

Face it, if the only way you can prove the existence of God is to declare that "we really can't prove (know) anything" than you're spinning a load of BS, and I have better things to do with my time.
Last edited by Boothby on Thu Jun 21, 2012 6:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Turn him loose as a theorist..."

Postby Boothby » Thu Jun 21, 2012 6:20 pm

A quick repeat of Boothby's Five Rules of Theological Debate:
RULE 1: Presume the existence of God. More specifically, presume the existence of your particular God. Don't say things like "I believe that God does this...", simply say, "God does this..." After all, everybody knows that God exists. Atheists are just wrong, and deep down inside they realize that. Yes, it's OK to pity them (just not yet--see RULE 5).


RULE 2: Never actually define what it is you mean by "God" or "Heaven," etc. If you define it, then it can be refuted. After all, you've already established that He exists (see RULE 1). Also, if challenged, you can always say, "That's not what I meant," or "I never said that He could do that..."


RULE 3: Once your opponent starts using observation and logic in his foolish attempt to refute what everybody already knows to be true, you can deny that both observation and logic are valid approaches to understanding. Typical responses are, "How can we ever really know anything," and "God does not operate under the rules of logic and rationality--He is beyond them." Never, under any circumstances, attempt to explain just what the hell any of that means, because it really doesn't mean anything (that's the beauty of it). More importantly, do not try and understand it yourself, as your head may actually explode. Your opponent may respond to your first statement by asking, "then how do you know if anything is true?" To which you simply respond, "I just know."

Some other good responses under RULE 3 include "But is there really any difference between the earth and the concept of the earth?" and "If I have no way of knowing if there are monsters under my bed (short of looking) but if I genuinely believe they are there, the fear of them is no different than if they really are there."

One of the other advantages of invoking RULE 3 is that you are no longer constrained to actually have to make sense in what you say or write. By discrediting logic and reason, you are no longer bound by them yourself. If you can keep this up, many times your opponent will just walk away, shaking his head, thereby handing you the "win."


RULE 4: As things start to go downhill, you may have to use the old reliable notion that "God exists because people believe that He exists." There are deep theological problems with this approach, especially if other religions have more believers in their God than yours (except you know, of course, that they're totally wrong, anyhow). But still, it keeps you away from RULE 5.


RULE 5: If all else fails, you may just have to reveal your opponent for what he really is. An idiot. A Godless, liberal, democrat, communist, baby-eating, tree-hugging idiot.


To which I guess I should add RULE #6: You know that thing we were discussing that was so important? It's not really that important after all. Why are you so hung up on it? It's like you're obsessing, or something.

Taken from THIS 5+ year old thread: http://www.philoticweb.net/forum/viewto ... ws&start=0" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: "Turn him loose as a theorist..."

Postby Dr. Mobius » Thu Jun 21, 2012 6:51 pm

I have better things to do with my time.
I'm actually rather curious what precisely these things are since you seem to spend the majority of your time here goading the theists into breaking one or another of your self-imposed "rules".

It's really kind of amusing since as much as I agree with you in the broadest general sense, the specifics of your tactics are no less absurd than theirs.
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Re: "Turn him loose as a theorist..."

Postby Boothby » Thu Jun 21, 2012 7:07 pm

Dr. Mobius,

The "5 Rules" are meant as a parody OF "theirs"

I actually came back to this thread because I got an automatic notification of it via e-mail.

I come back to the EG websites because I enjoy EG.

I engage in philosophical debates because I enjoy them, and I want to see if there's is anything new under the sun. I thought, for a moment, that ElfPrnce might be offering something, but it's just the same old stuff (St. Anselm, appeal for the existence of God through ignorance, God of the gaps, etc.) It was neat that Godel developed a formal "proof" for St. Anselm's approach, but it is no less flawed, no less false.

"Self Imposed Rules"??? Boothby's 5 rules? As I mentioned--they are meant as parody. It's only through unfortunate coincidence (or is it?) that theists seem to use all six of them on such a thorough and regular basis.
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Re: "Turn him loose as a theorist..."

Postby elfprince13 » Thu Jun 21, 2012 8:47 pm

Didn't I already express my displeasure with St. Anselm's claim?
Did you actually just ignore the entire contents of my post except for the link to the proof? I expressly pointed out that I think the proof is axiomatically incorrect, even though the logic is sound, as part of asking you to define the axiomatic system under which you would find a proof of God to be admissible.

But you DID say "There is no rational proof for ANY construct outside of pure mathematics," which falls under the heading of Boothby's THIRD law (discounting of all epistemology; not the 2nd law as I had previously, and incorrectly, mentioned).

Face it, if the only way you can prove the existence of God is to declare that "we really can't prove (know) anything" than you're spinning a load of BS, and I have better things to do with my time.
Your problem seems to be inappropriately conflating proof with knowledge ... a sure sign, along with your supreme discomfort at the idea of logical incompleteness and nondeterminism, that you really are still living in the intellectual 18th century. Since I don't conflate the two, you assume my denying the existence of a proof (under any sensible axiomatic system) is the same as denying the possibility of knowledge. Go read a primer on the different classes of reasoning (deductive/inductive/abductive), Kant's "Critique of Pure Reason", and Scott Aaronson's foray into analytic philosophy. Between them you should get a solid grasp of the different kinds of reasoning and the difference between proof and statistical confidence; as well as the difference between knowledge and reasoning. The last of those should give you an idea of how a nonbeliever can make coherent arguments about the nature of knowledge without having to deny modern mathematics and physics or ignore the entire fields of philosophy of logic/philosophy of consciousness. When you're done, come back and we can try this again.


.... or you can just thoughtfully read (for comprehension, rather than just skimming for keywords that trigger reflexive responses) what I'm saying, stop putting words in my mouth, and try to learn something.
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Re: "Turn him loose as a theorist..."

Postby Boothby » Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:24 pm

EP13,

One of the prerequisites for you to have "knowledge," is for the thing you claim to know actually to be true.

Nozick has offered the following definition of knowledge:

S knows that P if and only if:

P;
S believes that P;
if P were false, S would not believe that P;
if P is true, S will believe that P.


In fact, since I doubt that you would cease to believe in God even if the falsely claimed existence of God were proven to you to be false, you would FAIL in Nozick's definition.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistemolo ... _responses" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


And you claimed that "Axion 5 is questionable"

Axion 5, as you list it, is "P(E)"

Seriously? This is how you talk? As I've repeatedly mentioned, this is not philosophy class. Use ENGLISH.

Going to the WIKI page that your "proof" is taken from (not that I'm chiding you on that; I did the same), Axiom 5 states--IN ENGLSH--"Axiom 5: Necessary existence is a positive property"

I could even relent on that one. But Godel (and Anselm) pretty much seem to assume that "All positive properties must exist." (Axiom 4: If a property A is positive, then it is so in every possible world.), But Axion 4 does not state that positive properties must exist. Actually, Anselm tries to claim that a really, really, really positive property MUST exist (Think of the most perfect island. Think of an island even more perfect than the first one, because it actually EXISTS! Therefore, that second island MUST EXIST. It's magical thinking. And it's false.)

Yet, of all the possible "proofs," you chose a false one. Again: humankind has had thousands and thousands of years to ry and ome up with a working, deductive proof of the existence of God, yet none exist. And Inductive proofs, as I'm sure you would argue, are not valid or overly meaningful proofs.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inductive_reasoning" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_of_induction" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

KNOWLEDGE:
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I've been through a lot of this, BTW. I wonder how better off you are with your 21st century epistemology, vs. my 18th century epistemology....

I'm also NOT trying to use "logical incompleteness" and non-determinism to positively PROVE that something exists (such as "God"). For all your fancy talk, you still seem to be appealing to Boothby's 3rd law: "Since we can't really know anything, how can you say that my unsupported beliefs are wrong?!" I've always been an empiricist, positivist, and realist: I can know enough.
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Re: "Turn him loose as a theorist..."

Postby elfprince13 » Fri Jun 22, 2012 10:18 am

One of the prerequisites for you to have "knowledge," is for the thing you claim to know actually to be true.
And as the incompleteness theorem points out, there's an infinitely large set of things which are true, but whose truth is unprovable.

Nozick has offered the following definition of knowledge:

S knows that P if and only if:

P;
S believes that P;
if P were false, S would not believe that P;
if P is true, S will believe that P.
That seems like a reasonably good definition, but no where does it require proof, just correlation between truth and belief (and falsehood and nonbelief).
In fact, since I doubt that you would cease to believe in God even if the falsely claimed existence of God were proven to you to be false, you would FAIL in Nozick's definition.
What an absurd (and insulting) thing to say (assuming the axioms under which the proof is made were ones I was able to agree on).

And you claimed that "Axion 5 is questionable"

Axion 5, as you list it, is "P(E)"

Seriously? This is how you talk? As I've repeatedly mentioned, this is not philosophy class. Use ENGLISH.

Going to the WIKI page that your "proof" is taken from (not that I'm chiding you on that; I did the same), Axiom 5 states--IN ENGLSH--"Axiom 5: Necessary existence is a positive property"

I could even relent on that one. But Godel (and Anselm) pretty much seem to assume that "All positive properties must exist." (Axiom 4: If a property A is positive, then it is so in every possible world.), But Axion 4 does not state that positive properties must exist. Actually, Anselm tries to claim that a really, really, really positive property MUST exist (Think of the most perfect island. Think of an island even more perfect than the first one, because it actually EXISTS! Therefore, that second island MUST EXIST. It's magical thinking. And it's false.)
Sure, axiom 4 is pretty bad too, but since the proof depends on all of them, it doesn't really matter which set are bad, as long as at least one is. You're missing the point here. I'm not using Gödel's proof as an example of what to do. I'm using the distinction between "proven under some set of axioms" and "proof under axioms that are universally agreed upon" to illustrate the absurdity of your request for a proof of God. Your instinctive negative reaction to that proof illustrates my point exactly, even though you missed the point when I spelled it out.
Yet, of all the possible "proofs," you chose a false one. Again: humankind has had thousands and thousands of years to ry and ome up with a working, deductive proof of the existence of God, yet none exist.
Sure they exist, I just gave you an example of one. But deductive proofs are only meaningful under a particular formally axiomatized system, and what humanity hasn't come up with is an axiomatized system under which we can all agree that the proofs are admissible in discussions of what is true. Hell, we haven't even done that with set theory yet (the axiom of choice is fairly controversial), which is a lot more concrete than metaphysics. Which is why I'm quite curious to know under which set of axioms you would find a proof admissible, since you're so keen on having one.
And Inductive proofs, as I'm sure you would argue, are not valid or overly meaningful proofs.
Bingo, we have a winner (barring total induction, which is really a form of deduction). But as an engineer, you seem quite content to use the laws of physics (which, I think we would both claim that you know) in your work, and you're confident enough in them to build things that other people rely on, even though they aren't (and can never be) proven in any rigorous sense. Which is where statistical confidence comes in.
You're missing the third circle in that diagram, which is provability.

I'm also NOT trying to use "logical incompleteness" and non-determinism to positively PROVE that something exists (such as "God").
Neither am I. So far, I've only used them to show that God is not provably false.
For all your fancy talk, you still seem to be appealing to Boothby's 3rd law: "Since we can't really know anything, how can you say that my unsupported beliefs are wrong?!" I've always been an empiricist, positivist, and realist: I can know enough.
To the contrary. So far I've only been saying "Since we know these views are false (or carry these other nasty looking conditions which break causal structure if they turn out to be true, and we have no way of testing between them, so take the option that preserves causal structure), so how can you use them to claim that my beliefs are wrong", which is logically independent of whether or not my beliefs are supported. So far we've been so hung up on your 18th century views, that we've been unable to progress the conversation far enough for me to offer any support for my beliefs (and doing so would be unproductive until we're on the same page as far as the basic assumptions about physics and logic are concerned).
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Re: "Turn him loose as a theorist..."

Postby Boothby » Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:45 am

So all this time, we've been debating about whether or not your fantasy creature can be proven FALSE.
And after over 5000 years of trying, the BEST that anyone can come up with is: "My god cannot cannot be proven NOT to exist"

Is the non-existence of Unicorns provable? How about Thor, or Odin?

At some point (and I have gone PAST that point, being a realist, being a positivist), if you can't prove something NOT to be false, and you can't prove it to be TRUE, it doesn't really matter, does it?

Don't forget, there's an infinitely large set of things that are FALSE, but whose truth (or lack thereof) cannot be proven.

All this work...and all you've got is a very weak case for a "God of the Gaps."

As always: (except for your ability to manipulate logic), I am not impressed.
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Re: "Turn him loose as a theorist..."

Postby elfprince13 » Fri Jun 22, 2012 1:39 pm

The quotes here are quoted for a reason. Read them.
So all this time, we've been debating about whether or not your fantasy creature can be proven FALSE.
And after over 5000 years of trying, the BEST that anyone can come up with is: "My god cannot cannot be proven NOT to exist"
All this work...and all you've got is a very weak case for a "God of the Gaps."
is logically independent of whether or not my beliefs are supported. So far we've been so hung up on your 18th century views, that we've been unable to progress the conversation far enough for me to offer any support for my beliefs (and doing so would be unproductive until we're on the same page as far as the basic assumptions about physics and logic are concerned).
I think this interchange speaks for itself. I'll start building up a case for God when you concede that modern science and mathematics offer no grounds upon which to deny the existence of God (and that any objection you have is on purely philosophical grounds).
At some point (and I have gone PAST that point, being a realist, being a positivist), if you can't prove something NOT to be false, and you can't prove it to be TRUE, it doesn't really matter, does it?
But as an engineer, you seem quite content to use the laws of physics (which, I think we would both claim that you know) in your work, and you're confident enough in them to build things that other people rely on, even though they aren't (and can never be) proven in any rigorous sense. Which is where statistical confidence comes in.
I think this also speaks for itself. Point taken?
Don't forget, there's an infinitely large set of things that are FALSE, but whose truth (or lack thereof) cannot be proven.
Yes, that is certainly another consequence of logical incompleteness.



And lest you forget,
Which is why I'm quite curious to know under which set of axioms you would find a proof admissible, since you're so keen on having one.
Is the point taken? Or are you going to produce such a set?
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Re: "Turn him loose as a theorist..."

Postby Boothby » Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:46 pm

It's late, and I'm exhausted. I've had a wonderful week-end, but it really didn't involve the INTERNET all too much.

At the same time, I didn't want you to think that I was intentionally ignoring you. Actually, I was, since I knew you had responded, but---as I said--I was out enjoying myself, the company of others, the sun, the air, the wind in what is left of my hair, etc.

But a quick response:

From a Skeptics page on "How do we know what is real?"

I like this guy's response because A) He's a follower of naturalist philosophy (as am I), and 2) He was or still is a student at Washington University, a very prestigious mid-West University of high renown, with an amazing philosophy department (I know--I went there, and took a number of philosophy courses. No courses in "Inebriated Eschatology," though)

http://indieskeptics.com/2010/09/22/met ... aturalism/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
There is a lot to be said in defense of naturalism. There is, of course, the vast body of knowledge we have accumulated utilizing the scientific method, built on the bedrock of methodological naturalism. It has thus has expanded our understanding of the universe to an extent that clerics, priests and theologians cannot begin to match. There is the fact that throughout all of human history, naturalistic explanations have replaced supernatural explanations an uncountable number of times, while supernatural explanations have replaced naturalistic explanations exactly never. There is the fact that every test of supernatural effect, whether intercessory prayer, contacting the dead, or psychic ability are only as effective as the testers are sloppy. But most damning is when you consider what it means to demand observability, testability, and falsifiability.

What does it mean to determine observability? It means that, whatever your belief is, you can point to the world and point to the manifestation of that belief. It means that your belief makes predictions that you can measure, either directly or through its effects. And when your belief is unobservable, unfalsifiable, that means that there is no possible set of observations which would contradict your belief. If your belief is unobservable and unfalsifiable, then your belief is meaningless in determining what is real about the world, and what is not.
Beliefs about God do not provide for any meaningful predictability, nor will anyone holding a belief about God ever allow for it to be falsified, thereby failing this test.

When I am further refreshed, I will add some additional "sets of axioms under which I would find a proof admissible"


Oh, and by the way:
But as an engineer, you seem quite content to use the laws of physics (which, I think we would both claim that you know) in your work, and you're confident enough in them to build things that other people rely on, even though they aren't (and can never be) proven in any rigorous sense. Which is where statistical confidence comes in.
"EVEN THOUGH THEY AREN'T AND CAN NEVER BE PROVEN IN ANY RIGOROUS SENSE" ??? Really???

I've looked at your web page, and you at least SEEM like an intelligent person (though your unending insistence on using high-profile "code" language makes me wonder if you're supposed to be out in public yet). If you can bring the level of proof of God's existence to even 1% of what the level of proof of physics and engineering is, I'll walk under a vehicular bridge built entirely on God's say-so (he'll have to sigh off on it, though; I'll want to see the signature)

Listen, I understand that there are statistical spreads on the strengths of the ACTUAL (as opposed to "theoretical") materials that I use, and on the loads that I apply when I examine corresponding stresses, and that peices will be machined with a tolerance range, but "unproven"?

Really?

I know that the yield strength of A36 Steel is, on average, above 36 ksi, and that allowing for a reaonable statistical spread results in my using 36 ksi as a limiting value for that stress, and that a piece machined to 1" ±0.005" could possibly be as thin as 0.995". Yea, sure--there are variations. I know this.

But just because the yield strength varies, it doesn't mean that the steel suddenly becomes a banana, or a poem, or...GOD. It's a piece of steel.

You are madly pursuing Boothby's third law, my friend. Madly. You have been brought to the point where you must deny the reality around you to try and make a case for the fantasy that you so desperately need to be true.


Since this seems to be the best you can do to make the case for your (or anyone's God), I think we're done here.

If you want to make a meaningful case, make it. So far, the best you have been able to do is 1) Prove that nothing can ever be disproved (or, apparently, proved, which is an interesting conjecture), and 2) Claim, as all desperate theists eventually do, that "We can never really know ANYTHING, so, therefore...GOD!"

But you sure do talk purty...fer people who like that there sort of talk.

Re STEEL:

http://www.bgstructuralengineering.com/ ... /index.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

In the case of the ASTM requirements, the word "specified" is used to denote the required stress level. Note that the actual yield stress and tensile strength for a given piece of steel may exceed the minimum requirements. For example it was common for A36 steel (with Fy = 36 ksi) to have actual yield stresses of 40 ksi or more. For design purposes, however, minimum specified values are always used since the actual values for the particular piece of steel to be used for a particular member is rarely known.
Elf-Prince, have you EVER actually designed or built something REAL?
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"The biggest cause of trouble in the world today is that the stupid people are so sure about things and the intelligent folks are so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

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Re: "Turn him loose as a theorist..."

Postby elfprince13 » Mon Jun 25, 2012 10:14 am

Again, please be quite careful not to quote-skim.
At the same time, I didn't want you to think that I was intentionally ignoring you. Actually, I was, since I knew you had responded, but---as I said--I was out enjoying myself, the company of others, the sun, the air, the wind in what is left of my hair, etc.
That's fine, I was outside playing frisbee, cooking for a potluck or two, and going for a half-century bike ride.
But a quick response:

From a Skeptics page on "How do we know what is real?"

I like this guy's response because A) He's a follower of naturalist philosophy (as am I), and 2) He was or still is a student at Washington University, a very prestigious mid-West University of high renown, with an amazing philosophy department (I know--I went there, and took a number of philosophy courses. No courses in "Inebriated Eschatology," though)

http://indieskeptics.com/2010/09/22/met ... aturalism/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
There is a lot to be said in defense of naturalism. There is, of course, the vast body of knowledge we have accumulated utilizing the scientific method, built on the bedrock of methodological naturalism. It has thus has expanded our understanding of the universe to an extent that clerics, priests and theologians cannot begin to match 1. There is the fact that throughout all of human history, naturalistic explanations have replaced supernatural explanations an uncountable number of times, while supernatural explanations have replaced naturalistic explanations exactly never. There is the fact that every test of supernatural effect, whether intercessory prayer, contacting the dead, or psychic ability are only as effective as the testers are sloppy 2. But most damning is when you consider what it means to demand observability, testability, and falsifiability.

What does it mean to determine observability? It means that, whatever your belief is, you can point to the world and point to the manifestation of that belief. It means that your belief makes predictions that you can measure, either directly or through its effects. And when your belief is unobservable, unfalsifiable, that means that there is no possible set of observations which would contradict your belief. If your belief is unobservable and unfalsifiable, then your belief is meaningless in determining what is real about the world, and what is not. 3
This is the first interesting thing you've said in a couple posts, because you're finally getting over your hangup about proofs, and discussing empiricism (which, quite emphatically, has nothing to do with proof).
1: Science never answers questions of "why", it's simply not equipped to. It provides models of that allow us to make predictions about expected behavior of processes, but it can't tell us why those processes happen as they do.
2: This is the classic Dawkinsian tautology, in even more abbreviated form. "There is nothing supernatural -> nothing supernatural ever happens -> there is nothing supernatural". http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=p+ ... ies%20p%29" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
3: Here he is inappropriately conflating (repeatable) testability and observability.


In actuality, your concerns about denying all epistemology apply more directly to naturalism than to Christianity (or any other religion incorporating some form of dualism that recognizes the mind/brain distinction). The short form of the argument is summarized well by C.S. Lewis in his essay "The Cardinal Difficulty of Naturalism" - a fuller version of the argument can be found in "The Mind and the Machine: What it Means to be Human, and Why it Matters" by Matthew Dickerson (disclaimer: family relation here). The Argument from Reason is as follows (if you want the full form, I can give you the full version of Lewis's essay, or refer you to my father's book above. If you want a shorter version, Wikipedia will suffice):
It is clear that everything we know, beyond our own immediate sensations, is inferred from those sensations. I do not mean that we begin as children, by regarding our sensations as 'evidence' and thence arguing consciously to the existence of space, matter, and other people. I mean that if, after we are old enough to understand the question, our confidence in the existence of anything else (say, the solar system or the Spanish Armada) is challenged, our argument in defence of it will have to take the form of inferences from our immediate sensations. Put in its most general form the inference would run, 'Since I am pre[21]sented with colours, sounds, shapes, pleasures and pains which I cannot perfectly predict or control, and since the more I investigate them the more regular their behaviour appears, therefore there must exist something other than myself and it must be systematic'. Inside this very general inference, all sorts of special trains of inference lead us to more detailed conclusions. We infer Evolution from fossils: we infer the existence of our own brains from what we find inside the skulls of other creatures like ourselves in the dissecting room.

All possible knowledge, then, depends on the validity of reasoning. If the feeling of certainty which we express by words like must be and therefore and since is a real perception of how things outside our own minds really 'must' be, well and good. But if this certainty is merely a feeling in our own minds and not a genuine insight into realities beyond them--if it merely represents the way our minds happen to work-then we can have no knowledge. Unless human reasoning is valid no science can be true.

It follows that no account of the universe can be true I unless that account leaves it possible for our thinking to be a real insight. A theory which explained everything else in the whole universe but which made it impossible to believe that our thinking was valid, would be utterly out of court. For that theory would itself have been reached by thinking, and if thinking is not valid that theory would, of course, be itself demolished. It would have destroyed its own credentials. It would be an argument which proved that no argument was sound--a proof that there are no such things as proofs--which is nonsense.

Thus a strict materialism refutes itself for the reason given long ago by Professor Haldane: 'If my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true . . . and hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.’ (Possible Worlds, p. 209)
Beliefs about God do not provide for any meaningful predictability,
And yet, as we all know, OSC is very much a theist.

In Xenocide, Qing Jao's entire character is practically an essay on the dangers of magical thinking, but in the same novel I recall that at least one character suggests that the miraculous discovery of a means of faster than light travel, which also happened to provide cures for the descolada and Miro may well have been an answer to the Lusitanian's prayers. That it may not have been possible until they asked and God made it so. So is OSC sending mixed messages?
As I point out earlier in my post, faith in God and magical thinking are hardly synonymous, which is the distinction between the Judeo-Christian Biblical tradition and essentially every other religion I'm aware of. The neo-Platonic influence on Protestant theology is probably the worst thing to happen (theologically) in the history of the Church, because it strongly encouraged the backslide towards magical thinking and a denigrated view of Creation. In Jewish (and early Christian) thought, a miracle is an attesting sign to validate spiritual authority (a primitive form of public-key authentication, if you will). No other religion with which I'm familiar makes the magic-trick/miracle distinction, and therefore provide no rational basis by which to authenticate people who may or may not be speaking on God's behalf (prophets). Islam (or at least every Muslim with whom I've had theological discourse, and as far as I can determine from reading the Qur'an + a selection of hadith), for example, assigns no significance to miracles beyond "huh, that's interesting".
Specific examples from scripture being Gideon's experiment with the fleece (Judges 6:36-40), or Elijah's experiment vs the prophet's of Baal (1 Kings 18:22-39). More modern day examples, which are relatively well known in Christian circles might be Brother Andrew's experiences as a Bible smuggler.

nor will anyone holding a belief about God ever allow for it to be falsified, thereby failing this test.
Theism is belief in an active God. If you believe in an active God and never see evidence of his activity, that's a pretty significant hint that your belief is unfounded. A major example of this is the large number of people who fall away from their faith after something terrible happens, because they believe that a loving God should never allow bad things to happen to "good people". When something bad happens to them, that hypothesis is falsified; and one of three things happens: they stop believing in God altogether, they take the evidence into consideration and modify their beliefs to a version of theism that addresses the problem of pain in a consistent fashion (i.e., open theism, which I described earlier in the topic), or cognitive dissonance. You seem to be making the rather arrogant assumption that everyone who believes in God is a weak-minded idiot who prefers cognitive dissonance to seeking answers about how the universe operates.

Deism, on the other hand, is a great example of a hypothesis which is "not-even wrong" (un-falsifiable), since it doesn't make any predictions about how the universe should work. Ironically, it is the latter, and not the former, which is most often touted as a "scientific/rational" version of religion (Jefferson, Einstein, Spinoza, ....).
When I am further refreshed, I will add some additional "sets of axioms under which I would find a proof admissible"
Please do. There are 5 possible outcomes to this exercise, 3 of which I think are likely.
  • The existence of God is provably independent of your axioms (ala the axiom of choice and the standard axioms of set theory).
  • The existence of God is provably true under your axioms (in which case I suspect it's more likely that you would reject them and start over), ala Gödel's proof above
  • The existence of God is provably false under your axioms (almost certainly due to your personal biases in setting them - ala Dawkin's hilariously tautological reasoning about miracles).
  • The existence of God is true, but not provably so, under your axioms. Though I suspect it would be hard to write down such a set (since you wouldn't know if you were successful or not), I think this is the most likely real world scenario.
  • The existence of God is false, but not provably so, under your axioms. Similarly hard to write down such a set, this is another potential real world scenario, even if personally I'm disinclined think it is the case
"EVEN THOUGH THEY AREN'T AND CAN NEVER BE PROVEN IN ANY RIGOROUS SENSE" ??? Really???...If you can bring the level of proof of God's existence to even 1% of what the level of proof of physics and engineering is, I'll walk under a vehicular bridge built entirely on God's say-so (he'll have to sigh off on it, though; I'll want to see the signature)
Ok, sure, let's go there. Rigorously (deductively) prove that your steel is not an ice cream cone. Don't go off and tell me I'm chasing one of your laws, I know just as well as you do that steel is not an ice cream cone. My point is that the idea of proof simply does not apply to inductive reasoning. I'm not even claiming that makes the knowledge gained through inductive reasoning any less valid than the knowledge gained mathematically (like you've said, there are reasonable statistical thresholds beyond which doubting something is just silliness). My worldview is just fine with the existence of objective truth which is not derived from mathematical logic; yours is the one which appears to be crumbling under that realization (which makes sense, since as far as I can tell you're clinging to an 18th Century version of rationalism which has been known to be insufficient, by theists and atheist/naturalists alike, for at least a 100 years). Every time I say "true, but not provable", you say "omg, reality denialism". The reality is that you can't seem to handle the existence of truth which isn't provably true, and so you're continually projecting that worldview onto my highlighting of the unprovability of various non-mathematical phenomena.

(though your unending insistence on using high-profile "code" language makes me wonder if you're supposed to be out in public yet).
I'm confused as to what you mean by this?
Listen, I understand that there are statistical spreads on the strengths of the ACTUAL (as opposed to "theoretical") materials that I use, and on the loads that I apply when I examine corresponding stresses, and that peices will be machined with a tolerance range, but "unproven"?

Really?

I know that the yield strength of A36 Steel is, on average, above 36 ksi, and that allowing for a reaonable statistical spread results in my using 36 ksi as a limiting value for that stress, and that a piece machined to 1" ±0.005" could possibly be as thin as 0.995". Yea, sure--there are variations. I know this.

But just because the yield strength varies, it doesn't mean that the steel suddenly becomes a banana, or a poem, or...GOD. It's a piece of steel.
Yes. Unproven. Mathematicians and computer scientists laugh at physicists who say something is proven just because they have 5-sigma confidence. I recognize that there are valid forms of knowledge which are not based on deductive proof, but a deductive proof is the only sort of proof. As scientists and engineers, we rely on inductive reasoning. There are no proofs here, just confidences, which we consider to be knowledge, because of the outrageously small chance that we're wrong. You can't prove that your steel isn't a banana now, but you know that the likelihood of it being one is vanishingly small.
You are madly pursuing Boothby's third law, my friend. Madly. You have been brought to the point where you must deny the reality around you to try and make a case for the fantasy that you so desperately need to be true.
Many aspects of my life would be much easier if it were true that human beings aren't fundamentally f***ed up and incapable (under our own power) of having whole relationships. Unfortunately I've yet to see any evidence to the contrary (cf. any newspaper or news-oriented tv network). The worst months of my life were because I and someone I loved had a fundamental conflict over the nature of grace and salvation, and what we desperately needed to be true (being able to envision a future in which we could raise children without that conflict being virulently destructive to a home environment) was not what we could find to be true. So don't you dare tell me, or any other religious person on this forum that we believe what we do out of emotional necessity, or because we need some protective fantasy blanket to shelter our fragile selves.
If you want to make a meaningful case, make it. So far, the best you have been able to do is 1) Prove that nothing can ever be disproved (or, apparently, proved, which is an interesting conjecture), and 2) Claim, as all desperate theists eventually do, that "We can never really know ANYTHING, so, therefore...GOD!"
See my excerpt on the argument from reason above, and the difference between "magical thinking" and "miraculous thinking" in the Judeo-Christian tradition, and move forward from there.
Elf-Prince, have you EVER actually designed or built something REAL?
Assuming by "real" you mean in meatspace (i.e., not software) - only stuff like vocational training centers for Costa Rican foster children, a 3-floor 32"x16" passive refrigeration system (embarrassingly, I managed to nail-gun my finger, despite being the only person on the work site with previous nail-gun experience), a static-arm ballista (with a well calibrated muzzle velocity, for about a meter of accuracy in targeting at up to 85 meters) or three, a gasification system to produce natural gas from waste biomass, the odd handful of killer robots, countless electronics projects, and a decent amount of concrete-work and framing for our spring house. And the ubiquitous Lego / model rocketry sorts of stuff. :hatsoff:


As a fun side note, to the more specific purpose of this topic: recent results in information theory appear to be highlighting a connection between the uncertainty principle and the second law of thermodynamics. Apparently, we can't replace uncertainty with a hidden variable theory without allowing for perpetual motion machines. Which offers some explanatory value to the Bell Inequalities.
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Re: "Turn him loose as a theorist..."

Postby Boothby » Mon Jun 25, 2012 11:08 am

I'm at work, so I'll be quick:

Almost ALL of your arguments re. "reason," and whether or not we have it fall under the simplified heading of Boothby's 3rd law.

Pick a side. Do we AGREE that we can know things, or do you wish to continue to insist that we CANNOT know things? If the former, stop arguing that we CANNOT ever really know anything. And if the latter, then let's call it quits and just tell dirty jokes and get stoned.


And DON'T get me started on Solipsism!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solipsism" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I wish I had never come up with that stupid idea in the first place!



But..Brother Andrew?

http://www.hyperhistory.net/apwh/bios/b ... andrew.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

His ankle heals? Show me a good amputee who regains a limb, and maybe we can have something to talk about.

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;



I am sorry to hear that you and your [gf/bf]:
The worst months of my life were because I and someone I loved had a fundamental conflict over the nature of grace and salvation, and what we desperately needed to be true (being able to envision a future in which we could raise children without that conflict being virulently destructive to a home environment) was not what we could find to be true. So don't you dare tell me, or any other religious person on this forum that we believe what we do out of emotional necessity, or because we need some protective fantasy blanket to shelter our fragile selves.
But you almost broke up over an argument over the nature of GRACE? Angels? Dancing on the head of a Pin? Vanilla vs. Chocolate? Kirk vs. Pickard?

Sorry, but you believe what you do out of emotional necessity, and DON'T KNOW WHEN TO LET IT GO. You appear to be incapacitated, at times, by this fantasy belief.

Try this: LET IT GO. LET ALL OF IT GO. How do you feel?
--Boothby

"The biggest cause of trouble in the world today is that the stupid people are so sure about things and the intelligent folks are so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

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Re: "Turn him loose as a theorist..."

Postby elfprince13 » Mon Jun 25, 2012 11:41 am

I'm at work, so I'll be quick:
I think this is actually the primary problem with this topic. Either your reading comprehension is astonishingly bad (because you've very literally missed the point concerning everything I've said this week), or you have a stunning mental hangup concerning the difference between knowledge and deductive proof, or you're too busy at work to actually read what I'm saying so you're assuming I'm unintelligent and skimming for keywords to rant about. I'd like to think it's the last of these, so why don't you wait until you have a good amount of time to actually think about what I'm saying, and try your response again. I knew as soon as I saw you had posted already that you couldn't possibly have taken the time to actually read all of that, understand it, and respond appropriately, since I spent at least 40 minutes typing it up. The fact that you ignored the bulk of my post, and misinterpreted the part that you did respond to suggests that this is the case.

Almost ALL of your arguments re. "reason," and whether or not we have it fall under the simplified heading of Boothby's 3rd law.

Pick a side. Do we AGREE that we can know things, or do you wish to continue to insist that we CANNOT know things? If the former, stop arguing that we CANNOT ever really know anything. And if the latter, then let's call it quits and just tell dirty jokes and get stoned.
Yes. We can know things. I've not once insisted that we can't (though you continue to insist I'm saying that). What I am pointing out is that proof and knowledge are not the same thing.
And DON'T get me started on Solipsism!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solipsism" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Great. I also find solipsism to be untenable. If you're opposed to solipsism, then please explain, in light of the argument from reason, how you avoid solipsism while also being a naturalist/atheist. Is it hand-waving? Severe cognitive dissonance? Or some sort of rational argument that is neither tautological nor infinitely regressive?
I wish I had never come up with that stupid idea in the first place!
Which stupid idea?

But..Brother Andrew?

http://www.hyperhistory.net/apwh/bios/b ... andrew.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
I was talking about his actual experiences behind the Iron Curtain (not the backstory of his childhood/military service), and the fairly direct responses to prayer which he experienced in that line of service. I was trying to provide an example of a fairly well-documented series of events (rather than anecdotal events from my own life and the lives of my family and church friends).
But you almost broke up over an argument over the nature of GRACE?
Did, actually (back in March 2009). Of course that's an abbreviated version of the argument, but she was Muslim, and I'm Christian - and the irreconcilable difference between the two relates to the degree to which we view God as transcendent, which then effects all of the important doctrines like salvation/grace, the incarnation (blasphemous to Muslims), and (relevantly to this topic/my points earlier) whether meaning can be assigned to miracles.

And can you honestly say that you'd "let it go", if your wife wanted to raise your kids Catholic, or Baptist, or Muslim, or Jewish, etc? Given your very vocally expressed feelings about people who have religious beliefs, I have a feeling the answer is "no".



Also, since the original debate here was over the good/evil/objective-morality: is rape (or murder) wrong/evil? Justify your answer in terms of your worldview. This question is in addition to (rather than separately from) the rest of the discussion.
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