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Old 2008-06-04, 02:51   Link #921
fanty
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irenicus View Post
To survive and function in society?

I was using the extreme hypothetical example, "What if our senses are wrong?" (the Matrix example: our evil robot overlords are lying to us ), and the argument that we have to trust that they are right anyway, without evidences (considering we find evidences through our senses...it's a bit of a vicious circle there), in order to, well, go through life.
Absoutely having to accept things never even crossed my mind. The bun I'm now holding in my hand may not exist, I may look like someone who's batshit crazy and is eating an imaginary bun (I may no not even be eating it, I may not even be sitting on my chair!), but I'm hungry, my mom seems to accept the existence of the bun, my dad, who bought it, seems to accept it too or he wouldn't have payed money for it (or have seemed to do it), and my senses are saying the bun is in my hand, so while this certainly doesn't prove anything, the bun SEEMS to exist, so I eat it, even though I'm not 100% decided whether it actually is in my hand or not, and I see no need to do so.

I guess the alternative thought process would be "the bun certainly is here, I'm hungry so I'll eat it". Then you ARE making a leap in faith, but don't HAVE to do it.

(Same way, deities SEEM to not exist, but I don't really like the idea of being agnostic, and I guess I'm not very true to atheism with all my lines of reasoning, so... uh, post-theist I guess)
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Old 2008-06-04, 03:04   Link #922
Irenicus
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Well, I have to agree that "must" was far too strong a verb to use to discuss uncertainty, and I really didn't mean "must" in the sense you understood as much as just something like what you said in your second paragraph. Regardless, your first paragraph brought up a good point I haven't thought before: does taking action necessarily require absolute certainty to do so (or, to frame it differently, does taking action indicates that one is absolutely certain about it?). And thinking on it, the answer is obviously no. I don't have to make the leap of faith in my mind to accept its truth even though I continue through my actions in life...it's just like a puppet show in a sense.

So thanks for the new angle I haven't considered before.
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Old 2008-06-04, 03:33   Link #923
Slice of Life
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Yes, but it seems to me that 99.5 percent of the time our brain runs in a mode where it thoroughly accepts the outer world as real. We are hardwired to do so and it requires a great deal of self-reflection to temporarily question it.

Maybe this 'leap of faith' isn't necessary to function in this world but if we're honest we're doing it every day.
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Old 2008-06-04, 03:36   Link #924
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irenicus View Post
Regardless, your first paragraph brought up a good point I haven't thought before: does taking action necessarily require absolute certainty to do so
No, and we're not accustomed to reasoning like that in the first place. Whether we want to admit it or not, we're completely enslaved to our DNA instructions. In reality, matter is nearly completely unsubstantial, yet we perceive things to be solid.
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Old 2008-06-04, 05:26   Link #925
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Originally Posted by Skyfall View Post
I will have to disagree here. I will go ahead and ask the "stupid" question: what makes the idea of a Spaghetti Monster less plausible than the existence of God ? To me neither is more likely to be true than the other. "I think so" is not a justifiable answer, it only illustrates the double standards i pointed out with this line of reasoning. "Majority seems to think so" isn't a measurement of plausibility either, even in less intangible subjects. Majority used to think Earth is flat and universe revolves around it as well.
Belief doesn't make it real, but the reason why God seems more plausible than the FSM has to do with the unanswered questions regarding religion. We have accounts of things happening, and we have the fact that tens of thousands of people have believed in this religion and its ideas for thousands of years, and the number of people believing it has only increased. We have no way of verifying the accounts that the religion is based upon, but the amount of literature that exists regarding God is quite extensive (it extends beyond the Bible, which is already rather extensive).

Compare that to the Flying Spaghetti Monster. The idea of the FSM was created in 2005 and we know the details of the ideas behind its conception. There's not much to wonder about. Is it possible that a flying spaghetti monster does exist? As I've said before, anything is possible, but it's not likely. If it does exist, any connection with our current ideas behind the FSM would be sheer coincidence, as well. We know that the idea of FSM is man-made because it is documented as such.

Similarly, the beliefs around Scientology can be scrutinized and be shown to be unlikely because we have records of its foundation, we know that the author was a science fiction writer who made some damning remarks about religion, and we can see that all of those facts combined with the operations of the religion make it seem like a scam based on a story.

Any of the major old religions could be much the same way. The problem, and the reason why they're highly regarded by comparison, is that we don't know the circumstances behind their foundation. Did some well-known storyteller put it into circulation? If so it wouldn't be much different from scientology, and there'd be a good chance that it was all made up. The trouble is that we just don't know. As scientology has shown, even modern-day people can buy into beliefs that have a lot of evidence showing them to likely be false, and thus the masses following Judaism, Christianity, and Islam do not really provide much proof that their beliefs are more real than those of other religions. If you're interested in the truth behind the matter, you just need to accept that the facts are missing and thus we can't rule it out.
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Old 2008-06-04, 06:37   Link #926
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ledgem View Post
Any of the major old religions could be much the same way. The problem, and the reason why they're highly regarded by comparison, is that we don't know the circumstances behind their foundation. Did some well-known storyteller put it into circulation? If so it wouldn't be much different from scientology, and there'd be a good chance that it was all made up. The trouble is that we just don't know. As scientology has shown, even modern-day people can buy into beliefs that have a lot of evidence showing them to likely be false, and thus the masses following Judaism, Christianity, and Islam do not really provide much proof that their beliefs are more real than those of other religions. If you're interested in the truth behind the matter, you just need to accept that the facts are missing and thus we can't rule it out.
I guess i can accept that line of reasoning, even though i personally wouldn't agree to it. It might offer more food for thought, but personally i would be in no rush to assign increased plausibility to something just because i am unaware of it's origins. More likely the opposite. I suppose one could say i am quite skeptical in general.

That said, you asked a good question (or rather made a good statement). "If you're interested in the truth behind the matter, you just need to accept that the facts are missing and thus we can't rule it out."

I would say that Anh_Minh has already made a statement that perfectly illustrates my overall stance on the whole matter:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh
My gut feeling tells me, quite clearly, that there is no god. My intellect tells me, quite clearly, that I don't really know and probably shouldn't care.
Replace "shouldn't" with "don't" and you have me My reason for jumping in was to comment on the reasoning that is supposed to elevate the plausibility of something (not necessarily religion), rather that to discuss the actual possibility of god or supernatural. Personally i think it would make little to none impact on my life if the subject would be somehow proven one way or the other someday. That said, i am fairly sure there is no need for me to hold my breath
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Old 2008-06-04, 11:57   Link #927
Vexx
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Some interesting comparisons can be made to the legends of Robin Hood and also King Arthur. The closer you "get" to Robin Hood - the more vaporous and insubstantial he becomes (basically totally myth but accelerated by the habit of many highwaymen calling themselves "Robyn Hood"). The closer you "get" to King Arthur, the more substantial at least the existence of a local warlord Arthur and perhaps a couple of people swirled into Merlin become. Nothing like the romantic myth, of course, but someone who for a short time managed to unite enough of the British Isles to inspire a legend.

We have a fair amount of correlated evidence that Siddhartha and Muhammad existed, almost none for Moses and essentially zero correlated evidence for Jesus.

Of course, when we get to gods - we have as much evidence for Thor or Amateratsu as we do for a sea-splitting lightning wielding Old Testament God. The New Testament God is, at least, more abstract and more confined to what you need to do for the afterlife though some argue that the Pauline interpretation and the Roman Imperial adoption took those ideas askew.
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Old 2008-06-04, 14:26   Link #928
Kyuusai
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
We have a fair amount of correlated evidence that Siddhartha and Muhammad existed, almost none for Moses and essentially zero correlated evidence for Jesus.
I'm clearly not making a religious point here as Christianity is nearly as contingent on the existence of Moses as it is for Jesus...

But I'm not aware of any actual correlating evidence for the existence of Moses. As far as I've understood, no one but the Jews (and by extension Christians and Muslims) believe there were even Hebrews in Egypt at all.

On the other hand, at the very least there is a mention of Jesus by Josephus Flavius's "Antiquities of the Jews". The passage of that book in which it seems that Josephus claims that Jesus is the messiah is clearly an insertion by a later party, but other sources of the text show that Jesus is at least mentioned.

This is a significant mention, because Christianity made its waves in a location and amongst a people, supporting its claims by referring to rather newsworthy local events. For Christianity to have spread at all amongst the Jews within the lifetime of people who lived there at the time would have been at the very least hard if there were people to say "THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN!".
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Old 2008-06-04, 15:01   Link #929
Kitsune
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Well, at least I suppose everybody noticed religions where only born to keep people ignorant and without complaining; forgeting of the religion you are I suppose that you won't denny this fact
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Old 2008-06-04, 17:50   Link #930
Vexx
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Originally Posted by Kyuusai View Post
I'm clearly not making a religious point here as Christianity is nearly as contingent on the existence of Moses as it is for Jesus...

But I'm not aware of any actual correlating evidence for the existence of Moses. As far as I've understood, no one but the Jews (and by extension Christians and Muslims) believe there were even Hebrews in Egypt at all.

On the other hand, at the very least there is a mention of Jesus by Josephus Flavius's "Antiquities of the Jews". The passage of that book in which it seems that Josephus claims that Jesus is the messiah is clearly an insertion by a later party, but other sources of the text show that Jesus is at least mentioned.

This is a significant mention, because Christianity made its waves in a location and amongst a people, supporting its claims by referring to rather newsworthy local events. For Christianity to have spread at all amongst the Jews within the lifetime of people who lived there at the time would have been at the very least hard if there were people to say "THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN!".
Thanks to the everpresent Kyuusai-wiki for the minor course corrections to my babbling.
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Old 2008-06-04, 18:43   Link #931
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The odds of life forming are extremely unlikely, let alone complex life, despite such unbelievable odds here we all are.

Scientists admit that life forming is improbable and pretty near impossible, so what's wrong with believing a God orchestrated life?

On Topic: I'm Roman Catholic
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Old 2008-06-04, 20:08   Link #932
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Originally Posted by Blizzer View Post
Scientists admit that life forming is improbable and pretty near impossible, so what's wrong with believing a God orchestrated life?
There's nothing wrong with believing that. There are people who believe that life was formed by a series of chance happenings. As long as people like you and people like those I mentioned can respect each other, there's nothing wrong at all.
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Old 2008-06-05, 00:12   Link #933
monir
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Originally Posted by <Suigintou> View Post
Well, at least I suppose everybody noticed religions where only born to keep people ignorant and without complaining; forgeting of the religion you are I suppose that you won't denny this fact
Let's not oversimplify things, shall we? These kinds of sweeping statement are nothing but generalization and only helps to incite further unnecessary comments. Please play nice!
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Old 2008-06-05, 02:59   Link #934
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Originally Posted by Blizzer View Post
The odds of life forming are extremely unlikely, let alone complex life, despite such unbelievable odds here we all are.

Scientists admit that life forming is improbable and pretty near impossible, so what's wrong with believing a God orchestrated life?
No, scientists don't admit that. At this point, abiogenesis has become a complete consensus among the scientific community, no individual scientist claiming some nonsense can change that fact.

It's not pretty near impossible, it's plain chemistry. Complex life comes about through natural selection acting upon mutation. Mutation is proven to happen, natural selection is plain common sense.

If you think you need god to account for everything that's complex, first come up with something to account for god. That guy is a billion times more complex than anything you'd find on earth you're trying to explain.


Bottom line, personal gods do not exist. I think any healthy person can agree with me on that. It's 2008, the era of nonsense is done. People are educated now.
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Old 2008-06-05, 03:59   Link #935
Slice of Life
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I'm not an expert on pre-biotic chemistry but since we're still far from knowing how exactly first life on earth emerged we simply cannot say how probable or improbable it is. For all we know the probability might be very close to one under the conditions given. Early earth was a big place with a variety of physico-chemical environments and millions of years is a long time. That is also just a random guess, just like claiming life to be improbable, of course.

We're close (on historical time scales at least) to being able to detect earth-sized planets in earth-sized orbits around stars and at least indirect traces of life. Once we can do that we have a bit more of solid statistics.

Of course, an expected value of 0.0001 life-bearing planets per galaxy would still be enough not to be surprised why we are here.
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Old 2008-06-05, 06:26   Link #936
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Originally Posted by Xrayz0r View Post
No, scientists don't admit that. At this point, abiogenesis has become a complete consensus among the scientific community, no individual scientist claiming some nonsense can change that fact.

It's not pretty near impossible, it's plain chemistry. Complex life comes about through natural selection acting upon mutation. Mutation is proven to happen, natural selection is plain common sense.

If you think you need god to account for everything that's complex, first come up with something to account for god. That guy is a billion times more complex than anything you'd find on earth you're trying to explain.


Bottom line, personal gods do not exist. I think any healthy person can agree with me on that. It's 2008, the era of nonsense is done. People are educated now.
You've got half the truth there, complex life can come about through random selection and evolution and the "general consensus" agrees with it.

You did forgot a huge flaw in your point though: which is the earth is an almost perfect habitat for such life, it's got an abundance of oxygen, a fairly habitable climate in most areas, it's also close to a solar mass which gives light and prevents us from turning into a frozen husk but it's not to close to the sun so we don't get fried.etc.etc it's all a little too perfect isn't it? as Sherlock Holmes said "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

What does being educated have to do with Atheism? humanity has gained more knowledge but if anything it also highlighted more of the unknown.
Religion can go hand in hand with Science.
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Old 2008-06-05, 07:23   Link #937
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Originally Posted by Blizzer View Post
You've got half the truth there, complex life can come about through random selection and evolution and the "general consensus" agrees with it.

You did forgot a huge flaw in your point though: which is the earth is an almost perfect habitat for such life, it's got an abundance of oxygen, a fairly habitable climate in most areas, it's also close to a solar mass which gives light and prevents us from turning into a frozen husk but it's not to close to the sun so we don't get fried.etc.etc it's all a little too perfect isn't it? as Sherlock Holmes said "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."
The Earth hasn't always had such a climate, though. In fact, it owes a lot of it to the presence of life. Certainly, without it, dioxygen wouldn't be present in such abundance.

Also, two points:
- do you know how many such planets, with auspicious conditions, there are? Note, we don't even really know how good the conditions have to be, since we're not sure how life came to be in the first place. That we've adapted to the world, like water takes the shape of the hollow in which it lies, isn't surprising.
- Sherlock Holmes doesn't apply. It hardly ever does, outside of novels. When you've eliminated the impossible, what remains is a whole lot of possible, coated in a huge mass of ignorance.

Last edited by Anh_Minh; 2008-06-05 at 09:58.
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Old 2008-06-05, 08:19   Link #938
Blizzer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
The Earth hasn't always had such a climate, though. In fact, it owes a lot of it to the presence of life. Certainly, without it, dioxygen wouldn't be present in such abundance.

Also, two points:
- do you know how many such planets, with auspicious conditions, there are? Note, we don't even really know how good the conditions have to be, since we're not sure how life came to be in the first place. That we've adapted to the world, like water takes the shape of the hollow in which it lies, isn't surprising.
- Sherlock Holmes doesn't apply. It hardly ever does, outside of novels. When you've eliminated the impossible, what remains is a whole lot of possible, coated in a a huge mass of ignorance.
Objection!

Certainly the Earth gets a lot of oxygen from life through photosynthesis, but complex life isn't as much of a necessity to the Earth's continuing existance as it is to us. Anyway it's not exactly relevant to the discussion of religion.

If I remember correctly there have been a few planet's like mars which could have had micro-organisms all over the place, but how many planets do we know which could be host to complex life? none.

I don't think you can rule the quote out completely, it encourages you to think abstractly about a problem and consider unlikely but possible alternatives.
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Old 2008-06-05, 08:39   Link #939
Slice of Life
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You did forgot a huge flaw in your point though: which is the earth is an almost perfect habitat for such life, it's got an abundance of oxygen, a fairly habitable climate in most areas, it's also close to a solar mass which gives light and prevents us from turning into a frozen husk but it's not to close to the sun so we don't get fried.etc.etc
That's the argument of the little flower on the airfield that wonders why, of all places, it is growing at the little spot where the pavement in broken and not in the vast areas where the concrete is intact.

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Originally Posted by Blizzer View Post
Certainly the Earth gets a lot of oxygen from life through photosynthesis, but complex life isn't as much of a necessity to the Earth's continuing existance as it is to us.
I don't get this argument. Oxygen is a product of early life as Anh_Minh said. This convenience is a consequence of life.

Quote:
Anyway it's not exactly relevant to the discussion of religion.
Oh, suddenly not anymore?

Quote:
how many planets do we know which could be host to complex life? none.
Because they must be small and far away so we couldn't even detect them at the moment. This is no argument at all. Mars is not Earth, and for all we know about planet formation there must be many much more Earth-like planets out there than Mars.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
Sherlock Holmes doesn't apply. It hardly ever does, outside of novels. When you've eliminated the impossible, what remains is a whole lot of possible, coated in a a huge mass of ignorance.
True, and well put.
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Old 2008-06-05, 08:56   Link #940
Blizzer
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Originally Posted by Slice of Life View Post
That's the argument of the little flower on the airfiled that wonders why, of all places, it is growing at the little spot where the pavement in broken and not in the vast areas where the concrete is intact.
I'd like to see the little flower survive the extreme high temperatures, pressure, lack of water and general inhospitability of Venus.

Quote:
I don't get this argument. Oxygen is a product of early life as Anh_Minh said. This convenience is a consequence of life.
Yes, I understood that point, I stated that it wasn't a necessity for the continuation of Earth's existance.

Quote:
Oh, suddenly not anymore?
Lol what is this a witch hunt?

Quote:
Because they must be small and far away so we couldn't even detect them at the moment. This is no argument at all. Mars is not Earth, and for all we know about planet formation there must be many much more Earth-like planets out there than Mars.
The fact that you believe that there are planets out there without us being able to establish their existance is comparable to belief in God.
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