Proof, or faith?

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  • #51
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Originally posted by Iacchus32
If this is so, then why does it only exist with humans? Why are we so unique? Could it be that this is the "crowning achievement" of evolution? Or, perhaps something else? :wink:

Would you say that morals result from a "higher state of being?" Or, a lower state of being?
Morals are a sign of higher reasoning. Empapthy is something that lower life forms are not capable of. I wouldn't say we are the "crowning achievement", because who knows how me might evolve in another millenia? But things such as empathy and morals are definitely attributed to higher reasoning. Are you pledging otherwise ?
 
  • #52
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Originally posted by Zantra
Morals are a sign of higher reasoning. Empapthy is something that lower life forms are not capable of. I wouldn't say we are the "crowning achievement", because who knows how me might evolve in another millenia? But things such as empathy and morals are definitely attributed to higher reasoning. Are you pledging otherwise ?
No, I'm just questioning what gives us the capacity to be moral. Is it merely by-product of the evolutionary process or, is there a bit more to it than that? :wink:
 
  • #53
Zero
Let's remember that 'lower' animals also display altruism. It isn't unique to humans, although it tends to exist predominantly in mammals, and moreso the more those mammals exist in 'societies'(pack animals, for instance). It isn't a function of intellect or 'being advanced', it is a function of group interaction.
 
  • #54
MasterBlaster
Originally posted by Zero
Let's remember that 'lower' animals also display altruism. It isn't unique to humans, although it tends to exist predominantly in mammals, and moreso the more those mammals exist in 'societies'(pack animals, for instance). It isn't a function of intellect or 'being advanced', it is a function of group interaction.

Absolutely no.

No animals display altruism. There is not a shred of evidence to the claim that altruism has ever been exacted.

No organism will ever committ altruism. This is a scientific fact. There are always gains to any action.
 
  • #55
Hurkyl
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The gains are for the pack, possibly at the detriment of the individual, which makes it altruism by definition.
 
  • #56
Zero
Originally posted by MasterBlaster
Absolutely no.

No animals display altruism. There is not a shred of evidence to the claim that altruism has ever been exacted.

No organism will ever committ altruism. This is a scientific fact. There are always gains to any action.
Are you saying that 'altruism' is a word which describes nothing? Cracker...
 
  • #57
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Originally posted by Iacchus32
No, I'm just questioning what gives us the capacity to be moral. Is it merely by-product of the evolutionary process or, is there a bit more to it than that? :wink:
So again steering this into the insuation of God. Morals are something that we, as a society created. It was done to benefit all manking with the intention of benefiting each individual.

I think I went down the wrong path here. morals are a bad example, and too open to specualation. I'm talking higher reasoning in general. Curiousity, learning, discovery. Those are all humnistic traits. And man, we've gotten so far off track I can't remember the original debate. Anyhow, the bottom line is that though lower life forms may show a degree of altruism, it's not as advanced as humans. And it's more of a base instinct of self-preservation. It's why they go in groups. Self-preservation that also benefits the whole pack. It's selfishness masked with good intent, but ultimately not truly altruistic.
 
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  • #58
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maximus

From the standpoint given by logic there is a golden rule which every would be rational person should respect:never believe something without a rational reason.The majority of people apply (unconsciously in many cases) this dicton when dealing with day by day activities but not in the case of God where they resort solely on faith.Some even claim that we cannot extend rationality in God's case but I don't think they're right,a rational belief can still be defended as I will argue further.

Every unbiased person will recognize that we do not have today sufficient objective (scientfic) knowledge to settle the problem of God's existence/nonexistence either way:indeed naturalism is still only a conjecture.That's why it suffices [in order to base a rational,stricly personal belief,without making positive claims in exterior] some evidence for which 'God hypothesis' is on equal foot with actual scientific knowledge.There is plenty of such evidence for the moment,practically in all ontological problems.

For example when applied at the problem of how the Universe appeared the 'personal God hypothesis' (God defined merely as the creator of the universe) is in such a position.Indeed we cannot make the difference between the two hypotheses (naturalism vs God) in a sound manner,for the moment at least.If we add here the fact that there is no (natural) good reason for which the laws of nature should remain basically unchanged for huge periods of time...

As a conclusion there is plenty of evidence,on equal foot with scientific hypotheses,that can be interpreted,subjectively,as poiting out toward the existence of a creator.The claim of some people that God is never a solution does not stand a simple logical scrutiny:from the fact that naturalism has always worked so far does not follow that this will always be the case.Indeed tradition is never a proof or a sufficient reason.

We do not have the right to use God hypothesis in our scientific theories if it is not fruitful (making also potentially falsifiable predictions) indeed,still the evidence I've talked about above is enough to base a rational belief.For the moment there is no sufficient objective reason which to compel all would be rational person to disbelieve or to be skeptical,naturalism is still a simple conjecture...
 
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  • #59
477
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Originally posted by Iacchus32
If this is so, then why does it only exist with humans? Why are we so unique? Could it be that this is the "crowning achievement" of evolution? Or, perhaps something else? :wink:
evolution has no goal, so it can have no achievement. we have evolved to have morals so that we may succesfully live in societies together. without some moral standards, this would be impossible.

Would you say that morals result from a "higher state of being?" Or, a lower state of being?

humans are no more evolved than fish. we are no more of a higher state of being than a cockroach. the develoment of morals, has, however, led us to be highly successful as a group society.
 
  • #60
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Originally posted by Iacchus32
No, I'm just questioning what gives us the capacity to be moral. Is it merely by-product of the evolutionary process or, is there a bit more to it than that? :wink:
i believe it is just as you said, the "byproduct" of an evolutionary process. we strive to survive, and we survived best together. to live together without killing each other, we needed morals.

and evolution is constantly weeding out morals that have gone out of control. heroes and martrys are people with a sense of morals that have lead to their death, and thus, an evolutionary cancel of that trait. (see my thread heroes die).
 
  • #61
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Originally posted by metacristi
maximus

From the standpoint given by logic there is a golden rule which every would be rational person should respect:never believe something without a rational reason.The majority of people apply (unconsciously in many cases) this dicton when dealing with day by day activities but not in the case of God where they resort solely on faith.Some even claim that we cannot extend rationality in God's case but I don't think they're right,a rational belief can still be defended as I will argue further.
People accept things as true based on one (or a combination) of three
sources.

Authority, Direct observation, or the logic of ones own reasoning.

Each of these has it's own potential flaws and pitfalls.

Belief in a god is certainly firmly rooted in the authority camp.

Those of us who have no belief in God have a hard time realizing that the experiences of believers gives them a much difference value system when it comes to (certain) authority sources. To them this belief is not only rational, but not believing wouldn't be.

There are other rational reasons why people believe in (a) god(s). Before I get into those directly, it's important to define rational here. I am not speaking of an abstact, informal logic type argument, defendable using traditional rules of logic, but that they percieve (usually subconsciously) it better for them to accept this as true, than not.

For many, the open, or even simply conscious, rejection of a particular set of god beliefs would constitute a threat to them on a number of levels: socially both in family and in community, potentially financially, and in some places to their very life. This doesn't even address the challenge this change in belief would pose to the ego (major issues are extremely difficult for any individual to admit being wrong about). While I may not agree with their views, I can see why it would be a number of rational reasons for them to remain in their beliefs.

It's easy to sit in judgement of others, assuming we would have come to different conclusions, having grown up with the same experience base.


Every unbiased person...
Personally, I don't think there is such.


We do not have the right to use God hypothesis in our scientific theories if it is not fruitful (making also potentially falsifiable predictions)...
Since any hypothesis which contains no falsifiable predictions is inherently outside the domain of science, I would agree with the above.


Just as psycological aspects of theistic belief provide an ego support (i.e. I'm better than they are because I follow Gods law), so does the ego trap of believeing being rational makes one better than those we see as 'not rational'. Years of reading alt.atheism.moderated has shown me that rational, logical atheists can be just as illogical, irrational, and just plain pig headed when it suits their ego, their world view, or just their desire to win a simple argument.
 
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  • #62
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Glen, while what you say maybe true in many cases, there are those of us believers that come to our beliefs through years of observation, study and rational thought that leads us to believe in God the Creator.
To say that "Belief is firmly rooted it the authority camp." is an over simplification. There are many reasons to belive in God. Probably as many reasons to believe as not to believe. We each have our own personal reasons for believing or not believing. To place all those reasons into a few simple catagories is not valid or productive.
 
  • #63
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Let me make this point absolutely clear (and then please read my explanation): Belief in God is, by it's very nature, logical. Allow me to explain. Logic (at least Deductive logic) is the use of two propositions to reach the "logical" third proposition (this is oversimplification, but it will suffice for now). However, Deductive Logic still works when some (or all) of the propositions are Scientifically false. For example: If I say "All people exist, all pigs exist, therefore all people are pigs", I have used Deductive Logic, but I have not arrived at a (scientifically) true conclusion.

So, even if it's not true - that God (or whatever deity you believe in) exists - it is still possible to arrive at that conclusion logically.
 
  • #64
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Originally posted by Royce
Glenn, while what you say maybe true in many cases, there are those of us believers that come to our beliefs through years of observation, study and rational thought that leads us to believe in God the Creator.
To say that "Belief is firmly rooted it the authority camp." is an over simplification. There are many reasons to belive in God. Probably as many reasons to believe as not to believe. We each have our own personal reasons for believing or not believing. To place all those reasons into a few simple catagories is not valid or productive.
Quite true, I didn't mean to imply that Belief was solely rooted in the authority camp. If it came across as such, my apologies.

I agree that many will find numerous reasons to believe (or not), but I do stand by my statement (an adaptation of one made by Maimoiniedes(sp?)), that rationally held beliefs fail into one (or more) of the following three categories. Accepted due to authority, experience, or deductive logic.

Almost nothing in the real world would fall into only one of those categories, but some originate, predominately, from one of them.





Originally posted by Mentat
Let me make this point absolutely clear (and then please read my explanation): Belief in God is, by it's very nature, logical. Allow me to explain. Logic (at least Deductive logic) is the use of two propositions to reach the "logical" third proposition (this is oversimplification, but it will suffice for now). However, Deductive Logic still works when some (or all) of the propositions are Scientifically false. For example: If I say "All people exist, all pigs exist, therefore all people are pigs", I have used Deductive Logic, but I have not arrived at a (scientifically) true conclusion.
While you may believe you have used deductive logic, you have also made an error in logic - specifically an equivalence fallacy, i.e. just because people and pigs have one characteristic in common doesn't make people and pigs the same. Both your premises were true, it was your logic that was in error.

That said, you are quite true in that a fallacious premise, with proper logic will lead to an erroneous conclusion. I have no idea if semantics would classify the conclusions as logical, though.
 
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  • #65
megashawn
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Well, it seems to me that if there was some sort of god, we'd have no need for the many religous texts floating around.

Infact, since god designed us, we'd have all the information hard written within us. There would not be any arguements over whose religion was true, cause we'd all know.

But this is not the case. I mean, think about a video game. We have a 3d enviroment, characters, AI, etc. The AI is programmed with the information it needs to get things done. This of course, is a weak example, but if a programmer, who is human, has enough sense to create an artificial being that is smart enough to do what it is supposed to do, why can't a god, which is supposed to be all powerfull, knowledgable, etc.

Really, if you think about it, the mere fact that every single person on earth doesn't agree on religous matters, is more then enough reason to believe none of them got it right.

And also the fact that there is no recorded proof of any god, aside from that gods own religous text. With our digital technology, it would be quite easy for a god to come to earth, do a tele-conference and get us all up to date.

This doesn't happen.

I mean, how many years into the future is the arguement going to go? I vote go with that which is most productive for mankind. Scientific pursuits far more outweigh any religous matter in this respect.

And as far as having a reason to life. Perhaps our reason is to find a reason. Maybe we have to make a reason. Maybe there is a reason in each of us to spend our short lives worshipping a being we've never met, with which we hope to spend the rest of eternity with.

Or maybe, just maybe, were a mere freak of nature and there is no damn good reason for us to be here. Perhaps then, I'd say it is our goal, as the most advanced species we know of, to ensure life never fades.
 
  • #66
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Megashawn,
While you pose some interesting points, you seem to use religion and religious almost synonymously with theism. This is not the case for certain religions (depending on you definition of religion).
 
  • #67
megashawn
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Thanks. More times then not I am referring to christian type beliefs. I usually specify if I'm talking of something else. I'm not a word scientist by no means, so if you guys think I'm sticking the wrong word in somewhere, lemme know.

Just for clarity, what is the difference between religion and theism?
 
  • #68
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Originally posted by megashawn
Just for clarity, what is the difference between religion and theism?
a theist may believe in a supreme being but not follow the doctrines of a specific religon. if you are religios, you are by definition a theist, but if you are a theist you are not neccesserily religious.
 
  • #69
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Originally posted by megashawn
Really, if you think about it, the mere fact that every single person on earth doesn't agree on religous matters, is more then enough reason to believe none of them got it right.
Or, possibly, all of them got some of it right. In my study of religions I have found a commonality in all religions that a first surprised me. The teachings of Jesus and Buddha are very similar and often identical.
Maybe that is one of our reasons for being here. To come to know God.
Until we do that we are all just guessing. We have some of the words. Others have other words and still others have some of the music. Together we all may some day know all the word and all the music.
 
  • #70
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Originally posted by radagast
While you may believe you have used deductive logic, you have also made an error in logic - specifically an equivalence fallacy, i.e. just because people and pigs have one characteristic in common doesn't make people and pigs the same. Both your premises were true, it was your logic that was in error.
Well, the example was off the top of my head, but I respectfully acknowledge your correction.

That said, you are quite true in that a fallacious premise, with proper logic will lead to an erroneous conclusion. I have no idea if semantics would classify the conclusions as logical, though.
Well, now that's another subject altogether. Semantics must play a part, in that - for example - homonymns (sp?) shouldn't be confused in logical deduction (as Dissident Dan showed in a recent thread). Also, semantics should play a role in the deciding of whether something is even possible in principle. Possibility in principle is what people usually call "possible in theory" (though I highly disapprove of this common usage of the word "theory"), but some things are, by their very definitions, impossible even in principle.

For example, it is impossible even in principle for a finite thing to become infinite. It simply cannot happen, and this fact is directly related to the definitions of the terms. You see, putting together the fact that "infinite" means "having no end", and that "finite" means "having a defined end", logically you arrive at "it would take an forever to 'expand' (increase in size) from having an end to having no end at all".

Again, this example is just off the top of my head, but I'm a little more confident about this one .
 
  • #71
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Originally posted by megashawn
Really, if you think about it, the mere fact that every single person on earth doesn't agree on religous matters, is more then enough reason to believe none of them got it right.
The same way that since every single person on earth doesn't agree on evolutionary matters, none of them are right?

Or perhaps that every single person on earth doesn't agree that the earth is not flat...

What you say falls into the category of at least two argument fallacies.

Your arguments also tend to incorperate a lot of unstated assumptions. Your statements about god(s) incorporating information we are (currently) to believe, contravenes all the ideas behind faith.


Originally posted by Royce
The teachings of Jesus and Buddha are very similar and often identical.
I agree with you there. Even more surprising when you realise that Christianity arose from christ's teachings, which is theistic, and Buddhism from Gautama, which is non-theistic.

My favorite logical impossibility is the existence of a sperical cube. :smile:

Regards,
 
  • #72
megashawn
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The same way that since every single person on earth doesn't agree on evolutionary matters, none of them are right?
No. This is not the same. There is not some all knowing everything about evolution being with which we pray to and seek guidance.

With religion, if there truly was some all powerfull being, whom can do anything he wishes, then there is no good reason why there are so many religions that do not agree or compliment one another.

In fact, you cannot provide that good reason, but merely attempt to sidestep by using that same logic on evolutionary matters.

The difference is, evolution is real, it happens, and we know it. We might not be able to study it to a great deal, but it is apparent and is measurable. It does not play hide and seek and there is not 99999999999999 different versions of it. Nobody pretends to be all knowing about evolution. Those that do are just as foolish as those who don't believe it happens.

And honestly, if there is a person left on earth who is unsure of the shape of the earth, then I pity that fool.

There are similar messages, of course. Why some may ask? Well, cos the messages are common sense. One of my favorite lines from Jesus is "Everything in moderation". Its common sense. Any fool knows this. Thou Shalt not Kill. Again, common sense. If you kill everyone, there is more work for you to do. Of course Budda and Plato and Jesus are gonna have similar remarks, as any intelligent person would come to these conclusions.

And If anything, I've always complimented religions ability to control the masses and inflict a good standard of behavior. I just feel it is now time to move on from the fairy tales and adopt these common sense ways of living into ourself. To for once, credit oneself with doing something good, instead of a god. Or, when one does something wrong, to actually take responsibility for it, and make good with the person you wronged. NOT simply ask god to forgive you and be done with it.
 
  • #73
FZ+
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Originally posted by radagast
The same way that since every single person on earth doesn't agree on evolutionary matters, none of them are right?

Or perhaps that every single person on earth doesn't agree that the earth is not flat...
The difference here is threefold, IMHO.

First, the point of God is it's existence as an absolute faith. While evolutionary is generally a matter of scientific debate, with the acceptance of a dynamic position (by one side, at least), each religion proposes the unfalsifiable claim that they, and they alone present the monopoly on the Truth. As a general rule, it is unlikely that anyone in particular can establish a complete truth from first instance, and the proposal that it is "obvious" from a spiritual view of the existence of each particular god, with the exclusion of others, undermines any confidence in absolute statements as to god. With the majority of theistic statements absolute in nature, this effectively damages their proposals in the present form.

Secondly, there is the nature of the evidence involved. While evolution is based generally on physical evidence, and creationism largely not, most religions are based on faith based "evidence". In this case, the quality of evidence on all hands are the same, and this quality is intricately linked to the validity of each specific god. Eg. statements such as X doesn't exist because my god says so is based on the existence of the god in the first place. As there can be no real judgement between all the proposals, it appears likely that the quality of all is currently suspect.

Thirdly, the argument ties in when each follower of a particular philosophy maintains that it is both natural, and logical to worship a specific god. The existence of differing viewpoints clearly disputes this, and so counters the proposal of a single, "natural" god/group of gods, and statements to the effect of "the proof is all around you".
 
  • #74
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Originally posted by FZ+

First, the point of God is it's existence as an absolute faith.
Not always. You over generalize. As Glen said theism is not the same as Religion. While I agree that most organized religions work that way, even between different denominations of the same religion, not all theist, those who believe in a God creator, claim to know the one Truth and all other truths and /or Gods are false. Buddhism does not even address the existence of a God but tells us how to live our lifes.

Secondly, there is the nature of the evidence involved. While evolution is based generally on physical evidence, and creationism largely not, most religions are based on faith based "evidence".
Is the existence of the universe not enough physical evidence? Before you pooh pooh this I ask you is it any more unreasonable that the anthromorphic principle explaining why the universe is the way it is? Belief in a creator or a God can be just as logical and reasonable as the belief in the Big Bang or any other "theory" with little or no direct evidence to support it. Just because it is "Science" does not make any more reasonable unless it is firmly based on observation and experiment that is repeatable and varifiable by others.

While evolution has observations and assumptions of what these observations mean and how they are interconnected, evolution makes no predictions that can be varified directly nor can experiments be preformed.

I don't deny that evolution is probably valid at least in part but it is not the only possible explanation. IMO It does not really yet qualify to be called a scientific theory but should be a hypothesis with some evidence to support it.
 
  • #75
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Originally posted by FZ+
The difference here is threefold, IMHO.

First, the point of God is it's existence as an absolute faith. While evolutionary is generally a matter of scientific debate, with the acceptance of a dynamic position (by one side, at least...
My point was one-fold, since you missed or ignored it I'll elaborate. MS's argument was a non-sequitur, with no logical connection between why MS's conclusion was inferred from the givens mentioned.

Just because many differ in belief of anything - absolute or investigative doesn't eliminate one group from the possibility of being correct, and certainly not because some are wrong. You've demonstrated no concrete reason differentiating the failure in the analogy, so I stand by it.

If you feel you have strong reasons inferring the conclusion MS reached based on the givens, then you'll need to show your work.
 
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