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Is the idea of a "god" inherent in our minds? posted 17 Jul 2004, 19:07 by Grantaire, Moderator

(note that I'm not saying "belief in a god", but rather just the idea, the concept) Religions of all sorts exist around the world, and usual a central tenet is belief in a god (or multiple gods). Even if a person is agnostic or athiest, the concept of a god is still in their head. If we were raised away from any religious influences, would we still come to find the concept of 'god'? I'm probably not explaining very well what I mean, but you probably get the gist of it :wink: My thoughts on the matter are very jumbled. view post


posted 17 Jul 2004, 19:07 by Loof, Peralogue

I think we have a inate need to explain our world, so I think the concept of god comes very easily to us. But that if someone was intentionaly raised so that every existential question he asked was answerd with another explanation then god It might be posible that he/she would never form the concept. view post


posted 17 Jul 2004, 20:07 by Taliesin, Peralogue

I think that in the modern world, where science has explained so much of the world around us and taken away the mystery of so much of our existence, one would be much less likely to come up with a concept of a god, as there is so much less in the world that seems unexplainable. But, in some remote environment without modern science and technology, it would make perfect sense for a group or individual to come to believe in a higher power, as so much of our world seems quite miraculous. I actually find it kind of sad that so much of that wonder at the world around us is gone these days.... view post


posted 17 Jul 2004, 21:07 by drosdelnoch, Subdidact

But technically speaking were the ideology of god/s mainly brought to the fore in a way to control the masses? The reason that I wonder this is that in the name of christianity the poor were always told that if they did what was required of them in the name of the church and thier sovereign then a place in heaven was assured, it mattered little that they had nothing, the thought that they gave what they could would assure them a place. Its also quite easy to use the concept of a deity to launch the controling powers wars. IE, god is on your side, they are the devils children and will do evil things to you and yours if we dont stop them. Looking at that realistically, it sounds much better than saying, right lads, theyre just like you, I want more of thier gold and lands so that Im better off, right, get em. Probably gone off at a tangent but still a point that I think is worth mentioning. view post


posted 18 Jul 2004, 14:07 by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Every society develops an ideology to conserve the status quo. Since societies are, in the most fundamental sense, collections of people acting in systematically interrelated ways, and since desire and belief are the bases of all directed actions, stable societies, by definition, require that its members be socialized with the proper desires and beliefs. Religion has always played a pivotal role in this. But the question of whether we're hardwired to believe in deity is a different one, I think. What seems to be the case is that human cognition is largely the evolutionary result of sexual selection: our version of a peacock's colours, you might say. We seem to be designed to understand one another more than the world, and as a result, we're predisposed to prefer intentional explanations - understanding by recourse to reasons and agency - over causal or functional explanations (which is why so much training is required for people to see the world from a scientific perspective - it's an accomplishment). As a result, we seem predisposed to understand natural events in the same way we understand [i:2yxalyii]human[/i:2yxalyii] events. We believe (falsely, it appears) that natural events have reasons. And since reasons belong to agents, we conjure quasi-human agencies to explain things. We anthropomorphize. Given our hardwired preferences for simplicity and synthesis, it seems almost inevitable that the multiple agencies that characterize animism would, over time, be condensed into a single 'agent of agents.' God. So I wouldn't so much say we're hardwired to believe in God as I would say we're hardwired to eventually arrive at Him. view post


posted 18 Jul 2004, 17:07 by Grantaire, Moderator

Ah, excellent explanation Cu'jara. I wonder if too, the time period and level of industrialization would have an effect- a primitive farming community would be pretty much have its prosperity depending on the weather, something they can't control and is simple to explain as the result of a gods actions etc. Whereas a more modern, industrialized society wouldn't be affected so much by nature. Meh. view post


posted 19 Jul 2004, 02:07 by saintjon, Auditor

I wonder that so many people chalk religion up to a need for explanation. I mean, in my experience I have also had moments of awe. A really amazing sun shower isn't a big deal scientifically, and it hasn't really left me wondering about the meaning of it, but nonetheless something like that can be moving. The natural world, IMO can do more than baffle or confuse to persuade you of the existence of something more. Sometimes the world assails you with poetry instead of questions I guess. view post


posted 19 Jul 2004, 03:07 by Sovin Nai, Site Administrator

I know what you are talking about, but to me it doesn't hint at anything greater. It's a statistical marvel. How many beautiful rain showers are there per year? If I see one when I am more statistically likely to not, I consider myself fortunate and revel in its scarcity. I have a deep belief in statistical spirituality, I gues you would call it. Maybe I should start a thread... view post


posted 19 Jul 2004, 15:07 by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

'Statistical spirituality' - there's no way I'm letting you get away without explaining that, Jack! view post


posted 10 Aug 2004, 13:08 by JustifiedHeretic, Peralogue

I'm intrigued, do explain. view post


posted 11 Aug 2004, 02:08 by Sovin Nai, Site Administrator

See the thread titled 'Statistical Spirituality' in this forum. :? view post


posted 28 Aug 2004, 03:08 by AjDeath, Didact

I do not see that our minds are predisposed to believe in a God. I see society needing a way to explain accepted folkways and mores. Stories and parables are the easiest way to achieve this. When we tell them to our children, which is a natural thing to do, our children grow up believing at least some of these lessons at face value. Mans incessant need to explain his suroundings and why we are here I believe stem from our fear of the unknown, meaning death. In my opinion, our belief in God has more to do with our inability to cope with our own mortality and our pride. view post


posted 02 Sep 2004, 16:09 by Scarred, Candidate

I think that humans are predisposed to believing in a God, or at least some sort of higher authority. We, as people, yearn for a reason to exist, a purpose so to speak. Without something higher than us, we have nothing to act for, we effectively have no hope for anything past what we can see. If we didnt believe in God, we would think that once we died, there's nothing for us. That could either be a motivating though, or a depressing one. For those who need a purpose, and something to hope for, the thought of a God is comforting, and motivates those peopel to do their best in this world, so that they may reach paradise in the next. view post


posted 06 Sep 2004, 21:09 by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

[quote:3ptsj5a7]I do not see that our minds are predisposed to believe in a God.[/quote:3ptsj5a7] It's not that we're predisposed to believe in God, it's that we're predisposed to comprehend the world in intentional (purposive and normative) terms. This is just a fancy way to say that we're hardwired to ascribe objective [i:3ptsj5a7]agency[/i:3ptsj5a7] to the world - to think things happen for [i:3ptsj5a7]reasons[/i:3ptsj5a7]. We anthropomorphize. Since we're also hardwired to generally prefer simplicity, the notion of some 'agent of agents' begins to seem like an inevitability. view post


posted 07 Sep 2004, 01:09 by AjDeath, Didact

[quote="Cu'jara Cinmoi":sir4s5f1][quote:sir4s5f1]I do not see that our minds are predisposed to believe in a God.[/quote:sir4s5f1] It's not that we're predisposed to believe in God, it's that we're predisposed to comprehend the world in intentional (purposive and normative) terms. This is just a fancy way to say that we're hardwired to ascribe objective [i:sir4s5f1]agency[/i:sir4s5f1] to the world - to think things happen for [i:sir4s5f1]reasons[/i:sir4s5f1].[/quote:sir4s5f1]I know this will sound slightly off in the head. But I really do not believe that anything happens for a reason. I do not believe in a past nor a future. I beleive all that happens is right now (really hard to explain sorry). For instance, right now I am typing this, but I could just as well bash my head through my monitor, or I could jump out my window. What I am trying to say is that I recognize all the junk put into me and I see the place society has made for me and I disregard it, I and everyone else can do anything if so inclined, though the man made boundaries of society may prove difficult to surpass. Well, I will agree that some things are so ingrained in our minds that to route them out would be nearly impossible. Ahh, to be normal would be nice. I am just a twenty-two year old hippie that listens to death metal, who believes that conciousness is the soul, and thinks that time does not exist. Some call me crazy. (/really crazy, maybe not on topic rant) view post


posted 07 Sep 2004, 02:09 by Grantaire, Moderator

I believe things do happen for a reason. Know the exact configuration of the universe at any one instant of time, and you can calculate its exact state at any other time. Needless to say, quite impossible for us to do, but scientific determinism is the point. Other than quantum effects (which perhaps may have rules governing them, even if we can't discern them yet), science makes particles and forces follow certain rules, that allow us to predict cause and effect. The exact state of the universe is the result of every motion of an atom, every exchange of forces, etc for all time. view post


posted 07 Sep 2004, 02:09 by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

[quote:2tni1238]Know the exact configuration of the universe at any one instant of time, and you can calculate its exact state at any other time.[/quote:2tni1238] This is the old Laplacian thesis (which as far as I know, has been thoroughly discredited by modern physics), isn't it? In principle, there's no way of knowing the exact state of any part of the universe at any given time. [quote:2tni1238]I believe things do happen for a reason.[/quote:2tni1238] I thought you tended to nihilism, Grantaire. A change of heart? :wink: view post


posted 07 Sep 2004, 10:09 by Replay, Auditor

[quote:yy6ffwf5]This is the old Laplacian thesis (which as far as I know, has been thoroughly discredited by modern physics), isn't it? In principle, there's no way of knowing the exact state of any part of the universe at any given time. [/quote:yy6ffwf5] And even if you could map the entire universe (which I agree is impossible), that does not have to mean that you could predict what would happen next. Not unless you really believed that all the universe is is a bunch of matter/energy randomly bouncing into itself. view post


posted 07 Sep 2004, 21:09 by Grantaire, Moderator

I know Scott, it's quite impossible to do. But I'm simply saying, there's a fundamental level of determinism, even past the whole free will argument. And yes, I do tend towards nihilism. But I think you're taking my use of the word "reason" wrong. I think that things don't have inherent value, the only value is what is created by society and by our needs. When I said that I believe things happen for a reason is my belief in a determinable chain of cause and effect. Things just don't spontaneously happen. I would think that this would be something that you would be a proponent of, seeing as how that seems to be a key idea of the concept of "the darkness that comes before" in the thus named book. view post


posted 07 Sep 2004, 23:09 by AjDeath, Didact

[quote="Grantaire":8quh5cio]I believe things do happen for a reason. Know the exact configuration of the universe at any one instant of time, and you can calculate its exact state at any other time. Needless to say, quite impossible for us to do, but scientific determinism is the point. Other than quantum effects (which perhaps may have rules governing them, even if we can't discern them yet), science makes particles and forces follow certain rules, that allow us to predict cause and effect. The exact state of the universe is the result of every motion of an atom, every exchange of forces, etc for all time.[/quote:8quh5cio] What I would have to say to all of that is, well, science is not the be all, end all of humanity. To me all science is human words formed by observations, more precisley, useless. How the hell do we know that everything is based on atomic structure/particles? We don't, it is just our latest observation and humanity's infinite pride demands that these facts(which is all just really conjecture) as truth (laws and so forth). How can humanity determine the color blue? Really it could be anything. view post


posted 07 Sep 2004, 23:09 by Grantaire, Moderator

Aj, you say science is useless, but think about how much in our world is based on the observations of science, and the laws and theories it creates. Science is the basis of modern medicine, engineering, flight, and so much more. You reject atomic theory, but ever heard of nuclear fission? Sure, maybe science provides interpretive analysis of things we observe, but it works. Obviously, it can be somewhat different than we imagine (i.e. wave/particle duality, other funkyass quantum stuff), but we can discover laws that govern them such as we observe them. Where is the uselessness in that? view post


posted 08 Sep 2004, 01:09 by AjDeath, Didact

Obviously there are many uses for these observations, I was being a tw@t. :oops: :o I just do not like how science and all of it's relevant studies has become the new "God" of our time. Since when has man become infallible? What I mean about science though is this, how can we ever really be sure of what we beleive (in) to be the truth? A lot of medication hurts rather than cures. Also, I never said that I rejected atomic theory, I am saying that it is exactly what you called it, the latest theory in a long succesion of theories. Of course we have put this theory to a test (sort of) and killed a whole lot of people with it. yea. I do not reject science, I reject humanity's total faith in it. view post


posted 08 Sep 2004, 01:09 by Grantaire, Moderator

Well, I agree with you in that total faith should not be put into science. That would simply be another example of the arrogance of humanism. But I would prefer that people lay their hopes in science than in religion, because in my eyes, science is more likely to give results. Humanity should have total faith in nothing, and total belief in nothing. I prefer uncertainty to irrational faith. view post


posted 08 Sep 2004, 01:09 by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Total faith in science is actually [i]very[/i] unscientific, which is what, ironically, has made science - far, far and away - more successful than any other truth-claim generating institution in the history of humanity: it's capacity for self-correction in the light of new evidence. The 'weakness' you refer to AJ, is actually science's greatest strength. Otherwise, it's been my experience that people are far more likely to underestimate than overestimate the power of science. I poll my classes on this question every year, and I'm always dismayed by how skeptical students are of science, and how credible they are of other institutional modes of claim-making. view post


posted 08 Sep 2004, 22:09 by AjDeath, Didact

[quote="Cu'jara Cinmoi":2ofxqsuk]Total faith in science is actually [i:2ofxqsuk]very[/i:2ofxqsuk] unscientific, which is what, ironically, has made science - far, far and away - more successful than any other truth-claim generating institution in the history of humanity: it's capacity for self-correction in the light of new evidence. The 'weakness' you refer to AJ, is actually science's greatest strength. Otherwise, it's been my experience that people are far more likely to underestimate than overestimate the power of science. I poll my classes on this question every year, and I'm always dismayed by how skeptical students are of science, and how credible they are of other institutional modes of claim-making.[/quote:2ofxqsuk] I will have to disagree, while I do not totally reject science, in fact I most certainly do not, I see it as mans total immersion in its own importance. Believing that what we [i:2ofxqsuk]think[/i:2ofxqsuk] is truth is not cutting it for me. I do not believe in Darwinism, or creationism. To me they are the two sides of faith. one is total faith, belief that is totally unfounded and therefore the practitioners of this belief use this as their defense. The other believes that they do not beleive in anything at all, which is false. I am not saying science science is wrong. What I am saying is that believing in an evolutional jump, (such as the eye) and the big bang is not a leap of faith? Why would a person think this? To believe these things is to have total faith in humanity's ability to discover the unknowable, and total faith in mankind itself, which I think has been proven disastrous. view post


posted 08 Sep 2004, 23:09 by Grantaire, Moderator

Well Aj, I admit that you do have a point. Humanity doesn't exactly have the best track record when it comes to being rational and learning from history, and other such things. But that doesn't mean that science should just automatically be rejected. Sure, science can only really explore within the realms of human understanding or perception, but too be honest, isn't that all that's important than? Like the colors, they are the way we see them because it's how we see them. But that's really the relevant thing, because it is the only way we can percieve them. Do you get what I'm saying? I'm not sure how well I'm explaining my thoughts...Yes, science is imperfect. It cannot tell us some things, such as value or meaning. It makes mistakes sometimes. But it is [i:q5hgdsbn]self-correcting[/i:q5hgdsbn]. When a hypothesis isn't supported by experimental evidence, do we still accept it? To become a widely accepted theory, something has to be supported by evidence. Now look at something like religion- it doesn't have evidence, but don't people still believe in it (something they attribute to *faith*). Religion isn't self-correcting, and doesn't feel the need to necessarily have evidence. Which would you rather trust? view post


posted 09 Sep 2004, 00:09 by AjDeath, Didact

[quote="Grantaire":15dono7i]Well Aj, I admit that you do have a point. Humanity doesn't exactly have the best track record when it comes to being rational and learning from history, and other such things. But that doesn't mean that science should just automatically be rejected.[/quote:15dono7i] Whoah, like I said, I do not reject science, just society's inclination to rely on it toatally, and I am not talking about the sciences of technology or medicine, although the most medicine seems to be able to do these days is almost cure hairloss, and give you a 45 hour hard on.[quote="Grantaire":15dono7i] Sure, science can only really explore within the realms of human understanding or perception, but too be honest, isn't that all that's important than? Like the colors, they are the way we see them because it's how we see them. But that's really the relevant thing, because it is the only way we can percieve them. Do you get what I'm saying? I'm not sure how well I'm explaining my thoughts...[/quote:15dono7i] I do, I just think in a way that is totally different. I think that believing that Humanity is the only thing that matters is loosing sight of humanity in it's most important sense ( to me at least), a part of a whole.[quote="Grantaire":15dono7i]Yes, science is imperfect. It cannot tell us some things, such as value or meaning. It makes mistakes sometimes. But it is [i:15dono7i]self-correcting[/i:15dono7i]. When a hypothesis isn't supported by experimental evidence, do we still accept it? To become a widely accepted theory, something has to be supported by evidence.[/quote:15dono7i] Self correcting in it's own, how should I put this, plane of beliefs (really bad way to put this) evidence to support mans view of the world is one thing, but to claim that it is truly how the world exists is laughable. It is also a form of faith. [quote="Grantaire":15dono7i] Now look at something like religion- it doesn't have evidence, but don't people still believe in it (something they attribute to *faith*). Religion isn't self-correcting, and doesn't feel the need to necessarily have evidence. Which would you rather trust?[/quote:15dono7i] As I also said, I do not agree with religion either, I admit to believing in a God, but I tend to try and be the best person I can be without the Indiana Jones Leap Of Faith. An admittance to myself, my belief in a God has been slipping away for a little while now, I really do not know what to believe, it may be nothing. It may be a blend of religion and science, and plain old spirituality. Eh. what are beliefs anyway but grandiose opinions. :wink: view post


posted 09 Sep 2004, 01:09 by Grantaire, Moderator

[quote:27w00mc9] Whoah, like I said, I do not reject science, just society's inclination to rely on it toatally, and I am not talking about the sciences of technology or medicine, although the most medicine seems to be able to do these days is almost cure hairloss, and give you a 45 hour hard on[/quote:27w00mc9] Nice observation :wink: I agree that humanity shouldn't rely on science totally, but that doesn't seem to be the case anyway. Sure, we're inclined to believe the science that we hear, because we trust the scientific method. But when a friend or loved one dies, do people pray to science for comfort? Do they worship at the altar of science to answer their pleas for meaning and aid? No, they turn to religion and sometimes philosophy. I admit it myself, for all my claims of nihilism and scientific examination, I sometimes pray. It is comforting to think that maybe, just [i:27w00mc9]maybe[/i:27w00mc9] there is some all-powerful, benevolent god out there willing to help me. I know that is not a very likely scenario, but it is still comforting sometimes. So even people such as I don't rely on science entirely. [quote:27w00mc9]I do, I just think in a way that is totally different. I think that believing that Humanity is the only thing that matters is loosing sight of humanity in it's most important sense ( to me at least), a part of a whole.[/quote:27w00mc9] I get what you're saying here- and don't get me wrong, I actually agree with you, at least in part. We can look at earth and humanity in the bigger picture of the universe as a whole. But humans, by nature are concerned for the large part only about their own good and self-advancement. So naturally, we look at things that are important and relevant to ourselves. Ever heard the theory that even acts that would seem to be altruistic are for motives of self-gain and advancement, even if subconciously? We just naturally tend to focus on things that are more important to our own survival, reproduction, and gain... [quote:27w00mc9]Self correcting in it's own, how should I put this, plane of beliefs (really bad way to put this) evidence to support mans view of the world is one thing, but to claim that it is truly how the world exists is laughable. It is also a form of faith.[/quote:27w00mc9] You're quite correct. Science is self-correcting in its own...view (you're also right in that there's no way to put that well :lol: ). Maybe this world is just like the Matrix showed, and we're all just brains in vats. Or maybe we are just the dreams of a butterfly. We can't know the [i:27w00mc9]fundamental[/i:27w00mc9] truths such as that, and science can't show us that. Maybe this entire world is only [b:27w00mc9]ideas[/b:27w00mc9]. Maybe we are just the toys of some god. Who knows? We can't, and won't know. But science can show us things in the...plane that we see them. And that is what is relevant, because it is what we can understand. Do you get what I'm saying? Maybe science can't show us a fundamental truth below the surface of this reality, but if we can't ever see that "truth", does it make the discoveries of science any less worthwhile? [quote:27w00mc9] As I also said, I do not agree with religion either, I admit to believing in a God, but I tend to try and be the best person I can be without the Indiana Jones Leap Of Faith. An admittance to myself, my belief in a God has been slipping away for a little while now, I really do not know what to believe, it may be nothing. It may be a blend of religion and science, and plain old spirituality. Eh. what are beliefs anyway but grandiose opinions. Wink[/quote:27w00mc9] I'm in the same boat, really. I've been raised Roman Catholic, but as I discover more of the world, and things such as science and philosophy, my mind seems to be automatically bent on systematically destroying my religious upbringing. My belief in god and the other teachings of the church has been slipping for a while now. I too try to be the best person possible, because even if there is no god, I still believe a basic level of morality is important. I'm enjoying this conversation quite a bit :) view post


posted 09 Sep 2004, 13:09 by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

[quote:11lxbp7k]I do not reject science, just society's inclination to rely on it toatally[/quote:11lxbp7k] It's this 'totally' you have to sell me on, AJ. The polls I've seen show the majority of people being deeply skeptical of science. The problem is that no where, not once in our public school past, are we ever taught the difference between good beliefs and bad beleifs. Since we don't know what we don't know (ignorance is invisible), we simply assume that we can tell the difference between good beliefs and bad, when psychological study after psychological study has shown we're actually quite miserable at it. Take your statement that evolution and creation are two instances of 'faith' - this is in fact what the majority of people do: they simply assume that both are 'theories' in the sense of 'speculation,' the way we use the word in everyday contexts, when in fact evolution is a theory in a [i:11lxbp7k]scientific[/i:11lxbp7k] sense. Once you probe beneath the surface, the differences become dazzling. All theories can be evaluated according to very basic 'epistemic virtues.' Take [i:11lxbp7k]explanatory power[/i:11lxbp7k]: evolution can explain, in mundane biomechanical terms, much of what we call 'life,' so much you could spend the rest of your life studying it. On the other hand, ask yourself, can creationism explain the rise of new 'superbugs' in the age of antibiotics? Or take [i:11lxbp7k]predictive success[/i:11lxbp7k]: did you know that Darwin actually postulated there must be something with the characteristics belonging to DNA for evolution to be possible? Was it an accident that it just so happens that life turns on DNA (the mechanism that evolution predicts)? Is it just a coincidence that genetics and evolution display a remarkable compatibility? Or how about evolution and geology? Another virtue is [i:11lxbp7k]fecundity[/i:11lxbp7k], or a theory's ability to generate new theories, techniques, technologies, and so on: Did you know that the cornerstone of evolution, natural selection, has become the cornerstone of an entirely new way of computer programming. By creating artifical environments, then using competition and reproduction, designers are now 'evolving' new programs (in some cases, more efficient than anything humans have been able to design), and even inventing new circuits. Or how about [i:11lxbp7k]theoretical parsimony[/i:11lxbp7k]: evolution is able to do all of this simply by proposing a new mechanism for stuff we already know exists - it doesn't need to assume anything mysterious or spooky to do the work it does. As revolutionary as it sounds, it's in fact very mundane: it needs only the biology that we already know, that makes the doctor rather than the priest the person we most want to see when we're afraid of dying. The list of virtues goes on and on, AJ, and in not one instance does creation even come close to evolution when it comes to them. In scientific terms, it's a horrible theory. This is a simple fact, not a philosophical argument. And if the opposite were the case, then creation and not evolution would be a foundation of biology: once again, science is largely self-correcting. This is not to say evolution is the 'absolute truth' (whatever that is), only that it's one of the more powerful scientific theories (which is why it's a foundation of the biological sciences), and far, far and away, the best explanatory framework we've found. Lots of social institutions making lots of claims all the time, so the question is, Who do you believe? When it comes to generating truth-claims that are reliable, efficacious, parsimonious, comprehensive, fecund, etc., no institution in the history of the human race has even come [i:11lxbp7k]close[/i:11lxbp7k] to matching the track record of science. And that is a mundane fact. All truth-claims are not equal - the computer you're reading this on, the fabrics in your clothes, your health, your material comfort, all shout this very same thing. view post


posted 09 Sep 2004, 14:09 by Aldarion, Sorcerer-of-Rank

And yet, despite (or perhaps in direct relationship to) all this, it seems as though "modern" societies are undergoing a crisis of meaning, trying to find something tangible or intangible even that they can rescue from this oft-bewildering flood of new developments. Sometimes, they choose to blind themselves to what's developing (literal Creationists tend to fall into this group, at least in my opinion), while others might try to integrate as much as possible to create a synthesis of the older beliefs and the newer theories of how existence came to be. Needless to say, this perceived crisis of meaning should keep whole teams of philosophers busy in the coming years, yes? ;) view post


posted 09 Sep 2004, 20:09 by Alric, Auditor

Interesting conversation so far. There has been a little bit of a whole lot expressed in the many responses. There has been Scientific Realism, Nihilism, Post-Structuralism, creationism vs evolution, even a little Christian Apologetics. Let me address the original question first. Are we inclined to believe in some sort of primary orginator(s) outside the realm of chance and chaos? Yes, I point to the overwhelming evidence of history to show that each and every society, that we have reasonable information on, had some sort of rationalization of existence that included a God or primary being. While these images and stories varied, the fact that humans of all sorts and in all locations held to these stories should weigh strongly on the nature of our thought process. We seem to be designed to seek out some source, some meaning or process that explains origination and purpose. Pre-scientific people obviously explained things mystically. Science is the active seeking of knowledge and understanding of the world and universe around us. Now, I have no problems admitting that I am Christian, and as such believe that God created all things. However, I am not one that ascribes to the literalization of Genesis to form a psuedo-sceintific "theory" known as creationism. Now if you want to get into the different discussions around the biblical texts, pre-scientific creation myth vs scientific fact (Genesis creation as a factual step by step account), differences in understanding within the Christian community... well, that is another series of posts. As a Christian, I have nothing against science, and in fact feel that science is a vital and important practice. I agree Scott, that science offers a great deal and that as an approach that is self-corrective, or at least it is when working properly, is a great deal more useful in discussion and study than blind fanaticism. However, science is not without it's certain delusional blind spots on occasion. All human endevours are, as we are truly incapable of true objective disconnection. Evolution is a wonderful theory, a theory that carries a lot of weight, a theory that is becoming ever more political within the scientific community it seems. Now, I certainly believe that animals/organisms can change and adapt over time due to genetic mutation, adaption, etc. However, I recognize that evolutionary theory has gaps in it as well. I look to some of the more recent developments and studies being produced by those supporting a somewhat newer scientific theory termed Intelligent Design. Now, I want to point out that this is not a Christian theory, though many Christian scientists do work in this area, but a scientific one where meta-physical discussion is left behind, at least for the most part. I do not bring this up to criticize evolution so much as I bring it up as a point that science does look at itself when new and conflicting evidence comes to light. It is really quite exciting. Anyway, I thought I'd weigh in since Larry (Aldarion) has been prodding me to get involved in these discussion. Thanks, Larry. :wink: view post


posted 09 Sep 2004, 20:09 by Grantaire, Moderator

Good to see you join in Alric :wink: [quote:3lfo13bh]Let me address the original question first. Are we inclined to believe in some sort of primary orginator(s) outside the realm of chance and chaos? Yes, I point to the overwhelming evidence of history to show that each and every society, that we have reasonable information on, had some sort of rationalization of existence that included a God or primary being. While these images and stories varied, the fact that humans of all sorts and in all locations held to these stories should weigh strongly on the nature of our thought process. We seem to be designed to seek out some source, some meaning or process that explains origination and purpose. Pre-scientific people obviously explained things mystically. Science is the active seeking of knowledge and understanding of the world and universe around us. [/quote:3lfo13bh] As I believe Scott or someone else said in one of these discussions, we tend to anthromorphize. Assign "human" natured causes to things we can't explain. Thus, the concept of god, creating the idea of some being with traits that humans can have (benevolence, etc). [quote:3lfo13bh]Now, I have no problems admitting that I am Christian, and as such believe that God created all things. However, I am not one that ascribes to the literalization of Genesis to form a psuedo-sceintific "theory" known as creationism. Now if you want to get into the different discussions around the biblical texts, pre-scientific creation myth vs scientific fact (Genesis creation as a factual step by step account), differences in understanding within the Christian community... well, that is another series of posts. [/quote:3lfo13bh] If you don't mind my asking you, why exactly do you believe that? view post


posted 09 Sep 2004, 22:09 by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

[quote:giy6i0sf]a somewhat newer scientific theory termed Intelligent Design[/quote:giy6i0sf] Even calling intelligent design theory 'scientific' is enormously controversial, and only then, I suspect, because so many want so desperately to believe in it. Evolution is very alienating, and as difficult to envisage as is a billion years. I personally find it repugnant. The idea as I take it (and please correct me if I'm wrong, Alric) is that only 'purposive intelligence' can explain the structural complexity of life. Though I'm not saying this isn't a worthwhile hypothesis to consider, the immediate problems seem almost insuperable. The first and primary problem is that [i:giy6i0sf]purpose[/i:giy6i0sf], understood from the process-mechanistic model that is the default in science, is looking more and more like an illusion of our limited processing abilities. One of the holy grails in cognitive science and philosophy of mind, for instance, is the 'naturalizing of purpose,' and the literature is littered with the carcasses of failed attempts. Natural science deals in [i:giy6i0sf]causes[/i:giy6i0sf], not reasons, in functional explanations, not intentional ones. In the course of four short centuries, it has systematically discredited nearly every intentional explanation of nature that we cooked up. And it has given us things like cures for cancer, low infant mortality rates, and thermonuclear weapons by doing so. In other words, 'intelligent design theory' explains the complexity evolution apparently cannot (and this thesis itself is roundly denied) by reference to something that not only remains inexplicable, but more and more seems [i:giy6i0sf]antithetical[/i:giy6i0sf] to scientific understanding - and this is just to say that it really explains nothing at all. It's pseudo-science. Aside from this, if you look at the list of other 'theoretical virtues' I mentioned, I think you'll find there's not one where intelligent design can even hold a candle to evolution. It has spawned no breakthroughs. It does not systematically fit with other scientific theories. It needs to posit the scientifically inexplicable in order to explicate. In fact it doesn't seem to do much of anything other than comfort people who need to believe that we are 'exceptional' somehow - that things have a 'point.' But then we're hardwired to generally prefer simple, flattering conclusions over complex, threatening ones. All told, this is why I think 'intelligent design theory' is simply creationism redux. In 20 years time, I think you'll find that it has been thoroughly discredited, and that proponents of creation will have found some other pseudo-scientific theory to muddy the debate. I'm told this has been the pattern for some time. I realize this must sound horribly cynical, Alric, but the problems with intelligent design really are profound. view post


posted 10 Sep 2004, 14:09 by Alric, Auditor

[quote="Grantaire":382p0sw4]Good to see you join in Alric :wink: [quote:382p0sw4]Now, I have no problems admitting that I am Christian, and as such believe that God created all things. However, I am not one that ascribes to the literalization of Genesis to form a psuedo-sceintific "theory" known as creationism. Now if you want to get into the different discussions around the biblical texts, pre-scientific creation myth vs scientific fact (Genesis creation as a factual step by step account), differences in understanding within the Christian community... well, that is another series of posts. [/quote:382p0sw4] If you don't mind my asking you, why exactly do you believe that?[/quote:382p0sw4] I'd be happy to, but you'll have to direct me to exactly which "that" you are referring too. There are several rather large discussion points in that smallish paragraph, so it'd be helpful if you point me in the right direction. :wink: view post


posted 10 Sep 2004, 14:09 by Aldarion, Sorcerer-of-Rank

You've been around me too long, haven't you Jake? ;) Nice reply there. Needless to say, I do wonder how one could discuss all of the possible pertinent points (say that three times fast! :P) in one measly wittle post. Wanna try, though? :P view post


posted 10 Sep 2004, 14:09 by Alric, Auditor

[quote="Cu'jara Cinmoi":wz4vgbj2] I realize this must sound horribly cynical, Alric, but the problems with intelligent design really are profound.[/quote:wz4vgbj2] Cynical, not at all. Critical, absolutely. And I find nothing wrong with that. As I said above, I didn't offer Intelligent Design as a rebuff of Evolution, but simply as an example of elements of the scientific community engaging in the very exercise that you called one of science's true strengths, critical self-evaluation. Your critique of Intelligent Design, as far as I can tell, is mostly valid. I am not a scientist, and would never claim a special knowledge or understanding of the finer details of any of the scientific fields. I am a historian and a reader of diverse materials, which is more than enough to keep me busy. Whatever you want to term it, Intelligent Design, is being studied and even furthered by predominantly non-Christian sources. Now, that certainly doesn't limit the level of idealism many of those indivduals probably have. As much as I know about Intelligent Design Theory, and admittedly it isn't much more than a simple survey of major points, it does revolve around the issue of complexity. There are a great many specifics in that search, complex proteins, fossil explosion, DNA/RNA functionality and information load. But that is neither here nor there. As I said, I did not offer ID as a thing to be believed, merely as sidenote. I am much more familiar and comfortable with discussions of evolution. Though, as I see it, a definite and not specifically related tangent to the question at hand. Oh, and nice to "meet" you, Scott. view post


posted 10 Sep 2004, 14:09 by Alric, Auditor

[quote="Aldarion":2hah2bq5]You've been around me too long, haven't you Jake? ;) Nice reply there. Needless to say, I do wonder how one could discuss all of the possible pertinent points (say that three times fast! :P) in one measly wittle post. Wanna try, though? :P[/quote:2hah2bq5] Geez, Larry. I guess I could take a stab at a nice summary of the points. But, I'm not going to do it right now. I'm about 15 minutes away from leaving on a mini-vacation to the lake cabin with my wife. So, it'll have to wait. view post


posted 10 Sep 2004, 15:09 by Aldarion, Sorcerer-of-Rank

I don't blame ya! I was just teasing, as you know. By the way, enjoy my latest two reviews before logging out, okay? ;) view post


posted 10 Sep 2004, 19:09 by AjDeath, Didact

[quote="Cu'jara Cinmoi":2gxb1tjd][quote:2gxb1tjd]I do not reject science, just society's inclination to rely on it totally[/quote:2gxb1tjd] It's this 'totally' you have to sell me on, AJ. The polls I've seen show the majority of people being deeply skeptical of science. Lots of social institutions making lots of claims all the time, so the question is, Who do you believe? When it comes to generating truth-claims that are reliable, efficacious, parsimonious, comprehensive, fecund, etc., no institution in the history of the human race has even come [i:2gxb1tjd]close[/i:2gxb1tjd] to matching the track record of science. And that is a mundane fact. All truth-claims are not equal - the computer you're reading this on, the fabrics in your clothes, your health, your material comfort, all shout this very same thing.[/quote:2gxb1tjd]I cannot sell you on the "totallity". As both sides of this argument can play semantics till the cows come home. Both sides are guilty of it. Having been a total atheist and a born again christian, I stand in the middle now. I look at both sides and see the same behavior. Hell, science may have it right, but until we can know really know, (which is impossible) it is a beleif system, one that rejects unfounded beliefs, but it is still in the same category, to me at least. The last sentence in your post does point out to me that society does tend to rely on science for just about everything. Which is not bad since it is helpful to humanity.(Also has something of that 'Totally') I guess there is no way to defend this stance because it is my own personal view of where humanity stands, I always admit that I could be wrong and always adjust my beliefs with the information I learn. :wink: view post


posted 11 Sep 2004, 02:09 by Grantaire, Moderator

Alric, I'm referring to your christian beliefs. I don't know exactly what church you belong to, but why do you have those beliefs? view post


posted 11 Sep 2004, 12:09 by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

We're certainly entirely [i:bqol5dcw]dependent[/i:bqol5dcw] on science, I agree with you there, AJ. I think it's safe to say the credence people give it, though, is far out of proportion to its practical import. You have people on antibiotic regimens designed to combat the evolution of bacteria, insisting that evolution is false. [quote:bqol5dcw]Hell, science may have it right, but until we can know really know, (which is impossible) it is a beleif system, one that rejects unfounded beliefs, but it is still in the same category, to me at least.[/quote:bqol5dcw] I agree: it's in the same category as religion insofar as it is a social institution that generates truth-claims. But that's just the beginning isn't it? Sooner or later, the issue always comes down to the question of the [i:bqol5dcw]cognitive difference[/i:bqol5dcw], or which claims are more reliable, comprehensive, efficacious, and so on. Whenever we walk into a car dealership, the cognitive differences between claims is something we're very keen on, but for some reason, most religious people seem to become less and less concerned the more [i:bqol5dcw]important[/i:bqol5dcw] the claims become. The question, 'But [i:bqol5dcw]how[/i:bqol5dcw] do you know?' becomes increasingly difficult to ask (to the point where I feel I need to be exceedingly delicate typing this!). Is this an accurate description? And if so, why do you think this is? And lastly, given that the 'feeling of being right' has no reliable correlation with actually being right (which is why two people can be absolutely convinced - to the point of sacrificing their lives - of two contradictory beliefs), how do you know? view post


posted 11 Sep 2004, 17:09 by Grantaire, Moderator

[quote:20f7iv4i]We're certainly entirely dependent on science, I agree with you there, AJ. I think it's safe to say the credence people give it, though, is far out of proportion to its practical import. You have people on antibiotic regimens designed to combat the evolution of bacteria, insisting that evolution is false. [/quote:20f7iv4i] People certainly are skeptical of science, though perhaps that may be in part from lack of understanding? If someone goes to university and studies physics and chemistry, etc, goes to grad school and so forth studying science, that person is obviously going to understand science fairly well, and thus understand its capabilities and limitations, and therefor be somewhat more likely to both trust scientific discoveries, and to take them with a grain of salt. But there are other people who go through life never having to study any more science than they have to, either because they don't have a knack for it when they're younger, or don't have any interest, or for whatever reason it may be. If these people have no more understanding of science than what they're forcibly taught because college, don't you think they'll be more skeptical of science, because they don't understand not only the topics of science, but what science can and can't do? Just something I thought of. [quote:20f7iv4i]I agree: it's in the same category as religion insofar as it is a social institution that generates truth-claims. But that's just the beginning isn't it?[/quote:20f7iv4i] Indeed, it's only at that most fundamental level that they are in the same category though. Although there's still somewhat of a difference in that religion deals with more of metaphysical ideas, versus science focusing only on what can be observed and measured. [quote:20f7iv4i]Sooner or later, the issue always comes down to the question of the cognitive difference, or which claims are more reliable, comprehensive, efficacious, and so on. Whenever we walk into a car dealership, the cognitive differences between claims is something we're very keen on, but for some reason, most religious people seem to become less and less concerned the more important the claims become. The question, 'But how do you know?' becomes increasingly difficult to ask (to the point where I feel I need to be exceedingly delicate typing this!).[/quote:20f7iv4i] Why is this though? Are people so comforted by their religions that they willingly refuse to challenge their beliefs? I simply don't understand what could cause that...I would think that in questions such as "does god exist?" "what will happen to us when we die?" "what is our purpose here?", people should thoroughly examine and think and question. Simply accepting what a religion tells you, just because an old book says it's right, isn't that tantamount to betraying your own faculties of reasoning? Oh, and just out of curiousity Scott, do you belong to a religion? [quote:20f7iv4i]Is this an accurate description? And if so, why do you think this is? And lastly, given that the 'feeling of being right' has no reliable correlation with actually being right (which is why two people can be absolutely convinced - to the point of sacrificing their lives - of two contradictory beliefs), how do you know?[/quote:20f7iv4i] I think that there are perhaps two possible answers. First, as I said above, is maybe that people simply don't want to destroy the religious beliefs that comfort them from what the world and the truth may be like if they are incorrect. Another possibility I see is this- many people are not like us. I don't say that to be arrogant, but I don't know if you realize this (since you're a writer and former philosophy professor, I'm guessing that you usually associate with quite intelligent people). Every day, many of the people I see and know, they simply go through life...ignorant, shall we say. They care about things like what's going on in hollywood, who's dating who, what's fashionable. They see school, education, and knowledge as just a waste of time. They would consider the kind of discussions we have here to be 'gay' or some other derogatory term. Maybe there's nothing wrong with having a worldview like that, it's simply their preference, but I think that a person like that would be more apt to simply accept religious beliefs, without questioning them. What do you think? view post


posted 12 Sep 2004, 14:09 by AjDeath, Didact

[quote="Cu'jara Cinmoi":2evedn7k]I agree: it's in the same category as religion insofar as it is a social institution that generates truth-claims. But that's just the beginning isn't it? Sooner or later, the issue always comes down to the question of the [i:2evedn7k]cognitive difference[/i:2evedn7k], or which claims are more reliable, comprehensive, efficacious, and so on. Whenever we walk into a car dealership, the cognitive differences between claims is something we're very keen on, but for some reason, most religious people seem to become less and less concerned the more [i:2evedn7k]important[/i:2evedn7k] the claims become. The question, 'But [i:2evedn7k]how[/i:2evedn7k] do you know?' becomes increasingly difficult to ask (to the point where I feel I need to be exceedingly delicate typing this!). Is this an accurate description? And if so, why do you think this is? And lastly, given that the 'feeling of being right' has no reliable correlation with actually being right (which is why two people can be absolutely convinced - to the point of sacrificing their lives - of two contradictory beliefs), how do you know?[/quote:2evedn7k] This exactly how I look at it. Science and religion have nothing in common beyond the fact that they are both fundamentally belief structures that deal with mans perception of his place in the universe. I do know that any self respecting scientist would say that this isn't true, because they do not go about to answer these questions. But the fact is that science directly effects the perceptions of the people of the world in this area and even effects lifestyles (people that believe that since there is no God, what is the point, etc.). On the people who never question there beliefs. They will at some point, but most choose to ignore outside influence. I know when I was a born again christian I wrote a lot of these questions off as the influence of the Devil, that is how these beliefs remain in perpetuity. The mind set is so defensive and the beliefs so self rationalized with these with these automatic defenses (which are hammered into you by other believers) that when these questions appear they are immediately dismissed. The more I learned about life the more I questioned the purpose of this mindset. It is all about how well you can rationalize. I see the same behavior in Science, obviously not the same extent and obviously not about the material the pursue in their work, but rationalization in their mindset. Like I said before, to me science and religion are the two side of faith(rationalization). The skeptics out there are for the most part, poeple who did not bother to educate themselves further in this area. Science is quite fascinating if you delve into it. I am not an expert and I realize I know jack about science, but the little reading I did was interesting. I would also like to point out that I am not skeptical of science, I am skeptical of everything. This might give you some idea of where I am coming from. :wink: view post


posted 12 Sep 2004, 17:09 by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

[quote:2kag021j]Oh, and just out of curiousity Scott, do you belong to a religion? [/quote:2kag021j] I'm an agnostic with a yen for the [i:2kag021j]mysterium tremendum[/i:2kag021j]. When people ask me if I believe there's such a thing as God, I tell them I'm having a hard enough time believing there's such a thing as meaning. view post


posted 12 Sep 2004, 17:09 by eowyn1983, Peralogue

I hope no one minds me jumping into this discussion but I was curious so I couldn't resist. I'm aware that nothing can ever be really proven only disproven (correct me if I'm wrong) but one of my professors said something interesting which I think applies here as well. There are paradigms or theories that have false assumptions but are still useful (Newtonian physics assumes mass concentrates at a point ? and microeconomic laws of supply and demand postulate that firms seek to maximize profit). Nevertheless, these theories still work well enough in practice (they have explanatory power). I see science as providing that practical explanatory power; it may be wrong about many things but it still makes useful predictions or has useful applications for us. Religion perhaps has that claim to make as well? It does provide a moral foundation, a meaning to life, psychological well-being. This may not be explanatory in nature but it is still beneficial and useful. It is certainly useful to society in keeping order and negatively to the ruling classes as well as it helps to maintain the status quo (the untouchables in India for ex.). Having been on a spiritual quest since I was 9 and still hanging in limbo, I'm curious as to how non-spiritual people (right term?) deal with that lack of meaning. If life and the universe is meaningless than what is the point of living and following all of the routines that are set for you? And is that concept of a meaningless universe the same as a belief in a chaotic universe? Or are they different? view post


posted 12 Sep 2004, 20:09 by Grantaire, Moderator

[quote:1t8rgr7k]I'm an agnostic with a yen for the mysterium tremendum. When people ask me if I believe there's such a thing as God, I tell them I'm having a hard enough time believing there's such a thing as meaning.[/quote:1t8rgr7k] Interesting Scott, I had a feeling you'd say something like that, I couldn't really see you as belonging to an organized religion. I'm in somewhat of a similar boat really, uncertainty of god, much less all things. It's hard to break with the expectations of society and/or parents though... [quote:1t8rgr7k]I hope no one minds me jumping into this discussion but I was curious so I couldn't resist. I'm aware that nothing can ever be really proven only disproven (correct me if I'm wrong) but one of my professors said something interesting which I think applies here as well. There are paradigms or theories that have false assumptions but are still useful (Newtonian physics assumes mass concentrates at a point ? and microeconomic laws of supply and demand postulate that firms seek to maximize profit). Nevertheless, these theories still work well enough in practice (they have explanatory power). I see science as providing that practical explanatory power; it may be wrong about many things but it still makes useful predictions or has useful applications for us. Religion perhaps has that claim to make as well? It does provide a moral foundation, a meaning to life, psychological well-being. This may not be explanatory in nature but it is still beneficial and useful. It is certainly useful to society in keeping order and negatively to the ruling classes as well as it helps to maintain the status quo (the untouchables in India for ex.). Having been on a spiritual quest since I was 9 and still hanging in limbo, I'm curious as to how non-spiritual people (right term?) deal with that lack of meaning. If life and the universe is meaningless than what is the point of living and following all of the routines that are set for you? And is that concept of a meaningless universe the same as a belief in a chaotic universe? Or are they different?[/quote:1t8rgr7k] Welcome to the discussion eowyn (we don't mind at all, it's nice to see a new face :) ...er..however that would be termed on the internet :wink: ). Religion may have some claims to having a positive effect on people or society, I don't argue that. It comforts people when horrible things happen, comforts them against the thought of death, gives them 'purpose'. But, as I think you said, religion is generally based on an assumption that has yet to be skillfully proven to me- the existance of a god. view post


posted 12 Sep 2004, 23:09 by AjDeath, Didact

[quote="eowyn1983":f6pdlgd8] This may not be explanatory in nature but it is still beneficial and useful. It is certainly useful to society in keeping order and negatively to the ruling classes as well as it helps to maintain the status quo (the untouchables in India for ex.). [/quote:f6pdlgd8]Some people might disagree with you on this point. I do, but that is irrelevant . [quote="eowyn1983":f6pdlgd8]Having been on a spiritual quest since I was 9 and still hanging in limbo, I'm curious as to how non-spiritual people (right term?) deal with that lack of meaning. If life and the universe is meaningless than what is the point of living and following all of the routines that are set for you? And is that concept of a meaningless universe the same as a belief in a chaotic universe? Or are they different?[/quote:f6pdlgd8]I consider myself to be a spiritual person. In the sense that I try to find the answer for me, within myself. @Mr. Bakker-I am in the same boat as you, as you might have guessed. view post


posted 14 Sep 2004, 14:09 by Alric, Auditor

[quote="Grantaire":7tx2m6m2]Alric, I'm referring to your christian beliefs. I don't know exactly what church you belong to, but why do you have those beliefs?[/quote:7tx2m6m2] Well, that is always a difficult question to answer briefly and in anything less than an actual live conversation. I will try to give you some sort of answer. I don't know whether or not this would be better handled as a private note or not. What do you think? view post


posted 14 Sep 2004, 19:09 by Grantaire, Moderator

[quote:3j6vem2j]Well, that is always a difficult question to answer briefly and in anything less than an actual live conversation. I will try to give you some sort of answer. I don't know whether or not this would be better handled as a private note or not. What do you think?[/quote:3j6vem2j] Whichever way you would prefer is fine with me. view post


posted 13 May 2007, 07:05 by Jamara, Auditor

I'm going to rekindle this old thread. First, I must say that this is coming from someone who hates the concept of religions, but I am a spiritualist. I am just awed by how most people out there draw a line in the sand when it comes to science and spiritual thought. Science and Salvation religions certainly butt heads, and you can look at them as sides of the same coin, but that's not the only coin out there. Science explains the explainable, and spirituality tries to cope with the unexplainable, or where science stops. I too have been on a quest most of my life, and for a while I was agnostic. I am deeply science minded, but even Einstein said that what one needs is a good amalgamation of the two. Do I believe what science has shown us to date, yes. Do I question it? Of course. That is the point of science. It is questioned all the time, and if a better answer comes along, then science unapologetically corrects itself. That's its inherent beauty. But at no time does it ever conflict or even contradict my spiritual beliefs. Can science prove the existence of a soul? No. Do I believe in a soul? Yes. And it is largely through science that I was brought around to believing in such. Ordered "things" fight entropy. Everything that has some order to it will eventually decay and break down into less ordered units. The more ordered a thing is, the greater the pull to breakdown. So I asked myself, "Self, what is it that drives these highly ordered organisms to fight entropy on an hourly basis?" To me, that thing is a soul. The soul is the driving force which keeps us alive. Which makes us fight for life. Science can tell us how we do it, that we are doing it, and what would be the outcome should we not do it, but it can't tell us why we do it. Why do we fight so hard to survive? And that is where my concept for a soul arose from. Basically, I feel that spirituality resides in the places where science can't go. Science and spirituality do not have to be enemies. And I really don't agree with labelling science as something that requires faith. Not at all! Faith is the antithesis of science. Science is recordable observations. At least one poster in this thead said that he sees a problem with how much "faith" we put into science. We don't put faith into science! Science demands proof. Faith requires a total lack of proof. That is the definition of faith. So my faith starts where science stops. It doesn't replace it. view post


posted 13 May 2007, 11:05 by Randal, Auditor

Isn't that a bit like the "god of the gaps", though? Science goes to more and more places all the time. For me, I don't "get" spirituality. What the hell is it? Utterly alien to me. If it believes in souls and such, I don't see much of a difference with religion. Okay, I see a difference... but they both seem part of the same thing to me. Or perhaps you could say religion is one way to express spirituality, whatever it is. As for the "unexplainable"... it is just that. Unexplainable. Inserting souls in there or whatever to me makes no sense whatsoever. What's wrong with things being unexplainable? We're just limited humans with a few centuries of collective experience behind us, after all. Let it be unexplainable. Some we'll explain anyway, later, when we know more. Some will never be explained. Cannot be explained. Would I rather know? Would I rather have an explanation? Of course I would. But an explanation that has no evidence for me is no explanation at all. Science and spirtuality need not be enemies per-se, but neither need they be neighbours. Or aquintances. Or living in the same country. They're unrelated, as far as I can see, save where sciences proves certain specific "spiritual" claims wrong. To go slightly back on topic... I would think that if people are born with the idea of religion, it's not all of them. I probably wasn't born with any at all. view post


posted 13 May 2007, 17:05 by Jamara, Auditor

First, the difference between spirituality an religion is that religion is spirituality with dogma and doctrines. It has rules which are applied to the masses. My sense of spirituality is much more similar to agnosticism. As far as my views on science and my spirituality. One of the reasons I found myself leaving agnosticism and aligning with the pagan/animistic view is because of my ecology classes in college. Just seeing and understanding the complexity and interconnectedness of all living beings on the planet and the biomass continuity. It was science that led me to develope a spiritual sense of community. So it was not the scientific gap, rather it was the scientific understanding which brought about my spirituality. Likewise with thermodynamics and my view on reincarnation. Energy and mass are neither created nor destroyed, merely altered. I took this line of thinking one step further and believe that souls are neither created nor destroyed, merely recycled. Now I still have questions that I have no idea what the answer is, but I'm okay with that. Like, where did souls come from? I don't know, but I can build my own story which will help me cope with this ignorance, but I totally understand that it is merely a story for my own mental well being. Where did the universe come from? I don't know. And my scientific mind tells me I could be completely wrong on all this, but I'm okay with that. Back to the original thread, I do feel that sentience has left man with the one greatest question which can not be answered, but we try to answer it. First it was spiritual meaning, and later science came along. But the original question which drives us to such great mental dilemmas is "Why". view post


posted 14 May 2007, 21:05 by Entropic_existence, Moderator

Evolutionary Psychology has had some pretty interesting things to say about religious belief in terms of either an emergent property or an evolutionary adaptation. Interesting theories abound about pattern recognition and the role it may play in making us naturally susceptible to belief in the supernatural which of course leads to spiritualism and eventually full fledged religions get built on top of that. Whether it is true or not is another matter but there is certainly some good evidence behind the notion, and some rather interesting lines of thought that have been followed there. view post


posted 14 May 2007, 22:05 by Harrol, Moderator

As a Christian I do not believe God resides in the unknown. He is what He is whether or not man comprehends all of existance. Man's comprehension will never take away from God. view post


posted 15 May 2007, 03:05 by avatar_of_existence, Peralogue

[quote:2pjwlw13]We don't put faith into science! Science demands proof. Faith requires a total lack of proof. That is the definition of faith. So my faith starts where science stops. It doesn't replace it.[/quote:2pjwlw13] Nietzche said "Science is the myth of cause and effect." He also said "There is no such thing as facts, there are only opinions." Science, while it prides itself on it's objectivity, is still a human endeavor. Science does seem to me to be a product of a percieved reality. Andre Breton said "To Imagine is to See". Personally I do believe in the spirit as a personal entity and I think we are coming into an age where mythology has reached a very personal level, at least I feel that way about the people I share my life with. There has been a great lack of romance and mythology recently, but it is returning. People are finding peace in questions with no answers. view post


posted 15 May 2007, 08:05 by Randal, Auditor

Science does make the assumption that our perception of the world is valid. If you believe we live in the matrix, science loses its value. Still, I think it's a reasonable assumption. If you assume your senses and measurements are all conspiring to deceive you, there's precious little you can achieve anyway. And science [i:3oi4bwdi]works[/i:3oi4bwdi]. The predictions it makes, the medicines and machines based on it, they all appear to work to those same senses. Of course, you could say that they really don't work and that our senses are deceiving us again into thinking they do... but that's a rather futile exercise. Our perceptions are all we have to go on, so accepting them is the most sensible course of action in my opinion. view post


posted 15 May 2007, 18:05 by avatar_of_existence, Peralogue

but if what you percieve is your reality, why not shape it as you please? why limit it to the field of shared knowledge? in double-blind tests on antidepressants for example the placebo usually had almost the exact same effect as the drug they were testing. We have yet to unlock our full potential, and for some reason science and religion both seem to me to be a stepping stone. Things do work for the people who believe in them. Usually. view post


posted 03 Jul 2007, 13:07 by Tar.Aldarion, Candidate

I don't believe the idea of God is inherent in our minds. It is more, a general weakness/flaw that is prevalent in our species, we need something to hope for etc, for the most part. I am an Alatrist since I gave up Christianity at oh, about 8 years old. So I was never really one. An alatrist is an agnostic that would not worship a god even if a god could was proved to exist. My agnostic beliefs also edge towards atheism, and I find religion to be for weak people(No offence.). Weak in a way that they can not be blamed for, some people need something to believe in, to repress fear. I also find the term god to be a paradox, and as such, a god could not exist to me. It is not possible for something to be a god rather than just a powerful alien, at the most. Logic is just ignorance by numbers, but it is far superior to any other ignorance. There are many forms of intelligence, that is to say, different types. From the type that allows me to get the root of 27.4 in my head, to the ability to pick up subtle nuances around you, to the ability to be in a system of evolutionary psychology and brainwashing, and step outside it etc etc. Being intelligent is also just perspective. I am of the opinion that since people here were brought up catholic they believe in that god, if you were brought up in Islam, that god, etc etc, ranging to Zeus...(minor exceptions due to circumstances in individuals lives occur) Then Christians, or whoever, will go and say they have a personal relationship with their god, and that is all the evidence they need that he is real(How could he not be if they feel it in their hearts I hear them cry), a god that says that he is the only god to exist... whilst some people of other faiths have the exact same belief that they have a personal relationship with their god and therefore no other god could exist. Ah my ramblings... When I say I wouldn't worship a god, I mean I would not worship anything, nothing specific, as with my fellow Alatrists I'm sure. Also, 'god' is a paradox for me. As I said above, It is not possible for something to be a god rather than just a powerful alien, at the most. This thing that might have created the universe etc, why would that be a "god" to you as opposed to simply an alien, even if that alien exists outside of your universe? What makes something a god for you and something not a god? How powerful would it have to be? Since it would have to have infinite power I imagine, it can not exist. I think 'god' is not tenable, for me. How and ever, what may be a god to you, is not a god to me, so a 'god' could exist to you. I contend that the distinctions between atheism and agnosticism have everything to do with the definition of 'god' in part, rather than the words themselves. As what constitutes a 'god' is very subjective - so must your pigeonhole be. I think there is a contradiction in the way that the more advanced a 'god' is, the more it is worthy of an old grovel, yet the more advanced it is, surely the less it will think that it deserves one... worship being an inane human idea. The Abrahamic god/s may want worship indeed, most people view that as a picture of a 'god' around these parts, but that god is rather undeserving. If something was a supreme being as you put it, would it have a desire to be worshiped, or would it not need it and not yearn for it? Something that created us and wants worship is not worthy of it and something that created us that does not need worship, does not need it. (: An alien race with vaster intelligence aren't gods, any more than we are gods compared to dogs or bacteria. That isn't what the term "god" means. We obey the same rule of nature and physics as anything else. A god wouldn't, by definition. Why would it be subject to ego, or even thought? It's like the Christian god naming pride as a mortal sin but him being guilty of it himself. It is a paradox. There are so many paradoxes to a god existing, it's just impossible under most peoples definition of a god, for said god to exist. Omniscience for instance. Is it impossible for him to know something which he does not know? (IE, knowledge of an omission is itself a knowable fact, so by implication, there must be at least one omission of which he's aware. Is it possible to reconcile this by saying that the fact of which he's unaware is the fact of the existence of this same omission? There is an infinite class of objects with no proof against their existence, which most of us would say we know doesn't exist. yet a lot of theists find beliefs like mine untenable. They want [i:ryyy4vfr]proof[/i:ryyy4vfr] 'their' god does not exist. Theists are atheistic towards unicorns, dragons, sauron, teacups orbiting the milkyway breathing fire... without any proof, yet not against a 'god'? Lets take Let's take vampires for a moment. I don't believe vampires exist. Can I prove it - in a technical 'philosophical sense' - No. So what do I mean when I say "I don't believe that vampires exist" ? To me it means I'm going to behave and act as if the statement is true. So I'm taking no precautions against vampires in my daily life. No garlic or holy water above my head. I don't spend time trying to find them, I don't look for the latest research. If that position is classified by some as narrow-minded then so be it, I can live with that, but the position seems perfectly sensible to me. But because I cannot absolutely disprove their existence, I'm supposed to be classified as agnostic on the existence vampires. Well fine, but then we I need a new term for those who act is their lives as if vampires may exist. Those who might consider garlic above their bed "just in case", who read non-fiction books about vampires, and generally live their lives as I would describe 'Unsure whether vampires exist'. There are a lot of things we are technically agnostic on, but functionally atheist. A god is just another, just as you would not believe in any Earthly religion without evidence for or against. There is a lack of empirical evidence for the existence of deities, and the ridiculous things mentioned above. Why entertain a belief in one, and not another? If someone uses the 'can't disprove' argument (for god) then it seems reasonable to point out the same argument can be applied in defence of any silly belief. Why abandon common sense for scientific imperialism? Solipsism is pointless. If you had been brought up in a world of atheists you would find the idea of a god as ridiculous as a train falling on your head right now, yet both have very little evidence against them. However people seem to define god as something which is just powerful, so I will discuss that below. If that is so, a god could certainly exist to you, but it would just be a powerful being to other people. Only if we choose to bow down and worship them are we setting them up as Gods - a fallacy exactly equivalent to a remote tribe worshipping a Western explorer because of the latter's technology. I'm sure I had a topic in there at some point? view post


posted 05 Jul 2007, 00:07 by avatar_of_existence, Peralogue

[quote="Tar.Aldarion":18oegj24]Christians, or whoever, will go and say they have a personal relationship with their god, and that is all the evidence they need that he is real(How could he not be if they feel it in their hearts I hear them cry), a god that says that he is the only god to exist... whilst some people of other faiths have the exact same belief that they have a personal relationship with their god and therefore no other god could exist. Ah my ramblings... When I say I wouldn't worship a god, I mean I would not worship anything, nothing specific, as with my fellow Alatrists I'm sure. Also, 'god' is a paradox for me. As I said above, It is not possible for something to be a god rather than just a powerful alien, at the most. This thing that might have created the universe etc, why would that be a "god" to you as opposed to simply an alien, even if that alien exists outside of your universe? What makes something a god for you and something not a god? How powerful would it have to be? I'm sure I had a topic in there at some point?[/quote:18oegj24] You are leaving out the millions of people who do believe that all gods worshipped are one god (an idea that's been growing since the early 1900's), and that would explain how all these people have a personal relationship with 'their' gods. Us and Them is a myth, we are all human beings operating on the same level living on the same ball of water and dirt. I believe that there are mysteries out there that science will never explain, Paradoxes is the word you used. I believe it takes more to look at the paradoxes in the world straight in the eye than to throw them out the window as 'superstition' which is what I believe you are doing here. You don't worship anything? I say that is impossible. Life itself is worship of existence, your every waking movement is worship. Okay, so worship is not the word you would use, but why not? because Christians use it? then it is true, your beliefs are defined by christianity. There are mysteries we will never understand (I know this is true for at least my generation and those in the past). Faith is having the courage to accept that. And there are definitely ups and downs to that acceptance, especially when it prohibits science from breaking through (Galileo comes to mind). Still, life is more fun when you're the one in charge, and so if you hear voices in your head and want to call it God, I say, more power to you. view post


posted 05 Jul 2007, 10:07 by Tar.Aldarion, Candidate

[quote="avatar_of_existence":kyise303] You are leaving out the millions of people who do believe that all gods worshipped are one god (an idea that's been growing since the early 1900's), and that would explain how all these people have a personal relationship with 'their' gods. Us and Them is a myth, we are all human beings operating on the same level living on the same ball of water and dirt.[/quote:kyise303] People may believe that all gods are the one god, so that all gods in each religion are just the same god. This also makes no sense, as all these religions contradict each other and many of them mention that one should not follow any other religion or idol. That is why that view is not tenable, how can two people both have a personal relationship with this one god where one god says adultery is not a sin and one says it should be punished by stoning to death? There are thousands of such inconsistencies. [quote:kyise303] I believe that there are mysteries out there that science will never explain, Paradoxes is the word you used.[/quote:kyise303] I used paradox for the term god and it applies, no such thing could exist for me. What things in particular do you think science can not explain? Big bang, creation, multiple universes? You have to understand that science can prove [i:kyise303]nothing[/i:kyise303], it attempts to model things accurately and disregards solipsism. [quote:kyise303]I believe it takes more to look at the paradoxes in the world straight in the eye than to throw them out the window as 'superstition' which is what I believe you are doing here.[/quote:kyise303] That sentence makes no sense. I don't know what you think paradox means so I'm rather confused. [quote:kyise303]You don't worship anything? I say that is impossible. Life itself is worship of existence, your every waking movement is worship. Okay, so worship is not the word you would use, but why not? because Christians use it? then it is true, your beliefs are defined by christianity.[/quote:kyise303] This also makes no sense. Why would I not use a word because other people use it? I use words according to their definition, so I worship nothing. Why would my every living moment be 'worship'? I equate a sentence like that to somebody that says they know their god exists by looking at a child smile and it's beauty. [quote:kyise303]There are mysteries we will never understand (I know this is true for at least my generation and those in the past). Faith is having the courage to accept that. And there are definitely ups and downs to that acceptance, especially when it prohibits science from breaking through (Galileo comes to mind). Still, life is more fun when you're the one in charge, and so if you hear voices in your head and want to call it God, I say, more power to you.[/quote:kyise303] Faith is having the courage to accept we will never understand everything?? In what sense are you using faith? I understand that we can not know everything, I know just how ignorant humans are, but that is not faith. [i:kyise303] faith /feɪθ/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[feyth] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation –noun 1. confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability. 2. belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact. 3. belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims. 4. belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty. 5. a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith. 6. the obligation of loyalty or fidelity to a person, promise, engagement, etc.: Failure to appear would be breaking faith. 7. the observance of this obligation; fidelity to one's promise, oath, allegiance, etc.: He was the only one who proved his faith during our recent troubles. 8. Christian Theology. the trust in God and in His promises as made through Christ and the Scriptures by which humans are justified or saved. —Idiom 9. in faith, in truth; indeed: In faith, he is a fine lad.[/i:kyise303] view post


posted 05 Jul 2007, 10:07 by Randal, Auditor

[quote:ds88aesu](an idea that's been growing since the early 1900's)[/quote:ds88aesu] Actually, this idea was already getting rather popular with various ancient greek philosophers. Plato probably thought something of the kind. Of course, then the Christians came along and claimed their god was this one god... still. view post


posted 07 Jul 2007, 01:07 by avatar_of_existence, Peralogue

Dearest Tar.Aldarion, In regards to what I was saying in regards to what you were saying, there is not much more I can say. I can say that the dictionary doesn't give you the meaning of the word, but it's definition. What a word means to you is based on your own personal history with it and your personality more than it's dictionary definition. When I used the word faith I was talking about what it meant to me, and at another point I was talking about what it means to you. Many people take their religions metaphorically, it is a narrative that explains the universe, essentially not very different from scientific theory. Science really doesn't do a better job of explaining why we are here. Is it a matter of what we see, or a matter of what we want to see? I want to see God (throw away your silly definitions, let's say God is that which falls outside of definition). You want to see. . .well I don't know. What on earth would you like to see? The truth? HA! Religious institutions are generally corrupt and ignorant, but that is true for any institution that's been around for even half the amount of time religion has been around for. I call myself a nihilist. I believe in nothing, but I do feel it, those moments when time melts away and I remember exactly who I am and it still doesn't mean anything. And it feels great. I just feel like the rigorous system you have in place could only have a negative effect on you. And I want you to know that above and beyond everything, I love you. view post


posted 09 Jul 2007, 08:07 by Tar.Aldarion, Candidate

Well that is an interesting post, hehe. Do you love me like my girlfriend loves me or in what definition? ;) view post


posted 09 Jul 2007, 21:07 by avatar_of_existence, Peralogue

I said above and beyond everything, and that everything definitely includes your girlfriend. It just felt like the healthy way to end a rather heated debate. I know where you are coming from, but we make different assumptions. Love is one of the great mysteries of the universe, and I've met many atheists who are believers. In love. view post


posted 10 Jul 2007, 08:07 by Tar.Aldarion, Candidate

I too believe in chemical reactions in my brain. *smiles innocently*> view post


posted 11 Jul 2007, 01:07 by avatar_of_existence, Peralogue

Call it what you will, it is still a feeling undiminished. Those chemicals exploding in your brain. view post


posted 11 Jul 2007, 07:07 by Tar.Aldarion, Candidate

Always remember, we are all but recent leaves on the same old tree of life and if this life has adapted itself to new functions and conditions, it uses the same old basic principles over and over again. There is no real difference between the grass and the man who mows it. view post


Re: Is the idea of a "god" inherent in our minds? posted 22 Jul 2008, 05:07 by Cironian, Peralogue

What of the lawn mower? (Not trying to poke holes or anything, just curious. :) ) view post


Re: Is the idea of a "god" inherent in our minds? posted 22 Jul 2008, 12:07 by jub, Peralogue

time doesn't exist. It's just a nice concept that makes things stick. view post


Re: Is the idea of a "god" inherent in our minds? posted 29 Jul 2008, 11:07 by Curethan, Didact

[quote="jub":7wyl9gin]time doesn't exist. It's just a nice concept that makes things stick.[/quote:7wyl9gin] Couldn't you have told me that earlier.... view post


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