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Source: (consider it) Thread: Is belief in God about whom you know nothing directly worth having?
SusanDoris

Incurable Optimist
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quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
I've just read a book called Sapiens in which the author argues that the success of homo sapiens derives from our inclination to believe myths - and to act on those beliefs.

Yes, I agree it is a very good book. I listened to it recently. There were several places where I would like to have argued with him, but the chapter on capitalism was particularly interesting I thought.

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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SusanDoris

Incurable Optimist
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rolyn

Thank you for your interesting reply. Can't think of anything further to add at the moment!

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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Martin60
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# 368

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quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
Maybe we'd have been better off in small tribes, competing with other apes.

The writer of 'Sapiens' thinks so too ...

"The forager economy provided most people with more interesting lives than agriculture or industry do. Today, a Chinese factory hand leaves home around seven in the morning, makes her way through polluted streets to a sweatshop, and there operates the same machine, in the same way, day in, day out, for ten long and mind-numbing hours, returning home around seven in the evening in order to wash dishes and do the laundry. Thirty thousand years ago, a Chinese forager might leave camp with her companions at, say, eight in the morning. They’d roam the nearby forests and meadows, gathering mushrooms, digging up edible roots, catching frogs and occasionally running away from tigers. By early afternoon, they were back at the camp to make lunch. That left them plenty of time to gossip, tell stories, play with the children and just hang out. Of course the tigers sometimes caught them, or a snake bit them, but on the other hand they didn’t have to deal with automobile accidents and industrial pollution."

That's the story of a single subspecies.

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Love wins

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rolyn
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# 16840

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quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
rolyn

Thank you for your interesting reply. Can't think of anything further to add at the moment!

Had just got in from work and felt it to be slightly ramble-like.
Not easy to articulate as to why one feels the existence a greater being or greater meaning .
Along with everything else it must have something to do with the wonder of it all, coupled with the absolute perculiarness of ourselves...
Good /Bad , Order/Chaos, the possibilities and permutations are endless. Unless we are to say that the death of us and our planet is the end of everything ?

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Change is the only certainty of existence

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rolyn
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# 16840

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Another thought that has just entered my transparent walls...
It goes like this, as is it the point where science and religion overlap that I find most interesting.
Going with the notion of our death, and that of the Earth, with all it's richness of biodiversity gone, (because we shat all over it or the sun blows up etc.). Along comes secularism and comforts itself with an Ah well, there's bound to be other life out there somewhere .

But Hey, what if we never aquire tangible evidence that there is actually any other life anywhere other than here, doesn't this then make such sentiment akin to religion of sorts, a hope based on fancy?

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Change is the only certainty of existence

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by rolyn:
Another thought that has just entered my transparent walls...
It goes like this, as is it the point where science and religion overlap that I find most interesting.
Going with the notion of our death, and that of the Earth, with all it's richness of biodiversity gone, (because we shat all over it or the sun blows up etc.). Along comes secularism and comforts itself with an Ah well, there's bound to be other life out there somewhere .

But Hey, what if we never aquire tangible evidence that there is actually any other life anywhere other than here, doesn't this then make such sentiment akin to religion of sorts, a hope based on fancy?

[Confused] Who comforts themselves that life on other planets will continue after our ends?
Straw argument, IMO.
I think it is silly making comparisons like that. This false idea of equivalence does no argument any good. Personally, I think it does faith no good. One believes what they do for the reasons they have worked out and that should be sufficient for them.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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simontoad
Ship's Amphibian
# 18096

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Before I start... an ancient forager starting work at 8am? I find that hard to believe. More like first light.

My adult conversion experience involved an overwhelming feeling that there was a power for good in the world beyond humanity. That's the bedrock of my faith and my antidote to self-loathing and despair. People might say that it was the product of anti-depressants and intense emotional pain, and that's OK. They are probably wrong, but why can't everybody be right?

The New Testament and especially the writings of Paul caused me to make the intellectual identification of my power for good with the Triune God. My youth as an Australian Sectarian Catholic made that easier.

For me then, most theological speculation is a waste of time, but it can be diverting. I think someone said something about how in the past they wanted to know all about God so they could see what's going to happen in the future. That was a revelation to me. I know it sounds incredibly naive, and as a consumer of history especially the middle ages I should hang my head in shame, but it bought home to me just how much the quest to know God can be a quest to control God and everyone else.

What a pack of bastards some of those theologians could be.

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The opinions expressed above are transitory emotional responses and do not necessarily reflect the considered views of the author.

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Lamb Chopped
Ship's kebab
# 5528

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I suspect the time the ancient foragers got up depended on whether they had young kids. Just like today, really...

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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Martin60
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Aye, we are those same staggeringly successful story telling monkeys.

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Love wins

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Boogie

Boogie on down!
# 13538

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
That's the story of a single subspecies.

The last human species.

We wiped out all the others, all easily as clever as us - but without the story telling capacity which allows us to wipe out all that's in front of us. Animal species too, of course.

"No sooner had they arrived at a new location than the native population became extinct. The last remains of Homo soloensis are dated to about 50,000 years ago. Homo denisova disappeared shortly thereafter. Neanderthals made their exit roughly 30,000 years ago. The last dwarf-like humans vanished from Flores Island about 12,000 years ago. They left behind some bones, stone tools, a few genes in our DNA and a lot of unanswered questions. They also left behind us, Homo sapiens, the last human species.'

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Garden. Room. Walk

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Martin60
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There's no evidence we wiped them out. That we ever met. There were far too few of any of us.

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Love wins

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Boogie

Boogie on down!
# 13538

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
There's no evidence we wiped them out. That we ever met. There were far too few of any of us.

The evidence is in the here and now - we continue to wipe out species after species of wild animals.

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Garden. Room. Walk

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Martin60
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?

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Love wins

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Moo

Ship's tough old bird
# 107

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AIUI many homo sapiens carry some Neanderthal genes. There is a theory that these genes protect against schizophrenia.

Moo

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Kerygmania host
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See you later, alligator.

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Martin60
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# 368

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quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
That's the story of a single subspecies.

The last human species.

We wiped out all the others, all easily as clever as us - but without the story telling capacity which allows us to wipe out all that's in front of us. Animal species too, of course.

"No sooner had they arrived at a new location than the native population became extinct. The last remains of Homo soloensis are dated to about 50,000 years ago. Homo denisova disappeared shortly thereafter. Neanderthals made their exit roughly 30,000 years ago. The last dwarf-like humans vanished from Flores Island about 12,000 years ago. They left behind some bones, stone tools, a few genes in our DNA and a lot of unanswered questions. They also left behind us, Homo sapiens, the last human species.'

And if they couldn't do story telling, they weren't as clever as us.

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Love wins

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rolyn
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# 16840

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Who comforts themselves that life on other planets will continue after our ends?
Straw argument, IMO.
I think it is silly making comparisons like that. This false idea of equivalence does no argument any good. Personally, I think it does faith no good. One believes what they do for the reasons they have worked out and that should be sufficient for them.

Well I can't names as to exactly who would be reassured to believe that life exists outside of this Planetary Sphere. How then would you explain our human, ( beyond the curious), obsession with trying to find traces of life on places like Mars, Europa or elsewhere in the Cosmos.

It strikes me as odd that you find my line of enquiry 'silly', and appear to want to protect holders of Faith from such nonsense while yourself not professing to hold any Faith.

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Change is the only certainty of existence

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simontoad
Ship's Amphibian
# 18096

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I thought Homo Denisova was a tennis player.

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The opinions expressed above are transitory emotional responses and do not necessarily reflect the considered views of the author.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by rolyn:
How then would you explain our human, ( beyond the curious), obsession with trying to find traces of life on places like Mars, Europa or elsewhere in the Cosmos.

Curiosity for its own sake is a strong feature in our species.
quote:

It strikes me as odd that you find my line of enquiry 'silly', and appear to want to protect holders of Faith from such nonsense while yourself not professing to hold any Faith.

I do not denigrate faith or those who have it. Nor atheism and those who hold to it. This doesn't preclude questioning aspects of either or points of view of their adherents.

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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quetzalcoatl
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# 16740

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quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
There's no evidence we wiped them out. That we ever met. There were far too few of any of us.

The evidence is in the here and now - we continue to wipe out species after species of wild animals.
And we have tended to wipe out tribal people in many parts of the world. This isn't proof that sapiens wiped out other species, of course, but isn't it suggestive?

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no path

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Moo

Ship's tough old bird
# 107

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One species wiping out another is not a purely sapiens trait. Many animal species have wiped out other animal species.

Moo

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Kerygmania host
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See you later, alligator.

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quetzalcoatl
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# 16740

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quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
One species wiping out another is not a purely sapiens trait. Many animal species have wiped out other animal species.

Moo

Yes, but humans have specialized in it, haven't they? I look out the window at the barren arable fields, with few birds and animals. OK, this isn't deliberate extirpation, but in some ways, it is worse. Getting a bit o/t now.

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no path

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Martin60
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That's a completely different mechanism. Solo man was erectus. Not sapiens. They used fire and eventually cooked. They were gone 100,000 years ago. Story telling didn't wipe them out. As with Neanderthals, whose peak Eurasian population was less than that number too, climate change was a somewhat larger factor.

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Love wins

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Martin60
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# 368

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Will all story telling creatures transcend? Do ALL creatures transcend? Does all creation? In a new heaven and a new Earth? Now? Paradise? Today?

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Love wins

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rolyn
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It seems a sure certainty that our story will be ended just as we have ended for other species'. Therein lies the appeal of an eternal God I suppose.

Daresay our story will live on a longer than our species in the form of various tin can time-capsules floated off into space. Some extra terrestrial might just bump into one of them in the far off future, read our story, and say to itself "Bleepin tough ****"

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Change is the only certainty of existence

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by rolyn:
It seems a sure certainty that our story will be ended just as we have ended for other species'. Therein lies the appeal of an eternal God I suppose.

It is also a weakness. "God'll fixit"
"It's all God's Plan" etc.

quote:

Daresay our story will live on a longer than our species in the form of various tin can time-capsules floated off into space. Some extra terrestrial might just bump into one of them in the far off future, read our story, and say to itself "Bleepin tough ****"

Given the size and age of the universe, it is incredibly likely that there is other life. Given the size and age of the universe, it is very likely some of it survived at least as far as we have.
Given the size and age of the universe, it is very unlikely that we'll encounter each other or even each other's debris.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Martin60
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# 368

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It's an absolute certainty a thousand times over at least, concurrently, in our galaxy. Myriads. Millions even. And we will never, can never communicate. We will detect watery worlds in goldilocks zones, we will detect biogenic oxygen. In a century or ten. But never talk. Ever. There are no magic materials or power supplies. No fusion. No diamond space elevator cable. We can't even charge our phones with body heat. Ever.

Anyone would think it's designed that way by some Joker ...

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Love wins

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anteater

Ship's pest-controller
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The question that interests me most concerns the specific type of atheist objection, favoured a lot by positivists, and well expressed by Anthony Flew's well-known argument.

And a lot of Christian apologists, especially those who follow the via negativa do tend to do what Flew suggests. And it is my own approach.

So God is not an item in the external universe, is not a being that causes the Sun to rise, Set (and occasionally have a break), etc. So what is God? Unknowable, yes. But if that's all you can say, have you said anything, and why do you believe an unknowable to be a Good Thing? Aren't you secretly admitting that you do know Him, at least to the extent that He is Good?

So you almost end up with a sort of fideism. Because whatever we say about God as Other, we do say all sorts of things about Him: Father, Triune, Cares for the widow and orphan. And we do that by an act of the will to embrace the idea that God (who can presumably do this???) has given a revelation that He knows is the best humanly comprehended revelation that we can get.

And I would agree that this is non-rational. There is, to my knowledge, no good argument to suppose that this is more likely that not.

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Schnuffle schnuffle.

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agingjb
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# 16555

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"Absolute certainty" can be modified somewhat by comparing the mean time between catastrophes interrupting the progress of a biosphere towards a culture analogous to humanity and the age of Earth.

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Refraction Villanelles

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quetzalcoatl
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# 16740

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quote:
Originally posted by anteater:
The question that interests me most concerns the specific type of atheist objection, favoured a lot by positivists, and well expressed by Anthony Flew's well-known argument.

And a lot of Christian apologists, especially those who follow the via negativa do tend to do what Flew suggests. And it is my own approach.

So God is not an item in the external universe, is not a being that causes the Sun to rise, Set (and occasionally have a break), etc. So what is God? Unknowable, yes. But if that's all you can say, have you said anything, and why do you believe an unknowable to be a Good Thing? Aren't you secretly admitting that you do know Him, at least to the extent that He is Good?

So you almost end up with a sort of fideism. Because whatever we say about God as Other, we do say all sorts of things about Him: Father, Triune, Cares for the widow and orphan. And we do that by an act of the will to embrace the idea that God (who can presumably do this???) has given a revelation that He knows is the best humanly comprehended revelation that we can get.

And I would agree that this is non-rational. There is, to my knowledge, no good argument to suppose that this is more likely that not.

Interesting post. I never quite get the idea of likelihood or probability, in relation to the supernatural. I mean, probability is to do with outcomes, which are usually part of a physical system.

So I don't get how that gets transferred to something non-material or supernatural. I suppose you could say that 'probable' is being used to mean 'I prefer it'.

I think that the idea of the non-falsifiable is being used a lot today on atheist forums and so on. It's not a killer argument, (since you can believe something that can't be falsified), but it seems to reduce many ideas to a kind of equal zero, e.g. tap-dancing unicorns in Alpha Centauri, or more mundanely, the Matrix.

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no path

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Martin60
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# 368

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@agingjb. We are average. Our evolution accelerating catastrophes included.

@TheGenerality

To communicate above noise from 100-1,000 LY apparently we'd need 10 PW (a thousand times human energy consumption) - EW (a million). That takes us a ways up and down our spiral arm only. And we'll never even be able to do that. Neither will they. The teeming civilizations in the neighbouring spiral arms are at least 10,000 LY away.

@anteater et al

The only rational argument for the existence of God is the Kalam Cosmological one taken up by William Lane Craig, which I'm surprisingly warming to.

Platinga then gives us the free will defense against the logical problem of evil.

Simple ennit?

Transcending the critiquable apologetics is the Jesus story.

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Love wins

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rolyn
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# 16840

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Given the size and age of the universe, it is incredibly likely that there is other life. Given the size and age of the universe, it is very likely some of it survived at least as far as we have.
Given the size and age of the universe, it is very unlikely that we'll encounter each other or even each other's debris.

I do get that. Look at the night sky away from city lights and you see an incalculable number of shining heat sources, and beyond all that is visible we are to assume there is more and more, on to ad infinitum.

To date our knowledge tells us three main components are necessary for the formation of life, heat, water and amino acids. So it is indeed understandable to believe that infinite lifeform possibilities are in existence but are too far away for us to ever see it or touch it. 'Happy are they who believe without seeing' ?

I know all of this doesn't necessitate the existence of a single Supreme Being but given the apparent pointlessness of infinite random Cosmic chaos it is possible that a species such as ours has been given a unique insight to put a meaning to it.

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Change is the only certainty of existence

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SusanDoris

Incurable Optimist
# 12618

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quote:
Originally posted by rolyn:
I know all of this doesn't necessitate the existence of a single Supreme Being but given the apparent pointlessness of infinite random Cosmic chaos it is possible that a species such as ours has been given a unique insight to put a meaning to it.

May I just raise a small quibble about the idea that we have been*given* an insight. We, with our brains having most fortunately evolved to think in a million ways including the abstract, have thought of the ideas. They did not arrive from somewhere or something else, did they.

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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rolyn
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# 16840

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I did think twice on using 'given' as it has Godspot * overtones.

Maybe better to say we have 'developed' an insight.

* A pocket in the human brain which some think God purposefully put there in order that we may come to know Her/Him.

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Change is the only certainty of existence

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Martin60
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# 368

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quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
quote:
Originally posted by rolyn:
I know all of this doesn't necessitate the existence of a single Supreme Being but given the apparent pointlessness of infinite random Cosmic chaos it is possible that a species such as ours has been given a unique insight to put a meaning to it.

May I just raise a small quibble about the idea that we have been*given* an insight. We, with our brains having most fortunately evolved to think in a million ways including the abstract, have thought of the ideas. They did not arrive from somewhere or something else, did they.
My quibble is infinitely large. It isn't possible that we've been given a unique insight (what?) beyond the Incarnation although we've been given a unique Incarnation, just like every other sapient species in our practically infinite universe of infinity from eternity. Nothing else is faithfully reasonable.

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Love wins

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SusanDoris

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rollyn

I agree that 'developed an insight' works well!


quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
It isn't possible that we've been given a unique insight (what?) beyond the Incarnation although we've been given a unique Incarnation,…

First part of that – not too sure about what you mean! Second part – well, each individual’s genetic code is unique; and we could say ‘given’ by our parents, but they cannot choose that code can they.

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
rollyn

I agree that 'developed an insight' works well!


quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
It isn't possible that we've been given a unique insight (what?) beyond the Incarnation although we've been given a unique Incarnation,…

First part of that – not too sure about what you mean! Second part – well, each individual’s genetic code is unique; and we could say ‘given’ by our parents, but they cannot choose that code can they.
My incarnation isn't THE Incarnation.

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Love wins

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anteater

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lilBuddha:
quote:
Given the size and age of the universe, it is incredibly likely that there is other life.
I'm never convinced by this argument, although it's better than the apes and typewriters one which is pure bullshit.

Maybe it's because I've engaged rather a lot with the probability of large numbers. Maybe you have, but then your assertion is even harder to understand.

In fact I read a book on the probabilities of very large and very small numbers, which dealt a lot with how badly we handle it. Above a certain level we think: Wow, that's so-o-o-o much time and space that everything must not only be impossible but incredibly likely.

I'm not saying I know, because any opinion requires you to place probabilities on life occurring. And that's more or less impossible. So yes, I cannot state as a fact than it is highly unlikely. We just do not know.

But I have no difficulty in believing that it may never have been repeated, and I cannot see what basis for assuming it to be highly likely other than the "everything's possible given 10 or so billion years", which is plainly not true.

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Martin60
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The refutation of that stares you in the mirror. You exist because it started raining here four billion years ago. It's raining on thousands of other worlds. Millions. In our average galaxy. Of hundreds of billions.

You have no rational reason for not being uniformitarian.

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Love wins

Posts: 16635 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
rolyn
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...and we are able to look in the mirror and think that because the jaw muscle succumbed to a chance mutation which allowed our craniums to expand.

Nothing at all miraculous or mind-bending in an infinite Cosmos, with an infinite number of intelligent beings all pondering an infinite number of possibilities or Supreme Beings ?

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Change is the only certainty of existence

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agingjb
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How would we go about showing that the universe is infinite?

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Refraction Villanelles

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by agingjb:
How would we go about showing that the universe is infinite?

By proving that it's constant. In a steady state.

[ 26. March 2017, 09:25: Message edited by: Martin60 ]

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ThunderBunk

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Surely a lot of the problem with this argument is what God is, or at least the role played by God, as a concept and an element in the life of followers.

God is precisely a way of relating with the elements of life that one sees out of the corner of one's eye. A focus of relationship for all the elements of life and one's own being that otherwise elude "square-on" relationship.

I'm not sure how to make this more than an assertion, and can hear the objections coming form SusanDoris and others, but as they are committed materialists, that doesn't bother me because they are irrelevant. God is not relevant to materialists because God is neither the sum of the material universe nor an element in it. Whatever God may be, God is both more and less than that.

For this very reason, we cannot know anything about God, even though faith is precisely the process of reaching out to do so. Faith is a gift that goes on giving precisely because this longed-for gift can never be entirely received.

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anteater

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Rolyn:
quote:
Nothing at all miraculous or mind-bending in an infinite Cosmos, with an infinite number of intelligent beings all pondering an infinite number of possibilities or Supreme Beings ?
I agree it's neither of those - it's just invalid.

Still, I'm not qualified to enter into a discussion of finite mathematics but I am sure they are on to something.

Of course you can rephrase the typomonkeys fallacy so that it makes sense. So you could say:

As the number of typo monkeys increases, the probability of one of them typing the Sonnets of Shakespeare increases. But you have no idea from what to what. Maybe if all the living space in all the planets was (as a thought experiment) inhabited by such entities, you have no idea what the probability is.

Martin:
I think your picture of the set of events that has to occur is over simplistic. I think more than rain is needed. Do you think you can put a figure on the probabilities involved? I don't.

However, this is a bypass, because it's not as if I were a creationist.

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Martin60
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It's got nothing to do with probabilities. Math. That's all bollocks. Look in the mirror, look in your back yard. Look at the Milky Way. It's all the same. Empirical. NOTHING special. Like the universe.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by anteater:
lilBuddha:
quote:
Given the size and age of the universe, it is incredibly likely that there is other life.
I'm never convinced by this argument
I am not an astrophysicist, nor astrobiologist. From what I've read, though there is not universal agreement, a good number of reputable people in both those fields do so believe.

Astronomers keep finding more earth sized planets in potentially habitable zones, what we are finding in our own solar system keeps expanding possible life zones and it is possible that life evolved more than once on our own planet.

I am not qualified to back these statements, but many qualified people do. So what makes you so certain they are wrong?

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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SusanDoris

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quote:
Originally posted by ThunderBunk:
Surely a lot of the problem with this argument is what God is, or at least the role played by God, as a concept and an element in the life of followers.

All roles apparently played by God are laid down – and subsequently defined in different religions and sects - by people. The followers of a religion are, therefore, following the ideas that other people have told them are what God wants or is, and how and why said God should be worshipped and prayed to. The system fits quite well with human needs for a routine, for a structure in which some lead, some follow, and the group successfully survives … in spite of rebels! And I bet there have always been those.
quote:
God is precisely a way of relating with the elements of life that one sees out of the corner of one's eye. A focus of relationship for all the elements of life and one's own being that otherwise elude "square-on" relationship.
I think that I agree with that sensible description!
quote:
I'm not sure how to make this more than an assertion, and can hear the objections coming form SusanDoris and others, but as they are committed materialists, that doesn't bother me because they are irrelevant. God is not relevant to materialists because God is neither the sum of the material universe nor an element in it. Whatever God may be, God is both more and less than that.
Whatever God people believ in or believe exists can be whatever the people concerned imagine it to be. Could you explain a little more what you think committed materialists are and why you think they are irrelevant? For atheists, God is irrelevant since Earth and the universe runs as it does with or without any God/s. However, belief in God/god/s is absolutely relevant since it has been such a consistent and integral part of human history, and pre-history.
quote:
For this very reason, we cannot know anything about God, even though faith is precisely the process of reaching out to do so. Faith is a gift that goes on giving precisely because this longed-for gift can never be entirely received.
If something has been ‘given’, then the giver needs defining if one is to accept that they have received a gift. ] I have no reason to doubt that who and what we are is a result of the evolutionary process but gratitude and appreciation of this is all in my mind. Fortunately, there aare many who think similarly!

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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ThunderBunk

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This may appear, or indeed be, arrogant and presumptuous on my part, but I'm not interested in discussing the validity and foundations of my faith. I'm interested in discussing the life of faith, relationship with God, how faith is best and most productively lived out and the challenges it creates.

This is why, for me, the perspective of materialists on faith in God is not relevant: it feels to me like discussing the roundness of a square. Discussions of faith with materialists are not possible from within faith because they are not within faith, meaning that such discussions have to be conducted outside the parameters and experience of faith itself.

I don't doubt that the sociology of religion is a valid subject, and that atheists and believers can participate in debates in that sphere on an equal footing. I simply find myself profoundly and utterly turned off by the prospect of such discussions. I also dispute the validity of any attempt at conflating theology with the sociology of religion. Theology is a quest in search of the heart of faith. Theology of religion looks at the effect of that faith on society without engaging with, still less interrogating, the tenets or substance of that faith itself.

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Foolish, potentially deranged witterings

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quetzalcoatl
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Of course, not all atheists are materialists. There are some who are dualists, and there are others who reject all metaphysical claims, of which materialism is one.

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no path

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ThunderBunk

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....and now a translation of my previous point into the terms of the original debate, so that others can see its relevance.

My point is that experience of the indirect, only semi (at best) empirical, gives the answer "yes", and that is where any conversation of any meaning about God begins. It's not possible to talk about relationship with God without that answer first being given, and likewise it's impossible to experience relationship with an entity whose existence you have already dismissed as impossible.

Maybe my impatience is psychologically driven, in that I spend my entire life in other respects hovering on every available threshold and debating the wisdom of crossing them endlessly, and my faith is the only exception to this in my life at present. I want to live that faith, and to talk about living it, not focus constantly on the circumstances of its existence and watch it, or imagine it, teetering on the knife-edge of the oblivion of loss.

So yes, I am convinced with my entire being that my faith is worth having. But then, since I am one of these for whom "I believe" is synonymous with "I am", this is inevitable.

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Currently mostly furious, and occasionally foolish. Normal service may resume eventually. Or it may not. And remember children, "feiern ist wichtig".

Foolish, potentially deranged witterings

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Martin60
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His existence is not impossible. It's simply unnecessary. Unless William Lane Craig's robust defense of the Kalam Cosmological Argument is sufficient.

And Jesus.

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Love wins

Posts: 16635 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged



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