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Source: (consider it) Thread: The existence of God
IngoB

Sentire cum Ecclesia
# 8700

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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
The first statement is of course debatable. I would ask how reason allows us to approach the truth about music or art, the natural world. Example: one of the truest experiences I've had involves a wilderness waterfall. How does reason allow such aesthetics to be understood?

Beauty and truth may unite as one in God, but for us in this world they are not quite the same. Neither was your true experience "true", except perhaps in the sense that you are not lying about it - but rather it was moving, remarkable, unique, unforgettable or whatever else you may wish to say about it.

"True" indicates that our conceptual understanding is in accordance with actual reality. Obviously reason is the proper arbiter of that. What it exactly is that makes (aesthetic) beauty has baffled great minds for centuries. But it surely is distinct from the realm of logical fact-checking.

quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
-your prior question as to why we're discussing the issue of approach is perhaps more plain from my response?

Not really. I consider myself to be a topic most boring, and I'm always disappointed when I am urged to discuss myself. Furthermore, I have no real idea what all this has to do with the existence of God. Yes, I am sure that one can find God in beauty. Some see God shining through nature, personally I prefer the poetry of Rumi and gilded icons in candle light. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and one man's beauty of God is the other man's kitsch from Walmart. Beauty moves, but it does not prove.

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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Nor does reason.

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IngoB

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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
Nor does reason.

It sure does.

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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Where do you place phenomenology? Because it is within our lived experience we encounter meaning. Not true?

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Schroedinger's cat

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The thing is, there is no "actual reality". Reason only explains things, or proves them, within the empirical framework that accepts them.

Reality is more than that.

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IngoB

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# 8700

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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
Where do you place phenomenology? Because it is within our lived experience we encounter meaning. Not true?

I don't think that one encounters meaning like one encounters for example a tree. But yeah, sure. We encounter everything within our lived experience. How else would we encounter it?

quote:
Originally posted by Schroedinger's cat:
The thing is, there is no "actual reality". Reason only explains things, or proves them, within the empirical framework that accepts them. Reality is more than that.

Of course there is an actual reality. If you have any doubts about that then I invite you to attempt to walk through the nearest wall. Come back to us once you have bloodied your nose sufficiently to accept its actuality. The framework of reason is not "empirical", or at least it is certainly not exclusively "empirical". That's the conceit of scientism. However, nobody has claimed that the domain of reason is identical with reality. Indeed, reality is "more" than the mind. Once more, truth is the correspondence of concept to reality. It is a measure to what extent what is in the mind matches what is actual. Yet if we say that a map is accurate, we do not mean that the map is identical with the landscape. Likewise, when we say that reason has found truth, we do not mean that our mind has become identical with reality, just that our concepts accurately capture what is in fact the case.

[ 10. January 2015, 18:56: Message edited by: IngoB ]

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They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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Reason has its own conceit. Experience and emotion for starters, but also appetite, spirit, intuition and faith. Reason in your descriptions IngoB has seperated and outdistanced the other human characteristics. A degree of imbalance extreme enough these other characeristics are indeed denigrated to marginal respectability. Which makes me understand 'lazy contemplation' as also filtered through your reason. Which contemplation doesn't require.

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mousethief

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# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
Reason has its own conceit.

And there's also the question of how we recognize reason when we see it. You may say that you are following reason in reaching the conclusions you do, and I may say that I am following reason, and yet we may come up with different or even opposite conclusions. What counts as "reason" can differ (even if we take into account that some ways of reasoning have become unfashionable, as IngoB posits). Aristotle is not a god, and his Rhetoric is not holy writ.

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Grokesx
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quote:
IngoB:
However, nobody has claimed that the domain of reason is identical with reality

You came pretty close to it when we discussed Feser and the Cosmological Argument in Purg some time ago. I said that the map is not the territory and you said something along the lines that in the case of metaphysical proofs, the map actually is the territory. I don't recall how you supported the assertion, though.

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IngoB

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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
Reason has its own conceit. Experience and emotion for starters, but also appetite, spirit, intuition and faith.

I'm not sure that you know what "having a conceit" means, for I can make no sense of your claim here.

quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
Reason in your descriptions IngoB has seperated and outdistanced the other human characteristics.

Rather, I have assigned reason its proper place, where it carries out the functions proper to it. Not over and against other human "characteristic", if that is what you meant above. For example, there is no denial of the importance of the senses in this. Indeed, one of the most famous Scholastic maxims is "There is nothing in the mind which was not first in the senses." But reason has a "job" to do, and like emotions and the liver, in healthy human beings it does so.

quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
A degree of imbalance extreme enough these other characeristics are indeed denigrated to marginal respectability. Which makes me understand 'lazy contemplation' as also filtered through your reason. Which contemplation doesn't require.

You seem to be incapable of making your points without discussing me, or more precisely, without attributing some fault to me. Why is that so? When I'm saying that I'm "lazy contemplative", then I mean that my main religious practice is contemplative, and that I'm lazy about it (I don't do as much as I think I should). I'm not sure how this speaks to the topic at hand, aside from rhetorical armchair psychology, but here's the key point: fundamentally, this is none of your fucking business. OK?

quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
And there's also the question of how we recognize reason when we see it. You may say that you are following reason in reaching the conclusions you do, and I may say that I am following reason, and yet we may come up with different or even opposite conclusions.

That's correct. And the reason is that one of us is wrong, for example by employing false premises, using faulty logic, ignoring domains of applicability, confusing language, etc. The reason is not that there are somehow two valid contradictory answers in cases where reason claims that it can demonstrate things. Of course, there are lots of problems that do not allow a full demonstration towards a truth, like for example the question "What is the best economic system?" Here one can at best distinguish "reasonable" from "unreasonable", rather than "right" from "wrong". That basically means that reason can only provide probabilities there, not binary truth values. It does not follow though that reason can never do the the latter. (That in itself is a philosophical claim, which one would have to reason - leading to problems of circularity.)

One should also note that imagination can always outrun reason. So it is perhaps possible to imagine that in fact I am hooked to some Matrix-illusion which has imposed completely wrong concepts of causality onto my brain, wherefore much of my "reason" is corrupted. This sort of thing one can only shrug off. There is no way to argue imagination into submission. What we all have to do at some point is to trust reason, or it cannot do what it clearly is supposed to be doing. We have to trust, for example, that causality is not as such a falsehood. We cannot demonstrate the core principles of reason themselves, we can only use them.

quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
What counts as "reason" can differ (even if we take into account that some ways of reasoning have become unfashionable, as IngoB posits). Aristotle is not a god, and his Rhetoric is not holy writ.

What counts as "reasonable" certainly will change with time and place, since it is a kind of probability estimate by whatever is the local state of knowledge. However, the kind of proof we are talking about here is not of this kind. It is more similar to a proof in mathematics. A demonstration claims to be truly "true", not just "likely". A demonstration can only fail in its premises or its logic, and in order to arrive at a truth, it assumes that its premises are fundamental truths about the world that one cannot deny. Consequently, to attack such a demonstration, just must attack either its logic or its premises. It will not do to simply say "but it could be otherwise". No, it could not, unless you show an error. When I say that modern academic philosophy misunderstand the classical cosmological proof to the point of dismissing it airily, I'm actually attributing a fault to these philosophers. They are making a genuine mistake there, they are not merely operating a different concept of "reasonable" likelihood on some other knowledge. The reason why they make such mistakes has, I claim, to do with "intellectual fashions", which may make some of these old philosophy look "arcane" or "outdated". But this says nothing about the truth content of the proof, it is basically a sociological claim about the academe.

quote:
Originally posted by Grokesx:
You came pretty close to it when we discussed Feser and the Cosmological Argument in Purg some time ago. I said that the map is not the territory and you said something along the lines that in the case of metaphysical proofs, the map actually is the territory. I don't recall how you supported the assertion, though.

I'm sorry, but I don't trust your paraphrase of my thought, in particular as ripped out of the context of a different discussion. You will have to quote and link, or start afresh.

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They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

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mousethief

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# 953

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Proofs work in mathematics. There is no proof anywhere else. There is conjecture, there is probability. But no proof.

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Autenrieth Road

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# 10509

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The concept of proof is actually more problematic than one might think even in mathematics.

[ 13. January 2015, 15:11: Message edited by: Autenrieth Road ]

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Truth

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IngoB

Sentire cum Ecclesia
# 8700

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Proofs work in mathematics. There is no proof anywhere else. There is conjecture, there is probability. But no proof.

And your proof for this claim is what? Or is this is simple assertion without foundation in argument from first principles?

If you are simply asserting there, then a counter-assertion is sufficient to refute you. If you are doing more than asserting, then the more successful you are in proving your claim, the more you refute it by its own example.

Hence, your position is simply incoherent. And philosophical demonstration of truth is of course possible. Philosophy is not a game of probability.

Maybe you wish to turn tables on me now, since ultimately one cannot possibly prove that one can prove. Sure, but this kind of circularity is virtuous and simply points to having found a first principle of reason. One must assume that it is possible to demonstrate truth, or all argument is futile. You may wish to argue that it is, but you cannot, because that is incoherent.

quote:
Originally posted by Autenrieth Road:
The concept of proof is actually more problematic than one might think even in mathematics.

Asserting random shit without bothering to explain what one means, never mind supporting it by argument, clearly is the new black.

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They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

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Autenrieth Road

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I'm not interested in a conversation, or a boxing match, with someone who starts with the presumption that I'm speaking random shit.

In my world, "can you say more about that?" or "what do you mean by that?" or even "that doesn't make sense to me" are useful phrases.

[ 14. January 2015, 01:02: Message edited by: Autenrieth Road ]

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Truth

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IngoB

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In a serious discussion, on a discussion board, you make an unsupported and vague assertion that nevertheless appears to take sides. How is that a good thing in your world, how does that progress matters? And why do you expect me to coax you into making a more proper contribution?

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They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

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mousethief

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# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
Philosophy is not a game of probability.

Nor is it a game of proof, or there would only be one philosophy.

Do you have any examples of somewhere outside of math and hard sciences where "proof" means anything real and uniformly accepted?

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Autenrieth Road

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IngoB, I was trying to contribute something serious. Sorry my opening didn't meet your standards for the correct way to have a serious discussion. It was really in response to mousethief in any case. It wasn't intended to take sides, but rather to open up an angle of the topic. Carry on with your serious discussion; I won't trouble you again.

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Truth

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Autenrieth Road:
The concept of proof is actually more problematic than one might think even in mathematics.

Absolutely. Where your proof ends up depends entirely on what postulates you accept. And you can't prove postulates. You can either accept them or not. Is the the continuum hypothesis true? It is in ZF+choice; it is not in ZF without choice. Is the sum of the interior angles of a triangle equal to 180°? It is if you accept the parallel postulate; it is not if you don't.

The real rubber meets the road not in the proof side, but in determining what constitutes facts on the one hand, and starting postulates or axioms on the other. All a proof can do is prove a conditional.

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agingjb
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In maths we need axioms that are plausible, fruitful, and as far as we can tell consistent. Then, for axiom systems in which can prove something significant, we can prove that there are true statements that we cannot prove.

Parallels with theology?

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IngoB

Sentire cum Ecclesia
# 8700

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Nor is it a game of proof, or there would only be one philosophy. Do you have any examples of somewhere outside of math and hard sciences where "proof" means anything real and uniformly accepted?

To say whether there is any "proof" in the (modern) "hard sciences" would require further careful distinctions. In the full sense of the word, probably not...

Quite generally, many things can be proven in philosophy. It does not follow that there must be just "one philosophy". On a practical level, where people are forced to think hard and long to arrive at results, they make mistakes. Lots of them, and yes, possibly over many centuries in ever changing ways. On a more principle level, by analogy: there isn't just one geometry but rather three - Hyperbolic, Euclidean and Elliptic geometry - because one can adopt more than one coherent set of geometrical axioms. In particular, one can postulate different behaviours of parallel lines. Likewise, in philosophy one may be able to adopt coherently different first principles concerning some matters.

However, to continue the analogy, what this invariably shows in mathematics is the possibility to generalise from a specific "truth" to a more general "truth". Euclidean geometry turns out to be a specific case of "general" geometry, which also includes non-Euclidean geometry. Likewise we can expect in philosophy that variation that stands the test of time points to generalisation. And again to continue the analogy, where we leave the space of pure concepts and address the world, features of the world will select specific actualities from the general possibilities. There is a reason why Euclid invented Euclidean geometry, and that's because it is the appropriate "flat" description locally on earth. There are also reasons why Einstein needed non-Euclidean geometry to create his theory of gravity, because energy warps spacetime into "non-flat" configurations.

Thus wherever philosophy addresses the world directly, like in metaphysics but also in other cases, say the philosophy of language, ultimately we cannot only say what is "coherently thinkable", but also what "actually works" by virtue of observing reality. And this then will lead to a proof where conceptual correctness matches actual reality, i.e., the demonstration of a truth.

I would add that philosophy suffers from its own success as an academic field. There is only so much career advancement to be had for a young academic from saying "well, what my predecessors said is all true and fine." I honestly think that that which established the academe - philosophy - is the first to be horribly failed by the academe. The academe as it exists has no sociological mechanism that values ultimate convergence on a truth. There is only career "pay out" for novelty. So a simple practical answer to why there isn't just one philosophy is that the only way to practically earn your livelihood as a philosopher is to disagree with previous philosophers. In fact, the louder and edgier your disagreement, the more likely are you going to get noticed and promoted. I think this has by now pretty much fucked up the entire field. People are very good at disagreeing with each other, and highly intelligent people will do so in creative ways that one will find near impossible to resolve back to agreement.

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They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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# 15560

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quote:
IngoB
I'm not sure that you know what "having a conceit" means, for I can make no sense of your claim here.

The statement perhaps has a typo? You meant to say "I'm not sure that I know what "having a conceit" means". Because you don't mean to denigrate or insult do you?

The phrase is John Raulston Saul's (Voltaire's Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason in the West). What is meant is that reason can provide perfectly rational ways of understanding things and for action, such that it is rational to assume an atheistic perspective and govern perception and conduct appropriately. Reason being a method, not an conclusion.

--------------------
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\_(ツ)_/

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Schroedinger's cat

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
Philosophy is not a game of probability.

Nor is it a game of proof, or there would only be one philosophy.

Do you have any examples of somewhere outside of math and hard sciences where "proof" means anything real and uniformly accepted?

The thing is, "proof" is defined within these areas to enable discussion and debate, and these "proofs" are based on an accepted starting point, the ontology of that discipline.

If you wish to argue for "proof", you have to clarify what you starting point is. You can have proofs in all sorts of other areas, as long as you clarify your core ontological position upon which you are defining "proof". But this definition and concept is not transferable to other areas.

And this is not just "random shit". This is from my PhD research methods course, which was helping us to understand what these concepts mean in academic areas, rather than just colloquially.

--------------------
Blog
Music for your enjoyment
Lord may all my hard times be healing times
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Carex
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Reminds me of the Philosophy class I took at University: one of the questions on the midterm exam was to critique someone's proof of the existence of God. I don't remember the details, but I think it rested on at least 6 assumptions that I didn't share. For those who did share those assumptions, of course, it probably seemed like a solid proof.


So just because may be "proofs of the existence of God" doesn't mean that they are binding on everyone. Those who already believe in God may find them convincing, but those who don't will see them more as wishful sophistries.

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IngoB

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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
The statement perhaps has a typo? You meant to say "I'm not sure that I know what "having a conceit" means". Because you don't mean to denigrate or insult do you?

No, I really did mean that the way you were using this idiom made no particular sense to me. If you feel denigrated or insulted by this, then I will have to live with the shame of it all...

quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
The phrase is John Raulston Saul's (Voltaire's Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason in the West). What is meant is that reason can provide perfectly rational ways of understanding things and for action, such that it is rational to assume an atheistic perspective and govern perception and conduct appropriately. Reason being a method, not an conclusion.

Well, if you were just repeating Mr Saul's words, then I do not understand him, I guess. As far as your present explanation goes: It is trivial that reason provides rational ways of understanding. It is not trivial that it is rational to assume an atheistic perspective, that requires argument. Your final sentence, I'm afraid to say, does not provide such argument and is rather mysterious.

quote:
Originally posted by Schroedinger's cat:
f you wish to argue for "proof", you have to clarify what you starting point is. You can have proofs in all sorts of other areas, as long as you clarify your core ontological position upon which you are defining "proof". But this definition and concept is not transferable to other areas. And this is not just "random shit". This is from my PhD research methods course, which was helping us to understand what these concepts mean in academic areas, rather than just colloquially.

Some of what you say here just echoes what everybody else, including yours truly, has said. But I'm mildly curious about all these many other areas where demonstrations of truth are readily available, if one only specifies one's "ontological position". Care to give some examples?

quote:
Originally posted by Carex:
I don't remember the details, but I think it rested on at least 6 assumptions that I didn't share. For those who did share those assumptions, of course, it probably seemed like a solid proof.

It's rather inconvenient when one doesn't remember such details, isn't it? After all, what can anybody say about this now other than "thanks for sharing"?

quote:
Originally posted by Carex:
So just because may be "proofs of the existence of God" doesn't mean that they are binding on everyone. Those who already believe in God may find them convincing, but those who don't will see them more as wishful sophistries.

Sorry, just how did we get from you disagreeing with some proof of the existence of God - about which you furthermore remember basically nothing - to this general statement about all proofs of God? This seems to have the following logical structure: "I once met a Frenchman that I found disagreeable, though I don't really remember why. Therefore all French people are disagreeable and one would do well to avoid them."

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They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

Posts: 12010 | From: Gone fishing | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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I'm not 'just doing anything' IngoB. That you do not understand is clear. To make clear: you don't get to define the terms of discussion. It's a community which does that

Shame? Don't be silly, you don't feel shame. There's an attribution error there.

Posts: 11498 | From: Treaty 6 territory in the nonexistant Province of Buffalo, Canada ↄ⃝' | Registered: Mar 2010  |  IP: Logged
RuthW

liberal "peace first" hankie squeezer
# 13

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As both of the hosts have been involved in this discussion, I'm going to step in at this point.

no prophet: your last post is over the line. If you're going to get personal, take it to Hell.

All: The tone of the thread is deteriorating. It's gone past robust intellectual debate and is simply becoming snide. That's not out of bounds on the Ship in general, but it diverges from the ethos of Faithfree. If you want a discussion that just barely steers clear of the Ship's third commandment, Purgatory is always available.

RuthW
Admin

Posts: 24453 | From: La La Land | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged



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