The skeptical Turn of mind

Discuss arguments for existence of God and faith in general. Any aspect of any orientation toward religion/spirituality, as long as it is based upon a positive open to other people attitude.

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The skeptical Turn of mind

Post by Metacrock » Wed Jan 30, 2008 11:19 pm

<Image



Nothing can ever count as evidence for God or against atheism in the mind of the atheist. I established this last time I was posting here. The skeptical mind forces itself into a corner which eventually, through constant use in a skeptical mode, tricks the user into thinking he/she is making some big gain of insight but he/she is actually closing off the ability to take the necessary risks to step beyond that which is proven and extrapolate to a position of belief.

I am not saying all atheists always think this way. I'm just saying these tendencies that are brought by the skeptical habit of mind.

<b>(1) the mentality to dobut as long as possible.</b>

If any kind of doubt is possible, however slight the probability, the atheist must take it.



<b>(2) Unless something is totally proven it cannot be given any kind of presumption no matter how rationally warranted or how strongly evidenced.</b>


If God is not 100% proven God is 0% proven and though one may consider God 99% proven if it is not 100% then its nothing.


<b>(3) The "no evidence" circle.</b>

this is a form of question begging/circular reasoning that works like this


<span style="color:Red;"><b>*</b></span>there is no evidence for the existence of God because God is not absoltuely proven.

<span style="color:Red;"><b>*</b></span>Since there is no evidence there can be no evidence

<span style="color:Red;"><b>*</b></span>since there can be no evidence than anything presented as evidence must be wrong.



these are all just a large circle of reasoning based upon the false premise in no 1. There are probably corresponding problems that the faith habit of mind produces. But what this mens is that atheism is unverifiable/falsifiable. It's not an analytical position because it's not open proof or disproof.


This applies especially to atheist on message boards. I think atheist seek to gain preferences for their view. the dictum about extraordinary evidence proves this. why should religious experience be deemed "extraordinary?" when it includes 90% of the people in the world.? the assumption is that their assumptions should be the "default." That's why they are always trying to claim mass populations they are not intitleed to, like Buddhism or all new born babies.


The better paradigm would be:

(1) doubt as long as you have real doubts and be willing to assign prima facie to good arguments.

(2) rational warrant.

rational warrant is about all any world view can offer. belief in God is a world view. there is no reason to islaote it form other views or set the bar any higher for it than for any of them.


This is only to rich. I put this put on CARM atheist board. And this atheist is going to show me what's wrong with it. here are his responses:

<blockquote>Fixed:
<span style="color:Red;"><b>*</b></span>there is no evidence for the existence of God because we've for naturalistic explanations for almost everything we've ever studied.

<span style="color:Red;"><b>*</b></span>If the God hypothesis were correct, we'd have found evidence for it by now.

<span style="color:Red;"><b>*</b></span>Since there is no evidence yet, we can feel comfortable in assuming tentatively that there is no God. Taking this assumption will put us in a position where atheism may disproved by contradiction.</blockquote>

Is it possible to saything that would more clearly illustrate the points I just made?
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Re: The skeptical Turn of mind

Post by QuantumTroll » Sun Feb 10, 2008 8:00 am

Metacrock wrote:<Image
Nice pic. With all due respect to Bergman, I always thought that Go would be a more appropriate game for Death. Chess is so sterile and rigid, Go is more expressive.
If God is not 100% proven God is 0% proven and though one may consider God 99% proven if it is not 100% then its nothing.
I don't think % signs apply to the "proved-ness" of something. 50% proved is meaningless. A reasonable skeptic (like me ;) ) would accept an argument if it's nearly complete, the gaps aren't unacceptably unlikely, or if it easily falls in line with the rest of the worldview. For example, I accept that dark matter exists in huge abundance in outer space, even though we don't know what it is, what its properties are, or where it came from. I accept that a rudimentary AI will be built within 30 years, even though both the computational power and the theory has a long way to go before this is possible. I accept that the universe is mathematically consistent, even though this is impossible to actually verify. I accept that animals live the same sort of experiential lives as humans, feeling their instincts as emotions and turning sensory input in the same kind of abstraction of qualities as we do.
<b>(3) The "no evidence" circle.</b>

this is a form of question begging/circular reasoning that works like this


<span style="color:Red;"><b>*</b></span>there is no evidence for the existence of God because God is not absoltuely proven.

<span style="color:Red;"><b>*</b></span>Since there is no evidence there can be no evidence

<span style="color:Red;"><b>*</b></span>since there can be no evidence than anything presented as evidence must be wrong.
I think this is a disservice to the discussion. I have never seen an atheist post this drivel, and I believe you've misunderstood the position they were putting forth. Of course, there are some terrible atheists out there, so excuse me if I'm wrong. If someone actually wrote that, then you have my full support in crushing their tiny skulls. ;)

If I were to paraphrase and reconstruct what I think was said:
<span style="color:Red;"><b>*</b></span>We observe that the existence of God is unproven.

<span style="color:Red;"><b>*</b></span>Since God is unproven, we cannot attribute the Bible or the sense of the numinous (or whatever) to God.

<span style="color:Red;"><b>*</b></span>Since the whatever isn't evidence for God, we still don't have evidence for God.

The way out of this loop is by realizing that proof of God must be something that independently points to God, without the benefit of an a priori assumption that God exists. Clearly, this is an argument that is generally directed at conservative Christians who attempt to use the Bible to prove the Bible's claims. It doesn't really apply to a liberal Christian theology that seeks evidence for God elsewhere.

The better paradigm would be:

(1) doubt as long as you have real doubts and be willing to assign prima facie to good arguments.
(2) rational warrant.

rational warrant is about all any world view can offer. belief in God is a world view. there is no reason to islaote it form other views or set the bar any higher for it than for any of them.
Agreement! But I suspect that rational warrant for me is quite different from rational warrant for you.
This is only to rich. I put this put on CARM atheist board. And this atheist is going to show me what's wrong with it. here are his responses:

<blockquote>Fixed:
<span style="color:Red;"><b>*</b></span>there is no evidence for the existence of God because we've for naturalistic explanations for almost everything we've ever studied.

<span style="color:Red;"><b>*</b></span>If the God hypothesis were correct, we'd have found evidence for it by now.

<span style="color:Red;"><b>*</b></span>Since there is no evidence yet, we can feel comfortable in assuming tentatively that there is no God. Taking this assumption will put us in a position where atheism may disproved by contradiction.</blockquote>

Is it possible to saything that would more clearly illustrate the points I just made?
His point 2 is quite different from yours. In his point 2, he says that the God hypothesis makes a certain prediction (a valid logical step). In your point 2, the atheist claims that no evidence means that no evidence is possible (an invalid step). In point 3, he concluded that since the prediction apparently hasn't come true, then he takes the zero hypothesis. This is completely acceptable empiricism. In your point 3, the atheist uses his stupid point 2 to "prove" that any evidence of God is wrong. This is a very bad argument, and it hurts me to see it. I do not think that you're being fair in comparing your faux-atheist argument to the response on the CARM board.

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Re: The skeptical Turn of mind

Post by Metacrock » Sun Feb 10, 2008 11:31 am

QuantumTroll wrote:
Metacrock wrote:<Image
Nice pic. With all due respect to Bergman, I always thought that Go would be a more appropriate game for Death. Chess is so sterile and rigid, Go is more expressive.
[/quote]

I think badmiten. more active



If God is not 100% proven God is 0% proven and though one may consider God 99% proven if it is not 100% then its nothing.
I don't think % signs apply to the "proved-ness" of something. 50% proved is meaningless. A reasonable skeptic (like me ;) ) would accept an argument if it's nearly complete, the gaps aren't unacceptably unlikely, or if it easily falls in line with the rest of the worldview. For example, I accept that dark matter exists in huge abundance in outer space, even though we don't know what it is, what its properties are, or where it came from. I accept that a rudimentary AI will be built within 30 years, even though both the computational power and the theory has a long way to go before this is possible.

I have, a hundred times. on every atheist board there's always several who do that. that maynard guy on CARM for one. Ok I'm doing a bit of hyperballie here.


I accept that the universe is mathematically consistent, even though this is impossible to actually verify. I accept that animals live the same sort of experiential lives as humans, feeling their instincts as emotions and turning sensory input in the same kind of abstraction of qualities as we do.
yea but you are one of the good ones! :mrgreen:
<b>(3) The "no evidence" circle.</b>

this is a form of question begging/circular reasoning that works like this
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Re: The skeptical Turn of mind

Post by Metacrock » Sun Feb 10, 2008 11:33 am

His point 2 is quite different from yours. In his point 2, he says that the God hypothesis makes a certain prediction (a valid logical step). In your point 2, the atheist claims that no evidence means that no evidence is possible (an invalid step). In point 3, he concluded that since the prediction apparently hasn't come true, then he takes the zero hypothesis. This is completely acceptable empiricism. In your point 3, the atheist uses his stupid point 2 to "prove" that any evidence of God is wrong. This is a very bad argument, and it hurts me to see it. I do not think that you're being fair in comparing your faux-atheist argument to the response on the CARM board.
It's not an empirical question. There is no prediction.
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Re: The skeptical Turn of mind

Post by QuantumTroll » Sun Feb 10, 2008 3:35 pm

Metacrock wrote:
His point 2 is quite different from yours. In his point 2, he says that the God hypothesis makes a certain prediction (a valid logical step). In your point 2, the atheist claims that no evidence means that no evidence is possible (an invalid step). In point 3, he concluded that since the prediction apparently hasn't come true, then he takes the zero hypothesis. This is completely acceptable empiricism. In your point 3, the atheist uses his stupid point 2 to "prove" that any evidence of God is wrong. This is a very bad argument, and it hurts me to see it. I do not think that you're being fair in comparing your faux-atheist argument to the response on the CARM board.
It's not an empirical question. There is no prediction.
Wait, knowing that God exists doesn't let you make any predictions? You can't say anything new about the world, knowing that God exists? It doesn't tell you anything about how to live your life? It must be important enough to cause you to dedicate large portions of your life to it. If there is no prediction, then of what value is this question?

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Re: The skeptical Turn of mind

Post by Metacrock » Sun Feb 10, 2008 7:48 pm

QuantumTroll wrote:
Metacrock wrote:
His point 2 is quite different from yours. In his point 2, he says that the God hypothesis makes a certain prediction (a valid logical step). In your point 2, the atheist claims that no evidence means that no evidence is possible (an invalid step). In point 3, he concluded that since the prediction apparently hasn't come true, then he takes the zero hypothesis. This is completely acceptable empiricism. In your point 3, the atheist uses his stupid point 2 to "prove" that any evidence of God is wrong. This is a very bad argument, and it hurts me to see it. I do not think that you're being fair in comparing your faux-atheist argument to the response on the CARM board.
It's not an empirical question. There is no prediction.
Wait, knowing that God exists doesn't let you make any predictions? You can't say anything new about the world, knowing that God exists? It doesn't tell you anything about how to live your life? It must be important enough to cause you to dedicate large portions of your life to it. If there is no prediction, then of what value is this question?

you don't have to base belief upon predictive power like in science. I guess you could predict things but the issue of predictability in science is not applicable.
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Re: The skeptical Turn of mind

Post by QuantumTroll » Mon Feb 11, 2008 6:41 am

you don't have to base belief upon predictive power like in science. I guess you could predict things but the issue of predictability in science is not applicable.
The point that you fail to address is that knowledge about the world is always predictive. If the predictions stride against other things we know about the world, then there's clearly an inconsistency between the bits of knowledge. One of them must be incorrect, or else the attempt at formulating the prediction was somehow flawed.

Knowing that God exists implies all kinds of things about the world. If God exists, then the things which are implied by this fact (the presence of evidence, according to the CARM atheist) must be true. Since evidence for God is (according to the CARM atheist) not present, this particular prediction is not fulfilled and it is possible that God does not exist. It is also possible that there's a problem with finding the evidence, or that this prediction is not valid.

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Re: The skeptical Turn of mind

Post by KR Wordgazer » Mon Feb 11, 2008 3:40 pm

QuantumTroll wrote:

Knowing that God exists implies all kinds of things about the world. If God exists, then the things which are implied by this fact (the presence of evidence, according to the CARM atheist) must be true. Since evidence for God is (according to the CARM atheist) not present, this particular prediction is not fulfilled and it is possible that God does not exist. It is also possible that there's a problem with finding the evidence, or that this prediction is not valid.
The difficulty with this has a lot to do with erroneous human assumptions about what God's existence implies. God existing does not necessarily imply, for example, that human beings are going to be insulated against suffering. However, there are certain basic implications about the existence of God which I think do fulfull this prediction model.

1. If there is a God, human beings are likely to have some innate propensities that incline them to look for God and to be religious. Since 98% of humanity believes in some form of God, and since humans appear to have an area of the brain which specifically responds to religion, this prediction is fulfilled.

2. If there is a God, there may be times when God responds to human prayer in ways that don't seem to be govered by natural law-- ie, miracles, or even coincidence of circumstances in ways that seem outside random chance. However, a God who created a universe of natural law and order might be expected to interfere in this way only rarely. This prediction is fulfilled in that there are documented events that appear miraculous (such as at Lourdes).

3. If there is a God, human encounters with God should result in some change in human experience or lifestyle. This is fulfilled in the evidence that many of those who claim religious experiences do appear to change, sometimes in startling ways. John Newton, for example, turned from being a slave trader to being a preacher, and credited his change of life to an encounter with God on his slave ship during a storm.
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Re: The skeptical Turn of mind

Post by QuantumTroll » Mon Feb 11, 2008 4:27 pm

KR Wordgazer wrote: The difficulty with this has a lot to do with erroneous human assumptions about what God's existence implies. God existing does not necessarily imply, for example, that human beings are going to be insulated against suffering. However, there are certain basic implications about the existence of God which I think do fulfull this prediction model.

1. If there is a God, human beings are likely to have some innate propensities that incline them to look for God and to be religious. Since 98% of humanity believes in some form of God, and since humans appear to have an area of the brain which specifically responds to religion, this prediction is fulfilled.

2. If there is a God, there may be times when God responds to human prayer in ways that don't seem to be govered by natural law-- ie, miracles, or even coincidence of circumstances in ways that seem outside random chance. However, a God who created a universe of natural law and order might be expected to interfere in this way only rarely. This prediction is fulfilled in that there are documented events that appear miraculous (such as at Lourdes).

3. If there is a God, human encounters with God should result in some change in human experience or lifestyle. This is fulfilled in the evidence that many of those who claim religious experiences do appear to change, sometimes in startling ways. John Newton, for example, turned from being a slave trader to being a preacher, and credited his change of life to an encounter with God on his slave ship during a storm.
I agree with your first paragraph, but I have a question. How do you determine what is an "erroneous human assumptions about what God's existence implies", and which supposed implications of the existence of God are correct? I get the feeling that it's a lot easier for you to accept the validity of predictions that are apparently fulfilled...

The fact that there are phenomena in the world that are predicted by the existence of God should be noted. The God hypothesis works well for very many people, and this shouldn't be belittled. However (and listen for the *CLUNK* as I slip into scientist mode) before a hypothesis should be accepted, it must not only make accurate predictions, it must make predictions or explain things that the alternatives can't.

1. The inclination towards the supernatural can be explained by psychology. You'd think that this is what parapsychologists study, but no ;)

2. The rarity of miracles is due to the freakishly unlikely circumstances that give rise to them. To people who already have a supernatural bent, miracles are clear evidence of the supernatural. To me, miracles are everything:human error, deception, coincidence, confirmation bias, misunderstandings, drug use, and often the result of wonderful people living in a wonderful world. Lourdes, for example, seems like a combination of all of the above...

3. Changes in lifestyle are due to a profound shift in the mental state of the person. If there's one thing to be learned from psychoactive substances and head trauma, it's how fundamentally the mind is influenced by the condition of the brain. Is God tweaking your brain chemicals? Maybe, but it could just as easily be totally natural.

So is there a prediction that atheism makes that the God hypothesis is unable to fulfill? Of course not! By its very nature, this sort of empirical or scientific thinking is unable to disprove the existence of God (or FSM). The point of my reply to Metacrock was that "It's not an empirical question. There is no prediction." is incorrect. You can argue which predictions are valid consequences of the God hypothesis forever without getting anywhere (and I think this is maybe what Meta really meant), but to say that there is no prediction is silly.

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Re: The skeptical Turn of mind

Post by KR Wordgazer » Tue Feb 12, 2008 1:18 am

How do you determine what is an "erroneous human assumptions about what God's existence implies", and which supposed implications of the existence of God are correct?
Well, among other things, I do consult the Bible. Also my own experience. :)

And may I say, Quantum Troll, that I find you very courteous and a pleasure to "talk" to. Quantum you may be, but you're no Troll. :D
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