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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LACanuck
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Re: The skeptical Turn of mind

Post by LACanuck » Tue Feb 12, 2008 9:55 am

No offense, but how do you know that your interpretation of the bible and your own experiences are not "erroneous human assumptions"?

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KR Wordgazer
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Re: The skeptical Turn of mind

Post by KR Wordgazer » Tue Feb 12, 2008 3:53 pm

LACanuck wrote:No offense, but how do you know that your interpretation of the bible and your own experiences are not "erroneous human assumptions"?
No offense taken, LACanuck-- but how do you know that you actually woke up this morning and are not just dreaming, or that the evidence of your senses is not mere illusion? How do you know the newspaper article you read this morning, or the scientific treatise you read yesterday, was a reliable account, or that you understood what you read correctly?

The answer for both of us is that ultimately, we don't know. All knowledge is subjective in nature. However, the same common-sense principles you use to decide whether or not to rely on your beliefs/experiences, are pretty much the same common-sense principles I use to determine if my understanding of God (so far as it goes) is as accurate as I am capable of understanding. Does my understanding seem to "work" as I move through my daily life? Or is my understanding contradicted by events as they happen? Is there a general consensus among people who have had similar experiences? Is my interpretation of the text on which I am relying, contradictory with plain statements by the same text in other passages? Or with external evidence from other sources? Have I correctly understood the perspective and mindset of the people who wrote the accounts? Did my experiences happen when I was in a state of normal lucidity, not affected by illness, fatigue, medications, etc? And so on.

Metacrock says it better than I can in The decision making paradigm thread, part 1. :D
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LACanuck
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Re: The skeptical Turn of mind

Post by LACanuck » Wed Feb 13, 2008 10:51 am

While that is a wonderful description of knowledge at a metaphysical level, it indicates what I consider to be the biggest problem with the idea of non-empirical knowledge. In this particular case, you 'know' that God exists. That knowledge, as was mentioned earlier in this thread, should lead to a number of predictive conclusions that are testable. But it can't, for the reason that your 'knowledge' and my 'knowledge' lead to different conclusions. And we have no way to mediate that difference, because the basis for our knowledge is not shared.

The true power of knowledge comes when it is universally shared. The knowledge of reality that the vast majority of people have is shared, at least to the level when the transfer of information can be accomplished at a meaningful level. However knowledge based on the foundation that Meta describes as being Religious Experience or Peak Experiences is not universal in its sharing.

As for Meta's description of how decisions are made, I have a number of issues with it, including the fact that the underlying assumptions include the concepts of religion and divinity (making it a circular argument) and that the basis for considering it 'reality' is that there is no other explanation. But these ideas are better debated in the thread that you referenced.

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KR Wordgazer
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Re: The skeptical Turn of mind

Post by KR Wordgazer » Wed Feb 13, 2008 1:02 pm

LACanuck wrote:While that is a wonderful description of knowledge at a metaphysical level, it indicates what I consider to be the biggest problem with the idea of non-empirical knowledge. In this particular case, you 'know' that God exists. That knowledge, as was mentioned earlier in this thread, should lead to a number of predictive conclusions that are testable. But it can't, for the reason that your 'knowledge' and my 'knowledge' lead to different conclusions. And we have no way to mediate that difference, because the basis for our knowledge is not shared.
I will agree that my knowledge of God is a matter of faith. But I also maintain that given my experiences, interpreted by my common sense as I have described above, I have a rational warrant for said faith. If you have not had such experiences, I don't imagine you would have the same knowledge. But it is not irrational for me to claim some knowledge of that which I have experienced.

The true power of knowledge comes when it is universally shared. The knowledge of reality that the vast majority of people have is shared, at least to the level when the transfer of information can be accomplished at a meaningful level. However knowledge based on the foundation that Meta describes as being Religious Experience or Peak Experiences is not universal in its sharing.
True enough. But is that a good enough reason for those who have not had such experiences to declare that they are bogus? (I'm not saying you are one of these.)
As for Meta's description of how decisions are made, I have a number of issues with it, including the fact that the underlying assumptions include the concepts of religion and divinity (making it a circular argument) and that the basis for considering it 'reality' is that there is no other explanation. But these ideas are better debated in the thread that you referenced.
The reason it is not circular, in my mind, is that I am starting from the experience, not from the reasoning. If I have had such experiences, then my interpretation of them as experiences of God is not unwarranted. For those who have not had such experiences, all I really ask is that they keep and open mind and a spirit of inquiry rather than dismissiveness.
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LACanuck
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Re: The skeptical Turn of mind

Post by LACanuck » Wed Feb 13, 2008 4:41 pm

Playing the 'rational warrant' card, I see :D

I don't disagree with what you say. Except for your comment about circularity. ;)

How did you know that what you experienced was 'God'? How could you know with haveing a priori information about what 'God' is?

If you go to the sources for Meta's stuff, it is Maslow. And the term he uses is a Peak Experience with adjectives such as 'trancendental' used to describe the experience. Why is this experience associated with religion? Why is it associated with God. How could you possibly make such a determination without having a prior reason to expect that those sorts of experiences should be related to divinity?

That is why I think the argument is circular.

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Re: The skeptical Turn of mind

Post by Metacrock » Wed Feb 13, 2008 8:24 pm

LACanuck wrote:Playing the 'rational warrant' card, I see :D

I don't disagree with what you say. Except for your comment about circularity. ;)

How did you know that what you experienced was 'God'? How could you know with haveing a priori information about what 'God' is?
if you have a priori knowledge you have to know it a priori. that's what it means. tis' self evident.


If you go to the sources for Meta's stuff, it is Maslow. And the term he uses is a Peak Experience with adjectives such as 'trancendental' used to describe the experience. Why is this experience associated with religion? Why is it associated with God. How could you possibly make such a determination without having a prior reason to expect that those sorts of experiences should be related to divinity?

That is why I think the argument is circular.

because it forms the basis of religion. That is the sense of the numinous. That sense is what makes religion what it is. the content of almost all such experiences is about God, and most of them time they wind up drawing people into religious commitment. All those 326 studies are links up. It's not just Maslow alone, he's talking the same thing as Lukoff and Lue and Wurthnow and all of them.
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LACanuck
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Re: The skeptical Turn of mind

Post by LACanuck » Thu Feb 14, 2008 12:11 pm

Metacrock wrote:if you have a priori knowledge you have to know it a priori. that's what it means. tis' self evident.
But Meta, the a prior knowledge is necessary to come to the conclusions of your argument. And your argument is that about how the effect is from a divine source. That makes it a circular argument.

his quote is from the Decision Making Paradigm essay that KR linked to.
The only question at that point is "How do we know this is the effect, or the accompanying sign of the divine? But that should be answerer in the argument below. Here let us set out some general peramitors:

(1) The trace produced content with specifically religious affects

(2)The affects led one to a renewed sense of divine reality, are transformative of life goals and self actualization

(3) Cannot be accounted for by alternate causality or other means.

Argument:

(1)There are real affects from Mystical experince.

(2)These affects cannot be reduced to naturalistic cause and affect, bogus mental states or epiphenomena.

(3)Since the affects of Mystical consciousness are independent of other explanations we should assume that they are genuine.

(4)Since mystical experince is usually experince of something, the Holy, the sacred some sort of greater transcendent reality we should assume that the object is real since the affects or real, or that the affects are the result of some real higher reality.

(5)The true measure of the reality of the co-determinate is the transfomrative power of the affects.
Tell me how any of this comes to the conclusion that the source for the experience is divine other than by starting with the idea that God exists?
Metacrock wrote:because it forms the basis of religion. That is the sense of the numinous. That sense is what makes religion what it is. the content of almost all such experiences is about God, and most of them time they wind up drawing people into religious commitment. All those 326 studies are links up. It's not just Maslow alone, he's talking the same thing as Lukoff and Lue and Wurthnow and all of them.
Do the experiences derive from a divine source? Or do we attribute the experiences to a divine source because that is the only way that we have to express such an experience? From Maslow's Religions, Values and Peak-Experiences (Chapter 8)
What remains of disagreement? Only, it seems, the concept of supernatural beings or of supernatural laws or forces; and I must confess my feeling that by the time this forking of the road has been reached, this difference doesn't seem to be of any great consequence except for the comfort of the individual himself.
Which I take to mean that the existance of peak experiences does not necessarily lead inevitably to the existance of a supernatural being of any kind, a conclusion which runs counter to the argument that you're making in that essay.

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Re: The skeptical Turn of mind

Post by Metacrock » Sat Feb 16, 2008 8:28 am

LACanuck wrote:
Metacrock wrote:if you have a priori knowledge you have to know it a priori. that's what it means. tis' self evident.
But Meta, the a prior knowledge is necessary to come to the conclusions of your argument. And your argument is that about how the effect is from a divine source. That makes it a circular argument.
NO, not "a prior" a priori. that is not circular, it means by knowing the meaning of the terms. stop thinking of arguments are little experiments. of course you have to know the conclusion before you argue. that's not the same as basing the premise on the conclusion.
his quote is from the Decision Making Paradigm essay that KR linked to.
The only question at that point is "How do we know this is the effect, or the accompanying sign of the divine? But that should be answerer in the argument below. Here let us set out some general peramitors:

(1) The trace produced content with specifically religious affects

(2)The affects led one to a renewed sense of divine reality, are transformative of life goals and self actualization

(3) Cannot be accounted for by alternate causality or other means.

Argument:

(1)There are real affects from Mystical experince.

(2)These affects cannot be reduced to naturalistic cause and affect, bogus mental states or epiphenomena.

(3)Since the affects of Mystical consciousness are independent of other explanations we should assume that they are genuine.

(4)Since mystical experince is usually experince of something, the Holy, the sacred some sort of greater transcendent reality we should assume that the object is real since the affects or real, or that the affects are the result of some real higher reality.

(5)The true measure of the reality of the co-determinate is the transfomrative power of the affects.
Tell me how any of this comes to the conclusion that the source for the experience is divine other than by starting with the idea that God exists?
I shit. I'm going to have to give you basic lessons in what arguments are. Arguments are not experiments. they are not open ended. you don't' do them to see what the result is. You begin an argument with a definite point in mind. You want to prove something you already believe. that is no where near the same as basing the premise on the conclusion. I can know what I'm arguing for without basing the precise on the conclusion.

you are committing the atheist fallacy of "you can't make the argument until you prove the argument." That's a separate matter from the experince arguments. because they not a prori. They are empirical. But like with any empirical knowledge, you have to have an idea of what you are experiencing. that is all given in culture. we have an idea of God and religion form eons of working out what the experinces of the numinous are about.





Metacrock wrote:because it forms the basis of religion. That is the sense of the numinous. That sense is what makes religion what it is. the content of almost all such experiences is about God, and most of them time they wind up drawing people into religious commitment. All those 326 studies are links up. It's not just Maslow alone, he's talking the same thing as Lukoff and Lue and Wurthnow and all of them.
Do the experiences derive from a divine source? Or do we attribute the experiences to a divine source because that is the only way that we have to express such an experience? From Maslow's Religions, Values and Peak-Experiences (Chapter 8)
what if it is? If that's the only way to make sense of it then we have to make sense of it that way.
What remains of disagreement? Only, it seems, the concept of supernatural beings or of supernatural laws or forces; and I must confess my feeling that by the time this forking of the road has been reached, this difference doesn't seem to be of any great consequence except for the comfort of the individual himself.
Which I take to mean that the existance of peak experiences does not necessarily lead inevitably to the existance of a supernatural being of any kind, a conclusion which runs counter to the argument that you're making in that essay.[/quote]


you are just gainsaying the evidence.
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Re: The skeptical Turn of mind

Post by LACanuck » Sat Feb 16, 2008 4:43 pm

I'm not sure which is scarier: that you think the condescension works or that you think you have a basis for condescension. But so you realize that I might actually have a clue about how valid arguments are formed, I'll go slowly so that you can follow along.

A circular argument is one where the proposition to be proved is assumed in one of the premises.

According to your essay
The only question at that point is "How do we know this is the effect, or the accompanying sign of the divine?..."
Unless I'm mistaken, this means that your argument is based on the idea that RE indicates something divine.

So let's try reading what you wrote:
4) Since mystical experince is usually experince of something, the Holy, the sacred some sort of greater transcendent reality...
Please tell me how you know that it's something holy? Or sacred?

Tell me how you can come to the conclusion that it is holy or sacred other than by taking the word of the people on what the experience is? And how do those people determine that the experience is holy or sacred? Why, they have a preconceived idea of what holy or sacred means?

This is, by definition, a circular argument. What it doesn't do is provide any proof that RE shows any indication of divinity outside of some preconceived notions. Perhaps you should spend your time improving upon your argument instead of directing unfounded and ultimately incorrect accusations in my direction.

As for the idea that I'm gainsaying the evidence, could you not come up with a better dodge? I pointed to a quote from one of the people who provided the studies to which your refer. The quote says that RE does not provide sufficient evidence to conclude the existance of a supernatural being. I would think that might qualify as evidence against your argument and the perhaps it is you that are doing the gainsaying.

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Re: The skeptical Turn of mind

Post by KR Wordgazer » Sun Feb 17, 2008 1:33 pm

LACanuck wrote:Which I take to mean that the existance of peak experiences does not necessarily lead inevitably to the existance of a supernatural being of any kind, a conclusion which runs counter to the argument that you're making in that essay.

You know, it really seems right here that what the two of you are really disagreeing about is the definition of God. Metacrock has said many times that he does not think of God as "a being" but rather more as "Being Itself" which is also conscious and aware. What Metacrock is saying, I think, is that peak experiences, by definition, lead to thoughts of the transcendent-- and that which transcends the material world and the human mind, whatever we think it is in the limits of our varied human awareness, is what he defines as God. So that the experience of the transcendent simply means there is something transcendent to experience. God = The Transcendent, by Metacrock's definition.

Whether a person thinks of the transcendent in terms of impersonal pantheism, personal theism, or anything else, is beside the point at this place in the argument. People experience the transcendent. That which transcends is beyong our ability to fully know or comprehend. But the fact that we experience the transcendent means there is something which transcends. Metacrock has not gotten, at this point in his arguments, to any definition of what that Transcendent might be like. He has not gotten as far as "conscious and aware" at this point. He believes that any human experience of the Transcendent must of necessity be limited in its understanding of that which is being experienced. Further ideas about the nature of theTranscendent are set aside for other arguments.
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