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Author Topic: Federal judge shows fearless good sense
Paul Goldner
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" Some of the basic assumptions of science have no evidence to support them at all. For example:

1. There are natural laws.
2. All phenomena have natural causes.
3. Observations must be reproducible to be "true".
4. All true claims can be verified objectively.
5. Nothing is self evident. All claims must be tested."


1 )Natural laws are not a necessary assumption for gathering evidence. The existence of natural laws is a result of evidence gathering, although it is true that most scientists assume that, as they gather evidence, they will find evidence for natural law.

2) Unless the evidence points in other directions. A better way of framing this is "All phenomena can be understood."

3) Observations must be gathered objectively in order to be considered valid data, and must be gathered by, and consistent with the observations of, a variety of observers before extrapolations about larger data sets can be reasonably made.

4) All claims that seek to explain the universe can be verified objectively.

5) Yup. Considering how often "Self evident," claims turn out to be false, any claim about the universe that is made using a logic train without this assumption cannot be considered to have any evidence in support of it whatsoever. This assumption is REQUIRED for the objective gathering and evaluation of data.


#3 is evidence. If you aren't doing that, you aren't gathering evidence about the universe. You are gathering evidence about yourself. My claim is that there is no evidence for the existence of god. This is because all the evidence we have that centers around god is not gathered objectively, and is not reliable data about the universe due to the nature of how it is gathered. The evidence you believe you have for the existence of god is entirely evidence about yourself and how you perceive the world. Non-objective evidence about your perceptions is only evidence for what you perceive, not evidence for reality of what you perceive.

I suppose a further point should be made to clarify my position on this: I do not believe our legal system relies on evidence, either, much of the time.

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Tresopax
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swbarnes,
quote:
Because the reports are read and reviewed by other people who also know the data. And if subsequent evidence had contradicted the old claims, that would have forced everyone to rethink the old conclusions. No "Oh, my personal judgment tells me to ignore conflicting evidnece" is allowed.
How do you know the reports are reviewed? How do you know the people who reviewed them know what they are talking about?

You are doing the exact same thing I am doing - trusting authorities. You haven't seen the data yourself, or the people reviewing it. You simply trust it because your prior beliefs tell you that the process and the people involved results in good conclusions based originally on real evidence. And there's nothing wrong with it - but it's the exact same process I've been proposing.

quote:
You aren't going to judge a Muslims person's experience believable because their claims conflcit with what you already believe, and you don't recognize their authority. You already said this.
I didn't say that. I believe Muslims who make (believable) claims that they experienced God, and I accept it as evidence. I just draw different conclusions from that piece of evidence than they do, since we approach that piece of evidence with different other beliefs.

quote:
Okay, so what about the divinity of Hera? I imagine that you are quite certain about that subject, despite the fact that the Iliad is a decent historical authority that amply attests to the reality of Hera's divinity; what tools do you have that were appropriate to that question that were not appropriate to this one?
I am not certain about that - it is similar to my other religious beliefs. Specifically, I don't believe in Hera because I've never seen or heard of anyone modern who claims to have any experience of her, and it fits in with my prior beliefs to assume that the Greeks were simply mistaken about her existence.

Teshi,
quote:
To leave it up to the Theologians seems a little irresponsible, especially if you follow any of the tenets laid down in the Bible. If you're doing something for which you have no explanation for, only the word of a book, that seems like a problem.
It's not the questions of "What should I do?" that I leave to theologians. Those are the most important questions of religion. The questions I leave to theologians are the background questions.... things like "Does Christ=God?" or "Does God know what we'll do before we do it?" or "Did the Prodigal Son actually exist?" or "Is Genesis meant to be literal?" I consider these things less important because they don't directly alter the answer to "What should I do?" And I consider them not questions to worry extensively about because I believe they are unanswerable with any level of certainty. I could research all day long about Genesis, and I wouldn't be much closer to knowing whether it is intended to be a factual account.
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MightyCow
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Tresopax: So your ultimate question for your religious beliefs is ,"What should I do?"

And the answer you arrive at is, "Whatever I believe I should do." Because you only accept "evidence" if you believe it, disregarding any evidence that goes against what you think it should tell you.

You make a huge, complex maze of sources, authority, beliefs and feelings so you don't have to confront the fact that you are ultimately doing whatever you like, and then after the fact, finding the appropriate sources to tell you that your actions and desires were the right ones after all.

Of course they were. You can just decide that any contrary sources are "unbelievable."

*edit to fix auto-correct silliness

[ June 06, 2010, 04:15 PM: Message edited by: MightyCow ]

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Tresopax
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You are mixing up "whatever I believe I should do" with "whatever I want to do". The difference is essential.
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TomDavidson
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Why don't you want to do what you believe you should do?
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MightyCow
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Tres: What's the essential difference? This seems like more mental gymnastics to complicate the issue.
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kmbboots
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I know I should be cleaning my apartment. I want to be watching tv and wasting time on the computer. I know I should be exercising and dieting. I want to do neither of those things. I all the above cases I don't want to do what I know I should and want is winning.

Is this an unfamiliar phenomenon?

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TomDavidson
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I suggest that if you know you should be doing something and are not doing it, you do not truly believe you should be doing it.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
I suggest that if you know you should be doing something and are not doing it, you do not truly believe you should be doing it.

While I'm inclined to agree with you, I think we are just playing around with the ambiguity inherent in the word "believe."

There's "belief" where you are simply confident something is true.

But there is also "truly believing" where not only are you confident something is true, you take that belief to it's logical conclusion which is action.

Ironically I think God uses the word belief in the way Tom is describing. [Wink]

edit:

Although now that I think about it, when it comes to believing in a particular action, I think Tom is exactly right. A person who does not do what they believe they should, actually believes they should do something else.

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
I suggest that if you know you should be doing something and are not doing it, you do not truly believe you should be doing it.

Do you reject all notions of a divided self (such as the conscious vs. subconscious mind) that make it possible for a person to simultaneously want and not want something?
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TomDavidson
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Oh, no. But insofar as we speak of the person as a single entity, that person's actions are considered the action of a single entity. We do not say, "your hindbrain murdered this person, even though this particular part of your cortex strongly argued against its morality and wouldn't've done it had it had control of your gross motor functions at the time."
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Tresopax
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quote:
Tres: What's the essential difference? This seems like more mental gymnastics to complicate the issue.
Haven't you ever done something you didn't want to because you thought you had some obligation to? You see someone drop some money on the street, and you want to pick that money and spend it on something you've been wanting to buy, but instead you call out to that person and give them money back to him. You want one thing, but believe something else should be done. You could pretend that what you want to be true is what you really believe is true, but that's just a lie.

This difference is essential because if you were to weigh evidence or authorities based on what you WANT to be true, then all its going to do is tell you what you already wanted to be true. But if you weigh evidence based on what actually seems to be true, then a lot of times what you want to be true will turn out to be false.

quote:
Why don't you want to do what you believe you should do?
Well, in a sense you are right... but the critical difference is which causes the other:
If believing you should do X causes you to want to do X, then that's the right way to go about it.
If wanting to do X causes you to believe you should do X, then that's the wrong way to go about it.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
I suggest that if you know you should be doing something and are not doing it, you do not truly believe you should be doing it.

I suggest that your suggestion is completely contrary to my experience. There is no way that I believe that I should be watching Law and Order reruns instead of cleaning my apartment when I know that I will be having a houseguest on Tuesday. For any definition of "should" I can think of. I eat things that I know I should not eat because I want them.
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BlackBlade
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kate: I would argue that your belief that you should eat things that taste very good on occasion is more believable than your belief that you only eat things that are good for your health.
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kmbboots
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Only if you are defining "should" in a way that is unfamiliar to me. How are you defining it?
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BlackBlade
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kate: I feel unequal to the task of defining the word should. Every single system of morality defines it differently.

A quick stab,

I think that actions that to some extent promote the goals setup by that person, are things that "should" be done.

There's all sorts of problems with that definition, but there it is.

[ June 07, 2010, 10:19 AM: Message edited by: BlackBlade ]

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kmbboots
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By that definition, your argument does not fit my experience.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
By that definition, your argument does not fit my experience.

Could you do me the courtesy of defining how you are using should then?
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kmbboots
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I think your definition is fine. I often do things that are contrary to my goals. More often fail to do things that I know would promote my goals. I also do (or fail to do) things that are contrary to (in accordance with) my morals.
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MightyCow
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It seems to me that we're all being loose with our language, which is why we're having such a difficult time coming to a consensus.

Either that, or some of us are crazy [Wink]

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TomDavidson
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quote:
If believing you should do X causes you to want to do X, then that's the right way to go about it.
If wanting to do X causes you to believe you should do X, then that's the wrong way to go about it.

No argument. I believe the assertion on the table, however, is that people have a tendency to believe things which are already part of what they believe they should believe -- and by "should," here, I'll even include Kate's "should," by which I mean this:

Kate believes that she should eat healthier. She also has some difficulty doing so, meaning that at least some part of her body is capable of making very compelling arguments to the contrary that are somehow able to bypass the logic centers of her brain. So if Kate joins a religion that teaches that she should eat healthier, she has not in fact joined a religion that is preaching something she does not want; she has, rather, joined a religion that is actively preaching something she wants to do but finds difficult.

My own belief is that most people do this with religion; it becomes a way to support those things they DO in fact "want" to do, but which they find difficult due to interference from other parts of themselves. Kate would be extremely unlikely, for example, to join a religion that regularly encouraged people to go out and beat up gay men, no matter what she thought of its truth value otherwise, because that is something to which she is strongly opposed.

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kmbboots
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I agree with all of that except for the part where "compelling arguments" equal "should". Indulging my worst tendancies is not something I "should" do.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Indulging my worst tendancies is not something I "should" do.
But clearly some part of you disagrees with you. That said, we're just quibbling over the word "should" at this point; the core of the argument is that you don't belong to a religion which is insisting that you do things you don't actually want to do.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
Indulging my worst tendancies is not something I "should" do.
But clearly some part of you disagrees with you. That said, we're just quibbling over the word "should" at this point; the core of the argument is that you don't belong to a religion which is insisting that you do things you don't actually want to do.
Well she does belong to a religion which might ask her to do something where there are no other reasons for why she should do it other than God said so.

Abraham being asked to sacrifice his only son being an example of this.

I've often wondered how I would do if given the same sort of test.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Well she does belong to a religion which might ask her to do something where there are no other reasons for why she should do it other than God said so.
No, she doesn't. She's been quite clear about that. It's one of the things that drives KoM nuts. [Smile]
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kmbboots
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I am indeed quibbling over "should". Also "want". I am puzzled though over the idea that anyone would choose a religion that didn't encourage their better nature an impulses.

Edit: I do believe in a religion where "God says so" is a good reason, but as I don't believe God would say so without a good reason and it is pretty darn easy to be fooled, it would take a lot of convincing for me to buy, "God says so". A burning bush probably wouldn't do it. If I ever believe God is telling me to take a knife to a child I will be experiencing a psychotic break. Please stop me and get me professional help.

Tom, I realize that this is a fine distinction without a practical difference.

[ June 07, 2010, 10:51 AM: Message edited by: kmbboots ]

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TomDavidson
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quote:
I am puzzled though over the idea that anyone would choose a religion that didn't encourage their better nature an impulses.
More specifically, what has been disputed here is that people choose religions that encourage what they believe to be their better natures and impulses. Like you, I think this is self-evidently true. Tresopax disagrees.
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Tresopax
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I think you are right, at least when we make conscious choices, that whatever we choose to do is what we think we "should" do... maybe not in the moral sense of the word, but in the sense that we do pick that choice above the other options for whatever reason.

And I also think that people will choose religions that support what they believe to be their better desires. That's part of the prior beliefs that I talked about... if I believe the impulse to forgive is good, then that prior belief lends a bit more weight to religions that support that conclusion over religions that contradict it.

...

I don't think that's what MightyCow was complaining about though. I think that issue related to the fact that there's one set of beliefs that is true and another set that, for whatever reason, we wish was true. For instance, it might be true that the stock I've invested in will go bankrupt, but I wish that were not true. If we accept the wishful thinking instead of what is actually true, then it impacts our answers to "should" questions. If I wishfully believe that my poorly chosen stock will go up eventually, it might make me hold on to that stock forever, losing more and more money.

I agree that the wishful belief issue is a real problem and that it is irrational. Making judgement calls based on less-than-100% proof inevitably puts you at risk of that sort of irrationality (and all sorts of other irrational types of thinking).

But to be clear, if you are just believing whatever you want to believe, then you aren't really doing what I've been advocating in this thread. It's a common human mistake to think you are using good judgement when actually you are just believing whatever you secretly want to believe... but that's very different from saying judgment = believing what you want to believe.

...

On that note, I wish it were true that God would make my investments always go up. I don't judge that to be true, though. That's the difference.

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kmbboots
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I think that, too often, people choose religion that appeals to (and "justifies") their not-so-much-better natures.
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TomDavidson
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So, to clarify, your argument boils down to "people are best off using good judgment?" Why then would religion be useful?
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kmbboots
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Are you asking me or Tresopax? Mu short answer is that our better natures and our judgement does not develop in a vacuum.
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Tresopax
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People are best off using good judgment - based on all the evidence, authorities, and other information available to them. Organized religion provides authorities, information, and reasoning that helps inform judgment, which otherwise we would not have. If Jesus really was resurrected and if that really does completely alter the way I need to live my life, I might never know if not for the fact that organized religion made me aware of it.

And if we're talking about religious belief in general, as opposed to Organized Religion, then religious beliefs are useful in the same sense that any other beliefs are useful - they help us guide our decisions and actions!

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swbarnes2
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quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
[QB] swbarnes,
quote:
Because the reports are read and reviewed by other people who also know the data. And if subsequent evidence had contradicted the old claims, that would have forced everyone to rethink the old conclusions. No "Oh, my personal judgment tells me to ignore conflicting evidnece" is allowed.
How do you know the reports are reviewed? How do you know the people who reviewed them know what they are talking about? You are doing the exact same thing I am doing - trusting authorities.
I am trusting authorities that possess the reason and evidence. You are trusting your mommy because she was there first. I trust the doctors over the faith healers because the doctors possess the reason and evidence. You trust the doctors over the faith healers…just because. Probably because that’s what your Mommy taught you. If your Mommy had been Mrs. Neuman, or Mrs. Hauser, you would believe in faith healers instead.

Are you seriously claiming that there is no difference?
quote:
You haven't seen the data yourself, or the people reviewing it. You simply trust it because your prior beliefs tell you that the process and the people involved results in good conclusions based originally on real evidence.
You haven’t understood a single thing I’ve said for days. I don’t trust my “prior beliefs”. I trust the evidence. My prior beliefs are based on the evidence as much well as I can make them, (unlike you, whose prior beliefs are based on what your Mommy told you, as you admitted previously), but I make mistakes, and when I see the evidence disagrees with my beliefs, I change my beliefs. I don’t “occasionally” decide to keep believing prior beliefs that aren’t supported by the evidence. You can’t say the same thing. Didn’t you once argue that allowing the evidence to trump one’s personal judgment as the final arbiter of decisions and belief was immoral?

quote:
quote:
You aren't going to judge a Muslims person's experience believable because their claims conflcit with what you already believe, and you don't recognize their authority. You already said this.
I didn't say that.
You did. Must I quote you again?

quote:
I used my best judgement based on the information I have about them, particularly the fact that their teachings conflict with many other of my beliefs and the fact that they base their conclusions on authorities I haven't accepted
Emphasis mine

I keep asking, and yet you keep being completely unable to come up with a single other point against the Muslim claim, besides the fact that they disagree with your prior beliefs and Mommy’s authority. It’s not like you have any real evidence to support your claim of Jesus’ divinity; you already admitted that you don’t. So what’s left?

quote:
I believe Muslims who make (believable) claims that they experienced God, and I accept it as evidence. I just draw different conclusions from that piece of evidence than they do, since we approach that piece of evidence with different other beliefs.
Okay, so under what circumstances would you find the claim that Jesus was not divine to be “believable”? What, besides the above mentioned “particular” strikes against the argument, lead you to find that particular claim (not at all unique to Islam, of course) to be unbelievable?
Every time you type “believable”, it’s plain that you mean “I, Tres believe it”, and nothing more. That gets us not one whit closer to “is it true or not?”. And since you keep relying on “but I believe it” as your circular explanation to why you believe things, you will never get one whit closer to figuring out if what you believe is true. The only way to figure out what is true is to figure out what is false and this requires that you be willing to throw away your prior beliefs, and ignore your personal judgment when the evidence tells you to. You have to drop that loophole of saying that you occasionally ignore the facts when it clashes with your personal judgment. You have to throw away that loophole that says that you judge contrary claims by comparing them to what your Mommy taught you. And you can’t do that.

quote:
quote:
Okay, so what about the divinity of Hera? I imagine that you are quite certain about that subject, despite the fact that the Iliad is a decent historical authority that amply attests to the reality of Hera's divinity; what tools do you have that were appropriate to that question that were not appropriate to this one?
I am not certain about that - it is similar to my other religious beliefs.
You are honestly claiming not to have concluded that Hera is false? Honestly?
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Tresopax
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quote:
I am trusting authorities that possess the reason and evidence. You are trusting your mommy because she was there first. I trust the doctors over the faith healers because the doctors possess the reason and evidence. You trust the doctors over the faith healers…just because. Probably because that’s what your Mommy taught you. If your Mommy had been Mrs. Neuman, or Mrs. Hauser, you would believe in faith healers instead.

Are you seriously claiming that there is no difference?

I am claiming that almost everyone thinks their authorities possess the reasons and/or the evidence. There is a difference - but the difference is that you used your own judgement and a bunch of prior beliefs to conclude that scientists really do have evidence while faith healers are mistaken or lying about having evidence.

quote:
I don’t trust my “prior beliefs”. I trust the evidence.
You are trusting authorities that you believe have the evidence, but whose evidence you haven't seen. That means you are actually trusting a prior belief.

quote:
Didn’t you once argue that allowing the evidence to trump one’s personal judgment as the final arbiter of decisions and belief was immoral?
Yes. If you look at all the information available to you and judge something is wrong, then it would be wrong to do it based only on the "evidence" part of the information. If you conduct a study that says taking certain herbs will cure cancer, but the medical experts all say otherwise, and you personally judge that it is more likely you have been misled by your own study than that the doctors are all wrong, then it would be wrong of you to go forward doing nothing more than giving your cancer-striken spouse herbs.

quote:
Okay, so under what circumstances would you find the claim that Jesus was not divine to be “believable”?
If 30 of my friends all independently came to me within the same week and said God appeared to them and told them Jesus was not divine, and if I was convinced by the details that they were not colluding with one another to trick me, then I'd find that pretty believable. That's just one possible scenario of infinitely many though.

quote:
You are honestly claiming not to have concluded that Hera is false? Honestly?
I have concluded that Hera is false. You asked me if I was quite certain. I am not certain. Like my other religious beliefs, I have faith in the conclusions I've drawn right now, but I haven't proven them with certainty and I could be mistaken.
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dkw
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swbarnes2, as a personal favor to the women on this site, could you please quit using "Mommy" in such a sneering way? There are plenty of mommies who are also doctors and scientists and such. And even those who aren't don't deserve the disdain you've been dishing out.
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Teshi
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Yes, as someone who generally agrees with what (I think) you are arguing, you are presenting it in a terrifyingly offputting away.

If you're talking about parental influence, say "parents".

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MightyCow
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Tresopax: Then the only real reason you still think Jesus is divine is that you have primarily Christian friends. If you had 30 close friends who were Jewish, Muslim, Atheist, etc., they would happily tell you that Jesus is not divine, and would be doing so honestly and with feeling.
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Tresopax
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Thinking that Jesus is not divine is not the same as having God visit you and tell you that Jesus is not divine. I have more than 30 friends who think Jesus is not divine. I believe they are mistaken.

But you are right in the sense that a person behaving rationally could come to very different conclusions if that person meets different people who then give that person different information.

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swbarnes2
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quote:
Originally posted by dkw:
swbarnes2, as a personal favor to the women on this site, could you please quit using "Mommy" in such a sneering way? There are plenty of mommies who are also doctors and scientists and such. And even those who aren't don't deserve the disdain you've been dishing out.

And those doctors and scientists are refered to as "Doctors" or "Professor", or something like that. I've been using "Mommy" because it's what most small children call their favorite authority.

And since he's allowed himself to ignore any authority since then that disagrees with that authority (he says it's only "occasional", but that's hardly incompatible with "whenever he wants"), it still is his authority.

But, I can start using "Daddy" every other time. That's probably fairer. My scorn is reserved for the mindset that would privilage childish fantasies over the hard facts, that would allow "personal judgment" based o nbeloved authoroty figures to trump facts, not to denegrate the people whose job it is to get their charges to outgrow childish mindsets, most of whom mostly succeed.

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MightyCow
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Tresopax: Do you have 30 friends who God has visited and told that Jesus is divine?

It seems that you might have a much higher standard of evidence for disproving things you already believe, than for deciding what to believe in the first place.

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Tresopax
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I didn't say "30 friends being visited by God" was my minimum standard of belief. Swbarnes asked for an example of what would change my mind, and I gave that case because it was a particularly clear cut one.
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Black Fox
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Thomas Aquinas would say that you could never believe in God based on your belief as that a Christian God ( and any other religion claiming a particular kind of God) as God is simply beyond reason. Which, oddly enough, is the point of faith and the power of religion.

To keep it short, you're attempting to argue rationally about something that is by definition not attainable with rational thought.
That and Mightcow, its pretty normal to have a higher standard for disproving a held belief than taking on a new belief( which would then be a belief in a completely new area). Example: I bite into a fruit A, a fruit I have never tasted before, and it tastes good. My belief now is that fruit A is a tasty fruit and I might go buy/pick some more. However, if I spend a lifetime eating Fruit A and all of a sudden I get a batch thats sour I will probably simply come to the conclusion that A is still tasty, but that this particular batch is bad. However, if by some miracle my taste buds changed and now fruit A tastes sour all the time it will take some time for that new belief to kick in. Perhaps not the best example, but it illustrates the point.

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swbarnes2
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quote:
Originally posted by Black Fox:
its pretty normal to have a higher standard for disproving a held belief than taking on a new belief( which would then be a belief in a completely new area). Example: I bite into a fruit A, a fruit I have never tasted before, and it tastes good. My belief now is that fruit A is a tasty fruit and I might go buy/pick some more. However, if I spend a lifetime eating Fruit A and all of a sudden I get a batch thats sour I will probably simply come to the conclusion that A is still tasty, but that this particular batch is bad. However, if by some miracle my taste buds changed and now fruit A tastes sour all the time it will take some time for that new belief to kick in. Perhaps not the best example, but it illustrates the point.

If the belief that the fruit is usually good is adequately supported by evidence, say, a lifetime of eating it, then it's not unreasonable to conclude that you got a bad batch. That's not privilaging old beliefs over new ones, that's privilaging lots of data over a single data point.

Tres is starting from beliefs that he already admitted have no real evidence supporting them at all. And he's ignoring contradictory claims, not because it conflicts with sound evidence, but because it conflicts with his favorite authorities, Mommy and Daddy.

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kmbboots
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Honestly, why is it you are so fixated on parents? MY parents, for example, are not authorities for my religion. I choose a different religion. Lots of people convert. How do you get snarky about "mommy and daddy" in those cases?
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Tresopax
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Black Fox! Welcome back!

swbarnes2,
quote:
Tres is starting from beliefs that he already admitted have no real evidence supporting them at all. And he's ignoring contradictory claims, not because it conflicts with sound evidence, but because it conflicts with his favorite authorities, Mommy and Daddy.
I haven't said any of those things.

I certainly believe there's a lot of evidence for my religious beliefs - I just haven't seen most of it with my own eyes, just as you haven't seen evidence for most of the things you believe with your own eyes. I also haven't said my favorite authorities are "Mommy and Daddy". I also haven't ignored any claims - if there's two claims that contradict, I believe the one I judge to be better supported by whatever information I have, but that doesn't mean I simply ignore the other.

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Mucus
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Past "fun things on youtube" or whatever. Just gotta pass the length of the pregnancy thread now.
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swbarnes2
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quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
[QB]
quote:
I am trusting authorities that possess the reason and evidence. You are trusting your mommy because she was there first. I trust the doctors over the faith healers because the doctors possess the reason and evidence. You trust the doctors over the faith healers…just because. Probably because that’s what your Mommy taught you. If your Mommy had been Mrs. Neuman, or Mrs. Hauser, you would believe in faith healers instead.

Are you seriously claiming that there is no difference?

I am claiming that almost everyone thinks their authorities possess the reasons and/or the evidence.
Do you claim that your authorities on the divinity of Jesus have evidence?

If so, why don’t you present their evidence?

If you can’t, then I submit that you already know that your authorities don’t have evidence supporting their claims. You believe them for other reasons, namely, because Mommy and Daddy told you to.
quote:
There is a difference - but the difference is that you used your own judgement and a bunch of prior beliefs to conclude that scientists really do have evidence while faith healers are mistaken or lying about having evidence.
And once again, looking at what the evidence says just isn’t in your equation, is it? That’s only for big people like Mommy and Daddy, not babies like you. You just pick your parents, and if you get diabetes, and the Neumans are your parents, well, can you explain for the board how that works out?

I use that example a lot, and as I’m sure you will do a better job of explaining what happened and why than I will, why don’t you give it a shot? I think it would be highly informative. Be sure to explain the important role “personal judgment” played in the outcome.

quote:
quote:
I don’t trust my “prior beliefs”. I trust the evidence.
You are trusting authorities that you believe have the evidence, but whose evidence you haven't seen. That means you are actually trusting a prior belief.
Okay, for the hundredth time, if it’s all just prior beliefs, and it’s all the same why do you trust doctors over faith healers? Do you really have no answer other than “Because Mommy and Daddy told me”, or “I flipped a coin”? If you had seen Kara Neuman dying in her parent’s house, would you have been absolutely bereft of a rational argument for calling 911?
quote:
quote:
Didn’t you once argue that allowing the evidence to trump one’s personal judgment as the final arbiter of decisions and belief was immoral?
Yes. If you look at all the information available to you and judge something is wrong, then it would be wrong to do it based only on the "evidence" part of the information. If you conduct a study that says taking certain herbs will cure cancer, but the medical experts all say otherwise, and you personally judge that it is more likely you have been misled by your own study than that the doctors are all wrong, then it would be wrong of you to go forward doing nothing more than giving your cancer-striken spouse herbs.
Wait, so it’s okay for you to allow personal judgment to override evidence, but it’s not okay for me to do the same thing? Can you explain why?

But maybe I see. It’s not that I’m supposed to follow my own personal judgment. I’m only supposed to do that where it agrees with yours. But since you don’t believe in alt-med, it’s wrong for me to trust my personal judgment, because it disagrees with yours.

But really, your example could only be given by someone rather stupid, or with no intellectual integrity. Small, poorly controlled studies are so likely to be inaccurate that it’s not an honest use of reason and evidence to believe them, especially in light of a massive body of better evidence contradicting them. I understand that this is difficult for a person who claims to value evidence, but also admits to ignoring inconvenient evidence, but honesty and intellectual integrity demand that all the evidence be taken into account. That includes the context of the evidence too, so the fact that a poorly-done study shows something unexpected means almost nothing. The reasonable thing to do is to go with the conclusion best supported by all the evidence. That also means that one has to do an honest job of trying to get all the evidence, not a lazy job, and declaring that “Oh, I guess that’s all the information available to me”.


quote:
quote:
Okay, so under what circumstances would you find the claim that Jesus was not divine to be “believable”?
If 30 of my friends all independently came to me within the same week and said God appeared to them and told them Jesus was not divine, and if I was convinced by the details that they were not colluding with one another to trick me, then I'd find that pretty believable. That's just one possible scenario of infinitely many though.
Convinced by the details? So if their details disagree with what you already believe, that’s your loophole. Okay, go make 100 friends among devout charismatic Muslims. Tell them that you are open to hearing the truth about Jesus’ divinity. Are you so sure that 30 of them won’t be inspired to set you on the right path to Allah?

Ah, but then their details won’t agree with yours, and you’ll ignore them, won’t you?

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Tresopax
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quote:
Do you claim that your authorities on the divinity of Jesus have evidence?

If so, why don’t you present their evidence?

Yes, I claim they either have evidence or they've learned what they know from a chain of authorities that started with some sort of evidence or reasoning.

I can't present their evidence because they have it, not me. In some cases, I can tell you what the evidence is: Some of them have direct personal experiences of God, or enlightenment, or spirituality in various forms. In other cases, the original evidence is much more specific, including witnessing God come to earth in human form and be resurrected, or other miracles.

I know you don't think that evidence really is there, but I trust that my authorities aren't completely lying about it in a similar way to how you trust scientists whose evidence you've never personally seen.

quote:
And once again, looking at what the evidence says just isn’t in your equation, is it?
I've specifically said it is in the equation.

Please stop arguing against positions I've said I don't hold, or asking questions I've already answered. I gave you my answer as to why I trust doctors over faith healers. It was an answer other than "Mommy told me" or "Flip a coin". I've also been pretty clear that I think you too should follow your personal judgement, not just me.

What is your goal in this thread? If you keep assuming my position is whatever is easiest for you to refute, then this discussion is not going to end up going anywhere. If you really want to understand my position then you can't ignore the details the distinguish my position from strawman positions. You are right to reject the strawman positions you are arguing against, but I don't think you need to convince me or anyone else here of that. I'm in complete agreement that totally ignoring all evidence that one disgrees with is a bad idea.

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swbarnes2
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quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
In some cases, I can tell you what the evidence is: Some of them have direct personal experiences of God, or enlightenment, or spirituality in various forms.

You said that you were going to use evidence the way it is really defined, not your made-up definition that includes "feelings". And now you have gone back on your word. That's not honest.

Other people also claim to have direct personal experiences of God, or enlightenment, or spirituality in various forms, and they claim that Jesus isn't divine. They can't all be accurate. How do you test the accuracy of all those differing claims?

quote:
quote:
And once again, looking at what the evidence says just isn’t in your equation, is it?
I've specifically said it is in the equation.
You left out what I quoted. Evidence was no where to be seen in the paragraph I cited. When I asked you about why you reject the Msulim claims of Jesus' non-divinity, that quote also said nothing about evidence.

You also explicity said that evidence can be ignored in favor of personal judgment.

When you answer honestly you leave evidence out. You already admitted that you have no real evidence about Jesus divinity, so evidence can't be a factor in that decision. You also admitted that you have no evidence that your mind and brain are separate, but you believe that too. Sorry, but I'm going to believe what you do over what you say, and what you do is draw conclusions knowing there is no real evidence.

quote:
Please stop arguing against positions I've said I don't hold,
When I quote you word for word, you can't accuse me of making strawmen. When you write that evidence can be trumped by authorities and personal judgment,

"Authorities occassionally can trump evidence"

and you further write that your authoritites all are defined circularly, based on your Mommy and Daddy,

"This isn't circular logic. It's a regression. If you want to know how I began to trust the initial authorities in the regression, it was probably when I was a child, and it began by me simply trusting them and seeing what happens. People and things that proved trustworthy over time became authorities. "

and you further write that you process of winnowing out inaccurate authorities is to...compare new ones to old ones (below is your entire answer to the question, with no mention of looking at real evidence),

"I used my best judgement based on the information I have about [Muslim religious leaders], particularly the fact that their teachings conflict with many other of my beliefs and the fact that they base their conclusions on authorities I haven't accepted."

Then why is it wrong for me to put it all together?

quote:
or asking questions I've already answered. I gave you my answer as to why I trust doctors over faith healers. It was an answer other than "Mommy told me" or "Flip a coin".
Oh, humor me. Really, I can answer every question I've asked you in a sentence or two. It's not that hard. You said once (after having tried to pass off "because I just believe in doctors"), that doctors know more "true things".

How did you determine that? The doctor can't claim to have reaches his goals 100% of the time, but the faith-healer can claim to have brought about God's will 100% of the time, can't he? doesn't that mean he knows more true things about how to enact God's will than teh doctor?

How did you determine that what the doctor knows is "true"? The faith-healer has the same kind of "evidence" supporting him as your authorities on Jesus have supporting them. So why do you dismiss the faith-healer, and accept Jesus divinity? Remember, you claimed to have answer that didn't eventually return to Mommy and Daddy's authority.

quote:
I've also been pretty clear that I think you too should follow your personal judgement, not just me.
What about the doctor whose "personal judgment" tells him to suspend your necessary medical treatment, in favor of the prayer and useless hebrs his "personal judgment" tell him are called for? The doctor should go ahead and do that? You refused to answer when I last asked the question.

The Neumans' used their "personal judgment", why don't you want to explain how well that worked out for Kara Neuman? They did what you argued they should, why can't you articulte the results of that?

quote:
What is your goal in this thread?
To get you to admit that there is a distinction between beliefs that are adequately supported by evidence, and those that are not.

To get you to admit that given human fallibility, methods of thinking that have robust error-detection are more likely to give accurate results than methods that don't have this.

That religious claims are not adequatly supported by evidence, unlike scientific claims, which are valued in direct proportion to their evidentiary support. That your way of thinking does not contain functional error-catching mechanisms at all, making your unsupported conclusions highly likely to be wrong.

For instance, when you claim that people ought to ignore the evidence their personal judgement tells them to, that throws error-catching out the window. The part in bold is not a strawman, that's exactly what you have argued.

When you argue that you ought to judge a claim on whether or not it conflicts with what you already believe, with absolutely no mention of seeing if the claim squares with real evidence, that's also throwing error-catching out the window. And I can quote you arguing that too. And no, saying after the fact "Oh, but I really meant to look at the evidence too", after I point out how you never look at the evidence isn't honest arguing.

quote:
If you keep assuming my position is whatever is easiest for you to refute, then this discussion is not going to end up going anywhere.
I'm not assuming that you advocate allowing one's personal judgment to trump the evidence. That's what you actually argued, I can quote you. It's not my fault if the Neumans did just that, and the consequences make your method look awful.

quote:
If you really want to understand my position then you can't ignore the details the distinguish my position from strawman positions.
That's why I keep asking your specific questions, but getting you to answer is like pulling teeth. How many times did I ask you about your evidence of the divinity of Jesus before you admitted you didn't have any real evidence? How many times did I ask you how you determine your authorities, before you admitted that it's all based on what Mommy and Daddy taught you?

How many times have I asked you to explain about how the Neumans and Hausers used or misused your "trust authorities and personal judgment ever evidence" scheme?

I asked you why you trusted doctors over faith-healers, and you answer was "I believe in doctors, and not faith-healers", as if substituting "believe in" for "trust" was a real answer. You eventually got close, by saying that you thought that doctors believed more "true things" about healing people than faith-healers, but when I asked why you thought that was, you had no answer.

I could answer each of these questions in a sentence or two. They aren't hard questions.

quote:
I'm in complete agreement that totally ignoring all evidence that one disgrees with is a bad idea.
Okay, so can you explain how you deal with all the "evidence" of 1 billion Muslims who all think that Jesus is not divine?

How about all the evidence that your "evidence" of Jesus' divinity is of the same totally subjective kind which is completly unable to be consistant? Your "evidence" of Jesus' divinity is of the same kind as Muslim's evidence that he was not, and your authorities and their can't both be right, which means there's no evidence that your "evidence" is accurate at all, and lots of evidence that your kind of "evidence" must be and is inaccurate.

So, how can you be taking into account that disagreeing evidence, and still be citing your "evidence"?

Or maybe, ignoring sound, but disagreeable evidence is "occasioanlly" okay, in your book? The Neuman's religious beliefs only "ocassionally" caused them to act differently than most people, right?

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Tresopax
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quote:
To get you to admit that there is a distinction between beliefs that are adequately supported by evidence, and those that are not.

To get you to admit that given human fallibility, methods of thinking that have robust error-detection are more likely to give accurate results than methods that don't have this.

That religious claims are not adequatly supported by evidence, unlike scientific claims, which are valued in direct proportion to their evidentiary support. That your way of thinking does not contain functional error-catching mechanisms at all, making your unsupported conclusions highly likely to be wrong.

For instance, when you claim that people ought to ignore the evidence their personal judgement tells them to, that throws error-catching out the window. The part in bold is not a strawman, that's exactly what you have argued.

When you argue that you ought to judge a claim on whether or not it conflicts with what you already believe, with absolutely no mention of seeing if the claim squares with real evidence, that's also throwing error-catching out the window. And I can quote you arguing that too. And no, saying after the fact "Oh, but I really meant to look at the evidence too", after I point out how you never look at the evidence isn't honest arguing.

I agree that there is a distinction between beliefs that are adequately supported by evidence, and those that are not.

I agree that given human fallibility, methods of thinking that have robust error-detection are more likely to give accurate results than methods that don't have this.

However, I disagree with the claim that my way of thinking does not contain functional error-catching mechanisms at all and, most importantly, with the claim that conclusions reached through this method are highly likely to be wrong. I think it is impossible to follow the method you have advocated (basing conclusions solely on scientific evidence) for the vast majority of questions in life, and that therefore a person attempting to do so is going to end up more likely to have mistaken beliefs than the method I've laid out.

So far you've been attempting to change my mind on this fundamental premise by asking questions about my position and by giving anecdotal evidence against it. Yet that method of changing my mind contradicts how you've claimed I should be convinced; you said I should only be convinced by objective evidence. Asking clarification questions about my view is not giving me any new evidence. And anecdotal evidence, like the Neuman case, or your hypothetical torture example, doesn't fit the standard for evidence that you have laid out. While I agree personal judgement failed in the Neuman case, that's only one example out of the billion decisions made everyday.

What objective, scientific evidence do you have that your method for deriving beliefs results in more accurate and truthful beliefs than the one I've just laid out? What leads you to believe this that I would find convincing?

If you can't justify your position with the sort of evidence you seem to be claiming is necessary for any position, then I'm not going to be convinced. I have no problem admitting that there are some cases, like the Neumans, like your torture example, like the ancient Greeks who believed in Hera, where human beings looked to authorities and ended up coming to the wrong conclusion. I have no problem admitting that there are many religions in the world and that some of them must be mistaken. I have no problem that the authorities I believe in are potentially flawed. I have no problem with any of these objections because I believe we are forced, by our circumstances in life, to make decisions on questions where we don't always have firm evidence or perfect information - and because I believe that we achieve more truthful beliefs by not limiting ourselves only to the most unambigious, objective subset of the information available to us. If I'm wrong on that, what data is there to convince me otherwise?

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