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Old 12th Feb 2013, 22:06   #1781
VipersGratitude
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LennyRhys View Post
Again there is confusion here between what nothing and something are - if when demonstrating "nothing" your example includes "something," then technically you are not demonstrating nothing.

A space between two somethings might have nothing in it, but the space is quantifiable only because there are points of reference which allow it to be quantified... accordingly, if you remove the points of reference and then truly have "nothing," you can no longer quantify it. As I said in response to VipersGratitude, I'm looking for a demonstration of absolutely nothing which is quantifiable and/or has dimension and physical properties. This is not about how smart we are; a logical conclusion can very easily be inferred from the premises that we have.

Incidentally, the argument that "nothing is physical" was constructed in order to circumvent the problem of how nothing became something at the time of the Big Bang - assuming, indeed, that the Big Bang was preceeded by nothing, which many physicists maintain. The argument is easily demonstrated as nonsense, because it essentially argues that there was in fact something physical before the Big Bang. Problem solved, but not really.
First off, who is the scientist who said that "nothing is something" and what exactly was he referring to? Might it have been the documentary presented by Jim Al-Khalili I recall watching last year? Can you point us to how the "nothing is physical" argument was indeed constructed to circumvent a problem?

Secondly, science doesn't know what preceded the Big Bang, simply that Einstein suggests that space-time was indeed created at that point - Therefore the absence of space-time is referred to as "nothing" because , as products space-time, we cannot intuit that state.

We can however use mathematics to figure out the properties of whatever was before the big bang, much like a very intelligent koi may be able to figure out that an entire 3-dimensional world may exist beyond its 2-dimensional pond world, based upon its study of ripples in the water.

There are many hypothesis' that work mathematically stating there was indeed something before the big bang, such as M-theory or Conformal cyclic cosmology. They are just waiting to be proven wrong by a better mathematical understanding of our universe, leading to a better interpretation of those "ripples". None of these hypothesis' violate Einstein, however, so it is still perfectly adequate to sum up the pre-big bang absence of space-time as "nothing" (English is not the language of physics).

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I don't disagree with any of this; my point is that the adequacy of science is limited. That's all.
Where are those limits in your eyes?

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Originally Posted by LennyRhys View Post
Yep, and this is where logic and reason come in. I don't think I've said that you are being illogical in not sharing my belief (you have reason not to, which is totally logical), but I might very well say that there is illogicality in your beliefs and how the facets of your worldview fit together and work as a whole. There's a difference.
The only thing that subscribers to science believe in is the scientific method. It is simply a process for furthering our understanding. While you may pick holes in the layman's understanding of the much broader collective understanding of science (No one person has enough time in their lifetimes to study everything there is to know about science), science trundles on gathering strength through evidence, which is infinitely more compelling than saying things like....

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Originally Posted by LennyRhys View Post
I don't believe God was invented; I believe that everybody has a notion of him from birth because that is how he designed us.
...this.

A belief that is easily undermined by invoking the Piraha tribe (google them).

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Originally Posted by supermonkey View Post
Sorry, but saying that apes became humans and self-conscious is about as factual as saying that God created the universe in 7 days.
It isn't actually a requirement to travel back in time and say "hello" to the first ape that exhibited higher brain functions, because we have a massive historical tree of transitional fossils that demonstrate the process of evolution...And not just the homo genus.

We know the process. We know the properties we exhibit. We know we are part of that process, all due to the overwhelming evidence. Therefore we know that self-consciousness developed at some point in that continuum.
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Old 12th Feb 2013, 22:38   #1782
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There is archaeological evidence that religious artefacts started to be produced around the same time that people developed the ability to think in the fifth order of intentionally.

Orders of intentionality work like this:
1st order: I (or you, or he) think(s) or do(es)...
2nd order: I think that you think... (this is basically theory of mind)
3rd order: I think that you think that he thinks...
Etc.

For religion to work, you have to manage five orders of intentionality:
You and I both believe (1 and 2) that God wants (3) us to worship Him (4) so He will be pleased (5).

EDIT: human beings can manage upto about seven orders of intentionality before their brains break.

There is, of course, plenty of other archaeological evidence for cognitive abilities required to produce that evidence: complex language, conceptual thinking, long-term strategic planning, lateral problem solving, deductive reasoning... and when those manifested in human evolution.
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Old 13th Feb 2013, 03:40   #1783
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Originally Posted by VipersGratitude View Post
It isn't actually a requirement to travel back in time and say "hello" to the first ape that exhibited higher brain functions, because we have a massive historical tree of transitional fossils that demonstrate the process of evolution...And not just the homo genus.

We know the process. We know the properties we exhibit. We know we are part of that process, all due to the overwhelming evidence. Therefore we know that self-consciousness developed at some point in that continuum.
Oh, I quite agree that the evolutionary process has resulted in an amazingly complicated family tree which, when analyzed over millenia, points to apes and humans sharing common ancestors. To explain those processes to the average person is difficult because there isn't a shared frame of reference for the more complicated scientific bits - hence why it is often distilled to the simplified version: apes became humans. It's not technically correct, but it's close enough to get the point across. Within the religious framework, the same can be said of Genesis. It is an allegory; it is not meant to be taken literally. However, it does well enough to get the basic point across that [from the Christian point of view] God created everything, and it is good.
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Old 13th Feb 2013, 10:12   #1784
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Originally Posted by Nexxo View Post
There is archaeological evidence that religious artefacts started to be produced around the same time that people developed the ability to think in the fifth order of intentionally.

[...]

deductive reasoning... and when those manifested in human evolution.
Now that was enlightening! Why did I ever wander away from this thread... must go back an read the preceding twenty pages or so... Well, maybe at some point. It's rather tempting to wait till we reach 100 pages, then produce a centenary synopsis...

And yes self-reinforcing/self-correcting made much easier reading than my garbled attempt. Though obviously those aren't the only factors, there'll be a "normalisation" from society at large, pressures applied from each other and other developed and developing schools/modes. An interesting thought, has anyone produced something like a force or pressure diagram demonstrating the nature and extent of complex group dynamics?
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Old 13th Feb 2013, 17:48   #1785
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
My belief system is more logical than yours? Please. That is where you risk being arrogant and fundamentalist.
Actually the risk of arrogance and fundamentalism is poo-pooing any kind of challenge off the bat. If I were to claim that I could demonstrate illogicality in a particular worldview that is not present in my own, that's not arrogance or fundamentalism; it's reason. Fundamentalists don't have time for logic or reason, especially when presented with it. Now if I were simply to run around declaring haphazardly that "I'm logical and you're not, la la la la la," that would be an entirely different matter.

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Originally Posted by jrs77
You see, science and knowledge are basically the opposites of theism and religion
I'm afraid I don't see that at all. Science informs (some) religion, and both science and religion can inform knowledge. Theism is a separate matter entirely...

Quote:
Originally Posted by VipersGratitude
First off, who is the scientist who said that "nothing is something" and what exactly was he referring to? Might it have been the documentary presented by Jim Al-Khalili I recall watching last year? Can you point us to how the "nothing is physical" argument was indeed constructed to circumvent a problem?
It is theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss in his book "A Universe from Nothing." And I already demonstrated how the argument was constructed to circumvent the logical problem of the Big Bang's cause: something must have caused it, but if nothing existed prior to it, then nothing must be something. Contradictory solution is contradictory.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VipersGratitude
None of these hypothesis' violate Einstein, however, so it is still perfectly adequate to sum up the pre-big bang absence of space-time as "nothing" (English is not the language of physics).
I still disagree - English has its limits, but the word nothing is a crystal clear noun: the absence of anything. No matter what abstract mathematical explanations we might call upon to explain what preceded the Big Bang, if indeed there was nothing at all before it, then that's that. If people are using the word "nothing" to refer to something abstract, then it's a misnomer, plain and simple. I really don't see the confusion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VipersGratitude
infinitely more compelling than saying things like...this
I wasn't intending to compel; I simply stated my belief (which was quite clear, too, seeing that I started with "I believe that..."). When I wish to compel, I use logic and reason. Perhaps you can compel me with a demonstration of how the Piraha People undermine my belief in God.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VipersGratitude
Where are those limits in your eyes?
It's already been covered many times over in this thread alone, even recently - science is relevant only to that which can be tested empirically. There are many things out of the reach of science which are crucial to everyday life.
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Old 13th Feb 2013, 18:12   #1786
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Originally Posted by LennyRhys View Post
There are many things out of the reach of science which are crucial to everyday life.
And that would be?

But be aware that psychology, behavioural science, ethology, sociology and all these are science aswell and basically anything can be studied and explained scientifically.

And again, we might not have all the answers yet - especially in the above mentioned fields of science, but that is still no proof of god, ID or creationism.
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Old 13th Feb 2013, 18:17   #1787
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Originally Posted by LennyRhys View Post
Actually the risk of arrogance and fundamentalism is poo-pooing any kind of challenge off the bat. If I were to claim that I could demonstrate illogicality in a particular worldview that is not present in my own, that's not arrogance or fundamentalism; it's reason. Fundamentalists don't have time for logic or reason, especially when presented with it. Now if I were simply to run around declaring haphazardly that "I'm logical and you're not, la la la la la," that would be an entirely different matter.
You are basically claiming that your belief system is more logical than mine. Since our belief systems are based on different first principles and frameworks such a comparison is not possible (remember our debate on definitions of 'good' and 'evil'?). What does not make logical sense in your framework may make perfect sense in mine, and vice versa. I thought this thread should have taught you that by now.

Most fundamentalists will argue that they are being perfectly reasonable and logical as they commit the most outrageous atrocities. None of them think that they are the crazy, irrational ones. Wise people realise that everybody lives in their own universe, with their own truths (this is that 'there is more than can be explained by science' bit that you keep pointing out). All beliefs are true for a given value of "true", remember?
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Old 13th Feb 2013, 18:19   #1788
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@ jrs77, that's the point though - the crippling inadequacy of science is that it doesn't prescribe anything; it only explains what it can test. Why should we care for sick people? No scientific research can ever tell us why we should care for sick people, but we do anyway. Why? Because we believe in compassion, even if it is an illogical belief.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
Since our belief systems are based on different first principles and frameworks such a comparison is not possible (remember our debate on definitions of 'good' and 'evil'?). What does not make logical sense in your framework may make perfect sense in mine, and vice versa.
I'm not saying that my belief system is more logical than yours; I'm saying that I could, and it wouldn't make me a fundamentalist. What you're effectively saying is that you think our belief systems are equally logical in their own right, which is contradictory, because ultimately they are opposing belief systems - you believe one specifically and only because you do not believe the other; ergo, you too consider yours more logical than mine.

There is universal logic which applies the same to all worldviews and can be used to scrutinise them on precisely the same grounds. The outcome of the good-evil debate was agree to disagree, as the case often is, and that's what the thread has taught me.
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Old 13th Feb 2013, 18:43   #1789
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You are now saying: "Only one of us can be right (and that must be me)". Fundamentalism.

You have to stop thinking that theism is the point of reference for atheism. I do not believe what I believe because I don't believe in what you believe; I formed my beliefs based on its own first principles. As such they are not opposing beliefs (put it this way: I only believe in one god less than you do); they are different beliefs, based on different first principles and different values (which may even be occasionally similar and overlap in places). Hence they can both be inherently logical (i.e. apply universal logic), but because they start from a different position they travel a different path (which may or may not cross) and end up in a different place.
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Old 13th Feb 2013, 19:24   #1790
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I'm not saying that either of us is right, and even if I were, it's still not fundamentalism - as long as a position can be defended with reason and logic, it's not a fundamentalist position. All I'm saying is that theism and atheism are opposing beliefs; it doesn't matter how you get to either one... you must oppose one if you have the other.

And I would say that I was a fundamentalist as a child, but then most children are because they don't form beliefs so much as they simply accept what they are told and (simplistically) apply it to what they see and experience. When I started questioning (and thus properly forming) my belief in God, I had to consider atheism as a viable alternative otherwise my belief would not properly be formed and I would remain a fundamentalist. I don't understand how it is possible to form properly, cognitively, either an atheistic or theistic worldview without weighing up the differences and making an informed choice, but you claim to have done so.
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Old 13th Feb 2013, 19:48   #1791
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@ jrs77, that's the point though - the crippling inadequacy of science is that it doesn't prescribe anything; it only explains what it can test. Why should we care for sick people? No scientific research can ever tell us why we should care for sick people, but we do anyway. Why? Because we believe in compassion, even if it is an illogical belief.
Wrong.

We care for each other as we - mankind - have found out that it makes us stronger if we care for each other. Even animals have this very basic social behaviour and it is fully explainable by sociology.
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Old 13th Feb 2013, 20:05   #1792
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I'm not saying that either of us is right, and even if I were, it's still not fundamentalism - as long as a position can be defended with reason and logic, it's not a fundamentalist position. All I'm saying is that theism and atheism are opposing beliefs; it doesn't matter how you get to either one... you must oppose one if you have the other.

And I would say that I was a fundamentalist as a child, but then most children are because they don't form beliefs so much as they simply accept what they are told and (simplistically) apply it to what they see and experience. When I started questioning (and thus properly forming) my belief in God, I had to consider atheism as a viable alternative otherwise my belief would not properly be formed and I would remain a fundamentalist. I don't understand how it is possible to form properly, cognitively, either an atheistic or theistic worldview without weighing up the differences and making an informed choice, but you claim to have done so.
I've weighed up the differences, as you say.

Atheism and theism are not necessarily opposing beliefs. You don't believe in Allah, nor in Ganesh nor any of the other (manifestations of the one) Hindu god(s); nor in Bastet, Horus or any of the other ancient Egyptian deities, and I bet that the old Greek/Roman gods don't get a look-in either. Neither do I believe in their existence. You believe that you should do onto your fellow man as you would have done onto you; so do I (and for not that dissimilar reasons). You think Jesus was a prophet; so do I (but for different reasons, because we have different --if possibly overlapping-- concepts of 'prophet'). The basic difference is that I believe in the existence of one god less than you do. And as a result of that difference in first principles we end up in somewhat different places. I suspect that this bothers you more than me.

All fundamentalists would say that they are being rational and logical. What makes the fundamentalist is their strict adherence to their basic principles: there is no other way, no other truth. Obviously people do not work that way; there are probably as many worldviews as there are people (given that we're all unique, with a unique personal experience), and most of us can quite comfortably hold totally incongruous and contradictory belief systems in our head at the same time, each with its own inherent logic. As a Psychologist I learned that people are screwy that way. You argue that everybody is born with a notion of God, but the Piraha tribe for instance are not. They have a wildly different --but very interesting-- way of looking at the world. Vive la différance.

To expand on jrs77: altruistic behaviour has been observed in many animals, from birds and rats to dolphins and apes. The main thing that they all have in common is that they live in complex social groups that depends on smooth cooperative functioning for survival. In such groups we also see a lot of grooming, sharing of food and sex. Lots of sex: homo- and heterosexual. We even see behaviour that we would interpret as moral: in laboratory experiments rats have been found not eat food if they know that another rat will get hurt (by electric shock) by doing so. We also see behaviour that we'd consider immoral: chimps will lie to each other (hide food from other chimps when they found some, so they can have it all to themselves).

Another thing that such animals have in common is that they are exceptionally smart. Relatively speaking they have huge frontal lobes. It is postulated that we humans became massive frontal-lobed, smart animals mainly because we lived in a complex social group. It certainly encouraged us to develop language so we could plan and cooperate better. Such social cooperation requires a Theory of Mind (being able to make reasonably accurate guesses as to what the other may be thinking and feeling) and hence, meta-representational thinking: the ability to imagine how others may experience the world (empathy, right there). In children we see this expressed in pretend-play, where both communicate, negotiate and join together in a consensual imaginary presentation of the world. You can see how from there it is a short step to stories, myths, legends and other narratives about the world, and supernatural (as in: beyond the physical world) beliefs.
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Old 13th Feb 2013, 20:07   #1793
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It is theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss in his book "A Universe from Nothing." And I already demonstrated how the argument was constructed to circumvent the logical problem of the Big Bang's cause: something must have caused it, but if nothing existed prior to it, then nothing must be something. Contradictory solution is contradictory.
You mean this guy?



I'll admit I haven't actually read the book, but based on this short clip he certainly doesn't sound unreasonable, or as fundamentalist as your average preacher. Have you read the book, or did you just discount it based on the title not fitting your preconceptions?


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I still disagree - English has its limits, but the word nothing is a crystal clear noun: the absence of anything. No matter what abstract mathematical explanations we might call upon to explain what preceded the Big Bang, if indeed there was nothing at all before it, then that's that. If people are using the word "nothing" to refer to something abstract, then it's a misnomer, plain and simple. I really don't see the confusion.
Actually the definition of nothing has changed throughout history, thanks to a better understanding of nature, just as Lawrence Krauss alludes to in that clip - Before space was discovered, nothing meant "air" and so on, and so on...

We still don't actually know what "nothing" is, therefore it cannot be clearly defined as a noun.

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I wasn't intending to compel; I simply stated my belief (which was quite clear, too, seeing that I started with "I believe that..."). When I wish to compel, I use logic and reason. Perhaps you can compel me with a demonstration of how the Piraha People undermine my belief in God.
Well, your statement of belief was - "I don't believe God was invented; I believe that everybody has a notion of him from birth because that is how he designed us."

However the Piraha people had no concept of God before the Christian missionary Daniel Everett introduced it to them, and they rejected it. Yet, they still exhibited all the moral values that you claim come from a notion of God.

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It's already been covered many times over in this thread alone, even recently - science is relevant only to that which can be tested empirically. There are many things out of the reach of science which are crucial to everyday life.
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@ jrs77, that's the point though - the crippling inadequacy of science is that it doesn't prescribe anything; it only explains what it can test. Why should we care for sick people? No scientific research can ever tell us why we should care for sick people, but we do anyway. Why? Because we believe in compassion, even if it is an illogical belief.
You should acquaint yourself with (empirically verified) findings of Ethology and Evolutionary Psychology.

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[...] as long as a position can be defended with reason and logic, it's not a fundamentalist position.
Well, ultimately, why do you believe what you believe?
Because it says so in a book.
And why do you believe in that book?
Because it was written by the God defined in the book.

That is logic, but it's circular logic.
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Old 13th Feb 2013, 20:16   #1794
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@ jrs77, that's the point though - the crippling inadequacy of science is that it doesn't prescribe anything; it only explains what it can test. Why should we care for sick people? No scientific research can ever tell us why we should care for sick people, but we do anyway. Why? Because we believe in compassion, even if it is an illogical belief.
At its most basic its I'll scratch your back if your scratch mine. Perfectly rational.
I also recall reading about nomadic New Guinea tribes who do occasionally leave their old and sick behind when they need to move.
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Old 13th Feb 2013, 20:55   #1795
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While we're on the topic of defining terms, and how word definitions change over time, I thought it would be topical to share the following bit of news from the state of Missouri.

It seems that people have done a decent job defending the exclusion of Intelligent Design from science classrooms, so Missouri state representative Rick Brattin wrote a bill that attempts to redefine "science" and "hypothesis." The intent of the bill is to redefine the terms so as to force the inclusion of Intelligent Design in Missouri state science curricula.

Rather than allow Intelligent Design to exist in the realm of faith, law makers are prepared to change the definition of 'science' in order to bring ID into the scientific realm. I'm fairly confident the bill will not make it through the Missouri State Senate, but when our law-makers are actively trying to redefine science to force legitimacy of their personal beliefs, we shouldn't be surprised when other countries overtake us in scientific literacy.

Of course, this is the same state that gave us Todd Akin, so perhaps the legal system has a mechanism to shut down this legitimate rape of science.
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Old 13th Feb 2013, 21:36   #1796
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^^^ Are you sure that shouldn't be in the Demote thread?

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Old 13th Feb 2013, 22:26   #1797
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Snip
Ok that is as Nexxo said demotivating, and mindbogglingly stupid


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At its most basic its I'll scratch your back if your scratch mine. Perfectly rational.
I also recall reading about nomadic New Guinea tribes who do occasionally leave their old and sick behind when they need to move.
A practice that historically has been quite normal some places especially in desert dwelling tribes, the "no man left behind" mentality really only works when you do not doom the entire tribe if you try to search for someone in a desert.
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Old 13th Feb 2013, 23:23   #1798
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Originally Posted by jrs77
We care for each other as we - mankind - have found out that it makes us stronger if we care for each other. Even animals have this very basic social behaviour and it is fully explainable by sociology.
It can be fully explained why caring for each other makes us stronger, but why we should do it cannot be explained by science - as far as science is concerned, there is no imperative to care for people... it's just more suitable than not caring for people.

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Originally Posted by Nexxo
You argue that everybody is born with a notion of God...
Tricky one to word accurately; perhaps it would be fairer to say that everybody is born with an inclination to look for God - the colloquial "God-shaped hole" as it is referred to by some. In any case, it's an unsupported assertion and purely faith-based, which I recognise, and...

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Originally Posted by Nexxo
...but the Piraha tribe are not.
...so is this, alas the Piraha People argument falls down.

Regarding what jrs77 says and the spiel about altruism - we've done all that already and are circling the drain yet again. The logical conclusion is that science does not prescribe altruism; it merely describes it. The "why" of altruism is an important philosophical question but it is completely irrelevant to science; and, in practice, what really drives people to care for one another is compassion, whether they are able (or willing) to explain it or not. If a person truly subscribes to the idea that altruism is merely a science-informed choice for the benefit of our species, then it cannot logically relate to love, compassion, selflessness, sacrifice etc. because these are all unscientific phenomena.

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Originally Posted by VipersGratitude
Have you read the book, or did you just discount it based on the title not fitting your preconceptions?
I didn't discount a book; I disagreed with a quote, and you continue to obfuscate rather than squarely challenge my assertion. If your strongest counterargument is that "nothing" doesn't mean what the dictionary says it means, then I'm afraid we have reached a stalemate on that subject.

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Originally Posted by VipersGratitude
Yet, they still exhibited all the moral values that you claim come from a notion of God.
See my reply to Nexxo above - morality is something that comes to people naturally, so of course people are going to exhibit moral values no matter where they are or what they believe. Most of my atheist friends have precisely the same moral values as me. Your point? God therefore does not exist? I thought you were going to compel me...

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Originally Posted by VipersGratitude
You should acquaint yourself with (empirically verified) findings of Ethology and Evolutionary Psychology
Already have, but it's still impertinent as the philosophical question of "why" is not empirical. Why are people so determined to talk in empirical terms when I am very clearly steering things into the realm of philosophy?

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Well, ultimately, why do you believe what you believe?
Because it says so in a book.
And why do you believe in that book?
Because it was written by the God defined in the book.

That is logic, but it's circular logic.
I concur wholeheartedy, and thankfully that's not how I formulate my beliefs.

Why do I believe what I believe? Not because it says so in a book (otherwise I'd also believe that Narnia was a real place); I believe what I believe because I have personally experienced it, I have tested it, I have found it to explain adequately and consistently the world as I know and experience it, and I have found it to withstand the scrutiny of logic and reason.

There are plenty fundie Christians out there who don't give a hoot about any of that, but I'm here to debate, not to preach.
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Old 14th Feb 2013, 07:53   #1799
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Tricky one to word accurately; perhaps it would be fairer to say that everybody is born with an inclination to look for God - the colloquial "God-shaped hole" as it is referred to by some. In any case, it's an unsupported assertion and purely faith-based, which I recognise, and...

...so is this, alas the Piraha People argument falls down.
So you are saying: "This is just my belief, so it does not have to withstand the burden of proof." OK, fair enough.

Er. Then why are we having a debate?

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Regarding what jrs77 says and the spiel about altruism - we've done all that already and are circling the drain yet again. The logical conclusion is that science does not prescribe altruism; it merely describes it. The "why" of altruism is an important philosophical question but it is completely irrelevant to science; and, in practice, what really drives people to care for one another is compassion, whether they are able (or willing) to explain it or not. If a person truly subscribes to the idea that altruism is merely a science-informed choice for the benefit of our species, then it cannot logically relate to love, compassion, selflessness, sacrifice etc. because these are all unscientific phenomena.
No, science explains it (because it is a functional thing to do). There's a difference. That includes the epiphenomenological subjective experience of love and compassion, and the subjective interpretation of selflessness and sacrifice.

You choose to impose a moral framework on it (because it is the right thing to do), which is a first principle, and that's fine if that works for you. But like all first principles it is essentially arbitrary and any rational examination of it can only be where it leads rather than where it comes from.
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Old 14th Feb 2013, 09:42   #1800
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Tricky one to word accurately; perhaps it would be fairer to say that everybody is born with an inclination to look for God - the colloquial "God-shaped hole" as it is referred to by some. In any case, it's an unsupported assertion and purely faith-based, which I recognise, and...
I read an interesting article about this in New Scientist a while ago. It said we are born with a preposition to belief in the supernatural or, more accurately, invisible agents. An agent was defined as something that has a physical effect on the world, i.e. us, or the wind. A crude example of how its benefits us is we see the tall grass move on a still, calm day, we interpret that movement as a unseen tiger stalking us through the grass and we become alert and defensive. Children in particular are far more likely to believe that an action has been performed by an invisible agent than the more mundane and logical reason. They are more willing to believe that the tooth fairy removed the tooth from under their pillow and replaced it with some money than their own parents did it.
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