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Old 11th January 2021, 10:48 PM   #281
arthwollipot
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Okay, I've skimmed the thread - I won't get into the GDon/Chakanaya discussion as there is some good stuff in there and they look like they're having fun.

In my experience, answering the OP, no, it isn't all about Pascal's Wager. The Wager constitute part of the justification for belief, but not the whole of it.

That having been said, while I was covering a particular event for a podcast in which Christians and atheists clashed, a Christian I was interviewing presented me with the Wager. They said "what if you're wrong and we're right?" I replied "I think most of our listeners are pretty familiar with Pascal's Wager, actually." And they huffed a bit and withdrew from the conversation.

I have more, most likely, but I'm short on time.
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Old 11th January 2021, 11:29 PM   #282
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
When you say:
"Pascal obviously designed his wager with his own opinion of God in mind, so it isn't meant to work for other gods, whether it does or not. The strawman version ("Pascal's Wager" as opposed to Pascal's "Pascal's Wager) is that it should work for any god, with the erroneous conclusion that if it doesn't then that indicates a flaw."
This seems to indicate that you don't think that the wager can be applied to gods other than the Christian god.
No, not quite. I said that Pascal designed it with his God in mind. It's reasonable to assume that Pascal didn't have other gods in mind when he formulated his Wager. It may or may not apply to other gods.

(ETA): Looks like it was sloppy phrasing on my part: "so it isn't meant to work for other gods, whether it does or not" should read "so he didn't give consideration about it working for other gods". My apologies.

Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
However, you are also applying it to something other than the Christian god. This seems to be a contradiction in your approach.
Arguably it can be applied to any God fitting into the traditional category of "omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent". That's not a coincidence. That idea about God had been around for centuries by the time of Pascal, following the influence of Muslim philosophers and Christian philosophers like Thomas Aquinas in the 13th Century CE.

Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Personally, I think it can be applied to other gods. But if you think it can't, then you're contradicting yourself when you go ahead and do it anyway. Q.E.D.
If you read over my comments, you'll see that I've been consistent on my points above.

Last edited by GDon; 12th January 2021 at 12:19 AM.
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Old 12th January 2021, 06:22 AM   #283
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
No, not quite. I said that Pascal designed it with his God in mind. It's reasonable to assume that Pascal didn't have other gods in mind when he formulated his Wager. It may or may not apply to other gods.
Again, you make another baseless assumption.

Pascal in his Pensees argued that the Christian religion abhors those who believe in God without Jesus Christ.

Pascal's Pensees
Quote:
All who seek God without Jesus Christ, and who rest in nature, either find no light to satisfy them, or come to form for themselves a means of knowing God and serving Him without a mediator.
Thereby they fall either into atheism, or into deism, two things which the Christian religion abhors almost equally.

Pascal's Pensees
Quote:
And on this ground they take occasion to revile the Christian religion, because they misunderstand it. They imagine that it consists simply in the worship of a God considered as great, powerful, and eternal; which is strictly deism, almost as far removed from the Christian religion as atheism, which is its exact opposite.
People who do not believe in the Christian deities are essentially the same as atheists according to Pascal.
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Old 12th January 2021, 06:55 AM   #284
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Which is why you almost never see actual like street level religious people doing this.

This is all, mostly internet based with some fringes of both secular and theological academia, driven.

Nobody is out there in the pulpits praying to a Vague God of Vague Vagueness who Vaguely Vagued some Vagueness at some point in the distant past and that then left the universe alone.
If you go watch old episodes of The Atheist Experience, where theists call in to try to explain "what they believe and why," you hear the same old stuff. Yeah, maybe half of them just assert the bible, but then there are those who do the "first cause" and ID crap, with the occasional Pascal's wager thrown in. But, amazingly, despite the claim that they believe in God because there is no way DNA could form by chance, it always ends up that they are Christian or Muslim. Apparently, only Yahweh could create DNA...

The other day there was a guy who claimed (effectively) to be pantheist, that the universe itself was God. And still, somehow, the conversation got to Jesus.

So you wonder, are these arguments really the reason you believe? Or are they a crutch you use to try to support your beliefs?
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Old 12th January 2021, 07:04 AM   #285
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Well yeah that's the defining characteristic of apologetics, the leap from defending a concept so vague it's essentially to "therefore my very specific claim is valid" and then gong "therefore all versions of it are valid."

We see it across the board from politics to woo to religion to philosophy.

All the classic God apologetics; Pascal's Wager, 1st Cause/Prime Mover, appeals to a source for morality apply to all Gods; God, Allah, Zeus, Odin, Q from Star Trek, equally. It's insane and absurd to try and use them to justify a specific God belief.
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Old 12th January 2021, 07:13 AM   #286
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Originally Posted by dejudge View Post
You don't seem to know that Pascal's wager is found in his Pensees.
I'm well aware of that. I just don't infer the same thing you do from it.

Your argument only rebuts mine if I interpret the Pensees the same way you do. Since I don't, it doesn't. Either find a different rebuttal, or help me understand why you interpret the Pensees the way you do.
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Old 12th January 2021, 07:20 AM   #287
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
No, not quite. I said that Pascal designed it with his God in mind. It's reasonable to assume that Pascal didn't have other gods in mind when he formulated his Wager. It may or may not apply to other gods.

(ETA): Looks like it was sloppy phrasing on my part: "so it isn't meant to work for other gods, whether it does or not" should read "so he didn't give consideration about it working for other gods". My apologies.
"It may or may not apply to other gods" may (or may not) be more sloppy phrasing. I think maybe you mean "he may or may not have considered other gods at the time".

Quote:
Arguably it can be applied to any God fitting into the traditional category of "omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent". That's not a coincidence. That idea about God had been around for centuries by the time of Pascal, following the influence of Muslim philosophers and Christian philosophers like Thomas Aquinas in the 13th Century CE.
Arguably it can be applied to any god at all. And while it's not a coincidence that Pascal applied it to an idea of god that had been familiar to his culture for several hundred years, it's also not important to the discussion.

Am I mistaken about this? Is the historical provenance of the idea of the omnigod important to your choice of which god to wager on?

Quote:
If you read over my comments, you'll see that I've been consistent on my points above.
So I see. Thanks!
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Old 12th January 2021, 07:35 AM   #288
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I'm well aware of that. I just don't infer the same thing you do from it. Since I don't, it doesn't. Either find a different rebuttal, or help me understand why you interpret the Pensees the way you do.
I have not interpreted the Pensees. I have shown what Pascal stated.

Pascal's Pensees
Quote:
Without Jesus Christ the world would not exist; for it should needs be either that it would be destroyed or be a hell...
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Old 12th January 2021, 08:02 AM   #289
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Originally Posted by dejudge View Post
I have not interpreted the Pensees. I have shown what Pascal stated.

Pascal's Pensees
That doesn't mean we can't apply the wager to other gods of our choice.

Hell, it doesn't even mean Pascal believes in Christ to the exclusion of all else. I can explain the theology of Buddhism and its implications in great detail, without believing a word of it.

You can describe the nature of Allah as portrayed in the Koran, along with what it would mean if such a being were real, without believing a word of it.

In any case, yes, you are interpreting it. You're interpreting his description of the nature of Christ as an injunction against using the wager outside of Christian contexts. I see no such injunction in the Pensees. And I don't think your interpretation is supported.
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Old 12th January 2021, 08:10 AM   #290
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
All the classic God apologetics; Pascal's Wager, 1st Cause/Prime Mover, appeals to a source for morality apply to all Gods; God, Allah, Zeus, Odin, Q from Star Trek, equally.
They normally only apply to one that's supposed to have created the universe, sometimes also with other traits included such as being the source of morality or the decider of humans' eternal fates. That eliminates Zeus, Odin, Q, and almost all other members of pantheons. The only two left on your list are "God" and Allah, which are in some ways the same thing. The others didn't create this universe; they just live in it with us. Some kinds of moral argument might apply to a non-universe-creating member of a pantheon who happens to have somehow become humans' ultimate judge, but then they still wouldn't apply to the rest of the pantheon. A few other polytheisms like maybe Hindu might have one member who created everything but still mostly worship some of his creations, the lower gods who interact with humans more, but then a creator-argument would only lead to that one and not the rest, while other arguments about morality or eternal reward/punishment would only lead to another one in the group and still not the rest.

Monotheists' arguments for "God" really are tailored to a god fitting a description that the monothistic "God" fits and practically all others out there don't. It's actually quite hard to find other gods that anybody has ever actually believed in that really fit these montheistic creator/moralizer/judge arguments. The problem with their vagueness is not that they could fit some other particular god(s) which they really don't fit, but that the monotheistic god who does fit them is still left without any details about that god's nature.

It's not "that could be any god" (which it definitely can't), but "OK, that's the creator of the universe, but what else can you tell me about it".
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Old 12th January 2021, 09:20 AM   #291
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Pascal's wager is irrelevant. It doesn't tell you what god you should believe in. And believing in wrong god is usually worse than believing in no god.
I think Pascal came with the idea because being atheist was simply too risky .. not because Christian God would be angry .. but because Christians would be angry. I believe it was sociological advice, not philosophical.
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Old 12th January 2021, 09:28 AM   #292
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Originally Posted by Dr.Sid View Post
Pascal's wager is irrelevant. It doesn't tell you what god you should believe in. And believing in wrong god is usually worse than believing in no god.
I think Pascal came with the idea because being atheist was simply too risky .. not because Christian God would be angry .. but because Christians would be angry. I believe it was sociological advice, not philosophical.
Considering that his life overlapped the PEAK of the burning times? Not really, no. We're talking about a time when you could literally be burned alive for believing in God but not Jesus, a.k.a., being a Jew or a Moor. Or even with Jesus, for being a protestant in Catholic states, or viceversa, or even for being the wrong shade of protestant in protestant states.

Hell, disagreeing with the Pope about Mary's hymen could get you burned alive. See, Giordano Bruno. No, seriously, it was one of the accusations against him. (You have to wonder what's with the raging hardon about Mary's pussy among catholics) Along with, yes, Jesus being God (as part of the trinity) or Jesus being necessary in order to be saved.

So do you really think "you don't need to really believe, just act like you do" would really fly?

You're aware that the whole reason they had an Inquisition was to root out people who don't really believe, but just fake it, right?
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Old 12th January 2021, 09:35 AM   #293
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Considering that his life overlapped the PEAK of the burning times? Not really, no. We're talking about a time when you could literally be burned alive for believing in God but not Jesus, a.k.a., being a Jew or a Moor. Or even with Jesus, for being a protestant in Catholic states, or viceversa, or even for being the wrong shade of protestant in protestant states.

Hell, disagreeing with the Pope about Mary's hymen could get you burned alive. See, Giordano Bruno. No, seriously, it was one of the accusations against him. (You have to wonder what's with the raging hardon about Mary's pussy among catholics) Along with, yes, Jesus being God (as part of the trinity) or Jesus being necessary in order to be saved.

So do you really think "you don't need to really believe, just act like you do" would really fly?

You're aware that the whole reason they had an Inquisition was to root out people who don't really believe, but just fake it, right?
Yes. I think he was simply asked: you do all this science .. what does science says about God ? So he came up with 'science says it's logical to believe'. I certainly don't think he believed in God.
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Old 12th January 2021, 09:41 AM   #294
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
You're aware that the whole reason they had an Inquisition was to root out people who don't really believe, but just fake it, right?
My understanding is the whole reason they had an Inquisition was to suppress heresy: People undermining the established order by preaching a doctrine contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church.
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Old 12th January 2021, 11:07 AM   #295
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Originally Posted by Dr.Sid View Post
Yes. I think he was simply asked: you do all this science .. what does science says about God ? So he came up with 'science says it's logical to believe'. I certainly don't think he believed in God.
That's... not the impression I got from reading it. By a wide margin. But I could be wrong.
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Old 12th January 2021, 11:15 AM   #296
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
My understanding is the whole reason they had an Inquisition was to suppress heresy: People undermining the established order by preaching a doctrine contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church.
Among other things.

Rooting out crypto-Judaism for example was another MAJOR thing in places like Spain or at times even Austria. You know, people who pretend to be Christians, but kinda stick to believing the OT only, i.e., the God without Jesus part.

It also ALMOST got a mandate to hunt down witches too. Apologists will be quick to point out that burning witches was never actually sanctioned by the RCC itself... but forget to mention the part where a majority of cardinals actually were FOR it. It was the uphill battle of one single cardinal, who pretty much risked his own life (remember: only a witch would take the side of witches) to make them show EVIDENCE that magic even exists or GTHO.

And even then, they never forbade individual inquisitors from taking up witch hunting on the side.


That said, even rooting out heresy, pretty much any kind of questioning the 'fact' that you can ONLY be saved by brown-nosing Jesus was, in fact, considered a major heresy. Again, see Giordano Bruno. The idea that you can just be nice and virtuous, and whatever God is out there would reward you even without Jesus was explicitly one of the things they tried to root out.
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Old 12th January 2021, 11:35 AM   #297
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Never heard of this newfangled thing called the "scientific method"? I mean, it's only been around for a couple of centuries. I can see how not every religious woowoo peddler has heard of it yet.
To be fair not even scientists use the scientific method correctly; some forget the fact that in order to look for "data" you need to have a model or "structure" of how the world works. The problem as James Burke pointed out in the "Worlds Without End" episode of Day the Universe Changed that structure can drive every part of your research even what you accept as reliable data.

This possibility of the structure driving the data rather than the data driving the structure had been hammered home in anthropological circles back in 1956 with Horace Miner's bitingly satirical "Body Ritual among the Nacirema."
Often referenced as a satirical look at American culture, it was also a look at anthropological work of the time and the "Look at these poor primitives who believe in magic that we are so much wiser than" attitude so common in professional publications of the time. Miner showed that with that model any culture (even that of then modern 1950s United States) could be dismissed as a bunch of magic-using savages.

In "Worlds Without End" Burke points out one of the reasons the Piltdown hoax lasted as long at it did was it fitted the then prevalent structure of finding a human like skull with an ape-like face. In fact, in 1913, David Waterston of King's College London stated in Nature that the find and an ape mandible and human skull and French paleontologist Marcellin Boule said the same thing in 1915. In 1923 Franz Weidenreich stated after careful examination that the Piltdown find was a modern human cranium and an orangutan jaw with filed-down teeth but because Piltdown fit the structure so well other scientists let the model drive their thinking rather than the evidence itself.

Extra Credit points out in God Does Not Play Dice - The Danger of Unquestioned Belief that you have to have a series of postulates to even begin to formulate anything but that if you hold on to the postulates as if they are fact then it can and will blind one to acknowledging the system being used may be flawed.

The prefect example of this is the various Christ Myth theories which don't use history or historical anthropology correctly because they are using postulates that are themselves flawed.

Even Carrier falls into this trap as he takes the whole 'Did Jesus exist as a human being?' as a simple yes or no question when it simply isn't.

Ironically one of the examples Carrier uses (John Frum) shows this flaw as three natives in claimed to be "John Frum" in the 1941-7 period, there were others who claimed to be his "son", and we have a letter documenting that "John Frum" (or at least the idea of him) went back to the 1910s...something that had disappeared as an idea by the 1960s just 20years later.
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Old 12th January 2021, 11:42 AM   #298
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Among other things.

Rooting out crypto-Judaism for example was another MAJOR thing in places like Spain or at times even Austria. You know, people who pretend to be Christians, but kinda stick to believing the OT only, i.e., the God without Jesus part.

It also ALMOST got a mandate to hunt down witches too. Apologists will be quick to point out that burning witches was never actually sanctioned by the RCC itself... but forget to mention the part where a majority of cardinals actually were FOR it. It was the uphill battle of one single cardinal, who pretty much risked his own life (remember: only a witch would take the side of witches) to make them show EVIDENCE that magic even exists or GTHO.

And even then, they never forbade individual inquisitors from taking up witch hunting on the side.


That said, even rooting out heresy, pretty much any kind of questioning the 'fact' that you can ONLY be saved by brown-nosing Jesus was, in fact, considered a major heresy. Again, see Giordano Bruno. The idea that you can just be nice and virtuous, and whatever God is out there would reward you even without Jesus was explicitly one of the things they tried to root out.
I'd quibble with all of that, but upon further reflection... The only things I'm really interested in at this point are GDon's takes on:
  • Arguably it can be applied to any god at all. And while it's not a coincidence that Pascal applied it to an idea of god that had been familiar to his culture for several hundred years, it's also not important to the discussion. Am I mistaken about this? Is the historical provenance of the idea of the omnigod important to your choice of which god to wager on?

And:
  • I'm proposing that if you have no good reason to think your god exists, then you have no good reason to wager on it. And if you do have a good reason to think your god exists, then you have no good reason to wager on it.
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Old 12th January 2021, 12:17 PM   #299
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I'm proposing that if you have no good reason to think your god exists, then you have no good reason to wager on it. And if you do have a good reason to think your god exists, then you have no good reason to wager on it.
Sort of. But that's why Pascal went for probabilities maths rather than binary true or false.

If you go for binary true or false, sure, Pascal's maths doesn't add anything to that. Pascal's trick of multiplying by infinity does make some sense (as a handwaving device, at least) if he can get you to say something like, "eh, I can't prove that God doesn't exist, but let's say I'm 99.99% sure he doesn't." Ah-ha! But then you leave a 0.01% chance for God to exist, and 0.01% times infinity is infinity! So you should bloody believe in God.
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Old 12th January 2021, 12:48 PM   #300
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Sort of. But that's why Pascal went for probabilities maths rather than binary true or false.

If you go for binary true or false, sure, Pascal's maths doesn't add anything to that. Pascal's trick of multiplying by infinity does make some sense (as a handwaving device, at least) if he can get you to say something like, "eh, I can't prove that God doesn't exist, but let's say I'm 99.99% sure he doesn't." Ah-ha! But then you leave a 0.01% chance for God to exist, and 0.01% times infinity is infinity! So you should bloody believe in God.
I'm interested in whether GDon sees it that way.

I'd also like to add a bit of nuance. This isn't strictly about playing the probabilities. We don't get to be Beni, or John Constantine, running around with a pocketful of talismans, using trial and error to discover which pantheon this particular demon is part of.

Even the probabilistic approach depends on special pleading or begging the question.

There's at least a thousand versions of godhead for GDon to choose from*. Which one he chooses to "believe in" as a statistical hedge against uncertainty must be determined before the hedging can begin. And it has to be determined by means other than the wager itself, otherwise the exercise is circular.

Why take that 0.01% chance on Yahweh? Why not on Allah, or the Bodhisattva, or Sithrak (NSFW)?

I'm proposing that by the time you're done assembling all the evidence that justifies privileging Yahweh for the wager, you've assembled enough evidence to render the wager moot.

But maybe not. I'd be interested to see how GDon threads that needle, in his application of the wager.

---
*Actually I think the number is probably in the billions, but a thousand is sufficient to illustrate my point.
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Old 12th January 2021, 12:59 PM   #301
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Well, I'm also quite interested to see anything even vaguely resembling an intelligent answer to that. I haven't seen one yet, but here's to hope
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Old 12th January 2021, 01:20 PM   #302
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Well, I'm also quite interested to see anything even vaguely resembling an intelligent answer to that. I haven't seen one yet, but here's to hope : p
This might be where the vaguely-defined omni-god comes into play.

I don't know if it's Yahweh exactly, but I think Aquinas was on the right track. It's probably some kind of omni-god. So I'm going to wager on a generic version and hope for the best.

- GDon, maybe?

But this tends to fall foul of dejudge's objection. Christian doctrine is pretty clear about having to believe specific things about a specifically-described deity. Nobody's getting into Christian heaven on a "well I believed in some form of omni-god, and you're some form of omni-god, so I guess I believed in you the whole time, huh?" technicality.

I haven't checked lately, but I bet Allah feels the same way. The Generic Omni-God might be okay with it, but what are the odds that GDon has guessed right about that? Not good enough odds to be worth betting on, in my opinion.
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Old 12th January 2021, 01:20 PM   #303
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Originally Posted by maximara View Post
To be fair not even scientists use the scientific method correctly; some forget the fact that in order to look for "data" you need to have a model or "structure" of how the world works. The problem as James Burke pointed out in the "Worlds Without End" episode of Day the Universe Changed that structure can drive every part of your research even what you accept as reliable data.
Not sure why that would even be a problem for most sciences. The model or part of it is precisely what is being falsified. E.g., when we did the gravity probe B experiment to see if frame dragging is real, what we were checking is precisely if our model of how space-time work is correct.

And really, it's not just relativity. The QM model of black body radiation also fundamentally changed our model. Then countless experiments, including the recent-ish search for the Higgs Boson were precisely about checking if our model is ok.

Originally Posted by maximara View Post
This possibility of the structure driving the data rather than the data driving the structure had been hammered home in anthropological circles back in 1956 with Horace Miner's bitingly satirical "Body Ritual among the Nacirema."
Often referenced as a satirical look at American culture, it was also a look at anthropological work of the time and the "Look at these poor primitives who believe in magic that we are so much wiser than" attitude so common in professional publications of the time. Miner showed that with that model any culture (even that of then modern 1950s United States) could be dismissed as a bunch of magic-using savages.
Ah, I see what's confusing you. You're confusing actual science with non-scientific (or at best pseudo-scientific) woowoo.

Anthropology is something I've actually studied. Not enough to be an expert, or anything, but enough to see where you're reading that wrong:

To this day anthropology still doesn't actually DO numerical models, correlations or much in the way of an actual scientific method approach. It pretty much just gathers data, and that's it.

It can tell you that, say, the Saharawi prefer overweight women, and other cultures I've listed before go as far as to prefer the morbidly obese. But it doesn't tell you any model where that would fit in. The ONLY model it proposes is that basically, eh, people like or do what they learned to like or do in their culture. Basically just that the Saharawi prefer overweight women because the Saharawi prefer overweight women. That's it. It doesn't claim it correlates with anything else, nor anything where your model might actually DO anything with that data. Like take it to some logical conclusion.

Any interpretation is usually actually avoided, and if you do it, it's just your opinion. There's no objective scientific thing claimed there.

So yeah, don't confuse someone's opinions about what's savage and what isn't, for some failure of actual science

Originally Posted by maximara View Post
In "Worlds Without End" Burke points out one of the reasons the Piltdown hoax lasted as long at it did was it fitted the then prevalent structure of finding a human like skull with an ape-like face. In fact, in 1913, David Waterston of King's College London stated in Nature that the find and an ape mandible and human skull and French paleontologist Marcellin Boule said the same thing in 1915. In 1923 Franz Weidenreich stated after careful examination that the Piltdown find was a modern human cranium and an orangutan jaw with filed-down teeth but because Piltdown fit the structure so well other scientists let the model drive their thinking rather than the evidence itself.
But again, what you show is that all the named actual scientists had no problem telling that it's a hoax.

Where that hoax found its faithful, was in the domain of PSEUDO-science. Remember that we're talking an age where racism was rampant, and actually on the rise, and arguments like that the blacks are the missing link between apes and real humans (and at that, the Irish were the missing link between apes and blacks) were the order of the day for a lot of racist pseudoscience. Finding something like a human skull with an ape mandible was pretty much the holy grail for these numbskulls. Not because it fit any actual science, but because it confirmed their preconceived woowoo.

Originally Posted by maximara View Post
The prefect example of this is the various Christ Myth theories which don't use history or historical anthropology correctly because they are using postulates that are themselves flawed.
Wait, wait... this is where my patience pretty much ends...

Did you just file BIBLE SCHOLARSHIP under SCIENCE? REALLY?

Seriously, you're smarter than that. Or at least that's been my impression so far.
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Old 12th January 2021, 02:59 PM   #304
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Did you just file BIBLE SCHOLARSHIP under SCIENCE? REALLY?

Seriously, you're smarter than that. Or at least that's been my impression so far.
You can be a scholar of the Bible just as much as you can be a scholar of Tolkein.
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Old 12th January 2021, 03:17 PM   #305
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
You can be a scholar of the Bible just as much as you can be a scholar of Tolkein.
But only the later is REAL science.
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Old 12th January 2021, 03:24 PM   #306
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Originally Posted by Dr. Keith View Post
But only the later is REAL science.
Why?
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Old 12th January 2021, 03:30 PM   #307
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I'm pretty sure textual criticism is a valid form of rational inquiry, regardless of the rationality of the text being examined.

For example, figuring out who might have actually written which gospel, based on everything we know about the earliest available copies, is legitimate science, even if the gospels themselves are not.
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Old 12th January 2021, 03:44 PM   #308
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I'm pretty sure textual criticism is a valid form of rational inquiry, regardless of the rationality of the text being examined.

For example, figuring out who might have actually written which gospel, based on everything we know about the earliest available copies, is legitimate science, even if the gospels themselves are not.
Exactly. One can study the Bible in a scientific way, and there are many who do so. Biblical scholarship is not the same thing as theology, which is the "study" of the nature of God, and arguably not science.
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Old 12th January 2021, 06:16 PM   #309
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I'm pretty sure textual criticism is a valid form of rational inquiry, regardless of the rationality of the text being examined.

For example, figuring out who might have actually written which gospel, based on everything we know about the earliest available copies, is legitimate science, even if the gospels themselves are not.
Look, let me put it really simply: 'science' is not just a buzzword for whatever some smart cookie wrote and you like. Either it applies the scientific method, or it doesn't. If it does, it's science. If it doesn't, it's not.

Doubly so for a subthread which wasn't even about "science" as such, but about applying the scientific method.

Most trivial example to get the point across: Maths is actually NOT a science. Is it a legit and valuable tool? Yes. Is it applying the scientific method? Nope.


So, anyway, bible studies... No it's not legitimately science, because it doesn't apply the scientific method. There are no predictions made, that you could falsify.

It COULD fall under legitimately applying the HISTORICAL method, which is legitimate and respectable and all, but not the scientific method. Even though even there, some people apply a version of it that is 'only' half a century obsolete at this point (e.g., Ehrman), while some pretty much apply a version that's a few centuries out of date (pretty much anyone arguing that the miracles are real because an anonymous author says so.)

Some of the TOOLS used may be actually scientific. E.g., carbon dating some manuscripts or palaeography. There are actual predictions made there, e.g., that if you find a manuscript from the early 1st century, it will use a certain 'font', and viceversa. That's science.


The same incidentally applies to anthropology, which was another thing in maximara's post. The data collection it does is probably some of the most rigorous out there. But there's no prediction made, and you pretty much have nothing to falsify.

You can use that data to falsify theories from OTHER domains. E.g., it's pretty much THE thing to use if you want to falsify evo-psych nonsense.

But itself is not using the scientific method.
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Old 12th January 2021, 07:52 PM   #310
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Look, let me put it really simply: 'science' is not just a buzzword for whatever some smart cookie wrote and you like. Either it applies the scientific method, or it doesn't. If it does, it's science. If it doesn't, it's not.

Doubly so for a subthread which wasn't even about "science" as such, but about applying the scientific method.

Most trivial example to get the point across: Maths is actually NOT a science. Is it a legit and valuable tool? Yes. Is it applying the scientific method? Nope.


So, anyway, bible studies... No it's not legitimately science, because it doesn't apply the scientific method. There are no predictions made, that you could falsify.

It COULD fall under legitimately applying the HISTORICAL method, which is legitimate and respectable and all, but not the scientific method. Even though even there, some people apply a version of it that is 'only' half a century obsolete at this point (e.g., Ehrman), while some pretty much apply a version that's a few centuries out of date (pretty much anyone arguing that the miracles are real because an anonymous author says so.)

Some of the TOOLS used may be actually scientific. E.g., carbon dating some manuscripts or palaeography. There are actual predictions made there, e.g., that if you find a manuscript from the early 1st century, it will use a certain 'font', and viceversa. That's science.


The same incidentally applies to anthropology, which was another thing in maximara's post. The data collection it does is probably some of the most rigorous out there. But there's no prediction made, and you pretty much have nothing to falsify.

You can use that data to falsify theories from OTHER domains. E.g., it's pretty much THE thing to use if you want to falsify evo-psych nonsense.

But itself is not using the scientific method.
By this reasoning, Tolkein scholarship is not a science either.

Granting this for the sake of argument, the question remains whether it remains a valid field of study. I maintain that it does. Do you agree?
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Old 12th January 2021, 08:17 PM   #311
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
By this reasoning, Tolkein scholarship is not a science either.
Does Tolkien scholarship make falsifiable predictions at all?

Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Granting this for the sake of argument, the question remains whether it remains a valid field of study. I maintain that it does. Do you agree?
Sure.
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Old 12th January 2021, 09:17 PM   #312
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Does Tolkien scholarship make falsifiable predictions at all?
Does any kind of literary scholarship?

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Sure.
Then literary scholarship of the Bible is also valid, it's just not science. Thus one can be validly called a Bible scholar.

Personally, I think you're focusing too heavily on gatekeeping "science" according to one specific criterion. I think this runs the risk of devaluing the work of genuine scholars on the basis that what they are doing is not science. One can use some of the tools that science uses to draw conclusions based on evidence, while not necessarily making and testing falisifiable predictions. That's what I meant when I said that it's possible to study the bible scientifically.

The biggest problem with bible scholarship as I see it is that the scholars themselves are frequently also theologists, and the field is terminally muddied by issues of faith, which is not even remotely scientific.
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Old 12th January 2021, 09:36 PM   #313
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Does any kind of literary scholarship?

Then literary scholarship of the Bible is also valid, it's just not science. Thus one can be validly called a Bible scholar.

Personally, I think you're focusing too heavily on gatekeeping "science" according to one specific criterion. I think this runs the risk of devaluing the work of genuine scholars on the basis that what they are doing is not science. One can use some of the tools that science uses to draw conclusions based on evidence, while not necessarily making and testing falisifiable predictions. That's what I meant when I said that it's possible to study the bible scientifically.

The biggest problem with bible scholarship as I see it is that the scholars themselves are frequently also theologists, and the field is terminally muddied by issues of faith, which is not even remotely scientific.
At this point I'm starting to suspect a kindred spirit. As in, someone who loves to post nonsense after midnight and after 6 beers just about as much as I do

*AHEM* I mean, how does that even connect to anything I wrote?

The POINT of message #303 was that you can't criticize the scientific method, or how some people apply the scientific method, if your examples are not from domains that actually use the scientific method. As post #297 seemed to be doing.

In fact, not even that, but including stuff that was like 2-3 degrees of separation even from the field that doesn't actually use the scientific method. I mean stuff like a hoax paper, making fun of an opinion that is not actually part of that domain, and which domain isn't using the scientific method.

How in Lucifer Morningstar's good name does it then illustrate any failure of (applying) the scientific method?
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Old 12th January 2021, 10:30 PM   #314
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
At this point I'm starting to suspect a kindred spirit. As in, someone who loves to post nonsense after midnight and after 6 beers just about as much as I do
I confess to having jumped in at a late point of the conversation and maybe missed some of the earlier content.
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Old 13th January 2021, 03:54 AM   #315
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Warning: Enormous post coming up -- and I do mean enormous!!
It was! And I really appreciate the time and serious effort you put into this post, and for that matter, all your previous posts in this thread. It does me no end of good having ideas and beliefs challenged, and that is part of the reason I return to this board.

I think we are starting to repeat ourselves, which suggests that the natural ending of the discussion is close at hand. Apologies for cutting out some bits from your response. I'm happy to answer any final questions, or even continue discussion on any particular point you're interested in pursuing if you like, but it's probably time to wrap things up.

I just want to thank you for making this discussion both enjoyable and uncomfortable (in the best way!) Too often these types of discussions turn into snarky sarcasm fests. But I like that you are fair and serious. Even though you aren't hesitant in calling out what you see as nonsense, you also explain it so I know where you are coming from. I can't want better than that.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Like I’d said, a detailed “action plan” can follow, later on, but right at this point, right now, you do need a certain minimal clarity, if your decision itself is to be at all meaningful. Otherwise your decision can only be random, or at least unthinking (that is, based on implicit and unexamined assumptions).
I guess then it comes down to how much detail is required. For me, your description below of "not harming others unnecessarily, being generally kind to others, being capable of empathy to others" is enough detail.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Note one thing, though. I’d said earlier that you need to not only formulate your definition, but to defend it as well. Going back to our analogy of “investing wisely”: You do need to justify all of the definitions you’re providing, the brief description of what you’re referring to as wise investments.
It's actually a good question: how does one justify "living a good life"? I honestly don't know. But I think most people would agree with your description, despite the subjective nature of the question.

But while I agree with regards to the level of description needed in the "investing wisely" analogy, I don't think it is needed in the case of "living a good life". That's a point where the analogy fails. I think the definition you gave is enough detail.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
All of that is the first turtle. Without that much resolution of your first “turtle”, I’m afraid you’re only dealing in empty platitudes (and/or unexamined assumptions).
I believe that I am fairly clear in my own mind what makes for a good life, based on what I've learned and believe personally. Someone else may have a different view to mine, and that's fine. Personally I don't consider "Live a good life and you'll win regardless of whether there is a God or not" an empty platitude, though that's my opinion.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Originally Posted by GDon
This to me is one of those key points: whether or not there is an objective 'good'. It's consistent for atheists to hold that 'good' and 'evil' are subjective. It is consistent for theists to hold that 'good' and 'evil' are objective, grounded in an omnibenevolent and omniscient god.
I don't think it is very ...reasonable, to suggest, as you are implicitly suggesting, that either view is equally reasonable. If the theist claims that there is an objective "good", then he carries the burden to support his claim; else, while he is obviously free to believe that, his belief and his claim will not be reasonable.
I agree, it is my burden if I want to prove it to someone else. But I'll note that a lot of people, including atheist philosophers for what it's worth, have an interest in the implications of an objective vs subjective 'good'. There are lots of discussions and debates around the topic. At the end of the day though, for the theist it is a faith position.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Originally Posted by GDon
I'll define a 'good life' as 'acting selflessly', and 'good actions' as 'selfless actions that benefit others'.

(I'll also define 'love' in the same way. 1 Cor 13:13 is: "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity." The Greek word 'charity' is 'agape', which is also translated as 'love'. That is, 'love' is an action rather than an emotion.)
Ah, thank you, for that clear definition. Great!

Two (rather obvious) follow-on questions on this:

First, what makes you think your hypothetical God also defines "good" in these terms, and rewards people who act in this way?

And second, on what basis do you reject other definitions of "good life" -- e.g., a life spent upholding the biblical commandments, or a life upholding Godly commands relayed via some prophet, etc, etc, as far as the limited context of the wager?
(1) I can't say I know on what terms an omni-max God defines "good" or "good life", and on what terms it rewards people who act that way. I'm happy to hope that good intentions is a good starting place for both questions.

(2) I lack belief in other gods, so I guess I don't need to uphold their definitions for a good life.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
I don't see that it does. It could, hypothetically, be the case that all humans, psychotic outliers excepted, have evolved to similar basic ideas of "good", without that in any way implying a God at all.

In any case, aren't you putting the cart before the horse? Suppose an objective "good" did imply an omnibenevolent God, so what? If you're going to presume that there's an objective good, simply so that that can lead you to the conclusion of an omnibenevolent God, then that is simply wishful thinking!! (Which I guess takes us back to that earlier discussion of ours some weeks/months back, on a separate thread.)
I don't disagree, but I'd call it "a working hypothesis", and one that provides me with an objective grounding for 'good' as well as the existence of the universe. Can I prove it? No. Could I be wrong? Sure! But I'm willing to take that bet and work on the basis of my 'working hypothesis' until further information becomes available.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Originally Posted by GDon
If we go back to my original two premises for Pascal's Wager:

1. Reason can neither prove nor disprove the existence of God;
2. The only god is the RCC God (or in my case, "an omnibenevolent God")

To my mind, the existence of an objective 'good' implies an omnibenevolent God. So it is important for the turtle that leads to Pascal's Wager and the Atheist's Wager.
I'm sorry, the above seems entirely messed up to me!

(a) Neither premise is self-evident. Nor do I see them supported anywhere.
The first premise is a conclusion of a previous proposition: the Wager is for people who believe that reason can't prove nor disprove the existence of God. For those people who believe reason can prove either, the Wager isn't relevant.

The second premise is based on the idea that the following condition applies: either (1) an omnimax God exists or (2) there is no God or gods. I think that is reasonable, for reasons already given but let me summarize:

1. I can personally handwave away all gods, since I lack evidence for them and so lack belief in them. Still, the universe exists. It either exists because it was created by a god or gods or powerful beings, or it exists without a creator. Reason can't decide. (Maybe there are other possibilities, but it seems to me to be limited to those two.) Again: if reason can decide one way or the other, then the Wager isn't applicable.

2. God is defined as omni-max. I think the universe and goodness hints at this. Yes, I know you don't find that convincing, and neither do I. I'm the person from the First Premise. I have no idea if God exists. But I'm willing to take that risk, as a faith position, in that I believe I benefit from it in this life. There may be a group of omni-max gods, but I'd reason they'd all think the same anyway.

3. If the universe was created by gods or beings who are powerful but not benevolent, then we are probably screwed. Besides, I have no evidence for them and so lack belief in them. Even if you hand-wave them in (but if I can't hand-wave them out, I don't see why I should let you hand-wave them in!), without evidence there is no point adding them into the calculation. At least for my omni-max God, I think there are hints that one could exist. The "omni-max" part has to remain a 'working hypothesis' (a more scientifically sounding way to say 'faith position'!) If there is no 'benevolence' in there, then we're probably screwed anyway.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
If you start with a random set of premises, then even with correct reasoning you'll only end with conclusions that no reasonable person would take seriously. Garbage in, garbage out. (Analogy: If I started with the premise that it is Zeus who is the creator of the world and the one true God, then no matter how sound my reasoning, any conclusion will be entirely nonsensical, won't it?) For the umpteenth time, where is the justification for Pascal's premise? Or are you going to simply say it is subjective (in which case I'll freely grant you your right to your belief, I'll even respect your belief, but I'm afraid I simply won't take it at all seriously -- the "neither agree nor disagree but simply set aside unsupported subjective opinion" category).

(b) Once again, this -- "To my mind, the existence of an objective 'good' implies an omnibenevolent God. So it is important for the turtle that leads to Pascal's Wager and the Atheist's Wager." -- makes no sense at all! First, we don't know there is an objective "good". Second, an objective "good" does not necessarily imply a God, much less an omnibenevolent God. Third, even if an objective "good" did imply an omnibenevolent God, even then that does not lead us to anything, unless through pure and simple wishful thinking. And four, I don't see how any of this relates directly with the premise above.

Sorry, that part made zero sense, and as far as I can tell looks like confused thinking.
Fair enough. I've put my reasoning for it, so I appreciate your comments.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Fair enough, so that's your definition of a good life. But .... how? and why? and whence? All of that is so entirely random!

Look, I'm happy to discuss your personal subjective ideas of God, and your personal subjective ideas of goodness as well, if you'd like — and if you'll either start your own separate thread, or go back to the one I'd started — but how do you defend your idea of "good"? Why is "good" this, objectively and universally speaking, and none other? Why would God endorse this view, and reward it, and none other? Why would God want belief at all, as the Atheist's wager rightly asks? Why ...any of this?

Sorry, GDon, I don't mean to sound at all dismissive, but you're simply plucking random things and ideas out of thin air, literally anything at all that subjectively appeals to you, and then again attaching random causality claims (that such and such random acts will lead to such and such random rewards, by the agency of such and such random God), with not a shred of evidence or conclusive reasoning anywhere. All of which is fine as a purely subjective exercise, and as statement of one’s own subjective faith, but has little value beyond that. Or so it seems to me.
No doubt at its heart it is subjective.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Lots of harm can indeed befall you! If you're backing the wrong God, and the real God has other ideas, then you'll get fried and sent to hell. If there's no God you'll have wasted your time and money on pointless things, since you're doing this expressly to get those rewards.
It could be I'm backing the wrong God. But since I have no evidence for any other god, what should I do? I believe I have some hints, even if they are subjective, to consider an "omni-max" God. If someone believes I am backing the wrong God, all I can do is ask them for the evidence.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
....I don't know, this is all ...sorry, I have to say, entirely random, and entirely wholly unsupported, beginning to end, and trying to unravel this leads ...nowehere at all, beyond yet more random unsupported assertions at every step!
If I'm backing the wrong God, then I'm screwed. But I lack belief in the other gods, so I can only wager on the cards I have. And if there is no God, then I don't think I'm wasting my time, since being good isn't a bad use of time, as per the Atheist's Wager.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
If you’re going to go with the premise of individual Gods for every individual, then, instead of hundreds, you’ll end up with billions of them as your starting point. You will now need to put them all in the Pascal’s Wager matrix, or else you’ll need to sift through them, whittle them down to just one. I still don’t see a third way of doing this, doing this reasonably I mean to say.

And that general definition of God you’ve looked up? Sorry, but for the umpteenth time, even that is just one amongst so many others! Is that the one that the maximum number of people use? I don’t know, any such claim will need to be backed up. Even if does turn out that that is the most popular definition, so what? To claim that definition is true before more people believe it is simply an argumentum ad populum fallacy; and to simply go by the most popular definition on practical grounds would, apart from your needing to show that is indeed the most popular definition, also be pretty random. Just because, say, 1 billion people believe this, why are you rejecting other definitions that maybe 500 million believe? Again, this is all so random!
I just don't see the need to put them in the matrix, I'm afraid. I lack belief in all those gods. I'd need to see evidence to believe in them, just as you'd (rightly) need to see evidence to believe in mine. I agree with Pascal's first premise that reason alone can't decide whether gods exist or not. Some people might disagree on either side of that equation, and fair enough too. Pascal's Wager isn't for them.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Wait a minute, you seem to be using the words “you’re wagering this”, and “you’re wagering that” as simply a means of getting out substantiating any of the things you’re saying!
That's true. I'm not trying to substantiate anything. It's a punt based on what I see as potential hints.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Sorry, GDon, this is all over the place. You’d initially said that an objective “good” implies an omnibenevolent God. Now you’re saying an omnibenevolent God implies an objective “good”. Which is it?
'Good' implies an omnibenevolent God, in that it can be ontologically grounded in the nature of an omnibenevolent God. There may be other ways to ground it, but I don't know any others. It's not proof of anything, but it is enough to take a punt in my opinion. Others might have a different opinion, and fair enough too.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
No, for the Wager to work you don’t necessarily need to have an omni-max God. It could work for other Gods as well. As for Pascal’s words, I don’t see what the point of quoting that is. That isn’t a “premise”, that’s just random assertions. And besides, a minion to a diabolically malevolent God, that nevertheless rewards said minion for doing Its bidding, might well result in that minion being “faithful, and humble, and grateful, and generous and a sincere friend (to those that think like he does, and collaborates with him), as well as, I suppose, albeit that isn’t a given, truthful as well.

If you’re going to try to delve into what kind of God Pascal had in mind, well, we can be very sure that it wasn’t your generic God. I haven’t read his Pensees, beyond that short portion you pointed out to me earlier on, but dejudge seems to have, and he’s quoted portions of it here that suggest that Pascal was referring to the Christian God. (That had been my — entirely obvious — guess, as well, like I’d said upthread.)
It's almost certain that Pascal's Wager is based on the idea of an omni-max God, since that was the prevailing philosophical position of his time (and still is, for that matter). But outside of his Wager he uses additional points -- for example fullfilment of Biblical passages -- to choose the Christian God over, say, the Muslim God. But the Wager, as written, works for any benevolent God.

I'd find it an incredible claim that Pascal didn't have an omni-max God in mind when he wrote his Wager. Of course, for Pascal, that omni-max God is the Christian one. But he uses points outside of the Wager to try to establish that.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
I can easily formulate a Wager that uses a malevolent God. Easiest thing in the world!

But in any case you’re claiming that Pascal’s Wager is set up with a benevolent God in mind. First, you’ll need to show that, and you haven’t. Second, even if that is indeed how he set it up, even then it’s pointless, because you need to show that that premise is reasonable!

I can set up a Wager saying that the lottery jackpots will all be prime numbers, and then set out to form a strategy for playing the lottery on that basis: but that will avail me nothing, unless my premise (that only prime numbers will be drawn) has any basis in reality, if only a statistical basis.
I don't think the analogy is accurate, if by "only prime numbers will be drawn" mirrors "God exists". Remember, the Wager is "reason can't decide". But I also don't want to argue via analogy, since that confuses things so quickly!

For me, the two key points are:

1. If the premises are true, is the logic valid?

2. Are the premises true?

For (1), I'd say 'yes'. For (2), I'd say 'probably' (based on a benevolent God). But I agree that showing the proposition "benevolent God or nothing" is the key problem. Starting from an agnostic position -- a lack of belief in all gods but reason can't decide whether there is one or more -- takes me a long way there. For the people in Pascal's time who didn't believe in any other gods, then (2) would have been much stronger.

Of course, I take your point that we'd still have to know how to act in order to win those rewards. But I think that we have enough detailed information for that, as per the points near the top.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Likewise, how does it even matter if Pascal imagines God is omnibelevolent? Who cares for his unsupported and random guesses? Why would that impel me to play his Wager?
I don't think it should impel you to play his Wager. Keep in mind that the premise is "Reason can't decide whether God exists or not." So it is for agnostics who wonder if there may be a God after all. For those non-agnostics -- confirmed atheists or confirmed theists -- the Wager isn't applicable.

Remember, the Wager isn't there to prove that God exists. There is no "QED God exists".

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Sure, any time you like we can “agree to disagree”: but what are we disagreeing about, exactly? I’m saying Pascal’s assumption that God is omnibenevolent is random, and unsupported, and therefore unreasonable. Is that what you’re disagreeing with? On what basis? How do you even begin to justify that kind of random claim?

If you state all of this is your subjective take, and/or Pascal’s subjective take, then sure, we can agree to disagree. That is, I can respect your subjective faith, absolutely: but given that it is not based on reason and evidence, I can leave it well alone, and that is the end of that. But you set out to show us how Pascal’s Wager is “brilliant”, and reasonable, and not the kind of nonsensical raving that many of us have been saying it is. Don’t you want to do that any more?
Well, I gave it my best bet! I didn't find Pascal's Wager until after I converted to theism, but I found it reflected the path that I took. Thus I guess my thought process was "Wow, Pascal thought like me. He must have been a very intelligent and brilliant man!"

Apologies for cutting the rest, but I did read through it. Again, I truly appreciate you spending time to read through my points and responding to them. Many of your questions and points raised issues for me to think through. It's the reason I come back to this board. I wish there could be more such serious but fruitful interactions on this board like I've had with you. And I look forward to further ones with you! Thanks Chanakya!

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Old 13th January 2021, 08:35 AM   #316
maximara
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Ah, I see what's confusing you. You're confusing actual science with non-scientific (or at best pseudo-scientific) woowoo.

Anthropology is something I've actually studied. Not enough to be an expert, or anything, but enough to see where you're reading that wrong:

To this day anthropology still doesn't actually DO numerical models, correlations or much in the way of an actual scientific method approach. It pretty much just gathers data, and that's it.
You are making a common mistake and confusing physical (hard) with social (soft) science.

I have a masters in anthropology and presented two papers on behalf of NMSU back in the 1990s and the anthropology/archeology you are describing is Historical Particularism also known as Boasian anthropology. That from of anthropology/archeology faded from the US mindset in the 1960s. Howard Carter's account of Tut's Tomb its textbook Boasian - lot of detail but next to no interpretation.

Also there is nothing in the scientific methods that says the models have to be mathematical:

Observe - Look at the world and find a result that seems curious. As Isaac Asimov put it, "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not Eureka! (I found it!) but rather, 'Hmm... that's funny...'"

Hypothesize - Come up with a possible explanation.

Predict - The most important part of a hypothesis or theory is its ability to make predictions that have yet to be observed. A hypothesis that makes no new predictions is scientifically worthless. Predictions must be falsifiable (theoretically, new evidence can show the prediction to be false) and specific (what is predicted must not be open to interpretation after the experiment begins, or else the only thing you're testing is your ability to reinterpret your incorrect theory).

Test Predictions (in physical sciences this is called Experiment) - Compare the predictions with new empirical evidence (usually experimental evidence, often supported by mathematics). This step is the reason why a hypothesis or theory has to be falsifiable — if there's nothing to falsify, then the experiment is pointless because it's guaranteed to tell you nothing new. Information from the experiment can disprove the original hypothesis, which might be refined into a better one.

Reproduce - ensure the result is a true reflection of reality by verifying it with others

Heck there is even Mathematical anthropology.

I would like to point out that despite their many detractors psychology and psychiatry are sciences but because they are in the social side of things they do have many issues.

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Old 13th January 2021, 09:07 AM   #317
maximara
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
The POINT of message #303 was that you can't criticize the scientific method, or how some people apply the scientific method, if your examples are not from domains that actually use the scientific method. As post #297 seemed to be doing.

In fact, not even that, but including stuff that was like 2-3 degrees of separation even from the field that doesn't actually use the scientific method. I mean stuff like a hoax paper, making fun of an opinion that is not actually part of that domain, and which domain isn't using the scientific method.
If you think Miner's piece was a "hoax paper" then you clearly don't understand anthropology or the term sarcastic. The purpose of the piece was to show just how wrong headed the dismissive and non critical way anthropologist were studying native peoples way by applying those exact same methods so the then current United States.

As for the 2-3 degrees of separation, George Brown Goode (Director of the U.S. National Museum ie Smithsonian) wanted “the collections to form a museum of anthropology, the word anthropology being applied in its most comprehensive sense” (Alexander, Edward P. (1983) Museum Masters Their Museums and Their Influence; American Association for State and Local History; pg 288) shows that to be incorrect.
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Old 13th January 2021, 09:17 AM   #318
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by maximara View Post
You are making a common mistake and confusing physical (hard) with social (soft) science.

I have a masters in anthropology and presented two papers on behalf of NMSU back in the 1990s and the anthropology/archeology you are describing is Historical Particularism also known as Boasian anthropology. That from of anthropology/archeology faded from the US mindset in the 1960s. Howard Carter's account of Tut's Tomb its textbook Boasian - lot of detail but next to no interpretation.

Also there is nothing in the scientific methods that says the models have to be mathematical:
Logic is also a subset of maths, and in fact of bayesian reasoning. You're just dealing with probabilities of 1.0 and 0.0.

If you actually have a testable prediction, you either have a "X => Y" proposition, or some version of probabilistic correlation between the two. Preferably at a correlation level where it disproves the null hypothesis. Which is a mathematical model.

If you're not at the very least qualifying that way, then no, you're not doing science.

Originally Posted by maximara View Post
Observe - Look at the world and find a result that seems curious. As Isaac Asimov put it, "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not Eureka! (I found it!) but rather, 'Hmm... that's funny...'"

Hypothesize - Come up with a possible explanation.

Predict - The most important part of a hypothesis or theory is its ability to make predictions that have yet to be observed. A hypothesis that makes no new predictions is scientifically worthless. Predictions must be falsifiable (theoretically, new evidence can show the prediction to be false) and specific (what is predicted must not be open to interpretation after the experiment begins, or else the only thing you're testing is your ability to reinterpret your incorrect theory).

Test Predictions (in physical sciences this is called Experiment) - Compare the predictions with new empirical evidence (usually experimental evidence, often supported by mathematics). This step is the reason why a hypothesis or theory has to be falsifiable — if there's nothing to falsify, then the experiment is pointless because it's guaranteed to tell you nothing new. Information from the experiment can disprove the original hypothesis, which might be refined into a better one.

Reproduce - ensure the result is a true reflection of reality by verifying it with others

Heck there is even Mathematical anthropology.

I would like to point out that despite their many detractors psychology and psychiatry are sciences but because they are in the social side of things they do have many issues.
Very well. Now please explain to us laymen exactly what testable predictions did that article do. Since, you know, it's even in your list above for what it would need to do to qualify as science.
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Old 13th January 2021, 09:19 AM   #319
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by maximara View Post
If you think Miner's piece was a "hoax paper" then you clearly don't understand anthropology or the term sarcastic. The purpose of the piece was to show just how wrong headed the dismissive and non critical way anthropologist were studying native peoples way by applying those exact same methods so the then current United States.
Sarcastic or not, an article flat out lying about what it studied and mis-representing its finds is still a hoax. A sarcastic hoax, but that's about it.

Originally Posted by maximara View Post
As for the 2-3 degrees of separation, George Brown Goode (Director of the U.S. National Museum ie Smithsonian) wanted “the collections to form a museum of anthropology, the word anthropology being applied in its most comprehensive sense” (Alexander, Edward P. (1983) Museum Masters Their Museums and Their Influence; American Association for State and Local History; pg 288) shows that to be incorrect.
Goalpost shift at its best, unless that collection is of such "sarcastic" articles. If you want to show something to be incorrect, address that thing, not whatever completely unrelated thing you can support instead.

Also, a "by association" fallacy.
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Old 13th January 2021, 10:08 AM   #320
dejudge
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
...It's almost certain that Pascal's Wager is based on the idea of an omni-max God, since that was the prevailing philosophical position of his time (and still is, for that matter). But outside of his Wager he uses additional points -- for example fullfilment of Biblical passages -- to choose the Christian God over, say, the Muslim God. But the Wager, as written, works for any benevolent God.
Again, you make known misleading claims about Pascal's wager.

The wager is based on Christian deities not your arbitrary imagined omni-max God.

In the Pensees Pascal argues that one cannot be happy without belief in the Christian deities.

Pascal's Pensees
Quote:
257. There are only three kinds of persons; those who serve God, having found Him; others who are occupied in seeking Him, not having found Him; while the remainder live without seeking Him and without having found Him.

The first are reasonable and happy, the last are foolish and unhappy; those between are unhappy and reasonable.
Only the Christian religion teaches people to be good.

Quote:
What religion, then, will teach us to cure pride and lust? What religion will, in fact, teach us our good, our duties, the weakness which turns us from them, the cause of this weakness, the remedies which can cure it, and the means of obtaining these remedies?
All other religions have not been able to do so.

Only through Jesus Christ can one be happy or live a good life.

Pascal's Pensees
Quote:
Happiness is neither without us nor within us. It is in God, both without us and within us. 466. Had Epictetus seen the way perfectly, he would have said to men, "You follow a wrong road"; he shows that there is another, but he does not lead to it. It is the way of willing what God wills.

Jesus Christ alone leads to it
Only those who believe in Christian deities [God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit] will gain all or lose nothing in Pascal's wager.

You are a loser because you do not believe in Jesus Christ.
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