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Old 16th December 2018, 02:13 PM   #4001
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Oops, double post

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Old 16th December 2018, 02:16 PM   #4002
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Suddenly? I've been asking the same question over and over again since 22nd October 2018, 06:36 AM. See my comment 3950.

If it hasn't been published anywhere or in a place so dark that you and I can't find, you and I have no way of knowing if science deals with that issue that mysterious chemist has investigated. Be it a great discovery or not to you and me it does not serve us in this debate.

Apart from that I do not believe that pharmacists investigate the existence of God.
No-one is claiming that there's been an empirical scientific study with "is there a God?" as its research question. Your insistence that we should either cite such an article, or admit that science can't say anything about God is a false dichotomy.

What people are saying is that science has shown again and again that natural phenomena that were once said to be caused directly by the interference of a supernatural entity really have natural causes, that rituals, prayers and magic meant to invoke the power of the gods have been shown to do nothing. And so on...
So gods have been forced to retreat into the salons of philosophers, where they survive as intangible abstractions, bereft of all the powers their believers claim they once had.
There is nothing left of them but navelgazing what-if stories.

Science has shown us plenty about the gods that we once believed ruled our world, and insisting that it hasn't, because no scientist has empirically tackled the literal question of whether the gods exist in a peer reviewed journal is using a ridiculous narrow definition of the word scientific.
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Old 16th December 2018, 04:00 PM   #4003
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
I'm not saying that a scientist could be researching something without publishing it. I'm talking about how we know if a subject has been the subject of scientific studies or not.

If a pharmacist tells you that it is scientifically proven that prayer cures cancer, how do you know if it is true that there is a scientific study on the subject? Just because the pharmacist tell you that? In my country drug manufacturers ought to test and register its products before commercialize them. Is it not so in your country?
Oou look, more backpedaling.

You are cherry picking the pharmacy example to make a case for your misstatements about what science is.

Your comment about registered drugs completely misses the point about negative results not being published.

Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
How can you tell whether a specific topic has been scientifically investigated or not?

If you answer this question, perhaps we can return to the original topic.

By the way, I don't like to dance.
This doesn't deserve an answer. You are back to asking, how do you know Péle isn't hiding in a volcano if there isn't a published paper on it?
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Old 16th December 2018, 04:10 PM   #4004
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Suddenly? I've been asking the same question over and over again since 22nd October 2018, 06:36 AM. See my comment 3950.

If it hasn't been published anywhere or in a place so dark that you and I can't find, you and I have no way of knowing if science deals with that issue that mysterious chemist has investigated. Be it a great discovery or not to you and me it does not serve us in this debate.

Apart from that I do not believe that pharmacists investigate the existence of God.
Originally Posted by DavidMo
I'm not saying that a scientist could be researching something without publishing it.
I think you meant "couldn't".

Regardless, that admission that science goes on outside of published papers differs from your initial claims, if it isn't published it isn't science.

Back to the science investigating gods question. If every god scientists investigate turn out to be mythical beings, no one needs to go further and publish a paper that they looked in volcanoes for Péle and didn't find her for it to be a scientific statement that there is enough evidence accumulated now to declare the theory that all gods are mythical is well supported by the evidence.
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Old Yesterday, 04:10 AM   #4005
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
I think you meant "couldn't".

Regardless, that admission that science goes on outside of published papers differs from your initial claims, if it isn't published it isn't science.

Back to the science investigating gods question. If every god scientists investigate turn out to be mythical beings, no one needs to go further and publish a paper that they looked in volcanoes for Péle and didn't find her for it to be a scientific statement that there is enough evidence accumulated now to declare the theory that all gods are mythical is well supported by the evidence.
No. I say that a scientist can be studying a question before or without publishing it by different reasons.
But I affirm now and from the beginning --please, read my 3950 comment!!-- that we have not any way to know it if he doesn't make public his enquiry. And the most reliable and common way is publishing in a peer reviewed paper. Do you know another way? (I ask this for the 300th time).

Your argument is very respectable, but it is not science. I don't know many scientific articles about the existence of particular gods? Can you give a list?
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Old Yesterday, 04:33 AM   #4006
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
Not "special", rather "relevant" and "irrelevant". Legalities, economics, science and theology may all be at play at some point.

CS Lewis once wrote that if you put a dollar a day in a drawer, and if after 10 days you find you only have 5 dollars, then it isn't the laws of mathematics that has been broken, but the laws of England. It doesn't mean either is "special", just what is relevant. You might argue that theological questions are never relevant; that's an opinion rather than a scientific conclusion.
Oh, I'm all for theological questions, or really any other questions. I'm also up for Batman vs Superman questions. The point though was that in theology it doesn't seem to be a problem if an argument is UNSOUND.

Or to return to the original example, I don't really see any reason to fall back on any other null hypothesis than "nope, it doesn't exist" when it's about God than when it's about beer in the fridge.

Originally Posted by GDon View Post
Again, it comes to relevancy: the question of "is" vs "ought" doesn't seem to be in the science sphere, though Sam Harris might disagree. Even so, I'd argue that questions of "ought" are very important, even if not susceptible to scientific experimentation.
I don't see what this has to do with the beer metaphor, but sure, we can discuss that too.

Because that argument is an all around stupidity. It goes like this: even if you prove that choice X is the best choice, and that it leads to the best possible outcome, you can't tell me I OUGHT to do X. Maybe I want the worst outcome. Who are you to tell me I have to choose the best one?

Well, first of all, that's all a big word game. As David too can tell you, that distinction doesn't even exist in either philosophy, nor in everyday speech even. When someone says you ought to do X, really it means nothing else than that is the best option. Introducing an artificial lexical difference is only done for that contrived argument.

Second, and more important, if you do introduce that lexical artefact, then religion can't either. It can tell you that if you do X, you go to heaven, and if you do Y, you go to Hell, but then the same hurdle applies. It can't tell me I OUGHT to do X. Maybe I want to go to Hell. I mean, all interesting people are there.

The whole argument that religion can give you an ought, but science can't, is based on the idiocy of pretending that you can ignore the exact same gap in logic for the former but totally not for the latter.

Third, since neither can bridge that gap, I'd like to see some evidence that some schizophrenic "prophet" or theologian is any better at deciding what's best than, really, anyone else.

Not the least because: which religion? On just about any topic, different prophets of different gods have come up with polar opposite rules. E.g., is suicide good or bad? Xianity says bad, Norse religion says you go to Valhalla if you die without fear, including by jumping off a cliff.
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Old Yesterday, 06:08 AM   #4007
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Because that argument is an all around stupidity. It goes like this: even if you prove that choice X is the best choice, and that it leads to the best possible outcome, you can't tell me I OUGHT to do X. Maybe I want the worst outcome. Who are you to tell me I have to choose the best one?
Or, more to the point, from another point of view X might not be the best choice because the axioms are different.
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Old Yesterday, 06:30 AM   #4008
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And again (on top of Hans' excellent breakdown) a continued parroted litany of "X can't do Y so we have to use Z" doesn't make it any sense if nobody can explain how Z can do Y any better than X can.

If I just hit the "I believe" button and agree that science can't describe love or tell me why a painting is beautiful or solve the trolley problem (all of which in my opinion only lay outside a narrow strawman version of science but whatever...) somebody will still have to explain to me how "philosophy" does it.

It seems people want to take everything "science can't do" (or more accurately everything they don't like the answer science gives them to" and put it under the umbrella term of "Philosophy" and think that's... it.

But I've been screaming the "How does philosophy answer questions" questions into the void for a while now, to the point I have little hope of a non-word salad, non-gibberish answer.
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Old Yesterday, 06:32 AM   #4009
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@Belz...
I'm up for that version too. But, as you probably already realize, then the same hurdle applies to religion too. It still doesn't get a free ride to magisterium, so to speak. Since the answer I was writing was in a talk about theology turning magically into "but science can't give you an ought".
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Old Yesterday, 06:44 AM   #4010
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
@Belz...
I'm up for that version too. But, as you probably already realize, then the same hurdle applies to religion too. It still doesn't get a free ride to magisterium, so to speak. Since the answer I was writing was in a talk about theology turning magically into "but science can't give you an ought".
Right. Science can give you an ought if you specify the axioms.
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Old Yesterday, 06:45 AM   #4011
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
And again (on top of Hans' excellent breakdown) a continued parroted litany of "X can't do Y so we have to use Z" doesn't make it any sense if nobody can explain how Z can do Y any better than X can.

If I just hit the "I believe" button and agree that science can't describe love or tell me why a painting is beautiful or solve the trolley problem (all of which in my opinion only lay outside a narrow strawman version of science but whatever...) somebody will still have to explain to me how "philosophy" does it.
It's the same false dichotomy that theists use. If science can't explain the universe, all of it, then choose the Christian God. It's nonsense, of course.
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Old Yesterday, 06:46 AM   #4012
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Right. Science can give you an ought if you specify the axioms.
"Why questions are just what questions badly worded."
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Old Yesterday, 06:47 AM   #4013
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@JoeMorgue
Well, some schools of philosophy are more anchored in reality than others, but personally I see the value of philosophy more in asking the questions than in having all the answers.

Like if our tribe is chopping down trees to go across the river to teach the other guys a lesson, science may tell you the buoyancy needed to carry a squad of fully armed warriors on a raft, and engineering may tell you how to build a sturdy bridge, sometimes you need someone to ask "well, why DO we have to attack those guys anyway? Are we SURE it was their evil magic that caused the drought?"

But of course, you still don't have to take any answers or even the questions seriously, unless they show the evidence.
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Old Yesterday, 06:51 AM   #4014
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Right. Science can give you an ought if you specify the axioms.
And, of course, neither philosophy nor theology can if you don't.

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Old Yesterday, 07:01 AM   #4015
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
@JoeMorgue
Well, some schools of philosophy are more anchored in reality than others, but personally I see the value of philosophy more in asking the questions than in having all the answers.

Like if our tribe is chopping down trees to go across the river to teach the other guys a lesson, science may tell you the buoyancy needed to carry a squad of fully armed warriors on a raft, and engineering may tell you how to build a sturdy bridge, sometimes you need someone to ask "well, why DO we have to attack those guys anyway? Are we SURE it was their evil magic that caused the drought?"

But of course, you still don't have to take any answers or even the questions seriously, unless they show the evidence.
Again this is why I've tried to pull the discussion back from "Science Vs Philosophy" which can't move beyond certain posters hangups over the mere word 'science' to a broader "Testable hypothesis versus untestable" on level.

Where the demarcation between Science and Philosophy lays is a question for those lovely people for whom the labeling of the parts is super important. I'm not one of those people.

What I'm rejecting, regardless of what we have to call it to keep the discussion on track, is any methodology which rejects the ideas of evidence, falsefiability, and testability.

Now cards on the table personally I'm little... distrusting of the "It's philosophy's job to ask questions, science's job to answer them" standard because... that never really seems to be how it works.
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Old Yesterday, 07:37 AM   #4016
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Now cards on the table personally I'm little... distrusting of the "It's philosophy's job to ask questions, science's job to answer them" standard because... that never really seems to be how it works.
The universe is stranger than we can imagine. It is scientific discovery that leads to the really hard questions. I think it was Carl Sagan who said that scientists have had to take over the role of philosopher because science moves so fast and philosophy moves so slowly. If you are an expert on the cutting edge of your field you are both asking the questions and attempting to answer them. If you are not an expert in the field you philosophize on you can't even fathom what the questions are let alone understand how to answer them.
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Old Yesterday, 07:46 AM   #4017
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I don't think we can codify "curiosity" into it's own separate methodology and place it "above" everything else in any way that makes sense.
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Old Yesterday, 08:48 AM   #4018
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
No. I say that a scientist can be studying a question before or without publishing it by different reasons.

But I affirm now and from the beginning --please, read my 3950 comment!!-- that we have not any way to know it if he doesn't make public his enquiry. And the most reliable and common way is publishing in a peer reviewed paper. Do you know another way? (I ask this for the 300th time).



Your argument is very respectable, but it is not science. I don't know many scientific articles about the existence of particular gods? Can you give a list?


I think you have a valid point -but based on, perhaps, a miscommunication. I mean, you are right, I doubt you will find a hidden trove of secret science that studies the direct question of God. But that isn’t the point and I don’t think anyone here has said such. Only that not all science is published in journals -which is also true.

But put all that aside. Science does not care about answering the God question. It doesn’t need to address the god question in order to do its work. All it needs to do is make observations, create testable hypotheses, carry out those tests and draw conclusions. Rinse, repeat. Through that process, many real phenomena that were once attributed to God have been shown to be the result of natural processes with no god needed. At the same time, many god-attributed phenomena have been shown not to exist. But science never needed to talk about god in order for all that to happen.


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Old Yesterday, 02:36 PM   #4019
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Suddenly? I've been asking the same question over and over again since 22nd October 2018, 06:36 AM. See my comment 3950.

If it hasn't been published anywhere or in a place so dark that you and I can't find, you and I have no way of knowing if science deals with that issue that mysterious chemist has investigated. Be it a great discovery or not to you and me it does not serve us in this debate.
Oh, you can find it. If you will.

Quote:
Apart from that I do not believe that pharmacists investigate the existence of God.
So what?

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Old Yesterday, 05:15 PM   #4020
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OK, let's forget science completely for the scope of a quick philosophical exercise.

WHICH god should I take seriously? Because their tenets are WILDLY all over the place.

E.g., let's start with an easy one: is suicide good or bad? Well, Xian God says "bad", Odin says jumping off a cliff is actually a guaranteed way into Valhalla, no matter how bad you may have been. The old IIRC Mayan religion says that hanging yourself also gets you a decent afterlife, and they even had a goddess of suicide. Etc.

E.g., another easy one: is attacking some neighbour to take slaves good or bad? Well, Zoroastrianism says slavery is forbidden, but the OT God actually COMMANDS it. And Odin at best doesn't care, as long as you died bravely in such a raid, although sacrificing some slaves for a funeral is actually a good thing, so you have to get them SOMEHOW.

E.g., let's say you're a pacifist and refuse to fight even in defense. Good or bad? Well, the very early Xians thought it was even commanded (you know, turn the other cheek and so on), Odin says you're going straight to Hel for that kind of cowardice.

E.g., screwing children. Good or bad? Well, the ancient Greeks sure had no commandment against it, for example. And even the early medieval Xians were only against screwing someone younger than 7 years old. No, seriously, they thought at 7 you can give informed consent for sex. And for at least one tribal culture it's even prescribed to have a pre-teen boy suck you off. See, they think a male can't actually produce his own seed before being *ahem* seeded by someone who can.

E.g., homosexuality, good or bad? See above.

E.g., being a transvestite, good or bad? Well, the OT God says "bad", several shamanic cultures actually REQUIRE one to be a trans-guy or trans-gal and live their whole life as such, if they want to be a shaman or practice magic. Other cultures and gods don't give a flip.

E.g., rape. Good, bad, neither? Well, Innana was actually a serial rapist godDESS. The OT God even gives rules as to how to properly rape the conquered in war. Other gods don't give a flip.

E.g., prostitution. Good, bad, neither? The OT god seems to dislike it, but some ancient cultures actually had SACRED prostitution. According to Herodotus, at least one religion has MANDATORY prostitution. Seriously, a woman must have at least one paying customer before she could marry.

Etc, etc, etc. The space of existing religions in these coordinates is immense. The space of POSSIBLE religions even more so.

So, WHICH should I take seriously?

Let's forget science entirely for the moment. Hell, let's even forget skepticism. Let's say I'm ready to accept A god (or several) in my life. WHICH of them?

It seems to me like without SOME evidence as to who's the real deal, the religion proponents are still left holding an empty bag. Whichever god is proposed without evidence, by sheer probabilities is probably not the right guess in that space of godly rules.
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Old Yesterday, 06:52 PM   #4021
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
OK, let's forget science completely for the scope of a quick philosophical exercise.

WHICH god should I take seriously? Because their tenets are WILDLY all over the place.
.
(Much detail snipped)

According to the "philosophers" in this thread you should take seriously a non-interracting, undefined, outside of the universe god. Gods that people actually believe in are not to be taken seriously.
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Old Yesterday, 07:48 PM   #4022
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Yeah now let's not be introducing some crazy fringe idea like a "God who actually does something."
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Old Today, 01:18 AM   #4023
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Originally Posted by xjx388 View Post
I think you have a valid point -but based on, perhaps, a miscommunication. I mean, you are right, I doubt you will find a hidden trove of secret science that studies the direct question of God. But that isn’t the point and I don’t think anyone here has said such. Only that not all science is published in journals -which is also true.

But put all that aside. Science does not care about answering the God question. It doesn’t need to address the god question in order to do its work. All it needs to do is make observations, create testable hypotheses, carry out those tests and draw conclusions. Rinse, repeat. Through that process, many real phenomena that were once attributed to God have been shown to be the result of natural processes with no god needed. At the same time, many god-attributed phenomena have been shown not to exist. But science never needed to talk about god in order for all that to happen.
But the theme of "hidden science" has no relevance to our theme, which is whether science demonstrates the non-existence of gods. A hidden science does not serve us to know it, although it exists.

I have sometimes used an argument similar to yours. It seems to me that it has strength, but it is not scientific, but philosophical. If it were a scientific it could become an experiment that would decide the question. That is not the case.

Moreover, a believer can say that he does not feel concerned by that argument because it would only attack religions that believe that gods can be touched and seen. And that this kind of religion always existed in different forms. What could our response be?
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Old Today, 02:40 AM   #4024
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by Steve View Post
(Much detail snipped)

According to the "philosophers" in this thread you should take seriously a non-interracting, undefined, outside of the universe god. Gods that people actually believe in are not to be taken seriously.
Well, I was doing philosophy there myself. In fact, bog standard epistemology: by what method do I get to know WHICH such god or gods, what do they want from me, what are the rewards, and are they worth the extra effort?

Philosophy isn't a dirty word, really. Just, well, some people aren't very good at doing it past the Butthead level of navel-gazing about why is it called taking a dump, if you're not taking it anywhere. Or worse yet, aren't even actually doing it. They're just quoting what some other smart cookie said. But then they're not doing philosophy, they're just a walking index to other people who did.

But anyway, if I can't possibly know what such a god wants from me, then there is no reason for me to even think about it, is it? There is no information for me to base any decision or action on, so for all practical purposes, I can just act as if there were none.

I suppose one could make up a god which truly doesn't matter, because he doesn't even want anything from me, doesn't play post-mortem Santa, and so on, so there's nothing important to know about him. But in that case that's just it: he truly doesn't matter. Then there's the universe, that's the exact same as without a god, and then there's an extraneous entity which really has no reason to come into any model, be it about the physical world or my code of ethics.

Essentially then it's like if you wanted to make a decision about buying a house, and I told you that, yeah, but there's a Lich King in World Of Warcraft. The relevance to any decision you might make is exactly zero, so there's no point in even acknowledging it in your model.
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Old Today, 03:18 AM   #4025
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David, let me give you a quick problem: if a train leaves from New York towards Pittsburgh at 11:00 AM, it has 53 passengers and it's painted blue, and another train leaves from Pittsburgh towards New York at 10:15, and it has 10 cars, and the engineer's wife is cheating on him, at what time should I have remembered to take my medication?

The point is that there's information that you need in your model for a particular purpose, and then there's information that you shouldn't include in your model at all, because it's irrelevant at best. If the train's colour makes no difference, then you should for all practical purposes treat it as if it has none. Muddying things up with pondering "but what if the first train was yellow?" or "but what if it was the engineer cheating on his wife instead of the other way around?" isn't even philosophy, it's just wasting time.

The same applies to gods. If for ANY particular purpose the difference between the universe with a god and the universe without a god is nothing at all, then there is no reason to have gods in your model. It's that simple.
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Old Today, 03:53 AM   #4026
David Mo
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
David, let me give you a quick problem: if a train leaves from New York towards Pittsburgh at 11:00 AM, it has 53 passengers and it's painted blue, and another train leaves from Pittsburgh towards New York at 10:15, and it has 10 cars, and the engineer's wife is cheating on him, at what time should I have remembered to take my medication?

The point is that there's information that you need in your model for a particular purpose, and then there's information that you shouldn't include in your model at all, because it's irrelevant at best. If the train's colour makes no difference, then you should for all practical purposes treat it as if it has none. Muddying things up with pondering "but what if the first train was yellow?" or "but what if it was the engineer cheating on his wife instead of the other way around?" isn't even philosophy, it's just wasting time.

The same applies to gods. If for ANY particular purpose the difference between the universe with a god and the universe without a god is nothing at all, then there is no reason to have gods in your model. It's that simple.
Let's distinguish two things. What is simple for me and what can be established as simple in a debate with someone who thinks differently than I do. The latter is my problem.

How do you argue with a person who tells you that rational data is not the only valid data? What do you say to one who claims there are truths of heart or faith? (Under the assumption that those truths are valid as long as they do not clash with science).
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Old Today, 04:21 AM   #4027
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Let's distinguish two things. What is simple for me and what can be established as simple in a debate with someone who thinks differently than I do. The latter is my problem.
What would be the purpose of debating with someone who does think like you?

Quote:
How do you argue with a person who tells you that rational data is not the only valid data? What do you say to one who claims there are truths of heart or faith? (Under the assumption that those truths are valid as long as they do not clash with science).
Truths of "heart and faith" do provide rational data. The faith itself may not be rational, but if you are dealing with someone that holds a strong faith of some kind, the knowledge of that is rational data, because it is going to influence your interactions.

Also, 'data' is never rational in itself. It is only (potentially) rational when you can decode it.

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Old Today, 05:21 AM   #4028
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
How do you argue with a person who tells you that rational data is not the only valid data? What do you say to one who claims there are truths of heart or faith? (Under the assumption that those truths are valid as long as they do not clash with science).
I would point out that they themselves have no problem rejecting "truths of heart or faith" from other people. As I have indeed before. E.g., Christians have no trouble rejecting the faith "truths" of Hindus, or viceversa. Or of shintoism, ancient Egyptian faith, etc. So they have already laid the foundation for me to do the same thing about THEIR unsupported claims.

But ultimately I have no problem with them holding on to those, as long as they understand that nobody else has to take them seriously, as long as they're just someone's unsupported faith. As I keep saying, I take a "don't ask don't tell" approach to religion. I'm not gonna ask anyone what theirs is, and I'll be thankful if they don't tell me. And I don't mind them keeping believing in Jebus, or in the ghosts trying to get into their nose, or in the contrail conspiracy, as long as they keep it to themselves. I don't knock on people's doors to tell them the good news that they can sleep late on sunday. I don't go try to convince people on religious boards. Etc.

But if they do come over to debate that they're right, I see no real requirement to do more than ask for a SOUND argument for their god. And it isn't, as long as it's only supported by faith.
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