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Old 15th February 2019, 03:33 AM   #81
Aridas
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
But who came up with the idea that people go somewhere when they die?
People who either wanted it to be true and so convinced themselves of it being true or people who were lying to the grieving or fearful to try to comfort them. Those are the most probable cases, really.

Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
I was never a Christian, as far as I can remember. But emotionally I understand that verse of "Amazing Grace." I went through a lot of trials 20 years ago that left me understanding the feeling of redemption. I felt cleansed, like my soul had been taken apart, steam-cleaned and rebuilt, and not through my own efforts. I don't need to attribute this to any supernatural entity but I understood what people meant when they talked about grace.
Just as a note, I'm not proclaiming that verse to only apply to con jobs. The problem is that, in the context of Christianity, there's usually a con job at work, either causing it or taking advantage of it. Especially when "grace" is used somewhat broadly. "It was by God's Grace that I learned to fear Hell and that I'm a dirty, vile sinner by nature! It was by God's Grace that I can avoid going to Hell and be forgiven of my sins!" is also an easy interpretation and likely more favored from within, especially by those raised within the faith, like I was.

Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
I can't give anyone a reason to believe, but I do understand how someone - how I - could become a believer, and it's not something I can communicate well with words. However, I've never come across a religion that I can completely buy into, and really can't imagine what that feels like.
There's plenty of reasons for people to believe, depending on what a person values. If a person values truth over all and is being careful about what they believe, there's no good reason, of course. If one is groping about for emotional support, though, and isn't so concerned about actual truth, that's another story. If one takes the stance that there is no objective truth, that changes the story in a different way. If one wants to be part of community and is willing to adopt the beliefs of that group to join, that's another direction. Plenty more entirely understandable reasons can be named, but they simply won't be particularly based on solid logic on serious inspection.
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Old 15th February 2019, 03:43 AM   #82
HansMustermann
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I don't think it's even just an interpretation. The church has a long history of scaremongering, and by long history, I mean all the way back to day one. But then they also have the remedy for it.
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Old 15th February 2019, 05:14 AM   #83
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If I listened long enough to you
I'd find a way to believe that it's all true
Knowing that you lied straight-faced while I cried
Still I look to find a reason to believe
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Old 15th February 2019, 06:24 AM   #84
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
I kind of envy people who are good at manipulating others because I lack that gift entirely. I certainly see how it could come in handy.
Well, everyone on that train was between 7 and 10 years old. It's not the most skeptical demographic. Half of my cultists still believed in Santa. Half the rest still thought Tom And Jerry is a documentary

I mean, even girls tend to mature after the age of 12 or so. Boys, well, we argue whether batman can beat up superman until the age of, oh, lemme take a guess, about 80 or so.

So, yeah, much as I'd like to take more credit for it, you didn't exactly need all that much skill to make THAT demographic believe in magic
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Old 15th February 2019, 06:25 AM   #85
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
what other reason(s) is their to believe in a god (serious question)?
Can you just go along with it to keep your mom happy. That's the normal reason and then you're kind of locked in after a while.
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Old 15th February 2019, 07:21 AM   #86
8enotto
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My dad was a strong personality. Demanding sometimes. One never doubted his ability or skill at what he chose to show.

But what of things he seen as bigger than his ability? Of course god was there to guide and give, or possibly take away and test him also.

A small child never doubted dad but an older young adult seen his need for salvation. A near desperate need that any amount of religious rites would be performed to ensure his passage. Then once assured he had it he came for us.

He retired years ago and had little to do so he dedicated a big part of his week to his religion and helped others grow in faith.
Then he seen the apocalypse dates come and go. Only his and the wealth of his flock went to paradise as they still waited, now a bit poorer as the church correctly adjusted for errors caused by historical calendar changes. Twice.
Two changes of churches later and a bit senile now it's only him, direct with his god planning his salvation.

He was weak in a need that he alone could never do without a god. In life he could be quite capable but more importantly in death he was fearful. He is worried his family may not be there in paradise with him for eternity.

Except his constant preaching was unbearable in short visits. Why would any of us want an eternity with a whole bunch of people just like him?

That was not anyone elses idea of paradise. Even if it had been his life mission to achieve it.

That is why he believes. I found it to be scary somehow. I could never follow.

Last edited by 8enotto; 15th February 2019 at 07:28 AM.
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Old 15th February 2019, 08:45 AM   #87
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Originally Posted by Aridas View Post
People who either wanted it to be true and so convinced themselves of it being true or people who were lying to the grieving or fearful to try to comfort them. Those are the most probable cases, really.
But how did humans arrive at wanting it to be true? Was it an extension of something that evolved earlier, with, say, apes, or mammals in general? Animals grieve, they act in self-preservation but do they actually fear personal extinction? Do they make up stories about the happy hunting ground etc., or how they will see their loved ones again in a little while? Are there degrees of mourning that we are not privy to because they don't communicate that to us?

This is a broader curiosity of mine, what makes humans human. On one hand I believe the species evolved from apes - that we are of a piece with evolution, not something radically different qualitatively. But the quantitative leap is so great that it seems qualitative. Our instincts and behavior have broad corollaries in the animal kingdom but we do perceive ourselves as unique and probably justifiably so.
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Old 15th February 2019, 08:48 AM   #88
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Originally Posted by applecorped View Post
If I listened long enough to you
I'd find a way to believe that it's all true
Knowing that you lied straight-faced while I cried
Still I look to find a reason to believe
That's actually one of the most insightful posts I've ever seen from you.
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Old 15th February 2019, 09:38 AM   #89
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
But how did humans arrive at wanting it to be true? Was it an extension of something that evolved earlier, with, say, apes, or mammals in general? Animals grieve, they act in self-preservation but do they actually fear personal extinction? Do they make up stories about the happy hunting ground etc., or how they will see their loved ones again in a little while? Are there degrees of mourning that we are not privy to because they don't communicate that to us?
I don't think we'll ever really know how it started, because it actually predates Homo Sapiens. IIRC by a good couple hundred thousand years.

We tend to forget that we're BY FAR not the first sentient species to walk this planet. We have IIRC two different sentient species, capable of abstract thought and articulate speech, just in our direct ancestry. And then there are our cousins (and yeah, occasionally partners: who hasn't boned a cousin or two, eh?) the Neanderthals.

The Neanderthals already had ritual burial before we even met them, or, for that matter, existed. At least one Neanderthal grave site, we're even pretty sure that someone was regularly bringing flowers to, because IIRC the whole plot of ground is pretty much saturated in pollen. And it's in a cave, so not exactly the best setup to blame that on wild flowers. They also had grave goods, like burying someone with their good hunting knife, which would indicate SOME kind of post-mortem need for such tools.

So, really, we're not even the right species if you want to look at what psychological need drove that to appear. We PROBABLY picked the idea from those who had it before we even existed.

WHY did the Neanderthals come up with that? Well, honestly, we'll never know, because those never wrote anything down. They didn't even do a comic book version on the cave walls. And we don't really know any Neanderthals, so we can't really know how their psychology worked.
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Old 15th February 2019, 10:56 AM   #90
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That's a fascinating line of thought. I enjoyed reading the exchange of views in the last couple posts.

I don't know nearly enough about the facts being discussed here, the actual discoveries etc, but going by what you say here, your POV, while in itself not in the least implausible, seems little more than unsupported speculation. After all, bringing flowers to the graveside and burying precious hunting knives with the body might simply have been an expression of sentiment and respect, nothing more.

While Neanderthals (etc) are no longer around, literally thousands of other species are. Who knows, someday we might learn to get at least an inkling of what these think, if at all they do think. Not just apes and dolphins, even creatures like ants which, I undrstand, have an astoundingly complex social structure (astounding, that is, if we assume they can't think like we do).
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Old 15th February 2019, 11:01 AM   #91
HansMustermann
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As I was saying, we don't have anything written from those lazy barstards, so indeed speculation is the best we have.
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Old 15th February 2019, 11:10 AM   #92
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Originally Posted by 8enotto View Post
My dad was a strong personality. Demanding sometimes. One never doubted his ability or skill at what he chose to show.

But what of things he seen as bigger than his ability? Of course god was there to guide and give, or possibly take away and test him also.

A small child never doubted dad but an older young adult seen his need for salvation. A near desperate need that any amount of religious rites would be performed to ensure his passage. Then once assured he had it he came for us.

He retired years ago and had little to do so he dedicated a big part of his week to his religion and helped others grow in faith.
Then he seen the apocalypse dates come and go. Only his and the wealth of his flock went to paradise as they still waited, now a bit poorer as the church correctly adjusted for errors caused by historical calendar changes. Twice.
Two changes of churches later and a bit senile now it's only him, direct with his god planning his salvation.

He was weak in a need that he alone could never do without a god. In life he could be quite capable but more importantly in death he was fearful. He is worried his family may not be there in paradise with him for eternity.

Except his constant preaching was unbearable in short visits. Why would any of us want an eternity with a whole bunch of people just like him?

That was not anyone elses idea of paradise. Even if it had been his life mission to achieve it.

That is why he believes. I found it to be scary somehow. I could never follow.
I'm sorry your relationship with your dad was like this. You seemed to have learned the opposite of what he wanted to teach. I see that in my own relationships on various levels and it always puzzles me. Parents often repeat the mistakes of their own parents, often while trying so hard not to.

Thanks for sharing your experience.
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Old 15th February 2019, 11:11 AM   #93
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
As I was saying, we don't have anything written from those lazy barstards, so indeed speculation is the best we have.

Actually your view that we 'inherited' religion from other species is one I've not seen before (outside of fiction).

Cool line of thought. The 'evidence' you mention can indeed admit of that explanation. Unfortunately it can also admit of diametrically opposing explanations, as far as belief in life after death.

Yeah, too bad those caves didn't house schools teaching little Neanderthals how to read and write.

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Old 15th February 2019, 11:20 AM   #94
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
They are authorities on their own experience. When it comes to questions of personal belief, I think that's about as good as it gets.

The idea is to have a personal relationship with a real human being, in the real world, and learn from each other in that context.


Not for ynot's purpose, as I understand it.
Well. The way I understand it, Ynot is looking for a reason to believe, not for someone to believe, but ... mileages may vary.

Quote:
It's not about qualifications, but about quality of relationship.
Well, that at least follows form the above, so I congratulate you on consistency.

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Thanks. I had no idea who I was responding to.
Some of us like to sign our posts.

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Old 15th February 2019, 12:24 PM   #95
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Actually your view that we 'inherited' religion from other species is one I've not seen before (outside of fiction).

Cool line of thought. The 'evidence' you mention can indeed admit of that explanation. Unfortunately it can also admit of diametrically opposing explanations, as far as belief in life after death.

Yeah, too bad those caves didn't house schools teaching little Neanderthals how to read and write.
Well, I'm not gonna stop you from picking either explanation. Your guess is as good as mine. Or better, if you're sober

Edit: That said, I wouldn't necessarily say "inherited", since IIRC we don't have that kind of evidence from H Heidelbergensis or H Ergaster, which are our direct ancestors, although we know we inherited other stuff from them, like the flint-tipped spear. (Yeah, H Sapiens didn't invent everything.) More like, possibly learned it from the Neanderthals when we stumbled upon them in the Middle East, on our way out of Africa. Kinda like learning to do drugs... err... religion from cousin, really.
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Old 15th February 2019, 12:46 PM   #96
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
Well. The way I understand it, Ynot is looking for a reason to believe, not for someone to believe, but ... mileages may vary.
ynot has already rejected the ontological argument. If objective reasoning won't serve, then all that's left is personal experience.

My view for a long time has been that belief is ultimately a matter of personal experience. If you want to find reasons to believe, your best bet is to find a person, and learn about their experience. But even that will only give you their reasons, not yours.

Quote:
Well, that at least follows form the above, so I congratulate you on consistency.
I'd rather you just grasped my point.

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Old 15th February 2019, 01:27 PM   #97
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I think discussions like this always come down to the distinction between belief and faith.

Belief can be based on evidence or experience. But faith is belief in the absence of evidence or proof. Faith is believing even though you have no good reason to believe. If there is evidence or reasoning to support the belief it is no longer faith. That is what separates religion from other beliefs in my mind. Religion requires faith, most other beliefs are based on some evidence.
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Old 15th February 2019, 01:41 PM   #98
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
I was never a Christian, as far as I can remember. But emotionally I understand that verse of "Amazing Grace." I went through a lot of trials 20 years ago that left me understanding the feeling of redemption. I felt cleansed, like my soul had been taken apart, steam-cleaned and rebuilt, and not through my own efforts. I don't need to attribute this to any supernatural entity but I understood what people meant when they talked about grace.

I can't give anyone a reason to believe, but I do understand how someone - how I - could become a believer, and it's not something I can communicate well with words. However, I've never come across a religion that I can completely buy into, and really can't imagine what that feels like.
If the words of "Amazing Grace" struck a cord with you then you are most certainly god bothering material. "Poor wretch like me" ect ..... I find the words quite nauseating.
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Old 15th February 2019, 01:58 PM   #99
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Originally Posted by Dr. Keith View Post
I think discussions like this always come down to the distinction between belief and faith.

Belief can be based on evidence or experience. But faith is belief in the absence of evidence or proof. Faith is believing even though you have no good reason to believe. If there is evidence or reasoning to support the belief it is no longer faith. That is what separates religion from other beliefs in my mind. Religion requires faith, most other beliefs are based on some evidence.
Your distinction is flawed because it's not between belief and faith, it's between two distinct types of belief (as you correctly say "faith is belief"). Those distinct belief types are normal/natural beliefs (those that we know could be true) and paranormal/supernatural beliefs (those that we don't know could be true).

Faith (as in trust) can apply to either belief type. Tell me you have a (normal/natural) dog and I may trust that you're telling the truth and believe you (have faith in you). Tell me you have a (paranormal/supernatural) dragon and I won't trust or believe you. It's not rocket science.
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Old 15th February 2019, 02:04 PM   #100
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
ynot has already rejected the ontological argument. If objective reasoning won't serve, then all that's left is personal experience.
I don't accept that the ontological argument is objective reasoning (quite the opposite). But I'm happy for you to explain how and why you think it is objective reasoning if you want to. I wouldn't consider it a derail of this thread.

I will happily accept any genuinely objective reasoning.
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Old 15th February 2019, 02:05 PM   #101
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
If the words of "Amazing Grace" struck a cord with you then you are most certainly god bothering material. "Poor wretch like me" ect ..... I find the words quite nauseating.
Sounds nice if you ignore that words tho
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Old 15th February 2019, 03:08 PM   #102
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
I don't accept that the ontological argument is objective reasoning (quite the opposite). But I'm happy for you to explain how and why you think it is objective reasoning if you want to. I wouldn't consider it a derail of this thread.

I will happily accept any genuinely objective reasoning.
Enh. I'm not that invested. Carry on.
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Old 15th February 2019, 03:23 PM   #103
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Enh. I'm not that invested. Carry on.
Thought it might be in the "too hard" basket for you, or perhaps the "I can't but don't want to admit it" basket.

Never mind I'll "carry on" without you, and I'll start with Anselm's original five premises . . .

Premise 1: It is possible to conceive of a being than which nothing greater can be conceived, namely God.
Premise 2: It is possible to conceive of a being that must exist, that is, a necessary being.
Premise 3: It is possible to conceive of a being that may not exist, that is, a contingent being.
Premise 4: A necessary being is greater than a contingent being.
Premise 5: Since God is a being than which nothing greater can be conceived and a necessary being is greater than a contingent being, God is a necessary being.

Everything is sorta fine until Anselm conveniently drops the word "conceived" from the last two premises (did you notice that?). So let's add the word where it should be if we're being honest with consistency and see what we get . . .

Premise 4: A conceived necessary conceived being is greater than a conceived contingent conceived being.
Premise 5: Since a conceived God is a conceived being than which nothing greater can be conceived and a conceived necessary conceived being is greater than a conceived contingent conceived being, God is a conceived necessary conceived being.

A conceived being is no more an actual being than Mickey Mouse. Certainly not a good reason to believe a god is actually real.

Modern William Lane Craig type versions can be rejected at the first premise . . .

Premise 1: It is possible that a maximally great being [God] exits.

This is merely an assertion without supporting evidence. Even if it can't be proven that a god doesn't exist, that's not evidence that a god can possibly exist. A hidden thing is red or blue, not being able to prove it's not red doesn't prove it is red. No current knowledge that I know of confirms that a god can possibly exist. I challenge anyone to provide evidence that it's possible for a god to actually exist, without invoking an irrelevant version of "Well you can't prove it's not possible for a god to exist".
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Paranormal beliefs are knowledge placebos.
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To make truth from beliefs is to make truth mere make-believe.

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Old 15th February 2019, 05:05 PM   #104
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by Dr. Keith View Post
I think discussions like this always come down to the distinction between belief and faith.

Belief can be based on evidence or experience. But faith is belief in the absence of evidence or proof. Faith is believing even though you have no good reason to believe. If there is evidence or reasoning to support the belief it is no longer faith. That is what separates religion from other beliefs in my mind. Religion requires faith, most other beliefs are based on some evidence.
Well, it's not really just religion. You mostly hear the word faith in conjunction with religion, only because the same thing is called by another name in virtually any other domain.

Namely, faith is what is called a "delusion" in any other domain than the exemptions made for religion or culture. No, really, beliefs held against evidence are by definition delusions. Again, in any other domain.

Quite literally if I believed that there's a peeping tom watching me in the shower, even when provably there's nobody there -- and for bonus points, my bathroom doesn't even have a window -- it would qualify as a delusion. But if I believe that Jesus watches me in the shower, you know, to make sure I don't wash my dick too fast or anything, then that's ok. Replace Jesus with Santa, and it's a delusion again. Make it a ghost, and yep, it's a delusion again.

"Delusion" having strong negative connotations is also the reason why you don't hear much about it outside of religion. People don't go around advertising their delusions, because they learn pretty quickly that it makes a negative impression. Which is why you don't hear many advertise that they have faith in ghosts or in Elvis still living, for example. Or not without first making sure that the other person is at least not opposed to such beliefs. You know, for example start with "I saw a documentary on TV" and back out if the other person goes some version of, "oh ffs, not that nonsense again."
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Old 15th February 2019, 05:10 PM   #105
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Originally Posted by Dr. Keith View Post
If there is evidence or reasoning to support the belief it is no longer faith.
That's just what religious leaders tell people who question their lies. It's actually quite clever.

"You ask why there is no evidence for my outrageous claims? Well, if there was evidence then you wouldn't need faith - and without faith we are nothing!"

"Oh yeah, and anyone who says otherwise is in league with the Devil!"

In reality, people do require evidence to support their faith. It may be no more than "someone I trust told me it's true" but it's still evidence. A religion based on nothing but faith would very hard to get going, because people have to have a reason to believe.

Quote:
That is what separates religion from other beliefs in my mind. Religion requires faith, most other beliefs are based on some evidence.
Sadly, this is not actually true. Many other beliefs are based on precious little evidence and survive almost entirely on faith - just like religion. For example:-

US public thinks Saddam had role in 9/11
Quote:
Seven in 10 Americans continue to believe that Iraq's Saddam Hussein had a role in the 11 September 2001 attacks, even though the Bush administration and congressional investigators say they have no evidence of this.

Sixty-nine per cent of Americans said they thought it at least likely that Saddam was involved in the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, according to a Washington Post poll published yesterday. That impression, which exists despite the fact that the hijackers were mostly Saudi nationals acting for al-Qaeda, is broadly shared by Democrats, Republicans and independents.

The main reason for the endurance of the apparently groundless belief, experts in public opinion say, is a deep and enduring distrust of Saddam that makes him a likely suspect in anything related to Middle East violence.
For 7 out of 10 Americans, Saddam being a 'likely suspect' was enough for them to conclude that he was probably involved. So it's not that they didn't have evidence, just that the quality of evidence they were willing to accept was very low. And that's where the faith part comes in.

Despite saying otherwise, religions don't actually expect their followers to believe on faith alone. In fact they constantly bombard them with evidence - everything from 2,000 year old books to 'miracles' and examples of God's 'work', and their own unwavering 'faith' (because people are far more likely to believe someone who is sure he is right). Mix some ambiguous evidence in with gobs of conviction, add a bit of twisted logic to neutralize dissent - and you have a winner!
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Old 15th February 2019, 05:15 PM   #106
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Well, for example if you're in a simulation, an admin can have god-like enough powers.

If find it more practical to just note that "possible" doesn't mean much, rather than engage in debating what's possible. You want at the very least "probable" (as in, p(X) > 0.5) before it's worth anything.

It's POSSIBLE for example that Bill Gates leaves all his money to me in his will, but I don't base my life on that and go rake up a huge debt to be paid with that possible money. Unless it can be reasonably supported that that IS the case, or at the very least PROBABLY the case, then it just not being impossible is not worth anything.
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Old 15th February 2019, 05:20 PM   #107
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I will argue though that most won't call it faith, or think of it as faith. They'll think they have good reasons for trusting that source, but not that other source.

So while it is an interesting look into the phenomenon of cognitive dissonance or outright delusions, it's IMHO not quite the same thing as the faith in religion.
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Old 15th February 2019, 05:29 PM   #108
ynot
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
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Well, for example if you're in a simulation, an admin can have god-like enough powers.

If find it more practical to just note that "possible" doesn't mean much, rather than engage in debating what's possible. You want at the very least "probable" (as in, p(X) > 0.5) before it's worth anything.

It's POSSIBLE for example that Bill Gates leaves all his money to me in his will, but I don't base my life on that and go rake up a huge debt to be paid with that possible money. Unless it can be reasonably supported that that IS the case, or at the very least PROBABLY the case, then it just not being impossible is not worth anything.
There's no credible evidence we're either in a simulation or that it's even possible we are. All we can do is believe/imagine/speculate/conceive that we might be.

There's plenty of credible evidence however that Bill Gates actually exists, has lots of money, will die one day and some others will get some of it. That you will be one of those people is possible, but not probable. There's a big difference between knowing something is possible from evidence and merely believing/imagining/speculating/conceiving something is possible.

The "modern premise 1" definitively and conclusively claims "is possible" without the support of credible evidence.

ETA - It's telling however how modern apologists keep trying to move the goalposts by doing things like redefining "omnipotent/all-powerful God" as being "maximally great/powerful being" .
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Old 15th February 2019, 05:33 PM   #109
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
If the words of "Amazing Grace" struck a cord with you then you are most certainly god bothering material. "Poor wretch like me" ect ..... I find the words quite nauseating.
Am I god bothering you?

ETA: And at that time I was in pretty bad shape. I would never apply the "wretch" term to someone else.

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Old 15th February 2019, 05:46 PM   #110
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
People don't go around advertising their delusions,
Sure they do. These forums are full of them! And while they may think that publishing their delusions on the web for the whole World to see isn't advertising because they are 'anonymous', in my experience they don't shy away from pushing their delusions onto friends and co-workers too.

Quote:
So while it is an interesting look into the phenomenon of cognitive dissonance or outright delusions, it's IMHO not quite the same thing as the faith in religion.
Religion is more than just faith of course, but people sometimes have a 'religious' faith in other things too. The difference is not in the faith, but how it is exploited.

OTOH I suspect that many 'religious' people don't actually have any faith in the dogma, and are just in it for the fringe benefits (and that goes double for church officials).
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Old 15th February 2019, 05:54 PM   #111
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Originally Posted by Roger Ramjets View Post
Sure they do. These forums are full of them! And while they may think that publishing their delusions on the web for the whole World to see isn't advertising because they are 'anonymous', in my experience they don't shy away from pushing their delusions onto friends and co-workers too.
They don't believe or agree however that their "enlightened knowledge" is merely a delusion.
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Old 15th February 2019, 06:16 PM   #112
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
"Possible" is a definitive, conclusive word that requires the support of evidence.
Definition of possible

1a : being within the limits of ability, capacity, or realization a possible but difficult task
b : being what may be conceived, be done, or occur according to nature, custom, or manners

Quote:
There's no credible evidence we're either in a simulation or that it's even possible we are. All we can do is believe/imagine/conceive that we might be.
If being in a simulation is not impossible, then it's possible - no matter how low the probability.

No evidence is required for something to be 'possible', it just mustn't exclude it from the realms of possibility.
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Old 15th February 2019, 08:19 PM   #113
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Originally Posted by Roger Ramjets View Post
Definition of possible

1a : being within the limits of ability, capacity, or realization a possible but difficult task
b : being what may be conceived, be done, or occur according to nature, custom, or manners
Would you be happier if I said "God is possible" is a definitive, conclusive proposition that requires the support of evidence"?

The ontological argument I'm quoting is specifically claiming "God is possible" (not "possibly is possible"). It makes no claims about alien geeks possibly creating simulations. "Maximally great being" clearly refers specifically to a creator god. Your simulation scenario is a red-herring.

Originally Posted by Roger Ramjets View Post
If being in a simulation is not impossible, then it's possible - no matter how low the probability.
And if being in a simulation is impossible, then it's not possible - no matter how low the probability. How do you know which scenario is correct?

Originally Posted by Roger Ramjets View Post
No evidence is required for something to be 'possible', it just mustn't exclude it from the realms of possibility.
Evidence is required if something is only claimed to be "is possible". Claiming only "God is possible" as the ontological argument I'm quoting does, is effectively excluding the "God is impossible" option. If we have no evidence whether a thing is possible or not all we can say is "That thing is either possible or impossible". A thing is possible or impossible in reality regardless of whether we currently know it is or not. A thing merely assumed to be possible might turn out to be found to be impossible.

To assume everything is possible until it has proven to be impossible is a logical "argument from ignorance" fallacy - "A logical fallacy known as the argument from ignorance occurs when either a proposition is assumed to be true because it has not yet been proved false or a proposition is assumed to be false because it has not yet been proved true".
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Old 15th February 2019, 09:39 PM   #114
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Originally Posted by 8enotto View Post
My dad was a strong personality. Demanding sometimes. One never doubted his ability or skill at what he chose to show.

But what of things he seen as bigger than his ability? Of course god was there to guide and give, or possibly take away and test him also.

A small child never doubted dad but an older young adult seen his need for salvation. A near desperate need that any amount of religious rites would be performed to ensure his passage. Then once assured he had it he came for us.

He retired years ago and had little to do so he dedicated a big part of his week to his religion and helped others grow in faith.
Then he seen the apocalypse dates come and go. Only his and the wealth of his flock went to paradise as they still waited, now a bit poorer as the church correctly adjusted for errors caused by historical calendar changes. Twice.
Two changes of churches later and a bit senile now it's only him, direct with his god planning his salvation.

He was weak in a need that he alone could never do without a god. In life he could be quite capable but more importantly in death he was fearful. He is worried his family may not be there in paradise with him for eternity.

Except his constant preaching was unbearable in short visits. Why would any of us want an eternity with a whole bunch of people just like him?

That was not anyone elses idea of paradise. Even if it had been his life mission to achieve it.

That is why he believes. I found it to be scary somehow. I could never follow.

Just wanted to say I found this post interesting
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Old 15th February 2019, 10:02 PM   #115
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I'm not sure if I have an answer, but maybe if you give me (and others) an example of something you do believe in, and why . . .
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Old 15th February 2019, 10:09 PM   #116
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1. Actually, surprisingly enough, if you want to claim that something is impossible, the burden of proof is yours. Because it's actually a positive claim, not a negative one. What you are saying is that there exists some condition or law or whatever that prevents such a possibility. As such, as in any claims of existence, the burden of proof is yours.

It's also the less parsimonious alternative, because there's that extra rule or condition to make it impossible. Sometimes there is already evidence that that's the case -- e.g., yes, it can actually be proven that we're not simulated in another universe... with the same set of rules -- but if not, you're going against Occam's Razor if you just postulate that something is impossible. In fact, just as much as if you postulate that it does exist.

So, yes, failing that, we know which of the two scenarios to fall back on as a default.


2. But, as I was saying, "POSSIBLE" is not the problem, because by itself it's worthless. Lots of things are possible. But one would have to be a dolt to base one's life on taking something as an "IS" when all they have is a far-fetched "POSSIBLE". E.g., even in the simulation example, you don't really need to show it's impossible, for it to still be an idiocy to live one's life based on the assumption that not only it IS so, but also that I know exactly what the Lead Game Designer (praised be His name) wants from us.


3. And incidentally, for the ontological argument, it's not postulating that something is conceivable that's the problem. It actually has more than one. You already mentioned the switcheroo that makes it a circular argument. But it fails even earlier, when it just postulates a maximum awesome being, without specifying by what criteria would it count as such. So essentially it hasn't provided any reason, other than dumb fanboyism, why such a maximal being would be the Xian god.

E.g., for me a goddess would be even greater, because everything is better with tits Or basically if he wants to be the king of kings, then he better start doing that job. A god who actually does his manager job is better than an absenteist twit who only popped out a couple of times to make an example of some bystander. Etc.

But anyway, it has enough problems to be nonsense as it is. You don't need to get sidetracked in the "possible" or "conceivable" parts too. Especially since then you have to show why it's impossible, and just going "because I said so" or basically "because I just postulate that I can reverse the burden of proof", like you seem to do, isn't going to go anywhere.
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Old 15th February 2019, 10:14 PM   #117
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Originally Posted by Roger Ramjets View Post
Sure they do. These forums are full of them! And while they may think that publishing their delusions on the web for the whole World to see isn't advertising because they are 'anonymous', in my experience they don't shy away from pushing their delusions onto friends and co-workers too.
Well, at the very least they're not advertised as something you have to take on faith. E.g., even conspiracy theorists don't say you have to have faith that, say, 9/11 was an inside job. Nor that you have to have faith in their sources. Nobody says you just have to have faith in, say, Rush Limbaugh.

Nor is in fact "faith" considered a virtue in such evangelizing exercises outside of religion. In fact, being some kind of brain-washed lemming taking it just on faith is typically the accusation leveled at the doubters.

The way proselitizing any other kind of nonsense goes is by pretending to have good reasons for that belief. E.g., since i mentioned truthers, they'll go on about the melting point of steel, and a lot of handwaving.
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Old 15th February 2019, 10:17 PM   #118
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
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1. Actually, surprisingly enough, if you want to claim that something is impossible, the burden of proof is yours. Because it's actually a positive claim, not a negative one. What you are saying is that there exists some condition or law or whatever that prevents such a possibility. As such, as in any claims of existence, the burden of proof is yours.

It's also the less parsimonious alternative, because there's that extra rule or condition to make it impossible. Sometimes there is already evidence that that's the case -- e.g., yes, it can actually be proven that we're not simulated in another universe... with the same set of rules -- but if not, you're going against Occam's Razor if you just postulate that something is impossible. In fact, just as much as if you postulate that it does exist.

So, yes, failing that, we know which of the two scenarios to fall back on as a default.
I'm only discussing the "God is possible" claim. I don't believe I've said this claim is impossible, or that a god is impossible. Please quote where I did if you think I did. I said "God is possible" is an invalid claim.
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Old 15th February 2019, 10:20 PM   #119
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If you're saying that a god -- ANY god -- is impossible, you are in fact claiming there is a reason for it to be impossible. Well, that's entirely different from the null hypothesis that, basically, everything is possible, but you have no reason to assume it is so until you have data that needs it to be so. As such, now you have to explain what that reason is.

Edit: any I'd say you have your work cut out for you, because the bar to being a god was historically very low until monotheists escalated "my imaginary daddy can beat up your imaginary daddy" into, basically, the same "but my daddy is infinity times stronger than yours" idiocy that happens in kindergarten eventually when such an argument crops up. Some of the historical gods of other religions, well, they hardly even had to do much to qualify as such. So if you go for impossible across the board, now THAT is going to be a fair bit of work.
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Old 15th February 2019, 10:25 PM   #120
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
If you're saying that God is impossible, you are in fact claiming there is a reason for it to be impossible. Well, that's entirely different from the null hypothesis that, basically, everything is possible, but you have no reason to assume it is so until you have data that needs it to be so. As such, now you have to explain what that reason is.
Perhaps you didn't read my last post before posting this? I'm NOT saying god is impossible (quote where I say that if you disagree), I'm saying "God is possible" is an invalid proposition without credible evidence to support that claim.
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