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elliotfc
19th July 2006, 09:23 AM
I gotta tell you, Elliot: you're so lucky you're a man.

If I wasn't a man, I wouldn't be Elliot. I'd have some sissified feminine sounding name I reckon. :p

As opposed to a sissified masculine sounding name.

-Elliot

slingblade
19th July 2006, 09:24 AM
What god?

Oh, I didn't see your little "joke" there about being a man. Ha-ha.
Wow, too funny.

elliotfc
19th July 2006, 09:25 AM
All of which raises an even uglier question: Who, and on what basis, decides which is the correct view?

God.

Since most everyone who subscribes to the "truth" or "infallibility" of the bible would vie, "Me! I understand it, I know what god means!" we have this whole contentious mess.

We know what God means because he has revealed to us the correct view, and we accept it on faith.

Over and over and over, to the tune of an inundation of sects.

Yeah. Some people are closer to the truth than others. And if no religions existed, some people will also be closer to the truth than others.

-Elliot

AgingYoung
19th July 2006, 09:34 AM
Jesus also said:
John 14:13-14

Pretty straightforward - you ask for it in Jesus' name, and you got it. A promise Jesus has broken every single day for over 2000 years.



Jhn 14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.


yep, pretty straight forward. Jesus was talking to the disciples. I think the confusion comes in when you think that what Jesus told Peter (for instance) is applicable to you.

God does indeed answer every prayer. Sometimes the answer is, 'are you joking? You're pulling my finger aren't you?'

A. Geneius Young

edit: please excuse me if someone has covered this point

Genesius
19th July 2006, 09:40 AM
Jhn 14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
yep, pretty straight forward. Jesus was talking to the disciples. I think the confusion comes in when you think that what Jesus told Peter (for instance) is applicable to you.

God does indeed answer every prayer. Sometimes the answer is, 'are you joking? You're pulling my finger aren't you?'

A. Geneius Young

edit: please excuse me if someone has covered this point

So God plays favorites with his children, huh? Gives extra goodies to Peter and his other pets & treats the rest of us like stepchildren?

Pretty lousy parenting, God. . .

Anacoluthon64
19th July 2006, 09:41 AM
We know what God means because he has revealed to us the correct view, and we accept it on faith.Yes, it is entirely clear how right you think you are. And, obviously, any competing interpretation must de facto be wrong.


Yeah. Some people are closer to the truth than others. And if no religions existed, some people will also be closer to the truth than others.Indeed.

'Luthon64

Meffy
19th July 2006, 09:43 AM
please excuse me if someone has covered this point
I seem to have done so in post #10 of this thread. But what the heck, it's Christmas.

Genesius
19th July 2006, 09:47 AM
I seem to have done so in post #10 of this thread. But what the heck, it's Christmas.

July 19th is the anthropomorphic skunk Christmas? Dare I ask what kind of Savior y'all worship? Or does Christmas have a different meaning in the Kingdom of the Skunks?

AgingYoung
19th July 2006, 09:48 AM
So God plays favorites with his children, huh? Gives extra goodies to Peter and his other pets & treats the rest of us like stepchildren?


You need a different context, Genesius. There are the adopted children and then there are the ones that aren't adopted yet want to think that they are. Those are the illegitimate ones.

Merry Christmas, Meffy. I'm planning on getting you the same thing I got you last year.

Gene

Genesius
19th July 2006, 09:52 AM
So God plays favorites with his children, huh? Gives extra goodies to Peter and his other pets & treats the rest of us like stepchildren?
You need a different context, Genesius. There are the adopted children and then there are the ones that aren't adopted yet want to think that they are. Those are the illegitimate ones.

Merry Christmas, Meffy. I'm planning on getting you the same thing I got you last year.

Gene

No problem with my context. Not all parents in a mixed household are capable of treating their biological children and stepchildren the same.

The point still stands - if your assertion is correct, God gives goodies to his favorites that He denies the rest of us. As I said, lousy parenting.

AgingYoung
19th July 2006, 10:00 AM
Genesius,

If you were to show up at our house during supper you might get fed but we'd want to know where your parents were. Just because you ate supper with us wouldn't make you family.

Meffy,

I just read the 10th post. I'm sure I would have had to have been there to see that dubious account. Most people don't understand the concept of asking. My wife often 'asks' me for something (honey, would you take out the trash?) but she's really not asking and if I know what's good for me I'll do as I'm asked. :)

Gene

Meffy
19th July 2006, 10:07 AM
July 19th is the anthropomorphic skunk Christmas? Dare I ask what kind of Savior y'all worship? Or does Christmas have a different meaning in the Kingdom of the Skunks?
No savior, I just have trouble remembering when holidays fall. So why not be generous?

Merry Christmas, Meffy. I'm planning on getting you the same thing I got you last year.
Ta! Same thing Zippy got for Jean-Paul Sartre (http://www.zippythepinhead.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=zpost&Category_Code=bbin&Product_Count=0), a sure-fire people pleaser. I ordered peace on earth for you, but it didn't arrive in time. If they ever do deliver it, I'll send it along.

AgingYoung
19th July 2006, 10:16 AM
I won't hold my breath waiting for that delivery.

looks around for an exit...
there is no exit!
is this forum hell?

Gene

Genesius
19th July 2006, 10:17 AM
Genesius,

If you were to show up at our house during supper you might get fed but we'd want to know where your parents were. Just because you ate supper with us wouldn't make you family.


Which applies. . . how, exactly? Aren't we all supposed to be God's children?

Meffy
19th July 2006, 10:18 AM
The exit is that little "Close Window" button on your browser. Easy to use. Why, even I can cli

AgingYoung
19th July 2006, 10:26 AM
Genesius,

Aren't we all supposed to be God's children?

no

Gene

Tricky
19th July 2006, 10:32 AM
That would make free will irrelevant though, right? Or maybe? Wrong. It should not affect free will at all. You could still decide, but your decision would be based on much better information. I can never understand why people describe a God who wants us to be ill-informed.

Is there *anything under the sun* that everybody agrees with, uniformly and absolutely? I guess there's math, or maybe just basic math, because some people can't get more advanced math.
Of course not, which is why it is so silly to claim the Bible is completely true. Saying that it is true but nobody agrees what "true" means is meaningless.

Have you ever been frustrated with someone? You tell them something direct and plain, and they hear something different? I think God will respect, and does respect, obstinancy. If you hear the perfect truth, free will enables it to be judged as *imperfect*, that's where I relate it to a deception, because one who does hear the God and think he/she is hearing something evil is being deceived. Self-deception.It usually means that although it is direct and plain to me, it is not that way to them. So I try with more info or speaking more clearly. Sure there are people who are intentionally ignoring you, but that isn't what non-believers are doing. All the ones I know are listening intently for evidence of God, but he is not speaking clearly.

How could God choose to speak in a way where we wouldn't be deceived? A person can always *doubt* what was said...chalk it up to Satan or to extraterrestrials or to government water contamination projects. Well for one thing, He could do it in person instead of relying on an aging, oft-translated, poorly understood book. He used to do that all the time, according to the Old Testament. When did He contract laryngitis?

Or, as we Christians believe, God will eventually talk to us in the clearest possible way, it's around the corner, and we live through this important, yet finite, separation from God with faith as our greatest possession. Yes. Hope with expectations. I'm familiar with the concept. You seem to be proud of the fact that you make such decisions based on incomplete or absent evidence. I have a hard time understanding why.

Or, as many will say to God..."it's your fault for not stopping me." It's an excellent analogy. But I think God will catch the self-deceivers...then it's up to them to do something about it. Or not.
Unbelievers would never say anything like that. They don't believe there is a God to stop them or a devil to tempt them or a savior to forgive them. They take responsibility for their own actions.

But according to the bible, God punishes those who were decieved by him or given insufficient information by him. Or as Omar Khayyam (http://www.everypoet.com/archive/poetry/Omar_Khayyam/omar_khayyam_rubaiyat.htm) says, "Sued for a debt we never did contract/And cannot answer. Oh the sorry trade."


Well, no, one can claim that. He obviously did claim it. It's literally true within its limitations, is I think what he's saying.

What, literally true except when its not?
Would I wish that he would extend that idea further than he does? Sure.

I think that a Harry Potter is literally true, if you immerse yourself within it and accept the world that is portrayed. I've never read one, but I don't need to, it's true as being *literary*. Literally true. Sorry for being difficult. Not really bwah hah.

"Literal" and "literary" do not mean the same thing. You know what the word "literal" means. Yes, I realize that you are making a sort of joke, but it would also seem that you think this joke is relevant. If so, its relevance escapes me.

Genesius
19th July 2006, 10:39 AM
Genesius,
Aren't we all supposed to be God's children?no

Gene


Really?

Then what's with all that "Our Father, who art in Heaven" stuff?

AgingYoung
19th July 2006, 11:23 AM
Genesius,

The Lord's prayer is in a larger context of teaching but even within the smaller context of praying Jesus explains quite a lot. Most christians today ignore that teaching and at times they cite what Jesus did as justification for what they do. You can't hardly point out to them that they aren't Jesus; they can't hear that.

I've listened to some that pray publicly and wonder who they're talking to. Sometimes they're talking to Jesus and sometimes to God. Mostly I think they're talking to hear themselves; can I hear me now? Or they're like the pharisees ...


And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites [are]: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.


The Lord's prayer is an example of how people that are God's children should pray. One of the points of that prayer is 'your will be done.' The idea that you can ask God for anything and since he hears you he should give you what you ask for misses the point that you're asking; you have a request.

If someone has done the work that God expects them to do then they're a child. Not everyone has or will do that work.

Gene

Tricky
19th July 2006, 12:18 PM
The Lord's prayer is in a larger context of teaching but even within the smaller context of praying Jesus explains quite a lot. Most Christians today ignore that teaching and at times they cite what Jesus did as justification for what they do. You can't hardly point out to them that they aren't Jesus; they can't hear that.

I've listened to some that pray publicly and wonder who they're talking to. Sometimes they're talking to Jesus and sometimes to God. Mostly I think they're talking to hear themselves; can I hear me now? Or they're like the pharisees ...

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites [are]: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.The Lord's prayer is an example of how people that are God's children should pray. One of the points of that prayer is 'your will be done.' The idea that you can ask God for anything and since he hears you he should give you what you ask for misses the point that you're asking; you have a request.
Interesting, because that particular prayer is probably the most oft-repeated prayer of all, and is recited aloud in almost every one of the many Christian churches I have been to, as well as at public events. So if this really is the way praying should be done, then having those who "love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets" choosing this particular prayer as their mantra is devastatingly ironic.

Oh yeah, and the Lord's Prayer does include a specific material request.

If someone has done the work that God expects them to do then they're a child. Not everyone has or will do that work. There isn't any firm consensus on what work God expects people to do.
***
Edits in blue)
Oops. Brain fart. The Lord's Prayer is not a Psalm. Not even the 23rd.

Tricky
19th July 2006, 12:20 PM
The exit is that little "Close Window" button on your browser. Easy to use. Why, even I can cli
Dang that Slithery Dee.

Meffy
19th July 2006, 12:26 PM
Dang that Slithery Dee.
Feh. *9_9* I've been known to go through doors marked "This Way to the Egress!" too.

So if this really is the way praying should be done, then having those who "love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets" choosing this particular prayer as their mantra is devastatingly ironic.
"If a person who indulges in gluttony is a glutton, and a person who commits a felony is a felon, then God is an iron."
-- Spider Robinson

Tricky
19th July 2006, 12:35 PM
Feh. *9_9* I've been known to go through doors marked "This Way to the Egress!" too. To meet Princess Fiona?
"If a person who indulges in gluttony is a glutton, and a person who commits a felony is a felon, then God is an iron."
-- Spider Robinson
Then I must be a monoton.

slingblade
19th July 2006, 01:00 PM
I've said it before, but it bears saying ad eternam.

When I prayed, I wasn't asking God for anything selfish.

I wasn't praying for a pony, or please, please, let him ask me out, or please let my team win or let me pass the test.

I was praying for an end to my suffering.
I was begging god to please let me have just one friend whose father didn't want to have sex with me.

Later, I was begging God to please heal my husband from his addictions, because I've seen what a nice, caring, loving man he can be, and can't he be that man all the time, please? Can he stop hitting me, screaming at me, humiliating me, insulting me, ignoring me....can he stop telling me what a horrible mother I am, can he stop leaving other women's phone numbers and underwear where I can find them, and can he stop dragging me to church where I get to watch him weep and wail and promise God he'll do better, and then take me and the kids home and go out to the movies with his current mistress that afternoon?

And all I got back was silence, fat lips, and PTSD.

Now some folks want me to think that what I was praying for wasn't God's will. Isn't that what's being said? God grants prayers which fall in line with his will. Being human, I can only submit to that will; I've no right to ask anything of God.

God wanted all those men to hurt me?
God wanted my husband to hurt me?
Pardon my blunt, but that's pretty harsh.

I've got limited choices here, you must admit. God hates me, or God doesn't exist. I figure you eventually have to come to a place much like that, if you're a fundie and you're tired of being hurt by your beliefs. Remember, being a fundie woman, I also had to put up with every man's disdain, in my circle. I'm the source of all evil in the world. I'm the weaker vessel. I can't speak in church, must submit to my husband, and have no recourse. No one is on my side. I'm a lowly woman.

Yes, Elliot. I know you live in a wonderful world where Christianity isn't really like this. Goodie for you. When you talk, all I can see is someone else God likes better than me.

But if one is lucky, when one tries to break away from this hell on earth, one encounters logic, reason, and critical thought. One can realize, "I have been lied to, for years." It isn't that God hates me....it's that there is no God, and I have been duped by a lot of people, most of whom have also been duped.

I've been depending on, counting on, and being disappointed by......nothing.
I've believed the lie. The Great Lie. I've been taught all my life how not to think, because thinking is antithetical to belief.

Well that's just stupid.

So I'm sticking to my argument, Elliot. God promised many times in the bible to grant his followers what we ask for. Yes, there are verses in which Jesus addressed those promises to his disciples. There are other places where the common person was being addressed. And my fundie faith taught me from my earliest memory that those promises were for me. But they lied. They may not have known they were lying, but that doesn't negate the fact.

If, when I die, I do encounter a god after all, I'll have only one question for him, and I won't be the least bit ashamed to ask it, stridently and often:

Why?

Wally
19th July 2006, 05:07 PM
I've said it before, but it bears saying ad eternam.

When I prayed, I wasn't asking God for anything selfish.

I wasn't praying for a pony, or please, please, let him ask me out, or please let my team win or let me pass the test.

I was praying for an end to my suffering.
I was begging god to please let me have just one friend whose father didn't want to have sex with me.

Later, I was begging God to please heal my husband from his addictions, because I've seen what a nice, caring, loving man he can be, and can't he be that man all the time, please? Can he stop hitting me, screaming at me, humiliating me, insulting me, ignoring me....can he stop telling me what a horrible mother I am, can he stop leaving other women's phone numbers and underwear where I can find them, and can he stop dragging me to church where I get to watch him weep and wail and promise God he'll do better, and then take me and the kids home and go out to the movies with his current mistress that afternoon?

And all I got back was silence, fat lips, and PTSD.

Now some folks want me to think that what I was praying for wasn't God's will. Isn't that what's being said? God grants prayers which fall in line with his will. Being human, I can only submit to that will; I've no right to ask anything of God.

God wanted all those men to hurt me?
God wanted my husband to hurt me?
Pardon my blunt, but that's pretty harsh.

I've got limited choices here, you must admit. God hates me, or God doesn't exist. I figure you eventually have to come to a place much like that, if you're a fundie and you're tired of being hurt by your beliefs. Remember, being a fundie woman, I also had to put up with every man's disdain, in my circle. I'm the source of all evil in the world. I'm the weaker vessel. I can't speak in church, must submit to my husband, and have no recourse. No one is on my side. I'm a lowly woman.

Yes, Elliot. I know you live in a wonderful world where Christianity isn't really like this. Goodie for you. When you talk, all I can see is someone else God likes better than me.

But if one is lucky, when one tries to break away from this hell on earth, one encounters logic, reason, and critical thought. One can realize, "I have been lied to, for years." It isn't that God hates me....it's that there is no God, and I have been duped by a lot of people, most of whom have also been duped.

I've been depending on, counting on, and being disappointed by......nothing.
I've believed the lie. The Great Lie. I've been taught all my life how not to think, because thinking is antithetical to belief.

Well that's just stupid.

So I'm sticking to my argument, Elliot. God promised many times in the bible to grant his followers what we ask for. Yes, there are verses in which Jesus addressed those promises to his disciples. There are other places where the common person was being addressed. And my fundie faith taught me from my earliest memory that those promises were for me. But they lied. They may not have known they were lying, but that doesn't negate the fact.

If, when I die, I do encounter a god after all, I'll have only one question for him, and I won't be the least bit ashamed to ask it, stridently and often:

Why?

I know, intellectually, that violence is not an answer, but it would be so emotionally satisfying to give your x a good thumping.:mad:

As to your question for God, the best answer I’ve found is at the very last of the SciFi novel “Venus on the Half Shell” by Kilgor Trout. It’s a great read and well worth the search for an old copy.

AgingYoung
19th July 2006, 05:15 PM
Slingblade,


God promised many times in the bible to grant his followers what we ask for.

I'd have to read those to see what you're talking about. Jesus prayed that God take this cup away from him (dying on the cross) yet qualified it with, 'your will be done.' A very big problem for christianity is that if you're good at presenting what is selling you can make a good living at it. There aren't many tent makers like Paul who made their own living. Sometimes preachers say the darnedest things.


I've got limited choices here, you must admit. God hates me, or God doesn't exist.

There are other possibilities. Preachers lying from the pulpit comes to mind. Here's a good example of that. Some quote Isaiah, 'by his stripes you are healed.' And they emphasize 'are' meaning in the present tense. They will insist that you 'are' healed right now. But you clearly still are missing the end of your favorite nose picking index finger. You aren't healed; the finger is still a stub. It's ok for typing but ..... So who's the liar? Isaiah or the preacher?

Gene

slingblade
19th July 2006, 09:21 PM
Slingblade,


God promised many times in the bible to grant his followers what we ask for.

I'd have to read those to see what you're talking about.

I just love how people keep acting as if they have no clue the bible says such outlandish things. I'm tired of that game. Let's play another. Verses have been posted, and I assume most folks who post here know how to google a bible. If the verses I've already posted aren't proof enough, folks are on their own.

Or else I'm just a lying bitch who hasn't got the brains of an artichoke, in which case, why bear the burden of trying to "reason" with me? Go poke someone else. I'm sore.

Jesus prayed that God take this cup away from him (dying on the cross) yet qualified it with, 'your will be done.' A very big problem for christianity is that if you're good at presenting what is selling you can make a good living at it. There aren't many tent makers like Paul who made their own living. Sometimes preachers say the darnedest things.

Yeah. Funny that, but preachers' voices are the only voices I've ever heard. Never heard God. Never was spoken to by God. Total silence, within and without. Seems a truly loving god wouldn't let someone who cried out his name in torment just continue in that torment. But it happens every day, to better people than I. Can't imagine why that is.....

So who's the liar? Isaiah or the preacher?

After everything, what makes you think it matters anymore?

RandFan
19th July 2006, 11:37 PM
I'm not here but I had to post this video.

Proving that prayer is superstition (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BH0rFZIqo8A)

slingblade
20th July 2006, 12:00 AM
Jesus prayed that God take this cup away from him (dying on the cross) yet qualified it with, 'your will be done.'

Had another thought: doesn't this mean Jesus was talking to himself, trying to renegotiate a deal he made with himself for something he set up in the first place?

And you want me to think I should model this, apparently.

:dl:

AgingYoung
20th July 2006, 07:26 AM
slingblade,

I just love how people keep acting as if they have no clue the bible says such outlandish things.

I'm aware of quite a few ideas that people have that I think are misconceptions but I couldn't possibly know all of what you're thinking.

Your understanding of Jesus in the garden (trinity) points to an absurdity but you leave the idea at that point. With some rather thorough investigation Newton came to this conclusion about the trinity...


Newton's anti-trinitarianism is evident also in his interpretation of Revelation. According to Newton, the seventh seal began in the year 380, when trinitarianism was officially ratified at the Council of Constantinople. The great apostasy was not Romanism, but trinitarianism, “the false infernal religion”, to quote Newton's own words.


When I compare Newton's understanding to yours what I have to admit is yours is lacking. But you say you see.

I have no idea how the trinity could come from the jewish understanding in the shema...

Hear, Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.

Jesus was a jew. He wasn't aware that he was God...

Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and [to] my God, and your God.

It's a truism that everyone has a perfect right to come to any conclusion they care to but how wise is it to take the premise of liars to come to a conclusion? Since you're willing the liars rob you. I'm not willing. I know a lot of what the bible explains but I don't know what your thoughts on it are; I couldn't know that.

please
don't
quote
this
entire
post
if
you'd
like
to
respond
to
one
single
idea
in
it.
That
creates
one
heck
of
a
lot
of
verbage.

Gene

Tricky
20th July 2006, 08:01 AM
Hi AY

Just a hint. You should use the quote brackets. They make your post much more readable. I'm aware of quite a few ideas that people have that I think are misconceptions but I couldn't possibly know all of what you're thinking.

Your understanding of Jesus in the garden (trinity) points to an absurdity but you leave the idea at that point. With some rather thorough investigation Newton came to this conclusion about the trinity...

Newton's anti-trinitarianism is evident also in his interpretation of Revelation. According to Newton, the seventh seal began in the year 380, when trinitarianism was officially ratified at the Council of Constantinople. The great apostasy was not Romanism, but trinitarianism, “the false infernal religion”, to quote Newton's own words.When I compare Newton's understanding to yours what I have to admit is yours is lacking. But you say you see.
That doesn't sound like it is at all related to what Slingblade was talking about. I don't recall her mentioning anything about trinitarianism and I cannot see how Newton's position on this has any bearing on the subject whatsoever. This appears to be a misdirection. If not, please explain how it is a response to what Slingblade was saying.
Jesus was a jew. He wasn't aware that he was God...

Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and [to] my God, and your God.If Jesus was unaware of his divinity, then he didn't die for our sins. He just died for his beliefs (or for being in the wrong place at the wrong time) and God discussed the whole sacrifice thing with him later.

But I have had this discussion with Christians before. After all, Jesus often referred to himself as the "son of man", which to me is a clear indication that he did not believe in his celestial parenthood. God the Father was everybody's father, not just his own. If this was the case, Jesus was not a Christian, and you know what that means.;) It goes without saying that virtually every Christian I discussed this with totally rejected my notion.

Or maybe Monty Python had it right. "Only the true messiah denies his divinity."

It's a truism that everyone has a perfect right to come to any conclusion they care to but how wise is it to take the premise of liars to come to a conclusion? Since you're willing the liars rob you. I'm not willing. I know a lot of what the bible explains but I don't know what your thoughts on it are; I couldn't know that.
So it's Slingblade's fault for coming to the wrong conclusion? She wasn't discrimminating enough about who she listened to? I can't speak for her, but if you said to me after such an ordeal as she had suffered that she was "willing the liars to rob her", I'd say you were an evil arrogant person. I hope that is not the case, but I've seen so many Christians who "blame the victim" to know how common it is. I strongly oppose the thinking of those kind of Christians.

AgingYoung
20th July 2006, 08:44 AM
Tricky,

Thanks for the hint but I don't see much reason to repost everything a person has typed in order to get to a point. For instance you make the point ....


That doesn't sound like it is at all related to what Slingblade was talking about.


The point Slingblade made that I addressed was....
Had another thought: doesn't this mean Jesus was talking to himself, trying to renegotiate a deal he made with himself for something he set up in the first place?

That's an understanding clearly based in the false notion that Jesus is God or the idea of the trinity.

Gene

Ossai
20th July 2006, 09:03 AM
AgingYoung
Thanks for the hint but I don't see much reason to repost everything a person has typed in order to get to a point. For instance you make the point .... You can split quotes or just quote a selection from another post.

It's a truism that everyone has a perfect right to come to any conclusion they care to but how wise is it to take the premise of liars to come to a conclusion? Since you're willing the liars rob you. I'm not willing. I know a lot of what the bible explains but I don't know what your thoughts on it are; I couldn't know that. Since all those premises are based on the bible, the bible, or at least large sections, are obviously not true, other sections contradict more current knowledge and other parts contradict itself then the only conclusion to be drawn is that the bible, if from one divinely inspired source, is nothing more than a lie.

Ossai

AgingYoung
20th July 2006, 10:00 AM
Since all those premises are based on the bible, the bible, or at least large sections, are obviously not true, other sections contradict more current knowledge and other parts contradict itself then the only conclusion to be drawn is that the bible, if from one divinely inspired source, is nothing more than a lie.


Ossai

Interesting logic, Ossai.

Particularly your generalization of a conclusion that has a conditional in it...

then the only conclusion to be drawn is that the bible, if from one divinely inspired source, is nothing more than a lie.

....conditional in bold. What is particularly noteworthy in your generalized conclusion are the generalizations that brought you to it. I understand the specifics that led you to your conclusion would take up books (maybe).

I'll briefly look at another point you've made...
or at least large sections, are obviously not true

One point about some of the 'large sections' that skeptics used to make was the size of Nineveh; no city in the ancient world was that large (3 days journey) so your point of ....


other sections contradict more current knowledge

used to be a valid opinion to dismiss the entire book of Jonah. Since they've found the ruins of Nineveh we find that the city was indeed huge so that point is no longer made as a reason to dismiss the book.

This is only one detail. The list is kind of large and would take up quite a bit of room. If the generalizations that you've cited are sufficient for you to dismiss the entire bible that's efficient. It saves thinking about a matter if you have a quick rule of thumb to use.

Gene

Tricky
20th July 2006, 11:20 AM
Thanks for the hint but I don't see much reason to repost everything a person has typed in order to get to a point. For instance you make the point .... You needn't repost everything. The quote box can contain as much or as little as you choose. note How I have included only your first two sentences here.

The point Slingblade made that I addressed was....

Had another thought: doesn't this mean Jesus was talking to himself, trying to renegotiate a deal he made with himself for something he set up in the first place?That's an understanding clearly based in the false notion that Jesus is God or the idea of the trinity.

I still don't think that Slingblade's offhand comment was intended to address this issue. It is insignificant to the point she was making.

slingblade
20th July 2006, 11:20 AM
[LIST]
I'm aware of quite a few ideas that people have that I think are misconceptions but I couldn't possibly know all of what you're thinking.

http://www.ag.org/top/Beliefs/index.cfm
There it is. All of it. Have a ball.

Your understanding of Jesus in the garden (trinity) points to an absurdity but you leave the idea at that point. With some rather thorough investigation Newton came to this conclusion about the trinity...

Newton didn't preach in my church, unfortunately.

When I compare Newton's understanding to yours what I have to admit is yours is lacking. But you say you see.

No. I say I reject it all, outright. It doesn't matter to me now what form Newton's imaginary god comes in, any more than it matters to me now what form your imaginary god comes in. It's all a big hoax.

I have no idea how the trinity could come from the jewish understanding in the shema...

Me, neither. Why don't you go ask all the people who taught me and thousands of other kids that God is a "blessed trinity" why they did it?

From the link I provided above:

The Adorable Godhead

a. Terms Defined
The terms "Trinity" and "persons" as related to the Godhead, while not found in the Scriptures, are words in harmony with Scripture, whereby we may convey to others our immediate understanding of the doctrine of Christ respecting the Being of God, as distinguished from "gods many and lords many." We therefore may speak with propriety of the Lord our God who is One Lord, as a trinity or as one Being of three persons, and still be absolutely scriptural.

If you have an argument about the trinity, you have it with them, not with me.

Do you not see how absurd it is to try to correct what I learned about something I no longer believe?

Do you also not see why this religion is a total farce? None of you know what you believe! None of you can agree! God's a trinity--no, he's not. God answers prayer--no, actually, he doesn't. Sheesh! You guys really need to get your various acts together.



please
don't
quote
this
entire
post
if
you'd
like
to
respond
to
one
single
idea
in
it.
That
creates
one
heck
of
a
lot
of
verbage.

Gene

Don't tell me how to repond to a post. You are not a moderator.
And you should know I have a BIG PROBLEM with men attempting to assert authority over me without my consent. You don't have my consent.

AgingYoung
20th July 2006, 12:07 PM
slingblade,

You don't see an imperative there. Well considering how you see the facts you just might see one. Since I wrote it I know what I meant. It was a request; not an imperative.

See how easy misunderstandings occur? Your hypocritical imperative is duly noted.


Do you not see how absurd it is to try to correct what I learned about something I no longer believe?

I do agree that it is meaningless to reason with someone that has their mind made up. Damn the facts; full steam ahead. I'd call it futile also.

Gene

slingblade
20th July 2006, 12:10 PM
So it's Slingblade's fault for coming to the wrong conclusion? She wasn't discrimminating enough about who she listened to? I can't speak for her, but if you said to me after such an ordeal as she had suffered that she was "willing the liars to rob her", I'd say you were an evil arrogant person. I hope that is not the case, but I've seen so many Christians who "blame the victim" to know how common it is. I strongly oppose the thinking of those kind of Christians.

Thanks, Tricky. You said what I was thinking, too.

You're taught what you're taught from a very early age, and you're taught that to question it is a sin.

If anyone thinks it's easy for a fervent fundie to become atheist....well, you aren't really thinking, frankly.

slingblade
20th July 2006, 12:23 PM
slingblade,

You don't see an imperative there. Well considering how you see the facts you just might see one. Since I wrote it I know what I meant. It was a request; not an imperative.

See how easy misunderstandings occur? Your hypocritical imperative is duly noted.

Oh, yeah, I know. But this is what happens to people who endure what I've gone through. I get knee-jerk reactions to certain stimuli.

I thought it was really passive-aggressive of you to couch a "request" in small, white font. I picked up a subtle message from that, which I wouldn't have picked up had you behaved as a mature adult and simply stated your "request" openly. Why try to hide an honest request? What purpose did you intend that to serve? We do have a PM system here, if you wanted to say something privately.



I do agree that it is meaningless to reason with someone that has their mind made up. Damn the facts; full steam ahead. I'd call it futile also.


Yeah, and I came to my decision overnight, with no coercion or motivation whatsoever. It was just a random whim, a matter of a moment, to reject the training and beliefs of 30+ years. I never had doubts, or a second thought, or even a minute's heartache.

I realize you don't know everything about me. But apparently, you realize it too, and yet you continue to make assumptions based on this scant information. Why is that?

AgingYoung
20th July 2006, 12:27 PM
Well at least you've come from ....


That doesn't sound like it is at all related to what Slingblade was talking about. I don't recall her mentioning anything about trinitarianism and I cannot see how Newton's position on this has any bearing on the subject whatsoever.

to...

I still don't think that Slingblade's offhand comment was intended to address this issue.


If you'll review the thread (not too far back) she addressed a point I made starting it with ....

Had another thought...

It was that very thought that I was speaking to.

Gene

Tricky
20th July 2006, 12:48 PM
If you'll review the thread (not too far back) she addressed a point I made starting it with ....

Had another thought...It was that very thought that I was speaking to.
If you think Slinglblade intended that to mean that she had some issues about the nature of the holy trinity, then you really weren't listening.

AgingYoung
20th July 2006, 01:45 PM
Tricky,

Let me explain to you exactly what I think. Oh look! A kitty cat! Here kitty, kitty, kitty. Hear, kitty!! Where was I? Oh, yes....

Terms like 'had some issues about' and ideas like 'If you think' and 'you really weren't listening' are utterly meaningless to me. I see more meaning in your finally coming to the idea that I was actually addressing a point that Slingblade made. I see a lot of meaning in your constantly speaking for Slingblade.

Now why did I choose that particular point? I consider it a major misunderstanding and conclusions based on misunderstanding can only lead to other misunderstandings. If you're of the opinion that the bible isn't a viable document to base any understanding on then any discussion is meaningless.

I could look at the larger picture of the nature of the debate. Some on one hand want to use the bible as grounds for dismissing the bible yet avoid addressing specifics that question their generalizations. One of those specifics is the idea of the trinity and the absurd conclusions you can come to if you give that point.

I wasn't willing to give that point and am prepared to explain why not. Yet all that was before Slingblade made the point...


Do you not see how absurd it is to try to correct what I learned about something I no longer believe?

Since you presume to speak for Slingblade, I have to ask if you've missed that point? As far as I'm concerned that topic is over.

Now let's change the subject and talk about you. You're a fascinating subject. Earlier in the thread you made this point....
So it's Slingblade's fault for coming to the wrong conclusion? She wasn't discrimminating enough about who she listened to? I can't speak for her, but if you said to me after such an ordeal as she had suffered that she was "willing the liars to rob her", I'd say you were an evil arrogant person. I hope that is not the case, but I've seen so many Christians who "blame the victim" to know how common it is. I strongly oppose the thinking of those kind of Christians.
There's a lot in that small quote but I only want to look at the bold for now. I'm compelled to ask, 'and just whom might you be?' that you imagine you have any right to oppose the way anyone thinks? Wouldn't you say that's a bit arrogant of you?

Gene

Tricky
20th July 2006, 02:11 PM
Since you presume to speak for Slingblade, I have to ask if you've missed that point? As far as I'm concerned that topic is over.
No I don't presume to speak for Slingblade, as I specifically mentioned earlier. I did not think it was necessary to repeat it each time I made a comment. And I did us a lot of "ifs" and "I thinks". But consider the subject dropped.


So it's Slingblade's fault for coming to the wrong conclusion? She wasn't discriminating enough about who she listened to? I can't speak for her, but if you said to me after such an ordeal as she had suffered that she was "willing the liars to rob her", I'd say you were an evil arrogant person. I hope that is not the case, but I've seen so many Christians who "blame the victim" to know how common it is. I strongly oppose the thinking of those kind of Christians.There's a lot in that small quote but I only want to look at the bold for now. I'm compelled to ask, 'and just whom might you be?' that you imagine you have any right to oppose the way anyone thinks? Wouldn't you say that's a bit arrogant of you?
Why no, I don't think it's arrogant at all. Each one of us has ways of thinking which we support and ways we oppose. It is called "morality". I will not defend for one second that my morality is the best one or even that there is such a thing as a correct morality, yet every person has a morality which helps guide the concepts which they find to be good and which they find to be bad. I'm guessing you do too.

In my mind, one of the ideas that is "bad" is the one that posits that people who have suffered pain and torment have somehow earned it, or that it is for their own good in some unfathomable celestial plan. And I would consider a person who claims to have knowledge of God's plan to be arrogant. Such a claim of insider knowledge isn't a moral stance, but blaming the victim is. My moral stance is opposed to blaming the victim, but that's just me.

And I was careful to say "if you said it to me", which you didn't.

elliotfc
21st July 2006, 04:13 AM
So God plays favorites with his children, huh? Gives extra goodies to Peter and his other pets & treats the rest of us like stepchildren?

Pretty lousy parenting, God. . .

God gave Peter extra goodies? You mean the being crucified upside-down deal, right?

-Elliot

elliotfc
21st July 2006, 04:15 AM
Yes, it is entirely clear how right you think you are. And, obviously, any competing interpretation must de facto be wrong.

I think I am right, yeah. Other interpretations I think are wrong, yeah.

That goes for most of us here right? Excluding those who *know* they are right of course.

-Elliot

elliotfc
21st July 2006, 04:18 AM
No problem with my context. Not all parents in a mixed household are capable of treating their biological children and stepchildren the same.

The point still stands - if your assertion is correct, God gives goodies to his favorites that He denies the rest of us. As I said, lousy parenting.

Maybe you should try praying for upside-down crucifixion?

-Elliot

elliotfc
21st July 2006, 05:14 AM
GOSH DARN IT I SPENT 30 MINUTES ON A REPLY, I GET LOGGED OUT, AND ITS WIPED OUT.

Thanks for listening. I'll try again!

Wrong. It should not affect free will at all. You could still decide, but your decision would be based on much better information. I can never understand why people describe a God who wants us to be ill-informed.

God wants us to have faith. We accept that idea on faith. :)

You say ill-informed, I say faith. I think you are speaking from the vantage point of needing evidence to have a relationship with God and Christ. Others who don't have that need are fine with just having faith.

I think there's enough information out there to make a decision. We all want things to be perfect, things to be better, but reality is what it is.

I've gotta keep these answers curt.

Of course not, which is why it is so silly to claim the Bible is completely true. Saying that it is true but nobody agrees what "true" means is meaningless.

It's completely true for what it is, and not what we think it is. And there is much agreement about what the Bible means, people always talk about us Christians (fundies especially) like we think the same...and we do, about a lot of things. If we can't grasp the complete truth, that's on us, and not the Bible. The Bible is what it is, objective reality is what it is, but the variable is how we think, what are motivations and limitations are, etc.

It usually means that although it is direct and plain to me, it is not that way to them. So I try with more info or speaking more clearly. Sure there are people who are intentionally ignoring you, but that isn't what non-believers are doing. All the ones I know are listening intently for evidence of God, but he is not speaking clearly.

OK. Then you, personally, *need* (or would need) to have him speak clearly. Others don't. Or, others think that he has spoken clearly.

I think I've said this before. You want to accept God based on evidence, and not based on faith. But that's a non-starter because God said that we should have faith in things that we can't see. So on God's terms, you can't accept him, because your terms differ from his terms.

You are driven by your needs, which differ from the needs of others. Is the issue the needs of the individual, or God's plan? For whatever reason, the relationship that we have are to have with Christ is fueled by faith in Christ, and not faith in our intellect to sort through the information and build up an evidentiary case. God's plan is what it is. Needs vary from individual to individual. I go with God's plan, and qualify my needs as opposed to using them to judge God's plan.

Well for one thing, He could do it in person instead of relying on an aging, oft-translated, poorly understood book. He used to do that all the time, according to the Old Testament. When did He contract laryngitis?

There's some disagreement about this...it appears that about the time of the Babylonian Captivity he stopped being as active in the OT prophecy biz, but maybe he wanted a buffer between that and Christ. I dunno.

Yes. Hope with expectations. I'm familiar with the concept. You seem to be proud of the fact that you make such decisions based on incomplete or absent evidence. I have a hard time understanding why.

:) What else is there to be proud about? My intelligence? My health? My tall dark and handsomeness? All those things will pass.

If it's just oblivion Tricky, tell me, what is there to be proud of? Things with a limited shelf life? If so, what *things* ought people to take pride in? I submit that's up to the individual.

If it's eternal life, I think faith is an excellent thing to take pride in. The best thing. All of our other attributes whither.

I used to work with Down's Kids. Several of them knew Christ as well or better than the smartest people around. They didn't need evidence, they probably still don't need evidence. What we need varies from individual to individual. If the Down's Kids are wrong, that doesn't change individual needs, and all things taken pride in will die with us when we die. If they're right, they still won't have evidence. They'll have the faith though.

Unbelievers would never say anything like that. They don't believe there is a God to stop them or a devil to tempt them or a savior to forgive them. They take responsibility for their own actions.

God will hold you to that last sentence...

But according to the bible, God punishes those who were decieved by him or given insufficient information by him. Or as Omar Khayyam (http://www.everypoet.com/archive/poetry/Omar_Khayyam/omar_khayyam_rubaiyat.htm) says, "Sued for a debt we never did contract/And cannot answer. Oh the sorry trade."

Yes, sin is like a genetic disease, and only Christ could answer sin. I don't think Omar should call that a sorry trade, but I suspect he also doesn't believe that Jesus has answered sin for all of us.

What, literally true except when its not?

"Literal" and "literary" do not mean the same thing. You know what the word "literal" means. Yes, I realize that you are making a sort of joke, but it would also seem that you think this joke is relevant. If so, its relevance escapes me.

Where in the Bible does it say that the Bible is literally true?

:p

-Elliot

Genesius
21st July 2006, 05:42 AM
God gave Peter extra goodies? You mean the being crucified upside-down deal, right?

-Elliot
Hmmm. . . ya know, Elliot, you've given me a thought. Let's review:

I originally wrote
Jesus also said:
And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
John 14:13-14

Pretty straightforward - you ask for it in Jesus' name, and you got it. A promise Jesus has broken every single day for over 2000 years.
Gene replied
yep, pretty straight forward. Jesus was talking to the disciples. I think the confusion comes in when you think that what Jesus told Peter (for instance) is applicable to you.
So Peter was crucified upside-down? Just think, if he had prayed in Jesus' name to be rescued he wouldn't have been martyred. Guess Peter was pretty dumb not to think of that one, huh?

Anacoluthon64
21st July 2006, 06:20 AM
I think I am right, yeah. Other interpretations I think are wrong, yeah.

That goes for most of us here right? Excluding those who *know* they are right of course.Yes, I think that's accurate, although I can't, clearly, speak for anyone else. The gravitating difference, however, is in the acceptance and rejection criteria of each side. Where you see revelation, I see a rout of logic and reason.

'Luthon64

Ossai
21st July 2006, 06:43 AM
AgingYoung

I'll briefly look at another point you've made...
or at least large sections, are obviously not true
One point about some of the 'large sections' that skeptics used to make was the size of Nineveh; no city in the ancient world was that large (3 days journey) so your point of
Other sections contradict more current knowledge
used to be a valid opinion to dismiss the entire book of Jonah. Since they've found the ruins of Nineveh we find that the city was indeed huge so that point is no longer made as a reason to dismiss the book.
An excellent strawman. Do you also make them on request?

elliotfc
You say ill-informed, I say faith. I think you are speaking from the vantage point of needing evidence to have a relationship with God and Christ. Others who don't have that need are fine with just having faith. Relationships, real ones at least, are based on physical interaction.

Ossai

Tricky
21st July 2006, 06:50 AM
GOSH DARN IT I SPENT 30 MINUTES ON A REPLY, I GET LOGGED OUT, AND ITS WIPED OUT.
That happened to me last night. If I'm planning a long post, sometimes I'll type it in a text document then paste it in.

God wants us to have faith. We accept that idea on faith.

You say ill-informed, I say faith. I think you are speaking from the vantage point of needing evidence to have a relationship with God and Christ. Others who don't have that need are fine with just having faith.
I know. But how do you decide what to have faith in? Couldn’t you read the Bhagvad Gita and have faith in that too? If not, why not?

If there is a way to find truth, I say it MUST be based on something that is objectively observable, otherwise you wind up with “truths” that contradict each other in a way that faith cannot resolve.

I think there's enough information out there to make a decision. We all want things to be perfect, things to be better, but reality is what it is. Well, needless to say, I disagree that there is enough info to reach a decision. But I agree that reality is all there is.


It's completely true for what it is, and not what we think it is. And there is much agreement about what the Bible means, people always talk about us Christians (fundies especially) like we think the same...and we do, about a lot of things. If we can't grasp the complete truth, that's on us, and not the Bible. The Bible is what it is, objective reality is what it is, but the variable is how we think, what are motivations and limitations are, etc.
You seem to be contradicting yourself at every turn. On one hand, you don’t want people to judge you based on fundies, then you say you are much the same. And the bible is completely true, but it is not objective reality. And I have made the point frequently that people take from the Bible what they want. That can include hate, greed, hypocrisy and anything else, depending on the person’s motivations and limitations.

OK. Then you, personally, *need* (or would need) to have him speak clearly. Others don't. Or, others think that he has spoken clearly.
Not a single Christian that I have ever met will say that God spoke aloud so others can hear Him. So essentially, they’re hearing voices in their head. I don’t regard that as reliable communication.

I think I've said this before. You want to accept God based on evidence, and not based on faith. But that's a non-starter because God said that we should have faith in things that we can't see. So on God's terms, you can't accept him, because your terms differ from his terms.
What else should we accept based on faith? Why not accept Hinduism on faith? Or Communism? Or the Loch Ness Monster? What is special about the Christian version of God that makes it immune to the same requirements for believability that you require of most other things?

You are driven by your needs, which differ from the needs of others. Is the issue the needs of the individual, or God's plan? For whatever reason, the relationship that we have are to have with Christ is fueled by faith in Christ, and not faith in our intellect to sort through the information and build up an evidentiary case. God's plan is what it is. Needs vary from individual to individual. I go with God's plan, and qualify my needs as opposed to using them to judge God's plan. I agree that most people believe in God because they need to. But needing to believe in God and God actually existing are very different things.


There's some disagreement about this...it appears that about the time of the Babylonian Captivity he stopped being as active in the OT prophecy biz, but maybe he wanted a buffer between that and Christ. I dunno.
I dunno either. It makes no sense to me. If He could speak aloud to us, why doesn’t He? It makes it seem like He is deliberately trying to keep us from knowing Him, which is yet another contradiction in the way God is envisioned by many Christians.

What else is there to be proud about? My intelligence? My health? My tall dark and handsomeness? All those things will pass.
LOL. Well at least you had them once, unlike some of us.

But without going into a lot of detail, I would say there are many things you should be proud of. I just don’t think that acceptance without evidence should be one of them.

If it's just oblivion Tricky, tell me, what is there to be proud of? Things with a limited shelf life? If so, what *things* ought people to take pride in? I submit that's up to the individual. For me, one of the biggest sources of pride is the things that I do that help others in real, tangible ways. I’ll bet that’s one of yours too. Also I take pride in having one of the largest collections of jokes in the known world. ;)

When oblivion comes, I won’t be proud anymore. I won’t be. C’est la morte. Or as Omar Khayyam (http://www.everypoet.com/archive/poetry/Omar_Khayyam/omar_khayyam_rubaiyat.htm)says,

“Oh make the most of what we yet may spend
Before we too into the dust descend,
Dust unto dust and under dust to lie,
Sans wine, sans song, sans singer, sans end.”

If it's eternal life, I think faith is an excellent thing to take pride in. The best thing. All of our other attributes whither.
And I think it is a waste of the only life that I am certain exists. Everything withers. It’s how the world works. I can live with that.


I used to work with Down's Kids. Several of them knew Christ as well or better than the smartest people around. They didn't need evidence, they probably still don't need evidence. What we need varies from individual to individual. If the Down's Kids are wrong, that doesn't change individual needs, and all things taken pride in will die with us when we die. If they're right, they still won't have evidence. They'll have the faith though.
How did they know about Christ? Did somebody tell them? Did you? Are you proud that you could convince sick children of your God? I’m betting that their standards of evidence are even lower than yours.

Yeah, maybe sick kids need something to believe in, but it could be anything, just so long as it gives them hope. It could be Santa Claus.

God will hold you to that last sentence...
I’ll be happy to discuss it with Him at any time.


Yes, sin is like a genetic disease, and only Christ could answer sin. I don't think Omar should call that a sorry trade, but I suspect he also doesn't believe that Jesus has answered sin for all of us.

Sin is nothing like a genetic disease. Sin is an offense to your particular religious system. It is a taught thing.
Omar correctly identified that it would be a tyrannical god that created these rules without having us agree to them. No (eternal) taxation without representation.

Where in the Bible does it say that the Bible is literally true? I guess you have to take it on faith.

Bri
21st July 2006, 07:27 AM
Then I apologize.

And I accept.

I returned to town just yesterday, and haven't read the thread in nearly a week, so it's possible that some of my points have already been addressed by others.

Ok, lets first address "Christian belief". Christian belief is not monolithic. It would not be possible for me to tell you precisely what Christian belief is. I'm sure that there are many ways Christians justify and or rationalize their beliefs. I'm not arguing against the rationalization of those beliefs as you are arguing for them (at least it seems to me that you are). I'm arguing the irrationality of their tenets.

God is Omnipotent (God can do anything that is not logically impossible).
God has promised "All things" and that "nothing is impossible".

Look, if Christians believe 1 + 1 = 3 then there is nothing more that I can do but argue that 1 + 1 = 2.

I'm neither arguing for or against rationalizations of Christian belief. I'm pointing out that the beliefs themselves are not as your argument appears to assume they must be. Your argument seems to be based on an interpretation of passages of the Bible that no Christian actually uses. That you cannot think of another possible interpretation is of little consequence in light of the fact that Christians can and apparently do.

You can argue that it is reasonable for Christians to believe that 1 + 1 = 3. Fine, but if you are going to do that then I think you need to logically demonstrate why it is reasonable for them to believe that 1 + 1 = 3. Or, you need to demonstrate that the logic of my argument is wrong and in fact Christians tenets are not irrational and that I'm unfairly representing Christian doctrine. I'll concede that is a possibility. Based on my 20+ years experience, training and missionary work I don't think so.

I don't know enough about Christian scripture to tell you exactly how those passages you quoted must be interpreted. However, you seem to be confusing the scripture itself with the tenets and doctrine that are based on interpretation of the scripture. I can tell you that few, if any, Christians believe the scripture means that God grants any and all prayers (which is the only interpretation that has no rational explanation whatsoever). When you were a Christian, I can't imagine that you believed the scripture meant that God grants any and all prayers, but if you did then I'll readily admit you were nuts.

Bri, in the end I'm not really as interested in their beliefs but simply demonstrating that the tenets and scripture are not rational as they are applied to miracles.

An interpretation of the scripture that requires God to grant any and all prayers is certainly irrational, but then I have seen no evidence of Christian tenets that are based on that irrational interpretation.

Under the umbrella of scripture let me add documented examples of miracles.

So, what are those tenets?


God is omnipotent.
God promised "all things" and "nothing shall be impossible".
According to Christians, God answers prayers and grants all sorts of mundane requests but more importantly God grants requests like healing the sick and the infirm.
In the past God, Christ, prophets, etc., routinely performed such miracles. (see plagues of Egypt; parting of the Red Sea; Joshua and the wall of Jericho; Elijah resurrecting a dead man; Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego cast into a very hot fire and surviving; man living in the belly of a fish; water into wine; Christ raising the dead; Christ healing the blind, Christ walking on water; Christ calming the storm; Christ feeding five thousand with a fish and two loaves.Now, consider all of that and reconcile that with the fact that today, God never performs miracles that would otherwise be impossible.

If I'm understanding you correctly, you are now switching to a second argument. You seem to be saying that since the Christian Bible states that God once performed obvious miracles, the fact that any miracles performed today aren't obvious is evidence that the Christian God doesn't exist. That is a fair argument, but you are ignoring any possible explanations, such as the possibility that God might choose not to perform miracles today in such a way that we would know for certain of his existance.

It's not my purpose to define exactly how or why Christians believe what they do. Only to show that their doctrine is not rational.

I am confused. The closest definition of "doctrine" in Webster is "a principle or position or the body of principles in a branch of knowledge or system of belief." If no Christian believes that God must grant any and all miracles, how can it be part of any Christian's doctrine?


Of course we can throw in a mysterious being whose will must not be questioned. But that is not a logical answer to the conundrum. A mysterious super being is simply Spackle to cover in the rough spots of belief.

Yes, "a mysterious super being" is not far from how a Christian might describe his or her God. And that notion of God seems to be central to their belief rather than "Spackle to cover in the rough spots of belief."

Again, without addressing specifically the logic of rationalization for their beliefs my argument goes to the tenets and scripture. If Christians pick and choose which scripture has meaning and what that meaning is then there is little I can do about that but to argue that the tenets and scripture are not rational.

Due to the nature of language (particularly an ancient language), even fundamentalists and literalists must interpret the meaning of the scripture. You seem to be arguing that there is no possible interpretation of the scripture other than an irrational one, but Christian tenet seems to prove that argument wrong.

So if a miracle is to make a can of soda come out of the soda machine when I feed it a dollar then that is a miracle? You are missing my point but I'll confess that I haven't been clear. If I can't distinguish a miracle from a non-miracle then why call anything a miracle? Why suppose that some super-being had anything to do with the so-called miracle?

It's only a miracle if the soda can otherwise wouldn't have come out of the machine (for example, if the machine was empty). Since the purpose of the miracle likely isn't to impress you, there is no reason for you to suppose that a soda can coming out of a machine is a miracle (unless you knew beforehand that the machine was empty). In this hypothetical case (assuming you don't know the machine is empty), the purpose of the miracle might be to provide you with a soda, or to provide the owner of the machine with some extra income, or perhaps both.

-Bri

AgingYoung
21st July 2006, 08:06 AM
Ossai,

A straw man is when I ignore your point then distort it to a weaker point that is readily dismissed. I dismissed your point with an example. There are a lot of examples to dismiss your generalization of a premise...

Other sections contradict more current knowledge


yet since you seem comfortable in your beliefs I wouldn't want to rock your boat.

Gene

elliotfc
21st July 2006, 08:27 AM
Wrong. It should not affect free will at all. You could still decide, but your decision would be based on much better information. I can never understand why people describe a God who wants us to be ill-informed.

Let me revisit this point.

There's a heck of a lot of information out there to support the theory of materialistic macroevolution. So much so that some people accept the theory of materialistic macroevolution. But some people have a different opinion. Some people say that the information out there is not anything like evidence, and that the theory is only assumed, based on the present information. *Without debating this particular theory*, my point is that there is a difference of opinion a)about the information, its quality and volume and b)what views and opinions ought to be drawn from the information.

Now, does free will come into play in the above scenario? *Of course it does*. Does the information deceive? Or do individuals deceive themselves when confronted with the information?

Now...I think we have a God who wants us to *choose*. The information is, in fact, there. Is it enough, is it too little? I don't know, and you can ask the same questions about a million other theories.

The information exists, in the gospels. We have ways of disseminating this information. Of course free will has something to do with this, when the individual confronts and engages with the information. If the information is judged to be insufficient, that too is free will, just as if a creationist examined the evidence for macroevolution and determined that the information was insufficient. "But they're wrong, and I'm right." And that, too, is free will.

Information is what it is. We have opinions about it. Too much, too little, is also an opinion. If information could speak for itself we wouldn't have or need people who promote and instruct and propagate.

-Elliot

Ossai
21st July 2006, 08:48 AM
AgingYoung
A straw man is when I ignore your point then distort it to a weaker point that is readily dismissed. I dismissed your point with an example. There are a lot of examples to dismiss your generalization of a premise...
Other sections contradict more current knowledge
yet since you seem comfortable in your beliefs I wouldn't want to rock your boat.
You want specifics, have a few:
How many disciplines are present when Jesus appears to them after the resurrection?
There two differing genealogies given for Jesus.
The Jehoakim clan was specifically banned by god from taking part in the lineage of David, yet it is mentioned for Jesus in an attempt to link him back to David.
Know of any 2000+ year old people running around?
Which is correct Predestination or freewill, the bible supports both?
The orders of creation listed in Genesis don’t match neither each other nor science.
The world isn’t flat.
How many animals were carried on the Ark?
Why are there three sets of the ten commandments in the same book, two of which don’t match?
Is god for or against divorce?
And if you want a more direct contradiction, what was written above Jesus on the cross?
Does god lie?
Are people saved by faith or works?
Why isn’t the Jesus story at least original?
If the bible contains ultimate moral guidelines why are most now ignored by society as barbaric or unjust?
Why did Jesus preach only to Jews and exclude everyone else?
When was Jesus born?
If Jesus was supposed to be the messiah, why didn’t he meet the prophecies?
Meet any Christians with the superpower that they are supposed to have?

Ossai

Tricky
21st July 2006, 08:55 AM
Let me revisit this point.

There's a heck of a lot of information out there to support the theory of materialistic macroevolution. So much so that some people accept the theory of materialistic macroevolution. But some people have a different opinion. Some people say that the information out there is not anything like evidence, and that the theory is only assumed, based on the present information. *Without debating this particular theory*, my point is that there is a difference of opinion a)about the information, its quality and volume and b)what views and opinions ought to be drawn from the information.

Now, does free will come into play in the above scenario? *Of course it does*. Does the information deceive? Or do individuals deceive themselves when confronted with the information?
There are indeed varying qualities of information. If the information is such that verifiable statements can be made about it, then it would be better than information about which nothing verifiable can be said. While there still may be difference on the meaning of the information, the presence of the information is not really in doubt.


Now...I think we have a God who wants us to *choose*. The information is, in fact, there. Is it enough, is it too little? I don't know, and you can ask the same questions about a million other theories.It is not information that can be well verified. Occasionally (as one thread discusses) minor parts about this information may be validated, but not the main contention. As you remind us, it must be taken on faith.

The information exists, in the gospels. We have ways of disseminating this information. Of course free will has something to do with this, when the individual confronts and engages with the information. If the information is judged to be insufficient, that too is free will, just as if a creationist examined the evidence for macroevolution and determined that the information was insufficient. "But they're wrong, and I'm right." And that, too, is free will.
Certainly you can choose (via free will) to ignore independantly verifiable information. A creationist might be able to hold a fossil in his hands and observe that it resembles a living creature. He might be able to further verify (with lots of research) that though it resembles some living creatures, it is not quite like any creature that we are aware exists. He might further be able to verify that this particular fossil lies in strata with similar but not exact fossils of similar, non-extant creatures. He might indeed find a string of creatures that procede along a scale from very like living creatures, to not much like living creatures (such as the well-described lineage from Eohippus to the modern horse.) Information of this type is readily abundant.

He might choose to conclude that all of these fossils were placed there (with great attention to minute detail) by the Devil to confuse us. Free will gives him that choice. But he cannot deny that this information, be it the result of evolution or placed by the devil, does in fact exist.

But by comparison, information about Heaven, or the divinity of Jesus is not readily abundant. You cannot hold in your hands a fossil of a soul ascending to heaven. You cannot speak with a deceased person in a way that all can hear. It can scarcely even be called information, but rather only allegations.

Can anyone interpret information the way they choose? Certainly they can. Is there a difference between abundant information and scanty information? I would say there is.

Could God, if he wanted to, make information about His existance abundant rather than scanty? You tell me.

AgingYoung
21st July 2006, 09:03 AM
Genesius,

Does this mean that you agree that when Jesus said....
And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.


He wasn't speaking to everyone? I'd move on but I'm still back at your original point of ...
Pretty straightforward - you ask for it in Jesus' name, and you got it. A promise Jesus has broken every single day for over 2000 years.


Do you have another proof text to support your premise?

Gene

elliotfc
21st July 2006, 09:05 AM
I've said it before, but it bears saying ad eternam.

When I prayed, I wasn't asking God for anything selfish...I was praying for an end to my suffering.

But Sling, EVERYBODY will have an end to their suffering. Why pray for the inevitable?

The request for God to end suffering and death has been answered (Jesus) but we won't receive the full fruits of that til after we die. Suffering is part of life, and we see this in the life of Christ. No, God won't end suffering when you tell him to end suffering. He has addressed suffering, in his own way, and of course you aren't content with that.

But anyhow, the larger point is that your suffering will end, you just have to be patient and endure. An athesit can accept this just as well as a believer, it's one of the ideas we *share*, as a matter of fact.

I was begging god to please let me have just one friend whose father didn't want to have sex with me.

But friendship is a two-way street. God isn't going to force another human being to be your friend, or anyone's friend. It's probably too late for this...but if God compels someone to be your friend...what kind of friend is that? A friend who is forced to be your friend?

Later, I was begging God to please heal my husband from his addictions, because I've seen what a nice, caring, loving man he can be, and can't he be that man all the time, please? Can he stop hitting me, screaming at me, humiliating me, insulting me, ignoring me....can he stop telling me what a horrible mother I am, can he stop leaving other women's phone numbers and underwear where I can find them, and can he stop dragging me to church where I get to watch him weep and wail and promise God he'll do better, and then take me and the kids home and go out to the movies with his current mistress that afternoon?

Did your husband want God's healing? Again, if we ask God to change people, even for the best of reasons, God takes away their free will. Change, like friendship, can't be forced on someone. Or, it can be...but then what is it really? God reprogramming us, as if we were robots?

Now some folks want me to think that what I was praying for wasn't God's will. Isn't that what's being said?

But you were involving other people in these prayers. If God would manipulate others (again for the best of reasons) to satisfy you, couldn't God also manipulate *you* for the satisfaction of others?

What if someone prayed, to God, that something would be done to you...so that you would change to suit that other person's wishes. Is this the kind of God we want?

Do you have my sypmathies and good will? Yes, you do. I'm not trying to be mean. If you have *evolved* away from previous...let's call it unconstructive thinking...I'm just trying here to test your evolution. It can't hurt, can it? If you follow through with your way of thinking, when does it end, with who does it end, and what about free will?

I *get* your perspective, but what about other people's perspective? What about people who pray that *you* change? And what standards would be used for those prayers? And does God answer all prayers, or only good ones? And is it right to have God convert others against their will, to make other people happy?

What if we prayed that Hezbollah (probably spelled it wrong) converted to make them into people that Israelis would like? But what if other people prayed that Israelis would be turned into people that Hezbollah likes? Then what?

This is the *kind* of stuff I'm getting at. Big picture stuff. Without isolating you and targetting your kind of prayer...let's maybe see what happens if we extend prayer to others who don't think like us. And if we do, it gets messy. Really, really messy. God answering everyones prayers to *change* other people, prayers which are the opposite of other prayers, and then God just being a reprogrammer to change others, against their wills, to make other people happy.

Whatever God is, we Christians don't believe he does this kind of stuff.

God grants prayers which fall in line with his will.

HE HAS ESSENTIALLY GRANTED EVERY PRAYER with Jesus. His way to conquer sin and death and suffering is Jesus. Prayers to end suffering have been granted according to his will, and not according to our will. Because if we apply our will it leads to chaos (again, think about a world where every prayer to do anything and everything was granted by God).

Being human, I can only submit to that will; I've no right to ask anything of God.

No, you have the right to ask *anything* of God. You can call God any name you want. You can reject God. Anything you want. That's free will! It isn't a question of "do we have the right"...but it could be a question of "is it right"....separating an idea of objective morality to the idea of free will and individual rights.

God wanted all those men to hurt me?
God wanted my husband to hurt me?
Pardon my blunt, but that's pretty harsh.

I don't believe God wanted those things, anymore than he wanted his Son crucified. But he allows for free will. To me the issue is allowance of free will in general as an overall topic as opposed to specific items which follow from that allowance.

I've got limited choices here, you must admit. God hates me, or God doesn't exist.

Yes, I must admit that you have made the choices limited. There are more choices, but I can't force you obviously to accept that. God wouldn't answer my prayer to reprogram your brain to accept other choices any more or less than he would reprogram the brains of those who physically and sexually abused you.

:(

I figure you eventually have to come to a place much like that, if you're a fundie and you're tired of being hurt by your beliefs.

I think this is demonstrably false, right?

Remember, being a fundie woman, I also had to put up with every man's disdain, in my circle. I'm the source of all evil in the world. I'm the weaker vessel. I can't speak in church, must submit to my husband, and have no recourse. No one is on my side. I'm a lowly woman.

Mary was a lowly woman too, but God exalted her to a place above all humans, and that includes us great guys called men.

Not all fundie, or Christian, women accept your sentiments above.

Yes, Elliot. I know you live in a wonderful world where Christianity isn't really like this. Goodie for you. When you talk, all I can see is someone else God likes better than me.

Well I'm fortunate and blessed to belong to a wonderful church. I've never been married, never been a fundamentalist, and have always kept an open mind about these matters (meaning, I've never *not* been able to entertain alternate theories and viewpoints). I've never thought of this as God liking me or not liking someone else. I don't take any credit for the lack of serious misfortunate in my life. In fact, since my life goes pretty smoothly I think God expects a hell of a lot more from me than others. I don't think I'm off the hook, in other words.

Again, we all suffer to some extent (some a lot more than others) and we will all die. Death is the great equalizer. God doesn't like anybody so much that they won't die. We live, we do the best we can, and I don't see any point in condemning those who have lived a demonstrably harsher life than I have.

The other equalizer, besides death, is Christ. If the wages of sin are equal to all, so is the salvation we can gain in Christ. *It does not follow* that everyone with your experience set will necessarily choose atheism anymore than anyone with my experience set will necessarily choose a religion. Despair and tragedy and grief and pain and suffering can bring people *to* religion just as well as lead people away from religion.

But if one is lucky, when one tries to break away from this hell on earth, one encounters logic, reason, and critical thought. One can realize, "I have been lied to, for years." It isn't that God hates me....it's that there is no God, and I have been duped by a lot of people, most of whom have also been duped.

The implication is that believers have not encountered logic, reason, and critical thought. I don't think your experience set makes such judgment legitimate. I do accept that it brings you comfort though, so I won't hold it against you, no reason to beat you up about this, it's just your opinion.

But anyhow, even if we have been duped, it's equal oblivion for all of us. In which case we will just do what we do. Feelings will follow. That's life. There would be the same explanation for the best of deeds as the worst of deeds, and all you can do is the best you can, cope as well as you can.

We've all been duped then, some less than others, but the species survives. That's the reality. Being duped is something to talk about until we are dead. And if we are no longer duped, then the species will survive and we'll talk about something else until we are dead.

I've been depending on, counting on, and being disappointed by......nothing.
I've believed the lie. The Great Lie. I've been taught all my life how not to think, because thinking is antithetical to belief.

Well that's just stupid.

I agree that if I think like you used to think I'd be believing a lie too.

So I'm sticking to my argument, Elliot. God promised many times in the bible to grant his followers what we ask for. Yes, there are verses in which Jesus addressed those promises to his disciples. There are other places where the common person was being addressed. And my fundie faith taught me from my earliest memory that those promises were for me. But they lied. They may not have known they were lying, but that doesn't negate the fact.

Anybody who told you that God will do anything a person wants, no ifs ands or buts, did not necessary lie to you (they may have sincerely believed what they told to you) but yes, they did mislead you. But you don't need me to understand that, you already do.

If, when I die, I do encounter a god after all, I'll have only one question for him, and I won't be the least bit ashamed to ask it, stridently and often:

Why?

He'll give you the perfect answer, and you won't be forced to accept that answer any more or less than God would force people to change to suit our wills, no matter how wonderful our requests are.

-Elliot

elliotfc
21st July 2006, 09:08 AM
Had another thought: doesn't this mean Jesus was talking to himself, trying to renegotiate a deal he made with himself for something he set up in the first place?

And you want me to think I should model this, apparently.

:dl:

No, it meant that Jesus was being human and qualifying his prayer as every human should.

I agree that you shouldn't model it the way in which you articulated it.

-Elliot

AgingYoung
21st July 2006, 09:11 AM
Whoa Ossai, whoa!

Well if it's all the same to you, rather than head off in multiple directions I'd prefer to back up to the point where you alleged that I used a strawman. Could you either specifically detail that allegation or retract it?

Gene

I less than three logic
21st July 2006, 09:13 AM
Ossai,

A straw man is when I ignore your point then distort it to a weaker point that is readily dismissed.
You mean like taking the claim "at least large sections, are obviously not true" and distorting it down to a single example, then dismiss that example and pretend it refutes the claim?

I dismissed your point with an example. There are a lot of examples to dismiss your generalization of a premise...
Thinking that "lots" of examples dismiss the claim that are sections of the Bible that are not true is non sequitur, and this is the fallacy you performed with your example above. You would have to show that everything, not "lots" of things, in the Bible is true to refute the claim because you can have lots of true things as well as lots of false things. However, the way you presented your argument is what made it a straw man. That is, the idea that your single example completely refuted Ossai's point.



Other sections contradict more current knowledge


yet since you seem comfortable in your beliefs I wouldn't want to rock your boat.
Anyone know that he was talking about here? 'Cause this make no sense whatsoever.

elliotfc
21st July 2006, 09:14 AM
If you think Slinglblade intended that to mean that she had some issues about the nature of the holy trinity, then you really weren't listening.

I think she was talking about the holy binary, Jesus being God and God being Jesus. But I also think AgingYoung made a good point, albeit gruffly. But he also replied to a clear offhand dismissive comment, and that's always not a good idea, particularly when you return the favor. I mean, I've *never* done such a thing meself. :p

-Elliot

elliotfc
21st July 2006, 09:15 AM
So Peter was crucified upside-down? Just think, if he had prayed in Jesus' name to be rescued he wouldn't have been martyred. Guess Peter was pretty dumb not to think of that one, huh?

He asked to be crucified upside down. And he didn't ask God. I don't get yer point.

-Elliot

elliotfc
21st July 2006, 09:17 AM
Yes, I think that's accurate, although I can't, clearly, speak for anyone else. The gravitating difference, however, is in the acceptance and rejection criteria of each side. Where you see revelation, I see a rout of logic and reason.

'Luthon64

To some extent you're right. Destroying death, by dying, is a neat trick, but God is bigger than human logic and reason. You don't have to accept that now or for eternity if you don't want to of course.

-Elliot

AgingYoung
21st July 2006, 09:30 AM
Ossai,

This is how I see your point. Feel free to correct it if I'm wrong.

Since all those premises are based on the bible,

Premises:

the bible, or at least large sections, are obviously not true
other sections contradict more current knowledge
and other parts contradict itself


....then the only conclusion to be drawn is that

Conclusion with imbedded conditional....

the bible, if from one divinely inspired source, is nothing more than a lie.


We are presently discussing point 2 of the premise you're using to support your conditional conclusion and your allegation of a strawman.

Gene

Genesius
21st July 2006, 10:00 AM
Genesius,

Does this mean that you agree that when Jesus said....
And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
He wasn't speaking the everyone? I'd move on but I'm still back at your original point of ...
Pretty straightforward - you ask for it in Jesus' name, and you got it. A promise Jesus has broken every single day for over 2000 years.
Do you have another proof text to support your premise?

Gene

I was responding to Elliot's crack about Peter asking to be crucified, in which he ignored your assertion concerning that quote only applying to the disciples.

I don't agree that Jesus said anything, since I have yet to see one bit of hard evidence that such a person actually existed.

I less than three logic
21st July 2006, 10:06 AM
Ossai feel free to reiterate my previous post, as I believe AgingYoung has me on ignore. We had an unpleasant discussion a while back after he made the claim that a Christian that rapes is no different than a Muslim, which he never actually retracted nor restated, but that is really besides the point.

I would warn you though, that debating AgingYoung is truly an exercise in futility. It is, however, not without its entertainment value. :)

slingblade
21st July 2006, 11:35 AM
But Sling, EVERYBODY will have an end to their suffering.

You're absolutely right, elliot.

I'm going to go help that along now.

edit: meaning, I'm out of here for a while. I need a break from such sanctimonious crap.

Tricky
21st July 2006, 11:56 AM
Double post

Tricky
21st July 2006, 12:00 PM
But Sling, EVERYBODY will have an end to their suffering. Why pray for the inevitable?

The request for God to end suffering and death has been answered (Jesus) but we won't receive the full fruits of that til after we die. Suffering is part of life, and we see this in the life of Christ. No, God won't end suffering when you tell him to end suffering. He has addressed suffering, in his own way, and of course you aren't content with that.
You can't be serious. Either you are not aware that (by my interpretation) Slingblade was not asking for death to free her, but just to be out of her horrible situation, or you are saying she shouldn't hope and pray to get out of that situation. If it is the former, you are merely thick, but if it is the latter, you are downright cruel. I prefer you thick.

AgingYoung
21st July 2006, 12:17 PM
Genesius,
On the one hand you say....

Jesus also said:
John 14:13-14

Pretty straightforward - you ask for it in Jesus' name, and you got it. A promise Jesus has broken every single day for over 2000 years.

then on the other hand you say...

I don't agree that Jesus said anything


So sometimes you misquote Jesus and sometimes you deny he said a thing. Your sense is becoming kind of clear. Thanks for that clarification.

Gene

Promise Jesus made to the apostles:

And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

Genesius
21st July 2006, 12:23 PM
Genesius,
On the one hand you say....



then on the other hand you say...
I don't agree that Jesus said anythingSo sometimes you misquote Jesus and sometimes you deny he said a thing. Your sense is becoming kind of clear. Thanks for that clarification.

Gene

Promise Jesus made to the apostles:
And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
Apologies. I should have said "Jesus supposedly also said. . ."

I suppose you never make a mistake?

AgingYoung
21st July 2006, 12:32 PM
Genesius,

Even if you consider it something Jesus supposedly said he wasn't making a promise to anyone other than whom he was speaking to. Either way you would care to look at the text, neither supports your point of ....


Pretty straightforward - you ask for it in Jesus' name, and you got it. A promise Jesus has broken every single day for over 2000 years.


Do you have another proof text (of maybe something that Jesus supposedly said) or would you rather not look at the matter further?

Gene

RandFan
21st July 2006, 04:08 PM
I'm trying to stay away from the forum and I was lurking. I thought I would respond to you since I'm waiting for some reviews of my work before I can continue.

Your argument seems to be based on an interpretation of passages of the Bible that no Christian actually uses.How Christians interpret these passages is not really at issue.

Christians can interpret anything any way they want. Here is the salient question, do they have a reasonable basis for their interpretation? If so then what is that basis for that interpretation? Do I believe that Christians have rationalized these scriptures? Of course I do. I understand that the bible and these scriptures are consistent to them and that they have a consistent belief as to what these scriptures mean. That is not at issue.

You keep wanting to argue that I'm imposing an otherwise un-held belief onto Christians. No, I'm not. I hope that is clear. I'm not sure how else to explain. Christians are free to believe anything they want to. The question becomes, is the belief rational? Is the belief coherent. Is the belief cogent?

I will ask you, is it?

I don't know enough about Christian scripture to tell you exactly how those passages you quoted must be interpreted. However, you seem to be confusing the scripture itself with the tenets and doctrine that are based on interpretation of the scripture. I can tell you that few, if any, Christians believe the scripture means that God grants any and all prayers (which is the only interpretation that has no rational explanation whatsoever). When you were a Christian, I can't imagine that you believed the scripture meant that God grants any and all prayers, but if you did then I'll readily admit you were nuts. This really does not reflect my argument. I never believed that and I doubt many if any do. That is not the point. The point is, can we take the scripture, history and beliefs and logically reconcile them using rational and objective data? I say no. You seem to be saying "yes" but you refuse to explain how.

Here is a question: If you can't reconcile those things and you can't explain how a Christian reconciles those things why do you suppose that they can be reconciled?

When I was a Christian I rationalized all kinds of inconsistent and irrational concepts.

For instance:

I believed that a man could walk on water.
I believed that a man lived in the belly of a fish.
I believed that Christ turned water into wine.
I believed that the earth was completely covered by water.

None of these things are supported by an evidentiary data. All objective evidence, reason and logic would strongly suggest that these beliefs are not rational.

Bri, is the belief in the ability to walk on water rational?
Is the belief that a man lived in the belly of a fish rational?
Is the belief that Christ turned water into wine rational?
Is the belief that the earth was completely covered by water rational?

These are all examples of magical thinking.

Here is another question for you.

Today I spoke with a talking snake. That I spoke with the snake is true. Do you believe me? Should anyone believe me? If someone says that they believe me is that person rational?

You seem to be saying that since the Christian Bible states that God once performed obvious miracles, the fact that any miracles performed today aren't obvious is evidence that the Christian God doesn't exist.No. Not at all. I'm saying that the fact that these miracles do not happen today is a good indication that they never happened. I hope that is clear?

Here, let's try this, if I tell you that I can fly by flapping my arms but I can only do it when you are not looking should you infer anything from the facts? Is it rational to believe that I can fly by flapping my arms but only when you are not looking?

That is a fair argument, but you are ignoring any possible explanations, such as the possibility that God might choose not to perform miracles today in such a way that we would know for certain of his existance. There are a couple of problems with this argument.

1.) Following your logic we must assume that God is arbitrary. Why provide proof that he existed before but not now?

2.) It is convenient. If I say I can only flap my arms and fly when you are not looking then my explanation for failing to prove my claim is simply convenient. Sure, I could have a million reasons why this is true but none of those reasons would overcome the irrational nature of my claim. The same is true with Christian belief in archaic and alleged miracles. The excuse is incapable of overcoming the irrational nature of those claims.

It's only a miracle if the soda can otherwise wouldn't have come out of the machine (for example, if the machine was empty). Thank you. We just might be making some progress. We will see. Please look closely at your answer. It is quite telling. By your logic a miracle can only be something that would not otherwise happen. Right?

Now, by all the evidence, in this day and age, God never does that which otherwise is not possible.

Please take some time and consider your statement and the above.

Do you see a problem?

Since the purpose of the miracle likely isn't to impress you, there is no reason for you to suppose that a soda can coming out of a machine is a miracle (unless you knew beforehand that the machine was empty). In this hypothetical case (assuming you don't know the machine is empty), the purpose of the miracle might be to provide you with a soda, or to provide the owner of the machine with some extra income, or perhaps both. I'm not interested in being impressed. I'm interested in understanding why Christians believe in miracles if miracles are only things that are not impossible.

elliotfc
21st July 2006, 05:10 PM
I'm not interested in being impressed. I'm interested in understanding why Christians believe in miracles if miracles are only things that are not impossible.

Well hells bells, anything that happens, whether it is miraculous or not miraculous, is possible, right?

-Elliot

elliotfc
21st July 2006, 05:14 PM
You're absolutely right, elliot.

I'm going to go help that along now.

edit: meaning, I'm out of here for a while. I need a break from such sanctimonious crap.

Yeah, beats having to read the extent of my response. Sheesh. I understand that your life has been difficult, but that doesn't make you sancrosanct.

-Elliot

elliotfc
21st July 2006, 05:39 PM
You can't be serious. Either you are not aware that (by my interpretation) Slingblade was not asking for death to free her, but just to be out of her horrible situation, or you are saying she shouldn't hope and pray to get out of that situation. If it is the former, you are merely thick, but if it is the latter, you are downright cruel. I prefer you thick.

When did I say that anyone ought not pray to God for deliverance from a situation? My objection has to do with the particular expectation, and not the actual exercise of prayer.

And my point remains. It is reality. Don't all materialists believe that our suffering will eventually end? What's wrong with talking reality to a materialist? Should I not tell atheists that one day they will stop experiencing things, be it pleasure or pain? We can be mature about such a topic, even if its a sensitive one.

If you want to know what I really think:

1) I think that prayers to end suffering are excellent prayers, prayers which I have prayed and prayers which most people have prayed.
2) I think that suffering is part of the human condition, and that if prayer could do away with suffering, then suffering would not be part of the human condition. But it is, so prayer will not do away with suffering...but...
3) That isn't exactly right. Rather, prayer *will* do away and *has* done away with suffering...but according to God's plan, and not our own. Jesus and all that. Meaning God has answered our prayers, but not in the way that we would have him answer our prayers.
4) And if you don't believe that, at least you have the consolation that suffering is *finite* for the individual.
5) What is needed, whether or not you are a materialist or a believer in the afterlife? Patience. Endurance. Help from others.

That's what I think, and if all you can come up with is a cruel/thick binary, then go ahead and pick. It's just what I'm think about this stuff. I'm having a hard time even coming up with a label for it. Go ahead and call it thick, because I don't see the cruelty in it. I take no pleasure in the fact that she suffered, and am just telling her what she probably already knows, oblivion will do away with suffering.

Also, I'm sure other peope have suffered as much or more than sling and yet still are religious believers. I guess we'd call them thick too. But name-calling aside, I don't think the mere fact of suffering means anything definite besides the mere fact of suffering. The individual still must engage with that, that is the primary factor in determining where one goes from there, and not the mere suffering, which can result in a multiplicity of options. Or a binary, since that's what people seem to prefer. :)

I think sling wants to be offended with me, so she is offended with me. That's my opinion. I thought I gave her a lot to chew on in that post, but she's not interested, as is her right.

-Elliot

RandFan
21st July 2006, 06:31 PM
Well hells bells, anything that happens, whether it is miraculous or not miraculous, is possible, right?

-ElliotThat's a sticky question to answer.

Is it possible to make a round square? That is definitionaly a logical impossibility.

But I do know what you mean however it is frustrating to answer your question since I've made it clear what I mean so many times.

As it is right now humans are incapable of regrowing limbs. It IS possible we just don't have any means to do it right now. That fact is understood by most. The problems inherent with regrowing limbs is understood. The need and desire to regrow limbs is huge. If it were "possible" today with current technology or knowledge then surely we would see it.

By "impossible" I mean that which is not possible to do now with our current technology.

Miracles do not consist of what otherwise is not possible. That it. That's all, and I have been repeating that for some time now.

elliotfc
21st July 2006, 06:38 PM
That happened to me last night. If I'm planning a long post, sometimes I'll type it in a text document then paste it in.

I left out me forgetting to copy the text before I submitted it. It was my fault! All my fault! Yes, the ways of this forum are strict and rigid but I know the rules and the modus operandi! No excuses for me!

I know. But how do you decide what to have faith in? Couldn’t you read the Bhagvad Gita and have faith in that too? If not, why not?

And that's where free will kicks in, of course. The "how" will vary according to each individual. Personally, I have faith in the bible because it satisfactorily addresses all of my deepest personal philosophical questions and I see a ton of beauty and truth in it and I am satisfied with the behavior of those who knew Christ. I guess that answers your question directly? Or were you looking for a more general, non-personal answer?

If there is a way to find truth, I say it MUST be based on something that is objectively observable, otherwise you wind up with “truths” that contradict each other in a way that faith cannot resolve.

I'd agree with you if I was a materialist. I'm not perturbed by the fact of spiritual and theological contradictions, we're doing the best we can. Faith is not about resolving these issues, either.

But in other matters, I do agree with you. In materialistic matters that is.

I'm happy to use different ways of handling different things is what I'm trying to say.

You seem to be contradicting yourself at every turn. On one hand, you don’t want people to judge you based on fundies, then you say you are much the same.

I didn't mean it that way, I meant it in that many times people talk to me as if I was a fundie. I think.

And the bible is completely true, but it is not objective reality.

Yes, I do think it is true but not in the way a materialist would consider truth. Meaning it's not a fact book, but it gives us truth that to me is more important than the materialistic truth in a science book.

And I have made the point frequently that people take from the Bible what they want. That can include hate, greed, hypocrisy and anything else, depending on the person’s motivations and limitations.

Well certainly the Bible would have to offer us something or else nobody would place any real stock in it.

That's like saying we only believe in Jesus because we get something from Jesus. Well...yeah...that's the point of Jesus. Jesus was for us, not for God.

The ultra-orthodox Jews have a neat concept of the Torah. They think that it's existence is independent of our existence...that the Law predates our creation. But I don't think that way. The Bible is for us, and without us, I don't think it would have any reason to exist.

Not a single Christian that I have ever met will say that God spoke aloud so others can hear Him. So essentially, they’re hearing voices in their head. I don’t regard that as reliable communication.

People talk to people in a certain way, and God talks to us in a different way. Reliability can be confirmed in the next one. Or not. :)

What else should we accept based on faith? Why not accept Hinduism on faith? Or Communism? Or the Loch Ness Monster? What is special about the Christian version of God that makes it immune to the same requirements for believability that you require of most other things?

I'm not saying it is immune from any requirements. It isn't, that's readily apparent, particularly in this forum.

I'm saying what I think is true. If you are most interested in believing things based on evidence, you'll never accept Christianity. That's the extent of what I'm saying. Yes, you can bring up other things that one can have faith in, and I can say the exact same things about those things as well.

Of course I do think that Christianity is more special than those things, because it offers us real salvation from what we rightly agree is a problematic existence, or, at least an existence where there is much confusion and suffering and sorrow.

I have already said that I have different requirements for believability for different things. Let's not use the Loch Ness Monster...let's take something like medieval accounts of fairies. I have different requirements for accepting that because I entertain the idea that the reality behind those stories may be a reality that we can't possibly scientifically study. If that is the case, I can accept it in a different way than I'd accept something that I could boil away in a chemistry lab.

I agree that most people believe in God because they need to. But needing to believe in God and God actually existing are very different things.

Oh I agree, and that goes for needing to believe that God doesn't exist as well. My point is just that it isn't necessarily *bad* that people need to believe in God, anymore than it is bad for people to need people who love them or summat.

I dunno either. It makes no sense to me. If He could speak aloud to us, why doesn’t He?

He did, as Christ, and we accept that as a remarkable incarnation that will only happen once again. So let's change that to "why doesn't he speak aloud to us more often". Then we're talking about how many times, under what circumstances, are there any qualifications or limits to that, etc. It's analogous in my mind to the prayer biz...does God answer any and all prayers, does he talk to any and everyone in the way we think he should?

Also, we are the Body of Christ, and we are commissioned to speak for God and spread the gospel of Christ. We are imperfect (duh) proxies for God. It's part of God's plan to have it that way. We're all in this together, and the question "am i my brother's keeper" has been answered in the affirmative.

It makes it seem like He is deliberately trying to keep us from knowing Him, which is yet another contradiction in the way God is envisioned by many Christians.

And it doesn't seem that way to me.

But without going into a lot of detail, I would say there are many things you should be proud of. I just don’t think that acceptance without evidence should be one of them.

If I've said in once, I've said it hundreds of times. My faith is *not* acceptance without evidence. If I didn't have the Bible, I wouldn't have my particular faith. And then it's your turn to tell me that the Bible is not evidence, and then I will say "no, actually it is". Surely we've gone over this one before, me and you, right?

For me, one of the biggest sources of pride is the things that I do that help others in real, tangible ways.

And I reiterate, take pride in whatever you want to take pride in! I'm not telling you not to take pride in things. I'm only saying that if you're position is correct, this pride will cease at some point. You may get as much personal meaning out of this, as much sense of noble pride as one who gets pride from having faith in Christ, and in so doing does the exact same things and helps others.

Also, to the Christian, helping others is serving Christ. It's the same thing. So, the Christian will also take pride in this as well because it is also a manifestation of faith.

Also I take pride in having one of the largest collections of jokes in the known world. ;)

I take pride in having one of the largest...errr...nevermind. :)

And I think it is a waste of the only life that I am certain exists. Everything withers. It’s how the world works. I can live with that.

Most of us can, and do, live with that.

How did they know about Christ? Did somebody tell them? Did you? Are you proud that you could convince sick children of your God? I’m betting that their standards of evidence are even lower than yours.

Well I certainly did no proselytizing in that job, I was a teenager back then and I was many times more reticent to talk about my faith then as compared to now. I'm guessing that their faith, and faith it certainly was, came from their parents. I don't know whether or not the parents took pride in their kid's faith...but I'd guess yes. Parents often give their kids what they love, and that can include their faith of course.

Their standards of evidence, as you say, were/are probably lower than mine. That mere fact, if true, doesn't mean that much to me. If we're right, obviously standards of evidence will have nothing to do with it. If we're wrong, who cares, we'll live as best we can than die. I hope nobody will be spray painting on my gravestone "this s.o.b. had miniscule standards of evidence" but that's about the worst thing I can come up with on this one.

Yeah, maybe sick kids need something to believe in, but it could be anything, just so long as it gives them hope. It could be Santa Claus.

You might be right. My point in bringing this up is that you don't "intelligence" your way into faith. It is something that can be grasped by people of all intelligence levels because it is about love and a relationship with God through Christ. Christian faith of course. I brought it up because I see no essential merit in using evidence to determine an outlook on whether or not to believe in Christ or God. Being drawn to Jesus in that way is akin to falling in stating your love for someone because you measure the endorphin levels in your brain and take pH readings or whatever can be done to determine the chemical reality of the love of one human for another.

Sin is nothing like a genetic disease. Sin is an offense to your particular religious system. It is a taught thing.

We'll never agree on this one I reckon. But at least we can agree that sin does exist, and I'm content with that.

Omar correctly identified that it would be a tyrannical god that created these rules without having us agree to them. No (eternal) taxation without representation.

Well...yeah...and I guess you could call parents who raise children inherent tyrants, or actual tyrants.

Also, if I recall, tyrant is not an inherently negative word, or at least the Greek meaning of the word isn't inherently negative. Yes, it's true that God created the rules. But we *don't* have to agree with the rules. You're right in that the rules are not contingent on our opinions...but of course the rules came before our creation...I think there are some philosophical assertions I can make that follow from all this but whatever.

edited to fix some quote unquotes.

-Elliot

elliotfc
21st July 2006, 06:47 PM
By "impossible" I mean that which is not possible to do now with our current technology.

No, I know what you mean.

I also know what you require. Evidence, and not faith.

In a previous post I floated the idea that God requires faith, and will not give us evidence that would enable that requirement to be null and void. God can operate miraculously, and can choose to perform miracles that anyone can deny and chalk up to a different reason and cause. Even the greatest of all miracles will primarily be accepted on faith. Christ rose, but billions believe that on faith and only hundreds believed it on what we'd call evidence.

This is not problematic to me, it seems to follow from what God asks of us.

Miracles do not consist of what otherwise is not possible. That it. That's all, and I have been repeating that for some time now.

I'm not sure that I agree with this. I guess I'll have to read up on miracles, I don't really follow the topic of modern-day miracles in general.

And yes, I know you've been repeating this for some time, but I'm a skeptic and don't accept things just because people repeat them over and over again. ;)

-Elliot

Bri
21st July 2006, 08:51 PM
How Christians interpret these passages is not really at issue.

The issue is what Christians believe, which is entirely based on how they interpret the passage. Your interpretation is not at issue, but the interpretation of Christians is the issue.

You keep wanting to argue that I'm imposing an otherwise un-held belief onto Christians. No, I'm not. I hope that is clear. I'm not sure how else to explain. Christians are free to believe anything they want to. The question becomes, is the belief rational? Is the belief coherent. Is the belief cogent?

Again, I think the question you're trying to answer is whether their interpretation of the scripture is coherent, not whether their belief is coherent.

I will ask you, is it?

The belief certainly is coherent. The interpretation upon which the belief is based is likely also coherent, although I can't say for certain since I'm not a Christian theologian. So far, the passages cited seem to imply some criteria by which the prayer is granted (such as faith and belief) rather than that any and all prayers are granted. I imagine that when taken in the context of the Bible as a whole (as Christians certainly must take it) other interpretations can probably be inferred, and therefore it is doubtful that you can make the case that the only possible interpretation is the one you are pushing.

This really does not reflect my argument. I never believed that and I doubt many if any do. That is not the point. The point is, can we take the scripture, history and beliefs and logically reconcile them using rational and objective data? I say no. You seem to be saying "yes" but you refuse to explain how.

I am saying that Christians can and do reconcile them. I believe that elliotfc has indicated how he personally reconciles them. Perhaps someone like ceo_esq will tell us how the Catholic church reconciles them. But it is fairly clear to me that they are reconciled by nearly all Christians.

Here is a question: If you can't reconcile those things and you can't explain how a Christian reconciles those things why do you suppose that they can be reconciled?

Oh, I could probably reconcile them, but again my reconciliation would be of no consequence since I'm not a Christian.

None of these things are supported by an evidentiary data. All objective evidence, reason and logic would strongly suggest that these beliefs are not rational.

What objective evidence are you referring to, specifically, that would indicate that these beliefs are irrational? That they cannot be proven doesn't necessarily make them irrational, of course (and doesn't even indicate that they didn't happen). Many perfectly rational people believe that intelligent life exists outside of our solar system. Some rational people even believe that no gods exist, even though they cannot prove it.

Of course it's rational to hold beliefs without definitive proof, as long as the belief is coherent, as long as one has a rational reason for holding the belief, and as long as one doesn't hold such a belief to be fact. Are you saying that all opinions are irrational? If not, how do you distinguish between rational opinions and irrational ones?

No. Not at all. I'm saying that the fact that these miracles do not happen today is a good indication that they never happened. I hope that is clear?

Do you know for a fact that miracles don't happen today as you claim? Are you really claiming that to be a fact rather than just an opinion? Is your belief that miracles don't happen today rational or irrational?

Thank you. We just might be making some progress. We will see. Please look closely at your answer. It is quite telling. By your logic a miracle can only be something that would not otherwise happen. Right?

Yes, I have already indicated my opinion that if something were going to happen without any divine intervention, that its happening would not be a miracle.

Now, by all the evidence, in this day and age, God never does that which otherwise is not possible.

How do you know this? What evidence could you possibly provide that God never does that which is otherwise impossible? Making a soda come out of an empty machine would definitely not be possible without divine intervention, and therefore would qualify as a miracle in my book.

Please take some time and consider your statement and the above.

Do you see a problem?

No, I really don't understand the point you're trying to make here.

I'm not interested in being impressed. I'm interested in understanding why Christians believe in miracles if miracles are only things that are not impossible.

Who said that miracles are only things that are not impossible? It's impossible for an empty soda machine to produce a soda whether or not the recipient of the soda realizes that the machine was empty. But even if miracles were limited only to the physically possible, for an event to occur that wouldn't otherwise occur without divine intervention still seems impressive to me. But maybe I'm just easily impressed.

-Bri

RandFan
21st July 2006, 10:48 PM
The issue is what Christians believe, which is entirely based on how they interpret the passage. Your interpretation is not at issue, but the interpretation of Christians is the issue. No, this is wrong. Bri, you are not arguing. You are simply asserting.

Again, I think the question you're trying to answer is whether their interpretation of the scripture is coherent, not whether their belief is coherent. Please don't make my argument for me. No. That is not my argument. I realize that it would be easier for you to argue what you want to argue but it's really not helping. Could we stick to my argument?

The belief certainly is coherent.Based on what theory?

The interpretation upon which the belief is based is likely also coherentBased on what theory?

Bri, these are not arguments. They are just assertions. If you would like to believe this that is fine. It is your perogative. Do you have an *argument as to why anyone else should agree with you?

...therefore it is doubtful that you can make the case that the only possible interpretation is the one you are pushing. One more time. I'm not pushing an interpretation. I'm demonstrating the inconsistency of believing that God answers prayers, the history of Christian miracles and the fact that there is no evidence that such miracles happen today. That's it.

I am saying that Christians can and do reconcile them. And schizophrenics can and do reconcile the voices in their head. You are missing the point. Do Christians reconcile their beliefs with logic, reason and the objective evidence?

If I say I can walk on water you might be able to reconcile your belief that I'm telling the truth but can you reconcile that belief with the laws of physics?

I believe that elliotfc has indicated how he personally reconciles them. Perhaps someone like ceo_esq will tell us how the Catholic church reconciles them. But it is fairly clear to me that they are reconciled by nearly all Christians.

Oh, I could probably reconcile them, but again my reconciliation would be of no consequence since I'm not a Christian. Again, you are not making an *argument. This is just an assertion. I can't address it since there is nothing to address. I can assert that an invisivle unicorn lives in my garage but who cares? Can you make an argument that would appeal to the intelect, that relies on premise and inference to help us arrive at a conclusion?

What objective evidence are you referring to, specifically, that would indicate that these beliefs are irrational? This is not responsive. I'm saying that there is a lack of objective evidence that they are rational. I don't need objective evidence to prove that my neighbor can't talk to the trees. If my neighbor claims that he can talk to the trees then he needs objective evidence to demonstrate that he can.

That they cannot be proven doesn't necessarily make them irrational, of course (and doesn't even indicate that they didn't happen). Many perfectly rational people believe that intelligent life exists outside of our solar system. Some rational people even believe that no gods exist, even though they cannot prove it. And some rational people believe that invisible unicorns don't exist even though they can't prove it.

Your entire argument here is fallacy. What makes them irrational is that there is no basis for believing them. Not believing in something that lacks objective evidence is not irrational. Believing in magical concepts that stand in contrast to the natural world and to physical laws is irrational.

Believing that pigs can fly is not rational.

Of course it's rational to hold beliefs without definitive proof, as long as the belief is coherent, as long as one has a rational reason for holding the belief, and as long as one doesn't hold such a belief to be fact.Coherent based on what theory? Again, you are just asserting that the beliefs are rational. I can believe that pigs fly but just because I don't hold that it is fact does not make it rational. I'm not sure where you got this idea but it is silly.

Are you saying that all opinions are irrational? Only the irrational ones.

If not, how do you distinguish between rational opinions and irrational ones?By definition, those that are consistent with reason and logic are rational. Believing that pigs can fly is irrational because it is contrary to the laws of physics.

Do you know for a fact that miracles don't happen today as you claim? I've said it before and I will say it again (sadly you will likely ask it again). No. I don't know that for a fact. I don't know for a fact that the voices a schizophrenic hears are not real.

I do know that every attempt to verify miracles has thus far failed.
I do know that there is no objective proof of missing limbs regrowing.
I do know that there is no objective proof of a retarded child that was healed.
I do know that there is no objective proof of a pig that could fly (unaided).

I'm sorry that you don't get the significance of that. Such claims are falsifiable. I provisionally hold that such miracles don't happen just as I hold that pigs don't fly. I could be wrong. There could be a pig out there somewhere that is flying right now. But based on the laws of physics, logic and reason it is irrational to suppose that pigs can fly.

By your logic, believing that pigs can fly is rational.

Are you really claiming that to be a fact rather than just an opinion? Is your belief that miracles don't happen today rational or irrational? My belief that miracles don't happen is provisional like the pig that doesn't fly. Like the voices a schizophrenic hears are not real. I can't prove that they aren't. I only know that to believe so is counter to logic and reason.

Yes, I have already indicated my opinion that if something were going to happen without any divine intervention, that its happening would not be a miracle.

How do you know this? What evidence could you possibly provide that God never does that which is otherwise impossible? Making a soda come out of an empty machine would definitely not be possible without divine intervention, and therefore would qualify as a miracle in my book.

No, I really don't understand the point you're trying to make here.

You: A soda can coming out of a machine is not a miracle because its explanation can be understood without asserting divine intervention.

Me: So called miracles are not miracles because their explanation can be understood without asserting divine intervention.

Who said that miracles are only things that are not impossible?Why call something that is possible a miracle (by miracle I mean in the religious sense)?

miracle
n a marvelous event manifesting a supernatural act of God

Bri,

I note that you ignored my points about flying by virtue of flapping my arms and my encounter with the talking snake. Those were good arguments I'm disappointed you would not address them.

Today I spoke with a talking snake. That I spoke with the snake is true. Do you believe me? Should anyone believe me? If someone says that they believe me is that person rational?

Here, let's try this, if I tell you that I can fly by flapping my arms but I can only do it when you are not looking should you infer anything from the facts? Is it rational to believe that I can fly by flapping my arms but only when you are not looking?

*A connected series of statements to establish a definite proposition.

RandFan
22nd July 2006, 12:40 AM
I note that you ignored my points about flying by virtue of flapping my arms and my encounter with the talking snake. Those were good arguments I'm disappointed you would not address them.Actually, no. As they are they are simply questions.

Sorry.

AgingYoung
22nd July 2006, 11:55 PM
Genesius,

Even if you consider it something Jesus supposedly said he wasn't making a promise to anyone other than whom he was speaking to. Either way you would care to look at the text, neither supports your point of ....


Pretty straightforward - you ask for it in Jesus' name, and you got it. A promise Jesus has broken every single day for over 2000 years.


Do you have another proof text (of maybe something that Jesus supposedly said) or would you rather not look at the matter further?

Gene
It seems that the bold text is a baseless assertion.

AgingYoung
23rd July 2006, 12:18 AM
AgingYoung

You want specifics, have a few:
How many disciplines are present when Jesus appears to them after the resurrection?
There two differing genealogies given for Jesus.
The Jehoakim clan was specifically banned by god from taking part in the lineage of David, yet it is mentioned for Jesus in an attempt to link him back to David.
Know of any 2000+ year old people running around?
Which is correct Predestination or freewill, the bible supports both?
The orders of creation listed in Genesis don’t match neither each other nor science.
The world isn’t flat.
How many animals were carried on the Ark?
Why are there three sets of the ten commandments in the same book, two of which don’t match?
Is god for or against divorce?
And if you want a more direct contradiction, what was written above Jesus on the cross?
Does god lie?
Are people saved by faith or works?
Why isn’t the Jesus story at least original?
If the bible contains ultimate moral guidelines why are most now ignored by society as barbaric or unjust?
Why did Jesus preach only to Jews and exclude everyone else?
When was Jesus born?
If Jesus was supposed to be the messiah, why didn’t he meet the prophecies?
Meet any Christians with the superpower that they are supposed to have?

Ossai

I guess you'd rather not address the accusation of 'straw man'. I'll remove the bold points from your laundry list. Everyone has two geneologies (mother and father) which answers the 2nd bold text. Either thru Joseph or Mary Jesus has a lineage traced to King David.

I'm not sure which premise your laundry list is suppose to be addressing



Since all those premises are based on the bible,

Premises:

1. the bible, or at least large sections, are obviously not true
2. other sections contradict more current knowledge
3. and other parts contradict itself


....then the only conclusion to be drawn is that

Conclusion with imbedded conditional....

* the bible, if from one divinely inspired source, is nothing more than a lie.

yet in the example I gave (that you called a strawman) you can see that as we know more about the past thru archeology, the new information bolsters the biblical accounts and removes former objections. Given that it could go either way I think you're overstating your case with your 2nd premise.

If you're serious I'll go down your laundry list point by point. Pick any item and relate it to one of your premises.

Gene

Genesius
23rd July 2006, 03:39 AM
It seems that the bold text is a baseless assertion.
Sorry, Gene. I do have a life outside these boards. Can't just drop everything to do research for you.

So, let's have a look at context. My original quote was John 14:13-14. But, for context's sake, let's add verse 12 to the mix.

14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth in me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

14:14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
The conxtext makes it pretty clear. He's talking about those who believe in him, not just the disciples. And yep, the whole things still a big lie. Lots of folks over the years have believed but I can't think of any who have done "greater works" than Jesus is supposed to have done. And lots of believers have prayed in Jesus' name and not had their prayer granted.

Also, you had asked for other verses. How about Matthew 21:22?

21:22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

AgingYoung
23rd July 2006, 09:24 AM
Sorry I was impatient for you to establish your point. It's impossible for me to know why you think a thing so the 'research' you're doing is for yourself, not me. I assumed you already knew why you thought what you did. I didn't know you'd have to look it up.

I understand you have a life outside this thread. You had to post yesterday about bumper stickers (Yesterday, 07:28 PM) and Friday about biblical advise on marriage (21st July 2006, 02:25 PM), etc. I just assumed that since you made the post in the 3rd post of this thread you knew why you believed it and that you were prepared to defend it.

Sorry, Gene. I do have a life outside these boards. Can't just drop everything to do research for you.

So, let's have a look at context. My original quote was John 14:13-14. But, for context's sake, let's add verse 12 to the mix.


The conxtext makes it pretty clear. He's talking about those who believe in him, not just the disciples. And yep, the whole things still a big lie. Lots of folks over the years have believed but I can't think of any who have done "greater works" than Jesus is supposed to have done. And lots of believers have prayed in Jesus' name and not had their prayer granted.

Also, you had asked for other verses. How about Matthew 21:22?

The context of John 14 is the last supper where Jesus is talking to the disciples. The absolute truth is you can't see what's plainly evident.

Gene

AgingYoung
23rd July 2006, 09:51 AM
There is not equality as we'd like to think of it; that everyone has the same rights as anyone. The point of 'who is being told something' is pretty key.

Act 19:13 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.

Act 19:14 And there were seven sons of [one] Sceva, a Jew, [and] chief of the priests, which did so.

Act 19:15 And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?

Act 19:16 And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

If there were such a thing as apostolic succession you would expect to see that claim (ie catholic church) evidenced by the same power and authority that the apostles had. You don't see the power but there is the claim. Also some people today claim to have the power and authority of the apostles. You don't see the evidence of that power in them either. Every where you see the claim but you don't see the power.

In the mishnah the fact of an historical Jesus isn't denied yet he's explained away as 'a bastard of an adulteress'. The miracles that Jesus did are explained away as 'magic' that Jesus brought or learned in Egypt.

As Paul described it
Act 26:26 For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner.


Gene

Genesius
23rd July 2006, 01:59 PM
The context of John 14 is the last supper where Jesus is talking to the disciples. The absolute truth is you can't see what's plainly evident.

Gene
<chuckle> Now that's the pot calling the kettle black.

You must have hung out with The Beatles at one time. They wrote a song about you:

He's as blind as he can be
Just sees what he wants to see
Nowhere Man, can you see me at all?
Verse 12 makes it clear that Jesus is talking about anyone who believes in him. If you choose to close your eyes to that, that's up to you. And how about Matthew 21:22?

AgingYoung
23rd July 2006, 04:53 PM
Well, Kettle, I'm going to be presumtious and go with the idea that you're not really interested. You can chew on your false dilemma for a while. Be sure to skin it first.

Gene

Genesius
23rd July 2006, 05:49 PM
Well, Kettle, I'm going to be presumtious and go with the idea that you're not really interested. You can chew on your false dilemma for a while. Be sure to skin it first.

Gene
Nice way to avoid the question, Gene. Now I've got another one for you:

You said that John 14:13-14 and God's promise to grant all prayers only applied to the disciples, because that's who Jesus was talking to at the time. Promise Jesus made to the apostles:
And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
So how about Matthew 28:16-20?28:16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.

28:17 And when they saw him,they worshipped him: but some doubted.

28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
These verses, commonly known as the Great Commission, are taken by Christians to this day as orders to spread Christianity throughout the world. But, according to your logic, since Jesus was speaking to the Apostles the Great Commission only applied to them and modern Christians are under no obligation to spread anything.

Would you agree?

Bri
23rd July 2006, 08:50 PM
No, this is wrong. Bri, you are not arguing. You are simply asserting.

Of course I'm not arguing, but rather asserting that the arguments thus far presented are lacking. It is up to the person making the claim that the Christian belief in prayer is incoherent to provide evidence to support that claim. So far I've seen little. Certainly not enough to proclaim that the Christian belief in prayer is necessarily incoherent. That's what I meant when I said in a previous post that although I don't disagree with many of your points, I think you're overstating your case.

Please don't make my argument for me. No. That is not my argument. I realize that it would be easier for you to argue what you want to argue but it's really not helping. Could we stick to my argument?

The implication that I'm attempting to somehow make my argument any easier is unfounded, particularly since, as you noted, I don't really have an argument.

It would be much easier to show that the scripture must be interpreted in such a way that it is necessarily incoherent (i.e. that God grants any and all prayers) than to show that a significant number of Christians actually believe such an interpretation. I doubt you can show a single Christian who currently holds such a belief, much less a significant number.

Based on what theory?

Based on a lack of evidence that the Christian interpretation of the scripture (much less any Christian belief based on that interpretation) is necessarily incoherent. In fact, I haven't seen any Christian interpretation of the scripture presented at all -- only your interpretation which is entirely irrelevant.

One more time. I'm not pushing an interpretation. I'm demonstrating the inconsistency of believing that God answers prayers, the history of Christian miracles and the fact that there is no evidence that such miracles happen today. That's it.

It appears to me that any inconsistency of belief you've demonstrated is based entirely on a particular inconsistent interpretation of the scripture. Otherwise, you have presented no evidence of an inconsistency in any belief concerning prayer held by anyone.

That there is no evidence of miracles today isn't in dispute at all -- it simply doesn't advance any theory of inconsistency of Christian belief unless you can show that Christians believe that there should be evidence of miracles today.

And schizophrenics can and do reconcile the voices in their head. You are missing the point. Do Christians reconcile their beliefs with logic, reason and the objective evidence?

Yes I imagine that most do, at least as much as you're using logic, reason, and objective evidence to show that their belief is necessarily inconsistent.

If I say I can walk on water you might be able to reconcile your belief that I'm telling the truth but can you reconcile that belief with the laws of physics?

To my knowledge, most Christians don't believe God to be limited by the laws of physics. In order to demonstrate an inconsistency of belief, you would have to show that Christians would have reason to believe that God must never violate the laws of physics.

Again, you are not making an *argument. This is just an assertion. I can't address it since there is nothing to address. I can assert that an invisivle unicorn lives in my garage but who cares? Can you make an argument that would appeal to the intelect, that relies on premise and inference to help us arrive at a conclusion?

I'm sorry, did I suggest that I was making an argument other than that the evidence presented is insufficient to support the conclusion that the Christian belief in prayer is inconsistent?

This is not responsive. I'm saying that there is a lack of objective evidence that they are rational.

Surely you're not claiming that a belief is irrational by default, are you? If so, what amount of evidence must be presented to deem a belief rational? A lot of strong atheists, people who believe that intelligent life exists outside of our solar system, and nearly anyone else with an opinion (a belief without proof) might take exception to someone insisting that their opinions are all irrational until they provide what others deem to be sufficient evidence.

That said, the claim that Christian belief in prayer is incoherent simply has not been shown to be true. If a Christian belief in prayer were shown to be incoherent, I would agree that it would also be irrational. Since no Christian belief in prayer has been shown to be incoherent, then I would hesitate to use the word "irrational" to characterize such belief. To do so would also categorize other beliefs -- particularly opinions such as those listed above -- as irrational.


I've said it before and I will say it again (sadly you will likely ask it again). No. I don't know that for a fact. I don't know for a fact that the voices a schizophrenic hears are not real.

You can understand my confusion since you said in your previous post "I'm saying that the fact that these miracles do not happen today is a good indication that they never happened" (emphasis mine). Now you seem to be saying that you don't know for a fact that they don't happen today, so you'll have to forgive me for asking for clarification.

I provisionally hold that such miracles don't happen just as I hold that pigs don't fly. I could be wrong. There could be a pig out there somewhere that is flying right now. But based on the laws of physics, logic and reason it is irrational to suppose that pigs can fly.

Since you admit that you could be wrong when you say that pigs don't fly, then it seems that you suppose it possible that pigs do fly. So what makes the opinion that pigs can fly necessarily irrational but the opinion that pigs can't fly rational, particularly in light of the possibility that pigs can and do fly?

You: A soda can coming out of a machine is not a miracle because its explanation can be understood without asserting divine intervention.

Sorry, that's not what I said. I said that a soda can coming out of a machine could be a miracle (for example, if the machine was empty).

Me: So called miracles are not miracles because their explanation can be understood without asserting divine intervention.

The above example of a soda can coming out of an empty machine can (and likely would) be understood without asserting divine intervention if the person didn't know the machine was empty. That would not preclude the event from being a miracle.

Who said that miracles are only things that are not impossible?
Why call something that is possible a miracle (by miracle I mean in the religious sense)?

Perhaps too many negatives. Rewritten, my sentence says: Who said that miracles are only things that are possible? Clearly, the example of the empty soda machine is a miracle since it is otherwise impossible for an empty machine to produce a soda can.

I also pointed out that even if something could be entirely understood without asserting divine intervention doesn't necessarily preclude it from being a miracle. If you were to bet your house on the roll of a 6-sided die landing on a 4, 5, or 6, and without divine intervention the die would land on a 3, but God decides to make it land on a 6 instead, that would also constitute a miracle even though you might never know it.


miracle
n a marvelous event manifesting a supernatural act of God

I prefer Webster's:


miracle
1 : an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs

An event is extraordinary if it wouldn't have happened without divine intervention, regardless of whether it has another (incorrect) explanation or not, and regardless of how impressed people are by the event.

I note that you ignored my points about flying by virtue of flapping my arms and my encounter with the talking snake. Those were good arguments I'm disappointed you would not address them.

I did answer them, though not directly. I would not likely believe someone who claimed without evidence to converse with a snake or to fly. Whether I would discount such beliefs as necessarily irrational would depend on the nature of the belief and the reasons for the belief. Nor do I discount your belief that such events have never occurred as necessarily irrational even though you cannot present evidence that they have never occurred.

-Bri

RandFan
23rd July 2006, 09:49 PM
Of course I'm not arguing, but rather asserting that the arguments thus far presented are lacking. ??? I don't think you get this argument thing. Ok, you assert that my argument is lacking. That's fine. That is your opinion. Do you have any reason for anyone else besides yourself to agree?

It is up to the person making the claim that the Christian belief in prayer is incoherent to provide evidence to support that claim. So far I've seen little. Certainly not enough to proclaim that the Christian belief in prayer is necessarily incoherent. That's what I meant when I said in a previous post that although I don't disagree with many of your points, I think you're overstating your case.I can't make someone accept what they won't accept. You are entitled to an opinion.

The implication that I'm attempting to somehow make my argument any easier is unfounded, particularly since, as you noted, I don't really have an argument. Fair enough. Thanks for your opinion.

It would be much easier to show that the scripture must be interpreted in such a way that it is necessarily incoherent (i.e. that God grants any and all prayers) than to show that a significant number of Christians actually believe such an interpretation. Again, completely beside the point. But thanks.

Based on a lack of evidence that the Christian interpretation of the scripture (much less any Christian belief based on that interpretation) is necessarily incoherent. In fact, I haven't seen any Christian interpretation of the scripture presented at all -- only your interpretation which is entirely irrelevant. At risk of arguing ad nauseam, their interpretation isn't at issue. Sorry.

It appears to me that any inconsistency of belief you've demonstrated is based entirely on a particular inconsistent interpretation of the scripture. Otherwise, you have presented no evidence of an inconsistency in any belief concerning prayer held by anyone. No, but let's be clear here, we are simply talking about your opinion. Since you have no argument and it is only opinion then there isn't much more to add.

That there is no evidence of miracles today isn't in dispute at all -- it simply doesn't advance any theory of inconsistency of Christian belief unless you can show that Christians believe that there should be evidence of miracles today. ??? All I can say is, bizarre. But thanks.

Yes I imagine that most do, at least as much as you're using logic, reason, and objective evidence to show that their belief is necessarily inconsistent. I would ask you to demonstrate this but I suspect that it would be a waste of my time. Thank you for the opinion.

To my knowledge, most Christians don't believe God to be limited by the laws of physics. In order to demonstrate an inconsistency of belief, you would have to show that Christians would have reason to believe that God must never violate the laws of physics. I think you found an irrational belief there. Don't worry about it. It's just an opinion on your part.

I'm sorry, did I suggest that I was making an argument other than that the evidence presented is insufficient to support the conclusion that the Christian belief in prayer is inconsistent? Nope, I stand corrected. You are simply spouting opinions. Did I thank you for them yet? We'll, let me thank you now. I appreciate your opinion. I don't agree. I don't see why anyone else should agree but Ed knows you are entitled to that opinion.

Surely you're not claiming that a belief is irrational by default, are you?{sigh} No.

If so, what amount of evidence must be presented to deem a belief rational?Asked and answered.

A belief that pigs can fly is irrational because the belief is counter to the laws of physics.
Believing that John has magical powers to make pigs fly when no one is looking is irrational because it IS STILL counter to the laws of physics. Inserting magical thinking does not overcome irrationality.A lot of strong atheists, people who believe that intelligent life exists outside of our solar system, and nearly anyone else with an opinion (a belief without proof) might take exception to someone insisting that their opinions are all irrational until they provide what others deem to be sufficient evidence. None of these beliefs are counter to the laws of physics. Your argument does not hold water.

That said, the claim that Christian belief in prayer is incoherent simply has not been shown to be true. f a Christian belief in prayer were shown to be incoherent, I would agree that it would also be irrational. Since no Christian belief in prayer has been shown to be incoherent, then I would hesitate to use the word "irrational" to characterize such belief. To do so would also categorize other beliefs -- particularly opinions such as those listed above -- as irrational. I'll skip the rebuttal since you have stated that you are not arguing. Again, thank you for the opinion. You are wrong.

You can understand my confusion since you said in your previous post "I'm saying that the fact that these miracles do not happen today is a good indication that they never happened" (emphasis mine). Now you seem to be saying that you don't know for a fact that they don't happen today, so you'll have to forgive me for asking for clarification. Sure, there is no evidence that they have happened.

There is no evidence that pigs can fly.
There is no evidence that there are invisible unicorns (you don't have one by chance do you?)
I hold provisionally that these miracles do not happen today.
I hold provisionally that pigs can't fly.Please tell which if either you have a problem with and why?

Since you admit that you could be wrong when you say that pigs don't fly, then it seems that you suppose it possible that pigs do fly. So what makes the opinion that pigs can fly necessarily irrational but the opinion that pigs can't fly rational, particularly in light of the possibility that pigs can and do fly? I'm not sure if I can take you seriously. Are you being serious? Do you think pigs can fly? (unaided of course).

Sorry, that's not what I said. I said that a soda can coming out of a machine could be a miracle (for example, if the machine was empty).That was exactly the inference drawn. If it were empty then the only answer would be divine intervention.

The above example of a soda can coming out of an empty machine can (and likely would) be understood without asserting divine intervention if the person didn't know the machine was empty. That would not preclude the event from being a miracle. Sorry, the machine is empty. Please readdress the hypothetical?

Perhaps too many negatives. Rewritten, my sentence says: Who said that miracles are only things that are possible? Clearly, the example of the empty soda machine is a miracle since it is otherwise impossible for an empty machine to produce a soda can. And my point stands. Thank you.

You: An empty soda machine can only dispense sodas with divine intervention.

Me: There are no documented instances of impossible events happening.

Severely retarded children are never healed.
Missing limbs never regrow.

Those are provisional (falsifiable) statements (important please note the preceding). Prove me wrong. Give me the proof. Absent that, and given the thousands of examples, all negative that we know of, my point stands.

I also pointed out that even if something could be entirely understood without asserting divine intervention doesn't necessarily preclude it from being a miracle. And I proved that by definition you are wrong.

If you were to bet your house on the roll of a 6-sided die landing on a 4, 5, or 6, and without divine intervention the die would land on a 3, but God decides to make it land on a 6 instead, that would also constitute a miracle even though you might never know it. Sorry, you are wrong. Please re-read the definition. Why the hell do you suppose I posted it in the first place?

I prefer Webster's:
miracle
1 : an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs

Hey Bri, let me ask you a question, if I don't know that god made the dice land on 6 how the hell would that manifest God?

Perhaps you should look up the word manifest?

An event is extraordinary if it wouldn't have happened without divine intervention, regardless of whether it has another (incorrect) explanation or not, and regardless of how impressed people are by the event.??? Huh?

I did answer them, though not directly. I would not likely believe someone who claimed without evidence to converse with a snake or to fly. Why?

Whether I would discount such beliefs as necessarily irrational would depend on the nature of the belief and the reasons for the belief. Belief is not something that magically makes the irrational rational.

Nor do I discount your belief that such events have never occurred as necessarily irrational even though you cannot present evidence that they have never occurred. This is fallacy. You are arguing from ignorance.

A.) It is irrational to believe the impossible is possible.
B.) It is rational to believe that the impossible is impossible.

You are trying to equate A & B.

Bri, A != B.

That is, BY DEFINITION, irrational.

If you don't know that then take a course in logic.

I'm sorry Bri but your post is largely silly and illogical. It is really hard to take you seriously. You are making a lot of errors. Some of them are very basic errors in simple logic. Take some time to think through these things. Your last argument, and YES, IT IS AN ARGUMENT, is demonstrably fallacious.

empeake
23rd July 2006, 09:51 PM
I prefer Webster's:
miracle
1 : an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs
An event is extraordinary if it wouldn't have happened without divine intervention, regardless of whether it has another (incorrect) explanation or not, and regardless of how impressed people are by the event.

How do you ascertain that there was divine intervention, specially if there is a more "earthly" explanation for the event? Is it just a matter of faith? Also, "extraordinary" does not always mean "good". An extraordinary calamity could also be considered a miracle, by this definition.

RandFan
23rd July 2006, 10:06 PM
Bri,

I suspect you are making a fundamental error in thinking that since there are many logical and rational Christians then their beliefs must all be logical and rational. Sadly no. It is true that some of the greatest minds of all time belonged to Christians and other theists, St. Thomas, Blasé Pascal, George Boole, Isaac Newton and Immanuel Kant to name my personal favorites.

I have often defended the ability of theists to be logical and rational. That they are does not mean that they always are.

thaiboxerken
23rd July 2006, 10:11 PM
Genesius,
On the one hand you say....



then on the other hand you say...

I don't agree that Jesus said anything


Ever heard of the concept of "speaking within the mythology?" In the bible, Jesus says stuff. This doesn't mean that a person needs to agree with it, believe it really was said or that Jesus even existed.

AgingYoung
24th July 2006, 05:27 AM
thaiboxerken,

That's too funny. Your campaign looking button reminds me of limo democrats speaking within the mythology that they're poor (like Senator Kennedy.)

Genesius wants to exclude the possibility that Jesus wasn't talking to the church when he was at the last supper speaking to the apostles. If you look at the record of the first century church (in acts) you can see there's a difference between what the aposltes can do and the average christian. It's always been that way.

Gene

Ossai
24th July 2006, 05:47 AM
I less than three logic
Originally Posted by AgingYoung
yet since you seem comfortable in your beliefs I wouldn't want to rock your boat.
Anyone know that he was talking about here? 'Cause this make no sense whatsoever. I was speaking of knowledge we’ve gained since the bable was written.


AgingYoung
2. other sections contradict more current knowledge
We are presently discussing point 2 of the premise you're using to support your conditional conclusion and your allegation of a strawman.
Since I less than three logic already answered I’ll just quote him.
You mean like taking the claim "at least large sections, are obviously not true" and distorting it down to a single example, then dismiss that example and pretend it refutes the claim?
Are you wanting a listing of knowledge that we now have that contradicts what is stated in the bible? Easily provided, go pick up a ninth grade physical science book.

I guess you'd rather not address the accusation of 'straw man'. I'll remove the bold points from your laundry list. Answered in this post.

Everyone has two geneologies (mother and father) which answers the 2nd bold text. Either thru Joseph or Mary Jesus has a lineage traced to King David. Yet both genealogies are reportedly for Joseph, at least according to the text. Even if you argue that they are two separate genealogies, they still don’t match (multigenerational gap on both sides – yes it is on both sides because both genealogies mention the same people a number of times - or ‘that tree don’t branch’).

yet in the example I gave (that you called a strawman) you can see that as we know more about the past thru archeology, the new information bolsters the biblical accounts and removes former objections. Given that it could go either way I think you're overstating your case with your 2nd premise.
Apparently you do want that list. I'll start with some easy ones.
The Earth isn’t flat.
The Earth orbits the sun.
The moon orbits the Earth.
The moon is not a source of light.
Damascus is still inhabited (not quite ‘current knowledge’ just another biblical assertion proven wrong)



elliotfc
Personally, I have faith in the bible because it satisfactorily addresses all of my deepest personal philosophical questions and I see a ton of beauty and truth in it and I am satisfied with the behavior of those who knew Christ. Finding beauty in the eternal torment of others.

Ossai

Tricky
24th July 2006, 05:52 AM
Bri,

I suspect you are making a fundamental error in thinking that since there are many logical and rational Christians then their beliefs must all be logical and rational. Sadly no. It is true that some of the greatest minds of all time belonged to Christians and other theists, St. Thomas, Blasé Pascal, George Boole, Isaac Newton and Immanuel Kant to name my personal favorites.

I have often defended the ability of theists to be logical and rational. That they are does not mean that they always are.
I don't know anybody who is always logical and rational. I pride myself on appreciating all of the creatures on earth, though I avoid some. Snakes, spiders, bats, leeches, slugs. None of these things bother me to see or (if safe) touch. But if I see a cockroach and especially if one walks on me, I freak out. Logically, I know cockroaches are not dangerous, nor do they carry disease, but I cannot make logic work when that glistening carapace is near. I'm grossed out just writing about it.

Genesius
24th July 2006, 06:17 AM
thaiboxerken,

That's too funny. Your campaign looking button reminds me of limo democrats speaking within the mythology that they're poor (like Senator Kennedy.)

Genesius wants to exclude the possibility that Jesus wasn't talking to the church when he was at the last supper speaking to the apostles. If you look at the record of the first century church (in acts) you can see there's a difference between what the aposltes can do and the average christian. It's always been that way.

Gene

So how about answering my last post? Only the disciples were present when Jesus gave them the Great Commission. Does that mean the Commission applied only to the Disciples?

Bri
24th July 2006, 06:21 AM
How do you ascertain that there was divine intervention, specially if there is a more "earthly" explanation for the event? Is it just a matter of faith? Also, "extraordinary" does not always mean "good". An extraordinary calamity could also be considered a miracle, by this definition.

I don't know that it's possible to ascertain that there was divine intervention if there is a more "earthly" explanation. But that would only be a problem for Christians if the purpose of the miracle was to allow us to ascertain that it was a miracle. The belief that there are miracles is undoubtedly a matter of faith, like the belief that God exists. Yes, an extraordinary calamity (one that would not have otherwise occurred without divine intervention) would certainly qualify as a miracle by this definition.

-Bri

Bri
24th July 2006, 07:32 AM
??? I don't think you get this argument thing. Ok, you assert that my argument is lacking. That's fine. That is your opinion. Do you have any reason for anyone else besides yourself to agree?

The question is whether there is reason for anyone to agree with your conclusions, since my opinion is that your argument is lacking until you can show an example of a Christian who holds the belief that you claim is incoherent. Still, I gave reasons for my opinion, unlike most of your post.

I can't make someone accept what they won't accept. You are entitled to an opinion.

Thanks. And of course, that seems to go for you too.

No, but let's be clear here, we are simply talking about your opinion. Since you have no argument and it is only opinion then there isn't much more to add.

Yes, it is my opinion that you haven't presented a single Christian belief that is incoherent. Actually, you haven't presented a single Christian belief at all. So it seems that it is only your opinion that Christian belief in prayer is incoherent. Shall I dismiss your opinions as you've dismissed every opinion that opposes yours?

Sure, there is no evidence that they have happened.

There is no difinitive evidence that they have happened, of course. And no difinitive evidence that they have never happened either. So is it a fact that they have never happened as you initially claimed, or just your opinion?



There is no evidence that pigs can fly.
There is no evidence that there are invisible unicorns (you don't have one by chance do you?)
I hold provisionally that these miracles do not happen today.
I hold provisionally that pigs can't fly.Please tell which if either you have a problem with and why?


As I've already indicated, I have no problem with either. It is your opinion, and one that I happen to agree with. However, you're the one who claims that opinions are irrational, particularly those that are in opposition to your own.


I'm not sure if I can take you seriously. Are you being serious? Do you think pigs can fly? (unaided of course).

Of course I don't think pigs can fly. However, I also don't think that it is necessarily irrational for someone to believe that they can or do if they happen to have a rational reason for believing it. No, I can't tell you what such a reason might be, but neither can I say that it's not possible to have a rational opinion that pigs can fly.

You: An empty soda machine can only dispense sodas with divine intervention.

Again, what in the world are you talking about? Of course I never said that.


Those are provisional (falsifiable) statements (important please note the preceding). Prove me wrong. Give me the proof. Absent that, and given the thousands of examples, all negative that we know of, my point stands.

And I entirely agree with your opinion that these things don't happen. Nonetheless, I don't find you to be at all irrational for having your opinion. Nor do I find it necessarily irrational to have the opposing opinion.

And I proved that by definition you are wrong.

OK, if you believe that a miracle only occurs if it is obvious, then the example with the die (and possibly even the soda machine unless someone knew it was empty) isn't a miracle. No less impressive in my book, but perhaps not a miracle by that definition, since it doesn't meet the requirement of being obvious. If that was your point, then I concede.

This is fallacy. You are arguing from ignorance.

An argument from ignorance (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_ignorance) is to claim that something is false only because it hasn't been proven true, or to assume that something is true only because it hasn't been proven false. I have not assumed that miracles have or have not occurred. On the contrary, you have assumed that miracles have not occurred only because they have not been proven to have occurred -- a classic example of argument from ignorance.

If you don't know that then take a course in logic.

I'm sorry Bri but your post is largely silly and illogical. It is really hard to take you seriously. You are making a lot of errors. Some of them are very basic errors in simple logic. Take some time to think through these things. Your last argument, and YES, IT IS AN ARGUMENT, is demonstrably fallacious.

In light of the above, this doesn't require a response.

-Bri

thaiboxerken
24th July 2006, 07:38 AM
Genesius wants to exclude the possibility that Jesus wasn't talking to the church when he was at the last supper speaking to the apostles.

Who said that? I'm simply agreeing that the character Jesus said what he was quoted as saying, as far as the bible is concerned. I'm also poining out that a person can criticize fiction without actually believing the fiction which refutes your position that someone is a hypocrite to quote jesus and not follow jesus's advice.

If you think Jesus words were only meant for those disciples, fine. However, why do you follow the rest of anything Jesus has to say, since the vast majority of it was only said to the disciples (according to the mythology)? So if the last supper was only addressed to the disciples, aren't communion rituals not part of what jesus wanted people in the church to do?

Bri
24th July 2006, 07:44 AM
I suspect you are making a fundamental error in thinking that since there are many logical and rational Christians then their beliefs must all be logical and rational.

No. What I am saying is that Christian belief may be wrong, but it is consistent and may in fact be right.

Given that, I would hesitate to call it irrational, otherwise other opinions that cannot be proven must also be irrational.

-Bri

thaiboxerken
24th July 2006, 07:46 AM
No. What I am saying is that Christian belief may be wrong, but it is consistent and may in fact be right.

Which denomination are you talking about?


Given that, I would hesitate to call it irrational, otherwise other opinions that cannot be proven must also be irrational.


It is irrational because it's not based on any valid reasoning or logic.

AgingYoung
24th July 2006, 08:08 AM
Ossai,
When you said....

I was speaking of knowledge we’ve gained since the bable was written.

That's precisely what the example (there are quite a few examples) of the discovery of the ruins of Nineveh speaks to.

Now that is if by 'bable' you mean bible and not your posts. But since you've been posting about this matter a new discovery...

Archaeologists call it the "Port of Theodosius
Sat Jul 22, 11:01 PM ET

So far, the 17 archaeologists, three architects and some 350 workers at the site have found what they think might be a church, a gated entrance to the city and eight sunken ships, which have Pulak particularly excited...has been found.

Premises:

1. the bible, or at least large sections, are obviously not true
2. other sections contradict more current knowledge
3. and other parts contradict itself


....then the only conclusion to be drawn is that

Conclusion with embedded conditional....

the bible, if from one divinely inspired source, is nothing more than a lie.
Your 2nd premise is at times not true yet you want to make a conclusion based on that idea. I'm not willing to accept that reasoning or the conclusions you'd care to draw from it much less persuing other ideas with that sort of reasoning. If it works for you that's fine.

Gene

edit: simply put your 2nd premise has been falsified. If you can't see that there's no point to go further.

thaiboxerken
24th July 2006, 08:10 AM
Your 2nd premise is at times not true

How many legs do insects have?

I less than three logic
24th July 2006, 08:24 AM
Your 2nd premise is at times not true yet you want to make a conclusion based on that idea. I'm not willing to accept that reasoning or the conclusions you'd care to draw from it much less persuing other ideas with that sort of reasoning. If it works for you that's fine.

Gene

edit: simply put your 2nd premise has been falsified. If you can't see that there's no point to go further.
Your absolutely abysmal grasp of logic is at times quite scary. Yes, some of the Bible contains accurate information. I know of no one that claims otherwise, almost all fiction is based on some truth. So of course at times the Bible coincides with current knowledge. However, the claim Ossai made wasn't that all of the Bible contradicts current knowledge, only that parts of it do. You have yet to refute this point, and I suspect that you can not as you would have to show that all of the Bible coincides with current knowledge. So, no, his second premise has not been falsified.

RandFan
24th July 2006, 08:29 AM
The question is whether there is reason for anyone to agree with your conclusions... And the answer is yes. I have made an argument not simply spouted opinion

Yes, it is my opinion that you haven't presented a single Christian belief that is incoherent. Actually, you haven't presented a single Christian belief at all. So it seems that it is only your opinion that Christian belief in prayer is incoherent. Shall I dismiss your opinions as you've dismissed every opinion that opposes yours? I've not simply given an opinion. I have made an argument. See that's the problem. You are not arguing and I am.

There is no difinitive evidence that they have happened, of course. And no difinitive evidence that they have never happened either. So is it a fact that they have never happened as you initially claimed, or just your opinion? You are either being obtuse or just ignorant, perhaps something else but I just can't tell. I could not be more clear. Science cannot make absolute claims. I'm not making an absolute claim. My claim is provisional. I stand by it. Absent proof from you to the contrary and using logic it stands. Now you don't have to believe it. You can believe whatever you like.

As I've already indicated, I have no problem with either. It is your opinion, and one that I happen to agree with. However, you're the one who claims that opinions are irrational, particularly those that are in opposition to your own. :mad: No, this is wrong and does NOT represent my view. I only claim that irrational opinions are irrational.

Please don't do this.

Of course I don't think pigs can fly. However, I also don't think that it is necessarily irrational for someone to believe that they can or do if they happen to have a rational reason for believing it. Please look closely at your statement. You said "reason for believing it". That's the point, there is NO reason to believe it. Absent "reason" it is irrational.

No, I can't tell you what such a reason might be, but neither can I say that it's not possible to have a rational opinion that pigs can fly. IT'S COUNTER TO THE F'NG LAWS OF PHYSICS!

Again, what in the world are you talking about? Of course I never said that. {sigh}

And I entirely agree with your opinion that these things don't happen. Nonetheless, I don't find you to be at all irrational for having your opinion. Nor do I find it necessarily irrational to have the opposing opinion.
{sigh}

OK, if you believe that a miracle only occurs if it is obvious... :mad: I did not use the word "obvious". Please stop that.

An argument from ignorance (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_ignorance) is to claim that something is false only because it hasn't been proven true, or to assume that something is true only because it hasn't been proven false. I have not assumed that miracles have or have not occurred. On the contrary, you have assumed that miracles have not occurred only because they have not been proven to have occurred -- a classic example of argument from ignorance. You are turning science on its head. I assume provisionally that they have not been proven true. That IS, in part, the scientific method and you ARE ARGUING that since I can't prove that they have never happened that I can't hold the opposite is irrational. That's the same as saying that since I can't prove that there is no Santa Claus I can't provisionaly hold that a belief in Santa Claus is irrational.

It IS irrational (or ignorant) to believe in Santa Claus. My belief that there is not a Santa Claus does not equate to a belief that there is.

Can you prove that every ball dropped has always fallen to the ground? NO.
Do you believe that a ball dropped will always fall to the ground?
What is your basis for your belief?

Can you prove that there is no Santa Claus?
Do you believe that there is no Santa Claus?
What is the basis for your belief?

Science does not absolutely hold anything as true.

In light of the above, this doesn't require a response.Don't respond, I don't care. If you choose to live in ignorance that is your choice. You are making fundamental and silly errors in logic and reason. That is demonstrable.

RandFan
24th July 2006, 08:40 AM
No. What I am saying is that Christian belief may be wrong, but it is consistent and may in fact be right. Consistent with what? The question is, is there "reason" to believe it?

Can you walk on water? No.
Can I walk on water? No.
Can anyone walk on water? So far no one has.
Is it rational to believe that I can walk on water? No.

Can a rabbits foot give me good luck?
Is it rational to believe that a rabbits foot can give me good luck?

Given that, I would hesitate to call it irrational, otherwise other opinions that cannot be proven must also be irrational. Here you are doing it again. NOTHING CAN ABSOLUTELY BE PROVEN.

Bri, please educate yourself. You are sounding ignorant.

Scientific Thinking and the Scientific Method (http://www.freeinquiry.com/intro-to-sci.html)

RandFan
24th July 2006, 08:49 AM
I don't know anybody who is always logical and rational. I pride myself on appreciating all of the creatures on earth, though I avoid some. Snakes, spiders, bats, leeches, slugs. None of these things bother me to see or (if safe) touch. But if I see a cockroach and especially if one walks on me, I freak out. Logically, I know cockroaches are not dangerous, nor do they carry disease, but I cannot make logic work when that glistening carapace is near. I'm grossed out just writing about it.Thank you. I also have some irrational fears. Understanding that they are irrational has helped me with some of them. It is a hallmark of the human mind to be able to think abstractly and to hold irrational thoughts. It is irrational to believe that a human being could ride a beam of light. Yet Einstein famously supposed that he could in a hypothetical and that helped him conceive relativity. The ability can be a good thing.

Bri
24th July 2006, 08:50 AM
Science cannot make absolute claims. I'm not making an absolute claim. My claim is provisional. I stand by it. Absent proof from you to the contrary and using logic it stands. Now you don't have to believe it. You can believe whatever you like.

Making it an opinion rather than fact. Yet you claimed it to be fact. Then you appeared to become upset when I asked if you meant to say that it was a fact rather than opinion.

:mad: No, this is wrong and does NOT represent my view. I only claim that irrational opinions are irrational.

Yet you cannot explain how you distinguish the rationality of one opinion from another, other than it's irrational because it's irrational. I'm sorry, but to claim that a Christian belief in prayer is irrational would require evidence that it is incoherent, which you've not provided.

Please look closely at your statement. You said "reason for believing it". That's the point, there is NO reason to believe it. Absent "reason" it is irrational.

IT'S COUNTER TO THE F'NG LAWS OF PHYSICS!

If I saw a pig fly with my own eyes, I would have reason to believe it, despite its being counter to the laws of physics. I would hesitate to say that someone who has reason to believe something that cannot be proven is irrational simply because it cannot be proven.

:mad: I did not use the word "obvious". Please stop that.

Now perhaps you should look up the word "manifest," which is what I was responding to.


You are turning science on its head. I assume provisionally that they have not been proven true. That IS, in part, the scientific method and you ARE ARGUING that since I can't prove that they have never happened that I can't hold such a provisional opinion. That's the same as saying that since I can't prove that there is no Santa Claus I can't provisionaly hold that there is no Santa Claus.

I said absolutely no such thing. Of course you can hold such a provisional opinion, as long as it's opinion and not fact. I simply said that someone can rationally hold the opposing opinion as well.

-Bri

RandFan
24th July 2006, 08:59 AM
Making it an opinion rather than fact. Yet you claimed it to be fact. Then you appeared to become upset when I asked if you meant to say that it was a fact rather than opinion. This is nonsense.

Yet you cannot explain how you distinguish the rationality of one opinion from another, other than it's irrational because it's irrational. I'm sorry, but to claim that a Christian belief in prayer is irrational would require evidence that it is incoherent, which you've not provided. This does not represent my view. It is irrational for the reasons stated. The belief is not supported by and evidence.

If I saw a pig fly with my own eyes, I would have reason to believe it, despite its being counter to the laws of physics. I would hesitate to say that someone who has reason to believe something that cannot be proven is irrational simply because it cannot be proven. Sorry Bri, believing in something that is counter to the laws of physics IS irrational by definition. BTW, have you ever seen a pig fly?

Now perhaps you should look up the word "manifest," which is what I was responding to. I appologize. It does say obvious.


I said absolutely no such thing. Of course you can hold such a provisional opinion, as long as it's opinion and not fact. I simply said that someone can rationally hold the opposing opinion as well. NO, THEY CAN'T! This is silly and is itself irrational.

I less than three logic
24th July 2006, 09:00 AM
If I saw a pig fly with my own eyes, I would have reason to believe it, despite its being counter to the laws of physics.
If I saw a pig fly with my own eyes, my first impression would be I have reason to believe I should seek mental health treatment. That is just my opinion though. :)

Bri
24th July 2006, 09:01 AM
Consistent with what?

Consistent with itself (i.e. coherent). Consistent with reality, in the sense that it could possibly be true.

The question is, is there "reason" to believe it?

I imagine that those who believe it have reason to believe it.

Here you are doing it again. NOTHING CAN ABSOLUTELY BE PROVEN.

According to Webster, an opinion is a "belief stronger than impression and less strong than positive knowledge." By definition, opinions are not positive knowledge. Yet, I wouldn't consider it necessarily irrational to have an opinion regarding prayer (or anything else for that matter) unless the belief is somehow inconsistent. That would be equally true of the belief that prayer has an affect on the world as the belief that prayer has no affect on the world.

-Bri

Genesius
24th July 2006, 09:02 AM
If I saw a pig fly with my own eyes, my first impression would be I have reason to believe I should seek mental health treatment. That is just my opinion though. :)

If I saw a pig fly with my own eyes, my first thought would be to look around and try to find whatever launched the pig.

Bri
24th July 2006, 09:04 AM
If I saw a pig fly with my own eyes, my first impression would be I have reason to believe I should seek mental health treatment. That is just my opinion though. :)

Certainly possibile, of course. Unless others also witnessed the event. My point being that I cannot rule out the possiblity that someone might have a valid reason for believing that a pig can fly. I also admitted that I'm not sure what such a reason would be.

-Bri

Ossai
24th July 2006, 09:05 AM
Bri
No. What I am saying is that Christian belief may be wrong, but it is consistent and may in fact be right. Christian belief is not consistent. How many thousands of examples do you require of various sects arguing over the most trivial of interpretations do you want?

As far as Christian belief being correct, where is the solid unambiguous evidence?

AgingYoung
Your 2nd premise is at times not true yet you want to make a conclusion based on that idea. I'm not willing to accept that reasoning or the conclusions you'd care to draw from it much less persuing other ideas with that sort of reasoning. If it works for you that's fine. How about addressing the specific examples I gave instead of slaying thy men of straw.

I specified sections, not the entire bible. My second premise stands untouched. I even game examples supporting my statement. You on the other hand, must prove the bible 100% true in order to defeat my second point.

Ossai

RandFan
24th July 2006, 09:07 AM
Consistent with itself (i.e. coherent). Consistent with reality, in the sense that it could possibly be true. Anything could possibly be true. Is everything consistent with our observations of the real world?

I imagine that those who believe it have reason to believe it. Are those reasons consistent with our observations of the real world?

According to Webster, an opinion is a "belief stronger than impression and less strong than positive knowledge." By definition, opinions are not positive knowledge. Yet, I wouldn't consider it necessarily irrational to have an opinion regarding prayer (or anything else for that matter) unless the belief is somehow inconsistent. That would be equally true of the belief that prayer has an affect on the world as the belief that prayer has no affect on the world.

su·per·sti·tion
n.

An irrational belief that an object, action, or circumstance not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome.

Prayer, is by definition irrational. Prayer is not logically related to a course of events that would otherwise influence its outcome. QED.

ETA: Only prayer that anticipates a change in a course of events or state is irrational according to this definition.

I less than three logic
24th July 2006, 09:10 AM
If I saw a pig fly with my own eyes, my first thought would be to look around and try to find whatever launched the pig.
Yeah, but that's not "flying", a launched pig would be more like slowly falling. To qualify as flying to me, it would have to at least be able to change trajectory and climb in altitude after already descending some. Even then it might only qualify as gliding, and I'm pretty sure with a little time, effort, and complete disregard for the pig's safety, I could get a pig to glide. :D

empeake
24th July 2006, 09:16 AM
That's precisely what the example (there are quite a few examples) of the discovery of the ruins of Nineveh speaks to.
AgingYoung, you are using the discovery of the ruins of Nineveh (and some other archaeological findings) to support your position that what the Bible says is true. Asides from the numerous examples of contradictions in the Bible that have already been pointed out (flat Earth, Sun revolving around the Earth, discrepancies between parts of the Bible, etc.), let me point out the major flaw in your line of reasoning with a simple example:

1. Read any Harry Potter novel.
2. The novel contains references to the city of London.
3. London exists.
4. As per your argumentation, since London exists, the reference to London is true and, therefore, the rest of the Harry Potter novel is true: There are warlocks and witches among us, and they study at Hogwarts.

You may want to read the thread What do you do when the Bible is proven right on something? (http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=59557) to gain more insight of the subject.

RandFan
24th July 2006, 09:21 AM
OK, if you believe that a miracle only occurs if it is obvious, then the example with the die (and possibly even the soda machine unless someone knew it was empty) isn't a miracle. No less impressive in my book, but perhaps not a miracle by that definition, since it doesn't meet the requirement of being obvious. If that was your point, then I concede. Bri, again, I appologize. I did not read the entire paragraph. I missed the point you were trying to make.

Again,

Sorry.

AgingYoung
24th July 2006, 09:33 AM
Empeake,
The premise ...

2. other sections contradict more current knowledge
may sometimes be true yet I've given one example (and there are many) of where it isn't true. To draw conclusions based on an idea that at times isn't true will only give you a viable conclusion accidentally.

AgingYoung, you are using the discovery of the ruins of Nineveh (and some other archaeological findings) to support your position that what the Bible says is true.

This quote of yours isn't true, Empeake. I have yet to argue my position. I'm still considering the reasoning that leads to the conclusion....

the bible, if from one divinely inspired source, is nothing more than a lie.
It is true that I disagree with that conclusion particularly because I disagree with the original reasoning. Now I really suspect that Ossai is a sock puppet and not inclined to do their own thinking so as far as I can tell the matter is settled.

Gene

edit:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e1/Mugshot_Puppet_S.png/180px-Mugshot_Puppet_S.png

I less than three logic
24th July 2006, 09:38 AM
Now I really suspect that Ossai is a sock puppet and not inclined to do their own thinking so as far as I can tell the matter is settled.
Ossai is who's sock puppet? Do you even know what sock puppet within a forum context refers to?

Bri
24th July 2006, 09:40 AM
Is everything consistent with our observations of the real world?

Christian belief in prayer is consistent with our observations of the real world given that they don't require any and all prayers to be granted.

Prayer, is by definition irrational. Prayer is not logically related to a course of events that would otherwise influence its outcome. QED.

Note that a particular category of irrational belief is a superstition by your definition. Prayer would not be a superstition unless it fell into this category of irrational belief. To claim that belief in prayer is irrational by assuming it to be a superstition is circular logic. According to Christians, prayer is related to God, which is related to a course of events that result.

-Bri

empeake
24th July 2006, 09:43 AM
If I saw a pig fly with my own eyes, I would have reason to believe it, despite its being counter to the laws of physics. I would hesitate to say that someone who has reason to believe something that cannot be proven is irrational simply because it cannot be proven.
I've seen a person fly: David Copperfield. It was contrary to the laws of physics. Of the 5000 people in the theater, let us assume 4900 of them thought, "What a wonderful trick! I wonder how he did it." The other 100 believed he did fly. For the audience, there's no way to prove (at that point and time) that he did or did not fly by his own means. Are both positions rational, or is the latter a self-delusion?

Bri
24th July 2006, 09:44 AM
Bri, again, I appologize. I did not read the entire paragraph. I missed the point you were trying to make.

Again,

Sorry.

RandFan, I accept. Even though some of your replies have been heated, they have always seemed sincere to me.

-Bri

Genesius
24th July 2006, 09:46 AM
So Gene, are you going to answer Ken's & my questions? When Jesus was talking to his disciples, how do you know when the topic under discussion referred to the disciples only (i.e. prayer always being granted) or to all his followers (i.e. the Great Commission)?

I am, of course, assuming that you believe the Great Commission applies to all his followers, since you have yet to make your belief known. If I am incorrect in that assumption, I humbly beg your forgiveness.

Bri
24th July 2006, 09:50 AM
I've seen a person fly: David Copperfield. It was contrary to the laws of physics. Of the 5000 people in the theater, let us assume 4900 of them thought, "What a wonderful trick! I wonder how he did it." The other 100 believed he did fly. For the audience, there's no way to prove (at that point and time) that he did or did not fly by his own means. Are both positions rational, or is the latter a self-delusion?

Gullible, perhaps, but not irrational. Seriously, I understand your point, but I still cannot say that under no circumstance would it be rational to hold an opinion that something that seems to violate the laws of physics is possible. It is, after all, possible.

-Bri

Meffy
24th July 2006, 09:50 AM
I have yet to argue my position.
Then state your claim and argue your position or stop wasting everyone's time.

While you're at it, answer Genesius' and Ken's questions.

Oh, and stop hotlinking images from Wikipedia if you'd be so good. Your "sock puppet" ad hom isn't going to impress anyone, without a graphic or with.

Bri
24th July 2006, 09:56 AM
The belief is not supported by and evidence.

That isn't quite true. There is evidence, but not evidence that you (or I) would accept. But then again, I don't think an opinion must be supported by evidence to be rational.

Sorry Bri, believing in something that is counter to the laws of physics IS irrational by definition.

Which definition of "irrational" are you using? I can't find a definition that refers to the laws of physics.

BTW, have you ever seen a pig fly?

No, I haven't.

I appologize. It does say obvious.

Not a problem.

NO, THEY CAN'T! This is silly and is itself irrational.

Well...OK then! Tell us what you really think!

-Bri

empeake
24th July 2006, 09:56 AM
The premise... ...may sometimes be true yet I've given one example (and there are many) of where it isn't true. To draw conclusions based on an idea that at times isn't true will only give you a viable conclusion accidentally.
And yet, you are doing the exactly same thing: basing your discussion on the Bible, that at times isn't true. Nice double standard.

Now I really suspect that Ossai is a sock puppet and not inclined to do their own thinking...
Could you be kind enough to clarify this statement, both for me and Ossai?

...so as far as I can tell the matter is settled.
What matter? Or is it just an excuse to avoid a rational discussion?

empeake
24th July 2006, 10:07 AM
Seriously, I understand your point, but I still cannot say that under no circumstance would it be rational to hold an opinion that something that seems to violate the laws of physics is possible. It is, after all, possible.
Could you rephrase this? I'm really confused about what you trying to say.

I less than three logic
24th July 2006, 10:11 AM
Just wanted to state I gave you all fair warning. I found that getting him to answer a question directly is only slightly less painful than pulling teeth. :D

I would warn you though, that debating AgingYoung is truly an exercise in futility. It is, however, not without its entertainment value. :)

empeake
24th July 2006, 10:16 AM
Just wanted to state I gave you all fair warning. I found that getting him to answer a question directly is only slightly less painful than pulling teeth. :D
Yes, and thanks for the warning. However, as a skeptic (and occasional intellectual masochist), I had to see it for myself. :)

Genesius
24th July 2006, 10:24 AM
Just wanted to state I gave you all fair warning. I found that getting him to answer a question directly is only slightly less painful than pulling teeth. :D
I would warn you though, that debating AgingYoung is truly an exercise in futility. It is, however, not without its entertainment value. :)
True, but what else can one do for amusement around here? All the really entertaining woos are in the CT threads. No more "Interesting" Ian, no more Iacchus. . .

Bri
24th July 2006, 10:48 AM
Could you rephrase this? I'm really confused about what you trying to say.

I'm saying that it is possible that violations of the laws of physics occur, although there is no confirmed evidence of it. Therefore, it is not necessarily irrational to be of the opinion that such violations exist, despite a lack of confirmed evidence. Similarly, it is not necessarily irrational to be of the opinion that intelligent life exists outside of our solar system even though there is no confirmed evidence of it.

-Bri

AgingYoung
24th July 2006, 10:57 AM
empeake,
To your point ....

And yet, you are doing the exactly same thing: basing your discussion on the Bible, that at times isn't true. Nice double standard.

AgingYoung
Since all those premises are based on the bible, the bible, or at least large sections, are obviously not true, other sections contradict more current knowledge and other parts contradict itself then the only conclusion to be drawn is that the bible, if from one divinely inspired source, is nothing more than a lie.

Ossai

Is there some other way to address an allegation about the bible without then looking at this same bible?

Gene

I less than three logic
24th July 2006, 11:12 AM
I'm saying that it is possible that violations of the laws of physics occur, although there is no confirmed evidence of it. Therefore, it is not necessarily irrational to be of the opinion that such violations exist, despite a lack of confirmed evidence. Similarly, it is not necessarily irrational to be of the opinion that intelligent life exists outside of our solar system even though there is no confirmed evidence of it.

-Bri
I would say that it is possible that our current understanding of the laws of physics could be flawed. Finding something that violated them would require us to change the law, this is what science is all about. However, I don't believe anything can actually violate the laws of physics, only defy our current definition.

empeake
24th July 2006, 11:22 AM
Is there some other way to address an allegation about the bible without then looking at this same bible?
I do not agree with Ossai's line of reasoning to conclude that the Bible is a lie, but I do agree with him/her that it does contain many falsehoods, discrepancies, and inconsistencies, and therefore it must not be taken at face value.

In your specific case, the double standard I'm referring to is that you brush aside Ossai's arguments by pointing out parts of the Bible that are true (all of them archaelogical references, so far), and at the same time fail to address the parts that Ossai has pointed out to be false. You take the Bible at face value when it suits you, but forget about it when it doesn't, resorting to straw men.

BTW, you still haven't explained your "sock puppet" comments (another prime example of the straw men you like so much).

AgingYoung
24th July 2006, 12:06 PM
empeake,

In your specific case, the double standard I'm referring to is that you brush aside Ossai's arguments by pointing out parts of the Bible that are true(all of them archaelogical references, so far), and at the same time fail to address the parts that Ossai has pointed out to be false.
If every instance of information we get (adding to the collective 'current knowledge') would disprove the bible then there would be no reason to think that some future information would substantiate the bible. In as much as the premise
2. other sections contradict more current knowledge

is sometimes true and sometimes false I see no reason to use it to base any decision on; either for the veracity or against it of the Bible.




A straw man argument is a logical fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position

I'd be glad to explain the facts of the sock puppet as soon as you can relate it to ...
BTW, you still haven't explained your "sock puppet" comments (another prime example of the straw men you like so much).
a misrepresentation of any idea that Ossai has.



Gene

empeake
24th July 2006, 12:32 PM
A straw man argument is a logical fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position

I'd be glad to explain the facts of the sock puppet as soon as you can relate it to ...

a misrepresentation of any idea that Ossai has.

Read your own words:
Now I really suspect that Ossai is a sock puppet and not inclined to do their own thinking so as far as I can tell the matter is settled.
You are misrepresenting Ossai's position the moment you accuse him/her of not doing his/her own thinking. Your logical fallacy is that Ossai is a sock puppet. Does it get any clearer than this?

And you still keep avoiding an explanation of a) why you accuse Ossai of being a sock puppet, and b) why you do it when replying to one of my posts, instead of addressing Ossai directly.

AgingYoung
24th July 2006, 12:40 PM
BTW, you still haven't explained your "sock puppet" comments (another prime example of the straw men you like so much).

And you still keep avoiding an explanation of a) why you accuse Ossai of being a sock puppet, and b) why you do it when replying to one of my posts, instead of addressing Ossai directly.

Well, you asked.

Gene

empeake
24th July 2006, 12:47 PM
Well, you asked.
And you still have failed to provide an answer.

*Sigh*

Trying to have a rational discussion with you has been very enlightening: now I understand the purpose of the "Ignore list".

Genesius
24th July 2006, 12:51 PM
And you still have failed to provide an answer.



Join the club. He's been ignoring/avoiding me & thaiboxerken all day. . .

Tricky
24th July 2006, 12:53 PM
I'm saying that it is possible that violations of the laws of physics occur, although there is no confirmed evidence of it. Therefore, it is not necessarily irrational to be of the opinion that such violations exist, despite a lack of confirmed evidence. Similarly, it is not necessarily irrational to be of the opinion that intelligent life exists outside of our solar system even though there is no confirmed evidence of it.

-Bri
Here is what I see as the difference between these two scenarios.

As regards the laws of physics, let us ask some questions.


Have we observed things that conform to the known laws of physics? Yes
Have we had many such observations? Yes
Have we observed things which fall outside the known laws of physics? Vanishingly few, and they have always been because we were unaware of the laws of physics.
Now compare that with life on other planets


Have we observed life on other planets? No, but we've only closely examined one other planet.
Have we many observations of other planets to determine if there is life? No.
Have we observed planets on which life (as we know it) is highly unlikely. Yes, but only a few.
So as you can see, these are two very different questions. One is based on numerous observations while another is based on almost no data at all. So to say that finding exceptions to the laws of physics is just as likely as there being life on other planets is not even close to being correct. It is comparing lots of information versus virtually no information.

empeake
24th July 2006, 12:57 PM
Join the club. He's been ignoring/avoiding me & thaiboxerken all day. . .
And Ossai, and Meffy...

AgingYoung
24th July 2006, 01:20 PM
AgingYoung
How about addressing the specific examples I gave instead of slaying thy men of straw.
I specified sections, not the entire bible. My second premise stands untouched. I even game examples supporting my statement. You on the other hand, must prove the bible 100% true in order to defeat my second point.

Ossai

AgingYoung
Since all those premises are based on the bible,
the bible, or at least large sections, are obviously not true,
other sections contradict more current knowledge and
other parts contradict itself
then the only conclusion to be drawn is that
the bible, if from one divinely inspired source, is nothing more than a lie.

Ossai
Do you honestly think calling your premise a point yet also saying that I restated your premise in any way (ye men of straw) would led to any meaningful debate? You're joking, right?

You may want to explain how I misrepresented your premise. Don't take that hand out of your backside and ask it.

Gene

Ossai
24th July 2006, 01:25 PM
AgingYoung
2. other sections contradict more current knowledgemay sometimes be true yet I've given one example (and there are many) of where it isn't true. To draw conclusions based on an idea that at times isn't true will only give you a viable conclusion accidentally. It was a general statement that may sometimes be true. You are claiming that one section may have been proven true therefore the general statement is false. Sorry, but that’s illogical.
An example of what you are stating and your strawman.
O: Some cars are green.
AY: I see a blue car, therefore no cars are green.
You are taking the AY statement as disproving the O statement. There is no contradiction involved at all between the two statements.

What I’m actually saying.
O: Some cars are green.
AY: I see a blue car.

The presence of some green cars does not exclude other colors. You are arguing ‘all cars are green’ when that was never stated.

Now I really suspect that Ossai is a sock puppet and not inclined to do their own thinking so as far as I can tell the matter is settled. I’m not a sock puppet. Check my join date and past posts verses anyone else. Now how about answering the allegations put forth.

The following can clearly be stated about the bible and the information contained within:
1. God, as portrayed by most Christians is omniscient
2. Some believers state that the bible is divinely inspired by
3. All information from one source, god, although the presentation and style would vary depending on the human being used to write the message the information originated directly from god.
4. Sections of the bible are not true as defined in two areas
a) Old information that more modern information refutes (see previous list)
b) Internal biblical contradictions (see previous list)

Given the above, the logical conclusion to be drawn is that the source of the information lied about the information or lied about being omniscient. Either way, god lied.


Bri
Christian belief in prayer is consistent with our observations of the real world given that they don't require any and all prayers to be granted. Ah, but they want their prayer to be answered and a large number of people expect it. If they didn’t then they are suffering (or at least acting as if suffering) from a mild form of mental illness.

empeake
BTW, you still haven't explained your "sock puppet" comments (another prime example of the straw men you like so much). Psst, the sock puppet comment was a combination of ad hominem and poisoning the well, varying degrees of each.

Ossai

AgingYoung
24th July 2006, 01:31 PM
It was a general statement that may sometimes be true. You are claiming that one section may have been proven true therefore the general statement is false. Sorry, but that’s illogical.

psst, that's still not a strawman as you alleged. I didn't restate your weak point that it seems you now admit may sometimes be true. It equally can sometimes be false. Not the sort of premise I'd base any meaningful conclusion on.

Gene

empeake
24th July 2006, 01:37 PM
empeake
Psst, the sock puppet comment was a combination of ad hominem and poisoning the well, varying degrees of each.
Thanks.

AgingYoung
24th July 2006, 01:58 PM
empeake
Psst, the sock puppet comment was a combination of ad hominem and poisoning the well, varying degrees of each.
Ossai
Ossai,
If you like I'll sort thru the thread and post a link of the point where you deferred your thinking to someone that imagined they saw a straw man; making the point that I had restated your premise or ...
...distorting it down to a single example
I wasn't attacking you yet only noting the fact that you were reposting someone elses fallacious ideas. If it weren't a fact you might be correct in saying I was poisoning the well.

Gene

I less than three logic
24th July 2006, 03:05 PM
If it weren't a fact you might be correct in saying I was poisoning the well.

Gene
I know I'm replying to no one, but I'll continue to do so for the sake of others reading this nonsense. Even if it is a fact you're still deploying a poisoning the well fallacy. You are still guilty of arguing against the merits of the arguer and not the merits of the argument.

RandFan
24th July 2006, 03:12 PM
Christian belief in prayer is consistent with our observations of the real world given that they don't require any and all prayers to be granted. Requiring or hoping any prayer to be granted is NOT consistent with our observations of the real world. Your claim is demonstrably false.

Note that a particular category of irrational belief is a superstition by your definition. Prayer would not be a superstition unless it fell into this category of irrational belief. To claim that belief in prayer is irrational by assuming it to be a superstition is circular logic. According to Christians, prayer is related to God, which is related to a course of events that result. Ahhh.... no. Sorry Bri. No.

God doesn't magically make the irrational rational. I don't assume prayer to be superstitious. Prayer is superstitious by definition.

If I keep a rabbits foot with the hope that events will more likely work in my favor then that is superstition.

If I pray with the hope that events will more likely work in my favor then that is superstition.

Bri,

According to the people that practice Voodoo the voodoo is related to a course of events that result.
According to the people who keep lucky charms the charms are related to a course of events that result.
According to the people who cross their fingers their fingers are related to a course of events that result.
According to the people who follow astrology, astrology is related to a course of events that result.
According to the people who read Tarot Cards, the Tarot Cards are related to a course of events that result.

It just doesn't wash Bri, If you can explain the mechanism to me then I will agree that prayer is not irrational. Or if you can prove to me that prayer works then I will agree that prayer is rational. If you can't explain it to me other than to say that it is God that does it then that is no better than to say that the stars did it, that the rabbits foot does it, that the horseshoe does it.

It is all superstition.

Bri, you don't even know if God is there. What is more irrational than talking to a person that doesn't exist? The schizophrenic believes that the voices are real. Believing doesn't make something rational.

One more time, belief doesn't make something rational.

Ossai
24th July 2006, 03:19 PM
AgingYoung
Is there some other way to address an allegation about the bible without then looking at this same bible? It would be nice if you would actually point out the allegation and stick to a point of discussion instead of all the massive field work you’ve been doing.

If every instance of information we get (adding to the collective 'current knowledge') would disprove the bible then there would be no reason to think that some future information would substantiate the bible. In as much as the premise Again, stick to the premise, no one has claim every instance yet you are arguing against the none-point.

psst, that's still not a strawman as you alleged. I didn't restate your weak point that it seems you now admit may sometimes be true. It equally can sometimes be false. Not the sort of premise I'd base any meaningful conclusion on.
I made a general point, large sections of the bible have been refuted.
You posted one specific instance in which the bible may be right.
You have not addressed the general point. You used another point entirely in an effort to refute a statement I did not make. I.E. You used a straw man.

Apparently you need to work on your reading skills. (I admit I need to work on my typing.) But you either accidentally missed the entire point or willfully ignored it. Now, since my initial statement has been quoted by you a number of times, the only conclusion to draw is that you willfully ignored the point made.

If you like I'll sort thru the thread and post a link of the point where you deferred your thinking to someone that imagined they saw a straw man; making the point that I had restated your premise or ... You’re strengthening my previous statement. Read the thread, both your straw man argument as well as the ad hominem / poisoning the well statement has been pointed out. (Without knowing your direct motivation, it could be either.)

Ossai

RandFan
24th July 2006, 03:20 PM
Gullible, perhaps, but not irrational. Seriously, I understand your point, but I still cannot say that under no circumstance would it be rational to hold an opinion that something that seems to violate the laws of physics is possible. It is, after all, possible. By your definition there is no such thing as "irrational". Everything is, after all, possible. By your definition what would otherwise be defined as superstition is not superstitious. You have simply redefined the words to fit your world view. That's fine but please understand that there is reason for others to use this word. You can believe that there is no such thing as irrationality but sadly, there is.

AgingYoung
24th July 2006, 03:24 PM
AgingYoung
Now how about answering the allegations put forth.

The following can clearly be stated about the bible and the information contained within:
1. God, as portrayed by most Christians is omniscient
2. Some believers state that the bible is divinely inspired by
3. All information from one source, god, although the presentation and style would vary depending on the human being used to write the message the information originated directly from god.

Given the above, the logical conclusion to be drawn is that the source of the information lied about the information or lied about being omniscient. Either way, god lied.

Ossai
This is certainly going to be an uphill battle. Why would you want to put conclusions in your premises ...
3. All information from one source

and also base that conclusion on

Some believers state...
...as portrayed by most Christians

much less conclude from the very beginning that ...

The following can clearly be stated about the bible and the information contained within


Where in the Bible does it state what 'some believers state' or 'how God is portrayed by most Christians?' Speaking to your third premise Newton noted a marginal note that crept into the text of the bible and I believe I first became aware of that from a translation of the Racovian Catechism (circa 1800). So the bible as we have it isn't without error.

But I'll answer your question as I understand it. Current knowledge is dynamic and as I pointed out that knowledge at times confirms what the bible has said. With those particular confirmations what once was current knowledge becomes obsolete. Your false dilemma is rooted in the idea that man has a pretty good handle on what reality is. I think you're betting quite a bit on that. Some contradictions are readily explained by a difference in the meaning that some want a word to have compared to what the word meant when it was originally used. Language changes.

I am fully persuaded that some contradictions are the result of people deliberately not wanting an answer yet persisting with a faulty conclusion. It's not that there is a contradiction yet there is a philosophical disagreement.

Gene

Meffy
24th July 2006, 03:39 PM
Gene, just so in future you don't make the same mistake, a little information. A "sock puppet" is an extra account set up by an existing forum member, used to post in support of the existing member's arguments, pretending to be a separate individual. It is not a person who agrees with another.

If you don't know what a term means, either

1) don't use it at all or, better,
2) look it up before using it.

AgingYoung
24th July 2006, 03:41 PM
AgingYoung
I made a general point, large sections of the bible have been refuted.
You posted one specific instance in which the bible may be right.
Ossai
You made a generalization (that which you call a general point) and drew conclusions from it. Your generalization of a premise isn't always true. I cited a specific instance where it's not the case. I just noticed you're saying the generalization is ....


large sections of the bible have been refuted.


this is too funny.

The generalization you made was ...

2. other sections contradict more current knowledge


Well, if you want to draw conclusions from generalizations that clearly aren't always that case that's your business. If you want to now deny your premise and equivocate all the while accusing me of being the one restating your case well...

I thought you were having a fit of honesty. You sure fooled me. :eye-poppi

Gene

RandFan
24th July 2006, 03:43 PM
That isn't quite true. There is evidence, but not evidence that you (or I) would accept. But then again, I don't think an opinion must be supported by evidence to be rational. The opinion must be logical and reasonable. Just because I believe that I can fly doesn't mean that I can. Believing in something that is counter to objective evidence is irrational. You can excuse the irrational belief due to ignorance but it is still irrational.

Which definition of "irrational" are you using? I can't find a definition that refers to the laws of physics. I'm trying Bri, and I'm trying to keep cool. Bear with me and I'll tone down the emotion.


ra·tion·al
adj.

Having or exercising the ability to reason.
Of sound mind; sane.
Consistent with or based on reason; logical: rational behavior. See Synonyms at logical (http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=logical).
Mathematics. Capable of being expressed as a quotient of integers.Please see #3. Any notion that violates the laws of physics is not reasonable.

Ok, let's try something. If I patronize then I ask your forgiveness. Please consider the following conditional statement. If I were a fertile and healthy woman I could bear children. This is a logically valid hypothetical. However there is a problem. I am not a woman. So, while the hypothetical might be logically valid it is not true. It would be irrational for me to believe that given the current state of human technology and understanding that I could bear children.

Ok, are you with me? The human mind is capable of thinking logically and rationally about the illogical and irrational.

If there were an omniscient and omnipotent being he/she could answer prayers. Is this a logically valid hypothetical? We'll that is a bit sticky. We could fill pages and pages of argument as to whether or not that is a logically valid hypothetical, however, let's for the sake of argument assume that an omnipotent being could answer prayers (so long as it was not an illogical impossibility/paradox). Ok? Does he? Good question, right? Before we answer that one let's try one more.

If a rabbits foot has supernatural powers then a rabbits foot could bring a person good luck. Is this a valid hypothetical? Yes!

Are you with me? Any questions so far?

All available evidence demonstrates that keeping a rabbits foot for good luck won't do anything. Oh, it might make you feel good. It might give you confidence but the rabbits foot can't alter or change the laws of physics no matter how much we believe. The keeping of a rabbits foot is superstitious for two reasons.

1.) There is no known mechanism for a rabbits foot to alter events.
2.) There is zero scientific evidence that rabbits feet alter events.

Now, let's get back to God.

1.) Is there a known mechanism for God to alter events?
2.) Is there any scientific evidence that praying to God will alter events?

Well...OK then! Tell us what you really think! Sorry Bri, it just gets frustrating.

thaiboxerken
24th July 2006, 10:29 PM
The generalization you made was ...

2. other sections contradict more current knowledge


How many legs to insects have?

Anacoluthon64
25th July 2006, 01:43 AM
large sections of the bible have been refuted.

this is too funny.Yes, it is hilarious how you don't understand plain English. Are you being purposely obtuse? "Large sections" is hardly synonymous with "the whole shebang."


2. other sections contradict more current knowledge

Well, if you want to draw conclusions from generalizations that clearly aren't always that case that's your business.Side-splittingly festive. Again, "other" ain't the same as "all."

Geddit?

'Luthon64

Ossai
25th July 2006, 05:00 AM
AgingYoung
Where in the Bible does it state what 'some believers state' or 'how God is portrayed by most Christians?' You are not reading what I actually wrote, again. Try it sometime you may actually learn something instead of going off on a tangent and skewering men of straw.

Speaking to your third premise Newton noted a marginal note that crept into the text of the bible and I believe I first became aware of that from a translation of the Racovian Catechism (circa 1800). So the bible as we have it isn't without error. There are quiet a few more translational error than just the one you’ve pointed out. And then one must ask, which translation? What about edits that were deliberately made, do they count as errors?

this is too funny. And your amusement results from what? How many examples do you want to ignore this time?

Ossai

AgingYoung
25th July 2006, 07:11 AM
You are not reading what I actually wrote, again.
Below is what you actually wrote; you can click on the link if you like yet why you want to deny it is beyond me. I can only guess you're not interested in honest debate. If you won't admit what you've written I see no reason to move on with your absurd reasoning. Have a nice day.
AgingYoung
.....
Since all those premises are based on the bible,

(a)the bible, or at least large sections, are obviously not true,
(b)other sections contradict more current knowledge
(c)and other parts contradict itself

then the only conclusion to be drawn is that the bible, if from one divinely inspired source, is nothing more than a lie.

Ossai

Large sections are actually confirmed by more current knowledge and many former criticisms have been dismissed.

Gene

AgingYoung
25th July 2006, 07:22 AM
I did have another thought along the lines of this thread. People for philosophical reasons reject the idea of prayer being valid or the existence of God. They won't accept any idea that suggests it has authority over them. Some people clearly refuse to allow reason to have authority over them. They won't listen to reason. It is funny to watch an absurd display but ultimately it isn't.

Gene

Freethinker
25th July 2006, 07:29 AM
Some people clearly refuse to allow reason to have authority over them. They won't listen to reason. It is funny to watch an absurd display but ultimately it isn't.

Gene

Exactly. Kathy has competition for the Pot/Kettle Award.

AgingYoung
25th July 2006, 07:46 AM
Freethinker,

I do admire the faith though, calling words they've said as though they didn't, then attempting to put those very words in my mouth as though I said them (strawman). I wish I had that much faith to actually distort the past. Real power.

Is that what you had in mind or would you mind being specific? I know it's the habit of some to draw grand sweeping generalized conclusions based on other grand generalizations.

Gene

AgingYoung
25th July 2006, 07:57 AM
Some are impressed with their cleverness but for the record I'd like to point out that it's old hat. Whether you think it's written myth or the truth it is a fact that it was written some time ago.
Mar 12:13 And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in [his] words.

Very old hat. One note annie.

Gene

I less than three logic
25th July 2006, 08:15 AM
Some are impressed with their cleverness but for the record I'd like to point out that it's old hat. Whether you think it's written myth or the truth it is a fact that it was written some time ago.


Very old hat. One note annie.

Gene
One can only admire your unparalleled ability to make the utterly pointless seem even more so.

Ossai
25th July 2006, 08:36 AM
AgingYoung
Large sections are actually confirmed by more current knowledge and many former criticisms have been dismissed. I provided a short list of the items that have not been confirmed by current knowledge and you continue to ignore them. Exactly what former criticisms have been dismissed? References please.

Below is what you actually wrote; you can click on the link if you like yet why you want to deny it is beyond me. I can only guess you're not interested in honest debate. If you won't admit what you've written I see no reason to move on with your absurd reasoning. Have a nice day. Wow, either your reading comprehension really is that low, or you take great pleasure in attempting to twist what I wrote. Do you get a discount when you buy all that straw in bulk?

If you would actually bother to read what I wrote instead of what you think I wrote, this discussion may actually advance. Well, that is assuming that you would actually state your position.

Ossai

Bri
25th July 2006, 08:50 AM
So as you can see, these are two very different questions. One is based on numerous observations while another is based on almost no data at all. So to say that finding exceptions to the laws of physics is just as likely as there being life on other planets is not even close to being correct. It is comparing lots of information versus virtually no information.

True, the two cases aren't identical, but the criteria you're using to judge them may not hold for other cases. For example, we have no data whatsoever of a teapot orbitting Mars or the existance of an invisible unicorn or the existance of gods for that matter. We have less data for those things than for intelligent life outside of the solar system. Is it more rational to believe in the teapot or in gods than in intelligent life outside of our solar system?

Is it more rational to believe in the teapot or in gods than to believe it possible to violate the laws of physics, which as you noted has actually been done several times, each time resulting in an update to the laws of physics? Oddly, the existance of gods would probably make it possible to violate the laws of physics.

I just don't think you'll find an objective means for determining whether all beliefs not based on known facts (i.e. opinions) are rational or irrational.

-Bri

Genesius
25th July 2006, 09:10 AM
I did have another thought along the lines of this thread. People for philosophical reasons reject the idea of prayer being valid or the existence of God. They won't accept any idea that suggests it has authority over them. Some people clearly refuse to allow reason to have authority over them. They won't listen to reason. It is funny to watch an absurd display but ultimately it isn't.

Gene
What has reason got to do with religion? Show me any fact that would lead me to conclude that God exists.

Reason does have authority over my life. You are the one who has abandoned reason by handing your life over to dreams and superstitions.

In the words of a greater thinker than you & I combined:

What are the facts? Again and again and again — what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what "the stars foretell," avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable "verdict of history" — what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts!

RandFan
25th July 2006, 09:12 AM
True, the two cases aren't identical, but the criteria you're using to judge them may not hold for other cases. For example, we have no data whatsoever of a teapot orbitting Mars or the existance of an invisible unicorn or the existance of gods for that matter. We have less data for those things than for intelligent life outside of the solar system. Is it more rational to believe in the teapot or in gods than in intelligent life outside of our solar system? "Teapots"? I think we need to make something clear. I think you are misstating the case of ET's as far as skeptics are concerned. If a person believes that ET's are possible that is rational. If a person believes that he can have a one sided verbal conversation with said ET's then that is NOT rational.

A person that believes that God is possible IS rational.

Is it more rational to believe in the teapot or in gods than to believe it possible to violate the laws of physics... Your statement is problematic. Obviously nothing would violate the laws of physics. Only our understanding of them.

...which as you noted has actually been done several times, each time resulting in an update to the laws of physics? Oddly, the existance of gods would probably make it possible to violate the laws of physics.This demonstrates a naiveté of science and the natural world. Science holds positions provisionally. It's possible that our understanding of the laws of physics are so incomplete that most or all of the miracles in the bible are possible by some as yet unseen force. Again, anything is possible. But there are problems.

1.) Such a discovery would be completely counter to much of what we know.
2.) No empirical evidence exists that these events have happened.
3.) Our understanding of human history, human nature and parsimony compels us to accept that these things did not happen.

I just don't think you'll find an objective means for determining whether all beliefs not based on known facts (i.e. opinions) are rational or irrational. This is a misstatement of the problem. If we accept this logic BTW, then there is no such thing as "irrational". You are arguing that only perfect knowledge can verify a proposition. There is no perfect knowledge. There is no objective means to determine that gravity worked every time. Your argument is a fallacy.

Bri
25th July 2006, 09:24 AM
Requiring or hoping any prayer to be granted is NOT consistent with our observations of the real world. Your claim is demonstrably false.

I concede that if any Christians require that a particular prayer be granted (particularly one that can be clearly demonstrated to have been granted or not) then that belief would be irrational. However, I'm not certain how you can claim that hoping for a prayer to be granted is either inconsistent with our observations of the real world or demonstratably false. Care to elaborate?

Ahhh.... no. Sorry Bri. No.

God doesn't magically make the irrational rational. I don't assume prayer to be superstitious. Prayer is superstitious by definition.

Not by the definition you provided. You must assume that prayer fits within the definition of "superstition" you provided in order to claim that prayer is supersticious (and therefore irrational) by definition. I can't find a mainstream dictionary that uses the word "superstition" or "irrational" in its definition for "prayer," but I admit that I haven't looked through all mainstream dictionaries.

If I keep a rabbits foot with the hope that events will more likely work in my favor then that is superstition.

If I pray with the hope that events will more likely work in my favor then that is superstition.

Not according to Christians, who believe prayer to be real rather than superstition.

According to the people that practice Voodoo the voodoo is related to a course of events that result.
According to the people who keep lucky charms the charms are related to a course of events that result.
According to the people who cross their fingers their fingers are related to a course of events that result.
According to the people who follow astrology, astrology is related to a course of events that result.
According to the people who read Tarot Cards, the Tarot Cards are related to a course of events that result.

If any of these people believed that the influence worked every time (particularly if it could be demonstrated) then I'd agree those people are irrational. Fortunately, all of these are a lot less impressive when one realizes that they don't work every time. However, God is notably different from the examples above in that God is attributed with omniscience/omnipotence/omnibenevolence and so would have a reason for granting or not granting something (i.e. he would do what is best for you even if you don't know what is best for you). Besides, God probably doesn't care how impressive he is to you.

It just doesn't wash Bri, If you can explain the mechanism to me then I will agree that prayer is not irrational. Or if you can prove to me that prayer works then I will agree that prayer is rational. If you can't explain it to me other than to say that it is God that does it then that is no better than to say that the stars did it, that the rabbits foot does it, that the horseshoe does it.

It is all superstition.

I agree with your basic sentiment, but I don't agree that it's necessarily irrational to believe something that cannot be proven one way or another.

Bri, you don't even know if God is there.

Nor do I know that intelligent life exists outside of the solar system, but I don't consider someone who believes it to be necessarily irrational.

What is more irrational than talking to a person that doesn't exist? The schizophrenic believes that the voices are real. Believing doesn't make something rational.

One more time, belief doesn't make something rational.

Please don't put words in my mouth. You can repeat the sentence as many times as you like, but that won't change the fact that I never said that belief makes something rational. What I did say is that I assume something to be rational unless it can be shown to be irrational.

-Bri

Bri
25th July 2006, 09:35 AM
By your definition there is no such thing as "irrational". Everything is, after all, possible. By your definition what would otherwise be defined as superstition is not superstitious. You have simply redefined the words to fit your world view. That's fine but please understand that there is reason for others to use this word. You can believe that there is no such thing as irrationality but sadly, there is.

Not true. I listed several ways that a belief can be irrational: it can be inconsistent with itself, it can be stated as fact rather than opinion, etc. I even agreed that a belief that any and all prayers are granted by God would be irrational.

You are using the term "superstitious" as though certain beliefs are predefined as belonging to that category (specifically, those beliefs you don't happen to hold). The word is used to indicate things that one might not believe in, so you might place prayer into that category whereas a Christian might not. Some might even place the belief in quantum randomness into that category (after all, it violates the usual cause and effect that is required by the definition). Is belief in quantum randomness irrational just because someone might say it's superstitious?

-Bri

RandFan
25th July 2006, 09:40 AM
I concede that if any Christians require that a particular prayer be granted (particularly one that can be clearly demonstrated to have been granted or not) then that belief would be irrational. However, I'm not certain how you can claim that hoping for a prayer to be granted is either inconsistent with our observations of the real world or demonstratably false. Care to elaborate? Ok, let's go back to the definition of superstition.

"An irrational belief that an object, action, or circumstance not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome."

Hoping for a God that is not logically related to a course of events to influence the outcome of those events is by definition irrational.

Not by the definition you provided. You must assume that prayer fits within the definition of "superstition" you provided in order to claim that prayer is supersticious (and therefore irrational) by definition. I can't find a mainstream dictionary that uses the word "superstition" or "irrational" in its definition for "prayer," but I admit that I haven't looked through all mainstream dictionaries. Again, since God is not logically related to a course of events, to believe that God can alter those events is irrational.

Not according to Christians, who believe prayer to be real rather than superstition. Not according to those people who believe in any superstition. You are making a fundamental error in assuming that belief in something can make the irrational rational. This is not so.

If any of these people believed that the influence worked every time (particularly if it could be demonstrated) then I'd agree those people are irrational. Fortunately, all of these are a lot less impressive when one realizes that they don't work every time. However, God is notably different from the examples above in that God is attributed with omniscience/omnipotence/omnibenevolence and so would have a reason for granting or not granting something (i.e. he would do what is best for you even if you don't know what is best for you). Besides, God probably doesn't care how impressive he is to you. If I have used the word "impressive" then I apologize. I don't think I did. If so then please show me and I will correct that error on my part.

Your argument is fallacious. I only need imbue my rabbits foot with omniscience and omnipotence to make my belief in the rabbits foot rational according to you. It won't fly.

I agree with your basic sentiment, but I don't agree that it's necessarily irrational to believe something that cannot be proven one way or another. Again, you are misstating the problem and demonstrating a lack of understanding of science and the natural world. It is irrational to believe in things that,

1.) Have no known mechanism to work.
2.) Have zero evidence that they do work.

Nor do I know that intelligent life exists outside of the solar system, but I don't consider someone who believes it to be necessarily irrational. Depends on what you mean by "believes". If one believes that he or she can have a one sided verbal communication with said aliens and the alien will grant wishes then that person is irrational.

If a person believes that extra terrestrial intelligent life is possible outside of our universe then that person is rational

If a person believes that God is possible then that is rational (depending of course on what attributes one gives God).

I never said that belief makes something rational. ??? It sure looks like that is what you are saying to me.

What I did say is that I assume something to be rational unless it can be shown to be irrational. Ok, let's go with that. How would it be demonstrated that something is irrational. What is your criteria for irrational belief?

RandFan
25th July 2006, 09:49 AM
Not true. I listed several ways that a belief can be irrational: it can be inconsistent with itself, it can be stated as fact rather than opinion, etc. I even agreed that a belief that any and all prayers are granted by God would be irrational. So, to you, a belief that rabbits feet are lucky are rational so long as the belief is A.) an opinion and b.) that the rabbits foot doesn't always work, right?

You are using the term "superstitious" as though certain beliefs are predefined as belonging to that category (specifically, those beliefs you don't happen to hold). No. Any belief that an object, action, or circumstance not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome. That's it.

The word is used to indicate things that one might not believe in, so you might place prayer into that category whereas a Christian might not. See, here you are confusing me. I thought that you said that belief had no bearing on rationality. Here you seem to suggest that the fact that a Christian does not believe prayer to be irrational makes it rational, yes or no?

Some might even place the belief in quantum randomness into that category (after all, it violates the usual cause and effect that is required by the definition). Please to demonstrate this?

Is belief in quantum randomness irrational just because someone might say it's superstitious? I see no reason for someone to say that it is superstitious but I will withhold my answer for your response to my request that you demonstrate that quantum randomness falls under the definition of superstition.

Thanks

Bri
25th July 2006, 10:15 AM
The opinion must be logical and reasonable. Just because I believe that I can fly doesn't mean that I can.

Nor does it mean that you can't.

Believing in something that is counter to objective evidence is irrational.

True, if a person believed they could fly under controlled conditions but had never done so, I'd say that belief is probably irrational (or at least naïve). However, if they believed it because they had done it before (and had been witnessed by seven of their closest friends) then I'd say a little less so.

You can excuse the irrational belief due to ignorance but it is still irrational.

If it's due entirely to ignorance, it is perhaps irrational (although naïve might be a better term since we don't know for certain that their belief is false).

I'm trying Bri, and I'm trying to keep cool. Bear with me and I'll tone down the emotion.

Look, I fully understand the points your making, and I've already indicated that I agree with the basic premise. I just think the word "irrational" isn't an accurate one to describe what you're trying to describe.

Please see #3. Any notion that violates the laws of physics is not reasonable.

How so? I mean that seriously, by the way. Logic doesn't dictate that it is impossible to violate the laws of physics, which is why the differences between physical impossibility and logical impossibility are often emphasized during such discussions. Christian belief in prayer is not necessarily logically inconsistent, and therefore I think it wrong to refer to Christian belief in prayer as necessarily irrational.

Ok, let's try something. If I patronize then I ask your forgiveness. Please consider the following conditional statement. If I were a fertile and healthy woman I could bear children. This is a logically valid hypothetical. However there is a problem. I am not a woman. So, while the hypothetical might be logically valid it is not true. It would be irrational for me to believe that given the current state of human technology and understanding that I could bear children.

Ok, are you with me? The human mind is capable of thinking logically and rationally about the illogical and irrational.

If there were an omniscient and omnipotent being he/she could answer prayers. Is this a logically valid hypothetical? We'll that is a bit sticky. We could fill pages and pages of argument as to whether or not that is a logically valid hypothetical, however, let's for the sake of argument assume that an omnipotent being could answer prayers (so long as it was not an illogical impossibility/paradox). Ok? Does he? Good question, right? Before we answer that one let's try one more.

If a rabbits foot has supernatural powers then a rabbits foot could bring a person good luck. Is this a valid hypothetical? Yes!

Are you with me? Any questions so far?

So far, so good.

All available evidence demonstrates that keeping a rabbits foot for good luck won't do anything. Oh, it might make you feel good. It might give you confidence but the rabbits foot can't alter or change the laws of physics no matter how much we believe. The keeping of a rabbits foot is superstitious for two reasons.

1.) There is no known mechanism for a rabbits foot to alter events.
2.) There is zero scientific evidence that rabbits feet alter events.

Well, here's where you and I would probably disagree. I don't disagree with your general opinion that belief in rabbit's feet is superstitious. But I do disagree with your opinion that everyone must agree that it's superstitious. As an extreme example, it is possible that someone has gotten every wish they've ever wished for from a rabbit's foot. That person would seem to have a good reason to believe it works, and I would hesistate to call their belief superstitious, nor would I say that they are irrational for not categorizing their belief in the rabbit's foot to be superstition.


Now, let's get back to God.

1.) Is there a known mechanism for God to alter events?
2.) Is there any scientific evidence that praying to God will alter events?

Sorry Bri, it just gets frustrating.

I understand.

-Bri

Bri
25th July 2006, 10:41 AM
"Teapots"? I think we need to make something clear. I think you are misstating the case of ET's as far as skeptics are concerned. If a person believes that ET's are possible that is rational. If a person believes that he can have a one sided verbal conversation with said ET's then that is NOT rational.

A person that believes that God is possible IS rational.

So, it IS rational to believe that God is possible. Is it rational to believe that God is impossible?

Is it rational to believe that God is possible, but also be of the opinion that God exists?

Is it rational to believe that God is possible, but also be of the opinion that God doesn't exist?

Is it rational to believe that ET's are possible, but also be of the opinion that ET's exist?

Is it rational to believe that ET's are possible, but also be of the opinion that ET's don't exist?

Is it rational to believe that it is possible for prayer to have an affect on the world?

Is it rational to believe that it is possible for prayer to have an affect on the world, but also be of the opinion that prayer does have an affect on the world?

Is it rational to believe that it is possible for prayer to have an affect on the world, but also be of the opinion that prayer doesn't have an affect on the world?

Your statement is problematic. Obviously nothing would violate the laws of physics. Only our understanding of them.

This demonstrates a naiveté of science and the natural world. Science holds positions provisionally. It's possible that our understanding of the laws of physics are so incomplete that most or all of the miracles in the bible are possible by some as yet unseen force. Again, anything is possible. But there are problems.

1.) Such a discovery would be completely counter to much of what we know.

As you said, we are naive. If this occurred, it would simply change what we know. In other words, what we know is based on reality rather than the other way around.

2.) No empirical evidence exists that these events have happened.

I'm not sure that no evidence exists, but I don't know of any such evidence.

3.) Our understanding of human history, human nature and parsimony compels us to accept that these things did not happen.

It compels some of us to accept that these things did not happen.

This is a misstatement of the problem. If we accept this logic BTW, then there is no such thing as "irrational". You are arguing that only perfect knowledge can verify a proposition. There is no perfect knowledge. There is no objective means to determine that gravity worked every time. Your argument is a fallacy.

I'm not claiming that absolute proof against something is necessary for it to be labeled irrational, just pointing out that there is often no clear distinction between what one labels as "rational" and what one labels as "irrational." You can say that a belief is irrational because you feel that the evidence in favor of it is lacking, but that marks a lot of beliefs as irrational that you might sympathize with, such as the belief that intelligent life exists outside of our solar system or the belief that no gods exist.

-Bri

RandFan
25th July 2006, 10:42 AM
Nor does it mean that you can't. Of course not, but lacking any mechanism and lacking any empiricism to the contrary then it would be irrational to believe that I can.

True, if a person believed they could fly under controlled conditions but had never done so, I'd say that belief is probably irrational (or at least naïve). However, if they believed it because they had done it before (and had been witnessed by seven of their closest friends) then I'd say a little less so. That's the point. No one has done it. So believing that it is possible is irrational.

As our understanding grows, and as the evidence mounts, (out of billions of people no one comes forward who can fly) the belief that one can fly by flapping ones hands becomes more and more irrational.

If it's due entirely to ignorance, it is perhaps irrational (although naïve might be a better term since we don't know for certain that their belief is false). Again, there is no absolute knowledge of anything. Such knowledge just is not possible. I can't know for absolute certainty that every time a ball was dropped it fell to the ground. I can't know for absolute certainty that every time I drop a ball it will hit the ground. That I lack that absolute knowledge does not make it rational to believe that I can levitate.

Look, I fully understand the points your making, and I've already indicated that I agree with the basic premise. I just think the word "irrational" isn't an accurate one to describe what you're trying to describe. You are free to think that. However it is the consequence of logic.

How so? I mean that seriously, by the way. Logic doesn't dictate that it is impossible to violate the laws of physics...Yes, it does.

...which is why the differences between physical impossibility and logical impossibility are often emphasized during such discussions. Christian belief in prayer is not necessarily logically inconsistent, and therefore I think it wrong to refer to Christian belief in prayer as necessarily irrational. Lacking a mechanism for how this would work and lacking any empirical evidence that it works there is only one conclusion, it is irrational.

Well, here's where you and I would probably disagree. I don't disagree with your general opinion that belief in rabbit's feet is superstitious. But I do disagree with your opinion that everyone must agree that it's superstitious. As an extreme example, it is possible that someone has gotten every wish they've ever wished for from a rabbit's foot. That person would seem to have a good reason to believe it works, and I would hesistate to call their belief superstitious, nor would I say that they are irrational for not categorizing their belief in the rabbit's foot to be superstition. This is typical of the attempt to rationalize what would otherwise be irrational. See confirmation bias (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias). The problem Bri, is that every time we examine these beliefs in a scientific way they don't work. In the end it comes down to chance. So parsimony compels us to accept the fact that such a belief is irrational.

Ossai
25th July 2006, 10:52 AM
Bri
I concede that if any Christians require that a particular prayer be granted (particularly one that can be clearly demonstrated to have been granted or not) then that belief would be irrational. However, I'm not certain how you can claim that hoping for a prayer to be granted is either inconsistent with our observations of the real world or demonstratably false. Care to elaborate? Easily, how many people pray for the same thing more than once?

Not according to Christians, who believe prayer to be real rather than superstition. What a ‘duh’ statement. As a generally rule, people practicing any given superstition, believe the superstition.

Christian belief in prayer is not necessarily logically inconsistent, and therefore I think it wrong to refer to Christian belief in prayer as necessarily irrational. Demonstrate how Christian belief in prayer would be logically consistent.

Ossai

RandFan
25th July 2006, 10:57 AM
So, it IS rational to believe that God is possible. Is it rational to believe that God is impossible? I don't think it is irrational. I don't see how it would be.

Is it rational to believe that God is possible, but also be of the opinion that God exists? Sure, depending on the attributes of God, yes.

Is it rational to believe that God is possible, but also be of the opinion that God doesn't exist?Yes.

Is it rational to believe that ET's are possible, but also be of the opinion that ET's exist?Yes, I don't see a problem with that.

Is it rational to believe that ET's are possible, but also be of the opinion that ET's don't exist?Yes.

Is it rational to believe that it is possible for prayer to have an affect on the world? Anything is possible (that is not logically impossible). Believing that anything is possible is not irrational. However If I believe that it is likely that my prayers will influence the outcome of an event, to the point that I act on that belief, when in fact the prayer has no known mechanism and there is zero evidence that the prayer can or does influence the outcome of an event then that belief is irrational.

Is it rational to believe that it is possible for prayer to have an affect on the world, but also be of the opinion that prayer does have an affect on the world? Lacking any mechanism for prayer to have an affect and lacking any evidence that prayer does have an affect then that would be, by definition, irrational.

Is it rational to believe that it is possible for prayer to have an affect on the world, but also be of the opinion that prayer doesn't have an affect on the world? That is rational.

As you said, we are naive. If this occurred, it would simply change what we know. In other words, what we know is based on reality rather than the other way around. Correct.

I'm not sure that no evidence exists, but I don't know of any such evidence.Neither do I.

It compels some of us to accept that these things did not happen.It compels those who are reasonable.

I'm not claiming that absolute proof against something is necessary for it to be labeled irrational, just pointing out that there is often no clear distinction between what one labels as "rational" and what one labels as "irrational."Could you give me an example?

You can say that a belief is irrational because you feel that the evidence in favor of it is lacking...No, I'm saying that lacking any known mechanism for the belief and lacking empirical evidence for the belief then the belief is irrational.

...but that marks a lot of beliefs as irrational that you might sympathize with, such as the belief that intelligent life exists outside of our solar system or the belief that no gods exist. That there exists the possibility of intelligent life in our universe is empirical. The odds of intelligent life in our universe is 1 (see humans). Given the sheer number of stars and the likelihood of planets around those stars, the mathematical probability of intelligent life besides that which resides on earth can actually be calculated to some degree of precision.

There is no such logical assumptions for the belief in god. You simply cannot equate belief in ET's with God.

AgingYoung
25th July 2006, 12:39 PM
Few doubt that fact that some allegedly miraculous events are the product of human imagination and the desire to believe the wonderful, but one cannot deduce from this that all alleged miracles did not take place. For to do so would be to commit the fallacy of false analogy. ...... Frank Beckwith

Gene

empeake
25th July 2006, 01:12 PM
Few doubt that fact that some allegedly miraculous events are the product of human imagination and the desire to believe the wonderful, but one cannot deduce from this that all alleged miracles did not take place. For to do so would be to commit the fallacy of false analogy. ...... Frank Beckwith
OK. Now prove that the alleged miracles did take place.

Bri
25th July 2006, 01:51 PM
Ok, let's go back to the definition of superstition.

"An irrational belief that an object, action, or circumstance not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome."

If your definition is "an irrational belief that X" then the only belief that would fit this definition is one that is already irrational. Even if X is true of belief B, you cannot assume that B is irrational only because X is true. Let me give you an example:

frog: a green animal that hops

Just because a kangaroo is an animal that hops doesn't mean it's green.

Hoping for a God that is not logically related to a course of events to influence the outcome of those events is by definition irrational.

Again, since God is not logically related to a course of events, to believe that God can alter those events is irrational.

It seems to me that the action (prayer) is logically related to the course of events (prayer influences God to influence the course of events), so belief in prayer wouldn't seem to fall under "belief that an object, action, or circumstance not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome." Even if it did, it wouldn't mean that such a belief is a superstition, nor that it is irrational any more than a kangaroo is a frog or is green.

Not according to those people who believe in any superstition. You are making a fundamental error in assuming that belief in something can make the irrational rational. This is not so.

No, I wasn't saying that belief in something makes it rational. I was saying that your belief that prayer is superstitious is simply an opinion, and to state such a belief as a fact is irrational.

If I have used the word "impressive" then I apologize. I don't think I did. If so then please show me and I will correct that error on my part.

I never said you did. I used the word "impressive" earlier in the paragraph when I said "Fortunately, all of these are a lot less impressive when one realizes that they don't work every time."

Your argument is fallacious. I only need imbue my rabbits foot with omniscience and omnipotence to make my belief in the rabbits foot rational according to you. It won't fly.

I didn't claim that belief in God was rational because God is omniscient and omnipotent. Please re-read the paragraph.

Again, you are misstating the problem and demonstrating a lack of understanding of science and the natural world. It is irrational to believe in things that,

1.) Have no known mechanism to work.
2.) Have zero evidence that they do work.

I don't believe that science has anything to say one way or the other about the supernatural. Science deals only with the natural world.

??? It sure looks like that is what you are saying to me.

I've said many times that it's not what I'm saying. I even told you what I was saying.

Ok, let's go with that. How would it be demonstrated that something is irrational. What is your criteria for irrational belief?

I've already listed several criteria (I'm sure there are others): That a belief is incoherent (inconsistent with itself) would make it irrational. A belief that something is fact when it is clearly opinion would also be irrational.

-Bri

Bri
25th July 2006, 02:14 PM
So, to you, a belief that rabbits feet are lucky are rational so long as the belief is A.) an opinion and b.) that the rabbits foot doesn't always work, right?

Such a belief could be rational. In fact, it could be true.

See, here you are confusing me. I thought that you said that belief had no bearing on rationality. Here you seem to suggest that the fact that a Christian does not believe prayer to be irrational makes it rational, yes or no?

No. Because you place belief in prayer into the category of "superstition" doesn't make it fact. That was my point.

Christian belief in prayer doesn't even fit "an object, action, or circumstance not logically related to a course of events" unless you provide evidence that all prayers are unrelated to the course of events that they are believed to influence.

-Bri

RandFan
25th July 2006, 02:25 PM
Such a belief could be rational. In fact, it could be true. Of course. And the voices in the schizophrenics head could be real and all schizophrenics are rational. And I could be able to fly when you are not looking. Your argument is assuming that because anything is possible every belief is rational. No, Bri, that is wrong. Your thinking is wrong. Your logic is wrong. We must judge the world by our observations of the world. We must rely on empiricism to judge that which is rational. You may choose to forgoe the rational to believe in the parnormal but it isn't rational. And the parnormal is possible. Again, all things that are not logically impossible are possible.

No. Because you place belief in prayer into the category of "superstition" doesn't make it fact. That was my point.Then your statement is a non-sequitur.

Christian belief in prayer doesn't even fit "an object, action, or circumstance not logically related to a course of events"...I'm trying Bri, I really am.

If God influences an outcome that is by definition a circumstance. And it is NOT logically related to a course of events.

I've got to go but I'll get to the previous post when I get back.

RandFan
25th July 2006, 05:58 PM
If your definition is "an irrational belief that X" then the only belief that would fit this definition is one that is already irrational. Even if X is true of belief B, you cannot assume that B is irrational only because X is true. Let me give you an example:

frog: a green animal that hopsJust because a kangaroo is an animal that hops doesn't mean it's green. I'm having a difficult time following your logic. I think there is an error there. Your example doesn't clarify anything particularly since it doesn't represent anything that I have said and does not directly relate to the definition if irrational.

"An irrational belief that an object, action, or circumstance not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome."

To believe that an object, action or circumstance not related to a course of events will influence the course of those events is irrational. God is not emperically related to anything anymore than a rabbits foot. God is simply magical thinking to explain the unexplainable. We could insert anything. Voodoo, black magic, lucky charms, anything.

It seems to me that the action (prayer) is logically related to the course of events (prayer influences God to influence the course of events) And it would seem to a person who had a rabbits foot that the rabbits foot is logically related to the course of events. Bri, again, you are making a fundamental error in logic. How is prayer logically related to a course of events? What is the mechanism? An omnipotent God? Can you prove God answers prayers? Can you explain how God answers prayers?

...so belief in prayer wouldn't seem to fall under "belief that an object, action, or circumstance not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome." Yes, that is precisely what it does.

Even if it did, it wouldn't mean that such a belief is a superstition...Yes, by definition it would.

...nor that it is irrational any more than a kangaroo is a frog or is green.???

No, I wasn't saying that belief in something makes it rational. I was saying that your belief that prayer is superstitious is simply an opinion, and to state such a belief as a fact is irrational. Prayer is superstitious by definition.

I never said you did. I used the word "impressive" earlier in the paragraph when I said "Fortunately, all of these are a lot less impressive when one realizes that they don't work every time." Do you have any evidence that they there was anything beyond coincidence?

I didn't claim that belief in God was rational because God is omniscient and omnipotent. Please re-read the paragraph. Hmmm....

You said "God is notably different from the examples above in that God is attributed with omniscience/omnipotence/omnibenevolence and so would have a reason for granting or not granting something"

If God is so notably different then my statement stands.

I don't believe that science has anything to say one way or the other about the supernatural. Science deals only with the natural world. Yes, science deals only with the natural world. So what?

It is irrational to believe that the supernatural can alter events for the reasons that I stated.

RandFan
25th July 2006, 07:45 PM
Bri,

We are quickly approaching that time of a discussion when it is best to simply agree to disagree. Due to other commitments I simply can't spend much more of my time here.

So let's come to an understanding of our positions. If I understand you correctly you take a neutral view. To you, a belief in the occult, supernatural or paranormal is not necassarily any more rational or irrational than any scientific view of the world. Correct?

Look around at our world. Look at all that science has given us. Using logic and reason humans have unlocked the mysteries of the Atom. We have been able to travel to the moon and send probes to the far reaches of the solar system. We have computers, cars, planes, cell phones, etc. There is an incomprehensible amount of human knowledge from a complete map of the Human Genome to a detailed taxonomy of 287,655 plants; 10,000 lichens; 1,190,200 invertebrates (including 950,000 insects); and 57,739 vertebrates, including 28,500 fishes, 5,743 amphibians, 8,163 reptiles, 9,917 birds, and 5,416 mammals species.

Please consider this, neither prayer nor belief has confirmed or directly, demonstrably, led to a single objective truth. There is not one single scrap of empirical evidence that prayer has changed the outcome of any event. None. Every attempt to demonstrate that it works fails. There is no plausible mechanism to explain how prayer would do anything. It's true that science doesn't speak to the supernatural. There is a reason for that. A reliance on the supernatural to find truth does not lead to any consensus. Reliance on the supernatural does not verify anything. In fact it doesn't really tell us anything. It simply states that something supernatural happened.

Why are supernatural causes irrational? Simple, because there is no rational explanation for supernatural causes. It really is that simple.

You must admit that you have not provided a single objective explanation for how the supernatural can influence events. You simply insert God as a cause. No explanation how God does it. Just that God does it.

Your argument, as I understand it, if God did exist and he did influence events then it would be rational and since it is possible (all things are possible) then a belief in God is rational.

By this logic there is no such thing as superstition because I could use your logic to justify any belief or mental state so long as the belief was not held as fact and was consistent.

Cool, you've reasoned away superstition.

I see no reason to suppose that there are no superstitions or that all beliefs are rational so long as they are self consistent and are not held as fact.

I choose to agree with Todd Caroll that believing that the occult, supernatual or paranormal can influence events are defacto irrational.

Introduction (http://skepdic.com/intro.html)

Also, it seems to be true that belief in the irrational is as appealing to the true believer as belief in the rational is to the hardened skeptic. According to many soft skeptics, whether one chooses a life devoted to rationality or irrationality is a matter of faith. For a good period of my adult life, I was a soft skeptic who believed that my commitment to rationality was as much an act of faith as my earlier commitment to Catholicism had been. For years I remained open to the possibility of all sorts of occult phenomena. My studies and reflections in recent years have led me to the conclusion that there is a preponderance of evidence against the reasonableness of belief in any occult phenomena. I have also concluded that choosing rationality over irrationality is not an act of faith at all. To even pose the question as one requiring thought to answer demonstrates the futility of claiming everything can be reduced to faith. One must use reason to argue for faith. While I do not deny that the consequences of believing in the occult are often beneficial, I do deny that such consequences have anything to do with establishing the reality of occult phenomena. (emphasis mine)

AgingYoung
25th July 2006, 08:46 PM
empeake,

Define 'prove' or what rises to the level of 'proof' as you see it?

Gene

empeake
25th July 2006, 09:00 PM
Define 'prove' or what rises to the level of 'proof' as you see it?
Since you're the one quoting references to alleged miracles, start by defining "miracle", present an example of one of these miracles and explain why you consider it a miracle.

AgingYoung
25th July 2006, 10:20 PM
Since you're the one quoting references to alleged miracles, start by defining "miracle", present an example of one of these miracles and explain why you consider it a miracle.

Could you help me out? If I did quote a reference to an alleged miracle what was that alleged miracle I quoted a reference to?

You can make one up but I'd still have to know what you'd consider proof.

Gene

thaiboxerken
25th July 2006, 10:33 PM
Just ignore AgingYoung, he's a disciple of the house of "making claims without making claims." He's a troll.

empeake
25th July 2006, 11:07 PM
Just ignore AgingYoung, he's a disciple of the house of "making claims without making claims." He's a troll.
He's also an advocate of "I don't care what you asked, I'll just answer whatever I want to say" school of argumentation. Trying to have a logical discussion with him is a lost cause. I've learned my lesson.

AgingYoung
26th July 2006, 12:31 AM
You don't know how to ask. If you did you'd understand that you could get a no. You ask like a wife or a momma or probably more accurately like your inner child.

Gene

I did want to say that although I didn't take you seriously I thought I'd give it a shot. You didn't disappoint me.

thaiboxerken,

That's a brilliant campaign button you have. Did you buy it from Senator Kennedy? Here's a miracle if you'd like an example of one. Someone that is as bright as you would actually buy that tripe. Have a good life.

Ossai
26th July 2006, 05:02 AM
AgingYoung
Are you ever going to get to the point I made, or are you going to continue to ineptly battle straw men?

Bri
26th July 2006, 07:38 AM
Of course not, but lacking any mechanism and lacking any empiricism to the contrary then it would be irrational to believe that I can.

I see. So, lacking any mechanism by which consciousness might exist outside of our solar system (or within our solar system for that matter) and lacking any empiricism that it actually does exist outside our solar system, it would be irrational to believe that it does.

That's the point. No one has done it. So believing that it is possible is irrational.

Didn't you say in another post that believing that it is possible is not irrational. In fact it is possible that someone has flown before but we don't know about it, so why is it irrational to believe that it is possible?

As our understanding grows, and as the evidence mounts, (out of billions of people no one comes forward who can fly) the belief that one can fly by flapping ones hands becomes more and more irrational.

Unless one has evidence, and then it becomes less and less irrational. And you don't know whether anyone has evidence.

Again, there is no absolute knowledge of anything. Such knowledge just is not possible. I can't know for absolute certainty that every time a ball was dropped it fell to the ground. I can't know for absolute certainty that every time I drop a ball it will hit the ground. That I lack that absolute knowledge does not make it rational to believe that I can levitate.

Unless you have some reason to believe that you can levitate. Then that belief isn't necessarily irrational at all.

You are free to think that. However it is the consequence of logic.

So you say. Except that logic doesn't dictate that things that have never been proven to happen in the past have never happen, nor does it dictate that things that have never happened in the past will never happen.

Yes, it does.

No, logic only dictates that it not violate the laws of logic. The laws of physics (ore, more precisely, our understanding of the laws of physics) model reality, not the other way around. The laws of logic don't prevent reality from being reality, and if reality happens to violate (our understanding of) the laws of physics (as it has in the past) it is (our understanding of) the laws of physics--not reality--that must change.

Lacking a mechanism for how this would work and lacking any empirical evidence that it works there is only one conclusion, it is irrational.

I see, then so is the belief that intelligent life exists outside the solar system irrational.

This is typical of the attempt to rationalize what would otherwise be irrational. See confirmation bias (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias). The problem Bri, is that every time we examine these beliefs in a scientific way they don't work. In the end it comes down to chance. So parsimony compels us to accept the fact that such a belief is irrational.

So, let's suppose for a moment that there is a rabbit's foot that actually does work, and that someone has evidence that the rabbit's foot works. You claim that their belief is necessarily irrational.

Parsimony compels some of us to believe that the above case is probably untrue but to admit that it could be true. If true, then the belief in the rabbit's foot isn't irrational, and your inisitance that all belief in rabbit's feet must be irrational is false. Therefore, your statement "parsimony compels us to accept the fact that such a belief is irrational" is false despite your claim that it is a fact. Wouldn't that make your statement irrational?

-Bri

Bri
26th July 2006, 08:05 AM
Sure, depending on the attributes of God, yes.

I believe we're talking about the Christian God. Let's assume omnipotent and omniscient. Is it rational to believe that this God is possible, but also be of the opinion that this God exists?

It compels those who are reasonable.

There are many reasonable people who disagree with you, and by your definition we are all unreasonable since we all hold opinions about things for which there is no empirical evidence and no known mechanism. For example, I believe that black licorice is better than red. I don't have any empirical evidence that it is actually better (it is only my personal opinion) and I'm not really sure exactly how taste leads me to believe that black is best (especially since the opposite is true for many people). Is my opinion irrational?

Could you give me an example?

No, I'm saying that lacking any known mechanism for the belief and lacking empirical evidence for the belief then the belief is irrational.

That there exists the possibility of intelligent life in our universe is empirical.

(emphasis mine) Oh, here we go! You have already admitted the possibility that prayer works. Are you now counting mere possibility as empirical evidence? No, I would say that there is absolutely no empirical evidence whatsoever that intelligent life actually exists outside of our solar system.

The odds of intelligent life in our universe is 1 (see humans). Given the sheer number of stars and the likelihood of planets around those stars, the mathematical probability of intelligent life besides that which resides on earth can actually be calculated to some degree of precision.

This is evidence of the possibility that life exists outside of our solar system (which was never in question). The question is whether it is rational to believe that intelligent life actually exists outside of our solar system.

There is no such logical assumptions for the belief in god. You simply cannot equate belief in ET's with God.

You said above that it was rational to believe that God exists. Now you seem to be saying the opposite. Which is it?

-Bri

AgingYoung
26th July 2006, 08:34 AM
It's clearly a mistake to import uniformitarian methods from scientific experimentation into historical research. Repeatability and generality are needed to establish a scientific law or general patterns.

...But this method does not work at all in history. What is needed to establish historical events is credible testimony that these particular events did indeed occur. ......Geisler

Gene

RandFan
26th July 2006, 02:22 PM
I see. So, lacking any mechanism by which consciousness might exist outside of our solar system... But there is a logical mechanism (see earth).

Didn't you say in another post that believing that it is possible is not irrational. In fact it is possible that someone has flown before but we don't know about it, so why is it irrational to believe that it is possible? I didn't say that believing anything is rational.

Unless one has evidence, and then it becomes less and less irrational. And you don't know whether anyone has evidence. And I don't know if gravity doesn't work in some places.

Unless you have some reason to believe that you can levitate. Then that belief isn't necessarily irrational at all. It is because it is counter to all evidence.

So you say. Except that logic doesn't dictate that things that have never been proven to happen in the past have never happen, nor does it dictate that things that have never happened in the past will never happen. No, but logic and reason compel reasonable people to reject irrational thinking. Logic and reason compel reasonable people to not doubt gravity. If you or anyone else choose to doubt gravity that is fine but it is not reasonable. I can't absolutely prove the law of gravity.

No, logic only dictates that it not violate the laws of logic. The laws of physics (ore, more precisely, our understanding of the laws of physics) model reality, not the other way around. The laws of logic don't prevent reality from being reality, and if reality happens to violate (our understanding of) the laws of physics (as it has in the past) it is (our understanding of) the laws of physics--not reality--that must change.
Reason and logic dictates that reasonable people accept reality. You can reject gravity simply because I lack absolute proof of gravity but your belief is irrational.

I see, then so is the belief that intelligent life exists outside the solar system irrational. Not at all, there is a likely and understood mechanism and evidence that intelligent life away from earth is possible. There is no mechanism and no evidence that would point to the likelihood that prayer works. Zero. Zip. Nada.

So, let's suppose for a moment that there is a rabbit's foot that actually does work, and that someone has evidence that the rabbit's foot works. You claim that their belief is necessarily irrational. So let's suppose for a moment that gravity stopped working. That would be evidence that gravity is not constant. By your logic a belief that gravity is not constant is rational. By your logic, a person who is worried that gravity will fail at any moment is rational.

Parsimony compels some of us to believe that the above case is probably untrue but to admit that it could be true. By this logic we have to admit that gravity might not be true. A belief that gravity is not constant is rational.

If true, then the belief in the rabbit's foot isn't irrational, and your instance that all belief in rabbit's feet must be irrational is false. And by your logic, should gravity suddenly fail it would verify any fear that gravity is not constant thus rendering any such fear rational.

Therefore, your statement "parsimony compels us to accept the fact that such a belief is irrational" is false despite your claim that it is a fact. Wouldn't that make your statement irrational? If we could also believe that any belief in any possibility is rational.

Bri, by your logic there is no such thing as an irrational fear. Phobias don't exist.

Let's use your statement to prove that fear of anything is rational.

Parsimony compels some of us to believe that the above case is probably untrue but to admit that it could be true. If true, then the belief in the rabbit's foot isn't irrational...

P1: If it is possible then it could be true.
P2: If it were true then it would be rational
Conclusion: A belief in anything that could be true is rational.
Corollary:A fear of anything that could happen is rational.

Demonophobia: Demons might be under your bed, Could be true.
Paranoia: The government might be out to get you Could be true.
Cancerophobia: You might have cancer Could be true.
Aviophobia: The plane might crash Could be true.

Damn Bri, how about that!?! You've eliminated many, many irrational fears. You should contact the American Psychiatric Association and let them know. Hell, all this time and the answer was right under our nose.

RandFan
26th July 2006, 02:40 PM
I believe we're talking about the Christian God. Let's assume omnipotent and omniscient. Is it rational to believe that this God is possible, but also be of the opinion that this God exists? Hmmmm.... No, I don't think so.

There are many reasonable people who disagree with you, and by your definition we are all unreasonable since we all hold opinions about things for which there is no empirical evidence and no known mechanism. For example, I believe that black licorice is better than red. I don't have any empirical evidence that it is actually better (it is only my personal opinion) and I'm not really sure exactly how taste leads me to believe that black is best (especially since the opposite is true for many people). Is my opinion irrational? There is a huge difference between a subjective experience and the existence of dragons, fairies, demons, leprechauns and Santa Claus.

Oh, here we go! You have already admitted the possibility that prayer works. Are you now counting mere possibility as empirical evidence? No. I'm saying that we have reason based on objective evidence to believe that it is possible. We have no reason based on objective evidence to believe that prayer is possible.

No, I would say that there is absolutely no empirical evidence whatsoever that intelligent life actually exists outside of our solar system.

1.) We can objectively prove that intelligent life exists in the universe (see humans).
2.) We can objectively prove that there are other solar systems.
3.) We can objectively prove that there are other planets.
4.) We can objectively prove the minimal requirements of life.

Using logic and reason we can surmise the likelihood of intelligent life on other planets in other solar systems.

Please, oh please give me an argument for prayer like the one above? Please?

This is evidence of the possibility that life exists outside of our solar system (which was never in question). The question is whether it is rational to believe that intelligent life actually exists outside of our solar system.The degree of possibility that intelligent life actually exists outside of our solar system is of many magnitudes greater that prayer.

You said above that it was rational to believe that God exists. Now you seem to be saying the opposite. Which is it? I apologize if I'm not clear. If you had the opinion that God exists but didn't actively act on that opinion or hold any firm attributes of God. Which is why I attempted to qualify my answer based on the attributes of God. I don't think a Deist is irrational JMO.

Tricky
26th July 2006, 04:49 PM
I see. So, lacking any mechanism by which consciousness might exist outside of our solar system (or within our solar system for that matter) and lacking any empiricism that it actually does exist outside our solar system, it would be irrational to believe that it does.You continue to make this comparison and it continues to be inappropriate. We have little information on what mechanisms exist outside our solar system. However we do know that using the basic materials of the universe, consciousness can exist. It would not be irrational to suspect that given enough chances (read: enough solar systems) it could happen again. But this has nothing whatsoever to do with theology.

Theists believe God exists in this solar system, in fact, everwhere. So one cannot claim that we have had no opportunity to collect evidence for the existence of God. That no reliable evidence for His existence has yet been collected would make it less rational to believe in something which supposedly is in close proximity and yet leaves no evidence, than it would to believe in something for which evidence is very very far away.

Unless one has evidence, and then it becomes less and less irrational. And you don't know whether anyone has evidence.And again, lack of evidence is a reason for withholding disbelief if there is a good reason why evidence is unavailable. I can see no good reason why evidence of God should be unavailable if He is as Christianity claims.

Unless you have some reason to believe that you can levitate. Then that belief isn't necessarily irrational at all.
We have the opportunity to collect evidence on levitating people, yet no such (reliable) evidence exists. That makes such a belief less rational.

No, logic only dictates that it not violate the laws of logic. The laws of physics (or, more precisely, our understanding of the laws of physics) model reality, not the other way around. The laws of logic don't prevent reality from being reality, and if reality happens to violate (our understanding of) the laws of physics (as it has in the past) it is (our understanding of) the laws of physics--not reality--that must change.

True, but we should only change our understanding of the laws of physics if there is a good reason to do so, not because someone has made some unprovable hypothesis.

So you say. Except that logic doesn't dictate that things that have never been proven to happen in the past have never happened, nor does it dictate that things that have never happened in the past will never happen.
As you say, logic doesn't dictate anything. It is solely dependant upon your assumptions. Here's one of mine. Real things leave real evidence. How do you feel about that assumption?

So, let's suppose for a moment that there is a rabbit's foot that actually does work, and that someone has evidence that the rabbit's foot works. You claim that their belief is necessarily irrational.I can't speak for RandFan, but to me, that belief would be completely rational, but they'd have to provide the evidence. As I understand RandFan, he has never said that belief in a thing for which there is good evidence is irrational. I'm not sure how you arrived at this mischaracterization of his position.

Parsimony compels some of us to believe that the above case is probably untrue but to admit that it could be true.
It is true that parsimony does not require that the simplest explanation is correct, but it suggests it is the best liklihood. I think it was Damon Runyon who said, "The race does not always go to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that's the way you bet."

If true, then the belief in the rabbit's foot isn't irrational, and your inisitance that all belief in rabbit's feet must be irrational is false.
That conclusion does not follow unless you can provide evidence that rabbits' feet are lucky. In the absence of such evidence (which should be easily available, given the plenitude of rabbits), such a belief is less rational.

Therefore, your statement "parsimony compels us to accept the fact that such a belief is irrational" is false despite your claim that it is a fact.
RandFan, in my opinion, misspoke when he said this. He should have said "parsimony suggests...". Nothing compels us to accept anything. Not rationality, not evidence, not logic. Nothing. And as evidence for this statement, I can show that there are people on these very boards who accept things without rationality, evidence or logic. :D

Wouldn't that make your statement irrational?No. It was a less than ideal choice of words, but I think you understood his gist. I would say that your suggestion of RF's illogic is simply being pedantic.

RandFan
26th July 2006, 05:01 PM
RandFan, in my opinion, misspoke when he said this. Moi? :boxedin:


To quote Forrest Gump, "it happens"... or was that "stupid is as stupid does"? I get them mixed up.

Bri
26th July 2006, 05:58 PM
And the voices in the schizophrenics head could be real and all schizophrenics are rational.

So, if the vioces in the schizophrenics head are real, then the schizophrenic is rational? That pretty much agrees with what I'm saying. If you call all people who hear voices necessarily irrational, then that is clearly just your opinion rather than fact unless you can provide evidence that none are real.


And I could be able to fly when you are not looking. Your argument is assuming that because anything is possible every belief is rational. No, Bri, that is wrong. Your thinking is wrong. Your logic is wrong. We must judge the world by our observations of the world. We must rely on empiricism to judge that which is rational.

What empirical evidence do you have of intelligent life outside of our solar system?

Then your statement is a non-sequitur.

Superstition is simply a category that one places various beliefs (generally ones one doesn't agree with). But there are no cut-and-dry rules for placing a belief into that category, at least none that I've heard.

I'm trying Bri, I really am.

If God influences an outcome that is by definition a circumstance. And it is NOT logically related to a course of events.

I've got to go but I'll get to the previous post when I get back.

Oh, I agree that prayer (and God's influence) qualify as objects, actions, or circumstances. What I don't agree with is your insistance that God's influence isn't logically related to the results of that influence.

-Bri

Bri
26th July 2006, 05:59 PM
I'm having a difficult time following your logic. I think there is an error there. Your example doesn't clarify anything particularly since it doesn't represent anything that I have said and does not directly relate to the definition if irrational.

No, it relates to the definition of superstition. Follow closely:

superstition: An irrational belief that an object, action, or circumstance not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome.

W = superstition
I = irrational
B = belief
X = an object, action, or circumstance not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome

You claim that belief in prayer (a member of B) is a superstition (W) because X is true about belief in prayer. Furthermore, you then say that because belief in prayer is a superstition, belief in prayer must be irrational (I).

Now, substitute as follows:

frog: a green animal that hops.

W = frog
I = green
B = animal
X = hops

By your logic, a kangaroo (a member of B) is a frog (W) because X is true about kangaroos. Furthermore, one may use your logic to say that because a kangaroo is a frog, kangaroos must be green (I).

And it would seem to a person who had a rabbits foot that the rabbits foot is logically related to the course of events.

That's right. And that person wouldn't label their belief a superstition. In fact, if you saw it work, you might not either. But someone who didn't see it work might. My point is that whether or not you label something a superstition would be a matter of opinion, not fact.

Prayer is superstitious by definition.

Again, not by the definition you posted. Perhaps you have a different one.

-Bri

Bri
26th July 2006, 06:01 PM
We are quickly approaching that time of a discussion when it is best to simply agree to disagree. Due to other commitments I simply can't spend much more of my time here.


I can certainly agree to disagree.

So let's come to an understanding of our positions. If I understand you correctly you take a neutral view. To you, a belief in the occult, supernatural or paranormal is not necassarily any more rational or irrational than any scientific view of the world. Correct?

Not exactly. I believe that whether or not they are necessarily rational or irrational is a matter of opinion rather than fact. I think that I do understand your reasons for wanting to call all of them necessarily irrational, but I disagree that they can all be characterized in that way.

Furthermore, we all have opinions about all sorts of things that we cannot prove and that we don't fully understand (otherwise they wouldn't be opinions). I believe that opinions are just that -- opinions -- and are not subject to the same scrutiny that would allow them to be called irrational if they were stated as fact. Note that I did not to say that all opinions are necessarily rational.

If you're claiming it to be a fact that in belief prayer is necessarily irrational, then I believe that you are overstating your case since it would depend on exactly what the belief is. Specifically, Christian belief in prayer is not necessarily irrational unless a Christian believes that any and all prayer is granted by God or something similar.

Why are supernatural causes irrational? Simple, because there is no rational explanation for supernatural causes. It really is that simple.

You must admit that you have not provided a single objective explanation for how the supernatural can influence events. You simply insert God as a cause. No explanation how God does it. Just that God does it.

There is no rational explanation for anything for which we have no explanation, including gravity, uncaused events suggested by quantum theory, etc. I don't think it necessary to know how something works (or even that it necessarily does work) to have a rational opinion about it. I may not really understand quantum theory, nor do I even know that it is true, yet I may very well have a rational opinion that it is true. I might even have a rational opinion that determinism is true, even though there is evidence that quantum theory is true (and determinism is false).

Your argument, as I understand it, if God did exist and he did influence events then it would be rational and since it is possible (all things are possible) then a belief in God is rational.

By this logic there is no such thing as superstition because I could use your logic to justify any belief or mental state so long as the belief was not held as fact and was consistent.

There is no objective means by which to label something as superstition.

Cool, you've reasoned away superstition.

No, just pointed out that what you or I might call "superstition" is opinion, not fact. To say otherwise is to misuse the term.

I see no reason to suppose that there are no superstitions or that all beliefs are rational so long as they are self consistent and are not held as fact.

It is my opinion that belief in prayer is a superstition. However, my opinion doesn't make it a fact, and if I were to state it as a blanket fact "belief in prayer is irrational" then my statement would be irrational.

I choose to agree with Todd Caroll that believing that the occult, supernatual or paranormal can influence events are defacto irrational.

And you are certainly entitled to that opinion. As I've held throughout the discussion, I tend to agree with most of your opinions, but believe that you have overstated your case.

-Bri

RandFan
26th July 2006, 06:12 PM
So, if the voices in the schizophrenics head are real, then the schizophrenic is rational? That pretty much agrees with what I'm saying. I'm parroting your logic with an obvious extreme of irrationality in an attempt to demonstrate to you how illogical it is.

If you call all people who hear voices necessarily irrational, then that is clearly just your opinion rather than fact unless you can provide evidence that none are real.Now you are just being silly.

What empirical evidence do you have of intelligent life outside of our solar system? We have empirical evidence that there is intelligent life inside our solar system.
We have empirical evidence that there are other solar systems.
We have empirical evidence that there are other planets in those solar systems.
We can deduce the likelihood of intelligent life outside of our solar system.

There is no such evidence for prayer.

Superstition is simply a category that one places various beliefs (generally ones one doesn't agree with). Says who? Citation please?

But there are no cut-and-dry rules for placing a belief into that category, at least none that I've heard. Straw man. If a behavior fits the definition of a superstition then it is, by definition, a superstition. I haven't a clue where you are getting your ideas. Certainly no from the dictionary.

Oh, I agree that prayer (and God's influence) qualify as objects, actions, or circumstances. What I don't agree with is your insistence that God's influence isn't logically related to the results of that influence. We'll then, please to demonstrate that it is. Simply saying the rabbits foot was the reason San Diego won the baseball game doesn't demonstrate that the rabbit's foot is logical related.

How is God logically related? And I don't mean some mumbo jumbo metaphysics which could apply to rabbits feet or voodoo.

RandFan
26th July 2006, 06:45 PM
No, it relates to the definition of superstition. Follow closely:

superstition: An irrational belief that an object, action, or circumstance not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome.

W = superstition
I = irrational
B = belief
X = an object, action, or circumstance not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome

You claim that belief in prayer (a member of B) is a superstition (W) because X is true about belief in prayer. Furthermore, you then say that because belief in prayer is a superstition, belief in prayer must be irrational (I). Thank you. You identified the error. Way too many variables.

I = irrational belief
B = belief in an object, action, or circumstance not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome
P = Prayer

All Beliefs in an action that is not logicaly related to a course of actions are irrational.
Any prayer that is a belief in an action (God's influence) that is not logically related to a course of actions is irrational.


I = B
B = P
I = P

Valid

That's right. And that person wouldn't label their belief a superstition. In fact, if you saw it work, you might not either. But someone who didn't see it work might. My point is that whether or not you label something a superstition would be a matter of opinion, not fact. Only those who are ignorant of facts would think it rational. We have far too much evidende that these things don't work. That something is possible doesn't mean that it is true. That your plane could crash doesn't make your fear of planes rational.

That gravity could fail doesn't make a fear of gravity failing rational.

Again, not by the definition you posted. Perhaps you have a different one. (see above)

Tricky
26th July 2006, 07:00 PM
I can certainly agree to disagree.Me too. And since RandFan has indicated that he is too busy to respond, I'll do it for him. Of course, there will be some differences because RF is a member of the Radical Right and I am a Knee-Jerk Liberal. But we agree to disagree on politics.

Not exactly. I believe that whether or not they are necessarily rational or irrational is a matter of opinion rather than fact. I think that I do understand your reasons for wanting to call all of them necessarily irrational, but I disagree that they can all be characterized in that way.
I disagree here, although I prefer to use the terms "less rational" and "more rational" because it avoids using absolutes.
I think things are more rational if they are supported by evidence and less rational if they are not, but have the opportunity to be.

For an example, let's look at the WTC attacks. There are people who believe that the attacks were faked and carried out by some clandestine cabal tied to the CIA or other western powers in order to give themselves more power. Now these beliefs are far from supernatural but they share some things in common. They are not supported by good evidence, even though evidence for such a thing should be available. They also use the "you can't prove it wrong" defense of their rationality. But are these conspiracy theorists just as rational as those who believe the attacks were carried out by terrorists? I say they are not, because the evidence supports the latter.

Similarly, are those who support supernatural ideas for how the world works just as rational as those who use good, objective evidence for their ideas about the subject? Again, I say they are not. They are less rational, though perhaps not totally irrational.

Furthermore, we all have opinions about all sorts of things that we cannot prove and that we don't fully understand (otherwise they wouldn't be opinions). I believe that opinions are just that -- opinions -- and are not subject to the same scrutiny that would allow them to be called irrational if they were stated as fact. Note that I did not to say that all opinions are necessarily rational.
Opinions should also be subject to scrutiny if one is judging between the legitimacy of various opinions. True, we have incomplete evidence for many, really, all things, but that does not mean that some should and do have more going for them than others. Some things are easy to judge, but others are clearly in the "I don't know" category, such as intelligent life in other solar systems.

If you're claiming it to be a fact that in belief prayer is necessarily irrational, then I believe that you are overstating your case since it would depend on exactly what the belief is. Specifically, Christian belief in prayer is not necessarily irrational unless a Christian believes that any and all prayer is granted by God or something similar.
Would you say that prayer has any observable (by us) effect whatsoever? By this, I mean any effect that could not be achieved by non-prayer means, such as personal happiness.

What is it that you think prayer does? How can you provide objective evidence that it does what you think? If you don't think it requires objective evidence, then why is belief in prayer any more rational than belief that your fairy godmother listens to you?

There is no rational explanation for anything for which we have no explanation, including gravity, uncaused events suggested by quantum theory, etc. I don't think it necessary to know how something works (or even that it necessarily does work) to have a rational opinion about it. I may not really understand quantum theory, nor do I even know that it is true, yet I may very well have a rational opinion that it is true. I might even have a rational opinion that determinism is true, even though there is evidence that quantum theory is true (and determinism is false).I agree that there are many things which clearly exist yet which don't have any good explanation, like gravity. But the fact remains that those thing are objectively observable, and in many cases, quantifiable and reliable (gravity being a good example of this). No similar thing can be said about any of the many beliefs in gods.

We don't understand anything perfectly, but we have learned to empirically show that some things exist. God is not one of them.

There is no objective means by which to label something as superstition.
Yes there is. Evidence. See my comments on rabbits' feet earlier. If there is no evidence for a thing where evidence should be easily obtainable, then belief in that thing is more superstitous than one for which there is evidence.

No, just pointed out that what you or I might call "superstition" is opinion, not fact. To say otherwise is to misuse the term.
As I say, everything is on a scale. I try not to say "fact" but rather "supported by evidence" or "unsupported by evidence. What we call superstitions are generally things which are unsupported by evidence. (Are you sick of hearing that word yet?:D )

It is my opinion that belief in prayer is a superstition. However, my opinion doesn't make it a fact, and if I were to state it as a blanket fact "belief in prayer is irrational" then my statement would be irrational.
I don't think, and I don't think many skeptics here claim that the ineffectiveness of prayer is an undeniable fact. However, in order to keep from having to go through all the linguistic gymnastics that you see me doing here, they may something like "irrational" or "superstitious" to avoid saying "very poorly supported by evidence". Language uses lots of shortcuts. It's easier to learn the shortcuts than to argue semantics every time a word that implies absolute factuality is used.

would be irrational.
And you are certainly entitled to that opinion. As I've held throughout the discussion, I tend to agree with most of your opinions, but believe that you have overstated your case.
Well, poor RF is handicapped by his adherance to an ideology that supports politicians who can barely rub two metaphors together. It isn't his fault that he is obliged to communicate using simple terms, sometimes grunts and hand signals. Yet it should be clear what he was saying, and it wasn't that there are absolute definitions of rational vs. irrational, fact vs. superstition or truth vs. lies. It seems that you've spent a lot of time trying to nail him on this. Maybe that's good for him and it will help him overcome his limitations. I'll wait for the evidence.

***
Edited to add:
Apparently RandFan is not as busy as we were led to believe. He's answered some of your posts, and with only minimal grunting.

RandFan
26th July 2006, 07:02 PM
Not exactly. I believe that whether or not they are necessarily rational or irrational is a matter of opinion... Reasonable opinion?

Furthermore, we all have opinions about all sorts of things that we cannot prove and that we don't fully understand (otherwise they wouldn't be opinions). I believe that opinions are just that -- opinions -- and are not subject to the same scrutiny that would allow them to be called irrational if they were stated as fact. Note that I did not to say that all opinions are necessarily rational. If you are of the opinion that keeping a rabbits foot can alter the outcome of an event then the opinion is, by definition, irrational.

If you are of the opinion that gravity is going to stop working as it has for thousands of observed years then the opinion is, by definition, irrational.

If you are of the opinion that you are about to die of some unknown disease then the opinion is, by definition, irrational.

If you're claiming it to be a fact that in belief prayer is necessarily irrational, then I believe that you are overstating your case since it would depend on exactly what the belief is. Specifically, Christian belief in prayer is not necessarily irrational unless a Christian believes that any and all prayer is granted by God or something similar. Believing that prayers can alter the course of events is by definition irrational.

There is no rational explanation for anything for which we have no explanation, including gravity, uncaused events suggested by quantum theory, etc. I don't think it necessary to know how something works (or even that it necessarily does work) to have a rational opinion about it. I may not really understand quantum theory, nor do I even know that it is true, yet I may very well have a rational opinion that it is true. I might even have a rational opinion that determinism is true, even though there is evidence that quantum theory is true (and determinism is false). Gravity is empirical. Prayer is not. Observations and mathematic models for quantum theory are rational whether you understand them or not.

There is no objective means by which to label something as superstition.There absolutely is a means. Observe the behavior. A person who purchases a good luck charm in the hopes of winning the lottery is superstitious. That is objective.

No, just pointed out that what you or I might call "superstition" is opinion, not fact. To say otherwise is to misuse the term. I have little time for such equivocation. Do you accept the definition or not?

It is my opinion that belief in prayer is a superstition. However, my opinion doesn't make it a fact, and if I were to state it as a blanket fact "belief in prayer is irrational" then my statement would be irrational. I don't hold any absolute truths. I only hold truths provisionally and to a degree of certainty. It is reasonable to state that prayer with the hope of altering a course of events, is by definition, irrational. I stand by that statement. If you feel better to characterize my statement as an opinion I can live with that.

ETA: I can live with qualifying the degree of irrationality.

RandFan
26th July 2006, 07:08 PM
I prefer to use the terms "less rational" and "more rational" because it avoids using absolutes.

I think things are more rational if they are supported by evidence and less rational if they are not, but have the opportunity to be. I could live with this.

ETA: Yeah, I really do need to bow out. Soon.

Bri
27th July 2006, 10:07 AM
RandFan, happy birthday!

But there is a logical mechanism (see earth).

Earth is a mechanism by which a being might have consciousness? I don't understand.

I didn't say that believing anything is rational.

You said previously that believing that anything is possible is rational. Then you said that believing it possible that a person can fly is irrational.

And I don't know if gravity doesn't work in some places.

Correct. It is possible that gravity doesn't work in some places. Therefore, belief that it is possible that gravity doesn't work in some places is rational. Furthermore, one can be of the opinion that gravity doesn't work in some places without being necessarily irrational, because one might have a good reason to believe it.

It is because it is counter to all evidence.

Counter to all evidence that you know of, you mean. Therefore, it is rational for you to believe that a person can levitate since you don't have any evidence of it. However, it is possible that someone else believes that a person can levitate because they have evidence that you don't know about. I personally wouldn't say that such evidence cannot possibly be enough to make their belief rational without knowing their evidence. In other words, they may very well have a good reason for believing as they do, making their belief rational.

No, but logic and reason compel reasonable people to reject irrational thinking. Logic and reason compel reasonable people to not doubt gravity. If you or anyone else choose to doubt gravity that is fine but it is not reasonable. I can't absolutely prove the law of gravity.

So, there is no amount of evidence that would cause you to doubt gravity? If you were presented with irrefutable evidence, would you admit that people who chose to doubt gravity because they saw the evidence before you were not irrational after all? Your assertion that "logic and reason compel reasonable people to not doubt gravity" seems to be only an opinion and not fact.

Reason and logic dictates that reasonable people accept reality. You can reject gravity simply because I lack absolute proof of gravity but your belief is irrational.

I never claimed that one should reject gravity (or anything else) simply because of lack of absolute proof. Quite the opposite, an opinion about something without absolute proof might certainly be rational. For example, an opinion that gravity doesn't hold in all cases might be rational, particularly if one had a good reason for holding such an opinion.

Not at all, there is a likely and understood mechanism and evidence that intelligent life away from earth is possible.

What is the understood mechanism that explains intelligence on Earth (much less outside of our solar system)? We don't understand the mechanism of intelligent life here on Earth, much less any mechanism by which we can say that it exists outside of our solar system. By your criteria, it is irrational to hold an opinion that intelligent life exists outside of our solar system since there is no known mechanism by which intelligent life exists and there is no empirical evidence that it exists outside of our solar system.

There is no mechanism and no evidence that would point to the likelihood that prayer works. Zero. Zip. Nada.

There is also no mechanism and no evidence of intelligent life outside of our solar system.

So let's suppose for a moment that gravity stopped working. That would be evidence that gravity is not constant. By your logic a belief that gravity is not constant is rational. By your logic, a person who is worried that gravity will fail at any moment is rational.

No, you're definitely creating a straw man here. I never said that belief that gravity is not constant is necessarily rational. I said that it isn't necessarily irrational. There is a difference. Additionally, your introduction of phobias just muddies the water. A fear is rational if it balances the chances of the event occurring and the potential consequences of the event occurring.

As far as gravity is concerned, if someone has reason to believe that gravity will fail, then that belief might be rational as might be their fears. If their reasons for believing that gravity will fail are weak, then their fears should be proportionally mild. I don't believe it likely at all that gravity will fail (even though I know it is possible) and therefore whatever fear I might have is extremely weak at best.

By this logic we have to admit that gravity might not be true. A belief that gravity is not constant is rational.

Uhhh...yes, we have to admit that gravity might not be constant. It is a fact that gravity actually might not be constant! A belief that gravity might not be constant is rational. If one had reason to be of the opinion that gravity isn't constant, then that opinion might also be rational.

And by your logic, should gravity suddenly fail it would verify any fear that gravity is not constant thus rendering any such fear rational.

If the belief that gravity would fail was based on a particular reason that proved to be true, then indeed that belief would have been rational all along.

If we could also believe that any belief in any possibility is rational.

Bri, by your logic there is no such thing as an irrational fear. Phobias don't exist.

No, that is wrong. Your fear of something that is possible should be proportionate to the reasons you have for it and the potential consequences of it occurring.

-Bri

Ossai
27th July 2006, 10:20 AM
RandFan
You will have more success nailing jello to a wall than attempting to have a logical conversation with Bri :boggled: .

Bri
27th July 2006, 10:29 AM
Hmmmm.... No, I don't think so.

You don't think that it is rational to believe that the Christian God is possible, but also be of the opinion that this God exists? But it is rational to believe that the Christian God is possible, but also be of the opinion that this God doesn't exist.

By what mechanism and empiracal evidence is it rational to believe that the Christian God is possible but doesn't exist?

No. I'm saying that we have reason based on objective evidence to believe that it is possible [that intelligent life actually exists outside of our solar system]. We have no reason based on objective evidence to believe that prayer is possible.

I must be misunderstanding. Of course prayer is possible because it's not impossible. You previously admitted that it is rational to believe that it is possible for prayer to have an affect on the world, but now you seem to be contradicting that.


1.) We can objectively prove that intelligent life exists in the universe (see humans).
2.) We can objectively prove that there are other solar systems.
3.) We can objectively prove that there are other planets.
4.) We can objectively prove the minimal requirements of life.

Yet we do not have a shred of empical evidence that intelligent life exists outside of our solar system. Nor do we have an understanding of the mechanism by which the "minimal requirements for life" of which you speak become intelligent life.

Using logic and reason we can surmise the likelihood of intelligent life on other planets in other solar systems.

Using your criteria, to be of the opinion that intelligent life on other planets exists is irrational.

Please, oh please give me an argument for prayer like the one above? Please?

You presented a valid argument that intelligent life outside of our solar system is possible, which was never in question. There is also no question that Christian belief in prayer is possible (unless you still hold that Christians believe that God grants any and all prayers).

The degree of possibility that intelligent life actually exists outside of our solar system is of many magnitudes greater that prayer.

Degree of possibility? That's a new one on me.

I apologize if I'm not clear. If you had the opinion that God exists but didn't actively act on that opinion or hold any firm attributes of God. Which is why I attempted to qualify my answer based on the attributes of God. I don't think a Deist is irrational JMO.

Odd. There is neither empirical evidence nor mechanism for a Deist belief in God. How exactly is such a belief rational by your criteria? Also, you seem to be admitting that it is only your opinion that a Deist belief is not irrational, yet you implied that the Christian belief in God is necessarily irrational.

-Bri

Bri
27th July 2006, 10:37 AM
I prefer to use the terms "less rational" and "more rational" because it avoids using absolutes.

I think things are more rational if they are supported by evidence and less rational if they are not, but have the opportunity to be.

I could live with this.

ETA: Yeah, I really do need to bow out. Soon.

I also prefer this, since it not only avoids absolutes, but clearly indicates the subjectivity of determining whether something is more or less rational than something else. Note that I'm not saying that there are no clear cases where something might be "more rational" than something else.

I'm still not sure that you can provide valid criteria by which belief in prayer is less rational than belief in intelligent life outside of our solar system, but at least saying that something is "less rational" avoids making a claim of fact that it is irrational.

-Bri

RandFan
27th July 2006, 10:57 AM
RandFan, happy birthday!Thank you.

Earth is a mechanism by which a being might have consciousness? I don't understand.No, Earth is proof that such mechanisms exist in our universe.

You said previously that believing that anything is possible is rational. Then you said that believing it possible that a person can fly is irrational. You will have to show me the quote.

Correct. It is possible that gravity doesn't work in some places. Therefore, belief that it is possible that gravity doesn't work in some places is rational. Furthermore, one can be of the opinion that gravity doesn't work in some places without being necessarily irrational, because one might have a good reason to believe it.No. There might be demons under my bed but believing that there are demons under my bed is irrational. Your logic just doesn't work Bri.

Counter to all evidence that you know of, you mean. Therefore, it is rational for you to believe that a person can levitate since you don't have any evidence of it. However, it is possible that someone else believes that a person can levitate because they have evidence that you don't know about. I personally wouldn't say that such evidence cannot possibly be enough to make their belief rational without knowing their evidence. In other words, they may very well have a good reason for believing as they do, making their belief rational. We have an enormous data base. It is irrational to believe that someone can do something counter to the laws of physics as we understand them without,

1.) Any evidence.
2.) Any known mechanism for it to happen.

So, there is no amount of evidence that would cause you to doubt gravity? Of course there is. And there is an amount of evidence that would cause me to believe in Santa Claus. Absent the evidence, if I believed in him I would be irrational

If you were presented with irrefutable evidence, would you admit that people who chose to doubt gravity because they saw the evidence before you were not irrational after all? Your assertion that "logic and reason compel reasonable people to not doubt gravity" seems to be only an opinion and not fact. See, this is where this gets frustrating. You know my answer. OF COURSE. I hold all beliefs provisionally.

"Opinion and not fact"? I don't think in such absolutes. Having been tested trillions upon trillions of times gravity always works the same way that we know of. It is predictable. It is testable. It is falsifiable. It can be understood mathematicaly. Using the law of gravity (and other things) we can pinpoint a trajectory to the Moon. If the law of gravity was not a constant then our world would be very different. It is irrational to dismiss all of the known evidence for the possibility of the unknown. THAT is why it is irrational.

I never claimed that one should reject gravity (or anything else) simply because of lack of absolute proof. Quite the opposite, an opinion about something without absolute proof might certainly be rational. For example, an opinion that gravity doesn't hold in all cases might be rational, particularly if one had a good reason for holding such an opinion. And that's the point. We don't have a "good reason". You can't name one. Bri, this goes to my argument, lacking a "good reason" a belief that gravity is not constant is irrational. To what degree it is irrational I can't say.

Lacking a "good reason", a belief that prayer can alter an outcome is irrational. To what degree I can't say. You would have to take it on a case by case basis.

What is the understood mechanism that explains intelligence on Earth (much less outside of our solar system)? Please see abiogenesis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis), evolution (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution) (pay particular attention to natural selection (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_selection)), Evolutionary Neuroscience (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolutionary_neuroscience) and finally Evolution and the cognitive neuroscience of awareness, consciousness and language. (http://www.hedweb.com/bgcharlton/awconlang.html)

We don't understand the mechanism of intelligent life here on Earth...This is just false. But let's be accurate, it isn't just a mechanism, it's many mechanisms. We don't completely understand all of them but we do have a very good understanding of many of them.

...much less any mechanism by which we can say that it exists outside of our solar system. As we explore the universe we find more and more that the likelihood of planets like ours is increasing. It is reasonable to infer that the mechanisms here on Earth (see above) exist in other places.

By your criteria, it is irrational to hold an opinion that intelligent life exists outside of our solar system since there is no known mechanism by which intelligent life exists and there is no empirical evidence that it exists outside of our solar system. Not at all, please reference the above links.

There is also no mechanism and no evidence of intelligent life outside of our solar system. False, please see links above.

I said that it isn't necessarily irrational. But it is. A person who refused to leave his home for fear of floating away is irrational

Additionally, your introduction of phobias just muddies the water. Actually no, it clarifies it very well. As we shall see shortly.

A fear is rational if it balances the chances of the event occurring and the potential consequences of the event occurring.:) Thank you. Yes, a belief is irrational if it balances the chances of the event occurring and the potential consequence or benefit of the event occurring and it choses the less likely over the more likely. The greater the difference the more irrational.

I accept your definition. Again, many thanks.

As far as gravity is concerned, if someone has reason to believe that gravity will fail, then that belief might be rational as might be their fears. If their reasons for believing that gravity will fail are weak, then their fears should be proportionally mild. I don't believe it likely at all that gravity will fail (even though I know it is possible) and therefore whatever fear I might have is extremely weak at best. Please see your definition. I accept that irrationality can be measured in degrees. I'm not sure how it is or should be measured.

How about this, the less likely an event is to occur and the more a person believes in the event the more irrational the belief, sound good?

Uhhh...yes, we have to admit that gravity might not be constant. It is a fact that gravity actually might not be constant! A belief that gravity might not be constant is rational. If one had reason to be of the opinion that gravity isn't constant, then that opinion might also be rational. The more a person believes that he or she might at any moment start to levitate the more irrational that person is.

If the belief that gravity would fail was based on a particular reason that proved to be true, then indeed that belief would have been rational all along. Please to name this reason. Absent a reason then it is irrational.

Your fear of something that is possible should be proportionate to the reasons you have for it and the potential consequences of it occurring.I concur with two edits. Your belief of something that is possible should be proportionate to the reasons you have for it and the potential consequences or benefits of it occurring.

Therapists cannot simply assume that the patient has a reason to fear that there are demons living under his or her bed. If after questioning the therapist finds that there is no such reason then it is a reasonable conclusion that the fear is irrational.

Lacking a reason that prayer works, by your own definition, we must conclude that it is irrational.

I think we are making progress, thanks Bri.

RandFan
27th July 2006, 11:23 AM
You don't think that it is rational to believe that the Christian God is possible, but also be of the opinion that this God exists? No, please see your definition above. The possibility of a Christian god is not in question. It does not advance your argument to keep asking me if the Christian God is possible since I have conceded over and over that anything that is not logically impossible is possible.

I will stipulate that anything that is logically possible is possible, ok? So can we dispense with that?

That being said, no, I don't think that the opinion that THIS God exists is rational. When you balance the likelihood of a Christian God existing against the likelihood that a Christian God does not exist I have to say that it is irrational. How irrational depends on a number of variables.

But it is rational to believe that the Christian God is possible, but also be of the opinion that this God doesn't exist. Anything not logically impossible is possible. So asking me if the Christian God is possible does not advance anything at all. Or course it is rational to be of the opinion that the Christian God doesn't exist.

By what mechanism and empiracal evidence is it rational to believe that the Christian God is possible... I stipulate that anything not logically impossible is possible. This does not advance your argument.

By what mechanism and empiracal evidence is it rational to believe that the Christian...doesn't exist?I can't prove a negative. Absent any empirical evidence or mechanism that such a God exists then I must conclude that he does not.

I must be misunderstanding. Of course prayer is possible because it's not impossible. You previously admitted that it is rational to believe that it is possible for prayer to have an affect on the world, but now you seem to be contradicting that. I'm sorry. A failure of mine to properly communicate. We have evidence as to the likelihood and degree of possibility of intelligent life existing outside of our solar system.

Let's go back to your definition.

1.) When I balance the chance of intelligent life occurring outside of our solar system with the chance that it doesn't occur then it is rational to assume that there is a high likelihood that intelligent life exists.

2.) When I balance the chance that prayer can alter the outcome of an event with the chance that it can't then it is rational to believe that there is a very low likelihood that prayer will not alter the outcome of an event.

I really love your definition.

Yet we do not have a shred of empical evidence that intelligent life exists outside of our solar system. Nor do we have an understanding of the mechanism by which the "minimal requirements for life" of which you speak become intelligent life. See my links that I posted in the previous thread (http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?postid=1798265#post1798265).

Using your criteria, to be of the opinion that intelligent life on other planets exists is irrational. No, because using your definition and the evidence when I balance the chance of intelligent life occurring outside of our solar system with the chance that it doesn't occur then it is rational to assume that there is a high likelihood that intelligent life exists.


You presented a valid argument that intelligent life outside of our solar system is possible, which was never in question. There is also no question that Christian belief in prayer is possible (unless you still hold that Christians believe that God grants any and all prayers). There are stark differences between the two (please see my comparison above).

Degree of possibility? That's a new one on me.Please see your own definition. Here it is with my edits.

A belief is irrational if it balances the chances of the event occurring and the potential consequence or benefit of the event occurring and it choses the less likely over the more likely. The greater the difference the more irrational.:) I like it.

Odd. There is neither empirical evidence nor mechanism for a Deist belief in God. How exactly is such a belief rational by your criteria? Also, you seem to be admitting that it is only your opinion that a Deist belief is not irrational, yet you implied that the Christian belief in God is necessarily irrational. I think we need to go back to your definition. I think it a matter of degree. If we assume for the sake of argument that a Deist is irrational then I would say that a Christian is more irrational.

I don't know to what degree if any a Deist is irrational. I'll concede that he could be.

Bri
27th July 2006, 11:23 AM
You continue to make this comparison and it continues to be inappropriate. We have little information on what mechanisms exist outside our solar system. However we do know that using the basic materials of the universe, consciousness can exist. It would not be irrational to suspect that given enough chances (read: enough solar systems) it could happen again. But this has nothing whatsoever to do with theology.

I agree that belief in intelligent life outside of the solar system has little to do with theology. The only "comparison" I was making is the criteria by which one can determine which is irrational and which is rational. So far, I haven't heard any general, objective criteria that would allow one to be irrational and the other rational. We don't know the mechanism that allows consciousness period, nor do we have empirical evidence that consciousness exists outside of our solar system.


Theists believe God exists in this solar system, in fact, everwhere. So one cannot claim that we have had no opportunity to collect evidence for the existence of God. That no reliable evidence for His existence has yet been collected would make it less rational to believe in something which supposedly is in close proximity and yet leaves no evidence, than it would to believe in something for which evidence is very very far away.

And again, lack of evidence is a reason for withholding disbelief if there is a good reason why evidence is unavailable. I can see no good reason why evidence of God should be unavailable if He is as Christianity claims.

As you pointed out, there is no reason to believe that there must be evidence of intelligent life outside of the solar system, therefore I can agree that it is rational to believe in it despite the lack of evidence. But then the same must go for the Christian notion of God. I see no evidence that Christians believe that there should be evidence of God. Indeed, God might not want us to know for certain of his existence, in which case one wouldn't expect evidence.

We have the opportunity to collect evidence on levitating people, yet no such (reliable) evidence exists. That makes such a belief less rational.

Less rational, perhaps, depending on the reasons for such a belief. It is possible for the belief to be very rational.

True, but we should only change our understanding of the laws of physics if there is a good reason to do so, not because someone has made some unprovable hypothesis.

I agree. That was never in question.

As you say, logic doesn't dictate anything. It is solely dependant upon your assumptions. Here's one of mine. Real things leave real evidence. How do you feel about that assumption?

Certainly possible, of course. It is also possible that some real things leave no evidence. As there is no real evidence of intelligent life outside of our solar system. I wouldn't characterize the belief that there is intelligent life outside of the solar system as necessarily irrational, however.

I can't speak for RandFan, but to me, that belief would be completely rational, but they'd have to provide the evidence. As I understand RandFan, he has never said that belief in a thing for which there is good evidence is irrational. I'm not sure how you arrived at this mischaracterization of his position.

He implied that belief in rabbit's feet is necessarily irrational. I was providing an example that demonstrates that belief in rabbit's feet isn't necessarily irrational.


It is true that parsimony does not require that the simplest explanation is correct, but it suggests it is the best liklihood. I think it was Damon Runyon who said, "The race does not always go to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that's the way you bet."

I agree.

That conclusion does not follow unless you can provide evidence that rabbits' feet are lucky. In the absence of such evidence (which should be easily available, given the plenitude of rabbits), such a belief is less rational.

I would agree that there is no reason to believe such a belief to be rational. I can't say that such a belief is necessarily irrational either. Whether it is "more" or "less" rational would depend on the reasons for holding the belief.


RandFan, in my opinion, misspoke when he said this. He should have said "parsimony suggests...". Nothing compels us to accept anything. Not rationality, not evidence, not logic. Nothing. And as evidence for this statement, I can show that there are people on these very boards who accept things without rationality, evidence or logic. :D

No. It was a less than ideal choice of words, but I think you understood his gist. I would say that your suggestion of RF's illogic is simply being pedantic.

Although I understood and even agree with the gist of what he was saying, I was referring more to his choice of the word "fact" as being illogical. But it's true that I was being pedantic.

-Bri

RandFan
27th July 2006, 11:40 AM
I'm still not sure that you can provide valid criteria by which belief in prayer is less rational than belief in intelligent life outside of our solar system, but at least saying that something is "less rational" avoids making a claim of fact that it is irrational.I've never held that anything is absolutely irrational. But we can agree as to more and less as far as rational is concerned.

Bri
27th July 2006, 12:03 PM
Straw man. If a behavior fits the definition of a superstition then it is, by definition, a superstition. I haven't a clue where you are getting your ideas. Certainly no from the dictionary.

From your definition: superstition = an irrational belief that X.

An rational belief that fits X wouldn't be a superstition by your definition any more than a kangaroo is a frog by this definition: frog = a green animal that hops.

We'll then, please to demonstrate that it is. Simply saying the rabbits foot was the reason San Diego won the baseball game doesn't demonstrate that the rabbit's foot is logical related.

I agree, nor does it demonstrate that it isn't. Therefore, depending on the reason, it is possible to hold a rational belief that a rabbit's foot was the reason San Diego won the baseball game.

How is God logically related? And I don't mean some mumbo jumbo metaphysics which could apply to rabbits feet or voodoo.

If prayer (P) influences God (G) who influences event (E), then it seems to me to that P is logically related to E.

-Bri

Bri
27th July 2006, 12:16 PM
Thank you. You identified the error. Way too many variables.

I = irrational belief
B = belief in an object, action, or circumstance not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome
P = Prayer

All Beliefs in an action that is not logicaly related to a course of actions are irrational.

I've been reading the dictionary wrong all this time! So the definition "frog = a green animal that hops" means that all animals that hop are green?

Any prayer that is a belief in an action (God's influence) that is not logically related to a course of actions is irrational.

Any kangaroo that hops is green. Yes, I see now!

-Bri

slingblade
27th July 2006, 12:34 PM
I've been reading the dictionary wrong all this time! So the definition "frog = a green animal that hops" means that all animals that hop are green?



Any kangaroo that hops is green. Yes, I see now!

-Bri

I just wonder what happens to your analogy to account for the fact that not all frogs are green?

Or that the term "animal" is too general?

RandFan
27th July 2006, 12:39 PM
From your definition: superstition = an irrational belief that X. Yes.

An rational belief that fits XThere is no such animal. Please to demonstrate that there is.

I agree, nor does it demonstrate that it isn't. Therefore, depending on the reason, it is possible to hold a rational belief that a rabbit's foot was the reason San Diego won the baseball game.Lacking any "reason" that it is and having a lot of reason that it isn't then it is more rational to believe that a rabbit's foot isn't the cause or didn't influence the outcome of the game. Do you have any evidence that it did influence the game? The problem is the lack of reason for the affirmative in opposition to the evidence that it didn't.

If prayer (P) influences God (G) who influences event (E), then it seems to me to that P is logically related to E. And there is the problem, demonstrate that (G) influences (E). It really is as simple as that. There is no logical connection.

RandFan
27th July 2006, 12:46 PM
I've been reading the dictionary wrong all this time! So the definition "frog = a green animal that hops" means that all animals that hop are green? This is a non-sequitur. It does not follow from what I have said. No, not all animals that hop are green. Not all frogs are green.

Prayer is a belief that something that is not logically conected to an event can influence that event.

I = irrational belief
B = belief in an object, action, or circumstance not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome
P = Prayer

All Beliefs in an action that is not logicaly related to a course of actions are irrational.
Any prayer that is a belief in an action (God's influence) that is not logically related to a course of actions is irrational.


I = B
B = P
I = P

Valid

God can't even be demonstrated so it can't be said to be logically connected to the event any more than it can be said that invisible pink unicorns are connected to popcorn. It can only be believed.

Any kangaroo that hops is green. Yes, I see now!Non-sequitur. This is not consistent with and does not follow from my logic.

RandFan
27th July 2006, 12:51 PM
Bri,

God can only be logically connected to an event if one makes unfounded assumptions.

An assumption that a rabbit's foot can alter a course of events cannot be demonstrated.

An assumption that God can influence events cannot be demonstrated.

On the contrary, every study of the influence of prayer on events demonstrates that there is no such influence.

God is only logically connected to an even if we use faith. Like the faith in horseshoes, four leaf clover and rabbits feet.

I less than three logic
27th July 2006, 12:52 PM
Therefore, depending on the reason, it is possible to hold a rational belief that a rabbit's foot was the reason San Diego won the baseball game.
I can agree with this. Depending on the reason it may be rational. Say, you used the said rabbit's foot to gouge out the eyes of the opposing team's pitcher, then it would be rational to hold the belief the rabbit's foot was the reason San Diego won the game. Apart from something that drastic, I can't think of any other reason the rabbit's foot could possibly be connected to the outcome of the game. :)

RandFan
27th July 2006, 12:53 PM
I just wonder what happens to your analogy to account for the fact that not all frogs are green?

Or that the term "animal" is too general?Agreed, but even assuming that all frogs are green and kangaroos and frogs are animals it still does not demonstrate that my logic is invalid. The comparison is a non-sequitur.

Bri
27th July 2006, 01:09 PM
Similarly, are those who support supernatural ideas for how the world works just as rational as those who use good, objective evidence for their ideas about the subject? Again, I say they are not. They are less rational, though perhaps not totally irrational.

When it comes to having an opinion about something for which there is little evidence, particularly when evidence wouldn't necessarily be expected, then I cannot say that such belief is any less rational than other such opinions that many of us have.


Opinions should also be subject to scrutiny if one is judging between the legitimacy of various opinions. True, we have incomplete evidence for many, really, all things, but that does not mean that some should and do have more going for them than others. Some things are easy to judge, but others are clearly in the "I don't know" category, such as intelligent life in other solar systems.

This I agree with. I also would say that at least some Christian belief in prayer falls in the "I don't know" category. Certainly, we don't know that prayer doesn't work.


Would you say that prayer has any observable (by us) effect whatsoever? By this, I mean any effect that could not be achieved by non-prayer means, such as personal happiness.

I don't understand what you're asking here.

What is it that you think prayer does? How can you provide objective evidence that it does what you think? If you don't think it requires objective evidence, then why is belief in prayer any more rational than belief that your fairy godmother listens to you?

I imagine that Christians (at least some Christians) believe that prayer affects the natural world. I don't know why such a belief would require objective evidence any more than belief in the existence of intelligent life outside of the solar system would require objective evidence.

I agree that there are many things which clearly exist yet which don't have any good explanation, like gravity.

And like consciousness.

But the fact remains that those thing are objectively observable, and in many cases, quantifiable and reliable (gravity being a good example of this). No similar thing can be said about any of the many beliefs in gods.

Nor about the belief that consciousness exists outside of the solar system.

We don't understand anything perfectly, but we have learned to empirically show that some things exist. God is not one of them.

I agree. Also, intelligent life outside our solar system.

As I say, everything is on a scale. I try not to say "fact" but rather "supported by evidence" or "unsupported by evidence. What we call superstitions are generally things which are unsupported by evidence. (Are you sick of hearing that word yet?:D )

Well, belief in the existence of intelligent life outside of the solar system is unsupported by evidence also, so is it necessarily superstition?

I don't think, and I don't think many skeptics here claim that the ineffectiveness of prayer is an undeniable fact. However, in order to keep from having to go through all the linguistic gymnastics that you see me doing here, they may something like "irrational" or "superstitious" to avoid saying "very poorly supported by evidence". Language uses lots of shortcuts. It's easier to learn the shortcuts than to argue semantics every time a word that implies absolute factuality is used.

I would agree that RandFan simply meant that prayer was "poorly supported by evidence" had I not asked him time and again to confirm that he felt it a fact that belief in prayer was necessarily irrational. The difference between "fact" and "poorly supported by evidence" is exactly what I meant when I said that he was overstating his case. I doubt that Christians would deny that their belief in prayer isn't well supported by evidence, particularly if they believe that God might not want us to know for certain of his existence. I don't find such a belief to be necessarily irrational.

Yet it should be clear what he was saying, and it wasn't that there are absolute definitions of rational vs. irrational...

I would have agreed with you, but he has repeatedly argued against this point. In fact, he has attempted to come up with objective criteria by which one can place a belief into one category or another. Unfortunately, such criteria end up labeling some things as "irrational" that most of us would hold to be rational opinion and vice-versa.

-Bri

RandFan
27th July 2006, 01:20 PM
I would agree that RandFan simply meant that prayer was "poorly supported by evidence" had I not asked him time and again to confirm that he felt it a fact that belief in prayer was necessarily irrational. When did I use the word "fact"? How many times have I used the word "provisional"? I'm sorry but this is very unfair to me.

The difference between "fact" and "poorly supported by evidence" is exactly what I meant when I said that he was overstating his case. I stated that prayer is irrational. I don't hold that it is absolute. I'm willing to hold that it is, to a degree, irrational but that it is irrational really can't be argued against (assuming that by prayer we are talking about a hope that prayer will alter events). I firmly stand by that.

I doubt that Christians would deny that their belief in prayer isn't well supported by evidence, particularly if they believe that God might not want us to know for certain of his existence. I don't find such a belief to be necessarily irrational. I do.

I would have agreed with you, but he has repeatedly argued against this point. In fact, he has attempted to come up with objective criteria by which one can place a belief into one category or another. Unfortunately, such criteria end up labeling some things as "irrational" that most of us would hold to be rational opinion and vice-versa.No, by your very own definition a belief is irrational if it balances the chances of the event occurring and the potential consequences of the event occurring.

Otherwise, there would be no such thing as irrational fears.

Bri
27th July 2006, 01:22 PM
I just wonder what happens to your analogy to account for the fact that not all frogs are green?

Or that the term "animal" is too general?

Obviously, I made up the definition. According to that definition, all frogs are green (and hop). By that (made up) definition, a grasshopper is also a frog, but that doesn't affect my point.

My point was that a kangaroo isn't necessarily a frog, and isn't necessarily green according to that definition of frog, just as belief in prayer isn't necessarily superstion and isn't necessarily irrational using RandFan's definition of superstition.

-Bri

RandFan
27th July 2006, 01:37 PM
My point was that a kangaroo isn't necessarily a frog, and isn't necessarily green according to that definition of frog, just as belief in prayer isn't necessarily superstion and isn't necessarily irrational using RandFan's definition of superstition.:mad:

The two do NOT equate.

slingblade
27th July 2006, 02:38 PM
Obviously, I made up the definition. According to that definition, all frogs are green (and hop). By that (made up) definition, a grasshopper is also a frog, but that doesn't affect my point.

My point was that a kangaroo isn't necessarily a frog, and isn't necessarily green according to that definition of frog, just as belief in prayer isn't necessarily superstion and isn't necessarily irrational using RandFan's definition of superstition.

-Bri

Hmmm.

Maybe I would say (she weaseled expertly ;)) that prayer is at present a superstition, until and unless (or if and only if?) there is evidence prayer functions in a definable and observable way.

The earth was "factually" flat, in a sense, though not in actuality flat, at a certain point in history. That we now know it is not flat makes that belief...well, not a superstition, but definitely not a fact. Those who hold the belief that the earth is flat, in spite of evidence to the contrary, are irrational, yes?

Can we, ought we, hold prayer as a superstition until and unless?
Or is the concept valid, but under another name? If it isn't superstition, and it isn't fact, what is it, and are we rational if we believe something that hasn't yet, but could some day be, proven as fact?

I'd have to go, tentatively, with: we are not irrational to hold the possibility of prayer, but we may be irrational to hold it as a fact without proof, or in the face of "negative proof." i.e. I've done this over and over and over, and nothing ever happens that I can see. If I can't see it, is it real, or does it even matter?

Bri
27th July 2006, 05:03 PM
Hmmm.

Maybe I would say (she weaseled expertly ;)) that prayer is at present a superstition, until and unless (or if and only if?) there is evidence prayer functions in a definable and observable way.

The problem with that definition is that there are many things for which there is little or no evidence that we don't classify as "superstition" or "irrational." Some would take offense if you insisted that, for example, the opinion that intelligent life exists outside of the solar system is an irrational belief.

The earth was "factually" flat, in a sense, though not in actuality flat, at a certain point in history. That we now know it is not flat makes that belief...well, not a superstition, but definitely not a fact. Those who hold the belief that the earth is flat, in spite of evidence to the contrary, are irrational, yes?

Yes, it might seem to be valid to label an opinion irrational if there is a lot of evidence to the contrary or little evidence for something where evidence would be expected (the part in italic being important because it might exempt beliefs such as intelligent life outside of our solar system from being labeled "irrational"). Unfortunately, there is little evidence for or against a belief in prayer that involves a God who might not want us to know for certain of his existence.

Can we, ought we, hold prayer as a superstition until and unless?
Or is the concept valid, but under another name? If it isn't superstition, and it isn't fact, what is it, and are we rational if we believe something that hasn't yet, but could some day be, proven as fact?

There's already a name for such a belief -- it's called opinion!

I'd have to go, tentatively, with: we are not irrational to hold the possibility of prayer, but we may be irrational to hold it as a fact without proof, or in the face of "negative proof." i.e. I've done this over and over and over, and nothing ever happens that I can see. If I can't see it, is it real, or does it even matter?

I agree, it would be irrational to hold the possibility of prayer as fact. It is clearly not fact.

If you believed that something should work every time, but when you tried it repeatedly it never worked (or worked only as much as chance would dictate), your continued belief might be irrational. But believers in prayer don't tend to expect it to work every time.

-Bri

RandFan
27th July 2006, 05:36 PM
My point was that a kangaroo isn't necessarily a frog, and isn't necessarily green according to that definition of frog, just as belief in prayer isn't necessarily superstion and isn't necessarily irrational using RandFan's definition of superstition. I had said that the two do not equate. I realized that I should have been more precise.

It is my opinion that all prayer is irrational. However that is not now nor has that ever been the point of this discusion and I'm not trying to debate that point. My argument is and has been that any prayer with the expectation of influencing the outcome of events is, by definition, irrational.

Argument A:
All frogs are green.
All frogs hop.
A kangaroo hops
A kangaroo is green.

Invalid because not all animals that hop are green.

Argument B:
P1: Any and all beliefs that an action not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome, are, by definition, irrational.

P2: A prayer made in contemplation of a change of events or state is not logically related to those events or state.

Bri
27th July 2006, 07:00 PM
I had said that the two do not equate. I realized that I should have been more precise.

It is my opinion that all prayer is irrational. However that is not now nor has that ever been the point of this discusion and I'm not trying to debate that point.

Granted, this discussion has been about belief in prayer that might influence events.

My argument is and has been that any prayer with the expectation of influencing the outcome of events is, by definition, irrational.

If by "expectation" you mean that the prayer will always produce the desired outcome, then I agree that it is irrational. If you mean the Christian belief that prayer sometimes influences the outcome of events, then I disagree that it is necessarily irrational. Neither of these can be shown to be irrational by definition as you claim (at least not by any definition you've posted).


Argument A:
...


If "frog" is defined as "a green animal that hops," then three things must be true before something fits the definition of a frog:


It must be green.
It must be an animal, specifically,
It must be an animal that hops.


Assuming that a kangaroo is an animal that hops...

A kangaroo is not a frog by definition unless all kangaroos are green by definition (and this definition says nothing about the color of kangaroos). To say that kangaroos are green by this definition is a fallacy. To show by this definition that a kangaroo is green, I would first have to show that it is a frog. To show that it is a frog, I would first have to assume that a kangaroo is green. To claim that by this definition, a kangaroo is green would be circular logic. I cannot use this definition to prove that kangaroos are green.


Argument B:
...


Your definition of "superstition" was "an irrational belief that an object, action, or circumstance not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome." In order for something to fit that definition, three things must be true:


It must be irrational.
It must be a belief, specifically,
It must be a belief that an object, action, or circumstance not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome.


Assuming that a belief in prayer is a belief that an object, action, or circumstance not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome (note that I don't necessarily agree with this, but for the sake of argument let's assume it to be true)...

If something is a belief that an object, action, or circumstance not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome, then it is not a superstition by definition unless all prayers are irrational by definition (this definition says nothing about the rationality of prayer). To say that a belief in prayer is irrational by this definition is a fallacy. To show by this definition that belief in prayer is irrational, I would first have to show that it is a superstition. To show that it is a superstition, I would first have to assume that belief in prayer is irrational. To claim that by this definition, belief in prayer is irrational would be circular logic. You cannot use this definition to prove that belief in prayer is irrational.

If you've used a different definition to show that belief in prayer is irrational, I haven't seen it. Unless you have done so (perhaps I missed it), you have not provided evidence of your claim that belief in prayer is by definition irrational.

-Bri

RandFan
27th July 2006, 07:12 PM
If by "expectation" you mean that the prayer will always produce the desired outcome, then I agree that it is irrational. If you mean the Christian belief that prayer sometimes influences the outcome of events, then I disagree that it is necessarily irrational. Neither of these can be shown to be irrational by definition as you claim (at least not by any definition you've posted). Then we disagree. And yes, I think it does by the definition that I posted. But I'm happy to accept your definition. Thanks again for that.

To say that kangaroos are green by this definition is a fallacy. ??? Not a clue Bri. That Kangaroos are not green is not in dispute. I'm not certain why you wanted to rehash that. It serves no purpose as it is easily demonstrated that the logic is invalid. Further it is simply not related to nor is it analogous to irrational beliefs.

Your definition of "superstition" was "an irrational belief that an object, action, or circumstance not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome." Note mine. The dictionaries.

In order for something to fit that definition, three things must be true:

It must be irrational.
It must be a belief, specifically,
It must be a belief that an object, action, or circumstance not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome.No. This is wrong. #2 and #3 are tautological. #1 is the conclusion.

Bri,

An argument is a connected set of statements in order to establish a definite proposition. You don't rebut an an argument by declaring that for the argument to be true the conclusion must be true. This would just be circular reasoning. To be true the premises must be true and must logically lead, via inference, to the conclusion.

So let's look at the argument one more time.

P1: Any and all beliefs that an action not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome, are, by definition, irrational.

P2: A prayer made in contemplation of a change of events or state is not logically related to those events or state.

Conclusion: A Prayer made in contemplation of a change of events or state is irrational.

If you've used a different definition to show that belief in prayer is irrational, I haven't seen it. Unless you have done so (perhaps I missed it), you have not provided evidence of your claim that belief in prayer is by definition irrational. Now, are the premises correct and do they logically lead to the conclusion?

Is premise #1 wrong?
Is premise #2 wrong?

And BTW, I accept your definition. By your definition prayer contemplating a change in events is irrational.

slingblade
27th July 2006, 08:32 PM
The problem with that definition is that there are many things for which there is little or no evidence that we don't classify as "superstition" or "irrational." Some would take offense if you insisted that, for example, the opinion that intelligent life exists outside of the solar system is an irrational belief.

There are many such things, but they don't all fall under the heading of "wishful thinking." Prayer does. I think that makes a difference.

I also think it makes a difference if you're talking about something we have enough evidence to suspect might exist, but know we simply lack the science to discover. We suspect intelligent life exists elsewhere, and we know we simply don't have a way to get out there far enough to find out. It's rational to say you believe they might be out there.

It's not so rational to say they abducted you and put you back in bed, and yet no one else saw them, but it could still be possible. Just not probable.

Prayer's a hard one because it is wishful thinking, and because it isn't falsifiable. There's no real way to prove your prayer wasn't answered with a "no."

Bri
28th July 2006, 06:57 AM
There are many such things, but they don't all fall under the heading of "wishful thinking." Prayer does. I think that makes a difference.

I agree with you, but I can't come up with any criteria by which prayer would be "wishful thinking" but the belief that there is intelligent life outside of the solar system wouldn't be. That's the problem. What to you is "wishful thinking" is just an opinion to someone else.


I also think it makes a difference if you're talking about something we have enough evidence to suspect might exist, but know we simply lack the science to discover. We suspect intelligent life exists elsewhere, and we know we simply don't have a way to get out there far enough to find out. It's rational to say you believe they might be out there.

Of course, and it is also rational to point out that prayer might actually work. If God didn't want us to know of his existence, then we would also lack the science to discover whether prayer really works or not.

It's not so rational to say they abducted you and put you back in bed, and yet no one else saw them, but it could still be possible. Just not probable.

Prayer's a hard one because it is wishful thinking, and because it isn't falsifiable. There's no real way to prove your prayer wasn't answered with a "no."

Exactly. And there is (currently) no way to prove whether or not intelligent life exists outside of the solar system. We have opinions about all kinds of things that are unfalsifiable and don't (always) call them irrational. I can't think of any objective criteria by which you can call one unfalsifiable belief irrational and another rational. Without objective criteria, to claim that one is irrational while another is rational would itself be unfalsifiable opinion (which, oddly, might be considered irrational by the same criteria).

-Bri

Bri
28th July 2006, 07:07 AM
??? Not a clue Bri. That Kangaroos are not green is not in dispute. I'm not certain why you wanted to rehash that. It serves no purpose as it is easily demonstrated that the logic is invalid.

Exactly, yet you're attempting to use the same flawed logic to show that belief in prayer is irrational by definition.

Further it is simply not related to nor is it analogous to irrational beliefs.

No, it's analogous to your definition of "superstition" which cannot be used to show that belief in prayer is irrational.

So let's look at the argument one more time.

And this is the last time. If you still don't get it, let's move on. To attempt to prove that belief in prayer is irrational by definition is silly regardless because then it is clear that you're using a different definition of prayer than any Christian uses, and the only relevent definition is the one a Christian would use.

P1: Any and all beliefs that an action not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome, are, by definition, irrational.

P2: A prayer made in contemplation of a change of events or state is not logically related to those events or state.

Conclusion: A Prayer made in contemplation of a change of events or state is irrational.

Now, are the premises correct and do they logically lead to the conclusion?

Is premise #1 wrong?
Is premise #2 wrong?

Premise #1 is clearly wrong. It cannot be determined by using that definition that any and all beliefs that an action not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome are irrational. Just as it can't be determined by the definition I posted of "frog" that any and all animals that hop are green.

-Bri

RandFan
28th July 2006, 09:22 AM
Exactly, yet you're attempting to use the same flawed logic to show that belief in prayer is irrational by definition.No, I am not.

No, it's analogous to your definition of "superstition" which cannot be used to show that belief in prayer is irrational.How?

And this is the last time. If you still don't get it, let's move on. To attempt to prove that belief in prayer is irrational by definition is silly regardless because then it is clear that you're using a different definition of prayer than any Christian uses, and the only relevent definition is the one a Christian would use. No, I'm not using any definition of prayer other than when one asks God via prayer with the hope to influence a course of events not related to the prayer.

Premise #1 is clearly wrong.??? It's straight out of the dictionary. How on earth can you say that it is wrong? What reason do you have to say that it is wrong?

It cannot be determined by using that definition that any and all beliefs that an action not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome are irrational. ??? Says who?

Just as it can't be determined by the definition I posted of "frog" that any and all animals that hop are green. Non sequitur. Your frog argument has nothing whatsoever to do with the argument that I made.

All animals that hop are green.
All beliefs in an action not logically related to a course of events that influences the outcome of that course of events are irrational.Bri,

You don't have to respond but here is the simple fact of the mater. You and I can both easily demonstrate that #1 is invalid. As hard as I try I can't demonstrate that #2 is invalid. Can you? And no, #1 doesn't make #2 invalid simply because they seemingly share the same structure.

All men are mortal
Socrates is a man
Socrates is mortal

A = Men
B = Mortal
C = Socrates

A = B
C = A
C = B
Valid

All beliefs in an action not logically related to a curse of events that influences the outcome of that course of events are irrational.

A = beliefs in an action not logically related to a curse of events that influences the outcome of that course of events.
B= irrational
C = Prayer

A = B
C = A
C = B
Valid

One more thing. Assuming that this definition were not valid, and it is, I accept your definition. Why won't you?

Bri, if I could be shown wrong I would gladly admit it. I'm not. It is demonstrable that prayer is an action that is not logically connected to something like disease. If someone prays to god hoping to cure the disease then that person is no different than someone who keeps a rabbit's foot hoping to ward of disease. Prayer is no more connected to disease than rabbit's feet.

Bri
28th July 2006, 09:30 AM
??? It's straight out of the dictionary. How on earth can you say that it is wrong? What reason do you have to say that it is wrong?

The definition you posted doesn't say that a belief that an object, action, or circumstance not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome is irrational. It says that an irrational belief that an object, action, or circumstance not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome is superstition.

Just as the definition I posted doesn't say that an animal that jumps is green. It says that a green animal that jumps is a frog.

ETA: The problem is that you're misusing the phrase "by definition." You cannot show that belief in prayer is irrational by definition using the definition you posted. As an example, I can use the definition of "frog" to show that frogs are green, that frogs are animals, and that frogs hop. Therefore, by definition frogs are green. However, I cannot use the definition to show that by definition kangaroos are green. Likewise, you could show by definition that superstitions are irrational. However, you cannot use the definition to show that by definition belief in prayer is irrational.

-Bri

RandFan
28th July 2006, 09:32 AM
I agree with you, but I can't come up with any criteria by which prayer would be "wishful thinking" but the belief that there is intelligent life outside of the solar system wouldn't be. That's the problem. What to you is "wishful thinking" is just an opinion to someone else. No. That is not correct. A belief that there is intelligent life outside of the solar system is based on evidence, logic and inference.

Of course, and it is also rational to point out that prayer might actually work. No, because there is no basis for that statement. It is unfounded. It has been demonstrated time and again not to work.

Exactly. And there is (currently) no way to prove whether or not intelligent life exists outside of the solar system. We have opinions about all kinds of things that are unfalsifiable and don't (always) call them irrational. I can't think of any objective criteria by which you can call one unfalsifiable belief irrational and another rational. Without objective criteria, to claim that one is irrational while another is rational would itself be unfalsifiable opinion (which, oddly, might be considered irrational by the same criteria). And you have done it again. By this logic there is no such thing as phobias. Demons could be living under your bed. The government might be out to get you so get worried.

That something could be true doesn't mean we should believe that it is true.

There should be some reason, besides faith, that it is true. Take intelligent life outside of our solar system. There are far more likely reasons to believe that it is true than prayer.

Belief in prayer relies on faith and confirmation bias.

Belief in intelligent life outside of our solar system relies on observation of our earth. An understanding of science, abiogenesis, evolution, observations of the solar system, logical inference and many other rational and objective criteria.

Belief in prayer simply does not equate with a belief in intelligent life outside of our solar system. One relies on blind faith the other on science and probability.

RandFan
28th July 2006, 09:37 AM
The definition you posted doesn't say that a belief that an object, action, or circumstance not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome is irrational. It says that an irrational belief that an object, action, or circumstance not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome is superstition. Do you honestly believe that the dictionary left "irrational belief" undefined? It IS defining what that irrational belief is. Otherwise what would be the point?

Superstition = irrational belief.
It is irrational BECAUSE it believes that a circumstance not logically related to a course of events influences it's outcome.

Bri, if this definition means what you think it means then it is telling us nothing.

Ask yourself this very important question. Why did the dictionary not simply state that superstition is an irrational belief?

And that is not simply rhetorical. I would appreciate an answer.

slingblade
28th July 2006, 01:58 PM
I agree with you, but I can't come up with any criteria by which prayer would be "wishful thinking" but the belief that there is intelligent life outside of the solar system wouldn't be. That's the problem. What to you is "wishful thinking" is just an opinion to someone else.

Well, hon, I rather think it's all opinion, on this particular topic. :p

Anyway, I did find an interesting article which, as with most interesting articles, doesn't answer questions so much as poses new ones in response:

Is prayer just wishful thinking? (The Hong Kong Philosophy Cafe)
http://www.hkbu.edu.hk/~ppp/HKPC/prayer.htm

Near the end, this snip:

After another brief exchange on the issue of pantheism, the monk in attendance asked us to reflect on what we actually do when we pray, and whether or not such prayer requires a belief in God. One person replied that we are looking for inner strength. Another said we typically resort to prayer when we need comfort, or when facing times of transformation, as in near death experiences. A third person distinguished between prayer as a form of communion, which seems possible without believing in a God "out there", and prayer as a form of communication, which does seem to require belief in an external God and is typically used for consolation. To these suggestions, the monk replied that we typically pray for happiness (for ourselves and others) and that prayer is always primarily an internal activity. Its result is to give us a healthy mind, and this in turn can have an immediately positive effect on our bodies. He added that in Tibetan tradition prayer is sometimes called the "wish path", and that its positive effects on the mind are taken to justify even prayers for world peace and the like. For in so doing, we project our good wishes from the world of mind into the physical world, where they then have a real effect!

(empahsis mine)

I dunno......seems as if this is saying that prayer could possibly be just sending good vibes out into the world.

Anyone got any stuides on the known effects of "good vibes?":cool:

Beth
29th July 2006, 11:11 AM
Interesting thread. I'm surprised that it's taken 12 pages to get the point in Slingblades last post. Prayer can and does work for many people for reasons entirely natural. I have always prayed regularly despite having lost my conviction regarding the existance of God decades ago. Prayer helps me alter my attitude and approach to things in my life that are troubling me. I think it can be regarded as a form of meditation, but I find it more useful in many ways than meditation. Afterwards, I am able to tackle and solve problems that I wasn't before. I don't think this effect is at all dependent on whether or not God exists, in whatever form he might take.

I pray because it's something I was taught to do as a child and as an adult, I find the familarity of it helps me achieve a particular type of 'meditative' state of mind I am seeking more than the meditation techniques I've learned as an adult.


Thus, I find it reasonable and rational for people to 'believe' in prayer, because I think it would work as well or better for those who believe as it does for me.

slingblade
29th July 2006, 11:43 AM
Interesting thread. I'm surprised that it's taken 12 pages to get the point in Slingblades last post. Prayer can and does work for many people for reasons entirely natural. I have always prayed regularly despite having lost my conviction regarding the existance of God decades ago. Prayer helps me alter my attitude and approach to things in my life that are troubling me. I think it can be regarded as a form of meditation, but I find it more useful in many ways than meditation. Afterwards, I am able to tackle and solve problems that I wasn't before. I don't think this effect is at all dependent on whether or not God exists, in whatever form he might take.

I pray because it's something I was taught to do as a child and as an adult, I find the familarity of it helps me achieve a particular type of 'meditative' state of mind I am seeking more than the meditation techniques I've learned as an adult.


Thus, I find it reasonable and rational for people to 'believe' in prayer, because I think it would work as well or better for those who believe as it does for me.

But you seem to mean something different by "works" than is posed by the question(s). By "work," you mean "has some kind of beneficial effect."

By "work," I mean "you received what you prayed for; your prayer was granted."

If a cancer patient prays for healing and does nothing else, can the cancer patient be assured his cancer will be cured? The answer is: chance or less than. If an amputee prays for restoration of her lost limb, will the limb regenerate? The answer, as far as we can know, is NO. There's not even a chance element involved.

If someone shows me a written promise that states you can "ask for anything, and you shall have it," and I ask and don't get it--I ask for many different things of varying importance, for myself, and for others, and nothing happens--I'm going to call that promise a lie. And if that lie was written thousands of years ago by a person, on behalf of an invisible Omni-God, I'm going to strongly doubt, or even totally deny, the existence of said invisible being.

I believe that to say "God, I pray that you would restore my leg," is exactly the same as saying "I wish my leg would grow back," and has exactly the same results.

RandFan
29th July 2006, 12:47 PM
Interesting thread. I'm surprised that it's taken 12 pages to get the point in Slingblades last post. Prayer can and does work for many people for reasons entirely natural. I have always prayed regularly despite having lost my conviction regarding the existance of God decades ago. Prayer helps me alter my attitude and approach to things in my life that are troubling me. I think it can be regarded as a form of meditation, but I find it more useful in many ways than meditation. Afterwards, I am able to tackle and solve problems that I wasn't before. I don't think this effect is at all dependent on whether or not God exists, in whatever form he might take.

I pray because it's something I was taught to do as a child and as an adult, I find the familarity of it helps me achieve a particular type of 'meditative' state of mind I am seeking more than the meditation techniques I've learned as an adult.

Thus, I find it reasonable and rational for people to 'believe' in prayer, because I think it would work as well or better for those who believe as it does for me. Thanks Beth,

I don't have a problem with prayer per se. I don't deny that it is benificial. On the contrary, in another thread on this forum I argue that prayer can be a very effective coping mechanism.

What is irrational is to believe that prayer can change the course of events that could not otherwise be changed without prayer.

Beth
29th July 2006, 03:55 PM
Slingblade and RandFan,

I think when discuss that sort of belief in prayer, you fall against Bri's argument that few, if any, people actually believe that prayer will achieve those kinds of results every time. No one I ever known beleived that. Rather, the point I grew up believing was that you would benefit from prayer, but how that benefit would come about was left to God to decide.

Now, since that's how all the people I know believe in prayer, it seems a perfectly sane and rational belief to me. As far as believe that prayer can change the course of events that could not otherwise be changed without prayer. To me, this falls into the 'can't step into the same river twice' maxim. Prayer affects events by affecting us. It helps to change one's mindset about things, and that naturally leads to changing one's interactions with other people and things leading to a unique course of events. Could this be achieved without prayer? I don't know. That means I don't t think it irrational to suppose that it could, indeed, work in ways we do not understand. Ways we cannot, at present, logically connect in a causal way.

slingblade
29th July 2006, 06:45 PM
Slingblade and RandFan,

I think when discuss that sort of belief in prayer, you fall against Bri's argument that few, if any, people actually believe that prayer will achieve those kinds of results every time. No one I ever known beleived that.

Honey, all we're doing is swapping anecdotes, because everyone I've ever known has believed just that, if they believe in prayer at all.

Preachers get all red-faced and sweaty, screaming at you from the pulpit over and over that god can heal, god can personally help you, god can do anything you ask, and will, if you'll only believe. Then, when it doesn't happen, they say you didn't really believe. Not enough. Not like you should.

Sorry, but I spent a good 30 years listening to that. Wherever you guys are from who say No True Scots--er, Christian really believes that, you can't have been anywhere near a bible-Thumpin', Holy-Rollin', southern church.

They're out there, and they ain't a handful.

Beth
29th July 2006, 08:26 PM
Honey, all we're doing is swapping anecdotes, because everyone I've ever known has believed just that, if they believe in prayer at all.

Preachers get all red-faced and sweaty, screaming at you from the pulpit over and over that god can heal, god can personally help you, god can do anything you ask, and will, if you'll only believe. Then, when it doesn't happen, they say you didn't really believe. Not enough. Not like you should.

Sorry, but I spent a good 30 years listening to that. Wherever you guys are from who say No True Scots--er, Christian really believes that, you can't have been anywhere near a bible-Thumpin', Holy-Rollin', southern church.

They're out there, and they ain't a handful.

Whatever reason they may give for why prayer failed - be it lack of faith, god's mysterious ways, whatever - they are clearly acknowledging that God does not grant every prayer. Your anecdotes actually reinforces my view of what most Christians believe about prayer and doesn't support your claim that many Christians believe prayers will always be answered.