jestingrabbit wrote:Tell me, does pure mathematics defy all logic? Because 2 is prime, 2 is even and even is not prime.
Huh-what?! Even numbers are not prime, except
for two. No source will ever tell you, except in error, that "all even numbers are not prime".
jestingrabbit wrote:RM writes a webcomic under the alias of 'xkcd'. RM also appears in a series of french 'art' films as 'Le Stique'. It then makes perfect sense to say that RM is xkcd, RM is Le Stique and xkcd is not Le Stique.
It would be more accurate to say that 'xkcd' and 'Le Stique' are fictional characters/personalities/aliases, and, in that sense, are distinct. If 'Le Stique', for example, had a fictional character biography, then one would be just as correct to say 'RM is not Le Stique' as 'RM is Le Stique'. In terms of physical representation in the world, they are certainly identical. That is to say, they are the same to the extent that RM is the same as either of them.
jestingrabbit wrote:which is completely missing my point. I think that requiring evidence is the correct approach, but the problem of what is or is not sufficient evidence is not a question answerable with objective criteria
How about what's left over after a whole bunch of subjective criteria have been compared? That's what I understand to be meant by 'consensus': everyone's got their own bias, but they all cancel out in the end. So, the last few hundred years of scientific investigation and whatnot have led to the point where those with experience in the field of establishing facts all tend to agree on a few points: repeatability, prediction, minimum number of unnecessary assumptions, and so on. Perhaps it could be improved, but I'll say it again: it's got us this far.
jestingrabbit wrote:and the answer is certainly not 'objective evidence only'.
What other type of evidence do you propose to include?
jestingrabbit wrote:Even when scientific criteria are used, mistakes are made. Therefore, for you to claim that 'scientific evidence only' is the correct criteria, when you know it makes mistakes and when there are other criteria which seem to me to be not greatly differentiated from your criteria as far as successfully supporting correct hypotheses and rejecting false ones, is wrong.
'Mistakes'? I think you'll find most 'mistakes' that occur are not due to perfect application of the ideal theoretical methodology. If you have examples of any that are, feel free to share them. I don't think I'm aware of these other, non-scientific criteria of yours that tend to give the same results as the regular sort. Could you enlighten me? And for the record, I claim that "scientific evidence only" is the correct criteria where practical. I certainly can't think of any reasons why it's not (practical, that is) regarding God.
jestingrabbit wrote:You know you don't have a perfect answer, yet you assert that your answer is best, without hard evidence to support your claim.
I assert that my answer is best so far
. I'm entirely open to new paradigms of thinking that yield better results.
jestingrabbit wrote:Its not a trivial point.
I didn't say it was a trivial point, I said I found it a trivial matter to withhold judgment on matters where there was insufficient evidence to form an opinion.
jestingrabbit wrote:Take the problem of raising children. To date there is no agreement regarding what the best way to raise children is. There are some things
which are known to produce bad results, there are techniques that produce good results in some areas and there are heuristics which are widely believed to be an important part of any good strategy, like "stability is good for children". Yet every day more children are born and raised. I do not believe that taking a position like 'I am uncertain regarding whether my parenting benefits my child' is going to be conducive to a good parenting style. It seems to require a level of confidence to do a good job yet your approach would deny people that confidence.
Really? You think so? You think most parents believe they raised/are raising their children in the best possible way (or at least pretty damn close)? Have you never heard the phrase, "you just gotta hope you raised them right". It, or some variant of it, is fairly common on low-grade sitcoms, IIRC. I would say if a person's child/children act in the way that the parent would like them to act, that is sufficient evidence to support the belief that that person is doing an adequate job of raising the child or children. If a child goes around kicking other kids in the face, stealing their food and toys, etc. then it's reasonable for the parents to assume they have done something wrong in raising the child.
jestingrabbit wrote:I have already acknowledged that there is no univerally persuasive argument regarding the existence of god. I just find it that of the two statements 'there is a god' and 'all reality was brought into existence some 12 or so billion years ago' the former is less absurd.
I hope you're not denying
that "all reality was brought into existence some 12 or so billion years ago"? In any case, if I
were to find, out of the two statements,
1. Your hair is not naturally purple
2. Your hair is naturally purple, and the common conception that it is not is a result of mass hallucination
the latter to be less absurd, would you consider that a good reason to believe it? What "seems" absurd is entirely irrelevant to reality.
jestingrabbit wrote:a) and which are not useful in terms of living one's life. I went into specific detail regarding raising children, though I believe there are a great many more situations which require belief where there is insufficient evidence. Sporting achievement for one.
I'm quite sure I dealt with the "raising children" issue, and can deal with any more situations you propose. Still, I'm curious as to how you think the standards of evidence I advocate are deficient in the area of sporting achievement. Elaboration?
jestingrabbit wrote:b) maybe you're trying to hard. Subjective experience is a part of our lives , rejecting it seems pointless given that it does not protect you from error.
That's one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard. It's akin to saying "dying is a part of our lives, avoiding death seems pointless given that it does not grant immortality", and promptly walking into a busy street without looking. It may not protect from error, but it certainly does a whole lot more in the "protecting-from-error department" than accepting any old thought that pops into your head as fact willy-nilly does.
jestingrabbit wrote:And yet definition 2b states 'the doctrine that there is no deity'. Using the word in either way is therefore correct, as is using the word 'is' as having any of its denoted meanings. You seem to have a real problem with this.
What I have a real problem with is when people say "atheism is irrational because, in denying god, it takes as much faith as affirming god—agnosticism FTW!!" Although it may be technically correct to say "atheism is the doctrine that there is no deity", it's misleading at best, and outright wrong at worst. It's misleading when it is the only definition given, leaving others ignorant of the other meaning, especially when other people have been using the word in the broader sense, and it's wrong when it's given as the only correct definition.
jestingrabbit wrote:You see that assertion you had to retract because you had no evidence?? That is the problem that I identified with your standard of evidence.
I was fairly sure I had read of a survey giving the result, but have subsequently been unable to find it—one's memory does play tricks on one so.
jestingrabbit wrote:Figures for the children of atheists would decide the question "Are atheists or religious people more or less likely to be critical thinkers?"
I never proferred any such question. And I denied that atheism led to critical thinking—for all I know, atheists tend to be less critical of new information than religious people. In any case, I stand by my assertion that acceptance of religion is
lack of critical thinking.
jestingrabbit wrote:under the assumption that "to accept your parents philosophy/metaphysics is a sign of a lack of critical thinking".
I see where you might have got the idea that that was what I meant, but I can tell you now that it wasn't. I was suggesting that the philosophy/metaphysics a person ended up with tended to be the result of fairly arbitrary conditions, and there was no evidence people in general performed critical examinations of all religions in order to choose their own.
jestingrabbit wrote:Only if I accept your criteria for proper or adequate evidence. You admit that your criteria is impractical for day to day life, you admit that it leads to error and yet you assert that it is the one way that evidence for or against belief in god should be judged. Merely because a method of reasoning is beneficial in some circumstances does not mean that it is universally applicable.
Well, you said there was no convincing objective evidence or argument. I suppose you could reject that as a proper or adequate standard, but it really doesn't leave one much of a leg to stand on when evaluating the truth-value of claims. What I "admit" is that standards of "proper or adequate evidence" need to be scaled according to the situation, and that it is the least error-prone manner of establishing what is reality and what isn't. And how exactly is determining the existence of god "day to day life". anyway? Established scientific standards of evidence are certainly practical in this situation. The "method of reasoning" you refer to is solely this: I won't believe in anything if there's nothing to suggest I should. How is that not
jestingrabbit wrote:They have advanced some forms of knowledge and not others. When a question is decidable on the objective evidence, I have no qualms with adopting the conclusion that the objective evidence supports. When a question isn't decidable in such a way, why should I accept your criteria?
As far as I can see, the only questions not decidable in such a way are those not based around physical reality, those without objective existence.
jestingrabbit wrote:Why should a fear of the danger of being wrong be my ruler rather than a fear of ignoring my own subjective experience and thereby lessening myself?
I never suggested ignoring
your subjective experience. I can't even see how that's possible. I suggested that you avoid using it as an indicator of reality.
jestingrabbit wrote:Subjective evidence for the belief in god is not typically of the kind that you describe. It tends to be about about feelings, preferences and other internal factors.
Well, it's functionally identical, either way. It's not something other people can observe in the same way, and the way in which they can observe it suggests a non-god-based origin.
jestingrabbit wrote:One needn't, and in some cases shouldn't, withold belief until objective evidence is present, though one should certainly yield to objective evidence when it is present.
I suppose, on philosophical questions, one should withhold belief until sufficiently persuasive argument is present. If you move god into that realm: I'm still waiting on reasons to believe.
jestingrabbit wrote:What are the scientific principles which govern human creativity? Merely identifying the region of the brain which is active in such endeavours does not help me to answer "How should I create?"