Does God Exist?

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Aedl Foxe
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Aedl Foxe » Thu May 05, 2011 4:32 pm UTC

doogly wrote:Oh no, of course it wasn't. I thought you were suggesting it was. It was an extremely well documented device for millenia.


Your sarcasm may be amusing yourself, but I was legitimately under the impression that in its complex form it had been a lost art until the pattern was rediscovered in antiquated works. If I'm wrong, please correct me with a source, because this is a mistake I do not wish to make again.

If you think that mocking me is more important than sharing your knowledge with those less informed, then I have nothing more to say to you.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Azrael » Thu May 05, 2011 4:32 pm UTC

Aedl Foxe wrote:...there are no proven inaccuracies in the Book of Mormon. There are only statements that have not been verified by independent archaeological study. To say otherwise is to make a disingenuous statement. (Does this make my hypothesis unverifiable? Sadly so, until and unless we can have a perfect knowledge of past occurrences on this planet.)

And if you can explain the significant and strange accuracies in the Book of Mormon by pointing to an associate of his who would have said knowledge, then feel free to believe he had mortal help.

I will admit to being interested in how you could have typed those two thoughts back to back without your head exploding.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby doogly » Thu May 05, 2011 4:35 pm UTC

It continued to be used in English poetry (see Milton), and people continued to read classical literature, certainly from the Renaissance on.
And my apologies, sarcasm is my vernacular. New Yorker, you see.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Aedl Foxe » Thu May 05, 2011 4:50 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:I will admit to being interested in how you could have typed those two thoughts back to back without your head exploding.


*grins* Please point out my error, that I may correct it. If I'm guilty of doublethink, I should like to have my house of cards come tumbling down sooner rather than later.

doogly wrote:And my apologies, sarcasm is my vernacular. New Yorker, you see.


Ah, yes, that makes sense. All is forgiven. :P

It appears that I took the wrong impression from my studies, and that I will need to go back and refine my understanding. However, it is well-documented that Joseph was young and unschooled when he undertook his translation; I still have little trouble believing that he had no workable knowledge of chiasms. This is a weaker position, but still a tenable one.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby gmalivuk » Thu May 05, 2011 4:52 pm UTC

Aedl Foxe wrote:I was legitimately under the impression that in its complex form it had been a lost art until the pattern was rediscovered in antiquated works.
Even if that's true, antiquated works were rediscovered rather earlier than 1820.

Aedl Foxe wrote:I still have little trouble believing that he had no workable knowledge of chiasms.
Perhaps, but people use all kinds of structures without having been taught about them in a literature class or something. Analogies, metaphor, parallelism, and chiasma are all pretty natural ways to express things, regardless of whether a person has learned the names for them.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby DSenette » Thu May 05, 2011 4:54 pm UTC

Aedl Foxe wrote:As to the Wikipedia articles cited by Zanmanoodle: I acknowledge there are still open questions regarding the Book of Mormon. However, a study of the history of Mormon detraction will show that there have been a number of questions that were once held as strong points against the Book that have now been verified as evidence for its veracity. These facts are not mentioned in the Wikipedia article, for some reason. :P (Of course, the articles are explicitly about open questions about the Book of Mormon, so answered questions of course would not belong there. Can we have an article called "Positive evidences for the Book of Mormon", or would that violate impartiality?) Many (most?) of the questions in the Wikipedia articles have answers that have been documented on Jeff Lindsay's wonderful (partial, or course, but not inaccurate) site, which I linked to above. I would invite critics to peruse said site.

Was chiasmus discovered in the 1820's? That's interesting. Could you give me a source for that? I'm more than happy to change my opinions when the facts conflict.

There are no proven inaccuracies in the Book of Mormon. There are only statements that have not been verified by independent archaeological study. To say otherwise is to make a disingenuous statement. (Does this make my hypothesis unverifiable? Sadly so, until and unless we can have a perfect knowledge of past occurrences on this planet.) And if you can explain the significant and strange accuracies in the Book of Mormon by pointing to an associate of his who would have said knowledge, then feel free to believe he had mortal help.

so the bit where (some) native Americans got from Jerusalem to North America doesn't sound fishy to you?

or the parts about horses and such in north america LONG before those critters got here?


or, just to get to the heart of it, the fact that joseph smith was apparently a HORRIBLE translator to begin with? he screwed up the book of abraham in his attempt to translate that and it was written in a language that people knew about, why would his translation of a bunch of stuff written on gold in a language that didn't exist be any better?

http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/BOM/sci/long.html you know....pretty much anything on that page?
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Aedl Foxe » Thu May 05, 2011 5:10 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Perhaps, but people use all kinds of structures without having been taught about them in a literature class or something. Analogies, metaphor, parallelism, and chiasma are all pretty natural ways to express things, regardless of whether a person has learned the names for them.


That's certainly true, but chiasma come in many levels of complexity. The more complex ones are certainly less "natural" than the simple ones, and would be difficult to produce by accident. I will refer you again to Alma 36.

DSenette wrote:http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/BOM/sci/long.html you know....pretty much anything on that page?


Well, let's see.


This is of course not an exhaustive answer, but hopefully it demonstrates that if you would just look at the links I've provided, you'd see for yourself that many of the supposed "ridiculous" claims in the Book of Mormon are in fact verifiable truths. Do some legwork; it's good for you.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Czhorat » Thu May 05, 2011 5:22 pm UTC

Aedl Foxe wrote:This is of course not an exhaustive answer, but hopefully it demonstrates that if you would just look at the links I've provided, you'd see for yourself that many of the supposed "ridiculous" claims in the Book of Mormon are in fact verifiable truths. Do some legwork; it's good for you.


No, it doesn't come close to proving any of these claims as "verifiable truths". The best the business about "reform Egyption" and "Bountiful" does is to show that by selectively interpreting the language within the book it can be made to fit facts after those facts have been proven by some other method. It's pretty much the Nostradamus game.

I'd have to research the bit about steel more, and would if I cared. The fact that bronze arrowheads may have been inscribed with steel tools is a long way from steel swords.

I notice you've not even touched on the prevalance of horses in times or places when horses didn't exist. I'm sure that somewhere there's a Mormon apologist who would try to convince us that by "horse" he really meant "dog" or "buffalo", and that'd put it back in the "verifiable truth" column for you.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby DSenette » Thu May 05, 2011 5:33 pm UTC

Aedl Foxe wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:Perhaps, but people use all kinds of structures without having been taught about them in a literature class or something. Analogies, metaphor, parallelism, and chiasma are all pretty natural ways to express things, regardless of whether a person has learned the names for them.


That's certainly true, but chiasma come in many levels of complexity. The more complex ones are certainly less "natural" than the simple ones, and would be difficult to produce by accident. I will refer you again to Alma 36.

DSenette wrote:http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/BOM/sci/long.html you know....pretty much anything on that page?


Well, let's see.


This is of course not an exhaustive answer, but hopefully it demonstrates that if you would just look at the links I've provided, you'd see for yourself that many of the supposed "ridiculous" claims in the Book of Mormon are in fact verifiable truths. Do some legwork; it's good for you.

except that we're talking about a reference to steel being in the americas at a time when there is ABSOLUTELY NO historical record of such. steel's pretty easy to find in the archaeological record. especially when it was used to make weapons or tools. you know, the types of things that primitive people treasured over anything else?
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Aedl Foxe » Thu May 05, 2011 5:42 pm UTC

Czhorat wrote:I'm sure that somewhere there's a Mormon apologist who would try to convince us that by "horse" he really meant "dog" or "buffalo", and that'd put it back in the "verifiable truth" column for you.


Or deer. :3 Do you have an argument other than appeal to ridicule?

I understand how you can relate the finding of a correspondent location to Bountiful and the valley of Lemuel to the "Nostradamus Game", but I fail to see how the locations found are any sort of "stretch" as a fit to Bountiful. We have all of the necessary qualities matched: Wood enough to build a ship, wild fruit and honey, a viable place to launch a ship and currents to take us to the Americas, a mountain nearby where Nephi could pray, metal ore... what are the odds of all of these correspondences?

Other places in Lehi's journey from Jerusalem to Bountiful have found matches, including Shazer and [url=http://www.jefflindsay.com/BMEvidences.shtml#geography]Nahom[/i]. The latter has been found by name, and the former correlates to an appropriate Hebrew word to describe the place.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Aedl Foxe » Thu May 05, 2011 5:47 pm UTC

DSenette wrote:except that we're talking about a reference to steel being in the americas at a time when there is ABSOLUTELY NO historical record of such. steel's pretty easy to find in the archaeological record. especially when it was used to make weapons or tools. you know, the types of things that primitive people treasured over anything else?


I will remind you that lack of evidence is not an evidence of lack. Having said that, and don't forget that I said it, I direct you to two sites below, which give plausible explanations.

Response to the above-quoted Smithsonian letter, which letter is now out of date.
Linguistic problems with translating "steel"
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby DSenette » Thu May 05, 2011 5:51 pm UTC

so the fact that an equally wrong book written by equally incorrect people mentions the same thing when talking about the same general reference is proof that they're both right?


edit: also, we can both agree that the bible was written before the book of mormon right? joseph smith plagiarized lifted was inspired by the bible in some places (you know, the places that are almost word for word copies), if they wrote steel, i bet he figured it would be cool.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby gmalivuk » Thu May 05, 2011 6:07 pm UTC

Aedl Foxe wrote:I will remind you that lack of evidence is not an evidence of lack.
But it definitely *can* be, when combined with reasonable statements of how much evidence we would expect to find if the claim were true.

For example, if the Romans were sending things into space, it would be very very probable that someone would have written that shit down, or at least written something about any one of the myriad advanced technologies that would have been required. And it is also very very probable that some of the technology and material would have survived to the present day, even if no one wrote about it or all writings about it had been destroyed. So, in the absence of any such evidence, we can safely conclude that it is very very improbable that the Romans had a space program.

Sure, this doesn't constitute incontrovertible logical proof that something never happened, but you didn't make a claim about proof. You made a claim about evidence, and you were wrong.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Aedl Foxe » Thu May 05, 2011 6:22 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Sure, this doesn't constitute incontrovertible logical proof that something never happened, but you didn't make a claim about proof. You made a claim about evidence, and you were wrong.


I will remind you of the original claim I made, that of positive evidences for the Book of Mormon, of which I made an incomplete list. That claim still stands unchallenged.

The positive evidences I listed at one time also fell under the "lack of evidence" category, but eventually the evidence vindicated them. This is a pattern that continues today, and I am confident that it will prove itself in the future as well.

And... did you read the links I posted? I went to the trouble of posting them... <o o> Which is no small feat on an internet connection this crappy...
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby DSenette » Thu May 05, 2011 6:33 pm UTC

Aedl Foxe wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:Sure, this doesn't constitute incontrovertible logical proof that something never happened, but you didn't make a claim about proof. You made a claim about evidence, and you were wrong.


I will remind you of the original claim I made, that of positive evidences for the Book of Mormon, of which I made an incomplete list. That claim still stands unchallenged.

The positive evidences I listed at one time also fell under the "lack of evidence" category, but eventually the evidence vindicated them. This is a pattern that continues today, and I am confident that it will prove itself in the future as well.

And... did you read the links I posted? I went to the trouble of posting them... <o o> Which is no small feat on an internet connection this crappy...

i read the links, and none of them constituted proof that anything in the book of morman is factual or "vindicated".

someone found a valley in a desert that has some trees in it. does not constitute proof. someone suggested (didn't prove) that something was engraved with a steel tool, which does not prove that there was steel in the americas before there were spaniards (btws there wasn't)
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Czhorat » Thu May 05, 2011 6:34 pm UTC

Aedl Foxe wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:Sure, this doesn't constitute incontrovertible logical proof that something never happened, but you didn't make a claim about proof. You made a claim about evidence, and you were wrong.


I will remind you of the original claim I made, that of positive evidences for the Book of Mormon, of which I made an incomplete list. That claim still stands unchallenged.


Aside from having the silliness of having the use of a none-too-rare poetic device as a kind of "proof" and the fact that the vagueness of place descriptions (rivers, trees, and food) make it exceedingly easy to play what you accurately called the "Nostradamus game". And the fact that for every "proof" you've given there are at least two items that either need some serious linguistic handwaving (ie, steel doesn't always mean steel) or that you've just ignored (horses and chariots where there were no horses or chariots).

If you want to believe in your book of fairy tales that's fine. Just don't pretend that there's scientific proof.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Aedl Foxe » Thu May 05, 2011 6:37 pm UTC

... okay. I concede the point that there is not yet enough scientific evidence for the Book of Mormon to convince a rationally-minded crowd of its veracity.

Thank you for your patience in answering my questions.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby gmalivuk » Thu May 05, 2011 6:37 pm UTC

Aedl Foxe wrote:This is a pattern that continues today, and I am confident that it will prove itself in the future as well.
Some of the claims have turned out to be accurate, and this leads you to believe all of them will be? That's a pretty unreasonable conclusion, given that I could make a bunch of completely random claims and the same thing could happen: at some point in the future some portion of them will have been shown to be true, and this portion will be higher than it was at some previous time. That's not enough to prove or even to vaguely suggest that all of them (or even most of them) will likewise turn out to be true.

did you read the links I posted?
No, because they're not actually relevant to my argument, which is about flaws in your underlying reasoning.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby DSenette » Thu May 05, 2011 6:41 pm UTC

Aedl Foxe wrote:... okay. I concede the point that there is not yet enough scientific evidence for the Book of Mormon to convince a rationally-minded crowd of its veracity.

Thank you for your patience in answering my questions.

....did you just write that? so the only people that would believe that the book of mormon is accurate are irrationally minded people? i concur
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Aedl Foxe » Thu May 05, 2011 6:44 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:No, because they're not actually relevant to my argument, which is about flaws in your underlying reasoning.


I admit that there are flaws in my underlying reasoning. This is because I am struggling to make reason fit what I know from extra-reasonable sources. I cannot prove what I've experienced between God and I, but I get excited when scientific finds seem to correlate with my beliefs.

I hope that someday my beliefs will be vindicated. This is what I mean by faith. In the meantime... I've found no hard proof that directly contradicts my belief (because, frankly, my thesis is probably unfalsifiable, which makes it a poor scientific thesis anyway), so I'll continue to believe, and hope.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Aedl Foxe » Thu May 05, 2011 6:46 pm UTC

DSenette wrote:....did you just write that? so the only people that would believe that the book of mormon is accurate are irrationally minded people? i concur


You're deliberately twisting my words, thank you. There are other sources of evidence other than scientific ones, and a rationally-minded person (in my opinion) should not limit himself to only what current science has to say... otherwise how could we extrapolate anything?

Just because my experiences aren't provable doesn't mean I can't count them as an evidence in my arguments with myself. Likewise Cogito ergo sum hasn't convinced some people that we really have consciousness, but it was enough for Descartes.

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Thu May 05, 2011 6:48 pm UTC

This is why I will always feel contempt for the religious, regardless of God's existence - they go about things ass backwards.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby DSenette » Thu May 05, 2011 7:00 pm UTC

Aedl Foxe wrote:
DSenette wrote:....did you just write that? so the only people that would believe that the book of mormon is accurate are irrationally minded people? i concur


You're deliberately twisting my words, thank you. There are other sources of evidence other than scientific ones, and a rationally-minded person (in my opinion) should not limit himself to only what current science has to say... otherwise how could we extrapolate anything?

Just because my experiences aren't provable doesn't mean I can't count them as an evidence in my arguments with myself. Likewise Cogito ergo sum hasn't convinced some people that we really have consciousness, but it was enough for Descartes.

I cannot unknow what I know.

i'm not twisting anything. you specifically said that you cannot convince anyone who is rational that the book of mormon is accurate. that statement means exactly what it says: rationality cannot support the book of mormon.

and i agree whole heartedly! if rationality is not the basis for your belief, then don't try to use rationality as a source of proof. period.

it's not like the book of mormon is some new thing, just like the bible it's been tested and hit from all sides for QUITE some time. and just like the bible it continually fails to actually stand up to the tests of science and rationality. yes, some things in these books are somewhat historically accurate, but the accurate to completely inaccurate ratio is EXTREMELY slanted to the side of the inaccurate in both cases which lends absolutely no credence to the one or two things that show up as factually correct.

if the ONLY valid proof you have for god existing or the book of mormon being accurate is your faith or other intangibles or unprovables, then that's fine, but you cannot cite that as ACTUAL proof because it's circular and invalid.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Aedl Foxe » Thu May 05, 2011 7:04 pm UTC

DSenette wrote:i'm not twisting anything. you specifically said that you cannot convince anyone who is rational that the book of mormon is accurate. that statement means exactly what it says: rationality cannot support the book of mormon.


With the greatest of respect, you misread my words. You are omitting a very important phrase: "using scientific evidence". Try your logic again, keeping the phrase intact.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Aedl Foxe » Thu May 05, 2011 7:07 pm UTC

The Mighty Thesaurus wrote:This is why I will always feel contempt for the religious, regardless of God's existence - they go about things ass backwards.


What an interesting thought. Why do you feel contempt for people who reason differently from you? :3 If God turns out to exist, won't that vindicate those of us who used something other than physical evidence to reason with?
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Enthalpie » Thu May 05, 2011 7:11 pm UTC

Aedl Foxe wrote:What an interesting thought. Why do you feel contempt for people who reason differently from you? :3 If God turns out to exist, won't that vindicate those of us who used something other than physical evidence to reason with?

And what if you are wrong?

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby DSenette » Thu May 05, 2011 7:15 pm UTC

Aedl Foxe wrote:
DSenette wrote:i'm not twisting anything. you specifically said that you cannot convince anyone who is rational that the book of mormon is accurate. that statement means exactly what it says: rationality cannot support the book of mormon.


With the greatest of respect, you misread my words. You are omitting a very important phrase: "using scientific evidence". Try your logic again, keeping the phrase intact.

and the logic is exactly the same. your argument is that the book of mormon's "proven veracity" is evidence of god's existence, to that end you're linking to junk inaccurate and only marginally correlated "evidence" as scientific proof of the books veracity. however, under even cursory inspection that evidence falls flat of scientific proof. so again, your statement is that you do not have enough evidence (no one does) to convince anyone who thinks rationally (i.e. a rational person) to believe that the book is valid, which by extension you cannot convince anyone who thinks rationally that god exists.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Aedl Foxe » Thu May 05, 2011 7:19 pm UTC

Enthalpie wrote:And what if you are wrong?


If I'm wrong, and we cease to exist after death, it won't matter. I'll have lived my life the way I wanted to, just like the rest of you.

If I'm wrong, and Mormonism is false but Christianity in general is true, then I'll already have accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior, so hopefully God will let my particular oddities of religious belief slide.

If I'm wrong, and Christianity itself is wrong, and the truth is even stranger, then I'll hope that whoever's in charge is benevolent.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Aedl Foxe » Thu May 05, 2011 7:22 pm UTC

DSenette wrote:So again, your statement is that you do not have enough evidence (no one does) to convince anyone who thinks rationally (i.e. a rational person) to believe that the book is valid, which by extension you cannot convince anyone who thinks rationally that god exists.


However, God can. :3 And He has, in me.
"Maybe there are stupid happy people out there... And life isn't fair, and you won't become happier by being jealous of what you can't have... You can never achieve that degree of ignorance... you cannot unknow what you know." -E. Yudkowsky

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby DSenette » Thu May 05, 2011 7:28 pm UTC

Aedl Foxe wrote:
DSenette wrote:So again, your statement is that you do not have enough evidence (no one does) to convince anyone who thinks rationally (i.e. a rational person) to believe that the book is valid, which by extension you cannot convince anyone who thinks rationally that god exists.


However, God can. :3 And He has, in me.

which is an irrational answer.

i believe in God because God tells me he's real.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Thu May 05, 2011 7:34 pm UTC

Aedl Foxe wrote:What an interesting thought. Why do you feel contempt for people who reason differently from you? :3 If God turns out to exist, won't that vindicate those of us who used something other than physical evidence to reason with?

If God turns out to exist, I will still sneer at everyone who believed in Him without proof, just as I sneer at atheists who deny God's existence based on invalid or weak arguments. For me, the actual truth value is irrelevant; all that matters is how justified an assertion is given the evidence available at the time.
Aedl Foxe wrote:However, God can. :3 And He has, in me.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby uncivlengr » Thu May 05, 2011 7:38 pm UTC

Aedl Foxe wrote:What an interesting thought. Why do you feel contempt for people who reason differently from you? :3 If God turns out to exist, won't that vindicate those of us who used something other than physical evidence to reason with?
If you mean, what if we someday come to find incontrovertible evidence that some supernatural power exists, then no, you won't be vindicated - your belief was still based on faulty reasoning that coincidentally turned out to be true.

If you asked me a question about something I knew nothing about and gave me three options, just randomly picking the right answer wouldn't demonstrate my superior understanding of the topic - I just got lucky, and guessing would in no way be reliable in the long run.

We rely on science and empiricism because it's demonstrably reliable - having faith and hope has led people much like yourself to have beliefs that in no way coincide with yours. If faith and hope were the path to the truth, two people on opposite sides of the world should come to the same conclusions, and yet we see the exact opposite.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Aedl Foxe » Thu May 05, 2011 7:46 pm UTC

uncivlengr: You make very valid points. I will continue in my faith without any expectation of reward in the afterlife, because if I turn out to be correct, it will largely be because I was born into this religion, and not due to any merit on my part.

The Mighty Thesaurus: I fervently hope that the Mormon view of the afterlife is correct instead of the Mainstream Christian view, because in my opinion you don't deserve any sort of punishment for your attitude. It's entirely honorable, and I respect you for it. I'm sorry to have earned your contempt, and I will endeavor to try and work my way up to "grudging respect" or "tolerance" in your estimation. Also I don't know what your Latin means; I googled the phrase and returned no hits I could parse.

DSenette: Not irrational, just unscientific. I maintain that there is a difference.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby uncivlengr » Thu May 05, 2011 8:13 pm UTC

Aedl Foxe wrote:uncivlengr: You make very valid points. I will continue in my faith [...]
I'm not trying to pick on you, but I really don't understand this - it's not like we're talking about our favourite movies and you can just accept my opinion and maintain your own, we're talking about the reality of the universe around us - if the question of whether god exists is important to you, then why avoid seriously considering the matter?

Now that's kinda rhetorical because I know that your faith has been burnt into your mind since birth, but you seem like you're capable of critical thinking (at least, you're capable of ceasing to argue indefensible points), but just stop short when it comes to actually applying it.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Aedl Foxe » Thu May 05, 2011 8:22 pm UTC

uncivlengr wrote:I'm not trying to pick on you, but I really don't understand this - it's not like we're talking about our favourite movies and you can just accept my opinion and maintain your own, we're talking about the reality of the universe around us - if the question of whether god exists is important to you, then why avoid seriously considering the matter?

Now that's kinda rhetorical because I know that your faith has been burnt into your mind since birth, but you seem like you're capable of critical thinking (at least, you're capable of ceasing to argue indefensible points), but just stop short when it comes to actually applying it.


You're correct in that these teachings have been burned into my mind since birth, but you also acknowledge that I'm capable of critical thinking. (Thank you.) I've applied my critical thinking to my religion, and I've found it internally consistent. The inconsistency comes when we compare current scientific knowledge to the teaching of my religion, and I was brought up with an understanding that science is an uncertain thing, humanity's "best guess" at explaining its surroundings. Although I have the greatest respect for science... I must confess that I simply trust my religion, which is internally consistent, over science, which still has some kinks in it.

There is also the fact that the understanding of our universe that my religion affords is aesthetically pleasing to me.

There is also the fact that I'm afraid to let go of my religion unless I can be sure that it's untrue. Otherwise I fall down on the wrong side of the modified Pascal's Wager I posted above.

I've admitted my weaknesses now. Can you still blame me for my beliefs? If so, please attempt to enlighten me, but please be sure that you're right. Tread carefully upon my soul.
"Maybe there are stupid happy people out there... And life isn't fair, and you won't become happier by being jealous of what you can't have... You can never achieve that degree of ignorance... you cannot unknow what you know." -E. Yudkowsky

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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby uncivlengr » Thu May 05, 2011 8:35 pm UTC

Aedl Foxe wrote:I must confess that I simply trust my religion, which is internally consistent, over science, which still has some kinks in it.
All eggplants are green, and I am an eggplant. Therefore I am green.

That statement is internally consistent. It's also ridiculously incorrect.

Since religion is entirely made up by its practitioners, they have every opportunity to tie up any loose ends as they see fit (in practice, they don't even do a very good job of that). Science is inherently a process of discovery, with each piece of evidence and each model bringing us closer to the truth. Science will never claim to have anything absolutely correct, because it's always open to the possibility of new evidence that disproves old assumptions. That's its strength over religion, not its weakness.

Aedl Foxe wrote:I've admitted my weaknesses now. Can you still blame me for my beliefs? If so, please attempt to enlighten me, but please be sure that you're right. Tread carefully upon my soul.
"Blame" is the wrong word - you've been raised in an environment that lead you to believe certain things as inherently true, and stepping away from that is uncomfortable. If you're more interested in feeling comfortable in your current situation than believing true things over false things, then there's no point in trying to persuade you. Only a sincere desire to find truth will lead you there, and that's something I find ironically lacking in anyone maintaining religious belief.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby doogly » Thu May 05, 2011 8:40 pm UTC

Aedl Foxe wrote:I must confess that I simply trust my religion, which is internally consistent, over science, which still has some kinks in it.

That's not a bug, that's a feature.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Thu May 05, 2011 8:43 pm UTC

If you want certainty, go to the mathematics forum.
There is also the fact that I'm afraid to let go of my religion unless I can be sure that it's untrue.
This is silly. You need to stop privileging the hypotheses you were first presented with simply because they were the first hypotheses you were presented with.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby Aedl Foxe » Thu May 05, 2011 8:50 pm UTC

If God came to you and handed you the Big Book of Truth, would you take it, or would you continue to rely on your own observations of the universe to decide what's true?

No, don't answer that. My answer's probably the same as yours; I'd take the book and treat it as an unproven hypothesis, testing everything in it to see if it corresponded with reality.

The problem is that what I see in my religion does in fact accord with reality in many ways. The only thing it doesn't accord with is our understanding of historical fact.

See, this is basically an argument of archaeology vs. religion, not science vs. religion. If 'science' means 'physics', then science and my religion don't conflict. (Please note that my religion was born in the 1830's and did not stem from old Catholic ideas; we believe that Catholicism departed from the truth very early on, and that a "restoration" of the truth was necessary to get people back on the right track. This also means that I don't believe my religion was "entirely made up by its practitioners"; that's a statement of your beliefs.)

The ironic thing is that Mormonism was born out of a sincere desire to find truth. Joseph was dissatisfied with the religions of his day, because they were confusing and had holes in their logic. So he read in the Bible, James 1:5 - "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God... and it shall be given him."

So I'm seeking to find truth, and I have a hypothesis that Mormonism is true. So I look for disproofs. I haven't found any yet; just evidences that the narrative in the Book of Mormon may not accord with archaeological evidence (which is ever-changing). This is not enough to convince me yet that my thesis is untrue. Would it be for you, if you'd started from the same place as me? Or do we have to assume atheism first, and then work logically therefrom, in order to find the truth? Because to me, that sounds just as bad. We're both working rationally, just from different initial premises.
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Re: Does God Exist?

Postby fr00t » Thu May 05, 2011 8:52 pm UTC

Aedl Foxe wrote:I will remind you that lack of evidence is not an evidence of lack.


Yes it is. Provably so in fact. I know gmalivuk already said as much but that cliche really grinds my gears...

Aedl Foxe wrote:If I'm wrong, and we cease to exist after death, it won't matter. I'll have lived my life the way I wanted to, just like the rest of you.

If I'm wrong, and Mormonism is false but Christianity in general is true, then I'll already have accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior, so hopefully God will let my particular oddities of religious belief slide.

If I'm wrong, and Christianity itself is wrong, and the truth is even stranger, then I'll hope that whoever's in charge is benevolent.


As far as my religious beliefs go, I feel that in the unlikely event there is some omniscient being who will judge the quality of my life and the beliefs I held, it is more likely that I will be judged positively for being an atheist as it was the only responsible and ethical conclusion I could come to. My heart isn't hardened to the voice of god, he just doesn't say anything.

And if any belief deserves to be punished by eternal damnation, it's abiding by pascals wager.


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