Empircal Evidence
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01-05-2017, 06:17 AM
RE: Empircal Evidence
(27-04-2017 09:48 AM)SeaJay Wrote:  
(27-04-2017 09:37 AM)Walluin Wrote:  Yeah I hear what your saying, but maybe this discussion should more be about our lack of belief more than their lack of evidence, as the lack of evidence doesn't really phase them at all, no atheist ever won a debate with a religious nut by saying well if god exists show him to me then. You might be thinking "yeah I showed him, just pwned that Christian with the evidence play' but never has a Christian thought "oh gee that guys right I cant prove jesus with science I better stop believing."
Being a Christian I can relate to this and again you're right (unless a theist is questioning his faith). Frustrating as it is, it is how it is

Asking a Christian for evidence is like telling an Eskimo he's wrong for not using bricks and mortar to build his igloo

The questions about evidence can be more involved than simply "showing the deity". I think when it gets to the point where someone asks "prove that God exists", it automatically causes the believer to refortify his/her position and to go respond with the boiler plate answers about how you cannot prove God exists because "God exists outside of time and space", or "God hides himself so as to allow humans to maintain free will" and the various other arguments along those lines. Where the requests for empirical evidence really shines IMHO is when we look at/for empirical evidence of events that are supposed to be true because the bible is supposed to be true. The claim that 2 -3 million Hebrews were slaves in Egypt and that they wandered the desert for 40 years is problematic from an evidence POV. Evidence for Joshua destroying 5 city states when the evidence points to these cities being destroyed over a span of a several hundred years and with sites showing zero evidence of warfare is problematic. The creation story and Noah's flood for obvious problems with evidence ultimately make young earth creationists twist themselves into knots in laughable ways (Ken Ham and his Kentucky attractions, anyone?). Regarding the NT, I think the gospel of John in particular is damning in the evidence department when Pontius Pilate of that gospel is made into a sympathetic character who sees the truth about Jesus while the "filthy Jews" want to hang him up is a contradiction to the bloody nature of Pilate is discussed in extra biblical writings of this man.

There are plenty of others, and we didn't even touch on the textual criticism where we can see that the books of the bible were touched by various authors over extended periods of time with strong possibilities that the text was redacted, edited, contains insertions, is anachronistic in various places, etc. etc.
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01-05-2017, 06:56 AM
RE: Empircal Evidence
I'm more interested in why people want to worship the manipulative, violent characters portrayed in such books. Trying to convince me it's all true is just saying, "I'm worshipping an actual maniac, not just an imaginary one". It's not better.

I have a website here which discusses the issues and terminology surrounding religion and atheism. It's hopefully user friendly to all.
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01-05-2017, 07:02 AM
RE: Empircal Evidence
(01-05-2017 06:56 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  I'm more interested in why people want to worship the manipulative, violent characters portrayed in such books. Trying to convince me it's all true is just saying, "I'm worshipping an actual maniac, not just an imaginary one". It's not better.

Most of them are cafeteria christians, so they take what they want and ignore the rest. They'll tell you they live by the words of Jesus but can't tell you which words those are. Nor does it matter that they don't know, it's all just a sham anyway. Safer to say you're a christian than face the challenges of not conforming.
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01-05-2017, 09:23 AM
RE: Empircal Evidence
(01-05-2017 06:56 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  I'm more interested in why people want to worship the manipulative, violent characters portrayed in such books. Trying to convince me it's all true is just saying, "I'm worshipping an actual maniac, not just an imaginary one". It's not better.
No one asserts "truth" that violates their carefully constructed self-image. Most people want to see themselves, and be seen, as reasonable, kind, generous, loving, good people. Such people must worship a reasonable, kind, generous, loving, good god. That this god is actually a cruel asshole on a gargantuan scale is rationalized and deflected away with special pleading. God alone "knows the end from the beginning" and can experience "holy wrath", so god alone can do evil that good may come, or make arbitrary demands or set arbitrary standards. Besides, all of this is safely in the past, when things were different in various specific and unspecified ways. Or, it is "the wrath TO COME", safely in the future, a future from which most evangelicals feel they will be removed from in advance by the rapture.

All they care about is that god loves THEM, NOW and that it feels good, and reinforces their virtuous self-image. And if god doesn't love some OTHER people as much, or might punish them ... well, those are the Hated Other, with their strange, blasphemous ways, who inexplicably insist on embracing things god has forbidden. What else is god supposed to do, but exclude them from his holy presence, and keep them away from his holy people, lest they be defiled? And how is that a problem if it makes you feel more special, affirmed, and right, and part of making the world a better place?
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01-05-2017, 09:30 AM
RE: Empircal Evidence
(01-05-2017 06:56 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  I'm more interested in why people want to worship the manipulative, violent characters portrayed in such books. Trying to convince me it's all true is just saying, "I'm worshipping an actual maniac, not just an imaginary one". It's not better.

I would say in most cases "conditioned to". If you are immersed in it from birth and you are regularly taught the goodness of your religion, it can be hard to look critically at it when you feel as if you are on a tight leash when it comes to excessive questioning. To varying degrees, we have our personal "blind faith" moments - or skeptically speaking our Stockholm syndrome moments. I think in the end it comes down to people not wanting to admit that they spent decades of time committing to something that is not real. Not only in matters of religion, but questionable marriage partners you don't want to admit are bad people or even your political views.
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01-05-2017, 12:04 PM
RE: Empircal Evidence
(29-04-2017 03:54 PM)Cheerful Charlie Wrote:  
(28-04-2017 12:48 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  It's extremely rare that I can even get a debate started. It typically goes like this:

Me: "Please define God."

Theist: Huge wall of text explaining why they don't need to define God.

How do I tell a god apart from an arbitrarily powerful non-God? I've had almost no answers to this from theists.

It has been a claim for centuries that God is utterly incomprehensible to mere mortals. For example, William of Okham. All we can know about God is derived from revelation, that is, the Bible.

Thus for Christians, God is defined by Biblical claims, and logical claims derived from such basic propositions about the nature of God.

Many Christian denominations have well developed dogmas about the attributes and nature of God derived from the Bible. But when one starts examining these claims, the problems start.

So, there really is no mystery about how God is defined for Christians. Or for that matter, Moslems. Either God can be described logically from first principles (Deism) Or not. If not then revelation defines God. If not either, the theist has nothing worth saying to the atheist.

When asking the theist to define God and the theist plays this game, one lays out this basic logic of the situation and defines God as per William of Okham. Revelation. It the theist objects, fine, let him or her describe how logic and deduction form first principles can do the deed.

In my experience, this cuts through a lot of guff.

Well, revelation happens to a person. The Bible is just hearsay.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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01-05-2017, 12:09 PM
RE: Empircal Evidence
(29-04-2017 08:32 PM)AB517 Wrote:  , You are conscious so the region of space around you is consciousness. that's empirical. its just a basic understanding. That can be measured.

That is not empirical, it is nonsense.

Quote:We can talk what connections to the each other, and the system around us, to decide a volume that would make it more or less reasonable. But to claim "this volume of space is not conscious at all" is just wrong.

No, it is precisely correct. Space is not conscious.

Quote:And the whole universe having consciousness is unknown. I rather stay with living biosphere instead of aware. What it knows? it knows what we know. I just don't know enough to say its a conscious entity.

Consciousness occurs in brains, not outside them.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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01-05-2017, 02:14 PM
RE: Empircal Evidence
(29-04-2017 08:32 PM)AB517 Wrote:  And the whole universe having consciousness is unknown. I rather stay with living biosphere instead of aware. What it knows? it knows what we know. I just don't know enough to say its a conscious entity.
We know enough to say whether something is conscious or not, and what does and doesn't convey consciousness. Consciousness occurs within brains, and apart from some limited biochemical networking / signaling in some species, it doesn't occur between them and certainly not outside them.

If I had the $$ to pay SpaceX to put me on that trip around the moon and back that is supposed to take place next year, would the fact that the spacecraft contains a crew of, say, three conscious humans make the spaceship conscious? Of course not. If the spaceship is not conscious, then certainly the universe at large is not conscious, just because it contains conscious entities.

Consciousness is an emergent property of sufficiently complex nervous systems in living beings, and those being relate to the world outside them but do not define the world outside them. It is rather like the difference between containership ("has-a" relationship) and inheritance ("is-a" relationship) in software design. You are describing inheritance when what's actually going on is containership. Not only that, you are describing reverse inheritance, as if a dog or a car were a generalization of the universe, rather than a specialization of it.

Come to think of it, if the universe contains dogs, does it therefore pant and bark? If it contains cars, does it therefore have wheels and an engine and drive around from point A to B? If the universe contains radios, is it therefore a transceiver?
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