Epistemic Debate on Christianity!
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24-07-2016, 12:14 AM
RE: Epistemic Debate on Christianity!
That was my comment on why I consider the Catholic Church to be true. I probably should also comment on why I’m a theist. Now one thing I want to clarify is that I don’t consider my reasons absolute. My main goal has always been to prove that it is reasonable to believe in God. So there are a few arguments that I consider central to my belief.

1) As I already mentioned, I have a strong belief that man is not merely physical. Similarly, I reject material positivism because I find it inadequate to explain certain realities of the human condition. Man, to me, does not seem to be bound by matter. Certain ideas do not seem to have a physical manifestation and as such cannot be reasonably explained by matter. Another idea I have been toying with, although it is not complete, is that man has logic, and he can also ignore logic. Logic is not relative to the individual (presuming logic is true across this universe). Logic seems to be a law which is above the reasoner. Now the reasoner seems to have the capacity to either follow this law or not. The fact that we have a law and that we have the capacity to break said law seems to point towards free will, which would be contrary to the determinism of materialism.

2) The second point is that I consider miracles to be true. I do not mean miracles such as Jesus appearing on toast or the like. Nor miracles in the bible, since many non-Christian consider it to be an unreliable source and using it as a source tends towards circular reasoning. The miracles I refer to are those such as the Eucharistic miracles. Where the host or wafer, as literally turned into human flesh. It seems to always be heart flesh. The most famous is quite an old miracle, I think sometime in the 12 hundreds, but the flesh can still be seen today. Another occurred a few years ago in Vietnam. (My friend who is a seminarian knows the priest who took the pictures). Another example is the miracle witnessed by Alexis Carrel, a Nobel prize winner of medicine who went to Lourdes and saw what he considered to be a miraculous cure (although the church rejected it, I cannot fathom how it can be otherwise. The church is much more critical of miracles than most people. I was going to relate to you a story of an English Noble that I had read about, but then I found it. Here. Also there is a article about the process used in determining miracles at Lourdes). So these plus others which seem to me to defy any possible scientific explanation, lead me towards believing in a spiritual reality which can affect our own material reality.

3) Having established that reality is not merely material, there is no dogmatic reason to reject the existence of God. While this does not mean that God exists, it merely means that his existence does not have to be rejected. Now, I have always been reasonably satisfied with the cosmological argument. I personally prefer St. Thomas’ argument since his argument is not circular, or at least less circular, since he, unlike Kalam or Locke, does not presume that there was once nothing, and in fact argues that the universe could be eternal and yet still need a creator. That the universe had a beginning is an article of Faith to St. Thomas. This plus the fact that the miracles I mentioned above seem to point towards a Judeo-Christian God, especially the Eucharistic miracles, lead me to reasonably conclude that God exists. And if I’m to be a theist, then, as demonstrated above, Catholicism seems to be the most reasonable.

I'm homophobic in the same way that I'm arachnophobic. I'm not scared of gay people but I'm going to scream if I find one in my bath.

I'm. Also homophobic in the same way I'm arachnophobic. I'm scared of spiders but I'd still fuck'em.
- my friend Marc
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24-07-2016, 12:17 AM
RE: Epistemic Debate on Christianity!
Also I want to apologize for taking so long. It's hard to find 3 hours to type up a reply (yes I'm a slow typer). What happened was I got about an hour's worth a while back. And when I went to finish it, I found that it had gotten deleted. So I had to work up my motivation again. and that plus working three days at over 12 hours each day, basically work and sleep, it was difficult to find time and energy.

I'm homophobic in the same way that I'm arachnophobic. I'm not scared of gay people but I'm going to scream if I find one in my bath.

I'm. Also homophobic in the same way I'm arachnophobic. I'm scared of spiders but I'd still fuck'em.
- my friend Marc
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31-07-2016, 02:35 PM
RE: Epistemic Debate on Christianity!
(24-07-2016 12:17 AM)TarzanSmith Wrote:  Also I want to apologize for taking so long. It's hard to find 3 hours to type up a reply (yes I'm a slow typer). What happened was I got about an hour's worth a while back. And when I went to finish it, I found that it had gotten deleted. So I had to work up my motivation again. and that plus working three days at over 12 hours each day, basically work and sleep, it was difficult to find time and energy.

Oof. I've been there. Don't worry about the delay. I wasn't trying to push you to post quickly. I just wanted a quick update to make sure you weren't dead.

.... well, no, I didn't think it was likely you were dead and poking you in the channel wouldn't have told me if you were. But I at least wanted to see if you were still interested in participating in the thread.

Summarizing your reasons for believing to be sure I understand:

* You were already a Catholic by upbringing before you became capable of examining these questions critically.

* Catholicism (as you and many others practice it) is something that extends beyond Sundays, with deep impact on how you live your life. This is part of why you consider Catholicism more accurate than other branches of Christianity.

* In discussing the (moral) ideals, you identified the Church's ideals as being by far the best (as measured by benefit) system out there. In particular, you identified the Church's ideals regarding sexuality to be admirable and good, leading to increased happiness by those who follow them. You also indicated that you would believe in those ideals even if you did not subscribe to Catholicism.

* You argue that the ability to reason logically, combined with the capacity to not do so, represents an example of free will over determinism. From context, you seem to also be arguing that this implies the existence of a god.

* You cite miracles, with your prime example being transubstatiation of the Eucharist. You later cite this as a large reason for believing in Christianity above other religions.

* You argue that, putting these together, there is evidence of a spiritual reality, and that as a consequence there is no need to reject the existence of a god.

There were a few other things where I don't know whether to list them among your epistemology or not.

Swampman (the teleportation problem). Did you relate this just as part of your personal-history narrative of how you came to where you are now, or should I be including these in your (present) reasons for belief?

You mention that certain ideas do not have physical manifestation. I am unclear of what you mean by this. What do you mean by ideas having physical manifestation?

The Cosmological argument. Given your earlier comment about a priori arguments being unconvincing I'm unsure of whether this is a factor in arriving at or reinforcing your beliefs.

Am I correctly summarizing your presentation of your epistemology here? Obviously I trimmed some parts, but were there any things I omitted that you consider essential?

(23-07-2016 11:25 PM)TarzanSmith Wrote:  Monty Python taught me that if you start with the wrong premises, then you end up burning a witch (or if you have not seen it, you end up further from the truth).

While I agree with you in principle that bad premises make conclusions based on them unreliable, I disagree with your interpretation that this is the moral of that skit. As a tabletop role-player and occasional DM I'm obligated to have that skit almost memorized, along with half a dozen others from Monty Python. (It's a thing.) I'm also obligated to detour into debating such trivial details rather than focusing on the task at hand. (That's also a thing.) Here, let me link it in so we can examine it right now.





Notably, the woman admits that the judgement against her is "a fair cop", implying that she is a witch and is acknowledging that she has, in fact, been caught out, when the previous bases for accusation (dressing her up as a witch, putting a carrot on her nose, and listening to the guy who claimed to have been turned into a newt despite all apparent evidence to the contrary) had not, in her eyes, been sufficient evidence in her mind. This seems to me more of an example of employing a series of extremely bad logic and premises and absurdly arriving at the correct conclusion through dumb luck, with the final example of flawed logic being widely and irrationally accepted. The moral I extract from it (when I'm trying to extract anything more than a few laughs) is that correct conclusions can sometimes be arrived at through bad arguments and bad premises, and that bad logic being unreliable does not mean that it is universally false in its conclusions. Am I interpreting the skit wrong in your eyes, and if so how?
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04-08-2016, 01:31 AM
RE: Epistemic Debate on Christianity!
(31-07-2016 02:35 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  Summarizing your reasons for believing to be sure I understand:

* You were already a Catholic by upbringing before you became capable of examining these questions critically.

That is correct

(31-07-2016 02:35 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  * Catholicism (as you and many others practice it) is something that extends beyond Sundays, with deep impact on how you live your life. This is part of why you consider Catholicism more accurate than other branches of Christianity.

Based on the assumption, and one that I see as being fairly self evident, that a philosophy must be complete. It must be correct in all situations and all times. You could not be a materialist if 500 years ago miracles happened for example. if a philosophy is true, it must always be true.

(31-07-2016 02:35 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  * In discussing the (moral) ideals, you identified the Church's ideals as being by far the best (as measured by benefit) system out there. In particular, you identified the Church's ideals regarding sexuality to be admirable and good, leading to increased happiness by those who follow them. You also indicated that you would believe in those ideals even if you did not subscribe to Catholicism.
While sexuality is on there, I might consider social teaching more important, but what I mean is just the Catholic teachings on all aspects of human life. Science, Labour, environmentalism, development of the moral human person. Of course whether I would hold onto them or not really depends upon what I become after being a Christian. If i become a follower of Nietzsche i would obviously reject many of them. But presuming the only difference is a lack of belief in God, then yes I think I would keep nearly all of them.

(31-07-2016 02:35 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  * You argue that the ability to reason logically, combined with the capacity to not do so, represents an example of free will over determinism. From context, you seem to also be arguing that this implies the existence of a god.

* You cite miracles, with your prime example being transubstatiation of the Eucharist. You later cite this as a large reason for believing in Christianity above other religions.

* You argue that, putting these together, there is evidence of a spiritual reality, and that as a consequence there is no need to reject the existence of a god.

These are essentially one point. And implies is definitely the wrong word. If one is a materialist, then one must reject God dogmatically (provided God is immaterial). Because if God exists, then materialism, and the holder of said position, are wrong.
However, believing such things are true does not mean God exists. I plan on rereading Nagel's mind and cosmos for these points. Nagel is an atheist who holds that a spiritual reality does exist.
In regards to miracles, I just meant miracles in general pointing to a spiritual reality, although it is true that Eucharistic miracles do add validity to the Catholic Church.

(31-07-2016 02:35 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  There were a few other things where I don't know whether to list them among your epistemology or not.

Swampman (the teleportation problem). Did you relate this just as part of your personal-history narrative of how you came to where you are now, or should I be including these in your (present) reasons for belief?

You mention that certain ideas do not have physical manifestation. I am unclear of what you mean by this. What do you mean by ideas having physical manifestation?

The Cosmological argument. Given your earlier comment about a priori arguments being unconvincing I'm unsure of whether this is a factor in arriving at or reinforcing your beliefs.

Am I correctly summarizing your presentation of your epistemology here? Obviously I trimmed some parts, but were there any things I omitted that you consider essential?

I didn't like the swamp man analogy so much since it is different matter being used. I more presume that the particles are separated (or turned into energy) and reassembled, as such there is no actual change, theoretically. But this again just leads into the spiritual reality point above.

In regards to immaterial ideas, what I mean is this; If I look at a kettle, the image of kettle appears in my mind. The kettle sends whatever light particles (excuse my science Big Grin ) into my eyes and the neurons in my brain form an image. A direct material cause for the image can be found in the material reality of the kettle. if I recall the image, its source is still the kettle sitting on my counter. Well let us look at the idea of free will. Can we find a material source for such an idea? That is a much more difficult question to answer. Again, my standard theme is that a spiritual reality exists.

Ya, I cheated Rolleyes I realise the cosmological argument is an a priori argument. I suppose what I meant is that I didn't intend on focusing on it. I find them unconvincing as a central argument, but as a secondary argument they are quite useful. Part of the problem with what I have said so far is that none of it "proves" God exists. It mostly allows for, and points us toward's, God's existence. The only thing a miracle proves is that a miracle occurred. It is possible that if you get enough "spiritual energy" then you could break space-time. In which case the cause of the miracle would be the people and the calling upon the name of God is just to help the people build up spiritual energy (note I'm not saying spiritual energy exists).

And I think that is an accurate summary at least for now.

I'm homophobic in the same way that I'm arachnophobic. I'm not scared of gay people but I'm going to scream if I find one in my bath.

I'm. Also homophobic in the same way I'm arachnophobic. I'm scared of spiders but I'd still fuck'em.
- my friend Marc
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04-08-2016, 01:37 AM
RE: Epistemic Debate on Christianity!
(31-07-2016 02:35 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  
(23-07-2016 11:25 PM)TarzanSmith Wrote:  Monty Python taught me that if you start with the wrong premises, then you end up burning a witch (or if you have not seen it, you end up further from the truth).

While I agree with you in principle that bad premises make conclusions based on them unreliable, I disagree with your interpretation that this is the moral of that skit. As a tabletop role-player and occasional DM I'm obligated to have that skit almost memorized, along with half a dozen others from Monty Python. (It's a thing.) I'm also obligated to detour into debating such trivial details rather than focusing on the task at hand. (That's also a thing.) Here, let me link it in so we can examine it right now.





Notably, the woman admits that the judgement against her is "a fair cop", implying that she is a witch and is acknowledging that she has, in fact, been caught out, when the previous bases for accusation (dressing her up as a witch, putting a carrot on her nose, and listening to the guy who claimed to have been turned into a newt despite all apparent evidence to the contrary) had not, in her eyes, been sufficient evidence in her mind. This seems to me more of an example of employing a series of extremely bad logic and premises and absurdly arriving at the correct conclusion through dumb luck, with the final example of flawed logic being widely and irrationally accepted. The moral I extract from it (when I'm trying to extract anything more than a few laughs) is that correct conclusions can sometimes be arrived at through bad arguments and bad premises, and that bad logic being unreliable does not mean that it is universally false in its conclusions. Am I interpreting the skit wrong in your eyes, and if so how?

After all these years, and at one point having the entire film memorized, I never realized that I had misheard that last word. I thought it was "it's a fair court". Which entirely changes the meaning. I can't believe I was wrong on Monty Python Sadcryface2

Anyways, sorry I probably should have explained. My logic teacher likes to use an abridged version of that skit on his Logic Exams. Because, while you have to imply certain premises, it is logically valid. Of course it is entirely silly. he used it as an example that just because something is logically valid, that doesn't mean it is true. (cause syllogisms are either valid or invalid, it's premises that can be either true or untrue).

So you're a DM. I was just thinking that TTA should organise a roll 20 campaign. It could be a lot of fun.

I'm homophobic in the same way that I'm arachnophobic. I'm not scared of gay people but I'm going to scream if I find one in my bath.

I'm. Also homophobic in the same way I'm arachnophobic. I'm scared of spiders but I'd still fuck'em.
- my friend Marc
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05-08-2016, 12:45 AM
RE: Epistemic Debate on Christianity!
I've just deleted two posts from this thread.

Reminder: The Boxing Ring is a 2-player game.

If you want to draw the players' attention to other stuff, please send them a PM.

Thanks.

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05-08-2016, 08:51 PM (This post was last modified: 05-08-2016 08:55 PM by Reltzik.)
RE: Epistemic Debate on Christianity!
A few more questions, if I may, before I go about presenting my own approach to epistemology.

First, how important are each of these factors in motivating your belief in Catholicism specifically, Christianity more generally, and even more generally than that the existence of a god and a spiritual plane? If, for example, you did not have a belief in miracles, would that change your view on Christianity? If you no longer believed in the whole of the Church's philosophy, would you stop counting yourself a Catholic? Or would there be additional factors that helped maintain these positions, despite these particular support elements having been removed?

Second, how much is faith a part of your epistemology?

And third, how would you rate your confidence in these reasons for believing? Not in the beliefs themselves, you've already rated that. I mean, how reliable do you think these methods of arriving at a conclusion are (regardless of whether the conclusions are true)? Let's say a 0-100 scale, with 0 being completely unreliable -- far worse than just guessing randomly -- and 100 being incapable of error.

EDIT: I've been less than impressed with roll-20. Its voice and video are very glitchy and my experience as a player is that its support aps don't tie in with each other very well, though I haven't seen the GM's side of it.
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12-08-2016, 09:26 PM
RE: Epistemic Debate on Christianity!
(05-08-2016 08:51 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  A few more questions, if I may, before I go about presenting my own approach to epistemology.

First, how important are each of these factors in motivating your belief in Catholicism specifically, Christianity more generally, and even more generally than that the existence of a god and a spiritual plane? If, for example, you did not have a belief in miracles, would that change your view on Christianity? If you no longer believed in the whole of the Church's philosophy, would you stop counting yourself a Catholic? Or would there be additional factors that helped maintain these positions, despite these particular support elements having been removed?

Second, how much is faith a part of your epistemology?

And third, how would you rate your confidence in these reasons for believing? Not in the beliefs themselves, you've already rated that. I mean, how reliable do you think these methods of arriving at a conclusion are (regardless of whether the conclusions are true)? Let's say a 0-100 scale, with 0 being completely unreliable -- far worse than just guessing randomly -- and 100 being incapable of error.

EDIT: I've been less than impressed with roll-20. Its voice and video are very glitchy and my experience as a player is that its support aps don't tie in with each other very well, though I haven't seen the GM's side of it.

I'd say I am moderately confident. In terms of God and a spiritual plane, probably the highest. Miracles to me seem to be a pretty sure thing (with probably about a 90 confidence) so I might say I have an 89 confidence that God and a spiritual plane exist.

Obviously the more specific it gets the more the confidence drops. probably down to about 75 confidence in Catholicism. I would point out that one of the main reasons I'm a Catholic is that it seems to me to be the system most consistent with reality (based upon above reasons)

One doctrine of Catholicism is that you must consider all the Church's teaching to be true to be a Catholic, so If I disregarded a single doctrine, I would cease to consider myself a Catholic.

In regards to faith, I want to make mention that the church holds that there are mysteries (religious facts) which can be known by reason and there are those which can be known only through faith. St Thomas writes that everything required for salvation can be known through natural reason alone. The Mysteries that can only be known through faith are mysteries like the Trinity. So those I take purely on faith, other than that, most things I use reason to decide.

I'm homophobic in the same way that I'm arachnophobic. I'm not scared of gay people but I'm going to scream if I find one in my bath.

I'm. Also homophobic in the same way I'm arachnophobic. I'm scared of spiders but I'd still fuck'em.
- my friend Marc
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13-08-2016, 07:48 AM (This post was last modified: 13-08-2016 09:44 AM by Reltzik.)
RE: Epistemic Debate on Christianity!
(12-08-2016 09:26 PM)TarzanSmith Wrote:  
(05-08-2016 08:51 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  A few more questions, if I may, before I go about presenting my own approach to epistemology.

First, how important are each of these factors in motivating your belief in Catholicism specifically, Christianity more generally, and even more generally than that the existence of a god and a spiritual plane? If, for example, you did not have a belief in miracles, would that change your view on Christianity? If you no longer believed in the whole of the Church's philosophy, would you stop counting yourself a Catholic? Or would there be additional factors that helped maintain these positions, despite these particular support elements having been removed?

Second, how much is faith a part of your epistemology?

And third, how would you rate your confidence in these reasons for believing? Not in the beliefs themselves, you've already rated that. I mean, how reliable do you think these methods of arriving at a conclusion are (regardless of whether the conclusions are true)? Let's say a 0-100 scale, with 0 being completely unreliable -- far worse than just guessing randomly -- and 100 being incapable of error.

EDIT: I've been less than impressed with roll-20. Its voice and video are very glitchy and my experience as a player is that its support aps don't tie in with each other very well, though I haven't seen the GM's side of it.

I'd say I am moderately confident. In terms of God and a spiritual plane, probably the highest. Miracles to me seem to be a pretty sure thing (with probably about a 90 confidence) so I might say I have an 89 confidence that God and a spiritual plane exist.

Obviously the more specific it gets the more the confidence drops. probably down to about 75 confidence in Catholicism. I would point out that one of the main reasons I'm a Catholic is that it seems to me to be the system most consistent with reality (based upon above reasons)

One doctrine of Catholicism is that you must consider all the Church's teaching to be true to be a Catholic, so If I disregarded a single doctrine, I would cease to consider myself a Catholic.

In regards to faith, I want to make mention that the church holds that there are mysteries (religious facts) which can be known by reason and there are those which can be known only through faith. St Thomas writes that everything required for salvation can be known through natural reason alone. The Mysteries that can only be known through faith are mysteries like the Trinity. So those I take purely on faith, other than that, most things I use reason to decide.

Perhaps I wasn't clear on what I was asking.

I wasn't asking for your odds that each element of your belief was true.

I was asking for you to rate the various MEANS by which you determined those elements were true.

So for example, you first arrived at many of your beliefs from being born and raised into them. We identified this as one of the reasons you believe, albeit one you have since either moved on from or at least added to significantly. How reliable would you rate "holding the beliefs one was raised with" as an epistemology? Is it, generally speaking, a reliable path to truth? How reliable? Is it a "best practice" even for, say, people raised in Baptist or Atheist or Muslim or Shinto or atheist families? In percentage terms, how would you rate this epistemic method for reliability?

This is what I'm asking you to do for the various ways of coming to belief that we've identified.
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