Greeting from a Christian
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04-03-2013, 01:29 AM
RE: Greeting from a Christian
(03-03-2013 02:38 PM)DarthMarth Wrote:  Coming back to an earlier question now that I've had some time to think about it: I realized that I believe in two different kinds of knowledge. I called them "hard" and "soft" before, but "bottom-up" and "top-down" would be better terms. Bottom-up knowledge is gained from what you call scientific skepticism: a gathering of the evidence and rational induction from that evidence to produce knowledge. It understands things in terms of fundamental laws and basic, constituent parts. Top-down knowledge isn't as concerned with the "what" as with the "why".
Are you suggesting science is not concerned with why's?

(03-03-2013 02:38 PM)DarthMarth Wrote:  It cannot be attained by breaking a system down and seeking to understand it in terms of the most basic evidences;
Why not? If it cannot, then how can you be confident in the results? Why would you call such results "knowledge"? Sounds more like intuition to me.

(03-03-2013 02:38 PM)DarthMarth Wrote:  it unifies the knowledge we have

All the knowledge we have? Even the knowledge we acquired through skepticism?

(03-03-2013 02:38 PM)DarthMarth Wrote:  under something intangible and "other" to ourselves, which is what I mean by "meaning".

Where does this idea come from? It makes no sense to me. How can you have anything resembling knowledge about something intangible (like cosmic rays) without testing it to confirm you aren't just making it up in your head? What is meant by "'other' to ourselves"?

(03-03-2013 02:38 PM)DarthMarth Wrote:  This is the kind of knowledge that my faith is.

Are you suggesting knowledge can be acquired through faith? Or am I misunderstanding you here?

(03-03-2013 02:38 PM)DarthMarth Wrote:  Yes, you can provide naturalistic explanations for the seven reasons for belief I posted earlier, but to me, those explanations are not enough, even if they answer the question on a physical level. For instance, the occurrence of abiogenesis or the "fine tuning" of physical constants are unremarkable from a scientific perspective; we have precisely measured the constants as what they are and according to the best current theories abiogenesis occurred around 3.9 to 3.5 billion years ago. But this explanation alone is profoundly unsatisfying to me; I instinctively look for a higher one that would explain such "luck".

This sounds like an argument from incredulity. Others have done a fine job of explaining their positions on this and I tend to agree with them. I feel I understand these naturalistic explanations just enough for them to satisfy me.

(03-03-2013 02:38 PM)DarthMarth Wrote:  Religions set themselves up as bodies of this "top-down" knowledge, providing answers to questions that science cannot, like "Why am I here?" or "How should I live?"

But, without testing any of these "answers" to confirm their efficacy how do you know this isn't just a group of humans being arbitrary?

(03-03-2013 02:38 PM)DarthMarth Wrote:  I am not saying you have no answers to these questions, but I am willing to bet you did not answer them by scientific inquiry but by a series of value judgments, which is the same kind of process that theists use.

I agree. But that's because these are not questions of knowledge, but rather of opinion. Science would rarely claim to have "answers" to questions like these because there are no true answers. Ask any number of different people "How should I live?" and you'll get an equal number of unique and oft incompatible answers.

(03-03-2013 02:38 PM)DarthMarth Wrote:  I think a tenet of materialism is that "top-down" knowledge from outside ourselves is either irrelevant, unattainable, or imaginary; that theists' beliefs are just as arbitrary and less evidence-founded (and therefore superstitious) than your own. Fundamentalists make the opposite mistake of believing that the only knowledge that matters is direct revelation from God and everything else must be made to "fit" into the Bible or church tradition. I believe both are real and important. Thoughts?
So, you don't feel these beliefs are superstition? What about the other religions of our species? How do you feel about them?

I think we may be seeing into the bloody gears of that part of you which is responsible for sustaining your belief. As we delve deeper into these questions, your answers seem less coherent and more confusing.

Considering all you've just told me, how did you come to these conclusions? On your own? Or through others? Or, if you prefer a more direct question: How do you know all this is true? How do you know you haven't simply fallen into an inherited misconception?

He's not the Messiah. He's a very naughty boy! -Brian's mum
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