Question: Dealing with Absolutes.
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20-02-2016, 12:17 PM
RE: Question: Dealing with Absolutes.
(16-02-2016 10:11 PM)nicholas95 Wrote:  Hey everyone, this is my first post. I normally am not the type of interact online, but this seems like a great site and I came here specifically to find an answer to my question.
I am an atheist. My older brother is a devout Christian. When he uses theistic arguments like Kalam, fine tuning, morality, I find them all pretty easy to defeat. (Despite the fact he wont admit it.)

One of his arguments however, seems to have stumped me. Perhaps it has been explained before on here. Although, I'm good with science, philosophy is not my strong suit. Perhaps someone more intelligent than me can properly articulate a response. Teach me a better way of thinking about this. I'm not afraid to say I'm stumped on this one and need an answer I can understand, and perhaps articulate to my brother.

He is coming at me with this. If someone makes the claim that a belief is only rational with evidence. Isn't that itself a faith based belief that can't be proved with evidence?


How can we know anything to be actually be true, without first using some sort of faith based assumption? If it's a faith based assumption for me to say that I only believe things based on evidence, isn't that as bad as a theistic faith based assumption itself?

I could say that science and evidence is a reliable tool which accurately helps us to understand the world around and has proven to do so, however that would still be a faith based assumption that anything really exists to begin with and the mind is accurately portraying the world around me. Or that the mind really exists for that matter. Where is the starting point? How can we really know anything to be absolutely true about the world without first accepting that we can use the scientific method, which a faith based assumption.

I hope that makes sense. Sorry for the ramble. I hope someone can explain this to me or give me their point of view, and how to handle this.

If you use faith for the scientific method then you're biased. You can observe a fenomena and based on that make a hypothesis with subsequently experiments.

Faith is is believing without any evidence, is just being gullible. Starting from that point needing evidence is not faith. Evidence is the way we can for sure know the certainty of things, and by itself is evidence for asking evidence. Since evidence clarify doubts in a subject it's logical to thing that we also need evidence for anything else in our reality. Thus, asking for evidence to support a claim is not a faith assumption since is proven that evidence is needed to support any claim.

I hope that could help.

"Skepticism is the first step towards truth" -Denis Diderot
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20-02-2016, 01:54 PM
RE: Question: Dealing with Absolutes.
There are no absolutes.

Don't Live each day like it's your last. Live each day like you have 541 days after that one where every choice you make will have lasting implications to you and the world around you. ~ Tim Minchin
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20-02-2016, 07:20 PM
RE: Question: Dealing with Absolutes.
Only a Sith Lord deals in absolutes...I would be wary of your brother...


(would totally add to this, but everyone's pretty much said what I would say)

Ignorance is not to be ignored.

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20-02-2016, 07:28 PM
RE: Question: Dealing with Absolutes.
People who *need* and deal in absolute terms have :
Low ambiguity tolerance : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambiguity_...ntolerance
need : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_...hilosophy)

and


I know this *absolutely*. Weeping

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21-02-2016, 03:00 AM
RE: Question: Dealing with Absolutes.
(16-02-2016 10:11 PM)nicholas95 Wrote:  Hey everyone, this is my first post. I normally am not the type of interact online, but this seems like a great site and I came here specifically to find an answer to my question.
I am an atheist. My older brother is a devout Christian. When he uses theistic arguments like Kalam, fine tuning, morality, I find them all pretty easy to defeat. (Despite the fact he wont admit it.)

One of his arguments however, seems to have stumped me. Perhaps it has been explained before on here. Although, I'm good with science, philosophy is not my strong suit. Perhaps someone more intelligent than me can properly articulate a response. Teach me a better way of thinking about this. I'm not afraid to say I'm stumped on this one and need an answer I can understand, and perhaps articulate to my brother.

He is coming at me with this. If someone makes the claim that a belief is only rational with evidence. Isn't that itself a faith based belief that can't be proved with evidence?


How can we know anything to be actually be true, without first using some sort of faith based assumption? If it's a faith based assumption for me to say that I only believe things based on evidence, isn't that as bad as a theistic faith based assumption itself?

I could say that science and evidence is a reliable tool which accurately helps us to understand the world around and has proven to do so, however that would still be a faith based assumption that anything really exists to begin with and the mind is accurately portraying the world around me. Or that the mind really exists for that matter. Where is the starting point? How can we really know anything to be absolutely true about the world without first accepting that we can use the scientific method, which a faith based assumption.

I hope that makes sense. Sorry for the ramble. I hope someone can explain this to me or give me their point of view, and how to handle this.

There's a difference between knowing something and believing something. The difference, however, isn't always clear-cut. If you're 99.9999% sure that something is true, you know it. If you're 90% sure something is true, you believe it. There's no obvious line between the two, but there is an order of magnitude difference between 10% uncertainty and 0.0001% uncertainty. No one is ever 100% sure of anything, but that doesn't make the scientific method a faith-based thing. The scientific method is reliable and that's proven beyond an infinitesimally small percentage of uncertainty. God existing, however, can't even be proven without implementing special interpretations of observations. There's an order of magnitude difference between the two, putting one solidly within the area of fact and the other solidly within the area of belief.
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21-02-2016, 08:15 AM
RE: Question: Dealing with Absolutes.
My Spidey senses are tingling...they sense drive-by Troll disguised as Sincere New Member. Consider

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“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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24-02-2016, 02:14 PM
RE: Question: Dealing with Absolutes.
(16-02-2016 10:11 PM)nicholas95 Wrote:  Hey everyone, this is my first post. I normally am not the type of interact online, but this seems like a great site and I came here specifically to find an answer to my question.
I am an atheist. My older brother is a devout Christian. When he uses theistic arguments like Kalam, fine tuning, morality, I find them all pretty easy to defeat. (Despite the fact he wont admit it.)

One of his arguments however, seems to have stumped me. Perhaps it has been explained before on here. Although, I'm good with science, philosophy is not my strong suit. Perhaps someone more intelligent than me can properly articulate a response. Teach me a better way of thinking about this. I'm not afraid to say I'm stumped on this one and need an answer I can understand, and perhaps articulate to my brother.

He is coming at me with this. If someone makes the claim that a belief is only rational with evidence. Isn't that itself a faith based belief that can't be proved with evidence?


How can we know anything to be actually be true, without first using some sort of faith based assumption? If it's a faith based assumption for me to say that I only believe things based on evidence, isn't that as bad as a theistic faith based assumption itself?

I could say that science and evidence is a reliable tool which accurately helps us to understand the world around and has proven to do so, however that would still be a faith based assumption that anything really exists to begin with and the mind is accurately portraying the world around me. Or that the mind really exists for that matter. Where is the starting point? How can we really know anything to be absolutely true about the world without first accepting that we can use the scientific method, which a faith based assumption.

I hope that makes sense. Sorry for the ramble. I hope someone can explain this to me or give me their point of view, and how to handle this.

The notion that we must have faith in reason is nonsensical. He is essentially saying that reason must be validated by unreason before we may rely on it. reason is defended by retortion. Tell him he is not ready to discuss epistemology. He just isn't. He hasn't a clue.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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24-02-2016, 04:26 PM
RE: Question: Dealing with Absolutes.
(21-02-2016 08:15 AM)Full Circle Wrote:  My Spidey senses are tingling...they sense drive-by Troll disguised as Sincere New Member. Consider

[Image: Spiderman_Neon_Sense_Black_Shirt_POP.jpg]
My Spidey Senses are seldom wrong.

Let's see. One post, on-line for less than an hour, hasn't been seen since (a week ago). Drinking Beverage

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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24-02-2016, 04:29 PM
RE: Question: Dealing with Absolutes.
(24-02-2016 04:26 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(21-02-2016 08:15 AM)Full Circle Wrote:  My Spidey senses are tingling...they sense drive-by Troll disguised as Sincere New Member. Consider

[Image: Spiderman_Neon_Sense_Black_Shirt_POP.jpg]
My Spidey Senses are seldom wrong.

Let's see. One post, on-line for less than an hour, hasn't been seen since (a week ago). Drinking Beverage

Dealing with Absolute Trolls should be the thread title.

My Spidey Senses are set on Full Trolldar

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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07-05-2016, 06:46 AM
RE: Question: Dealing with Absolutes.
(17-02-2016 12:05 AM)Unbeliever Wrote:  
(16-02-2016 10:11 PM)nicholas95 Wrote:  He is coming at me with this. If someone makes the claim that a belief is only rational with evidence. Isn't that itself a faith based belief that can't be proved with evidence?

No. It's what "rational" means. It's a matter of definition, not of faith.

(16-02-2016 10:11 PM)nicholas95 Wrote:  I could say that science and evidence is a reliable tool which accurately helps us to understand the world around and has proven to do so, however that would still be a faith based assumption that anything really exists to begin with and the mind is accurately portraying the world around me. Or that the mind really exists for that matter.

No, it wouldn't. Solipsism only holds if you lack coherent definitions, as with your brother's original argument.

We exist, and experience something. We call this something "the universe". Any definition of "exists" which does not include both ourselves and the universe is useless, and can be discarded.

Nailing down concrete definitions is possibly the most important part of any argument, but it's also, unfortunately, the one that most people forget about.

I think what he's trying to say here... is that people will often times use ambiguity in order to win an argument or debate, always ask what they mean or get a precise definition of what a particular word means to get them to flush out flaws in their argument. A lot of people will stop at what they don't understand and NOT make the other person define what they're intending to say. Never concede unless you're ABSOLUTELY certain that there is no way out of it.
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