Rational Thought
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03-04-2016, 11:04 AM (This post was last modified: 03-04-2016 11:08 AM by diversesynergy.)
RE: Rational Thought
(03-04-2016 10:51 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(03-04-2016 10:38 AM)diversesynergy Wrote:  Also anyone who wants the "last word" and fancies having another shot at me across the port bough, then please feel free to do so if it makes you happy.

port bow

haha - yes, quite right. You'd think being British, I ought to get a nautical term correct...
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03-04-2016, 11:09 AM
RE: Rational Thought
Oh... you're British? Consider

Isn't that just a place holder between Wales and Scotland?

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03-04-2016, 11:32 AM
RE: Rational Thought
(03-04-2016 11:09 AM)Peebothuhul Wrote:  Oh... you're British? Consider

Isn't that just a place holder between Wales and Scotland?


yeah, something like that Smile

Careful though, you'll get me onto whether Scotland and Wales should be independent, and whether England should have a devolved parliament!

I bet True Scotsman would be great to debate that with.
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03-04-2016, 11:39 AM
RE: Rational Thought

I thought the Brits had already lost historically to the Welsh centuries ago?

Hence old Prince Charly having to be 'The Prince of Wales' as acknowledgement? Consider

Still... not wanting to derail. Will try and post later when time etc permits. Smile
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03-04-2016, 11:46 AM
RE: Rational Thought
no, actually the English defeated the Welsh in the 13th Century - killing one of the last Welsh princes in the process. Edward Longshanks then unilaterally decided to give his son (also Edward) the title "Prince of Wales". Ever since, the heir apparent to the English (now British) throne has been granted the title.

Didn't expect to get onto British history, but a welcome change from the heavy debate I must say Smile
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03-04-2016, 12:12 PM (This post was last modified: 03-04-2016 12:41 PM by DLJ.)
RE: Rational Thought
(03-04-2016 10:38 AM)diversesynergy Wrote:  ...
At least with a deity there is the evidence of the religious texts which actually exist.

I'm still reading the long reply. I just need to highlight this error:

The texts are the claim / promise. Not the evidence.

(03-04-2016 11:04 AM)diversesynergy Wrote:  ...
haha - yes, quite right. You'd think being British, I ought to get a nautical term correct...

Oh shit! How embarrassing.

I blame Charles Clarke / Tony Blair and their FaithMyth-Based Schools for this. Angry

And to think that I voted for them. Blush The shame.

btw, you made a mistake by using 'define' instead of 'derive'. I'm just suggesting that a polite response would be to thank someone who has corrected you and move on from there.
There are loads of intelligent people here who can help you spot flaws in your reasoning. They will also support your valid & sound arguments if others incorrectly challenge them.

Are you really here to learn? We are. If you can be as self-critical as we are, we'll get on just fine.


(03-04-2016 10:38 AM)diversesynergy Wrote:  ...
DLJ again - “Solipsism gives 100% evidence that deities are ex imaginatione.”

10/10 for witty quip. ...

Thanks. But I don't appreciated being misquoted.

Here's the original:
(03-04-2016 01:32 AM)DLJ Wrote:  ... solipsism gives you 100% certainty that any and all deities are ex imaginatione.

Not 'evidence'. That statement would be invalid.

Pro tip: Please use the reply button (at the bottom of the relevant post) to maintain integrity of data.


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03-04-2016, 12:14 PM
RE: Rational Thought
(02-04-2016 03:52 PM)diversesynergy Wrote:  Can someone talk me through the logic of this one please?

If you begin with "The Truth", distort, ignore or invoke magic to explain everything that doesn't agree with "The Truth" and end at "The Truth" then what you are doing is neither rational nor thought.

Quote:Say you conclude based on the available evidence that the universe "just exists", or somehow self-created itself or whatever, and that humanity is just a random by-product of a random chain of events within that universe, and ergo all of our brains are yet a further random by-product.

Could you ever truly declare that you had "rationally" arrived at that as a conclusion? Because surely such an argument is self-imploding, is it not?

If your very premise is that your own brain is ultimately just a random by-product, then how can you declare that anything you have concluded with your own brain is rational at all?

Such a strawman argument is not only self-defeating but patently ridiculous. None of us maintain this position, which is why nobody has answered your question.

Flesh and blood of a dead star, slain in the apocalypse of supernova, resurrected by four billion years of continuous autocatalytic reaction and crowned with the emergent property of sentience in the dream that the universe might one day understand itself.
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03-04-2016, 12:19 PM
RE: Rational Thought
(03-04-2016 05:59 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(03-04-2016 05:38 AM)GirlyMan Wrote:  Why the exception?

You make an non-exceptional argument. Consider

You make a common argument. Drinking Beverage

There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide. -Camus
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03-04-2016, 12:38 PM
RE: Rational Thought
(02-04-2016 05:35 PM)diversesynergy Wrote:  I actually genuinely came here with goodwill to begin with

Don't you lot have some Commandment against lying? You came here with a loaded question, a strawman argument and an obvious aggenda. You've demonstrated not one jot of goodwill.

Quote:but no-one has been particularly welcoming (as in genuinely, rather than sarcastically) and I feel a bit set upon to be honest.

Aww. Are the nasty atheists being mean to the poor little presuppositionalist? Let's try a quick experiment. I'll pop over to a fundamentalist Christian forum and make my very first post one about how none of them have any rational faculties. How warm a welcome do you think I should expect? I'm guessing two hours to being banned at best.

Quote:I would have more respect if just one person had said "yeah, great question - I don't know the answer, it is a logical problem that you have to rely on your own brain to interpret this universe. Thanks for kicking off an interesting debate, I hold a different worldview to you but I can respect we are both searching for meanings and answers in this universe."

Yeah, bullshit question - It's a load of tripe we've heard from every presup that wanders in here. It's a logical problem that our tolerance requires that we put up with your balderdash for far longer than your lot would listen to us. Thanks for kicking off this tired debate. Again. Would you like a dead horse to flog while you're at it? I hold a different worldview to you and hold those who suppress searching for meaning and answers in this universe in utter contempt.

Quote:That would at least have been scientifically authentic, not to mention respectful.

Something about reaping what you sow springs to mind.

Quote:If atheism is supposedly the shining beacon for "tolerance", in a world supposedly made so "intolerant" by religion, then some of the posters on these forums are far from paragons of that vision.

Help! Help! I'm being reppressed!

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03-04-2016, 12:41 PM
RE: Rational Thought
(03-04-2016 10:38 AM)diversesynergy Wrote:  Wow – so much response. Thanks guys!

Where to start? I guess I’ll just respond to each person in order.

DLJ – I just happened to use derive the second time round, rather than define. I guess you could construe this as an “error” if you chose to – but hey, you could always be gracious and give me the benefit of the doubt!

It changes not the logic of my argument whether you use derivation or definition in any case. If your brain is just a product of this universe, then however you “define” or “derive” whatever code of logic you are following, you are necessarily reliant on your own brain to have worked that out for you in the first place. You cannot get outside of your own brain/senses – therefore you cannot empirically validate whether or not the tool you are using (ie your brain) is correctly calibrated. That is my point. Take your pick out of which term you use out of defining and deriving, the argument is the same.

DerFish – how are we back to “turtles all the way down!” ? I’ve never understood that argument for a creator anyway. If anything, the turtles all the way down position is that of the non-creationist. If an infinite being exists, then that being “just is”. It is not an infinite regress of gods creating gods ad infinitum – the GOD entity just “is”. If the universe “just is” – then you need to posit an infinite number of past events, in a universe that demonstrates time and entropy. That really is a case of turtles all the way down! In a universe where the laws of physics show cause and effect, equal and opposite reaction etc, then surely the only sane assumption has to be that the first cause MUST have been from outside of this time-bound universe after some fashion.

Then here you might argue for a multiverse, but you’ve just added another turtle by invoking a multiverse - with less evidence than that of a deity I might add. The multiverse postulation is entirely a theory. At least with a deity there is the evidence of the religious texts which actually exist.

Next you say it isn’t just your brain, but a multiplicity of different human brains which lead you to accepting something as evidence. But you’re still relying on your own brain that is indicating to you that those other people with their different brains exist too. You can’t prove that – and to invoke this line of argument is (once again) self-referential.

Next you say I am just confusing the arguments with angels dancing on the head of a pin etc. Actually I’m not. It is a simple question I am asking you as an individual. How do you personally deal with the problem that you cannot prove that your own senses are reliable? Why don’t you give an answer? What’s with all the turtles and angels on pins etc distracting from my question!?

Chas – I never once used the word evolution. I’m saying that if your brain is a random OR unguided OR brought about via causality OR *insert whatever pedantic definition you would rather use instead* product of this universe, then how can you claim/assume that anything it derives (or defines – ok, DLJ?!) is actually rational. Simple question.

True Scotsman - Except that the universe we observe demonstrates time and entropy. That is not conducive to an infinite number of past events, so how do you resolve the “first cause” in a universe of causality based on the available evidence?

I can demonstrate your argument is self-imploding very simply:

1. You posit that your brain is ultimately just a passionless result of the causality (or whatever) of this universe.
2. You claim that you have arrived at proposition 1 using the available evidence in the universe around you and rational deduction.
3. You 100% rely on you own brain to have come up with the proposition, to gather the evidence, to conclude on the evidence, and indeed to set the parameters of what you consider to be logically valid or not in how you choose to base your conclusion!
4. You 100% cannot prove that your own brain is a reliable tool in the first place, and if you propose it is just derived from the “stuff” of this universe then you have no reason to assume this either.

Now, several people argue I am hoisted by my own petard here. And in many respects they are correct, but for 2 key differences:

-My worldview necessitates faith.

-My worldview suggests we are created in the image of a rational creator, which if true would make me a rational being by definition. Therefore, my version of the first premise supports the idea that I can assume my brain as being rational – because I posit that my brain is created by a rational being, and am myself created as a rational being. As opposed to premise 1 above, which at best should remain neutral in any assumption on rationality – or possibly out of prudence you really ought to assume that something merely the result of causality (or whatever) should be assumed to NOT be rational at the first instance, unless you have external evidence to the contrary.

I disagree with you that faith is the opposite of reason. Do you think Isaac Newton was devoid of reason because he had faith in God? If anything, I think it is highly irrational for beings who do not know the tiniest fraction of one percent about even our own universe to even begin to postulate on whether or not there might be powers higher and above of our own plane of existence. It is also phenomenally arrogant. Oh, and also there is no evidence for your own worldview, apart from your own self-justified conclusions on how you believe this universe to be best understood and measured (ie via the human scientific method). With those who follow faith, there actually is some evidence for what they adhere to (although you reject it) – in the form of the religious texts that actually exist. So your position is actually one where you have no justification for why you approach it that way, apart from the fact this is the method you have chosen is best to understand the universe for yourself – AND one where you have to refute the evidence that DOES actually exist in the form of religious texts.

You could of course argue scientific method is repeatable, observable etc etc – therefore is reliable, but this STILL falls down on three key points:

1) You can’t prove you can trust your own senses in the first place.

2) Say you repeat an experiment thousands of times over the course of your life, and always get the same result, has that proved the matter beyond ALL doubt then? Say the laws of physics are contingent on some invisible flux in the universe we cannot currently detect, and one day our planet will pass just outside of this flux such that all of the laws completely changed, then all that repeatability isn’t worth a damn is it?

3) Who is to say the things we think of as constant are even constant? Human beings have existed for the blink of an eye in the grand scheme of things, and have developed the modern scientific method over a mere couple of centuries. Take radiometric carbon dating for but one simplified example. We observe that carbon decay appears regular over a few decades, and assume that not only has the rate of decay always been regular but also that time has run at a constant rate for aeons. But we have utterly no proof of that whatsoever (if anything the law of relativity ought to imply the opposite, but hey ho – it’s only an assumption after all!) What is the margin of error of extrapolating 6 decades of semi-reliable data back say 5 million years? Oh, I’m sure it’s tiny…

Ace – see responses to Chas and True Scotsman. I do not invoke evolution. Evolution is entirely irrelevant here. You could have a theory that you were spontaneously created out of star-dust in a split second, or a theory that complex mammals developed over time via Evolution. It changes not the logic of my position that however you came about, in the absence of a rational creator then what logic do you have to assume rationality of your own brain if it is just a product of this universe?

WhiskeyDebates - Nice repeated use of the F word. Have you considered using wider sources to expand your lexicon – maybe a thesaurus? Or perhaps you feel the need to add weight to your argument through vulgarity for some reason? It serves only to undermine your point in my mind, but I will try and work with it.

Of course it could be applied to my worldview too, except that I’m happy to accept I take everything in life on faith. I think you do too. You have to, because you cannot prove your own senses are reliable. Perhaps you don’t like debating topics around solipsism, because you know you have no proof to refute it.

You have it backwards if you think I have no evidence for what I believe. The gospels about Christ claim to be eye-witness testimony. That is historical evidence. You can (and no doubt do) reject this evidence for whatever reasons you may have, but the evidence exists – like it or not! You on the other hand have no evidence for what you believe. You think the scientific method gives you some solid justification for interpretation, but it fails to the 3 closing points I put to True Scotsman above. Also, you have to hold to your worldview with no external justification, only what you as a human being have decided is the most valid way to explain and measure the universe. But say you are not really here on Earth at all – then all of your empiricism is a total waste of time.

Tell me, out of 100 trillion, approximately what number do you reckon humanity has reached in terms of the proportion of understanding about our own universe using the scientific method (if 100 trillion is total knowledge)?

Your position is one of pure arrogance and condescension.

Peebothuhul - Two points about my not introducing myself as new:

1) Yeah, I guess it would take a freakin genius to work out I’m new to the forum if I don’t state it in my opening post. You’d need to read the bit at the top where it says my username then “Newbie” with one star above all my posts… I have no idea what one star means, but judging by how many stars the rest of you have, I suspect it is fair indication of how new I am.

2) When I said I didn’t feel “welcome”, it wasn’t some needy leftie blub that I’m new to the forum and just want a hug from everyone. I implied that rather than welcoming a rational debate from somebody with a different worldview – in the main (although mercifully not from everyone, and thanks to those that didn’t) I have just received a condescending tirade about why you guys are so clever, superior and correct, and why I’m retarded for believing in some invisible sky-daddy.

DLJ again - “Solipsism gives 100% evidence that deities are ex imaginatione.”

10/10 for witty quip. 0/10 for logic. And the gospels about Christ, someone imagined all that did they? You have counter-evidence to support this statement of course?

Unbeliever – Yes I agree with most of your comments about solipsism. It doesn’t change my original question though. If your consciousness were just the thoughts of the Red King, then why the insistence on empiricism? I think you don’t like this line of debate around solipsism because you have no rational logic for choosing to be an atheist, rather than an agnostic. Hence why no-one will properly answer the question, presumably?

Deesse23 - The reason why I say that I am not actually invoking solipsism in the argument here is because my understanding of the definition is that as a metaphysical stance solipsism goes so far as to say nothing outside of one’s own mind actually exists. I am not saying that is the case, because I believe that stuff outside of my consciousness does exist. Hence why I don’t jump off the nearest high building (interesting you bring up jumping off buildings, because that a very similar line of argument Satan uses against Christ during the temptations).

To clarify, I don’t advocate solipsism. I don’t invoke it here. I do however ask a question of you that is closely related to part of solipsism. It is a very simple question. And one that everyone would seemingly rather sidestep than give a clear amicable answer. Why is that do you suppose?

Peebothuhul - See my clarification of my position on solipsism immediately above. Same closing question to you.

You boldly assert that in general the worldview held by most posters on this thread is based on "reality". But that is precisely the paradox I am addressing in my OP. How can you state it to be reality, when you cannot prove the reliability of the “interpretation machine” you are using to assess that "reality"?

Evolutionkills – nope, whatever you might consider to be “evidence” fails to the 3 points I closed with in my response to TrueScotsman above.

Your definition of solipsism is incomplete, as a metaphysical stance solipsism goes so far as to say nothing outside of one’s own mind exists. I do not advocate that.

Gilgamesh - that is a good suggestion, and a productive response. Thank-you so much.

I guess in layman’s terms, I am primarily asking how do different people on this forum deal with the problem that you can’t prove that your own brain/senses are reliable? Particularly for those people who insist on the scientific method as the bedrock of their worldview.

But further than that – if your assumption is that your brain is just made of the matter of this universe, and only came about through the causality of processes within this universe somehow, then you go on to say you have “concluded” this is the most likely way humanity came about based on weighing up the available evidence – how is it that you can rely on that as a conclusion? Because you can't get round the fact that your brain came up with that conclusion, but your proposal is that your brain just came about as a causality of processes. So what reason is there to trust any conclusion your brain comes up with, if you believe it is just a product of the matter and processes of this universe. At best it is circular and self-justifying.

I can already see some people think the question is irrelevant and don’t want to even debate it (hardly very “scientific” though).

And if atheists here are saying that they CAN trust their own brain in reaching their conclusions, then on what basis do those same atheists say that theists are irrational in reaching a conclusion about a deity using their brains as well. Because according to the atheist, the theist’s brain is also a product of this universe too. So how can the atheist say with utter certainty that they can definitely trust the conclusion they have made with their own brains, and that this is rational – but they cannot trust the conclusion of the theist, and that this is irrational – when both brains are the product of the of this universe (according to the atheist, that is)? Other than self-justified stance that the atheist assumes they are right with their worldview of how to interpret this universe, and that the theist is wrong.

Does that make sense? I don’t think I explained it very well.

Unfogged – See my closing 3 points to Truescotsman about why I don't think this panacea of testability and repeatability of scientific empiricism are actually as concrete as many people might believe them to be.

Truescotsman – That you think I have a hidden agenda is entirely your own inference and unfounded. I genuinely came here to listen to an alternate worldview, as one of the key reasons I reject reliance on the empirical (as a standalone way to test the validity of “stuff” at any rate) is this paradox that you cannot test how well calibrated your brain in the first place.

After a fashion, your response has somewhat demonstrated well to me your worldview. You believe you are rational, open-minded and base your conclusions on all the available evidence and studying into all avenues. Yet your demeanour suggests quite the opposite. Rather than openly debating this paradoxical topic, and explaining to me rationally and amicably how you have reached your conclusion, you haven’t really answered the question and have defensively responded in quite a barbed style. Is this really the demeanour of the rationalist, who is confident of their conclusions, and wants to explore other worldviews to make sure they have covered all possibilities?

Despite what you may think, I have come here in good faith to learn. I actually don’t mind too much if most of you want to be polemical muppets about how you choose to respond, and just use me as some sort of mental punchbag to vent your insecurities at because you can't deal with solipsism. As long as one person will take the time to explain their views to me clearly and calmly, then I can just ignore the rest of you and still get something out of this debate (although please do know that many of you have given off a crappy impression to me of proponents of your worldview, which supposedly stands for “rationality” and “tolerance”).

I have said all I need to say, and clarified and re-clarified as best I can. If there is someone out there who can give me a rationally explained response to my question, then please feel free to post it on here or PM me. Also anyone who wants the "last word" and fancies having another shot at me across the port bough, then please feel free to do so if it makes you happy.

Boo hoo. If you'll notice, in my first two responses to you, I was not snarky or rude in any way. I laid out my position and even defined my terms for you. I explained why the problem you presented isn't a problem. I explained why we don't need to validate the senses and our minds. I explained why the question of where the universe came from is fallacious. I explained how I can say that my conclusions are rational. I don't see where you've interacted with any of it. Instead you choose to whine about the way people have responded to you. You've gotten rational responses but they aren't what you want. You want us to throw up our hands in defeat and say "must be a god did it". You presuppositionalists are all the same. You get rational answers to your questions and you don't interact with them. You just declare them to be unsatisfactory without any explanation. Who has trouble dealing with solipsism? We don't need to deal with the arbitrary. It should be dismissed without comment. I stand by my conclusion that you are not at all interested in our answers. You put rational in quotes in your opening post. Why did you do that? You still refer to atheism as a worldview when it's been explained to you that it is not. You don't even try to integrate this.

Apparently, you find no fault with what I've written to you in answer to your challenge. So instead you complain about being used as a punching bag. don't come into the deep end of the pool if you can not even tread water.

Here's a question for you, which I'm almost certain you will not answer. How can theism be at all compatible with reason when it assumes the primacy of consciousness?

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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