Understanding and Truth
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06-03-2015, 02:58 AM
RE: Understanding and Truth
I personally think there's a disconnect between the mental states of religion and the scientific approach.

Religion: dogma, revealed truth, faith, authority-as-a-source-of-truth. In short the Truth is True and anything that contradicts it must be supressed. The idea is to *cling to* a certain interpretation. That's why defending the faith is necessary.

Science: probabilities, testing, revision. In short the Truth with a big T is unknown and all we have are approximations, and the idea is to *discard* unworkable hypotheses - no truth is sacred or protected from being challenged. Nor is anything accepted a priori. If anything is generally accepted, it is still not safe from refinement, criticism or revision, or indeed being chucked out wholesale, as the Phlogiston theory was.

I see no way to reconcile these two modes of thinking. Some people somehow manage via the cognitive dissonance route (as far as I can make out). I think the religious toolbox for finding out truth is deeply flawed but if that's the toolbox your parents hand you after you exit the womb you will understand the world in those terms and it will be hard for you to discard it.

In the past there was no perceived disconnect because people simply didn't know very much, so e.g. figuring out genes and alleles a la Mendel in the garden with the bean sprouts (the dirty bugger) was seen as *exploring* God's creation and not something to be feared. It's when people started hitting up against stuff that contradicted the Bible that things got interesting.

Christianity and most modern religions are stuffed chock-full of memes designed to direct inquiry along the lines of the faith/authority/revelation/tradition (thanks DLJ!) model which to most religious people seems very logical and like an honest way of trying to determine truth, but they *also* have a very anti-science bunch of memes to protect themselves from the hypothesis/test/discard methodology.

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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06-03-2015, 06:33 AM
RE: Understanding and Truth
(06-03-2015 12:47 AM)Fodder_From_The_Truth Wrote:  I think your point applies to some theists but not all. There are plenty Christians who believe in and understand evolution...they just give God the credit.

Then they don't, in fact, understand evolution.

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Science is not a subject, but a method.
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06-03-2015, 06:42 AM
RE: Understanding and Truth
(06-03-2015 06:33 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(06-03-2015 12:47 AM)Fodder_From_The_Truth Wrote:  I think your point applies to some theists but not all. There are plenty Christians who believe in and understand evolution...they just give God the credit.

Then they don't, in fact, understand evolution.

Ain't that the Truth.

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06-03-2015, 07:53 AM
RE: Understanding and Truth
(06-03-2015 06:33 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(06-03-2015 12:47 AM)Fodder_From_The_Truth Wrote:  I think your point applies to some theists but not all. There are plenty Christians who believe in and understand evolution...they just give God the credit.

Then they don't, in fact, understand evolution.

Just a couple days ago on FB my mate posted some stuff to which I replied, which ended with him claiming that "God automated some parts of creation" - apparently his idea is that God is some kinda cosmic coder who hand-coded the important bits like humans and left the rest to evolution Big Grin Certainly would explain the bugs Big Grin

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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06-03-2015, 08:45 AM
RE: Understanding and Truth
Another thing about the religious - most of the ones I've met anyway... They always look *back* to a golden age where the "sages" knew wtf was going on. They fear that knowledge is being *lost* and the world is becoming more "fallen" as original scriptures are no longer available and they have to rely on second hand accounts and as other religions or sects spring up and dilute the "True Faith". There are widespread "revival" movements looking to "return to the roots" of the True Faith (alleged roots anyway).

The only thing the religious (Christians in particular, as far as I know) can look *forward* to is the apocalypse and the end of the world.

Science looks *forward*. New knowledge is added daily. Outmoded ways of thinking are thrown out. Understanding broadens and deepens. We have *hope* for the future. Sure, there are challenges. Global warming, overpopulation, nuclear war - ironically a global apocalypse scenario is easy to imagine as a direct result of the progress we are so proud of... but at least *understanding* - arrived at by the scientific method - means we can make a plan, try to mitigate things. A plan that has a decent chance of working I mean - as opposed to a plan that involves chanting, incense and funny hats.

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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06-03-2015, 12:02 PM
RE: Understanding and Truth
(05-03-2015 07:47 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  Can a person be a Christian, and yet have a genuine understanding of atheistic counter perspectives? Or would that person’s Christianity be dependent on a fundamental misunderstanding? Can it only be preserved by not seeing clearly?

"Seeing" is not the same as accepting. Too often I have been in a discussion with a theist and brought them around to where they clearly knew there was no logical way to counter the point I was making. So they did understand and I could even see the look in their eyes - the frustration that they had no sound rebuttal. But then, instead of acknowledging that my point was valid, they said something like "no, that's just not right". And when I asked "why not?", they replied "because it isn't". It was pure refusal to accept the logical conclusion. So I don't think the issue is one of knowledge or understanding. As Chas said, it's one of whether a person allows them self to accept things merely on faith rather than requiring evidence.

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06-03-2015, 12:19 PM
RE: Understanding and Truth
(05-03-2015 07:47 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  ? Does a genuine understanding of unbelief, involve becoming an unbeliever, in the same way that a genuine understanding of evolution leads one to accept it?

No, understanding non-belief does not make you a non-believer the same way an understanding evolution leads you to accept it.

Evolution is tangible and can be proved.

Belief is not tangible like that. The existence of gods can not be proved or disproved. I cannot prove to you that there are no gods, and you can't prove there are any.

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06-03-2015, 05:57 PM (This post was last modified: 06-03-2015 06:21 PM by Tomasia.)
RE: Understanding and Truth
So it seems most people here overwhelming disagree.

That I could in fact be a christian, and yet have an honest understanding of various atheistic perspectives, and the counter arguments to theism. That I may be able to fully understand all the objections to my beliefs, and yet continue to be a believer. That it very well could be possible to be a believer, without depending on some fundamental misunderstanding. That I can fully understand my opposition and yet not agree with them.

In such a case the the difference would be what though? Differing values, as Chas seemed to suggest?

I can somewhat agree with this for my own person perspective. I can see that I don't value methodological naturalism, to the extent that many atheists do. That the particular lens in which they examine the world, is not valued to the same degree by me. And that I seem to place a greater value on my subjective evaluations and experiences in conceiving life, than they are willing to.
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07-03-2015, 05:51 AM
RE: Understanding and Truth
(06-03-2015 05:57 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  So it seems most people here overwhelming disagree.

That I could in fact be a christian, and yet have an honest understanding of various atheistic perspectives, and the counter arguments to theism. That I may be able to fully understand all the objections to my beliefs, and yet continue to be a believer. That it very well could be possible to be a believer, without depending on some fundamental misunderstanding. That I can fully understand my opposition and yet not agree with them.

In such a case the the difference would be what though? Differing values, as Chas seemed to suggest?

I can somewhat agree with this for my own person perspective. I can see that I don't value methodological naturalism, to the extent that many atheists do. That the particular lens in which they examine the world, is not valued to the same degree by me. And that I seem to place a greater value on my subjective evaluations and experiences in conceiving life, than they are willing to.

That seems to be the gist of it. How to explain the fact that you are willing to replace the value of evidence and logic with your subjective value?

What makes you think that whatever it is you feel is somehow more valuable or true than that which can be supported by reality?

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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07-03-2015, 06:19 AM
RE: Understanding and Truth
(06-03-2015 05:57 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  That I may be able to fully understand all the objections to my beliefs, and yet continue to be a believer.

Well, I don't know. Certainly I've never met, even among my very clever Christian mates, one who understands for example evolution (they admit it too), despite that they confidently assert that it is incorrect. The most I've ever gotten my one mate to concede (somewhat paraphrased) is that "I am no biologist and I think God may well work through evolution but I will say the following about Creation..." Facepalm

I think it might be possible though, to fully understand the objections to your beliefs and yet continue to be a believer, but IMO that's gonna require doublethink. Cognitive dissonance on a massive scale. *Refusal*, despite admitting and understanding the evidence, to reach a verdict other than the one you wanted.

The issue is that we are not dealing with e.g. two competing fashions here, or two alternative ways of thinking for which we cannot judge which is better. *Both* methods claim to describe reality, but when compared to reality only *one* stands up to rigourous investigation, precisely because it is *designed* to be modified and updated by such investigation. Religious ideas are rigid and cannot be modified - more of an unintended consequence of the invention of writing than anything else IMO.

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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