Thought of the day

I’m still waiting for someone, anyone!, to offer me even some evidence for God.

62 Responses

  1. Trees!

  2. Very good, Brian, the two-year-old’s answer. You can have a lollipop now.

  3. Hell! Hitler!

    Having hit upon trees as evidence for god and used hell and Hitler as counter-counter arguments, I have exhausted the potential of this thread. Have a nice day!

  4. dont hold your breath, hell, dont even wait, there is no evidence, apparently the buddha knew the answer, but as far as i know never gave it, so unless you wanna take up the way of the mystic yourself, i dont think theres any way of proving either way, and i doubt the way of the mystic would get you anywhere either.

  5. Inevitably any discussion over evidence of God will end with one of the following:

    – “You have to believe to see the evidence”.

    – “We have evidence, but we don’t want to tell you, because it’s better to believe without seeing”.

    – “Alright, God cannot be proven, but that just proves how awesome he is and that laws of physics don’t apply to him (e.g. God is love)”.

    – Pascal’s Wager / other non-evidence.

    The problem is what PZ Myers called the “moving target” of Christian apologetics. When cornered they will almost always retreat behind the ineffability-argument, diminishing their god to something that cannot be proven wrong, such as a feeling, but simultaneously making him completely irrelevant and powerless. This is, of course, not what they really believe in, but any discussions stops there. We can say it’s a little strange to call a feeling “God”, but that’s their right, and since we believe in feelings too, case closed.

    What any debate over religion should start with is asking the religious part to define the god-figure in question.

  6. No more miracles, loaves and fishes. Been too busy with the washing of the dishes.
    Peter Gabriel

    He incommunicado, no comment to make. He’s saying nothing at all.
    Dire Straits

    Enjoy.

  7. more like we exist rather not we dont exist, so why do we exist rather than not? do attribute this to a higher power? whether that be an omnipotent being, the universe itself, or a large mass of gods, godesses, and spirits, or no god or higher power at all, theres no way to prove any of it in a way that any person who wants to can observe. to say god does or does not exist is to say that you have a way of knowing this, which you dont. to say that god isnt necessary for our existence is another argument, however, and who is to say that god is necessary? any claim on either side of that argument isnt dealling with true reason, theyre simply finding reasons to believe whatever it is they want to believe. for instance, when dna was discovered it was used as evidence to fuel both sides of the argument, the simple fact is we cannot know, and if we can somehow know, theres no way of proving that our knowledge is valid, so in effect, this question cant be answered.

  8. @Yok:

    You do realise that’s exactly the atheist position, right? That the existence of God cannot be known, and must thus be presumed to be false until evidence either way is found.

    I’m assuming what you’re disagreeing with, if you are disagreeing, is that we should assume a claim to be false until we get evidence of it.
    If so, I recommend you read this piece from Ebonmuse:
    http://www.daylightatheism.org/2010/10/how-to-think-critically-xi.html

    Atheism is not claiming to know for a fact there is no God. It’s the default stance when there’s no evidence.

  9. Laughing @ yok’s rant of semi-English.

  10. Its the default stance because you say it is the default stance. There are no “default stances”. I have more political commenting on various blogs, so I’ve been trying to stay away from these topics at the moment.

  11. agnostic atheism. much stronger viewpoint to argue than gnostic theism, but im just saying i think its a premature decision to make to say “well hey, we got no reason to believe it so im going to presume its untrue” why not just accept that the question is left open, and not presume anything?

  12. i like at the end of that link, how it says that youll always find what youre looking for if you begin with your answer.

    and i agree that wishing for something doesnt get you it. the thing is that wishing is a part of thinking, and that thoughts influence actions, which get results. nothing gets you nowhere, but everything gets you somewhere. so wherever it is that you are, whatever situation you are in, however it is that youre living, your actions have played some part in determining those conditions. to say that you wished for something unconsciously is just saying that you acted in a certain way without anticipating the outcome of that action. just because you think about an outcome doesnt mean you have the thought process necessary to create productive action toward that outcome. but in a way, if you have critical thinking ability, and you start thinking about all the things you want, you start acting in ways that might get you there. if you have critical thinking ability, you dont say hey, theres no evidence so this is false, you say what the hell are these people thinking? and you realize that people arent “just crazy”, but they have, maybe even in some twisted way, reasons for whatever it is that they believe. you start asking questions of what might have influenced them to believe such a thing, and there you find the truth. thats been my take on the whole secret thing. to say that actions influencing outcome proves god’s existence or the existence of “the law of attraction” or whatever is just a way of trying to convert people to whatever kind of beliefs they might have

    ill give the most credit to the one who says we cant know and leaves it at that until evidence is discovered. saying that we cant know and so its false is a lot different than just saying we cant know. but we were talking about whether or not to presume falsity. ill say that ill definitely give more credit to one who presumes falsity in the absence of evidence than to one who assumes truth in the absence of evidence

  13. im just saying i think its a premature decision to make to say “well hey, we got no reason to believe it so im going to presume its untrue” why not just accept that the question is left open, and not presume anything?

    Because that’s giving special privileges.

    Are you agnostic about leprechauns? Are you agnostic about the existence of a tiny lion living inside one of your teeth, or do you – in everyday life – assume both to not exist?

    If you do, you understand the idea behind atheism: There is no reason to even consider something, until you get evidence of it. That’s not the same as claiming to know for a fact it doesn’t exist – you just assume it doesn’t until further notice, which is the default stance for everyone on topics they’ve never considered.

    ~
    Pure agnosticism, if such as thing exists, is saying that if something is not proven either way, there’s a 50/50 chance it exists.

    Atheism is the (correct) stance that if something isn’t proven either way, there’s an inifinitely small fraction of a percent chance it exists.

    This is basic math. There are an inifinite number of possible things that could exist. If the chance of their existence was anything above infinitely small, there would exist an infinite number of things in the world, because infinite divided by anything but inifinite is infinite.

  14. well then presuming the opposite would be placing special restrictions, wouldnt it?

    atheism is the stance that god does not exist
    theism is the stance that god exists
    religious agnosticism is the stance whether or not he exists cannot be known
    agnostic theism would be someone who believes in god, but admits we cannot know.
    agnostic atheism would be someone who believes god does not exist, but admits we cannot know

    i understand that your stance is that of an agnostic atheist. even if youre not “pure agnostic”, there are elements of agnosticism within the atheism you describe.

    pure agnosticism however, would not assume that theres a 50/50 percent chance that something unproven exists. pure agnosticism wouldn’t assume a percentage of likelyhood for something indeterminable. assumptions are not what agnosticism is about

  15. well then presuming the opposite would be placing special restrictions, wouldnt it?

    How so? How are you restricting something by not considering it until evidence is in?

    atheism is the stance that god does not exist

    Ah, here’s where you’re wrong.
    I believe I’ve already explained this to you several times, but I can see you don’t really read before answering, so I’ll repeat it again: atheism is not claiming to know God doesn’t exist.

    Agnosticism is not an alternative to atheism, it simply means whether you think something is knowable or not.
    A person can be either agnostic or gnostic atheist, as well as agnostic or gnostic theist, although I’m not convinced “gnostic atheists” exist. I’ve never met someone who claimed to know for a fact that god could not exist in any form.

    There is really no such thing as “just an agnostic”, as agnosticism says nothing about what you believe, it just says you don’t claim to know (about what?). You need to pair it with either theism or atheism for it to make sense.

    That means the people who proclaim themselves “pure agnostics” without either adding theist or atheist, have either misunderstood the atheist position or are simply afraid of admitting they don’t believe in God. You seem to belong in the former group.

  16. ok, well its not really placing special restrictions, at least not directly, but ill drop that cuz i dont think its really important.
    yes, i realize that gnostic/agnostic and theistic/atheistic are two seperate things. you hold either an agnostic or a gnostic belief. however a “purely agnostic” belief would be one that doesnt side with either atheism or theism. im not worried about “pure agnosticism”. what you seem to being saying in regards to atheism is that the agnostic part is just understood, and should be omitted. like you said, atheism is not claiming to know god doesnt exist, that would be gnostic atheism, and who the hell is a gnostic atheist? however, atheism is the standpoint that god doesnt exist.
    not that when i talked about agnosticism, i didnt say agnosticism is saying we dont know about god, i said religious agnosticism. i understand that. thats why no one can make a valid arguement for or against a gnostic religious standpoint, they can only argue that their beliefs cannot be disproved.

  17. however a “purely agnostic” belief would be one that doesnt side with either atheism or theism.

    Could you explain how that would be possible?
    How would you go about not believing something while also not not believing it?

    what you seem to being saying in regards to atheism is that the agnostic part is just understood, and should be omitted.

    What I’m saying is that atheism is an umbrella term for both agnostic atheists and gnostic atheists, obviously. Just like the word “car” is an umbrella term for both red cars, yellow cars, white cars, etc.

    It’s not wrong to describe a car as a red car if it is red, but it is wrong to contradict someone who says it’s a car, by saying “no, it’s not a car – it’s a red car”.

    however, atheism is the standpoint that god doesnt exist.

    That’s still wrong. Atheism is lack of belief in god. Nothing more. Whether you take that a step further into actively believing in their non-existence is irrelevant. Atheism is only the non-belief in deities. What you believe in top of that is outside the scope of the term.

    Personally I’m assuming the exact same position about gods as I would anything else.
    E.g. I have no reason to think there was a weightless mouse sitting on my head right now, would would jump away if I tried to touch it or look in a mirror. Since I can’t prove either its existence or lack of it, I will conclude that it effectively doesn’t exist until evidence is in. This is not the same as concluding it could not exist or no evidence could be found in the future – but I’m going to live as if it didn’t exist until further notice.

    I have a feeling you would do the same.

  18. Would would jump away => “that would jump away”.
    That were a few other typos (in top => on top, etc.), but that one was a little confusing.

    I don’t know why, but I always make more typos in English.

  19. That were? Ffs! “There were”.

    Maybe I should just stop trying.

  20. gnostism is seperate from theism. a purely atheistic standpoint doesnt know, and therefore doesnt side with any view that offers a solution, because the solution cannot be known.
    im not gonna argue with you about the definition of atheism, i think we both understand what the other means. not only that, but i agree with your definition of atheism, i just dont think that not “actively” believing in god is enough for me to call someone an atheist. if you dont believe in either god existing or not existing you would be an agnostic in the matter. you would still not believe that god exists, but you wouldnt believe the other way either so you wouldnt be an atheist. of course, god has to either exist or not exist, but you can still not believe in either conclusion while knowing that one conclusion has to be true. a simple lack of belief is taking an agnostic standpoint on the issue of theism vs atheism, a not knowing. you have to have a tendency towards favoring one over the other for me to consider you as either.

  21. btw, what other language(s) do you speak/know?

  22. a simple lack of belief is taking an agnostic standpoint on the issue of theism vs atheism

    Again, agnosticism merely means “not knowing”, it doesn’t explain what you don’t know. The word only makes sense when paired with a belief such as theism or so-called strong atheism (the belief there is no god).

    But I’ll give you that there’s a lot of confusion on the subject. Even such a serious encyclopaedia as Britannica gets it wrong. It is a fact, however, that the word atheism simply means “without god”, and that most – if not all – atheists simply don’t believe. They don’t presume to know that nothing godly can exist. That would be silly, as the term “god” cannot even be defined.

    “Agnosticism”, as a stand-alone term, is thus invented as an alternative to a misunderstood version of atheism, and the two are usually meant as the exact same thing.

    btw, what other language(s) do you speak/know?

    I’m from Denmark and have actually never been to an English-speaking country in my life. I do spell and speak English fine, though. For some reason I just make more typos in it – probably because I do have to think a little more when writing English, even if I feel fluent in it.

  23. i was saying that lacking a belief was taking an agnostic standpoint, thats all doesnt necessarily have to do with god or whatever
    ehh, people will use words differently, and thus a need to define terms sometimes.
    the confusion over the term “god” i think is a bit ridiculous. personally, i think that if people would just realize that there is a “spiritual” component to being a human, and not try to define god as a person, or even as a thinking entity, and just letting god be that “spiritual” component of life that we connect to in whatever way, there would be a lot less confusion and religion would begin to make a lot more sense to people. instead of having to tell people that their institutionalized beliefs are warped and misguided, we could all just agree that there is more to life than what we see, and we could try to be grateful for it, and just forget about “god”
    thats cool, im just an english speaking american lol. i know a little bit of spanish and japanese, enough to maybe have an idea of bits someone is saying, but im definitely not fluent in anything else

  24. i think that if people would just realize that there is a “spiritual” component to being a human

    I would gladly if I saw a reason to. What exact “spiritual component” are you referring to, and what evidence to you have that it’s there?

    “Spirituality” is another of those vague words that’s ultimately useless if you don’t define it further. Some people would simply say that our spirit is the fact that we live while other things do not, and since we can all agree that we live, there’s no discussion. Others would insist the spirit is some sort of ghost inside us that controls our real selves. For this I would require evidence. I’m assuming you’re referring to something in-between?

    we could all just agree that there is more to life than what we see

    Absolutely. It’s clear we will never know everything there is to know – that would make us the gods – but that’s exactly where the null-hypothesis comes in.

    I, for one, would find it terribly annoying to go about my daily business constantly thinking “Hmm, there could be an invisible wall in front of me right now, as I have no evidence there is not. Is it prudent to keep walking?”
    Instead I assume it to not be there – and again I’ll take the wild guess you do as well.
    Null-hypothesis is the only thing that makes any kind of sense: Always assume something to not exist, happen or be unless you have any evidence to the contrary. This is because there are an infinite number of possible things that could exist or happen, and were we to consider them all, we could never actually do anything.

    Again basic math tells us that since there are an infinite number of things that could be, and the number of things that really do exist is finite, the chance of any specific, unproven thing existing is 1/infinity, which is – in all practical matters – the same as 0.

  25. when i say that we are spiritual beings, im talking about the fact that we have conscious experience. whether or not we have free will, or a god is beside the point. i refer to the fact that we have the power to influence our bodies through our thoughts, and that our experiences are not limited to our perceptions of the physical world.
    of course, our senses tend to be pretty damn useful in helping us to avoid danger and to percieve the physical world in which we exist and by which we are immediately affected. if theres an invisible wall, either its some crazy new technology, or it isnt immediately important in our day to day lives and may not even affect us in any way.

  26. when i say that we are spiritual beings, im talking about the fact that we have conscious experience

    Right. My first guess. In that case it’s obvious I won’t disagree with you – we are alive while other things are not, and if you prefer to call that spirituality, then of course everyone can agree we are spiritual.
    Not exactly sure of the implications of that, though, if there are any.

    if theres an invisible wall, either its some crazy new technology, or it isnt immediately important in our day to day lives and may not even affect us in any way.

    Exactly! Now we’re getting somewhere.
    You’re arguing that because we have no evidence of either its existence or non-existence, the likelihood of it existing or interfering with us in any way is practically zero, and we can safely disregard it in our daily lives.

    Now try applying that to a god. “If there is a god, it isn’t immediately important in our day to day lives and may not even affect us in any way”. The rational conclusion is the same as well, and it’s not to go around wondering if wall or god is really there, or to give both possibilities equal consideration. It’s simply to ignore it and assume it isn’t there until we have a reason to think it is.

  27. well => wall.

  28. im not exactly saying that our alive-ness is what makes us spiritual. its the fact that we have self conscious experience and that we dream and have auras that are controllable and energies within us that we can learn to manipulate.

    see, for me, i believe in the power of entheogens. entheogen means generating god within. this refers to things like magic mushrooms, marijuana, iboga, ayahuasca, lsd, dmt, salvia, morning glory, and many other now illegal and legal “drugs”. what ive learned from these is that we do have these auras and energy fields and that they do exhibit influences on one another. for me, the spirit is nothing more than the unseen life force. it isnt necessarily cells or molecules or anything, but its the force of energy that accompanies our life. it is the fact that we arent simply just conscious, but that we can also delve deep into that consciousness through meditation. i think that what religious people nowadays who claim that god is there and that they know all of these things forget that their bibles ultimately came from people who were on drugs, powerful entheogens, and yet they condemn drugs. i believe that there is powerful meaning and truth in these religious texts, but that they should never be taken word for word. because people take these texts word for word is why we have all of this confusion over religion. if everyone stepped back and started thinking about things without the veil of society we would be a lot better off, and im not trying to advocate entheogens or anything, but that is one way that it ha been achieved in the past.

    and yea, its not even a question of does the wall exist or not, its just that its not going to affect us and so the question is irrelevant. something like the question of god, while its possible to apply the same logic, carries a lot more implications than a wall. a wall you might just run into and say wtf, but with god, there is a whole range of beliefs that tie into the reality or non reality of god, and some of those implications include eternal life and death, something we as humans, concerned for our lives, are obviously going to tend to care about.

  29. Hehe, I suspected that yok’s ramblings were drug induced. Thatis why I mostly ignored them.

  30. its the fact that we have self conscious experience and that we dream…

    Yeah, so far so good. We are conscious and we dream. Still not sure of the implications, but it’s true.

    …and have auras that are controllable and energies within us that we can learn to manipulate.

    Whoa, whoa, whoa! Where did that come from? Controllable auras? Do you have evidence of this? I certainly don’t agree that we are spiritual, if by that you mean we have some sort of manipulable energy-halo around us all, that can be manipulated by will.

    see, for me, i believe in the power of entheogens. entheogen means generating god within. this refers to things like magic mushrooms, marijuana, iboga

    Well, I’ve never tried any drugs myself, but I’m sure they can feel like meeting God or whatever – but this brings us right back to the definition question.
    If we are to figure out if God could exist or not, we first have to define him/it. If what you call God is simply a conscious experience brought about by a physical substance, then there’s nothing supernatural about it, and God can obviously exist. He’s still powerless, however, as all he is, is a thought in someone’s head.

    This is exactly why we need to know what God is to have this discussion – and if we can’t define him, the discussion is irrelevant. It would be like debating if a “Gnyfnirk” exists.

    and yea, its not even a question of does the wall exist or not, its just that its not going to affect us and so the question is irrelevant.

    No, now you’re missing the point again. How do you know the wall won’t affect you? Do you have evidence that an invisible wall is not in front of you right now? One that will actually hurt if you walk into it?

    You don’t think there is one, because there is no evidence that there is, and you’ve walked forward before without hitting one. But do you know there isn’t?
    Are you more sure of the non-existence (or irrelevance) of this wall than of the non-existence of God?

  31. all of religion is drug inspired
    im only saying that entheogen took its name from roots meaning generating god within. im not saying that it actually does this or anything. it is true that we have an aura. whether or not you agree that we can manipulate this aura, it does exist. most of the time, i cannot sense my own aura, or detect any movements within it. however, under the influence of entheogens, i sense the auras of other living things regardless of whether or not i can see them. i know that there are definitely correlations between my perception of this aura and its movement, and the reality of my body and its movement. i talk about entheogens and auras because entheogens were once used and continue to be used by many people for healing purposes. healing of both the mind and body. ayahuasca is one of these traditional medicines that cures by purging the body of the illness, but this purge is acompanied by a very profound “spiritual” experience, spiritual experience being one that transforms a person’s psyche in a relatively short amount of time. when you consider that emotions such as stress and healthiness can have profound effects on health, this double purge of mind/body begins to make sense. im not saying that i believe entheogens to let us see the reality of god, im saying that i believe they do believe they have power. i believe that they allow us to notice things that we normally wouldnt, by opening our minds up to sensations that we wouldnt normally perceive, such as can be percieved by meditation. in a sober state. a person will for the most part see what they expect to see. the mind basically has a library of information connected to concepts so that we dont have to directly perceive this information, only its corresponding images and that we have created in our minds. entheogens allow us to get closer to this information by disconnecting us from our catalog of images so that we can easier see the reality. we have in our brains what are called novelty detectors, so that when something out of the ordinary occurs, our minds are drawn to it, such as when a the breaking of a bottle breaks the silence, our minds are drawn to that sound. entheogens make these novelty detectors fire more rapidly, and as a result, we notice more things than we normally would. because we recognize more novelty, we are able to notice small influences that other peoples actions and auras, as well as our own thoughts and feelings, have on our own energies. proof of the aura can be found in kirilian photography. there have been experiments where kirilian photos have been taken of leaves, and and aura can be seen. rip off a piece of that leaf, and there remains the aura of the torn off piece of leaf projecting from the remaining base of leaf. this aura, over time fades. living things do have auras, and living things to respond to auras.

  32. yok is full of horseshit and needs to seek mental help.

  33. how do i know the wall will not affect me? i do not, but i know that my senses are enough to let me know whether or not a large object is going to directly interact with my physical body.
    your argument is ruining the base of all that you claim we can know. you say that things can be proved through scientific evidence, well here is the science: nobody injures their physical bodies through direct physical contact with an invisible wall. that much i can be sure of. if we created an invisible wall, that would be a different story. but as of yet im sure were talking about a non physical invisible wall. sure we have proof for radio waves, and they do exist, we walk around through them all the time but the reason i dont see them is because they arent evolutionarily important, what has always been evolutionarily important for humans is what is physical, because there is no way we could interact with this world if we didnt have perceptions corresponding to this physical world.
    the only reason to be less sure of this invisible wall directly in front of me than the existence of god is that if either exists, the invisible wall will definitely exist in less space, god is supposedly everywhere.

  34. thanks newenglandbob, i hope you realize im not trying to make any assumptions about what any evidence means, im merely entertaining thoughts. you definitely can entertain thoughts without believing them. whats funny about you saying only that my words are drug induced and i need mental help, is that psychiatry is now looking towards these drugs for mental help.

  35. Bye, bye, nutso. Unsubscribing now, rant on…LOL

  36. reductio ad absurdum, nice way to minimalize what im saying instead of offering an idea of what YOU might think the evidence means

  37. it is true that we have an aura. whether or not you agree that we can manipulate this aura, it does exist.

    I hope you don’t really think this is how it works: that you can just say “oh, but there is an aura”, and I’ll have to concede.

    Where is your evidence? Why should I believe this? If there is no evidence, why do you believe it?

    i know that my senses are enough to let me know whether or not a large object is going to directly interact with my physical body.

    Again you are missing the point. How do you know that?

    you say that things can be proved through scientific evidence, well here is the science: nobody injures their physical bodies through direct physical contact with an invisible wall

    EXACTLY! Once again you take the words right out of my mouth, but still fail to see the point, apparently.

    Yes, we can assume there is no invisible wall, because no one has ever seen any evidence of it. Nobody has ever been walking along peacefully only to suddenly slam into an invisible surface. That’s lack of evidence, which means we can assume it isn’t there.

    Just as nobody has ever seen or measured God or any effect of him. Again this constitutes complete a lack of evidence that means we can assume he isn’t there,

  38. the aura is an electromagnetic field of information generated by the body, may have something to do with biophotons too, idk
    i know that because my senses have never failed me in such a way.

  39. the aura is an electromagnetic field of information generated by the body, may have something to do with biophotons too, idk

    Uh… What? An electromagnetic field of information? O…kay. Still, where’s your evidence? I believe this is the third time I’m asking you for that.

    i know that because my senses have never failed me in such a way.

    First of all: Do you believe that if something hasn’t happened before, then it couldn’t possibly ever happen in the future? If not, then you don’t “know”, you just assume.

    Secondly: You are still missing the point. Just as you disregard the wall because you have never seen evidence of it before, shouldn’t we disregard God when we have never seen evidence of him?

  40. http://www.journaloftheoretics.com/Articles/4-2/Smith.htm

    and you know these lamps?: http://usa.esaleschina.com/products/l-plasma-lights-ball-hair-removal-plasma-light-tube-1801-40.jpg when you touch it the light moves towards your hand, and it is pulled towards your hand before you even make any contact with it.

    i understand the concept, but do you honestly believe its possible for us to stub our toe on an invisible wall that just happens to be someplace with no human origin? in my mind, i know that there is nothing there. if i happened to be wrong, it doesnt mean i didnt know what i knew, its just means that what i knew was wrong. people have a lot more reason to believe in a higher power of some sort than in invisible walls they might accidently walk into.
    i dont believe that we should simply disregard god for lack of evidence. and honestly, if were talking about “god” in the modern biblical sense, i absolutely do not believe in him. and in my mind, im almost sure enough to say that i know a god like that does not exist. that is not to say that there is not some sort of higher power, or connection, between all things. i believe that there is a first time for everything, but i trust human senses enough to inform me about my surrounding environment to know in my own mind, regardless of the reality, that i am not going to stub my toe on an invisible wall.

    also, by the scientific method, shouldnt we test particularly testable things to see if concepts god is related to are possible. not ridiculous tests answering questions like do people get what they pray for? but questions like what are the effects of entheogens and what is possible through dream states? after all, religion is based off of entheogenic experiences. if we always waited around for evidence before ever investigating anything, science probably would not be so advanced right now.

  41. what i mean to say is that religion at its roots isnt just complete bullshit and is a lot more symbolic than many are willing to let on. when you start taking the words too literally you run into problems. the problem with words is that they arent always enough to convey a complete understanding, especially a symbolic meaning over millenniums, but its the best we can do.

  42. oyea, and those lamps, idk really know about that but it seems to make sense to me.

  43. Yok, I understand the concept of thinking faster than you can type. But I try to limit my posts to no more than 2 in a row. I suffer from the unfortunate condition of having my mind work faster than my hands can keep up with,

    I understand that the important thing is to get your point across, but still.

  44. http://www.journaloftheoretics.com/Articles/4-2/Smith.htm
    and you know these lamps?: http://usa.esaleschina.com/products/l-plasma-lights-ball-hair-removal-plasma-light-tube-1801-40.jpg

    Now you’re arguing that we have a magnetic field. That’s not a point of disagreement – we do have magnetic fields.
    What you should be providing evidence is your initial claim, that this magnetic field is an aura that can be manipulated by will and have some sort of demonstrable effect.

    i understand the concept, but do you honestly believe its possible for us to stub our toe on an invisible wall that just happens to be someplace with no human origin?

    In practicality, no. In theory, yes – but it’s extremely unlikely, which means we can completely disregard the possibility on our day to day lives, until we get some evidence it’s there.

    But this is exactly my point, which you have apparently missed again. The fact that the invisible wall’s existence is neither proven or disproven does not mean both possibilities should be given equal attention. It means we should ignore the possibility of its existence until any evidence is found.

    This is not just my opinion, this is a basic necessity of even having a day to day life, as we could otherwise wonder about an infinite number of possible things that could block our way or force us to take different actions, and we would never get anything done.

    The so-called “agnostic” idea that the existence and non-existence of God are even remotely equal in likelihood, is therefore a special privilege given only to God.

    what i mean to say is that religion at its roots isnt just complete bullshit and is a lot more symbolic than many are willing to let on

    The only way religion would not be bullshit is by taking out all the supernatural elements, which could very well originally be symbolically meant in most modern religions, but the question remains: if everything is symbolic and there are no gods, miracles or other supernatural things in it, why call it religion?

  45. lol, ill try to think before i type a bit more from now on

    if your eyes can project an electromagnetic force or whatever, then looking around is a manipulation of not just your eyes, but of the direction of the electromagnetic force of the eyes. if brainwaves can be altered through meditation, and brainwaves project electromagnetic waves, that is a manipulation of the electromagnetic field.

    i dont think regarding god as nonexistant is so much as a basic necessity to having a day to day life as regarding invisible walls as nonexistant.

    call it religion because it is an insitutionalized spiritual belief held by many. if we dont understand all that is natural, how are we to say we know what is supernatural?

  46. if your eyes can project an electromagnetic force or whatever, then looking around is a manipulation of not just your eyes, but of the direction of the electromagnetic force of the eyes. if brainwaves can be altered through meditation, and brainwaves project electromagnetic waves, that is a manipulation of the electromagnetic field.

    And now you’re arguing that we can move our own eyes and alter our own brain waves. Once again, that’s hardly a point of disagreement. Of course we can control our own thoughts and position of movable body parts to some degree. That’s not the question, and it doesn’t constitute any sort of aura with special properties.

    What you’re saying is the same as claiming that you can wear down roads by sheer will, because you can will yourself to get in a car and drive on them. It may be technically true, but it’s not relevant and you know it.

    What’s interesting is: can you manipulate the direction of other people’s eyes through will?

    i dont think regarding god as nonexistant is so much as a basic necessity to having a day to day life as regarding invisible walls as nonexistant.

    Once again, that’s not the point.
    Yes, the wall would intrude more in your day to day life, so it’s more of a necessity to disregard.
    But are you seriously arguing that we should judge the truth value of something based on how annoying it would be if it existed?

  47. ok, the aura is the electromagnetic field generated by our bodies. by manipulating our thoughts and brainwaves, we influence the electromagnetic field of our bodies. the electromagnetic fields our our bodies can influence other electromagnetic fields and other electromagnetic fields can influence our own. also, i dont see any better explaination for shared hallucinations via entheogens than the interaction and interpretation of these fields. i dont think there is any better way to explain this kind of telepathy.
    of course, you would have to read up on ayahuasca ceremony experiences and such to get a feel for the kinds of unexplained experiences people have, that can’t simply be argued away as a result of a single mind’s processes.

    im saying of course we should disregard these things in navigating our day to day life, but if were after the truth of what exists and does not, we can’t know the truth so theres no reason to assume anything. believe in god if its beneficial and dont if you dont think you can benefit. what ive been saying from the beginning is that if you can’t know, dont assume either stance. of course it is operationally beneficial to disregard these things, but when you really want to know the reality outside of just what can be scientifically proven, in a scientifically verifiable way, dont assume anything. its up to everyone what they will and will not make assumptions regarding, but as for me im not going to assume anything. i just don’t give the issue relevance when contemplating my actions, because i have no need to.

  48. quantum entanglement might also explain some instances of perceived “6th senses”

  49. believe in god if its beneficial and dont if you dont think you can benefit.

    So you do think we should judge the truth of something based on how nice it feels?

    what ive been saying from the beginning is that if you can’t know, dont assume either stance.

    I know. And I’ve been contradicting you all along, by proving to you that we all assume the negative stance on everything we don’t specifically want to believe or give special privileges to, such as god. I’ve also explained quite clearly how that’s the only rational stance.

    Assuming a negative is still not the same as believing you know it to be false – you are not assuming knowledge of the unknowable, as you apparently want to be the case – but you cannot give consideration to every possible idea, since they are infinite.

    You have admitted you assume the invisible wall in front of you to be false, because you have no evidence of it, and because every time you have walked into something, there has been another object there to explain it.
    Now try applying the same logic to God.

    as for me im not going to assume anything

    But you do about everything except God – that’s the point. You assume pink lions to be false, you assume invisible walls to be false, etc, and that’s completely rational without evidence. But refusing to assume God to be false on top of all of this is hypocritical. You are not being consistent in your assumptions and giving theism special privileges.

  50. i said nothing about judging the truth of god, i said we cant judge the truth so were left to believe whatever it is that we want.
    i realize assuming things to be false is not the same as thinking you know them to be false. i assume a physical invisible wall to be false, since if it was physical i would risk inury by stepping into it. it might exist, but for me to worry about hurting myself on invisible physical walls, i would lose my capability to ever get anything done. as for an invisible wall that affects me in no perceivable way, i dont make any assumptions on it, because i have no way of knowing if it does or does not exist, since it would not be felt by my senses. but as such it holds no relevance to my life, and therefore i still dont make any assumptions, i just disregard it. as for god, he may be invisible, but even if he is, he is believed to permeate every facet of our existance. to explain something scientifically in no way shape or form holds the potential to disprove god. it also holds no potential to prove god, but only to collaborate certain ideas or superstitions that people may have had in the past to give them substance, and to give us an idea of why people may have believed such things. i agree with you, theres no way we can know. and like you, i dont assume his existance. anything that can be measured by my senses, i assume either the existance or nonexistance of. things that cannot be measured by the senses, i have no reason to believe anything about, except that all i know is that they can’t be measured by the senses.

  51. i said nothing about judging the truth of god, i said we cant judge the truth so were left to believe whatever it is that we want.

    And that’s where we disagree completely. Not knowing does not mean you can just pick whatever you want to be true.
    You are of course entitled to believe whatever you want, but it’s not rational, logical or in any way coherent to do so.

    Truth doesn’t care about wishes. The best we can do is hope to find it, and acknowledge that in some cases we never will. Inventing stuff to fill the gaps is religious thinking.

    i assume a physical invisible wall to be false, since if it was physical i would risk inury by stepping into it. it might exist, but for me to worry about hurting myself on invisible physical walls, i would lose my capability to ever get anything done.

    Bravo. You’ve understood my point completely, it seems, although you still fail to apply the exact same logic to God.

    things that cannot be measured by the senses, i have no reason to believe anything about

    So that makes the difference to you?
    You’re saying that if there’s any possible way to measure or tell if something exists, but we just haven’t found or tried it yet, then you’ll assume it to be false until proven true — but with things that cannot ever be proven either way, you’ll assume their existence and non-existence to be remotely equal in likelihood? Is that understood correctly?

    If so, can’t you see how inconsistent that is? An object’s likelihood of existence does not depend upon the possibility of detection.

  52. Damn. Small failure in the quotes. I’ll just try again, and if Michael sees this and can be bothered to, he can delete the previous post.

    i said nothing about judging the truth of god, i said we cant judge the truth so were left to believe whatever it is that we want.

    And that’s where we disagree completely. Not knowing does not mean you can just pick whatever you want to be true.
    You are of course entitled to believe whatever you want, but it’s not rational, logical or in any way coherent to do so.

    Truth doesn’t care about wishes. The best we can do is hope to find it, and acknowledge that in some cases we never will. Inventing stuff to fill the gaps is religious thinking.

    i assume a physical invisible wall to be false, since if it was physical i would risk inury by stepping into it. it might exist, but for me to worry about hurting myself on invisible physical walls, i would lose my capability to ever get anything done.

    Bravo. You’ve understood my point completely, it seems, although you still fail to apply the exact same logic to God.

    things that cannot be measured by the senses, i have no reason to believe anything about

    So that makes the difference to you?
    You’re saying that if there’s any possible way to measure or tell if something exists, but we just haven’t found or tried it yet, then you’ll assume it to be false until proven true — but with things that cannot ever be proven either way, you’ll assume their existence and non-existence to be remotely equal in likelihood? Is that understood correctly?

    If so, can’t you see how inconsistent that is? An object’s likelihood of existence does not depend upon the possibility of detection.

  53. if there is a possibility of something’s detection, and it remains undetected, i can assume that it doesnt exist within the range of detection. not necessaily its complete nonexistance.
    if theres no way of detection, i can disregard the idea of it but not necessarily assume its falsity. doesnt mean i assume a probability, since theres also no way of calculating such a probability.
    assuming falsity for the sake of maneuverability is quite a bit different than actually believing in the assumed falsity. i think its a pretty coherent thing to assume that if i do not detect a wall as i pass through or into its space, then there is no detectable wall. doesnt mean the wall doesnt exist, just means i havent detected it, and i can safely assume its falsity because it doesnt bear me any immediate possibility of danger.

    you say that not knowing doesnt mean you can just pick whatever you want to be true, and actually i agree with that. assuming falsity, in my view, is almost like picking whatever it is that you are wanting to be true. because we dont know, i stick to just being ok with the fact that i dont know

  54. i think we both believe we cannot know. we just have different ideas of what we should do with that knowledge

  55. Sorry guys. Next time I will remember to say “Auras!” along with “Trees!”, “Hell!”, and “Hitler!”.

    My bad.

  56. Godwins law: Invoked

  57. I’m sorry you already invoked it, about 10 seconds into this string. Really?

  58. My sentence has several reasonable interpretations, which I should have realized. It is poorly written.

    a) Next time I will remember to say: “Auras!”, “Trees!”, “Hell!”, and “Hitler!”, as this time I did not remember to say any of those things.

    b) Next time I will remember to say: “Auras!”, “Trees!”, “Hell!”, and “Hitler!”, as this time I did not remember to say all of those things.

    c) Next time I will remember to say “Auras!” when I remember to say: “Trees!”, “Hell!”, and “Hitler!”, which I obviously remembered to say this time (see above).

    I meant c).

    My point was that this question, while subject to Godwin’s law, is also subject to Dillahunty’s law, which is basically: As a list of religious apologetics grows longer, the probability of the existence of trees being cited as evidence approaches 1.

    Furthermore, the only interesting things one can learn from such a thread have to do with the psychology of people defending nonsense, and single-words serving as placeholders for arguments in note card style are more than sufficient since this has been done to death. I attempted to show, rather than merely say, that theistic arguments are shallow, predictable, and discredited.

    Theists think they are presenting a new way of looking at things to the atheist by noting the existence of the sublime, but are in fact so uninspired that of the myriad of phenomena on the earth the very one that they choose to illustrate this is always the same.

    Actually, I think I disagree with Slater and Nate, but I’m not entirely clear on what they think.

    Nate said: “Its the default stance because you say it is the default stance. There are no “default stances”.”

    Slater said:”This is not just my opinion, this is a basic necessity of even having a day to day life, as we could otherwise wonder about an infinite number of possible things that could block our way or force us to take different actions, and we would never get anything done.”

    My approach to thinking about the subject begins with the idea that all probabilities must add up to 100%. The main problem with assuming anything has a significant likelihood of being true is that it takes a slice of the pie. If the probability of a die landing on six is 1/3, that only leaves 2/3 for all other possibilities. The problem with making up complicated conspiracy theories in the absence of evidence is that you must assign probabilities to possibilities a) according to neutral rules or b) not according to neutral rules (i.e. arbitrarily).

    Consider the possibility that, using advanced technology and magic, a 15th century Chinese peasant, the Greek Pantheon of gods, and the Super Friends have teamed up to build a unique indestructible invisible fortress levitating above Houston to protect themselves from hip hop music, Olympia Snowe, and quackaducks.

    a)

    The problem with believing this comes from the specificity beyond the available evidence. There is no better reason to believe such a fortress unique than that there are an abundance of them, nor that this particular cast of characters built it for this reason. Postulated indestructible fortresses could exist at least in the sense that they haven’t been rigorously disproved, but just think of all hypothetical weaponry that is thereby invalidated. The sword that can cut through anything, the cannon that can blast through anything, the Yaweh that can magic his way through anything…etc.

    So the possibility of the wall that blocks anything decreases the likelihood of each of the infinite weapons that break anything from existing, and each of those decreases the likelihood of each indestructible wall, shield, tank top etc. existing, and so on for each element of the story.

    Being fair among possibilities for which there is no good evidence can basically only mean disregarding them all pending more evidence. Giving more probability to any one than that means that to be consistent one must do that with all the other infinities of possibilities, an infinity of which militate against that one.

    b)

    Arbitrarily deciding the mere possibility of (enter random nonsense here)’s truth *means* that it should be given serious consideration doesn’t make sense. Anyone who does this is basically arbitrarily picking some conspiracy theory with no broader justification. It may be true that they would never actually pick something falsified as something to believe in, but that’s hardly impressive. It means *the reason* (sufficient condition) they believe what they do *cannot* be merely its status as an unfalsified theory because there are so much other unfalsified theories they don’t credit and indeed can’t credit because they exclude the chosen belief. It admittedly may be a reason they believe what they do as a necessary though not sufficient condition, which puts it in the same category as “being alive”.

    So i don’t say that not believing in something short of hearing evidence for it should be the “default stance” before thinking about how the probabilities affect each other, but after thinking about it that way it is now my functional “default stance”. I’m not sure which usage Nate meant, nor if my explanation of why it is my default stance lines up with Slater’s.

  59. I meant crocoducks, not quackaducks. My brain just has trouble processing creationist levels of stupidity sometimes.

    Obviously, there is nothing to fear from the quackaducks, making that scenario completely ridiculous, unlike when “crocoducks” replaces “quackaducks” ;-). In which case it’s clearly just one equally valid paradigm deserving of respect.

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