Archive for nglreturns.myfreeforum.org Nglreturns is a forum to discuss religion, philosophy, ethics etc...

NGLReturns Daily Quiz - Play here!
 



       nglreturns.myfreeforum.org Forum Index -> Atheist chat
Boss Cat

Now if you want to make us atheists...

Not all atheists are republican and not all republicans are atheists; I know several atheist monarchists and four of the most committed republicans I have met are CofE vicars.

However, in my observation there is a kind of cross over, the subset of atheist republicans, seems quite sizeable.

And they both, sometimes, use similar tactics that I think are bound to fail.

Republicans will often say we, the people, should choose our own leader - Monarchy is outdated and undemocratic, let the people speak.  When it is pointed out that, at the moment at least, the Queen seems quite popular and most people don't seem to want her replaced, some republican can become quite insulting about ordinary people.   They describe the public as brainwashed into deference, needing to be educated to think for themselves to agree with them.  This treats the people with contempt. To do them credit some republicans notice this and want to distance themselves from this thinly disguised liberal metropolitan elitism.

I see similar with atheism.  Every Saturday, in town, we used to have an admittedly intrusively loud group of Christians with a massive sound system playing music and handing out invitations to their church.  Yes, they could be annoying but they were never rude or insulting to or about anyone.  In their place more recently was an atheist, a middle aged man,  Now he was quieter but his main argument seemed to be that he was cleverer than anyone else.  He put up a poster with two pictures of people at their worship, one from centuries ago, one modern with the slogan 'stupid then, stupid now'.

You get that on here, but only from some.  But there is sometimes direct insult, calling believers deluded or stupid or worse. More gently there is a pitying tone - 'some people seem to need to believe in something, Sometimes it's subtle  - 'there is not a shred of evidence...', the unstated inference being 'so the billions who find evidence are clearly dim; sometimes they use euphemisms - ' let's say misled...', the  inference being 'but no-one pulls the wool over MY eyes').

Is it effective though? wouldn't a stronger argument be, well an argument?  Do you think simple insults convince anyone?  They do convince some; people who don't want to seem thick, or who want to be part of the in group.  But are they really the people you want?

Are there any atheists on here who see this trend?  I know some who do, and hate it.
Leonard James

What you say, BC, is mostly true, and at times I am as guilty as anybody of such daft behaviour.

However, I think it is inevitable, given that many of us have such strong convictions about our beliefs. We all speak from personal experience which is by definition only applicable to oneself.

Those of us of a more scientific frame of mind tend to consider that believing something for which we see no evidence is to be deluded, but clearly the believer does see evidence, even though we discount it as a misinterpretation of experiences.

I try not to be too scathing, but confess that some posters present such cock-and-bull stories to justify Bible accounts that I am pushed over the edge. I apologise to anybody that I have offended in this manner, and will try harder to avoid repeating it.

The truth is that the whole subject of religious belief is so complicated that to try to unravel it and come to any other conclusion than WE DON'T REALLY KNOW is just a waste of time. It is just our cussedness that keeps us yapping on.
Lexilogio

But I have a scientific frame of mind, and am a believer.
The Boyg

Lexilogio wrote:
But I have a scientific frame of mind, and am a believer.


Me too.

Looks like just another example of ridiculous prejudice against believers to me.  
gone

I am an agnostic and support the Monarchy
northernstar

I admire the Queen but not the hangers on,  they say you can't choose family!! As for being atheist, that's me and would stay one, if the Christian god was proven , I might acknowledge it but I wouldn't worship it.
Boss Cat

That was remarkably honest Leonard!  I think we all do something similar in private; when I have my daily rant at Today or my weekly rant at Question Time or something phrases like 'turnip headed  bilge', 'crud mongering tithead' or 'narcissistic arsehole' and such like come streaming out.   I am, however, aware that this is not a sound and critical analysis!

I am not scientific and am a believer, so I fit that stereotype, anyway.  But it is interesting what has happened; against all the evidence'scientific frame of mind' has become synonymous with atheist.  So perhaps this approach is successful.
genghiscant

Quote:
You get that on here, but only from some.  But there is sometimes direct insult, calling believers deluded or stupid or worse. More gently there is a pitying tone - 'some people seem to need to believe in something, Sometimes it's subtle  - 'there is not a shred of evidence...', the unstated inference being 'so the billions who find evidence are clearly dim; sometimes they use euphemisms - ' let's say misled...', the  inference being 'but no-one pulls the wool over MY eyes').


Again I have to say that none of this is exclusive to atheists. Take the recent debate with JamesJah on another thread. The debaters are, for the most part, Christians. This hasn't stopped you calling both him & his sect "mistaken", "without a shred of evidence", "misunderstanding scripture" & using a pitying tones. I'm sure he feels insulted by some of the comments passed.

I'm pretty sure all of you think that Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, are mistaken in their views to the point of delusion. If it's delusion for them, why not you?
Lexilogio

genghiscant wrote:
Quote:
You get that on here, but only from some.  But there is sometimes direct insult, calling believers deluded or stupid or worse. More gently there is a pitying tone - 'some people seem to need to believe in something, Sometimes it's subtle  - 'there is not a shred of evidence...', the unstated inference being 'so the billions who find evidence are clearly dim; sometimes they use euphemisms - ' let's say misled...', the  inference being 'but no-one pulls the wool over MY eyes').


Again I have to say that none of this is exclusive to atheists. Take the recent debate with JamesJah on another thread. The debaters are, for the most part, Christians. This hasn't stopped you calling both him & his sect "mistaken", "without a shred of evidence", "misunderstanding scripture" & using a pitying tones. I'm sure he feels insulted by some of the comments passed.

I'm pretty sure all of you think that Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, are mistaken in their views to the point of delusion. If it's delusion for them, why not you?


I think there is an element that is to do with the opening approach. Where it is critical of others, then the tendency is to respond in a like minded manner.
Shaker

Lexilogio wrote:
But I have a scientific frame of mind, and am a believer.

Which one? Make your mind up  
genghiscant

Quote:
Quote:
You get that on here, but only from some.  But there is sometimes direct insult, calling believers deluded or stupid or worse. More gently there is a pitying tone - 'some people seem to need to believe in something, Sometimes it's subtle  - 'there is not a shred of evidence...', the unstated inference being 'so the billions who find evidence are clearly dim; sometimes they use euphemisms - ' let's say misled...', the  inference being 'but no-one pulls the wool over MY eyes').



Quote:
Again I have to say that none of this is exclusive to atheists. Take the recent debate with JamesJah on another thread. The debaters are, for the most part, Christians. This hasn't stopped you calling both him & his sect "mistaken", "without a shred of evidence", "misunderstanding scripture" & using a pitying tones. I'm sure he feels insulted by some of the comments passed.

I'm pretty sure all of you think that Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, are mistaken in their views to the point of delusion. If it's delusion for them, why not you?


Quote:
I think there is an element that is to do with the opening approach. Where it is critical of others, then the tendency is to respond in a like minded manner.


So how does your criticism of the atheists alleged approach differ from your treatment of JamesJah?
Leonard James

Morning Lexi,
Lexilogio wrote:
But I have a scientific frame of mind, and am a believer.

Yes, but you see evidence that convinces you whilst I would see a non-God explanation for it.
Boss Cat

Yes there can be some pretty personal and vicious stuff among believers too, Genghis, and my assumption is that whatever I believe about God is certain to be limited at best and almost certainly way off the mark.

I am - like all of us - deluded about many of my beliefs, that is I don't really notice them or think of them as beliefs.  In fact, we couldn't function if we didn't accept some of our beliefs as fact.  But there are two things I do not think I am deluded about, firstly I recognise my belief in God as a belief and secondly I have enough knowledge of people's behaviour to recognise that we all live by our beliefs.  If you think you only live by evidence based facts alone and have no unproven beliefs you are deluded.

But this type of argument - the type I refer to in the OP- seems to be the default approach for many republicans and atheists.  As is the view that what people need is to be 'educated'.  Educated to think what? Not for themselves; you never know what conclusions people will come to if they start thinking for themselves.
Lexilogio

I posted a reply here, but it seems to have disappeared.

We can all be occasionally a little harsh. But JJ has alleged medical evidence for his refusal to accept blood transfusion, therefore it was reasonable to challenge that in empirical terms.
genghiscant

Quote:
I am - like all of us - deluded about many of my beliefs, that is I don't really notice them or think of them as beliefs.  In fact, we couldn't function if we didn't accept some of our beliefs as fact.  But there are two things I do not think I am deluded about, firstly I recognise my belief in God as a belief and secondly I have enough knowledge of people's behaviour to recognise that we all live by our beliefs.  If you think you only live by evidence based facts alone and have no unproven beliefs you are deluded.


But you keep accusing atheists of behaving in the exact same manner as theists. Why can't you acknowledge that the way humans behave is part of the human condition. It has nothing to do with being an atheist but everything to do with being human.
As far as I'm aware no atheist has ever burned someone to death for what they've said about God.

Quote:
If you think you only live by evidence based facts alone and have no unproven beliefs you are deluded


How do you know if I have unproven beliefs? I don't have any proven beliefs or evidence based facts. What I do have are evidence based beliefs.
genghiscant

Quote:
We can all be occasionally a little harsh. But JJ has alleged medical evidence for his refusal to accept blood transfusion, therefore it was reasonable to challenge that in empirical terms.


Yes, you did use empirical evidence & I applaud you for it. I found it very affective. But then you went & brought the bible into it, which is James's home pitch. You'll never win an argument with James by using scripture because when you make what you think is a telling point, he moves the goalposts & nutmegs you.
Lexilogio

genghiscant wrote:
Quote:
We can all be occasionally a little harsh. But JJ has alleged medical evidence for his refusal to accept blood transfusion, therefore it was reasonable to challenge that in empirical terms.


Yes, you did use empirical evidence & I applaud you for it. I found it very affective. But then you went & brought the bible into it, which is James's home pitch. You'll never win an argument with James by using scripture because when you make what you think is a telling point, he moves the goalposts & nutmegs you.


I used the Bible, because he had indicated that transfusion was banned in the Bible, which it clearly isn't.

I've equally used biblical references when debating the Young Earth Theory. Sometimes a believer responds better to a biblical argument.
genghiscant

Quote:
I used the Bible, because he had indicated that transfusion was banned in the Bible, which it clearly isn't.


When you were using science you were wrong footing him, he was uncomfortable & floundering. All he could do was spout some irrelevant piece of scripture. But when you turned to the bible he was back in his element. You aren't dealing with a rational being, there are so many closed doors in his brain that it resembles an abandoned tower block.
cyberman

Leonard James wrote:
Morning Lexi,
Lexilogio wrote:
But I have a scientific frame of mind, and am a believer.

Yes, but you see evidence that convinces you whilst I would see a non-God explanation for it.


What non-God explanation do you see for the fact that anything exists in the first place?
Shaker

cyberman wrote:
Leonard James wrote:
Morning Lexi,
Lexilogio wrote:
But I have a scientific frame of mind, and am a believer.

Yes, but you see evidence that convinces you whilst I would see a non-God explanation for it.


What non-God explanation do you see for the fact that anything exists in the first place?

Everything that has an explanation has a non-God explanation because "God" isn't an explanation in the first place. If isomething else doesn't have an explanation (yet: one might be forthcoming later, or it might not) it doesn't have an explanation, end of. That's it. Being afraid to say "I really don't know. Haven't a Scooby. Search me" and slapping the label "God" on this - almost invariably with the implication that something happened by magic - is not, never has been and never will be an explanation.

And please, please, please don't trot out that you believe in God but don't believe in magic. If you claim or even merely imply that "God" - whatever the hell that's supposed to be - is an explanation for anything but you don't believe in magic is like saying that you absolutely don't have sex with animals, except for horses.
cyberman

Shaker wrote:
cyberman wrote:
Leonard James wrote:
Morning Lexi,
Lexilogio wrote:
But I have a scientific frame of mind, and am a believer.

Yes, but you see evidence that convinces you whilst I would see a non-God explanation for it.


What non-God explanation do you see for the fact that anything exists in the first place?

Everything that has an explanation has a non-God explanation because "God" isn't an explanation in the first place. If isomething else doesn't have an explanation (yet: one might be forthcoming later, or it might not) it doesn't have an explanation, end of. That's it. Being afraid to say "I really don't know. Haven't a Scooby. Search me" and slapping the label "God" on this - almost invariably with the implication that something happened by magic - is not, never has been and never will be an explanation.

And please, please, please don't trot out that you believe in God but don't believe in magic. If you claim or even merely imply that "God" - whatever the hell that's supposed to be - is an explanation for anything but you don't believe in magic is like saying that you absolutely don't have sex with animals, except for horses.


So you don't have one then? I'm sure there is a shorter way of saying so. You do ramble!
Lexilogio

Shaker wrote:
cyberman wrote:
Leonard James wrote:
Morning Lexi,
Lexilogio wrote:
But I have a scientific frame of mind, and am a believer.

Yes, but you see evidence that convinces you whilst I would see a non-God explanation for it.


What non-God explanation do you see for the fact that anything exists in the first place?

Everything that has an explanation has a non-God explanation because "God" isn't an explanation in the first place. If isomething else doesn't have an explanation (yet: one might be forthcoming later, or it might not) it doesn't have an explanation, end of. That's it. Being afraid to say "I really don't know. Haven't a Scooby. Search me" and slapping the label "God" on this - almost invariably with the implication that something happened by magic - is not, never has been and never will be an explanation.

And please, please, please don't trot out that you believe in God but don't believe in magic. If you claim or even merely imply that "God" - whatever the hell that's supposed to be - is an explanation for anything but you don't believe in magic is like saying that you absolutely don't have sex with animals, except for horses.



Humans are an animal......
Shaker

cyberman wrote:
Shaker wrote:
cyberman wrote:
Leonard James wrote:
Morning Lexi,
Lexilogio wrote:
But I have a scientific frame of mind, and am a believer.

Yes, but you see evidence that convinces you whilst I would see a non-God explanation for it.


What non-God explanation do you see for the fact that anything exists in the first place?

Everything that has an explanation has a non-God explanation because "God" isn't an explanation in the first place. If isomething else doesn't have an explanation (yet: one might be forthcoming later, or it might not) it doesn't have an explanation, end of. That's it. Being afraid to say "I really don't know. Haven't a Scooby. Search me" and slapping the label "God" on this - almost invariably with the implication that something happened by magic - is not, never has been and never will be an explanation.

And please, please, please don't trot out that you believe in God but don't believe in magic. If you claim or even merely imply that "God" - whatever the hell that's supposed to be - is an explanation for anything but you don't believe in magic is like saying that you absolutely don't have sex with animals, except for horses.


So you don't have one then? I'm sure there is a shorter way of saying so. You do ramble!

Don't have what - an explanation for why anything exists in the first place? No I don't. Not a clue, same as anybody and everybody else. The difference between us is that when there's no explanation, I don't pretend that there is.
Boss Cat

Genghis, it is true that I have mentioned this particular behaviour before although it is not true that I keep on doing it.   It is human nature to 'diss the opposition' to an extent, and you will note I have shown how I do it myself.  But it is not the main plank of my reasoned argument.  I have noticed this is a particular line of argument that seems to be shared by atheists and republicans, and its ironic in my view as it kind of self makes a main argument - that people should be grown up enough not to still need God/an unelected leader - self refuting.

I started this thread; you are welcome to start a thread on the particular vileness of religious belief, in fact you have identified some behaviours as peculiar to religious believer, you do it in the post I respond to now.  It is human nature, when threatened, to persecute the 'other'; the extent of the persecution will depend on other things.  It is not behaviour limited to religious people but what is peculiar to religious people is that they use God to justify their behaviour; they can see themselves as acting as God's agent which an atheist can't.  But looking at the history of regimes based on atheist philosophy or anti-clericalism they can still be as vile.  The name is different, that's all; it's done in the name of 'the people'.  

Well, not this person.  But if you want to start a thread about iniquities committed in the name of God as a peculiarly theist phenomenon then please do.  

You do have unproven beliefs; we all do.  Some are helpful (murder is wrong; he has a right to his opinion even if I disagree with him'; some are unhelpful (I am not worthy; I must have everything I want and if I don't get it someone will be punished); some are part of shared cultural and social background (men are stronger than women therefore they are more important; everyone should be equal) and we would not get through the day without many of our most basic, unquestioned beliefs (it is worth getting out of bed today, even though it's going to a bit uncomfortable because I have a duties to perform; my children are lovable and so am I).

As for 'God' never being a explanation, well it's not meant to be, is it? I mean we don't imagine a little man polishing the cogs of the universe.  I believe there is something else, outside of time and space that interacts with it.  It could be my bleeding subconscious for all I know.  But my belief in something different is no more or less evidence based than yours that everything there is and ever has been has an entirely material explanation.
Leonard James

cyberman wrote:
Leonard James wrote:
Morning Lexi,
Lexilogio wrote:
But I have a scientific frame of mind, and am a believer.

Yes, but you see evidence that convinces you whilst I would see a non-God explanation for it.


What non-God explanation do you see for the fact that anything exists in the first place?

Hi Cyber,

Shaker has said it all ... I don't know why everything exists and nor does anybody else. We can all guess until the cows come home, but that's all we can do at the moment.

Man's innate desire to explain why everything is here has produced all sorts of weird theories. The problem is that many, many people convince themselves that one or the other is true.

We're an odd lot, but I don't think those that confess ignorance of the cause are as odd as those that claim to know.
Shaker

Boss Cat wrote:
As for 'God' never being a explanation, well it's not meant to be, is it?

Cyberman seemed to imply that it is, viz.:

Quote:
What non-God explanation do you see for the fact that anything exists in the first place?


As I read it this appears to imply that for cyberman there are two kinds of explanations, God-explanations and non-God-explanations.
Quote:
But my belief in something different is no more or less evidence based than yours that everything there is and ever has been has an entirely material explanation.

No, it's less - much, much, much less. You have no reason to think that there's anything - whatever it may be - outside of time and space or even that such a sentence makes any kind of sense at all in the first place. Whether everything there ever is and has ever been has an entirely material explanation is unproven, but given the success of seeing the universe in terms of the operation of material objects and material processes I seem to be on significantly firmer ground than you. Such a stance has already been road tested and has proven itself in the field time and time and time and time and time and time again; a belief in something outside of time, space and matter causing things and effecting changes within time, space and matter has brought us absolutely nothing whatsoever. At all. Ever.
cyberman

Shaker wrote:
The difference between us is that when there's no explanation, I don't pretend that there is.


I don;t recall making such a pretence. Please show the post where I did so. Leonard has claimed to see a non-God explanation for everything which causes Lexi to believe in God. You obviously haven't made this claim, which is great, but Leonard has.

I look forward to seeing where I have made the pretence of which I stand accused.
Boss Cat

If Cyber wants God as an explanation for what works and how that is OK by me; but that's not what I want God for.  I want God, and I often believe in God, because of value.  Music might be material vibrations in the air,  but it is - it does - something else.

The existence of matter might have a material cause, it might not.  But the belief that everything must have a naturalistic explanation is - a belief.  Your clincher seems to be that there is a way of understanding the material world that works so there must only be a material world.  Well, it would work, wouldn't it?  It's what people made it for.  

I am not scientific.   I know I've asked before but I can't remember, aren't you a science teacher or is that someone else?  Most scientists I know are less confident than you sound. As I've understood it, in science, whenever a door is opened it is opened to a bigger room with another door.  

And thank goodness it does, because we are curious and we like puzzles.  We are curious - and that is a reason I think there is something else.  Curiosity is something else, isn't it?  I mean most of the universe seems to manage without it; and even if it has some evolutionary value most of life seems to manage very well without it.  

Beliefs in something else have brought us lots of things, mainly for good, sometimes not so good.  Unless you want to dismiss human history?
cyberman

Shaker wrote:
Boss Cat wrote:
As for 'God' never being a explanation, well it's not meant to be, is it?

Cyberman seemed to imply that it is, viz.:

Quote:
What non-God explanation do you see for the fact that anything exists in the first place?


As I read it this appears to imply that for cyberman there are two kinds of explanations, God-explanations and non-God-explanations.


No, not "for cyberman". The words were not originally mine - Leonard said "I see non-God explanations" so I simply, and naturally, asked "Oh, what non-God explanations do you see?"

It is exactly that simple. It is not I who has invented the notion of the non-God explanation. You know that,of course. I wonder why you pretended not to know it.
Leonard James

cyberman wrote:
 Leonard has claimed to see a non-God explanation for everything which causes Lexi to believe in God. You obviously haven't made this claim, which is great, but Leonard has.

Lexi has obviously had mental experiences which cause her to believe that God exists. I understand that because I had them myself.

However, I still experienced the same mental experiences after I stopped believing in God, so clearly there was a non-God explanation for it. It seems to be a mental phenomenon common to most people, which can give the impression of a powerful 'something else' which we don't quite understand. It is the common denominator for religions, mystical beliefs and meditation experiences.

My own opinion is that it is nothing more than a certain mental condition in which the brain slackens its preoccupation with the sensory input, and goes into neutral, in a manner of speaking. I think it is rather like sleep, when the brain can produce its own scenarios, but when we are awake it doesn't actually fill the blank slate with anything more than a 'feeling' that there is something there.

Nevertheless, I would never be so silly as to claim 100% that I know a supernatural power doesn't exist ... that would be as daft as claiming to know that one does. No objective evidence has ever been forthcoming for the existence of such a phenomenon, and until it is I shall remain convinced that there is no such thing.
Shaker

Boss Cat wrote:
If Cyber wants God as an explanation for what works and how that is OK by me; but that's not what I want God for.  I want God, and I often believe in God, because of value.  Music might be material vibrations in the air,  but it is - it does - something else.

Nice tunes, therefore God? Please. I know it's not as bald and as simple as that, but when you start trying to draw a line from some feature of the world which is aesthetically pleasing (such as music) to God, you're on a hiding to nothing.

Quote:
The existence of matter might have a material cause, it might not.  But the belief that everything must have a naturalistic explanation is - a belief.

It is indeed, and not one that I share, though I'm much, much, much closer to it than any other position for the reasons already given.   

Quote:
Your clincher seems to be that there is a way of understanding the material world that works so there must only be a material world.

No, I didn't actually say that. What I did say was that the way that views the world in terms of material objects and material processes doing material things not only works but has been almost unbelievably successful (a) in explaining so much of the way the universe works and (b) in terms of delivering hard practical benefits (like the computers we're using to converse right now, for example, or the antibiotics and other medicines which have almost certainly saved our lives and the lives of everyone we know), therefore on the balance of probabilities it's much more likely to continue to explain and deliver in future rather than any other view. You suggested that there's some sort of parity, some sort of equivalence between this way of viewing the world and others, and this simply isn't the case. Any other way of viewing the universe, so far as I can see, has never delivered anything of the slightest worth or value: it doesn't even define its terms particularly, it doesn't offer testable predictions, it's not falsifiable, and so forth.
 
Quote:
And thank goodness it does, because we are curious and we like puzzles. We are curious - and that is a reason I think there is something else. Curiosity is something else, isn't it?
 

Something else other than what? Curiosity is just curiosity as far as I can see, and meaingless in and of itself just as asking questions is, in and of itself, meaningless without tolerably solid answers. That's not to say that nobody's allowed to be curious or to ask questions, just that it's akin to a sort of intellectual onanism, that's all. It's like using a rocking chair: it'll give you something to do for half an hour but you won't get anywhere. Curiosity is what has driven human intellectual evolution and ingenuity in science, art and anything else you may care to mention so I'm not saying that it's valueless; only that it's valueless without results at the end of it.  

Quote:
I mean most of the universe seems to manage without it; and even if it has some evolutionary value most of life seems to manage very well without it.


True, but also true of umpteen other things too.

Quote:
Beliefs in something else have brought us lots of things, mainly for good, sometimes not so good.  Unless you want to dismiss human history?

I'd need examples of exactly what you mean here.
Boss Cat

Yes it is true of umpteen other things, you didn't think I was being exhaustive do you?  

I think nice tunes therefore God puts it quite well, if rather basically.   Beauty, that's something else, would be how I put it, but actually yours isn't so far away.   I know this won't convince you, I don't expect to; this thread isn't about trying to convince anyone - it's trying to do something quite different, as you should know from the OP.

You haven't begun to convince me, but then you wouldn't expect to, would you?  Are you a scientist by the way, or a science teacher?  You post with such confidence but scientists I know don't sound like you.

Do you believe that matter has a material cause?  You post as though you do and you say that you are closer to that belief but you say that you don't have that belief.

I think science is a wonderful tool for exploring the material world - the best we have invented so far.  Yes it has brought benefits and it has brought some things we don't need and some things we'd be better off without.  I live longer and healthier because of it but I live longer and healthier because people work in the sewers and clean the streets.  It's people, science itself is neutral but it does not operate in a moral vacuum and there are huge value judgements underpinning every scientific development and the use to which it is put.  These value judgements are implicit in your post and they aren't science.  Some of the greatest developments in science have come from the belief that God's universe is understandable and because people have believed it is worth understanding.  Quantify that one - you can't.  That belief probably brought us science by the way.  But that's an example for your last paragraph, Shaker, but only one of umpteen others.

Curiosity is meaningless you think?  It has no value?    I am a bit confused, on the one hand you say 'it (curiosity) will give you something to do for half an hour but you won't get anywhere' yet in your next sentence starts 'Curiosity is what's driven human intellectual evolution and ingenuity in science...'. You post so highly about science elsewhere!  Ah! you say it's valueless without results, it's good if it's useful - well that's your belief Mr Gradgrind; prove it.

The most difficult of your underlying beliefs for me is the one that contradicts my understanding.  You post about science as though it has explained everything, pat, there it is, done and dusted, a few peaks of ignorance left but bingo! nearly there.  Not so, not as I understand it.  Everything is made from impossibly small pieces of string that can exist in two places at once; now that's science but it certainly doesn't explain everything does it?  It blows my mind.

This universe is more mysterious than anything in Genesis, but Genesis does tell us a bit about being human, and our relationship with something else.
Shaker

Boss Cat wrote:
I think nice tunes therefore God puts it quite well, if rather basically. Beauty, that's something else, would be how I put it, but actually yours isn't so far away.   I know this won't convince you

It doesn't, because it's a massive non sequitur.  

Quote:
You haven't begun to convince me, but then you wouldn't expect to, would you?  Are you a scientist by the way, or a science teacher?  You post with such confidence but scientists I know don't sound like you.

No, neither of those things.

Quote:
Do you believe that matter has a material cause?  You post as though you do and you say that you are closer to that belief but you say that you don't have that belief.

I don't have it because I haven't a clue: I don't know and I don't mind saying I don't know. I'm very, very sure however that people who posit non-material things tend not to define their terms and can never produce anything approaching hard evidence for their beliefs.

Quote:
Some of the greatest developments in science have come from the belief that God's universe is understandable and because people have believed it is worth understanding.  Quantify that one - you can't.

Quantify it? I dismiss it by saying that if you're talking about "God's universe" you've already left science far, far behind.

Quote:
That belief probably brought us science by the way.

Nope.

Quote:
Curiosity is meaningless you think?  It has no value?    I am a bit confused, on the one hand you say 'it (curiosity) will give you something to do for half an hour but you won't get anywhere' yet in your next sentence starts 'Curiosity is what's driven human intellectual evolution and ingenuity in science...'.

... and then went on to say that it doesn't mean anything on its own. Curiosity, without getting off your backside, is just curiosity.

Quote:
You post so highly about science elsewhere!  Ah! you say it's valueless without results, it's good if it's useful - well that's your belief Mr Gradgrind; prove it.

I've already given examples, including but absolutely not limited to the means by which you're communicating now. Just about everything by which we live our lives today, actually.

Quote:
The most difficult of your underlying beliefs for me is the one that contradicts my understanding.  You post about science as though it has explained everything, pat, there it is, done and dusted, a few peaks of ignorance left but bingo! nearly there.  Not so, not as I understand it.
 
Where have I suggested that science has explained everything apart from the odd few bits here and there?
Quote:
Everything is made from impossibly small pieces of string that can exist in two places at once; now that's science

No, it isn't; at least, not yet it isn't. So far it's a hypothesis posited to reconcile general relativity and quantum gravity and lacks testable predictions, experiments or observational data. It's a long, long way from being science as yet. Might it be? Nobody knows; depends who you ask, so at the moment it's only opinion on the strength or otherwise of the maths. The thing about hard evidence however is that it's shareable, and not a matter of opinion; when the evidence is in - if that day ever comes - the scientific community will evaluate it and accept it and then it becomes part of the corpus of scientific knowledge.
Boss Cat

Do you think science is just results, then?  You might have missed out a bit out of your last paragraph - you could have added until there is a new paradigm.  And I should have been more clear, I should have posted there is an example of a scientific theory.

Forgive me for misinterpreting you; we agree that science is the best method for understanding the material world and - to my surprise - you agree with me that science does not explain nearly everything.

Nothing really to add, except to apologise for misleading you; you are perfectly correct grammatically, the 'it' should, according to the rules, have referred to science.  But the context might have told you surely, that I was referring to curiosity here?  But  prove to me that curiosity is only valuable if it is useful.  Without putting your own value judgement on valuable, which would be quite unscientific.
Boss Cat

Leonard you state:

'I still experienced the same mental experiences after I stopped believing in God, so clearly there was a non-God explanation of it'.

I assume you mean the same experiences as you had had when you believed in God, not the same as those experienced by Lexi, or Teresa of Avila or Francis of Assissi, come to that, am I right to assume that?

Whatever, I am having some difficulty understanding the logic here; I can see what you mean if you meant to say 'so I had to find a non-God explanation for it'.  But the way you put it it sounds as if you are saying 'because I didn't believe in God, God could not have been the source of these experiences.

Why not?
Leonard James

Boss Cat wrote:
Leonard you state:

'I still experienced the same mental experiences after I stopped believing in God, so clearly there was a non-God explanation of it'.

I assume you mean the same experiences as you had had when you believed in God,?

Yes, the same sort of feeling which I had previously interpreted as his presence.
Quote:
...not the same as those experienced by Lexi, or Teresa of Avila or Francis of Assissi, come to that, am I right to assume that

No, you are not right in assuming that. The experiences I had (and still have) are not unique to me, they are shared by almost everybody, including the people you mention. I have no reason to believe that my brain is somehow unique in its functioning ... it is the same as everybody else's.

Quote:
Whatever, I am having some difficulty understanding the logic here; I can see what you mean if you meant to say 'so I had to find a non-God explanation for it'.  But the way you put it it sounds as if you are saying 'because I didn't believe in God, God could not have been the source of these experiences.

Why not?

Why on earth would a 'God' give me experiences without making it clear that it was him? That is playing hide and seek and is totally illogical.

As I have already explained, the feeling that I (and others) interpret as originating from 'God' is no more than a normal function of the human brain, and has nothing to do with anything 'supernatural' ... assuming that such a thing exists.

I don't know of anybody who claims to have actually seen God at those times, but in some extreme cases they claim to hear his voice telling tham to do something, or behave in a certain way. It doesn't seem to occur to them that if 'God' can speak to them, he can speak to everybody that believes in him ... which manifestly he doesn't. A god as powerful as the Christian God is made out to be would have absolutely no difficulty in communicating his existence with all of us, not just e few chosen ones, which again is an entirely illogical assumption. Why would he do such a thing?
Boss Cat

The experiences you describe don't seem to have the unfulfilled longing that characterises so much about religious literature; there seems to be a richness and a completeness about your experiences - as you refer to them - that seems to be quite different from the literature.

Apologies for misinterpreting you; I am surprised that you think you have had the same experiences as Teresa of Avila but while she was hoodwinked, you were not.  I am certain that I have not shared her experience.  I am not more, or less, unique than anyone else.  Yes, I have sometimes had some vague feelings of being complete or sometimes, less often, a vague sense of unfulfilled longing.  Once or twice I have sensed that my dad is standing just behind my shoulder, though  I don't believe the dead retain their personalities, even if our consciousness, soul, whatever survives death which I doubt.  But never have I experienced anything that has rocked my very being, nothing life changing.  My insights have always seemed to come from less dramatic experiences, gradual realisations that I knew 'this' all along.

You are clear that if you were God you would make your presence clear to anyone, however obtuse, or critically thinking, or worldly wise,  however sure of themselves.  But that's the thing, isn't it?  If you were God you wouldn't have made humans at all; you wouldn't want critically thinking beings, you wouldn't have wanted questioning beings, you wouldn't have wanted people to come to you out of choice.  You would have a different relationship with your creation; your creation would have been an easier place, perhaps, but it would have been one without choice, without independence, without thought, without rationalism and without freely given and accepted love.

And of course many, many saints and witnesses have struggled with extreme doubt and have hated God.  He's certainly confused them.  They have not known blasts of God's love (or whatever imaginary electrical impulses they share with you and me) without many years of anguish or of deep suffering.  Teresa's ecstacies did not come cheaply; she wasn't in the throes of mystic bliss all the time.  Just as well; she was human, she had work to do.

And so have I, so I'm off.  She wasn't unique, or even unusual, in that respect.
Shaker

Boss Cat wrote:
Forgive me for misinterpreting you; we agree that science is the best method for understanding the material world

Absolutely spot on: though of course even framing the sentence this way almost implies that there's something other than a material world, since - at least as I read it - saying "Science is the best method for understanding the material world ..." carries the unspoken corollary "...but not for the world of non-material things." I've absolutely no knowledge whatever that there's such a realm: there may very well be, but there's no evidence of it.

Quote:
and - to my surprise - you agree with me that science does not explain nearly everything.

My surprise that you thought I'd said or at least implied as much is second only to my surprise that anybody could seriously maintain such a stance.

Quote:
But  prove to me that curiosity is only valuable if it is useful.  Without putting your own value judgement on valuable, which would be quite unscientific.

Isn't it self-evident? Curiosity doesn't achieve anything at all when it remains just curiosity, without the willingness and the drive to get up out of the armchair and actually to inevestigate the object of one's curiosity. It's akin to saying "I'm thirsty: I really feel like a cup of tea." All well and good; but unless you get up and go into the kitchen to make one you won't get your cup of tea. Similarly with curiosity, simply being curious about this or that feature of the world simply dosn't achieve anything at all unless you put nature to the torture (as I believe Bacon said) and investigate and experiment.
Leonard James

Hi BC,
Quote:
You would have a different relationship with your creation; your creation would have been an easier place, perhaps, but it would have been one without choice, without independence, without thought, without rationalism and without freely given and accepted love.

Nonsense! If I had the ability to create something, it certainly wouldn't be something involving suffering.

And if I did it just to make companions for myself, I would let them know who I was, what I wanted from them, and then let them choose whether to join me or not. Free will.

Love would, of course, be a very important part of it, for without it life would be very dull and insipid.
Boss Cat

Hi Shaker, thanks for the response.  Science doesn't answer the questions it sets itself.  It has not much to say about much else, why should it?   As for the non material world - I see evidence for it.  You think I'm deluded perhaps, I think you don't see much.  A matter of opinion.

I'm interested in your idea that curiosity doesn't achieve anything if it's just curiosity.  Why?  What's wrong with doing abstract maths in your head for fun or trying to understand the night sky or reading Bleak House?

If you are suggesting laziness is wrong that's another thing, that's a value and all the studying of the material world in the material world won't prove that so or otherwise.  But curiosity - it's something else, it drives us and neither you, nor I nor the man in the moon really have any right to judge between good curiosity, useful curiosity or a waste of time.  In today's Times James Gilliesn, Head of Communication at CERN,  is asked what is the most wonderful thing about the LHC. his response is ' "It's just here to satisfy one thing, humanity's curiosity." '.   He's right.
Boss Cat

But we do Leonard, don't we?  I mean create suffering.  I freely entered into a relationship knowing that there isn't a relationship in the world which won't have some suffering in it; I have had two children in an imperfect world, knowing that it will cause me suffering and that they will face suffering.  So yes, I created something I chose to and it involves suffering.  

And I did it all for love.  What you describe - something to stop life being dull and insipid - isn't love.  That's entertainment.
Leonard James

Boss Cat wrote:
But we do Leonard, don't we?  I mean create suffering.

What on earth has that got to do with it? I was simply refuting your claim that if I had created a universe "it would have been one without choice, without independence, without thought, without rationalism and without freely given and accepted love."

As far as us creating suffering is concerned, that is because we are not perfect beings. Had we been created perfect we wouldn't do it. 

The whole idea is daft anyway. We weren't 'created', we simply evolved. Love, suffering, independence, thought, rationalism and choice are all part of our evolutionary history.

You have been completely taken in by the God story, so it is difficult for you to look at it all objectively and accept life for what it is.
Shrub Dweller

Boss Cat wrote:
 If you think you only live by evidence based facts alone and have no unproven beliefs you are deluded.

So can you give some examples of the type of beliefs that atheists live by. I don't think I've got any.
Shrub Dweller

Lexilogio wrote:
Shaker wrote:
cyberman wrote:
Leonard James wrote:
Morning Lexi,
Lexilogio wrote:
But I have a scientific frame of mind, and am a believer.

Yes, but you see evidence that convinces you whilst I would see a non-God explanation for it.


What non-God explanation do you see for the fact that anything exists in the first place?

Everything that has an explanation has a non-God explanation because "God" isn't an explanation in the first place. If isomething else doesn't have an explanation (yet: one might be forthcoming later, or it might not) it doesn't have an explanation, end of. That's it. Being afraid to say "I really don't know. Haven't a Scooby. Search me" and slapping the label "God" on this - almost invariably with the implication that something happened by magic - is not, never has been and never will be an explanation.

And please, please, please don't trot out that you believe in God but don't believe in magic. If you claim or even merely imply that "God" - whatever the hell that's supposed to be - is an explanation for anything but you don't believe in magic is like saying that you absolutely don't have sex with animals, except for horses.



Humans are an animal......

Thank you for your scientific perspective.
Shrub Dweller

cyberman wrote:
Shaker wrote:
cyberman wrote:
Leonard James wrote:
Morning Lexi,
Lexilogio wrote:
But I have a scientific frame of mind, and am a believer.

Yes, but you see evidence that convinces you whilst I would see a non-God explanation for it.


What non-God explanation do you see for the fact that anything exists in the first place?

Everything that has an explanation has a non-God explanation because "God" isn't an explanation in the first place. If isomething else doesn't have an explanation (yet: one might be forthcoming later, or it might not) it doesn't have an explanation, end of. That's it. Being afraid to say "I really don't know. Haven't a Scooby. Search me" and slapping the label "God" on this - almost invariably with the implication that something happened by magic - is not, never has been and never will be an explanation.

And please, please, please don't trot out that you believe in God but don't believe in magic. If you claim or even merely imply that "God" - whatever the hell that's supposed to be - is an explanation for anything but you don't believe in magic is like saying that you absolutely don't have sex with animals, except for horses.


So you don't have one then? I'm sure there is a shorter way of saying so. You do ramble!

The problem with your question is that you haven't defined what God means. Perhaps christians could rephrase their question by using the term Christian-God. Then the answer from us atheists would be we don't have one, and perhaps we never will, but for us it wont really matter either way. Life is a mystery.
Shrub Dweller

Shaker wrote:
Boss Cat wrote:
As for 'God' never being a explanation, well it's not meant to be, is it?

Cyberman seemed to imply that it is, viz.:

Quote:
What non-God explanation do you see for the fact that anything exists in the first place?


As I read it this appears to imply that for cyberman there are two kinds of explanations, God-explanations and non-God-explanations.
Quote:
But my belief in something different is no more or less evidence based than yours that everything there is and ever has been has an entirely material explanation.

No, it's less - much, much, much less. You have no reason to think that there's anything - whatever it may be - outside of time and space or even that such a sentence makes any kind of sense at all in the first place. Whether everything there ever is and has ever been has an entirely material explanation is unproven, but given the success of seeing the universe in terms of the operation of material objects and material processes I seem to be on significantly firmer ground than you. Such a stance has already been road tested and has proven itself in the field time and time and time and time and time and time again; a belief in something outside of time, space and matter causing things and effecting changes within time, space and matter has brought us absolutely nothing whatsoever. At all. Ever.

Of course, like God, you would need to define what you mean by time,space and matter to have your statement make sense. Everything points to the fact that time and space don't really exists and matter when looked at at the quantum level nearly disappears. Our perspective is subjective and human-centric. Though it is true you are closer to 'reality' than the organised religions.
Shrub Dweller

Boss Cat wrote:
If Cyber wants God as an explanation for what works and how that is OK by me; but that's not what I want God for.  I want God, and I often believe in God, because of value.  Music might be material vibrations in the air,  but it is - it does - something else.

The existence of matter might have a material cause, it might not.  But the belief that everything must have a naturalistic explanation is - a belief.  Your clincher seems to be that there is a way of understanding the material world that works so there must only be a material world.  Well, it would work, wouldn't it?  It's what people made it for.  

I am not scientific.   I know I've asked before but I can't remember, aren't you a science teacher or is that someone else?  Most scientists I know are less confident than you sound. As I've understood it, in science, whenever a door is opened it is opened to a bigger room with another door.  

And thank goodness it does, because we are curious and we like puzzles.  We are curious - and that is a reason I think there is something else.  Curiosity is something else, isn't it?  I mean most of the universe seems to manage without it; and even if it has some evolutionary value most of life seems to manage very well without it.  

Beliefs in something else have brought us lots of things, mainly for good, sometimes not so good.  Unless you want to dismiss human history?

Well, you are a cat, aren't you, all said and done.

And there seems to be a lot buzzing around in your head. Soo many questions and so few answers.
Boss Cat

I am the Boss when all is said and done.  Joke.

I can't give you very good definitions of time, space and matter and to be honest I don't think many people could.  By time I mean a measure of change, by space I mean what's around us and by matter I mean stuff that exists.  I don't know if I am close to reality, I think I am real but I think my grasp on reality is pretty feeble, and very subjective.  So's yours.  Our view of the universe is just that, ours.  Subjective.

Of course you have beliefs, some you recognise as beliefs, some which are so much part of your personal map you don't even recognise you have them, even as beliefs.  Look Shrub I did go into this earlier in the thread so won't keep on about it, just scroll back, but just to save you the time; you might believe it is justified to whack someone who provokes you enough, you  might believe this is never justified.  You might believe that whoever earns more in a relationship deserves to be the dominant one, you might believe the one who does the most work does or you might believe that relationships should be built on mutual respect.  These are beliefs, not facts.
Boss Cat

Bless you Leonard for giving such a brilliant example of the type of argument I was referring to in the OP!  To give you credit you acknowledge that you use this type of argument; you say that when you do resort to this type of thing it's not your fault, you're provoked into it.  Personally I think of myself as a free agent with free responses and not be provoked into anything I don't choose to do.  I don't like to be so easily controlled by others.

You say I have been taken in - I can't look at things objectively.   I can only draw the inference that you know that you have never been taken in, (you must be far too clever for that!) and you look at life objectively and accept life for what it is.  I don't think you are the best judge of that -  you are not the most objective judge of your own mindset.

I'm not the most objective judge of my own mindset either; none of us are, how could we be?   But,  oh dear! I don't like to boast.  I do though try to have as much insight as I can and professionals/qualified people have often congratulated me on my ability to be objective, reasonable and consistently factual when giving my account of events.  It's what I've been trained to do.  But next time I'm told this I'll point out that you say it is difficult for me to look at it all objectively and accept life for what it is.  That'll tell 'em not be taken in by me!

I hope you don't mind the teasing- but you were quite personal.
Leonard James

Morning Boss,

My my, you do like to go over the top, don't you!

Of course we are all responsible for our actions ... nobody is ever forced to follow their instincts. That is why we have a social code and the law, to control those that refuse to do so. It is true that some people have less control than others when emotions come into the equation, but they too must toe the line or accept the punishment.

When we are very young we instinctively tend to accept the edicts of our parents/elders/leaders ... obviously it has survival value, but it is not so easy to unlearn erroneous instructions when we become able to think for ourselves. Some of us are less able to do so than others, it's all a matter of genetics, and the ability to look objectively at things.

Take the example of the existence of things supernatural. There is zero objective evidence for such phenomena, and yet most people have been culturally or religiously indoctrinated to believe that they exist, and many of them take their subjective experiences as proof of the pudding.

That is all I was saying. Think about it.
The Boyg

Leonard James wrote:
Morning Boss,
Some of us are less able to do so than others, it's all a matter of genetics, and the ability to look objectively at things.

Take the example of the existence of things supernatural. There is zero objective evidence for such phenomena, and yet most people have been culturally or religiously indoctrinated to believe that they exist, and many of them take their subjective experiences as proof of the pudding.


There you go again! Implying that because you are an atheist you must have some innate ability that others do not.

Which is just your usual, unsupported, prejudiced bullshit.  
gone

Some Christians have a remarkable ability to bring the faith into disrepute by being mind-bogglingly unpleasant. I wonder if Jesus would have counted them among his buddies when he was alive?
The Boyg

floo wrote:
Some Christians have a remarkable ability to bring the faith into disrepute by being mind-bogglingly unpleasant. I wonder if Jesus would have counted them among his buddies when he was alive?


You know what my answer was the last time you were spouting this crap Floo.

It hasn't changed.  
gone

Keep digging dear, you prove my case, over and over again!          
The Boyg

floo wrote:
Same old crap 


You know my answer to that.  
Boss Cat

OK Leonard, leave aside your personal comment, let's take the rest of your post.

To paraphrase your post: you, presumably because of your genetic inheritance, are better able to look objectively at things than I am.  Is this me personally or any religious believer in the world?  You also suggest that if I think about it I will come to the same conclusion as you.  Do you genuinely think that?  And do you really mean to suggest that I haven't been thinking up until now?

Gosh.
The Boyg

Boss Cat wrote:
To paraphrase your post: you, presumably because of your genetic inheritance, are better able to look objectively at things than I am.  Is this me personally or any religious believer in the world?  You also suggest that if I think about it I will come to the same conclusion as you.  Do you genuinely think that?  And do you really mean to suggest that I haven't been thinking up until now?

Gosh.


Don't be surprised. He comes up with this sort of bollocks as justification for his prejudices all the time.
Farmer Geddon

Emmm  Leonard rightly points out that 'Christianity' is based on hearsay and lies.. what's so shocking about that?

We have known that for at least 200 years - why does it surprise you today?
Boss Cat

But Farmer, I wasn't actually arguing with him over there's a God or not, didn't you notice?

Why don't you start a thread on whether Christianity is based on hearsay and lies if that's what you want to discuss?  Who're 'we' by the way?
The Boyg

Farmer Geddon wrote:
Emmm  Leonard rightly points out that 'Christianity' is based on hearsay and lies.. what's so shocking about that?

We have known that for at least 200 years - why does it surprise you today?


Erm ............ no.

What he was suggesting is that those who are not atheists are so because they lack the innate objectivity that atheists have.

Which is, like virtually all of Len's assertions, unsubstantiated bullshit.
Farmer Geddon

Errrmm bossy Boyg..

The sheer fact that Jesus wasn't a "Christian" should be a BIG clue....
Boss Cat

Yes Farmer a corkingly interesting point, though not really relevant.  Can't wait for your next one! And whatever anyone says about you you really are honest - you do think name calling is a good enough argument.

But Leonard, you don't need Farmer to speak for you; as if he could tell me what you think!  I'm sure he doesn't mean to patronise you. But could you let me know if my interpretation of your posts is fair - or let me know the bits I have misunderstood.

Erm, Farmer, you aren't Leonard's sock puppet are you?
Leonard James

Boss Cat wrote:
OK Leonard, leave aside your personal comment, let's take the rest of your post.

To paraphrase your post: you, presumably because of your genetic inheritance, are better able to look objectively at things than I am.

Yes, in the same way that you are probably able to do some things better than I can. That's what genetics teaches us, that every individual is is a unique combination of genes, and is either more or less equipped for a certain activity. That's why some people shine in some subjects and don't in others. Or do you think we are all equally capable of every activity? 
Quote:
Is this me personally or any religious believer in the world?

It applies to every living organism in this world, and is one of the roots of evolution. 
Quote:
You also suggest that if I think about it I will come to the same conclusion as you.  Do you genuinely think that?  And do you really mean to suggest that I haven't been thinking up until now?

Yes, I really think that, and even though you may have thought about it a lot, can you now tell me why the above is not the case?

Quote:
Gosh.

Indeed!
Boss Cat

Well, I don't need genetics to tell me that some people are better at some things than others are, but I think, if you are going  to claim to be better at anything than anyone else you need to present evidence.  You have given us nothing to back up your claim than your own words.

Your last full sentence is confused; you say that you really do  suggest that I haven't been thinking up until now you then say I 'may have thought about it a lot'.  I can't tell you whether you are right or wrong in either of your contrasting statements but I'm not the one telling you my thinking is better than yours, am I?  So why should I?

Well, this isn't a thread about whether God exists or not, but it is about a silly argument that wouldn't convince anyone with the least ability to reason objectively, that is the one that says 'I am right because I am clever/objective/scientific and you aren't so there.'.  I think it is a poor argument that demonstrates a staggeringly unobjective mindset.  Tell me; why do you think this is a valid argument.
The Boyg

Boss Cat wrote:
I think it is a poor argument that demonstrates a staggeringly unobjective mindset.  Tell me; why do you think this is a valid argument.


I wonder if Len can provide the objective analysis that supports his assertion that atheists are inherently more objective than theists?  
Boss Cat

Boyg, I feel a bit uneasy.  I hope I haven't led Leonard into posting silly things.  I feel not very proud of myself particularly in view of his first post which describes how we don't know anything and in which he is quite candid and apologetic.  But I haven't put the words into his mouth, sorry, his post have I?

I am actually amused and amazed: in this thread Leonard has told us how God's got it wrong and he'd (Leonard) do it better, how he, as God, would ensure that  no one would doubt who he was and what he wanted yet would keep free will(!), and he would keep love because it's more interesting that way.  Then he's told me personally and the rest of the living world that he is more objective than us, finally adding that if I thought about it a bit I'd be bound to think exactly the same as him but he thinks I might have thought about it a lot.

And he has been a bit personal too, but that's fair enough.  I'm being a bit personal here really.

I feel unkind and hope that Leonard is really playing.  If not he is being staggeringly obtuse.  He seems a decent old cove, I like him.
Leonard James

Boss Cat wrote:
Well, I don't need genetics to tell me that some people are better at some things than others are, but I think, if you are going  to claim to be better at anything than anyone else you need to present evidence.  You have given us nothing to back up your claim than your own words.

Your last full sentence is confused; you say that you really do  suggest that I haven't been thinking up until now you then say I 'may have thought about it a lot'.  I can't tell you whether you are right or wrong in either of your contrasting statements but I'm not the one telling you my thinking is better than yours, am I?  So why should I?

Well, this isn't a thread about whether God exists or not, but it is about a silly argument that wouldn't convince anyone with the least ability to reason objectively, that is the one that says 'I am right because I am clever/objective/scientific and you aren't so there.'.  I think it is a poor argument that demonstrates a staggeringly unobjective mindset.  Tell me; why do you think this is a valid argument.

OK, BC, we seem to have reached stalemate, so it's best left.

Thank you for the exchange.
Shrub Dweller

Boss Cat wrote:
I am the Boss when all is said and done.  Joke.

I can't give you very good definitions of time, space and matter and to be honest I don't think many people could.  By time I mean a measure of change, by space I mean what's around us and by matter I mean stuff that exists.  I don't know if I am close to reality, I think I am real but I think my grasp on reality is pretty feeble, and very subjective.  So's yours.  Our view of the universe is just that, ours.  Subjective.

Your right, it is subjective or more precisely it is a function of our self awareness, our minds. This is why time and space don't really exist. Without us conscious Beings, being in the universe, then time and space wouldn't exist. Matter has no temporal recognition nor any dimensional and extensitional acknowledgement, as we do.

Quote:
Of course you have beliefs, some you recognise as beliefs, some which are so much part of your personal map you don't even recognise you have them, even as beliefs.  Look Shrub I did go into this earlier in the thread so won't keep on about it, just scroll back, but just to save you the time; you might believe it is justified to whack someone who provokes you enough, you  might believe this is never justified.  You might believe that whoever earns more in a relationship deserves to be the dominant one, you might believe the one who does the most work does or you might believe that relationships should be built on mutual respect.  These are beliefs, not facts.

I have read through this thread, it has been interesting, and it has no JJ on it. The thing is, the same word can be used to mean or refer to different things or concepts, depending on the context. I think you are mixing them here with ideas of "belief in a God" and belief or thinking something to be true with regard to day to day activities and conducts. They are not the same. One is to do with culture, upbringing and some personal experience of earthly life, and the other is based on some unfounded feeling within oneself; so it seems to me; but it (god) is not rooted in the every day of peoples lives of earning our daily bread.
Shrub Dweller

Leonard James wrote:

Yes, in the same way that you are probably able to do some things better than I can. That's what genetics teaches us, that every individual is is a unique combination of genes, and is either more or less equipped for a certain activity. That's why some people shine in some subjects and don't in others. Or do you think we are all equally capable of every activity? 

Leonard, my dear chap, and with all due respect to a fellow atheist, but this is pure bollocks. This is been one of the biggest disappointments of genetics is that we can tell almost nothing about what a person will be just by looking at their genes. The correlation is pretty much zero; tells us nothing of how the living organism will be. You need to read some up to date material on this.
Boss Cat

Hello Shrub, I will be giving up this forum for Lent so if you post something and I don't reply it won't be because I'm sulking or anything, I don't suppose I will get much time tomorrow but will probably have a last look.  And a bloody good thing too, I might get some work done; I know what addiction is now, why one is too many and a thousand is not enough.

Anyway, it goes without saying that I disagree with your interpretation of belief.  A belief is a belief, something that can rule your life without you even recognising you are driven by something that isn't fact.  

But this is a very 'head' approach to belief when our beliefs are often far less thought out than that.  A silly example but true: I don't believe the dead walk the earth as ghosts but I would not spend a night in a haunted house alone.  Actually I don't think I'm even going to see the Woman in Black although people tell me it's good.  I'm too scared, I still wake up freaking out because of Don't Look Now and The Others.

I'm glad you enjoyed this thread, though.   Is JJ that JW on here?  I don't want to seem rude (I've been rude enough on this thread so far) but I don't really understand him.
Leonard James

Shrub Dweller wrote:
Leonard James wrote:

Yes, in the same way that you are probably able to do some things better than I can. That's what genetics teaches us, that every individual is is a unique combination of genes, and is either more or less equipped for a certain activity. That's why some people shine in some subjects and don't in others. Or do you think we are all equally capable of every activity? 

Leonard, my dear chap, and with all due respect to a fellow atheist, but this is pure bollocks. This is been one of the biggest disappointments of genetics is that we can tell almost nothing about what a person will be just by looking at their genes. The correlation is pretty much zero; tells us nothing of how the living organism will be. You need to read some up to date material on this.
I see!  

And what exactly is your explanation for the fact that we are all unique, if it ain't decided by the particular genetic combination that directs our growth from conception? Some magic force that controls us?

The fact that we can't 'read' our genes has nothing whatever to do with the fact that they ARE us.

If you can recommend some reading to me backing up your claim, I will endeavour to get hold of it.
Boss Cat

Oh gosh, a last gasp, and the question was not directed at me, but as I understand it Leonard, the answer is...

Dunno.

That is, the cutting edge scientists working in the field haven't been able to find the explanation.  Not yet.

But then, they didn't ask you...

Perhaps they should, save themselves all the boring research, observation, testing.  You know, the tedious stuff those with a scientific frame of mind think is useful.
Leonard James

Boss Cat wrote:
Oh gosh, a last gasp, and the question was not directed at me, but as I understand it Leonard, the answer is...

Dunno.

That is, the cutting edge scientists working in the field haven't been able to find the explanation.  Not yet.

But then, they didn't ask you...

Perhaps they should, save themselves all the boring research, observation, testing.  You know, the tedious stuff those with a scientific frame of mind think is useful.

Really? Perhaps you will direct me to some informed source to confirm the allegation that our actions and character are NOT decided by our genes.
Lexilogio

This argument has been going on since the seventies in academic worlds. My introduction to it, in the 80's, used Skinner v Noam Chomsky. Nature v Nurture, which one answers the question as to human behaviour. I think the conclusion in my essay was that it was a bit of both. There is some influence by our genes ( eg, person a is genetically disposed to better understand spatial concepts) but most is nurture ( opportunity during childhood and life).

An example would be my kids. Two seem to have been born with an ear for music. I am lucky enough to be able to afford music lessons for them. But their experience and perception of those lessons, with peer influence, type of music used etc... Will ultimately influence if either takes it up as a career.
Leonard James

Lexilogio wrote:
This argument has been going on since the seventies in academic worlds. My introduction to it, in the 80's, used Skinner v Noam Chomsky. Nature v Nurture, which one answers the question as to human behaviour. I think the conclusion in my essay was that it was a bit of both. There is some influence by our genes ( eg, person a is genetically disposed to better understand spatial concepts) but most is nurture ( opportunity during childhood and life).

An example would be my kids. Two seem to have been born with an ear for music. I am lucky enough to be able to afford music lessons for them. But their experience and perception of those lessons, with peer influence, type of music used etc... Will ultimately influence if either takes it up as a career.

I understand that, Lexi, but I am sure that the influence of nurture is, to a great extent, dependent on our genes.

One growing child may respond to a certain cultural norm positively, another negatively, whilst yet another will remain completely un-influenced by it. I don't see how these different reactions can be due to anything but our genes.
The Boyg

Leonard James wrote:
I am sure that .................


Why are you so sure of this Len?
Leonard James

The Boyg wrote:
Leonard James wrote:
I am sure that .................


Why are you so sure of this Len?

Because two children growing up in the same culture and family will respond differently to their nurture. For example, I am atheist, and my brother who was 5 years older then me wasn't ... yet we were both brought up to believe in God and attend church. I don't see how that can be caused by anything but our different genetic makeup.

If you can show me evidence to the contrary I will reconsider.
The Boyg

Leonard James wrote:
The Boyg wrote:
Leonard James wrote:
I am sure that .................


Why are you so sure of this Len?

Because two children growing up in the same culture and family will respond differently to their nurture.


And yet identical twins, with exactly the same genetics, do not necessarily have identical personalities. How could that be possible if genetics was the dominant factor?

And anyway the 'nurture' element wasn't identical for you and your brother. For example you had an older brother and he had a younger brother. You may say that these differences are minor but there again the genetic differences between siblings will also be minor.
Leonard James

Of course I agree that nurture can affect the behaviour to a greater or lesser degree, but remain convinced that the degree in which it does so is very much dependent on our genetic makeup. That is why some people are sceptical and others trusting.
The Boyg

Leonard James wrote:
Of course I agree that nurture can affect the behaviour to a greater or lesser degree, but remain convinced that the degree in which it does so is very much dependent on our genetic makeup.


But why are you convinced of that?

(Other than because of your 'two little boys' anecdote, of course).
bnabernard

The Boyg wrote:
Leonard James wrote:
Of course I agree that nurture can affect the behaviour to a greater or lesser degree, but remain convinced that the degree in which it does so is very much dependent on our genetic makeup.


But why are you convinced of that?

(Other than because of your 'two little boys' anecdote, of course).


Quite simple, anybody who moves anywhere promptly decides, (regarding the people and place they move to) ''what they should do is...''

bernard (hug)
Leonard James

The Boyg wrote:
Leonard James wrote:
Of course I agree that nurture can affect the behaviour to a greater or lesser degree, but remain convinced that the degree in which it does so is very much dependent on our genetic makeup.


But why are you convinced of that?

(Other than because of your 'two little boys' anecdote, of course).

Because my common sense tells me that if people react to nurture in different ways, the explanation can only lie in their genes, since we know of nothing else that can affect their behaviour.
The Boyg

Leonard James wrote:
The Boyg wrote:
Leonard James wrote:
Of course I agree that nurture can affect the behaviour to a greater or lesser degree, but remain convinced that the degree in which it does so is very much dependent on our genetic makeup.


But why are you convinced of that?

(Other than because of your 'two little boys' anecdote, of course).

Because my common sense tells me that if people react to nurture in different ways, the explanation can only lie in their genes, since we know of nothing else that can affect their behaviour.


So your conviction is based on your idea of what is 'common sense' rather than any scientific data.

And anyway if people with identical genetics (identical twins) react in different ways then genetics cannot be responsible for these differences in behaviour. How does your 'common sense' approach deal with that problem?
Leonard James

The Boyg wrote:
Leonard James wrote:
The Boyg wrote:
Leonard James wrote:
Of course I agree that nurture can affect the behaviour to a greater or lesser degree, but remain convinced that the degree in which it does so is very much dependent on our genetic makeup.


But why are you convinced of that?

(Other than because of your 'two little boys' anecdote, of course).

Because my common sense tells me that if people react to nurture in different ways, the explanation can only lie in their genes, since we know of nothing else that can affect their behaviour.


So your conviction is based on your idea of what is 'common sense' rather than any scientific data.

And anyway if people with identical genetics (identical twins) react in different ways then genetics cannot be responsible for these differences in behaviour. How does your 'common sense' approach deal with that problem?

It isn't a problem, unless you are trying to convince yourself that it is. I don't think I have said at any point that nurture does not affect our behaviour, and if I have I recant.

I am simply saying that by and large our genes play a far greater role in our behaviour than our nurture. In the case of identical twins, the percentage of those brought up in different families having similar behaviour is far higher than that of dizygotic twins raised separately.
The Boyg

Leonard James wrote:
I am simply saying that by and large our genes play a far greater role in our behaviour than our nurture.


But you appear to base your conviction in this on anecdote and what you consider to be 'common sense'.  
Leonard James

The Boyg wrote:
Leonard James wrote:
I am simply saying that by and large our genes play a far greater role in our behaviour than our nurture.


But you appear to base your conviction in this on anecdote and what you consider to be 'common sense'.  

Not at all! The identical/fraternal twin studies show it.
The Boyg

Leonard James wrote:
The Boyg wrote:
Leonard James wrote:
I am simply saying that by and large our genes play a far greater role in our behaviour than our nurture.


But you appear to base your conviction in this on anecdote and what you consider to be 'common sense'.  

Not at all! The identical/fraternal twin studies show it.


Which studies Len? And are there any contra-indications from other studies (other posters appear to have indicated that this is not nearly as 'cut and dried' as you would like to believe). There's no point in simply  asserting that 'studies show that I am right'.  
Leonard James

The Boyg wrote:
Leonard James wrote:
The Boyg wrote:
Leonard James wrote:
I am simply saying that by and large our genes play a far greater role in our behaviour than our nurture.


But you appear to base your conviction in this on anecdote and what you consider to be 'common sense'.  

Not at all! The identical/fraternal twin studies show it.


Which studies Len? And are there any contra-indications from other studies (other posters appear to have indicated that this is not nearly as 'cut and dried' as you would like to believe). There's no point in simply  asserting that 'studies show that I am right'.  

Then you will have to go and look, won't you?

I'm certainly not going to waste my time just to satisfy your argumentative nature!
The Boyg

Leonard James wrote:
The Boyg wrote:
Leonard James wrote:
The Boyg wrote:
Leonard James wrote:
I am simply saying that by and large our genes play a far greater role in our behaviour than our nurture.


But you appear to base your conviction in this on anecdote and what you consider to be 'common sense'.  

Not at all! The identical/fraternal twin studies show it.


Which studies Len? And are there any contra-indications from other studies (other posters appear to have indicated that this is not nearly as 'cut and dried' as you would like to believe). There's no point in simply  asserting that 'studies show that I am right'.  

Then you will have to go and look, won't you?


We've danced this dance many a time Len, if you assert then the responsibility lies with you to provide the evidence.  

So far all you have demonstrated is that you are convinced that genetics is the primary driver of behaviour because your idea of what is 'common sense' tells you that this must be the case.
cyberman

The Boyg wrote:
There's no point in simply  asserting that 'studies show that I am right'.  


Studies have shown that retired actors in warm climates are incapable of defending a position once they have asserted it.

Studies, Boyg, studies - you can't argue with that.
Leonard James

Oh look, Boyboy, you now have a playmate to help you with your nitpicking! Ain't that just too fine and dandy!    
The Boyg

Leonard James wrote:
Oh look, Boyboy, you now have a playmate to help you with your nitpicking! Ain't that just too fine and dandy!


I presume that this is you gracelessly declining to support your belief with any verifiable evidence.  
Leonard James

The Boyg wrote:
Leonard James wrote:
Oh look, Boyboy, you now have a playmate to help you with your nitpicking! Ain't that just too fine and dandy!


I presume that this is you gracelessly declining to support your belief with any verifiable evidence.  

You presume too much, dear boy.
The Boyg

Leonard James wrote:
The Boyg wrote:
Leonard James wrote:
Oh look, Boyboy, you now have a playmate to help you with your nitpicking! Ain't that just too fine and dandy!


I presume that this is you gracelessly declining to support your belief with any verifiable evidence.  

You presume too much, dear boy.


In which case I am still waiting for you to support your belief with any verifiable evidence.  
cyberman

Leonard James wrote:
Oh look, Boyboy, you now have a playmate to help you with your nitpicking! Ain't that just too fine and dandy!    


"Studies prove that I am right"
"Oh yes? What studies are these then?"
"Shan't tell you and you can't make me!"
"Ha ha, that's a bit daft if you don't mind me saying so, guv"

Not exactly 'nitpicking', Len. Stop sulking.
Farmer Geddon

Boss Cat wrote:
.........

Erm, Farmer, you aren't Leonard's sock puppet are you?


Of course I am, I'm also Shakers and ... well that will do for now Lynne.
Leonard James

cyberman wrote:
Leonard James wrote:
Oh look, Boyboy, you now have a playmate to help you with your nitpicking! Ain't that just too fine and dandy!    


"Studies prove that I am right"
"Oh yes? What studies are these then?"
"Shan't tell you and you can't make me!"
"Ha ha, that's a bit daft if you don't mind me saying so, guv"

Not exactly 'nitpicking', Len. Stop sulking.

Cyber, the studies are out there. If neither of you is sufficiently interested to look for them (or you are afraid they might show you to be wrong) that is your problem. I am certainly not going to waste my time searching them out just to satisfy your inflated egos.

Have a nice day!  
The Boyg

Leonard James wrote:
[ am certainly not going to waste my time searching them out just to satisfy your inflated egos.


Len, you know the rules: you make the claim, you provide the evidence.  

Otherwise I'm full justified in reminding you that so far your conviction that genetics is the primary driver of behaviour appears to be based on nothing more than your idea of what is 'common sense' and an anecdote about your brother.
Leonard James

The Boyg wrote:
Leonard James wrote:
[ am certainly not going to waste my time searching them out just to satisfy your inflated egos.


Len, you know the rules: you make the claim, you provide the evidence.  

Otherwise I'm full justified in reminding you that so far your conviction that genetics is the primary driver of behaviour appears to be based on nothing more than your idea of what is 'common sense' and an anecdote about your brother.

Yes, dear boy, anything you say!
cyberman

Leonard James wrote:
cyberman wrote:
Leonard James wrote:
Oh look, Boyboy, you now have a playmate to help you with your nitpicking! Ain't that just too fine and dandy!    


"Studies prove that I am right"
"Oh yes? What studies are these then?"
"Shan't tell you and you can't make me!"
"Ha ha, that's a bit daft if you don't mind me saying so, guv"

Not exactly 'nitpicking', Len. Stop sulking.

Cyber, the studies are out there. If neither of you is sufficiently interested to look for them (or you are afraid they might show you to be wrong) that is your problem. I am certainly not going to waste my time searching them out just to satisfy your inflated egos.

Have a nice day!  


Please try very hard not to resort to insults - I honestly don't understand why you think what I have said here reflects an inflated ego. Would you do me the honour of an explanation, please?

       nglreturns.myfreeforum.org Forum Index -> Atheist chat Page 1, 2, 3  Next
Page 1 of 3
Create your own free forum | Buy a domain to use with your forum