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Jokes/Interweb Things Thread, Sagan brilliance in Fun Stuff; Originally Posted by jinnantonnix I too can imagine things beyond the investigation of the scientific method. However, which is more ...
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    Quote Originally Posted by jinnantonnix View Post
    I too can imagine things beyond the investigation of the scientific method.

    However, which is more likely:
    1. My imaginary things existing, but being able to suspend the laws of physics in their favour and escape any detection,or
    2. My imaginary things not existing?
    a. I'm not talking imagination
    b. You're trying to do the impossible - link the immaterial (imaginary in this case) to the immaterial. This is the question begging fallacy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mark View Post
    a. I'm not talking imagination
    b. You're trying to do the impossible - link the immaterial (imaginary in this case) to the immaterial. This is the question begging fallacy.
    That's the thing - you ARE talking 'imagination'. If, as you say, something can't be looked at via the scientific method - and therefore there can't be empirical evidence, then where else is the topic coming from? The only evidence that exists of the immaterial existing is in our thoughts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesb View Post
    why should religion be exempt from the tests that are applied to everything else?
    Why shouldn't religion be exempt? It is a fallacy to make a condition that something can't be unique.

    Quote Originally Posted by jamesb View Post
    I could apply the same argument to your saying that it is a strong assertion. I still see no evidence for Christianity being more developed, nor more correct, than any other religion.
    Which is why you don't believe it to be true. Like I said, I have no interest in educating you in Christianity. you're going to have to get that elsewhere.

    Quote Originally Posted by jamesb View Post
    Any theory which is put forward by a scientific approach is open to testing. Whether or not we are capable of those tests at the moment is another matter. String theory makes certain predictions. If those predictions are found to be accurate then we will be able to add weight to the theory. If they are found to be wrong then it's a case of going back to the drawing board.

    What testable predictions does religion make?
    Testable predictions fall outside the scope of the religious model. (Prophesy is non empirical)
    Religions made assertions that were then proven to be inconsistent. Those assertions were modified and improved. ie the Sun is a god - no, the sun is a star.

    Quote Originally Posted by jamesb View Post
    A coherent philosophy is not necessarily a correct one. The simplest answer, despite Occam's razor, is not always right. Internal coherency in a system is easy to build if you for the system to any principles you happen to choose, and ignore all other evidence.
    1. My philosophy ignores no other evidence.
    2. By reasoning we hope to arrive at the best model. The most logically coherent wins.
    3. Yes there may be more than one logically coherent philosophy

    Quote Originally Posted by jamesb View Post
    As an example - do you reject the theory of evolution and subscribe to creationism? Some time ago doing so would have violated the coherency of the Christian religion. Now the interpretation has been loosened so that it is acceptable for someone who believes in evolution to count themselves as a Christian.
    "Some time ago" would be misleading. It's more a modern, and in my opinion misguided and grossly illogical interpretation to dismiss evolution. The original interpretation from those primitive goat herders make some modern thinkers look like idiots.

    Quote Originally Posted by jamesb View Post
    This is the fundamental point where we disagree. I do not see any reason that religion should be exempt from testing. I can understand that, were I to accept a religion, the various warnings against testing $deity would give a reason. Since I do not accept a religion though this prohibition on testing should not apply to me. So what, exactly, other than your religion itself places religion as being outside the bounds of scientific testing.
    The reason is stated:

    if you ask for scientific evidence for God according to the principles of the scientific method, you are commiting the fallacy of question-begging, for God is not within the scope of investigation of the scientific method, according to it's own principles.

    In Christianity the requirement is to test your own faith and understanding vigorously, so I can't relate to your superstitious understanding there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    Ok, WHY doesn't science apply to religion? Can you answer me that?
    if you ask for scientific evidence for God according to the principles of the scientific method, you are commiting the fallacy of question-begging, for God is not within the scope of investigation of the scientific method, according to it's own principles.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mark
    Why shouldn't religion be exempt? It is a fallacy to make a condition that something can't be unique.
    Why should it be? It is a fallacy to assume that because something is not provable through a method, it must be a unique exception rather than false.

    Testable predictions fall outside the scope of the religious model. (Prophesy is non empirical)
    Religions made assertions that were then proven to be inconsistent. Those assertions were modified and improved. ie the Sun is a god - no, the sun is a star.
    How convenient. Theory doesn't fit the facts, so rather than assuming that the theory might be wrong and look at alternatives you quickly change it so it does fit the facts, while saying that it was nearly right all along. If a theory makes repeated assertions which are shown to be inconsistent, might it not be worth looking at the alternatives instead of saying that the theory is beyond testing due to its special status?

    1. My philosophy ignores no other evidence.
    2. By reasoning we hope to arrive at the best model. The most logically coherent wins.
    3. Yes there may be more than one logically coherent philosophy
    Reasoning from a false premise gives you a false theory, no matter how logically coherent it is. Working from an assumption that a deity exists does not prevent a logically coherent theory, nor does it somehow magically mean the theory must be correct (see several references to the number of other religions which exist).

    "Some time ago" would be misleading. It's more a modern, and in my opinion misguided and grossly illogical interpretation to dismiss evolution. The original interpretation from those primitive goat herders make some modern thinkers look like idiots.
    And yet you're following, without much in the way of questioning, a religion which those goat herders devised.

    In Christianity the requirement is to test your own faith and understanding vigorously, so I can't relate to your superstitious understanding there.
    So you are expected to test your faith, but not question the fundamentals of that same faith? Not really that much of a test.

    Quote Originally Posted by mark View Post
    if you ask for scientific evidence for God according to the principles of the scientific method, you are commiting the fallacy of question-begging, for God is not within the scope of investigation of the scientific method, according to it's own principles.
    No - deities are not within the scope of investigation of the scientific method according to religion. Psychology and sociology have plenty of explanations for both deities and religion. The scientific method can quite happily be applied to religion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mark View Post
    if you ask for scientific evidence for God according to the principles of the scientific method, you are commiting the fallacy of question-begging, for God is not within the scope of investigation of the scientific method, according to it's own principles.
    Ok, you didn't actually answer the question. Although, you did answer it above in response to jamesb

    Why shouldn't religion be exempt? It is a fallacy to make a condition that something can't be unique.
    Your answer in effect is 'because I say so'. Not a good position to argue from IMO. You are the one who is saying the subject is unique - so tell us WHY it is, and why we should be treating it differently. This should also be done without any reference to subject matter within the subject too, else you'd be the one begging the question there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    That's the thing - you ARE talking 'imagination'. If, as you say, something can't be looked at via the scientific method - and therefore there can't be empirical evidence, then where else is the topic coming from? The only evidence that exists of the immaterial existing is in our thoughts.
    Obviously the immaterial doesn't exist in the material. And all we have to consider the immaterial is conjecture and logic. Religion posits an immaterial God who interacts with the material. the point of religion isn't scientific knowledge or proving either way the existence of immaterial. It's focus is a model of positivity over neutrality.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mark View Post
    Obviously the immaterial doesn't exist in the material. And all we have to consider the immaterial is conjecture and logic. Religion posits an immaterial God who interacts with the material. the point of religion isn't scientific knowledge or proving either way the existence of immaterial. It's focus is a model of positivity over neutrality.
    Ok, we're getting to the point now - if all you have with which to consider the immaterial is conjecture and logic, how on Earth can you trust it? One of the fundamental parts of logic, much like a computer, is 'garbage in, garbage out'. So, if the original conditions which started the religion were nonsense, then everything that existed in that religion since is also nonsense. Without being able to prove those original conditions as true, you might as well just make things up.

    As jamesb has said, just because a religion is logically consistent and coherent within itself, doesn't mean that it has any more meaning or value than any other religion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    Your answer in effect is 'because I say so'. Not a good position to argue from IMO. You are the one who is saying the subject is unique - so tell us WHY it is, and why we should be treating it differently. This should also be done without any reference to subject matter within the subject too, else you'd be the one begging the question there.
    No I said just because something is unique there is no reason to dismiss it. And logic supports that. Religion deals with the metaphysical. If science either proves or disproves the metaphysical then it was never metaphysical.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mark View Post
    No I said just because something is unique there is no reason to dismiss it. And logic supports that. Religion deals with the metaphysical. If science either proves or disproves the metaphysical then it was never metaphysical.
    And who is to say that 'metaphysics' is a valid subject at all? The entire concept of metaphysics is again based on conjecture. If that original conjecture is nonsense, then everything that comes out is nonsense.

    Questions such as 'why are we here?' (as dealt with by metaphysics) are, to rational thinkers, easily answered with 'we don't know' and maybe even further with 'why does there have to be a reason other than a chain of chemical reactions followed by millions of years of evolution?'.

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    Ok, we're getting to the point now - if all you have with which to consider the immaterial is conjecture and logic, how on Earth can you trust it? One of the fundamental parts of logic, much like a computer, is 'garbage in, garbage out'. So, if the original conditions which started the religion were nonsense, then everything that existed in that religion since is also nonsense. Without being able to prove those original conditions as true, you might as well just make things up.

    As jamesb has said, just because a religion is logically consistent and coherent within itself, doesn't mean that it has any more meaning or value than any other religion.
    You judge by how satisfying your conclusions are. If your output is garbage then you wouldn't value it. If your output was useful then you would value it.

    It would be a leap of faith to assume that the original conditions at the beginnings of religion were nonsense. And one I would disagree with. As a child discovers the world they are prone to making mistakes. Their exploration isn't nonsense, but has some validity which is then honed to produce a functioning adult.

    You constantly hammer at religion being an invalid world view without once revealing a valid reason why. This is my beef. Be honest and let live.

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    And who is to say that 'metaphysics' is a valid subject at all? The entire concept of metaphysics is again based on conjecture. If that original conjecture is nonsense, then everything that comes out is nonsense.

    Questions such as 'why are we here?' (as dealt with by metaphysics) are, to rational thinkers, easily answered with 'we don't know' and maybe even further with 'why does there have to be a reason other than a chain of chemical reactions followed by millions of years of evolution?'.
    People that benefit from it say so. You don't, fair enough. Let those that do think what they want and grant them the same freedom that they grant you.

    what metaphysical consideration gives me is a positive world view where the one you quoted ("we don't know") is neutral. I happen to think a reason for positivity is valid. you are at full liberty to think not, and I'm certainly not going to stop you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mark
    Obviously the immaterial doesn't exist in the material. And all we have to consider the immaterial is conjecture and logic. Religion posits an immaterial God who interacts with the material. the point of religion isn't scientific knowledge or proving either way the existence of immaterial. It's focus is a model of positivity over neutrality.
    This conflicts with your later comment about science being unable to test the metaphysical. If it interacts with the physical world, it can be tested and demonstrated. If it does not interact then it is inconsequential in any case, and not worth spending time worrying about and performing rituals for.

    Quote Originally Posted by mark View Post
    You judge by how satisfying your conclusions are. If your output is garbage then you wouldn't value it. If your output was useful then you would value it.
    You've made a fundamental mistake their. Your opinion of a result does not, in any way, affect the validity of the result. There are many, many scientists who have worked to defend or provide evidence for a theory, only to be forced to conclude that it was incorrect. Just because they believe it does not make it true in any way.

    You're also evidently unaware of my own value system. You're assuming that I don't value the universe simply because I don't believe in a religion. This is a trap that religious types often fall into, in the same way that they assume there is no way for an athiest to develop an objective moral code. It's like the classic argument that only religion can lead people to altruism, and is just as invalid.

    It would be a leap of faith to assume that the original conditions at the beginnings of religion were nonsense. And one I would disagree with. As a child discovers the world they are prone to making mistakes. Their exploration isn't nonsense, but has some validity which is then honed to produce a functioning adult.
    Of course a child's exploration is nonsense. Valuable nonsense, but nonsense. As to the leap of faith comment, we know to some degree what the conditions were at the beginning of your particular religion (others drift further back, or not as far). It is interesting that the only modern religion I'm aware of is a scam through and through. I won't name it in order to avoid being put on a watch list and the potential of legal threats.

    You constantly hammer at religion being an invalid world view without once revealing a valid reason why. This is my beef. Be honest and let live.
    You constantly hammer at religion being a valid world view without once revealing a valid reason why. This is my beef.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mark View Post
    People that benefit from it say so. You don't, fair enough. Let those that do think what they want and grant them the same freedom that they grant you.
    No one's telling you to think differently at all, just disagreeing with your view that one particular religion is correct.

    what metaphysical consideration gives me is a positive world view where the one you quoted ("we don't know") is neutral. I happen to think a reason for positivity is valid. you are at full liberty to think not, and I'm certainly not going to stop you.
    Why on earth 'we don't know' be a neutral view? It's not a view, it's an open question which allows for an answer to come about. Or allows the questioner to answer it for themselves, to their own satisfaction.

    Maybe we just have very different definitions of positivity. Are you talking about the positive, happy attitude one or the electrical charge kind, or something else?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mark View Post
    You judge by how satisfying your conclusions are. If your output is garbage then you wouldn't value it. If your output was useful then you would value it.
    I think jamesb has quite succinctly covered this - the outcome isn't affected by our views of it.

    It would be a leap of faith to assume that the original conditions at the beginnings of religion were nonsense. And one I would disagree with. As a child discovers the world they are prone to making mistakes. Their exploration isn't nonsense, but has some validity which is then honed to produce a functioning adult.
    A child learns by doing, and by being taught things - its early experiences will be filled with cause and effect (ie. stick your hand in a flame, and it'll hurt). Those experiences are not nonsense, they are in there most basic, scientific discovery.

    You constantly hammer at religion being an invalid world view without once revealing a valid reason why. This is my beef. Be honest and let live.
    I've not said your world view is invalid, I'm simply asking for you to say why it is a valid world view.

    Why is a religion the way you guide your life? Why must it involve things that we can't see, and can't prove? Why can it not simply be a moral life based on cause and effect? (ie. murder is bad, because the effect of it is to make other people sad etc...).

    And to say that living life with many answers being 'we don't know' is neutral? That's nonsense in itself! I look at the universe and think 'wow, this is truly amazing', if I don't know the answer to something, it excites me - because finding out the answer is a fun thing to do. Nothing neutral about it.

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