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Why is it so difficult to say "I don't know"

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posted on Oct, 5 2008 @ 10:05 AM
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Originally posted by JasonT

People are too quick to judge others, and I am not judging Science. And they are right - There is no proof of a God right now. But like 400 years ago, when the mainstream believed that the sun and planets went round the Earth, or that the Earth was flat before that, don't be so quick to judge about anything.

[edit on 4-10-2008 by JasonT]




In all the history of scientific endeavor to discover the truth behind "acts of God" many issues have been investigated:

What causes the sun to "rise"?
Where does the wind come from?
Where does rain come from?
What is lightning?
What is thunder?
Why do people sometimes die suddenly without obvious trauma?
Why does the earth sometimes shake?
Why are babies sometimes born with horrible defects?
What are the stars?
Why are apes, chimpanzees, gorillas and orang-utans so hauntingly similar to human beings?

The list could, of course, go on for pages. Each of these were at one time "unanswerable questions" because mankind did not have the technology to investigate any of them. These gaps in our knowledge were all answered with the simplest of possible explanations: God did it.

But as time moved on answers were found.
And here's the interesting part: Thousands of mysteries similar to those listed above have been solved.

Each of these were once listed among the unanswerable "mysterious ways of God".

Yet once the actual answer to each question was found it turned out that the answer was never "God did it". Never. Not once.




posted on Oct, 5 2008 @ 11:43 PM
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reply to post by TruthParadox
 


Who is Horza?

Someone with an avatar rather like yours. Please pardon my confusion.

I know schrodingers dog addressed the question to you, but this is a forum thread. In a larger sense it was addressed to all those on it who have claimed to see evidence for the non-existence of God. I don't see any harm in replying; it does not prevent you from making your own reply.

Our positions are not very different, you know.



posted on Oct, 6 2008 @ 01:11 AM
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Ya seen one god, you've seen 'em all


Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander
What if...

God is omnipotent.
Satan is Gods ego.
God is having a struggle with Satan.

Bravo! I'm hardly an expert in the history of philosophy, but that sounds like a genuinely original thought to me.

An omnipotent yet conflicted entity explains the universe far better than the one-sided being proclaimed by western religious thought. It is certainly more credible than the ludicrous paradox of an entity that is at once omnipotent and consistently good. To you, sir or ma'am, I tip my hat.

But constant or conflicted, I still don't believe in the fellow.

Now then:


Besides, one of the things that I find both interesting and annoying is how so many of the "scientifically minded" atheists are using science as evidence against only ONE God. The Christian one. I always suspect it sort of betrays a belief in that God, since it is the only one worth arguing against.

Count me out. Though I was brought up as a Christian myself, I grew up and live in a multireligious culture where Christians are massively outnumbered by Buddhists*, Hindus and Muslims. Yet I no more believe in Allah, Krishna or Shiva than I believe in Him Upstairs.

Also, let us not forget that the 'Christian God' is, to a high degree of approximation the God of the Jews and the Muslims.

This Western God is certainly not the only one worth arguing against. I see how you, as a philosopher in the western tradition, might think so; in that tradition, the arguments between religious and materialist viewpoints have been explored and refined for two thousand years, resulting in an intellectual treasure-house that would take over a lifetime to explore. But the western tradition has other gods besides the hybrid of Jewish war-totem and Neoplatonist ideal entity that we have come to know as the 'Christian God'. Spinoza's God, whom Einstein famously proclaimed himself able to believe in, Leibniz's Neoplatonism-derived alternative, or the various Philosophers' Gods derived from their synthesis may offer a worthier test of the atheist's mettle. You will find many of these, or conceptions very like them, in the Hindu scriptures as well. I think all these gods are eminently worthy of disbelief - or, if your taste runs that way, belief.

It is hardly surprising that atheists of restricted religious experience should choose to disbelieve chiefly in the god they were brought up to worship. This is the result of their acculturation, just as (I suspect) your uncharacteristically thoughtless statement was the result of yours.


Far more interesting than to argue against a description of God thousands of years old and fixed would be to consider the mystic version of God, and allow for the inherent limits of language and the mind as many brilliant mystic minds have rather than fixate on the language itself.

This sounds convincing on the face of it, but I think the mystics' God can be pretty easily written off as a mental state of a hallucinatory nature.

* * *



Originally posted by Spiramirabilis
all the evidence in this universe of ours can only lead you to conclude that god doesn't exist - it has proven exactly nothing

My dear Spiramirabilis, I already understand this clearly. Anyone with a genuinely scientific outlook would.

Please see [here] [2] [3], also this Wikipedia article and an important dissenting view.

But the evidence is strong, and suffices for a conclusion. Proof is not the issue here; it is notoriously impossible to prove that the sun will rise tomorrow. But the infinitesimal possibility that it will not rise as expected is insufficient to justify speaking and living as though it really might not.

Similarly, I find the possibility that a God may in fact exist far too small to justify living and speaking as if one did.

 
*Thinking Buddhists are generally atheists; the Buddha himself dismissed the gods as irrelevant. Less sophisticated Buddhists tend to use Hindu gods or local folk deities and demons to serve the quotidian spiritual and magical needs that Buddhism does not supply.



posted on Oct, 6 2008 @ 01:35 AM
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Originally posted by Ersatz
But as time moved on answers were found.
And here's the interesting part: Thousands of mysteries similar to those listed above have been solved.

Each of these were once listed among the unanswerable "mysterious ways of God".

Yet once the actual answer to each question was found it turned out that the answer was never "God did it". Never. Not once.


Saying that something happens because of the "mysterious ways of God" is an excuse for lazy, half-assed idiots who can't be bothered to put any thought into anything.

Science is about understanding how the universe works, through experimentation and fact-finding. However, your entire post is based on the assumption that scientists today are 100% correct about everything they say they know the answers to. We aren't 100% correct about anything. We do some experiments, and since it fits with how something should logically work, we assume it to be correct.

I fully believe that most current scientific theories and ideas about existence, wind, the sun, the universe, will be shown to be a pile of BS in several centuries. I love science, but I strongly oppose the ignorance displayed by scientists who think that, because they have found a way to light a lightbulb, they are Gods or something.

p.s. that God bit at the end was pure ignorance on your part. The concept of God is why something as simple as the wind even blows in the first place. Sure, you can quote from some textbook that the Sun excites the particles in the air or whatever other idea you have, and thus, the air moves - But why does the Sun exist? Why do even galaxies exist? Can't the various stars be spread across the universe? Why did the Big Bang happen (If the Big Bang isn't replaced by something completely different in the future)? It's where the whole idea of God comes from. Giving the impression that God probably isn't real is a bit silly when there is no proof whatsoever for either side of the debate. Probably denial on your part, and you don't want to be proved wrong.

[edit on 6-10-2008 by JasonT]



posted on Oct, 6 2008 @ 07:54 AM
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Originally posted by JasonT


Science is about understanding how the universe works, through experimentation and fact-finding. However, your entire post is based on the assumption that scientists today are 100% correct about everything they say they know the answers to. We aren't 100% correct about anything. We do some experiments, and since it fits with how something should logically work, we assume it to be correct.


To qualify as a fact, it must be observable and verifiable. The reasons why one says that Evolution is a fact is the same as why we say that gravity is a fact. We can observe it and verify it. The fossil records, for example, show that biological entities change over time. They are all verifiable and observable.

But facts don't go away whilst rival theories are debated to explain them.

Einstein's theory of gravitation replaced Newton's in this century, but apples didn't suspend themselves in midair, pending the outcome.
Apples fall on the ground, gravity exists.

The wind blows therefore God exists is s-hitty logic.

The reasons why we say that Evolution is a fact is the same as why we say that gravity is a fact. We can observe it and verify it.




p.s. that God bit at the end was pure ignorance on your part. The concept of God is why something as simple as the wind even blows in the first place. Sure, you can quote from some textbook that the Sun excites the particles in the air or whatever other idea you have, and thus, the air moves - But why does the Sun exist? Why do even galaxies exist? Can't the various stars be spread across the universe? Why did the Big Bang happen (If the Big Bang isn't replaced by something completely different in the future)? It's where the whole idea of God comes from. Giving the impression that God probably isn't real is a bit silly when there is no proof whatsoever for either side of the debate. Probably denial on your part, and you don't want to be proved wrong.
[edit on 6-10-2008 by JasonT]




The existence of the wind proves the existence of God??

You are perfectly free to believe that there was a first cause and that the first cause was your god or Russell's teapot.

It's just not a valid logical argument.

A forum is for a discussion, not for the deliverance of your unsupported opinions.

The assertion on your part that there may be a God only proves your desire, it does not prove God.

Show me how God exists..!

The existence of the Universe with all its effects proves the existence of the Universe, no God necessary.



posted on Oct, 6 2008 @ 08:36 AM
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Originally posted by Ersatz
The existence of the Universe with all its effects proves the existence of the Universe, no God necessary.


For the Universe to even exist, something must allow it. The Universe is so beautiful and spectacular, and yet, following your logic, I'm surprised that it's not a pile of #. As man creates a machine to give it form and value, I believe in "Intelligent Design", but then, the reason why that idea has been so violently opposed is because the scientific establishment has never been an accepting bunch of people - Ironic for a group of people where something must be proven true or proven false through experimentation, yet downright reject anything that contradicts mainstream ideas and thought. How pathetic.

What happened to the good old concept of having an "open mind" on everything until something proves/disproves it?



posted on Oct, 6 2008 @ 08:57 AM
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reply to post by JasonT
 


I bet it makes it easier for you to believe in ID because 'those darned unaccepting scientists simply don't want to know', but it's not the truth.

If you, or indeed anyone, can provide evidence to suggest ID is real, science would be ID's biggest cheerleader. As it is, though, not a single shred of evidence has been found, and so ID is still an unverified hypothesis, devoid of supporting evidence.

Don't blame science for your unfounded beliefs. It's not the fault of science that you accept things as truth without any evidence at all.



posted on Oct, 6 2008 @ 09:32 AM
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Originally posted by JasonT

Originally posted by Ersatz
The existence of the Universe with all its effects proves the existence of the Universe, no God necessary.


For the Universe to even exist, something must allow it. The Universe is so beautiful and spectacular, and yet, following your logic, I'm surprised that it's not a pile of #. As man creates a machine to give it form and value, I believe in "Intelligent Design", but then, the reason why that idea has been so violently opposed is because the scientific establishment has never been an accepting bunch of people - Ironic for a group of people where something must be proven true or proven false through experimentation, yet downright reject anything that contradicts mainstream ideas and thought. How pathetic.

What happened to the good old concept of having an "open mind" on everything until something proves/disproves it?


On what grounds do you assert that something must allow the Universe to exist?

It seems that in your view to be open minded includes believing in Intelligent Design?

If we were intelligently designed we would be more intelligently designed, birds have a much better eyesight, dogs a better sense of smell, women would not need to cross their legs everytime they sneeze etc.. etc..

Use your good old "open mindedness", please watch this short video..

www.youtube.com...


Also your God/ Creator/ First Cause is it by necessity a singular entity? What prevents multiple causal agents?

Is your cause of all things a single event causal action or chain of descending or ascending events with multiple agents acting independently?

Does not itself have a cause?
By what supposition can a Causal agent be necessary if that agent is independent of cause?
Doesn't this beg the question?

Are you really open minded?



posted on Oct, 6 2008 @ 09:49 AM
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Originally posted by JasonT

Originally posted by Ersatz
The existence of the Universe with all its effects proves the existence of the Universe, no God necessary.


For the Universe to even exist, something must allow it. The Universe is so beautiful and spectacular, and yet, following your logic, I'm surprised that it's not a pile of #. As man creates a machine to give it form and value, I believe in "Intelligent Design", but then, the reason why that idea has been so violently opposed is because the scientific establishment has never been an accepting bunch of people - Ironic for a group of people where something must be proven true or proven false through experimentation, yet downright reject anything that contradicts mainstream ideas and thought. How pathetic.

What happened to the good old concept of having an "open mind" on everything until something proves/disproves it?


Hum, jason this is why christians who "believe" in id create their own problems.

This is exactly where the words I don't know should have come in. Not to weaken your position and beliefs but in fact to strengthen them.

Faith is largely based on believing in something that cannot be proven. So when an atheist, agnostic such as myself, or a person of science challenges your faith, to come back with ID or to say "this" is so pretty and complicated that it proves god exists actually shows that you are shaky in your own faith.

The simple answer should be: "No one can prove the existence of God but my faith in God is unshakable for I feel his presence in my heart and my life." If one feels that way, then that's is all that is required. Also, if one truly feels that way, they will find very little resistance from atheists or anyone else.

But this happens so little on this forum. Like I said, the instant you start trying to explain the unknowable through ridiculous ideas like ID you start collapsing God and faith on themselves. It also shows that the concept of God is at least pertly an intellectual one to you, which points to you questioning you own faith and having to fill in the blanks with logic.



posted on Oct, 6 2008 @ 09:59 AM
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Originally posted by schrodingers dog
Fact is: we don't know

And it's ok to say it.
Not only it's ok, it's necessary. Lest we look foolish and arrogant.


In every branch of science, there are theories that, while largely consistent with experimental data, are still not wihtout flaw and require more testing and refinement. And that's what we call "knowledge" -- the best set of theories we possess at any given time. We are not entitled to anything better, like some kind of "supreme knowledge". And you know, I'm quite comfortable with that. For example, there are difficult areas in theory of strong interaction -- hoerver, these do not invalidate the whole conspet or basic equations.

Now, if I accept this as what knowledge is, I can answer your question, namely:

disregarding the scientific method, the one that took humankind from caves all the way into space, would be "foolish and arrogant" -- to use your own words.



posted on Oct, 6 2008 @ 10:20 AM
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reply to post by buddhasystem
 


No one is discounting the value and validity of science.

But as soon as the first equations were worked out, they opened a thousand doors to new questions. That is how science works and that is how it is today. And sometimes entire foundations and premises are discarded. Also "schools" based on theories are born. Think quantum mechanics, string/brane theories, big bang theories.

Those are the "I don't knows", and they vastly outnumber 2+2=4.



posted on Oct, 6 2008 @ 10:31 AM
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Originally posted by schrodingers dog
And sometimes entire foundations and premises are discarded. Also "schools" based on theories are born. Think quantum mechanics, string/brane theories, big bang theories.


Quantum mechanics as it is, is doing a fine job in most cases -- of course that's not a relativistic theory and it needs to be augmented when you include relativistic phenomena. What I'm trying to say is pretty much every theory is an approximation valid in its own domain, yet consistent with the "big picture". So, quantum mechanics is unlikely to be discarded. And actually, the big bang theory also holds -- albeit we need to investigate the dark matter which is likely permeating our Universe.

Same with evolution -- I view it as a computation process (just like most other things). There can be things we haven't discovered yet, but again I need to put this into perspective and say -- by using Occam's razor, I need to discard the ID hypothesis. So I can't say 100% "I don't know". I think we already know a lot!



posted on Oct, 6 2008 @ 10:51 AM
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Originally posted by Astyanax


Originally posted by Spiramirabilis
all the evidence in this universe of ours can only lead you to conclude that god doesn't exist - it has proven exactly nothing

My dear Spiramirabilis, I already understand this clearly. Anyone with a genuinely scientific outlook would.


and I, clearly, understand just how clearly you understand this

which makes the sureness with which you proclaim: "because they cannot understand what it is to be free" just that much more annoying :-)



Ya seen one god, you've seen 'em all


more to that than you intended - which I'm reasonably sure you didn't



Similarly, I find the possibility that a God may in fact exist far too small to justify living and speaking as if one did.


just so completely reasonable



Proof is not the issue here...


no - it's really not

so saying "But the evidence is strong, and suffices for a conclusion."

those words...suffice, conclude - why don't you just go ahead and put an icepick in my head right now? (I say, fully realizing there are many that would really appreciate that)

I'm going to suggest that those words, and the meaning they supply - can at most console you

the words that we use to make more material our concepts - and the concepts we adopt to soothe our troubled minds - nothing but pacifiers



 
*Thinking Buddhists are generally atheists; the Buddha himself dismissed the gods as irrelevant.


you might as well say "all the really cool Buddhists..." :-)



Less sophisticated Buddhists tend to use Hindu gods or local folk deities and demons to serve the quotidian spiritual and magical needs that Buddhism does not supply.


archetypes

we humans adore them - maybe we actually need them

I'm a symbolist (I know - could it get anymore annoying? stick around...)

the humans are growing up

one day they will leave their happy childhood homes and set up house on their own

and they will tell their very own kids all about Santa - because kids have the luxury of being able to believe - and their parents will understand why that is harmless

and maybe necessary



posted on Oct, 6 2008 @ 11:04 AM
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reply to post by schrodingers dog
 





The simple answer should be: "No one can prove the existence of God but my faith in God is unshakable for I feel his presence in my heart and my life." If one feels that way, then that's is all that is required. Also, if one truly feels that way, they will find very little resistance from atheists or anyone else.


too cool for words SD

would the reverse also be true?

how fun would it be to hear that? :-)



posted on Oct, 6 2008 @ 08:10 PM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 


Starred . . . great response!


Spiramirabilis . . . being big on the symbolic, myself . . . just wanted you to know that I starred a couple of yours, as well. Would love to see you two hit up the "Debate" thread . . . it's been great reading!

Once again, fantastic topic SD!

EDIT - spelling



[edit on 10/6/08 by solomons path]



posted on Oct, 6 2008 @ 08:47 PM
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Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander
What struck me when reading your example is what if the premises were altered slightly.

God is omnipotent.
Satan is Gods ego.
God is having a struggle with Satan.

It would be logical, that an ominpotent being could struggle with an aspect of itself.


True, so let's add more variables, as seen in the Bible:

God is omnipotent.
Satan is Gods ego.
God is having a struggle with Satan.
God is perfect.
God is pure good.
Satan is pure evil.

Not all can be true.
Though I do agree that many who read the Bible do not necesarrily believe everything that is written in the Bible.
Whenever I discuss why God is unlikely to exist, I am usually discussing it based on a specific belief system.
So if someone does not believe that God is omnipotent or perfect, then I would not argue with them.



Originally posted by Astyanax
I know schrodingers dog addressed the question to you, but this is a forum thread. In a larger sense it was addressed to all those on it who have claimed to see evidence for the non-existence of God. I don't see any harm in replying; it does not prevent you from making your own reply.

Our positions are not very different, you know.


No, it's all good mate.

I was just confused about you calling me Horza is all.



posted on Oct, 6 2008 @ 08:54 PM
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Originally posted by JasonT
For the Universe to even exist, something must allow it. The Universe is so beautiful and spectacular, and yet, following your logic, I'm surprised that it's not a pile of #.


If it was a pile o' poo, then let's say eventually organisms started to grow off it.
Guess what, those organisms would consider the pile o' poo 'beautiful and spectacular' because it supports life for 'them'.

We consider something beautiful because it supports life.
A pile o' poo to us does not support life, but a green planet does.
So we think that our planet must have a creator because it's so beautiful and amazing.

It makes more sense to me that we evolved to fit our universe then to say that our universe was made for us.



posted on Oct, 7 2008 @ 01:25 AM
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reply to post by TruthParadox
 


If it was a pile o' poo, then let's say eventually organisms started to grow off it.

Guess what, those organisms would consider the pile o' poo 'beautiful and spectacular' because it supports life for 'them'.

Absolutely spot on.

Plant farts smell sweet to us. Because we live on them.



posted on Oct, 7 2008 @ 02:54 AM
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reply to post by Spiramirabilis
 


Originally posted by Spiramirabilis


Originally posted by Astyanax
Folk who bluster that atheism is only another kind of faith... cannot perceive because they cannot understand what it is to be free.

I hesitate to ask - because - I'm actually a little afraid of the answer - are you kidding me with this?

No, of course I'm not kidding.

Atheism is certainly a belief. It is the belief that no god exists.

But it is no more than a belief. It most emphatically is not a belief system. It is not a faith.

You might argue (knowing you, Spiramirabilis) that a scientific or rationalist outlook provides the system. But hey, guess what? Some people don't need or want a system.

I have a friend who got caught in the 2004 Asian tsunami. He almost died in the waves. But he survived and saved a couple of other people into the bargain. In the days that followed, he became, by his actions and leadership, a bona fide hero. He pretty much kept an entire village and a motley of tourists alive and hopeful until rescue arrived.

Now this guy used to be religious - in a simple, childlike-faith kind of way - before the tsunami. He's an atheist now. What he saw over those three days convinced him there is no God.

He doesn't need some kind of belief system to support his atheism. He's not an intellectual; he barely graduated from high school. His own experience was enough to make the case plain. If there is a God, it is a vicious, wasteful and capricious thing, worthy only to be reviled - not worshipped. Better that there should be none.


I, clearly, understand just how clearly you understand this.

which makes the sureness with which you proclaim: "because they cannot understand what it is to be free" just that much more annoying :-)

At the risk of annoying you further, I venture to suggest that, had you experienced for yourself the freedom of which I speak, you would take my meaning more clearly.


Tthose words...suffice, conclude... can at most console you

the words that we use to make more material our concepts - and the concepts we adopt to soothe our troubled minds - nothing but pacifiers.

I think you mean agents of 'closure'. Not quite the same thing.

I earnestly adjure you to try living without belief before you start tossing accusations of moral cowardice about. Believe me, atheism is not for the fainthearted.



posted on Oct, 7 2008 @ 10:25 AM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 




Atheism is certainly a belief.


in my overly nit-picky way - this is all I was ever shooting for



You might argue (knowing you, Spiramirabilis) that a scientific or rationalist outlook provides the system. But hey, guess what? Some people don't need or want a system.


we could argue about the system part - but that would be pointless - and antagonistic

I'll just say this - I'm not proselytizing

I also have no interest in trying to deconstruct anyone's personal philosophy

if I were actually polite enough to just state my point, instead of trying to amuse my self, I would say this:

I think we're constantly in the process of establishing and protecting our identity - for each other and ourselves - and when our most cherished beliefs are challenged or dismissed - it's personal

perhaps what you've determined for yourself does make you truly free - and it's possible it's something I'll never fully appreciate or understand

that possibility works both ways

when you tell me I'm imprisoned by my own self deceit and dogma...you might as well just say I'm stupid

freedom is in the eye of the beholder - and what get's me to that miraculous place is as personal for me as it is for you

this constant battle of beliefs is what Shrodingers Dog is addressing - and you should understand - I never meant to single out Atheists - it absolutely applies across the board - explaining our beliefs shouldn't involve attacking the beliefs of others

but this is where we are

and cowardice was never even implied





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