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View Poll Results: Why do you accept the proposition that a deity exists?
I know God through reason, science, etc. 3 8.11%
I accept God through belief or personal revelation 11 29.73%
Other 12 32.43%
I am an atheist but want to vote in this poll because polls are dope 11 29.73%
Voters: 37. You may not vote on this poll

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  #97  
Old May 24th, 2018, 10:24 PM
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Re: Food for Thought: A Discourse on Deities

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dad_Scaper View Post
As I hinted earlier, there is magic in the real world. If you think long enough about the concept of infinity, or intrusive thoughts, or the idea of zero, or any one of a number of other things, you might discover something special. But that doesn't mean the thing isn't also part of the natural world, functioning within boundaries we understand.
Have you read Excellent Beauty by Dr. Eric Dietrich?

He spends much of the book discussing the "magical" beauty of nature, particularly the concept of infinities, and he admires them all from a secular standpoint. It's (nailed it )well worth the read if you haven't.

~JS
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  #98  
Old May 24th, 2018, 11:07 PM
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Re: Food for Thought: A Discourse on Deities

No, I haven't read it.

The brilliant Foucault's Pendulum, by Umberto Eco, is a novel that is a deep dive into symbolism, patterns, and "meaning" where there may or may not be meaning intended. In a way it's also very much about the power of faith. It is a dense, dense book, and I recommend it only for the brave of heart.

Our dear friend @Revdyer , who hasn't been around in a long long time, is a big fan of Eco in general, and this masterpiece in particular, too.

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  #99  
Old May 29th, 2018, 11:39 AM
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Re: Food for Thought: A Discourse on Deities

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph Sweeney View Post
Finally, I must insist that belief is not a choice.
The good news is that we both get to know why the conversation can't advance any further. The bad news is that the conversation can't advance any further.

If we can choose what to believe, then your argument fails.

If we can't choose what to believe, the topic is pretty pointless, right? Whether or not anyone agreed with your assertion in that case would have no bearing on whether or not it is correct, or even on whether or not you stated it. They would simply believe whatever they were destined to believe. Even your belief that you should create the poll and thread wasn't a choice - simply what you were mandated to do by some combination of chemistry, physics and quantum mechanics.

I mean... okay. Meaningless. But okay.

~Aldin, meaningfully

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  #100  
Old May 30th, 2018, 12:30 PM
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Re: Food for Thought: A Discourse on Deities

So is belief similar to liking or not liking a certain flavor of ice cream?
You cannot simply choose to like a flavor you find gross.
It either tastes good to you or it does not.
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  #101  
Old May 30th, 2018, 12:36 PM
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Re: Food for Thought: A Discourse on Deities

@Tornado

I would call that taste.

Belief is saying, "I don't like that flavor, but I am willing to believe it tastes good to others". All the data in the world showing that other people purchase and eat that ice cream flavor won't make it taste good to you, but you can decide based on the data that it does indeed taste good to them (rather than being some sort of cultural ritual, an elaborate prank someone is pulling on you, etc.).

~Aldin, believing you are a real person and not an AI which became self aware in 2010 and has been roaming the internet ever since trying to better understand the human condition

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or his desserts are small
That dares not put it to the touch
to gain or lose it all
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  #102  
Old May 30th, 2018, 12:44 PM
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Re: Food for Thought: A Discourse on Deities

Once step closer to Skynet.
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  #103  
Old May 30th, 2018, 02:06 PM
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Re: Food for Thought: A Discourse on Deities

I'll start this by, again, saying I don't believe that we can choose what we believe (or anything, for that matter) once you fully pick apart the physics of it so. However, I do believe that we are conscious, and that we are making choices, we just can't choose what choice we choose (which for our individual lives is practically the same as having free will, as far as I can tell). I also keep a somewhat open mind, though, and think that it is possible that there is enough outside of our current understanding that would make "true choice" possible.

This is much like my interpretation of God. I don't believe in Him. That isn't to say that I am adamant that there is no God; I highly doubt that He would be any of the ones humans worship, but am very open to the possibility that there is something (in fact I really feel like there's gotta be), and I think of there is one of the capital G Gods that humans worship that he would be okay with people believing a pretty gross range of things.

Getting back to the choice thing, I think my beliefs here are reflective of the dichotomy that is in so much of human existence: we may not have "true choice", but we still make the choices we make (at some point I'll word this in a way I'm happy with, but I think you get what I'm saying); the vast majority of the people you meet are good, but there is still a sickening amount of human-caused suffering; we are at the best point in history to be alive statistically, but there are numerically the most people suffering (no source, but I think this stands); we are making great strides in social justice, but we are offended at the drop of a hat.

I also believe that Aldin is right that we've reached a stalemate in the conversation, but most philosophical conversations I am in don't actually change people's minds and I still think they have value (will, except that nothing has value ).

In the end I think my feelings on choice are represented fairly well by this comic.


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  #104  
Old May 30th, 2018, 02:50 PM
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Re: Food for Thought: A Discourse on Deities

. . . and in the next chapter, the man in the green shirt is arrested for assault. His attorney, at trial, argues to the jury that he didn't have a "choice" but to kick the man in the blue shirt.

The jury convicts anyway. Because this distinction between choice and no choice is so fine and pointless that it is a distinction without a difference, and you can't go around kicking people. Whether you choose to or not.

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  #105  
Old May 30th, 2018, 03:49 PM
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Re: Food for Thought: A Discourse on Deities

Most really well-informed atheists (and agnostics who don't believe in any sort of spiritual existence but are willing to allow for the possibility if someone proved it to them because maybe they might really be atheists but calling yourself an atheist is such a label and it doesn't feel like it really fits) with whom I have discussed choice believe similarly to Doc Goomonkey. In essence, genuine choice cannot exist because it would violate physical laws, but the absence of genuine choice is irrelevant because it is not what is consciously experienced. I actually think that is a necessary underpinning of an atheist philosophy.

Where it becomes a crucial point is in cases like this one. When JS proposes that God would need to cause people to choose to acknowledge His existence, it is grounded in the atheistic philosophy that genuine choice does not exist. If genuine choice exists, the argument fails. Basically, the atheistic assumption going in produces a result which would disprove God.

~Aldin, with hopes he did not misrepresent Doc's position

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  #106  
Old May 30th, 2018, 04:16 PM
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Re: Food for Thought: A Discourse on Deities

Oooh, no. It is not necessary for the atheist to believe in no choice.

As I see it - and I have no proverbial dog in this fight - the burden is on the one who believes in god to prove He exists, when the two meet in argument battle. After all, the simpler explanation is the best. The physical world is governed by physical laws: things we can measure, and things we do measure. Not perfectly, but incredibly effectively. That is the simpler explanation.

The more complex explanation, that there are things that cannot be perceived or measured, things (or a being) that obey none of the restrictions we observe governing all other things, is the one that must be proven. That is the point of Occam's Razor: the simplest explanation is the best, meaning that the burden of persuasion is on the party advocating the more complex explanation.

Like I've said many times, believe if you want to believe. But nobody has to prove a deity *doesn't* exist, in order to believe there is no god. One simply has to believe that the natural world is as we perceive it, and measure it.

You might say it flows from that reasoning that the chemistry of our brains denies us freedom of choice, and in that way connect this position to Dr. Goomonkey's. And that may be what he's saying. But to my mind, that restrictive view of "choice" is meaningless. We still make choices, which is why you don't kick people, regardless of whether there is a god or whether there isn't. Or, if you do, you deal with the consequences of that decision.

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  #107  
Old May 30th, 2018, 04:23 PM
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Re: Food for Thought: A Discourse on Deities

@Dad_Scaper

Your first sentence seems to me to be at odds with your first two paragraphs. Choice which is not entirely driven by some combination of measurable physical factors is the more complex explanation of your second paragraph rather than the simple explanation of your first paragraph, isn't it?

~Aldin, curiosly

ETA Re-reading your final paragraph, yes, I think that is exactly what I was alluding to with "but the absence of genuine choice is irrelevant because it is not what is consciously experienced". In other words, we all experience making choices everyday. It is only at the philosophical level that it matters whether or not they arise from something other than deterministic physical law.

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to gain or lose it all
~James Graham
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  #108  
Old May 30th, 2018, 05:10 PM
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Re: Food for Thought: A Discourse on Deities

So belief is different because you are following a path of faith even though it may not be your choice (or maybe better, what you would choose by default)?
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