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Thoughts on God/Purpose

Posted by TheThorn 
Re: Thoughts on God/Purpose
January 31, 2015 06:42AM
That's the value of Dick, Pondy. I wouldn't want it any other way... Consistency really matters
Re: Thoughts on God/Purpose
January 31, 2015 10:30PM
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Navy2711
I have no problem following what Dick said. In fact, it drives me nuts that people like Ponderer and Thorn complain when Dick wants to adhere to simple definitions like "belief", "knowledge," and "possible vs. probably." I don't see any atom smashing there. The semantic discipline that Dick insists on is not just acceptable in a philosophical discussion ... it's necessary.

In this very thread, we have Thorn saying, "Words are important, Dick, and 'belief' is a loaded one."

"Belief" is a loaded word?? Holy sh*t on a stick, are you kidding me? It's as straighforward as it gets. It's fundamental. It's indispensable. Ponderer skips over that and complains about Dick??



Navy - seriously... this is the same Dick who postulated that I must believe in witches because I "believed" that some police officers in Mexico "believed" they saw witches. One has nothing to do with the other. So semantic discipline? Fine. Drawing inaccurate conclusions based on semantic discipline? Not fine.
Sam
Re: Thoughts on God/Purpose
February 01, 2015 01:02AM
The Thorn has faith in the likelihood the universe has a purpose. He, therefore, must believe there was/is some creative entity that intelligently designed things to achieve an intended outcome, something altogether outside the realm of physics as we know it. That's theism. Agnosticism is not a real position on anything. It's a non-position that negates itself once any belief is articulated.
Re: Thoughts on God/Purpose
February 01, 2015 01:23AM
Horse hockey. There are only two beliefs - theism and atheism. One believes god(s) exist - the other believes god(s) don't. Very simple. Neither one has a shred of proof to back their respective beliefs - yet both camps are obstinate and self righteous in their wholly unsupportable positions. The theist like to pretend they are the chosen ones with a grand afterlife awaiting them while the atheists like to pretend they are intellectually superior by breaking their belief into pointless categories such as "agnostic atheism" and other such hooha in a vain attempt to attach some implied intellectual gravitas to their camp. The bottom line... without the protracted word salads or psychobabble? You either believe one way or the other (theist or atheist) - or you don't know. There is no shame in admitting you don't know something that is unknowable and there is no remuneration or reward for pretending you do.
Sam
Re: Thoughts on God/Purpose
February 01, 2015 01:58AM
Indy, Still haven't learned the difference between belief and knowledge I see. This is a fundamental problem for those calling themselves agnostic when asked if they believe gods exist. Theists can't think critically about the subject and agnostics won't. Atheism is the only camp that actively challenges indoctrination, delusion, semantics and mental laziness when it comes to the question of BELIEF in gods. Agnostics argue endlessly as though they have a horse in the race and they don't. Well, they don't admit to it. Maybe because their pony is so tiny and hidden in the very back of their closet. To confidently be able to say "there is no santa" but not "there is no god" demonstrates a total lack of understanding of how beliefs are formed not a total lack of belief. Maybe agnogs can't say "there is no santa" with confidence. It's the only thing that can account for this disconnect. Otherwise they are giving gods a special case exception which is something only believers do. I suspect agnogs are exactly like some believers who pretend to believe "just in case".

Regarding your complaint that atheists like to point out sub-categories of positions, why didn't you comment on TheThorn's post that does just that for you agnogs when he said "My position falls somewhere in the broad range of agnostic positions. There is pure agnosticism that accepts we don't know and sees no reason to think about it, but there are a lot of more nuanced positions within the spectrum as well.

There are agnostics who know we don't know, but consider it likely there is no purpose. Then there are agnostics who know we don't know, but consider it likely that there is a purpose. I fall in the latter camp.

Within that camp there are agnostics who consider that while we do not know what this purpose is - we might one day, and those that consider that it is unlikely we ever will. I probably lean towards the latter camp again."?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/01/2015 03:52AM by Sam.
Sam
Re: Thoughts on God/Purpose
February 01, 2015 02:53AM
The Thorn, What is the difference between these two phrases: "this is what I believe" rather than "this is what I find likely (to be true)" in light of this definition from [en.wikipedia.org] "a belief is a mental representation of a sentient being's attitude toward the likelihood or truth of something.[1] "?

Re: " One belief I strongly hold is that faith-based positive beliefs are irrational and serve little purpose but to divide people."

By definition anything faith-based is irrational so this is something we all KNOW. If theists and atheists divide people by disagreeing on the nature of reality, what do agnogs do when they chime in? Bring people all together in one big closet with you, lol?

Re: "Be it Strong Atheism, Religions, ad hoc Spiritual Philosophies or whatever flavour a person chooses - pretending to know the answers and butting heads with all the other people pretending to know different answers is not sensible or helpful".

Aren't you pretending to know that these things are unknowable? Regardless, you may be making a choice in favor of ignorance (denial) but most people don't choose what they believe is true. They form their beliefs either through indoctrination or through the weighing of evidence and naturally believe what is most likely true. It takes a lot of mental gymnastics to maintain an ignorant/agnostic mindset but some people get some kind of payoff for doing so. What is your payoff?



Re: "Hammering "beliefs" down to try and hold on to them serves no purpose." Maybe THAT is the purpose of the universe. You don't know!! Quantum physics tells us that our beliefs might be integral to how things really work! Maybe the universe cannot make a quantum leap of progress because too many people either believe crazy things or refuse to introspect deep enough to discover what they actually do believe. Think! That's our purpose!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/01/2015 04:06AM by Sam.
Re: Thoughts on God/Purpose
February 01, 2015 02:51PM
Hi Sam,

I'm not saying these things are finally unknowable. Maybe further down the line of cultural and technological development they may be. Or maybe they are simply not comprehensible to a species at our level of evolutionary development and there is nothing that further cultural development can do. You can't teach a hamster to repair a car, and you can't teach generations of hamsters to eventually learn to repair a car either. There is a cut off of what is possible with their brains and nervous systems, and we have to accept that we have a cut off point as well and that the answers we crave might be beyond it. We can't know if we can ever know the answers to these questions. All we know is that right now we don't.

Regarding this side argument a lot of people seem more interested in than the key points under debate - about my unwillingness to use the word "belief" or "believe" (if I can avoid it) when discussing metaphysical issues. I don't know if I can explain myself better than I already have.

When it comes to things that we at least have some evidence on either side for we can come to beliefs, be they tentative or firm. But when we do not have any evidence and all we have is our internal ruminations on what we find most likely, I don't believe that 'belief' is the right word to use. Agnosticism, the process of neither believing nor disbelieving, is the most rational approach. This does not stop you thinking. Indeed it fuels thinking since you have less fixed points holding you down.

One day I can think that the universe is likely meaningless, and by the time sun goes down I can be thinking it is likely it has a purpose. I'm not psychologically resistant to changing my mind, not pressured by my ego not to contradict myself, and not beholden to any bias to avoid certain pathways of thought in case they might prove me wrong. I don't care how many times I change my mind because my only belief in the matter is that I do not know the right answer and am unlikely to ever find it. It's the most intellectually free state you can occupy.

But in closing, I would say that if anyone is hung up on the use of that word or this, just mentally substitute me saying "I believe" if it is that important to you. You can't brow beat me into using a word I don't want to, but I can't stop you applying your own subtitles internally. Then maybe we can get back to discussing some of the more interesting points on this thread.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/01/2015 02:54PM by TheThorn.
Sam
Re: Thoughts on God/Purpose
February 01, 2015 09:17PM
" Agnosticism, the process of neither believing nor disbelieving,..."

If you are going to make up your own definitions of words then, of course, there is no rational discussion possible. Just the title of this thread tells everyone that you are equating "God" with "Purpose" and since you believe the universe has a purpose you must believe in some god which also makes rational discussion impossible. Those ARE the interesting points on this thread.

The fact that you can believe one thing each morning and believe the opposite each night is testament to your lack of confidence in your own ability to weigh evidence properly to discover what is likely to be true and what is not. "Intellectually free"? Maybe "intellect free" is more like it? Your conclusion that it is intellectually restraining to hold a belief for more than a second, lol, is just dumb. Those of us with beliefs contemplate and question our own conclusions all the time and typically find no good reason to change our belief. If you are truly changing your beliefs about gods/purpose very often I'm very interested in knowing what it is exactly that makes you change your mind. Do you know there is no santa? Do you believe there is no santa? Does that belief change every day, too? Just wondering how a willfully ignorant brain works.


(sent you a pm)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/01/2015 10:00PM by Sam.
Re: Thoughts on God/Purpose
February 01, 2015 10:34PM
Well first off, Sam - there is a Santa. Saint Nicholas was a real person. Look it up. So - given that your argument is flawed on the most basic level when it comes to KNOWLEDGE and BELIEF - I'm not sure you're the one who should be determining who knows what in regards to those two ideas.

But moving past that majestic misstep - I think most people who are reasonable understand the way the theist and the atheist formulate their BELIEF (I capped it for you because you were kind enough to do the same for me) - is the same exact way the agnostic formulates their belief. You take what you know - add in what you think, suspect, feel, whatever... to formulate a BELIEF based on all those factors. That is not KNOWLEDGE - even though a BELIEF is formulated to SOME degree on what we KNOW. So bottom line...

The theist BELIEVES there is a god... although he does not know.

The atheist BELIEVES there is a not god... although he does not know.

The agnostic BELIEVES we will never know if there is or is not a god so there is no reason to formulate a superfluous BELIEF in that regard... although he does not know.

The only difference between the three is the agnostic understands there are three positions and doesn't feel threatened by the idea that he could be wrong like the other two.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/01/2015 11:40PM by Indy!.
Sam
Re: Thoughts on God/Purpose
February 01, 2015 11:55PM
"there is a Santa. Saint Nicholas was a real person." Besides not understanding the diff between belief and knowledge, apparently you don't understand the diff between "is" and "was" either, lol.

"The agnostic BELIEVES we will never know if there is or is not a god... " So? No one ever asks "do you know if gods exist?"

Fact is, agnogs just don't have the confidence in their own critical thinking skills to be comfortable with a real answer to the real question "do you believe gods exist?" Do you? Who's afraid of being wrong again? Those who vacillate wildly between the two answers on an almost daily basis as TheThorn says or someone who considers any and all evidence that comes along and adjusts his/her beliefs accordingly?

The only reason you want there to be 3 positions is so you feel like part of the conversation when you really are not.
Re: Thoughts on God/Purpose
February 02, 2015 12:39AM
Quote
Sam
" Agnosticism, the process of neither believing nor disbelieving,..."

If you are going to make up your own definitions of words then, of course, there is no rational discussion possible.

Where do you think I've gone wrong here, specifically?

Quote

Just the title of this thread tells everyone that you are equating "God" with "Purpose" and since you believe the universe has a purpose you must believe in some god which also makes rational discussion impossible. Those ARE the interesting points on this thread.

Actually it's just that I find the two concepts indistinguishable when you drill right down into it.

I tried my hardest to explain this clearly in my opening post:

Quote

Before going any further we need to establish what I mean when I say ‘God’. It’s not a useful word as covers too many different ideas and is has too many different connotations to be useful in a discussion. Boiling it down – if we suggest that there is some purpose to the universe, to life and so on, this is indistinguishable to me to the concept of God/Gods.

Really I use the word as a short hand umbrella term to refer to any philosophy besides "life developed simply as an unintended side effect of meaningless physical laws which exist just because". Perhaps I should just use the word "purpose" rather than "God". It has less connotations and confusion, but it's certainly vaguer. Discussing this topic within the confines of an English language that evolved alongside the then-unquestionable Christian religion is not easy.

Ignoring the fine details, there are really two positions with differing levels of agnosticism between them:

Position A - "The universe exists because it just does. Life is just an unintended side effect of meaningless physical laws"

Position B - "The universe has meaning, and life within it exists for a purpose"

Quote

The fact that you can believe one thing each morning and believe the opposite each night is testament to your lack of confidence in your own ability to weigh evidence properly to discover what is likely to be true and what is not.

I would say its just a realistic assessment of our actual limitations when it comes to this topic.

For the record, I have never since I was a teenager actually come to the conclusion that it is likely that there is a meaningless universe. I am just saying that I try, as hard as I can anyway, to hold a piece of my mind open to the possibility.

Quote

"Intellectually free"? Maybe "intellect free" is more like it?

You charmer. winking smiley

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Your conclusion that it is intellectually restraining to hold a belief for more than a second, lol, is just dumb. Those of us with beliefs contemplate and question our own conclusions all the time and typically find no good reason to change our belief. If you are truly changing your beliefs about gods/purpose very often I'm very interested in knowing what it is exactly that makes you change your mind. Do you know there is no santa? Do you believe there is no santa? Does that belief change every day, too? Just wondering how a willfully ignorant brain works.

Santa is an understood and agreed upon deception we indulge in, supposedly to give our children some sense of "magic" around the holiday period. I've always found it hilarious how strong atheists will invoke such a myth as a supposedly reasonable argument to stop thinking about why exactly is they are able to think...


Quote

(sent you a pm)

Cool, will PM back tomorrow, definitely time for bed here in London. smiling smiley
Re: Thoughts on God/Purpose
February 02, 2015 12:41AM
Sam, the only "conversation" you're having is with yourself. As always when you decide to finally come out of your crypt and visit Selectsmart - we're merely here to support your BELIEF (all caps). If we don't - well then the infallible Sam insists we must be misguided. Like all theists and atheists - your fear of being wrong is palpable. I am not concerned with finding an answer or formulating a BELIEF for the unanswerable and that is my position whether it gives the almighty Sam comfort or not. Thorn is Thorn - I'm not going to speak for him. However I can speak to the fact that there is no "evidence" whatsoever to "consider" - and the fact you BELIEVE there is tells us you have no idea what KNOWLEDGE means.
Sam
Re: Thoughts on God/Purpose
February 02, 2015 01:15AM
Indy gets emotional as usual.

I actually came here to find someone from London and coincidentally TheThorn was here with an interesting thread so I jumped in. I don't really care what you know, believe or think. Just a pit stop. Take care.

Thorn, By "intellect free" I mean that the agnog position is really one of emotion and not of thought.

Ok, don't like santa? How about unicorns or teapots in space? If you don't understand why atheists use these comparisons of imaginary things I'm afraid you might not have the capacity to understand why it's so important to believe what's most likely and disbelieve what isn't. Instead it seems much more important to agnogs that they constantly grapple with themselves so as to be able to argue with everyone who knows what they believe, lol.

The problem with your definition of agnogism? There is no such thing as a "process of neither believing nor disbelieving" unless you count being dead, in a coma or similarly incapacitated from thinking. You might always be vacillating between one or the other but never neither. You said it yourself as you described changing your beliefs on a daily basis. Something is either true or it isn't and we either believe it or we don't. Fuzzy definitions serve no purpose. Or god, if you will, lol. winking smiley
Re: Thoughts on God/Purpose
February 02, 2015 04:54AM
Sam, haven't been here in a while myself! And like yourself, I was just stopping by and found this thread interesting. You said, "There is no such thing as a "process of neither believing nor disbelieving" unless you count being dead, in a coma or similarly incapacitated from thinking."

I have no doubt that this is probably one of your beliefs, in fact it must be something you personally can't do, which leads you to 'believe' no one else can. But to assert that no one else can do it is something I "know" from direct experience to be false. And I believe (naturally I can't know it) that I'm not the only one who can neither believe nor disbelieve particular underdetermined assertions!

[plato.stanford.edu]
Re: Thoughts on God/Purpose
February 02, 2015 05:36AM
Sam tries to get Freudian again. The only problem there is we know you, Sam. You took a couple psych courses in community college and you were so good at it you ended up wiping asses for a living. So I'm sure if any of us needs an emotional assessment - we'll call a professional... not the maid.
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