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Author Topic: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand  (Read 9793 times)

N80

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #40 on: February 22, 2017, 05:54:17 PM »

Ah, yes, you are the absolute authority on making such determinations.  It couldn't possibly just be your (mis)interpretation.

Okay, let's consider what he said:

"Your after-the-fact sense-making is of a kind with our tendency to see faces in clouds, the baby Jesus in a piece of toast, or Mohammad in a pomegranate."

On what planet or in what language is that not condescending? If you can read that as not condescending then I'll bow to your understanding and offer my apologies.

even to the point of avoiding confounding data

Likewise.

Basically, shit happens, and sometimes we kid ourselves that shit happens for some reason

Again. My apologies to all if I have misconstrued these statements.

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You don't know everything, George,

I have not claimed to.

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your opinion is far from being infallible, regardless of how strongly you believe otherwise (based on your faith in other things).

Very true.

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But in the confines of these discussions, you write with constant condescension (even with those with whom you agree on a certain subject).

Could be. But are you sure? I mean, if you don't see the condescension in Chairman Bill's post but you do see it in my posts is there a chance there is a bias because we seem to disagree? Regardless, I'll take it under consideration and do what I can.

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It's tiresome.

I try to write precisely. In this sort of discussion that is important. Maybe that makes it sound condescending? Or maybe it is condescending. Most of my responses are prompted by people who make blanket stereotypical claims which in many circles are intended to go unchallenged. It can be hard to challenge such statements without seeming to be condescending. Again, I'll take it under considerations. But there are times when I intend to be condescending....as when people who characterize religious people (most of the world's population) as believing in pixies and fairies....for example.

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There is no point discussing anything with someone who is so sure of themselves that they cannot be faulted in their view.

This is not to say that you shouldn't argue strongly for what you believe to correct, or if you see a flaw in the argument of the other person.  Of course, you should.

Those two statements are hard to reconcile, no? And I do not believe that anywhere I have invoked my own authority in a matter? So I'm not sure this assessment of your is fair.

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But it can be done without speaking down to them, without assuming that your perspective is perfect, and with just a tiny, little touch of humility and acceptance that no matter how much you believe something, it's just a belief.

Good advice.

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Remember - you only play the part of God - you aren't actually Him.

No, no, I do not even play the part.
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George

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N80

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #41 on: February 22, 2017, 05:57:45 PM »

It doesn't make you a psychologist though, and you dismissing what I said as 'pop' psychology betrays the fact that you're not a psychologist.

And that is precisely why I prefaced the statement with "I'm no psychologist"  ;)
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George

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #42 on: February 22, 2017, 06:40:04 PM »

And that is precisely why I prefaced the statement with "I'm no psychologist"  ;)
But you feel qualified to dismiss it as pop psychology?

Chairman Bill

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #43 on: February 22, 2017, 06:55:14 PM »

Okay, let's consider what he said:

"Your after-the-fact sense-making is of a kind with our tendency to see faces in clouds, the baby Jesus in a piece of toast, or Mohammad in a pomegranate."

On what planet or in what language is that not condescending? If you can read that as not condescending then I'll bow to your understanding and offer my apologies.
Because he is making sense of an event, after the fact, and that sense making is of a kind (i.e. the same mechanisms are operating here) with the way that people see patterns that aren't really there. It's called pareidolia in the context of seeing faces and the like, but it's all about imposing patterns on the natural world, trying to make sense of things. We are programmed to see agency, even where none exists. And yes, sometimes we do this even in the face of confounding data. Confirmation bias, illusory correlations, pareidolia ... there's a lot of things going on in our heads, such that we can't really trust our unexamined feelings & conclusions. And whilst an experience may well suggest a 'guiding hand', there are other ways of examining an event, and accounting for it, without recourse to supernaturalist explanations.

N80

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #44 on: February 22, 2017, 07:59:11 PM »


Science doesn't deal in proofs -

I don't know what you mean about that. Maybe its a matter of semantics but science is all about dealing with proof.

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but when someone claims that something supernatural has interacted with the natural world, they assert its involvement in the natural world, and that claim is then beyond the merely 'supernatural',

I don't understand. I don't think anything can be beyond the supernatural.

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and the total absence of evidence to support such claims, is something science can comment upon.

Well, first, there is not a total absence of evidence for a creator. Far from it. That evidence may not be conclusive, but it is a misrepresentation to say there is none. (And I would be happy to discuss them if you wish.) Second, you said yourself "The supernatural, by very definition, is outwith the purview of science."

If it is outside the purview of science then science cannot say anything about whether it exists or not. And to date there is no scientific, mathematical or philosophical conclusive evidence that god does not exist. If you think you know of such evidence then let's have it.

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No. Science deals with the natural world. It is the basis of science that nature can be tested, poked, prodded, and that we can derive laws & rules and the like.

Right, but this in no way means that there is a basic scientific principle that says, in addition to nature there is nothing else. That is the basis for Newton's laws which always specify that they apply only in a closed system.

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Don't confuse methodological naturalism with metaphysical naturalism.

I haven't. And neither of them is based on the very principles of science that you yourself have used to define science. A presumption of naturalism of any ilk is untestable and unprovable. Science cannot be applied to principles of materialism. It is fine to believe in naturalism if you want to but it cannot be justified based on science.

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It isn't based on 'faith' though.

You can call it faith or you can call it something else. It remains an untestable presupposition. If you believe it then you are taking it on faith....or whatever word you wish to use.

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Science can indeed be tested, and provides repeatable results, that can be interrogated & replicated by others.

Okay. Sort of. It clearly has limits beyond which it cannot go. Heisenberg proved that.

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Science enables us to put a man on the moon. If you want something equivalent from the supernatural, you'd better get bending some spoons.

No, the Kalam Cosmological Argument will do just fine. Once you've explained it away then I'll worship at the same alter as you.

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For all his lofty academic credentials, Platinga is a mere apologist, not a seeker after truth.

That is a shockingly poor misrepresentation of the man who pretty much single handedly transformed the modern study of philosophy.

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He starts from the basis that his religious beliefs are correct, and proceeds to assert & defend them.

That is proof enough that you have not read him or grossly misunderstand him. He, in fact, does the exact opposite. He challenges secular ideas strictly from the secular playing field. But the ironic, maybe even hypocritical thing about your statement is that is THE defining hallmark of naturalism which says, there is nothing supernatural and science must start from that vantage point.

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For an intelligent man, he certainly says some very stupid things.

Such as? Find one. Just one.

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No shit, Sherlock.

What?

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Please tell me how it would be possible to falsify something that is unfalsifiable?

That ball is in your court as well as mine. Naturalism is an unverifiable presumption.

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Please provide evidence that Three-toed Snortiblogs don't exist. What about the Tooth Fairy? If something doesn't exist, it doesn't leave any evidence, so how do you provide the evidence to prove it doesn't exist?

I don't know where you're going with this. What is the point? But as I mentioned before, there is evidence for god. Probably not conclusive, but it is there. Again, I'm more than willing to discuss it.

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And anyway, that which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.

Again, I don't know what to say about that. Even things with evidence can be dismissed without evidence. It might be wrong.....but it can still be done. And in the context of this discussion, which centers around a sense that a supernatural guidance occurred, how does this apply? You evidence that it was not supernatural is no better than his feeling that it was. Science cannot change that.

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The burden of evidence rests with the person making the positive claim.

So I believe it rests with you. The OP had a feeling. You explained it away with "shit happens". You made the positive claim which in is essence is that nothing exists outside of what science can test for. And you have no proof to support your assumption. But if you wish to turn it around and say that the OP claimed that god exists, fine. But you'd be wrong. He didn't. He claimed he had a feeling. You'll have a hard time disproving that. Still and yet, if you wish to turn it around and say that I have claimed the existence of god, then again, I think you are wrong (I say I think because maybe I did and don't remember). That's fine too if you want me to make the claim so that I can defend it. I don't mind.

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In the absence of such evidence, the rest of us are entitled to point & laugh if we choose. I've chosen to offer an alternative set of explanations, that doesn't require unevidenced entities/powers. A rational explanation. I can point & laugh though, if you want.

You can point and laugh and belittle all you want. That is relevant only to rudeness.

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No it's not. You might choose to be offended by it, but in & of itself, it is not offensive.

I'll concede that we live in the land of the offended. But to equate a belief in god with believing in pixies is insulting. It does not matter how you or I view it. It is intended to insult and it is intended to belittle. How can it be taken any other way?

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No, I don't have a religion. If you can't work out why, ask a friend.

What? Ask what friend? So again, call it what you will. But if you believe in the presuppositions of naturalism as you have said that you do then you have a belief that cannot be proved or disproved by scientific method. You have no evidence for it. No experiment can prove it right or wrong. And to add to that you accept it quite dogmatically and you resort to insults when it is challenged. Sounds like religion of the worst sort to me.

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There is no science to support claims of supernatural entities, even those with names.

And, yet again, there is no science that disproves them either. Including pixies. So you can't keep hiding behind science which in this case serves neither argument.

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As for the highest levels of philosophy, you're joking, right?

Well, no, I'm not kidding at all. Maybe you can explain why you ask? Is there a critical name or a text or a concept that you think I may have missed?

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I had no intention of being condescending.

I'd like to believe that. But you can't really, rationally, call someone who believes in a creator god (which is most of the world's population) a believer in pixies without being insulting and condescending. Again, how can it be taken otherwise?

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Unlike you, I didn't ascribe any intention to the poster I was responding to,

When did I ascribe "intention" (whatever that means) to the OP? Not a rhetorical question. Maybe I did. If so, I'd like to know if it was wrong to have done so.

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Now, maybe, just maybe, we can rein-in the personalisations.

That would be nice.

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I'd suggest sticking to commenting on what is said, not how you choose to hear it being said, especially given that you can't actually hear what I say.

That's fine. But that does not absolve the writer in any way, as Farmer suggested to me above. Sometimes you just have to call a spade a spade.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2017, 08:02:41 PM by N80 »
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George

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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #45 on: February 22, 2017, 09:10:42 PM »

WOW!!!???

Guys, the real fight is over at the Trump thread. I can't believe religion beats Trump.  :D :D :D

N80

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #46 on: February 22, 2017, 10:12:14 PM »

WOW!!!???

Guys, the real fight is over at the Trump thread. I can't believe religion beats Trump.  :D :D :D

Or, religion trumps Trump. Or Trump trumps religion. Glad I'm not involved in the Trump thread!

I think that one of the unfortunate things about the internet is that it can be hard to have a civil conversation about a mutually interesting but potentially devisive topic because of some of the limitations of writing, the level of anonymity and the disinhibition of uncivil behavior (I'm guilty). I would love to have this conversation with most of the participants in this thread over a bottle of Scotch (I like Caol Ila)....the very existence of which proves that God loves us and wants us to be happy. ;)

Goodnight.
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George

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Ray

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #47 on: February 23, 2017, 12:58:46 AM »


Well, first, there is not a total absence of evidence for a creator. Far from it. That evidence may not be conclusive, but it is a misrepresentation to say there is none. (And I would be happy to discuss them if you wish.) Second, you said yourself "The supernatural, by very definition, is outwith the purview of science."

If it is outside the purview of science then science cannot say anything about whether it exists or not. And to date there is no scientific, mathematical or philosophical conclusive evidence that god does not exist. If you think you know of such evidence then let's have it.


George,
I thought we'd sorted this issue in that other thread, 'Who needs the Northern or Southern Poles?'

You seem to be attributing the same status and problematic difficulty to the processes of 'proving that something exists', and 'proving that something does not exist'.

Proving that certain things exist is something that everyone does every day. Our senses of eyesight and touch in particular, confirm the existence of the material objects that surrounds us. If I think a brick wall is possibly an illusion, all I have to do is give it a good kick, and my broken toe or pain is proof that the wall really does exist. No elaborate scientific instruments are required.

Proving that something does not exist is hugely problematical. The first problem is being able to identify what you are searching for. If you are able to identify and recognise what you are trying to prove does not exist, as in the case of a species of animal which you think might have become extinct, then the task is much easier and there's the possibility of a high degree of certainty that the creature no longer exists, after a lot of time and effort has failed to reveal a single living example of the creature in its usual habitats.

I'm fairly certain that Dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus Rex do not exist (on this planet the Earth), but the concept and the imaginative reconstructions of the creatures from the fossilized bones, do exist, in museums, in literature, and in our minds.

If any group of scientists was given the task of proving that God does not exist, the first insurmountable problem would be, 'What does God look like?' 'What are his characteristic that would enable us to identify 'him', 'her' or 'it'?'

The Jewish/Christian Bible states that 'man was created in the image of God'. The implication is therefore that God has the appearance of a man. Should the scientists therefore search the universe for some shape in the distant galaxies that resembles a human being?

The second problem in proving that something does not exist, period, is the vastness of the universe. How can mere humans search every nook and cranny in this vast universe where the furthest galaxy that has so far been detected (EGS8p7) is about 13.8 billion light years away.

To prove that God does not exist is an impossible task, which is why it is claimed to be outside the realms of scientific inquiry.

There have been a number of very wise men in the past who have realised the futility of trying to prove that a Creator God does, or does not exist. They include Confucius and Gautama Buddha.
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Tim Lookingbill

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #48 on: February 23, 2017, 02:36:46 AM »

My initial post centered around asking you folks if you've ever experienced "Extreme" coincidences similar to what happened with the boys and the cellphone that appear to beat the odds of it ever happening comparing the scaling to other extreme coincidences like evolution, the Big Bang, etc. We're all here by accident, an accident of miraculous proportions.

Our existence considering the rest of the universe has beat all odds of us ever happening. The Earth is the size of a speck of dust compared to the rest of the universe but yet it's massive in its complexity. And there's so much going on compared to the rest of the cosmos.

I mean how did we get from The Big Bang to the "The Three Stooges". There are no evolutionary patterns or indicators within a universe of rocks, gasses and wave spectrum energy that this would be the outcome.

Anyone have any interesting coincidences happen in their life as big as the cosmos?
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Rob C

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #49 on: February 23, 2017, 04:21:58 AM »

Just wondering, what are the God-tasks?

There are none.

It's the expectation that there are some that causes problems, and the turning into, cloaking of personal/group desires as God-given tasks that causes bloody murders etc. The concept of God becomes a banner under which every type of conceivable sin gets committed.

From my perspective, there are basic moral concepts that seem to apply to many belief systems, and those would appear to be valid 'rules' for conducting mutually helpful lives, or at least lives free from conflict if not in perfect harmony. It's when those rules become tied to a specific religion, changed into extreme formats, that things get messy, and heads roll in the desert sands. Or old ladies die at the stake for loving their cats. (I've owned a variety of old-fashioned brooms, and not one has allowed me flight! Hendrix tried it with his guitar, but only got confused and thought himself doing something else.)

Personally, I see organized religion as almost a contradiction of the concept of God. In my mind, God is not a lot to do with old guys in robes, great paintings, bones in boxes and golden chalices. And as little to do with earnest young people knocking on the door with brochures clasped under their arms. God is about the feeling when you stand on a hill looking out at the raging sea; when you find yourself walking down the street and your mind floods with memories of going shopping with somebody you love; when you watch the birth of a lamb on a documentary programme. God seems to be about life, feelings of love and purpose.

In short, the tasks are all ours for the doing; it's in how we do them or not do them, that we realise or deny the God within us all.

Here endeth the sermon for today.

;-)

Rob
« Last Edit: February 23, 2017, 04:37:22 AM by Rob C »
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Rob C

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #50 on: February 23, 2017, 04:39:04 AM »

You're up early Keith! Good morning!

Rob

Ray

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #51 on: February 23, 2017, 04:46:37 AM »

My initial post centered around asking you folks if you've ever experienced "Extreme" coincidences similar to what happened with the boys and the cellphone that appear to beat the odds of it ever happening comparing the scaling to other extreme coincidences like evolution, the Big Bang, etc. We're all here by accident, an accident of miraculous proportions.

Our existence considering the rest of the universe has beat all odds of us ever happening. The Earth is the size of a speck of dust compared to the rest of the universe but yet it's massive in its complexity. And there's so much going on compared to the rest of the cosmos.

I mean how did we get from The Big Bang to the "The Three Stooges". There are no evolutionary patterns or indicators within a universe of rocks, gasses and wave spectrum energy that this would be the outcome.

Anyone have any interesting coincidences happen in their life as big as the cosmos?

I recently experienced a power failure at my property in the countryside, probably due to a storm. The electricity was cut off for a few hours and I had to use battery-operated LED lights in the house, after the sun set.

Fortunately, my mobile phone still worked, so I decided to ring a friend for a conversation, and tell her I had a power outage. The friend is a devout Christian who lives about 80 kilometres away.

As soon as she answered the phone, within just a second or so, the power and the lights came back on. Does that count?  ;D
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Ray

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #52 on: February 23, 2017, 06:56:32 AM »

We're all here by accident, an accident of miraculous proportions.

Our existence considering the rest of the universe has beat all odds of us ever happening. The Earth is the size of a speck of dust compared to the rest of the universe but yet it's massive in its complexity. And there's so much going on compared to the rest of the cosmos.

I mean how did we get from The Big Bang to the "The Three Stooges". There are no evolutionary patterns or indicators within a universe of rocks, gasses and wave spectrum energy that this would be the outcome.


I've heard these arguments before, and they've always puzzled me. Some people, even with a PhD in science, seem to believe that the odds of the first, most primitive form of life, spontaneously arising in a soupy sea of chemicals, are so small that it couldn't realistically happen, and that therefore there must have been a Creator. It's a very unconvincing argument.

Some people also put forth the argument that the complexity of the conditions that would cause a process of 'evolution' to result in a human being as clever and wonderful as we are, is so mind-bogglingly complex, that there must have been some sort of Intelligent Designer.

Again, this is not a convincing argument. We are what we are, as a result of trillions of causes and effects. If just one major cause had been different, such as the meteorite strike that wiped out the Dinosaurs, then we would have been different, in design, shape and intelligence.

If a different, individual sperm had fertilised a different egg in my mothers womb, after the act of sexual intercourse, then I would be different.

Religious people, in my view, tend to have a great deal of hubris, disguised as humility when they bow in front of icons representing their God. For thousands of years, many religious people have held the view that the Earth is the centre of the universe. How arrogant is that?

The current scientific view is that there are probably about 20 billion planets in our galaxy alone. The estimate of the number of stars (or suns) in our galaxy range from 100 billion to 400 billion.

The estimate of the number of galaxies in the universe used to be about 200 billion. However, after recent observations through Hubble's 'Ultra Deep Field' system, that estimate is considered to be 10x too low. That means there are possibly 2 trillion galaxies in the universe.

If we assume that our galaxy, with an estimate of 20 billion planets, is an average size galaxy, then the number of planets in the universe could be 20 billion x 2 trillion, or 40 quintillion, far, far greater than the US national debt in dollars.  ;)

The chances of at least one of those 40 quintillion planets having suitable conditions for life to form, are probably quite high. No need to invent a Creator God.

If you buy a lottery ticket, the chances of your winning first prize are very slim, but the chances of someone winning first prize are almost certain. I say 'almost' because there is always the slight possibility that the lottery is a fraud.



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Rob C

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #53 on: February 23, 2017, 07:25:01 AM »

Ray, all I read into your latest post on this topic is this: you have simply chosen to believe what you believe, and no matter what Earth-shattering proof might alight upon your shoulder, there would always be a counter-argument to save or prevent you from a change of mind. But that's perfectly fine: I am just as resolved to trust my version of inner conviction which has almost nothing to do with clergy, with 'pixies' or any other put-down folks may choose to invent in order to attempt humiliate proponents of the opposing argument.

The number of galaxies has nothing to do with it: it isn't a matter of scale, it's a matter of belief. You might as well say that a single person contains far too many cells for that person to exist as a person - the chances of it happening are too greatly against.

And then what is belief? Could one but analyse that without resorting to false analogies connected to the physical world, one would be half-way en route to understanding what God may be. And no, please, no chemicals in the brain: everyone has them, but they are capable of producing totally different things in every single person.

Like in Jerry Lee's song, there must be more to love life than this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cgrs_6vSBYw

Rob

Ray

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #54 on: February 23, 2017, 09:04:26 AM »

Ray, all I read into your latest post on this topic is this: you have simply chosen to believe what you believe, and no matter what Earth-shattering proof might alight upon your shoulder, there would always be a counter-argument to save or prevent you from a change of mind. But that's perfectly fine: I am just as resolved to trust my version of inner conviction which has almost nothing to do with clergy, with 'pixies' or any other put-down folks may choose to invent in order to attempt humiliate proponents of the opposing argument.

The number of galaxies has nothing to do with it: it isn't a matter of scale, it's a matter of belief. You might as well say that a single person contains far too many cells for that person to exist as a person - the chances of it happening are too greatly against.

And then what is belief? Could one but analyse that without resorting to false analogies connected to the physical world, one would be half-way en route to understanding what God may be. And no, please, no chemicals in the brain: everyone has them, but they are capable of producing totally different things in every single person.

Rob

Not at all, Rob. Beliefs are not chosen. They arise as a result of causes and conditioning. A Muslim is a Muslim because he/she was raised in a Muslim family and sent to a Muslim school, and a Christian is a Christian because he/she was raised in a Christian family and probably repeated the Lord's Prayer every morning at school.

There are always a few exceptions of course, especially amongst Christian who are allowed to leave their religion if they find it nonsensical, as opposed to Muslims who are not allowed to leave their religion. Even Richard Dawkins had a Christian upbringing. There will also be a few atheists who will convert to a religion, and a few religious people who will convert to another religion

Mark Twain expressed the problem very succinctly with his quote: "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so."

The nature of religious belief is an unjustified certainty that something is true, and that's been the cause of a lot of wars in the past, which continue in the present.
Religious people never seem to learn. They're stuck in the past, clinging on to pre-scientific views and understandings that have been mostly debunked in the light of modern science, reason and logic.

When I present an argument, my belief in it is always provisional. If someone debunks my argument with a more sound case, and with more evidence than my own argument is based upon, then I will always concede that I might be wrong, and change my view.
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N80

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #55 on: February 23, 2017, 09:11:27 AM »

George,
I thought we'd sorted this issue in that other thread, 'Who needs the Northern or Southern Poles?'

I didn't think anything got sorted in that thread. ;)

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You seem to be attributing the same status and problematic difficulty to the processes of 'proving that something exists', and 'proving that something does not exist'.

That is not my intent.

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Proving that something does not exist is hugely problematical.

Exactly! And shouldn't that fact mitigate, at least to some small degree, the certainty that usually results in smugness when it comes to god? Why does someone feel compelled to try to explain away the sense of supernatural that another person had and then claim that all such sensations and beliefs amount to believing in pixies? That's my whole point. It is inappropriate to dismiss out of hand what you cannot explain and what your tools are ill-equipped to handle. I'm not insisting that anyone believe in god. I'm suggesting that we can't rule him out. That's all. Well, I'm also suggesting it is insensitive to belittle someone for his beliefs regarding the transcendent.

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If any group of scientists was given the task of proving that God does not exist, the first insurmountable problem would be, 'What does God look like?' 'What are his characteristic that would enable us to identify 'him', 'her' or 'it'?'

Exactly.

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The Jewish/Christian Bible states that 'man was created in the image of God'. The implication is therefore that God has the appearance of a man. Should the scientists therefore search the universe for some shape in the distant galaxies that resembles a human being?

That is actually not how most people interpret the concept of the image of God. Most feel that this refers not to physical attributes but to the attributes of mind, soul, will, volition and intellect. So in this case, no, we cannot even use appearance to search for God. And for most discussions god is by most definitions immaterial. Which makes the challenge to science vs God, pretty much insurmountable. Again, that's my point.

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To prove that God does not exist is an impossible task, which is why it is claimed to be outside the realms of scientific inquiry.

Agreed. That's why all I'm pointing out is that it is not really reasonable to assume or to claim that science has done so.

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There have been a number of very wise men in the past who have realised the futility of trying to prove that a Creator God does, or does not exist. They include Confucius and Gautama Buddha.

Most of the apologists I refer to would agree, to some degree, with that statement. Remember, I've not yet insisted to anyone that God exists.
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George

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #56 on: February 23, 2017, 09:32:42 AM »

The concept of God becomes a banner under which every type of conceivable sin gets committed.

Rob, that's a popular notion. And it has been true and is true now, especially with the rise of radical Islam. But in the most extreme cases like ISIL, that is not a religious driven organization. Those are Bathists, not jihadists.

But, if we're going to talk about witch trials, Inquisitions or Jihadis, we have to keep things in perspective. As I've said before, nothing in the history of mankind compares to the carnage wrought on humanity and this planet in the twentieth century and none of it in the name of god or any other entity other than secularism and humanism. So yes, people use religion for horrible things. Always have, always will. But so far, nothing compares to what we've done in the name of godlessness.
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George

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #57 on: February 23, 2017, 10:15:51 AM »

I've heard these arguments before, and they've always puzzled me. Some people, even with a PhD in science, seem to believe that the odds of the first, most primitive form of life, spontaneously arising in a soupy sea of chemicals, are so small that it couldn't realistically happen, and that therefore there must have been a Creator. It's a very unconvincing argument.

How so? Even those who believe that life spontaneously erupted will admit that the chances of this happening is "astronomically improbable". That being the case, we either believe in the astronomically improbable or we believe in something else. So neither argument has any claim on being convincing, right?

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Some people also put forth the argument that the complexity of the conditions that would cause a process of 'evolution' to result in a human being as clever and wonderful as we are, is so mind-bogglingly complex, that there must have been some sort of Intelligent Designer.

Again, maybe not a convincing proposition but it is far from irrational. Theories regarding irreducible complexity make very sound arguments that mutations and natural selection lack the explanatory power to explain complex organs and complex biochemical processes. Even Christian apologists will concede that such arguments are not strong for proof of existence of god, but they sure punch giant holes in the argument that unguided evolution can explain these structures. The point being, in the face of our best explanations being astronomically improbable (and almost no one argues that they aren't) then it is not unwarranted or irrational to consider other possibilities.

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Again, this is not a convincing argument.

Agreed. But neither is the science of evolution as convincing as most people assume it is. I believe in the principles of evolution as the best theory we have. But it is far from rock solid.

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Religious people, in my view, tend to have a great deal of hubris, disguised as humility when they bow in front of icons representing their God. For thousands of years, many religious people have held the view that the Earth is the centre of the universe. How arrogant is that?

Not really relevant here. Even now, those who believe there is no god may give lip service to the "billions and billions" notion. But very few actually live as if they believe it is true. Religious people hardly have a corner on the market of arrogance and hypocrisy. Right? And how is that any more arrogant than to dismiss most the beliefs of the majority of the people on earth as ignorant and primitive when your science is incapable of proving that they are? It all comes down to belief structures. Most of them carry their own abuses, arrogance and hypocrisy.

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The current scientific view is that there are probably about 20 billion planets in our galaxy alone. The estimate of the number of stars (or suns) in our galaxy range from 100 billion to 400 billion.

And in the human brain their are more synaptic possibilities than there are ELECTRONS in the universe. Just some perspective there.

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The chances of at least one of those 40 quintillion planets having suitable conditions for life to form, are probably quite high. No need to invent a Creator God.

The existence of other life has no bearing on the existence of god. There is no relation between those two issues at all. The idea that there is a materialist explanation for life and the increased probabilities based on the number of life supporting planets says nothing about the existence of god.

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George

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #58 on: February 23, 2017, 10:40:49 AM »

Some people also put forth the argument that the complexity of the conditions that would cause a process of 'evolution' to result in a human being as clever and wonderful as we are, is so mind-bogglingly complex, that there must have been some sort of Intelligent Designer.

As I mentioned before, most apologists would agree with you on that general concept. But there is another issue at hand here that presents a much stronger argument for theists. It is very complex and I cannot do it justice but the crux of the argument is that we humans assume that when we are functioning properly that our faculties for judging what is generally true are generally accurate. This is our ability to approach true beliefs. However, evolution equips us for survival only. And knowing what is actually true is not necessary for survival. It might help, but not necessarily. In other words, I can think a tiger is a wolf. As long as I run away and survive there is no evolutionary advantage to knowing that it is in fact a tiger and not a wolf. This is a simple example but when multiplied by the millions of years, etc that is required for evolution to work then there is no reason to believe that evolution could or would equip us for knowing what is real and true.

Now before anyone piles on and suggests that this is something contrived by Bible thumpers it is not. The idea originated with Darwin. It is currently shared by a number of prominent evolutionists who are also atheist and hold no truck with design theory. The idea has been explored to depths beyond my training and ability by Alvin Plantinga. His conclusion, surprise, is that a creator is the only explanation for our ability to sense and know the truth. Even if you reject his conclusion, it still represents a major obstacle to believing that evolution alone is a perfect or even reasonable explanation. It has to leave us with a sense of "I'm not sure."

And as such, my whole point is that materialist and atheists have no rational cause to belittle or dismiss belief in the transcendental.  That's all I'm saying. We cannot, under the auspices of science, technology, philosophy or modernism be brushed off or dismissed. But the real question, is why is there such a zealous, almost fanatical impulse to do so? That's the question at hand.
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George

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #59 on: February 23, 2017, 11:12:13 AM »

Not at all, Rob. Beliefs are not chosen. They arise as a result of causes and conditioning. A Muslim is a Muslim because he/she was raised in a Muslim family and sent to a Muslim school, and a Christian is a Christian because he/she was raised in a Christian family and probably repeated the Lord's Prayer every morning at school.

Ray, that is determinism at its worst and determinism comes with a lot of sinister baggage. I disagree with it completely. Beliefs are not chosen only among those who will not examine themselves or their beliefs.

I am an example to the contrary. I was brought up a Christian. I had Christian beliefs. I studied the sciences in the public school/collegiate. I was exposed to all of the challenges to theistic believe that this course of study entailed. Then I had two belief structures that conflicted with one another. I tried to keep them apart. It did not weaken my faith but I wondered if it should. So I sought to find out. And I have sought deep and hard. You might claim that I only sought to confirm my own belief structure. What could I say to that? Who doesn't? The fact is, I've studied the science, I've studied the naturalism/materialism, I've read the militant atheists, I've read the existentialist and the empiricists, I've read Augustine, Acquinas, Calvin and the modern apologists.

I have concluded that there is nothing in science of philosophy that suggests that my beliefs are irrational or unwarranted and I remain open to those challenges daily. That's why I'm participating in this thread; not to proselatise but to experience those challenges. I have also concluded that science and theism fit better together than science and naturalism. I also see a growing, popular blind faith in anything labled as science. I often point that out. It is the new religion and like any religion it has its zealots and priests. The difference is that they will all deny what they are.

I am sincerely sorry if you think your belief structures are set in stone. Mine are not, I seek to challenege them regularly and to defend them when I can.

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The nature of religious belief is an unjustified certainty that something is true

That cannot be further from the truth and I challenge you to go beyond simply stating it.

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and that's been the cause of a lot of wars in the past, which continue in the present.

And yet they pale into insignificance compared to the secular  wars and events of the twentieth century which are so easily ignored by those who wish to denigrate religion.

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Religious people never seem to learn. They're stuck in the past, clinging on to pre-scientific views and understandings that have been mostly debunked in the light of modern science, reason and logic.

Pure unmitigated bigotry right there. Again, make your case, don't just state it. You have not so far. Show me one single way modern science has debunked theism. Just one.

« Last Edit: February 23, 2017, 11:24:09 AM by N80 »
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George

"What is truth?" Pontius  Pilate
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