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Author Topic: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand  (Read 20062 times)

N80

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #20 on: February 22, 2017, 09:04:11 AM »

George, though I appreciate your thoughtful support of my "guiding hand" vs coincidence observation in my OP, I don't take Bill's statement as smug and condescending, so there's no need to be so abrasive in your response to him.

It's good of you not to take it as such. But that doesn't mean it wasn't smug and condescending. It was.
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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 #21 on: February 22, 2017, 09:11:40 AM »

The biggest question I have, if there is someone or something looking out for us: why isn't he looking out for the poor bastards in Alep, or the Central African Republic, or the folk in Srebrenica or... ?

A couple of thoughts. First, I find it curious that people who don't believe in god (I do not know what your belief is) hold him to their own standard for how god should behave. Second, who says it is god's job to look out for us? Third, if there is a god, is he compelled (by anyone's standards) to look out for people who reject him? Fourth, if there is no god then what can we say about the suffering that we see around us? Pretty much nothing. It is just evolution (which I believe in) working its way out. I'm not sure that is any more reassuring than god letting it happen.

Fifth, the essence of this question is often referred to as the problem of evil. It has been a philosophical/theological question for centuries. It is a valid question but is a weak argument against 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 #22 on: February 22, 2017, 09:28:15 AM »

Of course it's a famous question, because it's an important one. It's a strong argument against a benevolent god, but not against one who is vindictive, selective or malevolent. It's also a reason that religious belief is a dangerous tool of manipulation: it supports a spoken or unspoken idea that "I'm ok, so obviously I'm one of the chosen ones. The people (and animals) who are suffering must be inferior, or God would be looking after them... so I guess it's Ok t continue killing or enslaving them."

Now if you wish to believe in a personal inner spirit or deep connection with the universe or whatever, that seems just fine to me, but then you don't get the omnipotence.

The true "question of evil" is "How is evil allowed to exist in the presence of an all powerful, all knowing and kind god?"

Or as Winston Churchill is reported to have announced after first reading the bible: "This God, if he exists, is a right shit."
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Rand47

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #23 on: February 22, 2017, 09:40:01 AM »

Tim,

Thanks for sharing this.  My wife often talks about "meaningful coincidence" and "synchronicity" as her way of explaining such episodes in life.  To my way of thinking they "open a window" to the essence of meaning - that is - that ultimately life is about relationships.  I too, am pretty much a loner, recluse, type.  The only reason my marriage works as it does it that my wife appreciates this side of me and provides the "loving space" for me to be this way.

But . . . the older I get the more I've come to realize that relationships of all kinds, casual contact (thoughtfully perceived) through the few really deep friends I've had in life, are "what its all about."  We have sensory equipment that is "tuned to this channel," I think.  As some here have argued, they think it is evolutionary residue.  I've come to believe it is evidence that there is more going on in "life" than mere reductionism can explain adequately.

Far from the "cold hard facts of science" being all there "really is" - I think that "relationship" is the defining characteristic of "all that really is and matters."  I know you wanted to avoid "religion" in this discussion, and since I'm not "religious" in the commonly held understanding of the term, I'll offer this.  If there is "God" and if God is fundamentally "relationship" in his "being" - it makes perfect sense that our having and "sensing" this kind of thing in life would be both normal and a clue about the nature of reality.  I think that's what you sensed underlying the experience you had.

Thanks again for sharing . . .
Rand
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Rand47

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #24 on: February 22, 2017, 09:53:00 AM »

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The true "question of evil" is "How is evil allowed to exist in the presence of an all powerful, all knowing and kind god?"

This is a GREAT question!  But think about it.  If you use this argument as a polemic against the possibility of God's existence, then you vitiate the notion of evil itself.  Can you see that?  In another thread I quote Richard Dawkins (author of "The God Delusion") who takes this thinking to its logical conclusion.  In a very real way, "we can't have it both ways."  Using the presence of evil and suffering as an argument "toward evil and suffering just being part of the nature of time-plus-chance reality because its existence makes God's existence plainly very unlikely," makes it a tad difficult to then "blame" evil and suffering on a God who doesn't exist.   

Evil and suffering are certainly not comical.  But the use of them in this kind of circular reasoning is extremely comical at its base.

I would offer that our internal outrage at the presence of evil and suffering speaks to something "god like" in our natures that came from somewhere other than the mechanism of random mutation and natural selection.  If not, then we're deluded into thinking that evil and suffering have any meaning at all, one way or the other.   Any thinking person will likely "bristle" at my previous sentence.  And I would say, "Why is that?"

Rand
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Rand Scott Adams

Rob C

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #25 on: February 22, 2017, 10:20:09 AM »

The biggest question I have, if there is someone or something looking out for us: why isn't he looking out for the poor bastards in Alep, or the Central African Republic, or the folk in Srebrenica or... ?


Why are they not doing it for themselves?

I see it not as a God-task, but a human one to resolve here and now, in our own lifetime.

It may be a far from popular position to take, but were those people currently killing themselves and their kids in the Mediterranean taking the same risk at home, then they would resolve their domestic problems themselves. The western world has faced its own civil wars, revolutions and mass killings etc. and resolved all that by itself, mainly because there was nowhere else it could run. So it fixed it. It may come over glib, but necessity is the mother of...

Rob

N80

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #26 on: February 22, 2017, 10:37:44 AM »

Of course it's a famous question, because it's an important one. It's a strong argument against a benevolent god,

It does not support that argument either.

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It's also a reason that religious belief is a dangerous tool of manipulation:

All ideas can be used to manipulate. All beliefs can be used to manipulate.

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it supports a spoken or unspoken idea that "I'm ok, so obviously I'm one of the chosen ones.

Judeo-Christian religion supports just the opposite view. It begins with "I'm not okay." If I were okay I would have no need to seek a deity.

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The people (and animals) who are suffering must be inferior, or God would be looking after them... so I guess it's Ok t continue killing or enslaving them."

I know of no Christian theology that supports this in any way. That is not to say that people don't use it that way. But again, any belief can be corrupted and abused. As such, that is not an indictment of the belief itself. If that were the case we would have to reject outright the secularization that occurred in the 20th century as it resulted in the greatest killing, genocide and enslavement, by far, in the history of civilization.

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Now if you wish to believe in a personal inner spirit or deep connection with the universe or whatever, that seems just fine to me, but then you don't get the omnipotence.

Correct. And which essentially leaves you with fickle imps, demons, forces and minor gods which seem to me, less credible than an omnipotent creator. It leaves you with the notion of "spirituality".

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The true "question of evil" is "How is evil allowed to exist in the presence of an all powerful, all knowing and kind god?"

Indeed. And if you are interested in more than an esoteric understanding of the question it has been well examined and essentially defeated as a defeater for the existence of an all powerful and perfectly good god. It has been resolved and is no longer much more than a parlor topic in regard to serious philosophical consideration.
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George

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athegn

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #27 on: February 22, 2017, 10:40:03 AM »

[quote author=Rob C link=topic=116468.msg962001#msg962001 date=1487776809

It may be a far from popular position to take, but were those people currently killing themselves and their kids in the Mediterranean taking the same risk at home, then they would resolve their domestic problems themselves. The western world has faced its own civil wars, revolutions and mass killings etc. and resolved all that by itself, mainly because there was nowhere else it could run. So it fixed it. It may come over glib, but necessity is the mother of...

Rob
[/quote]

I have thought this since I was 13, as a very old, committed christian, friend recently reminded me; she still insists her god will put things right
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Rand47

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #28 on: February 22, 2017, 10:47:34 AM »

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"What is truth?" Pontius  Pilate

I've been fascinated that he asked this question of the one person who could answer it, then didn't hang around for the answer.  We've been doing the same ever since, for the most part.

Rand
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Otto Phocus

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #29 on: February 22, 2017, 10:51:34 AM »

Of course it's a famous question, because it's an important one. It's a strong argument against a benevolent god, but not against one who is vindictive, selective or malevolent. It's also a reason that religious belief is a dangerous tool of manipulation: it supports a spoken or unspoken idea that "I'm ok, so obviously I'm one of the chosen ones. The people (and animals) who are suffering must be inferior, or God would be looking after them... so I guess it's Ok t continue killing or enslaving them."

Now if you wish to believe in a personal inner spirit or deep connection with the universe or whatever, that seems just fine to me, but then you don't get the omnipotence.

The true "question of evil" is "How is evil allowed to exist in the presence of an all powerful, all knowing and kind god?"

Or as Winston Churchill is reported to have announced after first reading the bible: "This God, if he exists, is a right shit."

As Epicurus, some old dead Greek guy, once tweeted:

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Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

People much smarter than us have been pondering this for a good  many years.
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #30 on: February 22, 2017, 10:57:32 AM »

... were those people currently killing themselves and their kids in the Mediterranean taking the same risk at home, then they would resolve their domestic problems themselves...

Great question, Rob.

I think the answer is in the risk/benefit analysis. The risk might be the same (dying), but benefits are completely different. On the one hand, a promised land of milk and honey, and on the other... the same country, with the same problems, just a slightly different government, which is going to screw them over again in no time.

N80

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #31 on: February 22, 2017, 11:12:59 AM »

I've been fascinated that he asked this question of the one person who could answer it, then didn't hang around for the answer.  We've been doing the same ever since, for the most part.

Rand

Given the context I think it is the most profound question ever asked. The context of course was that Jesus was standing (accused) before Pilate generally refusing to defend himself and then  made the outrageous claim that he, Jesus, was truth itself. Pilate responded by asking "What is truth?" From a Christian standpoint this is the encapsulation of the entire relationship between God and man. From a secular standpoint it still stands as an amazing historical occasion since Jesus, regardless of who we think him to be, had a huge impact on world history and how we view truth. Even if you reject the historical credibility of the account, it is a magnificent piece of literature. The dismissive tone of the response is also a critical philosophical topic.
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George

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PeterAit

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #32 on: February 22, 2017, 11:20:38 AM »

With all due respect, nothing here suggests a 'guiding hand'.

As a species, we tend to find meaning & patterns, even where none exists. There are evolutionary advantages to such tendencies are clear - if an organism can discern patterns, it can make predictions and potentially avoid dangerous situations, or successfully exploit food opportunities. That could have profound advantages for a population.

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. We impose patterns on the world, and we assume those patterns are real, even to the point of avoiding confounding data that would render such patterns non-existent.

Basically, shit happens, and sometimes we kid ourselves that shit happens for some reason beyond mere chance or a logical line of cause & effect. Nice story though.

Thank you Bill, I could not have put it better myself.
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Peter
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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #33 on: February 22, 2017, 11:29:08 AM »

It's a strong argument against a benevolent god. . .

And what's your definition of "benevolent?" You can understand "benevolent" only in human terms. Are you sure you have the whole picture?

N80

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #34 on: February 22, 2017, 11:45:55 AM »

And what's your definition of "benevolent?" You can understand "benevolent" only in human terms. Are you sure you have the whole picture?

That is the crux of the theistic argument. Compared to an omnipotent eternal deity our scope is incredibly limited.
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George

"What is truth?" Pontius  Pilate

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #35 on: February 22, 2017, 12:13:47 PM »

Such smugness. The OP didn't ask anyone to condescendingly explain how he misinterpreted the events because of his evolutionary conditioning, his unwillingness to consider confounding data (which was not forthcoming by the way) or to be told that "shit happens".

Presumably he understands the nature of coincidence and that sometimes "shit happens". Presumably he understands that your "after-the-fact-sense-making" is pretty much the basis for most of our capacity to reason.

And yet, he still got the sense that the situation did not unfold by coincidence. And for some reason you felt the need to rush in and explain away that feeling with pop-psychology. Why? Was if offensive? Was it harmful for the OP to wonder why he felt that way?

And what is your confounding evidence? Is it "shit happens"?

The truth is this: pseudo science and pop psychology cannot disprove supernatural causation. Neither can real science. So when someone gets a sense of something transcendental why assault them with evolutionary theory about how we misunderstand series of events?

The truth is that you cannot prove or disprove supernatural causation here and so invoking your theories is kind of pointless unless it is just to make yourself seem smarter than someone else. I suspect there is a pop-psychology explanation for why some folks have need to belittle others.
Well you hear what you choose to hear; it's not necessarily what I've said. I wasn't being smug, but now I will be.

I'm a psychologist. What you're dismissing as 'pop' psychology, isn't. Maybe your use of the term speaks to your lack of knowledge & understanding in the field. You compound the revelation of your ignorance with the comment about science not being able to disprove the supernatural. The supernatural, by very definition, is outwith the purview of science. Science deals in real stuff; the natural world. It's why they are called the Naturalistic Sciences (as opposed to social sciences - psychology straddles the divide between the two). Science can only disprove that which is falsifiable. Claims of pixies, which are undetectable by science, cannot be disproven. You might want to read up on Russell's teapot or Carl Sagan's dragon in his garage.

As for why I'd "assault" someone with evolutionary theory - well education is what I do. And the "assault" was my offering an explanation that doesn't require the creation of a raft of mechanisms or entities, for which not a scrap of evidence exists. If you prefer to believe in pixies, that's your choice. By the way, next time someone tells you about the magic Canikon box they've got, which through pixie dust and magic, produces photographs that capture a person's soul, don't you dare assault them with an alternative explanation.

Oh, and yes there's a theory that explains why someone chooses to assume the worst intentions from someone, but I'll not mention cognitive distortions, or negativity bias or projection, for fear of being accused of belittling you.

N80

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #36 on: February 22, 2017, 02:40:18 PM »

Well you hear what you choose to hear; it's not necessarily what I've said. I wasn't being smug, but now I will be.

One of the challenges of the internet. Your words stand on their own. If that isn't smug then its condescending. If you'd like me to explain why I'd be happy to.

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I'm a psychologist. What you're dismissing as 'pop' psychology, isn't. Maybe your use of the term speaks to your lack of knowledge & understanding in the field.

I'm no psychologist. But if we're going to trot out credentials, I am a physician and I received considerable training in inpatient and outpatient psychiatry. I've been in practice for 25 years and a considerable amount of that is spent on mental health issues.

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You compound the revelation of your ignorance with the comment about science not being able to disprove the supernatural. The supernatural, by very definition, is outwith the purview of science.

Then, by definition, science has nothing to say about the supernatural. It can neither prove nor disprove that which is outside of its purview. So we agree. Or maybe, as you suggested we are both ignorant.

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Science deals in real stuff; the natural world. It's why they are called the Naturalistic Sciences

That is not correct. That is naturalism (or materialism) which is a presumptive overlay to actual science. It is a view that cannot be tested, proved or refuted and as such is non-scientific in its assumptions which makes the naturalistic view of science an oxymoron. And as such it is a belief structure based of faith (since it cannot be tested or proved).


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Science can only disprove that which is falsifiable. Claims of pixies, which are undetectable by science, cannot be disproven.

Again, neither can materialism be disproved. So it fails even your own measure of what science is.

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You might want to read up on Russell's teapot or Carl Sagan's dragon in his garage.

You may want to read Alvin Plantinga's Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion and Naturalism.

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As for why I'd "assault" someone with evolutionary theory - well education is what I do.

That seems a sad statement.

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And the "assault" was my offering an explanation

The OP did not ask for an explanation or an education.

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that doesn't require the creation of a raft of mechanisms or entities, for which not a scrap of evidence exists.

Which you fail to balance with the understanding that there is not a scrap of evidence that a supernatural entity does not exist.

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If you prefer to believe in pixies, that's your choice.

That is so offensive. The very nature of it assumes that I have not examined my own belief structure when in truth, from your statements, it seems like I have gone to much greater lengths to examine mine than you have yours particularly in regard to your conflation of naturalism with science. You have your own religion and don't even now it. At least I can give my pixie a name and admit that I believer in him and explain why it is a fully warranted and rational belief based on the highest levels of philosophy, science and theology.

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By the way, next time someone tells you about the magic Canikon box they've got, which through pixie dust and magic, produces photographs that capture a person's soul, don't you dare assault them with an alternative explanation.

Well, unlike you, I would not feel compelled to do so if they didn't ask me to. And even if I did I would at least try not to be condescending about it.

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Oh, and yes there's a theory that explains why someone chooses to assume the worst intentions from someone,

Sometimes the words speak for themselves even given the ambiguities of the internet.

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but I'll not mention cognitive distortions, or negativity bias or projection, for fear of being accused of belittling you.

I remember reading about that stuff!
« Last Edit: February 22, 2017, 03:04:25 PM by N80 »
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George

"What is truth?" Pontius  Pilate

Farmer

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #37 on: February 22, 2017, 04:07:27 PM »

The thing that puzzles me about TV shows on paranormal investigation is that in the dramatization of the event they clearly show them recording the ghost or entity with video cameras, but when they switch to the real person (not actor) telling the story, they don't play the original real video mentioned in the dramatization.

I'm not sure you're all that puzzled, Tim ;-)
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Phil Brown

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #38 on: February 22, 2017, 04:14:05 PM »

It's good of you not to take it as such. But that doesn't mean it wasn't smug and condescending. It was.

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

What's the old joke?  Don't worry about him, that's just God - he thinks he's a doctor.  You don't know everything, George, and your opinion is far from being infallible, regardless of how strongly you believe otherwise (based on your faith in other things).  No doubt you're excellent within your field, given your longevity, and I don't intend this to be taken to suggest otherwise to any degree, just to be clear.  But in the confines of these discussions, you write with constant condescension (even with those with whom you agree on a certain subject).  It's tiresome.  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.  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.

Remember - you only play the part of God - you aren't actually Him.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2017, 05:07:26 PM by Farmer »
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Phil Brown

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #39 on: February 22, 2017, 04:58:28 PM »

So much wrongness, it's almost hard to know where to begin

I'm no psychologist. But if we're going to trot out credentials, I am a physician and I received considerable training in inpatient and outpatient psychiatry. I've been in practice for 25 years and a considerable amount of that is spent on mental health issues.
Well done. 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.

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Then, by definition, science has nothing to say about the supernatural. It can neither prove nor disprove that which is outside of its purview. So we agree. Or maybe, as you suggested we are both ignorant.
Science doesn't deal in proofs - that's for philosophy, mathematics & distilling, 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', and the total absence of evidence to support such claims, is something science can comment upon.

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... naturalism (or materialism) which is a presumptive overlay to actual science. It is a view that cannot be tested, proved or refuted and as such is non-scientific in its assumptions which makes the naturalistic view of science an oxymoron. And as such it is a belief structure based of faith (since it cannot be tested or proved).
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. It presumes to be able to investigate & in some way come to know, that which is part of nature. Don't confuse methodological naturalism with metaphysical naturalism. Though the latter presupposes the former, the opposite does not necessarily apply. It isn't based on 'faith' though. Science can indeed be tested, and provides repeatable results, that can be interrogated & replicated by others. 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.


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You may want to read Alvin Plantinga's Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion and Naturalism.
For all his lofty academic credentials, Platinga is a mere apologist, not a seeker after truth. He starts from the basis that his religious beliefs are correct, and proceeds to assert & defend them. For an intelligent man, he certainly says some very stupid things.

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The OP did not ask for an explanation or an education.
No shit, Sherlock.

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Which you fail to balance with the understanding that there is not a scrap of evidence that a supernatural entity does not exist.
Please tell me how it would be possible to falsify something that is unfalsifiable? 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? And anyway, that which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence. Fanciful imaginings, even if they're ancient, don't constitute evidence for the reality of the fanciful imaginings. The burden of evidence rests with the person making the positive claim. 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.

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

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The very nature of it assumes that I have not examined my own belief structure when in truth, from your statements, it seems like I have gone to much greater lengths to examine mine than you have yours particularly in regard to your conflation of naturalism with science. You have your own religion and don't even now it.
No, I don't have a religion. If you can't work out why, ask a friend.

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At least I can give my pixie a name and admit that I believer in him and explain why it is a fully warranted and rational belief based on the highest levels of philosophy, science and theology.
There is no science to support claims of supernatural entities, even those with names. As for the highest levels of philosophy, you're joking, right? And theology? Really? At its best, it is a bloody great case of begging the question.

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...unlike you, I would not feel compelled to do so if they didn't ask me to. And even if I did I would at least try not to be condescending about it.
I had no intention of being condescending. I explained my reasons for commenting. Unlike you, I didn't ascribe any intention to the poster I was responding to, not least because I had no evidence of his intention, other than to offer up an anecdote (presumably for discussion/comment) he thought worth sharing.

Now, maybe, just maybe, we can rein-in the personalisations. You stop calling me smug & condescending, and I'll stop reacting in a condescending manner. You chose to read my post in a particular light. You will have your own reasons for choosing that interpretation. 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.
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