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Messages - sparkling

1
Apologetics and Theology / What is attractive about atheism?
« on: December 29, 2011, 08:13:53 am »
skunker wrote: Why would one be happier being an atheist? I've always wondered about this. What is it that may attract one to atheism? Is it the notion one doesn't need to be accountable for his/her actions under atheism?

For me, believing in religions and gods started making less and less sense.
Moving away from it just seemed more... normal.

There was nothing "attractive" about this shift, it just was what it was.



2
Moral Argument / Can objective moral values exist ?
« on: December 29, 2011, 05:09:27 am »
LNC wrote:
Can you cite a brain scientist who has concluded that all NDEs are the result of natural phenomena?  What do you make of the neurosurgeon who has, due to his personal experience with a NDE, that it was not and could not have been the result of natural phenomena?  You haven't commented on that.  How could his experience be the result of natural phenomena when he had no brain function or activity?

From Wiki
Recently, cognitive neuroscientists Jason Braithwaite (2008)[34] from the University of Birmingham and Sebastian Dieguez (2008)[35] and Olaf Blanke (2009)[36] from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland have published accounts presenting evidence for the brain-based nature of near death experiences.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/04/100408-near-death-experiences-blood-carbon-dioxide/

No scientist would say that all experiences can be explained the the same way because not all experiences have been tested. They can only go on the evidence they have.

LNC wrote: I didn't say that scientific answers are narrow minded.  Where did I say that scientific answers were narrow minded?  I don't remember saying that.  I believe what I said is that limiting one's self to materialistic answers was a narrow response and uncalled for.  Please do not conflate science with materialism, that is what is known as scientism, not science.

Science deals with nature. Not supernaturalism.

LNC wrote:   Can you tell me how you have proved that the immaterial world doesn't exist and can be excluded from consideration?  I would be interested in your evidence in that regard.

Can you prove that the immaterial world does exist? Don't go throwing around your imagination to make an argument and then accuse your opponent of failing to disprove it. Dick move. Maybe the immaterial world does exist, I don't know. You claim to be certain that it does, so be a man, stand by your claim and accept the burden of proof. Don't be a coward.

I still don't see how simply calling something immaterial offers any kind of explanation worth thinking about. I asked you to elaborate on this and now your trying to tell me to prove that there is no such thing as an immaterial world. You haven't even bothered to define it or defend it. So I won't bother trying to disprove it. That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

LNC wrote:
It may motivate a person not to act in a certain way due to consequences they may experience as a result of their behavior, but they are not obliged by the moral standards themselves to do so.  

No you're not obliged, but as you said there is a motivation to behave in one way over another. And more often than not, those motivations result in behaviors you would deem moral.

LNC wrote:
Can you cite this entire body (or even some particular studies) that would indicate that consequential utilitarian ethics is an objective moral system?  

I'm not arguing that objective moral values exist independent of us. Read the OP.

LNC wrote:  The point of our conversation, if you will remember, was whether you could arrive at objective morality through some appeal to utilitarianism or appeals to majorities or larger groups.

I'm not arguing for objective moral values as things that exist independent of our experience. I'm simply making the argument that moral behaviors are grounded in us, what we desire en mass and our society.

LNC wrote:
If morality is relative, it does not really exist.  

Exactly, morality is dependent on sentient social organisms like us. With
   out those, morals don't exist. You're finally getting it!

LNC wrote: Natural selection is not purposeful, it merely may result in the survival of the selected, but it never intends such survival.

Yep.

LNC wrote: We invented a word, unicorn, does that mean that they exist?

No but unicorns have defined features. And I'm not arguing that morals would physically exist in the same way a unicorn would moron.

LNC wrote: Apart from a universal lawgiver, morals are merely opinions and there is no obligation to keep them or live by them.  

Right so you didn't answer the question, you didn't give any reasons as to why theft is wrong, but you did do exactly what I expected in that you essentially appealed to a lawgiver to ground your "ought". So all morals are to you is doing what god says. Hm.

Well, I don't need a lawgiver, the "ought" for me is grounded in the reasons you failed to give, but know are there.




3
Moral Argument / Can objective moral values exist ?
« on: December 28, 2011, 04:44:10 am »
LNC wrote:
First, I don't find Wikipedia the first place I go to research a topic.  Second, I think you forgot to finish your sentence.  NDEs are highly dubious to materialists.  However, I don't find materialism to be an adequate explanation for the universe.  I find it too narrow of a view.  Your final question is a good example of that narrowness.  If one limits his horizon to the material world, then offering an immaterial explanation seems foolish.  To me, narrowing one's explanations to include only material possibilities seems unnecessarily limiting.

Well, I don't think you can just ignore the work of brain scientists who have concluded that it is a natural phenomena. You may personally believe that scientific answers are narrow minded, but I still don't see how calling something "immaterial" offers an alternative worth thinking about.

LNC wrote: I think you have confused the concept of objective vs. subjective.  Humans are objects, but that doesn't make morality objective.  Self-interest is certainly no basis for morality as self-interest is what leads to wars, theft, rape, murder, and other behaviors that we would not consider to be moral.  

It can also lead to altruistic behavior with the expectation of getting something back in return, which you would consider moral.

LNC wrote: I can empathize with a person and still not act on my empathy.

Yes. You're not a robot.

LNC wrote:  
None of what you have said, as you have already agreed, does not lead one to be obliged to act in any particular way.  

Really? So going to jail, getting beaten up by people you hurt or stole from, getting shunned from social groups left to fend alone, not wanting your relatives to feel a pain or discomfort you can imagine, none of that offers any obligation or incentive for acting one way over another. Hm. An entire body of scientific literature and most humans would disagree with you.

LNC wrote: Society is a human construct and also not a basis for objective morality.  

So by your logic if society is not a basis for moral actions, then a society in which everyone killed every one else, starved everyone of their food and resources instead of sharing them, caused psychological harm instead of forming social cooperative bonds, that society would survive better or be equal to a society in which people didn't kill each other off for no reason, shared resources and formed social bonds like friendship... Hm. I think you're wandering off the beaten track here in search of an argument.

LNC wrote:
Yes, you are right in saying that they are flexible, which is also to say that they are relative. If morals are based on our experience, then morals are relative, which is the same as to say that they do not exist.  

Morals do exist which is why we have invented a word to define such behaviors. But morals don't exist as anything apart from our brains/minds. Read the OP.

LNC wrote:
This is what philosophers call, moral anti-realism and that is the system for which you are arguing.  I disagree with that type of approach in that it means that we cannot say that behaviors I mentioned earlier, theft, rape, murder, etc., are wrong.  We can say that we don't prefer them or that they may harm society (however you might define that), but you can't say that they are wrong.  I think that they are wrong, objectively wrong.

Of course we can say they are wrong, don't be silly. We just won't say that they are wrong because we are breaking some law of the universe separate from ourselves. That idea is meaningless.

Go ahead and tell me why theft is wrong and I'll bet that until we get to the part about an invisible "god" we will agree on pretty much everything, oughts included. The difference will be that I will say that you ought not steal for the reasons you're about to give, whereas you will say that you ought not steal because you'll be displeasing god or something.

So tell me why stealing in wrong, why ought we not steal?


4
Apologetics and Theology / Can you defend this?: God does not exist
« on: December 27, 2011, 11:04:37 pm »
Archsage wrote: Sparkling,

Call you "meanie"? No, no, I'd much rather call you logically fallacious, and therefore unfit for reasonable discussion. If I called you "meanie" how would that benefit anyone? It would just instigate more unnecessary hostility. Instead, I'd point out where you've been wrong and make it known. That way you can see exactly how to adjust your words to be most intellectually effective. I thought that's what you'd want.

But it seems as if you only want to argue against children who call others "meanies"? Fine if you want, but you won't be able to live up to your namesake (enlightened) that way.

Do you thunk jesus is going to come back out of the clouds in the future? Be honest now.

5
Apologetics and Theology / Can you defend this?: God does not exist
« on: December 27, 2011, 10:32:58 pm »
Archsage wrote: Sooo, instead of defending their position they resort to straw man and ad hominem? Ask one of the Enlightened for logic and they immediately turn to fallacy to invalidate you... email's point is proven by thier very actions.

Heh, the Enlightened... as they lord their superior intellect over us deluded "disingenuous morons". Sounds like quite a fantastic page on the book of Human history.

I like being labeled "enlightened", it might be a bit strong given that all it means is I don't happen to think that a man is going to fly out of the clouds sometime in the near future, kill almost everyone in rapture, defeat a devil, and rule earth for 1000 years, but it's still nice.

Now go ahead and call me a meanie for making fun of your favorite story.


6
Apologetics and Theology / Atheism: A Narrative Religion
« on: December 27, 2011, 10:25:50 pm »
emailestthoume wrote:
Quote from: sparkling
Quote from: emailestthoume
Quote from: sparkling
*yawn*

More "science is a religion" nonsense. You're making yourself look bad dude.


Atheism has a narrative that depends on seeing the middle ages as the time of darkness, and the enlightenment time time when the evil shackles of religion were broken off. I honestly think the narrative of atheism would be a candidate for a serious sociological study of the contemporary Western world. Forget if it is a religion or not, it is certainly a worldview dependent on a narrative.

It doesn't advocate any particular opinion of history.

What is your level of education?


I am about to graduate college, but I'll ignore the implicit ad-hominem from the one who rather ironically questions my education.

The reason I asked is because a similar sociological point could be made about religious believers lack of education in the United States. Or the correlation between education and atheism. The more highly educated a person is, the less likely they are to be religious. Look at the NAS for instance. Likewise, people who drop out of education are more likely to be religious.

7
Apologetics and Theology / Atheism: A Narrative Religion
« on: December 27, 2011, 10:12:37 pm »
emailestthoume wrote:
Quote from: sparkling
*yawn*

More "science is a religion" nonsense. You're making yourself look bad dude.


Atheism has a narrative that depends on seeing the middle ages as the time of darkness, and the enlightenment time time when the evil shackles of religion were broken off. I honestly think the narrative of atheism would be a candidate for a serious sociological study of the contemporary Western world. Forget if it is a religion or not, it is certainly a worldview dependent on a narrative.

It doesn't advocate any particular opinion of history.

What is your level of education?

8
Apologetics and Theology / Can you defend this?: God does not exist
« on: December 27, 2011, 10:10:42 pm »
emailestthoume wrote:
Quote from: GRWelsh
This is an argument from an essay by Theodore Drange, about "Incompatible Properties of God."  These sorts of atheological arguments -- or arguments against God -- assert they can disprove God by deriving a contradiction from two or more of His traditional properties (such as omniscience, omnipotence, omnibenevolence, omnipresence, perfection, immutability, eternality, having free will, etc.).  This particular argument is called "The Omniscience vs. Free Will argument" and a form of it was also used by Dan Barker:    

1. If God exists, then he is omniscient.
2. If God exists, then he is free.
3. An omniscient being must know exactly what actions he will and will not do in the future.
4. If one knows that he will do an action, then it is impossible for him not to do it, and if one knows that he will not do an action, then it is impossible for him to do it.
5. Thus, whatever an omniscient being does, he must do, and whatever he does not do, he cannot do (from 3 and 4).
6. To be free requires having options open, which means having the ability to act contrary to the way one actually acts.
7. So, if one is free, then he does not have to do what he actually does, and he is able to do things that he does not actually do (from 6).
8. Hence, it is impossible for an omniscient being to be free (from 5 and 7).
9. Therefore, it is impossible for God to exist (from 1, 2, and 8).

I am surprised I actually got an argument!

However, on what grounds will you think that a being that literally knows everything, could not know how your argument is invalid? (even if you or I could not) Do you really think that if God existed he would reveal to you just how his omniscience is compatible with freewill so you could see exactly how your long 9 point argument is wrong? To think as such, seems quite intellectually arrogant.


There is no polite way to say this, mate. But you are a disingenuous moron.

Here you got a formally valid argument which claims to show that an omnicient god can't exist, and your response is "yeah it might be valid, but if this god DOES still exist then how can you PROVE that he doesn't know how the argument is actually invalid... huh, HUH!?"

You're a joke.

9
Apologetics and Theology / Reason.
« on: December 27, 2011, 10:04:18 pm »
choux wrote:
Quote from: sparkling
Quote from: choux
I don't think I have all the answers either. Neither am I certain about everything. But you claimed to NOT be certain about ANYTHING.  
You said everything is open to doubt. These statements of yours are irrational.

Nope. I'm not absolutely certain of anything, I have probable beliefs about various things depending on the evidence, but none of it is sacred truth which cannot be questioned or be superseded by better explanations in the future if they happen to come along.

Weird how you think this is irrational. You seem to think its more rational to be absolutely certain of everything, regardless of whether there is evidence or not, for it is sacred truth which cannot be questioned or ever superseded by any explanations.




Let me show you how irrational you are. You claimed to not be certain of anything. Yet you turn arround and claim things for certain. For instance:

"I have probable beliefs about various things depending on the evidence"

You claim to be certain about this. You also claim to be certain about this:

"I'm not absolutely certain of anything"

I said twice earlier that the only thing I'm certain of is that I don't know everything, or that I am uncertain. You didn't bother reading it apparently.

It's just where you and I differ. You don't care about aiming for truth, you just care about claiming it, making it up to suit you regardless of whether there is evidence to support it or not. For people like you, a junk explanation is better than no explanation at all. Fair enough, have a happy life.

10
Apologetics and Theology / Atheism: A Narrative Religion
« on: December 27, 2011, 09:53:29 pm »
*yawn*

More "science is a religion" nonsense. You're making yourself look bad dude.

11
Apologetics and Theology / Can you defend this?: God does not exist
« on: December 27, 2011, 09:47:28 pm »
emailestthoume wrote: I find the lack of will to defend the assertion that there is no God among many contemporary atheists absolutely stunning, and it suggests to me that there are no good arguments for atheism.


Can you name a well known non believer who makes the assertion that there is no god?

12
Apologetics and Theology / Reason.
« on: December 27, 2011, 09:23:54 pm »
choux wrote: I don't think I have all the answers either. Neither am I certain about everything. But you claimed to NOT be certain about ANYTHING.  
You said everything is open to doubt. These statements of yours are irrational.

Nope. I'm not absolutely certain of anything, I have probable beliefs about various things depending on the evidence, but none of it is sacred truth which cannot be questioned or be superseded by better explanations in the future if they happen to come along.

Weird how you think this is irrational. You seem to think its more rational to be absolutely certain of everything, regardless of whether there is evidence or not, for it is sacred truth which cannot be questioned or ever superseded by any explanations.





13
Moral Argument / Can objective moral values exist ?
« on: December 27, 2011, 09:13:23 pm »
LNC wrote: [ So, given NDEs, it would seem that an immaterial aspect of ourselves exists apart from the brain.

NDE's are highly dubious. Read the wiki article. There are natural explanations. In any case, I don't see how calling something "immaterial" is any kind of an explanation. Is that the best you can offer?

And I still don't see the relevance of anything you said regarding peoples ways of expressing themselves.

There is an internally consistent theory for human morals based on society and well being and empathy and self interest. These provide more than enough incentive to behave one way over another, more often than not they result in behaviors we would call moral. They are concepts based on objects, they are not perfect, they depend on the existence of sentient social organisms like ourselves and are flexible. Objective moral laws just don't exist as anything apart from our experience.

14
Apologetics and Theology / Reason.
« on: December 27, 2011, 08:44:28 pm »
choux wrote: No you're making self-defeating statements and showing how irrational your position is. If everything is open to doubt then so is your statement that nothing is sacred. And this statement of yours becomes questionable too:


There is no dogma which says that one thing must be accepted as absolute truth no matter what.


How can you be certain of this when you are not certain of anything?

Your whole position crumbles.

The only thing I'm  certain of is that I don't have all the answers. My statement about dogma is consistent with this position. Twist it however way you please.

15
Apologetics and Theology / Reason.
« on: December 27, 2011, 08:11:39 pm »
sparkling wrote:
Quote from: choux
Quote from: sparkling
Quote from: Kam86
Sparkling- do you doubt everything, or just religious claims?

There are somethings like models and theories which I accept as more probable than others, however I'm not absolutely certain of anything, everything is open to doubt and questioning in my opinion. Nothing is sacred. There is no dogma which says that one thing must be accepted as absolute truth no matter what.


So, you're absolutely certain that you're not absolutely certain of anything?


If there is one thing I am certain of, it's that I don't have all the answers.

Was that your attempt at a "gotcha" choux? I take it you would support the opposite opinion, that of being certain of all things, regardless of whether you actually have such knowledge or not.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSSTlt6iJ4g


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