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Go to: What do you say to your faith-based neighbors?

Liminal's Avatar Jump to comment 107 by Liminal

Comment 97 by Matt50 :

Now I'm being frank here and this makes me more vulnerable to criticism - so please bear this in mind.I think where we differ is that I think there is an "ultimate reality" who is God, and that what we call and directly experience as "reality" is conditional upon God's existence, and flows out of God's existence. I guess (ironically) that this is kind of Platonic. Before you ask - no evidence - but it makes sense of things to me in a kind of philosophical way.Therefore - I have no problem with miracles because my position of what is real is broader than the materialist.

I admire your courage Matt50 - it must feel like finding yourself in the lions den!

...and I agree with you that there maybe more - so much more, than we will ever know about. I'm a big fan of Phenomenology (Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty and such), which regards Science as a "reduced epistemology", because to create a scientific model or theory, we must take out any subjective values, yet our values are what gives life its richness! Science must always be "the view from nowhere". I think religion tries to redress this balance.

However, humans have believed such harmful superstitious nonsense in the past, like belief in witches, or trial by fire, or even Heaven and Hell, that Science's caution and skepticism about accepting anything without solid evidence is a genuine "enlightenment". The harm such superstitious belief in witches - especially when the "witch" is a child, is all to evident in the news. It is also all too evident in history!!

So, I like your philosophical Platonistic God (have you read Plotinus?), as a source of our unity, that makes us all brothers/sisters under the skin. It is only when it involves believing stuff like miracles and magic, sin, witches, demon posession and hell etc. etc., and believing not on evidence but on hearsay, that I find myself siding (slightly reluctantly) with the angry atheists.

Tue, 13 Mar 2012 14:32:37 UTC | #926694

Go to: What do you say to your faith-based neighbors?

Liminal's Avatar Jump to comment 106 by Liminal

Comment 11 by Schrodinger's Cat :

But the Christian would turn the whole thing round and argue that its the atheist who is promoting a cold, cruel, and indifferent universe. And would equally as well argue ( and I've had this argument many a time ) how does one explain that. Even Dostoevsky could not resolve the absurdity of it all, despite arguing from all sides of the matter in books such as The Brothers KaramazovThere's a 'rationale' that gets built around the metaphysical script. It is lacking complete consistency, but it has enough to keep religion going. That is why I've increasingly come to the conclusion that arguments against God are pointless.......and that the best approach is quite simply to point out the absence of positive evidence.

Thanks SC, Yes, I 100% agree with you it is pointless arguing someone out of taking a religious stance.

However, to the "lack of evidence" approach, the answer always comes back "you need to have faith to be given the evidence". That's why I think to believers, "faith" is more like trust in a person to be there when you need them, than unevidenced belief in an invisible pink spaghetti monster. The evidence follows by autosuggestion and confirmation bias.

So, there is no way to win, but this guy Mike sounds thoughtful, so it may be through challenging the inconsistencies in his belief system, that he challenges the status quo. I am also genuinely curious, in his paradigm, did God create the Mycobacteria (Leprosy and TB) or Clostridia species (Botulism, iatrogenic diarrhoea and Gas Gangrene), to name but two such "creations"?

In the end, I worry are much more about the ratio of "moderates" vs. "fanatics" of any type, rather than "atheists" vs. "believers". Moderate liberals of the World unite!

Tue, 13 Mar 2012 13:37:42 UTC | #926688

Go to: What do you say to your faith-based neighbors?

Liminal's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by Liminal

Faith is not just "belief without evidence." You can have faith (as in remaining faithful) in a person too. For many Christians, i think faith is of that kind in "God". That's hard to shake, and maybe it gets them through the night...

However, two things I can never understand, and would be curious to hear explained are:

1) How can a loving God condemn all non-believers to Hell for eternity? Isn't that more like Saddam Hussein or Hitler who imprisoned and tortured anyone with a different view, rather than Jesus or Ghandi or Martin Luther King who taught tolerance and forgiveness? What do they really think of the morality of the Entity they worship?

2) How do Christians justify the callous cruelty of Nature, if made by an all good and caring creator? Predators must kill to survive, parasites must cause suffering and disease, the strong victimise the weak to keep themselves strong. None of this can be explained as a result of any "Fall" caused by man, For the simple reason that the "design" of claws, teeth, barbs, fangs, venoms etc., were integral to these species, yet must predate the first "Man" (even if Mike takes Genesis as literal truth). So, who put the cruelty into Nature?

I would not want to convert this guy, his religion is his own business, but I would be genuinely curious how he justifies it.

Fri, 09 Mar 2012 19:37:54 UTC | #925691

Go to: The "So" meme

Liminal's Avatar Jump to comment 123 by Liminal

So, having seen this man walking down the street, one if us should have asked him whether the prefix "so" in this sentence was redundant, or whether it had a function....

Well, basically, he might have replied, it is a meme with, like, a function, thats why it spread! So, at the start puts the sentence into the context of the previous discussion, and effaces all previous arguments, by subsuming them. Basically has a similar function, by claiming that what is being said gets to the real root of the problem.

"Obviously", there are other less effective ways to acknowledge and then dismiss a counter argument, but "so" at the start is quite effective, without seeming argumentative. So, am I right, or am I wrong?

Wed, 07 Mar 2012 11:02:02 UTC | #925099

Go to: Altruism and the evolution of bigger brains

Liminal's Avatar Jump to comment 26 by Liminal

Comment 16 by ccw95005 : The real question to ask Richard is whether he now believes in group selection. For a long time he didn't.

Just picking up on Ccw95005s point - If I were meeting RD, I would want to ask him 3 things:

1) Where is he now with Meme theory?

2) Does he think group selection is a factor in Human evolution (as distinct from most other animals) as a result of us developing culture?

3) What is his opinion of Multi-Level Selection (often mis-named "group selection")?

Thu, 23 Feb 2012 12:41:24 UTC | #921025

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