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'The God Delusion'.. But is it true?


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#61    third_eye

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 01:07 PM

View PostlibstaK, on 14 May 2013 - 10:48 AM, said:


~snip

It is imo just as delusionary to claim that scientific theory has provided actual evidence that negates the possibility of a God.  It has not, nor in it's current evolutionary state can it do so.  No matter the experiment, no matter the math - it is always based on what we know we know and has not taken into account that which we do not know that we do not know (thank you Socrates). It implies we have answered all of the mysteries of the universe, when what we actually have are many viable but by no means conclusive theories, no scientist worth his salt would be adamant that a given theory is the absolute and final word and he couldn't until he has explored and experimented in every dark and tiny corner of said universe or even multiverses - it is a grand adventure and we have barely made a few baby steps, it would be a shame to claim it was all answered at the age of basically a 1 year old in so far as the potential total amount of universally available material knowledge (forgive the layman's estimate I'm sure the difference between what we know and what we have yet to discover we could know is absolutely huge beyond any real guesstimate).

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#62    laver

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 01:56 PM

Faith is belief without evidence which must be a problem to Richard Dawkins as a scientist. He can also see the serious down sides of faith being used as a control mechanism to get people to behave or act in ways that they would otherwise not do. Where the state combines with religion it becomes a very powerful means of controlling the people based on conforming to the rules of a group whilst maybe having little personal conviction.

'not that faith cannot provide outcomes in totum as many faith based outcomes are distinctly devoid of material mass and rather comprise spiritual growth and perception'

Surely that 'spiritual growth and perception' is a personal matter and quest, not to be dictated by a society with a particular god.


#63    Liquid Gardens

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 06:19 PM

Hi libstaK,

View PostlibstaK, on 14 May 2013 - 10:48 AM, said:

lol, the low hanging fruit analogy is pretty spot on.  As to his position that religious and spiritual matters are based on "next to nothing" - well you need to walk the walk before you can talk the talk so to speak.

But in a fundamental way Dawkins already has walked the walk; he and many atheists have looked at the reasoning and evidence behind people believing in a god or the spirit world and find it very lacking.  To some degree I think some believers understand this also, I've had a lot of conversations concerning what reason people believe that god exists and we typically very quickly fly by the evidence to get to 'faith' and 'different ways of knowing'.  Most believers don't find what other believers from other religions believe on faith to be true, many times they bring up the same objections as atheists, so I think it's fair to point out that this epistemology-by-faith method is not very reliable.

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In spiritual matters the evidence is individual - pride and ego prevent it's expression.  It is very difficult to disseminate knowledge externally without attachment and therefore pride claiming that knowledge for themselves, which by definition makes what is said diminished if not outright false - the ultimate conundrum and a poor answer but I am not being passe about this, it is simply and absolutely a personal journey and cannot be sold on the open market in any way shape or form.

Understood and agreed.  When you say 'a personal journey' though that seems to move the object of discussion to something that is entirely subjective and specific to an individual, thereby any connection to anything empirical is as you noted diminished.  And when we lose the empirical, we lose verifiability to a large extent also.  I translate 'cannot be sold on the open market' to mean essentially that you would be unable to convince someone of the truth that the spirit exists using the means you'd use the other 99% of the time to demonstrate most anything else exists or is true.  So shouldn't that raise some red flags as far as what the believer holds to be true, shouldn't that temper the certainty religious people argue for in their personal specific beliefs?

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Perhaps the majority of his position is within the mainstream of atheism, fair call there - but:

I make that claim based on his position that belief in God is a delusion - when we claim to someone that their lifes work is a delusion, thems fighting words and a position of superiority v the inferiority of the deluded is the paramount implication - which is extreme, or at least amongst the most extreme positions one could hold.

Okay, but if we take the definition of 'delusion' in an unemotional sense, it is an accurate perspective from a non-believer; I think theists are to some extent delusional and I'd bet that theists think that I am blind.  And I'm sorry but we have to make sure that we are looking at both sides of the equation before we start labeling one as using fighting words or invoke accusations of 'superiority vs inferiority'.  I personally don't think Dawkins' most offensive statements are much in the ballpark of the more extreme statements of believers, not in intensity, not in heinousness, and certainly not in volume.  The idea that atheists are immoral, inferior because they are not saved, and are going to suffer eternally, and deserve it, are part and parcel of the religion of millions of believers, so I don't really get the invocation of atheist attitudes of superiority here.

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It is imo just as delusionary to claim that scientific theory has provided actual evidence that negates the possibility of a God.  It has not, nor in it's current evolutionary state can it do so.  
I agree, but I don't think Dawkins has ever done that, nor any atheist I know.  You can't negate the possibility of God, or leprechauns or psychic powers or anything, that's why we rely on the evidence for an idea most of the time when trying to determine what is true.  What we have found out is that it appears that God is not necessary to invoke when explaining where tornadoes and hurricanes come from, why stars and planets appear to move in our skies as they do, what causes diseases, how the diversity of life came to be, etc, which are all things that supernatural explanations have been offered for.

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No matter the experiment, no matter the math - it is always based on what we know we know and has not taken into account that which we do not know that we do not know (thank you Socrates). It implies we have answered all of the mysteries of the universe, when what we actually have are many viable but by no means conclusive theories, no scientist worth his salt would be adamant that a given theory is the absolute and final word and he couldn't until he has explored and experimented in every dark and tiny corner of said universe or even multiverses - it is a grand adventure and we have barely made a few baby steps, it would be a shame to claim it was all answered at the age of basically a 1 year old in so far as the potential total amount of universally available material knowledge (forgive the layman's estimate I'm sure the difference between what we know and what we have yet to discover we could know is absolutely huge beyond any real guesstimate).

Agreed, and maybe you are just discussing this thought here, but to be clear I'm not aware of any atheist who say they have all the answers.  Science though, in my view, has given us the best method by which to determine which things are likely true, and I'm not aware of any legitimate second-place contenders that are even close.  And on the contrary, the only time I see statements asserting that it's all been answered and ignores that 'we don't know what we don't know' comes from some religions, not science or atheism.

Quote

Additionally science of the material cannot create theories that expunge possibilities based upon manifestations that do not have an outcome constituting some form of "mass" such as spiritual experience or even philosophy and psychology (as opposed to psychiatry which is based on a material science via diagnosis of chemical imbalance and measurable neurological disorders etc).

Basically, they can prove that faith can be false in specific material expectation such as healing (I like it when they do that, it's important for obvious reasons) but not that faith cannot provide outcomes in totum as many faith based outcomes are distinctly devoid of material mass and rather comprise spiritual growth and perception.

If the result of spiritual experiences and 'matters' is limited to one's subjective views of this existence and our interrelationship with each other and the universe and such, then it is effectively walled off from any examination by anyone except the experiencer, it is an impervious belief.  However, one could argue that their perception and viewpoints are being fed telepathically from a dragon in outer space and it is on equal footing, so I'm not sure what that really shows.

"You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into"
"That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence" - C. Hitchens
"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool" - Richard Feynman

#64    libstaK

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 09:47 PM

View PostLiquid Gardens, on 14 May 2013 - 06:19 PM, said:

Hi libstaK,
Hi LG :)

Quote

But in a fundamental way Dawkins already has walked the walk; he and many atheists have looked at the reasoning and evidence behind people believing in a god or the spirit world and find it very lacking.  To some degree I think some believers understand this also, I've had a lot of conversations concerning what reason people believe that god exists and we typically very quickly fly by the evidence to get to 'faith' and 'different ways of knowing'.  Most believers don't find what other believers from other religions believe on faith to be true, many times they bring up the same objections as atheists, so I think it's fair to point out that this epistemology-by-faith method is not very reliable.
Interesting, I disagree.  I do not believe Dawkins has walked the walk, simply because he has no results of practice in meditation and prayer to offer us in the first person.  I think he would find it difficult to approach a study in meditation for the length of time and with the humility required to eventually attain the results and therefore evidence that comes with the extended effort.  That may seem unduly judgemental, I'm not sure I can avoid that given his dismissal of what people have evoked by making the effort.

Quote

Understood and agreed.  When you say 'a personal journey' though that seems to move the object of discussion to something that is entirely subjective and specific to an individual, thereby any connection to anything empirical is as you noted diminished.  And when we lose the empirical, we lose verifiability to a large extent also.  I translate 'cannot be sold on the open market' to mean essentially that you would be unable to convince someone of the truth that the spirit exists using the means you'd use the other 99% of the time to demonstrate most anything else exists or is true.  So shouldn't that raise some red flags as far as what the believer holds to be true, shouldn't that temper the certainty religious people argue for in their personal specific beliefs?
Yes, beliefs should be questioned rigorously and regularly - it is part of the humility inherent in the path that we do not claim mastery of a particular piece of knowledge, true masters are rare beasts in history, it would be foolish to believe we have it all figured out unless we are egoic enough to believe we have the capacity to be a master ourselves - the ultimate foolishness.

What I use to test my perception of the material world is not that different to what I use to test my spiritual perception. I think for instance that many could tell you they can recognise and are well aware how very little genuine meditation took place in those first few years, how many false ideas, intrusive fascinations and "false silences of the mind" they have passed through experiencing in the course of whatever present state they may have reached.  But what would you make of it?

That a person can convince themselves of absolutely anything - we know that, it's the point of self observation to be absolutely mindful of that. That perception is a false reality and that it was fascination that led them to their current beliefs? - we know that too, it's a part of the self observation process to discover those fascinations and investigate them to know them for what they are "bring them into the light" so to speak  Those things are easy to put upon another from the outside looking in - I know for myself it does not account for the many hours and reflections, what was discovered and what was discarded as false that happened along the way.  These are just generalised examples but the gist is - what can anyone actually say that will prove that what they are experiencing is the real deal to another person?  

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Okay, but if we take the definition of 'delusion' in an unemotional sense, it is an accurate perspective from a non-believer; I think theists are to some extent delusional and I'd bet that theists think that I am blind.  And I'm sorry but we have to make sure that we are looking at both sides of the equation before we start labeling one as using fighting words or invoke accusations of 'superiority vs inferiority'.  I personally don't think Dawkins' most offensive statements are much in the ballpark of the more extreme statements of believers, not in intensity, not in heinousness, and certainly not in volume.  The idea that atheists are immoral, inferior because they are not saved, and are going to suffer eternally, and deserve it, are part and parcel of the religion of millions of believers, so I don't really get the invocation of atheist attitudes of superiority here.
Delusion

Wikipedia says: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delusion
A delusion is a belief held with strong conviction despite superior evidence to the contrary.

The Free Dictionary: http://www.thefreedi...ry.com/delusion


a. The act or process of deluding.
b. The state of being deluded.
2. A false belief or opinion: labored under the delusion that success was at hand.
3. Psychiatry A false belief strongly held in spite of invalidating evidence, especially as a symptom of mental illness:

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I agree, but I don't think Dawkins has ever done that, nor any atheist I know.  You can't negate the possibility of God, or leprechauns or psychic powers or anything, that's why we rely on the evidence for an idea most of the time when trying to determine what is true.  What we have found out is that it appears that God is not necessary to invoke when explaining where tornadoes and hurricanes come from, why stars and planets appear to move in our skies as they do, what causes diseases, how the diversity of life came to be, etc, which are all things that supernatural explanations have been offered for.
Claiming that belief that there is a God is a delusion is negating the possibility of a God.

I would say that what we you have found out is that the material world functions absolutely perfectly, as it was intended to do when it was manifested by God. :P

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Agreed, and maybe you are just discussing this thought here, but to be clear I'm not aware of any atheist who say they have all the answers.  Science though, in my view, has given us the best method by which to determine which things are likely true, and I'm not aware of any legitimate second-place contenders that are even close.  And on the contrary, the only time I see statements asserting that it's all been answered and ignores that 'we don't know what we don't know' comes from some religions, not science or atheism.
It really does come down to the position of certainty that there is no God, atheists are pretty sure they have all the answers on that matter or they would not be atheists.

Science tells us what the components of the Universe are and how they operate - it has done nothing to tell us which things are likely true (or false) in the spiritual realm.

I do agree about the religions claiming to have all the answers though, it is a pet hate - dogma, I can't abide it, it stifles and suffocates enquiring minds and then makes them terrified of their own shadow lest they end up in hell.

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If the result of spiritual experiences and 'matters' is limited to one's subjective views of this existence and our interrelationship with each other and the universe and such, then it is effectively walled off from any examination by anyone except the experiencer, it is an impervious belief.  However, one could argue that their perception and viewpoints are being fed telepathically from a dragon in outer space and it is on equal footing, so I'm not sure what that really shows.
You made my point, from the outside looking in one could argue the beliefs are based on just about anything and the experiencer would never have a means to prove otherwise, most won't bother to try for that very reason.   Like I said, it is a conundrum, a veritable pickle.

An outside observer will never be able to know what it shows, it doesn't work like that.  This is why Jung was such a brilliant psychologist, he understood this perfectly which is why he taught his patients to recognise and diagnose/describe and understand for themselves what was going on in their internal worlds B) .

"I warn you, whoever you are, oh you who wish to probe the arcanes of nature, if you do not find within yourself that which you seek, neither shall you find it outside.
If you ignore the excellencies of your own house, how do you intend to find other excellencies?
In you is hidden the treasure of treasures, Oh man, know thyself and you shall know the Universe and the Gods."

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#65    notforgotten

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 10:12 PM

It's a book of lies! :whistle:


#66    laver

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 10:25 PM

Quote
'If the result of spiritual experiences and 'matters' is limited to one's subjective views of this existence and our interrelationship with each other and the universe and such, then it is effectively walled off from any examination by anyone except the experiencer, it is an impervious belief. However, one could argue that their perception and viewpoints are being fed telepathically from a dragon in outer space and it is on equal footing, so I'm not sure what that really shows.'

Surely it is the impact of these beliefs that is important. A lone hermit or group may think as they wish in a quest for spiritual enlightenment without may be affecting the world outside but the influence of mass religious belief has been and is huge.

That presumably is why Dawkins wrote this book and named it 'The God Delusion' it was clearly aimed at a mass audience many many of whom had not really thought much about the issue but just followed parental guideance or the norms of the society they lived in without any real conviction.


#67    shrooma

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 11:30 PM

laver said-
.
For
example did early hunter gatherers
manage the genetic modification of
grasses to make them useful crops?
or did they have some help?
.
they did it by themselves laver, why wouldn't they be able to?
'genetic manipulation' is as simple as cross-fertilizing grasses with larger ears than the rest, with ones that grew faster than the rest, you don't need laboratories, or supernatural entities, or space aliens to do that, just common sense.
I don't think you're crediting our forebear's with the intelligence they deserve.....
when gregor mendel invented the science of genetics in the 1800's, did he have an electron microscope? or a fully equipt laboratory? or an alien advisor?
no, he had a paintbrush, some common sense, and lots of patience, and that's all he needed really.

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#68    laver

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 11:54 PM

View Postshrooma, on 14 May 2013 - 11:30 PM, said:

laver said-
.
For
example did early hunter gatherers
manage the genetic modification of
grasses to make them useful crops?
or did they have some help?
.
they did it by themselves laver, why wouldn't they be able to?
'genetic manipulation' is as simple as cross-fertilizing grasses with larger ears than the rest, with ones that grew faster than the rest, you don't need laboratories, or supernatural entities, or space aliens to do that, just common sense.
I don't think you're crediting our forebear's with the intelligence they deserve.....
when gregor mendel invented the science of genetics in the 1800's, did he have an electron microscope? or a fully equipt laboratory? or an alien advisor?
no, he had a paintbrush, some common sense, and lots of patience, and that's all he needed really.

'I don't think you're crediting our forebear's with the intelligence they deserve..'

Oh but I do, or at least some of them, but where did that intelligence come from?
There were clearly some very clever cookies around thousands of years ago but is this just the result of Darwinian natural selection as Dawkins proposes? or have there been other influences on human developement...foreign...divine.. whatever you like to call it?
According to texts from Ancient Egypt it was Isis and Osiris who taught humans agriculture and so maybe the genetics needed to turn grass into edible crops?


#69    lightly

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 12:13 AM

I figure if i can exist.. God can too  :)

Important:  The above may contain errors, inaccuracies, omissions, and other limitations.

#70    shrooma

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 12:20 AM

View Postlaver, on 14 May 2013 - 11:54 PM, said:



'I don't think you're crediting our forebear's with the intelligence they deserve..'

Oh but I do, or at least some of them, but where did that intelligence come from?
There were clearly some very clever cookies around thousands of years ago but is this just the result of Darwinian natural selection as Dawkins proposes? or have there been other influences on human developement...foreign...divine.. whatever you like to call it?
According to texts from Ancient Egypt it was Isis and Osiris who taught humans agriculture and so maybe the genetics needed to turn grass into edible crops?
.
*sigh*
and when did these imaginary egyptians teach us agriculture? hmm, laver?
bearing in mind that the agricultural revolution took place at least 5000yrs before the egyptian civilisation even began, i'd like you to tell me how they managed such a feat?
time-travelling aliens perhaps?
Dr Who?
or are you just flogging a dead horse that's barking up the wrong tree?
I know which one my shekels are on i'm afraid.

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#71    Mystic Crusader

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 12:24 AM

View Postnotforgotten, on 14 May 2013 - 10:12 PM, said:

It's a book of lies! :whistle:

Some people think that of the bible(s).

Thomas Paine wrote in The Age of Reason that “Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous execution, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be consistent that we called it the word of a demon, than the word of God."
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Demonic inspiration

#72    laver

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 12:45 AM

View Postshrooma, on 15 May 2013 - 12:20 AM, said:

.
*sigh*
and when did these imaginary egyptians teach us agriculture? hmm, laver?
bearing in mind that the agricultural revolution took place at least 5000yrs before the egyptian civilisation even began, i'd like you to tell me how they managed such a feat?
time-travelling aliens perhaps?
Dr Who?
or are you just flogging a dead horse that's barking up the wrong tree?
I know which one my shekels are on i'm afraid.

No one can dated the origins of the Isis Osiris myths so they could be very very old but may still be worthy of consideration


#73    laver

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 12:49 AM

View PostHavocWing, on 15 May 2013 - 12:24 AM, said:

Some people think that of the bible(s).

Yes probably lots of falsehoods but you can also get some useful information if you know where to look


#74    laver

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 12:55 AM

View Postlightly, on 15 May 2013 - 12:13 AM, said:

I figure if i can exist.. God can too  :)

I am sure he or she will appreciate your magnanimity...if not too busy with the thoughts of billions of other humans...


#75    third_eye

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 01:13 AM

Posted Image

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