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Author Topic: A parable about contradictions in what religious Americans think
threads
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Hi Pete, I found your answer pretty interesting. I might make a spinoff thread at some point about how morality can develop naturally.

(posting from my phone atm so short posts)

[ August 13, 2012, 04:58 PM: Message edited by: threads ]

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by threads:
Hi Pete, I found your answer pretty interesting. I might make a spinoff thread at some point about how morality can develop naturally.

(posting from my phone atm so short posts)

Oh, I strongly agree that morality could have developed naturally.

What I see as evidence of God's grace, is that our nascent sense of morality could have overwhelmed our desire for power at the scale that it did historically.

When my family lived in Poland, I visted Auchevitz-Birkenau, and was struck by a passage in a Nazi Doctor's diary about how he thanked God for the arrival of Cyclon B gas, so that he would no longer be "tormented by the cries of the innocent." (His words, not mine!) That sort of peurile-passive-subconscience I could attribute to evolution. But entire peoples sacrificing their best in order to stop an atrocity against another people? To me, that defies the concept of megalomaniacal macromolecules dictating our destiny.

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D.W.
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quote:
Does belief in God require a scientific belief? By which I mean, that only by the lack of a natural explanation for external realities can one find a reason to believe in God?
What do you mean by scientific belief? By many definitions I think the concept of a deity predates the scientific study. However observation and understanding could be considered science. So then it predates a concept of a deity.

My gut reaction is to say that no, scientific belief is not required. However I think that our ability to observe, understand and learn are required to even have a concept of the divine. Is that scientific belief?

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Pete at Home
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Science probably should involve by necessity, use of the scientific method. The scientific method IIRC was not codified until Francis Bacon. However, scientific research that from description appears to have followed what was later called the scientific method, appears to have been followed as early as Aristotle, in his biological study of the Octopus.
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D.W.
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Well if that's the case I think history gives us a fairly decisive answer to Kid's question.
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Even the Bible contains some science.
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threads
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
When my family lived in Poland, I visted Auchevitz-Birkenau, and was struck by a passage in a Nazi Doctor's diary about how he thanked God for the arrival of Cyclon B gas, so that he would no longer be "tormented by the cries of the innocent." (His words, not mine!) That sort of peurile-passive-subconscience I could attribute to evolution. But entire peoples sacrificing their best in order to stop an atrocity against another people? To me, that defies the concept of megalomaniacal macromolecules dictating our destiny.

Evolutionary psychology is a flaky field so it's pretty much impossible to give a solid argument for why X behavior is or isn't likely to evolve in a specific scenario. That said, there are a few important things to keep in mind:
- Natural selection doesn't happen only on the individual level. Self-sacrifice can be favored as long as it propagates the alleles that promote it. A corollary to this point is that locally greedy behavior is not always optimal for propagating alleles.
- While there are tons of examples of self-sacrifice in human history, there are arguably endless more hidden cases of selfishness. Most people aren't heroes (ex: most Germans didn't aid the allies). The fact that some people are heroes isn't that surprising. There are bound to be exceptions.
- Even if human behavior were exceptional, it wouldn't be that exceptional. There are lots of flaws in our body design and our thinking that we might be able to fix in the not-so-far-off future. If we were intelligently designed, it wasn't by a being that much smarter than ourselves.

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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
But entire peoples sacrificing their best in order to stop an atrocity against another people?
Which example do you have in mind? American involvement in WW2 wasn't to stop atrocities.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Aris Katsaris:
quote:
But entire peoples sacrificing their best in order to stop an atrocity against another people?
Which example do you have in mind? American involvement in WW2 wasn't to stop atrocities.
Oh really? Then why were we protecting China from Japan, in the actions that provoked the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor?
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Pete at Home
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"The fact that some people are heroes isn't that surprising."

So what's the genetic function that causes people to admire these heroic exceptions?

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Aris Katsaris
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Are you arguing that America protecting China from Japan involved "entire peoples sacrificing their best"? Deliberately so?

If I remember correctly, before Pearl Harbor the involvement of America in the Pacific Theater was limited to the oil embargo against Japan. The attack on Pearl Harbor was not expected by the American public -- and after it, the American public rallied to the war against the Japanese as retaliation for Pearl Harbor, not to oppose Japanese atrocities on the Chinese.

If I have the history wrong, forgive me.

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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
So what's the genetic function that causes people to admire these heroic exceptions?
I can easily imagine a genetic advantage to being attracted to the people that would work hard and sacrifice themselves for their children.

That we don't limit such admiration (and they don't limit such sacrifice) to benefitting only their own progeny, can be explained by the fact we're adaptation executers, not fitness maximizers.

EDIT TO ADD:
But really, it doesn't need be a genetic advantage. If it's a memetic advantage (communities that admire self-sacrifice are more likely to survive), I'd guess that both admiration and heroism could just pass through culture, not through genes.

All the above with the caveat that I'm neither a biologist nor a sociologist -- but certainly I see no deep mystery here that I would need a God to explain it.

[ August 14, 2012, 07:05 AM: Message edited by: Aris Katsaris ]

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Aris Katsaris
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As a sidenote, surely the existence of homosexuality is significantly more difficult to explain on evolutionary grounds than heroism or altruism -- and yet I note few Christians refer to it as evidence for the existence of a pro-homosexuality intelligent designer...
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Aris Katsaris:
Are you arguing that America protecting China from Japan involved "entire peoples sacrificing their best"? Deliberately so?

If I remember correctly, before Pearl Harbor the involvement of America in the Pacific Theater was limited to the oil embargo against Japan. The attack on Pearl Harbor was not expected by the American public -- and after it, the American public rallied to the war against the Japanese as retaliation for Pearl Harbor, not to oppose Japanese atrocities on the Chinese.

If I have the history wrong, forgive me.

It was a rigorous "embargo." That involved asset freezes, blocking of Japanese transport through Panama.

I'm not finding it at the moment but I thought that there were some other steps that would better be described as blockade than mere embargo. But even if you class our pre-1941 involvement as mere "embargo," you must recognize that embargo was a significant act within the 2nd World War. The history books certainly recognize it as such.

But yes, the US clearly did seriously sacrifice its economic interests in a rigorous embargo, plus invested its political capital (resulting in the collapse of the League of Nations!) into trying to discourage human rights abuses against the Chinese ... a group which Americans had already proved terribly racist against domestically!

[ August 14, 2012, 09:18 AM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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AI Wessex
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In line with Aris' article (nice), adaptation and survival imply change and repurposing. Snake venom glands are adaptations of what originally were digestive functions. We can trace the evolution of that adaptation in the fossil and DNA records that are available. You would have to go back many millions of years to spot the "moment of design" when the digestive gland was first introduced into animals that eventually became modern snakes, and if the fossil record would allow you could trace the evolutionary path that led to those digestive glands, themselves.

You don't need a God or even a designer to explain nature. We can't explain everything in full detail because the record isn't preserved in its entirety, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen that way.

But if you believe in God and you accept evolution, then when was the moment of creation? And was man created in that moment, or did he evolve, too?

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Aris Katsaris:
As a sidenote, surely the existence of homosexuality is significantly more difficult to explain on evolutionary grounds than heroism or altruism -- and yet I note few Christians refer to it as evidence for the existence of a pro-homosexuality intelligent designer...

I've not seen gay or non-Christians make the argument either, until you. [Big Grin]

But one gay acquaintance (actually, a lesbian prostitute that I represented) did tell me an interesting theory that homosexuality might represent some sort of "breed-off" switch that slows down reproduction where overbreeding risks the larger population. I've noted that her interesting theory correlates to data which suggests that (1) homosexuality is more common in concentrated urban areas; and (2) that homosexuality is more common in situations where the biological mother was over 40 at the time of birth.

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Pete at Home
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"You don't need a God or even a designer to explain nature."

This is the first time that I've heard the US embargo against Japan described as "Nature," Al. [Razz]

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Pete at Home
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quote:
But if you believe in God and you accept evolution, then when was the moment of creation?
I personally believe that both Evolution and also God's creation, as described in Genesis, are both forces that continue to operate on humans today, as we speak.

quote:
And was man created in that moment, or did he evolve, too?
Humans were, and remain, both products of evolution, and of divine creation. We continue to evolve naturally, and God's also not done tweaking with us and perfecting us in his own way.

As far as the vision of Genesis is done, WE ARE STILL SOMEWHERE IN THE SIXTH DAY. God has not done with the creation of man, since surely we have not reached the point where we reflect God's image. God has some time left before he can Rest during his Seventh Day (the Millennium).

[ August 14, 2012, 09:11 AM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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AI Wessex
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"This is the first time that I've heard the US embargo against Japan described as "Nature," Al."

Does this relate to something I actually said?

"As far as the vision of Genesis is done, WE ARE STILL SOMEWHERE IN THE SIXTH DAY. God has not done with the creation of man, since surely we have not reached the point where we reflect God's image. God has some time left before he can Rest during his Seventh Day (the Millennium)."

Oh well, as long as you don't try to grab the wheel and steer society in the direction God wants it to go, it's fine with me** if you want to believe that [Smile] .

** Tried to embed the following link, but it won't work in UBB. Replace the !'s with parens: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reason_!short_story!

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
"This is the first time that I've heard the US embargo against Japan described as "Nature," Al."

Does this relate to something I actually said?

Yes.


quote:
"As far as the vision of Genesis is done, WE ARE STILL SOMEWHERE IN THE SIXTH DAY. God has not done with the creation of man, since surely we have not reached the point where we reflect God's image. God has some time left before he can Rest during his Seventh Day (the Millennium)."

Oh well, as long as you don't try to grab the wheel and steer society in the direction God wants it to go, it's fine with me** if you want to believe that [Smile]

We're cool. Well said; I'm not an ark-steadier. I'm happy to let God do his own work, and I don't think myself one of his agents,* at least in the grand scheme.

* OTOH, if God wants to make me his agent for purposes of feeding the hungry, bringing cheer to the weary, etc., on a small scale then I'd be grateful for the chance to act in such capacity.

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AI Wessex
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"Yes."

Something specific that you can point me to so I can try and figure out how you got that?

"OTOH, if God wants to make me his agent for purposes of feeding the hungry, bringing cheer to the weary, etc., on a small scale then I'd be grateful for the chance to act in such capacity."

God works in mysterious ways. What if He wants you to harm someone or destroy things that offend Him? I strongly doubt that He will, but isn't that possible? Would you do it? There are plenty of people in this world who believe in false gods, or as Noel put it, "a god of sorts", who have done such things.

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threads
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
"The fact that some people are heroes isn't that surprising."

So what's the genetic function that causes people to admire these heroic exceptions?

I don't know. On the other hand, it's not like we have the human genome mapped out and haven't found it. In the grand scheme of implausible behaviors this doesn't seem that bad. We know that cooperative behavior can be superior to greedy behavior depending on the circumstances.

Anyways, I do have a potential explanation. If someone saves your life or helps you then you'll tend to admire them*. If you see someone save somebody else's life then your empathy will also make you feel some of that admiration.

* Note that this isn't a prisoners dilemma type situation. Quite often both parties will gain from helping each other out so if you can trust someone to help you out (ex: because they saved your life) then you will want to help them back.

I am not proposing this as the actual reason. I have not studied this area and don't really know what I'm talking about. Anyways, a correct explanation isn't relevant here.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
"Yes."

Something specific that you can point me to so I can try and figure out how you got that?

"OTOH, if God wants to make me his agent for purposes of feeding the hungry, bringing cheer to the weary, etc., on a small scale then I'd be grateful for the chance to act in such capacity."

God works in mysterious ways. What if He wants you to harm someone or destroy things that offend Him? I strongly doubt that He will, but isn't that possible? Would you do it? There are plenty of people in this world who believe in false gods, or as Noel put it, "a god of sorts", who have done such things.

"Except for sociopaths, cruelty is against human nature. It pains us to cause pain in others. So we hide behind our ideologies to give ourselves permission, to pretend that the pain we cause serves a higher good. That ideology can be religion. It can be capitalism. It can be socialism. It can be conservativism or liberalism. If you need your ideology to justify your actions, then your actions are wrong. Actions are specific, individual events with specific consequences that can hurt real, specific people. If your ideology calls for cruelty, then your ideology is wrong. If your god calls for cruelty, then your god is false. Don't hide behind your god or your politics. Don't supplant reason with belief or ethics with superstition. To do something wrong simply because some belief system tells you it is right is to offer the same excuse offered at Nuremburg. It is to claim that you are not at fault because you were only following orders. It is to surrender your soul."
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threads
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
But yes, the US clearly did seriously sacrifice its economic interests in a rigorous embargo

That isn't clear at all. It may have sacrificed short-term economic interest but that doesn't necessarily translate into long-term economic interest. Also, there are lots of other factors that the US may have been optimizing (ex: domestic politics, our relations with our allies, etc).

quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
As far as the vision of Genesis is done, WE ARE STILL SOMEWHERE IN THE SIXTH DAY. God has not done with the creation of man, since surely we have not reached the point where we reflect God's image. God has some time left before he can Rest during his Seventh Day (the Millennium).

This seems like pure rationalization. The order of creation in Genesis is all bonkers. Even if day meant something other than earth-day (highly implausible since there was no difference between the two words back then) the days in Genesis don't form a logical progression of any sort. Also, Genesis is written in the past tense.
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AI Wessex
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"It is to claim that you are not at fault because you were only following orders. It is to surrender your soul."

Yet history is replete with avowedly religious people who have led their nations to do just those things. Where were the religious leaders, let alone the peons, who stood up and said, "This shall not pass!" If recent history won't give examples, refer to the string of wars and conflicts in the OT.

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Pete at Home
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"This seems like pure rationalization. The order of creation in Genesis is all bonkers. Even if day meant something other than earth-day (highly implausible since there was no difference between the two words back then) the days in Genesis don't form a logical progression of any sort. Also, Genesis is written in the past tense."

Threads, it seems from your response that you have not given my statement much thought.

Please consider the following:

Open Genesis, and read Pharaoh's vision of the 7 sheaves of corn and the 7 cows, and tell me what tense it's written in.

Then read Joseph's interpretation of that vision, and tell me what tense he's speaking in.

[ August 14, 2012, 01:28 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
Yet history is replete with avowedly religious people who have led their nations to do just those things.
So? What is your argument here, Al? You seem to be trying to say something, but it just sounds like vague implications instead of anything concrete.

Previously you had said that such God-related issues are a "matter of faith" and not particularly important to convince each other about. Now it seems you're saying it's ultra-important to convince each other, because some people may believe in false Gods that convince them to do bad things.

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JoshuaD
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Aris: You ignored my post on the previous page. Did you agree with it, not think it was worth responding to, or did you simply not see it?
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AI Wessex
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It's no excuse to do bad things in the name of faith and religion, but people do. I think it's worth pointing that out so that people who believe their faith infuses them with good intentions don't overlook that salient fact. That's not to say that I expect kmbboots, Pete or anyone else here to do such evil deeds, but there are people who do.

We can sit here and dismiss leaders as liars and evil who claimed to be doing God's will when they killed other people. But if those people who did it honestly believed that God was on their side, then anyone else's seeming piety and a willingness to do good deeds because "God wanted them to" isn't in itself a guarantee. kmbboots brought up the Nuremburg trial, which reminded me that I don't often think about the fact that I lost an untold number of family members in the holocaust. They were killed by people who (I assume) never thought they were violating God's will at the time.

It's worth bringing that up here from time time, given how often people who do have faith bring up how good are their intentions (I don't doubt them). The larger reality doesn't conform to this small sample.

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Aris Katsaris
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JoshuaD, I'm afraid I found that post of yours too unrigid and vague.

For example here's what I could have responded, but all of my responses can be summarized to "Why are you saying this thing that you're saying"

quote:
You are conflating science with logic.
Am I? How so?

quote:
My spiritual beliefs are guided by my reasoning and logic. They are also beyond the scope of scientific inquiry.
So you say. You offer no justification about why they're "beyond the scope of scientific inquiry".

quote:
I use the same part of my brain in my spiritual pursuits that I use when working over a math problem.
You have encephalographs to back you on this, or are you just assuming?

quote:
Read any of the great spiritual thinkers. They are using logic as well.
There's a vast difference between arguing backwards to defend a conclusion you've already reached and arguing forwards to actually reach a conclusion.

quote:
The assumptions of science are blind to the spiritual world.
And yet science has determined we can stimulate spiritual experiences by certain drugs like Psilocybin.

quote:
(Just like the assumptions of mathematics are blind to the physical world).
What do you mean by that? Math works in describing the physical world stunningly well.

Do you mean that we have no scientific way to explain qualia, and no mathematical way to explain physical existence?

If so, I currently agree; but frankly we have no "spiritual" way to explain qualia or physical existence either.

quote:
The mystic thinker has different assumptions, but works from those assumptions with the same reasoning as any other branch of philosophy.
I know he may have different assumptions, but not all assumptions are born equal. Axioms of different simplicities have different probabilities; as was shown when non-Euclidean geometry (geometry in violation of the rather more complex 5th Euclidean axiom) actually proved a more valid representation of the real world.

quote:
We simply improved our reasoning. It works this way with religion, too.
Most popular religions explicitly follow the religion-by-divine-revelation route, not the religion-by-human-reasoning route.

Judaism, Christianity, Islam -- they're all about God revealing himself to mankind, not about mankind reasoning itself upwards to reach God.

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Pete at Home
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"They were killed by people who (I assume) never thought they were violating God's will at the time."

If you don't believe in God, how could you believe that you were violating God's will?

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Pete at Home
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"Judaism, Christianity, Islam -- they're all about God revealing himself to mankind, not about mankind reasoning itself upwards to reach God."

That's very true, Aris. And yet the God of Judaism and Christianity (not sure whether this is true of Islam) says that we should "reason" with him. Some see the story of Jacob wrestling with the angel as a symbol of this. That when God tells us to do something, that we should struggle with him to have him make us understand why, with our powers of reasoning. LDS scripture adds that God will tell us in our mind as well as in our heart. The passage in the Book of Mormon, http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/1-ne/4?lang=eng, where Nephi is commanded to kill Laban, provides an illustration:

quote:
And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do.

7 Nevertheless I went forth, and as I came near unto the house of Laban I beheld a man, and he had fallen to the earth before me, for he was drunken with wine.

8 And when I came to him I found that it was Laban.

9 And I beheld his sword, and I drew it forth from the sheath thereof; and the hilt thereof was of pure gold, and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine, and I saw that the blade thereof was of the most precious steel.

10 And it came to pass that I was constrained by the Spirit that I should kill Laban; but I said in my heart: Never at any time have I shed the blood of man. And I shrunk and would that I might not slay him.

11 And the Spirit said unto me again: Behold the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands. Yea, and I also knew that he had sought to take away mine own life; yea, and he would not hearken unto the commandments of the Lord; and he also had taken away our property.

12 And it came to pass that the Spirit said unto me again: Slay him, for the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands;

13 Behold the Lord slayeth the wicked to bring forth his righteous purposes. It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief.

14 And now, when I, Nephi, had heard these words, I remembered the words of the Lord which he spake unto me in the wilderness, saying that: Inasmuch as thy seed shall keep my commandments, they shall prosper in the land of promise.

15 Yea, and I also thought that they could not keep the commandments of the Lord according to the law of Moses, save they should have the law.

16 And I also knew that the law was engraven upon the plates of brass.

17 And again, I knew that the Lord had delivered Laban into my hands for this cause—that I might obtain the records according to his commandments.

18 Therefore I did obey the voice of the Spirit, and took Laban by the hair of the head, and I smote off his head with his own sword.

It's not mindless obedience; the spirit reasons it out in his head. Laban's stolen Nephi's property and tried to have him killed; he's holding onto a record which Nephi needs to fulfill the Lord's purposes, in order to protect an entire future nation, and killing Laban is the only way to secure this.

So God does reveal himself unto man, but at some point, God desires man to reason his way up.

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JoshuaD
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Aris: You confused logic and science when you said this:
quote:
Aris: Your average theist follows (C) tending to psychologically compartmentalize between logic (which he uses only in math problems), faith (used whenever he attends church or actually discusses religion)
You also have demonstrated a fundamental understanding of how math works and what it does when you said this:

quote:
Aris: What do you mean by that? Math works in describing the physical world stunningly well.
Reason is the tool of philosophy. Reason does not operate without assumptions.

Science is a philosophy. Science assumes that everything that exists is detectable and measurable. Science, like every other philosophy, is a limited philosophy. One example of how science is limited is that it can't tell me that murder is bad. Most assuredly, it can trace and measure the physical consequences of a murder, but it cannot tell me that those consequences are not good. It can only blindly tell me what they are. Science's assumptions don't talk about 'good' and 'bad', and these ideas cannot be derived from the assumptions science makes.

Math is similarly a limited philosophy. Math is great at telling me how numbers work, how equations can be manipulated, and how theoretical shapes act and can be measured. Math, however, is entirely blind to this physical reality. Math doesn't know what a blade of grass is. The language of Math can be used to describe the grass one it has been measured with science, but math itself is blind to the grass. It is blind to this entire physical world.

Spirituality is also a limited philosophy. It is useful in telling me about moral cause-and-effect, but it cannot tell me about numbers or the laws of gravity. Just like math's assumptions cannot derive sunlight, spiritual axioms cannot derive the laws of gravity.

The assumptions of the spiritual world vary from religion to religion, but the philosophy operates in the same fundamental way as Math or Science. There are unprovable assumptions, and then there is reasoning. The spiritualists (I am speaking for at least Catholics and Buddhists right now) believe without proving that there is moral cause and effect. They then use their reasoning and experience to draw conclusions.

My point wasn't vague at all. It was very direct: You suggested that spiritual beliefs and logic are incompatible. I outlined in my first post, and more verbosely here, how that's not the case.

quote:
quote:
JoshuaD:The mystic thinker has different assumptions, but works from those assumptions with the same reasoning as any other branch of philosophy.
Aris: I know he may have different assumptions, but not all assumptions are born equal. Axioms of different simplicities have different probabilities; as was shown when non-Euclidean geometry (geometry in violation of the rather more complex 5th Euclidean axiom) actually proved a more valid representation of the real world.
That's not how this works. You're either using the word probability very loosely, or you are not understanding the basic mechanization of philosophy.

Non-Euclidean geometry didn't prove to be a more valid representation of the real world, it proved to be a more generalized system for describing shapes. Neither one was more right or wrong, one just proved to be more useful.

Non-euclidean geometry is false in any scientific sense: there is no point and there is no line. Number theory is false in any scientific sense: there is no number one, and there is no number PI.

---

The key thing is that you think that science is the final arbiter of whether a particular philosophy corresponds with this world, and you further imagine that there is some incompatibility between science and spirituality. Both of these unstated assumptions of yours are not true.

[ August 14, 2012, 03:20 PM: Message edited by: JoshuaD ]

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KidTokyo
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I don't know how Pearl Harbor made it into this discussion. But I feel a need to point out that virtually all of Asia and the Pacific was colonized by a few western nations before WW2, and most had been for centuries. The British were our strategic and economic allies. Controlling resources in Asia was absolutely in the self-interest of the United States.

What do you think the USA was doing in Hawaii in the first place?

Without our battleships and fighter planes.

Half way across the ocean to Japan.

Just minding our own business?

There was nothing altruistic about our "protecting" China or anyone in Asia from Japan.

The embargo against Japan was not "against" our economic interest. Quite the opposite, as history has shown.

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KidTokyo
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quote:
And yet science has determined we can stimulate spiritual experiences by certain drugs like Psilocybin.
This doesn't make them any less spiritual.

But, I suspect I have some catching up to do. [Smile]

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Pete at Home
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LoL. So you buy the whole imperial story that Japan was doing China a favor, civilizing the Chinese?
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KidTokyo
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quote:
LoL. So you buy the whole imperial story that Japan was doing China a favor, civilizing the Chinese?
It's not so black-and-white Pete. At all.

Do I buy the argument that the Asia-Pacific had been colonized for centuries by white supremacists, who committed countless atrocities? Yes, I do, because it's true.

Do I buy the argument that Japan had been used as an Imperialist tool by the British for decades, and that the western press only reported "atrocities" when Japan showed signs of political independence? Yes, because it's true.

Do I buy the argument that atrocities committed by the British in China, by the Dutch in Indonesia, by the French in Vietnam, and so on, all failed to arouse our sense of altruism, because none of those countries were a threat to our resources, which were provided by their colonialist efforts and our proclaimed racial right to dominate them? Yes, because it's true.

Do I buy that Japan was "helping" China? No. I buy that Japan was trying to survive in a hostile, racist environment, and that, after decades of being surrounded by western colonialists, unable to engage as diplomatic equals due to institutionalized racism, they decided it was time to stop playing nice.

I buy that all nations act out of self-interest, and propagandize their populations accordingly.

They were no worse than us, or our white allies. They did no worse than us, or our white allies. Arguably, they were better. And the period of time in which they fought and colonized was blessedly much briefer.

[ August 14, 2012, 04:09 PM: Message edited by: KidTokyo ]

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AI Wessex
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[Pete:] "If you don't believe in God, how could you believe that you were violating God's will?"

You're saying that no nazis who rounded up or shot Jews or worked in Concentration camps overseeing inmates believed in God?

[Aris:] "And yet science has determined we can stimulate spiritual experiences by certain drugs like Psilocybin."

Not to mention chemical actions caused by certain brain tumors. Why are such experiences different from spiritual experiences that happen to people who are overwhelmed with emotion?

[ August 14, 2012, 04:16 PM: Message edited by: AI Wessex ]

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
[Pete:] "If you don't believe in God, how could you believe that you were violating God's will?"

You're saying that no nazis who rounded up or shot Jews or worked in Concentration camps overseeing inmates believed in God?

No. Are you saying that they all did? I am saying that if believers and atheists both did the same thing, it seems rather foolish to attribute the motive to religion.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
[Aris:] "And yet science has determined we can stimulate spiritual experiences by certain drugs like Psilocybin."

Not to mention chemical actions caused by certain brain tumors. Why are such experiences different from spiritual experiences that happen to people who are overwhelmed with emotion?

C'mon, folks. You can generate an orgasm by electro-stimulating the hypothalamus. Should we conclude from that that there's no such thing as sex?
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