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Author Topic: Wouldn't it be Great if there really was a God?
John Brown
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Richard Dey,

Here's where we differ. You say that "knowledge" is found in empirical methods only. You say that everything else is faith.

But I maintain, as Hobsen does, you've painted a far too small realm for knowledge. It's not practical. It's not useful. In fact, it goes against what most of us would consider good reason. Furthermore, it seems to ignore the limitations and general use of the empirical method.

If what you say is true then we all need to start speaking differently because almost nothing each of us "knows" is knowledge.

How can I say that? Especially when science seems to have figured out so many things.

The answer: it is a false premise to talk about knowledge using the royal "we" because knowledge is an individual thing.

Let me explain.

Someone on this thread, perhaps you, suggested that we know if we cut a man's arm off he will die (assuming he's given no treatment). It will happen 100% of the time. That, it was suggested, is knowledge.

But let's consider what each of us *indiviually* knows about that proposition. I have never in my life seen someone's arm cut off much less conducted any type of empirical study of arm cutting. Yet it's something I know. And I know it with such certitude that I'd never question it for one minute.

Where does this knowledge come from? Not empiricism. Even if I'd seen one guy's arm cut off, that's only one observation, one data point, it's not empiricism. Even if I'd seen a hundred--it's not a controlled environment. So where does this knowledge come from?

It comes from trusting authorities--I've seen lots of movies and heard lots of explanations of the body's functions from experts. It comes from anecdotal accounts. It comes from using reason based on what I'm being told and what I've seen. And it comes from non-scientific observation (in the case I actually have seen someone bleeding out).

My knowledge about this most emphatically does NOT come from empiricism.

Well, someone might say, this is one hasty example thrown out in the thread.

No, I contend that my knowledge (and your knowledge) about almost everything is not empiricially based. An individual's knowledge almost always comes from non-empirical sources.

This applies even to those who practice empirical methods for their job. These folks only do so many experiments in their lifetime. And even if their methods are solid as stone, they still, over a lifetime of practice, may perform only a few dozen, at max a few hundred, experiments. And these are always incredibly focused.

Furthermore, they have to wait for others to obtain the same results. And that does not always happen--in fact, the studies are often mixed.

This means direct empirical evidence represents a miniscule amount of knowledge. Everything else the practicioners of empiricism know comes from non-empirical personal experience, observation, authority, or reason.

It is so impractical to empirically test everything ourselves that the suggestion we should do so is quickly dismissed as ridiculous. But given your definition of knowledge, that's what I'd have to do to say I knew anything.

But we don't do that. Even you don't do that. Nobody does.

You've been suggesting science knows so much, but you have not performed even one millionth of the experiments, if any. You and I and everyone I know trusts scientific authority.

What this means is that empiricism, while being a great method to identify knowledge in areas where you can measure and control variables accurately, requires faith in authority for any practical use.

Faith.

If we are to use your definition, then I'd venture to say that, to be honest, you must admit you know nothing but have faith in a great many things.

[ September 27, 2006, 08:24 AM: Message edited by: John Brown ]

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Richard Dey
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Hobsen:

I referred to pragmatism, not Pragmatism. However ..., since you mention it, I am indeed in agreement with Peirce on most things -- but I have little comport with Wm Jas (or, for that matter, with his brother [Wink] ).

James was a kind of resultivist, if there be such a word, i.e., James was a kind of anti-Benthamist, concerned with the consequences for actions which the acceptance of 'the truth' of the term entails. Truth itself, then, was not that which contributes the most good to the community, as Bentham argued, but that which contributes the most good to the individual.

Peirce is quite the other direction. He insisted that theoretical claims be verified, that one should be able to make predictions and test them. Truth is defined as the ultimate outcome of inquiry by scientific investigators.

I don't agree with Bentham on much; not all gay philosophy is applicable! I do not agree with James at all; not all straight philosophy is applicable. I do agree with Peirce.

Now, I have no enmity against James (who, in indeed, assisted Peirce), but Peirce was the most-important philosopher of his day, bar none, because he wasn't one. From then on, all philosophers of note have to be scientists ... or they are metaphysicists and belong to another, eviler, harsher world.

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Richard Dey
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John Brown:

I agree with Socrates. I know nothing. That does not, however, oblige me to have faith. Pragmatism permits me to exist whether I know anything or not. I move about whilst alive on a Y/N basis with a great fewer difficulties than those who have faith in the dictum that poverty is righteousness and even the prediction that the meek shall inherit the earth.

Ironically, it was the deists and the agnostics and the atheists of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, and homosexuals like Bentham in particular, who have brought the poor the closest to inheriting the earth. Scientists, not religionists.

You have used 'faith' and 'trust' as synonyms on more than one occasion. I assume that's neither slopping nor confusion but that you do indeed equate the two (admittedly fuzzy) principles. I don't. It is a rare faith indeed that is determined by predictability or we should not throw up our hands at Acts of God or become dubious of a 2nd coming. Trust, on the other hand, is indeed grounded in predictability.

Ignoring the severed arm in the crest of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which I found a very curious example of 'trust', you may yourself derive what knowledge you can from nonempirical sources; but I deny you the right to impose that belief on me. My knowledge almost always comes from empirical sources for I do not trust nonempirical sources.

Applying Occam's Razor, as Hobsen seems to recommend, one may come to know the world in the simplest terms, as Turing decided, Y/N. Thus:

Which is best? Physics or Metaphysics?

For me, the best answer is Physics. Why? It can demonstrate more truth in a year than Metaphysics ever has in millennia. Does that make it "knowledge". Yes. To I believe that? I believe in nothing.

Perhaps you are assuming, in some auto da fe, that knowledge is an absolute, the way gods and popes are absolutist. That is not the nature of knowledge (even if I don't know it). The nature of knowledge is mutability. Ks are constants only for the non. We are transient beings transiting a transient universe which works, perhaps, under different patterns of 'knowledge' from one moment to the next, from one place to the next.

I think what you're saying, Brown, is that we ought to put our faith in what appears to be known (from sundry sources) because that is the pragmatic, sensible, did you say 'logical' thing to do. My differencing, and science's differencing, it that most of what was known wasn't true at all. Particularly, what the Church knew for most of its existence we know now to have been false.

For example, the Greeks knew that the world was round (and one uses the collective advisedly since Greek women probably didn't), and we ourselves know this because they measured the circumference of the earth by theory and hypotheses -- coming remarkably close, considering their instruments and their sandbox mathematics. Was it true? No! The earth is roundish. Was the knowledge that the earth is round useful to the Greeks? Yes! The explored Norway, possibly circumnavigated Africa -- knowing full well that they wouldn't fall off the edge. The Church came by faith to believe that the earth was flat. It gave the Injuns a period of grace from the truly evil world of Christian metaphysick.

Faith is not bound to logic, as science logically is; it makes mistakes, big mistakes on prescience.

The metaphysician might argue that, since a woman who ate lots of tutti frutti and prayed daily was miraculously cured of cancer, then eating tutti frutti might cure brain cancer even though it is presumptuous, therefore eating lots of tutti frutti is a logical thing to do when cancer is suspected. The harm the tutti frutti will do will be offset by the amount of good it might do. Upon just this argument were hundreds of thousands of homosexuals burnt at the stake. There was no empirical causal link between earthquakes and snowy summers and plagues of locusts and homosexuals; but the 'logic of faith', to use Aquinas's oxymoron, dictated that Christian society could not take that risk. It roundup the homosexuals, burnt them at the stake, but, instead of burning their possessions, confiscated them.

Metaphysick has a vested interest in avoiding scientific inquiry -- even to pretending to apply science uniformly to commonly held belief.

Hobsen would be in good counsel to read Donald Symons' Evolution of Human Sexuality to comprehend why I use homosexuality and homosexuals as a contemporary foil against all manner of social trusts which, in fact, have proven to be undemonstrable and unprovable -- from the hypotheses that Blacks are inferior to Heterosexuals invented civilization. Neither of these postulates is verifiable without formulating them as questions, to begin with, and not verifiable by any other means than the scientific method.

Heresy was not a thing. Heresy was a questioning of authority. Authority proved far more important to the Church than truth. Belief was true, nonbelief was heresy. Hegemony of the Church was important; honesty became irrelevant.

No question is unworthy of being asked. I ask homophilically oriented questions because they are not being addressed; they are social heresy. Heterophilic society lived in a world heterophilic monopoly -- and didn't bother to ask the question. Heterosexuals assumed that they were unquestionable. Well, we're not. We've been asked to defend our presumption that we founded civilization for our purposes. So far, even at Ornery, we have not done a very good job in presenting empirical evidence to defend that position -- and that which we have presented has not proven out to any great scientific revelations supporting our side. I play the role of foil, of 'devil's advocate' on most issues -- but that of homophilia is by my calculations the Achilles heel of our presumptions.

John Brown's theory is that we must trust authority, apparently both scientific and nonscientific, verifiable and nonverifiable, because it is unpragmatic to do otherwise. Well, authority is testable. It just doesn't like being tested if its authority is based on nonempirical data. The scientists with testable data is afraid of nobody. Unlike the metaphysician, he has no cause to be nervous.

For example, the Church modernly, having radically changed its opinions that homosexuals should be burnt "and their matter destroyed" has been forced by Einstein to consent that matter can be neither created nor destroyed (at least by Mankind); ergo, homosexuality is a serious moral disorder, homosexuals are sick, homosexuals should be pitied and should either be obliged to stop committing homosexual acts. Why? Because homosexuality endangers souls, society, and the future of mankind. This is no different than the Church's medieval claim that homosexuals will prevent heterosexuals from being "saved".

Saved from what? from what empirically determined phenomenon? Souls are a matter of faith, not science; salavation is stated by the Church as a fact which can only mean that souls must be saved from something. From what? From what evidence is the nonevidence to be saved?

Faith is nothing. Trust is everything. And the means of determining which is which is called science.

Belief is useless. Knowledge, even if it is not absolute and eternal, is at least useful, and it is the only means of determining how knowledge changes and, thus, affects our ability to survive. Indeed, it is knowledge which effects our survival at this point -- for belief suggests that we are doomed, if not for unnatural causes by natural causes.

And, since you have put words in my mouth -- or meanings thereof to which I do not hold, let me suggest that you don't know anything either [Wink] . None of us knows anything but, then, that's impossible to know for sure [Embarrassed] .

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MattP
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quote:
John Brown's theory is that we must trust authority, apparently both scientific and nonscientific, verifiable and nonverifiable, because it is unpragmatic to do otherwise. Well, authority is testable. It just doesn't like being tested if its authority is based on nonempirical data. The scientists with testable data is afraid of nobody. Unlike the metaphysician, he has no cause to be nervous.
This is the point I was about to make, but since Richard has said it so well, I thought I'd just highlight it.
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John Brown
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Now this discussion you and I are having is on the merits of homosexuality? And the Catholic religion? You are a master of red herrings.

This isn't about one topic or statement from a particular religious authority.

You say the difference between trust in authority and faith in authority is that trust allows for empirical testing, faith does not.

That's a distinction that simply doesn't exist in practice.

Again, how many empirical tests have you performed lately? I would hazard a guess that it's close to none. What this means is you have NOT tested your scientific authorities.

You assume others have done so and reported their results and trust if anything were amiss, you'd hear about it. You are not practicing empiricism on a daily basis. You are trusting others are. You are placing your faith in them.

I fail to see how that's different from religious inquiry. Yes, scientists DO invite others to reproduce the original results. But so do those who claim religious authority. In fact, I don't know a religionist who doesn't.

Your reply to that, of course, is that the testing of religious authority is not empirical.

Not true.

There are many empirical tests. There have been empirical studies. However, it is true that the bulk of the tests are made up of the other methods for arriving at knowledge. But that's no cause for alarm.

You act as if these other methods cannot be trusted. However, you perform no empirical tests yourself. Therefore you trust them enough to base your knowledge on them.

So what's the difference again between trust and faith besides the religious connotations? Both are testable, both require faith.

To this point you have refused to accept the limitations inherent in empiricism, limitations accepted by its professional practicioners. You have written off large areas of empirical practice because they don't fit your theories. You have asserted that faith is something different from trust because it requires no testing when that's clearly not the case. Finally, you keep asserting that you know things via empiricism when you yourself perform no empirical tests.

It's been an interesting back and forth. But it seems we keep going in circles. And since I really have no interest in discussing the merits of homosexuality or the Catholic church, I will let you have the last word and move on.

[ September 27, 2006, 02:51 PM: Message edited by: John Brown ]

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hobsen
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Richard Dey:
quote:
James was a kind of anti-Benthamist, concerned with the consequences for actions which the acceptance of 'the truth' of the term entails. Truth itself, then, was not that which contributes the most good to the community, as Bentham argued, but that which contributes the most good to the individual.
That strikes me as a very good point. However I think both got at something deeper: language came about to be used. Most talk merely serves to keep contact with others, like birds twittering back and forth in a flock. If it also produces something like truth, giving us a useful model of the world, that came about by accident.
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MattP
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Science: Objects fall at the same rate regardless of mass.

Me: (Drops ball bearing and bowling ball from balcony.) Yup. That appears to be the case.

Sure, a pretty imprecise test, but one that can be repeated many times and improved upon should I decide to embark on a venture where not having a satisfactory confidence in the principal would be risky to me. I can also review other studies of the principal. Measurements of mass, acceleration and velocity aren't really subject to interpretive errors.

Religion: If ye lack wisdom, ask God who giveth to all men liberally.

Me: (Sits down in a quite room and says "Hello, God? Hello? Anyone there?") Hmm. Nothing.

Religion: Try again.

Me: (Tries again) Nothing

Religion: Perhaps you're getting an answer but you are not recognizing it.

Me: How do I recognize it?

Religion: It's different for everyone. It may be a feelings within you, or perhaps a voice will speak to you. But you'll know when it happens.

Me: If I'll know, then it must not have happened.

Religion: Sometimes not getting an answer is an answer itself.

Me: Um. OK. But that "ask God" thing seems to imply an answer would be forthcoming.

Religion: You may have insufficient faith.

Me: How can I have faith if he won't tell me if he's there. Isn't that catch 22?

Religion: I've had answers. Many other's in the congregation have had answers. If you are sincerely praying, you will get an answer.

Me: Wait a minute. Sincerely? How do I tell if my prayer is sincere?

Religion: You have to want to recieve an answer.

Me: I think I want an answer, but I don't know how to determine that. Why do I have to want to know? The "ask god" thing just says to ask.

Religion: Good point. (shrug)


John,

Do you not see the difference between these two conversations that I've actually had with "science" and "religion?" Please don't equate my uncertainty on matters of subatomic theory with the inability to complete the most simple "test" of Christianity - an inquiry regarding the existence of God.

[ September 27, 2006, 04:28 PM: Message edited by: MattP ]

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LoverOfJoy
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Science: Objects fall at the same rate regardless of mass.

Me: (Drops ball bearing and piece of paper from balcony.) Hmm...didn't work for me.

Oh, is there more involved than that?

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Everard
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Crumple that peice of paper now. Pick up another peice of paper. Weight them. They have the same mass. One falls faster then the other. APparently, mass is not the factor that effects the rate at which they fall.

So, now that I've provided specific instructions on how to show that mass is not the factor which determines the rate of fall...

... how can I get in touch with god?

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MattP
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quote:
Originally posted by LoverOfJoy:
Science: Objects fall at the same rate regardless of mass.

Me: (Drops ball bearing and piece of paper from balcony.) Hmm...didn't work for me.

Oh, is there more involved than that?

In a good experiment you want to minimize the number of variables. I chose two objects of similar shape and density. As I stated, should the correct answer be important to me, I could conduct more rigorous tests. I can't get past "he says so" with religion.

[ September 27, 2006, 05:04 PM: Message edited by: MattP ]

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0Megabyte
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Well, I'm here.

Um... hello everyone. I'm back. Yes, you know the one, I Am Who I Am. Yeah, so... I was kinda... on vacation for the last few millenia... yeah, sorry about that.

So... yeah, we're still good, right? Er... my absense didn't leave too many problems, did it?

So yes, I'm putting up shop again. And my new pad on Mt. Horeb has a spiffy new wireless internet connection, too, so I'll be talking to you from time to time. Oh, and, yeah, the whole lack of miracles thing? Sorry, yes, I was away, I couldn't do any. Man, you should see my answering machine! It's quite full.

So, yeah, you can call me, at 7-777-777-7777. I'm looking forward to it! I love this technology you have all invented in my absense... really cool stuff.

(I'm sorry everyone, I couldn't resist.)

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kenmeer livermaile
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If you want to petition God for strength to carry on, please press 1. If you want God to perform a miracle, please hold and our next available operator will be with you as soon as you've held long enough for us to test your faith...

[ September 27, 2006, 05:22 PM: Message edited by: kenmeer livermaile ]

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Richard Dey
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MP: [Big Grin] !

Methinks you mistake red herrings for elephants in your face, Brown. My point is, if you'd been following my previous remarks, that the Catholic Church claims to be the ultimate authority on metaphysics -- and homosexuals founded physics, to be blunt they founded both ancient and modern science. The contretemps was chosen quite deliberately as metaphysical allegory [Smile] which I thought Matt dramatized dramatically!

I have argued the merits of homophilia, not homosexuality; but, be that as it may, Catholicism to my knowledge has the few merits of supporting homosexual architects, musicians, a Dalmatian mathematician whose name I forget, and Mendel -- though I hardly feel obliged to provide further evidence of its usefulness when it has proven to be so often useless to science and so valuable to the wine trade.

And by referring to the Church, I am of course implicating Christianity -- of which the Roman Catholic Church is merely the oldest, most eminent, authoritive, richest, most-established, largest, best-respected, most-preposterous, and probably most-wrong sect.

You've insisted several times now that I do no empirical investigation -- even whilst I've been accused of being the chronic inhouse Ornery Diogenean Skeptic [Embarrassed] . I write daily in the history of science and warfare. I'm editor in science and military history for an encyclopedia. I mundanely apply the scientific method. I've done it with you [Wink] !

If you think it is chasing our tails, well then, I would suggest that this is because you have not given Bacon his due or thrown yourself upon your knees and embraced science as it beckons. You can leave the rat-race of medieval philosophy and switch over to the faster wheel of science any time you trust in science's ability to reveal all; hundreds of thousands, millions have followed Bacon's path out of the haunted forest.

The path from medieval darkness into the contemporary light is all very clearly laid out in Novum Organum (1620); science has not seriously deviated from its principles since. It does not constitute the founding of science but, from a homophilic point of view, the refounding of science, of course, but it does put metaphysick in the witch museum where it belongs.

http://www.constitution.org/bacon/nov_org.htm

Sciencia adsensionem non expetet. (Pun intentional!) Science requires no faith. Natura est. Work with nature, and it defines itself. Create unnatural expectations, divisions, or limitations, Linnaeus forgive me, and it is not nature which is confusing the observer but the observer confusing nature. Add a dash of the supernatural, and one runs the risk of losing science, consciousness, and conscience altogether.

It is not the church which is dangerous to science but that which makes the church possible: religion. It is not religion which is dangerous but that which makes religion dangerous: faith. It is not faith which is dangerous but that which makes faith possible: belief -- and, to join with Matt on that, for all I know the subparticles of belief are i, and one need not dot the i on that.

Imagine teaching children that, "for every drop of rain that falls, a flower grows"! [Mad] It's like suggesting that for every drop of semen that flows forth from man's penes, a child shall be born unto us! Religiosity and sentimentality and faith incarnate and the maudlin and the saccharine and musicals about the whore with the heart of gold and flag-waving are but advanced stages of the cancer of belief.

Oh, Bacon was gay of course; and what he does in Novum Organum is homophilic. Thus follow the gay rules to unlock it. Keep asking, as you reread Organum, the gay Hail Mary: [B]if not this, what?[B] Bacon invites it as he leads us out of the darkness and into the light, even as he asks the question of his medieval detractors who jsut barely withheld excerising their right to execute scientists as alchemists and warlocks.

I use the terms we've been using as they are used in the scientific method; you are perhaps using the terms we've been using as they are used in philosophy, a very curious gay invention for which I have only the Greeks' lack of data to account for and which is why I countered James, one of the few heterosexual philosophers there's ever been, with Peirce, another rare heterosexual philosopher. You just didn't get my joke. The term pragmatism existed and was applied in the US by the commonfolk long before pragmatism was philosophized and, therefore, became capitalized as an articulated term. American was built on pragmatism. It underscores all our founding documents.

Pearce, in defending the scientific method, is merely subscribing to Novum Organum and, ultimately, to the Greeks. James went all round Robin Hood's barn to appease Christians and other metaphysicians; it was good money and a Harvard salary, but it was a waste of time. That's not what America was, it wasn't America is, and that's not where America is going.

In short, this battle between 'faith' and 'knowledge' hasn't been a serious philosophical debate since Bacon when it became a scientific debate; and your attempts to philosophize what doesn't require it is head-twisting rather than head-turning.

It is not the investigation of the physical world by empirical science which is going around in circles and wasting our time but, rather, the hysteria which surrounds the half-hearted attempts by metaphysicians to embrace what find repulsive: the food chain, the expanding universe, evolution, and a universal end that requires no Armagedden at all.

Gah! My seminary diet is monotonous! Eggs St Benedict for breakfast, Sacred Cow on Toast for lunch, Angel-Hair pasta for supper, and a Benedictine and brandy for bedtime [Wink] .

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Richard Dey
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Now Matt! For those skeptics still lurking about, drop them on Mars, would you? .. just to be sure it's a universal [LOL] .
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Richard Dey
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Oz: Have you gotten into the St Benedictine again? You know what that leads to!

Welcome back, O'Megabyte [Wink] .

Does a god exist? Y/N

Well, unless one can prove that one or more exists, one is obliged to press 6. That's were the Mmmm, and NO are.

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kenmeer livermaile
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"Have you gotten into the St Benedictine again? You know what that leads to!"

More wine!

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Richard Dey
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Oz, you should run for pope!
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John Brown
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Matt,

You, I can talk to. Somebody say hallelujah.

Yes, I do see the difference between the two conversations. Certainly, based on that test you would have to say that either the religious model simply wasn't clear/robust enough or it's just plain wrong.

However, I wonder if we're making a few mistakes framing the question as you have. First, while prayer is fundamental to religion, I don't think that means it's equivalent to the simplest of mechanical principles.

Is it possible that you're comparing apples and oranges? Can you move your science conversation to psychology instead of simple mechanics? To marriage or anti-social behaviors? To meterology or any area where it's difficult to minimize the number of variables?

Second, in this example you performed a test on a scientific proposition. But what about the vast majority of things you do not test? How is trust in scientific authority different from trust in religious authority in those cases?

Finally, could it be that you introduced a sampling error? How is your prayer test different from many empirical tests where the results of a number of studies are mixed? Or where the model can only predict in a probabalistic way?

It seems to me that scientists run into prayer situations like yours all the time. Take 1,000 people and ask them to eat more fiber and X percentage will experience Y effect. But we do not then say the whole enterprise is worthless and wrong because some people did not experience the effect. No, we often find it very useful and say things like fiber does X. We recognize it's not deterministic, but we don't reject it. In fact, we only look sometimes for statistically significant differences which can sometimes be very small.

How is this different from take 1,000 people and ask them to pray? Some experience an effect. Some don't.

[ September 28, 2006, 05:03 AM: Message edited by: John Brown ]

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MattP
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quote:
Originally posted by John Brown:
Matt,

You, I can talk to. Somebody say hallelujah.

Richard's not so bad. He just has a pretty broad knowledge of history and a particular focus on the role of gays and homophiles. That knowledge and focus tends to result in posts that are not always immediately recognizable as relevant to those not familiar with his style of discourse. You know how Jesus would sometimes speak in allegory? Richard's like that, but with gays instead of sheep. [Wink]

quote:
Yes, I do see the difference between the two conversations. Certainly, based on that test you would have to say that either the religious model simply wasn't clear/robust enough or it's just plain wrong.
I don't make a positive assertion that it's wrong, though my opinion leans in that direction right now.

quote:
However, I wonder if we're making a few mistakes framing the question as you have. First, while prayer is fundamental to religion, I don't think that means it's equivalent to the simplest of mechanical principles.
It is oft stated in terms of simple principles (prayer -> answer), but the execution of such principles is ultimately not so simple and the results are not compelling.

quote:
Is it possible that you're comparing apples and oranges?
I have no doubt that I am. I don't think the "knowledge" gained through science and the "knowledge" from religion are parallels in any meaningful way.

When someone days "I know this church is true" all I can think is "Well yeah, but so did the members of Heaven's Gate and the 9/11 terrorists." I'm not equating those wackos with decent religious folks, but their actions are a dramatic proof that certainty and conviction is not a measure of correctness.

quote:
Can you move your science conversation to psychology instead of simple mechanics? To marriage or anti-social behaviors? To meterology or any area where it's difficult to minimize the number of variables?
These sciences are based on statistical analysis of large quantities of data. Meteorology is the best example of this. So much data must be processed to make a relatively reliable prediction that one of the primary uses of the handful of multi-million-dollar supercomputers around the world is weather modeling.

Are you proposing that God only answers prayer in the aggregate and that sophisticated statistical analysis is necessary to discern an answer?

quote:
Second, in this example you performed a test on a scientific proposition. But what about the vast majority of things you do not test? How is trust in scientific authority different from trust in religious authority in those cases?
The difference lies in the fact that by the time I finished highschool I had already directly observed most of the basic principles upon which the other physical sciences are built. To the extent that I've had an interest in a more advanced principal, I would investiate further. To the extent that a principal has had a direct and important impact on my life, I've done more rigorous investigation.

Much is also a matter of "seeing is believing." I wouldn't take an aeronautical engineer's word that a jumbojet could fly but, having seen countless numbers of them do so, I step on a plane with little trepedation.

I've never seen an answer to prayer and I've never seen a miracle. If I asked someone to demonstrate to me a principal of faith, they could not do so. The entire body of religious evidence to which I've been exposed has been hearsay.

quote:
Finally, could it be that you introduced a sampling error? How is your prayer test different from many empirical tests where the results of a number of studies are mixed? Or where the model can only predict in a probabalistic way?
If the results are mixed, then science doesn't have an opinion on the matter. If the predictions are probabalistic, then the value of the data is proportional to the degree of certainty of the prediction. If a high-fiber diet correlates strongly with a 20-year increase in life expectancy for 90% of subjects, I'd be more inclined to eat bran muffins than if the numbers were 2 years and 60%.

quote:
It seems to me that scientists run into prayer situations like yours all the time. Take 1,000 people and ask them to eat more fiber and X percentage will experience Y effect. But we do not then say the whole enterprise is worthless and wrong because some people did not experience the effect. No, we often find it very useful and say things like fiber does X. We recognize it's not deterministic, but we don't reject it. In fact, we only look sometimes for statistically significant differences which can sometimes be very small.
See previous comment.

quote:
How is this different from take 1,000 people and ask them to pray? Some experience an effect. Some don't.
Well, like we agreed earlier, the results are mixed. Even in the cases that indicate a statistically significant effect, the effect tends to be relatively minor.

[ September 28, 2006, 01:33 PM: Message edited by: MattP ]

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kenmeer livermaile
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"Oz, you should run for pope!"

Hard to do when I'm so busy running to the liquor store for the Vatican...

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Richard Dey
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Brown:

Pay attention to Matt, if he speaks your language of differentiation. It comprehends the differences in the things which I think you are conflating.

NB: Psychology is not a science; it's the phrenology of the 20th century.

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Richard Dey
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Oz:

I wish I was the pope.
On bread and cheese I'd dine.
'Cause nobody could say nope
When I poured myself some wine.

I withh I wath Pope Leo.
Of wine all day I'd dwink.
'Cauth nobody could thay nooo
When I drank a hogthhead I think.

-- Old Howard song --

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kenmeer livermaile
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"Psychology is not a science; it's the phrenology of the 20th century."

Bumping heads in the dark...

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LetterRip
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Richard,

quote:
Psychology is not a science; it's the phrenology of the 20th century.
That could be possibly said of clinical psychology and some related areas, but certainly not the case for say neuropsychology or cognitive psychology, or a host of other subsets of psychology.

LetterRip

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John Brown
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>>I'm not equating those wackos with decent religious folks, but their actions are a dramatic proof that certainty and conviction is not a measure of correctness.

I don't think anyone has maintained otherwise. I certainly haven't. Of course, this applies to any authority, not just religious ones.

>>by the time I finished highschool I had already directly observed most of the basic principles upon which the other physical sciences are built.

Tell me if you agree with this. Observing a limited number of chemical reactions in a HS chemistry class between basic substances, does not in any way constitute a test of, say, medications for depression or gout years later. Will you agree that those brief empirical studies are not the only, or even the primary, evidence we use to trust the doctors prescribing medicines years after we graduate?

If you do agree, then we can ask what gives us such a high degree of confidence? What leads us to walk around saying we know so many things, using the royal we?

I think it's safe to say that the overwhelming part of this mass of compelling evidence is based on testimony of others who have conducted empirical tests, personal non-empirical experience and observation, and reason. It's also based on the way the culture reinforces certain beliefs. You don't need to test it empirically. Prescriptions have a body of varied evidence supporting them. They have worked for you and you see it working for others. At some point we accumulate enough evidence to simply trust they work. Or work most of the time.

Would you agree to this?

If we're in agreement so far, then let me hopefully focus our discussion on the meat of the issue.

What was originally suggested on the thread was that the process of accumulating evidence and the forming of knowledge for nutrition, the flying of airplanes, the properties of rubber, etc., is DIFFERENT from the way we accumulate evidence and form knowledge about religious things.

My point is that this is not the case. Knowledge is knowledge is knowledge.

This doesn't mean there aren't issues and traps and mistakes we need to deal with when forming knowledge about religious things. It just means that they are NO different than the issues, traps, and mistakes we need to avoid when forming knowledge about anything.

If this is all true, then the REAL issue between science and religion is NOT empiricism because the ideas that knowledge = empiricism or that only empiricism leads to knowledge are fictions.

I believe you began to approach the real issue when you said this:

>>I've never seen an answer to prayer and I've never seen a miracle. If I asked someone to demonstrate to me a principal of faith, they could not do so. The entire body of religious evidence to which I've been exposed has been hearsay.

The issue then is NOT that religion demands we set aside our knowledge accumulating process. The issue is in accumulating sufficient evidence.

Before I say anymore, would you agree with this?

[ September 28, 2006, 05:08 PM: Message edited by: John Brown ]

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MattP
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The "testimony" of scientists is comprised of peer-reviewed papers, not just the good word of individuals. Though the process *can* fail, the peer review process has proven effective at routing out pseudoscience and experimental error. (Like the cold fussion incident in Utah) This testimony is a reporting of directly measured data and the experimental protocol by which those results were reached. When multiple (often competing) scientists are able to verify the results, the theory tested by the experiment is strengthened.

quote:
The issue then is NOT that religion demands we set aside our knowledge accumulating process. The issue is in accumulating sufficient evidence.
I do not agree. Even if religion accepts empiricism as a source of evidence, it puts little focus on it. Religion weights it's "knowledge" heavily on personal testimony of anecdotes and coincidences. Science is just the opposite.

The fact that some people, or even most people, accept scientific truths on authority doesn't change the process by which the authority arrived at their conclusion - empiricism. The fact that empiricism is employed means that I am invited to obtain the same result by the same method.

Let's forget the discussion of the meaning of the word "knowledge" for a minute. Christianity makes a claim that I presume you accept as true; "God answers prayer." What is your evidence?

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John Brown
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I do not dispute the merits of peer review and sound empirical methods. I never have. Nor have I tried to equate them with anecdote.

>>I do not agree. Even if religion accepts empiricism as a source of evidence, it puts little focus on it. Religion weights it's "knowledge" heavily on personal testimony of anecdotes and coincidences. Science is just the opposite.

I thinking framing it as "religion does this and science does that" misses the point. Individuals seek knowledge. There are some basic ways we go about forming it. When it comes to some domains of knowledge where we cannot rely heavily on empiricism or trust empirical authority it's only because of that method's inherent limitations.

But this does not mean there is no empirical evidence. Nor does it mean we cannot proceed. It only means one thing: we need to be cautious of the limitations and pitfalls of the other methods. But we have to do that anyway because we still use those other methods in domains where more empiricism is used.

>>Christianity makes a claim that I presume you accept as true; "God answers prayer." What is your evidence?

Much personal experience, observation, reason, testimony of a multitude of others I know and trust, and the report of those conducting empirical studies.

My prayer proposition is not as simple as you've stated, but that's beside the point. The point is that I use the same process for forming knowledge about these things as I do more physical things. The models seem to predict reasonably well.

Can I know that I've controlled for all variables and have pinpointed key factors?

No. I said this way in the beginning. I may be attributing causation wrongly. Others may have done that. But this does not bother me. Because the same thing can happen when I use a blend that has more empiricism mixed in it. And the fact that some may get it wrong doesn't mean I will get it wrong all the time.

The key, I think, to approach this reasonably is to not to lump all religious propositions into one huge heap. We would never do that with scientific propositions. NEVER. We look at each individually.

I think it's also important that we recognize the process of forming knowledge. We always use a blend of the methods. There is no pure empiricism in the sense that, as I've stated above, we go out and peer review everything. It's just not done. And yet we can still arrive at great certainties. We should also recognize the limitations and pitfalls of each method.

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Richard Dey
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"... a host of other subsets of psychology"; these are not subsets; they are supersets using the known to map out the unknown (the psyche). Without biochemistry, without neurology, obviously, psychology is nothing. Psyche refers to the unknown, to feelings not knowledge, to soul not body. The term by itself is nonsense, literally without sensation.

What we're studying is the brain -- not the soul.

I'm stet.

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Richard Dey
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Brown:

"... when I use a blend that has more empiricism mixed in it. And the fact that some [?]may get it wrong doesn't mean I will get it wrong all the time."

If one wants a replicable formula, one has to follow physical law until and if that law is overturned or for some reason repealed by the scientific peerage. You've made it sound like a shopping spree for contemporary fashions.

You seem to agree with Popper's evolutionary epistomology. http://www.the-rathouse.com/poptheoryknow.html .

I am not a Popperista. I hold to the processes set forth by Matt, the kind that get funded. Would I send a paper on botanical genetics to a florist for peer review? asking how do you FEEL about this? [Roll Eyes]

Let me put it this way sort of. If one applies physical law to religion, one gets religion. If one applies physical law to physical law, one gets science. If one one applies religious law to either religion or science, one gets religion both times.

Cripes, I can get religion from a ouija board -- but I can't get science from one.

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Richard Dey
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I'm referring, in essence, to the Devonian debate:

As a case study for the philosophy of science, this is an illuminating situation. After Thomas Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions, and its spinoffs in "deconstruction" and "post-modernism," a dominant view in many circles, at least outside of science itself, is that the "truth" of scientific theories is not determined by evidence or empirical data but by social "power" relationships. On that view, a theory is always able to protect itself by interpreting away any evidence against it. "Evidence" is so "theory-laden" that scientists will pretty much see what they want to see, and no empirical datum can simply falsify a theory in the straightforward logical way described by Karl Popper. In these terms, theories may push each other around, but there cannot be a situation where some "objective" evidence simply knocks out any or all of the available theories. ... Neither Kuhn nor Popper could agree with that old "Baconian" view of theories, but Kuhn and deconstructionists cannot allow that an anomaly all by itself could potentially falsify a theory, rather than vice versa. But in the Devonian Controversy, the anomalies overthrew all the theories.

A Review of Rudwick's book on the controversy (1985) (U Chi) http://www.ornery.org/cgi-bin/ubbcgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=6;t=009167;p=6&r=nfx

I personally am none of these things but an Alternator (a revised Baconian). Induction (should we call it adduction) and Deduction are best worked alternately, laterallly, hand over hand, climbing two ladders at once.

What I do not agree with in your system is the higher-ape-at-the-typewriter approach to research. Each deductive step must be checked and balanced adductively.

Any scientific theory should be beautiful; that means that it should be symmetrical; and that doesn't mean that it should contain equal amounts of truth and falsehood [Wink] . It means that it should fit into the table of elemental truths that we have ascertained.

Religion is not universal; it is parochial. That was my joke to Matt about dropping his balls on Mars. When science is not universal, then it must be overhauled and remodeled. That is not how issues of faith are settled. In the world of faith, when the faith is not universal, we have disagreement -- and not inoften warfare. (Vide: Is Religious Dangerous thread where, to my satisfaction, it was proven inherently dangerous.

Just remember, there are not embarrassing questions [Cool] , just embarrassing answers [Embarrassed] .

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MattP
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quote:
Much personal experience, observation, reason, testimony of a multitude of others I know and trust, and the report of those conducting empirical studies.
A few short questions, comments...

Reason is means by which one interprets and associates evidence. It is not a source of evidence in itself.

How are you distinguishing "personal experience" from "observation?"

What are the others testifying of? How are the multitude of testifiers in your life more correct than the multitude of testifiers of other religious traditions? Can one reasonably explain such testimonies as manifestations of confirmation bias or post-hoc reasoning? Do any of these testifiers base their testimony on the testimony of others in the group? Is not, why not? If so, doesn't that objectively weaken the strength of their testimony?

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John Brown
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I don't believe evidence exists without reason. So for me it's part of the evidence forming process, and so I like to separate it so that I can think about its limitations, pitfalls, and uses.

"Observation" in this instance is seeing what happens to others versus what's happens to me. This is different from them reporting their experiences.

"Testifying" in this sense is the sharing of an experience and the interpretation of it.

This idea of them being more or less correct, I don't lump them all into a category that way and pit them against each other. There are certainly families of models. And I certainly think some models that explain the reported events are better than others. But it's usually on a case by case basis, not by religion.

However, I DO weigh the testimony of some authorities more than others. But this is only because I have accumulated evidence that suggests the authority is trustworthy.

Certainly, some explanations can fall prey to confirmation bias. That's just a pitfall that needs to be recognized. However, this doesn't mean the bias can't be worked around. If you hold the premise that knowledge in religious areas is no different than knowledge in other areas, then you know your models are going to have to change. There are enough repeated disconfirmations that they tend to draw your attention and make you rethink.

For example, there are times when you feel moved by divine communication. If you're honest, you will see that sometimes you say or do things under said influence that turn out to be false. Or others do. I've had this experience. And so it makes you rethink what's going on. I think the key to this is allowing for the fact that you and others are going to make mistakes.

But the existence of confirmation bias does not necessarily falsify anything. It's just a limitation that needs to be addressed.

The same thing can happen with post hoc reasoning. Certainly, this can happen and does. However, again, just because it exists, doesn't mean it's universally applied all the time and inescapable.

Just knowing these fallacies exist, goes a long way in making you think about what's happening.

But there are some things, especially when you repeat them hundreds of times in a variety of circumstances, that become difficult not to see as true causation. There are some singular experiences that strongly resist any other explanation.

Do others base their testimony on the testimony of others? Certainly this happens on many things. They trust so-and-so and accept so-and-so's explanation. End of story. There is no further testing. However, as I explained above, we do this with the practical application of empirical things because at some point we see not reason not to trust.

On the other hand, what often happens is the trusted person's testimony is used as another data point. Instead of it being the primary factor, it becomes an initiating factor--they trust someone enough to think they should try a particular thing and confirm the results for themselves. It's a form of peer review. In many instances it doesn't have the precise controls of science, but it is a test.

So non-scientific methods have their hazards and limitations. But so does science. And science is and can be applied to the religious domain.

I guess the thing I object to most is the false dichotomy of religion and science. Science is a method. Religion is an area of knowledge.

I know, I know: "science" is often used to describe the areas of knowledge where the method is often applied. But science and religion are, nevertheless, two different types of things. Pitting them against each other falsely suggest you cannot use science to develop evidence for religious propositions. It also falsely suggests that science is the only thing at work in the areas of knowledge where its being used, and we've already seen that's not the case.

[ September 29, 2006, 12:54 PM: Message edited by: John Brown ]

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Adam Lassek
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quote:
Do others base their testimony on the testimony of others? Certainly this happens on many things. They trust so-and-so and accept so-and-so's explanation. End of story. There is no further testing. However, as I explained above, we do this with the practical application of empirical things because at some point we see not reason not to trust.
The fact that some people believe the right things for the wrong reasons matters not. Authority is meaningless in a discussion of scientific evidence.
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hobsen
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Pilgrims have been visiting Lourdes in search of miraculous healing since 1859, currently at the rate of five million a year. The officially confirmed number of such healings is now 66.

The historical evidence suggests to me that Bernadette Soubirous was a conscious charlatan, cynically made use of by church officials engaged in a political struggle in France. But that in itself says nothing about whether healings at Lourdes ever occur, as prayers might still be answered at a site itself fraudulent.

So how would one go about investigating such a reported phenomenon? In principle, given unlimited funds and cooperation, every visitor could be given a thorough medical examination beforehand. But how would one detect all deliberate hoaxes involving cooperation between a doctor and a subject, when five million such examinations must be performed every year? Even apart from excesses of pious enthusiasm, the tourist industry has an undeniable incentive to pay doctors and visitors to commit fraud.

Beyond that, where would one find a control group of seriously ill people who never prayed for healing, as inexplicable healings do take place from time to time? Such persons might even pray involuntarily in a fleeting thought or when sleeping, without recognizing they had done so. And the rarity of such confirmed healings means that the control group also would need to be impracticably large.

So people can believe in such healings or not. But nobody has even suggested doing a reliable scientific study of them, and so many possibilities of fraud exist that nobody should believe such a study anyway.

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Richard Dey
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Brown:

"I guess the thing I object to most is the false dichotomy of religion and science. Science is a method. Religion is an area of knowledge."

You've got these definitions qutie backwards; no wonder you're confusing me! [Confused]

Science is knowledge, that's the standard translation of the Greek word and requires no religious intervention to interpret how we feel about it. The scientific method is the method and the verb and the noun should not be confused; it derives from Bacon's Novum Organum,and deviations therefrom as noted per supra.

Religion is belief; belief requires no method at all, certainly not one 'divined' by any unaccountable priesthood. Most religion today is religiosity, feinged belief. Belief, let alone feigned belief, is not knowledge any more than believing will transform the unknown into what can be known.

If that does not constitute a dichotomy between faith (or belief) and reason (or the scientific method), what does? In any event, what religion precedes science such that it can assume precedence and authority over it?

Your frustrations regarding the divisions of religion and science are all dealt with in White: http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/andrew_white/Andrew_White.html . As for authority, he was a founder of Cornell.

Astronomers don't stand in line for years to wish upon the stars. If you wish upon a star that died out 1 billion years ago, you've wasted your last wish! Celebrating Christmas doesn't authenticate Christianity; indeed it seems more to discount its value. The scientific method is not a wish list.

It is specifically the lack of evidence which renders scientific study of religion nonsensical and a waste of time and money. It's like wishing to study the evidence for Intelligent Design or Unintelligent Design; where is the evidence? The historical record of religion in pulling authoritative rank, in attacking science, and tortoising into reality-avoidance is the primary evidence that religion has to offer, and peer review has chucked it. Not even religionists can agree upon it.

Science is not like religion; it is not impulse buying on a shopping spree; it's not what one believes or has faith in or approves of but what one knows and what one can demonstrate. I give you St Christopher medals. I give you pilgrimages to Lourdes. I give you lawdy-lawdies in a church in a tornado's path.

The scientific method requires evidence and a hearing of the evidence. Religion has only religion as evidence, and that constitutes not religion but religiosity.

Prism! Where are those golden tablets?

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John Brown
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No, I don't have them backwards. I know that "science" IS used to denote "knowledge" as you suggest--it's not a word with one meaning--but it was not originally meant to include only what you want to include. Nor is it meant that way now by many who use the term. Science is knowledge based on the scientific method. But there are other ways we arrive at knowledge. And much of what we claim to "know" through science is actually via trust in authority. I've tried to explain that here. I've tried to use clear examples. Science is a method. Science is also used, as I stated above, to denote those areas of knowledge where we employ the method. But it does not comprise ALL knowledge.

>>The scientific method requires evidence and a hearing of the evidence. Religion has only religion as evidence, and that constitutes not religion but religiosity.

This shows such an incredible lack of knowledge about religion or unwillingness to see what actually happens, that it amazes me.

And now I'm talking to Dey again which I swore I would not do. Alas.

I think this summary is useful:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knowledge

And please don't bring up the standard questions about the reliability of wiki. They've performed an empirical study on its reliability and found it as reliable as anything else out there. That should be gospel to you.

[ September 30, 2006, 01:15 PM: Message edited by: John Brown ]

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MattP
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quote:
And much of what we claim to "know" through science is actually via trust in authority.
This is evidence not for religion or against science and not even for there being some parity between the methods of the two, but for the willingness of individuals to trust authority. Like Adam said, people can believe the right things for the wrong reasons.

The Wiki article you linked demonstrates that one's definition of knowledge is a philisophical position. At the same time you insist that Richard is using an invalid definition of knowledge, you quote an article stating that there is no universal definition of same.

Given that you disagree on the meaning of the term, then perhaps the discussion should not be of what the term means, but of what the term means to each of you. You cannot claim that religion and science follow the same path to knowledge if you disagree on the meaning of knowledge.

If your personal definition of knowledge includes beliefs obtained through inspiration, revelation, prophesy, tarot cards and tea leaves, then please understand that the skeptical amongst us may shake are heads and say "OK, but where's the REAL evidence?"

Is your purpose here to debate semantics or discuss the evidence for the supernatural. I'm much more interested in the latter and find the former particularly distracting.

If the truth of religion can be determined objectively, then why do so many children of Catholics grow up to be Catholic, while most Mormon kids grow up to be Mormons? Isn't the propensity of individuals to adopt the religious traditions of their culture an indicator that religion, itself, is an aspect of culture?

Surely millions of sincere prayers go out every year from individuals seeking the true path. Why is the predominant answer one that places them in the congregation of their parents, friends, neighbors, or the missionaries that visited them recently? Why so many Christians in America and so many Buddhists in Thailand?

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John Brown
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You're right. A debate about semantics is not interesting.

>>At the same time you insist that Richard is using an invalid definition of knowledge, you quote an article stating that there is no universal definition of same.

Yes, exactly. What I hoped to do is not have a semantic debate, but challenge the thinking that knowledge = science. I believe it's more complicated than that. In the end, you may not accept my view of how we form knowledge, but I do hope it's clear that if we do limit the definition strictly to the practice of science, it means that we know, individually, very little.

I know many here want to strongly disagree with that idea. I'm perfectly fine leaving this hanging. I don't think we need to come up with a generally accepted lexicon. But I do think it's important to think about how we form knowledge because if you're unwilling to accept anything but science as evidence, then there is no point in continuing our conversation.

You suggest that "revelation" cannot be "REAL" evidence. I think I understand the bias--kooks, fruits, frauds, and the general progress of knowledge. But I don't think we need to be so wary that we out-of-hand reject other evidence. This is especially the case when we're not talking about trusting someone else's revelation or reading of the tea leaves, but in recognizing our own.

Here's what I mean.

If I drive along a road and hit a calf at 1 AM in the morning, which I did about two weeks ago, then I can reasonably say I KNOW that I hit a calf. I can point to the dents in my car etc. and tell others about it.

Is it possible that I was delusional and can't trust my senses? I haven't taken any medication stronger than Ibuprofen for years, so I can't say it was drugs. I haven't had any history of "hallucination." I wasn't asleep at the time. Are there other explanations? Sure. But they strain reason. I couldn't find the calf, but the rancher did. I'd broken its back leg.

So I can say with certitude that I hit a calf at about 1 AM on such-and-such a morning. I know this thing. It happened to me.

Now others may think I'm lying, others may not trust me, but I'm not concerned with them. I don't need peer review to replicate the events. It is NOT the scientific method. You can't even apply that method here. It is a form of empiricism if we accept the definition here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empiricism. If we don't like to call it that, then let's call it something else. But I strongly doubt anyone here would say that I was being foolish for saying I know this thing happened.

In fact, in many instances we'd say we were acting with cowardice if we let others silence our report.

So let's apply this same method of forming knowledge to religious things. Let's say I see an angel or a waking vision. Said angel comes with the glory etc., so I'm not mistaking him for Bob who lives next door. Let's say that I haven't been taking drugs, have no history of any mental illness, wasn't dozing. Let's say I hear clear communication from some other being. What's the explanation?

Aliens!

No, it's the US Army in a super-secret X-files experiment! No, it's Marty coming back from the future.

Sure.

Or maybe the angel is what he says he is.

Should I say I don't know this? It's not arrived at by the scientific method? Of course, not. I saw, I heard, I was there--it happened to me. I think this illustrates that personal experience becomes a very strong method of knowing.

Now, I haven't seen an angel. I don't want to mislead anyone here. I'm using this as an example. I'm starting with it because I think it's compelling and because if it doesn't count as evidence of angels to the individual who experienced it, then we probably shouldn't move on.

So before I do go on, let me ask--would this count as evidence, not to you and me, but simply to the individual beholding the angel? Would you agree that after this, the person should be able to say I KNOW angels, or at least AN angel, exists?

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Adam Lassek
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quote:
Yes, exactly. What I hoped to do is not have a semantic debate, but challenge the thinking that knowledge = science. I believe it's more complicated than that. In the end, you may not accept my view of how we form knowledge, but I do hope it's clear that if we do limit the definition strictly to the practice of science, it means that we know, individually, very little.
This may be true, but knowledge which does not come from the scientific method is considerably less trustworthy than that which does.

I think one point of contention here is that we need to recognize the difference between experimental and historical science.

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John Brown
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>>This may be true, but knowledge which does not come from the scientific method is considerably less trustworthy than that which does.

I will freely admit that in many instances this is the case. In others, as the cow example above, science is no more trustworthy. In fact, it doesn't even apply. But I certainly concur that the scientific method is a marvelous tool for what it does. I love it and would not want to live hundreds of years ago when it was not in wide use.

>>historical science

Can you explain what you mean by this?

[ October 02, 2006, 12:12 AM: Message edited by: John Brown ]

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