Is there an afterlife? (Civility please?)


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Having now read part of the thread, I suppose I ought to move on to more interesting questions. Why do I believe there is an afterlife, and what influence does my belief have on me?

To answer the first question, I should begin by saying that I was raised with a firm belief in the immortality of the soul. It’s a sorry reason to keep believing, but when it is taught with as much fervor and devotion as it was in my home, it becomes a difficult thing to dismiss out of hand. Beyond that, all I can really say is that I have done a fair amount study of my church’s doctrines and, for lack of a better phrase, they taste good. They feel true. That might not be satisfying to some, and it’s not a particularly “scientific” reason, but I think that it is a mistake to assume everything must be known by scientific reasoning. This is not to say there aren’t strong logical arguments in defense of my faith, but I am not adept enough to give them, this thread is not the place for them, and the logical arguments are not the ultimate source of my faith.

As for the influence my belief has, I need to introduce one more aspect of my view of the afterlife. It is only in the highest of the heavens that families persist, and only those who put forth their best efforts to keep all the commandments of God can get there. This means I need to be kind, compassionate, and caring, as well as tolerant of others who may not see things as I do. On the flip side, though, it means holding onto positions that may not be very popular, such as in regards to certain ideals regarding marriage, family, and the sort of things one should or should not do with one’s body. But I digress. My family is important to me, so I’m going to do whatever it takes to be with them forever.


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Dor wrote:
but I think that it is a mistake to assume everything must be known by scientific reasoning

What else works?


This explanation of scientific reasoning comes to mind.

...

Note that even this points out that science can often only get close to the truth, not actually reach it. For example, the best science we've got is only kinda accurate for predicting the weather - and many scientific fields have been repeatedly upset by new information that calls previous findings into question and required them to totally rethink their understanding of the field.

To put it another way, it's not necessarily wise to say "science has concluded it, so it must definitely be true". It also follows that some things are beyond our current understanding, and possibly even our ability to test and detect. It's not like our technology can do absolutely everything, after all. For example, before we developed many of our current microscopes, they couldn't exactly view and test things on that scale.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Dor wrote:
but I think that it is a mistake to assume everything must be known by scientific reasoning
What else works?

Intuition.

Experimentation (without all the bothersome apparatus of materialistic science).
Personal experience.
Mystical insight.
Meditation. Spiritual practices in general.
Sport. Bodily awereness (knowing is not a purely mental thing).
Day to day life with awareness of oneself and the world.
Study.
Philosophical reasoning.
Holistic insight.

Or do you really think western science has invented knowledge and knowing ?


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Quiche Lisp wrote:


Or do you really think western science has invented knowledge and knowing ?

Not neccesarily western but definitely science. Because most of what you listed isn't a way to know anything. Its a way to think you know something when you don't, and that difference is why we've advanced more in the last 200 years than the previous two thousand.


The problem with science in this field is that it actually has no bearing on the issues. It can only ever answer the question "how?", never "why?". It certainly touches on them, what with our understanding of how much of our mental functioning is given by pieces of our brains, but until we actually meet a ghost or something, that is the best it can do.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Quiche Lisp wrote:


Or do you really think western science has invented knowledge and knowing ?
Yes. Because most of what you listed isn't a way to know anything. Its a way to think you know something when you don't, and that difference is why we've advanced more in the last 200 years than the previous two thousand.

You seem to subscribe to the belief that humanity was fundamentally ignorant before the advent of Science.

I see things differently.
I think the fundamental truths aren't exhausted by scientific pursuits.
And I think the fundamental truth is beyond our usual earthly knowledge - and I've (mostly) made my peace with that.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Dor wrote:
but I think that it is a mistake to assume everything must be known by scientific reasoning
What else works?

Experience and the testimony of reliable witnesses come to mind. We first learn that the sun rises every morning, not by our understanding of astronomy and the powerful forces of gravity, but by the fact that we have seen it rise every morning since childhood. Even on cloudy days, our experience tells us that the sun is what illuminates the sky. Similarly, we learn that touching a hot stove is a bad idea based on the painful heat radiating from it.

As powerful as experience can be in teaching us things, the words of others are just as powerful. Almost everything that society has learned through scientific reasoning are things that we will never of ourselves take the time to observe and reason out. Rather, we as individuals know these things because others have told us. We believe that atoms form our bodies and that the earth revolves around the sun because that is what we learned in school.

I think that these two things can teach us about matters that science does not (and perhaps cannot) touch.


Quiche Lisp wrote:


You seem to subscribe to the belief that humanity was fundamentally ignorant before the advent of Science.

I think science has been with us a lot longer than you're giving it credit for.

Quote:

I think the fundamental truths aren't exhausted by scientific pursuits.

And I think the fundamental truth is beyond our usual earthly knowledge - and I've (mostly) made my peace with that.

You have no good reason to think this and would not accept the reasoning for any other conclusion.


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Dor wrote:


Experience and the testimony of reliable witnesses come to mind.

and has been shown to be absolutely terrible. Even well meaning people have a large disparity in between reality and memory.

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We first learn that the sun rises every morning, not by our understanding of astronomy and the powerful forces of gravity, but by the fact that we have seen it rise every morning since childhood.

Observation. there's a reason that's a big part of science.

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As powerful as experience can be in teaching us things, the words of others are just as powerful.

And very often wrong, even on the odd chance that they're not being used to manipulate people for some end.

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Almost everything that society has learned through scientific reasoning are things that we will never of ourselves take the time to observe and reason out.

But someone will. Being able to have dozens of people check something and get the same conclusion is an amazingly powerful tool to get at reality compared to "i saw this. no. really!"

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We believe that atoms form our bodies and that the earth revolves around the sun because that is what we learned in school.

And being the kid in the class that asked "well how do we know that" often enough to turn a teachers hair grey i can tell you that a science teacher can keep that up a LOT longer than a religious teacher can, yes, right down to walking outside and putting a stick in the ground.

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I think that these two things can teach us about matters that science does not (and perhaps cannot) touch.

Those things are absolutely terrible whenever we've been able to examine them. Why would they be good just because you don't like the answer science is giving you?


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Quiche Lisp wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Dor wrote:
but I think that it is a mistake to assume everything must be known by scientific reasoning
What else works?

Intuition.

Experimentation (without all the bothersome apparatus of materialistic science).
Personal experience.
Mystical insight.
Meditation. Spiritual practices in general.
Sport. Bodily awereness (knowing is not a purely mental thing).
Day to day life with awareness of oneself and the world.
Study.
Philosophical reasoning.
Holistic insight.

Or do you really think western science has invented knowledge and knowing ?

You could have just saved some time and just written "Woo. Woo is my alternative to science."


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Dor wrote:


Experience and the testimony of reliable witnesses come to mind.

and has been shown to be absolutely terrible. Even well meaning people have a large disparity in between reality and memory.

True. Repetition can cement that memory in reality however.

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We first learn that the sun rises every morning, not by our understanding of astronomy and the powerful forces of gravity, but by the fact that we have seen it rise every morning since childhood.

Observation. there's a reason that's a big part of science.

Heh. You got me there.

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As powerful as experience can be in teaching us things, the words of others are just as powerful.

And very often wrong, even on the odd chance that they're not being used to manipulate people for some end.

You don't have much faith in people do you? Can't say I blame you though. More than a few atrocities have been committed using lies.

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Almost everything that society has learned through scientific reasoning are things that we will never of ourselves take the time to observe and reason out.

But someone will. Being able to have dozens of people check something and get the same conclusion is an amazingly powerful tool to get at reality compared to "i saw this. no. really!"

True. Ease of reproducibility is part of what makes science such a powerful tool. However, you are still taking someone else's word for it, and science has been known to be wrong at times.

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We believe that atoms form our bodies and that the earth revolves around the sun because that is what we learned in school.

And being the kid in the class that asked "well how do we know that" often enough to turn a teachers hair grey i can tell you that a science teacher can keep that up a LOT longer than a religious teacher can, yes, right down to walking outside and putting a stick in the ground.

Hmm... Not sure how to respond to that one without going into subjects best left to another time and place.

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I think that these two things can teach us about matters that science does not (and perhaps cannot) touch.

Those things are absolutely terrible whenever we've been able to examine them. Why would they be good just because you don't like the answer science is giving you?

Experience and witnesses aren't always terrible. In fact, good science wouldn't exist without either of them. Scientists must experience the world to understand it, and "good" science relies on having many witnesses attest to the fact. It's not that I dislike the answers of science. I just don't think science can answer everything. I would say more, but it is well past my bedtime. If the discussion hasn't moved on, perhaps I will get back to it.


Quark Blast wrote:
Scythia wrote:
Quark Blast wrote:
Scythia wrote:
Quark Blast wrote:

That Corinthian passage is binding on Christian belief. Logic absolutely demands that it is.

Logic is neither formative to nor binding upon faith. It cannot be, for to apply logic undermines the very idea of faith.
Yet the Corinthian passage I quote is emphatically structured and the argument goes forth in a classic logical structure.
That doesn't matter. Logic and faith are not linked.

Faith and logic are directly linked in several religions. And most especially the Christian religion. Arguments presented as formal logic, both legal and cultic, are all through the New Testament books.

Scythia wrote:
For example, there are plenty of lists of contradictions in the bible. If logic mattered to faith, this would lead to questioning the validity and reliability of the bible. There are also multiple known forged parts of the bible. This too presents an issue when viewed logically. Additionally, it is accepted that none of the four gospels of the Christian bible were written by first person witnesses to the events, let alone the apostles for which they are named. This is a near absolute condemnation of them when considered logically. (To say nothing of the logic of the events within the bible.)

The name of God is specifically called Logos several places in the New Testment! How can you miss that?

Scythia wrote:
Logic is neither a basis for faith, nor can it control faith.
Look, this is on the cusp of off topic from this point forward. If you want to continue the discussion via PM that's ok with me. If you don't want to that's ok too. I personally have never heard the objections you hold presented in the way you do. So, I'm not sure I understand your position. From my POV it is hella-confused though.

If you don't understand the disconnect between logic and faith, then I can only assume you've never debated any Christian about matters of belief (particularly creationism).


Sundakan wrote:
Quiche Lisp wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Dor wrote:
but I think that it is a mistake to assume everything must be known by scientific reasoning
What else works?

Intuition.

Experimentation (without all the bothersome apparatus of materialistic science).
Personal experience.
Mystical insight.
Meditation. Spiritual practices in general.
Sport. Bodily awereness (knowing is not a purely mental thing).
Day to day life with awareness of oneself and the world.
Study.
Philosophical reasoning.
Holistic insight.

Or do you really think western science has invented knowledge and knowing ?

You could have just saved some time and just written "Woo. Woo is my alternative to science."

Thank you for that insightful rebuke :-P.


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Rednal wrote:

This explanation of scientific reasoning comes to mind.

...

Note that even this points out that science can often only get close to the truth, not actually reach it. For example, the best science we've got is only kinda accurate for predicting the weather - and many scientific fields have been repeatedly upset by new information that calls previous findings into question and required them to totally rethink their understanding of the field.

To put it another way, it's not necessarily wise to say "science has concluded it, so it must definitely be true". It also follows that some things are beyond our current understanding, and possibly even our ability to test and detect. It's not like our technology can do absolutely everything, after all. For example, before we developed many of our current microscopes, they couldn't exactly view and test things on that scale.

Science doesn't have all the answers. This is a fundamental problem that religious people often have with science, that because it cannot explain everything, therefore it is of lesser value than religion, which purports to explain everything. Science has gotten it wrong in the past. But you have to ask the next question, how do we know that science got it wrong? Answer: Science.

Science is fundamentally self-correcting. When a wrong answer is discovered and provably wrong it eventually gets thrown out. Occasionally, because people are still people, it takes a while for the wrong answer to be fully accepted as wrong, but eventually it does get thrown out. Religion on the other hand suffers from the exact opposite problem; religion is fundamentally uncorrectable.

At it's core, religion tells you there are questions that do not have answers, or that the answers cannot be known by you. This is a primary conceit of religion and it tells you not to ask too many questions. Humans are naturally at least mildly inquisitive though, so religion must allow you to ask some questions, but they have to be outside the restricted area of knowledge unfit for humans. You can even see this in the Adam and Eve story, because they sought knowledge God cast them out paradise. Right from the very start the religion warns that asking too many questions is a bad thing.

Science doesn't have all the answers. Maybe it never will. But in science you are encouraged to ask them no matter what. You're allowed to ask old questions over again if you want to see if you come up with new answers. You're allowed to question other people's answers. Questioning and doubting are at the heart of science. People who understand science trust and believe scientists don't do so because science tells us we can't, but rather we understand the methods and processes that they use. In fact, we fundamentally don't trust scientists and are constantly seeking verification and replication of results.

I don't necessarily trust the scientists at NASA (or wherever else), but their results can be replicated, the data and documentation can be reviewed. The people themselves aren't what we trust, but the data and methods. Just like I don't trust the guys at NASA, I don't trust whoever wrote the Bible (or sections of it). I can't verify their story. I can't check their sources. Their data cannot be reviewed or replicated. By looking at the history of science, and how many times they've gotten it wrong, it's very easy to arrive at the following conclusion:

Anyone who tells you they have all the answers is wrong.


...Interestingly, I actually disagree that religion - or at least my religion - claims to have all the answers for everything. I think it has the answers for some things, but also that we were given brains for a reason, and we're expected to use them.

I also question my faith on a more-or-less constant basis. I'm not satisfied with hearing a pastor say things, then nodding and agreeing that "this is so". That might come from my expectation that humans - including myself - are fallible. It's easy to start believing things because we want them to be true, so I try to take a step back and try to measure things from a more objective view.

As I see it, if a part of my faith can't hold up under scrutiny, then it's not something I feel particularly bound to believe.


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Dor wrote:
True. Repetition can cement that memory in reality however.

Which can be a problem, not a solution, when you're repeating a memory to yourself you solidify it in whatever shape it was in.

Yes, i can remember that De Sota DE scocervered DE mississippi (or was the first white guy in charge of an expedition to get there anyway) because it was drilled into my head 70 times in the 7th grade, but your brain isn't built to do that all day every day with everything you see.

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You don't have much faith in people do you?

Have you met people?

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Can't say I blame you though. More than a few atrocities have been committed using lies.

Its always the same lie. We're different and better than them so this course of action is just.

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True. Ease of reproducibility is part of what makes science such a powerful tool. However, you are still taking someone else's word for it, and science has been known to be wrong at times.

You don't take 1 persons word for it, you take 100s of peoples word for it. And THEN in a good scientific education you take bits and pieces of the whole and test them directly. The conspiracy required to maintain the subterfuge is rarely more likely than the results

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Hmm... Not sure how to respond to that one without going into subjects best left to another time and place.

You can PM if you want. But the fact is that a lot of science can be brought to the observational level for 500 bucks and a soldering iron.

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It's not that I dislike the answers of science. I just don't think science can answer everything.

The mistake is thinking that just because science can't answer something then something else must have to. That doesn't follow.

You can ask scientists around the world from different backgrounds facts and they all give you the same picture at anything but the bleeding edge of what we know. Religion can't do the same, and its not because they share an education. Its because science has a trash bin

Stephen Hawkings bet when scientists have a disagreement about how something works there is an independent way to figure out who's right and who's wrong through experimentation. That isn't possible in any other human endeavor and it's the reason that science works.

To the best of sciences ability to say, you are your brain. You are just your brain. Interfere with the brain function and you're not you anymore. You're not you when you're hungry, grab a snickers, is a saying with a bit of truth in it. We know what brain tumors, missing parts of the brain, and traumatic brain injuries can do to a person. So when your brain is gone, you are gone.

Society not accepting that is harmful. For starters it keeps us for looking for a way to to avoid death and age when it really should be our top priority. People used to think that plagues and famines were god's will until we discovered what caused them and how to stop them. Aging to death could be the same in a hundred years, or sooner if we stop pretending there's anyone thats going to save us but us.


Tableflip McRagequit wrote:

Yeah, but are you really sure that's such a good thing? I mean, the thought that someday everyone involved in the seemingly endless parade of banality that is any given internet argument will certainly die, and probably of old age, is sometimes the only thing that gives me even a smidge of comfort... well, that and flipping tables.

I think long term planning would be a lot more popular if people thought they would see the consequences for themselves.


Tableflip McRagequit wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:


I think long term planning would be a lot more popular if people thought they would see the consequences for themselves.
I admire, but do not share, your optimism.

I'm not even sure I admire it. People are terrible at long-term planning even when they know damn well they will almost certainly see the consequences for themselves. Look at how many Americans have retirement plans, for example. One in three has no retirement plan at all, and the median amount is less than $10,000. Granted, that includes a lot of very young people, but the average retirement balance for people between 55 and 64 is roughly $100,000, enough to generate only about $300/month in income. And when you're 50 years old, retirement almost doesn't count as a long-term plan.

Similarly, how many people go to the gym often enough? Again, this is something where you can be almost certain you'll see the consequences for yourself. Even if you die young, that's probably a consequence of not exercising.

"Long term," for far too many people, is simply another way of saying "ignore-able."

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber
Quark Blast wrote:

Is there an afterlife?

Yes. Life goes on.

Midichlorians!


Rednal wrote:

...Interestingly, I actually disagree that religion - or at least my religion - claims to have all the answers for everything. I think it has the answers for some things, but also that we were given brains for a reason, and we're expected to use them.

I also question my faith on a more-or-less constant basis. I'm not satisfied with hearing a pastor say things, then nodding and agreeing that "this is so". That might come from my expectation that humans - including myself - are fallible. It's easy to start believing things because we want them to be true, so I try to take a step back and try to measure things from a more objective view.

As I see it, if a part of my faith can't hold up under scrutiny, then it's not something I feel particularly bound to believe.

From your posts I'm guessing you identify as Christian. Is that true? If not, what religion do you identify with?

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber

I think we'll go there after we die. No, not there... THERE!

Seriously: I don't know + our perception is a relative experience + science is the exercise of proving a model or theory or hypothesis + our brain is perhaps still too primitive to ask the right questions


Dor wrote:
True. Ease of reproducibility is part of what makes science such a powerful tool. However, you are still taking someone else's word for it, and science has been known to be wrong at times.
BigNorseWolf wrote:
You don't take 1 persons word for it, you take 100s of peoples word for it. And THEN in a good scientific education you take bits and pieces of the whole and test them directly.

You have a rosy-tainted view of the actual practice of reproducibility in science.

Food for thought (recent articles from peer-approved scientific venues):
1. Regarding psychological sciences studies
2. Regarding reproducibility in sciences, generally speaking

I find science is useful, a noble endeavor, and a beneficial pursuit of mankind.
Scientism, on the other hand, which is thinking knowledge and reason is solely to be found in science (I'm not saying you think that way) is short-sightedness, the result of shoddy thinking and frankly nothing more than trite western doxa.


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Orfamay Quest wrote:
Tableflip McRagequit wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:


I think long term planning would be a lot more popular if people thought they would see the consequences for themselves.
I admire, but do not share, your optimism.

I'm not even sure I admire it. People are terrible at long-term planning even when they know damn well they will almost certainly see the consequences for themselves. Look at how many Americans have retirement plans, for example. One in three has no retirement plan at all, and the median amount is less than $10,000. Granted, that includes a lot of very young people, but the average retirement balance for people between 55 and 64 is roughly $100,000, enough to generate only about $300/month in income. And when you're 50 years old, retirement almost doesn't count as a long-term plan.

Similarly, how many people go to the gym often enough? Again, this is something where you can be almost certain you'll see the consequences for yourself. Even if you die young, that's probably a consequence of not exercising.

"Long term," for far too many people, is simply another way of saying "ignore-able."

We're delving into economics here and far away from the afterlife, but a good chunk of that might have something to do economic conditions - If you're working at or near minimum wage, putting money aside is hard. And even what you do put aside can easily get eaten up by periods of unemployment, medical crises and the like. Some of it may be short-sightedness, but not all.

I wound up killing my 401K when I was unemployed for a year or so back in the mid-90s. I've built it back up since, but I'd be in better shape if I hadn't had that problem.


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Quiche Lisp wrote:


Scientism, on the other hand, which is thinking knowledge and reason is solely to be found in science (I'm not saying you think that way) is short-sightedness, the result of shoddy thinking and frankly nothing more than trite western doxa.

Insulting a way of thinking does nothing to show an error in that thinking. you're not even articulating what's wrong with it, much less why, other than that you disagree with it.

You are not going to convince me that science has a problem by citing problems in psychology. I consider it a very soft science...when I'm feeling generous.

It's western and therefore, wrong, is the only thing that's trite here. It's old hat, boring, dull, and thrown out in lieu of argument, reason, evidence, sense. or respect for the irony of saying that on a device running on western science.


It appears you haven't read the second article I provided, from the Nature website, no less, which exposes and discusses the problem of reproducibility in many disciplines of science - including physics and chemistry. Are they hard enough science for you ?

I'm not trying to convince you. I'm trying to provide data - scientific, peer-reviewed data - to challenge some lazy thinking and tendency to suspend critical reasoning because... Science !

To reiterate: the scientifical methodology poses specific problems - as do all methodology - and benefits from a critical analysis.

This is not solely my opinion, this is the informed point of view of regular practitioners of science.

Because I'm interested in science, though I'm not a scientist, I've been made aware of the "reproducibility crisis" unfolding in the scientific community for some years. Have you ?

Some Westerners frequently display a strong faith in science, without acknowledging that it is faith - conviction supported by a particular worldview, emotion, feelings and some internal coherency.

Not that there's anything wrong with faith, if it is acknowledged as faith and belief.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
It's western and therefore, wrong, is the only thing that's trite here.

I never said nor implied that what is western is wrong (and I never said or implied the contrary. I rarely posit binary exclusives).

In my not so humble opinion, you do yourself a disservice by equating scientific reasoning with scientism - devotion to the apparence of science without the substance of science -, and defending the latter while trying to argue for the former.


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Quiche Lisp wrote:
It appears you haven't read the second article I provided, from the Nature website, no less, which exposes and discusses the problem of reproducibility in many disciplines of science -

This is not news.

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Because I'm interested in science, though I'm not a scientist, I've been made aware of the "reproducibility crisis" unfolding in the scientific community for some years. Have you ?

There's pretty good evidence Mendel tweaked the pea plants results. Sir Arthur Eddington's measurements on the solar eclipse were inconclusive at first and only showed the expected result on a second measuring. If by "some years" you mean since the start of science then yes.

Science is done by fallible human beings dealing with physical realities of time, fallible funding funding, fallible equipment, and pressure to get results.

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Because I'm interested in science, though I'm not a scientist, I've been made aware of the "reproducibility crisis" unfolding in the scientific community for some years. Have you ?

I know how the sausage is made. I'm fine with it. I'm fine with it precisely because there is another garbage can waiting at the end of any result. You can only build something working in reality on a fantasy so far before it collapses. Then you go back and figure out why.

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I'm not trying to convince you. I'm trying to provide data - scientific, peer-reviewed data - to challenge some lazy thinking and tendency to suspend critical reasoning because... Science !

No. You are trying to equate science and anything else because you don't like that science is fundamentally different, and more important, fundamentally better than your preferred, easier, post modern mechanism for arriving at the truth. Since rational argument would not let you do that you're trying to do that through scary buzzwords like "crisis", "problem" and insulting it as "faith" while simultaneously insulting me through the goldleaf thin veneer by casting aspersions on my "thinking" rather than my person.

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To reiterate: the scientifical methodology poses specific problems - as do all methodology - and benefits from a critical analysis.

Your analysis is in not critical in any sense of the word.

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I never said nor implied that what is western is wrong

"trite western doxa."

"Or do you really think western science has invented knowledge and knowing ?"
The brain, and your thoughts, can be altered by blows to the head, drugs, and EM waves: there's even groups performing self experiments hacking their brains with the latter.

You ARE your brain. That is the best conclusion that the best methodology for investigating the world, sicence, can come up with. If your brain is decomposed or reduced to it's component ash you are gone and there is nothing resembling you coming back. Dealing with that problem is more useful than denying it.


Delightful wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Delightful wrote:

I'm not a religious person myself so could someone help me out here with something?

Why does it matter that logically a faith makes no sense?

It doesn't, as long as that illogical faith does not cause you to take actions that harm yourself or others.

You can have illogical faith in your abusive spouse, but if that means you stay with them even after they break your arm, the illogic of your faith is a very serious matter.

That's pretty much my own view. Having people adhere to the harm principle is important after all.

Still, the drive to tie logic to science and logic just feels a waste of time that I just don't get. Maybe its just a consequence of a more educated, and perhaps materialistic, world that demand more grounded reasons to belief in something. Hell, I stopped believing in God myself the moment I realized praying to him to wouldn't give me magic wishes.

For my part, it took me an embarrassingly long time to realize that most people aren't concerned with reason and consistency in the way I am, and that you can't reason someone out of something they didn't reason themselves into.

Pragmatically speaking, if religion was only a personal choice its unreasonable nature wouldn't matter. But it has very real effects -- people vote along religious lines, faith-motivated legislation gets passed, judges make religiously-biased verdicts, people get attacked because of their religion or non-religion (most often in other nations, but here too)...heck, the United States may very well see its first religion-registry in the next four years!

So broadly speaking, it's not that faith being illogical is inherently problematic -- I personally consider reason to be self-evidently better than un-reason, but whatevs -- it's that pointing out the logical problems of religions is a tool to change hearts and minds.

Spoiler:
To be sure, very few believers come to any deep insight because of just one argument -- no matter how well-reasoned it is -- but people can and do change faith and lose faith after years of seeing the destructive results of their faith, of finding no real evidence, of meeting people just as convinced of their own faiths, of meeting people without faith, and of hearing arguments for agnosticism, atheism, secularism, pantheism, deism, or whatever they end up identifying as.


Irontruth wrote:
From your posts I'm guessing you identify as Christian. Is that true? If not, what religion do you identify with?

I do indeed consider myself to be Christian, although not really part of any denomination. I ask too many questions for that. XD

Liberty's Edge

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I dislike equating people having faith with them being illogical or against science. It feels too much like saying that those people are inherently inferior or more stupid

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

That said, I must say that having a clear and enduring separation of State and Religion in France usually gives us a far more relaxed atmosphere in this kind of debate :-)


I don't think the essence of me resides in my brain. On that, we differ.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
You are trying to equate science and anything else because you don't like that science is fundamentally different, and more important, fundamentally better than your preferred, easier, post modern mechanism for arriving at the truth.

I don't think that science is fundamentally better for arriving at truth in all domains of knowledge. I think the scientific methodology is a very good way of dealing with material phenomena.

I'm convinced that the entirety of the universe is not limited to a material existence. I'm unable to definitely prove it. And I'm of the opinion that it is not possible to conclusively prove the contrary. This is the domain of philosophy.

Thus I posit science is not the be-all and end-all when dealing with spiritual questions such as "Is there an afterlife ?"

Religion, and spiritual practices, are invaluable when dealing with such questions.

That such inquiries are dismissed out of hand by scientist types saying something like "Religion is irrational and illogical, and spiritual matters are based on fuzzy feelings and wishful thinking. I say that because I'm super uber rational" angers me, it's true.
I'm not saying you said it.

I get that Americans live in an environment of - among other things - religious nut jobs, Bible thumpers and somewhat institutionalized religion (like most american presidents swearing on the Bible, although it's not required by law).

Such an environment makes one wary of the vagaries of religion, I get it.

Me, I live in France, the most secular place on earth.

In my country, one tends to group religious and spiritual people in 5 broad categories (okay, it's an hyperbolic over-simplification. Bear with me):

1. If you're a Christian.
Obtuse layman opinion: "it's okay, a little quaint and dated, but good for Christmas and other religious celebrations."
2. If you're a Muslim.
Obtuse layman opinion: "maybe you're a terrorist. You're certainly an antiquated and retrograde thinker. Also, I don't like your beard."
3. If you're a Buddhist.
Obtuse layman opinion: "the Dalaï lama is a cool dude. Maybe you're a cool dude. You're kind of cute, actually, in a rationality-impaired way.
4. If you're a member of another religion."
Obtuse layman opinion:" what's that ? Are you a moron, or are you a fanatic ? Don't try to enlist me in your dirty cult !"
5. If you have a personal spiritual practice which doesn't fold neatly into a religion.
Obtuse layman opinion: "you're insane. I wish there were laws against insane types like you."

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Since rational argument would not let you do that you're trying to do that through scary buzzwords like "crisis", "problem" and insulting it as "faith" while simultaneously insulting me through the goldleaf thin veneer by casting aspersions on my "thinking" rather than my person.

I'm sorry you feel insulted. I respect you as a person and I'm considerate of your arguments in this thread. I just think you're too set in your ways of thinking regarding science.


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Looking at easily observable, repeatable, consistent trends and following a very simple logical train of thought to its conclusion is not a belief, and refusal to believe in every crackpot pseudo-science woo woo crystal theory is not being "set in your ways".

I'd love to believe in magic and water droplets curing cancer as much as the next guy, but there's no proof of any of it, and plenty of proof it's all bunk.

Meanwhile almost everybody who is an authority on the matter (who I'm sure don't actually know anything because they didn't meditate on it long enough) agrees that changes in brain chemistry and composition change personalities. There's a reason people with mental illnesses act different on and off their meds, and it's not because they're actually fairies whose personality changes with the moon cycle and their medicine just prevents them from being their true selves, man.


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Maybe you would be interested in reading this.

There's no mention of magic in the article.

This particular website presents articles from all venues of science - hard, soft, and in between :-) - by actual practitioners of science.

Thinking that every notion you've not been previously exposed to and that challenges your current understanding of things is "woo woo crystal theory" is the epitome of lazy thinking.

I hope for you don't practice science because you would be exceedingly bad at it.

Speaking of meditation, Jon Kabat-Zinn has been studying its virtues and proprieties since, at least, the nineties.

Look it up in the net, or continue to wallow in your smug ignorance reinforced by half-baked notions about what science is. Hint: it's not simply the currently admitted paradigm and world view supplied by your social and cultural environment.


Rednal wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
From your posts I'm guessing you identify as Christian. Is that true? If not, what religion do you identify with?
I do indeed consider myself to be Christian, although not really part of any denomination. I ask too many questions for that. XD

Do you think God is omniscient?


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Quiche Lisp wrote:
Because I'm interested in science, though I'm not a scientist, I've been made aware of the "reproducibility crisis" unfolding in the scientific community for some years. Have you ?

You're aware of the reproducibility crisis, but do you understand it? The way you're talking about it implies something fairly different from what I understand it to be. For example, what do you think is the cause of it?

Besides, the fact that there are articles and studies on the issue is a wonderful example of the self-correcting nature of science.

Can you point to a self-correcting nature in religion? If there is an incorrect belief about God, how is it shown to be incorrect due to the inherent nature of religion and a more correct belief put in its place?


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Quiche Lisp wrote:
I don't think that science is fundamentally better for arriving at truth in all domains of knowledge. I think the scientific methodology is a very good way of dealing with material phenomena.

In other words, reality.

The existence of anything other than the material world cannot be taken as read, thus use of anything from said world as part of an argument invalidates the argument.


“Dogs think people are God, but cats don’t. Cats know that people act as middlemen to God’s will. They’re not ungrateful. They just know better.”


Irontruth wrote:
Do you think God is omniscient?

Yes, I do. I also think He gave humans free will and the ability to choose things for ourselves (<- this is extremely important to my faith) - which, of course, presents an immediate ethical dilemma. An omniscient God, by definition, understands the big picture - He knows the full extent of the butterfly effect for any action He could take, and therefore divine action is, in a certain sense, deciding how reality is going to be. This is why I suspect that God doesn't actually act in the world nearly as often as some people seem to think He does - and when He does, it's likely to be in ways that don't actually compromise free will.

Or, to put it another way, it's basically the tao of Peter Parker - with great power comes great responsibility.


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Quiche Lisp wrote:


Look it up in the net, or continue to wallow in your smug ignorance reinforced by half-baked notions about what science is. Hint: it's not simply the currently admitted paradigm and world view supplied by your social and cultural environment.

How enlightened and superior can you and your culture you be if you need to resort to some pretty nasty insults and ad homs in place of showing evidence and argumentation that makes your point?


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Quiche Lisp wrote:

Maybe you would be interested in reading this.

There's no mention of magic in the article.

What there is in the article is a fundamental misunderstanding of what people mean when they use the computer metaphor.

It is a loose metaphor, yes. Nobody actually thinks people can stick a USB drive in their skull and download kung fu knowledge, no matter how cool Chuck was.

It's certainly more accurate than his alternative, which can be summed up as "it just works, no information is stored, we just waggle our brains and the correct information flies into it. But only if we've been exposed to it before. But no information is actually stored. Really guys, our brain just changes to recall these specific pieces of information without storing it anywhere."

The dumbest part is, nothing he says besides the above bit actually contradicts how the brain works at all. We observe, we associate certain stimuli with an effect, and we store that information for later.

He says the brain is not an information processor, and then he goes and says we observe stimuli (this is what is known as "information", in case it was unclear) and then pair it to certain sensations and memories (i.e. PROCESS IT).

Quiche Lisp wrote:

This particular website presents articles from all venues of science - hard, soft, and in between :-) - by actual practitioners of science.

I hope for you don't practice science because you would be exceedingly bad at it.

People don't "practice science". It's not a religion. If these people say they are "practicioners of science" they're already off to a bad start on making me take them seriously.

Quiche Lisp wrote:
Thinking that every notion you've not been previously exposed to and that challenges your current understanding of things is "woo woo crystal theory" is the epitome of lazy thinking.

You would be right, yes.

Fortunately, I don't apply that label to any new thing that comes along. Just the ones that are b*$$&*+$.

Quiche Lisp wrote:
Speaking of meditation, Jon Kabat-Zinn has been studying its virtues and proprieties since, at least, the nineties.

And if he's been saying that meditation lets you draw new information from the aether, he's a crackpot.

Meditation has a lot of tangible physical benefits due to decreased stress and an almost sleep-like "ordering of the mind", yes.

It doesn't let me astral project.

Quiche Lisp wrote:
Look it up in the net, or continue to wallow in your smug ignorance reinforced by half-baked notions about what science is. Hint: it's not simply the currently admitted paradigm and world view supplied by your social and cultural environment.

"Open your mind, man, you've gotta let the universe in and sweep you awaaaaaay..."


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"Studies have shown that it is difficult to become one with the universe, but there are significant benefits to becoming one with your bed for at least eight hours a day."


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Quiche Lisp wrote:
Maybe you would be interested in reading this.

They provide a good summary of how the brain doesn't work -- which I don't disagree with -- but provide no model at all as to how it does. Consider me unimpressed.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Quiche Lisp wrote:


Look it up in the net, or continue to wallow in your smug ignorance reinforced by half-baked notions about what science is. Hint: it's not simply the currently admitted paradigm and world view supplied by your social and cultural environment.

How enlightened and superior can you and your culture you be if you need to resort to some pretty nasty insults and ad homs in place of showing evidence and argumentation that makes your point?

I've linked to scientific articles who illustrate my point of view, and present evidence re-the difficulties of science and re-the brain and the consciousness. That illustrates my arguments.

Sundakan is allowed to think I'm entertaining crackpot ideas, and I'm allowed to think he is small-minded. Since I'm not a Christian, I'm not inclined to turn the other cheek when I'm thus confronted.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Quiche Lisp wrote:
Maybe you would be interested in reading this.
They provide a good summary of how the brain doesn't work -- which I don't disagree with -- but provide no model at all as to how it does. Consider me unimpressed.

The article illustrates also how we are not reducible to our cerebral matter, and how our body may participate in our sense of self, our identity and our consciousness.

Contrary to what BigNorseWolf proposes we ARE NOT only our brain.


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Quiche Lisp wrote:


I've linked to scientific articles who illustrate my point of view and present evidence re-the difficulties of science and re-the brain and the consciousness. That illustrates my arguments.

No. You have not.

Quote:
The article illustrates also how we are not reducible to our cerebral matter

No. It does not.

What you have linked is "science doesn't know everything" and "science isn't perfect". What you are arguing is that there is some validity to post modern mysticism, which does not follow from science isn't perfect and science doesn't know everything.

When presented with the unknown, Science says "lets science the heck out of this". Science has a very good track record of finding things out: why does the sun rise and set. Why are there so many different kinds of animal. What causes plagues? Why do you have the same colored eyes as your father? Why does south america fit into africa?

Which means that the track record of "we don't know something, therefore it is beyond science, use religion/mysticism/philosophy is equally terrible. It retreats every time science discovers the undiscoverable and undermines the argument that it's ever found anything in the first place.


No afterlife. No justice.

I choose to believe there is justice. So it follows that I believe there is an afterlife.

BNW: I think this is a question of Epistemology. Are there aspects of reality beyond the reach of the Scientific Method?


Rednal wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
Do you think God is omniscient?

Yes, I do. I also think He gave humans free will and the ability to choose things for ourselves (<- this is extremely important to my faith) - which, of course, presents an immediate ethical dilemma. An omniscient God, by definition, understands the big picture - He knows the full extent of the butterfly effect for any action He could take, and therefore divine action is, in a certain sense, deciding how reality is going to be. This is why I suspect that God doesn't actually act in the world nearly as often as some people seem to think He does - and when He does, it's likely to be in ways that don't actually compromise free will.

Or, to put it another way, it's basically the tao of Peter Parker - with great power comes great responsibility.

Omniscience means to be all knowing. In other words, God literally has all the answers. Whether he chooses to share them or not is a decision made by him, but by definition, your religion claims to have "all the answers", because it worships a God who has all of them. It just also believes that some of those answers are not revealed to humanity.

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