Trying to hard to believe

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by jayleew, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    1. As I did actually write ''No'', you are correct.

    2. I will always believe in God, because for me it's pointless not to.

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  3. Motor Daddy Valued Senior Member

    So we've narrowed it down to you've made the choice that you want to believe, and that is fine with me. You are entitled to change those beliefs at any time Jan decides to do so.

    Don't confuse personal desires with reality. They are two separate entities.
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  5. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member


    Have you ever thought you absolutely didn't like something (food, music, book, etc...), but having experienced them under different circumstances, you totally, instantly, change your mind?

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  7. Motor Daddy Valued Senior Member

    Like I said, you are free to make choices in your mind, and that is fine. Don't confuse those choices with reality. If you like to live in a fantasy land like I do, then be my guest. My fantasies are about motion, and yours are about God.
  8. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    The choice I have is whether or not I act on my belief. For example, smoking cigarettes, or weed doesn't mean you don't believe in God, it means that your level of belief does not extend to the purification of the body (temple), clarity of mind, controlling the senses, and other things.

  9. Motor Daddy Valued Senior Member

    You are talking about weed and on the other hand talking about if you believe there is a god or not.

    Weed is a plant that produces buds that people smoke to enjoy themselves. The question of whether there is a god or not is a question that has only 2 possible answers, yes or no.

    Do you see the difference between weed and God now?
  10. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    If everyone were an expert on himself we wouldn't need so many psychotherapists. In many cases, perhaps most, the goal of therapy is simply for the patient to increase his understanding of himself.

    As I have pointed out before, English is a democratic language, not authoritarian like French and Spanish. Our dictionaries record the consensus definitions of our words. To use a word as if it had a different meaning than the one in the dictionary may be cute, but it ain't communication.

    Nonetheless, as has already been pointed out thirty or forty pages back in this thread, it's quite possible to believe in the existence of a supernatural creature, without simultaneously believing that he has your best interests at heart. Many Christians believe that Satan exists (and it's worth being amused by the statistic that the majority of American Christians believe in heaven, but only a minority believe in hell), but they do not have "faith" that he will improve their lives and secure them a seat in heaven. And (with considerably less source material) it seems that Satanists believe in God, but do not have faith in him.

    Pre-Abrahamic religions had whole casts of supernatural creatures, some of whom were specifically evil.

    Does that idiotic book actually say that??? That is the absolutely stupidest damn thing I have seen in print since the papers were full of Palinisms.

    You mean, perhaps, because it is self-contradictory?

    You say that as though there might perhaps be another way to prove it. And considering where you are right now, it had better be one that conforms to the Scientific Method, or at least does not flout it. Go on?

    Excuse me, but I'm a "modern atheist" and I don't believe that. I think it's obvious that the state of mind of a theist in the Bronze Age, when the world appeared to be a collection of mysteries, would be considerably different from a theist today, with the advantages of communication with millions of people, a formal educational system that informs everything from government to childrearing, and half a millennium of the development of science as a way to unlock those mysteries.

    This is a semantic point. He could have been positive that he knew God was real, and that feels like knowledge. It's not easy for the average person, or perhaps even the average scientist, to distinguish the difference.

    As I've noted before, much of what we are confident that we know is merely stuff we learned from parents and teachers and other elders when we were young, and trusted those elders to be infallible. This is certainly how the vast majority of theists learn about God. Conversions in adulthood or even adolescence are a negligibly tiny percentage of the believers.

    So to go through early life certain that you "know" something can end with an epiphany that the person who taught you that was misinformed, stupid, manipulative, or several other adjectives.

    You're telling us that every feeling we ever experienced can have one and only one source? Maybe you wanna rethink that?

    But God did exist "as far as he knew and believed" in those days. We all change as we grow older, some of us extremely. Everyone insists that you keep the same Myers-Briggs profile from birth to death, but I changed from an INTJ to an ENTJ. I can tell the difference, there's no magic or fraud. I used to dissipate energy in the company of others and had to take refuge in solitude to recharge. Today my life is exactly the opposite.

    Now you're telling us that the dictionary is wrong. Let me repeat myself: The dictionary always wins. The dictionary definition does not have an asterisk with the qualification "every person can only be one or the other throughout his entire life, and Jan can tell which categorization was correct."

    Back atcha. You clearly do not understand nature if you think that some consciousness outside of nature created it.

    Fair enough, but the subject is communication and I am an expert in that field.

    I tailor my communication style to the circumstances and to the person. You communicate in a highly indirect way through intimation and innuendo, and often end up actually saying almost nothing--which conveniently allows you to contradict every conclusion people draw about you so you remain a woman of mystery. (Or man, you've never even owned up to having a gender, much less a nationality or any other demographic classification! You appear to be an accomplished native speaker of English so that narrows down your nationality... yet there are plenty of non-native anglophones who write that well so we could still be wrong.)

    You don't invest much in this forum so you can't expect to get much back. About all you do for the rest of us is provide entertainment. Trying to respond to your points or build on something you say is hopeless because you change your tack the moment anyone gets too close. So I don't bother trying. I'll just help you entertain the troops.

    I suppose it is. But when people tell me that my class, or my book, or my manual, or my personal mentoring has changed their life, I tend to believe them.

    You continue to pretend that I have no credentials. I wonder whom you think you're fooling anymore? I'm not sure there are any newbies on this thread; the people who have stuck with it know which of us is the professional communicator.

    I'd certainly like a more detailed account of one of those conversations. What it would take to make me believe is extraordinary evidence to support their extraordinary assertion. The Rule of Laplace is one of the most useful components of the scientific method to take out of the academy into daily life.

    You wanna convince me that there is a God? Show me the damn evidence or get out of my face! (I don't mean you personally!)

    Okay, people do occasionally change their mindsets. Most of us try to do so in a way that is an improvement, but some folks backslide. For that matter it's common for old people (so old that they're even older than me) to start taking religion seriously--but it's also common for those people to be losing their cognitive skills so this is hardly remarkable.

    Liking something is a qualitatively different relationship to it from believing in it. I can't stand the taste of coffee anymore, but I am quite certain that it still exists.
  11. Motor Daddy Valued Senior Member

    Fraggle Rocker, You make reading fun! It's a treat to read your posts.

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  12. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Well thanks, but don't tell Wynn! He/she/it/they/whatever think I'm a terrible communicator.
  13. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    Fraggle Rocker,

    Apart from the fact that it's JamesR who claims people are expert on themselves, you didn't address the question.

    All the more reason not to take it too seriously.
    Who knows, the meaning may change in a few weeks.

    I'm not sure how your response relates to my point.

    Imagine for a moment you decided to enter into Christianity with that mind set.

    To you it's self contradictory because, like Mr. Barker, and other like minds cannot access it.
    If a death-metal head decides that the Carpenters music is soft shite, does it mean it actually is?

    Where I am right now is the 'religion' forum on sciforums, where at a guess I'd say the ''sci...'' stands for ''science'' which means ''knowledge''. I'm explaining to you and others
    what ''theism'' is. The point you were responding to is exactly as it is meant to be, no insinuations, or implications.

    He couldn't have known God was real, he knew what he felt and attributed it to God. That is the fact.

    Again, you're showing your ignorance - you don't learn theism. What you're talking about is children following in their parents footsteps which is a natural part of life.
    Like I said earlier, you can't force a child to like something, or to accept something as true, from their own perspective. If that were the case kids wouldn't be bending over backwards to be not like the parents once they reach a certain age.

    If a person comes to the realisation that their parents were stupid, or manipulative, I'd have to question the whole relationship, not just cherry pick a specific point in order to make my argument look good, I'd tend to regard that kind of mindset as manipulative or even stupid.

    The feeling he experienced was an ordinary feeling, he mistakenly took it to mean God was talking to him, he now realises he was delusional (personally I think he still is).
    So he, like you, and so many modern atheists use that to bolster your position, postulating that if it happens to one person, or a few million throughout history compared to billions, then the whole idea of God is delusional.

    Theism does not concern itself with the existence of God.
    Sometimes I hear atheists say - even if God did exist I still wouldn't worship Him, meaning they would remain atheist.

    The dictionary wins under certain circumstances, but it does not explain or define things fully. It's now designed for the secular world, whereas before it may have been more inclined. In 20 years it will have different definitions to suit the dominant power structure. Spirituality, being defined as 'reality' remains the same (as one would expect reality to be).

    Of course I understand nature, just as well as you.
    Just because I'm not a mechanic, doesn't mean I can't drive just as well one.
    My point is that you cannot ever access God if your limit is ''there is nothing but material nature''.

    There's no need to get detailed accounts, your answer is bog-standard, the only difference some atheists actually try and think of an event, instead of being smart like you and hide behind the no evidence cliche.

    What would you regard as ''extraordinary''? For one this planet and it's goings on is extraordinary, the movement of the planets, are extraordinary. What evidence do you have that leads you to believe God, the default explanation from time, is not origin of this phenomena. It seems to me, that God is an ordinary default, and all this stuff just popped into existence and organised itself to get to this point, is extraordinary. IOW, we see things from our perspective.

    What are the claims that are made about God? Let's use one claim - God created the universe?
    Is there a universe? Yes. Now the onus is on you to disprove that he didn't.
    IOW you're the one with the extraordinary claims.

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    Obviously you see theism as some kind of intellectual activity, another misconception.
    What kind of benevolent being would God be if he only favoured people with a keen intellect?
    You see, that's the way you think, which is why you couldn't (currently) be a theist.
    Theism meaning belief in the existence of God, is your understanding and how you define theism, so in that way I will accept it. But in reality, that's not what theism is (explained earlier).

    My point to Motor Daddy was that one just can't start and/or stop believing when one wants to. You can't just think ''okay I'm going to like coffee'', it just doesn't work like that.

    Last edited: Feb 21, 2013
  14. gmilam Valued Senior Member

    Buzz - Nonsequitor. Epic fail. :bugeye:
  15. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    You disagreed with him and I agreed with you.

    New words are added to dictionaries constantly. And new definitions may be added to their existing definitions as technology and culture require us to use old words in new ways. But definitions do not change rapidly. Lexicographers are careful to document standard definitions and avoid recording trendy new ones that may be out of vogue in a year.

    The question was whether people who believe in the existence of a god also believe that this god treats them kindly and justly. I pointed out that the traditional polytheistic religions had gods that were not always kind and just. I also noted that Satanists seem to believe in the God of Abraham but don't believe that he will treat them kindly--although he will probably treat them justly since they are, after all, minions of Satan and deserve to be punished--according to Christian doctrine.

    How could anyone who respects science enter into a religion that teaches such dumb shit?

    Huh? Saying that there is evidence for something for which there is no evidence is self-contradictory. It's also really stupid, which is why I compared it to Sarah Palin.

    Aesthetic judgment is a matter of personal taste. We all change our tastes occasionally, and we all have different tastes. My band plays AC/DC and the Beastie Boys, but I love the Carpenters.

    No you're not. You're trolling: repeating a statement that has already been refuted, thereby stalling the progress of a thread by constantly doubling back on it. I have pasted the dictionary-standard definition of "theism" in American English more than once and you continue to pretend that it's a misprint. SciForums conducts its discussions in American English and we try to make sure that our members can understand these discussions.

    If you don't like the American English definition of "theism" you can complain about it, but you can't change it. You have to stop trolling or you will be dealt with as any other troll.

    Yes, and it's called "learning." We don't learn everything by going to school or reading books.

    Sure, and how much of what they learned from their parents do they actually disown? One percent?

    How do you know? Do you have a degree in internet psychiatry from the University of Phoenix, which allows you to delve deep into somebody's head by reading a few paragraphs he wrote pseudonymously on a discussion board?

    No. You keep getting it wrong, and I sense that you do this deliberately, yet another exercise in trolling. The reason the idea of God is delusional is that there is no evidence of his existence AND that his existence would violate several laws of nature.

    I covered this trolling problem of yours earlier. Do not do this again. Of all the Moderators I'm probably the least amused by trolling.

    If a person believes that God exists, then by definition he is not an atheist. So much of what you say hinges on your pretense of not knowing the dictionary definition of the word "theism."

    A dictionary for laymen, such as, gives definitions that are satisfactory for laymen in their normal daily lives. If one decides to take a class in biology, philosophy, music theory or political science, then of course he's going to need a specialized dictionary that gives longer-winded and more detailed academic or professional definitions that the rest of us will never need in our own reading. I don't think either of us is working on a master's degree in theology or philosophy, so the standard definition of "theism" is quite satisfactory in this discussion. And even if we were, it would be rude to use academic language with all these other people trying to keep up.

    In the Dark Ages only priests, scholars and aristocrats could read so dictionaries were designed for them. In our era of near-universal literacy dictionaries are marketed for the average citizen. If they appear to have a secular bias, this merely reflects the fact that so do their readers.

    I would advise you to spend fifteen minutes with a dictionary from 1993 before you say that again. Even with a dictionary from before Perestroika, you'd have to pore over it to find a word that just flat doesn't mean what it did back then.

    Spirituality is not defined as "reality" anywhere in the real universe. In fact, all of the definitions I've seen refer to things, creatures, feelings and personalities that clearly verge into the supernatural.

    You seem to delight in making up your own definitions of common words and then pretending that everyone else uses them. This is dishonest arguing and you must stop.

    Since there is nothing but material nature, neither I nor anyone else can access God. The difference is that I stayed awake during my science classes so I know that.

    You are really on the wrong website if you can dismiss one of the cornerstones of the scientific method as a cliche. You've actually crossed the line and now you are insulting science on a science website.

    With every new paragraph you reveal a deeper ignorance of science. I wonder whatever brought you to SciForums? The movement of the planets, the evolution of the biosphere, all of these things are certainly elegant and beautiful, but they are quite ordinary because they conform to the laws of nature and this is the only way they could possibly work. f=ma, pV=nRT, I wonder if you even know what those equations mean? I'm starting to suspect that you went to a university that did not require one year of chemistry and one of physics. So naturally the universe looks like a potpourri of wonders to you: you appear to have absolutely no idea how any of it works!

    Default explanation? In what alternate universe? Once again you lack a basic understanding of science. The Second Law of Thermodynamics clearly says that spatially and temporally local reversals of entropy may occur, and furthermore that there is no limit on their size. The Big Bang could be nothing more or less than a local reversal of entropy. Sure it looks like a really big one to us, but how would we know? There could have been dozens of other Big Bangs, but so far away and so long ago that we could never possibly find evidence of them.

    I just explained that. Of course there are other equally sensible explanations, and none of them require supernatural phenomena that make a mockery of science.

    You keep digging a deeper hole. Now you demean the scientific method as a "perspective." As though there might be an alternative that is just as good as the last 500 years of the human race's intellectual progress?

    How does the existence of the universe lead to the conclusion that it was created by God, or by anyone else or anything else for that matter? A few paragraphs above I already gave you a perfectly humdrum explanation for the existence of the universe that doesn't require either A) a Stone Age belief in the supernatural or B) a PhD in physics.

    Nice try. I'll let the members decide.

    No, at least not entirely. Jung tells us that belief in the supernatural is an archetype, which is (translated into modern terminology since he died before genetics became a mature science) an instinct programmed into our synapses before birth by our DNA. To be sure, most instincts clearly evolved as survival traits, for example running away from a larger animal with both eyes in front of its face. Individuals of a species who don't do that will die before they can reproduce and pass down their own genes. It's more difficult to figure out what purpose supernaturalism serves, but it could easily just be a random mutation that was passed down through a genetic bottleneck or by genetic drift: these things happen all the time.

    200 years ago half of Americans believed that God only favored people with light-colored skin. Even today, many Americans believe that he only favors people who choose members of the opposite sex for romantic encounters.

    I've been called an intellectual elitist. So if I were a Christian I would believe that God favors only intellectuals. After all, who would want to go to a Heaven and be surrounded by people who can't read a single Chinese character, don't know where the Maldives are, can't recognize Andalusian modality in a song, and never learned the rules of go?

    I couldn't be a theist because I'm one of the rare people who was born without the gene for belief in the supernatural. My whole family appears to be that way. I never even heard of religion until I was seven, and I laughed my head off when someone explained it to me. I was sure it was just one of those funny stories little kids make up and I couldn't figure out why he didn't appreciate my laughter.

    No. Once more, and this is the last time before I have a little talk with the Moderator of this subforum about the misuse of words, which is my province as Linguistics Moderator: Theism is belief in the existence of a god or gods. (Yes there is another definition in the context of a comparison of theism and deism, but that's not what we're doing here.)

    Indeed. You need EVIDENCE.
  16. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    Fraggle Rocker,

    Unless you can find a link, ''theism'' is not affected by ''technology'', and is in and of itself 'a' culture, the belief in ''gods'' is a materialistic venture albeit a supernatural one.
    So while some dictionaries may spout belief in ''gods'' as theism (as a secondary definition), it is not the meaning of ''theism'', and as a ''theist'' I can understand that.
    With regard to theism, believing purely in gods, is like believing in a person's leg as opposed to the actual person.

    Erm no! JamesR made a point...

    (''It is obviously beyond your comprehension that somebody could ever decide that faith in God is a delusion.
    They must never have had real faith in the first place. That's the only possible explanation, from your point of view. I understand.'') which my reply was... ''I'm not talking about faith in God, just belief. It seems you can't understand the difference relying purely of dictionary definitions to give you a picture.''

    In answer to these unrelated points....Without God (the supreme being), there are no gods. Most polytheistic cultures believe in God (the supreme being) but they don't worship God (at least directly). The Hindu culture is a prime example of polytheism.

    Secondly, ''Satanists'' do not believe in God, at least the advocates of ''The Church of Satanism'', a legitimate religion. To them Satan is symbolic of freedom without guilt. The idea of self restraint is a repugnant one, symbolically representing God, and for that reason they abhor Christianity or any institute that practices restraint of the senses. They feel they are superior because they aren't limited to petty emotions, or feelings of compassion and empathy, simply seeing these as human weaknesses. They are atheists because they, in no way, believe in God.

    A bit judgemental aren't we?

    For starters, our powers of perception are not only limited to sight, also remember that it say's that ''faith is the SUBSTANCE of things hoped for....''

    You said ''As I have pointed out before, English is a democratic language...'' meaning one has a choice in how one views it's words, and this defintion has somehow worked it's way to primary definition status.

    You have, and this one is theism, period (bolded stuff is irrelevant).

    This secondary definition relates to the primary one, but is not theism in and of itself.

    2. belief in the existence of a god or gods ( opposed to atheism ).

    I neither partial or impartial to dictionary definitions, I understand they are for everybody to have at least a base understanding of words.

    You wouldn't accept a dictionary definition of ''theory'' in a scientific discussion would you?

    Depends on the individuals.

    In case you haven't realised, it has panned out. We now see the result. He thinks God doesn't exist, therefore we know God wasn't talking to him.
    The other alternative is... God doesn't exist, then you're in the same position as someone who posits God does exist. So God existing or not existing is neither here nor there for either theist or atheist, it's all subjective, but substantial.

    Look! If you want to ban me, and you have the power to, then do so as I can't stop you. But stop making false accusations of me trolling.

    If you could see God with your natural eyes, then you would say God is a natural being and therefore not God. So there is no evidence that you are prepared to accept as evidence for God. If you can't see God with your natural eyes, then God does not exist, because you cannot see Him. So what would constitute evidence, beyond any doubt that, for you, God exists? Please try and state something that could fill that role for you.

    I'm not trolling.
    I haven't attacked anyone (despite being attacked), and I am staying on topic within our discussion.

    If a person doesn't believe IN GOD, then by definition (yours, on theism), he is an atheist. Existence doesn't come into it.
    From your perspective, you cannot see God, so God does not exit, hence you can't believe in God. From Mr Barkers perspective, he couldn't see God, so God did not exist, so he made up a God so he could believe in, but ultimately believed only in his own ideas. That isn't theism.

    What? You really want me to explain why I regard ''spirituality'' as ''reality'', complete with scriptural definitions.
    From the perspective of religion, (the actual attempt to link to God) 'spirit' is the origin/reality of everything we perceive, and ''spirituality'' is the process to link with that origin.

    Which is exactly why you cannot be a theist. Every argument you put forward has this notion at it's heart.

    I'm doing no such thing I'll have you know.
    I've explained the flaw in this standard retort, umpteen times.

    You've completely missed the point.
    Biology, chemistry, physics, these all came about after the begining. The fact that they are here, operating under these specific laws, is extraordinary. The fact that we can communicate in such elaborate ways is extraordinary. Don't you agree?

    Yet you see it as one possibility despite never being able to find evidence of them.

    From the above quote, it isn't science if there isn't evidence.
    I think we both agree that science hasn't discovered anything which can be called the ''supernatural'', and if it did, it wouldn't be called supernatural anymore.
    So really science can only ever deal with the natural. You believe in science, and science reveals everything it deduces as the product of nature (by default).
    So your belief status is that you will never believe in God, because such a concept cannot exist via your accepted medium of knowledge. Can't you see how you are tied up?

    You can't demean the scientific method, it is what it is. If I have an experience, then that experience is real, whether I believe it to be or not. The scientific method, brings forth a certain level of experience which one can use to gain knowledge (factual, theoretical, or hypothetical), but it cannot bring forth the truth. That you have to realise for yourself. IOW, it goes beyond the scientific method, becoming purely subjective.

    It seems to me that your attitude is one that will hold back human intellectual progress, as it clearly forbids one to accept anything that cannot be directly percieved by not only your senses, but every set of senses that perceive it, at will.

    The point was... what are the claims for God, and the answer was... the origin of the universe. That's all.
    You're perfectly welcome to not believe that is the case, but that is the claim, and there clearly is a universe.

    Why would you go to such extremes to cut the notion of God out of the picture?
    Why can't you just ignore the notion of God, and enjoy the science of nature?

    Makes no difference what they decide, it's still extraordinary.

    Programmed? By whom?

    So belief is basically a mutation? Is that what you're trying to get across?

    Them and their kin-folk committed genocide on aboriginal tribes both in America and Australia, and have been engaged in warfare of some kind ever since.
    I suppose they could be forgiven for seeing God, spirituality, and religion, in those terms.

    That's so cute.

    So you don't really understand what I'm saying?

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    Again, you have missed the point.

    I should add that as this is a religion forum on a scientific board, we should access the reality of said subject, and not try to mould it into something that it is not.

  17. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    If the theistic community assigns a different meaning to the word and it holds for a decade or two, the dictionaries will dutifully record it. But for now, the word means belief in the existence of one or more gods.

    "Some dictionaries"? As I have also noted at least twice, is a compendium of the most respected dictionaries of American English, and when they don't all agree it dutifully presents the alternative definitions. There are no alternative definitions of "theism," which means that all the trusted dictionaries agree.

    I already spoke to that. The first definition distinguishes theism from deism, but that distinction is not what this thread is about. The second definition distinguishes theism from atheism, and that distinction is what this thread is about.

    For those who haven't looked it up, "deism" is belief in the existence of a god or gods, but it is based upon evidence and reasoning and specifically eschews supernaturalism. If you find somebody in the 21st century, in the part of the world where most people are well educated, who believes in the existence of at least one god without citing the reality of claims of the supernatural, I hope you'll bring him to our attention.

    Is that supposed to make sense?

    -- Sorry, my response panel was vandalized by mutant squirrels. I'll continue in the next post.
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2013
  18. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Part 2 of my post. Assuming that the squirrels haven't torn it up. I'm having a great deal of difficulty composing a long post on this computer.

    "Faith" is often taken to include "belief," especially in discussions of the supernatural aspects of religion. In fact many people, even religious people, use the words interchangeably. I think this disagreement is purely semantic and need not result in an argument.

    You must not work in I.T. because you obviously don't know any Hindus. The ones who come over here are always happy to talk about Hinduism without feeling challenged or insulted. Every one of them has told me that there is only one God, and the various entities we're familiar with like Vishnu and Ganesha are merely different views of him/her, because he/she is too vast to take in in a single snapshot. One Hindu (I saw this in a PBS special, not a personal encounter) said that she had prayed in Christian churches, Jewish temples and Muslim mosques because she knew that everybody was praying to the same god, because there is only one. She had no problem with images of Jesus, since that is simply someone else's different view of the one God. Indian culture has developed their images, and it's understandable that another culture would develop different images.

    I see. Thanks for the info. Their use of the name "Satan" is certainly confusing, because Satan is a character in the Abrahamic scriptures. Originally an angel who fell out of God's favor, in the New Testament he has been elaborated into a creature with supernatural powers similar to but lesser than those of God.

    To believe in Satan but not God is to separate the character of Satan from his cultural origins. It would have made more sense to give him a new name. Or at least a different one, like Be'elzebub, a god of the early Semites whom the Hebrews picked out to symbolize all of what they thought was wrong with pre-Judaic spirituality. His name was originally Ba'al, (or Be'el in Hebrew), "lord," but the Hebrews added zebub, "fly," turning him into, literally "Lord of the flies."

    In any case Satanists may be atheists, but they are still supernaturalists!

    I stand by my assertion that supernaturalism is, by definition, antiscience. For a reasonably intelligent, well-educated Westerner to claim to embrace both, honestly and seriously, is a supreme example of cognitive dissonance.

    Sorry if I didn't make that clear, but I attempted to say that I understand "seen" to include all the other physical senses, as well cognitive skills such as reason.

    I certainly understand the idea that one can have faith that something one hopes for will come true. So long as there is a real possibility of this happening, this may be healthy. But to hope for something that is about as likely to happen as my dog growing wings is not much different from dissipating one's intellectual and emotional energy on role-playing vidoegames. Maybe it makes them feel good, but let's not take it to an extreme.

    Well I deserve the criticism because this is my own terminology. I have never been able to find anything written by a linguist or even any other kind of scholar that distinguishes a language like French, whose definitions are carefully guarded by an academy and zealously enforced by the press, from one like English, where the press keeps an ear out for vernacular usage and commits them to print as soon as they have endured long enough to not be dismissed as ephemeral.

    Nonetheless, the first time I used the term in this thread I did indeed include my definition in the hope of avoiding a semantic debate. I think I was quite clear in making the point that I do not use "democratic" to mean a chaos in which everyone defines a word according to his own whim, as in Alice's Wonderland. But rather, it means that it is the citizens who decide, in aggregate, what words mean, not an authority figure.

    You naturally chose the chaos model, which would absolve you of the responsibility of defining your words the way the rest of the population does, allowing you to troll freely and blame it on the dictionary. As I've pointed out before, you may find this amusing, but is not communcation.

    Just because a definition has a 2 in front of it does not mean that it is secondary. In many cases each definition is used in a specific context, profession, milieu, etc., so definition #1 is merely the one that comes up most often in print because its context, profession or milieu is more widespread.

    Funny you should mention that. I frequently bitch about the poor communication skills of scientists, and my standard example is the haphazard way they toss around the word "theory." In some contexts, a theory is a hypothesis that has undergone rigorous testing, found to be true beyond a reasonable doubt, and has taken its place in the canon of science. The theories of evolution and plate tectonics fall into this category.

    But somewhere else at the same moment another scientist is casually tossing out the term "String Theory," which is nothing more than an intriguing hypothesis that consists largely of arm-waving, and could easily fall into the dustbin with the geocentric universe in the December issue of Scientific American.

    In other words, scientists do not agree on the definition of the word "theory," and many of them do not even use it consistently.

    To its credit, does its best to sort this out:

    1. a coherent group of tested general propositions, commonly regarded as correct, that can be used as principles of explanation and prediction for a class of phenomena: Einstein's theory of relativity. Synonyms: principle, law, doctrine.
    2. a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural and subject to experimentation, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact. Synonyms: idea, notion hypothesis, postulate. Antonyms: practice, verification, corroboration, substantiation.
    3. Mathematics . a body of principles, theorems, or the like, belonging to one subject: number theory.
    4. the branch of a science or art that deals with its principles or methods, as distinguished from its practice: music theory.
    5. a particular conception or view of something to be done or of the method of doing it; a system of rules or principles: conflicting theories of how children best learn to read.
    6. contemplation or speculation: the theory that there is life on other planets.
    7. guess or conjecture: My theory is that he never stops to think words have consequences.​

    They actually give what should be the standard scientific definition first, but then they immediately expose science and scientists to well-deserved ridicule with #2. A case could be made that one of the laymen's definitions should come first, and this would save science from some of the ridicule. But looking over the laymen's definitions, we can see that we are no more consistent than the scientists. To a police detective, a theory is a hypothesis that actually has quite a bit of supporting evidence. To the average citizen it's something that popped into his head during breakfast.

    This sentence is inscrutable. If, for the sake of the argument, we accept the existence of God, how does that imply that God has not spoken to a man who thinks God doesn't exist? Does God have a special password that no one else knows, so if he talks to us we have absolutely no doubt that it could have been a hallucination or the TV in the next apartment?

    Considering God's arrogance and impatience, if he had a foolproof way of convincing every one of us of his existence, then why hasn't he done so? One might almost think that he enjoys watching our holy wars.

    You continually roll back this thread to a point in time at which the dictionary definition of the word "theism" has not been established. You've done it again right here in this post, making a pathetic attempt to imply that we are engaged in the comparison of theism with deism, which is the only context in which your preferred definition is valid, and at the same time pretending that you don't understand the dictionary's typographical standards so that definition #2 must be a "secondary" definition.

    Basically you're asking me what evidence I would need to accept the existence of an invisible, illogical supernatural universe and all the creatures and forces it contains.

    You don't seem to grasp the meaning of "supernatural." If there is conclusive evidence for something, then it is not supernatural. Our job as scientists is then to find out how it works. Sometimes that can take several generations. We still don't know very much about how the Big Bang worked, but we're quite comfortable assigning it to the realm of nature, rather than saying, "That's just way too complicated to be a natural phenomenon. It must be the work of God."

    Your question basically asks me to prove a negative. Asking me to wrack my brain to envision a bit of evidence that would support the assertion that something supernatural is, in fact, natural, is, in essence, asking me to review every crackpot theory that might be presented in support of that assertion, until I find one that is not easily dismissed as crackpottery. That is not my job. It is your job to find that bit of evidence, bring it to the gate of the Academy, and say, "I have found evidence for God. Please subject it to the standard investigation that you would apply to any evidence that claims to support an extraordinary assertion. I'll wait."

    One of the cornerstones of the scientific method is: It is never necessary to prove a negative. The burden of proof is always on the one who makes an assertion, not the one who denies it. Your request is just a backhanded way of asking me to prove a negative. I don't mean that you did this on purpose. It's just more evidence of your extremely poor understanding of science.

    The inclusive definition of trolling on a discussion board is doing anything deliberately that impedes, halts or misdirects a discussion. Continually restating an incorrect definition of a word, and then going off into a la-la land where your definition is the correct one, is a textbook example.[/quote]Since the majority of our members are very young (chronologically, emotionally, or both), we grant these science students plenty of freedom to take off their lab coats and throw erasers at each other. But when they settle back down to their desks, we expect them to return to the business of the academy: discussing and learning science.

    Belief in something or someone has many definitions, for example believing that said person or thing is competent, trustworthy, honorable, etc. But belief in a supernatural creature simply has to include belief in his existence, because of the context of the argument. To say you believe in God's ability to perform miracles, reward the virtuous, and punish the evildoers, would be a ridiculous statement if you don't also believe in his existence.

    You continue to put words in my mouth. I don't just disbelieve in God because I can't see him, even using the expanded definition of "see" to include my other senses. You have to go into the even more expanded definition of "see" to include reasoning. Even if I can't see, hear, feel or smell God, I'd stop and consider a reasonable argument for his existence. But there are none! Every single one of them is either fallacious or based on discredited evidence.

    No, I don't want definitions from somebody's fanciful "holy book." I continue to insist on the use of dictionary-standard definitions. This is not the Dark Ages. The Church does not rule.

    I see. But that's religious jargon, so it doesn't mean much in the real world.

    Again, you insult science on a science website by demeaning an element of the scientific method as a "notion." Whom do you actually think you're going to convince, or even impress, with this folderol, on this website? It's like someone hired you to come here and make a mockery of religion, spirituality, belief in the supernatural, and all that claptrap.

    There are professional scientists, some of them even distinguished, who manage to live a double life as a rational, intelligent, educated, disciplined member of society in the daytime, and a supernaturalist at night. I wonder how they pull it off. I'd expect someone like you to explain it to me.

    Instead, you strengthen the wall between science and religion and make it seem that the only possible explanation is that they are psychotics. Is that really the idea you want us to go to bed with tonight? That we should purge the sciences of people who claim to believe in God because they're ticking time bombs?

    You have written words about it, but you have hardly identified an actual flaw.

    The current cosmological model says no. They all came about at the same instant as the Big Bang.

    Once again you display your ignorance of science. All of these things are wonderful, inspiring, etc., but they are quite ordinary. This is the way the universe works so they are to be expected.

    Sure, but it's not an extraordinary hypothesis and so does not invoke the Rule of Laplace. The fact that one Big Bang occurred automatically raises the question, "Have there been others?" It is looking like ours was a singularity so there would not have been others. But this hypothesis has not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt, and so has not been promoted to the status of a theory.

    You finally learned something from this thread.

    Sure. Science has discovered rational, natural explanations for many things which were once thought to be supernatural. European Gentiles believed that the reason that Jewish shtetls were not as badly ravaged by the Plague as their own villages was that Jews were in league with Satan. It turned out that the Gentiles' belief that immersion in water was sinful and unnatural left them covered with filth and made them petri dishes for plague cultures; while the Jews' equally religious insistence on bathing and cleanliness greatly reduced their exposure.

    Sure, but as we've seen, science can deal with things which are claimed to be supernatural.

    I think much of today's resistance to science is specifically a reaction to modern cosmology. If the universe itself turns out to be merely a spatially and temporally local reversal of entropy, in full accordance with the laws of thermodynamics, rather than a mystical creation by an unseeable and unknowable supernatural creature, it will chop off supernaturalism at its roots. That would leave a deep void in people's lives.

    As I said earlier in this thread, people like a sense of mystery and it becomes part of their character. To lose that would feel as bad as losing a spouse or a child.

    Sometimes people don't really want the truth because it's no fun.

    Sure, but it doesn't dismiss all supernatural phenomena. It merely explains them in words that make sense.

    You continue to insult science. Now you call it "my accepted medium of knowledge," and you call me "tied up" because I've spent much of my life learning to understand it.
  19. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Third and final portion of my response:

    You have the strangest view of life and the universe. Is this the damage that religion does to people? The entire point of science is to "bring forth the truth." So far every other paradigm that's been developed for that purpose has failed miserably. And none have failed more miserably than religion!

    So what you're saying is that intellectual progress can only be made if people have the option of accepting assertions for which there is absolutely no empirical evidence. I think we've already tried that, like for about a hundred thousand years.

    But there's no rationality to your claim. The existence of the universe is evidence for nothing more than the existence of the universe. If you say that it is evidence for its creation by God, then why can't the next person with no scientific education come along and say that the universe is sitting on top of a really large elephant, which in turn is standing on top of a really larger turtle, which is....?

    There's no limit to fantasy!

    Because the notion of God conflicts with nature, and therefore with science. As I posted earlier, the fundamental premise of science is that the natural universe is a closed system. The existence of a creature in a supernatural universe claims to falsfiy that premise, which would disprove science.

    Why do you so consistently assume that the subject of every sentence must be a person? I already said that it was programmed by our DNA, which is the result of purely impersonal evolution. The structure of the vertebrate brain (and other animals with brains such as the octopus) is largely the result of genetics. Both at the generic level of the general form of that species's brain, and even more so at the level of the individual member of the species. There's no "who" in the picture, except perhaps that your choice of spouse will have a profound effect on the form of your children's brains.

    Yes. Although Jung gets credit for the idea. As I noted, many other instincts are obviously the result of natural selection since they are survival advantages. The instinct for belief in the supernatural doesn't seem to fall in that category.

    Why is it any "cuter" than Americans of European ancestry not wanting to ascend to a heaven that is full of Americans of African ancestry? Why is it any "cuter" than heterosexual Americans not wanting to ascend to a heaven that is--well not "full of", but sprinkled with homosexual Americans? If people can be elitists about the color of their skins and their sexual practices, why could they not also be elitists about their intellectual capacity?

    Hey, that one at least makes sense!

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    I don't speak woo-woo.

    I accept the reality of the phenomenon of religion. That's not the same as accepting its bizarre claims as reality.
  20. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    It's true, any nonsense can be considered a religion. If it includes supreme beings, then it can be considered theism.
  21. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    Fraggle Rocker,

    It's ''theism'' to you, but not to me.
    To me, it means the first definition.

    If God created the universe, then he created gods to superintend it. Each god is created specifically and is the personification of that designation, ie, Thor is the god of thunder. IOW Thor is a physical representation of that aspect of God, made to carry out God's Will. Your leg, although distinct from you, will act according to your will, but your family and friends, will not buy it a bottle of wine if you invite them over for dinner, nor will they buy it a Christmas card. They will always acknowledge you, which automatically include your leg, and all other parts and parcels. That is the difference between God and gods.

  22. Motor Daddy Valued Senior Member

    Just curious, is your knee also distinct from your leg? I was just trying to figure out how many Christmas cards I can expect to receive this year, and you are confusing me. I've highlighted the confusion for you. Please, explain to me if "you" also includes "your leg?"
  23. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

    Why the sarcasm?


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