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Oldavid
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29 Jun 2015, 3:55 am

adifferentname wrote:
Oldavid wrote:
Oh horrors to you AO. Some "moderator" has been sleeping and I managed to log in.

The only thing that has been proved about "evolution" is that it is a scientific impossibility. The "Origin of the Species" and all subsequent fantasies should also be catalogued next to Greek mythologies.


One wonders if you dress in Motley, carry a Marotte and have bells on the end of your shoes.

D: All of the above.

These multiple choice questions are really easy if you're even slightly more knowledgeable than the examiner.



adifferentname
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29 Jun 2015, 4:01 am

Oldavid wrote:
adifferentname wrote:
Oldavid wrote:
Oh horrors to you AO. Some "moderator" has been sleeping and I managed to log in.

The only thing that has been proved about "evolution" is that it is a scientific impossibility. The "Origin of the Species" and all subsequent fantasies should also be catalogued next to Greek mythologies.


One wonders if you dress in Motley, carry a Marotte and have bells on the end of your shoes.

D: All of the above.

These multiple choice questions are really easy if you're even slightly more knowledgeable than the examiner.


Wherein Oldavid demonstrates his fundamental lack of reading comprehension.



aghogday
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29 Jun 2015, 3:33 pm

^^^

'That one' skims THE Intellect..;)

I hate to tell you I love to tale you.. friend..

But 'THE Fool' is the highest human
archetype in
control
of life
and hand
in hand
with
GOD..

the joke's on you..

And any SACRED
Fool can see
that with
eyes of ease..:)

And no.. you will never
learn this in school..
as GOD doe NOT
GO TO
SCHOOL..;)

God is more like
Charli XCX.. as sHe
moves to the beat
of hEr Uni-VERSE
centerED
and balancED
as IS.. for N0W..;)


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AlexandertheSolitary
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30 Jun 2015, 2:18 am

adifferentname wrote:
Lintar wrote:
NO ONE ever made the claim that atheists either can't have moral standards, or that they cannot behave ethically. That's not the point. What they cannot do is explain why morals should matter at all in the first place if all we are IS matter.


Atheists have no problem explaining the subjective value of morals. You may not like the answers, but that alone cannot render them null.

AlexandertheSolitary wrote:
One of the oldest arguments raised against the existence of God, which has troubled minds across much of human history, is why does the world have so much suffering and wickedness in it? Now, obviously it has a great deal of good and wonder as well, but this question does not get any easier. Glib answers might seem persuasive in theory, but feel hollow in the face of many real instances of suffering and evil, as well as at times shockingly insensitive.


The question is redundant. One does not start with "God" and set out to disprove "him". God is the hypothetical argument, not the lack thereof.

Quote:
Yet the very fact that such questions are asked, and that people do seek meaning and to live lives of compassion and courage, seems to me at least evidence for the existence of God, not withstanding that the troubling questions raised remain incompletely addressed. If all were the result of chance, why should we expect otherwise?


The existence of a question does not prove the existence of your preconceived answer. Such questions constitute evidence of man's thirst for knowledge, of our desire to understand the how and why of everything we encounter. "God" is the name we give to our hubris, a lie we tell ourselves and each other to maintain our illusion of superiority. We are no more valued by the cosmos than any other creature that resides on Earth.


But you also appear to have a preconceived answer. You appear to assume that your position does not need justification, and that others are on the defensive. That may be how it appears to you, but I do not see why that renders any question redundant. I also was not claiming that the existence of a question proved anything. It is just evidence. And, to be frank, you seem to have blithely assumed that your position is the default one, and any varying view that you do not wish to accept is the hypothesis. How is that different to the thinking you attack in others?

The Universe is a fact as is human consciousness (obviously both can, and have, been questioned, but if their apparent existence is rejected at the outset then any basis for either science or at least certain forms of religion would be thrown out). If for the time being we can assume that this world that we live in and our awareness of it and of ourselves are at least in some sense real, then there needs to be a hypothesis as to how this state of affairs arose. Now, clearly science has answered many questions on this front. But it has no more disproven the existence of God than theists have in a conventional empirical sense proven God. To an extent philosophical arguments such as this may be of limited worth, as to some extent humans tend to make up their mind on both sides for reasons quite distinct from philosophical reason and argument. Still, it is always worth thinking things through and defending one's viewpoint.

I am confused as to why you take the stance of rejecting questions and answers that you may find inconvenient.

Also, I merely alluded to the historical fact that the question of suffering has both plagued theists and formed part of a philosophical argument for atheism, not sure why that should have irked you so. The question is hardly redundant in any case; we still have to respond to the reality of suffering. And how we respond would surely be the important, and if you were right, only question of consequence in that connection.

Might I ask what your personal ethical philosophy is? Please understand that I am not committing the fallacy of assuming wrongly that dismissing the existence of God out of hand automatically results in a lesser degree of righteousness, that is empirically false. I rather wish to understand what basis you make moral decisions upon as a role; sorry if this appears to be a change of subject, it is not.


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AlexandertheSolitary
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30 Jun 2015, 3:33 am

pcuser wrote:
Lintar wrote:
pcuser wrote:
Lintar wrote:
Lukecash12 wrote:
The problem here is that evolutionary ethics still doesn't have any way to endorse what we typically consider moral behavior. Surely if we think along such utilitarian trains of thought, it becomes acceptable to make cruel and callous decisions in both paradigms. We would have to seriously split some hairs and perform great mental gymnastics in order to support ideals like altruism and equality using either paradigm. Evolution is harsh...


Yes, and that was precisely my point. I may not have used the correct terminology, but whichever way you look at it neither system you mention (i.e. evolutionary ethics, moral relativism) can provide the solid and objective standard that is needed for a system of such ethics.

And yet we still have them. Atheists rule!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !


You haven't been paying proper attention to this discussion, have you?

NO ONE ever made the claim that atheists either can't have moral standards, or that they cannot behave ethically. That's not the point. What they cannot do is explain why morals should matter at all in the first place if all we are IS matter.

Get it? Do you see the conundrum here? Do I really need to spell it out again, for your benefit?

"Atheists rule"? - sheer poppycock.

Since God/Gods don't exist, God doesn't cause morality or ethics. Explain how you 'magically' came to have them...


Since God's existence is the topic of the thread, explain why you have begun with the answer. Also, if you reject God's existence, you are the one who needs to come up with an alternative hypothesis (as other atheists have done here, for example arguing that systems of morality arose as way of improving the chances of individuals and their lines by increasing the coherence of groups, strength in numbers, etc.) not assert your preconceived answer to the debate and assume that it "magically" answers all questions. Sorry, my tone is probably a little harsh there. I just was frustrated that your retort did not appear logical. As a theist, I might for the purposes of this discussion have to defend that view as rational to others, but the existence of morals, however conflicting, and however short of them we as humans fall, is not something I have an issue with. It certainly is one area where I think there can be much fruitful discussion, but asserting the subject of contention and assuming that those you disagree with will be persuaded by that alone is not a very compelling argument, to put it mildly. And in the context of explaining morals, you did not appear to me to be making sense. If you believe that there are no deities of any description, what is your personal answer to the question of the existence of morals?

Also, in response to another poster, if moral values are all subjective, what basis is there for assuming one's own morals, or the laws of a particular society, are better or worse than others? (though admittedly we can have an inflated and hubristic estimation of our own morals and a distorted perception of those of others). Yet if that is taken to extremes, what grounds would one have for opposing a particular legal system or specific laws or punishments as unjust or unmerciful? What is to keep us from being the slave of either prevailing ethical norms fashionable or socially accepted in the time period and nation one happens to be living in, or merely following whatever legislation may be in place in one's society? Not that I wish to disparage laws, however imperfect, as they are needed in an imperfect society, and their absence would not lead to freedom unless human nature were radically changed, but I am troubled as to what the response is if one were to assume that there is no eternal source of lasting goodness or objective moral value. Granted, philosophers have provided many bases from reason to support morality, but in terms of actual ethical content it seems to me to be essentially based upon existing morals, differing from the ethics inspired by revealed religions or other faith-traditions only on a few details - e.g. agreement on the more outrageously evil actions widely agreed to be wrong such as murder and other violent offences, that attract the attention of the law, but views on specifics of sexual ethics (other than the blatantly abusive) range considerably among different humans, even amongst those agreeing upon many areas of doctrine and ethics.

Also, general philosophical principles like Kant's categorical imperative (Kant was not an atheist I know, but it is one philosophical basis for moral judgments) or Marx's "from each according to his ability to each according to his need," (Marx for balance was an atheist philosopher and activist) or the French revolutionary principle that "the freedom of one citizen ends where the freedom of another begins," (i.e. the law steps in where one citizen uses or rather abuses his freedom to restrict or impinge upon the enjoyment of the freedom of another citizen) can quickly run into trouble against particular moral dilemmas or scenarios. For example, Kant's basis was that one should only act if one could wish one could wish the action to be the basis of a universal principle for others, i.e. that all would act so, and without exception; only then can that action be considered moral. But there are serious flaws with this approach. Suppose, following this line we decide that as lying is wrong, there must be no exceptions (I think Kant held this view on that action). But suppose one is confronted with a choice between different moral evils? The classic case, from a period of Germany's history substantially later than Kant's own time (though there have been plenty of precedents for oppressive regimes) is that of having to lie to protect the safety of Jews or members of other persecuted groups during the Third Reich in Germany or occupied nations. Clearly, while lying is wrong, contributing to the murder of others is worse. So one cannot make the general rule universal. Sorry, Kant.

The sceptical philosopher Hume, himself by no means a theist (I am not sure if he was a thoroughgoing atheist or an agnostic) pointed out that often what determined our moral views and actions was not reason but our sentiments. To my mind both our reason and emotions are flawed or damaged in some way, so that all too often our baser emotions abuse our reason to provide rationalisations for the views or behaviour one would follow anyway, just as some of my fellow Christians (or adherents of other faith traditions for that matter) may at times be guilty of interpreting sacred texts to confirm them in their own opinions and behaviour, only now be proud and pious about it, acting essentially how they would have acted before embracing a particular faith-tradition! This is surely altogether the wrong way round; our behaviour in many instances should be confronted and corrected, not flattered and confirmed. That said, many both among my fellow Christians, adherents of the other Abrahamic faith traditions Judaism and Islam, and of the numerous other faith traditions and many atheistic philosophies, alike strive diligently to do and say that which is right, and to be honest, compassionate, wise and courteous in all their dealings to the best of their ability (both people I know personally and from history) and surely regardless of one's views such people merit respect and indeed admiration. I merely wished to draw a comparison between parallel forms of moral delusion and self-flattery among theists and atheists.

Given all this, surely a serious, reflective atheist ethical philosopher needs to give careful thought to what system or principle provides the best foundation for morally sound action (though one could, hypothetically reject morals altogether; in practice mercifully few humans are prepared to consistently live like that; even most who do are constrained to at least pretend to some moral scruples if they do not wish to alienate their fellow humans before they can even begin to achieve their own objectives, even selfish hedonistic opportunism needs to take into account the moral sensitivities of others).

In any case, the philosophical or religious ethics that one professes one will adopt in the abstract in a setting like this forum, and how one actually acts in individual cases, can differ considerably. So in some senses this argument may seem to be of limited worth, nevertheless let it continue, and let us see where it leads!


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30 Jun 2015, 7:19 am

AlexandertheSolitary wrote:
But you also appear to have a preconceived answer. You appear to assume that your position does not need justification, and that others are on the defensive.


Which preconceived answer do you suppose I have?

My position needs no further justification than "I do not accept your claim". I'm quite sure you've already been informed that the burden of proof is on the party making assertions, not the party requesting proof.

Quote:
That may be how it appears to you, but I do not see why that renders any question redundant.


And therein lies the problem.

Quote:
I also was not claiming that the existence of a question proved anything. It is just evidence.


It doesn't prove anything but it's evidence?

Quote:
And, to be frank, you seem to have blithely assumed that your position is the default one, and any varying view that you do not wish to accept is the hypothesis.


We're all born without knowledge. The default position is agnostic atheism. If you wish to claim belief in divine beings is the default, bring me a newborn baby that can articulate belief in a god. What I "wish to accept" is irrelevant. I will happily accept the existence of any god or gods if supported by sufficient evidence.

Quote:
How is that different to the thinking you attack in others?


When you refer to a dissenting opinion as an "attack", you label yourself a bigot. Perhaps you would like to rephrase the question?

Quote:
The Universe is a fact as is human consciousness (obviously both can, and have, been questioned, but if their apparent existence is rejected at the outset then any basis for either science or at least certain forms of religion would be thrown out). If for the time being we can assume that this world that we live in and our awareness of it and of ourselves are at least in some sense real, then there needs to be a hypothesis as to how this state of affairs arose.


Why is a hypothesis necessary for a thing to be? You're literally saying that The Universe cannot exist without a supporting hypothesis. Unless what you actually mean to say is:

"I have to believe in something, because I can't handle not having an answer to such a big question."

Quote:
Now, clearly science has answered many questions on this front.


On that we can agree.

Quote:
But it has no more disproven the existence of God than theists have in a conventional empirical sense proven God.


False dichotomy. "Science" is not the opposite of "theist". The onus is not on "science" to disprove the existence of a god, nor is it necessary for science to do so. The onus is on those who make positive claims regarding the existence of divine beings - i.e. gnostic theists or gnostic (strong/positive) atheists.

Quote:
To an extent philosophical arguments such as this may be of limited worth, as to some extent humans tend to make up their mind on both sides for reasons quite distinct from philosophical reason and argument. Still, it is always worth thinking things through and defending one's viewpoint.


I agree. Any argument that suggests "science" is the opposite of "theist" is entirely without merit.

Quote:
I am confused as to why you take the stance of rejecting questions and answers that you may find inconvenient.


Explain how your question would inconvenience me in any way, shape or form. I gave you a very clear explanation as to why your question is redundant. If you're still confused, look inwards rather than outwards.

Quote:
Also, I merely alluded to the historical fact that the question of suffering has both plagued theists and formed part of a philosophical argument for atheism, not sure why that should have irked you so.


Now you're projecting emotional states onto text. It's telling that you've so far done everything you can to deflect my criticism other than address it directly. I find your thinking to be anachronistic, but far from irksome.

Incidentally, I'm sure I'm not the only one who has encountered this emotional projection regularly in PPR. I've traditionally dismissed it as a ToM deficiency, but I'm starting to wonder if we're collectively guilty of teaching each other some bad debating behaviours.

Quote:
The question is hardly redundant in any case; we still have to respond to the reality of suffering. And how we respond would surely be the important, and if you were right, only question of consequence in that connection.


Sure, let's decontextualise the question, shift the goalposts and pretend that you weren't presenting an outmoded position as relevant today.

Quote:
Might I ask what your personal ethical philosophy is? Please understand that I am not committing the fallacy of assuming wrongly that dismissing the existence of God out of hand automatically results in a lesser degree of righteousness, that is empirically false. I rather wish to understand what basis you make moral decisions upon as a role; sorry if this appears to be a change of subject, it is not.


Referring to my position on the divine as "dismissing the existence of God out of hand" is itself a dismissive mischaracterisation. It would be far more appropriate to state that I have yet to be provided with sufficient evidence in support of any deity that has thus far been posited to me.

Which are you interested in, ethics or morality? A satisfactory response to either line of enquiry would require a great deal of time and words. That is to say, I'm not sure what relevance a quick capsule definition would have to the current discussion. In the interests of saving me a great deal of time, and others a great wall of text, you could state the motives behind your question?



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30 Jun 2015, 8:38 am

AlexandertheSolitary wrote:
pcuser wrote:
Lintar wrote:
pcuser wrote:
Lintar wrote:
Lukecash12 wrote:
The problem here is that evolutionary ethics still doesn't have any way to endorse what we typically consider moral behavior. Surely if we think along such utilitarian trains of thought, it becomes acceptable to make cruel and callous decisions in both paradigms. We would have to seriously split some hairs and perform great mental gymnastics in order to support ideals like altruism and equality using either paradigm. Evolution is harsh...


Yes, and that was precisely my point. I may not have used the correct terminology, but whichever way you look at it neither system you mention (i.e. evolutionary ethics, moral relativism) can provide the solid and objective standard that is needed for a system of such ethics.

And yet we still have them. Atheists rule!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !


You haven't been paying proper attention to this discussion, have you?

NO ONE ever made the claim that atheists either can't have moral standards, or that they cannot behave ethically. That's not the point. What they cannot do is explain why morals should matter at all in the first place if all we are IS matter.

Get it? Do you see the conundrum here? Do I really need to spell it out again, for your benefit?

"Atheists rule"? - sheer poppycock.

Since God/Gods don't exist, God doesn't cause morality or ethics. Explain how you 'magically' came to have them...


Since God's existence is the topic of the thread, explain why you have begun with the answer. Also, if you reject God's existence, you are the one who needs to come up with an alternative hypothesis (as other atheists have done here, for example arguing that systems of morality arose as way of improving the chances of individuals and their lines by increasing the coherence of groups, strength in numbers, etc.) not assert your preconceived answer to the debate and assume that it "magically" answers all questions. Sorry, my tone is probably a little harsh there. I just was frustrated that your retort did not appear logical. As a theist, I might for the purposes of this discussion have to defend that view as rational to others, but the existence of morals, however conflicting, and however short of them we as humans fall, is not something I have an issue with. It certainly is one area where I think there can be much fruitful discussion, but asserting the subject of contention and assuming that those you disagree with will be persuaded by that alone is not a very compelling argument, to put it mildly. And in the context of explaining morals, you did not appear to me to be making sense. If you believe that there are no deities of any description, what is your personal answer to the question of the existence of morals?

Also, in response to another poster, if moral values are all subjective, what basis is there for assuming one's own morals, or the laws of a particular society, are better or worse than others? (though admittedly we can have an inflated and hubristic estimation of our own morals and a distorted perception of those of others). Yet if that is taken to extremes, what grounds would one have for opposing a particular legal system or specific laws or punishments as unjust or unmerciful? What is to keep us from being the slave of either prevailing ethical norms fashionable or socially accepted in the time period and nation one happens to be living in, or merely following whatever legislation may be in place in one's society? Not that I wish to disparage laws, however imperfect, as they are needed in an imperfect society, and their absence would not lead to freedom unless human nature were radically changed, but I am troubled as to what the response is if one were to assume that there is no eternal source of lasting goodness or objective moral value. Granted, philosophers have provided many bases from reason to support morality, but in terms of actual ethical content it seems to me to be essentially based upon existing morals, differing from the ethics inspired by revealed religions or other faith-traditions only on a few details - e.g. agreement on the more outrageously evil actions widely agreed to be wrong such as murder and other violent offences, that attract the attention of the law, but views on specifics of sexual ethics (other than the blatantly abusive) range considerably among different humans, even amongst those agreeing upon many areas of doctrine and ethics.

Also, general philosophical principles like Kant's categorical imperative (Kant was not an atheist I know, but it is one philosophical basis for moral judgments) or Marx's "from each according to his ability to each according to his need," (Marx for balance was an atheist philosopher and activist) or the French revolutionary principle that "the freedom of one citizen ends where the freedom of another begins," (i.e. the law steps in where one citizen uses or rather abuses his freedom to restrict or impinge upon the enjoyment of the freedom of another citizen) can quickly run into trouble against particular moral dilemmas or scenarios. For example, Kant's basis was that one should only act if one could wish one could wish the action to be the basis of a universal principle for others, i.e. that all would act so, and without exception; only then can that action be considered moral. But there are serious flaws with this approach. Suppose, following this line we decide that as lying is wrong, there must be no exceptions (I think Kant held this view on that action). But suppose one is confronted with a choice between different moral evils? The classic case, from a period of Germany's history substantially later than Kant's own time (though there have been plenty of precedents for oppressive regimes) is that of having to lie to protect the safety of Jews or members of other persecuted groups during the Third Reich in Germany or occupied nations. Clearly, while lying is wrong, contributing to the murder of others is worse. So one cannot make the general rule universal. Sorry, Kant.

The sceptical philosopher Hume, himself by no means a theist (I am not sure if he was a thoroughgoing atheist or an agnostic) pointed out that often what determined our moral views and actions was not reason but our sentiments. To my mind both our reason and emotions are flawed or damaged in some way, so that all too often our baser emotions abuse our reason to provide rationalisations for the views or behaviour one would follow anyway, just as some of my fellow Christians (or adherents of other faith traditions for that matter) may at times be guilty of interpreting sacred texts to confirm them in their own opinions and behaviour, only now be proud and pious about it, acting essentially how they would have acted before embracing a particular faith-tradition! This is surely altogether the wrong way round; our behaviour in many instances should be confronted and corrected, not flattered and confirmed. That said, many both among my fellow Christians, adherents of the other Abrahamic faith traditions Judaism and Islam, and of the numerous other faith traditions and many atheistic philosophies, alike strive diligently to do and say that which is right, and to be honest, compassionate, wise and courteous in all their dealings to the best of their ability (both people I know personally and from history) and surely regardless of one's views such people merit respect and indeed admiration. I merely wished to draw a comparison between parallel forms of moral delusion and self-flattery among theists and atheists.

Given all this, surely a serious, reflective atheist ethical philosopher needs to give careful thought to what system or principle provides the best foundation for morally sound action (though one could, hypothetically reject morals altogether; in practice mercifully few humans are prepared to consistently live like that; even most who do are constrained to at least pretend to some moral scruples if they do not wish to alienate their fellow humans before they can even begin to achieve their own objectives, even selfish hedonistic opportunism needs to take into account the moral sensitivities of others).

In any case, the philosophical or religious ethics that one professes one will adopt in the abstract in a setting like this forum, and how one actually acts in individual cases, can differ considerably. So in some senses this argument may seem to be of limited worth, nevertheless let it continue, and let us see where it leads!

I don't need to come up with any alternate hypothesis. They have made the extraordinary claim that God exists, so they have to provide the extraordinary evidence. I merely don't believe in little magic men in the sky. It has also been suggested here and elsewhere that without God, we atheists can't have morals or ethics. That's BS. I put forth the logical thing regarding the lack of God and asked where he got his morals. It was 'magical' in the sense that there is no God from whom to get them as he claims...



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30 Jun 2015, 3:15 pm

Wolfram87 wrote:
I'm very glad I could inspire such anticipation, and hope I shan't dissapoint. :)


You certainly haven't.

Quote:
Granted, a being that has foreknowledge of its actions may well know the consequences of a differrent course of action. However, the point was not that said being wouldn't change its actions because it knew the resulting consequences of the second course of action but rather that, with foreknowledge, it couldn't. We humans move through time one way, and as such can only look backwards at what has already happened and, short of a time machine, we are unable to change it. Imagine to be able to "remember" both past and future. We have arrived at predeterminism, a fetter which I dont think you're arguing for.

And for that matter said being would probably also be unfettered by time, yes? Hence it could travel both backwards and forwards or move entirely independent of time, but unless it can change its own knowledge, it would still be powerless to alter course. And if it can indeed change its own knowledge, what good is any knowledge it possesses?


I don't see how either of these premises have been established as a necessity:

P1- Foreknowledge of one's own possible and real decisions, as well as foreknowledge of the possible and real decisions of others, including the consequences, restricts the agency of the one with foreknowledge.
P2- Awareness, that is unimpeded by our traditional understanding of time (informed by special relativity) as a measurable and relational process of matter, restricts the agency of such a one.
C- Ergo, we have arrived at a being that has predetermined everything and as such has no agency to change the same determinations.

The structure of your argument is perfectly fine, and if P1 and P2 are true C must follow. However, what I would like to see from you is a better explanation of the premises and why they are necessary.

You may have noticed that I've used language like "necessary" and "necessity" a good amount so far in this thread. The reason for that is that I have been using "possible world semantics" to help frame my thoughts in a way that can benefit from propositional logic. You'll see well enough how this works out, but if you find as much pleasure as I do in reading such material I would heartily suggest that you look up Saul Kripke, Gottfried Leibniz, and the Stoics.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/propo ... l-function
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/stoicism/#Log

For the Stoics, the scope of what they called ‘logic’ (logikê, i.e. knowledge of the functions of logos or reason) is very wide, including not only the analysis of argument forms, but also rhetoric, grammar, the theories of concepts, propositions, perception, and thought, and what we would call epistemology and philosophy of language. Formally, it was standardly divided into just two parts: rhetoric and dialectic (Diog. Laert., 31A). Much has been written about the Stoics' advances in logic (in our narrow sense of the word). In general, one may say that theirs is a logic of propositions rather than a logic of terms, like the Aristotelian syllogistic. One of the accounts they offer of validity is that an argument is valid if, through the use of certain ground rules (themata), it is possible to reduce it to one of the five indemonstrable forms (Diog. Laert., 36A). These five indemonstrables are the familiar forms:

if p then q; p; therefore q (modus ponens);
if p then q; not q; therefore not-p (modus tollens);
it is not the case that both p and q; p; therefore not-q;
either p or q; p; therefore not-q;
either p or q; not p; therefore q


Quote:
I would argue that knowledge itself is only data. The "ability to have knowledge" is just the property of being able to contain and retain data. We humans, as you say, have processes that we go through to obtain knowledge. Our knowledge is the data we gather, process and remember for future application. A being with the properties you propose would have all knowledge by virtue of existing, unfettered by the requirement of data gathering. In fact, I think it might actually be unable to learn by definition. What data could it gather that it did not already possess?


You seem to be already contradicting yourself in the first two sentences. If "knowledge itself is only data" then what of the implied relational qualities of the subject with the data. Surely data alone, with no subject to perceive it, is not "knowledge". I would contend that knowledge exists either as a frame of reference in relation to data or as an ontological reality. Stripping knowledge of any relational qualities or qualities inherent to the subject (ontological), leaves us without any way to comprehend knowledge as something to be possessed by any subject.

You are cutting to the heart of this issue when you ask how it is that an omniscient entity can learn. I don't think it's really coherent to say that it can learn. The most similar process I can conceive of is the process of determination. Through determination comes knowledge. In this way neither the ontological nor the relational state of being omniscient changes, as the determination process requires full knowledge.

Quote:
It seems the property of omniscience invalidates A) and B). Already knowing the answer means you neither have to consider nor discern the truth value of anything. "Considering" and attempting to "discern" are things humans do exactly because we are not omniscient, but rather have to strive to learn. Come to think of it, being omniscient would probably be intensely dull.


Being required to do A or B has no bearing on the ability to do A or B. Abilities do not necessarily require processes, my friend. And if there is a process this may be something that occurs during determination.

As for the dullness of omniscience, I would say that there are other reasons to be pleased with such a created order than anticipation, anxiety, or suspense. In the Christian model the main pleasures to be had for God are the reflection of self in the creation and relations with created beings. Later I will establish logical warrants why such a being that has knowledge by determination doesn't have to work purely through a cause and effect model as opposed to an influence and response model.

You seem to have suggested that I would shy away from a deterministic philosophy, but I am perfectly comfortable with the idea as I can find it reasonable at the same time that I disagree with it. For clarity's sake, I am what a theologian would call an Arminian, as opposed to a Calvinist.

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Ah, now I think I see what you're saying. Granted, but what if said being was creating some other way? Say, some sort of self-replicating process with an aspect of descent with inherited modifications?


What you are describing explains better "why" and "how" things are determined, not whether or not there are determinations. As I have argued so far, whether complete knowledge is to be relational or inherent, creation must be determined for knowledge to be complete. See my definitions of knowledge to understand why I contend this.

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So, this hypothetical being starts having no knowledge, then starts creating everything and learns all things in the process, and ultimately loses the ability to learn by virtue of having learned all there is to learn? Also, having foreknowledge, did it already know how it was going to create everything?

I'm also curious as to how a being would learn by creating. I envision a character creation from a video game, but even then there's a template. I don't have to invent the concept of strength in order to add it as a value to what I'm creating.


Actually, this hypothetical being starts with all knowledge, and as it determines it neither loses nor gains knowledge. So long as there is an object to have knowledge of, it has determined the form and substance (generally understood as properties) as well as it's relation to all else, and given that there is more data to have knowledge of but the completeness of the knowledge hasn't changed. It is also interesting to consider that this is a process that can happen outside of the confines of time, so it isn't clear whether or not determination is a process or inherent to the particular being's nature. Is such a being restricted by it's own nature/ontology at this point? Or must we consider that such a reality isn't a restriction at all because thinking otherwise would entail a contradiction, and thus not count as a real restriction?

In your second paragraph you bring up an interesting point but does it really account for the fundamental differences in you "creating" and a deity creating ex nihilo? When you create there is indeed a foundational to build on already. But when there is no foundation already, aside from the possibility of self reflection, we end up with either full knowledge of ourselves or full knowledge of a creation which, while it isn't contingent upon our own qualities, it is fully known because of determination.

Given any functional definition of knowledge, omniscience requires creation ex nihilo, otherwise there is a similar process that has to occur over time, like your knowledge, in order for full knowledge to be possessed. Seeing as there is basically infinite data and it is always changing, it would be impossible to apprehend it all in order to comprehend it in the first place. This is not so easily solved by the consideration that such a being is timeless because that only compounds the problem with infinitely more data that must be obtained via a process, and as A and B would have to occur for all of that data in or outside of time, we still end up with something suggestive of a requirement for the omniscient being to be omnipotent in order to retain it's definition.


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30 Jun 2015, 3:21 pm

pcuser wrote:
Lintar wrote:
Lukecash12 wrote:
The problem here is that evolutionary ethics still doesn't have any way to endorse what we typically consider moral behavior. Surely if we think along such utilitarian trains of thought, it becomes acceptable to make cruel and callous decisions in both paradigms. We would have to seriously split some hairs and perform great mental gymnastics in order to support ideals like altruism and equality using either paradigm. Evolution is harsh...


Yes, and that was precisely my point. I may not have used the correct terminology, but whichever way you look at it neither system you mention (i.e. evolutionary ethics, moral relativism) can provide the solid and objective standard that is needed for a system of such ethics.

And yet we still have them. Atheists rule!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !


This is quite an odd concession to be proud of. You are conceding that you don't have any reasonable grounding for a major area of thought, and at the same time suggesting that atheists are great because they moralize with any grounds to do it. This is definitely not consistent with secular atheist arguments on subjects other than morality, where they especially take pride in their epistemological grounding, and deride others for "mysticism" and "following bronze age religions", etc. Because the cultural and philosophical grounding for much of such morals happen to have been inherited from religions and philosophies that are, some of them, even as old as the neolithic era they end up looking incredibly inconsistent with themselves.


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30 Jun 2015, 3:23 pm

Lintar wrote:
Lukecash12 wrote:
The problem here is that evolutionary ethics still doesn't have any way to endorse what we typically consider moral behavior. Surely if we think along such utilitarian trains of thought, it becomes acceptable to make cruel and callous decisions in both paradigms. We would have to seriously split some hairs and perform great mental gymnastics in order to support ideals like altruism and equality using either paradigm. Evolution is harsh...


Yes, and that was precisely my point. I may not have used the correct terminology, but whichever way you look at it neither system you mention (i.e. evolutionary ethics, moral relativism) can provide the solid and objective standard that is needed for a system of such ethics.


Please let me know if you feel that I've been condescending to you. That was my last intention, and I hope you understand that I wasn't trying to revise your every argument or condescend to them. Rather, my intention was to instill clarity and better understand just what your thoughts are.


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30 Jun 2015, 3:36 pm

pcuser wrote:
Lintar wrote:
pcuser wrote:
Lintar wrote:
Lukecash12 wrote:
The problem here is that evolutionary ethics still doesn't have any way to endorse what we typically consider moral behavior. Surely if we think along such utilitarian trains of thought, it becomes acceptable to make cruel and callous decisions in both paradigms. We would have to seriously split some hairs and perform great mental gymnastics in order to support ideals like altruism and equality using either paradigm. Evolution is harsh...


Yes, and that was precisely my point. I may not have used the correct terminology, but whichever way you look at it neither system you mention (i.e. evolutionary ethics, moral relativism) can provide the solid and objective standard that is needed for a system of such ethics.

And yet we still have them. Atheists rule!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !


You haven't been paying proper attention to this discussion, have you?

NO ONE ever made the claim that atheists either can't have moral standards, or that they cannot behave ethically. That's not the point. What they cannot do is explain why morals should matter at all in the first place if all we are IS matter.

Get it? Do you see the conundrum here? Do I really need to spell it out again, for your benefit?

"Atheists rule"? - sheer poppycock.

Since God/Gods don't exist, God doesn't cause morality or ethics. Explain how you 'magically' came to have them...


This is a red herring and you are also shifting the burden of proof. Because you cannot establish how and why your views on morality are justified you merely intone that "God doesn't exist" so we don't have any grounds either. This is no way to debate because all you are doing is pontificating at this point, and it does nothing to address the problems that have been laid out for you. If you are so confident of your own position then surely you can present epistemological grounds for it. And if you aren't interested in discussing epistemology at all, then you have no grounds for criticizing those of other parties as it is a subject you can't say that you've really assessed for yourself.

And I say that because we have to accept that our entire framework is fundamentally wrong just in order to discuss anything with you. Our observation that you don't have any comparable foundation suddenly necessitates this claim ("there is no God", which is a common response at this point) repeated ad nauseum? This is no way to establish a universe of discourse, and without a universe of discourse there is no tangible value in dialogue whatsoever.

If you would like to discuss the basic question of "does God/deity/deities" exist, that is a separate discussion than the epistemological assessment of your own position on morality. Of course we can also assess the issue existentially, which is it's own separate subject. But my main point here is that it behooves us not to conflate these separate subjects.


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30 Jun 2015, 4:04 pm

Janissy wrote:
Lintar wrote:
What they cannot do is explain why morals should matter at all in the first place if all we are IS matter.
.


Morals matter because this is all we have. Life on earth is precious because life on earth is what there is for us. Morals don't matter to me because of heaven or hell. They matter to me because we're matter. (Using 'matter' as both a noun and a verb is getting a bit confusing.) This is our only chance. There are no do-overs. There is no God to ask forgiveness from. It's all on us.

There is a saying in the U.S., "let go and let God". I understand the appeal of religion. It would be very relaxing to just 'let go and let God', secure in the knowledge that no matter what horrors happen here on earth, heaven awaits. But it's just a story people tell themselves and I can't suspend disbelief and believe this story, regardless of how stress-relieving it would be.

Not being able to look forward to heaven( or behaving to avoid hell) puts a tremendous importance on right here, right now. I don't try to live as morally as possible so I'll get into heaven. I try to live as morally as possible because this life right here is all I have and all any living thing has. That makes it precious, more precious than if this life were a mere way-station on the way to afterlife.


What you have presented us on our end of the aisle is a false dilemma, because it does not adequately describe Christian morality. You have suggested that Christian morality amounts only to "let go and let God", that heaven and hell are the primary motivations for following mores, and finally that we consider life as a "mere way-station". Taken as a whole these arguments are a great oversimplification of Christian thinking and they reflect that what you seem to know about Christians, for the most part, merely amounts to your perceptions on Christians as opposed to their own perceptions. It relies on popular stereotypes and in fact it blatantly misrepresents Christian philosophers who have established otherwise for two thousand years now, and there is a staggering list of names to peruse in order to disprove your summation of Christian morality.

Please remember that these observations I've just made were not made in order to impugn you or suggest that you are lacking in intelligence. Rather they were straightforward observations of the contrasts between your idea of our moral motivations and what they really happen to be. So now that you've presented your slam dunk arguments against this straw man let me lay out the essence of what Christian ethics really looks like:

Christian ethics begin with the idea that God designed us. His ethical prescriptions thus exist in the first place because they are for our own benefit, as they consider our very design and envision the best state of affairs given that knowledge. In such a system there is penal justice and satisfactory justice. The penal justice system of mores is a system that exists in order to benefit society, and is important in establishing a more pleasant experience for us right now. The satisfactory justice system of mores is perfect rather than provisional, general rather than specific, and it solves the problem of sin rather than improving or helping us to understand the situation, as in: our failures to follow the penal system helped us to understand that we couldn't offer up anything meet in the other system, as well as understanding that there are two systems in the first place (i.e. "the Law through Moses", and "grace and truth through Jesus Christ"). It's prerogative is the satisfaction of God, as opposed to the benefit of society. As only God Himself could satisfy this system He did just that.

Because God loves us we are gifted the benefits of both of these systems, and we can use His moral instructions both to benefit our societies as well as to please Him personally. The reward for the first system is a better society and the reward for the second system is mutual pleasure between the believer and God. This is why the NT says that God is love. The entire goal of both systems is to experience and benefit from His love, through association with either Him or His creations. Two key things to notice in this whole explanation so far is that I have made no references to heaven or hell, and if you know your scriptures this whole moral framework is saturated with possible references to material all over the bible.


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30 Jun 2015, 7:23 pm



Yes, God does exist.


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30 Jun 2015, 7:30 pm

Lukecash12 wrote:
Janissy wrote:
Lintar wrote:
What they cannot do is explain why morals should matter at all in the first place if all we are IS matter.
.


Morals matter because this is all we have. Life on earth is precious because life on earth is what there is for us. Morals don't matter to me because of heaven or hell. They matter to me because we're matter. (Using 'matter' as both a noun and a verb is getting a bit confusing.) This is our only chance. There are no do-overs. There is no God to ask forgiveness from. It's all on us.

There is a saying in the U.S., "let go and let God". I understand the appeal of religion. It would be very relaxing to just 'let go and let God', secure in the knowledge that no matter what horrors happen here on earth, heaven awaits. But it's just a story people tell themselves and I can't suspend disbelief and believe this story, regardless of how stress-relieving it would be.

Not being able to look forward to heaven( or behaving to avoid hell) puts a tremendous importance on right here, right now. I don't try to live as morally as possible so I'll get into heaven. I try to live as morally as possible because this life right here is all I have and all any living thing has. That makes it precious, more precious than if this life were a mere way-station on the way to afterlife.


What you have presented us on our end of the aisle is a false dilemma, because it does not adequately describe Christian morality. You have suggested that Christian morality amounts only to "let go and let God", that heaven and hell are the primary motivations for following mores, and finally that we consider life as a "mere way-station". Taken as a whole these arguments are a great oversimplification of Christian thinking and they reflect that what you seem to know about Christians, for the most part, merely amounts to your perceptions on Christians as opposed to their own perceptions. It relies on popular stereotypes and in fact it blatantly misrepresents Christian philosophers who have established otherwise for two thousand years now, and there is a staggering list of names to peruse in order to disprove your summation of Christian morality.

Please remember that these observations I've just made were not made in order to impugn you or suggest that you are lacking in intelligence. Rather they were straightforward observations of the contrasts between your idea of our moral motivations and what they really happen to be. So now that you've presented your slam dunk arguments against this straw man let me lay out the essence of what Christian ethics really looks like:

Christian ethics begin with the idea that God designed us. His ethical prescriptions thus exist in the first place because they are for our own benefit, as they consider our very design and envision the best state of affairs given that knowledge. In such a system there is penal justice and satisfactory justice. The penal justice system of mores is a system that exists in order to benefit society, and is important in establishing a more pleasant experience for us right now. The satisfactory justice system of mores is perfect rather than provisional, general rather than specific, and it solves the problem of sin rather than improving or helping us to understand the situation, as in: our failures to follow the penal system helped us to understand that we couldn't offer up anything meet in the other system, as well as understanding that there are two systems in the first place (i.e. "the Law through Moses", and "grace and truth through Jesus Christ"). It's prerogative is the satisfaction of God, as opposed to the benefit of society. As only God Himself could satisfy this system He did just that.

Because God loves us we are gifted the benefits of both of these systems, and we can use His moral instructions both to benefit our societies as well as to please Him personally. The reward for the first system is a better society and the reward for the second system is mutual pleasure between the believer and God. This is why the NT says that God is love. The entire goal of both systems is to experience and benefit from His love, through association with either Him or His creations. Two key things to notice in this whole explanation so far is that I have made no references to heaven or hell, and if you know your scriptures this whole moral framework is saturated with possible references to material all over the bible.

You and others don't realize that you claim that your God magically provides you with morals and ethics. This is the extraordinary claim. You must have the extraordinary evidence. It isn't up to those of us who don't believe your nonsense to prove anything. We aren't making any extraordinary claims. That applies to all on this thread...



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30 Jun 2015, 7:30 pm

Iamaparakeet wrote:


Yes, God does exist.

Prove it...



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30 Jun 2015, 7:40 pm

pcuser wrote:
Iamaparakeet wrote:


Yes, God does exist.

Prove it...


The proof is everywhere as far as natural revelation goes, but with historical revelation it is "seek and ye shall find". Look up apologetics, I'm not going to be your search engine for you to ignore the results of, but here is a freebee in addition to what you ignored in the quote above:


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