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atheism versus agnosticism

For topics that are more about faith, religion and religious organisations than anything else.
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Dave B
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Re: atheism versus agnosticism

#81 Postby Dave B » August 28th, 2010, 10:06 pm

Latest post of the previous page:

Since when did subjectivity imply unreality?


Nirvanam, surely person A's subjective belief/understanding is, to any other, unreal. It has no value outside of A's personal frame of reference, unless others adopt it.
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Re: atheism versus agnosticism

#82 Postby Nirvanam » August 28th, 2010, 10:18 pm

philbo wrote:Have to admit I can see why Nick was getting a wee bit tired of that line of argument: speaking for myself as an atheist, all I can base my ideas of what "god" may happen to be upon is how people who *do* believe describe their god. Pretty much without exception, these descriptions of god are internally contradictory, anthropocentric to such a degree as you can pretty much guarantee they were dreamt up by humans and where these gods should be able to show an effect on the real world, no such effect is ever visible.

I'm with Nick in describing the probability of any god I can currently think of as being vanishingly small.
In other words fool yourself into believing that your reasons are logical. But hey you guys serve a purpose in this universe. You see its a relative universe...without viewpoints like yours, how would we be able to teach our kids how not to construct logical arguments? In a relative universe everything has value, so let's celebrate the diversity of the universe.

Anyway since you used a nice big brush to describe the different ideas of god, I'll assume you were referring to some others' definitions and not my description of what I consider reality to be. While I will not extend to argue that my description of reality will be logical under the modern western logic structure, if by chance you were referring to my description of reality as "internally contradictory, anthropocentric to such a degree...", I'd be interested to know how you deduced that. But again I don't think you were referring to my description of reality because you'd have realized that it isn't "anthropocentric". Lemme clarify though, were you referring to my description of reality, Philbo?

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Nirvanam
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Re: atheism versus agnosticism

#83 Postby Nirvanam » August 28th, 2010, 10:24 pm

Dave B wrote:
Since when did subjectivity imply unreality?


Nirvanam, surely person A's subjective belief/understanding is, to any other, unreal. It has no value outside of A's personal frame of reference, unless others adopt it.
True. However, the same holds true for Person B who opines subjectivity = unreality...it also has no value outside Person B's personal frame of reference.

I hope you are not going to argue, like Nick did, that Person B's subjectivity is LESS unreal than Person A's. You are not, right?

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Dave B
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Re: atheism versus agnosticism

#84 Postby Dave B » August 29th, 2010, 9:57 am

Nirvanam wrote:
Dave B wrote:
Since when did subjectivity imply unreality?


Nirvanam, surely person A's subjective belief/understanding is, to any other, unreal. It has no value outside of A's personal frame of reference, unless others adopt it.
True. However, the same holds true for Person B who opines subjectivity = unreality...it also has no value outside Person B's personal frame of reference.

I hope you are not going to argue, like Nick did, that Person B's subjectivity is LESS unreal than Person A's. You are not, right?
Nope, what you said occurred to me after I posted.

Whatever might be real to me, within the confines of my mind (a fear say) may have no place at all in the world outside of my head - therefore it unreal to all others - despite the real somatic effects it may have on me.

Dear old Donald Rumsfold might say, "We have real realities and unreal realities." . . .
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Nick
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Re: atheism versus agnosticism

#85 Postby Nick » August 29th, 2010, 10:20 am

Nirvanam wrote:
Nick wrote:I know I should resist, but one last go. If god is, as you say, subjective, then there is no discussion to be had, since god is not, by your own definition, real anyway
Since when did subjectivity imply unreality?

Since forever.

If I have a subjective belief that there is a bogeyman waiting to get me hiding in the cupboard, it does not mean that there is in fact such an adversary. I have a subjective view of what Bangalore may be like. In no way does my subjective view affect what Bangalore is actually like.

Of course, a subjective view could be right in some circumstances. I may think, subjectively, that the next card will be the ace of spades. If it is, objectively, the ace of spades, it is not because of my subjective opinion.




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Re: atheism versus agnosticism

#86 Postby Nick » August 29th, 2010, 11:30 am

Nirvanam wrote:
Nick wrote:(cross-posted,but I think it's OK)

I'm trying to be patient here. Please try to understand what I have posted. I'm trying to make it as clear as possible.

Using you example of the effects of energy as evidence for energy, I have picked 2 effects that god is widely believed to be responsible for. If we conclude that something else is responsible for both these things, it would radically change the concept of god, wouldn't you say?
No, that is because you haven't yet defined what is your concept of god.
Errr... I defined god by some of his/her/its attributes. Surely that's a start?

What is your definition of god?


Because we discover how something happens, does not necessitate that something did not create it. To help you understand this logically...

Premise:
a. Event A has occurred
b. Event A is believed to be created by entity god
c. There is no explanation of how event A occurred (believing entity god caused it is not equal to knowing/understanding the phenomenon itself)
d. Person P discovers the process/how event A occurs

Conclusion:
Since person P can explain how it occurred, it necessarily means god does not exist/ entity god did not create it.


This could be taken in different ways, so your meaning is unclear.

I agree with your first sentence. For example we may believe that lightning is caused by the wrath of god. We then discover it is caused by an electrical discharge. We therefore know the case of lightning, but it has not disproved the existence of god, who's wrath may cause the electrical buildup as a by-product. As I say, it changes the concept of god. (Not that I believe any god exists)

Nick wrote:If you do not think that is valid, then you need to tell me what your idea of god is, otherwise we can discuss nothing further.
So, are you opening your mind to the fact that your faith in the fact that science helps us understand things does not necessitate that an entity called god or whatever name you want to give it, does not exist?
How about you answering my question instead of posing another?

But in answer to your question, I reject your use of the word 'faith' because of its ambiguous and loaded meaning. But as you should be able to see, my mind was and is open to the idea that the concept of science does not preclude the existence of god. The practice of science has shown that god is less and less likely. Indeed, it is the religionists who claim that god is somehow outside science, as they would rather hang on to their answers than accept the new truths.


Nick wrote:For a better explanation of the big bang, look at the Lawrence Krauss video. I don't profess to understand it all, but it seems more likely than creation by a god.
I have not argued that it was created by some entity, you are assuming it. More importantly, does the video prove the absence of an entity called god?

At times, it is not at all clear what you are arguing. The video doesn't disprove god (it doesn't set out to do so) but it does give a scientific explanation of the Big Bang, something from nothing, which posits an alternative to "goddidit", which is based on science, not whimsical thinking. Have you watched it?


This is an extremely important concept which I notice many here miss (actually everywhere but I specify here because Humanists claim they are rational and use rationality/logic to understand reality). And it is this: in the way our current scientific-logical-rationality is constructed, the conclusion of a logical argument can only have 2 values: Truth or Falsity. 'Seeming more likely' is an irrational and illogical conclusion.
Er...no. "Seeming more likely" may not necessarily be the ultimate conclusion. It may be all we can deduce from the available evidence. That does not make it irrational or ilogical. Can you prove the falsity of faeries at the bottom of the garden?

My case ends, the moment you accept that your rationale has no grounds in the logical perspective you chose. This is simply because I have not claimed anything about god, whether it exists or not, or whatever. I will definitely tell you my opinion and tell you my life-view which makes me believe so. But I will at no point claim that my opinion is logical or illogical given the set of logic-rules prevalent in the specific perspective of logical studies, notably modern logic.

I didn't realise you had a case.....So you are saying that neither your opinion nor mine is of any value.....?

Oh well, let's all pack up and go home.

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Nirvanam
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Re: atheism versus agnosticism

#87 Postby Nirvanam » August 29th, 2010, 1:43 pm

Nick wrote:
Nirvanam wrote:
Nick wrote:I know I should resist, but one last go. If god is, as you say, subjective, then there is no discussion to be had, since god is not, by your own definition, real anyway
Since when did subjectivity imply unreality?

Since forever.
Incorrect

Nick wrote:If I have a subjective belief that there is a bogeyman waiting to get me hiding in the cupboard, it does not mean that there is in fact such an adversary.
Exactly because your subjective belief is that the bogeyman exists in physical reality which in case you are not aware becomes a claim of something to be real in physicality. Hence it can be tested under its own domain i.e. physical reality and proven to be either true or false.

Nick wrote: I have a subjective view of what Bangalore may be like. In no way does my subjective view affect what Bangalore is actually like.
It does not. Similarly you having a subjective view that Richard Dawkins (or for that matter the Satanic Bishop) is hiding in your cupboard does not affect Richard Dawkins (or for that matter the Satanic Bishop).

Bogeyman and Bangalore are not analogous...I will not get into showing why they are not because it will distract us from the main argument. However, if you so wish, pls lemme know and I shall show you, breaking it down in logical steps where and how the analogy is misplaced.

Nick wrote:Of course, a subjective view could be right in some circumstances.
You hit the nail on the head, mate. This is exactly why I always keep mentioning "nothing (subjective stuff) is intrinsically right or wrong; everything changes in time, space, perspective, and context".
Nick wrote: I may think, subjectively, that the next card will be the ace of spades. If it is, objectively, the ace of spades, it is not because of my subjective opinion.
I am glad you understand that. Now, please use the same logic you used in this post and figure out how your view of absence of god being more likely, is an illogical argument...definitely subjective and "right" in your view. But if you feel that your view is objective then you would define in objective terms what is it that you are trying to seek evidence for (god). However you are scared to do that simply because the moment you define your understanding of god, it will open your definition up for comparison with others' definition of god which will quite objectively invalidate your argument. To mask this objective invalidating of your argument you chose to remain uncommitted on the definition of what constitutes god. However, as I have shown with step by step logical validationg of your argument, it has been found to be illogical. This does not mean your opinion is right or wrong...you already know my take on opinions. I only invalidated your claim not your opinion.

In case of Bogeyman or Richard Dawkins, you have an objective definition for them...you know they look so and so, have such and such a body, etc, etc

Edit...added few more sentences and deleted the last one

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Re: atheism versus agnosticism

#88 Postby Nirvanam » August 29th, 2010, 1:47 pm

Dave B wrote:Whatever might be real to me, within the confines of my mind (a fear say) may have no place at all in the world outside of my head - therefore it unreal to all others - despite the real somatic effects it may have on me.
Exactly sir! And therefore I ask how can Nick's claim that god does not exist be logically valid? It only remains sound in Nick's mind and people who share Nick's opinion, but it obviously does not make it "real" for everybody. True?

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Re: atheism versus agnosticism

#89 Postby Nirvanam » August 29th, 2010, 2:55 pm

Nick wrote:Errr... I defined god by some of his/her/its attributes. Surely that's a start?
And I have already told you that your definition is not the same definition as all others'.

Nick wrote:What is your definition of god?
Like I said I will tell you my opinion of what god is after you acknowledge your argument does not have basis in logic, which in case you are not aware, is binary in nature...but what I can tell you, at least for comparing with your definition of god, no my definition is not as per your definition.
(by the way, pls read my post in response to Emma's...it gives a brief idea of my thoughts on reality...I do not believe in a separate entity called god)

Because we discover how something happens, does not necessitate that something did not create it. To help you understand this logically...

Premise:
a. Event A has occurred
b. Event A is believed to be created by entity god
c. There is no explanation of how event A occurred (believing entity god caused it is not equal to knowing/understanding the phenomenon itself)
d. Person P discovers the process/how event A occurs

Conclusion:
Since person P can explain how it occurred, it necessarily means god does not exist/ entity god did not create it.


Nick wrote:This could be taken in different ways, so your meaning is unclear.
And what are those different ways? Also, do they invalidate the conclusion?

Nick wrote:I agree with your first sentence. For example we may believe that lightning is caused by the wrath of god. We then discover it is caused by an electrical discharge. We therefore know the case of lightning, but it has not disproved the existence of god, who's wrath may cause the electrical buildup as a by-product. As I say, it changes the concept of god. (Not that I believe any god exists)
Whose concept of god does it change? Yours? Or everyone else's? Plus, again, think thru the following statement very very carefully - A claim that Entity A created event E cannot be invalidated because an explanation for the causation of event E is discovered by person P. Yes, or no? If no, then I suggest you draw a Venn diagram, or compare it with the different logical fallacies defined and explain to us which logical fallacy did my statement commit.

Nick wrote:
Nick wrote:If you do not think that is valid, then you need to tell me what your idea of god is, otherwise we can discuss nothing further.
So, are you opening your mind to the fact that your faith in the fact that science helps us understand things does not necessitate that an entity called god or whatever name you want to give it, does not exist?
How about you answering my question instead of posing another?
Nick, I am not the one claiming god exists or does not...you are the one who claimed something first, and I am testing your claim. Logic does not necessitate a person testing a claim C to propose another claim, C1, to invalidate C. Claim C is tested independent of C1.

Nick wrote:But in answer to your question, I reject your use of the word 'faith' because of its ambiguous and loaded meaning.
Alright here is the definition of the word faith according to me, faith = belief in something without proof. Now, pls use that definition and tell me why you want to reject the use of the word faith by me.
If you'd like to know my opinion about why you want to reject it, it is that you have psychological inertia towards that word. Faith probably conjures up an image of a religionist in you and since you consider yourself not to be one of them, you find it difficult to accept that your opinion is based on faith too.

Nick wrote:But as you should be able to see, my mind was and is open to the idea that the concept of science does not preclude the existence of god.
Exactly! I believe that science and philosophy are not mutually exclusive.
Nick wrote: The practice of science has shown that god is less and less likely.
Again, same thing...do you want us to go thru all these posts over again to counter 'less and less likely'? You are unable to show that your original argument of 'vanishingly less' / 'my belief is probably more' itself is valid, how is 'less and less' providing anything different. Let me give you a hint here, Nick, it might help you see things in a slightly different perspective - science and philosophy are not mutually exclusive as you are claiming. Existence of a scientific explanation does not invalidate philosophical understanding, neither does absence of scientific discovery/explanation validate philosophical understanding. They are NOT mutually exclusive things...you need to handle that bit of psychological inertia.

Nick wrote:Indeed, it is the religionists who claim that god is somehow outside science,
Again, big brush...who the hell are these religionists? The ones outside your house, in your neighborhood church? The ones in your hemisphere of the world? The ones whose culture you share? For heaven's sake there are people who have other ways of life than the 'abrahamic' people.

Nick wrote:At times, it is not at all clear what you are arguing.
I have made it clear to you. I'll try again... I am arguing that your argument is invalid.
Nick wrote:The video doesn't disprove god (it doesn't set out to do so) but it does give a scientific explanation of the Big Bang, something from nothing, which posits an alternative to "goddidit", which is based on science, not whimsical thinking. Have you watched it?
In all humility, I did not understand it Nick. Can you please xplain it to me? I'll watch it again tonight. By the way did you watch that video I sent? It is by the Royal Astronomer (or whatever the title is) Sir Martin Rees...he made a 3- part series on Cosmology which BBC aired. BBC is your country's national broadcaster, and Sir Martin Rees is your country's Astronomer of the court (at least that's what I infer from the term 'royal'...correct me if I am wrong).
by the way just notice how ridiculous my argument that BBC or Martin Rees believing/feeling something equates to your entire nation's peoples feeling the same?

Anyway, I'll look forward to your explanation of the argument in that video (and I'll watch it again tonight)

Nick wrote:
This is an extremely important concept which I notice many here miss (actually everywhere but I specify here because Humanists claim they are rational and use rationality/logic to understand reality). And it is this: in the way our current scientific-logical-rationality is constructed, the conclusion of a logical argument can only have 2 values: Truth or Falsity. 'Seeming more likely' is an irrational and illogical conclusion.
Er...no. "Seeming more likely" may not necessarily be the ultimate conclusion.
True! And in fact it has no more than 50% chance of being the ultimate conclusion as does "Seemingly less likely that god does not exist". That is my whole point. At least now do you want to agree that your conclusion (which you have already agreed is not the ultimate conclusion) is invalid as per logic (think binary here..either seemingly less likely = 0 or 1 when compared to ultimate conclusion presuming that would be true)

Nick wrote:It may be all we can deduce from the available evidence.
It is in fact not what we can deduce. Alright correct me here, you are saying that the 'deduction that existence of god is seemingly less likely', is all we can deduce from what knowledge we available?

Nick wrote:That does not make it irrational or ilogical.
It makes it an illogical argument.
Nick wrote:Can you prove the falsity of faeries at the bottom of the garden?
I won't claim I can or I can't...and how is that analogous to this discussion?

Nick wrote:
My case ends, the moment you accept that your rationale has no grounds in the logical perspective you chose. This is simply because I have not claimed anything about god, whether it exists or not, or whatever. I will definitely tell you my opinion and tell you my life-view which makes me believe so. But I will at no point claim that my opinion is logical or illogical given the set of logic-rules prevalent in the specific perspective of logical studies, notably modern logic.

I didn't realise you had a case
That's your problem, you should've learned more about logical arguments (cases) before jumping into an argument about logical validity thinking that a person who believes in god is less rational/logical than you (that is my opinion not a claim). Here, I'll make it easier for you, my case is the following:

My premises:
a. A certain viewpoint exists which is essentially subjective, that there is a god.
b. However there is no clear definition of what 'god' is since it is subjective...each individual has his/her own belief of what god is
c. Person A (Nick) says god does not exist
d. Person A (Nick) does not have a definition for what god is, which means there is no 'objective testability'. In essence Nick opines something 'subjective' does not exist
e. Person A (Nick) claims his opinion is better than that of the god believers. He opines that there is a possibility that god may exist but the probability of it being true is vanishingly less

Conclusion:
Since Person A (Nick) does not have a clear definition of what god is (or for that matter what god-believers believe it is), his argument that god does not exist has no objective, verifiable process/logic in it. Further, person A (Nick) is claiming an objective conclusion from a subjective premise. Hence, person A's argument is illogical...it is neither inductive nor deductive.


Nick wrote:........So you are saying that neither your opinion nor mine is of any value.....?
Since you are asking me and since it is a close-ended question, my answer is: No

Nick wrote:Oh well, let's all pack up and go home.
That's up to you. Had I been in your place I'd acknowledge that my opinion is neither more right nor more wrong than anyone else's on this particular topic instead of demonstrating that my arguments are pseudo-logical. But hey that's just me, I have no shame in acknowledging things I don't know or things I argued incorrectly...it only helps me learn more

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Re: atheism versus agnosticism

#90 Postby animist » August 29th, 2010, 11:02 pm

I hesitate to get ensnared in your rather confusing language, Nirvanam, but it was me wot started this thread, so here goes. Have you read my comments? The point I have been trying to make, over and again, is that the person who disbelieves in God has no need to prove his argument; it is up those who claim that their belief in God is true (ie objective not subjective) to back this claim up in some way. You seem to be obsessed with the idea of scientific testing, but there is no way in principle that one can "test" for God's existence, or as I say, deductively disprove such an existence; and this has is nothing to do with defining what God is. Applying this to your analysis of Nick's argument, you are wrong in calling him illogical and in claiming that his disbelief is of no more value than the subjective beliefs of the God-believers.
In particular, your conclusion that Nick is "claiming an objective conclusion from a subjective premise" is meaningless to me: it is not the premise itself that is subjective, instead the premise is that belief in God is subjective.

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Re: atheism versus agnosticism

#91 Postby Nirvanam » August 29th, 2010, 11:34 pm

Animist, I understand your viewpoint and I myself am OK with it...I don't agree with it, but will not demand a god-believer to come and prove to me why god exists or expect god-believers to accept your view of reality.

If you notice I entered the thread with a question to Nick on a claim he made. Had he stated it was his opinion and that his opinion is neither more likely nor less likely to be true, I'd leave it there. But he insisted that somehow his opinion was more logical...this is why I decided to make him aware of what logical arguments are, how logic is validated/invalidated (which from the interaction in this thread and previous interactions I have reason to believe Nick was not entirely aware of. And given his lack of awareness, yet somehow continuing to think he is being very logical (plus he was being unnecessarily disrespectful/dismissive of me) ticked me off because I come across such pseudo-skeptics day in day out and in my experience I find it effective to make them realize their own level of knowledge...so that's the motive behind my argument about the invalidity of Nick's argument).

When you say - In particular, your conclusion that Nick is "claiming an objective conclusion from a subjective premise" is meaningless to me: it is not the premise itself that is subjective, instead the premise is that belief in God is subjective - I am unable to understand why it is 'meaningless'...ok please explain what you mean by meaningless here...is it indicating that the statement cannot exist at all? the statement is invalid? the statement is non-fact? :puzzled:

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Re: atheism versus agnosticism

#92 Postby Paolo » August 30th, 2010, 8:10 am

animist wrote:The point I have been trying to make, over and again, is that the person who disbelieves in God has no need to prove his argument; it is up those who claim that their belief in God is true... to back this claim up in some way.

I agree with this, although I would say that the person making the claim can simply be ignored unless they are asserting that their belief be recognised as valid by the non-believer.

I couldn't give two hoots if someone believes in invisible pink unicorns, fairies or gods - as long as they don't expect me to believe in them too - or expect me to grant the believer special privileges because of their belief. This is where need for proof falls to the believer and if it can't be provided then there is no reason to join them in their belief or grant them special privilege. This is when the PIOPO response can be invoked without hesitation.

In more general terms a believer has no need to prove anything if they are not making an assertion that impacts on others - leave them to it. I assume this is the point that Nirvanam is trying to defend.

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Re: atheism versus agnosticism

#93 Postby animist » August 30th, 2010, 9:06 am

Nirvanam wrote:Animist, I understand your viewpoint and I myself am OK with it...I don't agree with it, but will not demand a god-believer to come and prove to me why god exists or expect god-believers to accept your view of reality.

If you notice I entered the thread with a question to Nick on a claim he made. Had he stated it was his opinion and that his opinion is neither more likely nor less likely to be true, I'd leave it there. But he insisted that somehow his opinion was more logical...this is why I decided to make him aware of what logical arguments are, how logic is validated/invalidated (which from the interaction in this thread and previous interactions I have reason to believe Nick was not entirely aware of. And given his lack of awareness, yet somehow continuing to think he is being very logical (plus he was being unnecessarily disrespectful/dismissive of me) ticked me off because I come across such pseudo-skeptics day in day out and in my experience I find it effective to make them realize their own level of knowledge...so that's the motive behind my argument about the invalidity of Nick's argument).

When you say - In particular, your conclusion that Nick is "claiming an objective conclusion from a subjective premise" is meaningless to me: it is not the premise itself that is subjective, instead the premise is that belief in God is subjective - I am unable to understand why it is 'meaningless'...ok please explain what you mean by meaningless here...is it indicating that the statement cannot exist at all? the statement is invalid? the statement is non-fact? :puzzled:

just define what you mean by a "subjective premise" as opposed to an objective premise

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Re: atheism versus agnosticism

#94 Postby Nirvanam » August 30th, 2010, 11:15 am

Paolo wrote:In more general terms a believer has no need to prove anything if they are not making an assertion that impacts on others - leave them to it. I assume this is the point that Nirvanam is trying to defend.
Thanks Paolo, you got it right. And to add to that, if a non god-believer asserts a god doesn't exist (or as in Nick's case, is less likely) then I'd validate his argument just the way he would validate a believer who claims god exists (or is more likely to exist).

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Re: atheism versus agnosticism

#95 Postby Dave B » August 30th, 2010, 11:23 am

In more general terms a believer has no need to prove anything if they are not making an assertion that impacts on others - leave them to it.
I'll go with that Paolo. The only other thing is those who espouse the core values of their faith but do not apply them to those from other faiths or no faith lose my respect.
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Re: atheism versus agnosticism

#96 Postby Nirvanam » August 30th, 2010, 11:36 am

animist wrote:just define what you mean by a "subjective premise" as opposed to an objective premise
OK, an objective premise is a premise that can be verified to be true (if it is false then the argument is invalidated immediately - pls see the thread in which I provided a step by step process for validating arguments, but if it is true then we can go ahead and test the structure of the argument). For ex -
Premise: "Earth is 6000 yrs old", "Nirvanam is born to South Indian parents".
In the above examples, the second one is 'valid' and hence we can continue to the next step in the argument validation process. However, the first one, although is objective (as in it is defined in objective terms...yrs) it is invalid/not a fact.

One way to determine if a premise is objective is to figure out if its truth value is binary...i.e. it can either be false or true, nothing in between, or outside the two.

A subjective premise on the other hand cannot be invalidated at the premise level itself. For ex - "Bangalore is beautiful". Bangalore may be dirty for one guy, beautiful for another, and many degrees between ugly and beauty for others.

But this gives rise to a problem...many of our premises in the real world are subjective, so does it mean there is no place for subjectivity in a logical argument? It should not be so, because human experience is inclusive of subjectivity. So to address this problem what do we do? We present the premise conditionally...for ex we say "If Bangalore is beautiful", "When Sachin Tendulkar scores a century".

Going back to the god thing. the premise is..."God does not exist". This appears to be an objective premise, however that appearance is an illusion. How? To explain let me take the example of "Earth existed for 6000 yrs" or even closer, "Earth exists". You see, we have an objective definition for Earth...we know Earth is a planet, such and such a sphere, such and such a water-planet, etc, etc. Hence "Earth exists" is objective, However we do not know what god is hence god does not exist" is not an objective premise. Therefore, I was insisting on Nick to define God. If he had defined God, then it gives us a frame reference under which we can then say "god does not exist" is an objective premise (not necessarily valid...that we'll have to test).

Hope this explains, and now you can tell me why you find it meaningless

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Re: atheism versus agnosticism

#97 Postby Nirvanam » August 30th, 2010, 11:42 am

Dave B wrote:
In more general terms a believer has no need to prove anything if they are not making an assertion that impacts on others - leave them to it.
I'll go with that Paolo. The only other thing is those who espouse the core values of their faith but do not apply them to those from other faiths or no faith lose my respect.
That's where I argue that there is no individual in this world is perfectly Humanist or Christian or Taoist or Jain or Democrat or Communist or any other 'ist'. Because it is impossible to be so. every indivudal has a unique Life-View. You will not find the Pope living as per the catholic way of life 100%. You will not find yourself living as a Humanist 100%. It is impossible to do so. If you are an individual who is unique, you necessarily will not share a 100% life-view with any other individual in the world...not even your mirror image.

Hence I refrain from judging people because of their faith or there adherence to it whether he is a jew or a humanist or an advaitya-follower.

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Re: atheism versus agnosticism

#98 Postby animist » August 30th, 2010, 2:25 pm

Nirvanam wrote:
animist wrote:just define what you mean by a "subjective premise" as opposed to an objective premise
OK, an objective premise is a premise that can be verified to be true (if it is false then the argument is invalidated immediately - pls see the thread in which I provided a step by step process for validating arguments, but if it is true then we can go ahead and test the structure of the argument). For ex -
Premise: "Earth is 6000 yrs old", "Nirvanam is born to South Indian parents".
In the above examples, the second one is 'valid' and hence we can continue to the next step in the argument validation process. However, the first one, although is objective (as in it is defined in objective terms...yrs) it is invalid/not a fact.

One way to determine if a premise is objective is to figure out if its truth value is binary...i.e. it can either be false or true, nothing in between, or outside the two.

A subjective premise on the other hand cannot be invalidated at the premise level itself. For ex - "Bangalore is beautiful". Bangalore may be dirty for one guy, beautiful for another, and many degrees between ugly and beauty for others.

But this gives rise to a problem...many of our premises in the real world are subjective, so does it mean there is no place for subjectivity in a logical argument? It should not be so, because human experience is inclusive of subjectivity. So to address this problem what do we do? We present the premise conditionally...for ex we say "If Bangalore is beautiful", "When Sachin Tendulkar scores a century".

Going back to the god thing. the premise is..."God does not exist". This appears to be an objective premise, however that appearance is an illusion. How? To explain let me take the example of "Earth existed for 6000 yrs" or even closer, "Earth exists". You see, we have an objective definition for Earth...we know Earth is a planet, such and such a sphere, such and such a water-planet, etc, etc. Hence "Earth exists" is objective, However we do not know what god is hence god does not exist" is not an objective premise. Therefore, I was insisting on Nick to define God. If he had defined God, then it gives us a frame reference under which we can then say "god does not exist" is an objective premise (not necessarily valid...that we'll have to test).

Hope this explains, and now you can tell me why you find it meaningless


Your distinction between objective and subjective premises sort of makes sense to me: what you mean, I think, is that an

objective premise purports to make a true statement about the objective world, and can be verified or falsified, whereas a

subjective premiss simply gives expresses a feeling or aesthetic or moral judgment. Actually, I think you oversimplify, and what you call a subjective premiss could be either a value judgment ("Bangalore is beautiful", which in fact does attempt to be objective) or a purely personal and therefore subjective statement about one's own tastes or feelings (eg "I like apples more than pears"). But leave that aside; what is the subjective premiss in your argument against Nick?

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Re: atheism versus agnosticism

#99 Postby Emma Woolgatherer » August 30th, 2010, 3:11 pm

Nirvanam wrote:Emma, I am neither arguing for the existence of god or against it ...
I didn't think you were, Nirvanam.
Nirvanam wrote:my intent was to show to Nick that his argument that his viewpoint is somehow more likely to be true is illogical.
Funny. I didn't interpret what Nick said in that way at all. What I got from it was that he believes that it is far, far more likely that there is no God (in particular an Abrahamic one, but extending that, I think, to any god he has so far heard anyone describe) than that there is one. It happens to be a belief that I share.
Nirvanam wrote:And to prove that it is illogical all I need to do is to remind him (and anyone else who is interested to know) that logic works on binary values i.e. either an argument is valid or invalid, 1 or 0, logical or illogical. 'More likely', that term does not come into the picture when you are talking about facts.
It can do. When you are talking about future events, or unknown past events or unknown present states, it makes perfect sense to talk in terms of likelihood or probability, based on the evidence you have. It's not something that is covered by rules of classical deductive logic, but that doesn't make it illogical. And modern fuzzy logic and probabilistic logic (or probability logic) both allow for non-binary truth values.
Nirvanam wrote:When one says it is his or her opinion I'd have no basis to question him, but because it was extended that the opinion was more likely I was interested to know how. And he failed to show how his opinion was more likely.
Again, I'm not sure why you are interpreting what he said that way. The phrase you picked up on was: "Though I acknowledge the possibility of there being a god, the probability of his existence is vanishingly small." It is implied, I think, that it is Nick's opinion that the probability of God's existence is vanishingly small. But he did not say that he thought his opinion was more likely than some other opinion. That would be a rather peculiar thing for anyone to say. What one might reasonably venture is that an opinion based on a rational, critical examination of all the available evidence is more likely to be true than one based on wishful thinking, or on an emotional attachment to an idea or to a book or to a particular person propagating that idea, or on an uncritical examination of a narrow selection of the evidence.
Nirvanam wrote:Secondly, when you say that god to god-believers is objective, I think you are assuming their definition of what is objective = definition of 'objective thing' as per modern physics. That assumption may not be.
No, I am not assuming that. In fact, I might be guilty of assuming the opposite: that God to most God-believers exists in a way that is very much not according to the laws of modern physics. But the point I was trying to make was that God to most God-believers exists in some way outside their own heads, that God is "out there". If that's not the case, if a person who believes in God believes that God is a purely subjective experience, akin to an emotion or a dream, and they are making no claims about what God is or should be to other people, then it is something that has no effect on me, and I am not interested in refuting it.
Nirvanam wrote:Thirdly, whether a certain percentage or geographical area of world population believe in a particular definition of god, does not mean proving that particular definition of god as untrue makes others' definition of god also untrue. (I am not implying that you are doing this)
Good, I am glad you are not implying that I am doing this. :)
Nirvanam wrote:Fourthly, we must understand and be aware that our logical-argument-structures work under a certain perspective of logic. There are many such perspectives of logic. For ex, in ancient India there were different "schools" of logic, the Greeks had their logical schools. If one is really interested to come out of their 'frog in the well' attitude towards knowledge, they would realize that the modern European logical perspective since Kant are very narrow in their realm of possibilities plus their logical structures are themselves based on these ancient logical schools like Nyaya, Sankhya, etc, etc, etc.
I am aware that Indian logic has influenced Western logicians and philosophers, but I don't agree with you that "modern European logical perspective[s] since Kant are very narrow in their realm of possibilities". Does that mean that I have a "frog in the well" attitude towards knowledge?
Nirvanam wrote:What do I believe? Firstly I believe that my opinion and concept of reality is no more true or false than anyone else's.
And why do you believe that? What is your rationale? And if my opinion is that some opinions and concepts of reality are more true or false than others, and if you believe that my opinion is no more true or false than yours, then where does that leave us?
Nirvanam wrote:I also believe that everyone has some "logic" or "rationale" behind his beliefs but those rationales may not be in alignment with a particular school of logic, whether it be modern European or modern World or ancient Greek or whatever. However, it does cause an illusion that our logic is in alignment with one of those schools because we try to follow that particular school. For ex, when Nick said his viewpoint is "more likely" or the existence of god is "vanishingly small", I am 100% sure that Nick had a perfect logical explanation to why he feels so. But just that he assumed his logical deduction was completely aligned to modern European school. The moment we detect our logical process allowing a possibility of more than 2 truth values, it should be a trigger to alert us that we are not following the said school's logic. Some other school's logic may allow it though.
As I said above, fuzzy logic and probabilistic logic allow it. Modern European logic is more than just binary logic. More importantly, Nirvanam, ordinary discourse allows it, too. It is perfectly possible for a person to use the word "logical" in a valid way without having any knowledge of any particular school of logic.
Nirvanam wrote:I, unlike Nick and many others, will not claim that my viewpoint is more likely to be true than any other viewpoint.
Well, good for you! I take it, though, that you believe your viewpoint is true, or it wouldn't be your viewpoint. And if you do believe your viewpoint is true, then that has implications for your beliefs about the truth of other viewpoints that happen to be incompatible with your own. And if you don't believe your viewpoint is true, then what is it? Some kind of intellectual exercise?

Emma

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Re: atheism versus agnosticism

#100 Postby Nirvanam » August 30th, 2010, 4:29 pm

animist wrote:Actually, I think you oversimplify, and what you call a subjective premiss could be either a value judgment ("Bangalore is beautiful", which in fact does attempt to be objective)
it is not an oversimplification. It is that way...that's how logical arguments work. Secondly, a value judgment although attempts to be objective, is not objective. Why do I see this? Because all these "values" in our universe reside on a continuum. So judging a value to be something, for ex beautiful, automatically necessitates that you need to create a frame of reference (i.e. point on continuum above which it becomes beautiful, below which it becomes ugly). Once you choose a point, that point becomes open to validation...even if one individual in one context disagrees with that point, then the validity of the argument itself is lost. Hence, to avoid that risk, we create assumption-based conditional premises for subjective things. So had the premise been, "If Bangalore is beautiful", and you chose to argue against it, then your act of arguing implicitly states that you have considered the assumption in the premise as 'truth' value. If you don't consider it as true, no argument is possible.

animist wrote:But leave that aside; what is the subjective premiss in your argument against Nick?
If you don't mind Animist, I have explained it a few times above...pls just look thru the posts above...in my last post to Nick I constructed the argument again...just pls go thru that

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Re: atheism versus agnosticism

#101 Postby Nirvanam » August 30th, 2010, 5:25 pm

Emma Woolgatherer wrote:Funny. I didn't interpret what Nick said in that way at all. What I got from it was that he believes that it is far, far more likely that there is no God (in particular an Abrahamic one, but extending that, I think, to any god he has so far heard anyone describe) than that there is one. It happens to be a belief that I share.
When I asked him Nick first up on what basis does he say 'far far more likely' (whatever were his actual words), he had no objective answer for it and when I pointed out that there far far more likely has no objectivity, he insisted it is and basically alluded that he was being logical. Now, I am very familiar with logical arguments and how they are constructed, what constitutes them (u see I work with both linguistic logic and statistical logic...I keep ranting abt Null Hypothesis if u notice), and I could tell he was talking in the air. And as the thread went on he started getting disrespectful/dismissive...I had to at least make him aware about how logical arguments are constructed, why his argument was not logical, etc.

Emma Woolgatherer wrote:It can do. When you are talking about future events, or unknown past events or unknown present states, it makes perfect sense to talk in terms of likelihood or probability, based on the evidence you have. It's not something that is covered by rules of classical deductive logic, but that doesn't make it illogical. And modern fuzzy logic and probabilistic logic (or probability logic) both allow for non-binary truth values.
No Emma, I think you are getting confused between a fact and a prediction/theory. Theories and predictions work on probabilities, not facts. Facts are sealed...a thing can either be yes or no, true or false. Only binary.
In Fuzzy Logic and all, we create probabilities, and what-if scenarios (I deal with them in my profession). We also have concepts like Belief/Neural Networks, Simulations...Alan H would be aware of this I guess coz he is a scientist, and he'll be more knowledgeable than me surely.
The main difference, as per my understanding is, that in fuzzy logic a truth value is conditional, i.e. given a certain condition the truth value = 'true', given certain other conditions the truth value = 'false', given certain other conditions there is no truth value at all. Although tis not a one-one mapping, but I'll relate it to how in language-based logic we state a subjective premise as "fact" by introducing an assumption, "If Bangalore is beautiful", similarly Fuzzy logic works on conditional things. (Alan H pls correct me if I am wrong)

Emma Woolgatherer wrote:Again, I'm not sure why you are interpreting what he said that way. The phrase you picked up on was: "Though I acknowledge the possibility of there being a god, the probability of his existence is vanishingly small." It is implied, I think, that it is Nick's opinion that the probability of God's existence is vanishingly small. But he did not say that he thought his opinion was more likely than some other opinion.
Well, if he thought I was misinterpreting him then he could've clarified that he is not claiming that his opinion was true. I mean does anybody lose any dignity in saying that? No, right. At any moment during this discussion he could've just said, 'it is an opinion, I have no numbers based on which I said this is more probable, it is my instinct', it ends it there. I am sure he is aware that I myself hold that no opinion is greater so I'd not have argued at all.
I think he thought he'll get away because for some reason he had more faith in his belief, and I wanted to prove it to him his belief is based on his faith in some scientific concept (there is no proof for or against god, and no amount of probability will make it so...further no amount of justification for the weight of probability will make change things - one can fool the gullible with such terminology not ppl who deal with such things day in day out) .
Emma Woolgatherer wrote: That would be a rather peculiar thing for anyone to say. What one might reasonably venture is that an opinion based on a rational, critical examination of all the available evidence is more likely to be true than one based on wishful thinking, or on an emotional attachment to an idea or to a book or to a particular person propagating that idea, or on an uncritical examination of a narrow selection of the evidence.
Emma, this 'more likely' business does not work...it is a misunderstanding / misinterpretation of how logic is constructed and what we term logical...nothing is more logical than anything else. Either it is or it isn't.
Now, I further believe Nick does not have great knowledge about what those critical examinations are/were (I don't claim to know of them either). I understand this much in life, each and every human being has his life-view, in Nick's life-view he prefers to accept the words of certain scientists or things that fit his notion of universe or that he prefers. Same with me, same with you.

Emma Woolgatherer wrote:No, I am not assuming that. In fact, I might be guilty of assuming the opposite: that God to most God-believers exists in a way that is very much not according to the laws of modern physics. But the point I was trying to make was that God to most God-believers exists in some way outside their own heads, that God is "out there". If that's not the case, if a person who believes in God believes that God is a purely subjective experience, akin to an emotion or a dream, and they are making no claims about what God is or should be to other people, then it is something that has no effect on me, and I am not interested in refuting it.
By "out there" you mean god is separate from the individual? that it is an entity with a definite shape, size, form? If so, then let me tell you that you are restricting your god definition to what abrahamic religions believe it to be. Did you know the buddhism thought practice of Sanatana Dharma has no concept of a god? did you know advaitya believes that god and the individual are one and the same? there are as many version of god as there are people in the world.

Emma Woolgatherer wrote:
Nirvanam wrote:What do I believe? Firstly I believe that my opinion and concept of reality is no more true or false than anyone else's.
And why do you believe that?What is your rationale?
Because thru out my life I have experienced that reality is different for different people...in fact it has been different for me as time passes by, as I visit different places, gain more knowledge, view things in diff perspectives, etc.

Emma Woolgatherer wrote:And if my opinion is that some opinions and concepts of reality are more true or false than others, and if you believe that my opinion is no more true or false than yours, then where does that leave us?
Please don't go back to more true...there are only 2 values for objective truth - true and false. Nothing can be objectively more true or more false.
As for as physical reality is concerned, I responded to Paolo on another thread (Examining Reincarnation) just now about nature of reality...pls read that post, it describes the rationale for why I say reality is diff for diff entities (although I'll not claim I am right)

Emma Woolgatherer wrote:As I said above, fuzzy logic and probabilistic logic allow it. Modern European logic is more than just binary logic. More importantly, Nirvanam, ordinary discourse allows it, too. It is perfectly possible for a person to use the word "logical" in a valid way without having any knowledge of any particular school of logic.
Mentioned about my understanding of Fuzzy logic above

Emma Woolgatherer wrote:Well, good for you! I take it, though, that you believe your viewpoint is true, or it wouldn't be your viewpoint. And if you do believe your viewpoint is true, then that has implications for your beliefs about the truth of other viewpoints that happen to be incompatible with your own. And if you don't believe your viewpoint is true, then what is it? Some kind of intellectual exercise?

Emma
[/quote]I believe it is true. And I also acknowledge that my views continuously change in time, space, perspective, and context. And I also believe everybody's views change in t,s,p,c. But because I believe my viewpoint is true, it does not mean my viewpoint is etched in stone. Like I mentioned, it keeps changing...and the changes happen continuously as I keep learning new stuff. While quite a lot of fundamental viewpoints may have longer durations between changes, some change more frequently.

Also, because I believe my viewpoint is true, it does not automatically make others' viewpoints false in my life-view. Why do I say this? Because I believe my experience and my beliefs are relative, and in a relative universe nothing is absolute. So, my viewpoint and your viewpoint are equal to me...and this to me, is the source of my concept of equality - equality of people, of cultures, of nations, etc, and very importantly it becomes the bedrock for my concept of tolerance.

Also this belief ensures I rarely claim my view is correct or right or whatever.


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