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Thread: Failed prophecy.

  1. Top | #161
    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post

    I have every respect for Sean Caroll. But I also know that he knows the difference between data and opinion. I have no issue with the article, but it doesn't actually say very much if you're really reading it carefully. He's a positivist. That's fine. A valid belief, in my opinion. Not a scientific conclusion, though.
    Well it's pretty hard to hold the opinion that there's an unknown interaction between humans and 'souls' or 'gods', when you are aware that the conclusion of our best scientific evidence is that no unknown interactions are possible.

    It's pretty watertight - you either reject our best science; Or you reject the core concepts of the vast majority of religions. All of which have incredibly weak foundations.

    It's really no less silly to believe in a flat Earth than it is to believe in gods or souls - The only substantive difference is that most people do not have a good grasp of the science in the latter case. But that's just ignorance.
    The article you link doesn't say any of the things that you are saying, neither do all religions, let alone religious people, say the things that you say they say.
    The article supports my argument. It's not my entire argument, and what I say about physics is certainly supported by physics. No mechanism can exist by which a soul or a god could interact with a physical human body or brain, other than at energies incompatible with the continuing physical integrity of the human in question. That's undeniable given the state of current physics. For that physics to be wrong would require an astonishing number of massive errors in our scientific understanding - essentially all of our modern technology would have to work, not because we understand how it works, but by pure luck despite our abject lack of understanding. I don't find that credible.

    I have nothing to say about anyone who is so confused that they are religious, but accept as fact that neither souls nor gods exist. You can't debate an insane person.

  2. Top | #162
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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    If you believe that the central hypothesis of atheism can be supported by empirical evidence, I'm interested.
    The "central hypothesis of atheism"? What would that be?

    If you're referring to not holding a belief in a god or gods, that's not a hypothesis. But even if it were, it is easily supported by empirical evidence. We know from extensive experience that fictional characters in books don't exist and that anecdotal claims only evidence that someone thought they saw or experienced something that they couldn't otherwise explain, not that they evidence the subject of that claim being actual.

    Regardless, the implication in your fallacy is that there is a "central hypothesis of theism" that is "supported by empirical evidence" and that's false. Again, there is a fundamental difference between an experience and correctly assessing--i.e., objectively establishing, to the best of our abilities--what that experience actually consisted of.

    We know, for example, that human brains are extremely easy to manipulate and human perception is disturbingly susceptible to all manner of malfunction/damage/mistakes/confirmation bias, etc.

    There are countless examples of eye-witnesses literally swearing on a bible that the person that raped them--something so intimate and extended as to seemingly be impossible for a victim to get wrong--and yet, it occurs.

    Likewise, we know the alarming fact that many confessions of serious, heinous crimes--murder, no less--have likewise been false, something that seems so counter intuitive to the majority of us that many today still don't believe it can actually happen.

    We know about Stockholm syndrome and shared psychotic disorders and mass hysteria and, of course, the well known "religious vision" component to certain forms of epilepsy.

    Hell, we ALL know that we dream at night and are therefore fully capable of generating entire worlds that, at the time, seem so real and legitimate that they often have "real world" effects (such as wet dreams and sleepwalking and the like).

    Iow, it has been abundantly and conclusively established that human perception should always be distrusted and tested and retested, which is precisely why the so-called "scientific method" was created in the first place and why rules of logic were formed; because we cannot trust our senses and need exhaustive measures to quintuple check our results and observations.

    It is also (likewise) the basis of your own alleged agnosticism. I say "alleged" because of your posting history, but also because agnosticism in general is actually the more unsupportable position, for precisely these reasons. In professing to hold no position on either the existence or the non-existence of a god or gods, you are merely tacitly holding a positive position. I.e., you are simply a theist. Claiming to be "agnostic" is really just a disingenuous get out of the argument free card for precisely the above reasons.

    We know anecdote is not evidence of the content/subject of the claim; merely that someone experienced something not readily explicable. But in so many quadrillions of such instances throughout history, the answer has always turned out to be something explicable.

    When you have so many billions of like claims ALL proven false, it goes beyond a preponderance of evidence, so to nevertheless assert agnosticism in regard to such a mountain of supporting evidence actually contradicts the whole reasoning behind agnosticism axiomatically.

    Iow, we have ALL evidence disproving and zero evidence proving what is actually a single, never proved positive claim that is thousands of years old, regardless of how many times it has been regurgitated since that first time one of our ancestors made up the notion of a god.

    To assert agnosticism in light of that overwhelming mountain of evidence disproving a millenias old claim--itself the rather obvious result of an honest, but simple ignorance--is, again, just a disingenuous way of saying, "I'm a theist, but I don't want to be held accountable for my beliefs."

  3. Top | #163
    Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    A lack of conviction based on insufficient evidence to support a belief is not a matter of an hypothesis, just a lack of conviction.

  4. Top | #164
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    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    A lack of conviction based on insufficient evidence to support a belief is not a matter of an hypothesis, just a lack of conviction.
    Well, it's not JUST a lack of conviction... it's also the means by which a hypothesis is abandoned for a better one.. "better" as in one that has more supporting evidence and serves to provide a more robust explanation.

  5. Top | #165
    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    Ah, conviction. That most important of scientific principles: feeling really hard about stuff.

  6. Top | #166
    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    Ah, conviction. That most important of scientific principles: feeling really hard about stuff.
    You have that backwards. The important thing in science is to LACK conviction - and instead to demand hard evidence, even for the apparently obvious.

    It's on this point that science diverges from religion as a tool for determining truths about reality. In religion, conviction is a virtue - faith is synonymous with total conviction. In science, conviction is a vice.

    Which approach is better? Well, we tried faith for centuries; But it wasn't until we tried science instead that life expectancy rose, poverty went into a rapid decline, and famine became an historical curiosity rather than an ever present threat.

    The idea that to lack conviction is in itself a bad thing is a hangover from the Dark Ages.

  7. Top | #167
    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    Ah, conviction. That most important of scientific principles: feeling really hard about stuff.
    You have that backwards. The important thing in science is to LACK conviction - and instead to demand hard evidence, even for the apparently obvious.

    It's on this point that science diverges from religion as a tool for determining truths about reality. In religion, conviction is a virtue - faith is synonymous with total conviction. In science, conviction is a vice.

    Which approach is better? Well, we tried faith for centuries; But it wasn't until we tried science instead that life expectancy rose, poverty went into a rapid decline, and famine became an historical curiosity rather than an ever present threat.

    The idea that to lack conviction is in itself a bad thing is a hangover from the Dark Ages.
    Yes, I know. DBT cited my lack of conviction as though it were a bad thing; I profoundly disagree.

  8. Top | #168
    Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Nut View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    A lack of conviction based on insufficient evidence to support a belief is not a matter of an hypothesis, just a lack of conviction.
    Well, it's not JUST a lack of conviction... it's also the means by which a hypothesis is abandoned for a better one.. "better" as in one that has more supporting evidence and serves to provide a more robust explanation.

    The word 'Atheist' essentially means 'without a belief in God' so does not entail belief, theory or hypothesis.

  9. Top | #169
    Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    Ah, conviction. That most important of scientific principles: feeling really hard about stuff.
    You have that backwards. The important thing in science is to LACK conviction - and instead to demand hard evidence, even for the apparently obvious.

    It's on this point that science diverges from religion as a tool for determining truths about reality. In religion, conviction is a virtue - faith is synonymous with total conviction. In science, conviction is a vice.

    Which approach is better? Well, we tried faith for centuries; But it wasn't until we tried science instead that life expectancy rose, poverty went into a rapid decline, and famine became an historical curiosity rather than an ever present threat.

    The idea that to lack conviction is in itself a bad thing is a hangover from the Dark Ages.
    Yes, I know. DBT cited my lack of conviction as though it were a bad thing; I profoundly disagree.
    At no point did I say or intend to imply that a lack of conviction is necessarily a bad thing.

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