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Evidence for the existence of God
RE: Evidence for the existence of God
(Yesterday, 14:42)Neo-Scholastic Wrote:
(Yesterday, 14:35)Asmodee Wrote: I see no direct or implied mention of apophenia there, nor any acknowledgement that it is a thing, nor that because of it humans recognizing patterns isn't exactly what one would call "meaningful".  On the contrary, you seem to put great stock in these supposed "patterns" with no suggestion whatsoever that they may hold no meaning whatsoever.

I acknowledge that apohenia is a real phenomena. That alone does not justify undermining the objectivity of science with radical skepticism.

To acknowledge a scientifically documented phenomena is hardly "radical skepticism".  In fact, to question any claim of science is a foundation of science, not any radical departure.  It is part of the scientific process.  For you to consider questioning your claims to be "radical" only exposes certain bias.  Aprophenia is absolutely something one must consider when examining any claim of supposed patterns, but it's not something you brought up when making such claims.

So what are these patterns?  What steps have you or others taken to show that they are true patterns and not simply falsely identified as patterns?  If you model the supposed pattern in a computer model, does the pattern hold?  Is the model able to accurately predict what should be observed, followed by observations (observed AFTERWARD) which confirm these patterns?  Are these patterns unerringly accurate?  And when modeling the pattern, were you sure not to include known laws of physics?  Something which follows the laws of physics does not constitute a "pattern".  For instance, I can use the known laws of gravity to accurately predict the position of the planets in the solar system, but that hardly constitutes any kind of "pattern".

Having an actual as opposed to a perceived pattern necessarily means that we can make predictions of what we will find with further observation.  For instance, given the numbers "3, 6, 9, 12, 15" a perceived pattern quickly emerges.  These are all multiples of 3.  So at this point we can predict that if the pattern holds, the next 5 numbers should be 18, 21, 24, 27 and 30.  If we then look at the next five numbers and find out that they are, indeed, what we expected then we have a rudimentary confirmation of a pattern, though the sample rate is so small as to be scientifically not very useful.  If, however, the next number is 19 instead of the 18 then the pattern does not hold.  The numbers certainly don't seem random, but that doesn't mean they are not.  And perhaps it is indicative of a much bigger pattern.  Perhaps the pattern is five multiples of three, followed by five multiples of three, plus one, and then five multiples of three, plus two.

So by the nature of patterns, if you find a pattern you can prove that pattern.  Bringing up aprophenia is hardly radical skepticism.  All you have to do is simply prove your pattern and aprophenia is summarily dismissed as a potential source of the pattern.

But I would guess the "patterns" you're talking about are the type which aren't so easily modeled, ie, the "imaginary" type, which you can only see the sense in AFTER you've seen the data.  This is exactly what aprophenia is.  I may be wrong.  If I am, please, enlighten me.  I will warn you, however, that things follow the laws of physics does not constitute a "pattern".  The rotation of the planets around the sun, for instance, is not a "pattern", it's the consequence of the laws of gravity and other laws of physics, to a lesser degree.  I'm sure solar wind plays some small roll in the exact location of planets, for instance.  But I will dismiss any "pattern" which is easily explained by the laws of physics as "not a pattern at all".
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RE: Evidence for the existence of God
(Yesterday, 15:29)Mister Agenda Wrote: Science is what helps us determine that a pattern we perceive isn't jus apophenia. Can you walk me through how Asmodee is undermining the objectivity of science, please? Despite my tendency to apohenia, I don't see it.

The post from which his objection is this one: http://atheistforums.org/thread-47143-po...pid1489317

The question I addressed was whether the models and descriptions of science strongly suggest that the apparent order of the physical universe reflects real fundamental order. If no such underlying order exists, then scientific inquiry isn't oriented towards any external object to informs or proscribes such an order. In that case, science does not produce actual knowledge.
Natural science has consistently confirmed Man's capacity to successfully discover laws of Nature by use of reason. If the world is intelligible and human reason effective, as demonstrated by the success of natural science, then the conclusions of Thomas Aquinas’s Five Ways follow with inexorable logic. Therefore, natural science unequivocally supports the proposition that God exists.
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RE: Evidence for the existence of God
(Yesterday, 16:16)Neo-Scholastic Wrote:
(Yesterday, 15:29)Mister Agenda Wrote: Science is what helps us determine that a pattern we perceive isn't jus apophenia. Can you walk me through how Asmodee is undermining the objectivity of science, please? Despite my tendency to apohenia, I don't see it.

The post from which his objection is this one: http://atheistforums.org/thread-47143-po...pid1489317

The question I addressed was whether the models and descriptions of science strongly suggest that the apparent order of the physical universe reflects real fundamental order. If no such underlying order exists, then scientific inquiry isn't oriented towards any external object to informs or proscribes such an order. In that case, science does not produce actual knowledge.

This takes us deeply into semantics and meanings of words, unfortunately, as, by one way of looking at it, science actually does not produce "knowledge".  It doesn't increase what we "know" about the universe and, in fact, it's fundamental nature is not to "know" anything.  Once you "know" something, once it is "true", then you don't question it.  Once you stop questioning, you stop learning.  I would say science produces "understanding", or perhaps even just "perceived understanding".  The underlying theory does not have to be correct, it just has to be useful.  And science should not be "oriented towards" any particular goal more than simple understanding.  Any such goals would add an unacceptable bias.

Also, I would need to to explain what you mean by "order".  The universe, in so much of it as we have observed, does follow certain rules, if I can use that word without having to elaborate that the "rules of the universe" is a usage of the word in no way similar to "rules" set forth by an intelligence to govern behavior.  Can you give any examples of order which are not easily explained by physical laws or which, if held true, would necessitate something other than ordinary natural causes?
Have you ever noticed all the drug commercials on TV lately?  Why is it the side effects never include penile enlargement or super powers?
Side effects may include super powers or enlarged penis which may become permanent with continued use.  Stop taking Killatol immediately and consult your doctor if you experience penis enlargement of more than 3 inches, laser vision, superhuman strength, invulnerability, the ability to explode heads with your mind or time travel.  Killatoll is not for everyone, especially those who already have convertibles or vehicles of ridiculous size to supplement penis size.
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RE: Evidence for the existence of God
(Yesterday, 16:16)Neo-Scholastic Wrote: The post from which his objection is this one: http://atheistforums.org/thread-47143-po...pid1489317

The question I addressed was whether the models and descriptions of science strongly suggest that the apparent order of the physical universe reflects real fundamental order. If no such underlying order exists, then scientific inquiry isn't oriented towards any external object to informs or proscribes such an order. In that case, science does not produce actual knowledge.

This takes us deeply into semantics and meanings of words, unfortunately, as, by one way of looking at it, science actually does not produce "knowledge".

[/quote]

The definition of knowledge has been well established since Plato and is "justified true belief." Personally, I consider the qualifier "true" redundant. With respect to the findings of natural science, or any other belief, the question is whether a belief is justified, meaning we have sufficient reason to suppose that the belief is true. Some people argue that some specific beliefs are properly basic, as i did earlier for uniformatarianism. A properly basic belief does require justification by a positive reason; the lack of a defeater suffices.

(Yesterday, 16:46)Asmodee Wrote: Also, I would need to to explain what you mean by "order"...Can you give any examples of order which are not easily explained by physical laws or which, if held true, would necessitate something other than ordinary natural causes?

Order is the opposite of chaos. In orderly world causes have regular effects by necessity. In a chaotic world, causes may have regular effects but could be otherwise for no reason. Since we are talking about the universal orderliness of the world (which encompasses all natural causes) and not various local examples of order your request cannot be met. Nor need it be.
Natural science has consistently confirmed Man's capacity to successfully discover laws of Nature by use of reason. If the world is intelligible and human reason effective, as demonstrated by the success of natural science, then the conclusions of Thomas Aquinas’s Five Ways follow with inexorable logic. Therefore, natural science unequivocally supports the proposition that God exists.
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RE: Evidence for the existence of God
(Yesterday, 17:10)Neo-Scholastic Wrote: The definition of knowledge has been well established since Plato and is "justified true belief." Personally, I consider the qualifier "true" redundant. With respect to the findings of natural science, or any other belief, the question is whether a belief is justified, meaning we have sufficient reason to suppose that the belief is true. Some people argue that some specific beliefs are properly basic, as i did earlier for uniformatarianism. A properly basic belief does require justification by a positive reason; the lack of a defeater suffices.

I don't think the word "true" is in any way redundant there. A justified belief is in no way necessarily true. As a child I had a belief that Santa Claus brought me presents. This belief was justified by the evidence I saw in the morning, presents mysteriously materialized overnight, claiming to be from Santa. For a child, this is a "justified belief", but that didn't make it a "true belief".

And it does make a difference. By having the word "true" in there then, no, science definitely does not advance "knowledge" because nothing in science is held as being "true".

While semantics discussions are usually pointless time-wasters intended to frustrate, unfortunately, they are sometimes necessary. In this case it makes a real difference whether you use the definition you adhere to as written, or whether you throw out the word "true", which you saw as unnecessary.

(Yesterday, 17:10)Neo-Scholastic Wrote: Order is the opposite of chaos. In orderly world causes have regular effects by necessity. In a chaotic world, causes may have regular effects but could be otherwise for no reason. Since we are talking about the universal orderliness of the world (which encompasses all natural causes) and not various local examples of order your request cannot be met. Nor need it be.
Okay, so "order" essentially says "follows the laws of physics", making it meaningless. Everything follows the laws of physics. There is no question there (well, there was a study a few years ago that suggested the laws of physics may not be the same throughout the universe, but that aside, given what we believe we know). But I do find it difficult to believe that not one single example can be given, nor is it clear exactly where you're going with this, nor what "order" has to do with the "patterns" we were originally talking about.

At any rate, I'm actually kind of enjoying this conversation with you. Not that we're likely to agree in the end as I certainly don't think that even if there were evidence of order, chaos or patterns of any sort it would necessitate any god, much less a specific one, but it's still an interesting conversation.
Have you ever noticed all the drug commercials on TV lately?  Why is it the side effects never include penile enlargement or super powers?
Side effects may include super powers or enlarged penis which may become permanent with continued use.  Stop taking Killatol immediately and consult your doctor if you experience penis enlargement of more than 3 inches, laser vision, superhuman strength, invulnerability, the ability to explode heads with your mind or time travel.  Killatoll is not for everyone, especially those who already have convertibles or vehicles of ridiculous size to supplement penis size.
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RE: Evidence for the existence of God
(Yesterday, 17:41)Asmodee Wrote: A justified belief is in no way necessarily true.

Correct. For certain types of beliefs, the best anyone can ever say is that they are justified in believing what they do. If I think P1 is true and you believe P1 is false (or not true), then we will compare our reasons to see whose belief is more justified, i.e. is properly basic, conforms to prior knowledge, is coherent, logically follows from given axioms, etc. In my opinion, a small set of specific beliefs count as certain knowledge such as The Principle of Non-Contradiction and The Law of Identity. Scientific findings are not in this sense certain. Acceptance of one theory over another is always tentative.

(Yesterday, 17:41)Asmodee Wrote: Okay, so "order" essentially says "follows the laws of physics", making it meaningless. Everything follows the laws of physics…. nor is it clear exactly where you're going with this, nor what "order" has to do with the "patterns" we were originally talking about.

The reason it came up is that another member called the physical universe’s regularities meaningless patterns - Newtonian physics? apophenia. Boyle’s Law? apophenia. Ohm’s Law? apophenia. I don’t believe that for a second. Newtonian Physics is one way to model the actions of the physical universe. Another way uses Special and General Relativity. Quantum Mechanics models those actions in yet another way. What I am saying is that our passive models and descriptions reflect proscriptive principles that actively make the universe orderly.
Natural science has consistently confirmed Man's capacity to successfully discover laws of Nature by use of reason. If the world is intelligible and human reason effective, as demonstrated by the success of natural science, then the conclusions of Thomas Aquinas’s Five Ways follow with inexorable logic. Therefore, natural science unequivocally supports the proposition that God exists.
Reply
RE: Evidence for the existence of God
(Yesterday, 18:51)Neo-Scholastic Wrote:
(Yesterday, 17:41)Asmodee Wrote: A justified belief is in no way necessarily true.  

Correct. For certain types of beliefs, the best anyone can ever say is that they are justified in believing what they do. If I think P1 is true and you believe P1 is false (or not true), then we will compare our reasons to see whose belief is more justified, i.e. is properly basic, conforms to prior knowledge, is coherent, logically follows from given axioms, etc. In my opinion, a small set of specific beliefs count as certain knowledge such as The Principle of Non-Contradiction and The Law of Identity. Scientific findings are not in this sense certain. Acceptance of one theory over another is always tentative.
If you agree with this then why did you think the word "true" to be redundant in the definition of knowledge?  For the word to be redundant "justified belief" and "justified true belief" would have to mean the same thing, which you just acknowledged is not true.

(Yesterday, 18:51)Neo-Scholastic Wrote:
(Yesterday, 17:41)Asmodee Wrote: Okay, so "order" essentially says "follows the laws of physics", making it meaningless.  Everything follows the laws of physics…. nor is it clear exactly where you're going with this, nor what "order" has to do with the "patterns" we were originally talking about.

The reason it came up is that another member called the physical universe’s regularities meaningless patterns - Newtonian physics? apophenia. Boyle’s Law? apophenia. Ohm’s Law? apophenia. I don’t believe that for a second. Newtonian Physics is one way to model the actions of the physical universe. Another way uses Special and General Relativity. Quantum Mechanics models those actions in yet another way. What I am saying is that our passive models and descriptions reflect proscriptive principles that actively make the universe orderly.
Yes, the universe follows certain known laws and probably quite a few unknown laws.  That is a given, or at least, we think it is.  At any rate it is the bedrock of science.  If it weren't true then science would be impossible and everything would be some sort of magic.  I don't see how this fits into what you're saying, though.

You know, at this point it might be good for us to figure out exactly what it is we're talking about.  We're talking, and it's a decent talk, but I don't know what either of us are getting at.  So I guess it's not a "productive" talk.  It's certainly off topic as neither of us is presenting evidence for or against the existence of God.  But maybe that's okay.  At least we're finding some common ground here and there.  You're actually quite a bit more cerebral than my first impressions of you.  Not that I'm nominating you for genius of the year or anything, but then neither are you nominating me, to put that in context.
Have you ever noticed all the drug commercials on TV lately?  Why is it the side effects never include penile enlargement or super powers?
Side effects may include super powers or enlarged penis which may become permanent with continued use.  Stop taking Killatol immediately and consult your doctor if you experience penis enlargement of more than 3 inches, laser vision, superhuman strength, invulnerability, the ability to explode heads with your mind or time travel.  Killatoll is not for everyone, especially those who already have convertibles or vehicles of ridiculous size to supplement penis size.
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RE: Evidence for the existence of God
(Yesterday, 13:46)Neo-Scholastic Wrote:
(Yesterday, 00:14)Jörmungandr Wrote: Because it is useful to the survival of our species.  That's all that evolution requires for there to be a selective advantage to preserving this feature.  But you already know this.

That answer doesn’t address the sense of my question. You’re just saying that it works. So what? Many species survive and thrive without rationality. Claws work because they are sharp. Camouflage works because it blends with the background. What is it about reason that makes it work? I say, reason works because it produces real knowledge of external reality. You frequently seem to pooh-pooh this notion. The senses are unreliable, you say. Our interpretations are biased, you say. And that is true to some extent. So also is our sense of time unreliable and subjective. That is why we invented clocks and calendars to correct our limitations. In the same way, we have developed conceptual tools from symbolic logic to the modern scientific method to overcome fallacious thinking and interpretive bias. We have developed physical tools, from rulers to microscopes, to supplement and correct the senses. But none of that matters, you say, if the efficacy of the tools themselves is suspect since they are the products of conceptual bias and deceptive senses That kind of radical skepticism leads nowhere. And it comes with a price, a very steep one at that.

See specifically at 6:45 concerning the Australian jewel beetle.





Reason works because it produces fitness. Whether that involves valid interpretations of reality is secondary. I'm sure you've seen the demonstrations of change blindness where for a customer filling out a form, the clerk servicing them is switched and in 40% of cases they don't notice the change. Where is knowledge of external reality then?



[Image: splashing.jpg]
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RE: Evidence for the existence of God
Thank you for sharing those two videos. Personally, I didn’t see anything that nudged the discussion in favor of either of our stances. I do have a couple of comments however.

First, people are indeed susceptible to illusions. As a semi-professional oil painter, I know all about the techniques artists use to trick the eye. Despite being initially fooled, viewers can know that what they see is illusion and still delight in the tenaciousness of its affect. The teenager looking at a lingerie catalogue never mistakes the printed image for the real life model. Unlike the beetle, he knows his arousal is based on fantasy. Continued observations may not dispel some compelling misperceptions but they can reveal some illusions for what they are. The lecturer rhetorically states that “we are blind to our blindness” but I don’t think he truly believes that. In fact he uses other more refined observations, mathematical models, and logic to reveal areas of ‘blindness’.

Secondly, there is ambiguity about his use of the phrase “as it really is.” While there may be, and likely is, an unbridgeable chasm between phenomena and nomena that does not mean that the interactions between them are arbitrary. All the reasons I listed before (about the accuracy, precision and detail of our scientific models) justify the belief that those interactions are instead ordered by necessity. So while the phrase “as it really is” can apply to mistaking beer bottles for mates, it would not undermine induced knowledge that the world “really is” rationally ordered. You can have both.

Next. At the end, around 20:00, the lecturer explicitly states his belief that logic and mathematics are not simply perceptual hacks. You seem to have advocated otherwise. You point to problems like the Liars Paradox to support your belief that reason itself cannot be trusted. It too, you have said, is an evolved hack to enhance fitness. Your claim is that people cannot even have certainty about basic rules of thought like the Principle of Non-Contradiction or the Law of Identity. That is a self-defeating position.

Also, I do not often refer to claims from special revelation but I think they have relevance. The content of the videos confirm Christian beliefs taken from Scripture, i.e. the sensual world is illusory and often prevents us from seeing spiritual reality, or as the lecturer would say “as it really is” Specifically:

“For now we see in a mirror, darkly…” – 1 Cor 13:12
“You cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” – Ex 33:2
“And he was transfigured before them and His face shown like the sun and His clothes became white as light.” – Matt 17:2
“…Jesus Himself came up and walked with them, but they were kept from recognizing Him…then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him….” Luke 24:15,16

And for what it is worth:

“Angels have no notion or idea of time and space…” – Emanuel Swedenborg, HH 162
“If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to Man as it is, Infinite.” – William Blake.
“The name that can be named is not the enduring and unchanging name.” – Lao-tzu

I mention these references both Scriptural and from mystical writings because all of them acknowledge a clear distinction between the nomenal and phenomenal. The categories of time and space and physicality are other than what we suppose. At the same time, the point of these sources  is that dispelling these illusions of fleshly incarnation reveals a divine order that is more fundamental (or spiritual) reality. They encourage people to look beyond the veil of illusions to see reality “as it really is.”
Natural science has consistently confirmed Man's capacity to successfully discover laws of Nature by use of reason. If the world is intelligible and human reason effective, as demonstrated by the success of natural science, then the conclusions of Thomas Aquinas’s Five Ways follow with inexorable logic. Therefore, natural science unequivocally supports the proposition that God exists.
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