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  1. #61
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    Now let's bring this back to the topic of the thread. According to what you are saying, if I read you correctly HE, scripture may as well be history, because we really have no way of distinguishing between facts and fantasy to begin with. Both require belief and the veracity of both is measured by the same yardstick. So, the description of Moses parting the Red Sea and of Christ rising from the dead is perfectly logical and shouldn't be put to any tests that we would normally use to determine if we are understanding things in our world correctly.

  2. #62
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    I think what I'm saying is that as a history, the Bible is every bit as accurate as the following US history text books among those used in our schools to teach our children:
    The American Adventure 1975
    American Adventures 1987
    American History 1982
    The American Pageant 1991
    The American Tradition 1984
    and almost every other American history text penned between 1850 and 2000.
    It has become an aphorism that history books, written as they are by the winners, lie. Okay, let's soften that, they fantacize.

    As a means of supporting a belief system, the bible accomplishes its purpose extremely well and has done so for quite some time. If people want to believe in the parting of the Red Sea, t's okay with me. According to this science that is all the rage, my belief and dream and hope that the speed of light can be exceeded is just as far fetched.

    We should begin worrying about the scientific accuracy of the Bible about the time we begin worrying about the scientific accuracy of Star Wars. It isn't meant to be a physics text book.

    I don't care what people believe as long as I am free to belive what I choose to believe. I have no aspiration to messiahhood so I am not in the least interested in converting them away from their belief.

  3. #63
    www.voxnewman.com kongming's Avatar
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    There was an interesting article by a fellow named Tom Harper in a The Toronto Star a Canadian newspaper. He has studied ancient greek and can actually read the orriginal bibles. In greek Jesus was answering a question about hell. He made an analogy with this dump on the edge of town that used to be a pagan alter but the jews had destroyed it. Anyway when the it was written in ancient greek they used words for the afterlife that Jesus was describing and one of those was Hades, the greek hell. So this is where the idea of fire and brimstone came from.

    Harper went on to state that what Jesus was saying and had said in the past was misinterpreted. He claimed that the afterlife of Heaven and hell is the same place. Once you arrive you will relive the experiences of anyone you have influenced on the mortal plane. So if you were the reason 6 million people were exterminated then you relive the lives of each of those 6 million people and if you are not sorry for what you did once you have gone through it then you keep reliving these experiences until you ARE sorry. If you never hurt anyone or somehow understood what you had done and were truly sorry for it before death then there is no reason to live through the lives of people you hurt.

    Anyway, this is the nature of the afterlife that I adhere to and I can easily see how it could be seen as two very different places by two different people. Also I can see where the idea of Purgatory came from.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tari
    no catholic should say Hell does not exist.

  4. #64
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    Given that the question begs the "1 + 1 = ?" case mentioned previously, my answer is that, yes, all claims are equal if they satisfy the need the claimant had when making the claim. Can't compare apples and oranges, can you? Must take apples in the context of the tree they grew on and oranges the same. It's not a competition as to who has the "correct" answer; it's a question if the answer serves its purpose.
    Is this what you're saying: Since everyone comes from their own context, and since everyone generally argues in their own interest, everybody is right all the time, and all 'wrong' really means is 'disagree with me'? Does that mean Hitler was right about the Jews, or that Ptolemy was right about the planets, given their 'context'?

    If you sincerely believe this HE, then there's absolutely no reason to debate, since debating somebody who make's 'agreement with his interests' the criterion of true and false beliefs is simple futility. Personally, I believe self-interests are the primary obstacle to finding better beliefs. And I don't think it's mere coincidence that so much scientific methodology is devoted to safeguarding results from the experimenter's interest.

    The bottom line, though, is that if this your response, then it's philosophical, and philosophical claims seem to have a horrible track record, wouldn't you agree? All things being equal, I think it's more rational to suspend any commitment to this philosophical position you ascribe to, and wait to see what other, obviously more reliable institutions, such as science, have to say.

    Do we get use the entire world or we confined to Eurocentric science? If we get to include China, the rest of the Far, Southeast and the Middle East as part of the history of science, then I'll accept science as the most powerful instrument of discovery. If we are limited to Eurocentric science, then, no, I'd rank the accomplishments of the rest of the world right up there with modern science because without the rest of the world, it couldn't have happened.
    Huh? I think you're trying to undermine the functional veracity of scientific discovery by contextualizing it, and then rendering it definitionally contingent on those contexts (??), but what it really sounds like is a way to avoid answering the question. Does it make you uncomfortable?

    Profound differences in agenda or mythos or faith, whichever term suits you best.
    I thought the differences at issue were clear when I asked the question. The way critique is built into the claim-making process in science. The way scientific claims exhibit so many more theoretical virtues. If science and religion are essentially the same, as you say, you must have some way of explaining those away. Because if you can't it suggests that they're fundamentally different.

    Since all these responses come down to this contextualist stance your advocating, I'll bring it all down to a single question. What is there in philosophy that warrants exclusive commitment to any philosophical claim, let alone this contextualism you're espousing?

    You are, in effect, preempting all scientific claim-making on the basis of a philosophical claim, which kind of strikes me like convicting the Pope on Ted Bundy's testimony!

  5. #65
    www.voxnewman.com kongming's Avatar
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    I recommend reading "A General Theory of Love" by Richard Lannon MD.

    and then

    "Plato: The Symposium."


    Quote Originally Posted by Hereford Eye
    This just occurred to me, something about which science has little to say. Does love between human beings exist? Let's distinguish here between love and procreation. I'm talking the love that has kept me sharing life with the same woman for 37 years. Is that real or is it a figment of my imagination?
    Where did it come from and why? What's its purpose if there are no children?

  6. #66
    www.voxnewman.com kongming's Avatar
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    That statement just seems false to me. At times Religious institutions have agreed and disagreed, sometimes groups of christians agree on one thing and then not on another.

    Are you claiming that every scientist in the world tows the line and believes evrything that science has "proven". If so why do they keep running experiments, when they've already built a consensus?

    And how do you build a consensus in a belief that is based as you say on skepticism?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Bakker
    As far as I'm concerned the difference simply couldn't be more stark. On the one hand you have an institution, religion, that still can't command consensus on its founding claims after thousands of years, and on the other, you have an institution that has been able, despite its foibles, to build on consensus after consensus, so that a few centuries after Gallileo, we can eradicate small-pox, generate thermonuclear explosions, and create the very computers you use to make your argument.

  7. #67
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    What is there in philosophy that warrants exclusive commitment to any philosophical claim, let alone this contextualism you're espousing?
    I do not recall advocating exclusive commitment to any philosophical claim. I do recall talking at length on belief systems and the notion that I suspect modern science constitutes a belief system. There are many posts above that go to this matter.

    I'd propose a counter question: can you please cite an example of a scientific fact that exists out of its context?

    As to your bringing Hitler into the mix, I am miffed that you don't read my posts. I believe I stated quite clearly "I don't care what people believe as long as I am free to believe what I choose to believe." When my right to believe what I choose to believe gets threatened by an individual or a government, I get agitated. I am prone to stay agitated till the threat disappears. As you may suspect, I stay agitated.

    Quote Originally Posted by kongming
    Plato: The Symposium
    No philosophy allowed; it isn't scientific.
    Last edited by Hereford Eye; April 6th, 2005 at 04:48 PM.

  8. #68
    www.voxnewman.com kongming's Avatar
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    No all claims are NOT equal. Some scientists claims are greater than the claim of a Bishop or Monk based on who you trust is closer to the truth and vive versa.

    And I think Bookies are far more accurate than science OR religeon.

    They make some claims and alot of the time they disagree. Not everything science said is true in fact all of it could be wrong but we accept many things as true because we ourselves have the ability to perceive the truth. The same with the world's religeon's They make a claim and we shouldn't immediatly jump on board b/c they say it's true.

    Anyway with science or religeon you can meditate or pray on the claim and decide for yourself what you will accept and what you will withold jedgement on.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Bakker
    1) Are all claims equal, and if not, what distinguishes better claims from worse claims?
    2) If science isn't the most powerful instrument of discovery in human history, what claim-making institution beats it?
    3) How do you explain the profound differences between science and religion as claim-making institutions?

  9. #69
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    I hereby unpropose my counter question presented above. There is an ancient US Army term to cover what prompted me to pose the question in the first place: I f**ked up. Sorry about that!

  10. #70
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    Contextualism is a philosophical position wherein claims are held to be relative to their pertinent contexts. Are you saying you don't hold this view? Because it seems to be what you keep coming back to in your preemption of scientific claims. And if you do hold this view, you have a bonified philosophical commitment to the nature of claims and truth.

    For me, I don't hold much truck with the 'trumping power' of philosophical claims, especially ones that claim to erase the cognitive difference between claims (I see it as a self-preservational tactic, allowing people to have claims without really having to defend them). Unlike science, and very much like religion, philosophy as an institution hasn't been able to resolve any of its controversies (as an aside, Kongming, what controversies has religion definitively settled on the basis of evidence and reason (as opposed to attrition and authority)?). Like I say, using philosophy to impeach science is like convicting the pope on Ted Bundy's testimony!

    As for your question, tell me what a 'context' is, HE, and I'll be more than happy to answer. I for one, haven't a clue, and I used to be a contextualist! Now, like I say, I just see a bunch of humans making a bunch of claims, and it seems pretty clear to me that the claims made by one's wearing the white coats tend to be more reliable, more useful, less flattering, more comprehensive, more inclined to progess, to command consensus, and so on, and so on, than the ones with the collars or the tweed jackets. If I wrong about that, then I'm open to how their claims tend to be all these things.

    Otherwise, please don't get agitated! Certainly we have the freedom to believe whatever we want. But don't you want to have the best beliefs possible? Testing them in debate is all about that.

  11. #71
    Registered User Zsinj's Avatar
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    Well, as some people here know, I myself am a Christian, but I don't force my beliefs on anyone.

    Then you can dig into such lines as 'In those days there were giants'. WHAT! Why has no one EVER questioned that line? Giants? Really? Where'd they come from? It didn't mention on the eighth day God created giants.
    This has always been an interesting topic to me, Maus. There is a lot of debate among theologians and Christian Scholars on this very issue. Personally I've heard that giants come from the interbreeding of demons and mankind. From what I've heard, Cain, the Son of Adam, had a wife, and so since there was no other recorded humans on this earth at that time except Adam, Eve, Cain, and Abel, many scholars assume that Cain's wife was a demon. It's a very narrow-minded theory, I know, but it's still interesting. So anyway, when this demon mated with Cane, supposedly their offspring were the giants in question. This theory/myth may also be an offshoot of the whole myth about Lillith, the first vampire-demon.
    Another theory that's always interested me is the "Gap Theory", that says that God created an Earth before the one we have now, and Satan, when he was thrown down from heaven, came in and screwed everything up and set up a dark kingdom on the Earth, so God had to rebuild it again in the "Second Creation"

    I kid you not. He uses demon possession to explain many things in people, such as mental illness and self-destructive behaviour.
    No offense to your dad, Miri, but I think he's a bit out in left field with his explanation of mental illness being from demon posession. I have a mental illness and I am certainly not demon possessed! Obviously your dad has no clue about psychology and the workings of the brain. Again, no offense meant, I just get kind of pissed off when people say things like that. You see, I've seen several mentally ill people discriminated against by fundamentalist Christians, and frankly, it makes me sick!

    Yes, Gary, they do believe in magic, and can see the similarities. But they believe that "magic" comes straight from the devil and is to be avoided at the cost of your mortal soul--as opposed to "miracles," which are a manifestation of God's power and greatly to be desired. (Interestingly, the people I know who believe this way have never witnessed either miracle or magic.)
    Miri, I haven't read all of the Bible, and by no means am I a scholar, in fact I am very far from it, but I've talked with a couple of friends of mine who are much better versed in the Bible than I am, and they say that nowhere in the Bible does it say that magic is evil or of the devil, just that it's very dangerous and for that reason Christians shouldn't do it.
    I even have this one Christian friend who has this idea that I think is rather wierd but interesting; he believes that magic is of God and there is a good and evil side to it. The witchcraft/demon-summoning/spells stuff is the evil side, and the miracle stuff is the good side. Again, kind of screwy in nature but it's an interesting theory.
    One thing that I find to be strange in the Bible is that, when it records King Saul going to the witch at Endor and having her conjure up the spirit of that one prophet (forget his name), the writer of that seems to have no opinion on whether what Saul did was right or wrong.

  12. #72
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    The good thing about conversations is the opportunity to see how you are coming across to the other side. To discover that I am guilty of preempting the validity of scientific claims is rather startling. Evidently, referring to modern science as a belief system somehow indicates the truths they hold so dear are something I seem to flatly reject. I assume that's what preempting their validity means.

    What I thought I said was:
    ""Religion: a) any specific system of belief and worship, often involving a code of ethics and a philosophy [the Christian religion, the Buddhist religion, etc.]" b) any system of beliefs, practices, ethical values, etc. resembling, suggestive of, or likened to such a system [humanism as a religion]"
    Science: any specific branch of scientific knowledge, esp. one concerned with establishing and systematizing facts, principles, and methods, as by experiments and hypotheses [the science of mathematics]"
    Webster’s New World Dictionary"

    And then I thought asked: "Isn't the function of a belief system to get one through the day, the week, the hour, the year, the life. Viable belief systems modify themselves over time with new input and failed experiments, i.e., daily life. If so, they all have truth on their side and competitive comparisons are beside the point."
    I offered as consideration the idea that both science and religion seem to enjoy addressing:
    "(1) when life began
    (2) when it ends
    (3) when human life began
    (4) when it will end
    (5) how human life is similar to and differs from other life
    (6) interrelationship of humans to other life on the planet
    (7) what makes people tick
    (8) what makes people in groups tick
    (9) what makes people normal and what to do when they're not normal
    (10) whether people are alone in the universe or not
    (11) what causes consciousness, rational thinking, ideation
    (12) why there is order in seeming chaos and vice versa
    (13) the nature of human belief systems and how these paradigms are changed"
    The answers each side comes up with - to me - constitute a belief system.

    Then, I remember suggesting the answers each side comes up with tends to satisfy the agenda, mythos, or faith that drove the question.

    Now I learn that means I am preempting the validity of the scientific claims.

    Always good to spend the day learning new things about oneself.

  13. #73
    www.voxnewman.com kongming's Avatar
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    I don't even know if I claimed that it did. I was just saying that one should not say that science has all the answers and religeon has none. Because that statement cannot be proven.

    Science has been and will continue to be wrong about a great many things as will the dogma of any given church.

    I don't think it is the church's purpose to explain the every day and mundane. All religeon really tells us is that we have a purpose and that there is meaning to the universe and we should aspire to play that role instead of trying to end our own existence. What I mean to say is that the universe has truths or rules if you will and one day we may discover what those truths are. We know some of them and maybe some can be proven, but proving them is only necessary so that we can eliminate the possibility that we may be wrong. I have proof for myself in the existence of god and is imperical. Unfortunately it is personal and I have no way right now to share it with you, but if one of us ever becomes a telepath I will gladly do so. But I also think that all of us have this proof and if we listen for it we will hear it. I just happened to be paying attention in class a couple of days if you will. I wish I was paying attention all the time because it would be wonderful to have all the answers, but unfortunately that wasn't the case.

    And I don't get this philosophy is not science. As far as I know it is the basis of science.

    But if you want an example of what controversies religeon has helped to solve with evidence and reason look at the example of the holocaust:

    Much of that was due to church (obviously there were many factors but evryone sees this as the big one). So it may have taken a while but you finally saw a Pope stand up and admit that the church's action set up a series of events that invitably caused a tragic loss of life. And if you look at the theme of the bible this type of thing was one of the many warnings.

    "What ever you do to the least of my people you do unto me."

    that pretty much summed it up but we didn't really understand it until now. And now we have to deal with the consequences. Ignoring that one teaching eventually led to even the twin towers and the invasion of Iraq and whatever else may come now.

    That's a great case of cause and effect.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Bakker
    (as an aside, Kongming, what controversies has religion definitively settled on the basis of evidence and reason (as opposed to attrition and authority)?). Like I say, using philosophy to impeach science is like convicting the pope on Ted Bundy's testimony!

  14. #74
    www.voxnewman.com kongming's Avatar
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    There are some Gnostic bibles from the Magi that puport that Jesus was the greatest Mage. Through my own research I am of the opinion that like everything else there is a good and evil magic. If one comes through god you could call it miracles, but I think that's only through his direct intervention. Same with the Devil. But if it comes from the earth or universe and it is just one of the natural energies that we can access it may come from either but it's not like either side is saying: "Ok, take that.". it's more likely that either side of the energy is imbued within the location you are taping into.

    Now this I don't have much evidence for because I don't think I have witnessed a truly powerful magic act, I'm basing this on a perception of the history of magic acts which I was never witness to.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zsinj
    nowhere in the Bible does it say that magic is evil or of the devil, just that it's very dangerous and for that reason Christians shouldn't do it.
    I even have this one Christian friend who has this idea that I think is rather wierd but interesting; he believes that magic is of God and there is a good and evil side to it. The witchcraft/demon-summoning/spells stuff is the evil side, and the miracle stuff is the good side. Again, kind of screwy in nature but it's an interesting theory.

  15. #75
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    HE, I very much appreciate your continued effort to clarify your POV. I sense that you believe strongly in certain values and that you crave some sense of validation in that regard. Don't misunderstand the requests for continued explanation. I also understand why you might consider science to be similar to faith in the fundamental sense that we have discussed in a prior thread here regarding premises and our effort to find a point from which we could begin to establish a value system. But, I think you are confusing the concept of needing to accept a set of premises for ethical purposes with the process of scientific reasoning and proof. As I said many times, everything we do requires a certain amount of belief. We get up in the morning and believe that we are alive. But we have good reason to believe that. We believe that the sun will rise each morning. It may not, but we believe it will. We have good reason to believe it will. We believe that if we pierce our heart with a sharp instrument and bleed profusely that we will most likely die, and we have good reason to believe that. But then many believe that God is watching over them, and the reasons to believe become quite different in nature. Many believe that they will burn in hell if they violate the principles of the bible, and the reasons for that belief again are very different in nature from the others that I spoke of. Have you met anyone who burned in hell recently? Have you met anyone credible who spoke with God recently and received an answer? Science and religion both require belief, but it's simply a word. What supports one does not adequately support the other, and vice/versa.

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