Help me! Please!

Sent in by Mike Brown

help me please, I am a christian, I'll admit it. I know such a confession on a site like this is like painting a target on yourself but here goes. I've been accused of "soliciting" trying to "convert" you name it I've gotten it in the last two day. I'm sure some of you are annoyed with me and have me shoved into the same old box of "just here to try out the latest evangelism techniques. That's just not so... See I'm in semonary working towards my MDiv. We've been talking about some pretty difficult stuff for the church. Things like how to deal with the post modern world, how our faith can withstand the changes in the world, how are we to adjust our lives and message to an evolving context. These things are hard for us because the paradigm of the world is shifting. As believers we have to figgure out what shifts and what does not, what remains constant and what does not. It's not easy trying to figgure this out. It's actually quite difficult.

Ok, now why I'm here.... I was curious how others were handeling this shift in paradigms, you know from modernism to post modernism. I was curious how athiests (and I know not all of you are athiest but the responses I have received fit a modernist mindset pretty easily) were handeling this transition and what they were saying to each other and how this new world is affecting things.

What I have discovered is actually quite shocking to me. Not only can I not find anyone to discuss post modernism and it's implications but I can't even find anyone who will accept that we live in a post modern world. I mean I've gotten a hold of people who think that there really is a truth and that empiricism has access to it. It's amazing to me, honestly.



I know I'm a christian. I know therefore anything I say is suspect, but there is a much bigger world out there. Pure hard core athiest are becomming rarer and rarer I won't say we are becoming more christian but spirituality is something that is growing.

How are you modernists (and there are quite a few) handeling the transition from a world that believes truth exists to the post modern world where truth is contextually developed? This shift has implications for science, empiricism, technology, faith, reason, and Truth.

There I've said it, I've been trying to work my way into it and allow the topic to develop naturally but that's hit a brick wall. It seems to me that my biggest mistake here was to ask it from a Christian perspective. I didn't expect such a stiff arm to the topic just because I am a believer.

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88 comments:

Kyan said...

"Pure hard core athiest are becomming rarer and rarer I won't say we are becoming more christian but spirituality is something that is growing."

Where do you get your information?

This is the problem with religiosity in general - facts don't seem to hold any sway over the religious. It's all hearsay and wishful thinking.

The 3rd world might be getting more religous. The post modern world, apparently less so. The US is a very bad example as its become more religious over the past decade, but it seems to be turning the other way now, as reasonable people are sick of xian's crap!

We don't want to live in your world of fantasy, anti-science bullshit anymore.

Don't mean to offend you personally, you seem like a nice (if misguided) person, but honestly, if you want to help the world, give up your belief in supernatural beings and start 'believing in' the here and now. You can't help African AIDS victims by preaching abstinence. You can't help Alzheimers victims by preventing stem cell research. And as has been proven many times, you can't do shit with prayer!

Anonymous said...

I haven't read your previous posts but I'll bet you're not getting "such a stiff arm to the topic just because [you are] a believer."

Even if we ignore the poor grammar and awful spelling, the message you just posted makes absolutely no sense.

I'm not suggestiong that your school has low admission standards but HOLY CRAP, you can't even spell "seminary".

Get a spell-checker and take an introductory class in logic and try again.

gusdafa said...

Um, at what point in time did we change from modern to post-modern? I might have missed it.

Edwardtbabinski said...

POSTMODERNISM BY ANY OTHER NAME

Whether you want to call it post-modernism or simply the questioning mind, we all face the same questions regarding what's behind the metaphysical curtain. Either you die and your memories and personality are no more (just as they were before you were conceived), or you die and live on in some mystical or personal form. In either case none of us can make one result or the other happen.

Speaking of the second option, I can't imagine an infinite being sending people to "eternal hell" without parole. So the option of life after death isn't one I fear.

I feel similarly pragmatic concerning the question of morality as I do about the question of life after death. A whole lot of people like being liked, and hate being hated. People also dislike being beaten up, stolen from, or murdered. So When you understand the joys of human-to-human contact, friendships, and also understand why people don't like being murdered, beaten up, or stolen from, then maybe you'll understand the value of morality in and of itself, apart from metaphysical questions.

Also note that many contributors at exchristian.net are less concerned with what lay behind the metaphysical curtain (i.e., whether or not God or an afterlife exists), than with the fact that many people today assume they know exactly what God would do in most every case, and use that so-called knowledge to back up their own prejudices, fears and desires.

It's that latter fact that affects us and concerns us more, relatively speaking.

ENDNOTE

People of all beliefs or none seem to get an equal emotional and rational kick out of having a discussion. We feel a joy at making contact with another human being on a variety of subjects that keep our own brains active and healthy and curious to read more about a subject, kind of like the joy of trying to solve the puzzle of mutual understanding between two fellow human beings, along with the joy of making "points" if one is being competitive about it, or discovering more about ourselves in the process (if we are open to knowing ourselves, as Socrates said we ought to be).

Edward T. Babinski

"If It Wasn't For Agnosticism, I Wouldn't Know What to Believe."

http://www.edwardtbabinski.us/leaving_the_fold/babinski_agnosticism.html

Anonymous said...

Mike,
I'm sure you'd make a great neighbor or friend, but sadly, you're suffering from religious dellusion. Cheer up, help is at hand! There is a wealth of scientific information readilly available, you need but to read something other than chick tracts and the Watchtower, that stuff is all so much bunk. Remember, most of us on this rant are EX-Christians! There is hope for those who question, and you did!

Unknown said...

It sounds like you have a poor understanding of post-modern philosophy anyway. you seem to thing all it amounts to is pluralism.

I for one, think pluralism is stupid. Like when you say that "pure hard core atheists" are getting more rare. it seems both logically confusing and historically inaccurate.

Logically confusing because reality is not multiple choice, God either exists or he does not. It is absurd to say someone can be sort of an atheist, either a person believes in a god or they do not.

Historically inaccurate, because very few people prior to the 18th century would have claimed to believe in no god of any kind.

saying people are becoming more spiritual seems empty to me, because the term spiritual can have more than one meaning. I could considered spiritual by some definitions but it doesn't mean I believe in god

Unknown said...

You say "What I have discovered is actually quite shocking to me. Not only can I not find anyone to discuss post modernism and it's implications but I can't even find anyone who will accept that we live in a post modern world. I mean I've gotten a hold of people who think that there really is a truth and that empiricism has access to it. It's amazing to me, honestly."

This, to me, is very telling. I remember my time in Christianity, and one of the lies that most Christians are taught in church is that all non-Christians tend to be extremely pluralistic...except towards Christianity of course.

In fact, I find pluralism to be a rare view among atheists. What you are running into is nothing more than the revelation that even the most educated Christian theologians have some very inaccurate ideas about what Atheists actually think

Anonymous said...

Hey Mike,
First, I just want to say that it was very difficult for me to understand your request. However, I don't think you would be treated badly on this site just because you are a Christian. Personally, I get along with most Christians as long as they respect my right to believe what I wish. The minute they cross the line I can make mincemeat out of them, and devour them for breakfast, quite effortlessly.

I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that your request is genuine, (even though I rally don't understand it). So here is my answer:

First, I think anyone, who is a Christian, that posts on this site, is either trying to convert us or they are having doubts about their own faith. I'm thinking you are having doubts. Why? Because you are not getting answers from the people of your faith. That was a first step for me too! Most hard core Christians are too deeply indoctrinated to even consider an atheist's point of view! Think about it!

also, you need to consider that your view of the world is much different from ours. You think that hard core atheists are rare. I would beg to differ. However, I do agree that spiritualism, in general, is growing. But then again, I don't think the new spiritualism has anything to do with religion! I think your line of work will be on the decline as more and more people discover their own spiritual path. More and more people are breaking away from organized religion and discovering a whole new paradigm emerging!

This site is a wonderful way to unload all the pent up rage that was created by the oppression and depression of the church! For many of us the DARK AGES are over! We can now openly express our outrage at the evils that have been perpetrated by the church for centuries! Even though I have moved on to a more spiritual state, I still visit this site and periodically vent! It is good to have free expression!

Before you spend anymore of your hard-earned money on your degree, you might want to take the summer off and do some soul searching. Read some of the hundreds of posts here, that were written my ex ministers and priests! An education is a wonderful thing! The more you read and learn, the more you are able to discern between fantasy and fact!

Anonymous said...

leave the semonary, and go to a sanitarium.Get help soon!!

Nvrgoingbk said...

Mike, your posts are always difficult to understand. I don't want to insult you, and I have tried to have open, respective dialouge with you, but it's very difficult, because you are so attached to your beliefs and no amount of reasoning seems to suffice. I, on the other hand have stood where you do--on the side of "God"--and have first-hand knowledge of devout religious belief, so I am able to approach the topic with much more credibility. You are biased not out of first-hand knowledge, but out of religious brain-washing.

The loose statistics you employ are flawed. America is NOT becoming more spiritual. It has always been predominately spiritual. Atheism IS on the rise, as more people are coming out of the closet and admitting their doubt, but even if we consider the possibility that religion is on the rise in America, doesn't make religion right.

Example: There is no denying that the Muslim faith is becomming a worthy competitor for the minds of the populace. Christianity in Muslim nations is practically unheard of for obvious reasons. Most Christians in countries like North Korea or Afghanistan would lose their lives for admitting to a belief in Jesus. Now you, being a Christian, won't deny that the Muslim faith is growing, but you would hardly agree that the popularity of it does not mean the Koran is TRUTH.

American Athiests may not be under threat of death, but there is SO MUCH pressure to keep our mouths shut, and many people feel embarrased to admit that they think religion and Christianity in particular to fall short. Now, just because Christianity is the predominant religion of America, doesn't make it TRUTH.

Religious statistics are difficult to obtain due to government and societal pressures, but these are not the only reason statistics are so arbitrary. Research has found that the poorer a country is, the more religious they are. There are exceptions such as Vietnam, which is terribly impoverished but highly Athiestic and America, which is a very fat nation and has (depending on the one's presenting the statistics)only between 3.5-6% Athiests. However, for the most part, you will find this research to be valid. Interesting enough 15% of Israel are AThiests, and this is a nation that spawned Christianity and it has a higher percentage than America. Sweden has the highest amount of Athiests (according to statistics it's 46-85%) and they are a country that enjoys a high level of societial comforts, as does France, Cananda, Norway, Denmark, etc. These countries enjoy National health care, plentiful food distribution, widely accessible housing, etc. Poorer countries often have more of a need to turn to a "god" for comfort.

Another problem in obtaining reliable statistics is that the definition of "God" is arbitrary and subject to personal belief. Buddhists are "religious" people, but they do not maintain a belief in a higher power or an afterlife, and yet they have practically deified Buddha.

The "paradigm of the world" is NOT
shifting", my friend. The world has ALWAYS been religious. What is changing is that evangelistic religions such as Islam and Christianity are taking more of a hold on the world, because making converts is the main objective of the two faiths. Both religions use fear to motivate conversion. Christians boast of their loving Savior and free will, but will readily admit that should their listener refuse their 'TRUTH', they will burn in Hell for eternity. Where the Church once used threat of torture and earthly punishment, it now uses mental rape. The Muslim faith was once peaceful but now mirrors the same tactics that the Christian church once did and yet your followers are appalled.

When you are able to substantiate your claims and produce a coherent post, perhaps you will gain the respect and correspondence you desire.

Anonymous said...

I think I understand what Mike is trying to ask. And, I even think I know where he is heading with this (I’ll get to that later).

Mike’s initial frustration is indeed justified, though I am not fully sure of his motives. He is asking a question that pertains to the idea of epistemology and how it is currently understood by the leading intellectuals of our society. How do we acquire knowledge? No one seems to be answering that question.

I have studied post-modernism in a very limited way. So I want to apologize right up front if I misconstrue or misinform those who are either familiar or unfamiliar with postmodernism. I am by NO MEANS an expert.

Leading intellectuals of our day and the past several decades have come to the conclusion that knowledge is a non-linear process. In other words, knowledge does not necessarily start from the ground and build itself up to an ultimate and better understanding of reality. Each generation DOES NOT build upon the knowledge of previous generations, accruing more and more knowledge . . . a better and more fuller understanding of ultimate reality.

This is in stark contrast to the era ushered in by the development and use of science, empiricism and logic. Scientific epistemology claims that each succeeding generation builds off of the developments of it’s predecessors and is closer to the truth than the past. (i.e. the Romans knew more than the Greeks, the Renaissance knew more than the Romans, we know more than the Renaissance, etc, etc, etc, on and on).

The first thinker to break with the “modern” tradition was Nietzsche who “prophetically” claimed that truth was like a snake turned inward upon itself eating itself. In other words, empiricism would turn against itself, use it’s own method, to prove that there is no such thing as truth. Truth would eat itself. Other thinkers include Karl Popper, Umberto Eco, Thomas Kuhn, Foucault, Derrida, etc.

The most ground breaking of the aforementioned is Thomas Kuhn and his book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. This book is an absolute must read for anyone interested in this kind of stuff. Also, it will keep you from using his invented expression, now clich├ęd mistakenly all over the place, “paradigm shift” inappropriately. Kuhn stated that whatever a society was looking at they would find it. So if they were looking for gravity they would find it. It they were looking for another explanation they would find it, (i.e. relativity). Kuhn would state that there is no correlation between relativity and Newtonian physics. They are incompatible. Newtonian physics is not a “poorer” version of ultimate reality leading to the “great discoveries” of Einstein.

Knowledge now becomes a web with interlacing and connecting strings that do not build in a linear fashion.

There is my brief, horrible, poorly articulated intro into postmodernism.

So, where does this leave us. It leaves us with where I think Mike is trying to go. That leading intellectuals don’t believe there is such a thing as absolute truth. And science can not accomplish the job everybody thought it would. Therefore, Mike will conclude our best intellectuals have handed over knowledge by default.

Which, in a way, is really scary. What Mike probably won’t tell you though is that the people he quotes “to tell us the truth” about our current predicament, were the very same people that affirmatively said and discovered . . . “God is dead.”

And, ,many leading intellectuals believe that we are heading right back toward the Middle Ages. That conservatism and fanaticism is on the rise and science is starting to take a back seat. EVEN WITH SOME OF OUR INTELLECTUALS. Check the current trend. The United States has taken a strong swerve to conservatism, the middle east (well, do I really need to explain), the new Pope is more conservative, etc.

It goes to show that free thought is a flame that can be blown out much easier than most people imagine. Could you imagine if the legacy we left to future generations was a dump right back into mysticism and theocratic rule?

I just thought of something funny. What if this isn’t what mike was talking about. I just wasted a shit load of time writing this, and you by reading this. Hahaha

by ironlion

Anonymous said...

I think the only reason that dude is here is to try to convert people to his superstitious beliefs. He says bullshit like "hardcore atheists are becoming rarer and rarer". First of all, that's a boldface lie. Second of all, he just threw that in to get atheists to believe the lie and get converted. And if he is going for his masters in anything, he would know how to spell better than that.

And if he has studied the Bible as a believer he must have a strong stomach. It makes me sick to thing someone would worship a racist, sexist, child-killing son of a bitch they call THE CHRISTIAN GOD.

J. C. Samuelson said...

Mike,

I must agree with NGB that you're proceeding from a false assumption that there is a paradigm shift toward faith or spiritualism. People are becoming more polarized, in my opinion, but I've no basis for making that claim other than my impression.

I'm not familiar with your posts elsewhere because I haven't followed them. However, after a quick search using the Google feature I was unable to locate any post in which you mention postmodernism. Instead, I found posts in which you were proselytizing. Can't exactly ask what people think about postmodern thought if you're too busy defending the faith now, can you?

As it is, I don't think the term postmodernism has much meaning for people outside of academic or philosophical circles. People are in general more comfortable with terms they can get a handle on. To be perfectly frank, I'm not convinced you do. It seems you want clear labels for this person and that person as to whether they're a "modernist" or "postmodernist" as if there is something intrinsically important about these terms, and by implication you seem to think that one is better than the other. As Ed implied, you're simply substituting terms for what you're really interested in discussing: the metaphysics of faith.

See I'm in semonary working towards my MDiv. We've been talking about some pretty difficult stuff for the church.

I've never attended seminary. Do they have middle and high school level seminaries? I ask because your English here is not exactly what I would call college level. I don't mean to sound condescending, it's just that I'm experiencing some cognitive dissonance over the idea that someone who wrote this post is actually in college. Sorry.

Joe B said...

Mike you said one thing in a fraction of a sentence that made perfect sense.

...but there is a much bigger world out there.

Feel free to go out and enjoy it. Don't let anybody tell you something is true because it's true, because it's true. Go see. Go on now. You'll be OK. It's nice out here.

Anonymous said...

Mike is there any chance you could get your money back from that school you are attending? It sounds like you are terribly misinformed.

Nvrgoingbk said...

LOL, Joe

Anonymous said...

The "Truth" is, I cant believe this spelling bee champion is getting so much attention. When does the post modern world end???

Nvrgoingbkeither said...

MIKE YOU NEED TOO COME OUT OF THE CLOSET I KNOW INSIDE YOU WE'RE JUST LIKE ME TOO AFRAID TOO ADMIT YOU KNOW THE BIBLE IS FULL OF SHIT.

COME OUT! I COMMAND YOU ( I AM SPEAKING TOO YOUR INNER ATHIEST ) IN THE NAME OF THE GODS OF COMMON SENSE,BE HEALED OF THE PRISON YOU HAVE BEEN IN.

ONCE YOU REALIZE WHAT WE ALL HAVE THAT THE BIBLE IS LIKE A BAD GOVERMENT BRAIN FART YOU WILL BE BETTER OFF.

DID YOU KNOW THAT CONSTANTINE SHOT HIS FAMILY LIKE TWO DAYS AFTER HE SAT IN AND PARTICAPATED IN WHAT BOOKS WE'RE TOO BE IN THAT FAIRY TALE

THINK ON THAT

webmdave said...

Nvrgoingbkeither:

I have answered every one of your messages, but I have yet to receive your article or any responses from you or your wife. The only messages I have received are those sent through the website.

I suspect that all my emails to you are being eaten by your spam-blocking software, or something.

I just responded again. Hopefully you'll get this one.

Dave

Anonymous said...

Ironlion: "Knowledge now becomes a web with interlacing and connecting strings that do not build in a linear fashion."

A very poignant fact, some could make a career out of figuring out how to untangle the web...

Ironlion: "Which, in a way, is really scary."

I'm more optimistic...

Ironlion: "What Mike probably won’t tell you though is that the people he quotes “to tell us the truth” about our current predicament, were the very same people that affirmatively said and discovered . . . “God is dead.”

The philosophers, who had no problem rewriting reality, are plentiful, and due to their revisionist philosophy and writings, they set the stage for others to come around and be skeptical about discerning the honesty of literature, rhetoric, etc.

Still, truth still exists; it’s a matter of extracting meaning, using the proper context filter(s).

Ayn Rand, on a "God is dead" philosopher... When she was asked about the dichotomy between reason and emotion:

Ayn Rand: "Friedrich Nietzsche and the hippies, for example, believe there is a dichotomy, and they do so in order to place emotions above reason. When you reverse the relationship of reason and emotion, and decide your mind must serve your wishes, you create an inner conflict--a dichotomy between your reason and your emotions. Such a dichotomy is created in an irrational mind and by an irrational culture."

The topic of epistemology... well, that seems like a deep subject, how does one know or have certainty in "not knowing" something, which they talk of -- so much contradiction in life, and so little time.

Anonymous said...

Mike,

Define your terms. Everything I read about "post modernism" sounds to me like a big step backwards.

Hello, hello? Are you still there?

Anonymous said...

Mike,

One does not necessarily have to move from Positivism towards Post-modernism. There are more middle-ground positions, such as Critical Realism, which I hold to. Might I suggest the following book on the topic:

Bhaskar, R. (1998). The Possibility of Naturalism: A Philosophical Critique of the
Contemporary Human Sciences (3rd edition). New York and London: Routledge.

Anonymous said...

I make spelling mistakes, sometimes, but I don't claim to be in "semonary."

Mike,are you on medication? You strike me as the type.

Anonymous said...

Damnit Mike Brown, when are you going to stop buying into the shit you've been indoctrinated with to believe? Sit back for a minute or two and think about the reality of things. Put aside your preconceived notions of indoctrinated belief for a minute or two and think about what's real. Is there anything there prompting you to believe? Anything outside of your own self-convincing? What makes you any different from me or any other non-believer? Is it not your own self-convincing? What external (i.e. outside of your own faculties) factors can you possibly know of and experience that I don't that enable you to believe but not me? And of you can experience that external factor, why is it that I cannot? Is it not then your own self-delusion that is causing you to believe? Why can't we all experience what individual christians claim to experience? If god is real, we all ought to experience him and arrive at the same conclusion. But only those who convince themselves to believe can believe. There are no external factors causing you to believe. You have to think about and interpret to your pleasing the world around you to believe. The world does not reveal god as your bible claims. YOU convince yourself that it does because your bible tells you to. We can experience the world, but that experience is NOT god; it is the world. God is not self-revealed; he is derived from your own delusion. If he were real, we would experience and know it without having to argue with you about it. Let him speak for himself. And I'm sorry, but that nice warm feeling inside, or the life in the natural world, or the beginning of the universe, or any other direct sensual experience or logical observation are not god; they are what they are. You want to convince yourself that god is behind them without god revealing himself directly? Well, what is your support? Where are the facts of god? Do you have his direct observable and self-verifiable fingerprints? Or is he just in your mind? Why should we believe your bullshit? Who the f%ck are you to tell us to believe? You think we're some mindless f%cks for you to shit around with? You think we just woke up one morning and said, "hey, you know what, I'm just not going to believe anymore"? And do you think we can just wake up another morning after talking to your delusional ass and say, "Hey, you know what, I'm just gonna believe again"? We came to a place of disbelief based on direct observational and self-verifiable grounds. Either we were let down by the promises of Christianity first-hand and experimented with the whole belief thing in all of sincerity just to be let down again and again and were rationally led to abandon the nonsense to the betterment of our minds; or we have thought about the rationalities of our beliefs and have found them to be lacking; or have discovered that there is nothing externally in support of our beliefs; or we have realized that that our stinking bible is full of shit that is self-contradictory, at odds with science and/or history, and full of pagan parallels, immorality, and incoherent teachings; or we have found that nothing stands on its own to reveal god directly; or all of the above and more. You see, Mr. Brown, your circumlocutory arguments and theories are baseless because the only way we can know that they are true is by believing you, your filthy church, or your damned bible. Belief is without warrant when the DIRECT, no-circulatory evidence is lacking. DO us a favor, and go back to your divinity school until you come to your senses.

Anonymous said...

I have to say that Mike Brown didn't say one single coherent thing in that entire post. It reads like something from Alice in Wonderland.

Anonymous said...

What in the name of all that is logical is a "postmodernist worldview" and how precisely does it differ from a "modernist" worldview?

Is this like the difference between cyberpunk and post-cyberpunk? Cos' I didn't understand that either.

Anonymous said...

Mike Brown, (said)
"What I have discovered is actually quite shocking to me. Not only can I not find anyone to discuss post modernism and it's implications but I can't even find anyone who will accept that we live in a post modern world. I mean I've gotten a hold of people who think that there really is a truth and that empiricism has access to it. It's amazing to me, honestly."

Mike!
The reason you can find people to discuss post modernism with over at your school and not here on Ex Christian is that you really haven't shown us, in simple English, how it has any relevance to who we are.

Simple unsophisticated folk, who for the most part can smell bullshit from a mile away.

On the other hand you are paying good money, to be around the next generation of hick preachers who will convolute any and all thought processes in order to keep you in line, because that is how cults work!
Dan

Yukkione said...

Trying to reconcile the modern world and a faith based on books over 2000 years old is difficult at best. One is always made to cast dispersions on anything that contradict scripture. An example would be the Theistic belief that homosexuality is a choice. Christians are usually willing to take the latest cancer treatment based on science but are unwilling to accept science that goes against the dogma of their “faith”. At its core all “faiths” are really cognitive dissidence wrapped in the fear of the god characters wrath. We can look at light that has traveled millions of light years by using a telescope, yet Christian can’t believe this. We see strata filled with fossil records that indicate billions of years of change for species, yet Christians will proclaim we walked with dinosaurs. At what point can the evidence be so overwhelming that the words in the holy books lose their literal meaning? To many of us it happened long ago. Does it prove god does not exist? Of Course not, but it does show that holy books are not what they proclaim to be… the word of god. Secularism is really the only way foreword for the human race. Theistic/ magical thinking will doom us to a constant cycle of societal failure and environmental desolation.

Nvrgoingbk said...

Anonynous, you said: " At what point can the evidence be so overwhelming that the words in the holy books lose their literal meaning?"

This particular quote was profound, but your entire post also deserves a standing ovation.

ComputerGuyCJ said...

According to Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary 2004, postmodernism is:

"Relating to, or being any of several movements (as in art, architecture, or literature) that are reactions against the philosophy and practices of modern movements and are typically marked by revival of traditional elements and techniques."

I'm curious why this is even being discussed in a seminary. Shouldn't postmodernism be a good thing for faith and a much easier situation to deal with, since it means that modern movements are being rejected and traditional elements and techniques are being employed? It seems that modernism is what religion should be worried about.

It is we freethinkers who have to worry about the world reverting to traditional elements and techniques. Traditionally, religion heavily employed fear and intimidation to prove its points. Traditionally, science has been rejected in favor of faith. Traditionally, those who have little hope in life turn to make-belief, adamantly defend their fiction, and sucker other hopeless people into accepting their delusions.

Are we living in a post-modern world? I don't think so. I think the continual rise of knowledge and information reveals the world we live in and leads to change. Atheism is not on the decline; freethinkers, able to access information much quicker and easier than ever, are seeing a need to wake up and do things differently. I believe we are just starting to realize a new type of renaissance era.

Anonymous said...

When I was still in ministry, “something was happening.” God was always moving in some very provocative way somewhere – and in ways that had never happened before! We were at the very beginnings of a global revival!!!

And guess what…

We still are…

And we have been for about 2000 years.

Everyone looks around and, because of a necessarily self-centered world view, believes that they are a part of a special time. It is a common delusion that is not unique to you. But it IS a delusion. God is doing nothing more than he has always done. If you are an atheist, then god is and always has been doing nothing. If you are within my realm of spiritual belief, god is just an energy that never changes and is not sentient, so its purpose is sort of indeterminate and people have grown more and more disconnected from it as society has advanced. If you are a Xian, god just continues to hold out that carrot of good works and gives you a reason to believe that your existence is more significant than the existence of others.

God hasn’t changed one bit – nor are we getting any closer to him suddenly waking up and getting on the ball. The purposed god is a fallacy.

As for post-modern pap – the big (and quite annoying buzz) in ministry when I was there (especially working with teens) was the post-modernism. After listening to well-meaning, but pseudo intellectual youth pastors toss around their thoughts, I realized that post-modernism means one thing really – and this is the reason it is threatening to Xianity: People are no longer willing to take “because I am the pastor and I said so” as an answer. They want to experience truth – whatever that might be – for themselves. Since these post-mods are very unlikely to experience truth in a Xian church, this is very bad news indeed…

How are non-Xians, exXians, atheists or agnostics dealing with it? I would imagine the change in paradigms is fairly seamless to free thinkers. After all, some one else’s authoritative word either stopped mattering at some point anyway (perhaps you are talking to the very children of the Post-Modern shift) or it never mattered in the first place. You are unlikely to get a good discussion started about it simply because such paradigm shifts aren’t particularly concerning…

We aren’t exactly struggling to once again harmonize our fables with emerging truth and shifting paradigms.

Spoomonkey

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Spoomonkey. It wasn't until I got to your comment that I had any idea what this thread was about.

Jim Arvo said...

Mike,

I appreciate what appears to be a sincere query from you. I will attempt to give you a meaningful answer, although I'm sure it's not the type you are looking for. To me, red flags go up as soon as I hear large communities being pigeonholed into one philosophy or another; e.g. your claim that we are now in a "post-modern" world. There are two major problems with this, as I see it. First, it presupposes a dominant philosophy, which is always risky; more often than not, I think it reflects the beliefs of the one imposing the label, and not the beliefs of those so labeled. Second, no philosophy is so cogently and consistently defined that everybody knows precisely what it consists in, what it implies, and what supports it. Take "postmodernism". To some, this is nothing more than a reaction to prevailing (19th and 20th century) philosophies, to others it has distinct political overtones, and to others it is a criticism of empirically-based epistemology. Even within the various sub-categories, there is a wide range of interpretations. Consequently, I cannot accept your appraisal that we live in a "post-modern" world, on the grounds that that statement is ill-defined, and because there are numerous dissenting views (regardless of how you intend it).

As for your surprise that there may be people who still cling to the naive idea that there is an objective truth that can be gleaned through observation, it sounds to me like you have been fed a very "post-modernist" diet for too long. That is still the prevailing idea behind science, and it's not going to be toppled any time soon given the stunning success of science. However, here is where we again run into problems of definition. Science is in some ways "post-modern" in that it does not posit absolute truth; its only currency is models of reality that are more or less faithful, according to the accumulated evidence thus far. Also, the enigmas of quantum mechanics and the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, not to mention incompleteness and undecidability results in mathematics, have definitely changed the way scientists generally view what is empirically attainable. In particular, it's now commonly held that there are some fundamental limits to what can be observed and computed. You might see this as a "post-modern" tint to science.

To my mind, this all comes down to epistemology; how do we know what we know. I don't care what label you put on it beyond that, it's all about approximating "truth", and what fundamental limitations there may be in doing so. As an atheist, I have no problem at all with the strangely unintuitive and "illogical" notions of quantum mechanics, and I have no problem admitting that our brains are adapted to perceive a narrow range of phenomena, and may utterly fail to grasp "reality" beyond that. I see "truth" as something that we can only approximate, and only if we are willing to continually test our beliefs and reject ideas that are shown to be in error. I also see this as being quite different from the way most religions operate. The so-called "revealed" religions posit an entirely different mechanism for attaining knowledge; communication from a supernatural being. If one accepts this as "axiomatic", then one arrives at a rather different world view. The question for me is why this axiom should be accepted. I see no evidence of greater utility stemming from this axiom--it does not permit people to make better predictions about the natural world, so far as I can tell. Moreover, I see the "god axiom" itself as having an increasingly clear naturalistic explanation--e.g. as a side effect of the mental machinery that has made our species so stunningly successful. For these reasons (and others) I see the "god axiom" as extremely dubious.

I'm not sure that was of any help to you.

Anonymous said...

first off I am so sorry that my spelling is such a hinderance you all. Sadly, I don't live or get paid to visit this site. So I sit down in one sitting and whack out a response to you all, I should have guessed with such intelligent and soul searching persons grammer would be way more important than the intent of the thought...

As to my motives, I gave them plainly I am not working on a paper, currently I am getting ready to go to iraq. I appologize for saying that athiest are a shrinking group, (I should have known it would become the focus of the responses instead of the over all theme)

Who ever wrote this has pretty much nailed my intent on the head. I disagree with some specifics but he, at least, is understanding the question:

"Leading intellectuals of our day and the past several decades have come to the conclusion that knowledge is a non-linear process."


I would say however, that this is no longer just the leading intellectuals, many of the works that are influencial were written 40 + years ago. The fact that many of the people you accuse of being "mindless christians" have used similar arguments testifies to the fact that this perspective is becoming pretty common. (I emphasize again this is not a christian perspective)

The fact that you are not familiar with these thoughts(kierkegaard, Foucault, Darria, rorty, Kuhn ect.) does not speak against you nearly as much as these:

"We don't want to live in your world of fantasy, anti-science bullshit anymore."

"I'm not suggestiong that your school has low admission standards but HOLY CRAP, you can't even spell "seminary"."

"I'm sure you'd make a great neighbor or friend, but sadly, you're suffering from religious dellusion."

"leave the semonary, and go to a sanitarium.Get help soon!!"

"I think the only reason that dude is here is to try to convert people to his superstitious beliefs. "

"MIKE YOU NEED TOO COME OUT OF THE CLOSET I KNOW INSIDE YOU WE'RE JUST LIKE ME TOO AFRAID TOO ADMIT YOU KNOW THE BIBLE IS FULL OF SHIT."

"Damnit Mike Brown, when are you going to stop buying into the shit you've been indoctrinated with to believe?"

"Theistic/ magical thinking will doom us to a constant cycle of societal failure and environmental desolation."

Just becuse you call yourselves "intelligent" and open minded people it does not follow that you ARE.
Now: I would like to have a rational conversation with the likes of Jim Arvo, ironlion, ed babinski and Dave8

"To me, red flags go up as soon as I hear large communities being pigeonholed into one philosophy or another; e.g. your claim that we are now in a "post-modern" world."

that's a fair enough statement. I don't intend to imply that everyone is / should be a post modern. I personally think that we are in some kind of shift based upon listening to kids and even young adults talk about things now, but that's not my point. I was simply meaning that this is not just me sitting here making things up.

Arvo wrote: The so-called "revealed" religions posit an entirely different mechanism for attaining knowledge; communication from a supernatural being.

I'm not sure I see it that way. I don't think christianity believes that ALL information comes from God, but rather a specific type of information comes from God. Does that make sense?

"I don't care what label you put on it beyond that, it's all about approximating "truth", and what fundamental limitations there may be in doing so."

I find this interesting, what are the implications when it comes to talking about the truth? I suppose what I mean is how are you thinking of truth. Do you see it as an objective reality or rather as a creation of our relationship with the external world

Jim Arvo said...

Mike: "I'm not sure I see it that way. I don't think christianity believes that ALL information comes from God, but rather a specific type of information comes from God. Does that make sense?"

Yes, that was my intent. Perhaps I could have been more clear by saying "religions posit an entirely different mechanism in addition to observation and reason for attaining knowledge...".

Mike: "...what are the implications when it comes to talking about the truth? ...Do you see it as an objective reality or rather as a creation of our relationship with the external world"

I think the notion of an independently-existing external world is a useful abstraction, and it's one that has served us well (e.g. through science). All we can know of it, however, is what we can gain through observation (which includes "phylogenetic" knowledge gained by our ancestors) coupled with reason. (If you are a theist, you will likely wish to add "revelation" as well.) It's a fair bet that there is more than we can observe: where I part company with religionists is in postulating specific entities that exist outside the sphere of observation. To me that is indistinguishable from make-believe. As for "truth", I always put that in quotes because I think it is nearly impossible to define exactly what we mean by it. To me it implies a correspondence between a concept and a feature of "reality" (another troublesome word). It's a thought that allows us to interact with the world. If I know the "truth" about where I parked my car, it allows to find it with less effort. If I know the "truth" about Julius Caesar, it may inform me as to what artifacts and writings I can expect to find that are connected with him, as well as beliefs held by other people. As for "truth" that is disconnected from observable things (even in principle), I honestly don't know what that could mean.

Anonymous said...

"All we can know of it, however, is what we can gain through observation (which includes "phylogenetic" knowledge gained by our ancestors) coupled with reason."

I think Plato would disagree with you. Mathmatics is a subject that doens't really reside in observation. You can take issue with this of course but don't we learn mathmatics purely through our imagination? (I mean this in terms of the mind "playing" with concepts rather than something made up) Now you might say we can take mathmatics and employ it in the physical world but really what are we doing? Are we proving that its "true" or are we proving that it's not incompatible? In other words it may work but there may be more to it.

Secondly doesn't this presuppose that a) our sense are reliable and we can trust them. (I don't think it's necessary to debate this issue, I'll generally say our sense's CAN be reliable). but more importantly b) doesn't it presuppose that we are "properly" interpreting the information that our senses provide us. Ie giving meaning to what we observe.
c)What is the role of education when it comes to observation? Do ANY of us actually learn through observation or are we lead towards what we are "supposed to to see"


Didn't Immanuel Kant discuss this issue in the Critique of Pure Reason?

I think the role of perspective is not being given enough weight. I mean if we all "saw" the same things wouldn't we all see alike? Remember Im just raising ideas I don't think I've proven anything I'm just asking questions.

Nvrgoingbk said...

Mike,

This site was intentionaly created for people who have passed through the Christian dogma, abuse and brainwashing, and desire to connect with others who are also healing. We are not here to amuse you and have long, drawn out philosophical discussions with you.

You take up so much room on this site with your incoherent babbling, however I will entertain your musings for a moment.

It isn't that we don't understand post-modernism, but the term was first coined in 1949 and was coined in regard to a dissatisfaction with modern architectual styles. Post-modernism used in any other context does not have a simple definition and is quite arbitrary, indeed.

Post-modern CHRISTIANITY, is a relatively new term, and refers to a movement of dissatisfaction with current trends within Christianity and a battle of ideologies.

According to http://www.gotquestions.org/post-modern-Christianity.html, Post modern Christianity is defined as such: "Post-modern Christianity falls into line with basic post-modernist thinking. It is about experience over reason, subjectivity over objectivity, spirituality over religion, images over words, outward over inward. Are these things good? Sure. Are these things bad? Sure. It all depends on how far from biblical Truth each reaction against modernity takes one's faith. This, of course, is up to each believer. However, when groups form together under such thinking, theology and doctrine tends to lean more towards liberalism."

From what you have said in former posts, you seem quite the liberal Christian, but there is a major problem with that, which is that the more you deviate from your Holy text, the less you are able to credibly call yourself a Christian. That's just the way it is Mike. Liberal Christianity is flawed. The fact of the matter is, that Christians hold up the Bible to be the inerrant word of God. It is your map of instructions, your how-to's and not-to's, your warnings and commandments from your God. If you are able to "feel" God and experience "Him", outside of the book that you admittedly (in other posts) believe is NOT the inerrant word of god, then why use it at all? And if you don't need the Bible to experience "god", then how do you know this god is the one defined by Christianity in the first place?

The only reason you identify this "presence", this mystical Whatever, is because you've been indoctrinated by Christian philosophy. If you'd grown up in Iraq, chances are pretty damned high that you'd identify with Allah and pray five times a day on your prayer mat facing the direction of Mecca. Odds favor that, Mike.

I just don't understand what your point is in trying to engage EX-CHRISTIANS in a discussion about post-modern Christianity. We don't care what form of Christianity you take, we DO NOT BELIEVE ANY OF IT. There is no form of Christianity liberal enough for us to accept. You are trying to correspond with people who consider your religion to be inherently flawed and quite often, down right repulsive, so what is your point? Why are you unable to discuss such things with your professors and fellow classmates among you?

Anonymous said...

"From what you have said in former posts, you seem quite the liberal Christian, but there is a major problem with that, which is that the more you deviate from your Holy text, the less you are able to credibly call yourself a Christian."

mmm. nope I've been called many things... but a liberal is not one of them. I'm really not interested in talking about post modern christianity. I'm interested in discussing somethings with you, that's all. Is that a problem? I didn't know this forum had rules...? Am I some how offending these rules? Or You? Can you illustrate what you mean by my "incoherent babbling,"?

If you want to talk about how christians use scripture I can... but I don't think that's what you're really after.

"If you'd grown up in Iraq, chances are pretty damned high that you'd identify with Allah"

Does this mean that you agree with me about how we access reality? Does this statement mean that you think that the way we are educated plays a pivotal roll in how we see the world? In other words the context that we "grow up in" determines the way we interpret the "external world"?

boomSLANG said...

Mike Brown: Remember Im just raising ideas I don't think I've proven anything I'm just asking questions.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure we got the part about "asking questions"....now can you actually answer some?

1) Do you KNOW that God exists, empirically/materially?

(If "yes", present your evidence at this time. If "no", go to question "2")

2) Then do you even know if God exists at all?

(If "yes", tell us how you've aquired this "knowledge"; *how you "know" it is reliable, and how this philosophy/methodology for aquiring knowledge only makes Christianity a "truth", and not any other religion a truth. If you answer "no", and you believe purely on "faith"?...have a nice day)

Anonymous said...

You see i'd love to answer your questions boomslang but if you recall you wouldn't even acknowledge that I was asking anything significant. ie you wouldn't answer my questions. So if my questions aren't good enough to be answered why are my answers going to be good enough. They are not. In other words you've made your mind up that I HAVE to not be using my brain so anything I say MUST therefore be a non argument.

I'm not fool boom... the only reason you ask those two question is because this fits your little argument paradigm. you say prove empirically that God exist and I provide you a litany of "arguments" and you demonstrate how this isn't really an argument or how its really not empirical or what ever. And then I respond "no boom it is an argument really it is" (much like my discussion concerning philosphical developments) and then you say: "see christians are so full of sh$%t you just turn off your brains." Then I go "no way" and you guys go "yes it is" and than I go "no it isn't" and you "go yes it is"
and then we turn into 6th graders. Personally I would like to avoid such childish antics.

boomSLANG said...

Mike Brown, you're doin' the Curly shuffle, dude. It's obvious to me, and probably everyone listening in---and yes, you too---that you cannot validate/substantiate the Christian worldview as an objective "truth". If you could, you would've done so long ago.

So far, the best you've got is "I believe". The rest is just 'fluff'.......boisterous, space-taking, 'fluff'.

webmdave said...

Since I'm a fairly down-to-earth type person, I tend to get raised eyebrows when a poster states he or she is just on this site to ask questions. Whenever I ask questions, I have an agenda in asking them. Mike seems to understand that idea, because he accused Boom of having an agenda in his questions, and even filled in the entire progression of thought.

I'm wondering, Mike, could you get to the point. Would you mind being a bit more transparent? Perhaps you think you have clearly stated what you are aiming at with this discussion, but I guess I'm curious about the underlying, unstated, agenda. I'm missing it. No offense, perhaps I'm just too simple, but I live in a world of going to work, paying bills, and raising a family. Popular philosophic concepts are interesting to me, but...

Anyway, to what end are you asking these questions? I've found that no one asks questions for NO reason.

Thanks.

Nvrgoingbk said...

Can you illustrate what you mean by my "incoherent babbling,"?

Is it not obvious now that NONE of us can quite understand what it is you're after? Your questions are vague and throw around terms such as "empericism", "Post-modern", and Modernism" attempting to engage us in philosophical debates or discussions.

Post-modernism, when not used in the context of Architecture is a very loose term. It can mean different things to different people. You call most of modernists, when we would not even necessarily consider ourselves as such. I would not consider myself one. I do not think on my world in such a rigid way. I do not consider myself "liberal" or "conservative". After 33 years of observing the world around me, I have hopefully attained some amount of wisdom and discernment, which is hopefully leading me toward a more balanced outlook on life and all of its aspects. I am rarely black and white about anything.

You asked:
"Does this mean that you agree with me about how we access reality? Does this statement mean that you think that the way we are educated plays a pivotal roll in how we see the world? In other words the context that we "grow up in" determines the way we interpret the "external world"?

Yes, I would agree that the way are educated plays a major role in how we see the world, but at some point, Mike, the more evolved person, the more intuitive person begins to see the world in shades of grey. The more discerning man or woman, begins to filter out fundamentalist thinking in any regard. I used to believe that was such a thing as absolute truth. With honesty being so important to me, I am trying to digest the fact that this preconcieved notion just may not be. "Truth" is different to all of us. Such is the point of that little poem many of us read years ago as children about the blind men and the elephant. Remember that one? Each man, holding on to or feeling a different part of the elephant described it differently. We each see life through the tinted glasses that we acquired at birth and then throughout the years, we are constantly exchanging leses.

It isn't that you are not welcomed here, Mike, but there are proper forums for your discussions and this is hardly it. Many of us here are well educated, but have not studied philosophical arguments in depth outside of the short introduction we were given in college courses. The first time I had ever heard the term "post-modern" was in my Humanities class and it was referring to trends in art.

Speaking on such matters does not make you sound intelligent. You give yourself away by your negligent grammar and difficult to understand questions. In previous posts, I have found it very difficult to communicate with you, as you seem to continually come back with a rebuttal and seem only interested in engaging in debate. I have to say that much of your conversation is downright weird, Mike. We just don't get you. We can't all be wrong, man. Perhaps you need to work on your communication skills. Have you taken a debate class? Have you taken your required Speech course? Have you taken a Creative writing course, or have you completed English Comp. I and II? I am not trying to being condescending. I am not sure what Seminary schools require in the way of education, but it seems you are lacking in some of elementary skills. Maybe you're just a quirky lad.

Anonymous said...

“It isn't that we don't understand post-modernism, but the term was first coined in 1949 and was coined in regard to a dissatisfaction with modern architectual styles.”

Since I didn’t make the list of folks with anything to contribute to Mike’s discussion (though I tried without insult to offer my perspective as a former Southern Baptist Youth Pastor working in a large church and having to wade through the Post-Modern garbage for much of the end of my ministry) I’ll go in another direction.

Nvrgoingbk

I think this quote is very interesting.

Youth pastors are a group of men who desire, more than anything, to be hip – even when it is tragically obvious that they never were and never will be. They seek validation for everything they do – and it is not a humble validation they are looking for. Rather it is a real quest for “super-importance” if I can call it that.

Tossing around the term “Post-Modernism” was simply a form of intellectual posing and masturbation of the self-esteem. The funny thing is, not only did they not understand the terminology (in most cases) they took ridiculous short cuts to find a completely nonsensical answer – COFFEE HOUSES! That was the thankfully flagging rage when I was at the end of my time in church anyway. Every church had one in some form, from store fronts to rearranged youth rooms – as long as their was coffee and a little pretense of deep thought, the church was responding and relevant.

And god was “moving”. (I rolled my eyes when I wrote that, by the way.)

Even at the time – as a staunch believer – it irritated me to no end. I was always amazed at how people in different churches, with different kids could claim to put in so much thought into “how to respond to Post-Modernism” could come up with the same bad idea… Inspiration, indeed…

What Xians really need to be asking themselves about Post-Modernism is this: Are we really 50 years behind the rest of the world in everything we do and think? And if so, how in the hell do we think we’ll ever be relevant to anyone? Wouldn’t it be better if we just turned on some MTV and found out what was going on in the world?

Or maybe Mike’s class project can be a coffee house… It is a guaranteed “A”.

Spoomonkey

ComputerGuyCJ said...

Mike,

It doesn't appear that you're getting the help you need, so why are you still here?

Nvrgoingbk said...

Spoo, I couldn't agree with you more.

I too was a member of a very large ministry here in the Tampa Bay area and was sickened by the appearance of new facilities springing up constantly in an effort to attract more outsiders. The church came complete with a coffee shop, book store, teen night club and every ministrial need you can think of. The pastor and his wife drove a Lexus and a Hummer, and lived in a HUGE mansion in a very lucrative area of Tampa. They would throw around terms like "the year of Jubilee" and "prosperity", when Jesus had taught his followers to be in the world but not OF the world. Jesus had taught his followers to not give thought to tomorrow and not store up for themselves treasures on Earth.

The church is left with a conundrum: How do we attract followers and still stay true to the church? Christianity is rarely successful in convincing people that they are in need of a Savior. They must bring food to the starving and build them churches and schools to attract them. They must have huge emotionally charged crusades, more modern facilities and activities, secular sounding music that is so hard to discern from the shit we hear on contemporary radio stations that you almost don't realize you're listening to religious radio, and hip television programming. The gospel just doesn't stand on it's own. They wait until natural disaster strikes or until some terrible crime is committed and declare such things to be God's judgment for their sins, and then they stand back and wait for the "sinners" to flock to the pews.

911, Katrina, the Tsunami of 2004, and the recent V-tech shootings are all examples of this.

Christianity's leading spokesmen such as Pat Robertson, weasel their way into politics and try it from that angle. The church has infiltrated every aspect of our lives. The entire religion is hypocritical. They want to enjoy similar sounding music and entertainment. They want to use our sounding boards, our politicians, and our terminiology WHEN IT SUITS THEIR AGENDA. They want to use secular scientific knowledge and medical discoveries ONLY WHEN IT SUITS THEIR AGENDA. If science, medicine or anything else disagrees with their theological views, they then throw these resources out the window until they need them again.

Mike Brown is impossible to communicate with, because there is no answer that satisifies him. He doesn't shut up until his post is moved past the first page of the site.

Anonymous said...

Mike-

What's the name of this board? Why did you choose this particular board?

You're just another poor, victimized Christian aren't you? I just can't understand why anyone would question your motivation here.

You could have taken your pseudo-intellectual blather and rambling comments phrased as questions to a Christian board, a philosophy board or even the Chevrolet truck board but you chose to come here.

Why?

You say you didn't come here to recruit and that you hope to avoid childish "no it isn't" "yes it is" antics yet it seems as if you're... How's a good way to put it??? Disingenuous?

I'm sure you'd recognize it immediately if I were to go to (insert your favorite religious board here) and tried to utilize tactics similar to yours...

ComputerGuyCJ said...

perrystl said:

"I'm sure you'd recognize it immediately if I were to go to (insert your favorite religious board here) and tried to utilize tactics similar to yours..."

Trouble is, he'd never see your post on his favorite religious board. Many don't allow opposing comments or questions in their clubs

Anonymous said...

nevergoingback wrote:

"Is it not obvious now that NONE of us can quite understand what it is you're after"

did you mean NOW obvious?

"empericism" do you mean empiricism?

"You call most of modernists, when we would not even necessarily consider ourselves as such."

do you mean most of US modernists?

"I do not think on my world in such a rigid way."
Do you mean in my world, or do you mean of my world?

"I used to believe that was such a thing as absolute truth." do you mean there was such a thing?

I could go on but it would belabor my point. I will freely admit my spelling and grammar esp. in a forum such as this, has problems. I will forgive your errors if you will forgive mine. Is that a deal?

"I used to believe that was such a thing as absolute truth. With honesty being so important to me, I am trying to digest the fact that this preconcieved notion just may not be. "Truth" is different to all of us."

Is it really different to all of us? boomslang? What do you think of that comment? Do you agree or disagree?

"The first time I had ever heard the term "post-modern" was in my Humanities class and it was referring to trends in art."

Well as I have pointed out in other posts you COULD try talking with a professor of philosophy and asking him what to make of some of the people I have told you about... You might even try googling them... That might be a novel way learning something. I have to go to my sons ball games

webmdave said...

Being ignored by this fine, upstanding, educated Christian doesn't bother me, because no answer from him, in this case, is actually a quite revealing answer.

And, I especially enjoyed the condescension in Mike's last post. He must make his semonary instructors very proud.

However, I'm beginning to suspect that Mike just might be one of those funny trolls. Am I the only one who suspects this?

Jim Arvo said...

MB: "I think Plato would disagree with you. Mathmatics is a subject that doens't really reside in observation. You can take issue with this of course but don't we learn mathmatics purely through our imagination?..."

Of course Plato would disagree, as would the majority of mathematicians today, as they are largely Platonists. However, most mathematicians are not concerned with the ontological status of mathematics, but rather with its form and content. For them the notion of a Platonic realm is more of an aesthetic issue than a philosophical one. Among those who are actually concerned with the ontological status of mathematics, there are many who see it as being a reflection and extension of our innate logic, which was in turn shaped by our evolutionary past--i.e. it agrees with what we observe because it was adaptive. But, of course, mathematics can also model "alternate realities" that do not match our world. This is a huge topic, and one that is still hotly debated. Suffice it to say (for now) that not everyone is a Platonist. I, for one, do not believe that mathematics is a window into some independently-existing reality, but a reflection of our own thoughts which have been shaped by the constraints of the physical world.

MB: "Secondly doesn't this presuppose that a) our sense are reliable and we can trust them... but more importantly b) doesn't it presuppose that we are 'properly' interpreting the information that our senses provide us."

It depends on how strictly you adhere to that "presupposition". If you mean that we are forced to assume something as eternally true, then I disagree. There is no such restriction that I can see, except perhaps the presupposition that there are patterns in nature that can be discerned. If this is not true, then we are hopelessly adrift anyway. If you mean that we tentatively assume some model is true, and see what can be derived from it, then yes, absolutely. I think much of the criticism directed toward science (largely by religionists) is a result of seeing it as dogmatic where it need not be. Take quantum mechanics, for example. That broke many of the basic presupposition that prevailed before 1920. The observations were simply inexplicable within the context of determinism, so something had to go. It forced a total rethinking of nature. At around the same time a similar revolution took place in mathematics, forcing the foundations of mathematics to be rethought in the light of certain paradoxes (in set theory) and incompleteness results (in logic) that were uncovered. My point is that even very fundamental presuppositions can be overthrown if "nature" proves them inadequate. This does NOT imply that we are guaranteed to converge toward an accurate model of reality, however. (Another big topic that I do not even wish to broach at the moment.)

Mike: "Do ANY of us actually learn through observation or are we lead towards what we are 'supposed to to see'"

Certainly there is a strong bias toward seeing what nature has shaped us to see, and clearly we can peer somewhat beyond that through science. There is no way to determine whether all of nature is ultimately discernible to us, however. All we can do is to keep looking and to keep asking questions.

Mike: "Didn't Immanuel Kant discuss this issue in the Critique of Pure Reason?"

Yes, of course Kant examined many of these issues (I don't recall whether it was in his "Critique", but that sounds right). His categorizing of all knowledge into analytic and empirical is still popular today, although the distinction is now much fuzzier in the light of evolution. Kant did not take account of philogenetic "knowledge", which would seem to sit somewhere between his categories. (Max DelBruck, the 20th century biologist, explored this idea quite extensively, and makes a compelling case for it, in my opinion.) I think this new perspective is valuable, and will ultimately enable us to see a little farther in the same way that knowing the optical distortion of a telescope lens allows one to recover a less distorted image.

Mike: "I think the role of perspective is not being given enough weight. I mean if we all 'saw' the same things wouldn't we all see alike?"

I think many philosophers and scientists do not give enough weight to our innate biases, so I agree if that is what you are implying. But this is by no means completely overlooked. As for people "seeing" the same things, I can interpret that may different ways, so I'm not even going to attempt to answer. Many of these questions lead straight into philosophical quagmires that would take a huge amount of time and effort to explore. I'm not sure it's worth going there.

The bottom line, as far as I'm concerned is this: You, as a theist, posit something that I consider to be utterly fantastic--an invisible conscious entity with unlimited power, unlimited knowledge, and the desire and ability to intervene in human affairs. Is that a fair statement? Regardless of what specific dogmas you assert beyond that (e.g. the trinity, atonement, special creation, etc.), that is a fundamental aspect of your religious convictions, is it not? My question is this: Is there something you can offer that would compel me to share your belief, or at least regard it as likely to be true?

boomSLANG said...

Nvrgingbk: "Truth" is different to all of us."

Mike Brown: Is it really different to all of us? boomslang? What do you think of that comment? Do you agree or disagree?

I'm not sure...is that a question..or an inquiry? I'd need to know before I can answer that. Well, okay, if you are going to badger me into it---I think that traffic was otusable today on my way to the book store. Speaking of---have you ever read "The Empirical Dualist", by Jack T'orse? You should read it, because there's a contemporary ancient movement going on right before our eyes, and what people are finding is that they like part-skim ricotta over whole milk ricotta in their lasagna. Which do you prefer? Don't mind me, I'm just asking questions. I hope that helped.

boomSLANG said...

Mike Brown: I have to go to my sons ball games

You "have" to go? Or you WANT to go? To "want" something means different things to different people...e.g.. Bobby Brown "WANTS" to get out of jail--- Mike Brown "wants" to go to his son's ball games. See? Wha'd'ya think? On second thought, how do you even "know" he's your son? Don't tell me you would rely on your physical senses?...such as memory, eyesight, etc?...or one-on-one experiences, family photos, etc? Hmmm...you could do a DNA test, but that's yields, y'know, that shakey 'empirical' evidence. There are much better, more reliable ways to find the "Truth"of the matter---you could find the stork who delivered your son and ask him. Dolt.

boomSLANG said...

What's sauce for the goose, is sauce for the gander, no?(rhetorical)

But all that aside---and so that I'm not accused of dodging the question---when Nvrgoingbk made the statement, "Truth" is different to all of us, I think she is/was talking about the obvious(SHE will correct me if I'm wrong), and that is, that we all have our personal "Truths", and they differ from person to person. Obviously, the "Truth" to Tom Cruise---that Scientology has a referent in "reality"---is not my "Truth". Of course, for me to "know" whether his "Truth" is my "Truth", he would have to be able to convey his "idea", "concept", or "belief" in concise language. Is that unreasonable so far?

Objective "Truth" is a different matter. We live in a "natural" universe. The effects of the natural universe are the same on every natural being, regardless of what we "believe" about the universe. The infamous Mike Brown raised the issue of the "law of gravity". We are all effected exactly the same by "gravity", regardless of what our personal "Truths" are; regardless of what "philosophies", religions, etc., we adhere to..."modern", "post-modern", "new-age"...or whatever. So far, the hypothesis that there is an alternate "reality" remains pseudo-science.

I know there's a hand-full of people here who can articulate it better than I, but I think I covered it.

Anonymous said...

Webmaster: I'm sorry I didn't respond to your posting to be honest there is another thread that is demanding answers as well. Considering I'm a flawed limited human being I can only do so much.

Webmaster wrote:

"Perhaps you think you have clearly stated what you are aiming at with this discussion, but I guess I'm curious about the underlying, unstated, agenda."

Mike brown wrote: "I was curious how athiests (and I know not all of you are athiest but the responses I have received fit a modernist mindset pretty easily) were handeling this transition and what they were saying to each other and how this new world is affecting things."

I hope that helps.

boomslang: You are so funny. I don't think I need to do a DNA swab on my son... haven't you figured out that such tests only prove what you what to prove {insert mikes tongue in cheek-followed by a smile}

Jim arvo: Brilliant post. Comming from the humanities side of the house my guess is this is where we would begin to part company. I have limited information on "philogenetic "knowledge" as you called it. However, I am familiar with it. Dano was trying to speak about it. The details are pretty fuzzy but does it go something like this: our ability to comprehend is based up our evolutionary development that by natural selection provided a benefit for human beings. This ability to "model" things was an evolutionary boon that provide us the ability to image and find ways to use things differently than was initially obvious. (ie tying a rock to a stick to employ both force and weight in the killing of creatures)

Is that right? I honestly don't know. Correct me where I'm wrong

I'm more familiar with the humanities side which tends to emphasize relationships and context much more. Instead of seeing our perspectives as biological, structuralist, post-structuralist and deconstructionist emphasize cultural factors.

The reason I see us parting ways here is because we are viewing the basis of knowlede differently, if I understand your position properly. I believe the humanities are emphasizing free will and being over biology. Kind of a fundamental break, a split between body and mind so to speak.

arvo:
"I think much of the criticism directed toward science (largely by religionists) is a result of seeing it as dogmatic where it need not be."

Well, I don't think it's just religionist who are questioning the dogmatism of science. Thomas Kuhn's point concerning the fundamental practice of science to "create" truth in order or facilitate research is, I believe, devastating. Your point concerning quantum mechanics and the einstein revolution display this point. Empiricism, coupled with the rational mind still needs a "model" with which to operate.

I am willing to conceed that our physical brain has an influence upon our mind. I would also point out that our socialization influences our physical bodies. (I was speaking to a friend of mine about being by-lingual. He stated that even the most fluent person has a lag in "translation" unless at the early stages of development the person is trained in both languages. The actual pathways of the brain become wired during socialization)

So, I would contend that in addition to observation, evolutionary development, reason, and socialization all play a crucial roll in what we would call "knowledge".

Now, I believe that the mind also contains elements that you might consider asthetic: emotions, imagination, will and spirit.

Now even if we leave out emotions, imagination, will and spirit there are still a whole lot of factors that can influence what we think we "know".

My point concerning plato and mathmatics is not that it is the only reality but that how it's possible to "learn" with out empiricism.


"My question is this: Is there something you can offer that would compel me to share your belief, or at least regard it as likely to be true?"

No probably not...

But can you see how, comming from a humanities perspective this issue concering science and what it is proposing to "prove" or "know" is at least reasonable to doubt?

webmdave said...

Mike,

Perhaps I asked my question poorly.

You asked: "I was curious how athiests (and I know not all of you are athiest but the responses I have received fit a modernist mindset pretty easily) were handeling this transition and what they were saying to each other and how this new world is affecting things."

Why are you curious? What is the reason for the curiosity? In other words, to what end are you asking these questions? What, if anything, is your somewhat hidden agenda?

I hope that helps clarify my question.

Oh, and Jim: Congratulations on earning Mike's approval. :)

Anonymous said...

I think the poor barstid is using the term post-modern in the sense of "pomo" - the "post-modern"ist crap that sone Frogs have come up with.

You can tell a god-shouter by the fact that they can't spell.

"Handeling" indeed!!!!

boomSLANG said...

Mike Brown: boomslang: You are so funny.

Yeah, we've been over this. Therefore, "Jesus is Lord", right?

Mike Brown: I don't think I need to do a DNA swab on my son... haven't you figured out that such tests only prove what you (want) to prove

Really?..then how can you be sure he's your son? What?..it's just a "feeling"? Did you witness him coMing out of the birth canal? If so, "observation" means nothing, remember? "Observation" is "unreliable"; "experiment" is "unreliable"; "science" is "unreliable".

How can you be sure, then? What kind of evidence are you basing your "knowledge" on? Come on, enlighten the class.

While you're pondering that....

(day 3)

1) Do you KNOW that God exists, empirically/materially?

(If "yes", present your evidence at this time. If "no", go to question "2")

2) Then do you even know if God exists at all?

(If "yes", tell us how you've aquired this "knowledge"; *how you "know" it is reliable, and how this philosophy/methodology for aquiring knowledge only makes Christianity a "truth", and not any other religion a truth.

We're all waiting.

Anonymous said...

Modernism.
I’m an atheist! Therefore, any concept, idea, or imaginary process that proposes the existence of a deity, is utter bullshit! The mere suggestion that implies the convergence of religious theology with “anything” is absolute bullshit!

Postmodernism (that which follows modernism) as it applies or relates to religion or any theistic belief.............is irrelevant bullshit dripping from the first!

Nothing from nothing leaves you with nothing. There is no paradigm to shift. There is no transition to be curious about. So there is no need for your childish philosophical dance routine.

What is your reason for being here? What do you hope to gain from posting on this site?

Anonymous said...

By ironlion

What is it to have an open mind? What does it mean to absolutely know . . . as Socrates did . . . that I know nothing?

All very interesting questions Mike. Aren’t they?

I really don’t care for what Mike’s motives are. I base every evaluation on the merit of the argument alone.

Mike could be merely practicing his seminary apologia on us, or he could be trying to hammer us with OUR OWN scientific critique of ourselves that is inherent in our system. Namely, that humans’ are very limited in their pursuit of absolute knowledge.

I happen to think that it is the second of the two. It could be for another reason. I really don’t care. Let’s talk.

The POST MODERNIST perspective has leveled a charge against US rationalists. The charge follows as: It is impossible to know all of the answers or what we do know at this moment is limited.

Guess what? The post modernists are right on one count specifically (i.e. that what we know now is not complete) and maybe they are right on the former charge: We will never know all the answers. I emphatically grant the obvious, while reserving judgment on the later. After all, Mike, we are talking about KNOWLEDGE aren’t we?

Or Mike is it that we are talking more about operating systems rather than talking specifically about knowledge? Systems that help us try to answer questions that have puzzled humanity since . . . Adam? Who are we? What are we? What is the meaning of all this?

Science is a very limited operating system that uses an empirical methodology. That empirical methodology is constrained by a self inflicted critical analysis (i.e. there is a built-in system that ferrets out bullshit). Post modernist thinkers have capitalized on science’s own self critical capacity that tries to eliminate fallacy and used this self critical process to “prove” (that’s a funny word isn’t it) that there is no truth.

Unfortunately, religion (insert YOUR divine revelation here) doesn’t have a critical self reflex. Or, at least not one that is built into it like science. You could cite Jon Hus or Martin Luther. But, you are not really citing a criticism encouraged by ages and ages and ages of ecclesiastical authority. And, Mike, don’t be too critical of historically misappropriated ecclesiastical authority (i.e. “that’s not the real (insert your divine revelation here) . . . sniff, sniff, sniff). That misguided ecclesiastical authority determined what heresy was and what was canonical. Let’s not cherry pick too much.

So basically I have this to say to Mike: I hand to you on a silver platter that I, Ironlion (a rationalist, free thought, free speaker, free from religious compulsion citizen), grant you that WE don’t know everything. Furthermore, I grant you that we might never know EVERYTHING.

So, let’s bring it back to the apologetics that you have employed in previous posts. Yes, Mike, I did do a small little search. You would say something along the lines that nature reveals a God, the holy book (insert your holy book) is the word which reveals THEE God, and that the spirit testifies to this truth.

Of the three (nature reveals God, the holy book is God’s word, the spirit testifies) I would like to draw your attention first to the nature argument. Nature points to a God. Ah, yes! It does doesn’t it? But which God. Civilizations have had more Gods than I can count. Polytheism is not helping my addition skills.

Let’s talk about the third one: the spirit testifies. Wow! We’re talking spirit now. Let’s buck up boys and girls! Let’s all observe. Opps. No we can’t all observe. That’s a subjective experience. (Really Mike, I could go on with this one, but don’t make me. You get the point).

So now we are left with the holy book. In previous posts, you stated that a particular religious book (I never specifically knock a particular persons religion out of respect, please feel free fellow Muslim, Jew, or Christian to insert your beliefs here) is historically authenticated in ways that other ancient manuscripts fails to realize. You would use the scientific method (I know, I know, we are in the post modern period) to state that Julius Caesar compared to your Book is shadowy at best. Alexander the Great remains shrouded in historical ambiguity. And the Iliad of Homer is a mere copy of a copy of a copy with addition upon addition with . . . maybe He didn’t write it upon maybe we will never know.

I, Irionlion, again hand to you on a silver platter that historians are Post Modernerly uncertain about the answer to these issues. But . . . and there is a big BUT (don’t get to aroused) . . . there is a huge difference between these works and the work of divination. These books will always be criticized and analyzed under the rubric of educational purposes. Our opinions of them will alter with time, personal understanding, and objectivity.

However, they in no way make claims that your book makes. The Homer we think we observe doesn’t even pretend to be the final revelation. The Alexander we think we know doesn’t claim to have the prescription on how each and every individual should live his life. Julius Caesar we can all agree is not a revelation from god speaking to us.

Your book on the other hand, makes immense claims for itself, invokes submission from readers, and demands prostelization to non-believers (otherwise destined to an eternity of suffering).

Mike, I want you to tell me why we should swallow the callow banter and authoritarian demands of mysticism. Why should we retrograde to our primordial past of superstition? I ask you personally . . . why are you not helping us from the slid back toward the Middle Ages . . . when disease was viewed as a punishment from god?

An old adage says . . . there are no atheists on sinking ships. Well, that might be the case. But there are no “righteous” with a curable disease that pick witch doctors or faith healers over Johns Hopkins Hospital.

webmdave said...

Hey ironlion, would you please contact me?

You can do so by clicking here.

Thanks.

webmdave said...

For those interested, the Stanford Encylopedia of Philosophy has a fairly comprehesive explanation of Postmodernism: Click Here to read the article.

However, if the topic being discussed here isn't philosophical postmodernism, but rather Christian postmodernism (I'm still not entirely sure which of the two is being discussed, or if they are both being melded together), then CLICK HERE for the Wikipedia explanation that version of the idea.

Jim Arvo said...

Concerning philogenetic knowledge, Mike said "...our ability to comprehend is based up our evolutionary development that by natural selection provided a benefit for human beings. This ability to 'model' things was an evolutionary boon that provide us the ability to image and find ways to use things differently than was initially obvious..."

That's a reasonable statement. To elaborate a bit, just imagine for a moment what is needed for an arboreal primate to survive. It must possess an innate understanding of basic "physics" in that in can predict when and where things will be in the future (on time scales of seconds to minutes). This entails spatial and temporal reasoning, and is clearly not something that is taught, although it is not completely innate either. What is innate is the propensity to acquire such knowledge from minimal environmental cues, which is analogous with how we acquire language. Nature has endowed us with the right kind of machinery to make inferences that will assist in our survival and procreation. DelBruck wrote eloquently on this in his book "Mind From Matter?", in which he makes a forceful case for the role of evolutionary biology in the study of epistemology. In my view, studying epistemology without being mindful of biology is rather like studying chemistry without atomic theory--one can make gross observations, but without ever grasping what's really going on.

Mike: "I'm more familiar with the humanities side which tends to emphasize relationships and context much more. Instead of seeing our perspectives as biological, structuralist, post-structuralist and deconstructionist emphasize cultural factors."

I did not mean to suggest that cultural influences were inconsequential. Far from it. Much of our innate mental machinery gains its utility through cultural influence (which is also part of the "environment"), such as language and morality. That is, an adaptation can be beneficial not simply because it provides an effective way to model and predict the inanimate world, but also because it can allow an organism to model and predict the behavior of other organisms. In the case of primates, for example, this includes "culture". Thus, there was likely a very powerful interplay between biological and cultural evolution, with the two continually influencing each other.

Mike: "...I believe the humanities are emphasizing free will and being over biology. Kind of a fundamental break, a split between body and mind so to speak."

I honestly can't say whether that is a common belief in the humanities or not. If it is, and if it presupposes a mind/brain duality, as it seems you are suggesting, then it would indeed be a fundamental split. Science, as a whole, has left vitalism and other forms of duality behind long ago. These seem to be nothing more than fanciful notions with nothing concrete to support them. As far as I can tell, the last vestiges of vitalism evaporated when the biological basis of memory was finally isolated several decades ago.

Mike: "Well, I don't think it's just religionist who are questioning the dogmatism of science. Thomas Kuhn's point concerning the fundamental practice of science to 'create' truth in order or facilitate research is, I believe, devastating."

Kuhn did indeed level some valid criticisms toward science, and I agree with many of them. Science is a human endeavor, so it cannot ever hope to be completely objective. But, to paraphrase Churchill, I think the scientific method is the second worst approach to discerning objective truths ever tried, right behind all the others. In other words, it's not perfect but it's better than anything else I'm aware of. Once again, if the aim is to find absolute truths, then nothing will rise to that challenge. However, if the aim is to do the best we can with what we've got, then I'd like to see a better system than what we label "science", which has more built-in checks against fraud, self-deception, bias, wishful thinking, and garden-variety error than anything else I am aware of.

Mike: "I am willing to conceed that our physical brain has an influence upon our mind. I would also point out that our socialization influences our physical bodies."

Yes, of course. As for the brain influencing the mind, I hope you don't view that as a major concession. I see it as rather like admitting that the sea is a bit damp.

Mike: "So, I would contend that in addition to observation, evolutionary development, reason, and socialization all play a crucial roll in what we would call 'knowledge'."

Absolutely. I don't think I ever implied otherwise.

Mike: "Now, I believe that the mind also contains elements that you might consider asthetic: emotions, imagination, will and spirit."

Our brains utilize many mechanisms that powerfully influence how we think; the vast majority of it is beyond our conscious control, and does not even avail itself to introspection. This includes "emotion", which is essentially the brain's mechanism for influencing behavior based on heuristics; e.g. stimuli that evoke fear, disgust, sexual attraction, indignation, etc. I have no idea what you intend by the word "spirit", however, so I won't comment on that.

Mike: "Now even if we leave out emotions, imagination, will and spirit there are still a whole lot of factors that can influence what we think we 'know'."

Possibly. What did you have in mind?

Mike: "My point concerning plato and mathmatics is not that it is the only reality but that how it's possible to 'learn' with out empiricism."

I suspect it would take several lengthy exchanges to pin down exactly what you mean by this, so I'm reluctant to pursue it. Maybe this will suffice: clearly the brain in capable of simulating alternate scenarios and thereby reaching conclusions about hypothetical situations. If you want to call this "non-empirical learning" then I suppose I wouldn't object. But this ignores the deeper issue as to the inference mechanisms that the brain employs in doing so. I would argue that they are a product of our evolutionary past, and therefore are "empirical" also, but on a much larger time scale (i.e. arising from billions of years of "observation").

Mike: "...can you see how, comming from a humanities perspective this issue concering science and what it is proposing to 'prove' or 'know' is at least reasonable to doubt?"

Here you have lost me. Science does not purport to "prove" or to "know" anything in an absolute sense (which I presume is the sense you intend it). Everything in science is provisional. All data is forever suspect. Although our confidence in some observations and some conclusions may approach certainty (for all practical matters), so far as I know nobody pretends to have absolute knowledge of anything in science.

Science is an imperfect tool employed by imperfect beings wielding imperfect instruments. However, one of its chief assets is the acknowledgment of its imperfection, and its built-in perpetual self-scrutiny. It is a self-correcting enterprise in which nothing is beyond scrutiny. For all its flaws, it can boast greater reliability than any other enterprise I have ever seen.

Anonymous said...

Ironlion:

Great post. thanks, i think for handing me all that on a silver platter. It... caught me off guard... I like you...

I do want you to know the issue here is not that your imperfect... That's not the issue. I will easily hand to YOU that the church has hardly been a paragon of virtue when it comes to perfection.

Your points concerning Alexander the great, Caesar, and Homer are well talken.

"However, they in no way make claims that your book makes."

first you have to realize a couple of things: this implies that because the danger of trusting these sources is so high they must therefore be held to a different standard. I think that's bad history.

I thought the whole point of science was to "discover the truth" whereever it pointed reguardless of what the implications maybe. So if we are moderately critical of Alexander Caesar and Homer we should be moderately critical of "your book" Likewise if we are willing to turn the screws up on the "your book" we should turn the screws up on everything else. I think that's only fair.

Secondly, It was not the scriptures that made the Church it is the Church that made the scriptures. I know that this must sound like some kind of lunatic who's really not a christian or some liberal wacko. By admitting this I am not admitting that the scriptures are not God's word I am acknoweldging the roll that the community played in the formation of the scriptures.

thirdly, there is not a single book, there are 66 separate books some written by the same author some written by only one. When Paul the apostle wrote that "all scriptures are God breathed" In his own mind I don't think he was writting about his OWN work but rather what we call the OT. So when you talk about it being "historically" this or that you need to specify which book because some books are right on the spot and others... well lets just say we struggle with them.

Jim I saw your discussion, it was very good I am acknowledging that I saw it and I read it... I just can't comment on it any longer. We are having pizza tonight and watching pirate of the caribbean II

Perhaps I'll respond later tonight..

Anonymous said...

Jimarvo wrote:

"In my view, studying epistemology without being mindful of biology is rather like studying chemistry without atomic theory--one can make gross observations, but without ever grasping what's really going on."

First off, your post on what you mean by evolutionary knowledge was quite understandable. I think I've got the general jist. I'll have comments on it later... By the way Dano I have some words for you on it as well.

Now as to some areas that need clairification.

"As far as I can tell, the last vestiges of vitalism evaporated when the biological basis of memory was finally isolated several decades ago."

"Science does not purport to "prove" or to "know" anything in an absolute sense "

There are a couple of things that i want to discuss concerning these three quotes. the first concerns the last.

If you are saying science doesn't "prove" or "know" anything than the fact that vitalism has "evaporated" should mean nothing- right? All it means is that it remains "unproven".

Logically speaking vitalism is an "unproven" concept that very few hold onto today. However, your theory of philogenetic knowledge, which apparently is held by the likes of Dawkins among others, it is equally as "unproven". I mean for all of the theories and explainations "philogenetic knowledge" remains empirically "unproven" the major difference is that a larger number of people hold on to philogenetic knowledge than to vitalism.

Does that make vitalism untrue and philogenetic knowledge true?

I would say the implication is there but not the explicit proposing. Why would I say that?

Well, I believe it's part of our heritage. It's called linear thinking. Now whether you want to attribute linear thinking to Hebews or to other sources is ultimately irrelevant...

Linear thinking is a significant part of science. Inherent in this thinking is the idea of progress. I think Ironlion pointed this out earlier. Much of my problem with "science" isn't really the empirical method, it's not a bad method. it's the notions that come along with it.

Empiricism should ultimately be about "I put such and such in a glass and it did thus and so." but linear thinking allows us to take empirical observation #1 and connect it with empirical observation #2 and this develops the idea of progress.
Now if you think this is extremely elementary becareful because most non western nations do not think in this manner. It does not follow that observation #2 is superior to #1. For some people groups meaning is found in harmonizing old "knowledge" with new "knowledge" and instead of a superior or inferior observations they are held in what WE might call illogical tension or cognative dissonance.

Finally, I would love to dive into the rest of your post. Jim I really do think you have a good mind and more than that you don't seem irrational in your dislike of my position.

I have to leave with this. Dano this one applies to you as well. If I am understanding your positions correctly concerning philogenetic knowledge than our ability to think, observe, inquire, or choose is basically "hardwired" into us.

I found a site by Dawkins concerning "Dangerous ideas" his dangerous idea was that we should not be punishing criminals (his argument was that we should treat them as "sick" or "broken") for behavior over which they have no control. the idea i think is consistant with your philogenetic knowledge.
You can point out any flaws anywhere you would like: In other words the ability to "comprehend" the world is built into us. This is not only the ability to comprehend but the various perspectives. I mean if criminals are "hardwired" to "misbehave" than I have been "hardwired" to see the world the way i do. Does that not also mean that You have been hardwired to see the world the way you do?

Would this not also mean that "logic" instead of actually showing something is really "logical" is just electrons and protrons firing off in the brain? I know this is making it simple but If our brains are "hardwired" to be what they are... than it is a mechanism that produces an effect. In other words our ideas of logic are really not that much different than a belch or a fart... (to be fair faith ect... is not any different either) than "perspective" logic or illogic, faith or doubt is something very much like being a red head or a blond? It is something over which we have no control.

So when people like Dano purport themselves to be "rational human beings"its really like saying "I'm a red head or a blond", It is a meaningless gesture.

Now I suppose you could use Dave8's argument that people have defections and malfunctions in their philogenetic evolution (the implication being that people of "faith" are defective "human beings" while "rational" people are properly functional "human beings") But I would like to know the process whereby one determines who are the "properly functional" one's and the defective ones. For if properly functional means rational I cry foul.

i am tired i want to talk more about what you said jim perhaps I will tomorrow

boomSLANG said...

Mike Brown: Much of my problem with "science" isn't really the empirical method, it's not a bad method.

Notice, today, the "empirical method" is "not a bad" method.

Okay then, what "method" is better than "not bad"? Yes, for possibly the sixth or seventh time---what methodology does Mike Brown use for determining, and subsequently promoting, that "Christianity", and it's "supernatural"/"metaphysical" claims, are a universal "truth", and that ALL other religions are false?????

Mike Brown: ...it's the notions that come along with it(the empirical method).

...and the "notions" that come along with "Faith"?

Mike Brown count-down:
(27 minutes until day 4)

webmdave said...

Interrogative commentary

I used to hear a version of the philosophic mumbo-jumbo Mike seems to be promoting at a Reconstructionist church I attended for three years prior to finally regaining control of my mind and escaping the bizarre lunacy of Christianity.

It appears to me that Mike B's real and yet implicitly denied agenda in positing his "questions" is not to learn the "atheist" perspective, as he's stated, but primarily to lay down a pseudo-intellectual-sounding apologetic foundation from which to introduce a reformatted version of Christian presuppositionalism.

In short, I'd say that Mike is attempting to argue that there is no way for anyone to really know anything about anything without appealing to some super-revelatory knowledge source, which in time will be eventually concluded, I'm guessing, to be some imaginary, immaculately conceived god-spawn.

I'll also put forth that the reason he's attempting his interrogative experiment on this site instead of on any of the many Islamic or atheistic sites on the Internet is because most of us were once Christians and therefore he supposes we may be more susceptible to being hooked by this evangelical lure.

One technique for leading someone (like an employee) to come to certain conclusions is by asking the person questions that are intended to lead the person's thoughts into a particular direction. If the technique is exercised effectively enough, the other person will reach the desired conclusion on his or her own, and won't necessarily even realize he or she was being led. This technique is also called manipulation. Manipulation is what I see Mike attempting but failing to easily accomplish in this lengthy conversation.

Now, perhaps there is no reason to care one way or the other about any of that, as another poster mentioned above, but this type of conversation generally annoys the beejeebers out me. Why? Because I see through it and so it comes off as neither honest nor genuine. It is the approach of employer with employee. It is the approach of professor with the student. It is the approach of parent with child. In other words, it is the leader dealing with the led. It tells me in very strong language that Mike believes himself superior in every way to every other poster on this site. The praise, the compliments, the rebukes -- they all indicate someone who believes himself the authority, the leader, the one to be listened to.

Of course, I could be wrong about all this. But I interpret Mike's stubborn refusal to be transparent with his true agenda as nothing more than an attempt to define the terms and rules of the discussion in accordance with his own evangelical strategy. He's in charge, he thinks, and everyone who refuses to tow the line according to his defined parameters will be ignored.

Which leads me, finally, to Mike's presupposition:

We live in a postmodern world.

We do? Says who? This is apparently the entire foundation of the so-called "questions" and the subsequent complex discussions.

Since empirical evidence is being denigrated (by Mike) as an effective way for discovering knowledge, I wonder how Mike would support his presupposition that we currently live in a postmodern society? Perhaps Mike can condescend to explaining how he came to the conclusion that we even live in such a place. Where did he acquire that knowledge, and how can he be sure it is accurate?

His "shock and awe" that we are all "modernists" when postmodernism is so clearly such a dominating force in the world (my exaggerated paraphrase of his supposed surprise) is more of the same.

Finally, he also states that we are modernists? Really? Says who?

I don't expect a response to this. I'm not playing by his rules.

Anonymous said...

mike brown wrote:
"Now I suppose you could use Dave8's argument that people have defections and malfunctions in their philogenetic evolution (the implication being that people of "faith" are defective "human beings" while "rational" people are properly functional "human beings") (But I would like to know the process whereby one determines who are the "properly functional" one's and the defective ones. For if properly functional means rational I cry foul. ")

First I want to say that I think Webmaster has nailed Mike foursquare. He is a control freak. I have noticed how he is compelled to straighten everybody out at the beginning of each post before forging ahead with his philosophy, of pretending to have a secret Philosophy, of which he is the teacher. (Webmaster! Maybe you could come up with a list of all the Christians who have held some variation of Mikes "Empiricism isn't reliable schictk," in just the last 6 months)

Mike! Most normal healthy people don't have such a compulsion to prove whatever you are trying to prove. I know I can forget about most any subject in these threads in a NY minute if something like a pepperoni pizza is put before me, which brings me to your question above in parentheses.

Mike asks:
(But I would like to know the process whereby one determines who are the "properly functional" one's and the defective ones. For if properly functional means rational I cry foul. ")

Dan the high school graduate answers: God does! whatever that is! (Some people call him nature), I call him (whatever created everything) In other words Mike, the defective ones don't get as much 'NOOKIE" They die early worrying about some amorphous, magical, mysterious, imaginary being, or maybe they don't'
Dan

Nvrgoingbk said...

Webmaster: You are a god! Thank you, Dave for seeing through this asshole's mental fucking and putting him straight. Please, please, please do not post any more of his vomit. It is a waste of Internet space.

Mike: While there may be no way to determine whether or not you or I are deluded or fully functional, I do not need to be validated as such. All of this bullshit talk KNOWING is your attempt at turning the tables on the nonreligious folk who ask you to prove just how you KNOW that a diety exists in the first place. Christians final argument for KNOWING Jesus, Yahweh and the Holy Spook are real is that they just KNOW. They experience him. They have a relationship with him. We have pretty much established, that while we may all pursue some absolute truth, it still happens to elude us. If Christians are able to shut down a conversation with "I just KNOW", then allow me the same argument. Allow me for a moment to tell you just why I KNOW that it is I, my friend who am properly functional. For me, it's the only test I need.

As a Christian, I was paranoid of always being in sin. I held the judgment that anyone who held ANY other particular religious belief was deluded and eventually going to Hell. I talked to the ceiling and thought it talked back to me, when what was really responding to me was my own inner conscience. I lived in constant fear of 'eternal' punishment and instilled such morbid fear into my children. I obsessed over doctrinal 'truths', because the Bible was so fucking contradictory in the first place.

As an Ex-Christian, I am of sound mind. I no longer judge people based soley on the merit of their religious belief(s). I am no longer suicidal, thinking it better to just end it all rather than continuing to live in sin (oh, yes it was that bad). I do not live in a constant state of fear for my non-existant soul. I no longer talk to the ceiling expecting an answer that never comes, but rather I lean on a friend or family member that has been proven true over and over again. I have peace. I have quiet in my mind where before there was only the noisy din of DOGMATIC FEAR.

After seeing the contrast between light and dark, I would say, that if your religion is truth. If your God is truth, I would rather remain in blissful ignorance.

Anonymous said...

Webmaster said, "I'll also put forth that the reason he's attempting his interrogative experiment on this site instead of on any of the many Islamic or atheistic sites on the Internet is because most of us were once Christians and therefore he supposes we may be more susceptible to being hooked by this evangelical lure."

Then he really is as foolish as he appears. Most of us deconverted because we are rational. We are practical. We live in the here and now. And, for most of us, it's been a long time (if ever) since we engaged in babbling a bunch of pseudo-intellectual jargon like a bunch of college freshmen strung out on weed in a dorm room after returning from their Intro to Philosophy Class.

With Mike, it's just vomiting words, words, words - ultimately meaning nothing. And pretty damn boring, too.

Anonymous said...

"In short, I'd say that Mike is attempting to argue that there is no way for anyone to really know anything about anything without appealing to some super-revelatory knowledge source, "

Actually Webmaster.. I was browsing the internet and "happened" across your site. It wasn't the arguments it wasn't the testimonials it was the arrogance that caught me attention. Yes the blinding and absolute arrogance. People like Jim arvo and Dave 8 some times Dano.. (he confuses me..) are at least willing to have a rational conversation. There are others, ironlion and a few others I don't want to leave anyone out that are using their minds as well.

It isn't that you've rejected christianity... you're all bigboys/girls you'll live with the consequences (I'm sure they are all good). It's the arrogance... That's honestly what caught my attention. Just read a few, just a few of your own testimonials... Superior this... arguments that... turned on my brain this, turned on my brain that....

The best arguments I have heard have come from Arvo and Dave8 with ironlion pulling a pretty decent 3rd. What your "best" most rational thinkers have proposed is that our ability to think perceive, and comprehend stems from a philogenetic evolutionary process. This process is unguided, unconscious, (as I best understand it) and have provided us the ability to "imagine" in other ways.

considering this is your best arguments that I've heard so far... (and honestly it helps me understand how your able to maintain your position so consistently, and honeslty.) I was unaware of this argument and Jim arvo and Dave8 by being patient and trying to understand where I'm comming from have taught me something.

This however, has not alleviated my anger over your arrogance, as a matter of fact it's only increased it. If the way I see the world and the way you see the world are "hardwired" into our minds than we can control what we believe no more than we can control our haircolor. This also means that "logic" is simply a metal process over which we have little or no control. We are either hardwired to use "logic" or we are not. Berrating others, putting others down, assuming such a "superior" position especially given your OWN views is "illogical",

"He's in charge, he thinks, and everyone who refuses to tow the line according to his defined parameters will be ignored."

Actually webmaster, I'm not in charge and neither are you. How can you sit there an contend that I must or should do ANYTHING? Why must I answer your questions? Are you in charge?

Or are you frustrated that I'm playing by your own rules... ironlion contended that I am using your own logic and "empiricism" back against you...

Of course people such as nevergoingback and boomslang won't even acknowledge that I'm saying anything significant. Boomslang has stubbornly clung to his two questions because he has figgured out "his own" method of winning an argument. Because I refuse to fall into his little trap doesn't mean I think I'm in control, it's that I'm not stupid.

Doubt is like a fire it is extremely easy to "set loose" but difficult to reign in. Just becuase I doubt everything you say or display how it's possible to doubt it does not follow that i'm a control freak. You literally can doubt ANYTHING, there is nothing that is free of doubt. Your unwillingness to acknowledge that displays just how "emotional" your own thoughts are.

"I wonder how Mike would support his presupposition that we currently live in a postmodern society?"

Once again you can "wonder" all you would like... but there is NOTHING that should COMPELL me do so... questioning my "motives" for such a thing is (as boomslang so emphaticly put it:) doing the curley shuffle. I don't have to answer any questions I just have to doubt... is't that the basis of "rational" thinking anyway?

Now could I provide such evidence... perhaps but as I said I'm not interested in what I think I want to know you think. I want to know if you have thought completely through your own arguments. In other words I'm doubting you... ironlion is exactally correct. I am attempting to turn the snake back upon its self...

What is AMAZING is the complete and utter resistance I have received from such "superior" and "rational" people. (My appology to ironlion, dave8 and jimarvo who as far as I can see HAVE at least the mental capacity to think through their positions) You expect to be able to turn your fire of doubt upon anyone and everything else, but heaven forbid it be turned back upon itself.

If you don't want people like me to show up here and turn loose my little "stick of dynamite" than show a little humility. Sure,

Dano wrote: "Mike! Most normal healthy people don't have such a compulsion to prove whatever you are trying to prove."

Do you know why that is? It's because such questions are like that are like assulting the madona. It's unthinkable to question that empiricism is soooo reliable. It's become a basic thought of our world. Most of you are right...

Christian DO have to resort to "emotional" arguments and "irrational" thinking because in our society "rational" and "logical" have been tied with a certain "mode" of thinnking.

I am questioning that "basic" understanding. The fact that you are all SOOOO wound up about this only demonstrates just how "committed" and just how "basic" that "mode" of thinking is to you. How dare I question the ability of empiricism to tell us about all of life? (now lest you think that this is a CHRISTIAN argument I would once again point you to such athiests as Derria, Foucault, Rorty ect.) there others I'm not too sure about as (wittgetenstein, kuhn ect.)

Nevergoingback wrote:
"All of this bullshit talk KNOWING is your attempt at turning the tables on the nonreligious folk who ask you to prove just how you KNOW that a diety exists in the first place."

Exactally! I have turned the tables on you... you all are soooo used to being able ask the questions that you forgot that you just might have to answer some yourself.

By the way, that process that you all contend is supposed to "ferret out bulls!@t" it hasn't worked too well so far has it?....? I mean if I'm talking such "bulls@#t than your little system should be able to point that out... You shouldn't have to resort to questioning motives(webmaster).. calling names(Nvrgoingbk) ... and implying that I'm not a healthy person(dano). Oh and boomslang if your position was sooo great you would certainly be able to figgure out more than two questions to ask me.

None of these things are arguments and only demonstrate just how "religously commited" to your position you truely are.


Nvrgoingbk: "As an Ex-Christian, I am of sound mind. I no longer judge people based soley on the merit of their religious belief(s)."

Is this an example of how you don't judege people anymore:

"produce a coherent post,"

"MIKE YOU NEED TOO COME OUT OF THE CLOSET I KNOW INSIDE YOU WE'RE JUST LIKE ME TOO AFRAID TOO ADMIT YOU KNOW THE BIBLE IS FULL OF SHIT"

"passed through the Christian dogma, abuse and brainwashing,"

"From what you have said in former posts, you seem quite the liberal Christian"

"Liberal Christianity is flawed."

"You are trying to correspond with people who consider your religion to be inherently flawed and quite often, down right repulsive,"

Is that your idea of not judging people?

Anonymous said...

ygwhell wrote:

"Most of us deconverted because we are rational."

" We are practical. We live in the here and now."

so which one are you yulego 2 hell? Are you rational or practical?

Because some would contend that being practical is doing what works"

Being rational my many is concerned with "knowing"whats true.

yule are you interested in doing what works or knowing what true? Your "rational" post confuses me.

mike

Anonymous said...

"Your rational post confuses me."

At least he's honest. Still boring, though.

Anonymous said...

verbal diareah wrote:


"Your rational post confuses me."


Actually I wrote: Your "rational" post confuses me.
The quotations marks are implying sarcasm. I'm sorry if that was confusing but quotation marks are there for a reason....

However, if you are going quote me please do me the honor of quoting me properly.
Thanks

mike

Anonymous said...

" The quotations marks are implying sarcasm."

No shit, sherlock. So, why should anyone want to engage in a discussion with a boring, sarcastic twit?

webmdave said...

Wow. It appears someone doesn't like his position being challenged.

Mike, your response, far from revealing anything about me, reveals much about you.

Have a nice weekend.

TheJaytheist said...

Why can't a person be both rational and practical?

webmdave said...

Oh, and Mike: Thank you for finally being transparent and honest.

Anonymous said...

Stronger Now wrote, "Why can't a person be both rational and practical?"

Indeed! They're pretty much the same - except in the mind of some obnoxious kid who wants to try to "impress" us with his command of philosophical gobblegook and psychobabble. At least, that's what I think he's doing; I haven't actually read his l-o-o-o-o-n-g posts word for word because all that blah-blah-blah makes my eyes glaze over.

Anonymous said...

Mike wrote:
"Actually webmaster, I'm not in charge and neither are you. How can you sit there an contend that I must or should do ANYTHING? Why must I answer your questions? Are you in charge?"

Dano contends that Mikes wiring is defective because if he is suffering from the delusion that Dave the W/M ain't in charge of this website it shows a total lack of critical thinking skills.

Also Mike. How come you didn't acknowledge the fact that I answered your question about who naturally selects people with defective wiring out of the gene pool. I said My God did.

My God is a lot bigger than your puny man made God, whom man came up with before he had SCIENCE. Your God is only a few generations away from earlier Pagan versions, of the same story.

My God made the gene pool, and set into motion a perfectly beautiful system of eliminating his mistakes. My God can beat up your God, My God doesn't need sacrifices.

My God can create a billion universes in the blink of an eye. My God is embarrassed by your God. My God can do anything.

My God didn't make me and then get his jolly's making me fearful. My God doesn't blame me for what Adam and eve did. my God doesn't force me through threat of eternal torture to love him.

My God put enough mystery and good stuff into this earthly existence that I am not constantly preoccupied with trying to invent the next life, although I have faith that he is smart enough to have a plan.

So you see Mike, even versions of God evolve as we get smarter.
Dan

Anonymous said...

And just so no one gets the idea that I am religious, please exchange a few of those references to God from "he" to "It."
Thanks,
Dan

boomSLANG said...

Mike Brown: Of course people such as nevergoingback and boomslang won't even acknowledge that I'm saying anything significant.

Mike Brown, what I "acknowledge" is that you have a serious reading comprehension problem. Not-to-mention, it isn't too hard to "figgure" out that you are severely grammatically challenged.

Now, before you start frothing at the mouth, that wasn't a statement from "superiority", because everybody misspells a word here and there.....however, your consistant butchery of even the most common everyday words in the English language is laughable...."figgure"?..."comming" Seriously, what should educated adults think if they should read, "The Lord is comming!"

Moreover, even though you've deviated from your initial proselytizing post; even though you have excuses for why you refuse to make a case for your worldview, I would still recommend that you at least learn to correctly spell the words in your very own mission statement..e.g.."The Lord is coMing!!!". Just for future reference = )

Mike Brown, it seems that just because you've googled and/or read up on---as far as I can tell---one specific subject that fits your "Christian" agenda..i.e.."post-modernism"; and just because a few people here are intrigued enough to humor your pseudo-philosophical arguments with lengthy well-thought-out responses, that somehow, you think that you have garnered the respect of some of us. That's pretty funny, Mike Brown.

But moving on---when I said "reading comprehension" problem, it's because it's humorous how you will sit there and extol certain people here with whom you think you are capable of "philosophizing", yet, you seem to blatantly ignore the parts of their philosophical arguments that directly oppose and/or challenge the gigantic strawman you've erected.

Jim Arvo: ....to paraphrase Churchill, I think the scientific method is the second worst approach to discerning objective truths ever tried, right behind all the others. In other words, it's not perfect but it's better than anything else I'm aware of. Once again, if the aim is to find absolute truths, then nothing will rise to that challenge. However, if the aim is to do the best we can with what we've got, then I'd like to see a better system than what we label "science", which has more built-in checks against fraud, self-deception, bias, wishful thinking, and garden-variety error than anything else I am aware of."[bold added]

Notice, this part remains UNchallenge by Mike Brown. Also notice, I've agreed all along with this postion, and although I think he(Jim) implicitly asks the question, "Hey, Mike Brown, what have YOU got that is better??"...I just out-right ask it. Nonetheless, we're both blatantly ignored. In any event, I'll give benefit of the doubt once more:

Mike Brown?...WHAT DO YOU HAVE THAT IS BETTER? Yes, what do YOU, Mike Brown, have for a methodology that is BETTER for determining "Truth"?...specifically that "Christianity" is universal "Truth"??????????

Jim Arvo: The bottom line, as far as I'm concerned is this: You, as a theist, posit something that I consider to be utterly fantastic--an invisible conscious entity with unlimited power, unlimited knowledge, and the desire and ability to intervene in human affairs. Is that a fair statement?[bold added]

Repeat: Is THAT a fair statement?

Mike Brown: Boomslang has stubbornly clung to his two questions because he has figgured out "his own" method of winning an argument.

My own "method"? Um, you said that you are here to "ask questions". So far, that's the "method" you are using. So??? I'm asking some f%cking questions, too. The difference is, you only address what you *think* you can address, and ignore the rest.(see below)

Mike Brown: Because I refuse to fall into his little trap doesn't mean I think I'm in control, it's that I'm not stupid.

It's only a "trap" if you don't have answers. How's your foot taste...... "stupid"?


(day 4)

1) Do you KNOW that God exists, empirically/materially?

(If "yes", present your evidence at this time. If "no", go to question "2")

2) Then do you even know if God exists at all?

(If "yes", tell us how you've aquired this "knowledge"; *how you "know" it is reliable, and how this philosophy/methodology for aquiring knowledge only makes Christianity a "truth", and not any other religion a truth.

Nvrgoingbk said...

Mike, you brought up a quote

"produce a coherent post," How is this a judgment on you or your character? I have a particular opinion about your posts being confusing and hard to follow. Where have I passed a judgment on you simply for your religious belief?

"MIKE YOU NEED TOO COME OUT OF THE CLOSET I KNOW INSIDE YOU WE'RE JUST LIKE ME TOO AFRAID TOO ADMIT YOU KNOW THE BIBLE IS FULL OF SHIT"

This was written by my husband, Nicolas AKA NvrgoingbkEITHER. I do not speak for him. He's a grown man and welcomed to his own opinion.

"passed through the Christian dogma, abuse and brainwashing,"

Once again, where is the judgment on individual Christians or their beliefs? I have experienced Christianity as an assault to the mind and heart of humanity, but that is not a judgment on you or your fellow believers

"From what you have said in former posts, you seem quite the liberal Christian"

Notice, I said that you "seem" a liberal Christian. I have not passed any judgment on you regarding your future inhabitance of Hell or Heaven. I have read your posts regarding your beliefs on the Bible and according to most Christian denominations, you have a very liberal view of the scriptures. How is this a judgment on YOU?

"Liberal Christianity is flawed." How is this a judgment on a person based on their religious belief? I am simply putting into words my own observations about LIBERAL CHRISTIANITY

"You are trying to correspond with people who consider your religion to be inherently flawed and quite often, down right repulsive,"

Again, how is this a judgment on YOU or other religious folk? It is simply the truth regarding what most of us here at Ex-C believe and have found to be our own experience of your religion and your text.

Mike, you said: "Is that your idea of not judging people?"

How do any of these quotes imply judgment upon others?


Here's what it boils down to for me Mike. I tried telling you how it is that I "know" your truth is not my own. I have experienced both sides. I have done the research. You and I have discovered the same things regarding the compilation of the books of the bible. We agree that it is not "inerrant" as has been sold by the church. You are probably very well aware of the pagan roots of MANY of the Christian beliefs and traditions. You have read the same passages that I have displaying "god's" character. You have not found yourself appalled at such commandments given by god to slaughter entire nations. You have not found yourself disgusted by Yahweh's laws regarding animal sacrifice. You have not found the contradictions scattered throughout the text to be alarmingly disturbing. For your own reasons, you have chosen to believe in the Christian god DESPITE all of the reasons we have chosen to reject it. For whatever reason, you are able to look past glaring inconsistencies and still believe that somehow this book is inspired by god. You are able to ignore the fact that "God" never audibly responds to your prayers and still believe that you "hear" from "him". You are aware of the many other "gospels" that were in circulation at the time of the early church that do not speak of Jesus' supposed diety and still regard him as such.

How do we ever really know anything? All we have is experience. "I think, therefore I am." It was all Plato knew to be true. He reduced his knowledge to the only thing he could know for sure, which was that he existed. I have reduced my knowledge of god to all that I can know for sure, which is that I have never experienced 'him' or anything else supernatural in any tangible way. The way in which we percieve things and aquire knowledge is through our senses. Unless this 'god' of yours or anyone elses produces something tangible for my senses to detect, there is no way for me to know "him". You choose to believe in "him" despite this. How is it then that you "know" "he" exists in the first place, if you do not possess the same tangible proof that any rational species uses to determine the validity of "his" existence?

Jim Arvo said...

Mike,

I'm a bit dismayed by the turn this discussion has taken. You are a visitor here. You knew from the start that we do not share your theological opinions, and you knew (or should have known) that most of us here at one time believed the tenets of Christianity. The path of the typical apostate here was driven by questioning dogma and demanding answers (which were obviously not forthcoming). The process was largely a rational one for most of us, as it required prolonged examination of the facts and often painful reassessment of prior beliefs. However, religion being what it is, it is often an emotionally charged process as well. It is therefore extraordinarily difficult to have a purely intellectual discussion on such matters. Surely you can agree with what I just said.

Exacerbating this situation are the following facts: 1) The majority of Christian visitors here are at some point rude and condescending. They often have no interest in understanding our point of view. We get bombarded with them daily, and it unfortunately creates a stereotype that is hard to shake. 2) Perhaps we are guilty of some arrogance, but that goes both ways. You have clearly exhibited arrogance as well. 3) While it certainly should be possible to question another point of view without necessarily stating and defending your own, doing so can become very annoying. Moreover, as we've seen many times at this site, it simply prolongs the inevitable clash of world views and allows basic misconceptions to linger that might have been put to rest early on with a little more disclosure up front. For these reasons, Christians who do not wish to discuss their theology are suspect here.

I've asked you indirectly several times to state your position, and others (e.g. BoomSLANG) have been more direct. The fact that you do not wish to state your own position raises red flags for many of us. It could mean that you are attempting to "lead us" to your conclusions (as the WM suspects), which would be a bit condescending, or it might mean that you have no good defense for it (which is, in effect, the very point we are making). In any case, it's difficult to view your reticence as something that will promote healthy discussion.

Mike: "If the way I see the world and the way you see the world are 'hardwired' into our minds than we can control what we believe no more than we can control our haircolor."

That is a poor characterization of what has been argued here. Please note that I've been careful to speak of innate inference mechanisms, and our propensity to acquire some kinds of information. This does not imply that we are all helpless with regard to our beliefs. By testing our innate beliefs, we can thereby discover at least some of them that are erroneous. That is science (or critical thinking) in a nutshell. When one refuses to test one's beliefs, as the vast majority of the visiting Christians do, then they are open to legitimate criticism.

Mike: "You literally can doubt ANYTHING, there is nothing that is free of doubt. Your unwillingness to acknowledge that displays just how 'emotional' your own thoughts are."

Who has suggested that there is anything beyond doubt, Mike? Just the opposite has been asserted here many times. This seems to be a continual sticking point, and for reasons I cannot fathom. Nobody is positing absolute "certainty". Absolute "proofs" are nonexistent when it come to the empirical. This has almost become a mantra. Why can we not agree on this and put it to rest?

Mike: "I don't have to answer any questions I just have to doubt... is't that the basis of 'rational' thinking anyway?"

It's a part of rational thinking; I cannot agree that it's the basis of rational thinking. If you want us to perceive you as being "rational", you ought do more than doubt. Rationality also requires the weighing of evidence, and recognizing conflicting information and a continuum of certainty. These complications are thrust upon us by the real world, and it is this circumstance that tests one's mettle and refines one's ability to reason.

Mike: "Now could I provide such evidence... perhaps but as I said I'm not interested in what I think I want to know you think. I want to know if you have thought completely through your own arguments."

At this web site there is abundant evidence of people who have agonized over their current positions. But, by the same token, nobody has thought through anything completely; I can't even imagine how that might be accomplished. At any given time we are all aware of evidence, feelings, arguments, etc. that point in various directions. All any of us can do is to weigh it as best we can. On some points we can be more-or-less certain that we've made a good choice, and others remain murky. The position I and others here consistently criticize is that of non-thinking and unquestioning acceptance. While nobody can think things through completely, it is most definitely possible to think them through poorly, and that is what we routinely criticize.

Mike: "It's unthinkable to question that empiricism is soooo reliable. ...How dare I question the ability of empiricism to tell us about all of life?"

Once more, Mike, nothing is exempt from doubt or beyond scrutiny. This has been stated again and again and again. Why does this continue to pop up as though it is a point of contention?

Mike: "...if I'm talking such 'bulls@#t th[e]n your little system should be able to point that out..."

Our "little" system? Condescension aside, you know the answer to this as well as we do. State your position and perhaps you will see our "little" system in action. If you do nothing but ask questions and express doubt, then you've put nothing on the table.

Mike: "None of these things are arguments and only demonstrate just how 'religously commited' to your position you truely are."

I always find it interesting with a religionist uses "religion" as a pejorative. Don't you regard it as a good thing to be "religiously committed"? Either way, your characterization is a strange one, and I cannot agree with it. I'm willing to toss out anything I currently hold to be true if it can be shown to be in error, or if my reasons for adopting it are shown to be unfounded. Is this your attitude toward "god"? I suspect not.

Unknown said...

So mike can you prove the J.R. "bob" Dobbs isn't real? Can you prove that he is not the best drill bit sales man ever? No, you can't. You seem like an outsider to both Christians and atheists. Do you want to score with hot chicks? Then you may be a SubGenii. Don't let Jehovah 1 fool you just be his tool. Stop being pink and send your $30.
Either way, fuck 'em if they can't take a joke.

Anonymous said...

Mike Brown: ""Now I suppose you could use Dave8's argument that people have defections and malfunctions in their philogenetic evolution (the implication being that people of "faith" are defective "human beings" while "rational" people are properly functional "human beings") (But I would like to know the process whereby one determines who are the "properly functional" one's and the defective ones. For if properly functional means rational I cry foul. ")"

Mike, I've been out for the weekend, and it was interesting.

I found myself in a real, austere and intriguing environment (Children of the Corn, Stephen King, comes) speaking with someone I've known most of my life. I asked them how so and so was doing, and guess where the conversation immediately gravitated towards?

Care to guess? Well, demonology and demon possession of course, because the person I was asking about seemed to be "out of it" to the Christian.

Now, of course, I just had to inquire as to what a "real" demon looked like, and... come to find out, only a 'true' Christian is really able to see a 'real" demon.

I found this interesting, and so... I asked them, if they had sent this individual who was demon possessed to a psychiatrist, since I have such leanings... and, the reply? No, only a Christian psychiatrist can actually diagnose the patient correctly.

This was peculiar to me; I sat there and then asked... what if the person was mentally ill due to a chemical imbalance, etc. They responded that an exorcism would need to be performed "first" before anything else should be approached, as a viable option.

Now, Mike... psychiatry "is" a science, do you believe "psychiatry" has the rigor in its practice, along with the A.M.A. to properly diagnose a mentally dysfunctional person?

I consider the person I talked to about demon therapy, and exorcism to be irrational in terms of coming to a "more complete" understanding of the environment in which they live... Also, just to cover the base; we not only misinterpret our Objective reality because we have differences in biological sense capabilities, but as well, we are "testing" our environment with our senses based on the "knowledge" we hold, thereby painting it accordingly.

The demon expert, obviously has heard a "lot" about demons and what they look like, how to pick them out of a line-up, and so forth. He is functioning normally, based on the information he holds, and according to his biological limits.

However, to "all" people who are more biologically "capable" of discerning contradiction in another person's statement, the person can legitimately be characterized as speaking "irrationally" about the specific circumstance in front of them.

Thus, although the person is functioning normally (even an infant would be synonymous in this scenario), their "statements" are totally contradictory to those who hold more/additional knowledge of the environment. In this particular case, the person I talked to suggests there is more than "One" Universe, and in this Universe, we share spirits; angels, demons, Holy Ghost, etc.

So, let me reiterate, a person can be "properly" functioning, or "improperly" functioning based on their circumstance(s) and be contradictory or "inconsistent" in their statements or belief(s).

...but, let me explain my stance a little clearer. There are those institutions that actually feed and program individuals to "believe", based on a "contradictory" philosophy. In short, they are "taught" to believe in the philosophy of "contradiction", and it is precisely that which I detest, because it is a form of mental abuse to me.

Where does the responsibility of the church, theism, or religion lay in regards to ensuring people are not being taught to become "dysfunctional"?

Isn't it obvious that a person can be a "properly functioning vehicle (bio-cognition), with poor gas (info-synthesized knowledge, and no gas-filter (ability to employ mental reasoning tools))." Sure, the vehicle can still move at the basic level, but not without a lot of turbulence in the foreground or background of cognition.

It's a known fact that the Catholic religion, in itself has "attacked" the very science of psychiatry. As, the message of Catholicism creates an adversarial environment for those of the psychiatric profession.

We can discuss for the next few months, the "best" method for "filtering" information, but it appears that many here have alluded over and over that empiricism is likely the "best" we have to offer at the time.

I'll give you the biological differences, and each person has to operate according to their limitations... not a problem for me, it's not my focus.

I want to know, who is responsible for seeking to remove those organizations that promote mental dysfunction, based on disinformation campaigns (Harry Potter is Evil), propaganda (All other religions, other than my own are Evil, or everyone is mentally deranged and going to hell), etc.

Who "regulates" those organizations that promote such mental atrocity, in order to create self-sustaining life-membership via exploitation.

If a person has an IQ of 50 (mentally limited), one could argue that the person is going to be irrational anyway... I disagree, the person can be taught without contradiction by those who are "more" competent to know contradiction on their level. Their sphere of reality will not reach the sphere of reality that someone with a higher mental capability will have the potential for.

The fact is Mike, I think the whole system of religion, and most of theism is wrong just on that one count alone. It boils down to "responsibility", but such an undertaking would undo the very roots of religion itself.

In a single Universe, there is only "One" Objective Truth. The closer we come to that truth using methods of discovery, the less "contradiction" would exist. The less the "contradiction", the closer to a singularity of knowledge... and that would be a knowledge base focused solely on "Nature" alone.

I stated a while back, perhaps in another thread; is there such a thing as "rational" Theism? I tend to disagree with the very suggestion, not based on a generalization fallacy, but based on the fact that I believe we live in One single United Universe.

If we were to approach a common non-contradictory understanding, there could be only "One" belief system - Nature... and the belief in "Nature" alone, is called a form of "naturalism". Where else would religion exist, except in the fantasy sections in book-stores?

As we converge on "Truth", if that is an agreeable position between the theist and scientist, then... it squeezes out contradiction, from the beginning.

It is the foundational "goal" between religion, etc., and science that is diametrically opposed.

Where science seeks to answer contradictions, religions revel in them, both argue for different conclusions to the exact same problem most times.

Many scientists are fine with religion, so long as it keeps to its belief domain, and away from science which attempts to deplete over time all contradiction.

I know, it's subtle... or not... but science by its sheer underlying philosophy, is set-up to dissolve "all" contradiction, without prejudice... that means, religious/belief systems, are indirectly challenged indiscriminately.

There are many people on this site, who were mentally abused by being subjected to contradiction, and were asked to mentally sabotage their normal cognitive function, in order to keep to a contradictory belief system.

Anonymous said...

Did Mike finally realize tht he's out of his league or did the rapture come and take Mike to his streets of gold, 72 virgins or whatever his religion advertises?

eel_shepherd said...

Rats, I was late getting to this barbecue, by a couple of months (just finishing clearing up the backlog today). But there were a few interesting segments in this saga:

Early on, from Jim_Arvo, we had:
"...As for `truth', ... It's a thought that allows us to interact with the world..." [and, in the same paragraph] "...As for `truth' that is disconnected from observable things (even in principle), I honestly don't know what that could mean..."

Maybe Mike Brown was distinguishing between "observable" and "perceivable." In either case, this was dealt with fully by nvrgoingbk's comment:

"...If you are able to "feel" God and experience "Him", outside of the book that you admittedly (in other posts) believe is NOT the inerrant word of god, then why use it at all?..."

Why indeed?

From ironlion, we had:
"...Furthermore, I grant you that we might never know EVERYTHING..."

The situation might be even more dire than that, lion. There might not even be an everything.

Mike Brown: "...I thought the whole point of science was to "discover the truth" whereever [sic] it pointed reguardless [sic] of what the implications maybe [sic]..."

And from Jim_Arvo (taken out of chronological, but not thematic, order, here)
"...Science does not purport to "prove" or to "know" anything in an absolute sense (which I presume is the sense you intend it). Everything in science is provisional. All data [are] forever suspect..."

This is right; science is not in the business of proving; it's in the business of disproving. Hypothesising, theorising, and disproving. This is the self-correcting mechanism in science, written of by the same author in other posts.

Mike Brown: "...Logically speaking vitalism is an "unproven" concept that very few hold onto today..."

Everyone who buys the fable of Jesus driving the demons out of the possessed guy and into a herd of hapless passing pigs is still holding onto that unproven concept. It's still got lots of takers.

Mike Brown: "...Would this not also mean that `logic' instead of actually showing something is really `logical' is just electrons and protrons firing off in the brain?... It is something over which we have no control..."

This is a low- to no-yield line of argument, a hair's breadth away from the question of predestination. i.e. is a person whose logical reasoning skill has taken a recent turn for the better just living out the phenomenon of a late-manifesting gene for improved logical reasoning?

Alright, those were all my RE-actions. On the posit-ive front, although science is in the business of disproving, it will not have escaped anyone's notice that the language of science is mathematics. And math _is_ concerned with proving. So there is scope for picking at the threads of non-believers' empiricism, if that's your bag. It's not mine.

In fact, you can kick that contradiction up a meta-level since in the post-Godel (1930) era, we know that in any formal system (...math...) there will be: i] true statements _in_ the formal system that cannot be generated _by_ the formal system; and, ii] there will be well-formed statements within the system which cannot be pronounced on, as to truth or falsity, by the system.

With regard to the subject of our perceiving "reality" according to our limitations, yes, we can only pick out stuff (spectrums/wave functions) that exist within the powers of our senses. Would I be putting words in your mouth, Mike_Brown, if I suggested that the god, who is privy to all the other spectra/phenomena, allows portals to these supra-normal phenomena to obtrude into our small set of perceivable spectra, and that these take the form of "faith-decisions" as they appear to us? I'd hafta ask, Is this trip necessary? Because, whether we can perceive these beyond-limitation phenomena or not, we are living in/with them anyhow, at every moment, with no apparent ill effects.

Concerning boomSLANG's two questions, perhaps you are thinking/hoping that he's the only one who'd like to see you answer them. Not true; I'm also waiting for your answer(s). It's too easy to just say that he's got a pat line, developed purely to victimise the easy prey. Such things do exist, I'll grant you, but this is not an example of them. Those are fairly fundamental questions, and would be found in any openings manual of theistic/atheistic chess, if I may analogise. They've stood the test of time, at all levels of discourse.

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