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Religion For discussion about different religions and belief structures - Please be respectful of other's beliefs


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Old April 2nd, 2011, 08:07 AM   #1
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Theists and atheists

Theists and Atheists

I still do not know what can be done to eliminate endless conflicts between materialists and spiritualists. But comments collected at several websites prompted me to compose a short on-line paper at:

http://pages.csam.montclair.edu/~kowalski/theo_sci.html

It can probably be used to initiate an interesting discussion here. Please share this link with those who might be interested.

Ludwik Kowalski
Professor Emeritus
Montclair State University, USA
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Old September 16th, 2014, 06:37 AM   #2
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Someone discovered a sign in a watermelon to end the debate!

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Old September 16th, 2014, 09:54 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kowalskil View Post
Theists and Atheists

I still do not know what can be done to eliminate endless conflicts between materialists and spiritualists. But comments collected at several websites prompted me to compose a short on-line paper at:

theo_sci

It can probably be used to initiate an interesting discussion here. Please share this link with those who might be interested.

Ludwik Kowalski
Professor Emeritus
Montclair State University, USA
[SIZE=5]Abstract
[/SIZE]
Quote:
Mathematics is like theology; it starts with axioms (initially accepted truths) and uses logical derivation to justify consecutive claims. Science is different; here claims are justified by reproducible experimental observations, not by pure logic. This does not interfere with peaceful coexistence and mutual respect between mathematicians and scientists. The situation can be contrasted with relations between some self-appointed theologians and self-appointed scientists. No one benefits from the endless “we know better” conflicts. Is it possible to avoid such conflicts? The topic was discussed over the Internet, as illustrated in this article.
Avoidance is not possible in many cases, as belief and the human tendency to ignore reality interfere with the result. We also must deal with individual realities in the first place...many of which manage to ignore agreed upon fact.
Mathematics IS a science and indeed intricately used within it....those of a religious tendency often dismiss these things to protect belief...there is no solution for this.
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Old September 16th, 2014, 02:27 PM   #4
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The degeneration of the discussion involving this topic is really disagreement, also prejudices held by both theists and non theists. It wasn't until I started discussing this open mindedly on the web that I truly understood my perspective.

I personally much prefer talking to an open minded atheist over a believer, regarding this. But since I fail to find any open minded atheists on this forum it's impossible to discuss it here.

The truth everybody must accept, is that people aren't reasoned or ridiculed into or out of religion. Be it you are atheist or theist you have antecedently held beliefs that you likely aren't going to change. So if your mission is to convert, just don't bother.

Theists that assume atheists are without morality and atheists that assume theists are just nuts have no real value to add to the conversation. These types are best ignored. But normally somebody has to decide to be butthurt about what somebody else says.

Tecoyea and Aufgablassen are notpeople to discuss this with. Tecoyea is extremely biased and unable to not allow his bias to interfere. Aufgablassen is not really honest. He is atheist but he is angry at his god.

I haven't talked to the theists here because I prefer to talk to atheists about it. Discussing things with people that agree with you is pointless. Believers tend to get bogged down in dogma.
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Old November 24th, 2015, 12:31 PM   #5
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Brought to the top for The new guy.
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Old November 25th, 2015, 01:55 AM   #6
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This is the inevitable result of the power of the FSM reaching into the plant world and using it to manipulate humankind.....AGAIN!

I think we all remember the Great Marinara incident of 533 BC...lets hope there is not a repeat.
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Old May 6th, 2016, 09:43 AM   #7
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This is the inevitable result of the power of the FSM reaching into the plant world and using it to manipulate humankind.....AGAIN!

I think we all remember the Great Marinara incident of 533 BC...lets hope there is not a repeat.
FSM?
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Old May 6th, 2016, 10:07 AM   #8
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FSM?
Flying Spaghetti Monster.
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Old March 20th, 2017, 04:24 PM   #9
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In my view, the best argument for the existence of God is the Ontological Argument of St. Anselm. Even most educated people do not understand it. Anselm defines God as: "that than which nothing greater can be conceived," id quo maius cogitari nequit. To exist in fact is greater than to exist merely in thought, therefore God exists. The Totality of Being is also "that than which nothing greater can be conceived." Therefore, God is Being.

It must be understood that God is the only subject for which this argument can be valid. All lesser beings may or may not exist, for they have opposites which may also exist---they are contingent.

All beings lesser than the Ultimate Being are contingent, but the Ultimate Being is a necessary being---the only necessary being, for only It is without an opposite. Once we understand the definition of God, it is inconceivable that God could not exist---for it is as inconceivable as the notion that Existence does not exist.

But what about Non-Existence? Is it not the opposite of Existence? Does it not make Existence a limited thing?

No! Non-Existence is a false opposition, a false idea. A conception of Non-Existence can exist, but Non-Existence per se cannot exist. Let us apply Anselm's procedure. There can be nothing emptier than Non-Existence. It is "that than which nothing lesser can be conceived," id quo minor cogitari nequit. But suppose Non-Existence existed in fact---then something lesser could be conceived: that Non-Existence is only a conception, and not a fact!

Ironically, if we define the Devil as the diametrical opposite to God, then Anselm's argument proves that the Devil cannot exist! It is a good thing that he lived before the Holy Inquisition was established, or else Saint Anselm might have been burned at the stake as a heretic!

As a logical argument, Anselm's Argument is perfect, and his conclusion inescapable---except for one fatal flaw. Can we say that to exist in fact is "greater" than to exist in thought? Anselm presupposed a hierarchical universe in which one could distinguish up and down, greater and lesser. This we can do in a local space where gravity gives us our directions. But in the inter-galactic depths of a relativistic universe, what is up and what is down? What is motion, and what is stillness? Which is "greater": thought or existence? Are forms "greater" than facts, or is it the other way round?

As a metaphor for the wonder of existence, I much prefer the Hindu notion of the Net of Indra over the Western notion of God.

Indra is the King of the Gods. He has a net in whose meshes the world is caught. At each node of the Net is a jewel. The substance of each jewel is clear and colorless---utterly diaphanous. Yet each jewel is also a perfect mirror of all that surrounds it. Each jewel reflects all the other jewels in the Net. The whole infinite Net appears in each jewel. Well, not quite the whole Net---in reflecting the Net, each jewel cannot reflect itself.

Yet, of course, each jewel does reflect itself---for it is reflected in every other jewel in the Net, and so is reflected back into itself an infinite number of times, with all the infinite reflections and re-reflections of all the other jewels in the Net.

So the Net is infinite in two directions: it is infinite in outward extent, and infinite inside each jewel. Each jewel is the entire Net, and yet the reflections inside each jewel contains variations which distinguish it from every other jewel in the Net.

However, are not "inward" and "outward" arbitrary distinctions in this dazzling display? In this endless glitter what is up and what is down? Which of any number of infinite directions shall we choose? And once chosen, do we know that our course runs straight?
.
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Old March 21st, 2017, 05:47 AM   #10
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Flying Spaghetti Monster.
Oh, OK!

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Old March 21st, 2017, 03:16 PM   #11
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As an offshoot of Anselm's proof of the existence of God:

Gödel's ontological proof is a formal argument for God's existence by the mathematician Kurt Gödel. It is in a line of development that goes back to Anselm of Canterbury, (1033–1109). St. Anselm's ontological argument, in its most succinct form, is as follows: "God, by definition, is that for which no greater can be conceived. God exists in the understanding. If God exists in the understanding, we could imagine Him to be greater by existing in reality. Therefore, God must exist." A more elaborate version was given by Gottfried Leibniz (1646 AD to 1716 AD); this is the version that Gödel studied and attempted to clarify with his ontological argument.



or

Definition 1: x is God-like if and only if x has as essential properties those and only those properties which are positive
Definition 2: A is an essence of x if and only if for every property B, x has B necessarily if and only if A entails B
Definition 3: x necessarily exists if and only if every essence of x is necessarily exemplified
Axiom 1: Any property entailed by—i.e., strictly implied by—a positive property is positive
Axiom 2: If a property is positive, then its negation is not positive.
Axiom 3: The property of being God-like is positive
Axiom 4: If a property is positive, then it is necessarily positive
Axiom 5: Necessary existence is positive
Axiom 6: For any property P, if P is positive, then being necessarily P is positive.
Theorem 1: If a property is positive, then it is consistent, i.e., possibly exemplified.
Corollary 1: The property of being God-like is consistent.
Theorem 2: If something is God-like, then the property of being God-like is an essence of that thing.
Theorem 3: Necessarily, the property of being God-like is exemplified.
.
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Old March 21st, 2017, 03:39 PM   #12
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As a logical argument, Anselm's Ontological "Proof" is perfect, and his conclusion inescapable---except for one fatal flaw. Can we say that to exist in fact is "greater" than to exist in thought? Anselm presupposed a hierarchical universe in which one could distinguish up and down, greater and lesser.

This we can do in a local space where gravity gives us our directions. But in the inter-galactic depths of a relativistic universe, what is "up" and what is "down"? What is motion, and what is stillness? Which is "greater" : thought or existence?

Are Forms "greater" than facts, or is it the other way round?

My own personal bias is that to exist in thought is greater than to exist merely in fact.

Eternal mathematical Forms are clearly more real and solid and concrete than the shifting illusions of our trivial, dream-like experience of the world.

I prefer Anselm's argument for its simplicity, but Gödel's argument also is correct -- but, alas, vacuous, since the essential quality "positive" is given no concrete content.

Both arguments suffer from axiomatic bias in that they are anthropocentric. Anselm's assumes a human ability to distinguish up and down, greater and lesser.

Gödel's assumes "definitions" that are not logically substantiated.

In my view, Gödel's error is more egregious because he, as a mathematician, (and not just any mathematician!) had the obligation to avoid such "mistakes," whereas Anselm had no such obligation.

Gödel seems to have gone a little nutty in his last years, possibly due to malnutrition caused by the health fads to which he subscribed (fadsters, beware!!).

It's very sad, especially for me, since I subscribe to his views of Platonic Realism in relation to the nature of mathematics.

I guess we must just be thankful that, for a while, he was one of the most towering minds of the 20th century, and be grateful for that.

Moreover, it is well that we are forced to remember how fragile we are, both in body and mind, and to remember to protect what is worthwhile in both while we can.
.
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Old March 21st, 2017, 03:43 PM   #13
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With the unicorn, no one writes books about their disbelief because no one cares. The unicorn is mythology that has been completely rejected by all branches of society. No one puts up billboards making claims in the unicorn’s name. No one broadcasts radio and television shows defending the unicorn or singing its praises. No one writes apologetic books in defense of belief in unicorns. The unicorn is socially and culturally irrelevant.

On the other hand, God is still an extremely contested and culturally prevalent topic. At least for those of us in the United States, the theists battle to pass legislature that is blatantly religious, trying to enforce religious morality on the society at large. Christians (and other religious groups) everywhere challenge the atheistic worldview on a daily basis. It only stands to reason that, when one’s disbelief is challenged so totally, and the culture at large is so saturated with “God-talk,” that the atheist would write books about their disbelief.

This does not mean that they are continuously haunted by thoughts of God. It simply means that we live in a world and a society where belief is the norm, and disbelief must be defended against its attackers. That is not the case with unicorns, because no one cares whether they exist or not. Everyone, it seems, has something to say about whether God exists.
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Old March 21st, 2017, 04:03 PM   #14
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Traditional religions do not inspire confidence. They fit too well with what we know of anthropology, comparative religion and pre-rational modes of thought. The God of the Old Testament is too obviously a bronze-age, Mesopotamian city-state god-king blown up like a balloon to an absurd extent. Jehovah is all too similar to Dionysus in the Bacchae of Euripides. They are both typical of the fantasies which people at a certain stage of cultural development devise in order to make sense of the world around them. The gods of human religion are too crude, too absurd, too riddled with irrationality, incoherency and contradiction to be convincing to a mind which has passed beyond childish ways of thinking.

"Shelley was an atheist.... He never trifled with the word "God"; he
knew that it meant a personal First Cause, Almighty Creator, and
Supreme Judge and Ruler of the Universe, and that it did not mean
anything else, never had meant anything else, and never whilst the
English language lasted would mean anything else. Knowing perfectly
well that there was no such person, he did not pretend that the
question was an open one, or imply, by calling himself an Agnostic,
that there might be such a person for all he knew to the contrary. He
did know to the contrary; and he said so."

--- George Bernard Shaw

Percy Bysshe Shelley was an atheist when it was still dangerous to be one. He wrote tracts defending atheism. His son was taken away from him by the English government because of those tracts. Yet his poetry is infused by the most exquisite and vivid sense of the spiritual nature of existence; for atheism and spirituality are not mutually contradictory. Shelley was a highly spiritual man in the tradition of Plato and Plotinus.
.
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