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Thread: Debate: God Exists

  1. #21
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    Default Re: Debate: God Exists

    Quote Azurisan21 said View Post
    A better question to refine with is, since god is a religiously constructed concept:

    Why do religions exist?

    How about that?
    Setting up guitars with strat style tremolo, to a nicety. Rather absorbing.

    Meanwhile I have as it turns out been thinking about Az's question from anthropological and Darwinian perspectives, as there may arise occasion to discuss this with a fascinating now retired anthropology professor I met.

    I have been thinking about conformism, collective consciousness, social structure, formula for ordering and constraining thought life, zeal and morale in war, which all religions except Buddhism and perhaps Confucianism as regards militancy compel.

    Considered in terms of the meme, I conjecture religion has been selected for.

    The Darwinian understanding on this question interests me.
    Wars begin in the minds of men.
    The UNESCO motto, in Enlightenment Now, the Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress, Steven Pinker, 2018.

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  3. #22

    Wink Re: Debate: God Exists

    Quote Azurisan21 said View Post
    A better question to refine with is, since god is a religiously constructed concept:

    Why do religions exist?

    How about that?
    It is a more interesting question, although at this point how would you divide the debate into two sides?
    "One of the great tragedies of mankind is that morality has been hijacked by religion." - Arthur C Clarke

    "'Science doesn't know everything' - which is true. Because if it did, it would stop" - Dara O'Briain

  4. #23

    Default Re: Debate: God Exists

    Quote hackenslash said View Post
    In this hierarchy, M-Theory is a theory, because it's an integrated explanatory framework encompassing all the facts, hypotheses, laws and observations pertaining to a given area of interest, that area being everything.
    Described that way, then yes I would agree it qualifies as a theory, given it contains all the necessary elements required of a scientific theory and therefore debunks Az's notion that this is an example of scientists "just speculating.

    I honestly don't see that what you're saying here is too far from what I set out to Az, in that the idea of superstring theory is being put forward by people with a grounding in science and extrapolating from existing theories (with all of the evidence that entails as you've set out above). I did not intend to give the impression that I thought stringtheory was "just a theory" in the sense of the trope.

    However, because superstring theory isn't testable or verifiable, it fails for me in meeting the criteria of a scientific theory. It is an area of research but, not one yet capable of generating its own evidences or facts.

    But, it clearly isn't just "speculation."
    "One of the great tragedies of mankind is that morality has been hijacked by religion." - Arthur C Clarke

    "'Science doesn't know everything' - which is true. Because if it did, it would stop" - Dara O'Briain

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  6. #24
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    Default Re: Debate: God Exists

    Quote Sendraks said View Post
    I honestly don't see that what you're saying here is too far from what I set out to Az, in that the idea of superstring theory is being put forward by people with a grounding in science and extrapolating from existing theories (with all of the evidence that entails as you've set out above). I did not intend to give the impression that I thought stringtheory was "just a theory" in the sense of the trope.
    Indeedy, I was countering the idea that it isn't actually a theory at all.

    However, because superstring theory isn't testable or verifiable, it fails for me in meeting the criteria of a scientific theory.
    Well, to be pedantic (you know me), no theory is ever verifiable, but it's certainly testable in principle or, at least, some of the postulates on which it stands or falls are testable in principle. I've talked about some of them before, such as how violations of the inverse-square law on the smallest of scales will provide very strong evidence for compactified dimensions, which is a prediction unique to M-Theory. Further, if we get down around the Planck scale and fail to finds such violations, it will be falsified.

    There are other things within M-Theory that are falsifiable, too, although they wouldn't completely falsify M-Theory. Those BICEP2 results, for example, had they stood up to scrutiny, would have falsified brane-worlds.

    I guess what I'm saying is that usage can be laden with pitfalls, and nowhere so much as in esoteric nomenclature.

    To think, I contemplated having this same discussion with somebody else from RS not that long ago, and then decided not to bother, because with him it would have been futile.


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  8. #25

    Default Re: Debate: God Exists

    I think the reason religion exists is to conquer fear of death. Or at the very least to rationalise it. It would have zero raison d etre if human beings
    were capable of physical immortality. Because death in that scenario would be an entirely alien concept which could never actually be experienced

    The fear of death is twofold. Fear that life has no meaning and fear of eternal separation. The first is an obvious example of begging the question
    The reason we exist is because of randomness. A statistical probability based upon certain factors coming to pass. Had they not come to pass we
    would not exist. No need therefore to introduce objective meaning or God into the equation. As physics and mathematics does that perfectly well
    The second fear of eternal separation is simply an appeal to emotion. But reality does not care what we want to be true only what is actually true

    Also from a purely personal perspective I can think of nothing worse than living forever. That would ironically be a fate worse than death for me
    I would like another chance at life to avoid making the same mistakes I have made in this one even if that meant making different ones instead
    But after that I would want to be dead and permanently so too
    A MIND IS LIKE A PARACHUTE : IT DOES NOT WORK UNLESS IT IS OPEN

  9. #26
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    Default Re: Debate: God Exists

    Quote surreptitious57 said View Post
    I think the reason religion exists is to conquer fear of death. Or at the very least to rationalise it.
    I think this is partially true. I would say superstition exists to combat fear of death.

    I make a distinction between religion and superstition in a sense of considering 'religion' to be 'organised religion'. i.e. a doctrine, a governance structure (usually tasked to protect and manage the doctrine), rituals, legal framework, etc. Under this frame of reference, it exists as a form of government and control.

    Michael Shermer gives a much better articulation than I could.

    https://youtu.be/DLh6ZgoGco0?t=1414
    The less people know, the more stubbornly they know it. (Osho)

  10. #27
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    Default Re: Debate: God Exists

    Religion exists due to the way social animals process social vs personal information. Argumentum ad populum is encoded in our genes. But it is a fallacy you say? Yes indeed, it is. But it is right often enough to give survival value to a population.

    Plus, individuals can be imperfect [faults in perception, etc, mental illness], so it makes sense [most of the time] to go with majority opinion. The fly in the ointment is that majority opinion can [and sometimes is], wrong. For example, religions or ideologies, especially radical ones.
    Just stick to the idea that science tests falsifiable hypotheses to destruction.

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  12. #28
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    Default Re: Debate: God Exists

    Quote Stub King said View Post
    Quote surreptitious57 said View Post
    I think the reason religion exists is to conquer fear of death. Or at the very least to rationalise it.
    I think this is partially true. I would say superstition exists to combat fear of death.

    I make a distinction between religion and superstition in a sense of considering 'religion' to be 'organised religion'. i.e. a doctrine, a governance structure (usually tasked to protect and manage the doctrine), rituals, legal framework, etc. Under this frame of reference, it exists as a form of government and control.

    Michael Shermer gives a much better articulation than I could.

    https://youtu.be/DLh6ZgoGco0?t=1414
    Religion is self reinforcing.

    I think it gets started with the evolution of the language faculty and the need to impose order so for instance sexual behaviour is controlled with punishments, ostracism if violations are found out, the requirement and object being social cohesion, otherwise disintegration.

    With selection for the language faculty (which talent along with others, such as rhythm and music sensibility, so evident in Africa and central to ritual and communal activity), came selection for general intelligence, imagination and with that, cheating, the capacity for sophisticated selfish designs.

    Religion is about curtailing such intentions. They all seem to require personal sacrifices, renunciation or painful initiation rites. There are often proscriptions against seeking 'earthly' things, acquisitiveness, importance (status), indulgences of every kind, especially with regard to sex. Witchcraft accusations are to do with the spirit realm.

    These imperatives and obligations to make sacrifices serve to demonstrate that one is a true and trustworthy adherent, is committed to the religion and to the community. Religion serves to promote collective consciousness.

    'United we stand, divided we fall.' One thing we can possibly garner from the Old Testament as being accurate is that the region was a hostile one, of historic intertribal warfare, probably from the emergence of arcane modern humans out of Africa perhaps 100,000 years ago. The Hebrews mythology is that they are the chosen of Yahweh from the Abrahamic, Mosaic and Davidic covenants and if they conform to all the proscriptions to the letter, Yahweh will make them prevail militarily.

    But maybe this practice of homicide and war against outsiders and if we are to believe the Bible, total genocide came with the Yahweh cult and before that, there was trade, bride swapping, reciprocity, communication of ideas and technology. It was the Bronze Age. They had the wheel, and writing and spears.

    It's plausible the religion meme determines it gets selected for and hence has the effect of ensuring the genes which carry that orientation and disposition ride in the population. Their descendents are determined to believe in the God delusion.

    With the evolution of consciousness came contemplation of one's mortality, the destiny of the self and out of the imagination came the answer - the soul and the afterlife. Once proposed, that notion became seductive and established. There was no critical thinking against such assumptions. It was the prescientific era. Impacting that putative destiny was how one lived morally in this life as a volitional agent and with regard to the collective, the religion itself.

    In Psalms it says twice "the fool hath said 'there is ne God."' A free thinking comrade in the midst, way back then, in a deeply theocratic milieu.

    The emergent capability to recognise causality begged the question of what made the apparent order in the environment, what made us, and then where did our laws come from? Once again we deploy the imagination - the Great Spirit or gods. It becomes doctrine.

    They don't want to let go. They are putting up resistance.
    Last edited by Strato; 27th February 2017 at 12:19 AM.
    Wars begin in the minds of men.
    The UNESCO motto, in Enlightenment Now, the Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress, Steven Pinker, 2018.

  13. #29
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    Default Re: Debate: God Exists

    If you want to debate god then try this:

    Claim: "There is a conscious entity that performed a task that caused the universe to be."

    Then you can have two sides: claim acceptance and claim rejection teams.

    Very unlikely to go well for the acceptance team.

    Certainly a more interesting debate topic might be:

    Claim: "Religion has value for human societies".

    That is more ambiguous and would allow some interesting exploration.
    "History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government".
    -Thomas Jefferson

    Burden of proof is the obligation on somebody presenting a claim to provide evidence to support its truth (a warrant). Once evidence has been presented, it is up to any opposing "side" to show the evidence presented is not adequate. If claims were accepted without warrants, then every claim could simultaneously be claimed to be true.

    History isn't written by the victors. It's written by the people with the time machines.

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  15. #30
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    Default Re: Debate: God Exists

    DanDare, I agree. There is not much point in debating such broad concepts.

    I like the idea of debating specific questions and disqualifying arguments not related to that question.

    More examples might be:

    Claim: "Religion and belief in God is necessary for moral behaviour".

    Question: "Since objective morality is often presented as evidence for the existence of God, does evidence and logic lead us to the conclusion that morality is objective?".

    (someone else could probably phrase the above question a lot better).

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