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Discussion Forum : Articles and Sermons : 7 Arguments Atheists Can't Use by Eli Brayley

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ChrisJD
Member



Joined: 2006/2/11
Posts: 2895
Philadelphia PA

 Re:

Hi Aaron, I have a desire to say a few things regarding some things you mentioned if that is ok?

First, you are right to say that some of the horrible things done in the name of God in this world should affect our conscience and cause us to stop and consider.

If you will recieve it, I think that this site exists in part out of a desire to see the Christian faith expressed in a way that is most consistent with the teachings of its Master and out of a desire that this world could see something other than what has often represented Christian faith in history: wars, in-fighting, bigorty, pettiness and so forth.

If you have an interest, you may be surprised by listening to some of the audio resources here that describe events surrounding times in the past when we believe God has visited whole peoples and communities. You could do a search here for instance about Evan Roberts or Duncan Campbell, or Ludwid Von Zinzendorph.


Second, you are right also to question us about the very confusing appearance that formal and institutional Christianity gives to those outside of it. You are right to chide us for all claiming supra-rational revelation and at the same time disagreeing on so many things.

And again, if you will recieve it, I don't think most of the people would disagree with you about that, and that, too, this site exists in part with a desire to see the Christian faith expressed in the power and unity that characterised the early Christian church.


Finally, with all of our weaknesses and differrences, and I believe that you will find that most of the people here will readily admitt to it, I think we would also, almost unanimously, would say that we have no confidence in the verity or truthfullness of any of our demoninational institutions for our salvation, but we put all of our hope and confidence, in Jesus. Who we beleive is Christ.

Kind regards to you,


Chris


_________________
Christopher Joel Dandrow

 2011/5/20 20:19Profile
AaronAgassi
Member



Joined: 2011/4/11
Posts: 118


 Re:

Likewise, does it not seem somewhat inane to tarbush all Atheists because of Stalin? If you can be more particular in religion as to embrace Christ but not Quetzacotyl or Xenu, then why can't I be specific in my Atheism? I only have to defend scientific systematic skepticism and faliblism amongst options compatible with Atheism, not any other particular positive hypothesis unless howsoever implicit. Indeed my serious point remains as regards alleged suprarationality and sectarian and other dispute: Rationalists thrive upon disagreement because it fuels scientific Evolutionary Epistemology of competition for fitness among remaining competing hypotheses, with Scientific Method and standards of evidence. We learn from our mistakes. But when different personal revelations contradict, what then? It is not disagreement I chide, but the paralytic demand for unanimity, so unprepared for inevitable dispute. The differing revelations are untestable! There are no standards of refutation. Claims of complete certainty are actually the problem, not any solution. Faliblism is the answer. And if you reply: Ah, but how can you be sure of that? -then you just don't get it! Worse, demands of consensus in the name of a God who damns the infidel and the unbeliever, can only undermine real crucial and substantive cooperation between people of sincere good will.

 2011/5/20 20:59Profile
ChrisJD
Member



Joined: 2006/2/11
Posts: 2895
Philadelphia PA

 Re:

Hi Aaron,

I hope you will consider again the invitation that I left for you, to listen to some of the content here.

My comments to you were not intended to fuel more contention among us Aaron, but you took it as an opportunity for such.

Perhaps it is rather, that rationalists thrive on disagreement, not becuase it fuels discovery but because it fuels their competion for self-promotion, and the desire to be right. Conflicting evidence can always be explained away and refuted with rhetorical flurish and epistemological sleight of hand. And no dogma except the dogma of materialism is too sacred to be knocked over by the newest and latest fantasy turned theory turned back to revolutionary hypothesis from the next up-and-coming scientific starlight.

Oh if the men in white lab coats really were the impartial paragons of evidentiary analysis that they would hope to be the whole enterprise of evolutionary story telling would fall flat on its face for lack mouthpieces shameless enough to keep inventing and telling stories for adults, with no end.

Real science, like the kind that builds rockets, doesn't tolerate the same infantisim. It doesn't work when your stories have to actually do something, like take a man to the moon.

In the meantime, plenty of people are self-assured their self-correcting process of arguing over data really will take them to the stars, unaware or unwilling to believe that they're not much different than a bunch of ping-pong balls bouncing off one another in a lottery box, unable to escape because there's no one among them that can open the lid.


Our own hearts Aaron, not the truth in plain view, is very often the cause of disagreements, arguments, factions, and strife of all kinds, philosophical, religious, scientific, or otherwise.



Especially, when everything, is subject to conjecture. Ad infinitum.


_________________
Christopher Joel Dandrow

 2011/5/21 9:46Profile
AaronAgassi
Member



Joined: 2011/4/11
Posts: 118


 Re:

ChrisJD, much as I do appreciate healthy debate, I have been in no way disingenuous. Indeed, what have I posted last, in any way different or inconsistent with what I have maintained all along? Furthermore, your counterargument does not actually contradict my own assertion: When I say that rationalists thrive on disagreement because it fuels discovery, I mean that the process is fruitful. And when you reply that rationalists thrive upon disagreement because it fuels their completion for self-promotion desire to be right, you are advancing a psychological hypothesis regarding motivation. These two assertions are not contradictory, but indeed complementary. What would be false would be to advance your observation as an Ad Hominem to invalidate my own initial remark. Remember that statements are speaker independent. The same assertion can come from different people with different motivations, without reality changing like tomorrow's headline in 'Back to the Future.' Of course, such motivations in the conduct of science are best tempered with good sportsmanship. And often they are not. Nevertheless, bad sports are eventually found out, no matter how powerful, and scientific advance is only stalled for so long. Or so we may still hope. Such remains the best option ever fruitful in human progress, regardless of unsupportable suprarational claims.

"Especially, when everything, is subject to conjecture. Ad infinitum." -It is of this that I celebrate even while you so despair: "Our own hearts Aaron, not the truth in plain view, is very often the cause of disagreements, arguments, factions, and strife of all kinds, philosophical, religious, scientific, or otherwise." But there remain far more productive alternatives to strife in faliblism than demands for unanimous consensus over suprarational claims that inevitably differ and only fail to arrive at complete universal consensus even arbitrarily, which is neither possible, necessary nor fruitful. It only accrues a life in fear of inevitable heterodoxy amid one's own ranks such as you have only just expressed in your last post. Honestly, aren't scientists who can enjoy controversy and remain fast friends, far better off? It's fun, good sport, admit it! Why must there be acrimony, except from sheer self fulfilling prophesy of expectation thereof Again, is there not far less of sheer conditionality and instead the more graceful deference, maturity and latitude for difference to be found in true friendship than in the sad and forced counterfeit of infaliblist consensus pressures? What have you really accomplished by so needlessly raising the stakes of disagreement unto terror of eternal damnation?

The Pareto Principle states that there is twenty percent of the work that actually accomplishes eighty percent of the job, whatever intended results. Responsibility therefore mandates best effort at identification of that crucial twenty percent, because completeness, perfection, is Thermodynamically impossible, not to mention, generally unnecessary.

"In the meantime, plenty of people are self-assured their self-correcting process of arguing over data really will take them to the stars, unaware or unwilling to believe that they're not much different than a bunch of ping-pong balls bouncing off one another in a lottery box, unable to escape because there's no one among them that can open the lid." This is observably untrue from history. Indeed as far as sheer fantasy of trailblazing theory to which you allude, often indeed at all religiously inspired by the way, even I will not go so far as to venture that the Copenhagen interpretation of Quantum Mechanics or the most Ad Hoc abstraction in quest of the missing mass has been fruitless. Quite the contrary. We learn from mistakes. Cosmology that has so long come to rely upon mathematics is overdue for corroboration or refutation by Empirical Astronomy. Yet it comes. And, funny thing: It seems that even the Copenhagen interpretation of Quantum Mechanics may have become testable!

Indeed by real science, I take it that you mean R&D even in engineering as opposed to pure science. But if you look into it, you will discover the value even to the most utilitarian technology, of pure science despite everything. You may even learn about the problems with the most pragmatic R&D that even abandons the scientific quest for truth in favor of practical results. It turns out there is a flip side to whatever drawbacks of those wild and even to long unchecked flashes of the fantastical. The same standards of reality testing remain crucial, no matter how practical the goal. It the end, it still all comes down to testability, falsifiabilty, standards of refutation and error checking by imperfect fallible human beings.

While as for any scientific challenge to materialism, have at it! Bring it on! What are the competing hypotheses? What experiments might help narrow the field of competing hypotheses? I would be very interested. Just remember that the formal stance is Gestalt not Reductionist.

"The site moderators ask you before you post that you consider praying and ask the Lord if you have the right spirit to serve others in the body of Christ before posting and pressing the submit button. Please also look at these scriptures: Matthew 12:36, James 1:26, Colossians 4:6." I contemplate my best spirit of service to others. But I would never stand everyone to account for ever empty word uttered in a lifetime! All the truly unkind words together might well be crushing enough! Indeed, no one can always know the most gracious reply under every circumstances and never ponder in retrospect. It's like stage magic, legerdemain: Even watching the most graceful speakers, does not mean ever knowing how they do it! I loathe and mistrust people who don't like to argue. They don't care how you feel unless it's convenient and in accord with their own withheld intentions. They are devious and self serving and most pointlessly so. But there was one person who's acquaintance I made who was never argumentative but without being such a tool, he was no coward and yet always considerate and even honest at all. To this day I cannot tell you how he pulled it off. Before you ask, it wasn't religion. I feel that you all fear injury from my words, and that makes honesty a heavy burden. Alas, my verbal dexterity has its limits. So does my innate goodness. I strive at all only to be a mensche and aspire to no sainthood. I only hope that can ever be enough.

 2011/5/21 16:23Profile
ChrisJD
Member



Joined: 2006/2/11
Posts: 2895
Philadelphia PA

 Re:

Hi again Aaron,


"When I say that rationalists thrive on disagreement because it fuels discovery, I mean that the process is fruitful. And when you reply that rationalists thrive upon disagreement because it fuels their completion for self-promotion desire to be right, you are advancing a psychological hypothesis regarding motivation.These two assertions are not contradictory, but indeed complementary. What would be false would be to advance your observation as an Ad Hominem to invalidate my own initial remark."


Discovery can also be a self-congradulating deception if we are not honest about what we have found, or have self-preserving motives for finding it. It is human pride that fuels competition and the desire to be right and human pride is a gigantic engine of deception. When it comes to our hearts there is probably nothing that is as blinding to reason and judgment as pride.

It certainly is not false to consider the detriment that human motives can be to human pursuits. What would be false, self-deceiving and dishonest, is to ignore the evils of the human heart while embarking on a never ending pursuit of truth.





"I feel that you all fear injury from my words, and that makes honesty a heavy burden. Alas, my verbal dexterity has its limits. So does my innate goodness. I strive at all only to be a mensche and aspire to no sainthood. I only hope that can ever be enough."


It may be that the rigid and demanding standards that empirical science uses to measure truth about physical reality are too hard to apply in measuring the truth about ourselves.

Kind David said that God requires truth, in the inward parts.


No Aaron, arguing and contention are not good fun.

Kind regards nevertheless.






_________________
Christopher Joel Dandrow

 2011/5/22 21:40Profile
AaronAgassi
Member



Joined: 2011/4/11
Posts: 118


 Re:

I entirely agree and yet I do not despair. And so I reject your conclusion. Indeed, arguing and contention are observably good fun for those who do not despair of imperfection. Do you not concede the virtue thereof? For the sake of continued progress, both collective and individual, we must strive in hope to remain even howsoever imperfectly at all open to criticism and curiosity.

Consider those talented writers who cannot progress due to painful oversensitivity to criticism, because critique is so crucial and indispensible to improvement in the writing craft. Consider also the writers that do exchange, value and actually enjoy even the most frank and honest critique, and how successful writers tend to emerge from that group. This is enough to demonstrate that openness versus painful sensitivity to criticism, is variable amongst different people, and that greater openness to criticism is a desirable habit or trait. That this applies also to other endeavor and inquiry that writing, should also be obvious. Rigorous business planning as will be demanded by any prudent investor is another prime example. Relationships and our dealings with others are yet another perhaps most important example of all. Everyone needs others to be open to whatever their concerns and grievances, even when they do cut close to home.

Perfection is neither possible nor necessary. We are imperfect and can only strive at all for at all sufficient error detection and correction. Does your faith help or hinder your therein? For Menschlichkeit or creditable humaneness, is the art of being a mensch, upfront, honest, responsible and accountable, yet gentle, with benevolence, empathy and sympathy.

 2011/5/22 22:24Profile
ChrisJD
Member



Joined: 2006/2/11
Posts: 2895
Philadelphia PA

 Re:

"I entirely agree and yet I do not despair. And so I reject your conclusion. Indeed, arguing and contention are observably good fun for those who do not despair of imperfection. Do you not concede the virtue thereof? For the sake of continued progress, both collective and individual, we must strive in hope to remain even howsoever imperfectly at all open to criticism and curiosity."



Aaron, the problem isn't at all the prospect of inquiry and examination.

Christians certainly are open to examination for the purpose of finding fault:

David prayed this way " search me o Lord, and know me".

All of us here are well aware of our need to be examined and corrected as to our lives and our beliefs, daily.


The difference Aaron, is who we look to, for correction.

Rather than the imperfect, sometimes petty, self-serving and limited critiques of man, which can always be denied or explained away, we have sought to be searched by God.


This website is full of testimonies of people who have felt themselves come under the exacting, infallable, scrutiny of God.


_________________
Christopher Joel Dandrow

 2011/5/23 7:54Profile
AaronAgassi
Member



Joined: 2011/4/11
Posts: 118


 Re:

Do you concede that even imperfect openness versus outright painful sensitivity to criticism, is variable amongst different people? And do you concede any value in the former? After all, I take it that you do not accept and even seek criticism or: rebuke, only direct from God in Heaven, but also from your fellow human souls on this mortal coil, or strive to in all humility. Is tha5t not so? And as a point of doctrine, only Christ and maybe Adam will ever actually be perfect. Therefore, do you intend to surrender to God any hypersensitivity to criticism? And would God then bless a renewed pleasure and zest in friendly sporting controversy? Or is that too much even to pray for? Is hypersensitivity to criticism incorrectable even by the Holy Spirit? Or indeed do you hold such as a virtue of pious zeal? In yearning for the perfection of guidance from On High, will you turn your back on all uncertain Earthly feedback to cross your path until certified by God Himself as a sign from Heaven?

There is parable of how the blissful Buddhist monk acolyte, having been preached to by his master that all is Buddha, came upon a stampeding elephant in the streets. While all heeded the shouts of alarm from the boy mahout, the elephant driver, to get out of the way quickly, the blissful Buddhist monk acolyte instead reasoned that if all is Buddha, then the elephant is Buddha, the acolyte hi8mself is Buddha, and surely Buddha cannot hurt Buddha, therefore the elephant could never hurt him. After getting thrashed to one side by the stampeding elephant, the now decidedly less than blissful Buddhist monk acolyte confronted his master who rebuked him thus: the mahout riding the elephant shouting for you to get out of the way was also Buddha! The parable is as to the value of worldly intelligence and a warning against becoming too pious for any Earthly good.

 2011/5/23 12:22Profile
ChrisJD
Member



Joined: 2006/2/11
Posts: 2895
Philadelphia PA

 Re:

Hi Aaron,


"In yearning for the perfection of guidance from On High, will you turn your back on all uncertain Earthly feedback to cross your path until certified by God Himself as a sign from Heaven?"

Aaron, not at all. I know I have been corrected, challenged, and even rebuked many times from things I have heard from others, whether they were believers or not. More than once something that a homeless man has said to me while I've been out on the streets has spoken strongly and directly to me. I was corrected once from leaning towards self-righteousness when a homeless man who I had spoken to before shared with me a simple verse from the Bible as I was passing by: he reminded me how James said that whoever would keep the whole Law of God, and yet offend in point, he has become guilty of it all.

Aaron I'm not sure why you feel we are hyper-sensitive to criticism? Afterall, you have been here for over 30 pages, contending with any and everyone that has responded to you about your beliefs, and ours, even calling us 'barking mad', and as far as I know, no one has felt overly sensitive to what you have said.

I don't believe we are overly sensitive to criticism here, but guarded as to what we recieve, what we take to be true, period. A wise man recieves correction, but the simple believe every word.

All truth belongs to God.

All wisdom comes from God.

And a thing can be true and wise, no matter whose mouth it comes from. The difference for us, is our starting point: how we go about measuring the words we hear from others.

Solomon said that the the fear of the LORD, is both the beginning of wisdom, and of knowledge. Things need not mention God to be true or right(most of the proverbs of Solomon do not mention God directly), but we are suspicious of things that purposely leave Him out, and we out right resist things that openly reject Him.

God is the source of all truth and wisdom, and whatever is true and wise should not present any difficulty in retracing its steps back to God its source and master.


Aaron, a while back you suggested that we should embrace death(I take it you meant as a natural and perhaps even a good part of life).

Solomon said to us speaking of the Wisdom that He left for mankind and that he recieved as a gift from God after he sought Him for it: he said of that wisdom, that everyone that hates it, loves death.








_________________
Christopher Joel Dandrow

 2011/5/23 20:06Profile
AaronAgassi
Member



Joined: 2011/4/11
Posts: 118


 Re:

True story: There was a religious man with bad eyesight, who refused to seek medical help, holding out instead for a miracle. He was a housepainter and did a poor job.

ChrisJD, unless I've been dreaming it, you've advanced that human vulnerability to criticism dooms objectivity to imperfection (which of course I agree) and that therefore rationality is Ecclesiastical futility (which I do not agree at all). And this began really to amaze me! And not in the way you'd hope.

Also, when have I commended the embrace of death, and what would that even mean? I that something perhaps somehow deemed implicit from some other position that I have taken? I disbelieve in the hereafter of course, but as an advocate of Cryonics and Radical Life Extension, I am seldom accused of graceful resignation. I have incidentally also advanced Theistic or religious arguments in favor of Cryonics and Radical Life Extension. But honestly, I do recommend facing reality as to the annihilation that is death, instead of taking self preservation as supernaturally ultimately unnecessary. As the saying goes, martyrdom must be shouldered, but must never be sought after. Though howsoever aversive, survival instinct is to the good. I therefore hold all consolation from the glorification of death therefore to be a great evil.

As for true statements that do not mention God or any other particular, that might be no more than parsimony of explanation as pertain to whatever specifics in question. Of course, many points can be reframed Theistically in many ways, perhaps even to some moral illumination of parable. Other times it might just be silly.

 2011/5/24 3:59Profile





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