Author Topic: Questions about Humanism  (Read 2106 times)

Dave

  • Formerly known as Gloucester
  • Don't Pray in My School, and I Won't Think in Your Church
  • *****
  • Posts: 7029
  • Gender: Male
Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #15 on: June 13, 2018, 03:38:52 PM »

First, do you accept as fact that if a thing is true, it is true whether you A. Like it or not B. Believe it or not C. Understand it or not, and D. Even know about it or not? This isn't a trick question, I am not referring to anything in particular, but only something that IS TRUE.

Because 'Nobody really understands much about it, therefore it must be nonsense' is actually not an argument. It is an assertion that human beings have both the capacity and means to comprehend the entirety of the universe, and that our time is the utmost pinnacle of human knowledge and understanding.

Lest you think me unfair, I argue this same point to Christians who think because they don't understand how something works, it must be supernatural in origin.

I have more to say on this point, but I do want establish that we are agreed here before we move on.

Sent from my SCH-I435 using Tapatalk



Na we don't get it here, it's better you try elsewhere.

Wish you well.

BPII. Play nice. Lizard is new here.

Apart from that he is not preaching (any more than I am) but countering or questioning things that I have put to him. Legit debate tactics.

If you are not willing to question your own beliefs, or try to see them through another's perception, then the best place may be a nice, dry cave where you can contemplate your own navel without distraction.

 "ὁ ... ἀνεξέταστος βίος οὐ βιωτὸς ἀνθρώπῳ", said Socrates
"The unexamined life is not worth living" (Just wanted to check if copy/paste included Greek!)


I did offer the debate as well.

@ Tank - akreafy ezplauned, and spologided fir mu typong fisability!

Tomorrow is precious, don't ruin it by fouling up today.

Bad Penny II

  • Yields Not to Kalamity
  • ****
  • Posts: 1134
  • Nice Borderline Troll
Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #16 on: June 13, 2018, 03:47:05 PM »
pologies
Certainty disturbs me


drfreemlizard

  • Beginning to See the Wedge
  • *
  • Posts: 46
Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #17 on: June 13, 2018, 03:49:28 PM »
I'm pretty hard to offend. We're cool.  "Blessed are they who can laugh at themselves, for they shall never cease to be amused."

Sent from my SCH-I435 using Tapatalk


Dave

  • Formerly known as Gloucester
  • Don't Pray in My School, and I Won't Think in Your Church
  • *****
  • Posts: 7029
  • Gender: Male
Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #18 on: June 13, 2018, 04:47:21 PM »
Dfr wrote:
Quote
But I will start with your question, Why should anyone believe in the supernatural if it cannot be detect?
[...]
First, do you accept as fact that if a thing is true, it is true whether you A. Like it or not B. Believe it or not C. Understand it or not, and D. Even know about it or not? This isn't a trick question, I am not referring to anything in particular, but only something that IS TRUE.

Always a good question, and always a tough one! To my mind a thing must not only be TRUE but must have that quality testable in some way that agrees with natural science.. Granted that there are things we have yet to understand, let alone to discover. I can accept things "on faith", say in a science lesson where a full explanation would take longer than the whole course. But if the instructor said, "I would like you to accept that men are made of clay . . ." my immediate response might be , "Are you speaking metaphorically, in terms of shared mineral content or literally?" If the answer was, "Literally", I have the choice of requesting a substantiated proof or walking out and demanding a refund.

Can there ever be a "substantiated proof" to the claims of religion? Let's take prayer. The stats of being saved by intercessory prayer suggest, basically, that it is no better than chance or are inconclusive at best:
https://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/31/health/longawaited-medical-study-questions-the-power-of-prayer.html
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Studies_on_intercessory_prayer

Joint prayer has a binding, affirming effect on the prayers, but this is true for any group holding a common belief who join for "celebration" whether the supernatural is involved or not. I have felt it myself.

The prayers of individuals, repeated alone and often, may have a "self-conditioning" effect, a kind of self-hypnosis. Again, the supernatural is not required, secular meditation techniques and groups abound.

What the seculars don't have is the historical infra-structure and "advertising" power of the established religions. Perhaps, in the Internet world, the "advertising" is easier to come by, but still the churches have more cash and cachet!

So, I believe in the limited power of prayer in the first person and in groups in a non-religious sense, but consider it more psychological than paranormal. Intercessory prayer might, if a believer is suffering, on a cusp, and knows that prayer is being pushed their way it might well infuse enough "willpower" to help them fight their condition. But, again, more likely a phycholigical response.

If the patient is totally unaware the laws of chance seem to apply.

So yes, the unproven should not be discarded without due examination. If it shows definite evidence that it actually works, though by unknown principles, it deserves its chance. So religion serves a purpose for millions, whether it makes them calmer, happier, kinder, more moral, gives them a focus, saves their lives or anything else that works - on the psychological level. Of course it also invokes extreme, even organised violence in some.

I just don't want kids indoctrinated with beliefs that appear to have no solid basis in fact. Salutary lessons, allegorical teaching tales, moral and ethical leadership examples, even meditation etc are all necessary in forming character and personality, but they do not need a supernatural foundation to work IMHO.

I was given a 5% chance of surviving my heart attack. Laying there, very ill after the procedure that saved my life, a lay preacher asked if she could pray for me. My response was, "If it makes you feel better." I did appologise and explained my humanism. There is a saying, "There are no atheists in foxholes", there was definitely one in my personal crater in health. Pascal can keep his wager.
Tomorrow is precious, don't ruin it by fouling up today.

drfreemlizard

  • Beginning to See the Wedge
  • *
  • Posts: 46
Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #19 on: June 13, 2018, 07:26:45 PM »
I am not going to ask you to take a bunch of things on  faith. I am simply establishing a basic idea that a thing that is true is true regardless of its testability. Likewise a thing that is untrue is false whether science can demonstrate its falsity or not.

 An example is fairly close to hand. Your statement of scientific provability is empiricism or a very near relation. But can you prove empiricism, empirically?  Of course not. That would be circular reasoning.

But there is another reason you will be hard-pressed to either prove or disprove religion scientifically.  The scientific method involves creating a hypothesis and repeating the same stimulus or cause many times and looking for a consistent effect.  But what is the stimulus in religion? Is it not the actions of the divine? So you would need to be God to provide the stimulus for the experiments that would prove the existence or lack thereof of God.

As to being able to observe God, you asked if either does not exist or if we just need new instruments. I believe there is a third option. It is possible that He exists, and we are not, nor will we be, able to see or measure Him. We may be able to see His influence in the world, however.

If I may present a hypothetical : Let us say we live in a two dimensional universe. All has length and width, but no depth. Let us say that a sphere suddenly passes through our universe. What would we see? We would not see a sphere, nor would we even have any frame of reference to conjecture a sphere. We would see a point, which would transform for no apparent reason into a gradually expanding circle (if it is a slowly moving sphere), which as its point of maximum circumference juxtaposed upon our 2d universe would then become a gradually shrinking circle, then a point, and then it would be gone.

Sent from my SCH-I435 using Tapatalk
« Last Edit: June 13, 2018, 08:01:17 PM by drfreemlizard »

Arturo

  • Do Something Crazy!
  • Has an Invisible Dragon in Their Garage
  • *****
  • Posts: 3023
  • Gender: Male
  • Atheist, Humanist, and Champion
    • Arturo The1  リ壱
Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #20 on: June 13, 2018, 07:59:15 PM »
I am not going to ask you to take a bunch of things on  faith. I am simply establishing a basic idea that a thing that is true is true regardless of its testability. Likewise a thing that is untrue is false whether science can demonstrate its falsity or not.

 An example is fairly close to hand. Your statement of scientific provability is empiricism or a very near relation. But can you prove empiricism, empirically?

Sent from my SCH-I435 using Tapatalk

What you said is true. However we take the stance that the best possible way to know if something is true or not is to test those things.

     It's Okay To Say You're Welcome
     Just let people be themselves.
     Arturo The1  リ壱

Dave

  • Formerly known as Gloucester
  • Don't Pray in My School, and I Won't Think in Your Church
  • *****
  • Posts: 7029
  • Gender: Male
Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #21 on: June 13, 2018, 08:00:55 PM »
Yeah, sorry, went off on one there!

I think that I can only accept something as true, unconditionally, if its veracity is provable in some way. It may be true that, under certain conditions or circumstances, prayer works through some agency (which I think is the prayer's own mind.)

What you describe, for me, is an abstract truth - sufficient unto itself. Sorry, for this pragmatist that does not compute!

As for empiricism . . . I'll admit that I have not been there for decades, and, at 73, my memory is gappy and with my current chest bug I am not inclined to get deep into refreshing things. I am panting a bit breathless already and aching all over. (And there is probably abother 4 hours of this to go - oh joy.) But, for the monent, I am going to say that whilst empiricism is a useful tool for examining other knowledge, it is a but tool. Difficult to examine a "thought-tool" with itself to test its efficasy. 

I have used all kinds of "tools" to test things without knowing exactly how they work. That the results of the test can be verified by maths, theory or some other means gives me confidence. But, if critical, I like an independant test as well.

For some things there is no possible independant test, therefore they cannot be held to be absolutely true in my book.  That may change in the future.
Tomorrow is precious, don't ruin it by fouling up today.

drfreemlizard

  • Beginning to See the Wedge
  • *
  • Posts: 46
Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #22 on: June 13, 2018, 08:03:01 PM »
Ah sorry, I was editing while you were posting.

Sent from my SCH-I435 using Tapatalk


Tank

  • Fed up with stupid.
  • Administrator
  • Excellent and Indefatigable Guardian of Reason
  • *****
  • Posts: 30293
  • Gender: Male
Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #23 on: June 13, 2018, 09:40:14 PM »
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
“Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.” ― Richard P. Feynman
'It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it's called Life.' - Terry Pratchett
Remember, your inability to grasp science is not a valid argument against it.

Ecurb Noselrub

  • No Wall in my name!!!
  • Wears a Colander Hat for Special Occasions
  • *****
  • Posts: 6287
  • Gender: Male
Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #24 on: June 13, 2018, 11:24:16 PM »

As to being able to observe God, you asked if either does not exist or if we just need new instruments. I believe there is a third option. It is possible that He exists, and we are not, nor will we be, able to see or measure Him. We may be able to see His influence in the world, however.

Correct. Or, we may not be able to see him unless he voluntarily discloses himself - also known as "revelation."  And he may decide to disclose himself to the individual in a way that is undetectable to a third party.  For those types of disclosures, the recipient would have a basis for faith, but could not prove it to or convince anyone else.  The scientific method may simply be an irrelevant tool in the search for the divine.

Dave

  • Formerly known as Gloucester
  • Don't Pray in My School, and I Won't Think in Your Church
  • *****
  • Posts: 7029
  • Gender: Male
Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #25 on: June 14, 2018, 01:33:56 AM »
I no longer seem to recognise the post that I attempted to answer, Dfr. Was the "editing" you mentioned that of the original post that I was currently answering?

Not on, mate. You moved the goalposts behind my back whilst I was in the process of kicking. I think we should try to keep to a single area per post, sometimes even a short, simple question needs a long, complex response.

And, if you want to seriously change your posts please don''t edit the one being answered, reiterate or clarify in a new post. Do only what you can do in a face to face debate.

Now, what is your response to my explanation of my understanding of the nature of prayer? Let's clear that up, so far you have showered me with questions without fully countering my points, ain't gonna play that game.

Also remember thst I have no doctrine to follow, my answers are merely my personal understanding. I am also, being a pragmatist at heart, well out of date regarding esoteric philosophy.
Tomorrow is precious, don't ruin it by fouling up today.

Dave

  • Formerly known as Gloucester
  • Don't Pray in My School, and I Won't Think in Your Church
  • *****
  • Posts: 7029
  • Gender: Male
Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #26 on: June 14, 2018, 02:11:04 AM »
The usual roles are reversed here, normally, on a secular forum, the religious person is the defendant protecting his or her beliefs against the "prosecution" of the rest. Though, in the more mannered forums, the subjects come singularly. Currently I am the sole humanist and, agreed, though I am only defending against an individual, multiple points per post make it feel more like a multitude shouting all at once!
« Last Edit: June 14, 2018, 02:56:23 AM by Dave »
Tomorrow is precious, don't ruin it by fouling up today.

Ecurb Noselrub

  • No Wall in my name!!!
  • Wears a Colander Hat for Special Occasions
  • *****
  • Posts: 6287
  • Gender: Male
Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #27 on: June 14, 2018, 02:54:27 AM »
dingulsrly.

Great word.  I think it means “acting like an ugly dingo who hasn’t eaten in a week.”

Dave

  • Formerly known as Gloucester
  • Don't Pray in My School, and I Won't Think in Your Church
  • *****
  • Posts: 7029
  • Gender: Male
Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #28 on: June 14, 2018, 03:03:24 AM »
dingulsrly.

Great word.  I think it means “acting like an ugly dingo who hasn’t eaten in a week.”
:grin:

Typos are duch fun!

Going to take the opportunity to add to my last post thus: I used "trial" analogies, I will treat this as a debate - which is what I intended in the first place - in future.  Dfr, I will ignore questions on new subjects until the current point has been posed and countered adequately.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2018, 05:41:19 AM by Dave »
Tomorrow is precious, don't ruin it by fouling up today.

drfreemlizard

  • Beginning to See the Wedge
  • *
  • Posts: 46
Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #29 on: June 14, 2018, 04:30:23 AM »
Fair. I may have been a bit rude to add to my earlier post. Unintentionally so, but still.

To the question of prayer. First, I'd like to present what prayer is to me.

It is communication with another person, specifically God.

What it is not: The means by which Christians can command a performance from God.

This is why I feel my earlier comments are germaine to the topic of prayer.

I'd like some time to read and digest the article you linked to before I proceed into further discussion on prayer's efficacy and proof thereof, including its supernatural component.

Sent from my SCH-I435 using Tapatalk