Author Topic: Questions about Humanism  (Read 1633 times)

Dave

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Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #30 on: June 14, 2018, 06:11:45 AM »
The supplicatory position of prayer is acknowledged, even when the "hell and damnation" type priest says something like, "God, strike this man down" the "please" is implicit. And not only Christians pray, it is something, possibly genetic, indulged in by humans all over the world. Even if the target of those prayers might vary considerably.

In parting with a loved one, "(Please) Take care of yourself and come back safe," might be considered a prayer and, to my mind, far more realistic than, "May God go with you." On a more practical, and formal, level prayers are offered to monarchs and national leaders for favours and dispensations. The legal appeal is an evidence supported prayer for clemency.

Prayer is natural, the target and expectations might be otherwise.
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Tank

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Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #31 on: June 14, 2018, 06:40:06 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!

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Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #32 on: June 14, 2018, 07:18:43 AM »

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.

So you will not, now or ever, be able to see or measure him, but you can still see his influence on the world. But you can still see him if he reveals himself to you. But you still can't, now or ever, see or measure him - unless you cannot explain it, in which case he does exist in some measurable or sensible way, in which only you yourself can be able to measure or sense for yourself.

Isn't there a part in the bible that also says that God is everywhere? Or something to that affect? So in which case shouldn't God's presence be apparent in all aspects of life despite where you are or who he decides to arbitrarily show himself to?

I'm beginning to go with Neil Degrasse Tyson's theory on God is just defined by the people who believe in him because you both gave very different and very contradicting answers. Not to each other of course. Two people having an idea on something doesn't make them mutually exclusive from one another. However I think we should all realize the irony in "you won't ever be able to see or measure him but he exists because "you" can see and measure him"

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Dave

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Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #33 on: June 14, 2018, 07:45:07 AM »

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.

So you will not, now or ever, be able to see or measure him, but you can still see his influence on the world. But you can still see him if he reveals himself to you. But you still can't, now or ever, see or measure him - unless you cannot explain it, in which case he does exist in some measurable or sensible way, in which only you yourself can be able to measure or sense for yourself.

Isn't there a part in the bible that also says that God is everywhere? Or something to that affect? So in which case shouldn't God's presence be apparent in all aspects of life despite where you are or who he decides to arbitrarily show himself to?

I'm beginning to go with Neil Degrasse Tyson's theory on God is just defined by the people who believe in him because you both gave very different and very contradicting answers. Not to each other of course. Two people having an idea on something doesn't make them mutually exclusive from one another. However I think we should all realize the irony in "you won't ever be able to see or measure him but he exists because "you" can see and measure him"

If, as some say, "god" is a sort of genetic mental component, an evolutionary survivalist hanger-on, then it is true thst he is everywhere. Well, msybe there are a few humans evolving beyond that.
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Tank

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Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #34 on: June 14, 2018, 08:21:00 AM »
Carry on.
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Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #35 on: June 14, 2018, 08:23:21 AM »

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.

So you will not, now or ever, be able to see or measure him, but you can still see his influence on the world. But you can still see him if he reveals himself to you. But you still can't, now or ever, see or measure him - unless you cannot explain it, in which case he does exist in some measurable or sensible way, in which only you yourself can be able to measure or sense for yourself.

Isn't there a part in the bible that also says that God is everywhere? Or something to that affect? So in which case shouldn't God's presence be apparent in all aspects of life despite where you are or who he decides to arbitrarily show himself to?

I'm beginning to go with Neil Degrasse Tyson's theory on God is just defined by the people who believe in him because you both gave very different and very contradicting answers. Not to each other of course. Two people having an idea on something doesn't make them mutually exclusive from one another. However I think we should all realize the irony in "you won't ever be able to see or measure him but he exists because "you" can see and measure him"

If, as some say, "god" is a sort of genetic mental component, an evolutionary survivalist hanger-on, then it is true thst he is everywhere. Well, msybe there are a few humans evolving beyond that.

In that case it makes it all the more important to pass on my genes  ;D

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Ecurb Noselrub

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Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #36 on: June 14, 2018, 12:21:50 PM »
Even if God is “everywhere” he may still only reveal himself to human minds as he desires.  Quantum particles are “everywhere” but humans have only known about them for less than 1% of our time on earth, and we still don’t know all there is.  None of this proves God’s existence, of course.  It simply eliminates any conclusive argument against it.

Dave

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Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #37 on: June 14, 2018, 12:47:30 PM »
Even if God is “everywhere” he may still only reveal himself to human minds as he desires.  Quantum particles are “everywhere” but humans have only known about them for less than 1% of our time on earth, and we still don’t know all there is.  None of this proves God’s existence, of course.  It simply eliminates any conclusive argument against it.

As a humanist I would say that he "reveals" himself to human minds as they desire! If a person is in a suitable mental state maybe an intuition, a sudden solution may seem like an external nessage.  I very frequently have thoughts that seem nothing to do with my current problem but, like the Delphi Oracle, if considered long enough have validity in that situation. My subconscious has assembled a pattern from knowledge and experience and shoved a copy into the out tray.

We all do it, but those with the religious gene may, especially if stressed and "blank minded" perceive a thought as a message from their deity. This, if course, only strengthens their belief.

Actually this is getting off the strict intended scope of the thread, beyond that which was in my first post describing Humanism is debate on the differences between the perceptions of that and religion. But, though I am sure entrenched perceptions mean the debate will probably end in a stalemate it is still an enjoyable mental exercise.
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Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #38 on: June 14, 2018, 02:11:37 PM »
Even if God is “everywhere” he may still only reveal himself to human minds as he desires.  Quantum particles are “everywhere” but humans have only known about them for less than 1% of our time on earth, and we still don’t know all there is.  None of this proves God’s existence, of course.  It simply eliminates any conclusive argument against it.

Particles are not everywhere. Even they have spaces between them. Outer Space is defined as having nothing in it. However mass jumps in and out of existence all the time in space. But most of the universe is comprised of stuff we don't even have a clue of what it is, but we know that it is not the mass we are used to; i.e. particles. Because when if someone were to hold it above their hand and then drop it, it would fall right through their hand and take all of their mass it touched along with it because it has the opposite charge to it.

But you're right. None of this neither proves or denies the existence of God. Which was not the intention I was going for. I think my original post in this topic was just to give my two cents. Either way, I'll still stick to the idea that this is how we learn.

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Bad Penny II

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Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #39 on: June 14, 2018, 02:35:46 PM »
  But what is the stimulus in religion?

Human need.


  Is it not the actions of the divine?

It is in some fiction/fantasy I've read.


   So you would need to be God to provide the stimulus for the experiments that would prove the existence or lack thereof of God.

My experience of human nature, being a human living among humans for half a century strongly indicates we made them up.

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« Last Edit: June 14, 2018, 04:42:53 PM by Bad Penny II »
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Dave

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Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #40 on: June 14, 2018, 03:29:19 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.

Ever read Karl Popper? Not getting into that here - whole new thread on its own!

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.

Think I responded to this. I refer you to Popper again.

But there is another reason you will be hard-pressed to either prove or disprove religion scientifically.

I have no intention of "disproving" religion per se, it exists therefore it exists. The origin and nature of religion are, decidedly, up for debate. Did our earliest predessesors pray to a "god" or just that the bloody thunder and rain would stop? We will never know how religion started, fair chance it was after language. S far as we can tell we are the only mammals with a "sense" of the supernatural, despite being only 1% genetically different from bonobos and only 2% from pigs. Those genetic differences, whether through walking upright or a gift from the supernatural I don't know, are obviously the critical thing. Somewhere in that lot is the "religious gene."

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.

Your question does not seem well posed to me, but I will try . . .
Quote
[...] what is the stimulus in religion?
Er, unlike science, with its "repeat and prove" method it seems that religion has a "repeat and hope" tactic. That gives the no-better-than-chance result from intercessory or anonymous  prayer. Even replicating every single controllable factor and variable in any prayer situation does not increase the odds of success. But, like gambling fever, there is always the chance that it will come up trumps if we do it often enough and invest enough "spiritual" currency.

Other kinds of stimulus: humans are historically social animals, we like being in groups with a common purpose, especially groups that we feel are also supportive - there is a reason that some religions are strong on "family", "sisterhood", "brotherhood" and even "patriarchy" and "matriarchy" etc. Not to mention "flock". Positive feedback to reinforce the faith is easy under such circumstances of hierarchical authority.

Of course, fear and violence have been, and still are, used to reinforce the message. Quite a strong stimulus.

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.

Not sure that you are reiterating my points precisely, but no matter. The effect of "God" can only be detected, measurably, by individual humans, either singularly or in groups. Not going to introduce "group think" just now. The "measure"? The observable effect on that individual's affect or behaviour. Could go either way, postitive or negative. No doubt psychologists could reduce it to a rating, a number, at least a grade from "severely deleterious" to " profoundly benerficial".

Perhaps monitoring serotonin, endorphins, dopamine, oxytosin etc might give a more accurate measurement of the effect of "God" on individuals, but that is a measurement by analogue only.

In my frame of reference "God" exists - for those with the right genes - in a network of neorons.[/quote]

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.

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Sorry, getting too far OT I think, as if it were't complex enough!

Can we have one question at a time please?

[Edit included deleting suplus quote codes and correcting typos - surpringly few, perhaps some bugs enhance concentration?]
« Last Edit: June 14, 2018, 04:49:42 PM by Dave »
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Dave

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Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #41 on: June 14, 2018, 04:43:59 PM »
Phew! I am fed up with this cough, pyrexia, joint ache etc I have awarded myself a DIB (Day In Bed), including a BIB, a LIB and a TIB.

I should have given myself the NID (Non-Internet Day) as well!

Knackered.
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Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #42 on: June 14, 2018, 05:09:10 PM »
Phew! I am fed up with this cough, pyrexia, joint ache etc I have awarded myself a DIB (Day In Bed), including a BIB, a LIB and a TIB.

I should have given myself the NID (Non-Internet Day) as well!

Knackered.

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drfreemlizard

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Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #43 on: June 15, 2018, 05:08:54 AM »
Dave:
Regarding your point concerning prayer, I have read the articles you linked about studies on intercessory prayer.  And the results were mixed, with many researchers concluding that they could not by the results either prove or disprove the efficacy of prayer.

There is one problem that I did not see addressed in either article and it is one I hinted at earlier in my view of what prayer is and is not.  Because God is all powerful, He can heal disease and cause various effects not typically found in nature. In fact, the records left by some of the Jewish religious authorities describe Jesus as a 'sorcerer, who led the people astray'.  But because God is also a person, not a machine, He can say "No." The prayer has still been answered, but with a refusal.

But the scientists who conducted the study have pretty much equated "the prayer was answered" with "we got what we wanted".

Now, Dave, if there were no God, prayer would be basically what you described in your post: a religion themed pep rally that provides a sense of well-being and possibly the occasional placebo effect.  The validity of prayer as anything more than that absolutely hinges on the existence of God, and my prayers as a Christian hinge on the fact that the God of the Bible is that God.

And hence my foundational questions and statements concerning the inadequacy of the scientific method and empiricism to prove or disprove God.

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Dave

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Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #44 on: June 15, 2018, 08:15:20 AM »
I see this is following the familiar pattern where neither of us can willingly concede any points! I prrict that it will soon be a watse of time for bith of us, but a bit of mental exercise in wordmanship and a personal re-affirmation of our disparate beliefs!  :grin:

Dave:
Regarding your point concerning prayer, I have read the articles you linked about studies on intercessory prayer.  And the results were mixed, with many researchers concluding that they could not by the results either prove or disprove the efficacy of prayer.

I did say some were incle blind experiment into the efficasy of prayer in the medical field. I feelmthat it might appeal more to theists (to have their case proven) than to atheists (unless they tended to be anti-theists out to disprove...) There are so nany demands on time and funding, involving techniques and chemistry that can, predoctably,  have more chance of being efficacious than prayer. Having said that I feel that the role of psychology is often sadly ingored by the medical profession. If prayer, freely offered, were in anyway demonstrably helpful in healing I would be happy to support it! Though it might not apply ro such as myself if it helped the person in the next bed - OK!

There is one problem that I did not see addressed in either article and it is one I hinted at earlier in my view of what prayer is and is not.  Because God is all powerful, He can heal disease and cause various effects not typically found in nature. In fact, the records left by some of the Jewish religious authorities describe Jesus as a 'sorcerer, who led the people astray'.  But because God is also a person, not a machine, He can say "No." The prayer has still been answered, but with a refusal.

But the scientists who conducted the study have pretty much equated "the prayer was answered" with "we got what we wanted".

My appologies, I am going to have to be less than "gentlenanly" here here: saying that your "God" has free will to chose who he saves and who he damns is sophistry, a cop-out.  The same can be said of many serious disease vectors, they kill or not as they will. Maybe the world mass of, say, the ebola virus forms a dispersed "supermind" capable of such decisions? Seems no more ridiculous to me than any other form of superbeing. And we can see, measure and analyse those viruses, even if we cannot yet detect their communicative "thoughtwaves" - just have to take those on faith . . .

How can one feel well disposed towards an entity that sometimes chooses to save bad people and condemn the good? "It was God's will . . ," is good for either in the mind of the believer yet explains neither. In fact, anecdotalycat least, the "loss of a good person" has been the cause of a oerjahent rift between a lifelong believer and that beleif - though, were I to research it I might well find that there are as many former non-believes who accepted "God" because a loved one survived an illness - thinking that survival due to the power of prayers that were offered. People should not make important decisions at times of stress or bereavement, but we all do.

Now, Dave, if there were no God, prayer would be basically what you described in your post: a religion themed pep rally that provides a sense of well-being and possibly the occasional placebo effect.  The validity of prayer as anything more than that absolutely hinges on the existence of God, and my prayers as a Christian hinge on the fact that the God of the Bible is that God.

Fair enuff. You and I can never reconcile our beliefs, but that does not mean we cannot be good people with good intentions towards humanity. I have even suggested and supported giving funds to our local church - though that was for the mundane convenience of the users in helping them build a toilet! (The church itself is about 800 years old but may be built on an older one.)

And hence my foundational questions and statements concerning the inadequacy of the scientific method and empiricism to prove or disprove God.

Science will always have its, self-admitted, limitations, we are ignorant of stupendously far more than we know - but true scientists are willing to objectively investigate, regardless of whether their hypothesis is found valid on not. No sensible scientist, in my view, will attempt to prove or disprove the existence of the supernatural, emprically, mathematically or however - that is the job of the philosopher and why, I think, such as Dawkins have swapped seats, using their science as a prop.

Psychologists may draw parallels between the effects of religion on the individual or group and, say, the effects of the Beatles or Manchester United or even Charles Manson and the many other charismatic pseudo/religious leaders. But is that absolute proof they are the same mechanism?

And let's not even get started on the nature of "the God of the Bible"!

As I said before, this is only the viewpoint of a single, aspiring, humanist, unbound by doctrine - though, undoubtably, influenced by it! I do not subscribe to any humanist organisation, prefering to supprt them where we mesh and ignore them where we do not - unless I think they are on absolutely the wrong course when I might actively oppose them. My experience is that my line may wiggle a bit but does not seriously diverge from the "mainstream".  "Orthodoxy" does not,sit,well with humanists.

Even Humanism, like religion, gets involved in politics, a field that I gave little but contempt for.

Please pardon any typos, typed in bed starting early am!
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