Why I believe in God

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brianmmulligan
Posts: 564
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Location: Sligo

Re: Why I believe in God

Post by brianmmulligan » Wed Jan 07, 2009 10:38 am

Patrick,

it is almost as if your mask of reasonableness is falling off. I can answer your questions about the value of art and the application of reason to such a discussion. However, I won't. We're working on a more fundamental question here, that is: how can we actually carry out a discussion? You seem to be using the standard politician's method of avoiding questions.

Now just in case you are confused about the basic question, I'll remind you that I accepted temporarily your assertion that the scientific method might not be the most appropriate method for discussing metaphysics, so I asked you what methodology you would use instead.

Now, please let me know if you need any further clarification on this question. Otherwise answer it.

Aside note to other readers (and of course I don't mind if Patrick reads it).

It is no coincidence that the level of atheism increases with level of education and particularly science education (and particularly in the biological sciences which has the highest level of atheism). Belief in the metaphysical seems to be strongly related to low levels of reasoning skills. It is often very frustrating in discussions with believers because of the lack of any technique and the constant reliance in 'common sense' which seems to be different with everyone. I would suggest that much time can be saved in such arguments, by first agreeing on what techniques of reasoning should be used (eg. do we find truth from authority or the weight of evidence, what constitutes evidence etc.). Often, as in this case, the inability to agree on this can make it obvious that it is not worth taking the argument any further as there will be no progress. However, it does also have the beneficial side effect of swaying others listening in. Now in the case of this argument, this last point is not particularly relevant, as most of the listeners do not need to be swayed. However, when you are out and about, with friends and family, this may well be a very useful strategy. Rather than get into an unending argument with conflicting claims, probe the methods of reasoning of your opponent. If they use the scientific method, which many claim to do, then at least you can argue reasonably and have some hope of making progress (eg. you can ask them to back up claims with evidence). If they claim that no methods of reasoning can be used in the metaphysical domain, you can publicly withdraw from the argument while still influencing listeners, as most will see that your 'opponent' is not being reasonable.

To illustrate the point you might put this question to the person:

The following 3 experiences are reported to you:

1. I had a dream in which God told me sell all my worldly goods and give the money to the poor.

2. I had a divine feeling/experience which made me feel the existence of God.

3. I was watching the statue of the Blessed Virgin and I saw it move.

What technique would you use to determine the probability that these were genuine metaphysical experiences?
Brian
Patrick Fowke
Posts: 270
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 11:34 pm

Re: Why I believe in God

Post by Patrick Fowke » Wed Jan 07, 2009 1:51 pm

Dave
davef wrote:I explained in my post what I mean by a-la-carte but since you didn't read it I'll rephrase: you pick and choose the bits of doctrine that suit you and disregard the rest. And please, please stop using the word 'metaphysical'. You seem to have even less of an understanding of it than I do.
I don't think you really did explain. It's a big statement to say in regards to someone.

Can you be more specific about the 'bits of doctrine' that 'suit' me and 'disregard' the rest. What 'bit's? Examples as well as explanation why you come to this conclusion.
davef wrote: And please, please stop using the word 'metaphysical'. You seem to have even less of an understanding of it than I do.'
Doesn't really matter what word I use. I could make one up now if I wanted to. Words are just symbols. The important thing is what you mean by the word. I have attempted in various places to explain what I mean and why I use this word.

Someone suggested I use the word 'transcendental'. My problem with this word is that (to me, at least, and I am sure others), it has an emotive / belief-in-divine slant to it (a lot of atheists believe in existence beyond material existence / beyond the existence of time / space / matter).
Another thing. I want a word that can be transposed from the world of (i.e the metaphysical world) to experience of (i.e metaphysical experience). As far as I believe you cannot say 'transcendetanl world' (maybe you can but it doesn't sound right).

If you can think of a better word that covers these points then please let me know (but if you could explain why you use this word - what this word means to you)

But let's not a disagreement over word-usage stop us from having a discussion about the bigger picture of whether such experiences (i.e the one I brought up at the beginning of this thread) is purely natural / material in origin or not.
Patrick Fowke
Posts: 270
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 11:34 pm

Re: Why I believe in God

Post by Patrick Fowke » Wed Jan 07, 2009 2:16 pm

Brian,
brianmmulligan wrote:Patrick,

You seem to be using the standard politician's method of avoiding questions.
I think you are over-egging your point. Dave, for example, wrote this in response to my answer to him (I take it this is the same question you are refering to - if not could you be more specific about which "questions" I am avoiding:

(Dave) "Okay, I still think you're not being terrebly upfront about answering my question, but I can accept your answer above, though I don't completely agree with it."

I admit it's not like he thinks I'm being 100% forthright. But, nevertheless.

Don't forget that I am being asked a very hypothetical question. Sorry, don't mean to be smart but politicians don't get asked questions such as 'if you had a trascendental experience like this in a Buddhist country' and so on. And don't forget that the politican and I have different agendas. No matter how much time I spend on this board I am never going to get paid for it, nor is it going to improve my career in any way (but for the politican there is the temptation, at least, to answer questions in a way that further his career etc ..).

I just think you are over-egging the situation to a point where the comparison (to me at least) to a politican just becomes meaningless.

And to be consistent you would, also, pick up on the failure of others to answer my questions. But you don't. I can leaf through the thread, if you like, and come across many. You and others seem to be focused on just this one question (a hypothetical question which I have tried to answer as best as I can) - although you mention "questions" - which ones exactly have I avoided like a 'politican'?
brianmmulligan wrote:
Now just in case you are confused about the basic question, I'll remind you that I accepted temporarily your assertion that the scientific method might not be the most appropriate method for discussing metaphysics, so I asked you what methodology you would use instead.
Methodology has different meanings. I have tried to answer you in the context of scientific methodology. As far as I take it you, you are saying that you don't want it to be answered in the sense of scientific methodolgy. Fair enough. Methodoly has different meanings (and can easily be confused with 'method'). You brought the word up, not me. Unless you clarify what you want out of me in regards to this word, then how can I respond to you in any meaningful way?

In regards to your point about "atheism increases .." let's turn to that in a while. For the moment seems that we (you Dave, and the others - if they are interested -hope so) need to iron out a few things before we move onto this new topic (connected to this).
brianmmulligan
Posts: 564
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2007 10:54 pm
Location: Sligo

Re: Why I believe in God

Post by brianmmulligan » Wed Jan 07, 2009 2:47 pm

Patrick Fowke wrote:
brianmmulligan wrote:
Now just in case you are confused about the basic question, I'll remind you that I accepted temporarily your assertion that the scientific method might not be the most appropriate method for discussing metaphysics, so I asked you what methodology you would use instead.
Methodology has different meanings. I have tried to answer you in the context of scientific methodology. As far as I take it you, you are saying that you don't want it to be answered in the sense of scientific methodolgy. Fair enough. Methodoly has different meanings (and can easily be confused with 'method'). You brought the word up, not me. Unless you clarify what you want out of me in regards to this word, then how can I respond to you in any meaningful way?

In regards to your point about "atheism increases .." let's turn to that in a while. For the moment seems that we (you Dave, and the others - if they are interested -hope so) need to iron out a few things before we move onto this new topic (connected to this).
No, lets not turn to that for a while. We'll leave it to later. The question above is very clear: "If you do not believe that the scientific method is appropriate for estimating truth in metaphysical issues, please describe an alternative method".

On second thoughts, just forget it. My suggestion that your avoidance of simple questions was losing you credibility here is probably of no interest to you. This begs another question "why are you here?" (what are you trying to achieve). All you seem to have achieved is to give us the opportunity to improve our debating skills (Thanks for that). So given that you seem to have no intention of answering the 'hard' question above, just answer that easy one.

By the way, if some of my recent postings seem offensive they were not meant to be. However, I will not avoid being direct for fear of offending. You really need to inform yourself better in matters knowledge, philosophy and psychology before bestowing on us the benefit of your opinions.
Brian
bipedalhumanoid
Posts: 2675
Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2007 1:55 pm

Re: Why I believe in God

Post by bipedalhumanoid » Wed Jan 07, 2009 3:10 pm

Patrick Fowke wrote:
Methodology has different meanings. I have tried to answer you in the context of scientific methodology. As far as I take it you, you are saying that you don't want it to be answered in the sense of scientific methodolgy. Fair enough. Methodoly has different meanings (and can easily be confused with 'method'). You brought the word up, not me. Unless you clarify what you want out of me in regards to this word, then how can I respond to you in any meaningful way?

In regards to your point about "atheism increases .." let's turn to that in a while. For the moment seems that we (you Dave, and the others - if they are interested -hope so) need to iron out a few things before we move onto this new topic (connected to this).
I just have a few questions regarding this post.
What is the nature of "Methodology"?
What is the nature of "different"?
What ist the nature of "meaning"?
What is the nature of "nature"?
What do you mean by "the"?
"The fact of your own existence is the most astonishing fact you will ever have to face. Don’t you ever get used to it." - Richard Dawkins... being shrill and offensive again I suppose.
Patrick Fowke
Posts: 270
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 11:34 pm

Re: Why I believe in God

Post by Patrick Fowke » Wed Jan 07, 2009 3:26 pm

bipedalhumanoid wrote:
Patrick Fowke wrote:
Methodology has different meanings. I have tried to answer you in the context of scientific methodology. As far as I take it you, you are saying that you don't want it to be answered in the sense of scientific methodolgy. Fair enough. Methodoly has different meanings (and can easily be confused with 'method'). You brought the word up, not me. Unless you clarify what you want out of me in regards to this word, then how can I respond to you in any meaningful way?

In regards to your point about "atheism increases .." let's turn to that in a while. For the moment seems that we (you Dave, and the others - if they are interested -hope so) need to iron out a few things before we move onto this new topic (connected to this).
I just have a few questions regarding this post.
What is the nature of "Methodology"?
What is the nature of "different"?
What ist the nature of "meaning"?
What is the nature of "nature"?
What do you mean by "the"?
I think asking about the nature of methodoly is perfectly reasonable (as opposed to your suggestion of me being pedantic i.e in your reference to your "what do you mean by the letter 'the". I, originally, answered it in the context of scientific methodolgy. The response I was given was not to answer it in that context. In what context do you suggest it should be answered?
Last edited by Patrick Fowke on Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Patrick Fowke
Posts: 270
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 11:34 pm

Re: Why I believe in God

Post by Patrick Fowke » Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:21 pm

Brian,
brianmmulligan wrote:
My suggestion that your avoidance of simple questions
I've written pages trying to answer this question as best as I can (and I have asked many questions on this thread, already, where no answer has even been attempted to be given). The thing is, though, that such a question, from my point-of-view requires qualification. It appears that you see that as irrelevant. I see it as relevant / of value.

Why am I here?

- To try and share what I believe about Christianity with others (feedback so far is that I appear to have been unsuccessful in this) through challenging others. Above all, the benefits of that (belief in the divine).

- to be challenged (I want to believe because I have thought about it - not blind faith).

- I would be lying if I said that I don't enjoy debate. I do. However, I sincerely, hope that the first two points, and in particular, the first one, easily outweight the importance of this (third) one.
brianmmulligan wrote:
By the way, if some of my recent postings seem offensive they were not meant to be.
No. Haven't thought that at all. Appreciate your respect here.
brianmmulligan wrote:
However, I will not avoid being direct for fear of offending.
Same here (and if I have said anything offensive / in offensive way: regrets / apologies).
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