Why I believe in God

General discussions
Patrick Fowke
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Post by Patrick Fowke » Fri Dec 19, 2008 12:50 pm

Thanks for the exchange everyone. This is my last post for now (going to answer one other on another topic) and then return to work.
bipedalhumanoid
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Post by bipedalhumanoid » Fri Dec 19, 2008 12:59 pm

Patrick Fowke wrote: My main point is that such experiences are, largely, subjective in nature. Science is about focusing on the objective evidence or symptoms. It would be largely impossible for a scientist (or neurologist) to diagnose the evidence because it is largely subjective as opposed to being objective or physically tangible.
Impossible? Are you suggesting that the subjects of the experiment are lying?... In fact not only lying but also by huge coincidence producing very similar testimony? The field of neurology, like the fields of psychology and medicine, often rely on the testimony of the subjects.

I'd also add that your argument is only valid if you want to try to claim the experiments are in some way unscientific. It doesn't suggest in any way that the research is invalid.

Patrick Fowke wrote: But how much of this is based on theory? You can set up an experiment, attempt a diagnosis and so on. And come to a conclusion. But until some evidence can be produced that experiment worked, then the conclusion is mere theory. In other words how do you validate the conclusion of your (the neurologists) findings. How do you know that it 'worked?' That is as important as the actual scientific method which you describe. Unless there is some kind of evidence that the experiment or scientific method 'worked' then it is mere theory.
You seem to not understand what a scientific theory is or the scientific method. A theory in science is an explanatory model based on various facts, evidence and observation. Theories do not graduate to become conclusions they merely gain respect.

I have already outlined the evidence. The neurlogists are able to induce these experiences in people. Objective evidence is in the MRI scan and in objective meta-analysis of the subjects' testimonies.
It opens up the possibility of, yes (not 'proof' of). What do believe the nature of poetry / the poetic is?
42.
With respect that is not what I asked. My point was specifically about "the metaphysical" (many non-believers believe in the existence of the metaphyiscal, Bhuddists being a good case in point, as well as many non-believers outside the Bhuddist tradition).
As far as I am concerned the two go hand in hand. No I don't believe in the metaphysical. I've no reason to believe in the metaphysical because I've seen no evidence of it.
What do you mean by "evidence". I mean there is no "evidence" for many important theories in quantum physics. How could "evidence" be produced, for example, for multiple dimensions (an important contemporary subject of quantum physics.
That simply isn't true at all. There isn't a single scientific theory in existence for which there is no evidence. If there is no evidence it is not called a scientific theory. It might be called an hypothesis if there is possibility of finding evidence and/or falsifying it... or it might be thrown out of science and into the realm of philosophy.

You are confusing the word 'evidence' with 'proof'. These mean different things. The many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics is just that, an interpretation, and there are many others. It isn't in any way part of the theory. The theory makes incredibly accurate predictions and is rock solid.
What value do you place in Philosophy where "evidence" is absent otherwise the subject would no longer be philosophy but science.
If there is a competing concept or theory where evidence is not absent thatn I place little or not value on it. In cases where all we have to go on is logic and reason perhaps I will place some value on it.
What value do you place in the Arts which is about the poetic, the human condition and so on as opposed to "evidence".
Subjective value.


Aesthetics is one of the most important branches of philosophy.
That's your subjective opinion.
Where does this idea of beauty exist?
In your brain.
Where do the laws of physics come from?
You're begging the question again. Who says they come from anywhere?
Patrick Fowke
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Post by Patrick Fowke » Fri Dec 19, 2008 1:55 pm

bipedalhumanoid wrote: Impossible? Are you suggesting that the subjects of the experiment are lying?... In fact not only lying but also by huge coincidence producing very similar testimony? The field of neurology, like the fields of psychology and medicine, often rely on the testimony of the subjects.
"Lying" - no. Scientists challenge each other the whole time. They don't call each other "liars" but that the other's science isn't right or incomplete, or just flat incorrect. I'm just asking where / what is the "evidence" that this piece of science is correct. That's a fundamental question in science.
bipedalhumanoid wrote: You seem to not understand what a scientific theory is or the scientific method. A theory in science is an explanatory model based on various facts, evidence and observation. Theories do not graduate to become conclusions they merely gain respect..
- But the case was put forward as if the whole thing is a done deal. I just wanted to make the point that it isn't. There are, no doubt, many neurologists who would claim that this particular science, in their opinion, is inaccurate / partly right / wrong.
bipedalhumanoid wrote: You are confusing the word 'evidence' with 'proof'. These mean different things
Agreed
bipedalhumanoid wrote: What value do you place in Philosophy where "evidence" is absent otherwise the subject would no longer be philosophy but science.
bipedalhumanoid wrote: In cases where all we have to go on is logic and reason perhaps I will place some value on it.
But "logic" and "reason" in themselves aren't, necessarily, pieces of "evidence" - or do you believe they are? Not following you because I thought that you required "evidence" for belief.
bipedalhumanoid wrote: Subjective value.
What do you mean by this. Or to ask another way, do you place any values in "subjective values". If so, then what is the nature of such things?
bipedalhumanoid wrote:
That's your subjective opinion.
Let me put that another way. It's often a core subject in the philosophy departments of our leading universities (Europe / America and so on). . The fact that something arouses so much attention is surely worthy of some attention / exploratin / investigatin. That's all.

Lastly, if no evidence can be provided for something at a particular time in history (St Augustine made the claim, based, to some degree, on Platonic philosophy, that time was finite) does that mean that a claim without good evidence is necessarily false (rhetorical question, yes).
Patrick Fowke
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Post by Patrick Fowke » Fri Dec 19, 2008 2:23 pm

Patrick Fowke wrote:
bipedalhumanoid wrote: Impossible? Are you suggesting that the subjects of the experiment are lying?... In fact not only lying but also by huge coincidence producing very similar testimony? The field of neurology, like the fields of psychology and medicine, often rely on the testimony of the subjects.
"Lying" - no. Scientists challenge each other the whole time. They don't call each other "liars" but that the other's science isn't right or incomplete, or just flat incorrect. I'm just asking where / what is the "evidence" that this piece of science is correct. That's a fundamental question in science.
bipedalhumanoid wrote: You seem to not understand what a scientific theory is or the scientific method. A theory in science is an explanatory model based on various facts, evidence and observation. Theories do not graduate to become conclusions they merely gain respect..
- But the case was put forward as if the whole thing is a done deal. I just wanted to make the point that it isn't. There are, no doubt, many neurologists who would claim that this particular science, in their opinion, is inaccurate / partly right / wrong.
bipedalhumanoid wrote: You are confusing the word 'evidence' with 'proof'. These mean different things
Agreed - but I still think you haven't give a clear idea, yourself, about what you mean by "evidence".

Experimental science can be about whatever works. Where does this fit into your idea of "evidence"?
bipedalhumanoid wrote: What value do you place in Philosophy where "evidence" is absent otherwise the subject would no longer be philosophy but science.
bipedalhumanoid wrote: In cases where all we have to go on is logic and reason perhaps I will place some value on it.
But "logic" and "reason" in themselves aren't, necessarily, pieces of "evidence" - or do you believe they are? Not following you because I thought that you required "evidence" for belief.
bipedalhumanoid wrote: Subjective value.
What do you mean by this. Or to ask another way, do you place any values in "subjective values". If so, then what is the nature of such things?
bipedalhumanoid wrote:
That's your subjective opinion.
Let me put that another way. It's often a core subject in the philosophy departments of our leading universities (Europe / America and so on). . The fact that something arouses so much attention is surely worthy of some attention / exploratin / investigatin. That's all.

Lastly, if no evidence can be provided for something at a particular time in history (St Augustine made the claim, based, to some degree, on Platonic philosophy, that time was finite) does that mean that a claim without good evidence is necessarily false (rhetorical question, yes).
bipedalhumanoid
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Post by bipedalhumanoid » Fri Dec 19, 2008 2:23 pm

Patrick Fowke wrote: "Lying" - no. Scientists challenge each other the whole time. They don't call each other "liars" but that the other's science isn't right or incomplete, or just flat incorrect. I'm just asking where / what is the "evidence" that this piece of science is correct. That's a fundamental question in science.
That isn't what I meant by lying. I was referring to the testimonies of the subjects. The testimonies of the subjects represent the only part of the experiment you could possibly refer to as 'subjective'. Problem with your claim is that the testimonies are objectively analysed. They're not taking a single persons word for what they experienced.
Patrick Fowke wrote: - But the case was put forward as if the whole thing is a done deal. I just wanted to make the point that it isn't. There are, no doubt, many neurologists who would claim that this particular science, in their opinion, is inaccurate / partly right / wrong.
Nobody said that and nor was it implied. Nothing in science is ever a 'done deal'.


Patrick Fowke wrote:
bipedalhumanoid wrote: In cases where all we have to go on is logic and reason perhaps I will place some value on it.
But "logic" and "reason" in themselves aren't, necessarily, pieces of "evidence" - or do you believe they are? Not following you because I thought that you required "evidence" for belief.
I didn't at any point say logic and reason alone constitutes evidence. My point was that in the absence of evidence that is all you have to rely on. An explanation based on logic and reason alone cannot compete with an explanation based on supporting evidence.
Patrick Fowke wrote:
bipedalhumanoid wrote: Subjective value.
What do you mean by this. Or to ask another way, do you place any values in "subjective values". If so, then what is the nature of such things?
Subjective experience is only evidence of a subjective experience. That's the point here. Our brains are capable of producing all kinds of illusions. That's why objectivity is important.

Patrick Fowke wrote: Let me put that another way. It's often a core subject in the philosophy departments of our leading universities (Europe / America and so on). . The fact that something arouses so much attention is surely worthy of some attention / exploratin / investigatin. That's all.
Lots of meaningless questions are explored in the field of philosophy. Just because you can formulate something as a question using language doesn't make it a valid question.

There are all sorts of things explored through philosophy that are based on spurious presuppositions. This is one of them. The presupposition being that poetry/beaty etc has any kind of objective nature. I'm happy to throw such questions in the same waste paper basket as the entire field of post-modernism.

Patrick Fowke wrote: Lastly, if no evidence can be provided for something at a particular time in history (St Augustine made the claim, based, to some degree, on Platonic philosophy, that time was finite) does that mean that a claim without good evidence is necessarily false (rhetorical question, yes).
Of course not. What it means is that at that time, you have no reason to take it seriously. And when you consider the multitude of spurious claims that can possibly be made without evidence you can come to understand just how unlikely it is that such a claim is correct.

You can also make a judment of how unlikely it is to be correct by the number of assumptions made.

For instance. If I were to tell you there is an invisible, undetectable thing in existence. You can't disprove the claim but in the absence of evidence you have no reason to believe it.

Now if I were to make another claim, that the invisible undetectable thing was a bunny wearing blue shorts and singing twinkle twinkle little star. I have been more specific. You still have no reason to believe the claim but you could also say that this claim is even less likely than the last one because it is a product of multiple unevidenced claims.
Last edited by bipedalhumanoid on Fri Dec 19, 2008 2:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Patrick Fowke
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Post by Patrick Fowke » Fri Dec 19, 2008 2:35 pm

bipedalhumanoid wrote:
I didn't at any point say logic and reason alone constitutes evidence. My point was that in the absence of evidence that is all you have to rely on. An explanation based on logic and reason alone cannot compete with an explanation based on supporting evidence.
Can you give an example of an explanation based on logic and reason (without evidence) that you would consider?
bipedalhumanoid wrote:
Our brains are capable of producing all kinds of illusions. That's why objectivity is important.
What particular science do you refer to in this statement, and what was the type of scenario in which this science was used?
Much more importantly, it doesn't necessarily follow that because our brains can produce illusions that our brains always produce illusions in regards to the subjective.
bipedalhumanoid wrote:
Lots of meaningless questions are explored in the field of philosophy. Just because you can formulate something as a question using language doesn't make it a valid question. ).
With respect you didn't answer my question:

"Lastly, if no evidence can be provided for something at a particular time in history (St Augustine made the claim, based, to some degree, on Platonic philosophy, that time was finite) does that mean that a claim without good evidence is necessarily false (rhetorical question, yes)."

Also, what do you mean, exactly, by "evidence". Experimental science is often about "whatever works". Where does this fit, for example, in your view of "evidence".
Last edited by Patrick Fowke on Fri Dec 19, 2008 2:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
lostexpectation
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Re: Why I believe in God

Post by lostexpectation » Fri Dec 19, 2008 2:36 pm

Patrick Fowke wrote:Hello all,

Firstly, this post has been posted in good faith. I only write what I believe to be true. Not to cause offence or to challenge in a negative way.

I believe in God because I have had various metaphysical experiences that I believe were divine in origin. I am not a poet so I can't really evoke those experiences. All I can say is that they left me with a level of joy and peace beyond anything I could imagine the body being able to induce through physical stimulation. Suffice to say it was ecstatic. To borrow from Shakespeare it was something like:
'The clouds methought did open up and show riches ready to drop upon me that when I wak'd I cried to dream again'. (Tempest)
some may argue over what these experiences are, i simply don't believe they happened.
test
Patrick Fowke
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Re: Why I believe in God

Post by Patrick Fowke » Fri Dec 19, 2008 2:44 pm

Hi
lostexpectation wrote:
some may argue over what these experiences are, i simply don't believe they happened.
What do you mean by that exactly? Can you expand / clarify, please?
bipedalhumanoid
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Post by bipedalhumanoid » Fri Dec 19, 2008 2:59 pm

Patrick Fowke wrote: Can you give an example of an explanation based on logic and reason (without evidence) that you would consider?
Yes. In answer to Thomas Aquinus's proofs regarding the first cause. There are arguments suggesting that whatever the explanation for the first cause, a necessarily complex being as the first cause (such as an intelligent being) is far less likely to be the cause than some kind of simple cause.

This is an argument based solely on logic and reason. It makes logical sense and it isn't evidence based.

My position isn't that I believe any particular explanation of the first cause. Ultimately we don't know, but considering the options we have an intelligent being is the least likely.

The religious often respond to this by suggesting god tanscends time. s/he/they exist outside of time/the universe/the system. Ultimately no matter what they come up with, I can replace the word 'god' with 'matter' (or even better, energy given that matter is just a state of energy) and I have a better, more simple, explanation.

I think the important point to make is that I don't believe in any particular explanation. I merely have a basis on which to evaluate the various options and on that basis I reject the supernatural explanations.
Patrick Fowke wrote:
bipedalhumanoid wrote:
Our brains are capable of producing all kinds of illusions. That's why objectivity is important.
What particular science do you refer to in this statement, and what was the type of scenario in which this science was used?
Neuroscience.
Patrick Fowke wrote:
With respect you didn't answer my question:
Check again. I made some post edits.
Also, what do you mean, exactly, by "evidence". Experimental science is often about "whatever works". Where does this fit, for example, in your view of "evidence".
Actually, experimental evidence is usually about confirming or falsifying predictions made by theories and hypotheses. Observations are a type of evidence as are mathematical proofs. A piece of evidence is any objective observation that supports the predictions made by the theory or hypothesis. Theories are generally supported by a 'body of evidence'.
Patrick Fowke
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Post by Patrick Fowke » Fri Dec 19, 2008 3:16 pm

bipedalhumanoid wrote:
Of course not. What it means is that at that time, you have no reason to take it seriously. And when you consider the multitude of spurious claims that can possibly be made without evidence you can come to understand just how unlikely it is that such a claim is correct.
But if St Augustine got time-being-finite right, based to an important degree on Platonic philosophy, and with no evidence - right to the degree that time-being-finite has played an invaluable role in the important theories of scientists such as Einstein and Lemaitre (Big Bang) then surely the idea of God warrants some attention. Don't forget that St Augustine was pretty much on his own on this.

"On his own" that is compared to the idea put forward by numerous theologians (such as St Augustine) (and philosophers) for the existence of God. Then there is the testament of millions of people throughout history who claim to have had religious experiences (and often following prayer to Christ, for example). Then there is the evidence of Christ and his miracles (not disputing that such "evidence" can't be disputed) and so on. Then there are more general philosophical arguments for the existence of the divine apropos the "metaphysical" quality of music, art, human love, aesthetics, and so on. The claim for the existence of God, as I see it, warrants far more attention (based on the types of testaments / evidence, and to a degree, arguments) than St Augustine's solo claim 1500 or so years ago about the nature of time.

And, let's not forget, fairly-crazy as his idea might have been to his contemporaries 1500 or so years ago, it took the genius and hard-fought work of a scientist such as Estein to given real credence to his claim (and Einstein didn't stint on lauding Augustine for his claim - a claim based on sound Platonic reasoning).
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