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Being 'Born-Again' Linked to More Brain Atrophy: Study
Arthur Kalliokoski
Second in Command
February 2005
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all you've mentioned is the heavy rock bit, which got taken apart in half a second.

What? The cartoon? All that did was distract you from the "fact" that god couldn't hold up a rock with the slapstick flattening of the protagonist. He couldn't hold up a rock, period.

“Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as "bad luck.”

― Robert A. Heinlein

Specter Phoenix
Member #1,425
July 2001
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Religion to me is just a fiction created by man to make them feel better about death.

"Can't a man even talk to himself without being interrupted?" -Krull(1983)
"Through vengence I was born. Through war I was trained. Through love I was found. Through death I was released. Through release I was given a purpose." -- Specter Phoenix
"Programming == AWESOME the rest is just tools to accomplish it."
END OF LINE

Matthew Leverton
Supreme Loser
January 1999
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Why not take the words at face value? Otherwise you can twist them around to mean whatever you want, like so many do.

Why not take words at face value? Because not everything is literal. Not everything makes sense pulled out of context. This is true of any book.

But that's a totally different topic. You can disagree with the Catholic church's interpretation of the Bible. You are free to believe that the Bible should be taken literally and that people should not be given the chance to harmonize it.

But you cannot project your own interpretations and definitions onto other people and claim that's what they believe.

Arthur Kalliokoski
Second in Command
February 2005
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a fiction created by man to make them feel better about death.

It also makes them feel better that supposedly someone's looking out for them (aka "guardian angel") and offloading personal responsibility to a mythical being.

[EDIT]

Not everything makes sense pulled out of context.

video

“Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as "bad luck.”

― Robert A. Heinlein

Stas B.
Member #9,615
March 2008

That the concept is extremely broad and complicated is the issue. It leaves enough leeway to basically declare an unfair discussion, which is why I'm not taking it seriously.

The context of this discussion narrows it down. I actually gave you a concrete definition of what I mean when I say such and such thing in the context of this discussion. Given that information, nothing precludes you from analyzing what I said and proving it's falsity, unless you agree with it.

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Argumentum ad populum isn't about being rational, it's about being right. Clearly the majority can't be right in the pie chart because no one group holds anything close to a majority. Again, if you want to call 80% to 100% of the world delusional based on your own belief system, go nuts.

You clearly stated that theists can't be irrational because 80% of the population are theists. That's a textbook example of the logical fallacy called "argumentum ad populum". There isn't a definition of "rational" that is somehow related to popular belief. In principle, every single person on the face of the earth could be completely irrational without making the standard definition of "rational" somehow less valid.

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What evidence? You've said "strong evidence" about 50 times and all you've mentioned is the heavy rock bit, which got taken apart in half a second.

Are you fucking high? I explained exactly what I mean by "evidence". I made it bold and mentioned where exactly to look for it, so even a person like you could understand what evidence I'm referring to.

Specter Phoenix
Member #1,425
July 2001
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Not everything makes sense pulled out of context.

That isn't entirely true. It makes perfect sense to the person that pulls it out of context, after all it has to for them to make the argument using the out of context remarks ;).

It also makes them feel better that supposedly someone's looking out for them (aka "guardian angel") and offloading personal responsibility to a mythical being.

Yeah, I call that dumb luck.

"Can't a man even talk to himself without being interrupted?" -Krull(1983)
"Through vengence I was born. Through war I was trained. Through love I was found. Through death I was released. Through release I was given a purpose." -- Specter Phoenix
"Programming == AWESOME the rest is just tools to accomplish it."
END OF LINE

Dizzy Egg
Member #10,824
March 2009
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God would have replied to this himself but he's busy in Africa giving AIDs to babies.

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Derezo
Member #1,666
April 2001
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If you don't believe in God(s) then you are atheist.

It is not as clear cut as that. The definition of "God" is subject to so much interpretation, and I personally fall much closer to the definition of Agnostic.

... and thanks for the definition of supernatural -- my fictional/factional analogy seems to be quite accurate ;D

Evert said:

That tells you right there that there is no single shared belief among all atheists.

Perhaps not <em>all</em> atheists, in the same manner that it applies to theists, but there are many groups that are the functional equivalent of religious groups across both systems.

"He who controls the stuffing controls the Universe"

Arthur Kalliokoski
Second in Command
February 2005
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“Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as "bad luck.”

― Robert A. Heinlein

23yrold3yrold
Member #1,134
March 2001
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Stas B. said:

You clearly stated that theists can't be irrational because 80% of the population are theists.

I said I'm going to accept it as highly likely as an alternative to a) running around interviewing them all or b) making baseless assumptions.

Quote:

Are you fucking high? I explained exactly what I mean by "evidence".

You mean just in that one post finally? Smacks more of trying to have your cake and eat it too; we just determined you can't prove a negative. Even if you want to accept that there's no evidence for religions (most of the existing objective evidence I can think of off the top of my head being historical or archaeological, not scientific; sorry if that's not convenient), lack of evidence is not evidence. ::)

EDIT: You also can't argue "no evidence" because you can't be aware of all evidence. I think I applied this to myself earlier in the thread ...

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Stas B.
Member #9,615
March 2008

I said I'm going to accept it as highly likely as an alternative to a) running around interviewing them all or b) making baseless assumptions.

So here's what you're saying:
"Since I can't run around and do a world-wide sanity check, I'll just assume that 80% of the population can't possibly be irrational. After all, we don't want to make baseless assumptions, do we?"

You made a logical fallacy and now you're just talking pure crap. You fail to address any of the actual points I made, specifically that:

- It is entirely possible that 80% of the population shares an irrational belief.
- Failing to apply Occam's razor leads to beliefs that can only be classified as irrational.
- Theists fail to apply Occam's razor when dealing with the question of the origin of the universe.

Untill you refute either of these points, this in itself is enough to prove that 80% of the population is indeed irrational.

Quote:

You mean just in that one post finally? Smacks more of trying to have your cake and eat it too; we just determined you can't prove a negative.

I never tried to imply that you must prove a negative. You pointed out that it sounds that way and I explained what I actually meant.

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Even if you want to accept that there's no evidence for religions (most of the existing objective evidence being historical or archaeological, not scientific; sorry if that's not convenient),

Historical evidence by definition can't be objective. That's asinine. Archeological evidence is tangible. What tangible evidence do you have that leaves you with "god" as an explanation after applying Occam's razor?

Quote:

lack of evidence is not evidence

I explained in my post why in this case it is. You don't get to simply deny it. If you disagree, prove that what I said is false.

You are obsolutely incapable of applying logic or having a valid discussion. You make blatant logical fallacies and then deny it, you either completely ignore my points or just assert they're wrong, you spend half of your effort on ad-hominem attacks...

SiegeLord
Member #7,827
October 2006
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we just determined you can't prove a negative.

You can't prove anything about the real world, positive OR negative. Proofs are the realm of math and logic. Uncertainty and probability are the realm of the real world.

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most of the existing objective evidence I can think of off the top of my head being historical or archaeological, not scientific; sorry if that's not convenient

If that evidence is true, it just proves that god existed at some point, and stopped existing as soon as better recording equipment starter appearing.

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lack of evidence is not evidence

Yes it is, and I explained how.

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You also can't argue "no evidence" because you can't be aware of all evidence.

Yes you can. People make judgments from limited evidence all the time, and often times those judgments are right because the world has certain regularities to it. When you ate breakfast this morning did you hesitate grabbing the utensil because you weren't aware of the evidence that it was a three dimensional object? It's just a two dimensional image on your retina, after all.

Delve into some introspection and note how many times in your day you act on things (or fail to act on things) despite there being very little evidence for them. Why are you not checking whether your computer has a virus despite there being no evidence for it? Surely you can't be aware of all the evidence in this case either.

If you considered the existence of god in the same manner as you considered everything else in your life you'd reject it right off the bat. The only reason you're applying these ridiculous requirements to the god hypothesis is because it doesn't matter whether it exists or not. If god's existence or non-existence actually mattered, e.g. affected what treatment choice to a life-threatening condition, you'd not be so preposterous about it.

If you used this ridiculous "lack of evidence is not evidence" statement in the scientific world you'd be laughed at.

"For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increases knowledge increases sorrow."-Ecclesiastes 1:18
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Specter Phoenix
Member #1,425
July 2001
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Derezo said:

It is not as clear cut as that. The definition of "God" is subject to so much interpretation, and I personally fall much closer to the definition of Agnostic [en.wikipedia.org].... and thanks for the definition of supernatural -- my fictional/factional analogy seems to be quite accurate ;D

Not a problem with supernatural. Though, the definition of atheism is clear cut:

Quote:

noun the belief that there is no God

You can't say you're atheist and practice atheism then you believe that there is a God. If you believe there is a God then you can't be atheist. Same way you can't say you are Christian or Catholic and practice Satanism. You can be undecided, but if you believe there is no God you are atheist (per the definition). Anything out of that is just man playing semantics.

"Can't a man even talk to himself without being interrupted?" -Krull(1983)
"Through vengence I was born. Through war I was trained. Through love I was found. Through death I was released. Through release I was given a purpose." -- Specter Phoenix
"Programming == AWESOME the rest is just tools to accomplish it."
END OF LINE

Matthew Leverton
Supreme Loser
January 1999
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Stas B. said:

- Failing to apply Occam's razor leads to beliefs that can only be classified as irrational.

Where is the proof Occam's razor is always correct?

If it's not always correct, then your statement is not absolute.

Even if it is always correct, then why does it mean the slightly more complex answer must be irrational?

Anyway, statements like the one I quoted are arrogant, in case you are still wondering why you come across as such. ("But how can a statement be arrogant? :o" is the arrogant reply. "But how can a reply be arrogant?" follows the arrogant reply.)

Stas B.
Member #9,615
March 2008

Where is the proof Occam's razor is always correct?

If it's not always correct, then your statement is not absolute.

Even if it is always correct, then why does it mean the slightly more complex answer must be irrational?

Applying Occam's razor means picking the explanation that gives you the most useful insight based on the least amount of assumptions. Are you trying to imply that doing so may sometimes be "incorrect"? In what sense? Are you going to argue that it's rational to pick an explanation that gives you less useful insight with more baseless assumptions just so you could keep your predetermined belief? Are you going to argue that's not the reason why they do it? Then what is the reason? Do they have a different brain structure?

Quote:

Anyway, statements like the one I quoted are arrogant, in case you are still wondering why you come across as such.

I don't give a rat shit. Its arrogance has no effect on its validity.
By the way, I still don't understand why it's arrogant. I swear. Maybe I'm a retard.

Matthew Leverton
Supreme Loser
January 1999
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One could easily argue that the supernatural (god) has far fewer assumptions and complexities than, say, the Big Bang theory. For example, this is pretty simple:

A super powerful being created the Earth.

Personally, I think it's a misuse Occam's razor to assume that supernatural things are invalid or irrational or too complex. I don't really think that's the point of it.

I don't really care to explain what I mean, but a quick Google search revealed this: http://www.weburbia.com/physics/occam.html

SiegeLord
Member #7,827
October 2006
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Where is the proof Occam's razor is always correct?

Let me give you a basic outline of it. Say we have a data set that consists of a single, one dimensional observation, e.g. you measure a length of something. You have two hypotheses: first one predicts that the length has to be 1 meter; second one predicts that the length could be 1 meter or 2 meters. It should be obvious that first hypothesis is simpler (it's more precise). Now, let's say you make the measurement and it's 1 meter. Given that data, which hypothesis is more likely?

Now we have to use Bayes theorem (it's easy to derive, but I won't be doing it here). It allows us to compute the probability of a hypothesis given the data. It looks like this:

<math>P(Hypothesis|Data) = \frac{P(Data|Hypothesis) P(Hypothesis)}{\sum_{Hypothesis' \in AllHypothesis}{P(Data|Hypothesis') P(Hypothesis')}}</math>

It reads (for others who don't read math as well): probability of a given hypothesis given the data is the product of probability of the data given that hypothesis and the prior probability of the hypothesis. All that is divided by a sum of the numerator evaluated for all the hypotheses you are interested in.

So, for our example we have two hypotheses A and B. Let us set <math>P(A)</math> and <math>P(B)</math> to be 0.5 each, because we have no prior preference for one hypothesis over the other. Then:

<math>P(A|Data) = \frac{P(Data|A) P(A)}{P(Data|A) P(A) + P(Data|B) P(B)}</math>
<math>P(B|Data) = \frac{P(Data|B) P(A)}{P(Data|A) P(A) + P(Data|B) P(B)}</math>
Let us compute the numerators (and the denominators). Remember that Data is 1 meter.

<math>P(Data|A) P(A) = (1)(0.5) = 0.5</math>

<math>P(Data|B) P(B) = (0.5)(0.5) = 0.25</math>

<math>P(Data|A) P(A) + P(Data|B) P(B) = 0.75</math>

<math>P(Data|B)</math> is 0.5 because hypothesis B predicts 1 meter or 2 meters equally likely.

Now, to finish the calculation:

<math>P(A|Data) = 0.5 / 0.75 = 2/3</math>
<math>P(B|Data) = 0.25 / 0.75 = 1/3</math>

So you see, despite both hypotheses predicting the observed data, the simpler hypothesis is more likely. You can extend this proof to multiple dimensions, continous variables, anything really... it always works. When two hypotheses predict the same data, the simpler one is more probable.

I.e.:

A super powerful being created the Earth.

Yes, but he also could have created a different Earth. <math>P(Earth|God)</math> will be low because the probability of him creating a very specific Earth is very low (it is, because the god hypothesis donesn't specifically describe the Earth. If it did, it wouldn't be that simple statement anymore :P).

"For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increases knowledge increases sorrow."-Ecclesiastes 1:18
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gnolam
Member #2,030
March 2002
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Even if you want to accept that there's no evidence for religions (most of the existing objective evidence being historical or archaeological, not scientific; sorry if that's not convenient)

I don't think anyone disputes that there's plenty of evidence for the existence of religion. ;)
As for "evidence of $religion having a basis in fact", then... no, not really. If you take the Bible as an example, archaeology has not been kind to it. Like many myths, legends and folk stories, the Bible has bits that have been inspired by real events - and plenty that are pure inventions (e.g. the Exodus).

One could easily argue that the supernatural (god) has far fewer assumptions and complexities than, say, the Big Bang theory. For example, this is pretty simple: A super powerful being created the Earth.

Sure, that bit's simple. But now that you've introduced a super powerful being, you have to explain how it itself came into being and why it decided to create the Earth.
And that's where Occam's razor comes in, in Big Bang VS Magic Man Done It: one hypothesis is a synthesis of already well-evidenced scientific theories, and the other needs the invention of a non-falsifiable magic being.

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_Kronk_
Member #12,347
November 2010

Holy crap! I look away for a day and the thread explodes :o

Must be a religion thread.

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Stas B.
Member #9,615
March 2008

One could easily argue that the supernatural (god) has far fewer assumptions and complexities than, say, the Big Bang theory.

The general theory that god created the universe gives you exactly zero insight into the nature of the universe or into the nature of god and makes exactly one assumption.

The theory that the Christian god created the universe gives you zero insight into the nature of the universe and any insight it gives you into the nature of god corresponds to an assumption and not to actual evidence.

While a particular theory of god may or may not make less assumptions (the Bible gives you about a thousand pages worth of assumptions, if you ask me), it gives you no real insight.

Quote:

Personally, I think it's a misuse Occam's razor to assume that supernatural things are invalid or irrational or too complex. I don't really think that's the point of it.

That's an hillarious statement because that is precisely the point of it! If it wasn't for Occam's razor, you could explain anything by appeal to the supernatural. You use Occam's razor in everyday life. Refusing to use it in the context of religion is a logical fallacy called special pleading.

While it is possible that Occam's razor may leave you with an oversimplified explanation that fails in light of new evidence, it substantially increases your chances of picking the correct explanation because while every explanation has a finite number of alternatives that are simpler but false, it has an infinite number of alternatives that are more complex and also false.

Matthew Leverton
Supreme Loser
January 1999
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Stas B. said:

That's an hillarious statement because that is precisely the point of it!

I disagree. I don't think the first thing you do is invoke Occam's razor. First you apply the scientific method, reason, logic, etc, and you are left with a bunch of things that may all give a reasonable explanation. From there, pick the "simplest" solution. To me, the supernatural is automatically disqualified before you even get to Occam's razor.

Stas B.
Member #9,615
March 2008

First you apply the scientific method, reason, logic, etc, and you are left with a bunch of things that may all give a reasonable explanation.

But how do you eliminate explanations that are technically possible but not scientific? If it wasn't for Occam's razor, you would have no rational reason to give scientific explanations more weight.

What about everyday situations where you don't apply actual science to devise explanations? You still apply Occam's razor. If you come back home and find that the door isn't locked, it could be either because you forgot to lock it or because government agents broke into your house. You'll pick the first one even though there's no actual science invovled.

Quote:

To me, the supernatural is automatically disqualified before you even get to Occam's razor.

That's because as a rational person, you know that the supernatural is never the explanation that gives you the most insight based on the least number of assumptions. If not, the why is it automatically disqualified? "Just because"? That's not exactly rational.

Arthur Kalliokoski
Second in Command
February 2005
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After reading Laplace's Mécanique céleste, Napoleon is said to have questioned the author on his failure to mention God. Laplace famously replied: "I have no need for such a hypothesis".

“Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as "bad luck.”

― Robert A. Heinlein

Tobias Dammers
Member #2,604
August 2002
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Stas B. said:

That's because as a rational person, you know that the supernatural is never the explanation that gives you the most insight based on the least number of assumptions. If not, the why is it automatically disqualified? "Just because"? That's not exactly rational.

Even without science, the supernatural is still out way before Occam's razor comes in, because there isn't even a decent definition of "supernatural" - either it is defined as "inexplicable", in which case it is utterly useless (calling something "supernatural" by this definition is just a fancy way of saying "I don't know"); or it draws an arbitrary line between "mundane" and "divine", just for the sake of supporting some deity hypothesis.

You need Occam's Razor to decide between two competing hypotheses, neither of which can be directly proven wrong.

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Evert
Member #794
November 2000
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practice atheism

How does one "practice atheism"?

Even if you want to accept that there's no evidence for religions [...], lack of evidence is not evidence.

Not entirely accurate. That's why people build huge expensive accelerators to look for sub-atomic particles: to get so many events that you can put a statistical likelyhood on the existence or non-existence of a particle. Sure, it's possible that you simply didn't detect the particle, but if you are 99.99999% certain that you would have seen it if it existed, then it is rather likely that it doesn't exist. You can in principle keep doing experiments and get that probability arbitrarily close to 100%.
In principle one could do the same with "proof for religions", the thing is you need solid verifiable predictions for that first and most religions are (predictably!) vague.

But you'd think that people would have realised it's a waste of time to pay serious attention to end-of-the-world predictions (given the number that are passed their deadline by now), but they still do because they belief (or want to belief) that the next one won't go the same way as all the previous ones.

Stas B. said:

You made a logical fallacy and now you're just talking pure crap. You fail to address any of the actual points I made

You're new to this, aren't you? It's a recurrent theme, just look up older threads.



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