Thursday, November 07, 2013

Changing the Church



The challenge of church change is considerable.  What believers love about their faiths are their immutable absolute rules and practices.  The Ten Commandments written for an agrarian bronze age world when oxen were a really big talking point are thousands of years past their use by date.  The New Testament is full of ridiculous rules and statements about divorce, homosexuality and sex generally.
The Pope has decided to call for a Synod of Bishops, which is to have a two-stages.  First, an Extraordinary General Assembly in 2014, intended to define the “status quaestionis” and to collect the bishops’ experiences and proposals for living the Gospel of the Family “in a credible manner” (whatever that means).  Secondly, there will be an Ordinary General Assembly in 2015 to seek working guidelines in the pastoral care of the person and the family.  Read the whole thing at http://www.catholic.org.au/
Will this be a big bang or a damp squib?  Will it enable to the Church to modernise its antediluvian views on sex or not?  Time will tell.
Ordination of women in 2011 Anaheim California.  An issue NOT countenanced in the current reform process.
So on the Australian Catholic Bishops web site is a consultation document.  The document starts by stating the obvious, things have changed in the family.  Cohabitation without marriage, same sex unions, surrogacy, mean that certain Sacraments in the words of the Bishops, are “showing signs of weakness or total abandonment”.  I can hear the godless cheers going up now.  This is not to mention other issues which are centuries old like contraception, women's ordination, priestly celibacy and abortion.
The debate of the issues does not start off in a promising way because it starts with scripture.  The citation of biblical sources on marriage and family in this document are essential references”.  I find that a bit of turn off to begin with.  The document then gives a potted history of the sacred texts that have informed the Catholic Church’s views of sex and family.  It includes that famous encyclical Humanae Vitae by the crusty reactionary Pope Paul VI which, against expectations, outlawed contraception.  It was a complete cock up.  Imagine the strife the Church could have avoided if they had been able to embrace some change in the face of modernity?  Imagine if they could avoid the almost universal contravention of Catholic contraception principals by women in the West?  What would have happened if divorce was kosher for Catholics? The whole controversy, misery and utter crap that have bedevilled the Church on the issue of sex would have been starkly lessened.  Is this moment when the Church, in the face of fundamental problems, grasps the nettle?
The consultation document then moves to 9 main questions.  What is to be done about cohabitation without marriage, same sex unions, surrogacy, divorced parents and the like?  What does the Church do with the kids from these quaintly labelled, “irregular” families?  The great unmentioned in these issues are contraception and abortion.  The latter will never be countenanced but it is time the former got a tick.  Would that be too much change to expect? I think it will be because the document talks about “natural” contraption and making families more open to having more children.  These priestly men really live in a rarefied world of their own.
A number of the questions have to do with education and catechism.  What do you young Catholics know and believe?  I think the problem is almost universal ignorance and indifference to the complex liturgy and rules of their faith.  That must a concern for the Church and this comes out in the consultation document.
Let me finish with a story. A close relative of mine has spent a lifetime of very fruitful activity in the Uniting Church.  He has done a lot of good through that institution.  He is a long time widower in his late eighties.  He wanted to hook up with a widowed woman also in the Uniting Church.  A wedding was not really relevant or on the cards.  They are now living together with the blessing of their Ministers.  It is wonderful.  Far from being vilified and shunned for “living in sin” they continue their rewarding and productive Church activities without blame or censure.  Catholicism has to see examples like this and grow from them.
Catholicism is beginning to face its number one demon – sex.  Can it change?  What do you think?
·         Can Catholicism reverse its change aversion?
·         What will it do on contraception and divorce? What about women's ordination and celibacy?
·         Will this process be a fundamental redirection of the ship or another lost opportunity?

Over to you guys.

126 comments:

  1. I believe the Catholic Church to be the most vile, corrupt and reprehensible institution on the planet. My bias against the morally bankrupt scumbags who built the church through history and who continue to run it today is so strong, that I can't be objective.

    As for Catholicism, well it's as nutty as any religion and will have to remain so to stay a religion. As soon as any religion develops the use of rational thinking and logic they must simply realise their own futility and 'puff' vanish clean away.

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    1. RalphH 9/112:50 PM

      “As for Catholicism, well it's as nutty as any religion and will have to remain so to stay a religion.” As soon as any religion develops the use of rational thinking and logic they must simply realise their own futility and 'puff' vanish clean away. (Kate2:02 PM)

      That’s quite a leap Kate, from a single institution to “any religion”, all tarred with the same brush even though the problems of the Catholic Church are not traceable to the teachings of Christ (they are a result of misinterpretation and perverse human nature) and there are many religions that have no connection whatsoever with the Catholic Church.

      You have made your “bias” against “all” religion obvious. There seems to be a discrepancy between your confessed lack of objectivity and your claim that “rational thinking and logic” demonstrate the futility of religion.

      If you could reconcile that contradiction you might find that genuine religion has much to offer the human race and in fact that we can’t exist without it.

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    2. As usual Ralph you thinking is so limited that you can't comprehend the difference between the institution that is the Catholic Church and the religion that is Catholicism. I even put the ideas in two separate paragraphs, but you still got it wrong.

      All religions are stupid - they are founded on fear and ignorance and have no evidence to support their wild claims; but not all religious institutions are reprehensible. Got it now?

      "...in fact that we can’t exist without it." more arrogant, ignorant, emotionally-driven bullshit from you; millions of people do brilliantly without being hampered by the moronic beliefs that you cling to.

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    3. RalphH 10/116:29 PM

      “All religions are stupid” (Kate3:11 PM)

      Many who use ‘reason and logic’ would disagree with that statement Kate, particularly the “All”.

      “…. (all) are founded on fear and ignorance”

      Ditto.

      “…… and have no evidence to support their wild claims;”

      I’m wondering what constitutes “wild claims” in your mind. There are many things that cannot be supported by “evidence” (usually means sensual evidence when used in this context) that are still supported by reason and logic.

      “…. but not all religious institutions are reprehensible.”

      Well, that’s good to know. Maybe you could ask yourself sometime why you think some are. Is it due to the teaching they claim to be their life guide being reprehensible? Or have the leaders and/or followers misinterpreted or twisted those teachings (i.e. is the real problem perverted human nature?

      The general statement about religion that I grew up with is. “All religion relates to life, and the life of religion is to do good.” By ‘life’ it means that religion is not a set of rules to be believed intellectually but to be lived in word and deed.

      By ‘good’ it means the common good - not what the individual feels is good for him/her but that which is in the best interests of the whole community. Is this “stupid”?

      "...in fact that we can’t exist without it." more arrogant, ignorant, emotionally-driven bullshit from you; millions of people do brilliantly without being hampered by the moronic beliefs that you cling to.

      I don’t accept any of the adjectives you have used or your overall assessment of my statement. By “we” I meant plurally - the human race - not individuals who choose to ignore or reject religion. Whether those individuals can see it or not they are still affected by the permeation of genuine religious truths/spiritual principles (throughout society and the generations) which reflect what we usually call common-sense. It’s just that they choose not to recognise or accept the source from which they originate.

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    4. I wouldn't expect you to agree with me Ralph. I know you don't have the capacity to look past the claims of the supernatural sheenanigans of your religion and see it for the made-up, superstitious clap-trap that it is.

      "Maybe you could ask yourself sometime why you think some are." Ralph, your condescention is really beyond measure. What makes you think I haven't thought about it? Maybe you could ask yourself sometime why you're such a patronising git.

      The Catholic Church is an abomination and a stain on humanity for more reasons than I have time to list, but here's a start...

      The Catholic Church invented purgatory for the purpose of instilling even more fear into people, to exercise a new way to control peope and to raise money. Purgatroy is just totally invented bullshit and for centuries the Catholic Church must have caused undue stress and torment to parents whose children died before they could be batised. The Catholic Church took up to a year's wages from people so the priests could pray for those dead children and in doing so preyed upon their own people in disgusting way - and all for some bullshit that isn't even in the bible.

      The Catholic Church's ongoing appalling behaviour in light of peadophile priests does not need further elaboration here. For this crime alone the organisation should be villified.

      The Catholic Church is actively engaged in spreading lies and providing disgraceful advice about AIDS. The Catholic Church is responsible for the extent of the AIDS epidemic in Africa.

      The Catholic Church disabuses their power at every turn. Why does the pope need two palaces and a wardrobe full of fancy frocks? I don't recall Jesus gadding about in such regalia or requiring even one palace - let alone two.

      Inventing miracles to proclaim their own as saints is deceitful and immoral and a despicable exercise in marketing their own bullshit to their gormless, ignorant followers.

      The Catholic Church is a self-serving organisation that does nothing to advance the human race, but actively seeks to keep its followers shackled to ignorance, fear and obedience.

      "By “we” I meant plurally - the human race - not individuals who choose to ignore or reject religion." So now atheists and agnostics aren't part of the human race? Seriously Ralph,what a turd of a comment.

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    5. "By ‘good’ it means the common good - not what the individual feels is good for him/her but that which is in the best interests of the whole community. Is this “stupid”?"

      For you, yes it is stupid - you seem to think that religion is soley responsible for coming up with this idea and that you need religion to be 'good'. That's why your religion has made you stupid - it's prevented you from seeing humanism and how it exists outside of fables, stories, supernatural guff and an overbearing overlord. People have been to good to each for thousands of years before your religion was invented and non religious people today don't need to religion to satisfy your definition of good.

      Delete
  2. Ogham of Razor5:06 PM

    'Morning Dickie Dancer,
    All we atheists are trying to do is get clergy laid, but do we get thanked, no. You'd think it would be easy but sexuality is seen as a dilution of asceticism. Now, I have done exhaustive research into the meditative-masturbation dichotomy (very exhaustive) and I can reveal here, for the fist time, the findings. .
    1. It is impossible to maintain an erection while meditating.
    2. It is impossible to meditate and maintain an erection
    In conclusion: they are separate states of mind, oil and water, if lurid thoughts interrupt your meditation unload how you see fit (children a no no) if this is neglected then any deep contemplative effort will always be difficult.
    To explain this in religious terms: If you don't enjoy your god given body Jehovah will be miffed and "he" will ignore you. No sex no God.

    ps
    This research is not behind a paywall just a bedroom wall, feel free to try this at home.

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    1. MalcolmS7:53 PM

      Interesting research into yet another variant of the soul/body dichotomy Og.

      But shouldn't you be getting out a bit more?

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    2. Oh Great and Powerful Oz,
      Yes are noble aims and experiments are somehow unconvincing the to vast majority who harbour faith and belief in their hearts. Dick

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  3. Comedy , Mal, just trying to make people smile, (with a little message thrown in)

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    1. MalcolmS11:51 PM

      Yes Og, I know. You succeeded :)

      Delete
  4. Anonymous5:40 AM

    You seem to be saying that the Bible should have no say in a Christian's life. When that happens, I reckon it's pretty obvious that you're no longer a Christian.

    -Mark

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    1. I think you'll find that through most of christian history the majority of believers were illiterate.No self justifying bible study groups there.They were too busy with real work it seems.

      The source of christian "truth" is traditionally the pulpit.

      Are you suggesting that none of those illiterate believers were "true christians".

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    2. RalphH 10/111:35 PM

      “Are you suggesting that none of those illiterate believers were "true christians”.” (zedinhisbigflyinghead11:58 AM)

      Being facetious again zed? I think it’s fairly obvious from what Mark said that when a person lives their life according to Christian principles (those principles that Christ taught), one is a Christian.

      When one disregards the words of Christ and lives a life contrary to what he taught, one is not a Christian regardless of what they may think or call themselves.

      Being a Christian involves knowing that Christ is the source of those life principles but reading oneself is not the only way of acquiring that knowledge. One can be taught by another who has that skill.

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    3. So the bible itself is in reality just a metaphor for something else?
      Should've known you'd pop in with that one ralfie

      I'll leave it to you and Mark to thrash this one out between yourselves.

      Meanwhile... tsk... those poor illiterates...

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    4. "Being a Christian involves knowing that Christ is the source of those life principles"

      No, it involves believing it.

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    5. RalphH 10/111:27 AM

      “*”Being a Christian involves knowing that Christ is the source of those life principles”* (RH)

      “No, it involves believing it.” (Stranger9:38 PM)

      Very good Stranger but then one can’t believe something they don’t know so first they have to know it or have been made aware of or exposed to that idea.

      Also true believing is not just the ‘head’ stuff. If one truly believes something it means that they have the faith/confidence/trust to put that intellectual ‘belief’ into practice - in words and deeds. The colloquial saying for this is ‘to put one’s money where one’s mouth is’.

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    6. MalcolmS4:42 AM

      "... true believing is not just the ‘head’ stuff. If one truly believes something it means that they have the faith/confidence/trust to put that intellectual ‘belief’ into practice - in words and deeds. The colloquial saying for this is ‘to put one’s money where one’s mouth is’"

      Well done Ralph!

      You have simply repeated in more verbose form your error which Stranger has already accurately exposed.

      Is there no end to your evasions?

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    7. Anonymous6:15 PM

      Are you suggesting that none of those illiterate believers were "true christians". zedinhisbigflyinghead

      To say "the Bible should have a say in a Christian's life" is not to say one must be literate.

      You seem to be saying something akin to "young children who cannot yet read cannot possibly be influenced by the stories their parents read them."

      "The source of christian "truth" is traditionally the pulpit."

      Sadly, that's way too close to the truth. But thankfully, in our largely literate society, the pulpit's authority is derived from the Bible, not the other way around.

      -Mark

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    8. RalphH 12/115:21 PM

      “Is there no end to your evasions?” (MalcolmS4:42 AM)

      Hi Malcolm, could you please explain what you think my “error” was and what my “evasions”. I can’t see that I have erred or evaded anything.

      I think we have a different idea about what knowing/knowledge is. The base line of knowledge is simply the awareness of the existence of something. So to become ‘a Christian’ one must first know about Christ (that there was reputedly such a person/being).

      The next stage is one of understanding more fully who and what Christ was (namely, a spiritual teacher and leader who claimed to be the incarnation of God).

      Following that, one can intellectually ‘believe’ that claim but unless one believes strongly enough to maintain an ongoing effort to make the principles that Christ taught the principles by which one endeavours to rule one’s own life, one is not fully (or really) a Christian. (It’s not about being perfect - it’s about maintaining the effort despite one’s shortcomings and mistakes).

      People who have no awareness or no understanding of Christ can still discover those spiritual principles (in general, to love and serve others rather than loving and pandering to self ahead of others) and receive the benefits of so choosing to live. But only by acknowledging and accepting Christ as the source, can they do so in fullness.

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    9. Did you have to mention 'existence', Ralph? Quick, get a raincoat. The vomit's coming.

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    10. MalcolmS8:10 PM

      Ralph, I'll tell you what I'll do! Since we have discussed this issue on numerous occasions before and, apparently, I have made no impression at all there is little point in discussing it further. However, if you give me a quick outline of what you think is the distinction between 'knowledge' and 'belief,' I may try again. Or, then again, I may not!

      Remember, you can 'believe' in life after death, or that Jesus was the product of virgin birth, or that a parrot is a turnip in disguise, but that does *not* make it 'knowledge.'

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    11. MalcolmS8:16 PM

      Terry: "Did you have to mention 'existence', Ralph?"

      There is nothing else to mention dopey.

      Unless you prefer the nothingness of nonexistence.

      Er.. perhaps you could try it for a while :)

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    12. Remember, you can 'believe' in life after death, or that Jesus was the product of virgin birth, or that a parrot is a turnip in disguise, but that does *not* make it 'knowledge.'

      Like "existence exists and that's all you can say about it"?


      Unless you prefer the nothingness of nonexistence.

      Don't worry Terry.
      Nonexistence is a world in nobjectivist[sic] land...

      roflmaoooooo

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    13. RalphH 12/114:06 AM

      “However, if you give me a quick outline of what you think is the distinction between 'knowledge' and 'belief,' I may try again. Or, then again, I may not!” (MalcolmS8:10 PM)

      Why not Malcolm. Despite my explanation above (which you seem to have ignored) you display little understanding of how I think about such things. Incidentally I don’t ‘conflate’ knowledge and belief as you suggested to Terry (MalcolmS5:10 AM).

      Knowledge is baseline stuff - facts that one might learn by rote or parrot fashion to regurgitate to pass an exam. The next step up is understanding (that’s also useful to pass an exam but often not necessary). Only when one understands (or more correctly, has an understanding of sorts) can one move on to belief or disbelief. (If one were to claim to believe without having made an effort to understand it would become a matter of blind faith).

      Belief is not a replacement for knowledge so there can be no conflating the two. The belief is in the truth of the knowledge or that the knowledge is untrue or false. The acquisition of knowledge engages the intellect but belief additionally involves the will because a choice is being made.

      “Remember, you can 'believe' in life after death, or that Jesus was the product of virgin birth, or that a parrot is a turnip in disguise, but that does *not* make it ‘knowledge.’"

      I believe in ‘life after death’ and that Jesus was ‘born of a virgin’ firstly because I have knowledge of the claims and secondly because I have followed the rational arguments and decided that they make sense. I come to these conclusions because I do not conflate the temporal realm of time and space (and the body) with the eternal realm (of the spirit), as you do.

      Only the physical body is effected by ‘death’; the eternal soul and spirit lives on. A virgin birth is impossible where solely finite beings are involved and the soul needs to be contained in a physical seed. But it is not impossible when an infinite and eternal being implants the soul (which is the non-physical architect and builder of the new being) directly.

      I do not believe “that a parrot is a turnip in disguise” BTW. How silly do you think I am?

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    14. MalcolmS4:41 AM

      RalphH: "I believe in ‘life after death’ and that Jesus was ‘born of a virgin’ firstly because I have knowledge of the claims and secondly because I have followed the rational arguments and decided that they make sense. I come to these conclusions because I do not conflate the temporal realm of time and space (and the body) with the eternal realm (of the spirit), as you do. Only the physical body is effected by ‘death’; the eternal soul and spirit lives on. A virgin birth is impossible where solely finite beings are involved and the soul needs to be contained in a physical seed. But it is not impossible when an infinite and eternal being implants the soul (which is the non-physical architect and builder of the new being) directly. I do not believe “that a parrot is a turnip in disguise”"

      OK, yes, that's how I thought it was. There'll be no further discussion from me. It would be a complete waste of time.

      "BTW. How silly do you think I am?"

      Don't tempt me Ralph.

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    15. Mal[sic]:

      Don’t give up on Ralph too soon. You two are not so far apart. Just change a couple of words here and there and you’re pretty much ad idem. Like this:

      I believe that ‘reality is objective’ and that ‘the optimal way to find knowledge is by reason’ firstly because I have knowledge of the claims and secondly because I have followed the rational arguments and decided that they make sense.

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    16. RalphH 13/112:54 PM

      “OK, yes, that's how I thought it was. There'll be no further discussion from me. It would be a complete waste of time.” (MalcolmS4:41 AM)

      I’m not surprised Malcolm. You’re way too stuck in your ways/patterns of thought to want to venture outside the box to confront something new, interesting and challenging.

      I wonder if you ever think about the possibility of life after death - you must be getting on now and that’s when some people first begin to take it seriously.

      Here’s an interesting thought for you. There are some unbelievers who are amazed to discover that they are still alive after the old bod has carked it - similarly to those who experience ‘near death.

      But there are others who are so stubborn that they refuse to admit that the old physical carcass has been superseded and refuse to admit that they have ‘died’ even though their old surroundings and companionship has gone. I hope you don’t fall into that category.

      BTW, my previous BTW was attached to your parrot/turnip, not to the question you attached it to.

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    17. RalphH 13/114:09 PM

      “Don’t give up on Ralph too soon. You two are not so far apart. Just change a couple of words here and there and you’re pretty much ad idem.” (Terry1:11 PM)

      So Terry, you think it’s a case of Kipling’s ballad, ‘East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet’?

      Malcolm and I have a similarity in that we both espouse the virtue of reason but Malcolm (I think) sees reason as the only/primary source of knowledge whereas I see it as an adjunct or servant of the will.

      Reason is merely a tool and is never completely objective. It can lead to knowledge but not necessarily truth (i.e. if the original assumptions are incorrect by dint of preconceived bias or misconception).

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    18. MalcolmS6:03 PM

      "... there are others who are so stubborn that they refuse to admit that the old physical carcass has been superseded and refuse to admit that they have ‘died’ even though their old surroundings and companionship has gone. I hope you don’t fall into that category"

      You are such a kook Ralph!

      Turnips disguised as parrots have nothing on you.

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    19. MalcolmS6:07 PM

      OK Ralph, I can't let that rubbish go unchalleged.

      “Knowledge” is a mental grasp of a fact(s) of reality, reached either by perceptual observation or by a process of reason based on perceptual observation.

      "Belief" is the acceptance of a point of view without evidence or in contradiction to the evidence.

      Observe that your entire supernaturalism is based on the latter - as are all the numerous supernaturalisms which contradict yours. In other words it is just made up fantasy. Your methodology does by the technical name in philosophy of *rationalism*[as contrasted to *empiricism*] and does not mean that's its rational. Many sceptics in philosophy also go by the false method of rationalism so you are in good company.

      In fact *going by reason* is a high intellectual achievement if it is to result in *objectivity* - an achievement you are light years from. Any argument or theory which originates from "revelation" or "dogma" does not qualify.

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    20. Ralph: Reason is merely a tool and is never completely objective.

      If you know that, why are you so fixed in your views? I mean, it is not obvious that there is a god. Yet you won’t even consider the possibility that he doesn’t exist. Worse still, you’ll argue strongly that he is the Christian god. There’s no indication there that you think reason is fallible.

      As much as I agree with you criticising old Mal for being inflexible, it’s a bit rich coming from you.

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    21. Mal[sic]: "Belief" is the acceptance of a point of view ... in contradiction to the evidence.

      Which is precisely what you do. You and Ralph are criticising each other for doing the same thing. You need to be blowing kisses at each other, not hurling abuse.

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    22. MalcolmS6:52 PM

      Terry: "Mal[sic]: "Belief" is the acceptance of a point of view ... in contradiction to the evidence"

      Which is exactly what I did NOT say or do.

      The device of the obfuscator - when all else fails start lying.

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    23. Mal[sic]: Which is exactly what I did NOT say or do.

      You used the quote to attack Ralph’s fantasies. I’m just saying that the quote applies equally to you. You are not enthusiastic about evidence, preferring instead to put your faith in the high intellectual achievement of 'going by reason'. Which I thought was very funny.

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    24. MalcolmS7:34 PM

      I am "enthusiastic about evidence" and do not go by "faith." Again you lie.

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    25. Mal[sic]: I am "enthusiastic about evidence" and do not go by "faith."

      No you aren’t, and yes you do. Your dismissal of special relativity’s time dilation, for which there is strong evidence, in favour of Peikoff’s notion of time, for which there is no evidence, is one example. Your dismissal of the evidence that points to the limitations of human reason because it contradicts your worldview is another.

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    26. MalcolmS11:04 PM

      Terry: "Your dismissal of special relativity’s time dilation, for which there is strong evidence, in favour of Peikoff’s notion of time, for which there is no evidence, is one example"

      I do not reject "time dilation." Nor do I consider that it contradicts the relational theory of time. That's your assumption. You are the one who claimed "time is a myth." Well, if time is a myth, then, so is "time dilation."

      "Your dismissal of the evidence that points to the limitations of human reason because it contradicts your worldview is another"

      I, or my worldview, do/does *not* reject the "limitations of human reason." I have regularly stated that everything which exists is limited - including reason - which means it is what it is, no more and no less. In fact it's *because* reason is limited and fallible that epistemology is necessary. You must learn the proper way to use your reason if knowledge is to result. You can't use it *anyhow* as do you and Ralph.

      All human knowledge follows from a rational process - *in that sense* reason is an absolute. Faith and/or belief are not a means to knowledge. However, that does not mean that we are omniscient or that we are inerrant.

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    27. RalphH 14/113:14 PM

      ““Knowledge” is a mental grasp of a fact(s) of reality, reached either by perceptual observation or by a process of reason based on perceptual observation.” (MalcolmS6:07 PM)

      We immediately differ Malcolm. It was common 'knowledge' before Copernicus came along and messed it up, that the sun orbited the earth. But it wasn’t “a fact of reality” was it? Knowledge is simply something that one knows. Could be true - could be false.

      What do you mean by “perceptual observation”? Perception can arise from and be based on the world without (the external, time and space world) or from (and be based on) the world within (the world of the mind itself) with it’s loves, thoughts, feelings, imaginings, hopes, dreams etc. that may have no direct relevance or basis on the world without.

      “"Belief" is the acceptance of a point of view without evidence or in contradiction to the evidence.”

      Such a limited and limiting concept of belief. Everyone has belief and “evidence” that certain knowledge is true confirms and enhances the belief, whereas evidence that demonstrates knowledge to be false, dissipates belief.

      There’s a well known quote from the NT, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24), which demonstrates that belief is a very important part of the learning process (most evident of things that are not demonstrable by sensual ‘evidence’).

      When one is suffering from low self-esteem the cure is to start believing in oneself even though from the current perspective there may be no or little evidence for doing so.

      “Observe that your entire supernaturalism is based on the latter - as are all the numerous supernaturalisms which contradict yours. In other words it is just made up fantasy.”

      My “ supernaturalism” (as you call it) would have begun because of knowledge that I received as a child but it is now firmly based on the fact that it makes sense and it’s opposite number - the ‘just happened’ world of the secularist does not. Please note that there are many supernatural claims that I also believe to be false and foolish.

      “Your methodology does by the technical name in philosophy of *rationalism*[as contrasted to *empiricism*] and does not mean that's its rational. Many sceptics in philosophy also go by the false method of rationalism so you are in good company.”

      I’m not really up on such technical terms. So, are you claiming to be a ‘rationalist’ or an ‘empiricist’. I would have thought, from your lauding of reason that you’d be claiming to be the former but, of course I suppose it could refer to the misuse of reason. There’s a lot of that going around.

      “In fact *going by reason* is a high intellectual achievement if it is to result in *objectivity* - an achievement you are light years from. Any argument or theory which originates from "revelation" or "dogma" does not qualify.”

      I agree that one can approach closer to objectivity the more one reasons from sound assumptions and the more the reasoning process itself is sound and honest.

      However, IMO, excluding revelation simply because it is revelation is merely an expression of a biased preconception that excludes underlying knowledge that should form the basis of the reasoning process.

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    28. Anonymous4:15 PM

      MalcolmS6:07 PM
      ""Belief" is the acceptance of a point of view without evidence or in contradiction to the evidence."

      Belief clearly is NOT that. Even google says its "an acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof.
      2. trust, faith, or confidence in (someone or something)."

      Belief has no proof. It certainly has evidence.

      What do you think of this opinion (in a book I happen to be reading today!) "It (belief) is not the opposite of knowledge... It is a certain way of knowing, a relational way based on words, the reliability of which may be scrutinised and weighed. It is a response to the persuasive power of the truth."

      -Mark

      Delete
    29. MalcolmS5:32 PM

      Anonymous/Mark

      MalcolmS: ""Belief" is the acceptance of a point of view without evidence or in contradiction to the evidence."

      Mark: "Belief clearly is NOT that. Even google says its "an acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof.
      2. trust, faith, or confidence in (someone or something).""

      So, now you have agreed with me?!?!

      Mark: "Belief has no proof. It certainly has evidence"

      Sure! I believe there are fairies at the bottom of my garden because I see their droppings on the path every morning! *That* is no different to belief in any Christian alleged dogma/revelation.

      Belief does not equate with knowledge.

      Delete
    30. Anonymous4:40 AM

      MalcolmS

      "So, now you have agreed with me?!?!"

      Ah, no. I don't understand why you think I did.

      "Sure! I believe there are fairies at the bottom of my garden because I see their droppings on the path every morning! *That* is no different to belief in any Christian alleged dogma/revelation."

      Can you please explain why you think these cases are so similar? I don't quite see the connection.

      "Belief does not equate with knowledge."

      Your definition of 'belief' is confusing to start with. Can you please clarify? You state that 'belief' has NO evidence or evidence AGAINST it. That's not the dictionary definition, nor is it the definition I experience in common usage. When someone in a movie says "I believe in you!", are you suggesting they are literally saying "all the evidence points to the fact that you can't do this, but I choose to believe you'll achieve it anyway"? I would suggest that most people would read that as literally something more along the lines of "I perceive your capabilities are a match for this situation".

      Where did this new definition of belief come from, anyway?

      -Mark

      Delete
    31. MalcolmS6:43 AM

      Anonymous/Mark

      One of your definitions of belief claims: "Even google says its an acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof."

      That's the one where we agree!

      Some equate belief and knowledge with which I disagree.

      Delete
    32. Mal[sic]:

      If you don’t reject time dilation, then you don’t reject its underlying assumption, which is that the laws of physics and light’s speed are the same for all uniformly moving observers regardless of their relative motion. For this to be true, space and time cannot be independent. And you are somehow able to reconcile this with the idea that the age of a man is determined by how many times the Earth revolves around its axis?

      Your comments on reason are typically muddled. According to you, the way to deal with our flawed capacity for reason is to use our flawed capacity for reason to teach oursleves how to reason properly. What?

      Delete
    33. RalphH 15/113:00 PM

      “Ralph: Reason is merely a tool and is never completely objective.

      If you know that, why are you so fixed in your views? I mean, it is not obvious that there is a god. Yet you won’t even consider the possibility that he doesn’t exist.” (Terry6:15 PM)

      I think it IS obvious Terry. We have a creation (all around us) so there must be a creator. Nothing ‘just happens’ - there is always a cause and where there is a cause there is also an end or purpose (a reason for being). A creator is always of a higher order than it’s creation so it makes no sense that a creator would create itself or other things on it’s same level. Nature or anything of Nature cannot be the creator.

      IMO, it’s not even a valid question to ask, “Is there a God?” or “Does God exist?” Whatever one believes creates/created and sustains the universe is one’s ‘god’ but there is only one true God. IMO it is valid, and important, to enquire into and speculate as to the nature of God but why would one waste one’s time and efforts with impossibilities?

      “Worse still, you’ll argue strongly that he is the Christian god.”

      I would argue that there is no such thing as “the Christian God”. There is God and those who see God from a Christian perspective.

      All genuine religions (that recognise an almighty, loving and rational God) can recognise to some extent the principles of a good and rewarding life but I believe that the Christian religion as revealed, espoused and demonstrated by Jesus Christ is by far the most comprehensive. That does not exclude others - their perspectives may be more suited to their genius and state.

      There are many paths to God/goodness (not necessarily confined to traditional religions) but to be off every path is to be in the morass.

      “There’s no indication there that you think reason is fallible.”

      One doesn’t need to believe foolishness to demonstrate that reason is fallible. We are finite/limited creatures. Our knowledge (the things that we know) is a minuscule amount of the total knowledge of reality.

      Our will-power is weak and distorted by ego and the pursuit of temporal and selfish pleasure. It is impossible to be total objective so our reasoning will always be limited and subject to fallibility. The only way to minimise this is to have an objective standard and this, IMO, is what revelation/religion gives us.

      Delete
    34. Anonymous5:21 PM

      MalcolmS

      "One of your definitions of belief claims: "Even google says its an acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof."
      That's the one where we agree!"

      So you equate evidence with proof? I thought there was a clear distinction between the two! Evidence is not proof.

      "Some equate belief and knowledge with which I disagree."

      Maybe it's just semantics. A Christian would say equally that they KNOW God and BELIVE in God. I reckon that means the same thing to a Christian. But I agree that there is still a fundamental difference between the two concepts.

      What do you say you believe, and what do you say you know? Would you mind giving an example?

      -Mark

      Delete
    35. MalcolmS6:16 PM

      RalphH: "It is impossible to be total objective so... The only way to minimise this is to have an objective standard and this, IMO, is what revelation/religion gives us"

      You have an identical mentality to the revelational/religious morons who flew planes into the Twin Towers on 9/11 Ralph.

      Or to Abraham as he prepared to murder his son Isaac.

      You are a complete and utter kook.

      Delete
    36. MalcolmS6:19 PM

      Anonymous/Mark

      "So you equate evidence with proof? I thought there was a clear distinction between the two! Evidence is not proof"

      I don't equate evidence with proof. Evidence is prior to and necessary for proof.

      "What do you say you believe, and what do you say you know? Would you mind giving an example?"

      I haven't used "belief" since I gave up religion - as a child. If there is *some* evidence for X and nothing to contradict it, yet not sufficient to be conclusive, then, I say that X is possible/probable. Certainty/knowledge [especially in science] is inductive but does not preclude the possibility of error. The means of knowledge is *reason* as is the means of correcting error.

      Delete
    37. RalphH 15/114:31 AM

      "RalphH: *"It is impossible to be total objective so... The only way to minimise this is to have an objective standard and this, IMO, is what revelation/religion gives us"*

      You have an identical mentality to the revelational/religious morons who flew planes into the Twin Towers on 9/11 Ralph.” (MalcolmS6:16 PM)

      There’s not the slightest justification for that sort of comparison Malcolm. The mindset and actions of those pitiless killers was completely irrational. Feigned religion was just a tool in their hands to twist and pervert to attain their own murderous ends.

      I continually argue for a rational approach to religion. That doesn’t mean rejecting claimed revelation out of hand. It means interpreting and evaluating it in a way that dispels any apparent contradiction. Essentially it means going beyond the words to the real meaning and intention in the same way one has to get past the ’letter of the law’ to discover it’s real intent or meaning.

      “Or to Abraham as he prepared to murder his son Isaac.”

      This story isn’t about “murder”, it’s about a test of faith (something you probably wouldn’t understand much about because of your distorted definition of faith). There was never any intent that Isaac would die. Unlike the murderous crew above who acted from hatred of other people, Abraham loved his son.

      “You are a complete and utter kook.”

      That doesn’t sound like a professional psychological assessment? I’ll just take it as a biased difference of opinion.

      Delete
    38. MalcolmS5:40 AM

      RalphH: "There’s not the slightest justification for that sort of comparison Malcolm. The mindset and actions of those pitiless killers was completely irrational"

      Those religious killers were seeking eternal life in the same way as you seek eternal life - by irrational means in accordance with their own revelation and dogma - there is no other way. No alleged "revelation" or "dogma" is rational. All are accepted on faith.

      When you are next wandering in the wilderness and a bush bursts into flames and starts talking to you, Ralph, I suggest you get yourself a good psychiatrist. All events take place according to the laws of nature. There are no miracles.

      "This story isn’t about “murder”, it’s about a test of faith... There was never any intent that Isaac would die"

      Abraham was prepared to murder his innocent son - what a ghastly human being. An omniscient God has no need of such nonsense as, if He existed, He would know the outcome in advance. Unless He needed his own Ego preened. What a ghastly God.

      Delete
    39. MalcolmS7:12 AM

      Terrence[sic]: "If you don’t reject time dilation, then you don’t reject its underlying assumption, which is that the laws of physics and light’s speed are the same for all uniformly moving observers regardless of their relative motion"

      So what's your point?

      On the one hand, you are talking about bodies in "relative" motion when you are talking about "time dilation" and also about an entity[light] whose nature physicists still don't know much about!

      On the other hand "relational" time is not even the same thing. What the moving entity is "related" to is presumed to be fixed. For example, the axis of the revolving Earth is presumed fixed as "related" to the rotating Earth. The Sun is presumed fixed as "related" to the Earth's path around it.

      You are talking about chalk and cheese.

      Delete
    40. MalcolmS7:21 AM

      Terrence[sic]: "For this to be true, space and time cannot be independent"

      Space and time *are* independent - they refer to entirely different relationships! All that exists in reality are entities! Space and time are not entities. Space and time are man's way of viewing *relationships* between these entities. For example "the Sun is 93 million miles from Earth" or "the cat is on the mat" are examples of spatial relationships [we have done time]. Only a rational[conceptual] being grasps space and time. Dogs and cats get entities but not space and time. You have fallen for the trap that space and time are entities. They are not.

      Delete
    41. MalcolmS7:26 AM

      Terrence[sic]: "Your comments on reason are typically muddled"

      That's a bit rich coming from you! Last I heard you were pontificating that consciousness[faculty of reason] was a myth and that only brain existed. Changed your mind? :)

      Terrence[sic]: "According to you, the way to deal with our flawed capacity for reason is to use our flawed capacity for reason to teach oursleves[sic] how to reason properly. What?"

      No, not according to me. That's your terminology. Reason is not "flawed." Do you claim your legs are "flawed" because you cannot jump 20 feet into the air? Or do you claim that your eyes are "flawed" because they can't see the back side of the Moon? Or infrared? No, I didn't think so! Reason can only act in accordance with its nature - like legs and eyes.

      What you are struggling to communicate is the fact that reason is not *automatically* correct. Which is another way of saying it is fallible and can err. This fact is what necessitates *epistemology* - the science devoted to the discovery of the proper methods of acquiring and validating knowledge. Now you are really out of your depth Sunshine! :)

      Delete
    42. RalphH 17/1112:51 PM

      “Those religious killers were seeking eternal life in the same way as you seek eternal life - by irrational means in accordance with their own revelation and dogma - there is no other way.” (MalcolmS5:40 AM)

      That’s completely false Malcolm. You obviously have no more idea of what “eternal life” is than the deluded concept of those killers. There are plenty of rational Muslims who have the sense and humanity to know that their religion does not teach people to murder others - who know that the call to jihad refers to the the battle between good and evil that takes place in every individual human mind.

      Only if one is totally deluded or that battle has already been lost and their minds consumed by hatred and looking for others to blame, falsely punish and take revenge on, do they misinterpret and sully their religion is that way.

      “No alleged "revelation" or "dogma" is rational. All are accepted on faith.”

      That also is false. Only dogma that has been twisted to make self more important than others (as the 9/11) killers did) is irrational. All knowledge is originally “accepted on faith” - faith in those who teach the knowledge or in one’s capacity to acquire it. Only after it has been reasoned about and tested in life situations does it become a matter of personal faith and belief if it then is considered to be correct.

      “When you are next wandering in the wilderness and a bush bursts into flames and starts talking to you, Ralph, I suggest you get yourself a good psychiatrist. All events take place according to the laws of nature. There are no miracles.”

      It always helps to read the text and try to understand rather than make up your own story (i.e. twist it to make it appear to mean what you’d like it to be.

      “…. the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed.” The “fire” was obviously not the fire/energy of Nature. In the Bible fire is representative of love and God is Love so God was being represented by the fire. “… God called to him from the midst of the bush …”, it was not the bush that spoke, but God who cannot be seen directly (anymore than one can look directly at the sun) but can be experienced representatively. (see Exodus 3:2-4)


      “Abraham was prepared to murder his innocent son - what a ghastly human being. An omniscient God has no need of such nonsense as, if He existed, He would know the outcome in advance. Unless He needed his own Ego preened. What a ghastly God.”

      Your problem here is best described by the saying of not being able to see the ‘wood for the trees’. You’ve (emotionally) focused on the ‘means’ of the story but not the ‘end’/purpose. The big picture of the story is as I said before, a test for Abraham to see if, at heart, he considered his own puny reasoning more important and superior to God’s infinite wisdom.

      If Abraham hadn’t loved his son with his whole being (akin to his love of his own intellect), the test wouldn’t/couldn’t have been made. Temptations can only take place where there is a love in question (here Abraham’s love and faith in God). If he’d been an atheist there’d have been no story.

      No one needed ‘ego preening’ . The whole purpose of the exercise was not for God’s benefit but for Abraham’s - to let go of his ego and accept the reality that God is ‘what (He) is’ - the source and sustainer of all things/all being.

      Non acceptance of this truth results in a mediocre life of delusion - maybe fun for a few short years while it lasts (if one is amused and doesn’t become bored with temporal stuff) but having no hope for a future of the variety and blessedness of eternal life.

      Delete
    43. RalphH 17/111:01 PM

      I somehow missed this updated ending so will add it here - just so you get the full picture Malcolm.

      ------- the wonderful variety and blessedness of genuine eternal life which is a result of loving and serving others (i.e. not like the 9/11 killer’s delusive idea).

      Delete
    44. "Non acceptance of this truth results in a mediocre life of delusion - maybe fun for a few short years while it lasts (if one is amused and doesn’t become bored with temporal stuff) but having no hope for a future of the variety and blessedness of eternal life."

      More bullshit from you Ralph. Where is your evidence to support this nonsense? Who are you (aside from being a judgemental, nasty prick) to make such assertions about the lives of others? The only thing I have no hope for, is that you will ever display an ounce of empathy, human compassion, intelligent understanding of what it means to be an atheist or the smallest sign of this Christian charity we hear so much about yet see so little evidence for.

      Delete
    45. MalcolmS4:05 PM

      RalphH: "There are plenty of rational Muslims who have the sense and humanity to know that their religion does not teach people to murder others - who know that the call to jihad refers to the the battle between good and evil that takes place in every individual human mind"

      They are the hundreds of thousands throughout the Islamic world who composed the cheering mobs following 9/11! Or who invaded Vienna in 1683! Or who invaded the "Holy Land" during the Crusades! Or who currently surround Israel demanding her annihilation and who would implement it were she not militarily superior! Islamic scripture specifically calls for the murder and/or subjugation of the "infidel."

      What would you have done had you been appointed to the Inquisition Ralph? Called the whole thing off? Or acted as the agent/angel of the Ego Preener?

      "If Abraham hadn’t loved his son with his whole being (akin to his love of his own intellect), the test wouldn’t/couldn’t have been made. Temptations can only take place where there is a love in question (here Abraham’s love and faith in God). If he’d been an atheist there’d have been no story"

      If Abraham had loved his son he would have told the obscene Ego Preener to go and get stuffed as would any moral father - atheist or otherwise! Are you telling me that Abraham's actions are what is required for "eternal life"? To subjugate oneself to a maniacal Ego Preener?

      Delete
    46. RalphH 18/111:11 PM

      “They are the hundreds of thousands throughout the Islamic world who composed the cheering mobs following 9/11!” (MalcolmS4:05 PM)

      If this is true, they were not cheering because their religious teaching had been fulfilled but because they had rejected it and were responding to their baser animal nature or had been carried away by an inhuman mob response.

      “Or who invaded Vienna in 1683! Or who invaded the "Holy Land" during the Crusades! Or who currently surround Israel demanding her annihilation and who would implement it were she not militarily superior! Islamic scripture specifically calls for the murder and/or subjugation of the “infidel.”"

      If one wants to get really specific, scripture is directed at the life of the spirit where the “infidel” is the evil that invades human minds and inspires them to murders and other atrocities. Many real, Islamists scholars recognise this. Only those who have already determined on murders etc read, twist and apply their scriptures in a literal, naturalistic way as a smoke-screen to justify their lusts.

      “What would you have done had you been appointed to the Inquisition Ralph? Called the whole thing off? Or acted as the agent/angel of the Ego Preener?”

      Why such a question Malcolm? You know that I am not a Catholic and that I reject the humanistic power structure of the Catholic Church that led to such barbarity by following human reasonings rather than the loving, forgiving God?

      “Are you telling me that Abraham's actions are what is required for "eternal life"? To subjugate oneself to a maniacal Ego Preener?”

      If you’d followed the story to the conclusion you’d have seen that Abraham spared Isaac at the behest of God and God supplied a substitute. Abraham followed instruction and there was a good outcome. If he hadn’t there would have been a bad outcome because Abraham would then, arrogantly, feel as if he knew better than God (as did Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden).

      Would a young student be “subjugat(ing) themselves by recognising some of the greatest genius’s in history and being willing to learn from them rather than believing that they already knew better? Where would be the ‘ego’ problem? With the one who knew little or the one who knew much? Wouldn’t that juvenile ego be the biggest impediment to learning? Or acceptance of the wisdom of past leaders in their fields, a huge asset?

      The discrepancy between humans and God (defined as being of infinite wisdom) is infinitely greater than that between a youth and the accumulated human wisdom of the past. Acceptance of this truth/reality opens the mind and shields it from arrogance (which closes the mind to truth). There is still required a rational analysis of where and how spiritual truths apply in a current context.

      Delete
    47. RalphH 18/113:17 PM

      “More bullshit from you Ralph. Where is your evidence to support this nonsense? Who are you (aside from being a judgemental, nasty prick) to make such assertions about the lives of others? The only thing I have no hope for, is that you will ever display an ounce of empathy, human compassion, intelligent understanding of what it means to be an atheist or the smallest sign of this Christian charity we hear so much about yet see so little evidence for.” (Kate3:46 PM)

      I probably deserve your censure Kate. It wasn’t my intention to be judgemental or lacking in empathy and compassion. I meant my remarks in the same sense as Jesus’ claim that he, “… (came) that (we/everyone) may have life, and …… have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) I transposed ‘a life less abundant’ into ‘a mediocre life of delusion’ which I admit was a mistake because it gives the impression of being not real whereas I meant it in the sense that there is something far better.

      IOW, I was talking idealistically about a general principle that I believe applies universally. You, on the other hand, have personalised it because you think that I was ‘judging’ people who identify as atheists. I wasn’t, I believe atheism is an attitude/a state of mind that some people choose to identify with but that it can/does affect all people when they are afflicted with doubt.

      I can only ask that you try to see things from my POV so that you at least understand where I’m coming from (which has nothing to do with being judgemental of any individuals).

      Delete
    48. Ok Ralph, I'll back off - I've been giving you quite a grilling of late. While we are trying to look at things from the other person's perspective, let me translate some of your comments so you can see them from my perspective.

      "Non acceptance of this truth results in a mediocre life of delusion - maybe fun for a few short years while it lasts (if one is amused and doesn’t become bored with temporal stuff) but having no hope for a future of the variety and blessedness of eternal life"
      Not agreeing with me and my beliefs can only result in having a mediocre life. People who have beliefs different to mine are shallow because they only amused by temporal stuff and they are only interested in fun. Atheists are self absobed and have no hope for the future.

      Stop second guessing what I am thinking. I have never taken your comments personally - I argue against your comments about atheists on the basis that they are shallow, always inaccuarte, grossly misleading and always attempt to show your beliefs and your life to be superior. You have never demonstrated eventhe tiniest ability to see anything from anyone elses point of view - I hope you will take your own advice.

      Delete
    49. Anonymous6:23 PM

      MalcolmS

      ""Belief" is the acceptance of a point of view without evidence or in contradiction to the evidence."

      "One of your definitions of belief claims: 'Even google says its an acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof.'
      That's the one where we agree!"

      "Mark: 'Belief has no proof. It certainly has evidence'
      Sure! I believe there are fairies at the bottom of my garden because I see their droppings on the path every morning!...etc."

      "I don't equate evidence with proof. Evidence is prior to and necessary for proof."

      So from what I gather, you ACTUALLY define belief as the acceptance of a point of view without absolute proof (rather than without evidence)?

      "If there is *some* evidence for X and nothing to contradict it, yet not sufficient to be conclusive, then, I say that X is possible/probable."

      That sounds to me like the acceptance of a point of view without proof. Could it be possible that you DO in fact believe things?

      -Mark

      Delete
    50. Mal[sic]: Space and time are man's way of viewing *relationships* between these entities.

      That’s what you’ve been programmed to think. You’re a robot. You don’t realise that it’s only one view. There’s another view that space is an entity, a container in which objects are at rest are moving. This was Newton’s idea. Einstein took it a little further in general relativity where he said this container can be completely empty.

      I know you’re an old robot but that’s no excuse for you not to know these things. Software updates are available at educational institutions, book stores and online.

      Delete
    51. Mal[sic]: ... epistemology* - the science devoted to the discovery of the proper methods of acquiring and validating knowledge.

      Whoever programmed this loony tune into your head had a wicked sense of humour. It reminds me of a bloke who phoned a radio show to tell its listeners how his dad had taught him that F on a car’s fuel gauge means ‘empty' and E means ‘full’. To this day the poor bugger still gets confused, just like you, and runs out of gas.

      Delete
    52. Ralph:

      You say it’s difficult to be objective. I ask how, if that’s true, you can be so sure there’s a god. And you reply that god is obvious.

      That’s not answering the question, is it? If it’s difficult to be objective then you can never be sure that what is obvious to you is actually obvious.

      Either you believe that objectivity is difficult, therefore, and temper your views accordingly, or you don’t believe that objectivity is difficult, and continue acting like a bigot.

      Delete
    53. MalcolmS7:45 PM

      RalphH: "If this is true, they were not cheering because their religious teaching had been fulfilled but because they had rejected it and were responding to their baser animal nature"

      No, they were responding to their prophet and founder Mohammed's teachings. Teachings which he enthusiastically lived up to in his disgusting life. Teachings reproduced in Islamic written scripture and implemented in all the lands they have conquered.

      "If one wants to get really specific, scripture is directed at the life of the spirit where the “infidel” is the evil that invades human minds and inspires them to murders and other atrocities". Many real, Islamists scholars recognise this. Only those who have already determined on murders etc read, twist and apply their scriptures in a literal, naturalistic way as a smoke-screen to justify their lusts"

      If one wants to get really specific, Islamic scripture has resulted in piles of corpses, misery and poverty for its practitioners and victims alike across the centuries. The “infidel” is the one who disagrees with the scriptural crap.

      “If you’d followed the story to the conclusion you’d have seen that Abraham spared Isaac at the behest of God and God supplied a substitute. Abraham followed instruction and there was a good outcome. If he hadn’t there would have been a bad outcome because Abraham would then, arrogantly, feel as if he knew better than God (as did Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden).

      No, Ralph, Abraham *did* know better than God! He should have told Him to get stuffed and, by not doing so, failed as a moral human being. Your interpretation is the same as thanking a doctor for fixing your son's broken leg when the doctor was the one who deliberately broke it in the first place.

      "Would a young student be subjugat(ing) themselves by recognising some of the greatest genius’s in history and being willing to learn from them rather than believing that they already knew better?"

      Fallacy of false analogy. There is nothing wrong with being taught the 'laws of motion' by Isaac Newton but the student must be able to reproduce the experiments and logical processes in his own mind for it to constitute knowledge. Your implication that he can accept in on faith [by subjugation] from the "master" is BS. That is exactly what biblical Abraham should not have done.

      "The discrepancy between humans and God (defined as being of infinite wisdom) is infinitely greater than that between a youth and the accumulated human wisdom of the past. Acceptance of this truth/reality opens the mind and shields it from arrogance (which closes the mind to truth). There is still required a rational analysis of where and how spiritual truths apply in a current context"

      You are a complete and utter kook, Ralph. That just leapt out of your mind as rote pap. There is nothing in reality which corresponds to it whatsoever. Yet it is one of the fantasies which has lead to the slaughter of millions throughout history and turned you into a complete religious Babbit.

      Delete
    54. MalcolmS8:08 PM

      Anonymous/Mark

      "So from what I gather, you ACTUALLY define belief as the acceptance of a point of view without absolute proof (rather than without evidence)?"

      I have no idea what you mean by *absolute* proof. My definition of belief is ACTUALLY ".. the acceptance of a point of view without evidence or in contradiction to the evidence" as already stated.

      ""If there is *some* evidence for X and nothing to contradict it, yet not sufficient to be conclusive, then, I say that X is possible/probable." That sounds to me like the acceptance of a point of view without proof. Could it be possible that you DO in fact believe things?"

      No, I leave "belief" to the mystics. A proposition can be false, arbitrary, possible, probable or certain. Do you usually have such difficulty with comprehension?

      Delete
    55. MalcolmS5:59 AM

      Terry: ""Mal[sic]: Space and time are man's way of viewing *relationships* between these entities" You don’t realise that it’s only one view. There’s another view that space is an entity, a container in which objects are at rest are moving[sic]. This was Newton’s idea. Einstein took it a little further in general relativity where he said this container can be completely empty"

      I know only too well that there's more than one view of time. There's more than two too. Do you know how many? You wouldn't have a clue. So, how do you know which view is correct dopey? You haven't a clue have you? FYI there have been numerous views of time dating back to the ancients in philosophy. Zeno claimed that, at any point in its trajectory, an arrow was stationary and, therefore, could never reach its target. Can you solve that one Einstein? Time was not discovered by physicists until about 500 years ago so they are the new boys on the block and it didn't take them long to stuff up. What evidence did Einstein and Newton give for their "container" theory? None whatsoever! It was mere hypothesis! Or did you find a piece that had fallen to Earth like a meteorite? Where do you keep it? In the basement with your whips and blow-up ladies :) On a shelf next to your phlogiston?

      BTW you are *so* out of date with your "time is the fourth dimension" BS. Given your knowledge of "software updates... available at educational institutions, book stores and online" how come you missed out on the myth of string theory and its 11 dimensions? I warned you that physics couldn't survive the rise of scepticism in the philosophy of science! Postmodern physics proves it. Ralph is rational by comparison. The next time adults are speaking to you, junior, I suggest you pay attention.

      Delete
    56. Hal: The next time adults are speaking to you, junior, I suggest you pay attention.

      OK, grandpa. But it'd be nice if you stopped saying the same things over and over again. Grandma says you sound like a robot.

      Delete
    57. MalcolmS5:55 PM

      Terrence[sic]: "Hal[sic]... But it'd be nice if you stopped saying the same things over and over again"

      Er... that's how it is with the purveyance‎ of truth junior! You remain consistent throughout the debate! Unlike your chameleon self!

      There... another valuable lesson for the dull and the ignorant! Go forth in the world and do likewise junior! Er... and feel free to take notes.




      Delete
    58. Hal: Hal[sic]

      Ha, ha, ha. Did you hear the whistling sound as it flew past your ear?

      Delete
  5. Mal[sic]: You have simply repeated in more verbose form your error ...

    I was going to say pot calling kettle black. But that would’ve been unfair to Ralph. He has the brains to know that his beliefs are nothing more than that. Whereas you don’t.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS9:40 PM

      Terrence[sic]: "He[Ralph] has the brains to know that his beliefs are nothing more than that"

      As usual you are quite wrong! Had you been a little more observant you would have noticed I was commenting on Ralph's long term conflation of 'knowledge' and 'belief' when he said: "Very good Stranger but then one can’t believe something they don’t know so first they have to know it or have been made aware of or exposed to that idea."

      So, why do you side with Ralph on the knowledge/belief issue? Because you, as a sceptic, cannot differentiate on this issue either! It's one of many issues where the religious and the sceptic are in unison. Just thought you should know dopey :)

      Delete
    2. Mal[sic]: Had you been a little more observant you would have noticed I was commenting on Ralph's long term conflation of 'knowledge' and 'belief' when he said: "Very good Stranger but then one can’t believe something they don’t know so first they have to know it or have been made aware of or exposed to that idea."

      No you didn’t. You commented on this: "... true believing is not just the ‘head’ stuff. If one truly believes something it means that they have the faith/confidence/trust to put that intellectual ‘belief’ into practice - in words and deeds. The colloquial saying for this is ‘to put one’s money where one’s mouth is’". If you don’t believe me, read your post.

      Is there no end to your evasions?

      Delete
    3. MalcolmS5:10 AM

      Terrence[sic] :"No you didn’t. You commented on this: "...""

      I was commenting on: "Ralph's long term conflation of 'knowledge' and 'belief'" which is what my actual quote was about as you well know. A conflation which sceptics share with mystics.

      I also expected you would avoid replying. I was correct on both counts.

      Is there no end to your evasions?

      Delete
    4. Mal[sic]: I was commenting on: "Ralph's long term conflation of 'knowledge' and 'belief'" which is what my actual quote was about as you well know.

      Yes, I do know, and my point was that both of you are guilty of that, only Ralph is smart enough to realise it.

      PS: It's always a good idea to refer to the quote you are commenting on rather than some other quote.

      Delete
    5. MalcolmS5:10 PM

      Terrence[sic]: "Yes, I do know, and my point was that both of you are guilty of that, only Ralph is smart enough to realise it"

      That's interesting :)

      Delete
  6. Dick: Can Catholicism reverse its change aversion?

    Does it want to? Whatever the church is losing in the West is more than being made up in Africa, right? And the Africans seem to like the bigotry. Why would the church seek to satisfy the West at the expense of the more enthusiastic Africans?

    In any case, the church could be on a hiding to nothing in the West. As The Economist points out, they will be forever tainted by their image as an agency that has enjoyed power and wealth for too long and abused both.

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    Replies
    1. MalcolmS6:54 PM

      "the church could be on a hiding to nothing in the West... they will be forever tainted by their image as an agency that has enjoyed power and wealth for too long and abused both"

      Wow, that’s interesting.

      Delete
    2. Mal[sic]: Wow, that's interesting.

      Ya think so? I don't. Not sure why I bothered to post it. Feel free to have it. It'll make a nice change from the crap you read.

      Delete
    3. MalcolmS11:12 PM

      Terry: "Not sure why I bothered to post it"

      In order to suckhole Dick!

      Which is why I raised it :)

      Delete
    4. Mal[sic]:

      Suckhole? Charming expression. Ayn would be proud of her acolyte.

      Delete
    5. MalcolmS5:46 PM

      Terrence[sic] "Suckhole? Charming expression. Ayn would be proud of her acolyte"

      LOL

      I note you didn't challenge the accuracy of the statement :)

      Delete
  7. RalphH 19/114:58 PM

    Terry, can't get the other reply button to work so have moved down to the end button which does.

    “You say it’s difficult to be objective. I ask how, if that’s true, you can be so sure there’s a god. And you reply that god is obvious.” (Terry7:06 PM)

    Terry, I thought I said it was impossible for humans to be totally objective.That’s because they’re recipients of knowledge (and hence truth) rather than the source (of either). We’re limited by the limitation of our physical senses and our reasoning capabilities.

    IMO, we're so ‘small’ in relation to what there is that we haven’t got a chance of being completely objective i.e. of encompassing the full gamut of knowledge necessary to be so or to place ourselves outside of our subjective response to the small amount of knowledge we do become aware of. This also applies collectively to the whole human race from day one to the present.

    Although our knowledge and understanding will increase (as Newton said,’ by giants standing on the shoulders of giants’) the wish-think that we will one day have a ‘Theory of Everything’ is nothing more than a pipe dream.

    IMO, God being obvious doesn’t fall into the category of objectivity. God is not an object of the natural world of which we (temporarily). God is axiomatic - the self-evident truth from which all reasoning starts and without which there is no basis for reasoning.

    As I’ve said before, one can question the nature of God (just as one can question the nature of an axiom) but the bottom line (and it’s not a matter of scientific/sensual ‘proof’) is that there has to be an axiom of some sort. It’s a matter of intuition, something sadly lacking in today’s ‘glorification of human reason’ world.

    Even Malcolm, who I don’t think believes in intuition (in his world it’s a sin to believe in anything except reason but one has to be very careful not to call it belief) intuitively believes that ‘existence is eternal’ (there’s no way he, or anyone else can ‘prove’ that proposition).

    “Either you believe that objectivity is difficult, therefore, and temper your views accordingly, or you don’t believe that objectivity is difficult, and continue acting like a bigot.”

    As above, I do not accept your either/or proposition. I deny that I “act… like a bigot”. I am not contemptuously intolerant of others ideas but where there is a conflict of ideas I stand up for what I believe to be right.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Ralph: ... where there is a conflict of ideas I stand up for what I believe to be right.

      I see. On the question of god you can’t trust your head so you have to turn to your gut instead. And in your case the feeling is so strong you will ‘stand up’ for it.

      Unfortunately, you’re not the only buffoon who ‘stands up’ for what his gut tells him. I can think of a few whose idea of standing up was to fly airplanes into buildings.

      Delete
    2. MalcolmS6:51 PM

      RalphH: "Terry, I thought I said it was impossible for humans to be totally objective"

      Terry's point, Ralph, was that your claimed lack of objectivity applies equally to your belief in the God story/s. Why do you continue to evade that point?

      Delete
    3. MalcolmS7:02 PM

      RalphH: "I am not contemptuously intolerant of others ideas but where there is a conflict of ideas I stand up for what I believe to be right"

      Same again Ralph. In the absence of objectivity there is nothing worth standing up for.

      Delete
    4. MalcolmS7:11 PM

      Terry: "On the question of god you can’t trust your head so you have to turn to your gut instead. And in your case the feeling is so strong you will ‘stand up’ for it"

      Well done junior. I like your head/gut distinction with reference to Ralph. Now grasp that it's actually a reason/emotion distinction and you'll be on the road to epistemology :)

      Delete
    5. RalphH 19/1110:08 PM

      “Ralph: ... where there is a conflict of ideas I stand up for what I believe to be right.

      I see. On the question of god you can’t trust your head so you have to turn to your gut instead. And in your case the feeling is so strong you will ‘stand up’ for it.” (Terry6:26 PM)

      Whoa there Terry, don’t let those horses get away from you. I said nothing about a head/gut conflict - you added that. I spoke about “a conflict of ideas” with the conflict being between my ideas and someone else’s.

      “Unfortunately, you’re not the only buffoon who ‘stands up’ for what his gut tells him. I can think of a few whose idea of standing up was to fly airplanes into buildings.”

      I also don’t believe a ‘gut (instinct)’ is the same as ‘intuition’. The quality of a gut instinct depends on the quality of the gut. Someone who has already learned to hate and love hatred may well instinctively decide to “fly airplanes into buildings” to maim and destroy others but someone who has learned to love and respect other people is more likely to embrace a God/life source that teaches/commands that life response.

      To be a complete, non-ambiguous person the heart and the head must agree and work in unison. I think that’s what happens with intuition. I doubt if it’s possible to intuit evil. If the heart craves hatred, mutilation and destruction the head has to be irrational to agree.

      Delete
    6. MalcolmS11:42 PM

      RalphH: "If the heart craves hatred, mutilation and destruction the head has to be irrational to agree"

      Those Islamists of 9/11 were deeply religious men Ralph and were seeking 'eternal life' according to the writings of their sacred texts.

      Just like you!

      Delete
    7. RalphH 19/112:20 AM

      “Those Islamists of 9/11 were deeply religious men Ralph and were seeking 'eternal life' according to the writings of their sacred texts.” (MalcolmS11:42 PM)

      That’s what you’d like to believe Malcolm but, as I’ve pointed out (how and why), it’s completely false. Please explain how every decent, genuine Muslim was utterly horrified at what these despicable creatures did. You don’t seem to be able to get the idea that people can twist and abuse religion just as they can twist and abuse the law/legal system.

      It’s laughable to call them “deeply religious men”. If they believed themselves to be they were totally deluded and had not studied ‘their’ religion with any intention of understanding it. Surely even you can see that it is completely irrational to believe that one would/could be rewarded with eternal life for destroying the lives of others.

      “Just like you!”

      I have explained my concept of “eternal life” and it’s nothing like that. Eternal life is not a reward. It’s a consequence of HOW one lives one’s life. It doesn’t matter what one says or even thinks they are, the way one lives their life is the only criterion as to what they truly believe and hence as to what they truly are.

      Eternal life is the life of caring about all others and sharing their joys. What goes around comes around. It’s plain old common sense. When everyone is giving the circle of life is complete because everyone is also receiving i.e. it’s eternal.

      The idea that eternal life is a gratis reward is a mindset of getting, not giving. It’s a shutting down and stultifying of life, not an involvement in it. It requires no effort or humanity. It encourages a sense of merit and superiority. It’s as far from the truly religious life as it’s possible to be as the actions of these 'men' demonstrate. I suggest you do a re-think Malcolm.

      Delete
    8. MalcolmS7:39 AM

      RalphH: "It’s laughable to call them “deeply religious men”"

      That's what they were according to what was written at the time. What else would motivate such behaviour? Only religion! You are in denial Ralph.

      In fact I see a direct parallel with the Abraham/Isaac issue we have been discussing. In that case, what would have happened if God had *not* intervened? Abraham would have murdered his son! Well, why is that different to 9/11? Apparently Allah did not intervene and they sacrificed themselves for the cause which, according to the myth, results in instantaneous eternal[excuse pun] life. Known as 'shahid,' its application to Muslim martyrs originates from the context of the martyr having died in the way of Islam and, therefore, having become a 'witness' to the 'Shahada', i.e., "I bear witness that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah."

      Pretty straightforward Ralph.

      Delete
    9. RalphH 20/117:00 PM

      “RalphH: *”It’s laughable to call them “deeply religious men””*

      That's what they were according to what was written at the time.” (MalcolmS7:39 AM)

      Haven’t you ever heard of hypocrisy and self-delusion Malcolm. If a person’s actions do not coincide with the teachings of their religion then one of these are at play.

      “What else would motivate such behaviour?”

      How about perverse human nature - a spirit or attitude of superiority or revenge for supposed (or actual) evils done to them and theirs.

      “Only religion!”

      IF religion affects one person in this way, why does it not affect all in the same way? Why do others do similar atrocities when there is no possibility of religion playing any part?

      “You are in denial Ralph.”

      Don’t think so Malcolm. I just don’t have a barrow to push or an axe to grind. I look at the situation objectively (not claiming complete objectivity but certainly more so than one with a barrow or an axe).

      "In fact I see a direct parallel with the Abraham/Isaac issue we have been discussing. In that case, what would have happened if God had *not* intervened? Abraham would have murdered his son! Well, why is that different to 9/11?"

      Well to begin with, Abraham was asked/commanded to sacrifice his OWN son (something of his own that he loved dearly). The 9/11 killers decided themselves to maim, destroy and decimate as many innocent lives as they could - lives of complete strangers (the immediate victims and all the family and friends of their social groups) that they couldn’t give a damn about.

      We don’t know that Abraham would have sacrificed his son. We do know from the text that the whole incident was a test to discover the depth of Abraham’s allegiance which could not have been done without such an extreme ploy. The very facts that there was no promise of a reward made and that Abraham’s hand was stayed, completely inverts your alleged parallel.

      “Apparently Allah did not intervene and they sacrificed themselves for the cause which, according to the myth, results in instantaneous eternal[excuse pun] life.”

      If the killers brains and humanity had been engaged they would not have been so deluded or dangerous. Obviously Allah did not order them, they took it on themselves against any rational or human consideration, possibly spurred on by a false and irrational idea about eternal life.

      Pretty straightforward Malcolm but not the way you tried to sell it.

      Delete
    10. MalcolmS8:27 PM

      RalphH: "IMO, God being obvious doesn’t fall into the category of objectivity.... God is axiomatic - the self-evident truth from which all reasoning starts and without which there is no basis for reasoning"

      God is neither obvious nor an axiom.

      God is not obvious or there would not be so many atheists and you would not have wasted so much of your time trying to demonstrate His existence Ralph. The Jews understood this well and forbade the mention of His Name on the premise that its mere mention involved a contradiction. They are correct. An entity such as that is far from obvious.

      God is not an axiom since He is not an irreducible primary. An axiom is a statement that identifies the base of knowledge and of any further statement pertaining to that knowledge, a statement necessarily contained in all others, whether any particular speaker chooses to identify it or not. An axiom is a proposition that defeats its opponents by the fact that they have to accept it and use it in the process of any attempt to deny it.

      Now, when you claim that God is an axiom, Ralph, it is obvious that He must first *exist.* In other words God is "reducible" to *existence.* So it is with any entity which exists. There is nothing prior or special about God [if He exists]. Existence is the axiom - an irreducible primary upon which all knowledge rests.

      "... one can question the nature of God (just as one can question the nature of an axiom) but the bottom line (and it’s not a matter of scientific/sensual ‘proof’) is that there has to be an axiom of some sort. It’s a matter of intuition, something sadly lacking in today’s ‘glorification of human reason’ world"

      Axioms are not "intuitive" Ralph. That's what happens when you abandon reason. Axioms are self-evident. You have to *presume* existence even to deny it :)

      "Even Malcolm.... intuitively believes that ‘existence is eternal’ (there’s no way he, or anyone else can ‘prove’ that proposition)"

      I go by reason Ralph - not intuition. Nobody can prove existence since it's an axiom, is self evident and, therefore, requires no proof. Existence is prior to proof. However, proving existence is eternal is easy. All that's necessary is the knowledge that an entity/existent cannot spring from nothing/nonexistence and that nothing/nonexistence cannot become an entity/existent. Since existence exists it follows that this has always been, and always will be, the case. Which means existence is eternal.

      Delete
    11. Ralph 21/119:33 AM

      “God is not obvious or there would not be so many atheists and you would not have wasted so much of your time trying to demonstrate His existence Ralph.” (MalcolmS8:27 PM)

      I don’t think there are as many as you might think. IMO, a lot of those who think they are might just be confused. It depends on exactly who or what God is.

      “ The Jews understood this well and forbade the mention of His Name on the premise that its mere mention involved a contradiction. They are correct. An entity such as that is far from obvious.”

      My understanding is that the Jews did not vocalise God’s name because it was considered so holy that it was blasphemous (akin to taking God’s name in vain) to do so in ordinary language. Where did your “contradiction” idea come from?

      “God is not an axiom since He is not an irreducible primary. An axiom is a statement that identifies the base of knowledge and of any further statement pertaining to that knowledge, a statement necessarily contained in all others, whether any particular speaker chooses to identify it or not.”

      Well, I can’t think of a more “irreducible primary” Malcolm.

      “An axiom is a proposition that defeats its opponents by the fact that they have to accept it and use it in the process of any attempt to deny it.”

      Funny you should say that. You do realise the etymology of the term ‘atheist’ don’t you.

      “Now, when you claim that God is an axiom, Ralph, it is obvious that He must first *exist.* In other words God is "reducible" to *existence.* So it is with any entity which exists. There is nothing prior or special about God [if He exists]. Existence is the axiom - an irreducible primary upon which all knowledge rests.”

      God (by definition is self-existent i.e. exists in and of itself/(Himself). IOW, it/(He) is “eternal existence”. ALL else exists of/from it/(Him).

      “Axioms are not "intuitive" Ralph. That's what happens when you abandon reason. Axioms are self-evident. You have to *presume* existence even to deny it :)”

      Well that certainly works for God. As above without God there would be no atheists. One has to presume God i.e. have some sort of a concept to deny. Denial does not dismiss God. It only dismisses the concept that is held. And it could well be an incomplete or irrational concept to begin with.

      “I go by reason Ralph - not intuition. Nobody can prove existence since it's an axiom, is self evident and, therefore, requires no proof. Existence is prior to proof.

      I’m sure you “go” by both Malcolm. It’s easier to be aware of reason/reasoning because it’s a thought process but without intuition (even though unaware of it) one wouldn’t even have a thought process.

      “However, proving existence is eternal is easy. All that's necessary is the knowledge that an entity/existent cannot spring from nothing/nonexistence and that nothing/nonexistence cannot become an entity/existent. Since existence exists it follows that this has always been, and always will be, the case. Which means existence is eternal.”

      IMO, proving eternal existence is eternal is easy, it's self-evident and you’ve done it above. But proving temporal existence is eternal is impossible - because it isn’t.

      Delete
    12. MalcolmS2:38 PM

      Ralph: "My understanding is that the Jews did not vocalise God’s name because it was considered so holy that it was blasphemous (akin to taking God’s name in vain) to do so in ordinary language"

      You have failed to say why that would be so. You could equally have claimed that it would glorify His Name on Earth.

      "Where did your “contradiction” idea come from?"

      Because you cannot speak of the J/C God without contradicting yourself. Let's take an example from your lexicon! You claim that God is "infinite." OK, does that mean that He has an infinite number of nose boogies? NO!!! I hear you scream :) OK, if you say He doesn't, then, you have "limited" Him and He cannot be infinite. If you then claim that He is *not* physical and that's why he doesn't have nose boogies, then, you have "limited" Him and He cannot be infinite. Now, I can go on all day with such examples but I'm sure you get the drift!

      The rabbis grasped this thousands of years ago. Better not to speak of Him than have all those doubting Thomas's pointing out all His contradictions! They were far more intelligent than you Ralph!

      Delete
  8. Anonymous4:31 PM

    MalcolmS8:08 PM
    "I have no idea what you mean by *absolute* proof. My definition of belief is ACTUALLY ".. the acceptance of a point of view without evidence or in contradiction to the evidence" as already stated."

    Alright, then I'm confused! The definition for belief that google gave me said nothing about evidence. Only proof. And then you said we agreed on it. Which meant to me that you agreed that belief was the acceptance of a point of view without proof. Saying nothing about evidence.

    Do you ACTUALLY means to say that you agree with that definition to an extent, but would take it much much further and say evidence instead of proof?

    """If there is *some* evidence for X and nothing to contradict it, yet not sufficient to be conclusive, then, I say that X is possible/probable." That sounds to me like the acceptance of a point of view without proof. Could it be possible that you DO in fact believe things?"

    No, I leave "belief" to the mystics. A proposition can be false, arbitrary, possible, probable or certain. Do you usually have such difficulty with comprehension?"

    So your statement isn't an acceptance of a point of view without proof? What is it then? You seemed to agree on a definition of 'belief', then gave a statement that fits neatly with that definition.

    Thanks for the totally unnecessary put-down. It doesn't make your position any stronger. All I'm doing is attempting to understand your position on 'belief', but you are talking in circles.

    -Mark

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    1. MalcolmS5:52 PM

      Anonymous/Mark

      "Alright, then I'm confused!"

      Yes, I know AND you still haven't said what you mean by *absolute* proof.

      "The definition for belief that google gave me said nothing about evidence. Only proof. And then you said we agreed on it. Which meant to me that you agreed that belief was the acceptance of a point of view without proof. Saying nothing about evidence"

      I have ALREADY said that my definition of belief is ".. the acceptance of a point of view without evidence or in contradiction to the evidence." I have also said: "I don't equate evidence with proof. Evidence is prior to and necessary for proof." Please pay attention.

      "Do you ACTUALLY means to say that you agree with that definition to an extent, but would take it much much further and say evidence instead of proof?"

      I ACTUALLY mean what I said. I have no need for "belief" and leave that to the mystics. My only means of knowledge is reason *based on* sense perception which is man's *only* contact with reality. That is the only path to objectivity. Alleged "dogma" and "revelation" don't qualify as alternatives.

      Delete
    2. Ralph:

      You said this: [God is] a matter of intuition, something sadly lacking in today’s ‘glorification of human reason’ world. And you followed that with this: I said nothing about a head/gut conflict ….

      Given that most people equate ‘head’ with ‘reason’ and ‘intuition’ with ‘gut’, what conclusion should I draw from your conflicting statements? I’m inclined to call you a klutz. What do you think of that?

      Delete
    3. RalphH 21/113:34 PM

      “Given that most people equate ‘head’ with ‘reason’ and ‘intuition’ with ‘gut’, what conclusion should I draw from your conflicting statements? I’m inclined to call you a klutz. What do you think of that?” Terry1:44 PM


      Well Terry I think klutz is an interesting word. It could be useful in Scrabble sometime.

      I actually think it’s wrong to equate intuition with ‘gut’ regardless of what some people may think.

      Gut is primarily instinctual or emotional - from dictionary.com -

      *gut - b. based on instincts or emotions: a gut reaction; gut decisions*.

      IOW it stems from the feeling side/part of the mind.

      Intuition on the other hand, although it does not involve conscious thought (as when one is reasoning) is connected to/a part of the thinking side of the mind. Words like “perception”, “truth”. “apprehension” and “insight” illustrate this.

      *1. direct perception of truth, fact, etc., independent of any reasoning process; immediate apprehension.
      2. a fact, truth, etc., perceived in this way.
      3. a keen and quick insight.
      4. the quality or ability of having such direct perception or quick insight.
      5. Philosophy*

      The human mind is quite a complex unit. The essential functions are thought and feeling which stem from the intellect (of the head/brain) and emotions (of the heart). However there are levels of thought. On an inner level we can think about what we’re thinking while we’re thinking it.

      My idea, for what it's worth, is that this inner level of ‘thinking’ (and there may be more than one) is somehow connected with the heart which could explain the confusion with ‘gut’ (feelings).

      Delete
    4. Ralph:

      Squirm all you like around the definition of intuition. Nothing you’ve said alters the fact that your belief in god is subjective. And you are therefore a fool to be prepared to stand up for it.

      But that’s no surprise. Ignorant men are always the ones most prepared to stand up for their views. Enlightened men, who by their understanding of the world come to realise how little we all know, are always more sceptical.

      Despite what you say, there is no fundamental difference between you and the idiots who fly into buildings. You are both prepared to stand up for things you really have no way of being sure about. That you do it by blogging rather than killing is a matter only of degree.

      Delete
    5. RalphH 22/111:35 PM

      “Squirm all you like around the definition of intuition.” (Terry5:37 PM)

      Squirming?? Where’d that come from Terry? I explained my idea backed up by dictionary definitions. How’s that squirming?

      “Nothing you’ve said alters the fact that your belief in god is subjective.”

      Why do you suggest that I have been (trying to “alter the fact”)? My stated belief is that complete objectivity (by humans) is not possible. That applies equally to those who believe God does not exist, by the way.

      “And you are therefore a fool to be prepared to stand up for it.”

      If you think someone a fool for standing up for their ‘beliefs’ what do you think of those who don’t have the sense or courage to do so.? How could anyone honestly claim to believe something if they weren’t “prepared to stand up for it.”?

      Beliefs do not need to be based on complete objectivity/sensual proof. If they were our only option would be to be total sceptics. They can be based on common-sense and a mental objectivity supplied by reason/logic.

      “But that’s no surprise. Ignorant men are always the ones most prepared to stand up for their views. Enlightened men, who by their understanding of the world come to realise how little we all know, are always more sceptical.”

      If this be true, how do you explain (so called) “enlightened men” (let’s not forget the women) denying God so vehemently?

      “Despite what you say, there is no fundamental difference between you and the idiots who fly into buildings. You are both prepared to stand up for things you really have no way of being sure about.”

      That’s rubbish. It all depends on ‘what’ one believes and ‘why’. If your principle (no way of being sure) is true, it applies equally to everyone i.e. including you.

      “That you do it by blogging rather than killing is a matter only of degree.”

      More rubbish. Do I advocate violence and/or harm or even the imposition of my beliefs in my writing? Have I ever done so?

      Delete
    6. Ralph:

      It doesn’t take courage or good sense to adhere rigidly to a belief, especially if you know that objectivity is hard to obtain. Good sense lies in accepting the possibility that everything you think you know could be wrong.

      Moreover, there’s no imperative for you to stand up for their beliefs. You would be far better off questioning your beliefs. How else are you ever going to know if you are right?

      As for your comment about us becoming sceptics, why do you find the idea of living with uncertainty so hard to take? Everything in life is uncertain (except death and the result at the Gabba this weekend). Just accept it and move on.

      Despite your objections, you do advocate violence. What do you think happens when people stand up to each other? Do they hug and kiss? Or do they argue and fight? And what do you call arguing and fighting if not violence? Once you start down that road how can you know where it will end?

      Delete
    7. MalcolmS5:12 PM

      RalphH: "If this be true, how do you explain (so called) “enlightened men”.... denying God so vehemently?"

      That'll be because they *are* enlightened Ralph! They go by reason and not "belief."

      "Believers" are the ones flying planes into buildings.

      "Believers" are the ones stretching their victims on Inquisition torture racks in order to "save their souls."

      "Believers" are witch doctors and snake oil salesmen Ralph.

      Delete
    8. MalcolmS5:21 PM

      RalphH: "More rubbish. Do I advocate violence and/or harm or even the imposition of my beliefs in my writing? Have I ever done so?"

      Yes, you do!

      Your most recent example was claiming that, without Divine Intervention, Abraham should have murdered Isaac.

      Just like the religious who fly planes into buildings and torturing/murdering Inquisitors!

      Delete
    9. Ralph, "Do I advocate violence and/or harm or even the imposition of my beliefs in my writing? Have I ever done so?"

      Ralph, you do it all the time.

      Every time you claim homosexuality is wrong or homosexual people should not be allowed to express their sexuality you are harming people.

      Every time you make your bullshit claims about atheism and atheist you are harming someone with your lies, deceit and incredible lack of understanding.

      You would impose your beliefs on anyone and everyone - it's all you ever do.

      Delete
    10. Ralph: If this be true, how do you explain (so called) “enlightened men” (let’s not forget the women) denying God so vehemently?

      Enlightened atheists don’t deny god. They understand that the possibility exists. They just don’t rate the probability very high. You can hardly call that vehement denial.

      What you see as denial is actually resistance. People like you who stand up for personal beliefs are trouble. You make gay people think they are abominations. You turn children into robots. You prey on the poor and vulnerable to fill your churches. You turn women into slaves. Someone has to push back or we all end up back in the Dark Ages.

      Delete
    11. MalcolmS12:40 AM

      Terry: "Enlightened atheists don’t deny god"

      Yes they do sceptic/agnostic/fence-sitter.

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    12. RalphH 23/111:48 PM

      “Enlightened atheists don’t deny god. They understand that the possibility exists. They just don’t rate the probability very high. You can hardly call that vehement denial.” (Terry9:44 PM)

      It’s a bit hard to think of someone who can’t make up their mind as being ”enlightened” Terry. Enlightenment implies clarity of vision, not confusion/skepticism.

      Possibility? probability? Such a line of thinking has failed to recognise that God is not subject to scientific/sensual proof. To set oneself up for a lifetime of fence-sitting on an issue where a positive response can lead to eternal life and a negative one to nothingness, is not what I’d call being enlightened.

      The dictionary definition of an atheist is -*a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings.* Prolonged skepticism is akin to denying by default.

      “What you see as denial is actually resistance.”

      Resistance to what? affirmation?

      “People like you who stand up for personal beliefs are trouble.”

      All beliefs are personal. All people have beliefs. If someone’s beliefs are threatened most people will “stand up’ for them. The alternative is to have them trampled. Out of all those people with beliefs, why is it that only “people like (me)” whatever that’s meant to mean) are trouble? Is it because you feel superior?

      “You make gay people think they are abominations.”

      I would never call anyone an abomination any more than I’d call anyone a ‘gay person’.

      I take my cue from the Bible/Word of God which defines certain attitudes and activities as abominations because they are destructive and ultimately and internally harm human beings.

      People are beings of choice. It’s entirely up to them how they choose to think and act. Ignoring the obvious and necessary sex difference between male and female will not make it go away.

      “You turn children into robots. You prey on the poor and vulnerable to fill your churches. You turn women into slaves. Someone has to push back or we all end up back in the Dark Ages.”

      I’ve never done any of those things. I believe the most important aspect of genuine religion is that it be a free choice. If someone does not act from freedom according to their reason i.e. from love or self-compulsion, they’re not involved as to their wants, desires (the aspect of them that is the real person). If they have been externally compelled they will revert as soon as the compulsion ceases.

      It’s impossible to revert to the “Dark Ages” after all that has happened in between. Did Jesus “prey on the poor and vulnerable”? Over the intervening years it was the churches (despite some of their failings) that have been the only respite for “the poor and vulnerable”.

      Our biggest concern in today’s world is the attacks on religion that do not discriminate good religion from bad and the arrogant belief that human reason alone (which is fragilely subject to the excesses of human nature devoid of a love and concern for the common good) is the answer to human problems.

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    13. RalphH 23/112:13 PM

      “Every time you claim homosexuality is wrong or homosexual people should not be allowed to express their sexuality you are harming people.” (Kate7:36 PM”

      Kate, you got that partly right. I certainly do claim that “homosexuality is wrong” and I express that view in the hope of helping people, not harming them. I believe that indulging in homosexuality harms people and failure to understand it’s true character encourages others (particularly the young and confused) to experiment and/or indulge those errant feelings.

      I am against stereotyping people as “homosexual people” including those who stereotype themselves as such. However, I more strongly believe in personal freedom so, counter to your second assertion, I do not claim that they “should not be allowed to express” themselves.

      It is impossible to force people to love something if they don’t want to. Provided they do no open harm (that the law finds necessary to legislate against) people should be permitted to express themselves as they wish. I consider claiming a same-sex relationship to be a marriage relationship to be false and harmful/destructive to the concept and purpose of marriage, so I oppose it but I do not oppose same-sex relationships themselves if that’s what people want.

      “Every time you make your bullshit claims about atheism and atheist you are harming someone with your lies, deceit and incredible lack of understanding.”

      At times I may lack sensitivity to some people’s emotional attachments and the ability to express myself clearly Kate but I do not lie or try to deceive anyone. I don’t believe in stereotyping anyone as atheist anymore than I believe in stereotyping people as homosexual. IMO, both are matters of choice (which should be respected) and both are capable of becoming better understood, reassessed and rejected.

      “You would impose your beliefs on anyone and everyone - it's all you ever do.”

      I present my beliefs, openly and honestly, to the end that others may compare and if they wish reassess the basis of their beliefs in that context. IMO, that’s what one does in an open forum. If you want to call that ‘imposing’ so-be-it. There wouldn’t be much diversity of discussion on the blog if all were back-slapping yes-people would there?

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    14. MalcolmS4:36 PM

      RalphH: "I present my beliefs, openly and honestly..."

      That statement implies a false cognitive method. *Honesty* is only possible from a rational process and not from a "belief" process. Which means you must start the cognitive process with sense perception. That tiny voice in your head, Ralph, is not a substitute. Sense perception is our only contact with reality - that's where cognition starts. Cognition does not start with "revelation" from the beyond.

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    15. MalcolmS5:44 PM

      Terry: "Someone has to push back or we all end up back in the Dark Ages"

      For once I agree with you. [But, then, you got it from me :)]

      However religion has[rightly] lost its prestige and is no longer the prime destroyer in the West. [As it was in the last Dark Ages]

      It's the anti-reason, sceptical, subjectivist, materialist, nihilist "progressives" who are now the primary destroyers.

      It's against this irrationalism that we must "push back."

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    16. RalphH 24/118:32 AM

      “RalphH: *”I present my beliefs, openly and honestly…"*

      That statement implies a false cognitive method. *Honesty* is only possible from a rational process and not from a "belief" process. Which means you must start the cognitive process with sense perception. That tiny voice in your head, Ralph, is not a substitute. Sense perception is our only contact with reality - that's where cognition starts. Cognition does not start with "revelation" from the beyond.” (MalcolmS4:36 PM)

      You will know well by now Malcolm, that I do not believe that there is a separate “rational process” and or “‘belief" process’. I don’t think belief is “a process” it’s a choice. The cognitive process involves both reason and belief. There is no “tiny voice” inside the head trying to bypass reason.

      I don’t think “honesty” is possible from a rational process alone because that process will always be based on whatever one believes to be true. Subjectively one may believe they are ‘being honest’ yet against a truly objective standard it may not to be so.

      By saying, “Sense perception is our only contact with reality” you’re suggesting that “reality” exists only outside of us. Cognition takes place because there is something living and real within us (i.e. our soul) that wants to know and understand the world beyond itself.

      To this end, it uses the mechanisms of the physical body (the physical senses and the brain) to collect sensations for analysis. From this analysis the external level of the mind (which originally had been ‘tabula rasa’) is progressively formed becoming as it does so, part of the mechanism.

      My understanding of your suggestion is that sense impulses somehow ‘flow’ from external objects and impinge on our consciousness (your idea of the soul) which in some magical, inexplicit way converts them into cognitions/ knowledges. Remember that in a new-born infant there is no reason or reasoning process as yet but they still acquire ‘knowledge’, though not initially formulated into ideas (of thought).

      Bearing in mind that consciousness is not an analysing tool, it is merely an awareness, what does the analysing other than the real soul (which, IMO, is God’s gift of life/receptacle of life from God, within us)?

      Delete
    17. Ralph: Enlightenment implies clarity of vision, not confusion/skepticism.

      The opposite is true. It is ignorance that leads to clarity of vision. Enlightenment leads to understanding. And what understanding does is make you realise how dumb you were to be so sure of yourself in the first place, which is why enlightened people so often become sceptical.

      You don’t get this because you are not enlightened. Your clarity of vision and certainty are a product of ignorance.

      By the way, what a nice coincidence for you that god is not subject to scientific proof. You’re lucky you don’t have to work as hard as we do to establish if what we hold to be true really is true.

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    18. MalcolmS12:34 AM

      RalphH: "You will know well by now Malcolm, that I do not believe that there is a separate “rational process” and or “‘belief" process’. I don’t think belief is “a process” it’s a choice"

      "Choice" is a process. "Belief" is why you got it wrong. Had you employed a rational process you may have got it right.

      "The cognitive process involves both reason and belief"

      Only to mystics and sceptics Ralph. Belief is irrelevant to the rational person.

      "I don’t think “honesty” is possible from a rational process alone because that process will always be based on whatever one believes to be true"

      False. *Rationality* is man's primary virtue and honesty is a corollary. Of course you need to have a reasonable grasp of epistemology/ethics to understand that derivation. "Belief" is no more relevant in those sciences than it is in geometry.

      "By saying, “Sense perception is our only contact with reality” you’re suggesting that “reality” exists only outside of us"

      I "suggest" no such thing. Our sense perception is our first direct contact with the external world. Only as the child develops does it become aware that *something* is observing the external world! Only at this stage does the child grasp that he possesses consciousness/mind/soul/ego. He does not make this discovery by sense perception but by conception[abstraction] - in a rational process known as *introspection.* Consciousness of the *contents of consciousness* is not grasped by sense perception but by conception[abstraction].

      "Cognition takes place because there is something living and real within us (i.e. our soul) that wants to know and understand the world beyond itself"

      Why don't you engage your brain before you make these weird assertions of belief? There is "something living and real within" plants but they do not engage in cognition. You are simply making stuff up to fit your prior and false belief!

      "My understanding of your suggestion is that sense impulses somehow ‘flow’ from external objects and impinge on our consciousness (your idea of the soul) which in some magical, inexplicit way converts them into cognitions/ knowledges"

      Not "somehow, magical or inexplicit." The process is well known! The *given* of consciousness is sense perception and that is what the child has at the start. These perceptions are integrated by the mind into *concepts* which are the units of knowledge and the rational process. For example, a child perceives 'particulars' he knows as Spot, Fido and Rover. He observes that these particulars are *similar* and integrates them into the concept/class *dog.* Only Spot, Fido and Rover exist in the external word - *dog* exists as a concept/abstraction in consciousness and has been formed by consciousness.

      "Bearing in mind that consciousness is not an analysing tool, it is merely an awareness, what does the analysing other than the real soul (which, IMO, is God’s gift of life/receptacle of life from God, within us)?"

      Consciousness *is* an analysing tool amongst many other things. "Soul," in your otherworldly sense, is the nonsense of simpletons.

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    19. Mal-function: Rationality … bleep … is man's … prrrt … primary …. Clink … virtue ... blah ... bleep ... clunk.

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    20. MalcolmS4:18 AM

      Terry: "You’re[Ralph] lucky you don’t have to work as hard as we do to establish if what we hold to be true really is true"

      So, if you can't tell "what we hold to be true" is true, how do you know what "really is true" is really true? Idiot!

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    21. MalcolmS4:20 AM

      Terry: "It is ignorance that leads to clarity of vision"

      Idiot!

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    22. R2-D2: So, if you can't tell "what we hold to be true" is true, how do you know what "really is true" is really true?

      You don’t. I thought I made that clear. Your receivers must be malfunctioning.

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    23. R2-D2: Idiot!

      Bad robot!

      Delete
    24. MalcolmS5:27 PM

      Terry: "You don’t. I thought I made that clear"

      LOL A sceptic claims something is "clear"?

      Must be an example of where your "clarity of vision" comes from your "ignorance"?

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    25. R2-D2: Must be an example of where your "clarity of vision" comes from your "ignorance"?

      Good retort, robot. Maybe you are more like Hal after all. Or did someone just give you a new battery?

      Delete
    26. RalphH 26/115:22 PM

      Part 1

      “"Choice" is a process. "Belief" is why you got it wrong. Had you employed a rational process you may have got it right.” (MalcolmS12:34 AM)

      Let’s get this sorted out Malcolm. I don’t believe in the concept of belief that you have dreamed up as a poor man’s substitute for reason. I think it’s a chimera. There may be something like it with children (whose rational faculty hasn’t developed yet) and simple people (because their faculty of reasoning is poor) but it is still not “belief” that is the source of their knowledge but their belief in the person giving/dispensing it.

      Reason, if and when it develops does not replace belief, belief shifts to a belief in one’s own faculties rather than someone else’s. People believe what appears reasonable to them. It may be the truth of the matter or it may simply attune to what they’d like it to be. It depends on whether their love of the truth is greater than their love of their own desires and confirmatory opinions or not.

      “Only to mystics and sceptics Ralph. Belief is irrelevant to the rational person.”

      On the contrary, belief is impossible for any person to avoid. It’s the fact that some people have a religious belief that you can’t explain (or doesn’t fit into your world-view) that concerns you so you try to bury the whole of belief as if it doesn’t exist. Pardon me for saying this but it is not a rational response to the problem. I would classify both of us as very strong believers but you choose to believe in natural philosophy alone (with a very strong influence from Randian ideas) whereas I include religious philosophy.

      “False. *Rationality* is man's primary virtue and honesty is a corollary. Of course you need to have a reasonable grasp of epistemology/ethics to understand that derivation. "Belief" is no more relevant in those sciences than it is in geometry.”

      Rationality is extremely important. Without at least the potential of rationality, we’re not human. But there is something even more fundamental to being human - the free-will to choose between right and wrong. The two work together, reasoning brings us to an understanding of the nature of things but true rationality is (by virtue of free-will) choosing what is right (or in an ethical/moral context) to do what is right.

      Delete
    27. RalphH 26/115:25 PM

      Part 2 (MalcolmS12:34 AM)

      WRT honesty, one can be true to one’s own (subjective) assessment of truth or (because of the limitations of human subjectivity can believe there to be a higher standard of truth and be honest to that.

      “Our sense perception is our first direct contact with the external world. Only as the child develops does it become aware that *something* is observing the external world! Only at this stage does the child grasp that he possesses consciousness/mind/soul/ego. He does not make this discovery by sense perception but by conception[abstraction] - in a rational process known as *introspection.*”

      You seem to have equated consciousness, mind, soul and ego. I’d say they’re all different. A child at birth is way too young to be conceiving ideas or introspecting. So, how old is “the child” when this supposedly occurs and what does he/she do in the meantime?

      “Why don't you engage your brain before you make these weird assertions of belief? There is "something living and real within" plants but they do not engage in cognition.”

      My brain was engaged. Was yours when you dismissed what I said without any attempt to understand. Plants are very different entities to humans. They have a different type of soul - in keeping with what they are. They don’t have sense perceptions. They don’t have senses. They don’t have a brain. Why are you making a comparison with humans?

      “Not "somehow, magical or inexplicit." The process is well known! The *given* of consciousness is sense perception and that is what the child has at the start. These perceptions are integrated by the mind into *concepts* which are the units of knowledge and the rational process.”

      That’s one clever child you’ve got there Malcolm, to be able to handle all these complicated processes while still an infant. I can understand the soul overseeing these things but a nascent mind with no rational faculty as yet or means of forming concepts - you have some imagination.

      “Consciousness *is* an analysing tool amongst many other things. "Soul," in your otherworldly sense, is the nonsense of simpletons.”

      I’m sure we’ll continue to disagree about this Malcolm. My “otherworld” (as you put it) is a world that very much coincides with common-sense and reason. It’s the world your mind is living in right now. You don’t have to be afraid of it.


      Delete
    28. MalcolmS10:47 PM

      RalphH: "I don’t believe in the concept of belief that you have dreamed up as a poor man’s substitute for reason"

      There you go again, Ralph, contradicting yourself with the double negative of "belief." You claim that your belief is OK but what you claim is my belief is not! Why so fool? What makes your belief superior to the belief of others? If you then claim you correct it by reason I'll claim you should have been rational in the first place! There is no place for belief in cognition dopey.

      "Reason, if and when it develops does not replace belief, belief shifts to a belief in one’s own faculties rather than someone else’s. People believe what appears reasonable to them"

      So, what does "appears reasonable to them" consist of? What makes that true? You haven't a clue have you?

      "It may be the truth of the matter or it may simply attune to what they’d like it to be"

      That's it! Pure subjectivism! You "believe" whatever you wish to believe! To those who understand no explanation is necessary. To those who don't understand no explanation is possible! Either way you don't explain! You are a crank Ralph.

      "It depends on whether their love of the truth is greater than their love of their own desires and confirmatory opinions or not"

      You have yet to demonstrate how you establish the truth phony.

      “I would classify both of us as very strong believers but you choose to believe in natural philosophy alone (with a very strong influence from Randian ideas) whereas I include religious philosophy"

      The only claim I make about natural philosophy is what I can demonstrate in reason. That does not apply to the religious snake oil you attempt to sell based on belief. Any Satanist goes by belief and has the same cognitive claim as yourself - diddly squat.

      “Rationality is extremely important. Without at least the potential of rationality, we’re not human. But there is something even more fundamental to being human - the free-will to choose between right and wrong"

      FYI the rational faculty *is* the faculty of volition. They are the same thing! How do you enact a process of reason without choice? Thinking *is* volitional. The only fundamental choice your mind can make is to think or to evade the effort. The latter [evasion] is what you do every time you substitute "belief" for thought.

      “You seem to have equated consciousness, mind, soul and ego. I’d say they’re all different"

      They are all variants of consciousness but from a particular *perspective.* All reduce to some form of consciousness. You can add 'spirit' and the 'I' to the list and possibly others. None are supernatural.

      "A child at birth is way too young to be conceiving ideas or introspecting. So, how old is “the child” when this supposedly occurs and what does he/she do in the meantime?"

      At that early stage it functions at the perceptual level of consciousness, a process we share with the other animals. Conception starts when the child starts to talk. Concept formation is not complete until the child has a 'word' for the concept. I gave the example of forming the concept *dog* in a previous post. Please pay attention!

      “Plants are very different entities to humans. They have a different type of soul - in keeping with what they are. They don’t have sense perceptions. They don’t have senses. They don’t have a brain. Why are you making a comparison with humans?"

      My point was that plants no more require a soul than does a rock. All a plant requires to differentiate it from the inanimate is *life* - a characteristic it shares with man. A plant does not have, or require, consciousness/soul.

      Delete
  9. R2-D2: Yes ... crackle ... they ... crackle ... do sceptic/agnostic/fence-sitter.

    Sorry, what was that? Have you got your transmitter on?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS4:11 PM

      Er... over... I think you have your head stuck where the sun doesn't shine junior... get the kids to apply the usual vaseline and crowbar... hope that helps... over and out.

      Delete

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