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Thread: Does god exist?

  1. #41
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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Friday View Post
    If one cannot know anything without experience through the senses, and if that sensed knowledge can only be structured in our minds by innate categories, then we can only know things as they are to us. We can never know reality as it actually is. Our reference point is always ourselves and not the things themselves. There is a gap between appearance to us and reality.

    http://www.allaboutphilosophy.org/agnosticism-faq.htm


    This is from someone paraphrasing Immanuel Kant. To be precise, it is a rough description of Philosophical Agnosticism, which is another form of Extreme Skepticism.
    None of this of course, addresses my correction to your post. And "extreme skepticism" is not a hybrid of rationalism and empiricism. You will not find any philosopher or professor teaching such a thing. It seems as if you are making up a term to meet your personal philosophy here. Regardless, as I said...it doesn't address anything in my response to yours (as far as I can see).


    “It is wrong for a man to say that he is certain of the objective truth of any proposition unless he can produce evidence which logically justifies that certainty.”
    ― Thomas Henry Huxley


    Following this to its ultimate logical conclusion, since it is all but impossible to justify the certainty of objective truth, agnostics are humble and accept their limitations graciously.
    I have no problem with this. It's a non-issue to what we are discussing.

    Do not think that an agnostic or a skeptic says that knowledge is any less important or worthwhile because it is not absolute, it is as important to them as to everyone. They simply are humble and honest about the nature of their knowledge
    I never said any such thing...so I'm not sure why you would bring it up. Seems like a red herring to me. But if not, can you expand by explaining its relevance?
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  2. #42
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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Friday View Post
    Yes. I write 2013 on my checks this year and 2014 next year. There is a difference between truth and "truth for you". Your argument here is vague.
    Perhaps because your response was vague regarding what is truth and what is the suspension of truth.

    It is an event. More facts are needed to determine the accuracy.
    Ok, then why make such a statement as you did above: "you replace it with the assumption that you can suspend truth when it becomes inconvenient. " Do you have all the facts in order to make such a statement about the suspension of truth?

    All skepticism is healthy unless it is illogical pseudo-skepticism
    I am aware of these definitions.

    I do not believe that the standard classifications are always accurate.
    Does that mean you are attached to the personal classification of extreme skeptic?

    We can have infinite knowledge and still not know a fraction of what there is to know.
    That's irrelevant What's relevant is what we do know and that we can always learn more.

    They thought that when they smashed atoms they would find the final building blocks of the universe. What actually happened is that it raised far more questions than it answered. As we answer those questions, more questions will arise. Like dividing the circumference of a circle by the diameter, there will be no end to knowledge. There will always be another question raised. Stagnation is not a consideration.
    So would you agree that there's really no limit to what we can learn and that with honest objective inquiry and investigation almost anything is possible?
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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    None of this of course, addresses my correction to your post. And "extreme skepticism" is not a hybrid of rationalism and empiricism. You will not find any philosopher or professor teaching such a thing. It seems as if you are making up a term to meet your personal philosophy here. Regardless, as I said...it doesn't address anything in my response to yours (as far as I can see).
    You posted:

    "That skepticism is merely a matter of certainty and/or knowledge about reality is attainable is simply not true."

    "So if we cannot solve the problem of the criterion, we must suspend judgment generally."


    cri·te·ri·on
    /krīˈti(ə)rēən/
    Noun
    A principle or standard by which something may be judged or decided.


    How is the problem of criterion not a matter of certainty about reality?


    I said:

    All knowledge is incomplete because there is no complete system with which to determine its completeness. We have no method of determining the scope of the incompleteness of any knowledge.

    You posted:

    No matter which alternatives we choose, the result is the same. And if we suspend judgment about a criterion [for truth], it follows that judgment is suspended about each and every claim to knowledge; for each claim to know depends on there being a criterion by which it is singled out as true knowledge. So if we cannot solve the problem of the criterion, we must spend judgment generally.

    It is the same question of the methodology of developing a criterion.

    You posted:

    Sextus apparently realized this problem and was careful not to make any such claim. His position was that of noncommitment to any knowledge claims that concern how things really are.

    I posted:

    “It is wrong for a man to say that he is certain of the objective truth of any proposition unless he can produce evidence which logically justifies that certainty.”
    ― Thomas Henry Huxley (in defining Agnosticism)


    You posted:

    The criterion, then, of the Sceptic School is, we say, the appearance, giving this name to what is virtually the sense-presentation. For since this lies in feeling and involuntary affection, it is not open to question. Consequently, no one, I suppose, disputes that the underlying object has this or that appearance; the point in dispute is whether the object is in reality such as it appears to be.

    I said:

    " ... since it is all but impossible to justify the certainty of objective truth, agnostics are humble and accept their limitations graciously."

    Meaning to be satisfied with what we do know. By taking experiences at face value.


    I do not understand why you seem to think I am saying something different when it appears to me that what I have said and what you posted correspond well. Perhaps there is something else I said for which I did not offer a proper context. Could you explain further?
    The inevitable argument of every theist comes down to, "God can move the goalposts whenever he wants." making a logical discussion pointless, because the logic only extends so far.

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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Friday View Post
    I do not understand why you seem to think I am saying something different when it appears to me that what I have said and what you posted correspond well. Perhaps there is something else I said for which I did not offer a proper context. Could you explain further?
    My objection is simple.

    1) You are misusing the term "skepticism" (as it expresses the philosophical views).
    2) You are misusing the term "extreme."

    Concerning #1...

    At no point ever...has or is skepticism qualified by "criterian." Philosophical skepticism and its various sub-forms have never held that "we can know something about reality" or that "it is possible to know something about reality" which is what you are claiming.

    Concerning #2...

    At no point ever, has the term "extreme" meant "hybrid" or "mixture of" or "combination" or "complimentary" or "compromising" etc... "Extreme" merely means to take what it is describing, and take it to it's maximum limit, taking it to is maximum degree, going to exaggerated limits.

    Nowhere in your post with your quotes, have you demonstrated otherwise. Your quotes may be describing what your personal philosophy is, and that is fine...but none of them support your assertion that it is inaccurate to describe skepticism as always withholding judgment (which is what eye claimed and I supported).

    I'll give you a couple examples (out of all your quotes/statements) that are problematic:

    Friday: How is the problem of criterion not a matter of certainty about reality?

    I did not say that criteria is not relevant to matters of certainty when it comes to reality. That is a strawman and/or red herring fallacy. You made a statement '


    Originally you said:

    Quote Originally Posted by Friday
    Since knowledge is dependent upon so many different understood concepts that themselves may become modified as new information in totally unrelated fields of knowledge take place, we can never know ahead of time what new fact may change our perspective on any knowledge we have.

    Therefore, knowledge is certainly possible. It is, however, always incomplete until such time we either have it all (all knowledge) or we at least know the size and scope of what we don't know. Since this appears to be an impossibility, the most reasonable approach is to recognize the incompleteness of our knowledge as a given.
    At first you say that we can never know knowledge (or the truth about knowledge), because knowledge is so dependent upon so many different concepts that they themselves become modified over time. Then you say that "knowledge is possible." Then you say that because our systems of knowledge will never be complete, it's impossible to have knowledge.

    You are all over the place here.

    Skepticism simply says: We must withhold judgment about matters of reality. Plain and simple. This means that we cannot know or have knowledge about reality...it is just the opposite that you have claimed...yet at times, exactly what you have claimed. You contradict yourself in key places. Furthermore, your objection to eye's definition is unfounded...it does mean what it says, as I've shown in my previous post.

    Another statement:

    Quote Originally Posted by Friday
    The statement is apparently logically unreliable. It is not what skeptics believe.
    This is of course, in reference to eye's definition.

    1) What is "logically unreliable" about it? What does that even mean? Something is either logical or it is illogical. There is no such thing as "logically unreliable" or at least, I've never heard or read any such thing in my formal or self-studies.

    2) It is what skeptics believe as I have demonstrated and as is supported by academia. I'm unaware of any philosopher in history or any professor of philosophy that has held that skepticism allows for the possibility of the knowledge of reality (that is, in some results, we can make a statement about reality the way it really is and not withhold judgment concerning it).

    Mentioning other philosophers the way you have in no way refutes this. All you are doing is representing some of their views...but these views have nothing to do with the philosophy known as skepticism and the idea that within this philosophy, we can make statements about the way reality actually is..

    For example, in you illustration of the pie with the many slices...a skeptic could not say that we have a cherry pie, or that the pie is complete, or that the pie is missing x pieces with regard to reality or the way the pie actually is (thus expressing knowledge, or a truth statement about the pie as it corresponds to reality). The skeptic would make statements about its appearance. Saying that the pie appears to be cherry, or it appears to be full, or it appears to be missing x pieces or make statements simply about their appearance of reality (not reality itself).

    As far as Kant is concerned, it is true that he held a form of skepticism as his worldview, but it is not true that he believed or argued that reality (knowledge of) was possible. He argued that there is that which we experience about reality (phenomenal world) and there is reality itself (noumenal world). The latter is unknowable (despite your claim that it is). He argued, like other skeptics, that our knowledge is really just knowledge of appearances, nothing more. It is not true "knowledge" as it pertains to reality (which is what you claimed by saying that such knowledge is possible).

    I think you need to provide some scholarly support for your use of terms there Friday. See the chart I provided above. If at any time you disagree w/ the end result of "withhold judgment" you are not a skeptic in the philosophical sense. And if in all results, you answer "withhold judgment" then your claim of "knowledge of reality is possible" is false. You can't on one hand say that knowledge is possible in a way that we can make statements about reality then on the other say that it isn't and as such we must withhold judgment. That is logically impossible, it is a contradiction.
    Last edited by Apokalupsis; April 8th, 2013 at 07:55 AM.
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  5. #45
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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Prime Zombie View Post
    For the record, as of right now, my stated purpose is not in "winning", and I am genuinely interested in arriving at some sort of understanding without the ultimate end of destroying your argument. You will have to take my word for it, that is the best that I can do. I simply want to get to the bottom of personal spiritual experiences and weigh just how convincing they are and how solid they are as evidence--i.e. I want to know the truth, and I believe there is an objective truth or reality that is clouded by our perceptions, including my own of course.
    I think you bring up some interesting questions in your post and I want to thank you, Prime, for your sincerity and genuineness in wanting to explore them. I would like to contribute more toward this discussion and some of your points later on this week/weekend when I have more time. However, in the mean time, here's a question: Are you familiar with the agency of the Holy Spirit?

    The Anchor Bible Dictionary, in its article on the Holy Spirit, describes it as "[t]he manifestation of divine presence and power perceptible especially in prophetic inspiration." (Vol. 3, Doubleday, New York, 1992, p. 260).
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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    My objection is simple.

    1) You are misusing the term "skepticism" (as it expresses the philosophical views).
    2) You are misusing the term "extreme."

    Concerning #1...

    At no point ever...has or is skepticism qualified by "criterian." Philosophical skepticism and its various sub-forms have never held that "we can know something about reality" or that "it is possible to know something about reality" which is what you are claiming.

    Concerning #2...

    At no point ever, has the term "extreme" meant "hybrid" or "mixture of" or "combination" or "complimentary" or "compromising" etc... "Extreme" merely means to take what it is describing, and take it to it's maximum limit, taking it to is maximum degree, going to exaggerated limits.

    Nowhere in your post with your quotes, have you demonstrated otherwise. Your quotes may be describing what your personal philosophy is, and that is fine...but none of them support your assertion that it is inaccurate to describe skepticism as always withholding judgment (which is what eye claimed and I supported).
    Modern skepticism is embodied in the scientific method, that involves gathering data to formulate and test naturalistic explanations for natural phenomena. A claim becomes factual when it is confirmed to such an extent it would be reasonable to offer temporary agreement. But all facts in science are provisional and subject to challenge, and therefore skepticism is a method leading to provisional conclusions.

    IT IS IMPORTANT THAT WE RECOGNIZE the fallibility of science and the scientific method. But within this fallibility lies its greatest strength: self-correction. Whether mistakes are made honestly or dishonestly, whether a fraud is unknowingly or knowingly perpetrated, in time it will be flushed out of the system through the lack of external verification.

    http://www.skeptic.com/about_us/manifesto.html




    Originally you said:


    At first you say that we can never know knowledge (or the truth about knowledge), because knowledge is so dependent upon so many different concepts that they themselves become modified over time. Then you say that "knowledge is possible." Then you say that because our systems of knowledge will never be complete, it's impossible to have knowledge.
    You simply misunderstand the difference between knowledge and knowing reality. To know reality is to have the final answer. According to the dictionary I can have lots and lots of knowledge without ever knowing anything about reality. It is the insistence of those who believe knowledge only refers to knowing reality who would think I was all over the place.


    knowl·edge
    /ˈnälij/
    Noun

    Information and skills acquired through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.

    What is known in a particular field or in total; facts and information.



    The skeptic does not doubt that according to this dictionary definition "knowledge" here listed as skills, practical understanding, facts and information, exists. Only a nut would believe otherwise.

    The skeptic only objects when claims of knowledge are made saying it accurately corresponds to reality. Nowhere in that definition does it say anything about reality. So skeptics love knowledge. They simply do not believe that knowledge can lead to understanding reality. We can not know anything in a "real" sense, only in a transitory sense; "the best we can do with the information we have".


    You are all over the place here.

    Skepticism simply says: We must withhold judgment about matters of reality. Plain and simple. This means that we cannot know or have knowledge about reality...it is just the opposite that you have claimed...yet at times, exactly what you have claimed. You contradict yourself in key places. Furthermore, your objection to eye's definition is unfounded...it does mean what it says, as I've shown in my previous post.
    This is simply you showing your bias that all knowledge either corresponds to reality or is not knowledge. Why does this have to be? You are redefining the word.

    Another statement:

    This is of course, in reference to eye's definition.

    1) What is "logically unreliable" about it? What does that even mean? Something is either logical or it is illogical. There is no such thing as "logically unreliable" or at least, I've never heard or read any such thing in my formal or self-studies.

    2) It is what skeptics believe as I have demonstrated and as is supported by academia. I'm unaware of any philosopher in history or any professor of philosophy that has held that skepticism allows for the possibility of the knowledge of reality (that is, in some results, we can make a statement about reality the way it really is and not withhold judgment concerning it).
    I have always maintained that all knowledge is incomplete. It cannot represent reality. If you insist that all knowledge speaks to reality, that is simply wrong. Knowledge can speak to probability of reality. We can compare this theory to that one to determine which is more likely, even if we can never prove them to be "reality".


    For example, in you illustration of the pie with the many slices...a skeptic could not say that we have a cherry pie, or that the pie is complete, or that the pie is missing x pieces with regard to reality or the way the pie actually is (thus expressing knowledge, or a truth statement about the pie as it corresponds to reality). The skeptic would make statements about its appearance. Saying that the pie appears to be cherry, or it appears to be full, or it appears to be missing x pieces or make statements simply about their appearance of reality (not reality itself).
    Good lord! Are you for real? You think people are actually going to go around and talk like they are Mr. Spock to make a point? LOL. That is not how well-adjusted philosophers of any kind act. That is how they write academic papers. The skeptic simply assumes it is an "understood" that every statement of knowledge never rises above the realm of conjecture. There is no need to talk down to people.


    As far as Kant is concerned, it is true that he held a form of skepticism as his worldview, but it is not true that he believed or argued that reality (knowledge of) was possible. He argued that there is that which we experience about reality (phenomenal world) and there is reality itself (noumenal world). The latter is unknowable (despite your claim that it is). He argued, like other skeptics, that our knowledge is really just knowledge of appearances, nothing more. It is not true "knowledge" as it pertains to reality (which is what you claimed by saying that such knowledge is possible).
    I have never said such knowledge of reality is possible. You must be misinterpreting. I have said we can know that one answer to a problem is better than another. That is not the same as saying the better answer corresponds to reality. You are assuming that.


    I think you need to provide some scholarly support for your use of terms there Friday. See the chart I provided above. If at any time you disagree w/ the end result of "withhold judgment" you are not a skeptic in the philosophical sense. And if in all results, you answer "withhold judgment" then your claim of "knowledge of reality is possible" is false. You can't on one hand say that knowledge is possible in a way that we can make statements about reality then on the other say that it isn't and as such we must withhold judgment. That is logically impossible, it is a contradiction.
    How about you first demonstrate anywhere where I said knowledge of reality was possible. You say it but you have not yet included such a quote. Until you do I cannot take such empty claims seriously. I do not and have not said any such thing. You must be misinterpreting.

    It is perfectly logical to argue the quality of conclusions drawn from evidence without believing any conclusion will accurately correspond to reality. Are you suggesting that everything I say should be, "I suspend judgment and, therefore, have no opinion."? If you believe that you have no concept of what skepticism really is.

    BTW, I disagree with Kant. There is no noumenal world. That is a belief, like God, not a fact.
    Last edited by Joe Friday; April 9th, 2013 at 06:49 AM.
    The inevitable argument of every theist comes down to, "God can move the goalposts whenever he wants." making a logical discussion pointless, because the logic only extends so far.

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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by eye4magic View Post
    Perhaps because your response was vague regarding what is truth and what is the suspension of truth.
    In a game of chess, the rules determine the truths within the game. In a debate, the rules of logic determine the nature of what is to be accepted as truth.


    Ok, then why make such a statement as you did above: "you replace it with the assumption that you can suspend truth when it becomes inconvenient. " Do you have all the facts in order to make such a statement about the suspension of truth?
    Any time one espouses an answer they know is less likely than another to be best they are suspending truth.


    Does that mean you are attached to the personal classification of extreme skeptic?
    No.


    So would you agree that there's really no limit to what we can learn and that with honest objective inquiry and investigation almost anything is possible?
    No. A perception is always a perception and cannot be anything more or less than what it is.
    The inevitable argument of every theist comes down to, "God can move the goalposts whenever he wants." making a logical discussion pointless, because the logic only extends so far.

  8. #48
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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Friday View Post
    [COLOR="#0000CD"]Modern skepticism is embodied in the scientific method, that involves gathering data to formulate and test naturalistic explanations for natural phenomena. A claim becomes factual when it is confirmed to such an extent it would be reasonable to offer temporary agreement. But all facts in science are provisional and subject to challenge, and therefore skepticism is a method leading to provisional conclusions.

    IT IS IMPORTANT THAT WE RECOGNIZE the fallibility of science and the scientific method. But within this fallibility lies its greatest strength: self-correction. Whether mistakes are made honestly or dishonestly, whether a fraud is unknowingly or knowingly perpetrated, in time it will be flushed out of the system through the lack of external verification.

    http://www.skeptic.com/about_us/manifesto.html
    I've read most of that manifesto. It's a good piece, and I can agree with it. However, that is not philosophical skepticism, it is not a worldview, it is not a position (it is a method of inquiry). I'm unaware of a single philosopher who would define skepticism as as that essay has. And it makes sense because Shermer is no philosopher. What he is referring to is simply "practical skepticism" of which, anyone can be. In fact, I consider myself to be a [practical] skeptic by the definitions and explanation he gave in the essay.

    What you probably meant to say all along, was that you were a religious skeptic, not merely a skeptic, and certainly no "extreme skeptic."

    You simply misunderstand the difference between knowledge and knowing reality. To know reality is to have the final answer. According to the dictionary I can have lots and lots of knowledge without ever knowing anything about reality. It is the insistence of those who believe knowledge only refers to knowing reality who would think I was all over the place.
    I am using the terms as they are traditionally understood and used in philosophy, by philosophers. It's possible they (and myself) are incorrect and you are the only one who gets it right...but me being a skeptic when it comes to grand claims like that, require substantial evidence to believe such a thing. And if you have a particular usage of the terms you need to communicate that instead of a) use improper wording and/or b) just assume that everyone is on board with you to use your particular intended usage.

    Consider, from your own source:


    It is also important to remember that dictionaries do not give definitions; they give usages. For a listener to understand a speaker, and for a reader to follow a writer, important words must be defined with semantic precision for communication to be successful.
    http://www.skeptic.com/about_us/manifesto.html

    You simply did not do this and you left the reader believing you meant the traditional understanding of the worldview.

    So, here's the problem as I see it, as I read back through these posts...

    1. You (in your later posts) are describing a method of inquiry, nothing more. You are not describing the philosophy of skepticism.

    2) A definition of the philosophical term "skepticism" was provided (by eye) and it is absolutely correct.

    3) You objected and said it was not only incorrect, but that was made by someone who didn't know what they were talking about: "The statement is apparently logically unreliable. It is not what skeptics believe. This is simply the words of someone who has not done their homework."

    4) I responded and showed that it indeed, is correct as the meaning of the philosophical worldview known as "skepticism."

    5) You failed to make a distinction between what was properly defined as the philosophical worldview...and your method of inquiry...of which, is nothing special since almost all people agree with it. You failed to identify that it was a legitimate definition and usage of the term...it just isn't the one you wanted.


    Sounds good...just a problem of cross communication and you not properly defining your terms. However...we can see a much bigger problem here if we go back a couple posts before this exchange...and we can see why or how the problem snowballed.

    What you described in your first mentioning of it (as a response to Talthas)...was philosophical skepticism!

    Friday: I hold the position of extreme skepticism. We don't really "know" anything and must satisfy ourselves with the next best thing, by selecting the most probable working theory.

    You never once qualify this statement. You state explicitly that we know nothing. And that is precisely what philosophical skepticism is, and it is how both eye and myself understood it (rightfully so) and is why eye provided the definition that was given. You objected to that very accurate definition saying they didn't know what they were talking about. Furthermore, Sherman actually disagrees with you! See below**.

    It would appear then, that it is you who misunderstood the term as it was presented. You cannot have the possibility of possessing knowledge if it is the case that you cannot know anything.

    While it may be true that you do not subscribe to the actual philosophical worldview known as skepticism....it is also true that:

    1) you failed to recognize the philosophical worldview of skepticism and make a distinction between it and what you intended to say
    2) you did not properly communicate that distinction and correct your previous statement about it
    3) you falsely charged eye that eye's definition is incorrect (it isn't...you just communicated the wrong concept, eye responded properly and I provided the evidence that supports that usage)


    In short, there are 2 concepts at play here...

    1) philosophical skepticism; a worldview; a position

    2) a method of inquiry; being skeptical of a claim until it is proven to correspond to reality

    Sherman makes the distinction:

    Skepticism* is a provisional approach to claims. It is the application of reason to any and all ideas — no sacred cows allowed. In other words, skepticism is a method, not a position. Ideally, skeptics do not go into an investigation closed to the possibility that a phenomenon might be real or that a claim might be true. When we say we are “skeptical,” we mean that we must see compelling evidence before we believe.
    http://www.skeptic.com/about_us/

    * as he uses the term. It is fine to use "skepticism" as a term of course, but it is always important to properly define and explain what is meant by it (like Sherman did, but you did not, which is what let to this obstacle in communication).


    knowl·edge
    /ˈnälij/
    Noun

    Information and skills acquired through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.

    What is known in a particular field or in total; facts and information.
    We have a problem. You are contradicting yourself again.

    Previously you said "we do not know anything". Now you are saying that according to your intended usage of the term "knowledge," that we can know things. If fact, knowledge is "what is known in a particular field or in total."

    So either it is the case that we cannot know anything...or it is the case that we can know things in particular fields or in total. I've not interjected any new words, terms, concepts or usages. I've used only your own here. You said them, not me.

    You cannot have it both ways, that's a logical contradiction.

    The skeptic does not doubt that according to this dictionary definition "knowledge" here listed as skills, practical understanding, facts and information, exists. Only a nut would believe otherwise.

    The skeptic only objects when claims of knowledge are made saying it accurately corresponds to reality.
    Well...now you are going off on a new path. In fact, it is here where you deviate from Sherman. Sherman does not claim that we cannot know anything about reality as you have just done. Furthermore, you just went back to philosophical skepticism!

    You just said that the skeptic objects when truth claims are made about reality (vs its appearance of course). That's traditional, philosophical skepticism...and it is not what Sherman is arguing for.

    ** You previously argued that we can "know nothing". Well, that is what philosophical skepticism is, and Sherman disagrees with it. In fact, he says of it:

    The key to skepticism is to continuously and vigorously apply the methods of science to navigate the treacherous straits between “know nothing” skepticism and “anything goes” credulity.
    http://www.skeptic.com/about_us/manifesto.html

    Nowhere in that definition does it say anything about reality. So skeptics love knowledge. They simply do not believe that knowledge can lead to understanding reality. We can not know anything in a "real" sense, only in a provisional sense.
    This is not true.

    1) Dictionaries are insufficient for understanding meanings of terms, they are useful to explain usages.
    2) If facts and information do not correspond to reality, what do they correspond to? Appearances?
    3) Skeptics do believe that knowledge can lead to an understanding of reality. That they do not is patently false. There's a distinction between understanding and understanding with certainty or conclusively beyond a shadow of a doubt, of which, you are not making.

    This is simply you showing your bias that all knowledge either corresponds to reality or is not knowledge. Why does this have to be? You are redefining the word.
    No. The difference between our usages it that I present no logical contradiction and you do, as shown above.

    I have always maintained that all knowledge is incomplete. It cannot represent reality. This is just you using your own definitions of the word knowledge and not recognizing context of usages.
    If knowledge does not represent reality, then it represents its appearance. And that is philosophical skepticism. You are back at square 1 it seems.

    Also, it would appear that you agree your usage of "logically unreliable" was incorrect. Is that right?

    Good lord! Are you for real? You think people are actually going to go around and talk like they are Mr. Spok to make a point? LOL. That is not how well-adjusted philosophers of any kind act.
    No. When did I claim that people went around and talked like that? You are once again, failing to make a distinction. The difference between the meanings of the statements will vary according to the world view.

    To say that the cat is dead...to the foundationalist for example, is to say that in reality, the cat is indeed no longer living. For the philosophical skeptic however, using the same language, it means that the cat appears to be dead. For the skepticism that Sherman espouses means the same thing as the foundationalist as long as it is understood that we need to have evidence that the cat is actually dead before arriving at that conclusion. But this is the identical belief of the foundationalist. The difference being of course, that the foundationalist is a world view and Sherman's skepticism is a method (of which, the foundatlionalist subscribes to but has no compulsion to state). Both end up at the same place. The philosophical skeptic does not however...for him, all it means is that it appears that the cat is dead. Therefore, these skeptics will always withhold judgment as to whether or not the cat actually is dead.

    I have never said such knowledge of reality is possible. I said for it to be possible we would have to have an understanding of the scope of what we do not know, and this is an impossibility. You must be misinterpreting.
    You "defined" knowledge as having known information or facts about particular fields or in total. These particular fields are representative of reality. You said that we cannot know anything...this means then, that knowledge is unknowable. It may not be what you meant, but it is what you said. You are not communicating well here it seems.

    How about you first demonstrate anywhere where I said knowledge of reality was possible. You say it but you have not yet included such a quote. Until you do I cannot take such empty claims seriously. I do not and have not said any such thing. You must be misinterpreting.
    See above. Also, if it is impossible to know anything (as you have claimed), then how can you know anything about knowledge? How can you possess knowledge? How do you know that your statement that you cannot know anything, is true?

    Your position is self-imploding by contradiction here Friday.

    It is perfectly logical to argue the quality of conclusions drawn from evidence without believing any conclusion will accurately correspond to reality.
    Support this. Give me an example.
    Last edited by Apokalupsis; April 9th, 2013 at 08:56 AM.
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  9. #49
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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Friday View Post
    In a game of chess, the rules determine the truths within the game. In a debate, the rules of logic determine the nature of what is to be accepted as truth.
    Hummm, so now you're switching and claiming that truth is what follows the rules of logic, which would mean that if something doesn't follow the rules of logic it is not truth? Are you sure you want to make this claim or am I misunderstanding you?

    Any time one espouses an answer they know is less likely than another to be best they are suspending truth.
    But you said truth was based upon facts. What facts do you have to objectively consider whether or not something is less likely than something else to be the case as in your statement telling Talthas that he was suspending truth?

    No.
    Great, so now that we've settled that little detail and you're comfortable with being a skeptic verses an extreme skeptic,
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    you never know about the world of possibilities that might open up for you.

    No. A perception is always a perception and cannot be anything more or less than what it is.
    Who said anything about perceptions? Are you assuming or is it your opinion that after rigorous inquiry, study and investigation the possible can't known?
    Close your eyes. Fall in love. Stay there.
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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by me
    "The statement is apparently logically unreliable. It is not what skeptics believe. This is simply the words of someone who has not done their homework."
    This is the only thing in your post actually relevant. The rest is nit picking. So let's go look at the context of this statement. I was responding to this:

    Extreme skepticism holds that no knowledge is possible, but this is logically untenable since the statement contradicts itself.

    Posted by eye.
    Read the way that sentence is written. It claims skeptics believe that the statement contradicts itself. Skeptics do not hold that "this is logically untenable since the statement contradicts itself." as the sentence claims. Whoever wrote that did not do his homework and the sentence is certainly logically unreliable.

    Socrates said, "I know that I know nothing." He was taunting those who held the position that knowledge must be about reality. It makes perfect sense if you understand it to mean: "I know (by my definition of the word know, meaning the best we can do with the facts available) that I know (according to the definition of those who claim that knowledge must be about reality) nothing."

    To say the claim contradicts itself is to assume that the word 'know' always refers to knowledge of reality. That is not the only kind of knowledge, in fact, skeptics claim that there is no such knowledge. All knowledge is provisional only.


    It appears you are trying to find fault. Is that the kind of debater you are? Ignore the ideas and reduce to ridiculous in the details?
    Last edited by Joe Friday; April 9th, 2013 at 10:39 PM.
    The inevitable argument of every theist comes down to, "God can move the goalposts whenever he wants." making a logical discussion pointless, because the logic only extends so far.

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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Friday View Post
    This is the only thing in your post actually relevant. The rest is nit picking. So let's go look at the context of this statement. I was responding to this:



    Read the way that sentence is written. It claims skeptics believe that the statement contradicts itself. Skeptics do not hold that "this is logically untenable since the statement contradicts itself." as the sentence claims. Whoever wrote that did not do his homework and the sentence is certainly logically unreliable.
    No...the person writing it is not saying that is what skeptics necessarily believe, but rather that is a consequence of skepticism taken to an extreme (hence, extreme skepticism). You are not reading the statement carefully. It is 2 parts:

    1. Extreme skepticism holds that no knowledge is possible
    2. but this is logically untenable since the statement contradicts itself.

    #1 is the explanation of what extreme skepticism is. #2 is the logical consequence.

    Socrates said, "I know that I know nothing." He was taunting those who held the position that knowledge must be about reality.
    As someone who has actually taught a university class in classical epistemology, I can tell you emphatically, he was saying no such thing. I explained this to eye a while back in another thread: What is Logic? (Logic 101)

    For your convenience:

    He was referencing the sophists and others who claimed they knew about all sort of stuff, many of whom claimed to be experts in many things even though they specialized in one field. He wasn't suggesting that contradictions are acceptable, he was arguing for humility and the knowing that we always have more to learn. He was arguing for what we now call "Socratic Wisdom".

    What Socrates is saying, is the same thing expressed by Augustine and Wittgenstein.

    He only errs who thinks he knows what he does not know. (Augustine)

    The difficulty in philosophy is to say no more than we know. (Wittgenstein)

    Read this for more detail and explanation: http://www.roangelo.net/logwitt/socratic-ignorance.html

    It's merely an issue of humility in the recognizing and acknowledgement of what one does not know, which is outside of one's own area of expertise, or what one does know This is further explained by this entry in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

    The oracle's answer is that Socrates is the wisest person. Socrates reports that he is puzzled by this answer since so many other people in the community are well known for their extensive knowledge and wisdom, and yet Socrates claims that he lacks knowledge and wisdom. Socrates does an investigation to get to the bottom of this puzzle. He interrogates a series of politicians, poets, and craftsmen. As one would expect, Socrates' investigation reveals that those who claim to have knowledge either do not really know any of the things they claim to know, or else know far less than they proclaim to know. The most knowledgeable of the bunch, the craftsmen, know about their craft, but they claim to know things far beyond the scope of their expertise. Socrates, so we are told, neither suffers the vice of claiming to know things he does not know, nor the vice of claiming to have wisdom when he does not have wisdom. In this revelation, we have a potential resolution to the wisdom puzzle in The Apology.

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/wisdom/


    To say the claim contradicts itself is to assume that the word 'know' always refers to knowledge of reality. That is not the only kind of knowledge, in fact, skeptics claim that there is no such knowledge. All knowledge is provisional only.
    Again, you confuse certainty with knowledge itself.

    It appears you are trying to find fault. Is that the kind of debater you are? Ignore the ideas and reduce to ridiculous in the details?
    No. I'm the type of debater that corrects errors when I see them, expect the proper communication of ideas by all interlocutors, and prefer to use reason and evidence over dogma and assertion.
    Last edited by Apokalupsis; April 9th, 2013 at 08:18 PM.
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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    No...the person writing it is not saying that is what skeptics necessarily believe, but rather that is a consequence of skepticism taken to an extreme (hence, extreme skepticism). You are not reading the statement carefully. It is 2 parts:

    1. Extreme skepticism holds that no knowledge is possible
    2. but this is logically untenable since the statement contradicts itself.

    #1 is the explanation of what extreme skepticism is. #2 is the logical consequence.
    That would be true if the sentence was punctuated properly. As punctuated the subject, Extreme Skepticism, holds, 1.) that no knowledge is possible 2.) but this is logically untenable since the statement contradicts itself. To mean what you wrote it would require a semi-colon.


    Incorrect: I like cows, however, I hate the way they smell.

    Correct: I like cows; however, I hate the way they smell.

    What's going on here? The conjunctive adverb "however" signals a connection between two independent clauses, and commas should not be used to connect independent clauses if there is no coordinating conjunction.


    To be a philosopher you had better know how to punctuate your sentences. Because it is incorrectly punctuated, it is not clear which way it is intended. Therefore, it is wrong. Since you built your entire argument upon my reaction to this silly statement, you are incorrect as well.


    As someone who has actually taught a university class in classical epistemology, I can tell you emphatically, he was saying no such thing. I explained this to eye a while back in another thread: What is Logic? (Logic 101)

    For your convenience:

    He was referencing the sophists and others who claimed they knew about all sort of stuff, many of whom claimed to be experts in many things even though they specialized in one field. He wasn't suggesting that contradictions are acceptable, he was arguing for humility and the knowing that we always have more to learn. He was arguing for what we now call "Socratic Wisdom".


    What Socrates is saying, is the same thing expressed by Augustine and Wittgenstein.

    He only errs who thinks he knows what he does not know. (Augustine)

    The difficulty in philosophy is to say no more than we know. (Wittgenstein)

    Read this for more detail and explanation: http://www.roangelo.net/logwitt/socratic-ignorance.html

    It's merely an issue of humility in the recognizing and acknowledgement of what one does not know, which is outside of one's own area of expertise, or what one does know This is further explained by this entry in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:


    Never have I once said contradictions are acceptable. You take liberties.

    I said: To say the claim contradicts itself is to assume that the word 'know' always refers to knowledge of reality. That is not the only kind of knowledge, in fact, skeptics claim that there is no such knowledge. All knowledge is provisional only.
    That is exactly what I am saying. We can "know" that all knowledge is provisional only. It is a position of humility. An acceptance that we can never know "a thing in itself" and can only perceive it indirectly. The only way it makes sense is if indeed there are two views of "to know". We can not know the reality of anything but we can determine the probability of one answer being better than another. That is also a kind of knowledge.

    We have a problem. You are contradicting yourself again.

    Previously you said "we do not know anything". Now you are saying that according to your intended usage of the term "knowledge," that we can know things. If fact, knowledge is "what is known in a particular field or in total."

    So either it is the case that we cannot know anything...or it is the case that we can know things in particular fields or in total. I've not interjected any new words, terms, concepts or usages. I've used only your own here. You said them, not me.

    You cannot have it both ways, that's a logical contradiction.
    People do not walk around unable to function, so they must know something. But, if knowledge is only defined by someone as understanding reality, then in that context there is no knowledge because there is no reality. I do not see why this is such a hard concept. I am saying the same thing as Socrates. Otherwise, he would be contradicting himself and it would not be wisdom.



    The oracle's answer is that Socrates is the wisest person. Socrates reports that he is puzzled by this answer since so many other people in the community are well known for their extensive knowledge and wisdom, and yet Socrates claims that he lacks knowledge and wisdom. Socrates does an investigation to get to the bottom of this puzzle. He interrogates a series of politicians, poets, and craftsmen. As one would expect, Socrates' investigation reveals that those who claim to have knowledge either do not really know any of the things they claim to know, or else know far less than they proclaim to know. The most knowledgeable of the bunch, the craftsmen, know about their craft, but they claim to know things far beyond the scope of their expertise. Socrates, so we are told, neither suffers the vice of claiming to know things he does not know, nor the vice of claiming to have wisdom when he does not have wisdom. In this revelation, we have a potential resolution to the wisdom puzzle in The Apology.

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/wisdom/
    But how can one know that one knows nothing unless the context of each use of the word know is different?


    No. I'm the type of debater that corrects errors when I see them, expect the proper communication of ideas by all interlocutors, and prefer to use reason and evidence over dogma and assertion.
    You keep telling yourself that.

    "There is no greater mistake than the hasty conclusion that opinions are worthless because they are badly argued."
    Thomas H. Huxley
    The inevitable argument of every theist comes down to, "God can move the goalposts whenever he wants." making a logical discussion pointless, because the logic only extends so far.

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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Friday View Post
    That would be true if the sentence was punctuated properly. As punctuated the subject, Extreme Skepticism, holds, 1.) that no knowledge is possible 2.) but this is logically untenable since the statement contradicts itself. To mean what you wrote it would require a semi-colon.


    Incorrect: I like cows, however, I hate the way they smell.

    Correct: I like cows; however, I hate the way they smell.

    What's going on here? The conjunctive adverb "however" signals a connection between two independent clauses, and commas should not be used to connect independent clauses if there is no coordinating conjunction.


    To be a philosopher you had better know how to punctuate your sentences. Because it is incorrectly punctuated, it is not clear which way it is intended. Therefore, it is wrong. Since you built your entire argument upon my reaction to this silly statement, you are incorrect as well.
    This is incorrect. "However" does not exist in the statement! You are not reading carefully again. It is punctuated just fine. The word "but" is a coordinating conjunction and it joins 2 independent clauses and it requires no semi-colon to do so.

    This is what I'm talking about Friday...you make these crazy claims that are just so far off base. They are both completely untrue and completely unsupported. That is why I am obligated to respond to your posts (at least, in this particular discussion about this particular topic).

    Your example of using "however" is correct because it is combining to main clauses and the "however" means "nevertheless". The problem is, "However" is not the word used in the statement in question. There are 2 ways to phrase the statement.

    1) Extreme skepticism holds that no knowledge is possible, but this is logically untenable since the statement contradicts itself.

    2) Extreme skepticism holds that no knowledge is possible; however, this is logically untenable since the statement contradicts itself.

    Both sentences are grammatically correct. Both sentences carry the same meaning. Both sentences use different grammatical rules based on which conjunction is used (but or however).

    Rules of Grammar (for your convenience):

    When a word like 'and', 'or' and 'but' (called conjunctions) joins two standalone sentences, you should put a comma before it.
    eg. He is a great swimmer, but he prefers to play golf.
    eg. The play was a great success, but the audience was a disaster. (Oscar Wilde)
    eg. We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. (Winston Churchill)
    Read more at http://www.grammar-monster.com/lesso...mZlu7vMO2D1.99

    Use a comma + a little conjunction (and, but, for, nor, yet, or, so) to connect two independent clauses, as in "He hit the ball well, but he ran toward third base."
    http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/commas.htm

    To suggest a contrast that is unexpected in light of the first clause: "Joey lost a fortune in the stock market, but he still seems able to live quite comfortably."
    http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/gramm...ctions.htm#but

    A semicolon and the use of "however" is not required to convey the author's message in our statement in question. That you would prefer one way over the other as the author of a statement yourself, does not mean that a) all others must use your rule instead of other perfectly available and acceptable rules, and/or b) the statement in question is grammatically incorrect and does not carry with it, the meaning that everyone here understood (except for yourself for some reason).

    Lastly, but more importantly than all the above re: grammar rules, the use of a comma or semicolon does not change the meaning of a sentence (which is what your claim is). So your objection that the statement cannot mean what both eye and I understand it to mean because of "bad use of a comma" makes absolutely no sense. If the statement were to mean as you claimed it means (Skeptics believe that the statement contradicts itself), then the statement:

    Extreme skepticism holds that no knowledge is possible, but this is logically untenable since the statement contradicts itself.

    would have been written as:

    Extreme skepticism holds that no knowledge is possible, and that this is logically untenable since the statement contradicts itself.


    If you genuinely were not aware of these grammatically rules and because of that, you misunderstood the statement, that's fine (although, it does not seem to be the case unfortunately that admitting error comes easy for you based on our discussion here). That would at least explain a big part of the problem in the communication we are having and as to why there was an objection in the first place.


    Never have I once said contradictions are acceptable. You take liberties.
    You highlighted and focused on the wrong thing. As I explained, that post was taken from another discussion. The point of it was not to illustrate that YOU were arguing for contradictions, but that you were simply mistaken about what Socrates meant by his statement. Again, I believe this to be yet another example of you not reading carefully what is said.

    That is exactly what I am saying. We can "know" that all knowledge is provisional only. It is a position of humility. An acceptance that we can never know "a thing in itself" and can only perceive it indirectly. The only way it makes sense is if indeed there are two views of "to know". We can not know the reality of anything but we can determine the probability of one answer being better than another. That is also a kind of knowledge.
    This seems to be saying:

    All statements about reality are actually statements about the appearances of reality.

    It would seem so, since you are claiming (have claimed) that we can know absolutely nothing about reality.

    People do not walk around unable to function, so they must know something. But, if knowledge is only defined by someone as understanding reality, then in that context there is no knowledge because there is no reality. I do not see why this is such a hard concept. I am saying the same thing as Socrates. Otherwise, he would be contradicting himself and it would not be wisdom.
    Socrates is saying no such thing. You greatly misunderstand Socrates and his philosophies. I explained what that statement made and provided 2 separate sources. Nor is he contradicting himself (that is the same erroneous claim made by eye in the original thread way back when that prompted me to create the post I just pasted for you). You really need to stop making claims about that which you obviously are completely unfamiliar with Friday. You should consider reading some of the sources I've made available to you to help better understand some of these concepts (instead of simply assuming that something is the case or that someone believed something they did not).

    Furthermore, you are now claiming that "there is no reality." Now, .before I respond to this...I want you to be certain that you really do mean what you are saying here (as I don't want to waste time responding to it only to have you change your mind and claim that what you wrote is not what you really meant).


    But how can one know that one knows nothing unless the context of each use of the word know is different?
    ....I just explained this to you in my copy/paste from another thread. Again, you are not reading carefully. Please re-read, this time in its entirety and ignore the bit about 'contradictions.' Socrates is not saying that we cannot know anything. You cannot take a single statement out of context because it sounds like a cool bumper sticker, then pretend you understand its meaning (which is what both you and eye have done, and eye has since been corrected and accepted that).

    You keep telling yourself that.

    "There is no greater mistake than the hasty conclusion that opinions are worthless because they are badly argued."
    Thomas H. Huxley
    Since you insist on making this personal unfortunately...

    Coming from the one person in this thread who doesn't read carefully, makes claims of what philosophers believed and taught when they actually did no such thing, uses wrong definitions of terms, backpedals constantly, absolutely refuses to support any claim he makes, uses terms that don't even exist, and has an ego that blinds them to the truth and prevents humility of admitting a possible error...I'd say that Huxley is referring to your argumentation, not mine my friend. You can pull out quotes all day long, but they, like bumper stickers, do not an argument make. You don't have to take my word for it of course...we have a "Debate Discussion" forum specifically for asking community input about how a particular debate is going (since such discussions would bring a debate off-topic). Why don't you start a thread there and see if anyone agrees with you. If they do, perhaps they'll give you some different ideas on how to "enlighten" me. If they do not, and instead, they see what I see, then maybe...just maybe...you'll consider bringing down that unnecessary wall of defense to be able to see that you may be in error after all about a couple things here. Just a suggestion.
    Last edited by Apokalupsis; April 10th, 2013 at 08:08 AM.
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  14. #54
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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Friday View Post
    We can not know the reality of anything
    How do you know that you can not know the reality of anything?
    Close your eyes. Fall in love. Stay there.
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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Friday View Post
    That would be true if the sentence was punctuated properly. As punctuated the subject, Extreme Skepticism, holds, 1.) that no knowledge is possible 2.) but this is logically untenable since the statement contradicts itself. To mean what you wrote it would require a semi-colon.


    Incorrect: I like cows, however, I hate the way they smell.

    Correct: I like cows; however, I hate the way they smell.

    What's going on here? The conjunctive adverb "however" signals a connection between two independent clauses, and commas should not be used to connect independent clauses if there is no coordinating conjunction.
    I really don't think that syntax completely destroys the argument that Apok was making here. I could be wrong, but arguing syntax over content does not pursuade me in the slightest.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Friday View Post
    That is exactly what I am saying. We can "know" that all knowledge is provisional only. It is a position of humility. An acceptance that we can never know "a thing in itself" and can only perceive it indirectly.
    I actually agree with this point. There is no way to "know" truth or to "know" that anything we experience is real or as we perceive it to be. All knowledge as we understand it is based off of cognitive interpretation of input that we assign logical meaning to. Since everything is "filtered" through logic and cognitive interpretation, we are incapable of "knowing" definitively that ANYTHING is true / real / whatever.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Friday View Post
    To be a philosopher you had better know how to punctuate your sentences. Because it is incorrectly punctuated, it is not clear which way it is intended. Therefore, it is wrong. Since you built your entire argument upon my reaction to this silly statement, you are incorrect as well.
    ................
    You keep telling yourself that.
    I think you are taking this debate a little too personally. From the looks of it, you and Apok hold considerable philosophical knowledge and stand to learn from each other. I suggest taking a step back and cooling off a bit so things do not get out of control.
    I will no longer be replying to any post from a Liberal going forward. I will continue, as normal, to discuss topics and engage in intellectual exchanges with non-leftist

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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apok
    If you genuinely were not aware of these grammatically rules and because of that, you misunderstood the statement, that's fine (although, it does not seem to be the case unfortunately that admitting error comes easy for you based on our discussion here). That would at least explain a big part of the problem in the communication we are having and as to why there was an objection in the first place.
    That would be the case. LOL.

    This seems to be saying:

    All statements about reality are actually statements about the appearances of reality.

    It would seem so, since you are claiming (have claimed) that we can know absolutely nothing about reality.
    Yes.

    Furthermore, you are now claiming that "there is no reality." Now, .before I respond to this...I want you to be certain that you really do mean what you are saying here (as I don't want to waste time responding to it only to have you change your mind and claim that what you wrote is not what you really meant).
    It exists as an abstract concept, but not as a "thing in itself". Just like a unicorn exists as an abstract concept but not as a "thing in itself".
    The inevitable argument of every theist comes down to, "God can move the goalposts whenever he wants." making a logical discussion pointless, because the logic only extends so far.

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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Friday View Post
    That would be the case. LOL.
    It happens to us all.

    Yes.
    OK...so the claim is "We can know absolutely nothing about reality."

    That being the case, then what this means is that all statements about reality itself are not true by way of reason (we may happen to get a statement about reality correct, but we'll never know and we certainly did not arrive there by using reason and evidence).

    It exists as an abstract concept, but not as a "thing in itself". Just like a unicorn exists as an abstract concept but not as a "thing in itself".
    So reality exists only as a concept...similar to how a unicorn exists. Got it.

    So the question is I suppose...how do you know this to be true?
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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by eye4magic View Post
    I think you bring up some interesting questions in your post and I want to thank you, Prime, for your sincerity and genuineness in wanting to explore them. I would like to contribute more toward this discussion and some of your points later on this week/weekend when I have more time. However, in the mean time, here's a question: Are you familiar with the agency of the Holy Spirit?

    The Anchor Bible Dictionary, in its article on the Holy Spirit, describes it as "[t]he manifestation of divine presence and power perceptible especially in prophetic inspiration." (Vol. 3, Doubleday, New York, 1992, p. 260).
    Thank you for your kind words. Yes I am familiar with the Holy Spirit. What I'd like to know is how one can differentiate between it and any other proposed deity, spirit, supernatural being, or even imagination.

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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Prime Zombie View Post
    Thank you for your kind words. Yes I am familiar with the Holy Spirit. What I'd like to know is how one can differentiate between it and any other proposed deity, spirit, supernatural being, or even imagination.
    The short answer is that the Holy Spirit often gives us the ability to discern, which doesn't necessarily mean there is only ONE way of discerning. Consider the analogy of the blind men observing the elephant, for example.

    The longer answer has to go deeper into our notion of differentiation. I address this point below with one of your questions.

    I find it confusing that when Christians pray, have dreams, or have personal experiences and/or so-called miracles, it's often no question that this is proof for Jesus. But when other faithful people pray, have dreams, or have personal experiences/miracles--it has to be something else. You have noted that you don't think it is Satan, and suggest that it could be some collective unconscious, which I would like you to get more specific about.
    Let's break down this idea of personal spiritual experience by examining our notion of labels and differentiation.

    If we suspend, just for a moment and for the purpose of debate, the notion of religion and simply think about the Creator without the labels, conditions and differentiations that religion may place on God, what would we have and more importantly how would we know the Divine? Is that possible? How would we know God (or know about God) without religion, without the word, without Scriptures, without language, all of which gives us the knowledge about the Creator? I submit for your consideration that we, that would include you, btw, can know God, an aspect of the Divine. We can experience the Divine.

    How does a spiritual experience confirm to the subjective mind that what we are indeed experiencing is the Divine without the knowledge of religion and scriptures as a framework that differentiates and gives us labels and descriptions for our knowledge as a reference?

    In that there are different types of spiritual/mystical experiences, there are common elements to these experiences in all cultures. Some such common and shared elements include; They are practical, experiential, ineffable, nonconceptual, unitize, integrative, transcendental and knowledge from direct experience are some of those elements. So how could this work from ONE undifferentiated divine Source?

    Here is one possible analogy. Consider ONE Absolute pure stream of life-giving water coming down the mountain.

    The stream of pure water comes to Village A. Village A puts the stream through its established differentiation process. However, at its core, the essence of the stream IS pure and undifferentiated.
    The stream of pure water comes to Village B. Village B puts the stream through its established differentiation process. However, at its core, the essence of the stream IS pure and undifferentiated.
    The stream of pure water comes to Village C. Village C puts the stream through its established differentiation process. However, at its core, the essence of the stream IS pure and undifferentiated.

    Now religious debate seems to like to focus on the differentiated stuff of the Absolute stream. Why is this? I think that's a valid question, but probably one for a different debate, though I thought I would throw it out there. You're asking about the validity itself of the differentiation. You seem to be asking: "Why are Ravi in India, or David in Israel, or Ali in Iraq, or Sakya in Tibet, or MingLi in China, or Joseph in Florida right or wrong about their personal spiritual experience of the Divine or Spirit or Allah or the One Supreme or however they relate to the Creator? How can they all have a spiritual experience of the One Divine source?"

    Let's start with another possible short answer first: Because at its core, the essence of the ONE stream in all cultures is pure and undifferentiated and most world scriptures confirm this:

    Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.
    Judaism and Christianity. Bible, Deuteronomy 6.4

    I am the Lord, and there is no other,
    besides me there is no God.
    Judaism and Christianity. Bible, Isaiah 45.5

    Say, He is God, the One!
    God, the eternally Besought of all!
    He neither begets nor was begotten.
    And there is none comparable unto Him.
    Islam. Qur'an 112

    He is the one God, hidden in all beings, all-pervading, the Self within all beings, watching over all works, dwelling in all beings, the witness, the perceiver, the only one, free from qualities.
    Hinduism. Svetasvatara Upanishad 6.11

    He is the Sole Supreme Being; of eternal manifestation;
    Creator, Immanent Reality; Without Fear, Without Rancor;
    Timeless Form; Unincarnated; Self-existent;
    Realized by the grace of the Holy Preceptor.
    Sikhism. Adi Granth, Japuji, p. 1: The Mul Mantra

    The sage clasps the Primal Unity,
    Testing by it everything under heaven.
    Taoism. Tao Te Ching 22


    Absolute truth is indestructible. Being indestructible, it is eternal. Being eternal, it is self-existent. Being self-existent, it is infinite. Being infinite, it is vast and deep. Being vast and deep, it is transcendental and intelligent. It is because it is vast and deep that it contains all existence. It is because it is transcendental and intelligent that it embraces all existence. It is because it is infinite and eternal that it fulfills or perfects all existence. In vastness and depth it is like the Earth. In transcendental intelligence it is like Heaven. Infinite and eternal, it is the Infinite itself. Such being the nature of absolute truth, it manifests itself without being seen; it produces effects without motion; it accomplishes its ends without action.
    Confucianism. Doctrine of the Mean 26


    A longer answer is that our given differentiations, i.e., religion, scriptures, doctrine, interpretations, etc., will often filter our personal direct spiritual experiences, which by default forces us to use the restrictions of language to describe the undifferentiated pure stream. Yet this Absolute stream, has no language to describe it because at its core it is indescribable and is undifferentiated. Nevertheless, this profound realization doesn't mean man can't experience aspects of the pure stream. Nor does it mean that the Creator is not both personal and the essence of Divine Love and impersonal. In fact, religion at its core and noblest purpose is about helping man to reconnect and relate to this undifferentiated, indescribable Divine presence.

    So when Ravi, David, Ali, Sakya, MingLi and Joseph have a spiritual experience of the Divine, consider that they are experiencing an aspect of the One pure stream and then filtering their direct experience through their culture's differentiation.

    In 1987 Pope John Paul II weighed in on the notion of the Spirit that runs through the world cultures.

    "There remain many questions which we have to develop and articulate more clearly. How does God work in the lives of people of different religions? How does his saving activity in Jesus Christ effectively extend to those who have not professed faith in him? In the coming years, these questions and others like them will become more and more important for the church in a pluralistic world and pastors with the collaboration of experienced theologians must direct their studious attention to them."

    For John Paul, the reason why there are spiritual treasures in the religions of the world, why there is a sense of kinship, and why dialogue is promising, is the reality of the Holy Spirit, who is alive and active in world history, both before and after Christ, and who inspires the searchings of humankind. He believes that, while there are many religions in the world, there is one Spirit seeking to bear fruit in them all. As for the question of whether it would be theologically sound to to attribute to non-Christian religions a role of mediation in salvation, I believe that the pontiff would regard it as one of those matter that needs further study before taking a position on it.


    Does any of this make sense to you?
    Last edited by eye4magic; April 14th, 2013 at 06:48 PM.
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    Re: Does god exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by eye4magic View Post
    Does any of this make sense to you?
    Butting in for a moment as it's interesting...

    While all of them do indeed have this common thread of ultimate truth and spiritual unity in the supreme, I think none the less, each of those sources would, beyond that general notion, say that the others have the details wrong.

    And after all, even a naturalist or atheist can appeal to a universal truth and the supremacy of the truth of the universe itself. We just don't give it a human personality and motivations. So you could say this is not so much evidence of god, but evidence all rational people recognize that all of us share one truth that is well beyond ourselves as individuals, yet at the same time includes us as individuals. I've argued that is the true definition of spiritualism and its something both theists and atheists can share.
    Feed me some debate pellets!

 

 
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