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Old 01-31-2007, 02:20 PM   #36
Mike Doolittle
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Re: The Root of all Evil/Trobule With Atheism

Originally Posted by Nicato View Post
Once you've made an objective claim, you've made a claim which can be tested by the scientific method. In other words, by positing an objective being, you have crossed the line which supposedly separates science from religion. (I'm using religion as a shorthand.)
Then by what standard do you measure something to *not* be an "objective claim"? The existence of God is a claim of the supernatural, which by definition implies that it can't be quantified or observed naturally.

As I've already shown in this thread, we can deduce scientifically that whatever brought the universe into existent was supernatural – transcending our universe's natural laws. You wouldn't assume the universe doesn't exist only because its origins are supernatural and can't be measured from within our existential vacuum, but you can still logically deduce that the supernatural must exist – even though by scientific standards it's not an "objective" claim since we cannot directly observe or test the supernatural.

They can't. Access to that realm is reserved for to theologians and yourself, as y'all seem to compose most of the folk who assert that anything exists outside the universe. (I'm being sarcastic.)
The universe didn't bring itself into existence, and it hasn't existed forever. There clearly is something outside of our universe.

It's like I said, where science ends an equally refined process does not necessarily begin. Any question which can't be objectively answered by science can't be objectively answered it all. Outside the reach of science there exists only subjectivity and infinite regression, of which your "creative god" is a part.
Again, it's a mistake to assume that claims of spirituality are objective claims. Maybe a vocal minority of fundamentalists choose to posture their claims as such, but they speak for a relatively small minority of the world's believers.

My point original point with this "feel good" business was that claims made outside the reach of science, which I reckon you think are just as valuable, offer no definitives. The criterion by which they are deemed is how good they make us feel good.
What is the human experience? Is it just survival? Passing on of genes? Or is there more to it, like love, happiness, sadness, pain, etc.? Do we have inclinations toward behaviors that cause certain desirable or undesirable effects, and inner conflicts that pull us between those polarities? What I'm talking about are elements of consciousness that are ubiquitous to the human experience. Remember the PM I quoted earlier? He said, We, as material beings cannot perceive spiritual realities, but we can understand the "reverberations" of underlying spiritual meanings through their material representations. There is always a series of translations and distortions between the spiritual and the material. So of course there is an element of subjectivity because of the "translations and distortions"; but the implications of such translations can be applied ubiquitously to the human experience. So while there is no objective, clearly delineated answer to the complex nature of behavior, morality, happiness and fulfillment, it is in fact far more than "it makes me feel good".

As to your first claim, I take issue with your reasoning: I don't think how ubiquitous something may have been necessarily speaks to how much of a need it is. It certainly does not mean that whatever need cannot be replaced (especially if what is replacing it is better).
Clearly, there is something that draws humans to pursue spirituality. It's not simply some "meme" that is found in a few developed cultures. It is an absolutely ubiquitous quality found in all cultures for all human history.

It has been only relatively recently that we have come to grasp the scope of the material (and even then only in certain cultures), so your claim that it has been historically unfulfilling is presumptuous.
It's not presumptuous to assert that it is contrary to the spiritual needs of humans to put their faith in material things, when this behavior inevitably leads to unhappiness. It's not conjecture; the pitfalls of materialism are established in human psychology.

As to you second, it's no secret that personification is more intuitive than abstraction, but--again--this says nothing as to whether it is true or not.
That's not the point. It's not about intuition, it's about a need to connect with the world around us and discuss matters of a spiritual nature. A personification of God isn't an inherently objective claim (though it can become one through a rigid interpretation of religious doctrine), merely a supposition that allows spiritual searchers to communicate on the subject.

It is counterintuitive to think that the Earth is round; that the Earth orbits the sun; that the sun is a star as average as any dot in the night sky; that we are composed of mostly space; that microorganisms are in our immediate proximity by the trillions; that the life on Earth had evolved; that the Earth itself is billions of years old.
None of that is "counter-intuitive", merely unapparent.

I honestly don't know what you've just said. Could you please elaborate?
Sure. Spirituality doesn't provide an objective black and white moral code because morality is not an objective, black and white phenomenon. We have both spiritual and material needs that incline us toward often conflicting behaviors and desires; so religion is a tool that helps us navigate, not the Staples "Easy" button of morality.

What I said was that morality originally evolved because it served an evolutionary need, but now it is a bona fide meme. Morality is like a living thing in that it is subjected to the rules of Darwinism--it will evolve, it will diversify, it will selfishly try to replicate itself. I am saying that morality is selfish insofar as its meme-ness.


Altruism as direct a factor to our survival as a bird's wing or a fish's gills.
Morality serves an evolutionary need, yes; but morality also transcends and often conflicts with our evolutionary needs. And what is especially important to understand, particularly with regard to altruism, is that these are not merely ideas or "memes", but innate inclinations that often conflict with our innate selfishness and evolutionary needs.

Also: there is no such thing as a meme. It's an unscientific, unverifiable abstraction invented by Dawkins as part of his anti-religious ranting which he occasionally inserts in his brilliant musings on natural selection.

It is not the case that I am "unable" to see the spiritual perspective, rather that you have yet to provide any evidence that such a perspective is worth considering. It is you who keeps talking about the spiritual as if it's this established thing. Its existence may or may not be factual, but you can't start on a premise which you haven't verified--that would be circular.
Well, you pretty much just rephrased what I wrote.
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