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Old 02-20-2007, 05:42 PM   #58
Mike Doolittle
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Re: The Root of all Evil/Trobule With Atheism

Originally Posted by Avptallarita View Post
You're saying that there's something else, I'm saying fine, what is it?
Originally Posted by Nicato
In summation, all "faiths" are not created equal. Some are based on reason and some or not. My belief that the Earth is round could be demonstrated several dozen ways; your belief in a "creative god" can't be objectively demonstrated it all. There is a difference.
Here's the problem, as I see it.

In order to "believe" in God, you want "positive evidence", or scientific proof, of God's existence. If God is to exist he must be eminently observable and describable. The mere possibility that things exists that transcend our ability to fully understand them by naturalistic observation is absurd to you. Anything less and you see no reason to believe (I maintain that such an attitude renders the term "believe" moot). I've pointed to what I would consider to be signs of the supernatural's existence. However, since these things can't be proven to be supernatural by naturalistic observation, you dismiss them.

Obviously neither I nor anyone else can prove the existence of God and the supernatural. If it could be done, then there would be no controversy about it, no religion, no theology, no belief, no a/theism only acknowledgment of fact. And obviously the very act of responding to suggestions of transcendent and spiritual phenomenon with positivist reductionism is a circular and evasive tactic. I posited certain phenomena that I feel is suggestive of a spiritual, transcendent element in our existence. It's not surprising that a positivist would simply defer to "that doesn't prove anything" type of arguments. Well... duh. That's not the point.

Insofar as I've understood it, it says exactly the opposite. Reason does have inherent limitations, but it is indeed our only means of understanding ourselves and our world and it's preposterous to conceive of understanding something outside of our categories.
Kant postulates that only those things which are sensory experiences can be known through pure reason, thus there can be no empirical proof of God. But, he distinguishes between experiencing objects cognitively, and the ability to experience something cognitively in the first place. Kant does not find God in the idea that the universe is coherent and ordered, but in our ability to perceive the universe as ordered. Some principle of systematicity is necessary to account for the interconnectedness or coherence we perceive in nature. Kant further believes that we experience God in a sphere of a distinct but interconnected moral reality, which we experience intuitively take for example what I've described in this thread as our tendency toward empathy and altruism, even when such ideals stand in direct opposition to our basal evolutionary instincts even though by his own admission he has no empirical way of knowing that this experience is truly "God", nor does he attempt to quantitatively ascribe objective characteristic to God.

The arguments I postured about the universe and morality and all that stuff were not intended to be "proofs" of God. Obviously such a thing lies beyond our ability to comprehend, which is the crux of Kant's argument. The point was to encourage you guys to think beyond the scope of what you can objectively know, and yet to see a reasoned and pragmatic foundation for faith.

Hopefully that explains it well enough. I found a good (but long) paper on the subject, and I think it does a good job of describing Kant's theism:
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