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Existence of God, [CONTINUED]....

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  • Existence of God, [CONTINUED]....

    Sorry to make another post, the last one was locked! I'd prefer it if the last post was unlocked actually because... the discussion can still be continued I think, it's an interesting topic.
    http://www.thieveryut.com/bb/viewtop...r=asc&start=25

    Plus, I spent a bit of time writing the following out, so I would like to express my thoughts...! Er, just to make sure this isn't locked again.. keep it civil guys, and post your thoughts, they're interesting for everyone to think about and read. No need to get offensive or anything people, I'm sure we're all old enough to have a civil discussion!
    ====================================
    What if the Earth used to be flat, simply because the force of the combined belief that it was flat made it so? What if it was only after people considered the possibility that it might be round, and enough people eventually started to believe it, that it became round?
    That's an intriguing theory! However, I am quite certain it doesn't hold water for the following reasons; there were many voyagers, explorers and travellers who discovered that the world was round before the larger population of the Earth began to believe it. According to your theory, therefore, the Earth would not change shape to become round, because there were not enough people at the time to believe in its roundness.

    How can you say the discussion on this has come to an end?
    Ah, actually, I said it had "largely" come to an end. Not completely! Indeed, there are a tiny minority of people today who still believe that the world is flat. However, I nonetheless stand by my statement, to say, that the discussion concerning the shape of the Earth has - for the most part - come to an end. But Why, you ask, has the discussion of the Earth being round "come to an end" when the world was equally considered "flat" centuries ago, when the discussion then had similarly come to an end?

    Discussion of the Earth's shape cannot seriously begin again because the force of dispute has not arisen. In other words, if one is able to walk around the surface of the Earth and reach the same point again, then, it is impossible that the Earth is flat. We have scientific evidence of the Earth's round shape. Satellite photots, etc.

    What if what is "true" is simply a matter of what people believe?
    That is asking an entirely different question. We need not even look at the Earth's shape to ask this question. But to make one example, in the Earth's history, humans have made discoveries of things which they did not believe in, prior to the event. To make a simple example. A man is walking down the street and finds a 20 gold coins on the floor. He is surprised, because he had no prior belief that he would find these coins on the floor. The coins did not "appear" before him, because he did not previously believe in their existence. From this, we can recognise that there are at least some truths in this world that do not depend on our prior beliefs.

  • #2
    I am fine with the thread continuing, just not the stupid, flaming raging garbage, that happened at the end, of the other thread, unnecessary. Carry on, if the crap continues again, guess what.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Athelstone
      What if the Earth used to be flat, simply because the force of the combined belief that it was flat made it so? What if it was only after people considered the possibility that it might be round, and enough people eventually started to believe it, that it became round?
      That's an intriguing theory! However, I am quite certain it doesn't hold water for the following reasons; there were many voyagers, explorers and travellers who discovered that the world was round before the larger population of the Earth began to believe it. According to your theory, therefore, the Earth would not change shape to become round, because there were not enough people at the time to believe in its roundness.
      Enter "localized realities". The concept that "reality" can differ from person to person, according to their beliefs. The explorers who discovered (or made?) the Earth round had a firm belief that the Earth was in fact round, so for their explorations, it was. Those who believed it was flat didn't go exploring in those directions, so no contradiction to their beliefs was experienced. As those who explored brought back evidence (experience?) that the Earth was round, more people came to believe it, extending the localized reality of a round Earth into a consensual one.

      Not saying this is what I believe, I just like discussing ideas for the sake of discussing ideas, with other people who enjoy it as well.

      Originally posted by Athelstone
      How can you say the discussion on this has come to an end?
      Ah, actually, I said it had "largely" come to an end. Not completely! Indeed, there are a tiny minority of people today who still believe that the world is flat. However, I nonetheless stand by my statement, to say, that the discussion concerning the shape of the Earth has - for the most part - come to an end. But Why, you ask, has the discussion of the Earth being round "come to an end" when the world was equally considered "flat" centuries ago, when the discussion then had similarly come to an end?

      Discussion of the Earth's shape cannot seriously begin again because the force of dispute has not arisen. In other words, if one is able to walk around the surface of the Earth and reach the same point again, then, it is impossible that the Earth is flat. We have scientific evidence of the Earth's round shape. Satellite photots, etc.
      OK, let me extend this part of the discussion in a different direction, quite literally.

      There is currently a theory in cosmology called the "brane theory". A brane is an interface, a lower dimensional object serving as a border between different sections of a higher dimensional object. The brane theory says that our 3D space is the surface enclosing a higher, 4D space, in much the same way that the surface of a sphere is a 2D surface enclosing a 3D space.

      Currently, we know NOTHING about any potential 4D characteristics of our planet, in much the same way that people long ago who believed the Earth was flat knew nothing of it's 3D characteristics. So what if research into cosmology reveals that our planet DOES extend into 4D space? That would require a complete reconsideration of it's shape properties, in much the same way that the discovery of a round earth required a complete reconsideration of the same.


      Originally posted by Athelstone
      What if what is "true" is simply a matter of what people believe?
      That is asking an entirely different question. We need not even look at the Earth's shape to ask this question.
      Yes, it is. I felt it was a logical generalization of the previous specific questions, though.

      Originally posted by Athelstone
      But to make one example, in the Earth's history, humans have made discoveries of things which they did not believe in, prior to the event. To make a simple example. A man is walking down the street and finds a 20 gold coins on the floor. He is surprised, because he had no prior belief that he would find these coins on the floor. The coins did not "appear" before him, because he did not previously believe in their existence. From this, we can recognise that there are at least some truths in this world that do not depend on our prior beliefs.
      But that man doesn't exist in a vacuum. Others may "believe" in those gold coins, perhaps enough of them do (and so few actively disbelieve in them) that their existence can be made consensual enough to impinge on the conscious mind of the man who sees them.

      Just a thought. Certainly there are plenty of examples of one person's or group's beliefs impinging on the realities of others.

      Comment


      • #4
        I only just now finished reading the original thread, and as i never got the chance to speak, i feel it necessary to quote/critique some items a bit late.

        MegaDude wrote:
        : I'm not just some mouthy little bastard, honest, I'm someone who's spent a lot of time researching and thinking about the wonderful world of theology and I'm afraid I cannot believe anyone becomes a Christian through rational thought. I'm sure you'll argue otherwise, but I'd bet my bollocks that you were indoctrinated into Christianity from an early age, so much so that even now you've grown into a rational, intelligent adult you still cannot throw off your beliefs.
        Can you honestly say that if you'd never heard of Christianity and someone handed you a bible now and said "this is the answer to everything, this is," you'd read it and conclude they were right?!
        for the purpose of being clear and concise i will momentarily label you an Atheist. I understand that you have been rational, objective, and have given both theology and realism a chance, but it seems clear that you lean to the side of the Atheist.

        many atheists i know seem to dismiss Christians as conforming to every aspect of the bible. you say that, were another Christian to advertise the bible to an Agnostic (non-religious / open to new religions), the Agnostic would immediately "read it and conclude they were right." this is definitely not true; in fact, most Christians i know only have partial faith in the Bible and take it as a collection of stories and parables that serve as symbols and morals. please, Atheists, do not make this generalization that all Christians concede to the Bible. it likens Christians to googley-eyed children, in awe at everything and utterly gullible.

        many of us (I am a Christian) consider the existance of God and believe in one, but do not affirm many of Christianity's other aspects, the Bible being one of them. I believe in a God, though i am unsure of his appearance, limits, etc. I also hold the Bible in very low esteem. i agree that much of it can seem and IS untrue.

        again, try hard not to generalize like this.



        oh, and for the more important part of that quote, i find it hard for anyone to become a Christian through rationalzation, too. i was raised a Christian, i'll attest to that. but my beliefs and faith have fluxed / evaporated over the years, and at one point i was totally atheistic. today, however, i consider myself "Christian" again because i have found the need for religion in my life. i have found that my life is getting more difficult, but that i am finding more and more that i am getting through it's difficulties and succeeding -- for this i am thankful, thankful enough to believe in a higher being once more.

        this may seem odd, but the biggest thing that changed me (reinvigorated my faith) was the movie Signs -- it brought up the idea that there were NO coincidences. turn this thought in your head for a while. i began to think this way, and it became more evident to me that a God existed. something, something that would watch us, understand us, and guide us. something that would coordinate our lives. i do not believe in coincidences any more. i feel that everything that happens, every small thought and turn of events, every irony, are drawn from some higher being.

        we can talk about destiny and choice another time, perhaps in another thread involving "The Matrix" in it's title.
        "Tyler sold his soap to department stores at $20 a bar. Lord knows what they charged. It was beautiful. We were selling rich women their own fat asses back to them."

        Comment


        • #5
          Ok, maybe I worded that badly- I meant would you buy Christianity in general, not would you believe the bible was a bang-on exact representation of the truth.
          You sound more like your just a general theist anyway- this I have no problem with at all, despite personally being an atheist I accept that my position is no more rational than basic theism and is more down to personal preference (for want of a better word)- we just don't know either way, and we can't, so when people try and say they do it pisses me off.
          As for coincidence, funnily enough I don't believe in it either. However, for me it's because I believe in absolute scientific determinism (the Universe clearly obeys physical laws, our brains are physical things, therefore they're just as predictable as everything else) rather than because any spooky coincidences have ever occured. Not that they haven't, but the way I interpreted them was clearly different to the way you do, probably due to my non-religiously slanted upbringing (not atheistic, my parents just didn't really express an opinion either way). If you look for signs you'll find them everywhere. I think the nutbars who "discovered" the bible-code are a pretty good example of this.

          Comment


          • #6
            well said, Mega. i've had thoughts similar to scientific determinism before. i do understand you, believe me.

            these threads have made me far more interested in these forums. im starting to see thinks how. it seems as though we are all significantly more intellectual than the general public, or at least the considerable majority of people my age and in my school / area. thank god for the internet: what a great way to feel less lonely.
            "Tyler sold his soap to department stores at $20 a bar. Lord knows what they charged. It was beautiful. We were selling rich women their own fat asses back to them."

            Comment


            • #7
              Not saying this is what I believe, I just like discussing ideas for the sake of discussing ideas, with other people who enjoy it as well.
              OK, I understand you don't believe in localized realties, but as you said, we can talk about it for the sake of it - see how far we can break it down
              I think the concept of localized realities may have a couple of flaws.

              The explorers who discovered (or made?) the Earth round had a firm belief that the Earth was in fact round, so for their explorations, it was.
              We might say some explorers didn't believe that the Earth was round before-hand. Some could have been exploring, and it was not until that they checked their calculations that they realized that they had actually sailed around the world. In other words, to re-iterate what I said earlier about prior beliefs; they didn't have any, so these beliefs could not affect the shape of the Earth.

              However, you mentioned also the possibility of other people's thoughts being able to "impinge" upon another person's consciousness. So, using this concept you highlighted, I'll make a short example; Someone sailing on the ship with the explorer believed the Earth was round causing the world to be round in that localized reality, or, causing the man to "feel" that the Earth was round (As you said, the man doesn't live in a vacuum).

              The flaw, I think, in this idea of affecting other person's consciousness is where does one draw the line? For example - I could believe that my brother will see a jet fly above his house. Three people could believe this, or even a hundred. However, if I were to ask my brother later, "did you see that jet?" , he would say "No, I don't know what your talking about, I didn't see anything".

              In other words, if believing in something causes something to "be" to another person (the gold coins for example), or if one can affect another person's thoughts via localized realities, then we would be changing other person's minds constantly. One day, a school pupil might say to himself "My history teacher looks like a murderer..." The pupil thinks about this day after day. He reads the newspaper one day, and finds the headline "history teacher murdererd pensioner". The pupil believes the same thought again "my mother looks like a sky diver"... the mother would then take parachuting lessons. Obviously, cases such as these have not arisen, so it seems that affecting another person's thoughts - to actually make that 'something' happen, seems not to be the case.


              So what if research into cosmology reveals that our planet DOES extend into 4D space? That would require a complete reconsideration of it's shape properties, in much the same way that the discovery of a round earth required a complete reconsideration of the same.
              Concerning the 4d space "brane theory" - I'm afraid I don't know enough about this topic to discuss it with you - but... I'll take the easy "cop-out, cowardly" answer for this one and say "I disagree that we would need to completely reconsider our ideas on the shape of the Earth! We would only need to make some slight modifications!"

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Athelstone
                I think the concept of localized realities may have a couple of flaws.
                Of course it does. That's why we discuss these things, to refine our ideas, based on feedback from people who may have seen aspects of them that we ourselves missed.

                Originally posted by Athelstone
                The explorers who discovered (or made?) the Earth round had a firm belief that the Earth was in fact round, so for their explorations, it was.
                We might say some explorers didn't believe that the Earth was round before-hand. Some could have been exploring, and it was not until that they checked their calculations that they realized that they had actually sailed around the world. In other words, to re-iterate what I said earlier about prior beliefs; they didn't have any, so these beliefs could not affect the shape of the Earth.
                Just to throw out a thought, a lot of those early explorers were lost at sea. Perhaps those who explored beyond the known boundaries of the flat earth, without the belief that the Earth was round? Brings up the possibility that some (not necessarily all) storms are a manifestation of non-belief? Perhaps that applies to other natural disasters, too. An attempt by reality to remove those who no longer believe in the consensual reality.

                Originally posted by Athelstone
                However, you mentioned also other people's thoughts being able to "impinge" upon another person's consciousness. So, using this concept you highlighted, I'll make a short example; Someone sailing on the ship with the explorer believed the Earth was round causing the world to be round in that localized reality, or, causing the man to "feel" that the Earth was round (As you said, the man doesn't live in a vacuum).

                The flaw, I think, in this idea of affecting other person's consciousness is where does one draw the line? For example - I could believe that my brother will see a jet fly above his house. Three people could believe this, or even a hundred. However, if I were to ask my brother later, "did you see that jet?" , he would say "No, I don't know what your talking about, I didn't see anything".
                I wouldn't think the line would be ours to draw. Where the "line" is would be a natural phenomenon, arising out of the number of people believing in any given paradigm, and possibly the strength of their belief. In the already mentioned flat/round Earth scenario, it's important to keep in mind that outside Europe and the near east, many cultures already believed in a round Earth.

                Originally posted by Athelstone
                In other words, if believing in something causes something to "be" to another person (the gold coins for example), or if one can affect another person's thoughts via localized realities, then we would be changing other person's minds constantly. One day, a school pupil might say to himself "My history teacher looks like a murderer..." The pupil thinks about this day after day. He reads the newspaper one day, and finds the headline "history teacher murdererd pensioner". The pupil believes the same thought again "my mother looks like a sky diver"... the mother would then take parachuting lessons. Obviously, cases such as these have not arisen, so it seems that affecting another person's thoughts - to actually make that 'something' happen, seems not to be the case.
                Not if you assume that it's not so much individual belief that shapes reality (at least within the confines of an extended social grid, as in your examples), but consensual reality. It's also a possibility that we can't affect others so readily with our beliefs, as they have their own, but instead have a more pronounced effect on the physical world.

                Originally posted by Athelstone
                So what if research into cosmology reveals that our planet DOES extend into 4D space? That would require a complete reconsideration of it's shape properties, in much the same way that the discovery of a round earth required a complete reconsideration of the same.
                Concerning the 4d space "brane theory" - I'm afraid I don't know enough about this topic to discuss it with you - but... I'll take the easy "cop-out, cowardly" answer for this one and say "I disagree that we would need to completely reconsider our ideas on the shape of the Earth! We would only need to make some slight modifications!"
                It could require some major revision to our earthshape models. We just don't know, having NO information on it as yet, just as the believers in a flat earth had NO idea what kind of revision of their model of the Earth would be required in changing to a round world paradigm.

                For a good layman's read on several cosmological models, including the brane theory, check out Journey to the Tenth Dimension on Popular Science's site. It's a long read, and covers several other models as well, but it's worth it. It doesn't cover the possibility of a planet extending into a hypothetical 4D space, though, just the possibility of our universe doing so.

                Comment


                • #9
                  That's why we discuss these things, to refine our ideas, based on feedback from people who may have seen aspects of them that we ourselves missed.
                  Amen (no religious connotations intended) - That's why I think Philosophy is of a great use to everyone. Finding different strengths and weaknesses in philosophical arguments is fun, and a great practice, but I feel we have veered a bit off topic here. I'll most likely post again in this thread if any other interesting thoughts relating to God's existence pop-up (Thanks for that link on that "brane theory" by the way, I will read it sometime).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    This is why I believe in the NOW. There is no such thing as the future, only the present and the past. That's why I only believe in what I know, but when I acquire new knowledge, my beliefs change as well. This keeps me from being close-minded and makes it easier for me to learn new things and gain new insight.
                    Genius is a blink before a moment of insanity.
                    "Dream is Destiny"
                    Waking Life

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Curunir
                      This is why I believe in the NOW. There is no such thing as the future, only the present and the past. That's why I only believe in what I know, but when I acquire new knowledge, my beliefs change as well. This keeps me from being close-minded and makes it easier for me to learn new things and gain new insight.
                      This is what I believe, although I'm totally not religious in any shape or form.
                      -TuF- Emptying clan servers of their own clan members since 2010
                      - Agg moderator campaign supporter 2011
                      - #2 of 3 LANers of the Apocalypse!
                      -YT

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Athelstone
                        That's why we discuss these things, to refine our ideas, based on feedback from people who may have seen aspects of them that we ourselves missed.
                        Amen (no religious connotations intended) - That's why I think Philosophy is of a great use to everyone. Finding different strengths and weaknesses in philosophical arguments is fun, and a great practice, but I feel we have veered a bit off topic here. I'll most likely post again in this thread if any other interesting thoughts relating to God's existence pop-up (Thanks for that link on that "brane theory" by the way, I will read it sometime).
                        i totally agree.

                        this discussion has made me faaar more interested in you guys. seriously.

                        oh yeah, the "Amen" thing. cute.
                        "Tyler sold his soap to department stores at $20 a bar. Lord knows what they charged. It was beautiful. We were selling rich women their own fat asses back to them."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I have an extremely strong and heavy religous background, so I haven't turned away from it... yet. I don't plan to either, I just always want to make sure my eyes are wide open.
                          Genius is a blink before a moment of insanity.
                          "Dream is Destiny"
                          Waking Life

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Athelstone
                            Amen (no religious connotations intended) - That's why I think Philosophy is of a great use to everyone. Finding different strengths and weaknesses in philosophical arguments is fun, and a great practice, but I feel we have veered a bit off topic here. I'll most likely post again in this thread if any other interesting thoughts relating to God's existence pop-up (Thanks for that link on that "brane theory" by the way, I will read it sometime).
                            Thanks for the discussion, Ath. It's been fun having someone thoughtfully pick apart some of my more harebrained ideas, and in the process, having to revise and add to them ("localized reality"? Where the hell did THAT come from?).

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by !MegaDude!
                              As for coincidence, funnily enough I don't believe in it either. However, for me it's because I believe in absolute scientific determinism (the Universe clearly obeys physical laws, our brains are physical things, therefore they're just as predictable as everything else) rather than because any spooky coincidences have ever occured.
                              I wuf you more with each post you make. :cheers:
                              Not only do I enjoy your humor but now I find that we seem to share an opinion
                              on such a topic as what's discussed in here.

                              This is a point that made me recommend biology to Lurox when he asked for suggestions on what last subject to take. It's the most rewarding subject when looking for answers on questions concerning life, especially but not limited to questions that religions try to answer or claim to have the ultimate answer to
                              but which failed to convince/satisfy you.
                              AlienMode ThieveryUT adaption
                              Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.
                              Life is a bitch, then you get cancer. One story is good till another is told.

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