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The Need To Argue For Rationality

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Posted by Harvey on May 12, 2003 19:56:31 UTC

Aurino,

***Science fills me with wonder about humanity's greatness, not God's.***

Maybe this is where we are permanently separated in our thoughts.

***You and I are different! To me the above only means we don't have a clue. I try not to marvel at our own ignorance and confusion, it doesn't sound like a noble thing to do.***

True, we don't have a clue about how such and such happened, but that's not the issue from my viewpoint. The issue is not how, it is that it did occur in a way that is currently unexplainable. Of course, we could always refer to the weak anthropic principle (if the universe wasn't like this then we wouldn't be here to question such kind of things so by the mere fact we are here suggests that it did happen), or even the strong anthropic principle (of course there are many worlds where the typical and obviously random events happen, but there are also worlds where such 'fortitious' things do happen, and we live in the worlds that allowed those fortitious events). But, this I think commits you to more unnecessary structure in the world than is actually necessary to postulate the existence of God. God is the simpler hypothesis, and given the meaning obtained from a belief in God, it is all around much more attractive to believe.

***" I think what you confuse about science is that God has made the world that allows humans to fool themselves if they want to. " I'm sorry Harv, but this is the kind of thing I would expect from a Jeovah Witness knocking at my door with an issue of The Watchtower, not from one as intellectually sophisticated as yourself. You have to try harder if you want to convince people that you're not a fool (and I know you aren't!)***

You're right, my answer does sound a little Jehovehish, but I don't mean it in that sense. I mean that there exists a certain kind of approximate symmetry in the world. The symmetry is only known by conscious beings contemplated the purpose and meaning of life. On one end of that symmetry is the things that stir doubt, and the other end is the things that stir faith. This symmetry builds something purposeful in humans as we question our existence, and it pushes us to a symmetry-breaking event in our lives that once we pursue that path, it decides who we are and the kind of lives we live. If a Jehovah's Witness comes to your door telling you this, offer them some coffee!

***You can find anything in anything if you are willing to see it that way. Just read Alan's posts. The real question is, do others see the same things you do?***

That's very true. Fortunately I'm not responsible for convincing. I just enjoy sharing my perspective on the matter. That's the best any of us can do. Even if we did convince someone (e.g., Dick might convince a few), it doesn't really matter. The next generation will come completely replacing our short tenure here on earth.

***Do crazy people know they are crazy, you asked recently. You probably know the answer, most of the time they don't. And the few of them who do know of their condition usually learn it from others. It is impossible to know about yourself if you disregard what other people have to say about you.***

The key concern is not who believes you or even what other people think. The key concern is whether you are right or not. Dick is at least right on this point. The best way that I know of to know you are right is through logic and demonstration of physical evidence that supports your position. That's why I try to ask questions of those who's position I find incorrect. A question has the power to force someone to contradict themselves by their own logic. In the case of Alan, his internet bills become a concern. In the case of Dick, his time becomes a concern. In the case of others, the anonymity of others becomes a concern. In cases such as these, this demonstrates that arguments are no longer based on answering a question, but on certain other concerns that prevent them from answering a question. I don't think I've ever run from a question. But, maybe I'm wrong??

***No matter how one looks at it, faith in God is impossible to justify or argue for. I have never argued against your beliefs, for I happen to share most of them myself, I just think your attempts at justifying them are phony. Why do you feel you have to explain and justify religious feelings? Isn't the feeling itself its own explanation, its own justification? That is, in essence, what's hard to understand about you.***

Because Aurino, in this world you get certain smug and presumptous people who think of religion as a crutch and ridicule it to themselves or others as a backlash of bygone periods. If these folks are not faced with the inadequacies of their own philosophies, they are liable to erode the faith of others without so much as a struggle. If those who possess the shroud of faith are not willing to struggle in favor of faith, then those who hold to faith will eventually dwindle. This is especially important in a world where the intellectuals who do hold to a faith, but reject scientific mindfulness, are only weakening the overall stand of faith (i.e., by demonstrating that they are in complete denial of scientific facts). One must account for science in one's faith in order for faith to survive in a meaningful sense. Otherwise the backlash of radicalism and fundamentalism will probably overpower rationality in the world.

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