Thought Experiment for the Theists

Discussion in 'Abrahamic Religions' started by sonisis, Dec 22, 2010.

  1. c0de

    c0de Vassal

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    So establish a system of communication that doesn't use words, like sign language. Once you've done that, you can tell them whatever you want as you would to anyone else.

    How is this an "experiment" ???
     
  2. bob x

    bob x New Member

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  3. Saltmeister

    Saltmeister The Dangerous Dinner

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    Isn't sign language a way of constructing words?
     
  4. c0de

    c0de Vassal

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    Symbols. All communication is based on shared symbolism.

    But here's where things get interesting. Is there some innate apriori system of symbol recognition that all humans are born with, as suggested by Chomsky? Or is all symbolism acquired through the senses? This also relates to the philosophy of rationalism vs. empiricism.

    For example, Bob in his post above said that Helen Keller didn't require anyone to tell her about God, she "just knew" that she wasn't alone... That's a rationalist position. But an empiricist would argue that by accepting her subjective word for it, we are once again falling into empiricism. He could also point to experiments with rats in which they were deprived of all sensory information for extended periods of time, after which their brains suffered physical breakdown. Perhaps if Helen Keller was completely deprived of all sensory information (touch, smell, etc.) she would have suffered the same fate and not have felt that God was with her. This debate ultimately leads to the nature of consciousness, i think.

    Personally though, I don't think there's any way to know God via the senses or anything rationally "apriori." No one actually "knows" God. The mere suggestion that we can "know" Him is an affront to His absolute and magnificent transcendence (imo)

    In any case, the "experiment" of the OP is kinda moot.
     
  5. NiceCupOfTea

    NiceCupOfTea Pathetic earthlings

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    that would between them and God,

    The Apostle Pauls says.

     
  6. Aardvark01

    Aardvark01 New Member

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    In response to the suggestion "teach them to read first"

    QUOTE=sonisis - "The experiment stipulates you must use no words at all"

    The experiment does not stipulate how much time we have (to communicate God).
    Whether the communication takes the form of writing, drawing, a complex sign language, dance or the simpleset of gestures, there must be an exchange of "words" in the sense of an exchange of "ideas" - which is what words represent.
     
  7. Aardvark01

    Aardvark01 New Member

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    QUOTE=wil - I start with a hug....regularly. And as I hug thinking Namaste, (the light (wisdom, Christ, Krishna, G!d) in me, sees, salutes, honors and respects the light (wisdom, Christ, Krishna, G!d) in you!)

    Tis upto them to reject my hug. To which I'll reply handshakes spread germs, hugs spread love. For the deaf illiiterate example it is also said with my eyes...

    I would question if, in fact, you do start with a hug. Doesn't the communication actually start with your eyes and then gestures (eg. a hug)?
     
  8. sonisis

    sonisis New Member

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    Aardvark, you are exactly right, you can use all those forms of communication except words.

    Bob's mention of Helen Keller is very interesting, but again it comes back to subjective interpretation of God.

    The experiment was designed to play with an isolated definition of God, which is the implied personality that comes across in the writings of the Abrahamic religions and the language of those that follow them, this being words like 'Him', 'He', 'His', 'Father' etc.

    Suggestions so far have not conveyed this at all, they have merely conveyed one's own belief of what God feels like or what his love feels like. A hug conveys warmth and love, but there is no explanation of who or what God is.

    The debate is raising lots of interesting points and I'll like refine the wording of the experiment to take account of this if I publish it elsewhere :)
     
  9. Aardvark01

    Aardvark01 New Member

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    1.
    We can show God within us:

    ... God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 1 John 4:16

    2.
    We can show God upon us, in an "anointing" of power:

    The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me... Isaiah 61:1

    3.
    We can show God among us:

    "...By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:35
     
  10. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    You are exactly correct. I approach with eyes lighting up, arms outstretched left hand high ready to go over the shoulder, right hand low in case they wish to reject the hug, I'm providing the opportunity for a handshake...however unless they duck the left...the hug rolls in.

    But anyone that discusses it with others will not mention the eyes or gestures...they'll tell another...Yeah...he hugged me first thing, first time we met too!
     
  11. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    surely that is a problem one can easily dig into without requiring this particular thought experiment?

    er... ok, you appear to be labouring under a somewhat limited picture of this "implied personality", which is not borne out by a wider experience of the "writings of the abrahamic religions". what is the "implied personality" of the Divine Names E-L ShaDaY (from the word shadayim, or breasts) or Ha-RaHaMaN, (from rehem, or womb) or HaMaQOM, "the Place"?

    hmm. sometimes G!D also feels like a kick up the arse, or being yelled at for sticking your finger in an electric socket, or being handed a list of chores.

    er... so far, i'm not clear that you're getting past the issue of this experiment being more about symbolism and communication, as c0de and i pointed out, than it is about G!D. G!D, in this experiment, seems to be an intangible concept of subjective value, albeit one of considerable value to some. are you trying to identify what is particularly special about G!D as opposed to forex trading as a complex intangible source of worth?

    and if you want to publish anything, i have not given my consent. also, there may be copyright issues with things here on interfaith.org.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  12. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    do you not think that perhaps you are narrowing the parameters in order to prove yourself correct, when the parameters are in truth and fact much more broad?

    And you cannot assume they do not know who or what G-d is.

    It is, once again, a subjective argument. But as pointed out earlier about the experience with Down's syndrome people, there is a peace about them. We call it naivete...or even ignorance, but in that innocent and guileless ignorance is a peace someone of a "normal" IQ has long lost.

    I would suggest pretty much any child before the age of about 4 or 5 has an innocently ignorant joy to their demeanor that gradually erodes over time. That erosion is brought about by knowledge and experience, "the world," as various mishaps and missteps and perceived trespasses accumulate...we loose touch with that *innate* joy we are born with, and thereby lose that connection we have with G-d.

    The trick is whether we have the insight and presence of mind to realize what we have lost, and what we must do to get it back. The hardest step is simply turning around and looking back. We already know...we convince ourselves that we do not know.
     
  13. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    I believe Jung suggested something quite similar.

    But then, doesn't Buddhism teach that the finger is not the moon it is pointed at? Symbols are learned, certainly. But are *all* of the ideas and concepts that have symbols attached created out of nothing? Or is there some objective reality behind it all?

    This even brings me back to my own questions about why our hunter-gatherer cave dwelling forebearers pursued spirituality if there were nothing to pursue?

    That is certainly one factor, but I don't think consciousness is a primary factor. Consciousness, at least in the manner we are most accustomed, is necessary to develop and understand symbolism...the finger pointing. But consciousness is not needed for the moon. The person who presented the puzzle cannot *prove* animals don't know G-d, any more than I can prove they do, because G-d cannot be proven with logic. But that innate joy extends throughout the animal world, and is not limited to humans or consciousness. I would even argue that consciousness is the veil that separates us *from* G-d, and logic is what convinces us that G-d doesn't exist in deference to our childhood experience.

    No one "knows" G-d with the mind, intellect or reason. *All life* knows G-d as the source or wellspring from which life itself comes, but that is not a process of the mind, it is a process of the spirit.

    Exactly.

    Narrowing the parameters and moving the goalposts only serves to show the argument is fundamentally flawed to begin with, and is designed to expound pre-supposed inclinations.
     
  14. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    What other kind of interpretation would there be?

    Let's turn this another way...Is your own interpretation of Darwin's theory *the exact same* as *all* other people who look into Darwin's theory? Do you see *exactly* the same thing as your friend when the two of you watch a movie together? A little less close to home...why do you suppose it is that 3 eye witnesses to an event seldom if ever recount the *exact* same thing? (this is a long standing issue in the legal system.)

    All interpretation...of anything...is by definition subjective. What you need to pursue is objective reality behind the subjective experience and rational comprehension and logical dismissal of that experience. In other words, to answer your question one of necessity must shift their focus from the finger to the moon it is pointed at.

    And the shoe drops...

    All of these are presuppositions.

    What makes you think G-d is isolated? What makes you think G-d is a "He?"

    These are fingers pointing, they are not the "thing."

    Au contrare...you instead dismiss what you feel and convince yourself it is not G-d...and then try to convince others what they feel is not G-d, and you do so with words and symbols.

    Convince me G-d is not real, without using words or symbols.

    I believe the other shoe has now dropped...


    I have not and do not consent at this time, for you to use my writings here.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2010
  15. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    I'm only too happy to vouch...wil is a hugger.

    And in that hug every nuance of (brotherly) love and sincerity is exposed.

    I know our challenger suggests that a hug can conceal or be used to cover insincere motives. Yes, that is possible. But a person who can "read" people can intuit the ill intent, especially if there is bodily contact in some way like a hug. Women are extremely good at this skill, men much less so. But then, women tend to be more intuitive and open to spirit, where men tend to place great emphasis on mental analysis...and by doing so very often miss subtle behavioral clues. The exception being when they are with their lover, but even then men need to work at tuning in to their partner's "spirit."

    Not aimed at you wil...my comments are general observations for the benefit of any who wander here.
     
  16. c0de

    c0de Vassal

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    .

    hey juan's back!!! :)

    sweet

    If there is, then were is it located? In a platonic "world of ideas" perhaps? I doubt it.

    atheists have a spirit/soul too, yet they reject this premise. Which seems to hint that the "spirit/soul," far from being a dualistic concept, is nothing more than the mind.
     
  17. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    What else would one call "reality?"

    Certainly there is a sun. (Here I realize that every word is a symbol) While we each perceive some blazing orb in the sky, is it fair to presume that each and every conscious person who ever lived from the dawn of humanity perceived the sun in the exact same manner? It wasn't all that long ago "common knowledge" (what can equate very closely with scientific knowledge today) was that the sun travelled around the earth, at least in well known Euro-centric symbolic reasoning. Other cultures have used different symbolic reasoning to understand the sun. Even now, the common teaching is that the sun is a big burning ball of gas, although I think most of us understand the planets including earth go around the sun. But the sun is in reality even more than that, and some few people "look at the sun" to understand that aspect, but to the average person otherwise occupied by other matters, the big ball of gas at the middle of the solar system is sufficient knowledge to carry on with their lives. The sun itself *is* an objective reality. How each and every one of us percieves the sun is subjective.



    Yep, they reject the premise with their minds, they hide behind the veil of consciousness and refuse to peek on the other side. That refusal to look does not make them correct, it makes them closed minded into their own *little* meme.

    BTW, so there is no confusion...my position does not support any one specific theistic tradition, it supports all of them -but only as tools/symbols/pointing fingers...
     
  18. c0de

    c0de Vassal

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    Perhaps it isn't as real, as people think.

    Case in point:


    ... that exists in what? "space" ?

    But is "space" absolute, or relative?

    are you (the observer) able to measure it objectively?

    again, where is this "objective reality" ??

    Certainly not in the world of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics.
     
  19. sonisis

    sonisis New Member

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    I acknowledge that this is a risk and I am aiming to avoid it.

    I accept that from different points of view, particularly differing belief systems, the experiment could be crude, and I apologize if any offense has been caused by this.

    What I am looking to do is cut through the subjectivity and find the referents for experience. The subjective nature of spirituality appears to be what ultimately leads to conflict and misunderstanding.

    I acknowledge that my impressions of the implied personality may be too narrow, but then my concern is that these are the impressions those outside particular belief systems are left with.

    I assure you all that I have no intention of publishing or otherwise exploiting the answers given, except to revise my own thinking. And if I approached the topic with any ego I think it has been swiftly humbled by your in depth replies.

    The underlying problem I am trying to solve, which I did not wish to expose for fear it would raise defensiveness is that all language and communication is based upon referents. What I am looking for is the referent for God, and if one cannot be found the various other referents which are abstracted upon in order to come to a summary called 'God'. The discussion that people know God even before they know a language is interesting, but my question would be how? What are the senses involved? Where in the body is it felt?

    There seem to be differing beliefs here and effective communication about God, which is heartening to see. Unfortunately I feel this is a minority on the world stage and finding the means to cross these barriers is of great interest to me.

    I welcome suggestions as to how the discussion could be better directed :)
     
  20. sonisis

    sonisis New Member

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    Why certainly not?

    This sounds like one has to question what it is to be objective? In terms of human understanding, objectivity is what can be proven to be correct no matter who performs the test. To say that the laws of physics and quantum mechanics as we presently know them are not objective would be to say that only select people are able to perform the tests that establish them surely?

    It is arguable that another non-human race or being would comprehend the universe differently simply due to different senses and understanding, that mathematics and logic for example is simply not in use, but as far as human understanding goes the scientific method has always established our objective viewpoint, because it deliberately frees the tester from bias, and if it doesn't, then it is a universally shared human bias (as demonstrated when a universal belief shifts based on evidence, such as the earth being flat).
     

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