Absolute Faith

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by Ahanu, Sep 2, 2016.

  1. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

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    His defense and the rebuttal is still about just humans though. There is nothing there about other animals. Seems to me it is fairly well established humans are good at the MSR test, even if not in every respect right away. Eventually we are when we see any image of ourselves.
     
  2. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

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    Crows and ravens are absolutely fascinating creatures. They seem to defy all the limitations we normally associate with birds.
     
  3. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

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    Ahanu, on to more of your thoughts. As a person who does not believe Gods exist, I wonder if you could see that from my perspective the quoted comment is very circular reasoning. My first question is which God or Gods are we talking about here. Are we taking about the Abrahamic God? There are plenty of world religions beyond the Abrahamics and they seem to get ethical truths okay.

    Also what about the Gods that were pre-Abrahamic? Where did they get their ethical truths from. Jehovah wasn't around yet.

    Part the Second: Can Ethical Truths be created within the mortal realm? There has been a lot of study of a more secular need for morals and ethics in the past few decades. One of the arguing points, which I find of particular interest, is the question "Is there really any difference between choosing a religious foundation for morals and a secular reason for doing the same"? An argument can be made that both are subjective decisions.*

    There is also the sticky wicket that ethical truths are subjective whether it is from a religious foundation or a secular one. Many of the big topics of society today. Let's take capitol punishment and gun control as two examples. You will find as many pro and contrary positions amongst the religious as you will amongst secularists. This rather proves a subjective nature to at least some of our ethics, no?

    *I took many of these examples from a piece by John Lombard, link below. He goes farther than I would in that he argues that secular morals are far superior to religious ones. I do not agree with that. I think both are equally reasonable. Otherwise I find a lot of his points on the subject relevant.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rationaldoubt/2014/10/atheist-morality-no-need-for-god/
     
  4. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    In the link I posted, you'll see 2 paragraphs from pages 18 and 19. This is what I was mainly referring to. If you read a little closer the first paragraph that mentions evidence for correlations between self-awareness and MSR, you'd see my source mentions animals. It says: "Similarly, Chantek-a language trained orangutan-used more frequent pronoun signs after developing mirror self-recognition". This is after mentioning young children used more pronouns after passing the MSR test. They identify a correlation between a high frequency of pronoun use and passing the MSR test. I only mentioned the MSR test because I know you dig science, so I thought it would be interesting to discuss measuring self-awareness with you. Since you consider it flawed, do you have a better idea for measuring it? Like gravity, self-awareness is invisible . . . which makes developing a method difficult. If I were a psychologist like Gordon Gallup, I would find as many different methods as possible to measure self-awareness. Considering the mirror is so important in Muslim and Baha'i thought in regards to creation, it's interesting that a mirror is so popular in scientific literature when it comes to measuring self-awareness. Mirror use with animals has a long history in science. Even Darwin used a mirror with animals.

    It seems there's evidence young children in different cultures react differently to the MSR test.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2016
  5. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

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    Here is an article about a guy who ran a test using scent to see if his dog was self aware. It makes for interesting reading in relation to what I was saying about bias, and also at least partially, answers your question about one way we could better test animals for self awareness.

    https://animalwise.org/2011/08/16/the-yellow-snow-test-for-self-recognition/

    This seems to me a much fairer way to test various animals. Test to their strengths, rather than testing them to our strengths.

    It is a topic of great interest to me. If we start from a position in a religion that mankind is special and God places us above all other life, we will automatically draw one kind of conclusions.

    But what if we were to come from a point of view that man is just another animal. Not saying that a God could not have been involved; rather that said God didn't mean for us to be any better than any other life form on the planet.

    For me, now this gets very interesting! We humans are definitely a breed apart from any other species on the planet. If only for our ability to alter it specific to our own needs and desires. But if it is a random mutation, does it mean our species is a good one for the planet? It is hard to look at what we have done to our only home and suggest that we have been good for the biosphere; good for our fellow creatures. It could turn out that the mutation that made us humans might be the worst thing to happen to this planet. We have the capability to destroy it for almost all life for a very long period of time.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The other part of this equation for me is the randomness of evolution. For a long time it was thought that life progressed forward towards an ever, more capable set of species. With humans being at the apex. But we now know that evolution is a truly random role of the biological dice. It has brought along better species that have failed, and lesser suited species that have succeeded. The mutation for humanity could have happened much earlier in the life of the planet.

    The 'common knowledge' that the rise of the mammals was due to the extinction of the dinosaurs has been proven to be false. In fact mammals were around for as long as there were dinosaurs. A version of early mammals were around even before there were dinosaurs!

    The Mammal-like Reptiles, or Therapsids first appeared about 285 million years ago near the begiining of the Permian which is well before the dinosaurs. They evolved quickly and many different groups arose. They were very successful until about the end of the Permian, about 245 million years ago, when something catastrophic affected the earth and nearly all of the species then living died out. New species evolved rapidly to fill this empty habitat, among them the first dinosaurs and a few million years later the first mammals.

    http://www.earthlife.net/mammals/evolution.html
     
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  6. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    Where did DA go? I miss reading his posts.

    :cool:
     
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  7. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Me too
     
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  8. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    We need an atheist poster. Maybe we can hire a good one on craigslist.
     
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  9. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet Deus Pascus Corvus

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    @juantoo3 leaves a gap too. Imo. Wish he'd turn up again. He thought he'd been banned, for what reason who knows, but it was just some technical glitch and when Steve tried to email him to sort it out, it seems the emails went to spam.
     
  10. Cino

    Cino Big Love

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    I'll do what I can, but even though I'm atheist, I probably don't measure up well against a dyed-in-the-wool skeptic materialist. :cool:
     
  11. OrtaYol

    OrtaYol Member

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    Believing slavery is wrong is not the same as having absolute faith that slavery is wrong. I think it could be considered hubris since they are assuming their belief superior without concrete facts. I don't think we can have absolute faith in anything but our own existence.

    Sorry I realise this is an old discussion :)
     
  12. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    Great! Hard to find DA quality. I mean, I can disagree with him, he can disagree with me, and we never (or rarely) feel insulted at all. Rare to meet an individual like that in this so-called post-truth era, or perhaps we are what Yuval Noah Harari calls a post-truth species.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2018
  13. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    Appears to be a mere matter of difference in degree. Consider the abolitionist John Brown. If anybody could earn the title today or yesterday of having absolute faith that slavery is wrong, surely it would be him? I couldn't picture anybody convincing him slavery is right. One can conclude from his actions he had an unswerving and absolute faith that slavery was wrong. In other words, his conviction that slavery was wrong is as strong as your conviction that you exist. Note some scepticists would disagree with your absolute faith in your own existence and the existence of others. To them it would appear as hubris par excellence? One's cup of tea may not be another's cup of tea. And vice versa.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2018
  14. OrtaYol

    OrtaYol Member

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    Sure it is a difference in degree but an important one.

    I don't think it fair to say that John Brown had absolute faith in anything. He could of felt as strongly as he did and still not believed in the human ability to achieve absolute certainty. If he did have absolute certainty what was this certainty based on and why is it not hubris? Is it just because he was right?

    Also while I have absolute faith in my own existence(I doubt therefor I am), I'm not so sure about anyone else. :)
     
  15. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    Well, since you are not so sure about anyone else's existence, how can you be so sure "I" exists? Descartes' argument is circular reasoning; it assumes "I" exists. As skeptics have noted, instead of saying "I doubt therefore I am," Descartes should have said that "thinking is occurring." If everything is simply blunt physical matter swirling around, then "I" is an illusion. This is naturally where atheism should lead us. Sam Harris sums up the non-existence of the self well here:

     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018
  16. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    Intuition, I guess. The same reason I do not assume your circular argument (I doubt therefore I am) is charged with hubris: perhaps you actually know the truth intuitively. Everything doesn't need to be backed up by concrete facts. This debate about whether or not the self exists is similar to whether or not the past exists. How do you know the past exists? That you didn't just pop up at this moment? That the past wasn't implanted in your mind at this moment?

    I know because my intuition tells me so! Is that hubris? If so, so be it!
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2018
  17. OrtaYol

    OrtaYol Member

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    Why is it a circular argument?

    I don't know that I didn't just "pop into existence", I just consider it more likely that I did not.
     
  18. DustyFeet

    DustyFeet New Member

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    Has anyone tried saying his name 3 times? Worked for beetlejuice in the movies.
     
  19. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai

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    DA was once Gordian Knot, disappeared for a while only to resurface as Devil's Advocate. Perhaps he's still with us under yet another guise....:cool:
     
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  20. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    Last edited: Dec 13, 2018 at 6:44 AM

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