Not a whole lot of action in chapter 1 so far. So, I’ll go ahead and start up chapter 2. Discussions can still continue in chapter 1, but hopefully by starting chapter 2 more people will want to get involved.
I’ll repost McCulloch’s proposed questions:
– Is the God Hypothesis (“there exists a super-human, supernatural intelligence who deliberately designed and created the universe and everything in it, including us”) “a scientific hypothesis like any other”, one that should be treated with as much skepticism as any other hypothesis?
– Is Stephen Jay Gould’s concept of non-overlapping magisteria valid?
– Does the inability to disprove the existence of God provide a positive reason to believe?
I’ll also throw in some other questions:
– Is agnosticism impoverished?
– What exactly does Dawkins have against Michael Ruse?
Is the God Hypothesis (“there exists a super-human, supernatural intelligence who deliberately designed and created the universe and everything in it, including us”) “a scientific hypothesis like any other”, one that should be treated with as much skepticism as any other hypothesis?
I would agree with Dawkins. “Either he exists or he doesn’t. It is a scientific question” (page 48)
Is Stephen Jay Gould’s concept of non-overlapping magisteria valid?
I think there is an overlap. If A is the set of science and B is the set of religion. There exists C that is the intersection of A and B.
Does the inability to disprove the existence of God provide a positive reason to believe?
No, it doesn’t. But does Dawkins actually state this somewhere?
Is agnosticism impoverished?
I’m not sure what Dawkins means by the “poverty of agnosticism”. I assume he means that PAP is not a logical position to hold. If so, I would generally agree with it.
What exactly does Dawkins have against Michael Ruse?
I never knew that there was a feud between Dawkins and Ruse prior to reading this book. Also, does Dawkins imply Ruse is not a true atheist with this statement? “He claims to be an atheist, but his article in Playboy takes the view that…” (page 67)
McCulloch wrote:otseng wrote:I think there is an overlap. If A is the set of science and B is the set of religion. There exists C that is the intersection of A and B.
You and I are somewhat in agreement here. I just think that B is the empty set.
Religion does not exist? God might not exist. But that doesn’t mean religion does not exist.
McCulloch wrote:Religion certainly does exist. What does not exist in my opinion is a magisteria, or a set of issues or concerns which religion correctly does and / or should address.
If religion exists, then certainly it has the right to have teaching/guidance authority over itself. So, since it has this right, then the B set cannot be empty. It might be non-overlapping from A, but because it is non-overlapping does not mean B would be empty.
McCulloch wrote:But that aside, the authority to decide matters internal only to itself is not, I think what Gould’s idea of magisteria is all about.
I’m not sure if he meant only within itself, but it certainly can include within itself. Further, in his article Nonoverlapping Magisteria, he has reference to authority only within the Catholic church.
To summarize, Pius generally accepts the NOMA principle of nonoverlapping magisteria in permitting Catholics to entertain the hypothesis of evolution for the human body so long as they accept the divine infusion of the soul.
And thinking about it, why would he want to say the church should have guidance/authority over those outside of the church? Especially since he is a nonbeliever?
And finally, the word “magisterium” is a Catholic term. Why would he want to modify its usage and apply it to those outside the Catholic faith (or even more to non-religious people)?
My belief is that religion cannot reliably answer this second set of issues.
Since you would be outside the authority of any religion, this would certainly be reasonable. But, it would not nullify the magisterium for those under religious authority.
BohemianBanjo wrote:The first reason is the intersection mentioned in this thread. Those religious people are also members of other sets. Like citizens of this or that country, this or that state, part of a family some of whom are not religious – and some of whom are, part of either the Dover school district or the State of Kansas, etc. No religious person exists only in that state. There is always overlap.
Yes, there will always be overlap. And that is one reason that I do not believe that NOMA is valid.
Does this “John 14:2, KJB :…if it were not so, I would have told you…” deserve the same respect as a reviewed paper in a scientific journal or “We the people of the United States of America, in order to form a more perfect union…” as the basis for anything that we do in life? That is the basic question of this thread and the whole book.
For many people, John 14:2 is heard and read much more often than any sentence in any scientific journal or any government document. So, in a sense, it is very relevant to a large population of the US and perhaps much more so than any other publication or document.
It is because religions do not exist in a vacuum that the very fact of their owningany authority should be questioned. Because we inhabit the same world, nothing they do affects only their own members. This is why Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and a growing number of us peons are increasingly questioning the whole shebang.
No human institution exists in a vacuum. Then by your argument all institutional authorities should be invalidated.
McCulloch wrote:I think that the argument should be that no institutional authority should be granted on the basis of faith rather than evidence.
We’ve touched on something similar before.
I would agree that authority based on blind faith (absolutely no evidence) could be bad. But, authority based on faith (as defined by lack of a logical proof) is commonplace and would not be considered bad. And if we are to judge on “reasonable faith”, then it would be too subjective to make any kind of objective judgement.
mbl020980 wrote:Please give an example of “authority based on [not-blind] faith” that is commonplace.
OK, I’ll give one example. The Bush administration undertook a preemptive strike against Iraq without having proof that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. Though they had some evidence (and very weak at that), they did not have any proof.
Having said that, I also take exception to your distinction between “blind faith” and “faith.” In the first place, I’ve never seen this distinction posited elsewhere.
Just because other sites do not make the distinction does not mean it cannot be made here.
But irregardless, you use the term “no evidence” in your definition of blind faith and “logical proof” in your definition of faith.
In the thread I quoted above, the second definition provided of faith is “belief that is not based on proof”.
Are “evidence” and “logical proof” are synonymous?
No, it is not synonymous.
If they are not synonymous, then your burden is to differentiate between the two for your audience.
A logical proof is to show something is an incontrovertible fact. For example, I can prove that the sum of the angles of any quadrilateral is 360 degrees. There is a zero percent chance that it is not 360 degrees.
Whereas evidence only provides a certain probability that something is true. All jury trials work this way. The prosecutor doesn’t have to prove a defendant is guilty, but just have to convince the jurors that someone is guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
We need to be very precise in our definition of terms if we are to conduct a rational debate.
That is what I’m trying to be.
I think we need to first come to a consensus on what exactly is meant by “faith”. I’ve reiterated the definition “belief that is not based on proof”. What exactly does everyone else mean by “faith”?
To me faith is applying a greater probability to the truth of a proposition than is warranted by the evidence.
I like this definition.
However, wouldn’t it be true that given a set of evidence, that different people would assign different probabilities to what would be the truth (assuming that a probability can be assigned at all)? What is reasonable to one person might not be reasonable to another. How are we then able to objectively determine what is truly reasonable or not?
mbl020980 wrote:Yes, I suppose we can all start making up terms and defining them to suit our arguments, but I think the only way we’ll make progress here is if we eschew semantic games and conduct an honest, forthright debate.
What terms are you referring to? The only term I “made up” was “blind faith”. For “faith”, I simply reiterated a definition from dictionary.com – “belief that is not based on proof”.
I would agree that such a stringent requirement is impossible to achieve for daily circumstances. But, I think it does illustrate the fact that we cannot know with 100% certainty of almost everything. If we do not have 100% certainty, then there will always be an element of uncertainty.
FinalEnigma wrote:Believing/accepting(possibly cautiously) something that has all kinds of evidence pointing toward it,(though without actual ‘proof) is not faith by my understanding. its being reasonable.
If Christians have all kinds of evidence for their belief, then they would be considered “reasonable”?
FinalEnigma wrote: If the evidence they have outweighs evidence against it to the extent of high probability then yes, obviously. The most reasonable thing to do in a situation is to accept(even if cautiously) whichever position has the preponderance of evidence.
I see there to be much more evidence for the existence of a God than against. Even in the book, Dawkins only presents one argument against the existence of a God.
In the situation of christianity I see it as being soo muddled by the 2000 years since the inception of the religion and the endless heated debate that has taken place in those 2000 years for eaither position to be truly shown to the average sense to be correct.
Even if it has been “muddled”, that doesn’t show the original version is not true. The current form might be off, but the original could still be valid. Also even if it has been debated for 2000 years, it likewise does not show it to be wrong.
It takes thorough examination at the least to reach a valid position.
I highly doubt anyone here has done a thorough examination to arrive at their conclusion. I’d be most impressed if anyone has done a thorough examination of all the evidence.