Do you believe in God?

  • Thread starter Patrik
  • 24,083 comments
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Do you believe in god?

  • Of course, without him nothing would exist!

    Votes: 616 30.5%
  • Maybe.

    Votes: 368 18.2%
  • No way!

    Votes: 1,035 51.3%

  • Total voters
    2,018
Why?

I too have seen it many times, although from those proclaiming to be atheists less often than in question form by those proclaiming to be theists.

Why does it stop being a false equivalence if used more?

No, it's not.

The standard for what? Why?

This is a very, very Dotini-esque response.
Sorry for the formatting of the response. I didn't know how to interject responses into this type of quoting system.

Why do I take your word for it?
Until proven otherwise, you are considered by me to be trustworthy.

As I understand it, a false equivalence requires two different subjects.
In this case there appears to me to be only one subject, atheists. There are however two different actions.
Is it possible that there is confusion about the use of the word "some"? When parsing the sentence,
"some" in the context given, means to me "some atheists".

You are correct. I incorrectly attributed the article. I need to stay off the keyboard when tired (like now).
Unfortunately exhaustive research is not always possible. If I required it in everything, I would get even less done.
I suspect I am not unique.

The standard for false equivalences.
Because you keep insisting on a statement being a false equivalence, and it doesn't meet the definition that I have found.
Sometimes things are different in different countries. For example, "calling the guards" could mean calling a variety of different
personnel, depending on context in the United States, while in Ireland, I have been given to understand that it means "calling the police".
There are different standards for lots of different things in different locations and cultures.
I could have said "elsewhere" instead of UK. Sorry for any confusion that this may have caused.
Sometimes trying not to be an "ugly american" causes more trouble than simply being one.

I don't know who or what Dotini is. A simple search for dotini only pulls up articles about rotini and there is no "only show articles about dotini" link, like there is a lot of times when you mistype something or you search for things that are commonly entered in error.

In any event, I fear that we have wandered way off of the original question and little of this has anything to do with the thread topic.

Thank you for your attempts to enlighten me. Please feel free to correct any errors that I have made.
Unless you require any specific information from me about anything I have said, I will consider your next post about this to be the end
of this particular interaction.
I apologize for any inconvenience.
 
The standard for false equivalences.
Why would that be different in different places?
As I understand it, a false equivalence requires two different subjects.
In this case there appears to me to be only one subject, atheists.
The statement is attempting to make "God" and "science" equivalent. They are not equivalent; one is an entity and the other is a process.

Furthermore it's attempting to make "belief in God" equivalent to "belief in science". While I have little doubt that there are people who "believe" in science, it's not something in which you can place belief. Indeed the entire process of science is antithetical to belief (and vice versa).

This is why it's most commonly observed as a question from theists (and not, as framed, people purporting to be atheists), who - incapable of comprehending existence without belief - want to frame it as something in which you believe, in order to then set up the attack of "well, if you believe in [your thing] why can't you believe in [my thing]?"

It's false equivalence, and it's entirely deliberate. Of course the article title gives away why it's being framed like that - if "atheists" aren't "as rational" as they think, that means what they think about deities is just as much a belief as any other belief which, of course, it isn't - but unfortunately it also sets up all belief as not being rational, which is something of an own goal.


What would be more entertaining is an article about why believing in God is more evidence-based than believing in Allah. Or more than believing in the Trimurit. Or than the Aesir. Or just why believing in the God of the Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879 is more evidence-based than believing in the God of the Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.

Got that one anywhere in among the junk links full of logical fallacies?
 
Dammit @TB, tree'd again.

Science isn't a faith-based proposition like religion. If I drop a heavy weight on my foot, it hurts. This is readily demonstrable. Attempting to equate it with religion is a busted flush, except to those who can only frame the world in terms of belief and non-belief.

The author of the quoted piece is funded by a foundation which was set up to promote religious propaganda. It's hard to see it as a neutral point of view.
 
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The only thing you can ever truly be sure of is your own existence, this reality could be all smoke and mirrors just like the dreams you experience at night. They seem all so real as you experience them, only for the illusion to gradually slip away upon waking.

So maybe the question we should all be asking ourselves is where did my own existence come from, the consciousness or awareness that "I" am, where did "I" truly come from? Look to the one thing you can be sure is real and exists, look to within and to your own existent being and follow the root back to its beginning.
I actually agree with the first part of this.

There is a certain amount of faith involved that something outside my consciousness is "real", as there's no way to definitively prove it.
 
Again that would merely be "I" or consciousness observing the reflected image of my physical self (body), "I" cannot directly observe "I" with my physical eyes or senses, try again.
How do you think eyes work, exactly? It's all reflected or emitted light that hits your eyes and creates a reaction in cells that propagates to your brain. What I suspect you mean by "directly observe" is several layers of interaction away from anything that is actually possible. By your logic, you can't "directly observe" anything, with the possible exception of a spike driven directly into your brain.

Likewise for touch and every other sense, it's all a huge chain of interactions leading to some signal getting to your brain. You can choose to understand this and work with what you have, or you can disappear up your own arsehole while you ponder your navel lint from the inside. Observation is by nature a process of untangling the causal chain of events to something that appears to be consistent and reasonable, even if you're not aware that you're doing so.
I actually agree with the first part of this.

There is a certain amount of faith involved that something outside my consciousness is "real", as there's no way to definitively prove it.
Absolutely. And that's why one of the axioms of any sort of discussion of anything that we consider to be objective is that we assume that this stuff is "real" enough to be worth talking about. Because at the end of the day the "real" world has significant effects on how we feel and think, and so whether it actually exists or whether it's simply information being fed to us by the Matrix while aliens keep our brains in jars it's useful to consider these things as "real".

If you assume that nothing is real, that doesn't really do anything for you and it's sort of at odds with the fact that you can see an entire universe that appears to be real. For all I know you guys are all NPCs in the alien psychic supercomputer, but you appear to be humans with independent thought just like me and so I treat you as such until I have reason to think otherwise. "Real" is just a bunch of useful assumptions that we make in order to deal with the things that we observe.
 
The answer is that the question does not even make sense. It is like asking, “What does blue smell like?” Blue is not in the category of things that have a smell, so the question itself is flawed.

Unless you’re a Synaesthetes.
 
I must say that this is hilarious. I have actually experienced contact from someone who is not alive.

I have no way of describing the spiritual matter, as there are no physical explanations for it.

But, trust me, it is MORE than faith OR belief.

Call it what you will.

When you die.

Come and talk to me.

We WILL have a conversation.

And we WILL see that there is more than this life, and more than a body.

I KNOW this. Because I have more than seen this life.
I recall, many years ago, reading an article in which the author described awakening to see a long-dead relative standing at the end of his bed.

Turned out to be a hallucination induced by a feedback system, where his brain was remembering this person, the memory of the appearance of the person was being transmitted to the nerves in the eyes, and then re-received as though it was a real person standing there.


PS. It is not a coincidence that we use the word "hallucination" to describe stuff invented by AI Large Language Models. Amusingly, I asked an earlier version of ChatGPT to recommend "the best arrow types" to use in a video game and it invented "hallucinogenic arrows".
 
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By your logic, you can't "directly observe" anything, with the possible exception of a spike driven directly into your brain.
There it is when you say "your brain", the very saying implies that I may have a brain, but the "I" that I actually am is something apart from and probably beyond the brain itself. The very idea that suggests that while "I" may currently posses a physical body, the "I" that I truly am deep down underneath it all is constant and in fact beyond all of it. Thoughts come and go like the weather, personality can change within the span of a few months/years, the physical body is changing all the time, however the pure speck of consciousness that "I" truly am is unmeasurable in the physical sense and is the same speck of consciousness that "I" was right back to when I came into this world.
 
There it is when you say "your brain", the very saying implies that I may have a brain, but the "I" that I actually am is something apart from and probably beyond the brain itself.
"Your brain" can very easily be replaced with "your soul", you're only pointing out a quirk of language, not defining any of the terms we're discussing.

And yes, you are more than your brain. Your brain is connected to your limbs which allows you to move them. Your limbs are part of you. Your consciousness doesn't originate from your limbs though.
 
There it is when you say "your brain", the very saying implies that I may have a brain, but the "I" that I actually am is something apart from and probably beyond the brain itself. The very idea that suggests that while "I" may currently posses a physical body, the "I" that I truly am deep down underneath it all is constant and in fact beyond all of it. Thoughts come and go like the weather, personality can change within the span of a few months/years, the physical body is changing all the time, however the pure speck of consciousness that "I" truly am is unmeasurable in the physical sense and is the same speck of consciousness that "I" was right back to when I came into this world.
You might find that you're on your own in thinking it's reasonable to take the way that English treats possessive nouns as some sort of evidence that the self is separate and separable from the brain.

What evidence do you have that the "you" that you are deep down is constant? That seems like a big assumption when there's almost nothing else about humans that is constant in the slightest. As seen in this thread, a lot of people seem to subscribe to the idea that God put humans on Earth to learn. That implies change, and since only your soul goes to the afterlife it would have to be your soul that does the changing. You seem to be implying that the soul does not change at all.

And no, if you can experience something it is not unmeasurable. If you experienced something then it means that something happened to interact with you. An event. Something happened. Your "soul", if it exists, has to interact or connect with your physical body on some level. Your "soul" therefore would have effects on the physical universe, and those would be able to be observed. We may not know how to see them yet but that is an engineering problem, not a philosophical one.

The only things that are truly unmeasurable are the ones that don't happen (or that don't interact with our universe in any way, if you subscribe to multiverse theories). If your soul has no effect on the universe it is in no meaningful way your soul.

Unless you’re a Synaesthetes.
Synaesthetes are the extreme example, but I think everyone has some level of crossover between the senses. The human brain is a pile of goo that evolved to keep us alive long enough to squirt out kids, it's fine with learning to make associations between colours, tastes, smells, sounds, all of it. The smell of morning dew is so much more of a blue smell than the smell of roasted coffee.
 
The very idea that suggests that while "I" may currently posses a physical body, the "I" that I truly am deep down underneath it all is constant and in fact beyond all of it.
Not really, given your next two statements:
Thoughts come and go like the weather, personality can change within the span of a few months/years
What are you if not your thoughts, personality, and memories?

We can, with reasonable precision, cut into your brain and effect changes to all three - both temporarily, with electrical stimulation, and permanently - and there's been properly weird research which shows that it's possible to implant a memory from one creature into another which didn't experience it and make it remember it.

Moreover, illnesses (particularly those affecting the brain) can change all of these, sometimes at a moment. Strokes, degenerative disorders like Alzheimer's, hypoxia, and good old-fashioned trauma (remember Sammy Jankis?) can have profound effects on them - to the point where a lot of people treat the death of the person's body as a formality (or second) death, having already mourned the death of the person's essence.

I'd have thought that since you're placing such importance on the observer in attempting to weasel out of having forgotten mirrors exist and not knowing how senses actually work, the ability of the observer to observe - witness, record, adapt - would be paramount in the observation process.

After all, if the you that you truly are (whut?) is a gibbering cabbage with no ability to process anything you observe, nothing you observe is actually observed...
 
So what happens when say one of my limbs is removed, are they still are part of me or "I" then?
It would no longer be connected to your brain and you would lose control over that limb. However it would still have your DNA. It would no longer be a part of your body but it would remain something that was generated by your body.

You're again running into issues with language. You're treating yourself as indivisible when that is not the case. You are made up of different components that perform different functions. You can remove some and the effect on you will be different. As your consciousness comes from the brain, until you start messing with the brain, there won't be significant impacts made to your consciousness.
 
Here’s what I struggle with. Any entity which has been credited with creating the entire universe must have some pretty good long-distance communication capabilities. And must have existed for a very long time.

Yet every one of humanity’s gods is a very recent arrival in terms of human history, has initially influenced a very limited geography, has demonstrated a very limited understanding of reality and the vast, vast majority of them have passed into oblivion.

The chances that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is high. I’d say the chances that they know any of this planet’s gods is zero.
 
There it is when you say "your brain", the very saying implies that I may have a brain, but the "I" that I actually am is something apart from and probably beyond the brain itself. The very idea that suggests that while "I" may currently posses a physical body, the "I" that I truly am deep down underneath it all is constant and in fact beyond all of it. Thoughts come and go like the weather, personality can change within the span of a few months/years, the physical body is changing all the time, however the pure speck of consciousness that "I" truly am is unmeasurable in the physical sense and is the same speck of consciousness that "I" was right back to when I came into this world.
I'm interested, was there a "you" before you "came into this world"?
 
I'm interested, was there a "you" before you "came into this world"?
There's no way "I" will truly know for sure, not until it's my time to supposedly "leave". What "I" do know though is that "I" exist and "I" am right here right now in this time and place for some reason, that's enough for me to speculate that "I" probably have existed since before "I came here".

It's a bit like trying to peak into a void, there are just some questions that no outside source will ever be able to give you a firm and definite answer to (such as did "I" exist before this current life?), it's up to each his own to come to their own conclusions.

What are you if not your thoughts, personality, and memories?

I'd have thought that since you're placing such importance on the observer in attempting to weasel out of having forgotten mirrors exist and not knowing how senses actually work, the ability of the observer to observe - witness, record, adapt - would be paramount in the observation process.
I don't know, maybe "I'm" something beneath all of my thoughts, feelings, personality and memories that can if it so wishes just observe these things without having to act on them (it's not that difficult, you simply have to do absolutely nothing and just observe all of your thoughts and feelings over time, even someone such as yourself might be able to do it).

Mirrors exist, so do eyes, ears etc. What good are eyes and ears however without something beneath it all (pure consciousness) to observe all the information taken in from them?
 
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I don't know, maybe "I'm" something beneath all of my thoughts, feelings, personality and memories that can if it so wishes just observe these things without having to act on them (it's not that difficult, you simply have to do absolutely nothing and just observe all of your thoughts and feelings over time, even someone such as yourself might be able to do it).

Mirrors exist, so do eyes, ears etc. What good are eyes and ears however without something beneath it all (pure consciousness) to observe all the information taken in from them?
You've definitely spent no time around anyone profoundly affected by Alzheimer's or brain damage if you think that - or, with your snidery, I'm the lower bound of observational capacity.

Ears and eyes are sense receptor organs, for reference. They are only the first step on the observational pathway, not the last.
 
You've definitely spent no time around anyone profoundly affected by Alzheimer's or brain damage if you think that - or, with your snidery, I'm the lower bound of observational capacity.

Ears and eyes are sense receptor organs, for reference. They are only the first step on the observational pathway, not the last.
My Grandad spent the last 5 years of his life living with Dementia, it slowly picked away at the man I thought I once knew, but on his final weeks whilst laying on his deathbed he was still in there somewhere. He wasn't able to really communicate much at that stage, but most of what he was able to get out and through to us was just how much he truly loved us, along with the occasional call for help (He was pretty distressed about it all initially since he was fully aware of his impending fate).

It seems to me that when you strip everything else away (all of the intellect and other mental faculties that we commonly mistake for what we are), what still remains of a person in their final moments is what they truly are (a pure spirit/consciousness that knows nothing but love and wants nothing but peace).
 
My Grandad spent the last 5 years of his life living with Dementia, it slowly picked away at the man I thought I once knew, but on his final weeks whilst laying on his deathbed he was still in there somewhere. He wasn't able to really communicate much at that stage, but most of what he was able to get out and through to us was just how much he truly loved us, along with the occasional call for help (He was pretty distressed about it all initially since he was fully aware of his impending fate).

It seems to me that when you strip everything else away (all of the intellect and other mental faculties that we commonly mistake for what we are), what still remains of a person in their final moments is what they truly are (a pure spirit/consciousness that knows nothing but love and wants nothing but peace).
Cool story, rich in anecdotium. Now do a kid born with severe brain damage due to hypoxia at birth who never cognitively develops beyond an infant (while physiologically developing). This is a person who does not have any of the "intellect and other mental faculties". Who are they really?

Again, you fundamentally don't understand what the human brain is or does - and, lest we forget, this whole sidebar is coming from you insisting that you can't observe yourself (later modified to "directly observe", which is itself a misunderstanding of the brain).


Just for my own amusement, there is a sense called "proprioception", which is quite literally your sense of self ("own sense"). You can, without the use of the traditional five senses (we have more than 20, just so you're aware), know where your own body is in space.

Close your eyes and touch your nose with a fingertip; that's proprioception at work - you know where your nose and finger are but you didn't see, touch, hear, smell, or taste either of them. It's more accurate if you can see it too, but you probably didn't poke yourself in the eye. Try it on someone else and you'll be lucky to even reach their face, because you can't sense where their nose is in relation to your finger unless you can see it.

Like other senses, it can be fooled (it plays a role in phantom limb perception of amputees, and you can make it accept something that isn't actually part of your body as part of your body), but that gets us back to the processing that the brain does between sense receptors and higher reasoning (the you bit of you) - as there's no "direct observation" of anything.
 
It seems to me that when you strip everything else away (all of the intellect and other mental faculties that we commonly mistake for what we are), what still remains of a person in their final moments is what they truly are (a pure spirit/consciousness that knows nothing but love and wants nothing but peace).
I'm sorry, but having worked on a care of the elderly ward and seen many people in their final moments, I wouldn't necessarily agree with this.

It's a comforting thought....but there's no evidence for it.

Just like we don't know what a 23 week preterm infant "is", in terms of what makes a person (call it what you like).
 
Now do a kid born with severe brain damage due to hypoxia at birth who never cognitively develops beyond an infant (while physiologically developing). This is a person who does not have any of the "intellect and other mental faculties". Who are they really?

Just for my own amusement, there is a sense called "proprioception", which is quite literally your sense of self ("own sense"). You can, without the use of the traditional five senses (we have more than 20, just so you're aware), know where your own body is in space.
The kid still has a form of consciousness, do they not? To me they would be a unfortunate soul that so happens to be living through a body plagued by severe inadequacy so much so that they can't function as normal or live a so called normal and healthy life.

As for your other point, here's one for you. If you stay still for long enough and don't move at all, you can quite literally lose your sense of self (or sense of possessing a body rather). At some point the senses of the body start to gradually lose their grip on you, yet still there remains the "you" or the consciousness that is always in there until the time of death. If you don't believe me you can try it out for yourself being the keen scientist that you seem to present yourself as.
 
being the keen scientist that you seem to present yourself as.
I have a BSc. in Molecular Biology and an MSc. in Human Genetics.

Can you drop the snideness now? It's only the second time of "asking".

The kid still has a form of consciousness, do they not?
That rather depends on how you're defining it.
To me they would be a unfortunate soul that so happens to be living through a body plagued by severe inadequacy so much so that they can't function as normal or live a so called normal and healthy life.
Okay. Now let's move back to the point of it: they cannot observe anything. There is no capability for them to sense an external event and record it; their brain injury is so widespread that there is no hope that they can operate to any capacity other than automatic responses to stimuli - they only meet the basic "MRS GREN" standards of a living organism with qualified answers to two of them. There's certainly no higher reasoning and no personality (although their parents may think differently, this is just hope; hope is fine, but not part of this discussion), which rather hurts your concept of there being a deeper "I" that "I truly am"; for objective purposes, this person may as well be a noisy worm that cannot feed itself.

This somewhat damages the prospect of an observer being beyond what it is observing. The observer here cannot observe because it has no physical capability of observing. They respond automatically to sound, to light, to cold, to heat, to pain, to smell, to tastes, to touch - and I'd assume to equilibrium - but they have no capacity to log the stimulus for future encounters; there is no memory of events.

Once again, this highlights the role that the brain plays in observation, and reasserts the fact that you do not directly observe anything; your senses detect, your brain interprets - and sometimes just straight up guesses at it. You can actually catch your brain in the act of guessing pretty easily.

If you stay still for long enough and don't move at all, you can quite literally lose your sense of self (or sense of possessing a body rather).
You don't even need to do that. Sit on your hand for a while, and it'll feel like someone else doing it.
At some point the senses of the body start to gradually lose their grip on you, yet still there remains the "you" or the consciousness that is always in there until the time of death.
Entirely fine prospect, followed by wild conjecture presented as emergent fact.

You can float away in a sensory deprivation tank (or just, you know, go to sleep) while your brain takes you to all sorts of exciting places, but when you wake up you're still there with your senses intact. Excise the sensory centers of your brain and none of that happens.


I'm guessing that what you're gunning for here is some kind of divine "spark of life" that exceeds the physical brain. Sadly, all experimentation on brains has revealed that how it works defines who you are - and we can surgically change the former to affect the latter.
 
Now let's move back to the point of it: they cannot observe anything. There is no capability for them to sense an external event and record it; their brain injury is so widespread that there is no hope that they can operate to any capacity other than automatic responses to stimuli.

This somewhat damages the prospect of an observer being beyond what it is observing. The observer here cannot observe because it has no physical capability of observing.

I'm guessing that what you're gunning for here is some kind of divine "spark of life" that exceeds the physical brain. Sadly, all experimentation on brains has revealed that how it works defines who you are - and we can surgically change the former to affect the latter.
They can observe the predicament they appear to be in no? Sure they can't observe "external" events to any real capacity or equivalent to that of a healthy functioning human being. The truth is that for YOU to truly know and understand what it would be like for that kids POV, you'd have to suffer from the same debilitating illness and be inside a body stricken by the same illness and take your observation from there, no external scientific experimentation will ever quite cut it when compared to the real thing of actually being inside that body in the first place.

My question would be however, what exactly is it that I'm communicating with when I talk to another person and when I refer to "YOU have to be inside a body", what is it that's "inside" another body that I'm communicating with. Is it a brain that I'm communicating with, or is it that invisible something that we often call consciousness, but that we have never been able to truly identify and pin point within the body using all manner of scientific investigation.

That leads to another point, experimentation of the brain is still it's in embryonic stages in terms of modern scientific experimentation, I wouldn't put too much weight into it just yet as our understanding from that POV is likely to change and expand greatly as the coming centuries unfold. Has modern scientific experimentation been able to measure the amount of "love" a person has for another simply by studying the neural activity of their brains? Has it been able to pin point exactly where "consciousness" is or lies within the human body, or even what exactly is consciousness from an external and physical standpoint?

From what you've said, it seems like you're pretty confident in siding with the conclusion that "how a brain works defines who you are", or rather that the workings of the brain are more or less equal to who or what you truly are.
 
They can observe the predicament they appear to be in no?
No. They have fewer cognitive abilities than a newborn.
The truth is that for YOU to truly know and understand what it would be like for that kids POV, you'd have to suffer from the same debilitating illness and be inside a body stricken by the same illness and take your observation from there, no external scientific experimentation will ever quite cut it when compared to the real thing of actually being inside that body in the first place.
Why?
That leads to another point, experimentation of the brain is still it's in embryonic stages in terms of modern scientific experimentation, I wouldn't put too much weight into it just yet
Why?
our understanding from that POV is likely to change and expand greatly as the coming centuries unfold.
Yeah, that's pretty much how science works. You'd be amazed how often science works by refining knowledge rather than rejecting and replacing it...
Has modern scientific experimentation been able to measure the amount of "love" a person has for another simply by studying the neural activity of their brains?
Yes.
Has it been able to pin point exactly where "consciousness" is or lies within the human body, or even what exactly is consciousness from an external and physical standpoint?
Yes. Which is kind of what the last couple of pages have been spent telling you.
 
No. They have fewer cognitive abilities than a newborn.

Yes.

Yes. Which is kind of what the last couple of pages have been spent telling you.
1. A newborn has consciousness, perhaps not self-awareness to that of an adult, but they have consciousness otherwise they'd be dead.

2. Show me proof.

3. Again show me proof, I have yet to see any proof. A lot of science waffle, but no actual concrete proof (because there isn't any proof, just scientific waffling).
 
Again show me proof, I have yet to see any proof. A lot of science waffle, but no actual concrete proof (because there isn't any proof, just scientific waffling).
If there is please show it. The common attempt to show that science is open to corrections, ie putting the truth first, is a bad thing is ridiculous. Yes, scientific knowledge changes more than religion. That's exactly the problem with religion and why it's doomed to be wrong.
 
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