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View Poll Results: You are a...
firm believer 166 28.87%
Deist 18 3.13%
Theist 23 4.00%
Agnostic 120 20.87%
Atheist 248 43.13%
Voters: 575. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-14-2011, 10:30 AM   #3271
TheIndependentAquarius
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reed9 View Post
So no, I cannot say in some absolute sense "there is no soul",
That was my point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by reed9 View Post
but the weight of evidence and lack thereof is strongly against it.
Unless it is duly proved or unproved, making baseless
statements is simply not constructive, and can only lead to
nowhere.

So, IMO, choices are, either to keep mum or to use the word
"belief".
 
Old 09-14-2011, 10:33 AM   #3272
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrCode View Post
I realize this post will probably have the opposite of its intended effect, but…

I seriously wish someone would just close this thread. It's so out of place here: a thread about religion, something which has virtually nothing to do with Linux, which has been raging for over 3000 posts.

I realize that I've contributed somewhat to it, but I only did so because I was reacting to comments I found emotionally unsettling and/or provocative (then again, I suppose that's the rationale behind many other posts/posters here as well ). I'm serious when I say that every time I see this thread get bumped up to the top of /General, I get nervous butterflies. Call it pathetic, call it overreactive, I don't care; it's a real feeling, and I'm sure others can understand what I mean by it. This thread (for some of us, anyway) serves nothing more than to create tension and arguments amongst LQ members. I don't care if it's been "polite"; it's a volatile subject and is inherently divisive.

The impression I'm getting is that the "hard atheists" here are asserting something along the lines of "throw away all your unfounded beliefs (no matter how mild or vague), and to hell with how it makes you feel. If you can't deal with it emotionally, you're just a pathetic, weak slob who can't face reality.". I think that's what started the whole "logic vs. emotion" thing, actually; it started with a perceived assertion that "emotions are for the weak, and logic will prevail over all else!". In other words, it's starting to look like a case of scientific imperialism (basically the view that science, and science alone, should be the primary driving force of society and culture, above everything else).

Again, I realize this probably won't have much effect in actually stopping this thread (or others like it; if this one is closed, someone else is likely to start another one ). In fact, I don't doubt that my last paragraph will just set off yet another flamewar-esque battle (), but I hope my message is at least being heard by some people who regularly visit and/or post to this thread…
Come on. Due to the nature of this whole debate, this thread should be taken with a pinch of salt. I really doubt anyone has switched sides because of this thread. In the past I made some serious posts (when I say serious I mean these were my true views) but let's not kid ourselves - this thread is never going to be solved and while someone might be thinking it's pointless to carry on, IMO it's fun and educational at times (as long as it's taken in small doses)

If you can't take it emotionally or you have better things to do to pass the time between your birth and death, you know where the "unsubscribe" link is.
Believe me or not, the choice is yours, MrCode.

Last edited by sycamorex; 09-14-2011 at 10:50 AM.
 
Old 09-14-2011, 10:46 AM   #3273
reed9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anisha Kaul View Post
That was my point.


Unless it is duly proved or unproved, making baseless
statements is simply not constructive, and can only lead to
nowhere.

So, IMO, choices are, either to keep mum or to use the word
"belief".
Unfortunately, "belief" doesn't convey the right message most of the time. I also cannot say in some absolute sense that Germ Theory is true, but the statements "I believe germs cause disease" and "I believe in souls" are on vastly different planes. The issue is what constitutes justified belief. Believing germs cause disease is justified, believing in souls is, arguably, not.

As far as whether souls are "duly proved or unproved", what evidence would you say could falsify the soul hypothesis? We're back to defining what exactly a soul is and figuring out how we could possibly know that are definition is correct.
 
Old 09-14-2011, 11:04 AM   #3274
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShaanAli View Post
Not sure about Bible, but Quran has description & definition of "God".
Great. What it looks like?

Quote:
Originally Posted by reed9 View Post
You'd have to define what the heck a soul is before you could refute it.
A standard defense against using definitions to disprove something is finding different definitions. If I defined soul, and you disproved it based on my definition, then I could find a problem in my definition, and alter the definition of soul. Or somebody else could butt in with completely different definition, and the whole thing would go on forever. Also there're multiple problems associated with definition. For example, define "cat".

Quote:
Originally Posted by reed9 View Post
Wow am I tired of this argument. Let me say it again: There are an infinite number of things that can be postulated and cannot be disproven. We have no more reason to accept an immaterial soul that we have reason to accept leprechauns or Zeus or evil galactic rabbits plotting to take over the Earth. You cannot "prove" any of those things don't exist.
Which means that it is unknown whether those things exists or not. I.e. "truth"/"boolean" value of statement "X exists" is unknown. You, however, as an atheist, BELIEVE that if "truth value" of something is "unknown" then it is "false". I.e. if you don't know that if something exists or not, you assume that it doesn't. In my opinion such behavior is a reckless gamble that is no different from believing into something with no reason. The truth is unknown. Since something can't be true and false and same time, you'll have to prove existence, prove nonexistence, prove impossibility of existence or prove impossibility of nonexistence. You can't really use something of "unknown truth value" in logical arguments, however, in my opinion, automatically thinking that everything that can't be disproven is false severily limits you. For example if you lived in era when there were no airplanes ("heavier than air flying vehicle is possible" = "unknown"), you could assume that heavier than air aircraft is impossible ("heavier than air flying vehicle is possible" = "unknown", false by default by your logic). Which means that for you there would be no reason to even investigate such possibility.

Quote:
Originally Posted by reed9 View Post
Nope, you have it backwards. Whoever is claiming the existence of something called a soul needs to define what it is they are talking about and offer up their evidence.
You also have it backwards. If you claim that something does NOT exist, you're also required to support your argument.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anisha Kaul View Post
What would you say:

1. I believe Anisha is a girl.
2. It is a fact that Anisha is a girl.

?
I'd say that it is impossible to prove with 100% certainty (no offense). You see, a ridiculously stubborn person will always find a way to dismiss any argument you can provide. For example, even if reed9 met you in person, he could claim that some other ("non-girl") person used your name to create LQ account, and posted on LQ for a long time. Even if you show him that you can post using "Anisha Kaul" account, he could claim that real owner of account gave you temporary account access to account in order to trick him into thinking that "Anisha Kaul" account belongs to a girl (and that it is all a conspiracy). That's the reason why religious discussions never end. You can use similar logic to dismiss any argument provided by anybody, as long as argument doesn't deal with strictly defined logical fields such as mathematics, for example.

Quote:
Originally Posted by reed9 View Post
So no, I cannot say in some absolute sense "there is no soul", but the weight of evidence and lack thereof is strongly against it.
If you can't say in "absolute sense", then use fuzzy logic and probabilities. "true"/"false" is meant to be absolute. If it is not 100% or 0% but you claim it to be, you're rounding off the truth in your favor, which is the act of belief, not the use of logic.

Last edited by SigTerm; 09-14-2011 at 11:10 AM.
 
Old 09-14-2011, 11:38 AM   #3275
reed9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SigTerm View Post
Great. What it looks like?
A standard defense against using definitions to disprove something is finding different definitions. If I defined soul, and you disproved it based on my definition, then I could find a problem in my definition, and alter the definition of soul. Or somebody else could butt in with completely different definition, and the whole thing would go on forever.
Yes, but that's called moving the goalpost and is a logical fallacy.

Quote:
Also there're multiple problems associated with definition. For example, define "cat".
Very true. And points to the fact that our categories tend to be arbitrary and not necessary a true reflection of reality. One of the fallacies that evolution deniers make is assuming our category of "cat" has some universal and discrete existence, when in reality life exists on a continuum.

Quote:
Which means that it is unknown whether those things exists or not. I.e. "truth"/"boolean" value of statement "X exists" is unknown. You, however, as an atheist, BELIEVE that if "truth value" of something is "unknown" then it is "false". I.e. if you don't know that if something exists or not, you assume that it doesn't.
Well, no, I don't think I do that. I have repeatedly acknowledged that something being unknown doesn't mean it's not true. What I keep trying to get into is what justifies belief, which is a whole different question from what is true or false. What I am saying is that in cases such as my hypothetical grue, or souls, or God, no one can have knowledge about these things. Maybe they exist, maybe they don't, but I can't know, you can't know, no one can know. And not only can I not know of its existence, I cannot know any attribute these things may or may not have.

We can, however, say with high probability that any particular conception of God is not true, because those do make claims that can and have been disproven. We know that the human population never had a bottleneck of two people, for example, so the Adam and Eve story cannot literally be true. As those pillars of Christianity are undermined, it's hard to keep claiming the Christian god is true.

Quote:
In my opinion such behavior is a reckless gamble that is no different from believing into something with no reason.
But it is not disbelieving with no reason. If something contradicts everything that we do think we know with good certainty, then it is reasonable to assign a low probability to its truth. If the Earth is only 6000 years old, as some people believe, then pretty much all of modern science is utterly wrong. We have good evidence that modern science is not wrong, so the young earth claim is highly improbable.

Quote:
For example if you lived in era when there were no airplanes ("heavier than air flying vehicle is possible" = "unknown"), you could assume that heavier than air aircraft is impossible ("heavier than air flying vehicle is possible" = "unknown", false by default by your logic). Which means that for you there would be no reason to even investigate such possibility.
Why would you assume that when birds are heavier than air and fly? Also, the mark of good scientific theories is that they are fecund - they lead into new areas of exploration and knowledge. Richard Feynman laid out the limits of nanotechnology before the age of personal computers had even happened, based on what we knew from physics.

And of course, I am not opposed to dreaming large. But some areas of exploration never pan out and at some point it's reasonable to give it up, when the probability of its truth becomes so minute that there is little point. Phlogiston comes to mind as an example.


Quote:
I'd say that it is impossible to prove with 100% certainty (no offense). You see, a ridiculously stubborn person will always find a way to dismiss any argument you can provide. For example, even if reed9 met you in person, he could claim that some other ("non-girl") person used your name to create LQ account, and posted on LQ for a long time. Even if you show him that you can post using "Anisha Kaul" account, he could claim that real owner of account gave you temporary account access to account in order to trick him into thinking that "Anisha Kaul" account belongs to a girl (and that it is all a conspiracy). That's the reason why religious discussions never end. You can use similar logic to dismiss any argument provided by anybody, as long as argument doesn't deal with strictly defined logical fields such as mathematics, for example.
Which is why we recognize that nothing can be 100% known.

Quote:
If you can't say in "absolute sense", then use fuzzy logic and probabilities. "true"/"false" is meant to be absolute. If it is not 100% or 0% but you claim it to be, you're rounding off the truth in your favor, which is the act of belief, not the use of logic.
I do use probabilities and I've talked about them repeatedly. I'm all for Bayesian inference.
 
Old 09-14-2011, 12:16 PM   #3276
SigTerm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reed9 View Post
Yes, but that's called moving the goalpost and is a logical fallacy.
Not necessarily. It could also be "bug elimination". If you're trying to use definitions in order to argue, it is very possible that your definition will be imprecise and you'll be only discover that after somebody proves refutes the definition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by reed9 View Post
Maybe they exist, maybe they don't, but I can't know, you can't know, no one can know.
That's a strong agnostic position. I though you said you're an atheist?

Quote:
Originally Posted by reed9 View Post
We know that the human population never had a bottleneck of two people, for example, so the Adam and Eve story cannot literally be true.
...and it is also possible to claim that the god described in bible exists, but the half of the story is mythology. Disproving the bible and disproving the god are different things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by reed9 View Post
If the Earth is only 6000 years old,
Somebody already used general relativity + big bang theory as an attempt to prove that earth has been created in 6 days (I think it was this article?). If you pick different reference system of a moving object, the earth will be 6000 years old - according to that system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by reed9 View Post
Which is why we recognize that nothing can be 100% known.
I wouldn't be so sure about it. Some things cannot be 100% known.
 
Old 09-14-2011, 12:40 PM   #3277
reed9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SigTerm View Post
Not necessarily. It could also be "bug elimination". If you're trying to use definitions in order to argue, it is very possible that your definition will be imprecise and you'll be only discover that after somebody proves refutes the definition.
If it is approached in that spirit, granted. I was referring more to the folks who try to save their favorite idea from falsification by constantly shifting definitions.


Quote:
That's a strong agnostic position. I though you said you're an atheist?
I am an atheist. I don't believe in any gods or anything supernatural. I am also interested in questions of epistemology, theories of knowledge, and the philosophy of science and there are some very real problems in figuring out how we know anything, what knowledge is, or what justification we have for asserting that science approximates truth. I'm ok with ambiguity and not knowing.


Quote:
...and it is also possible to claim that the god described in bible exists, but the half of the story is mythology. Disproving the bible and disproving the god are different things.
Yes, but lacking any objective way to discern which bits are myth and which aren't, we're left with the distinct sense that this is nothing more than ad hoc reasoning in an attempt to save a cherished belief.


Quote:
Somebody already used general relativity + big bang theory as an attempt to prove that earth has been created in 6 days (I think it was this article?). If you pick different reference system of a moving object, the earth will be 6000 years old - according to that system.
Same thing as above.

Quote:
I wouldn't be so sure about it. Some things cannot be 100% known.
The classic example of why this isn't so is the whole Matrix idea that everything we're experiencing is in fact a simulation. You can't disprove this (as with many things), and so we're left with allowing the tiniest possibility that anything or everything we think we know is false. There's also the problem with sensory data being unreliable, as exemplified by the fact that people can miss seeing a guy in a friggin' gorilla suit walk through a scene. So no, I would not say we can ever know anything for absolute certain. This was Descartes' whole thing with "I think therefore I am". He believed you could doubt everything but the existence of the doubter.
 
Old 09-14-2011, 12:52 PM   #3278
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reed9 View Post
The classic example of why this isn't so is the whole Matrix
As far as I know, you can be certain of your own existence. That replaces "nothing" with "some things".
 
Old 09-14-2011, 01:26 PM   #3279
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SigTerm View Post
As far as I know, you can be certain of your own existence. That replaces "nothing" with "some things".
What if we are the proverbial butterfly dreaming that she is a person? Even if we accept Descartes reasoning, it only leads us to say that there is something that has the "property of thinking". And as one criticism of him goes, there is an unjustified proposition there, ie, "Whatever has the property of thinking, exists."
 
Old 09-14-2011, 01:56 PM   #3280
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SigTerm View Post
That's a strong agnostic position. I though you said you're an atheist?
Perhaps this will help.

Agnostic v Gnostic v Atheist v Theist.png
 
Old 09-14-2011, 01:58 PM   #3281
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reed9 View Post
it only leads us to say that there is something that has the "property of thinking".
I don't see a problem here. "Being certain about your own existence" != "being certain about your own nature(i.e. what you are)". However it provides an exception to "nothing is ever 100% certain". Can you prove that there are no other exceptions? If there's even one exception, then I would expect that there are more exceptions that were overlooked - since it is human nature to make mistakes and fail to notice the obvious. You already gave "gorilla costume" example, so how can you be certain that you haven't overlooked something obvious (besides "kogito ergo sum") that refutes your proposed "nothing is ever 100% certain" argument?
 
Old 09-14-2011, 02:11 PM   #3282
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SigTerm View Post
I don't see a problem here. "Being certain about your own existence" != "being certain about your own nature(i.e. what you are)". However it provides an exception to "nothing is ever 100% certain". Can you prove that there are no other exceptions? If there's even one exception, then I would expect that there are more exceptions that were overlooked - since it is human nature to make mistakes and fail to notice the obvious. You already gave "gorilla costume" example, so how can you be certain that you haven't overlooked something obvious (besides "kogito ergo sum") that refutes your proposed "nothing is ever 100% certain" argument?
Of course I'm not sure. If I were, that would be certainty, wouldn't it?
 
Old 09-14-2011, 02:15 PM   #3283
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anisha Kaul View Post
Please list down the citations here to support the said fact.
Sure. Here is the comprehensive list of reliable sources that have provided solid evidence the existence of the soul:

Quote:
..
Since the burden of proof is with the positive claim ("There is a soul"), and no evidence has been advanced to support that claim, the only reasonable conclusion is that the claim is false.
 
Old 09-14-2011, 02:20 PM   #3284
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Thumbs down

Quote:
Originally Posted by reed9 View Post
Of course I'm not sure. If I were, that would be certainty, wouldn't it?
Okay, so "nothing is ever 100% certain" includes the statement itself. Which means it is unknown whether the statement is completely true or false, which makes the statement pretty much useless as an argument.

What was the point?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SL00b View Post
the only reasonable conclusion is that the claim is false.
Typical.

You could say that claim has failed if you performed an experiment that was supposed to produce positive results if claim is true, and the experiment failed. Lack of evidence does not qualify as such experiment. There is no reason to think that if there is soul, then evidence of soul is easy to obtain/perceive.

Well, whatever.

Last edited by SigTerm; 09-14-2011 at 02:34 PM.
 
Old 09-14-2011, 02:24 PM   #3285
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Originally Posted by Anisha Kaul View Post
Right!
So the question to SLooB should be define soul and then prove that it doesn't exist!
WRONG.

Your job is to define "soul," and then present evidence that it exists. Until you accomplish this, the default position stands. You are committing the classic fallacy of shifting the burden of proof.
 
  


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