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PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2006 6:32 am 
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Well I look at it this way, from every single class I've been in, and every lecture I've been to, and every discussion in general I've been in, there is that one thing that mathematically does not come out there is always one variable missing in the equation. one "x" that just can not be figured out, and not from a lack of trying. I have seen every view on it, from the big bang to the string theory. What I figure is that the one thing missing is divine intervention from a higher power, and people can take it whatever way they wish. If you don't believe in any form of god(dess) then why is it that science and math has yet to figure out what this variable is?

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2006 11:21 am 
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Kiley, I split your comment off from the last subject because I felt it was worth dealing with on its own.

What you say reminds me of the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, and his "Phenomena and Noumena". (That links to a fairly heavy-duty philosophy essay, usually only of interest to people who are studying Kant.) In short, Kant insisted that our knowledge was limited to the appearances of things, rather than the complete object -- the thing itself. In his view of the world, there was always an unknown and unknowable "X" behind every experience.

But even if I agree with that, where does that leave us? Yes, you can be mystical and claim that the "X" is divine, or materialist and claim that the "X" is just a brute fact, but neither stance is actually justified on the basis of the unknown "X". Without some actual data about "X", it's mere speculation for one or the other to say "X" is intelligent and personal, or "X" is nothing but the interplay of force fields.

Strictly speaking, anyone who subscribes to the "unknown X" idea is a kind of agnostic. Agnosticism, in its strictest sense, means precisely that something is unknowable. It can be even more specific than that: for instance, I might say that I am agnostic with regards to the supernatural from the perspective of science. That is, using science as a means to obtain knowledge, I can not come to any knowledge of the supernatural. By way of analogy, it's a bit like saying that you can't reach irrational numbers if you start with integers and the operations "add, subtract, multiply, and divide". It's not that irrational numbers are any less valid as concepts than integers -- simply that you can't get to there from here that way.
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If you don't believe in any form of god(dess) then why is it that science and math has yet to figure out what this variable is?

Materialists -- the kind who don't believe in the supernatural -- might answer this by saying that we encounter unknowns purely because human knowledge is limited. You make it sound like there is a god(dess) standing in the way, saying "this far, no further". The limits we encounter could well be natural limits, not suggestive of any kind of god at all.

In actual practice, most of the materialists I encounter are a little more presumptuous than this, but let's not go there for now.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2006 5:37 pm 
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Okay, and I understand that there are possibilities, all I was saying was that there seems to be noone who has come to find out what that "X" stands for. If someone figures it out within a shadow of a doubt, it would not challenge my faith at all and at the same time I would be glad that someone has figured out that mystery that has been plaguing us for so long.

My best friend is Agnostic, and doesn't believe anything he can't see or prove with science or mathematics. Which is totally cool by me and I think that everyone is entitled their view on life and all matters of such, I think that it is these differences that in the end will bring us to a higher understanding of what is actually true and not true, of the universe and life in general. By working together with all different views on life, we will surely have to be able to eventually come to the correct answer.

And thank you for the article I will have to read it later. :)

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2006 3:00 am 
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Kiley wrote:
My best friend is Agnostic, and doesn't believe anything he can't see or prove with science or mathematics.

Ask him whether he believes in moral rights and wrongs ("rape is wrong", and such like). If he does believe such things, ask him for mathematical or scientific proof of his belief. Don't let him fall back on other moral assertions as backing. Saying that "rape is wrong because rape hurts people, and you shouldn't hurt people" is just substituting one moral assertion for another. What proof does he offer that it's wrong to hurt people?

In general, people who say they don't believe anything they can't see or prove are kidding themselves. They believe in lots of things they can't see or prove: they just demand higher standards of evidence when it comes to belief in God.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2006 4:48 am 
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To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure I want to hear his answer for whether he believes it is wrong or not, he tends to feel that people should suck up and deal with the hand they are dealt and that it should all be easy because he doesn't really put much emotion into too many things.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2006 5:31 am 
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Well, suffice it to say that if you examined his behaviour closely, I'm pretty sure you'd find he's selective about which of his beliefs require scientific and/or mathematical proof. Few people are willing to take denial of moral rights and wrongs to their logical extreme (even though there's no logical reason not to do so).


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2006 6:33 am 
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Yes well, if he has morals at all, they are few and well hidden.. to say the least..

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