Is J. Neil Schulman justified (logically) in believing in God?


Starbuckle

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Let's stay within the framework matching your experience. The issue is not about witnesses reporting - (like in a eye-witness testimony where there is a connection to objecitive reality) - it is about person's subjective experience limited to what went on in this person's head.

I don't think you're even aware that you're assuming your conclusion. All perception is subjective. Whether the perception is of something externally stimulated and therefore real is the question under discussion.

Surely you will acknowledge that there is a difference between an actual eyewitness testimony and the type of "waking experience" someone has who "sees" something in his mind only?

Conventional eyesight works by light hitting the retina and being conveyed to the brain for interpretation as an image.

In an experimental lab the brain can be electrically stimulated to produce that same image without light hitting the retina.

In a dream multi-sensory experience can be as real as what is experienced while conventionally awake.

When a tune gets stuck in our head, we can hear it as clearly as if it was being played to our ears.

The brain does a good deal of processing of sensory data such that perception often creates a memory at variance from an actual occurrence. This is often demonstrated in classroom performances showing how eyewitness testimony can be commonly false to what was presented.

All perception requires reflection and integration with the whole of our life experiences.

You're asking me to make a binary distinction between conventional perception and extraordinary perception. This I can not do. Just because events are unusual and iconic doesn't force one to accept by fiat epistemology that they are less real than conventional perceptions.

Edited by J. Neil Schulman
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So could it be said that objective reality is indeed subjective, and that objectiveness is for all intents and purposes an illusory concept, and that anyone who holds there "objective reality" above that of another is dogmatic.

Short answer: no.

you can do better than that

I guess my point would be: so can you. Any sentence that includes the words "objective reality is indeed subjective" is not likely to lead to a productive discussion.

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Nothing that can be accepted by anyone else as anything but anecdotal evidence, but in the spirit of opening other minds to the necessity of challenging one's view of what is possible.

So do you acknowledge the possibility that you are wrong about your supposed encounter with God? Or is your mind closed on this subject?

Ghs

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Nothing that can be accepted by anyone else as anything but anecdotal evidence, but in the spirit of opening other minds to the necessity of challenging one's view of what is possible.

So do you acknowledge the possibility that you are wrong about your supposed encounter with God? Or is your mind closed on this subject?

Ghs

I stand with Eleanor Arroway's final testimony regarding her experience of extraterrestrials in Contact.

http://youtu.be/-FbSPXC4btU

Now, George, I throw the question back to you. Do you acknowledge the possibility that you are wrong about the impossibility of your supposed encounter with your father after his death? Do you acknowledge the possibility that his conscious survived the death of his body and you really were hearing a post-death communication? Or is your mind closed on this subject?

Edited by J. Neil Schulman
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If all the world took the same approach to life as say, a William Scherk or a George Smith there would be limited progress, especially in science and research. They seem to fail at examining possible alternatives to their beliefs or better said, dogmatic opinions.

Bobby Allen, you ain't done your homework. My point of intersection with Objectivish thought is at the science/rationalist front, and you will find no post here at OL that skirts science in favour of dogma, and plenty posts here that defend science against intrusions of religious or loony twilight zone crap. I also resolutely critique science studies and cultural studies and all that tosh along with murky reasoning, fallacious thinking and rabbitholes of delusion . . .

But a fan here has already chided you for your blank homework book. I thank her and address your implication that George and I have been especially unfair or snide to Neil -- or that there has been some crime against humanity here, some series of awful verbal crucifixions. I direct you to my last post here, in which I apologized to Neil and wished him the best, and gave my blessing to his concept of indwelling god where I understood it. I did my best and with full heart. I do not like to be accused of bad faith by somebody so frigging late to the lecture, chumley. Do your penance, change your avatar to Bart for an hour, and I will be avenged.

Neil gave me a reasonably cheery sendoff from this discussion after my closing post, so please do also read that response. I had a very long engagement with Neil and I would be surprised if he now assessed me as a dogmatic, bad-faith enemy of scientific progress . . .

I said what I said, I stand by it, and I shall hereby scuttle back into retirement from this topic.

Edited by william.scherk
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Nothing that can be accepted by anyone else as anything but anecdotal evidence, but in the spirit of opening other minds to the necessity of challenging one's view of what is possible.

So do you acknowledge the possibility that you are wrong about your supposed encounter with God? Or is your mind closed on this subject?

Ghs

I stand with Eleanor Arroway's final testimony regarding her experience of extraterrestrials in Contact.

http://youtu.be/-FbSPXC4btU

Now, George, I throw the question back to you. Do you acknowledge the possibility that you are wrong about the impossibility of your supposed encounter with your father after his death? Do you acknowledge the possibility that his conscious survived the death of his body and you really were hearing a post-death communication? Or is your mind closed on this subject?

Houdini didn't come back.

--Brant

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I'm guessing this is what you meant by Bart. Clock's ticking, hope you're able to enjoy it. Truly, I don't wish to remain in bad faith with anyone here on OL. I was naively defending Neil and making absurd accusations.

Is there supposed to be something in this post to view?

Adam

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I'm guessing this is what you meant by Bart. Clock's ticking, hope you're able to enjoy it. Truly, I don't wish to remain in bad faith with anyone here on OL. I was naively defending Neil and making absurd accusations.

Is there supposed to be something in this post to view?

Adam

just my avatar

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Here's what I wrote:

I do believe God serves a purpose but its not to give us dogmatic commands to follow. The purpose is to give us something to aspire to. God is the epitome of perfection but perfection is an imperfect as well as an adaptable idea an in that sense you can mold God in the image of what you aspire to be. (end quote)

I realize that Schulman's has a completely different premise, which is that God exists. However, after reading the interview I realized that what I said is only applicable if we honestly believe in a God-like being, or if one holds that same premise. We can't fool ourselves into striving to be something we know imaginary. It must be real to us.

And I see parallels to Objectivist thinkers. I believe they are striving for perfection as well, but without the God premise. Perhaps, Objectivists are much closer to God than they realize.

I believe Dr. Craig does an excellent job of explaining this. See for yourself. Also, I just came across this video tonight. It pleases me that I am not the only one who has come to this sort of conclusion.

Click Here

Dawkins started by rationally pointing out that we humans are inclined to seeing purpose in many things as children but eventually grow out of the purposive way of looking at the whole world. His "apparently not everybody" was meant to challenge Craig.

Imo Craig was correct in rejecting Dawkins's labeling existential "Why" questions as "silly". Just because we will never know the answer to a question does not make the question a "silly" question. I suppose one will find only few humans who have not stood in awe looking at the starspangled sky, thinking of all those incredible dimensions, and asking themselves the question (in layperson's terms) "Why is does there exist anything at all instead of nothing?"

Since human mind cannot grasp e. g. the idea of "infinite density", (the physical impossibility called singularity necessary for the Big Bang hypothesis), there may be a lot of other concepts we just cannot grasp; so there might actually exist an answer to this existential "Why" question, but which does not reveal itself, given our limited mental capacity.

Maybe there exist other higher deveoloped beings in the universe to whom much more is revealed because they are further advanced in their mental evolution than homo sapiens sapiens.

But then Craig suddenly attacks Dawkins, distorting his words. Craig now claims that every purposeful action by an atheist must necessarily qualify as "illusionary and subjective" because the atheist does not believe in some top divine governor providing 'objective' purpose.

But this is epistemological nonsense. Since every single human action is always done for a purpose, Craig really need not worry about atheists floating in bubbles of subjective illusion.

The purpose behind Craig's deliberate epistemological muddle is pretty clear also: to throw sand into the audience's eyes.

For it is he, the theist, who obviously cannot live without the idea of a big divine purpose behind existence.

In short, Craig is trying to dump his argumentative junk into Dawkins's yard while brazenly asserting that the junk is Dawkins's.

Edited by Xray
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Xray, you are right. Also, the video definitely favors Craig since he is the last one to speak. I'm sure Dawkins came back with an eloquent rebuttal to Craig's magic act.

Edit: I went to church with the folks Sunday for the first time in months and the preacher spoke on God demanding Abraham to sacrifice his son. The preacher said,"You know God would've killed him too." I just shook my head. What nonsense, and everyone just eats up everything he says. It seems that noone applies that situation to themselves. They're all lunatics if they'd consider sacrificing their child. And its funny that that was the message cause I remember Neil talking about that in his book, saying that what God really wanted was for Abraham to tell him to go fuck himself.

I don't understand preachers. They are like mini-Hitlers in my eyes. They say the most absurd things and go unchallenged, unquestioned. It would be considered heinous to speak out in contest. I sure was considering it Sunday.

Edited by Aristocrates
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Xray, you are right. Also, the video definitely favors Craig since he is the last one to speak. I'm sure Dawkins came back with an eloquent rebuttal to Craig's magic act.

Edit: I went to church with the folks Sunday for the first time in months and the preacher spoke on God demanding Abraham to sacrifice his son. The preacher said,"You know God would've killed him too." I just shook my head. What nonsense, and everyone just eats up everything he says. It seems that noone applies that situation to themselves. They're all lunatics if they'd consider sacrificing their child. And its funny that that was the message cause I remember Neil talking about that in his book, saying that what God really wanted was for Abraham to tell him to go fuck himself.

I don't understand preachers. They are like mini-Hitlers in my eyes. They say the most absurd things and go unchallenged, unquestioned. It would be considered heinous to speak out in contest. I sure was considering it Sunday.

It's possible you might be the first person to read I Met God who understands that I am no less hostile to religion, its dogmas, and its dogmatic clergy than I was when I was an atheist.

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Nothing that can be accepted by anyone else as anything but anecdotal evidence, but in the spirit of opening other minds to the necessity of challenging one's view of what is possible.

So do you acknowledge the possibility that you are wrong about your supposed encounter with God? Or is your mind closed on this subject?

Ghs

I stand with Eleanor Arroway's final testimony regarding her experience of extraterrestrials in Contact.

http://youtu.be/-FbSPXC4btU

Now, George, I throw the question back to you. Do you acknowledge the possibility that you are wrong about the impossibility of your supposed encounter with your father after his death? Do you acknowledge the possibility that his conscious survived the death of his body and you really were hearing a post-death communication? Or is your mind closed on this subject?

Let us hope that your defense is not as incompetent and cliched as that given by Arroway.

I never said that I encountered my father after his accidental death. I said I had dreams about him; and that after waking it could take a minute or so before my head cleared. This sort of experience is common, as is the experience you had. Unlike you, however, I don't confuse my dreams and states of semi-consciousness with great insights into the nature of reality.

Ghs

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It's possible you might be the first person to read I Met God who understands that I am no less hostile to religion, its dogmas, and its dogmatic clergy than I was when I was an atheist.

Have you read Kant’s Religion Within the Limits of Bare Reason? I haven’t, but I’ve gathered what his position was, and I’m wondering how yours compares. He got into trouble for that book, since Frederick the Great’s successor was more the church going type.

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Nothing that can be accepted by anyone else as anything but anecdotal evidence, but in the spirit of opening other minds to the necessity of challenging one's view of what is possible.

So do you acknowledge the possibility that you are wrong about your supposed encounter with God? Or is your mind closed on this subject?

Ghs

I stand with Eleanor Arroway's final testimony regarding her experience of extraterrestrials in Contact.

http://youtu.be/-FbSPXC4btU

Now, George, I throw the question back to you. Do you acknowledge the possibility that you are wrong about the impossibility of your supposed encounter with your father after his death? Do you acknowledge the possibility that his conscious survived the death of his body and you really were hearing a post-death communication? Or is your mind closed on this subject?

Let us hope that your defense is not as incompetent and cliched as that given by Arroway.

I never said that I encountered my father after his accidental death. I said I had dreams about him; and that after waking it could take a minute or so before my head cleared. This sort of experience is common, as is the experience you had. Unlike you, however, I don't confuse my dreams and states of semi-consciousness with great insights into the nature of reality.

Ghs

No, George. I'm asking you, "Do you acknowledge the possibility that you are wrong about the impossibility of your supposed encounter with your father after his death? Do you acknowledge the possibility that his conscious survived the death of his body and you really were hearing a post-death communication? Or is your mind closed on this subject?" because you wrote the following:

I don't believe you at all, partly because I had many similar experiences after my father drowned in a boating accident in 1974, shortly after I had returned to Tucson to rest up while awaiting the publication of ATCAG. He and a friend were swept overboard in a freak storm on Lake Roosevelt while zipped-up in their sleeping bags.

I had nightmares for years (the notion of drowning while confined still terrifies me), but the weirdest experiences occurred while I was wide awake and completely sober. I would sometimes go for hours at a time without realizing that my father was dead, and I would frequently hear his voice coming from another room. It took at least a year before these voices stopped, and there were other disturbing incidents as well.

So don't tell me about your paranormal interpretations of such experiences, as if you are the only one who has ever had them. I had dozens and dozens of them, and I struggled like a son-of-bitch to retain my hold on reality.

George H. Smith

Message #658, Page 33 of this thread

Edited by J. Neil Schulman
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Xray, you are right. Also, the video definitely favors Craig since he is the last one to speak. I'm sure Dawkins came back with an eloquent rebuttal to Craig's magic act.

Edit: I went to church with the folks Sunday for the first time in months and the preacher spoke on God demanding Abraham to sacrifice his son. The preacher said,"You know God would've killed him too." I just shook my head. What nonsense, and everyone just eats up everything he says. It seems that noone applies that situation to themselves. They're all lunatics if they'd consider sacrificing their child. And its funny that that was the message cause I remember Neil talking about that in his book, saying that what God really wanted was for Abraham to tell him to go fuck himself.

I don't understand preachers. They are like mini-Hitlers in my eyes. They say the most absurd things and go unchallenged, unquestioned. It would be considered heinous to speak out in contest. I sure was considering it Sunday.

It's possible you might be the first person to read I Met God who understands that I am no less hostile to religion, its dogmas, and its dogmatic clergy than I was when I was an atheist.

Surely you're exaggerating. Lol, I think you'll appreciate this video. Hopefully you haven't seen it already.

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Nothing that can be accepted by anyone else as anything but anecdotal evidence, but in the spirit of opening other minds to the necessity of challenging one's view of what is possible.

So do you acknowledge the possibility that you are wrong about your supposed encounter with God? Or is your mind closed on this subject?

Ghs

I stand with Eleanor Arroway's final testimony regarding her experience of extraterrestrials in Contact.

http://youtu.be/-FbSPXC4btU

Now, George, I throw the question back to you. Do you acknowledge the possibility that you are wrong about the impossibility of your supposed encounter with your father after his death? Do you acknowledge the possibility that his conscious survived the death of his body and you really were hearing a post-death communication? Or is your mind closed on this subject?

Let us hope that your defense is not as incompetent and cliched as that given by Arroway.

I never said that I encountered my father after his accidental death. I said I had dreams about him; and that after waking it could take a minute or so before my head cleared. This sort of experience is common, as is the experience you had. Unlike you, however, I don't confuse my dreams and states of semi-consciousness with great insights into the nature of reality.

Ghs

No, George. I'm asking you, "Do you acknowledge the possibility that you are wrong about the impossibility of your supposed encounter with your father after his death? Do you acknowledge the possibility that his conscious survived the death of his body and you really were hearing a post-death communication? Or is your mind closed on this subject?" because you wrote the following:

I don't believe you at all, partly because I had many similar experiences after my father drowned in a boating accident in 1974, shortly after I had returned to Tucson to rest up while awaiting the publication of ATCAG. He and a friend were swept overboard in a freak storm on Lake Roosevelt while zipped-up in their sleeping bags.

I had nightmares for years (the notion of drowning while confined still terrifies me), but the weirdest experiences occurred while I was wide awake and completely sober. I would sometimes go for hours at a time without realizing that my father was dead, and I would frequently hear his voice coming from another room. It took at least a year before these voices stopped, and there were other disturbing incidents as well.

So don't tell me about your paranormal interpretations of such experiences, as if you are the only one who has ever had them. I had dozens and dozens of them, and I struggled like a son-of-bitch to retain my hold on reality.

George H. Smith

Message #658, Page 33 of this thread

Again, I never thought or imagined that my father was talking to me; in most cases, I thought I heard him talking to my mother in another room, though I could never make out specific words. Moreover, my mother never heard the voice.

No, I don't think it is possible that this was really my father talking. It was my active imagination. Call them audio hallucinations, if you will. I distinguish between such experiences, which are fairly common after tragedies, and reality. Do you? Or do you believe everything you think you hear or see?

Ghs

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Nothing that can be accepted by anyone else as anything but anecdotal evidence, but in the spirit of opening other minds to the necessity of challenging one's view of what is possible.

So do you acknowledge the possibility that you are wrong about your supposed encounter with God? Or is your mind closed on this subject?

Ghs

I stand with Eleanor Arroway's final testimony regarding her experience of extraterrestrials in Contact.

http://youtu.be/-FbSPXC4btU

Now, George, I throw the question back to you. Do you acknowledge the possibility that you are wrong about the impossibility of your supposed encounter with your father after his death? Do you acknowledge the possibility that his conscious survived the death of his body and you really were hearing a post-death communication? Or is your mind closed on this subject?

Let us hope that your defense is not as incompetent and cliched as that given by Arroway.

I never said that I encountered my father after his accidental death. I said I had dreams about him; and that after waking it could take a minute or so before my head cleared. This sort of experience is common, as is the experience you had. Unlike you, however, I don't confuse my dreams and states of semi-consciousness with great insights into the nature of reality.

Ghs

No, George. I'm asking you, "Do you acknowledge the possibility that you are wrong about the impossibility of your supposed encounter with your father after his death? Do you acknowledge the possibility that his conscious survived the death of his body and you really were hearing a post-death communication? Or is your mind closed on this subject?" because you wrote the following:

I don't believe you at all, partly because I had many similar experiences after my father drowned in a boating accident in 1974, shortly after I had returned to Tucson to rest up while awaiting the publication of ATCAG. He and a friend were swept overboard in a freak storm on Lake Roosevelt while zipped-up in their sleeping bags.

I had nightmares for years (the notion of drowning while confined still terrifies me), but the weirdest experiences occurred while I was wide awake and completely sober. I would sometimes go for hours at a time without realizing that my father was dead, and I would frequently hear his voice coming from another room. It took at least a year before these voices stopped, and there were other disturbing incidents as well.

So don't tell me about your paranormal interpretations of such experiences, as if you are the only one who has ever had them. I had dozens and dozens of them, and I struggled like a son-of-bitch to retain my hold on reality.

George H. Smith

Message #658, Page 33 of this thread

Again, I never thought or imagined that my father was talking to me; in most cases, I thought I heard him talking to my mother in another room, though I could never make out specific words. Moreover, my mother never heard the voice.

No, I don't think it is possible that this was really my father talking. It was my active imagination. Call them audio hallucinations, if you will. I distinguish between such experiences, which are fairly common after tragedies, and reality. Do you? Or do you believe everything you think you hear or see?

Ghs

Belief is something you get to much later.

I would not have excluded repeated experiences as evidence of something real. I would not have rejected sensory input because it did not fit into my pre-existing worldview of what was possible. I would not have rejected data in favor of theory. That's putting belief ahead of scientific inquiry.

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Belief is something you get to much later.

I would not have excluded repeated experiences as evidence of something real. I would not have rejected sensory input because it did not fit into my pre-existing worldview of what was possible. I would not have rejected data in favor of theory. That's putting belief ahead of scientific inquiry.

Belief in the absurd is something you should never get to.

None of this, including your delusional beliefs about God, has anything to with scientific inquiry.

Ghs

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Belief is something you get to much later.

I would not have excluded repeated experiences as evidence of something real. I would not have rejected sensory input because it did not fit into my pre-existing worldview of what was possible. I would not have rejected data in favor of theory. That's putting belief ahead of scientific inquiry.

Belief in the absurd is something you should never get to.

None of this, including your delusional beliefs about God, has anything to with scientific inquiry.

Ghs

Classifying an ongoing sensory experience as a hallucination because you have a belief that it's impossible is an act of dogmatic faith, not science.

You have the methods of science upside down, George H. Smith. Your skepticism isn't rational. It's religious.

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Belief is something you get to much later.

I would not have excluded repeated experiences as evidence of something real. I would not have rejected sensory input because it did not fit into my pre-existing worldview of what was possible. I would not have rejected data in favor of theory. That's putting belief ahead of scientific inquiry.

Belief in the absurd is something you should never get to.

None of this, including your delusional beliefs about God, has anything to with scientific inquiry.

Ghs

Classifying an ongoing sensory experience as a hallucination because you have a belief that it's impossible is an act of dogmatic faith, not science.

You have the methods of science upside down, George H. Smith. Your skepticism isn't rational. It's religious.

The ability to distinguish between the real and the imaginary is always based, to some degree, on what one regards as impossible. This is a distinguishing characteristic of sanity, not to mention rationality.

My skepticism about your particiular God-claim is based on the same premises as my rejection of thousands of similar claims that have made made for thousands of years. If anything -- and as I have discussed before -- your interpretation of your personal experience is far less credible than many similar claims by other people. On a scale of 1 to 10 in regard to such God-claims, I would rate it a 3 -- possibly a 4, if I am in an especially understanding mood.

Ghs

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