“Other ways of knowing” and their result.

Here’s a little clip from one of Richard Dawkins presentations.

I think it’s a fitting illustration of what science would be like if epistemologically it behaved the way religion does.

It also ridicules the concept that religion has “other ways of knowing” which are more reliable than science.

Richard Dawkins: If Science Worked Like Religion

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166 responses to ““Other ways of knowing” and their result.

  1. Yes… but scientific beliefs have been known to differ depending on geographical location. Societ scientists for instance DID have different theories about evolution, and pychology etc. Their scinetific beliefs WERE determined by their birth place! This is even more true in philosophy of science – so much so that people can talk about the continetal school, vs the americal or english and so on…. yet again Dawkins shows his lack of general knowledge.

  2. Excuse bad typing on tablet…

  3. Scientific “beliefs” often differ – and we can have a great old donnybrook sorting them out. We do this most effectively by validating and testing ideas against reality. Only one reality so you can understand how, in the end, scientists do reach a natural consensus.

    Some scientific ideas during Stalin’s time in the USSR did become very much the subject of politics and political patronage. People died for their ideas then. But, in the end, that abnormality has been resolved. Or do you still find a geographical difference on these topics?

    The continental vs the analytical school of philosophy is very much a misnomer in geographical terms – “In our Time” had a very interesting podcast on that recently.

    But again – you could have used the cold war geographical split – there were more Marxist philosophers in the USSR than in the west.

    Unfortunately, the problem of much of philosophy is its divorce from reality – hence validation is not the same as in science.

    What specific errors do you think my friend Richard has made in this clip, though?

  4. What a wonderful video.. does shed light on our readiness to accept certain things when under the umbrella of religion.

    And Max, I have to disagree…Science, at the end of the day is based on empirical understanding of the world around us. Although different cultures may have different interpretations of scientific phenomenon, the basic, underlying scientific knowledge is the same. An atom is defined the same way (if we are talking about a scientific explanation, not a local myth, fable, etc) in the US, Guatemala, or Kuala Lumpur. Germ theory of disease does not vary with geography (again, talking straight since, not localized customs). Culturally specific cosmologies, for example, are NOT scientifically based, whereas the big bang theory is, and does not vary based on geography.

    Dawkins does not show his lack of general knowledge, rather, illustrates how easy it is for human nature to allow religion an exceedingly wide berth for things that under any other circumstances would seem downright absurd. If you’ve read his work, you’ll notice that aside from being a fantastic scientist and a keen thinker, he also has an excellent understanding of human nature.

  5. Krismerino,

    I am intrigued by your portrayal of Dawkins as a “fantastic scientist”.

    How would you justify that description?

  6. What errors? Well like I said – the “fantasy” scenario he presents of people holding different scientific views based on geography(ie. where they were born) is not a fantasy at all but in fact the reality we live in…

  7. I can just see it Max.

    Scientists using suicide bombings against rival institutes. Flying planes into university buildings.

    And we would have to set up “inter science” groups (equivalent of interfaith. Treat each other with kid gloves so no one would get offended. Appoint “inter science” ministers in government. Demand the UN introduce anti defamation laws which prevented scientists from critiquing the theories of other scientists.

    And we would all be financed to be hostile towards each other by tax exemption status.

  8. Um… what… um…

    Where did that come from!

    When did I say that scientists were bombing rival institutions, or making terrorist attacks??? Wow. I mean wow! How on earth did you get that out of what I said???

  9. It came from my sense of humour. Just drawing the conclusion – how would science behave if it used the same “ways of knowing” used by religion.

    It doesn’t of course – hence the humor.

  10. Fair enough… well I don’t think it DOES use the same way of knowing as religion. I was just pointing out the irony that what Dawkins was describing was in fact happening! Of course you could argue that when it happens in science… as it does.. this is bad science; but when it happens in religion it is the norm… but I am not hear to argue *your* case!

  11. I was just pointing out the irony that what Dawkins was describing was in fact happening!

    Max, it sounds like a case of the magical balance fairy to me.
    Can you give any specific scientific examples that are happening as Dawkins describes?

    …well I don’t think it DOES use the same way of knowing as religion.

    Yes, exactly.

  12. Already did. It is not a controversial claim. Even individual departments at universities get their pet theories so that what university a person goes to will determine their scientific beliefs. Anyone whohas studied science can tell you this. Nothing magical. Just human nature.

  13. Richard Christie

    Yes… but scientific beliefs have been known to differ depending on geographical location.

    I’ll put my hand up to being as ignorant as Dawkins on this one.

    Can we have specifics please so we can drill down on this claim.

  14. Read above.

  15. Yes, Max – what about specific examples. After all the most epistemologically respected process is to compare claims with reality.

    So far you have only talked about the effect if the Stalin terror and philosophical schools. Nothing there.

  16. How is one clear example “nothing”?

  17. Already did. It is not a controversial claim.

    Then everybody else missed it.
    Could you give the specific examples again?

    I was just pointing out the irony that what Dawkins was describing was in fact happening!

    Evidently, you are convinced but…share.
    Can you give any specific scientific examples that are happening as Dawkins describes?
    Rattle off a few. The magical balance fairy is in the room at your invitation.

  18. Because Max – it is not an example of a difference arrived at via scientific epistemology. Lysenkoism was imposed by political patronage – it didn’t stand on its own epistemological feet. And was overcome when that patronage was removed.

    I want examples to back up this claim: “Individual departments at universities get their pet theories so that what university a person goes to will determine their scientific beliefs.”

    It conflicts with my own experience internationally and I have never before heard of “departments” having “pet theories.”

  19. I never claimed that it was “an example of a difference arrived at via scientific epistemology” – in fact I said almost the exact opposite! That it was an example of a stance arrived at due to the irrelevant criteria of geography… please try to read what I actually say rather than what you expect me to say!

  20. Richard Christie

    Read above.

    Your generalisation regarding schools of thought within teaching institutions simply illustrates Dawkins point: we can be products of our intellectual environment and personal and cultural experience.

    Whilst this isn’t an irreconcilable problem for science, which is always evolving in regard to its worldview, it certainly is a problem for religion which usually claims an absolute monopoly on (a particular version) the “truth”.

    btw I don’t particularly accept that geographically based cultural and religious belief differences is analogous to differences in schools of thought in learning institutions.

  21. “Your generalisation regarding schools of thought within teaching institutions simply illustrates Dawkins point: we can be products of our intellectual environment and personal and cultural experience.”

    Exactly! I agree entirely Richard! And this is the only point I was trying to make…. not the other claims people are trying to put into my mouth. Thanks for clarrifying the issue.

  22. “The magical balance fairy is in the room at your invitation.”

    I am not sure what this means…

  23. Such things as Lysenkoism, the distortion of science by political patronage and terror that occurred under Stalin, Mao, Hitler, the Roman Inquisition, etc (and that the Discovery Institute wants to impose in the US) are quite a separate issue. They have no connection with differences arising naturally via scientific epistemogy.

    Of couse departments don’t have “pet theories” – how could they. But individual scientists may well have – but not about well known basic science which is taught by universities to undergraduates.

    Differences can occur naturally in fringe areas – at the frontiers of research. The Big Bang Theory had a lovely example with the conflict between two characters over “string theory” vs “Loop Gravity” – how would they bring up their children! As I pointed out we can debate those differences passionately.

    But science uses that great philosophical principle “The Proof of the Pudding is in the Eating.” In the vast number of cases differences can, in the end, be resolved by testing against reality – unlike religion. That’s why there are no maps along the lines Richard Dawkins outlined – there is only one reality.

    And that is why the scientific “way of knowing” trumps the religious “ways of knowing.”

    “String Theory” and “Loop Gravity” may remain in conflict for some time though – simply because we have not yet been able to do the testing against reality for largely energetic reasons. Perhaps they are like religion – everybody agrees they are not scientific theories yet.

    Leornad’s problem may be real.

  24. I never claimed…

    That’s great and all but you have yet to support what you DID claim with specific examples…

    “Individual departments at universities get their pet theories so that what university a person goes to will determine their scientific beliefs.”

    Name them.

    I was just pointing out the irony that what Dawkins was describing was in fact happening!

    Name them.
    Can you give any specific scientific examples that are happening as Dawkins describes?

    …the “fantasy” scenario he presents of people holding different scientific views based on geography (ie. where they were born) is not a fantasy at all but in fact the reality we live in…

    Name them. Give specific examples.
    I don’t believe in magical balance fairies. Put up or shut up.

  25. Cedric:

    Merry Christmas! I have missed your insightful tidbits.

    Have a great Ney Year!

  26. And the magical balance fairy vanishes back into fantasy.
    Shame on you for lying.

  27. I still have no idea what you mean by that expression… sorry!

  28. Lying?
    It means someone who makes untruthy claims.
    Here’s a few examples:

    “Individual departments at universities get their pet theories so that what university a person goes to will determine their scientific beliefs.”

    This is a lie.

    I was just pointing out the irony that what Dawkins was describing was in fact happening!

    Lie.

    …the “fantasy” scenario he presents of people holding different scientific views based on geography (ie. where they were born) is not a fantasy at all but in fact the reality we live in…

    Lie.
    Shame on you.

  29. No your other expression you keep using.

    (although I don’t think you really know what “lie” means in any case. To disagree with somone is not the same as lying. Even saying something untrue (if I have) is not the same as lying. I think you are a little confused over what this little word means!)

  30. No, it’s very clear.
    You are a liar.

  31. THE 9th COMMANDMENT
    “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.”

  32. Hard to have a real conversation with you Cedric. I have tried many times and failed many times… you have a great New Year!

  33. You are a liar.
    That makes having a conversation difficult.
    You should change the way you behave and develop some integrity.
    (shrug)

  34. Do you talk to people like this when you meet them in reality… I mean if you were at a party and someone disagreed with you would you instantly start hurling abuse and calling them names? Follow up question… do you get invited to many parties?

    But just teasing. I know people who are gits online can be perfectly nice people when they step awaty from the computer and I am sure you are the same!

    But to address your silly “liar” accusation.

    As far as I understand the word someone is only a lier if they KNOWINGLY say a statement that is not true. So in order to accuse me of being a liar you would have to somehow now that I beleive what I am saying is untrue… are you pychic Cedric?

    But really – trying to talk to someone who resorts to insults and won’t consider other opinions is a waste of my time.

    So chill out a little – relax – don’t sweat it too much. Shrug a little if it relaxes you!

  35. You lied.
    Deal with it.
    Your words are worthless.

    “Individual departments at universities get their pet theories so that what university a person goes to will determine their scientific beliefs.”

    This is a lie.

    I was just pointing out the irony that what Dawkins was describing was in fact happening!

    Lie.

    …the “fantasy” scenario he presents of people holding different scientific views based on geography (ie. where they were born) is not a fantasy at all but in fact the reality we live in…

    Lie.
    Shame on you.

  36. Hard to take you very seriously Cedric. Sorry.

  37. M, if you haven’t worked it out by now, Cedric is a huge bigot with a chip on his shoulder. It must be a real handicap for him in real life but online he can occasionally get people to pay attention. Waste of time really.

  38. Yes. It is a shame. i don’t mind being corrected, and if I have made a mistake it is fine to tell me how… but the infantile attitude of calling a stranger a liar gets conversation nowhere…. and yes I imagine it must make his life rather hard.

  39. Richard Christie

    Max, my guess is that Cedric will persist with the charge until you squarely address the quoted statements in a bit more depth. (I’m a little more relaxed about them, I just regard them as provocative ;-) )

  40. Nobody recalls what the issue is anymore, it is all about name calling at this point

  41. Nobody recalls what the issue is anymore…

    I doubt it.
    I’ve been very careful to quote Max’s lies and throw them back in his face.

    …it is all about name calling at this point

    Calling out a liar is a good thing. That’s not “name calling”.
    I have the truth on my side.

    THE 9th COMMANDMENT
    “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.”

  42. As long as you keep insulting people Cedric I expect nobody will take you seiously, and you will miss out on the opportunity to learn and make friends. Your life, as Ropata says, will be far less enjoyable if you persist on being an aggressive adolecent. I hope you are a 14 year old (as you seem) and you grow out of this. In the meantime you will not get many adults to engage with you.

  43. What does ANYONE ELSE think about the idea that scientific beliefs might be striongly influenced by where a person is born?

  44. Max, I have already given you my understanding of this – and it basically concurs with Richard Dawkins’ one. I have yet to see anything from you supporting your original blanket assertion. No credible examples at all.

    But another problem is the use of the word “beliefs”. As this word implies (according to my dictionary) something taken to be true usually without proof or evidence it just does not cover most of scientific knowledge – which is what students learn and scientists rely on.

    I don’t believe in the laws of motion or thermodynamics – but I certainly accept the at the moment.

    Most of scientific knowledge has been tested against reality, it is more than (or different from) belief being at the same time reliably connected with reality and open to change with new evidence.

    All this is completely different to religious belief so of course we don’t we the strong geographical links.

    Why should we?

  45. Interesting. But I assume you would accept that WHEN a person was borm would strongly influence their scientific beliefs (and I don’t know what other word to use… is it a “beleif” that the sun goes around the earth for instance? – what word do you think should be used?

  46. Max, I don’t believe in evolution but I accept evolutionary science – the theory and the facts. I don’t believe in special relativity but I accept the current scientific knowledge which means that the speed of light is inevitably tied up with space/time and is therefore a theoretical maximum. (I choose that example because recent experiments do raise the possibility that in 5 years time I may accept a different version of relativity.

    So yes, scientific knowledge does change with time (as our understandings get closer to reality) so people at different times have had different knowledge. And before Galileo perhaps we would have called that belief, as in the sense of philosophical belief. Galileo’s contribution was to justify scientific knowledge as derived from reality rather than a belief derived from scripture.

    Given Galileo’s contributions and the real nature of the scientific revolution “belief” seems to me a completely unsuitable word for scientific knowledge. I know many if not most scientists font like the word. I use “knowledge” and “accept” rather than “belief” and I think they respect the scientific ethos better.

    And my experience as both a student and teacher suggest to me that when students learn about science they are not developing a set of “beliefs” by any means.

  47. You are simply replacing the word “believe” with “accept” – but that is fine if you have an aversion to the word “believe”… it is used in all sorts of circumstances which are not spooky or supernatural. “I believe my fiance is asleep in the bedroom” for instance is a normal usage of the word. Notice that I do have a lot of evidence for this belief. She was there 10 minutes ago, I have heard to noise of her getting up, she said she was going to sleep in for a while and so forth. Nothing spooky! You need to get over your aversion to this word!

    But if you prefer the word “accept” as a cypher for the state of mind which assents to a statement or idea rather than “believe” then so be it…

    I will rephrase it for you in a non-offense manner:

    Was it an “acceptance” that the sun goes around the earth for instance? Is it now an “acceptance” that the earth in fact goes around the sun?

    Do “acceptances” change depending on WHEN one is born. If so then is it REALLY that outrageous to think “acceptances” may be found due to geographical seperation, rather than temporal seperation.

    We have already identified one example we both agree upon.

  48. No Max, I am definitely not “replacing” the word. Have a look on your dictionary and you might then understand. I don’t have an aversion (I can recall even using belief in my work when speculating or attempting an hupothesis)?

    To sa y one accepts current scientific knowledge incorporating a heliocentric solar system is very much stronger than saying one believes in a heliocentric system. Of course the evidence here is so great that only a pedant or a fool does not accept this as a fact (in the lay meaning of the word). But in principle accept means I am open to revising my understanding with new knowledge.

    Really, Max, if you want to support your clsims, and hence criticism of Richard, you should provide examples. This would not be at all difficult if it was credible.

    We do not agree on “one example” as you claim. The political suprresiln of scientists under Stalin, Maio Hitler, and the future theocracy hoped for by creationists, is not an example of acceptance, scientific knowledge or even belief.

    To argue that because scientific knowledge improves over time it should necessarily vary strongly geographically ignores completely the epistemological processes involved in obtaining that scientific knowledge. And you can’t find any evidence to support your claim.

    It’s like saying the real world is different in different continents.

  49. I am more concerne with the way words are actually used than what a particualr distionary says.. but anyway lets not get distracted into a debate on definitions.

    The example is a clear example of what we are talking about. If you want to argue it is not you will have to explain why. My basic claim was that people would be more likely to believe (sorry) a certian scientific idea if they were raised/educated in a particular location that if they were raised in another. The Stalin example fits this criteria perfectly. Explain why you think it does not.

    “It’s like saying the real world is different in different continents.”

    No – it is like saying people BELIEVE the world is different in different continents.

  50. Max, I have already explained how the Stalin Effect was one of political patronage and persecution not of credibly held scientific knowledge. You have yet to explain what you see as credible, strong, differences in scientific knowledge in this case and you raise no others.

    But, your argument has some validity for the past, when the open contact, communication and rapid exchange of communication did not exist. For example, the Chinese accepted geocentricism for some time after heliocentricism had largely replaced it in Europe. This was because of education by catholic missionaries who dragged their feet in acceptance.

    I can also see geographical differences arising from cultural difference – as in countries whose “science” remained at a primitive level of “belief” and limited interaction with reality. We can see survivals of this, for example, with native Americans refusing to accept modern information on their origins.

    But with modern scientific academies and rapid forms of communication such regional differences are going to minor and rarer. We all have much the same chance to interact with reality.

    I mentioned before the situation at fringes of research. Certainly in the US we can see institutional differences in acceptance of “string theory.” But again because of our situation today such differences may centre on groups or individuals rather than geography. Consider that scientists working on the fringes of physical researcher may be locate at CERN for much of their time, while coming from different countries. There is less chance for such differences in speculation to take on a regional character.

    Similarly, I can see quality differences on a regional scale with university education. I may prefer to be trained at one university rather than another. But I would not accept any big differences in the actual scientific knowledge taught to undergraduates.

    I am of course excluding the religious universities in the US – again this is a matter more of patronage and coercion than any difference in reality.

  51. “I have already explained how the Stalin Effect was one of political patronage and persecution not of credibly held scientific knowledge.”

    So what? I did not make any claim about the REASON why people held different beliefs due to their geographical location – just that they did. Again you are trying to make me defend a claim I never made – a game I am not willing to play.

    I will respond more fully later.

  52. Max – you were specifically reacting to Richard’s talk – you say “yet again Dawkins shows his lack of general knowledge.” I can appreciate this may have just been a Pavlovian response on your part (some people have an automatic unthinking response to Dawkins) but Richard was specifically talking about scientific ideas, knowledge, not political differences.

    You also said: “Societ scientists for instance DID have different theories about evolution, and pychology etc. Their scinetific beliefs WERE determined by their birth place!”

    You did not attribute this at all to the political patronage that existed at the time.

    Of course there were different ideas at the fringes of knowledge in these areas in Russia as well as elsewhere. That is an important aspect of how knowledge evolves.

    But this is quite different to your claim that “scientific beliefs might be striongly influenced by where a person is born?” and that students are taught a regional form of scientific knowledge at universities.

    Now if you are accepting that Lysenkoism was not a regional form of scientific knowledge but a regional manifestation of political oppression we fundamentally agree.

    But if you have in mind a different mechanism explaining you claim let’s hear it. And provide some examples.

  53. I don’t think you are getting my point… you kee p repeating the same thing and I keep answering. lest we get stuck in an infinite loop I better just say we disagree and apparently don’t understand oneonaother on this issue.

    (or as Cerdic would put it we are both Liars who ought to be ashamed of ourselves)

  54. Well Max – I have asked you to clarify be example. The Lysenko issue surely doesn’t qualify.

    But its up to you.

  55. You have yet to demonstrate why it does not qualify.

    My simple claim (without all of the requirements you have added on) was that the place one is born in can influence a persons scientific beliefs. This seems so uncontroversial as to be not worth argueing about… but you seem to have an issue with this claim for some (ideological?) reason.

    Do you really think that a woman born in an armish community will share the same scientific beliefs as someone brought up in modern Oxford?

    Do you think that this one sphere of human knowledge is somehow immune to enviromental factors?

    I coan’t understand why wou resist such an obvious truth.

    So it is really up to you.

  56. Max, you are again confounding scientific knowledge with belief. This women may well have beliefs about reality (properly the domain science) but they may have nothing to do with scientific knowledge. More to do with her religion.

    More exactly I can report that I have worked alongside scientists of different nationalities and religions. We may have had different beliefs about politics or religion but our knowledge about the science we had in common did not differ greatly. Not enough to color a map as you insist. More a matter of quality and speciality.

    Now I have demonstrated how the terrorism of Stalin or a theocracy may influence what a individual says (or do you think those tearful North Koreans are all genuine?). But it does not change the scientific knowledge derived from interaction with reality. That is a big reason why international cooperation in science does work really well.

    If you disagree give me a specific example. Vague references to genetics and psychology in the USSR are just not adequate. Did Sakharov, for example, have a different knowledge about particle physics and cosmology than his colleagues in NZ, UK or USA? I refer if course to his basic knowledge learned at his university – not to speculations and half formed hypotheses. These of course do differ amongst individuals – makes life very interesting but we can usually agree on how to check such ideas – by interaction with reality – not political or religious leaders.

    But perhaps that’s my scientific instinct to base my knowledge on reality rather than belief.

  57. You keep putting words into my mouth and not reading what I actually say. It is like headbanging a brick wall!

  58. Quite the contrary Max – I keep asking you to put words in your own mouth and give specific examples.

    The vague examples you have given – the effect of the Stalin Terror on Soviet science and the beliefs of an Amish women really do not justify your claims or your criticism of Richard.

    I can only draw the obvious conclusion.

  59. You seem to think I have said something I have not. It is very frustrating to be constantly nagged to provide evidence for a claim I never made.

  60. You keep putting words into my mouth and not reading what I actually say.

    Then we should quote you…in detail.

    You seem to think I have said something I have not. It is very frustrating to be constantly nagged to provide evidence for a claim I never made.

    Terrible, I feel for you. Let’s take a good hard look at the claims you did make. Those we can then “nag” you to provide evidence for. It’s important to recall exactly what the issue is and to make sure it’s not about name-calling, yes?
    Ok, so here are your claims in your own words:

    “Individual departments at universities get their pet theories so that what university a person goes to will determine their scientific beliefs.”

    Name them.

    I was just pointing out the irony that what Dawkins was describing was in fact happening!

    Name them.
    Can you give any specific scientific examples that are happening as Dawkins describes?

    …the “fantasy” scenario he presents of people holding different scientific views based on geography (ie. where they were born) is not a fantasy at all but in fact the reality we live in…

    Name them. Give specific examples.
    Put up or shut up.

  61. OK Max. This whole exercise seems pointless (many Internet discussions have more to do with hormones than reality) – perhaps it started as a joke.

    So I take it you do accept Richard’s point that while we can paint a map different colors to represent the different regional religious beliefs and claims it is ludicrous to suggest that we can do the same thing with scientific knowledge. That the basic knowledge of science does not have a geographical distribution

  62. My point was merely that there are times when scientific beliefs (and you have to be careful to understand this point… because you keep interpreting me as saying scientific facts at this point) have been known to differ depending on geogrpahical location. As you well know if you are born in the USA you are far more likely to reject evolution than if you are born in Finland.

    What I did NOT say – was that there was a good rational basis for the differences in beliefs. In fact i implied the opposite – that even in scientific endeavours people were swayed by irrelevant factors. Now a schoolboy growing up in 1970s Russia, or 2011 New Zealand, or 1920s China would come out with very different beliefs about all sorts of thing, religious beliefs, political beliefs, and indeed scientific beliefs.

    So to an extent a map could be coloured in the way Dawkins jokes. This does not mean that different scientific facts will be true in different locations (so your strict scientific realism is safe).

    Cedric: When you have something to say in a polite manner I will reply. Have a good New Years celebration!

  63. My point was merely…

    Your creative re-imagining of what you might have said had only you said it at the time as opposed to what you did say is of interest to nobody.

    What I did NOT say blah, blah, blah…
    So to an extent blah, blah, blah…

    Yes, of course.
    (yawn)

    So I take it you do accept Richard’s point that while we can paint a map different colors to represent the different regional religious beliefs and claims it is ludicrous to suggest that we can do the same thing with scientific knowledge. That the basic knowledge of science does not have a geographical distribution.

    Hmm.

    When you have something to say in a polite manner I will reply.

    You already have. You have made yourself look like a complete tool.

    “Individual departments at universities get their pet theories so that what university a person goes to will determine their scientific beliefs.”
    (…)
    I was just pointing out the irony that what Dawkins was describing was in fact happening!
    (…)
    …the “fantasy” scenario he presents of people holding different scientific views based on geography (ie. where they were born) is not a fantasy at all but in fact the reality we live in…

    Ludicrous nonsense.

  64. (Cedric a clue: Ken disagrees with me, thinks I am wrong, and possibly thinks me rather niave and foolish. Yet I can still have a discussion with him because he does not resort to infantile maethods. If you are in fact 13 or 14 as it seems (are you?) then I can accept your behavior. If not you could do well to pay attention to how adults act)

  65. Max – here we get to the problem presented by your use of the term “scientific beliefs”. Your claim: ” if you are born in the USA you are far more likely to reject evolution than if you are born in Finland. “ is perfectly true. Colour a world map with the attitude of the generalpopulation of each country towards evolution and you will get a map very much like the religious one. Because that is, in effect, a religious question.

    The trouble is you use your term “scientific belief” to apply to the general public (not scientists, obviously) and hence you will get some amazing results – like for example that about half the US population believe in a geocentric solar system!

    Now notice the video clip is entitled – “if science worked like religion.” Richard is posing the question “Suppose scientists worked like religionists” in terms of their way of knowing.

    When he uses the word “believe” he is referring to the knowledge of scientists – not the general public. The spoof map he shows refers to the “beliefs” of scientists.

    Now, you know perfectly well, I hope, that a map of scientist’s beliefs about evolution (or their acceptance of evolutionary science) would be very boring indeed (with just a few micro hot spots, which wouldn’t really show, in Turkey and the US, and possibly Russia, due to extreme religious effects).

    Your example of attitudes of schoolboys at different times in different places may well be true. But – keep the time uniform and tell me what basic differences there is in the scientific knowledge taught to schoolchildren in those three countries today?

    And what would be the difference in what each child accepted as scientific knowledge?

    I suggest you could not find a difference attributable mainly to the content of what kids are taught – but of course you could find a difference in acceptance of scientific knowledge, like evolution, derived from the religion each child is indoctrinated in.

    Again – these are differences in religion – not in scientific knowledge.

    You accept that reality is the same everywhere. My point is that the scientific ethos provides a much better way of understanding reality – as proven by the fact that scientific knowledge does not show such regional differences.

    On the other hand the religious “way of knowing” reality is so pathetic that we expect, and are not surprised by, the maps Richard shows.

    These “different ways of knowing” have consequences and help explain why mosques and churches are being bombed – but scientific institutes aren’t.

  66. Ken disagrees with me, thinks I am wrong, and possibly thinks me rather niave and foolish.

    Ken is a very generous person.

    If not you could do well to pay attention to how adults act

    I am acting like an adult. You are acting like a tool.

    I quoted you in detail.
    (Just like an adult should)
    Then I asked you to back up your words.
    (Just like an adult should)

    Your reaction was to evade like crazy.
    That’s when I had you pegged as a liar.

    You had a choice to make as an adult having an adult conversation. You could have either backed up your claims with specific examples or simply withdraw your claims. Either would have been acceptable and nobody could have justifiably called you a liar.
    Yet you went with being evasive and dishonest.

    THE 9th COMMANDMENT
    “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.”

  67. Grow up Cedric! Then I will engage with you.

  68. Grow up Cedric! Then I will engage with you.

    You are a liar, Max.
    You waffle and evade and people have noticed.

    All you had to do was back up your claims with specific examples or simply withdraw them.
    You couldn’t do either. Shame on you.

    THE 9th COMMANDMENT
    “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.”

  69. Wow Cedric. You can insult a stranger online! Way to go!

    Honestly. Grow up a little and learn how to take part in a real conversationand you might actually learn something. At the moment I just don’t think you are ready. I don’t mean to sound patronising, but it takes a little maturity to be able to have conversations with people you disagree with and you just have not developed this yet.

    And now repeat yourself and throw out a few more insults…. OR… maybe give us YOUR opinion on the issue, explain how YOU see it – your opinions would be appreciated but all you ever seem to do is demand other people do your thinking for you! Try to engage in some intelligent debate. Up to you. I hope you will try to actually engage in the issue… but my hopes are not high and I just expect more insults. But the offer is open to you.

    So Cedric: your thoughts?

  70. You can insult a stranger online!

    It’s called being honest. You lied. I call you a liar.

    Honestly.

    Honestly? Try this on for size for honesty.
    You make a claim.
    Back up that claim with a few specific examples.

    If you can’t, then withdraw your claim. That’s honest.

    Grow up a little and learn how to take part in a real conversation.

    I do. I ask for specific examples. Then when you evade and waffle I call you out on it.

    …maybe give us YOUR opinion on the issue…

    My opinion is that you have made claims that you can’t back up.

    “Individual departments at universities get their pet theories so that what university a person goes to will determine their scientific beliefs.”
    (…)
    I was just pointing out the irony that what Dawkins was describing was in fact happening!
    (…)
    …the “fantasy” scenario he presents of people holding different scientific views based on geography (ie. where they were born) is not a fantasy at all but in fact the reality we live in…

    Put up or shut up.

    I just expect more insults.

    The truth hurts.

    THE 9th COMMANDMENT
    “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.”

  71. Disapointing. Let me try again.

    As much as I like to believe it Cedric, I am not the centre of the universe. I should certainlyu not be the centre of yours. You have sais a lot about ME – but this is largely irrelevant to the issue. What I am interested in is your opinion of the blog post… not whether you do or don’t think I am a liar/idiot/rapist or whatever else you want to say. The truth does not hurt.. it is just that your opinion of me is both boring and irrelevant to the discussion.

    So again: what are YOUR opinions of the blog post

    (lets forget about me for a while fascinating though you mind me ;) )

  72. You have sais a lot about ME…

    I’ve said very little about you.
    I’ve called you a liar. Plain and simple.
    You’ve made claims that you can’t back up.

    What I am interested in is your opinion of the blog post.

    That’s nice.
    (yawn)

  73. Well? What is your opinion. I am genuinly interested.

  74. “Individual departments at universities get their pet theories so that what university a person goes to will determine their scientific beliefs.”
    (…)
    I was just pointing out the irony that what Dawkins was describing was in fact happening!
    (…)
    …the “fantasy” scenario he presents of people holding different scientific views based on geography (ie. where they were born) is not a fantasy at all but in fact the reality we live in…

    Put up or shut up.

    THE 9th COMMANDMENT
    “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.”

  75. So what is YOUR analysis of my statements?

  76. Silence. I thought as much.

  77. Max here’s an interesting discussion regarding “ways of knowing” over at Glenn’s blog last Christmas.

  78. Glenn has blocked me from posting on his blog so I see littlle point reading it.

  79. Sorry to hear that Max. In the discussion we explored other “ways of knowing”, Matt commented as follows:

    1, Morality, known through moral intutions and a priori reasoning from them.
    2. apriori knowledge of logic, concepts etc common in metaphysics
    3. Knowledge that other people exist. Very difficult to prove this scientifically, but yet known immediately and instinctively by all properly functioning adults.
    4. Memory, immediate knowledge of my past experiences and events
    5. Testimony, knowledge of certain facts and events on the say so of others
    6. introspection, knowledge of my own concious states and existence, again not something that can proven in a non circular fashion with science yet something all sensible people know. In fact this is probably the most certain knowledge people have.
    7. direct experience of an existing external world.
    8. Knowledge of causation, all we percieve is a constant conjuction of experiences ( ala Hume) yet we instinctively attribute causal relations between some of these conjunctions, science assumes this it does not show it.
    9. Revelation, a version of testimony whereby one learns through the say so of God
    10. Instinctive religious awareness, most people have been instinctively aware of a deity.

    I do not claim that religion has other “ways of knowing that more reliable than science”, but I do think religion includes ways of apprehending reality that are not accessible via the scientific method, and are by definition outside the domain of the natural sciences (i.e. supernatural experiences or miracles). I ascribe to a soft form of S J Gould’s NOMA, where science and culture and religion are separate but somewhat overlapping human enterprises.

    Why doesn’t Dawkins direct some vitriol at commerce or engineering or art for a change? They are also subcultures of human activity that occasionally clash with the holy purity of Dawkins’ vision of science.

    (Commerce & resource scarcity affect research; Engineering dares to rely on practical uses for everything and rounds off physical constants to a few decimals; Art is obviously totally subjective and therefore unscientific)

  80. Richard Christie

    Glenn has blocked me from posting on his blog so I see littlle point reading it.
    lol, I’ll wager you don’t feel intellectually bereaved. He sure is a hater, that one.

  81. Well, we can all take comfort from the fact that Glenn isn’t a real Christian.

  82. Ropata, it is not at all clear if you are just quoting Glenn in his entirety or expressing an opinion in your last comment.

    I feel I have debated all those points before. Certainly there is nothing new there.

  83. The only quoted part is Matt Flanagan’s numbered list, the rest is mine. I found that thread on Glenn’s blog very interesting, especially how you shifted the goalposts, failed to respond to challenges, and generally tied yourself up in knots. Thanks for the laughs :)

  84. Ropata, you may be confusing this then with a discussion on Matt’s blog. I was banned from Glenn’s, for the 3rd time, before last Christmas.

    At least Matt enables such discussions to take place even if he has trouble with them.

    Now ropata, in line with the ideas in my post I happy to discuss here with you any specific critique you have on my ideas around morality or ways of knowing.

    Name calling and derisory comments don’t count and will be treated as a weakness on your part.

    So cone on – what is your specific point.

  85. “I do think religion includes ways of apprehending reality that are not accessible via the scientific method”

    Well this is ofcourse true of the vast majority of human experience – not just religion. Science is a powerful tool which answers important questions and has led to amazing improvements in society… but I am not going to use the scientific method to work out whether I am in love or not.

  86. “lol, I’ll wager you don’t feel intellectually bereaved. He sure is a hater, that one.”

    I think he has a pretty fragile ego. Any challenges to the idea that he is the wise teacher, and others are their to learn from him is met with attacks, editing of comments, and finally banning from posting at all.

    It is a bit of a shame as blogs are intended to be a place to share ideas, yet he has no desire to listen to any voice other than his own.

    Which is why despite people who wind me up I like this blog ;)

  87. Max, your reference to “love” is an extremely trivial justification of the claim: “I do think religion includes ways of apprehending reality that are not accessible via the scientific method.”

    Yo see, no one is arguing that you should use an objective scientific approach alone to determine how you feel about something. This is Hume’s old “is vs ought” problem in another hat.

    But theologians and religious philosophers are arguing that they have other ways of knowing objective reality. Like origins of life and the universe, purpose, existence of something outside time and space, etc.

    It’s a dishonest claim because they never then propose this alternative way of knowing and set about justifying it, or providing examples of its efficacy. No, they instead set about attacking scientific ways of knowing – claiming for example that science cannot tell you if you are in love or if you find something beautiful!

    Bloody hell – why would science even think about doing that – and it certainly never claims to.

    It’s old binary fallacy – science can’t do it therefore religion can!! Extremely dishonest.

    And lets face it, religion has never ever been able to tell me “whether I am in love or not.” Shall I use this as proof that science can??

    These theologians and religious philosophers should keep away from science with such a dishonest approach. Why don’t they stand on their own feet and tell us what they know and how they know it.

    I have yet to hear any justifiable claim that religion can help us know anything.

  88. It is NOT Hume’s is/ought thing.. or even the popular understanding of Hume’s is/ought thing in any hat.

    It is not a question of who I OUGHT to love. But who I actually do love – and my ability to determine who loves me. Facts (ises not oughts).

    I think who I love IS part of objective reality. Just a small example of the fact that other ways of knowing do in fact exist. I did not say that I was doing religion when i said this by the way (as ever be careful to read what people say and not read into it what you thought they would say).

  89. My reference to Hume was to point out that the claim does not take into account that love is an emotion not an “is.” That is the real essence of Hume’s point about moral sense. The “ought” is of course not applicable to all feelings.

    No you didn’t say you were doing religion. It’s just the this “other ways of knowing” argument is just not relevant to love – no one is attempting to impose a scientific approach there. One does not have to tslk about “other ways of knowing” to declare one’s love -surely.

    But it is used to justify religion, or to attempt to scratch out a place for religion by ring fencing Science. My point is that if religion needs to use this dishonest binary approach and talk about “limits of science” it’s an admission that it doesn’t really have a real “other way of knowing”.

  90. Interesting. So emotions are not part of reality then? So what are they? Surely not something spiritual? If someone is angry this is actually a part of reality however you choose to explain it.

    Well good to know noone is trying to impose a scientific approach here… although many philosophers try to do precicily this… by reducing all emotions to physical activity in the brain etc. In which case anger and love most certainly are “is” and not “ought”

    I really don’t think you are getting Hume’s point at all here.

    If I am using a “dishonest binary approach” please explain how?

  91. Science is a powerful tool which answers important questions and has led to amazing improvements in society… but I am not going to use the scientific method to work out whether I am in love or not.

    Ah, a deepity.

    Whitman’s Mind: Dan Dennett on Spin & Deepity

  92. Of course emotions are part of reality – who has suggested otherwise?

    Which philosopher actually advocates determining ones’s emotions by a scientific process? Why would they? What is the point. We are all capable of subjectively experiencing emotions and feelings and it is the subjective experience which actually counts.

    I suspect you confuse this with quite a separate issue. The objective study of the physiology and neuroscientific aspects of emotions and feelings. Of course that is a legitimate subject of scientific research. Our subjective feelings all have a material base and this can be studied. Antonio Damasio is one of the leading investigators in this area. His writings are fascinating. They are very helpful in understanding the nature of moral feelings and other emotions. And their evolution and role.

    So in that sense science provides the most reliable “way of knowing” to understand the neurological and physiological basis of our emotions. But we don’t require that science or it’s resulting knowledge to decide if we are angry or in love. We experience that subjectively. And we communicate it to those around us. We don’t need Domasio s help to experience these things – we never have.

    Perhaps you should forget my reference to Hume. I was just making the point that love, like moral sense, is a subjective feeling or emotion.

    If you are not using the argument commonly made by theologians and philosophers of religion about “other ways of knowing” (and you have assured us you aren’t) then my comments about a dishonest binary approach do not apply to you. But they do apply to others.

  93. “Of course emotions are part of reality – who has suggested otherwise?”

    Well you had by saying that they were not part of the “is” realm.

    “Which philosopher actually advocates determining ones’s emotions by a scientific process?”

    Not what I meant. No one advocates actually DOING it as we do not have the technology to do so at present. What they do say is that it is theoretically possible to do so.

    “Our subjective feelings all have a material base and this can be studied.”

    Yes. This is one of the various theories which philosophers of mind have considered. But by no means the only one. It is the one which fits in best with your own world view however.

    “But we don’t require that science or it’s resulting knowledge to decide if we are angry or in love.”

    Of course not. Which was my point in the first place. We have access to MANY other ways of knowing things, and many other methods for investigating the world than the scientific method of this particular era.

    I suppose all that can said from this is that a knee-jerk rejection of subjective spiritual experience BECAUSE it is not scientific is not justified.

  94. No idea what your point was Cedric. As ever.

  95. No idea what your point was Cedric. As ever.

    That’s your problem. It just sucks to be you.

  96. Max, we don’t need “another way of knowing” to be aware of our anger or love. These are subjective feelings, we “know” them directly by feeling.

    No one I am aware of is rejecting a subjective feeling. It’s just that subjective feelings and experiences may be completely internal. They may be completely misleading as information about the real external world. Surely you have seen the experiment with the guy in the gorilla suit? Surely you have had your own internal “experiences” which did not really occur externally – I certainly have? That is why such subjective “knowledge” is not a reliable source of knowledge about external reality. And science has approaches which overcome that problem. That’s what makes science as reliable as it is.

    This comment says more about your own avoidance and problems of philosophers than about me: “Yes. This is one of the various theories which philosophers of mind have considered. But by no means the only one. It is the one which fits in best with your own world view.” The fact is that it is the current scientific consensus, based in evidence to date that “Our subjective feelings all have a material base.” there is no evidence to the contrary.

    Sure some philosophers may disagree but we are surely not going to treat any old philosophy as a reliable source of knowledge about the real world are we?

    Talk about “world views” is a trap leading to epistemological relativism. An approach loved by demagogues.

  97. But it is NOT the current sceintific consensus. Science (as you know) does not and is not designed to answer philosophical questions. Where science stops there is then a range of different interpretations than can be places on the facts spat out.

    Your problem is that you have accepted one philosophical outlook – but you are so entrenched in it that you don’t even realise it is a philosophical outlook. You just think it is “reality”.

    I have met people who fall for the same sort of trap in politics. Peopl who will say things like “I don’t have any political views – I am just pragmatic”.. but when you quiz them a little they have many political views but they have never actually reflected on or thought about them. Then believe them blindly and just think it is “reality”

    Hearing you try to talk about philosophy is like this. You think you don’t do philosophy and just look at “reality” instead. But as with the “pragmatic no politics” folk the reality is you have very strongly help philosophical beliefs, but you are unaware of them, and (ironic bit:) you believe them blindly.

    I strongly encourage you to read more widely and gain some conscious awareness of the beliefs you have accepted without thinking.

  98. Max, my reading in the area suggests it is the current scientific consensus. Sure I can find individuals who disagree but they are not at all representative and usually have clear ideological agendas.

    More important of course is that the consensus has an evidential, factual basis. No one has yet found evidence to support a dualistic model. (if and when that happens and becomes convincing it will be the consensus).

    If you think otherwise please mention the evidence and researcher.

    I think you need to put philosophy in its place. Philosophy cannot answer scientific questions. When schools of philosophy have had that delusion it has usually led to autocracy and violence. Maoism and Stalin as extreme interpretations of Marxism (of who Marx’s comment “that if that is Marxism I am not a Marxist” applies) are examples. As is the religious theology of the Inquisition and current day fundies.

    Where the hell does science stop? Or more importantly where do you want it to stop? Because who is going to be guided by your decision?

    Science deals with the real world and sure there are large parts of that we have yet to understand. But that does not a priori place them out of bounds to science (or automatically give authority to religious or “other ways if knowing” by default).

    As you say if science has not yet understood an area of reality it is open to any old interpretation – philosophical, religious or otherwise. But none of these can have the authority that science would bring to a better understanding.

    Perhaps you should not speak for me, Max. I am aware that I have a philosophical outlook – one very much consistent with the scientific ethos. But not a dogma (for example I abhorring naming that philosophy – an -ism or -anity quickly becomes a dead dogma.

    It is disrespectful to attempt to put me in your labelled boxes. And arrogant because you just are unaware of what I have read (or perhaps even taught) in these areas.

    So enough with ideologically motivated assumptions. Deal with the evidence and facts.

    (And boy your last sentence could have been written by Glenn, Matt, Madeleine or similar dogmatic theologian. The very thing I wrote my post to criticize.)

  99. “… it is the current scientific consensus.”

    Do you actually mean this? Or do you mean it is the consensus among scientists. These are not quite the same statement – and I think this is the mistake you keep making. Not seeing the diffewrence between the scientific method (a methodology for finding truth) and materialism (a belief that the material world is all that there is).

    You can of course be a scientist who also believes in materialism (as I assume you are) but there are still different sorts of things. One is a method, the other a belief structure. Too often people get them confused and it gets them into all sorts of muddled thinking.

    “No one has yet found evidence to support a dualistic model.”

    Indeed they havn’t. And similarly noone has found evidence to support materialism either! This is an example of the sort of muddle you can get into!

    “If you think otherwise please mention the evidence and researcher.”

    Again the same confusion leads to this sort of question. Neither of us can provide evidence to back up these sorts of philosophical theories.

    “Where the hell does science stop? Or more importantly where do you want it to stop? Because who is going to be guided by your decision?”

    The methodoly used by scientists does not have any limits I know of, and I don’t want it to stop anywhere. It is when people get it confused with a philosophical belief system (like materialism) that they get into trouble.

    “But that does not a priori place them out of bounds to science (or automatically give authority to religious or “other ways if knowing” by default).”

    No – the scientific method does not. But philosophical constraints do. We are agreed on this point.

    “Perhaps you should not speak for me, Max. I am aware that I have a philosophical outlook – one very much consistent with the scientific ethos.”

    I agree it IS consistent with the scientific ethos. But it is not UNIQUELY consistent with the scientific ethos. I still think you are getting a methodology confused with a belief system – in a way you are letting your religious beliefs get in the way. Science should be allowed to reach the conclusions that the evidence leads to – not be constrained by a philosophical doctrine.

    “It is disrespectful to attempt to put me in your labelled boxes. And arrogant because you just are unaware of what I have read (or perhaps even taught) in these areas.”

    Of course. I judge you only by what you say in your posts. I have nothing else to go on. Sorry if I offended you in any way.

    “So enough with ideologically motivated assumptions. Deal with the evidence and facts.”

    I agree entirely! So lets not assume one particular philosophical framework like materialism in future!

  100. Max, I can’t see how you get the rest of your comment from comparing “current scientific consensus” with “the consensus among scientists.”

    I would think it clear I mean the consensus among scientists working and writing in the area. This is going to be the most informed and reliable consensus.

    Now you assured me that monism was not the scientific consensus, and I presume you are lumping for, or giving some credibility to, a duellist model.

    So I repeat “please mention the evidence and researcher(s)” you base that on.

  101. Max, you have gone off at a tangent with an obsession about “materialism” and your conviction that it is in some way an “error” I make. This actually illustrates why I avoid using terms that mean different things to different people – they just produce misunderstanding.

    This is a term that even philosophers, who one might expect to belong to this class of philosophy, tend to aviod (I noted than in my recent review of one of Ruse’s books). And those who do use it are generally very sloppy about it. That is certainly true when used as an ideological weapon of disapproval.

    Any discussion is meaningless if the terms are not defined – and in this case I cannot know what you mean unless you give me a philosophical definition of “matter” that you choose to use (I do strongly suspect my definition is not the same as yours).

    So I just can’t know what you are saying when you use the word “materialism” although I strongly suspect it misrepresents my philosophical outlook.

    The fact remains that at the real practical level, as you admit, the evidence is consistent with a monistic model where the mind is a property of the brain/body and it’s activity. There is, as far as I can see, no evidence for matter, substance, fields, etc existing independently of the brain and being responsible for the mind.

    That is not a matter of “belief” or “philosophy” it’s a matter of the facts.  (bloody hell we can’t allow philosophers to determine what facts are, can we now?) If one day evidence turns up for a dualistic model this will also not be a matter of belief or philosophy it will be a matter of evidence and facts. It certainly is not excluded by my philosophy and my happy acceptance of a consensus dualist model does not require any change in my philosophy.

    I am not at all clear by your claim that philosophical constraints a priori places unknown areas of reality out of bounds for science. Perhaps there are some religions which claim parts of reality are not potentially amenable to human investigation? Or this is “forbidden”,  but certainly not my philosophy. (Notice my word “potentially” – I have often written about this and don’t want to be misrepresented).

    One thing for sure that you can take on board is that my philosophy (in your words) demands that scientific knowledge should be based on and follow evidence and reason. That science should not be restricted or constrained by any philosophical doctrine. 

    My whole argument with theistic misrepresentation of the scientific revolution has been to make the point that science had to escape from the diktats of religion and philosophy to actually become modern science. I think most scientists today are intuitively aware of that which is why we have such a strong resistance to the imposition if a “scientific philosophy.” Or the opportunist and naive attempt to use science to support a school of philosophy or religion.

    It turns us off.

  102. “That is not a matter of “belief” or “philosophy” it’s a matter of the facts.”

    Well we differ ion this point. But I can see I am not convincing you so will give up!

    But as a matter of genuine interest:
    What IS your definition of matter then? Maybe it is the same as mine?
    What DO you mean by materialism?

  103. Max, you used the term “materialism” (and as a way if beating me about the head) – not me. As I said often such terms cause confusion because people understand them differently.

    So I think it is incumbent on you to provide your own answers to the questions you pose of me. At least as a start.

    I am happy to discuss what a philosopher might mean by “matter” (it has interested me for years) but it is a diversion. Then again you seem to have conceded on the main issue.

    So how do you define “matter” when you use the word “materialism” to criticize scientists like me? With your answer I can then show you how my definition differs – if indeed it does.

  104. WHY not just answer? This is what i hate about blogs… if you ever stop argueing and try to actually honestly ask for someones opinion or insigjt all you get is evasion. I was interested in your opinion… but if you dont want to share fine.

  105. Max, no evasion here. I have written about this before – have a look at What is matter? What is materialism?.

    This is probably sufficient to answer your questions but I could say a lot more about this and my current understanding of matter philosophically. However, this is best done in reaction to your description of what you actually mean by the terms “matter” and “materialism.”

    In the past when I have tried to get the philosophical concept of matter across to theists who are accusing me of “materialism” the reactions have not been too good. I think there is an interesting sloppiness – these people wish to substitute inadequate day to day concepts for philosophical concepts – which of necessity must be abstract – both to accommodate the complexity of current scientific understanding, and t6o hopefully still cover future scientific findings.

  106. All right. I will look at your link…

  107. OK. Interesting – but it does not address what for me is the central question.

    Whatever “matter” is (or whatever the latest model used to understand it is) – be it something with mass, a wave, a force, etc. the central question for me is does this “matter” give rise to consciousness – or is consciousness something different?

    I suppose I would use the word “materialist” to refer to those who say yes consciousness does arise from whatever they think matter is.

  108. Max, this is not important to the monism/dualism argument.

    Whether consciousness is a property of the particularly matter in the body.brain (the current scientific consensus) or a property of this other postulated matter (the spirit, god or the ghost in the machine) is immaterial (sorry).

    And one can say consciousness is a material phenomena (in the sense that your consciousness is not a figment of my imagination).

  109. You have a very odd definition of materialism then. According to you someone could be a materialist and think that there was a spiritual substance which souls consisted of which could exist apart from the body.. as long as it were true.

    But this makes the definition a little meaningless don’t you think?

  110. Max, meaningless to you if you want to beat others about the head with names.

    Reality is counterintuitive – that’s why science does not come naturally to us. And philosophy is by its very nature abstract. Any philosophical term like matter must be abstract to cover all known and likely situations. It is no longer OK to define matter like the ancient Greeks as being made up of water, earth, air and fire.

    It is not the job of philosophy to “discover” the properties of matter and to divide it up into into different classes. That is the role of science and requires intensive interaction with reality. Evidence and validation are required.

    Your point “as long as it were true.” is of course vital to the philosophical definition of matter.

    Whether what you call “spirits” and “souls” exist as a form of matter (objectively existing reality) is a question for science – not philosophy. How could such questions be decided without interacting with reality?

    Now you might like to think my concepts are odd (because they don’t allow you to make the sort of criticisms you are used to) but they work for me and have worked for a long period of scientific research. But I am not the person using the word “materialist” am I?

    So perhaps you should justify your use of the term by providing your own philosophical concept of matter.

  111. You realise how circular what you have just said is right?

  112. Circularity is in the eyes of the beholder when they wish to avoid reality!

    I did think the same of you when I saw your counter but thought it best to help you understand.

  113. OK. allow me to help you to understand then:

    Let me say I say there is some substance or aspect of the universe which it is not possible to study using science. You will say I assume that no such substance could possibly exist.

    Now if (for sake of argument) I say thatsuch a substance DOES exist – and this substance is what souls are made of, then you can not come back with “yes – but if there were souls then they would be discovered by science”.

    What you are saying is “if there is something which science can not study then science would be able to study it.” This is a meaningless statement.

    What you CAN say is “there does not exist any thing which science cannot study”. In doing so you reject the idea that souls which cannot be studied using science exist.

    Are you with me so far?

  114. Max
    1: There are clearly parts of reality we know nothing about (yet). We don’t say they don’t exist. they aren’t an issue till we get data or theoretical insights saying something about them.

    2: Scientists accept there may be, probably are, parts of reality we can never know anything about. Perhaps we just can’t detect them for technological reasons (and will never be able to). Perhaps we just haven’t the required intellectual abilities to make sense of data that exists to come to any conclusions (and may never have). No matter – I am sure that we have more than enough to go on with.

    3: Perhaps there are parts of reality that just don’t interact (I have generally tried to to exclude that from my concept of matter but really don’t think that qualification is necessary as surely objective existence implies potential interaction). Well, does that matter that we don’t know, will never know anything about that matter? After all, it doesn’t interact so not only can we not know anything about it there can never be any effect of it on us.

    4: If there are souls then we can conclusively say they have not yet been shown to exist. But of course that doesn’t deny the possibility so we keep our minds open. Meanwhile it is up to those who claim such existences to provide the evidence – otherwise we are justified in recognising these beliefs as part of the rich diversity of imagination our species has.

    5: Science should be open-minded – and generally is. But not the the point of stupidity – humanity requires more sense from science than that. All sorts of things are “possible.”

    6: If something like souls exist then they either do not interact (and are therefore of no importance) or they do interact. That raises the possibility of effects and evidence and science thrives on that.

    7: If there is interaction, evidence, etc., then it is possible for science to study and perhaps come to some conclusion about the evidence. It is also possible this belongs to a set of phenomena that are for ever outside our ability to investigate or comprehend. If that is true then humanity has no better tools than science can offer. (All those “other ways of knowing” brought up by theologians and philosophers of religion are just not up to any job like this). Anyone who assures you of the existence of those sort of phenomena which can not be investigated, don’t interact, – but they know about them, etc., is bullshitting.

    Don’t accept their offer of bridges for cheap prices.

    Unfortunately it happens.

  115. Ken:

    You do not seem to have understood my hypothetical situation at all.

    I might reply to your points one at a time later.

  116. Oh, I think I do understand. its just that I think your bare assumption “there is some substance or aspect of the universe which it is not possible to study using science” is naive – I have expanded it to describe how this could be possible be so.

    Also your claims “You will say”, “come back with “yes “, “What you are saying is”, “What you CAN say is” are not part of a real argument because they (falsely) assume something about my position.

    I think I have been very clear, I have provided you with a philosophical definition (you haven’t despite being the none to use the term). If you don’t base your replies on the positions I ahve laid out for you then I am not to blame for your misunderstanding.

  117. I will reply to each point and explain what your failure in understanding is later tonight.

  118. Briefly:

    1: These count as things which it is possible to investigate through science. I meant theoretically – not just at our present point in time, or indeed with our human intellects.

    2: Ditto.

    3: This is a different sort of category. Things which don’t interact. I am not sure how much sense it makes to talk about things which don’t interact with us in any way.

    4: You are here assuming that souls are the sort of thing which scientific evidence can be provided for. But in my hypothetical situation I specifically said that they were not. So if we are dealing with this hypothetical situation which was designed to unmuddle a few thoughts then this point is irrelevant.

    5: Sure. But defining things out of existince because they are “dum” is not eally an argument I am going to accept!

    6: I accept the first half of your statement. If souls do not interact then they are of no importance. Now in the second part you are of course begging the question again. You are stating that ALL interactions are the sorts of things that science can investigate – but as you recall my claim was that souls were the sorts of things science could not investigate.

    7: This is just you making your claim again without any new arguments.

    Now I am not saying that these sort of souls actually exist. My point was only to try to point out the sort of belief system you are accepting.

  119. Now if (for sake of argument) I say that such a substance DOES exist – and this substance is what souls are made of, then you can not come back with “yes – but if there were souls then they would be discovered by science”.

    Ah, shiny new toy.

    “Now if (for sake of argument) I say that such a substance DOES exist – and this substance is what demons are made of, then you can not come back with “yes – but if there were demons then they would be discovered by science”.

    Hmm, yes. Do go on.

    “What you CAN say is “there does not exist any thing which science cannot study”. In doing so you reject the idea that demons which cannot be
    studied using science exist.”

    I see.

    “You are here assuming that demons are the sort of thing which scientific evidence can be provided for. But in my hypothetical situation I specifically said that they were not.”

    Indeed. You were very specific.

    “my claim was that demons were the sorts of things science could not investigate.”

    But you are not claiming that demons exist, right?

    “Now I am not saying that these sort of demons actually exist. My point was only to try to point out the sort of belief system you are accepting.”

    Carl Sagan did this years ago.
    He used a dragon.

    “The Dragon in My Garage” by Carl Sagan

  120. Cedric. When you have any real ideas I will reply . As ever I am keen to hear your thoughts on the issue.

  121. Happy to oblige.
    Your thoughts work well with any old nonsense.
    Switch the labels around and you sound perfecty dotty.
    Behold:

    “Now if (for sake of argument) I say that such a substance DOES exist – and this substance is what witches on broomsticks are made of, then you can not come back with “yes – but if there were witches on magic broomsticks then they would be discovered by science”.
    (…)
    “What you CAN say is “there does not exist any thing which science cannot study”. In doing so you reject the idea that witches on magic broomsticks which cannot be studied using science exist.”
    (…)
    “You are here assuming that witches on magic broomsticks are the sort of thing which scientific evidence can be provided for. But in my hypothetical situation I specifically said that they were not.”
    (…)
    “my claim was that witches on magic broomsticks were the sorts of things science could not investigate.”
    (…)
    “Now I am not saying that these sort of witches on magic broomsticks actually exist. My point was only to try to point out the sort of belief system you are accepting.”

    Comedy that literally writes itself.

  122. Cedric. When you have any real ideas I will reply . As ever I am keen to hear your thoughts on the issue.

  123. Perhaps another example will help:

    “Now if (for sake of argument) I say that such a substance DOES exist – and this substance is what the Jedi Force is made of, then you can not come back with “yes – but if there was the Jedi Force then they would be discovered by science”.
    (…)
    “What you CAN say is “there does not exist any thing which science cannot study”. In doing so you reject the idea that a Jedi Force which cannot be studied using science exist.”
    (…)
    “You are here assuming that the Jedi Force is the sort of thing which scientific evidence can be provided for. But in my hypothetical situation I specifically said that they were not.”
    (…)
    “my claim was that the Jedi Force is the sorts of things science could not investigate.”
    (…)
    “Now I am not saying that this sort of Jedi Force actually exist. My point was only to try to point out the sort of belief system you are accepting.”

    Jedi Religion

  124. It’s your big bag of stupid.
    Not mine.
    Let’s have some more fun with the dumb stuff you said.

    “Now if (for sake of argument) I say that such a substance DOES exist – and this substance is what the biblical god Baal is made of, then you can not come back with “yes – but if there was the biblical god Baal then they would be discovered by science”.
    (…)
    “What you CAN say is “there does not exist any thing which science cannot study”. In doing so you reject the idea that the biblical god Baal which cannot be studied using science exist.”
    (…)
    “You are here assuming that the biblical god Baal is the sort of thing which scientific evidence can be provided for. But in my hypothetical situation I specifically said that they were not.”
    (…)
    “my claim was that the biblical god Baal is the sorts of thing science could not investigate.”
    (…)
    “Now I am not saying that this biblical god Baal actually exist. My point was only to try to point out the sort of belief system you are accepting.”

    The gift that keeps on giving.

  125. When you have any actual thoughts I will read and reply.

  126. I think Ken is stuck in some kind of positivism. Kurt Gödel put that one to rest 80 years ago. According to Gödel’s theorem the universe has to be contingent on something you have to assume and cannot prove i.e. some infinite metaphysical entity is necessary.

    [QUOTE]
    The Incompleteness Theorem was a devastating blow to the “positivists” of the time. They insisted that literally anything you could not measure or prove was nonsense. Gödel showed that their positivism was nonsense.

    Gödel proved his theorem in black and white and nobody could argue with his logic. Yet some of his fellow mathematicians went to their graves in denial, believing that somehow or another Gödel must surely be wrong.

    He wasn’t wrong. It was really true. There are more things that are true than you can prove.

    A “theory of everything” – whether in math, or physics, or philosophy – will never be found. Because it is mathematically impossible.

    OK, so what does this really mean? Why is this super-important, and not just an interesting geek factoid?

    Here’s what it means:
    * Faith and Reason are not enemies. In fact, the exact opposite is true! One is absolutely necessary for the other to exist. All reasoning ultimately traces back to faith in something that you cannot prove.
    * All closed systems depend on something outside the system.
    * You can always draw a bigger circle but there will still be something outside the circle.
    [END QUOTE]

  127. No. 380: GODEL’S ARGUMENT FROM INCOMPLETENESS
    (1) Any proof of God’s existence will always be incomplete.
    (2) Therefore, God exists.

  128. Max, I think you have a chip on your shoulder which prevents you from actually taking in what I say.

    I did NOT say “that ALL interactions are the sorts of things that science can investigate.” In fact I specifically talked of the possibility that there are interactions we may never be able to detect for technological reasons, and never be able to comprehend or otherwise accommodate for intellectual reasons.

    I think your problem is that in order to protect your invisible friend you are defining her as “the sorts of things science could not investigate.” I will leave aside the comment that that seems rather childish. Humanity is not playing the sort of games 3 years olds do where because it is make believe they can protect there postulates this way.

    Perhaps you should forget the word “science.” Because there is not a single defined scientific method, technique. Or is there a compulsory ban on science developing newer and more appropriate techniques. To suggest there is puts you in the position of the French philosopher 150 years ago who stated that humanity would never be able to work out what stars were composed of or what their temperatures were. A few years later the spectroscope was invented!

    So what possible reason could one have for defining an entity which “science can’t investigate”? You mean which humanity can’t investigate – ever -for infinity – etc., etc. As I said a child’s game.
    You are effectively defining an entity which interacts (I think you accept that) but never, ever, provides evidence. It’s not a matter of limits in our technology or intellect – it just doesn’t provide any evidence!

    Can you not see the logical error. You have claimed it interacts – and then claim it doesn’t (because it cannot provide any evidence). Hence humanity has absolutely no way of experiencing, or knowing anything about this entity. Ever, anyone, for ever and ever!

    Why do you want to insist on such an impossible entity?

    Well here is my answer. We all have such entities in our mind. They are not material – in the sense they have no objective existence outside our minds. But of course they are material phenomena as our brains do exist objectively outside a theoretical investigator and the phenomena of dreams, imagination, invisible friends, etc., can be investigated by humans. Those figments of our imagination can provide some entertainment, maybe even solace in some tragic cases. Mind you, they can also be a source of great terror – especially to young children.

    So, I am not defining your souls, unicorns, gods, fairies, etc., out existence. I am not calling them “dum.” They are material phenomena is that they are the subjective experience by an individual of what occurs in that human’s brain/body.

    But I don’t try to persuade you that the figments of my imagination actually exist objectively. And I don’t think there is any reason for me to accept that any person’s or culture’s figments of imagination have objective existence. That I should have any interest in them. Unless there is evidence.

    But the fact you want to prevent the possibility of evidence confirms to me that the things you are postulating are figments of your imagination – and really you want to keep them that way.

    Which is OK by me – but don’t expect me to give your imaginary friends any more consideration that I give to anyone’s else’s imaginary friends – or that you give to them or mine.

    Real life is far too interesting to get caught up in the figments of other’s imaginations in that way (apart from entertainment value of course).

  129. Ropata, I think your problem is far worse than a chip on the shoulder. You are just not interested in a reasoned discussion. You just seem to have a wish to destroy – but you can’t do that on a blog.

  130. Ken, I have warned you before about your habit of reading what you think you are going to see – rather than what is actually written. Most of your reply is nothing to do with what I actually said. To demonstrate let me ask you just one question:

    “what entity?”

  131. Max, of I have misinterpreted something you wrote the tell us about it!

    My basic response was to point out that you are postulating the existence of something which interacts but doesn’t produce evidence. That is logically impossible. Whether or not we can detect the evidence now is beside the point.

  132. I was not saying anything about god/Gods/imaginery friends etc etc. Yet you placed this into my mouth and made my comments about this…which it was not at all.

    I am not going to bother trying to defend claims I did not make – that is all.

  133. Max, I think you did say souls (which to me belong in the same group). Stick with that if it works for you.

  134. “what entity?”

    It’s deliberately dense comments like that that make you sound like a dishonest tool and worthy of contempt. Grow up.

    Let me help you with that.

    “Now if (for sake of argument) I say that such a substance DOES exist – and this substance is what souls, unicorns, witches on magic broomsticks, dragons, the Jedi Force or the biblical god Baal or any other childish example I just made up on the spur of the moment, then you cannot come back with “yes – but if there were souls, unicorns, witches on magic broomsticks, dragons, the Jedi Force or the biblical god Baal or any other childish example I just grabbed for on the spur of the moment then they would be discovered by science”.
    (…)
    “What you CAN say is “there does not exist any thing which science cannot study”. In doing so you reject the idea that souls, unicorns, witches on magic broomsticks, dragons, the Jedi Force or the biblical god Baal or any other childish example I just grabbed for on the spur of the moment which cannot be studied using science exist.”
    (…)
    “You are here assuming that souls, unicorns, witches on magic broomsticks, dragons, the Jedi Force or the biblical god Baal or any other childish example I just grabbed for on the spur of the moment is the sort of thing which scientific evidence can be provided for. But in my hypothetical situation I specifically said that they were not.”
    (…)
    “my claim was that souls, unicorns, witches on magic broomsticks, dragons, the Jedi Force or the biblical god Baal or any other childish example I just grabbed for on the spur of the moment is the sort of thing science could not investigate.”
    (…)
    “Now I am not saying that souls, unicorns, witches on magic broomsticks, dragons, the Jedi Force or the biblical god Baal or any other childish example I just grabbed for on the spur of the moment actually exist. My point was only to try to point out the sort of belief system you are accepting.”

  135. The only things I wish to “destroy” are misconceptions. I am going to the effort of communicating here because your blog is interesting and challenging, and I appreciate the rough and tumble discussions.

    For example, how do you “scientifically” justify this claim:

    The mind doesn’t work if it’s closed

    How do you know that minds exist?
    What is the scientific definition of a closed mind?

    These are philosophical and sociological questions; not empirical or directly measurable.

  136. Very different question Ken.

    I was talking about whethe it was possible that there are aspects of existence which are perminently inexessible to scientific investigation.

    This could be true whether there is or is not god.

    The “god debate” is an interesting one – but nothing to do with what I was saying.

    There could be “souls” or some sort of mental substance which is inexcessible to any form of investiagtion without a god….

    I have read your points about this being a logicl fallacy and will think about them, but please don’t drag what could be an interesting discussion back into the whole god debate again… that is not what i intended to do.

  137. Ropata – what silly questions. Do you think that makes you seem clever.

    The mind doesn’t work of its closed is a slogan – not a statement of fact.

    Your questions are irrelevant – as I say you are just attempting to destroy – not contribute to an interesting discussion.

  138. Yes – the god debate is a mugs game – but I suspect so are souls. Unless you can get around that basic contradiction. How can something which is objective and interacts (is material by my definition) be defined as not creating evidence?

    Once you have interaction, evidence, there is at least potential scopy for humans to investigate.

  139. Actually Ken the mind body problem has been a serious question in philosophy since Plato.
    The only destructive force in this discussion is your deliberate obtuseness and careless dismissal of basic philosophical concepts.

  140. Ropata, you are playing the man rather than the ball again. This is what I mean. Such abusive comments don’t deserve answers and can’t contribute to sensible discussion.

  141. There could be “souls” or some sort of mental substance which is inexcessible to any form of investiagtion without a god….

    Oh goody.

    “There could be “pixies” or some sort of mental substance which is inexcessible to any form of investiagtion without a god….”

    “There could be “magic, pink unicorns” or some sort of mental substance which is inexcessible to any form of investiagtion without a god….”

    “There could be “demons” or some sort of mental substance which is inexcessible to any form of investiagtion without a god….”

    It never gets old. Never.

  142. Again, I am not here to destroy I am simply pointing out the errors in your preconceived view of the universe. Daniel Dennett admits:

    There is no such thing as philosophy-free science; there is only science whose philosophical baggage is taken on board without examination.
    —Daniel Dennett, Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, 1995.

  143. Cedric. I am not quite getting the point you are trying to make by pasting random words into my comments. If you have any ideas you want to share please do as we are all keen to hear your own ideas and opinions.

  144. Cedric. I am not quite getting the point you are trying to make by pasting random words into my comments.

    Happy to help out.

    1) They are not “random words”.
    2) Yes, they are your comments. Very carefully preserved.
    3) By switching the labels round, I show how stupid your comments are.
    They are genuinely dumb.

    Let’s have another example:

    “There could be “vampires” or some sort of mental substance which is inexcessible to any form of investiagtion without a Santa….”

    “There could be “angels” or some sort of mental substance which is inexcessible to any form of investiagtion without a Godzilla….”

    “There could be “Pa Wraiths” or some sort of mental substance which is inexcessible to any form of investiagtion without the Prophets of Bajor….”

    If you have any ideas you want to share please do as we are all keen to hear your own ideas and opinions.

    You are an idiot. That’s my opinion that I am sharing with you now.
    Thank you for the invitation. You are indeed playing a mug’s game and I am exposing you as a mug.

    Let’s have another example:

    “There could be “The Ghost of Christman Past” or some sort of mental substance which is inexcessible to any form of investiagtion without a Vishnu….”

    “There could be “Peter Pan” or some sort of mental substance which is inexcessible to any form of investiagtion without a Bast….”

    “There could be “Inky-Winky Spider” or some sort of mental substance which is inexcessible to any form of investiagtion without Zeus….”

  145. Cedric are you the ADHD kid at school? I think I can help explain why the other kids don’t want to talk to you.

  146. Ropata. I keep asking Cedric to give his opinion but he alwys replies with insults and random things he has googled (see for instance the irrelevant thing he posted about Godel which he clearly googles and posted with no understanding)

    Try not to insult him back. I am guessing you are right and he probably is some unhappy 14 year old – but we should always ive him the opportunity to contribute and give his ideas if he does want to.

    His insults are probably nothing compared to what he has to endure at school as you suggest, so lets try to make him feel welcome here.

  147. Try not to insult him back. I am guessing you are right and he probably is some unhappy 14 year old…

    The Passive Aggression of the Christ

  148. Well Cedric. When you are ready to stop insulting people and share some of your ideas we will stop guessing. Please give YOUR opinion on what materialism and matter are for instance. Be great to get another opinion.

  149. Ropata you aren’t “simply pointing out the errors in your preconceived view of the universe.”

    You are making random attacks, wildly throwing about irrelevant links, claiming I have a “preconceived view of the universe” which you can’t identify or provide examples for.

    You don’t aim to engage with the discussion, you aren’t either serious or honest in your interventions.

    No one will bother to engage with you while you behave that way – it just boils down to trolling.

  150. Faith gave us jihad, crusade, and inquisition. Science gave us mustard gas, involuntary sterilization, and nuclear weapons. Faith gave us international charities that feed starving children. Science gave us clean water.

    Gregor Mendel was a Christian monk. Muhammed ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi was a devout Muslim. Oppenheimer did not think of the Bhagavad Gita by accident.

    My point is, it’s incorrect to characterize people involved in a community, or publicly claiming adherence to a certain way of thinking or doing things, as stupid, or evil, or blind. It’s incorrect to characterize a way of doing or thinking as universally good or evil- it blinds you to the evil or good that exists in it. If your reaction to the above paragraph is to explain how these men advanced science in spite of having faith, then are you not interpreting the evidence to suit your assumptions? They were scientists. They had faith, and not inconsequential faith, in things many posters here evidently hate with a burning passion. Accept reality; for these men, at least, faith and science were not mutually exclusive, not demiurgic oppositional forces, but simply two ways. That doesn’t mean you have to do the same, but maybe it means that you shouldn’t dismiss faith as “magical thinking” that can’t exist in the same mind as critical observation.

  151. That doesn’t mean you have to do the same, but maybe it means that you shouldn’t dismiss faith as “magical thinking” that can’t exist in the same mind as critical observation.

    Did anybody actually say that or did you just make it up just then?

    The “Straw Man” Fallacy

  152. When you actually reply to what I have said Cedric I will happily address your comments! Be good to have your opinions!

  153. Did anybody actually say that or did you just make it up just then?

    Cedric, please refer to your own blather about pixies, fairies, demons, unicorns and so on.

    Attempting to get an on topic response from either you or Ken is proving rather fruitless.

  154. So again you have lied.

    I never do that. I am always happy to quote people. In detail.
    You just create strawmen.
    Shame on you.

  155. I admire your skill at avoiding the substance of anyone’s comment. Also thanks for regaling us with your kneejerk stream of consciousness.

    I recommend avoiding philosophy or mathematics (or any subject requiring critical thinking) in future as the lecturers may not appreciate your unique wit.

  156. I admire your skill at avoiding the substance…

    No.
    That won’t do.
    You’ve been caught out in a fib. Hand-waving will get you nowhere.

    Stop making things up. Focus on what people actually said, not what you would have like them to have said. If you have to make stupid stuff up because that’s the only way to make yourself look better then that displays the weakness of your position.

    I never do that.
    I stick like glue to quotes.
    It’s quotes for breakfast and quotes for lunch and quotes for tea.
    All in loving detail.
    That’s how I expose the weakness of whatever silliness you say.
    I don’t need to make strawmen.
    You do.
    This is not the first time I’ve caught you out for being a weasel.

  157. You might like this Ropata:

  158. Cedric. Again your comment does not really address the points I am making! But happy to here your views when you are ready!

  159. Again your comment does not really address the points I am making!

    Get used to disappointment, liar.
    (shrug)

  160. Thanks Max, interesting. Here’s a short clip on the question “Does science prove everything?”

  161. Ropata, surprised at you promoting this crap from Craig. It really shows him as being philosophically inept – not understanding the most basic of philosophy or practice of Science.

    Also he is effectively “going nuclear” as it does sort of raise the question “can religion prove anything?” (Not that anybody is even bothering with that one).

    I guess though he would call out to Plantinga for help on that one!

  162. When do the school holidays end…?

  163. With the greatest respect and admiration for the disciplines and achievements of science, the clip is actually a comprehensive dismantling of Dawkins’ claim that science is the ONLY valid way to acquire knowledge. Don’t you think it’s a little presumptuous to claim that your tribe (atheists/positivists) has a monopoly on the truth?

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