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Old 2015-01-26, 16:36   #23
only_human
 
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Ok. I see now. Proof by challenge is both unnecessary and insufficient to prove that an apple won't rise. But I can still use it to prove that there is no god, right?
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Old 2015-01-26, 16:41   #24
kladner
 
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Originally Posted by only_human View Post
Ok. I see now. Proof by challenge is both unnecessary and insufficient to prove that an apple won't rise. But I can still use it to prove that there is no god, right?
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Old 2015-01-27, 00:13   #25
only_human
 
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Originally Posted by Brian-E View Post
I'll give you a personal response here. The mainstream religions and their texts are far too vast as subjects for me to delve into, so I've taken on a somewhat smaller interest: the subject of the paranormal as practised by so-called mediums interests me. While personally convinced that mediums who claim to communicate with the dead, or to be able to predict future events or know facts which they could not know by normal means, are practising deception characterised somewhere on a scale from conjuring tricks to fraud, I am nonetheless fascinated by the way many people want to believe in it all and go and see these mediums to be totally taken in by them. The study of the paranormal is, for me, a study of human psychology, and it fascinates me.

You could similarly, with a lot more investment of time than I am prepared to put in, study Theology from a point of view of looking at the psychology and interaction of the human race without believing in any religion yourself.
Majority of Americans Believe God Rewards Religious Athletes - Voice of America
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A new survey finds that 53 percent of Americans believe God rewards pious athletes with good health and success. However, 45 percent of people surveyed–about four out of every 10–disagreed.
/.../
Catholics (65%) and Protestants (68%) were the most likely to believe God rewards pious athletes. By contrast, about one out of every three people who say they are religiously unaffiliated believe athletes with faith are rewarded.
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Old 2015-01-27, 07:00   #26
Primeinator
 
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Originally Posted by kladner View Post
It seems to me that the study of religion can be seen as being related to those of anthropology, psychology, and mythology. Just because one does not participate in a particular, widespread human behavior does not make the study of that behavior meaningless. Considering the undeniable influence that religions have on the course of human events, it would be foolish to not study them.
You beat me to it, Kladner. Fewer things than religion have made such an enormous impact on the progression of human history. If not for any other reason, the study of religion is intrinsically interesting just for this fact. I've been reading a fair amount about the history of Islam recently. Do I have any interest in adopting Islam? No. I just the history of Mohammad and the Quarysh interesting. I only wish I had time to do more exploration of Islam and other religions in addition to furthering my knowledge in mathematics and other sciences. Alas, my degree is a jealous one and leaves little free time for my own pursuits.

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Originally Posted by xilman View Post
We can both reason from axioms and jointly accepted to prove the infinitude of primes and the transcendental nature of π which is why I had no disagreement with the first of your three statements.

However, I can make no such reasoning about gravity. I simply have to accept that apples have always fallen down in the past. Note that here I explicitly make exceptions for apples floating in a dense medium, apples within a free-falling container and so on. I also accept that Newton's mechanics and theory of gravity is a set of mathematical equations which give an excellent approximation to the behaviour shown by apples near the Earth's surface --- and elsewhere for that matter.

However, just because Newton's description has worked so well in the past I can not prove that it will continue to work as well in the future. I simply have to take it on faith that it will do so. Given that faith, I can then use mathematical and logical reasoning to make predictions of the behaviour of apples in the future which I believe have a high probability of being very accurate. I can not be certain that they will be very accurate.

Please note that I am not playing Devil's Advocate here. I am reasoning about the foundations of the philosophy of science.
Great posting. Thank you.
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Old 2015-01-28, 15:34   #27
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I acknowledge that I overextended my argument about the study of religions, there may
be perfectly valid reasons for doing so, such as a psychologist's or sociologist's.
Or if one is in doubt about where they stand about the God issue.

I also acknowledge that some use the word "faith" differently, and their "faith in science"
or "faith in gravity" is just their way of saying scientific explanations are empirically discovered
and that their "proofs" are always contingent on the current state of scientific knowledge.

In that context, no "challenge proof" is necessary in science, only falsifiability and the
absence of any contradictory evidence. In philosophy and math, however, unconditional
proof (i.e. proof depending on no more than validation of the laws of logic) is possible;
and religion falls under the sphere of provable falseness within philosophy. The challenge
proof was only step 5 of my argument for atheism, and is valid.
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Old 2015-04-28, 13:30   #28
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Originally Posted by xilman View Post
We can both reason from axioms and jointly accepted to prove the infinitude of primes and the transcendental nature of π which is why I had no disagreement with the first of your three statements.

However, I can make no such reasoning about gravity. I simply have to accept that apples have always fallen down in the past. Note that here I explicitly make exceptions for apples floating in a dense medium, apples within a free-falling container and so on. I also accept that Newton's mechanics and theory of gravity is a set of mathematical equations which give an excellent approximation to the behaviour shown by apples near the Earth's surface --- and elsewhere for that matter.

However, just because Newton's description has worked so well in the past I can not prove that it will continue to work as well in the future. I simply have to take it on faith that it will do so. Given that faith, I can then use mathematical and logical reasoning to make predictions of the behaviour of apples in the future which I believe have a high probability of being very accurate. I can not be certain that they will be very accurate.

Please note that I am not playing Devil's Advocate here. I am reasoning about the foundations of the philosophy of science.
The belief people refer to when they use the word "faith" is often an unjustified belief, in my experience. Although it depends on context.
Having "faith" in gravity is a rational standpoint. Yet we are ready to modify our expectations should we find a (new) exception to gravity. While people using the word "faith" in the more popular sense (in my experience) will continue to expect or at least claim to expect things that are in contrast to experience and reason.
Justified belief; the reason belief in science and belief in religion are completely different.
(Surely you know this, but I wanted it to be said. I've been thinking a lot about the philosophy of science and how too few people actually understand what science is. Saying things like "scientists are always changing their minds", like that's something that takes away from the validity of the scientific method.)
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