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Author Topic: Elliquian Atheists  (Read 35542 times)

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Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #775 on: April 04, 2013, 12:51:07 AM »
The Templeton study isnít exactly definitive proof that God doesnít exist.  So I wouldnít get excited on that account.  Also a possible explanation is depression, but there is also another explanation presented by researchers.  Patients were randomly assigned to these groups.  The group that was informed of the prayer intercession was not told this was a research study simply that a group of people were coming to pray for them.  So anxiety could have been associated with the hospital ďhaving people come pray for them.Ē  Obviously if the hospital is having people come pray for them the patient is going to interpret this as something bad with their condition.  So the study itself could have induced complications.

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #776 on: April 04, 2013, 02:00:21 AM »
I was actually being snarky and pointing out an issue with one of pumpkin seed's prior posts which referred to a mayo clinic study. My point was that its kind of pointless to say "group x" did this study ... blah blah blah, and then not have anything for others in the discussion to look at. You might as well not bother bringing it up. Likewise, even if you can show that prayer has an effect on patients, that doesn't prove that there is a God responsible for that effect. It could be placebo, bias, magic, or hospital fairies.... time traveling space physicians from the planet 33fa&* in the beta quadrant....

Offline Sethala

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #777 on: April 04, 2013, 02:29:59 AM »
The Templeton study isnít exactly definitive proof that God doesnít exist.

And here's a significant hurdle to overcome.  It is simply not possible to prove that something doesn't exist. (Barring things in the field of mathematics, at least.)

(Before I dive into this rant, let me say that I'm assuming Pumpkin is some branch of Christian; if that's not the case I apologize for the misconception.)

The main issue is that no matter what your beliefs are, you need to remain consistent.  If you believe in item A for reasons X, Y, and Z, and item B also fills the same criteria for X, Y, and Z, then you need to do one of three things: either accept item B as well, explain why B is sufficiently different from A that you can reject it and not A (either , or accept that because you can't explain why you believe in A and not B, it's special pleading and not a strong basis for an argument.  Note that you also can't say you accept A over B because the two contradict each other without any other reason, that's merely presupposing A.  (You can say you reject B because it contradicst A, and A has evidence Q supporting it that B doesn't have, however.)

So, let's take an example: you believe in Christianity and the God of the Bible - that's "item A".  I present you with "item B": the Greek pantheon.  (It could be any other deity, really, so pick a different one if you like.)  Both of them fulfill the only criteria I've seen you put forward (at least in the last few pages, point out anything else you have if there's something I missed): they haven't been explicitly disproven.  So, my question is: do you accept that both Jehovah and Zeus are real?  Do you have some reason to believe in the Bible and not Greek myths?  Or is the only reason because you're giving God a pass on things that you require of others?

Offline Kythia

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #778 on: April 04, 2013, 02:41:57 AM »
The main issue is that no matter what your beliefs are, you need to remain consistent. 

This is where your problem is Sethala.  I (or whoever is reading this) certainly doesn't need to do that.  You've overstated your point.  It should be "The main issue is that not matter what your beliefs are, if you want to remain in a broadly scientific context you need to remain consistent".  If I (or whoever is reading this) doesn't give a single solitary **** about remaining within that paradigm - or, to take it up a notch - if the "no matter what your beliefs are" includes "I belive the scientific method is incapable of proving my beliefs" then no, you certainly don't need to.

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #779 on: April 04, 2013, 03:05:23 AM »
"If I (or whoever is reading this) doesn't give a single solitary **** about remaining within that paradigm - "

Are you saying that its perfectly fine to waffle on the truth in order to suite yourself? Or are you saying that its perfectly fine for a person to change their beliefs? I am under the impression that Sethala was referring to the former ( In saying that one must remain consistent to be truthful) and that you were referring to the latter.

I think the point here is that truth cannot an does not contradict itself.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2013, 03:08:05 AM by TaintedAndDelish »

Offline Kythia

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #780 on: April 04, 2013, 03:15:12 AM »
Ah, maybe you're right.  I was under the impression Sethala was referring to a third option, that no matter what your beliefs it is important to maintain a consistency over all of them, and thats what I was referring to.

So consistency in the sense of "internally consistent", say, rather than "unchanging" is what I thought he was referring to.  But, yeah, you may be right.  In which cause, apologies for de-railing.  I shall be quiet now.

Offline SabbyTopic starter

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #781 on: April 04, 2013, 06:17:07 AM »
The Templeton study isnít exactly definitive proof that God doesnít exist.

Considering it's one of the only testable claims for the Catholic God, it's about as close to disproven as one can reasonably get. 'Undetectable, unverifiable, unfalsifiable', okay, that all sounds outside the realm of science, 'occasionally makes Himself temporarily tangible to heal the sick' -WHOA, hold up, now that one there's an actual claim your making. Let's look into that.

Oh, it appears to be nonesense. Well, that doesn't disprove the intangible unknowable unfalsifiable God, but it does reduce His credibility from a tenuous question mark back to zero.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #782 on: April 04, 2013, 07:05:14 AM »
.
Considering it's one of the only testable claims for the Catholic God, it's about as close to disproven as one can reasonably get. 'Undetectable, unverifiable, unfalsifiable', okay, that all sounds outside the realm of science, 'occasionally makes Himself temporarily tangible to heal the sick' -WHOA, hold up, now that one there's an actual claim your making. Let's look into that.

Oh, it appears to be nonesense. Well, that doesn't disprove the intangible unknowable unfalsifiable God, but it does reduce His credibility from a tenuous question mark back to zero.

Interestingly the Catholic God is one of the flavours of Christian God most definately not ruled out by the experiment.

Catechism 2111
Quote
Superstition is the deviation of religious feeling and of the practices this feeling imposes. It can even affect the worship we offer the true God, e.g., when one attributes an importance in some way magical to certain practices otherwise lawful or necessary. To attribute the efficacy of prayers or of sacramental signs to their mere external performance, apart from the interior dispositions that they demand, is to fall into superstition.

In essence - to attribute to prayers effectiveness based purely on the fact that prayers were said rather than the interior dispositions is wrong.  As the study didn't focus on the interior dispositions of the prayers, that question is still open.

Not that I'm claiming the study isn't interesting, just that to expand it to cover a flavour that, hundreds of years before the study was tested explicitly stated that this sort of test was inappropriate seems a little bit of a stretch.  It's a stronger condemnation of various protestant flavours than the Catholic God is all I mean

Offline SabbyTopic starter

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #783 on: April 04, 2013, 07:07:20 AM »
In essence - to attribute to prayers effectiveness based purely on the fact that prayers were said rather than the interior dispositions is wrong.  As the study didn't focus on the interior dispositions of the prayers, that question is still open.

Not sure I understand... it kind of reads like "Oh, the subjects weren't praying right". Could you please elaborate?

Offline Kythia

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #784 on: April 04, 2013, 07:13:54 AM »
Not sure I understand... it kind of reads like "Oh, the subjects weren't praying right". Could you please elaborate?

Well, thats in essence the case.  Catholicism doesn't believe that prayer necessarily leads to answering.  There are a class of prayers - CC2111's superstition being the most relevant here - that aren't prayers (in god's/the churches eyes).  That is to say there is a difference between me spending the next twenty minutes saying hail marys and then asking for a brand new ferrari and actual "prayer".

Commonly in the protestant churches there is a belief that all prayers are answered, based on some pretty solid biblical evidence.  I say commonly rather than invariably, but yeah.  But in Catholicism and some of the Orthodox churches thats simply not there.  Not all prayers will be directly answered for one but more importantly things like this aren't actually prayer, they're a pleading for superstitionist intervention.  Entirely different.

I would imagine, based on nothing more than a stab in the dark based on the study's location, that the people praying were of some protestant demonination.  The study DOES harm their position but says nothing about the Catholic one, which isn't even in communion with the majority of protestant denominations.

Offline SabbyTopic starter

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #785 on: April 04, 2013, 07:17:45 AM »
So, exactly what I said several posts ago. Test prayer, and when ya don't get the results ya want, back away from the study and say it wasn't real prayer.

Would you mind sharing what kind of test you'd consider 'real prayer', and thus have results you'd believe?

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #786 on: April 04, 2013, 07:20:52 AM »
Bigger question: Why is the burden of proof not where it belongs? (Hint: The extraordinary claim here is not "God does not exist.")

Offline Kythia

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #787 on: April 04, 2013, 07:23:00 AM »
Thats not what I'm saying at all, Sabby.  They haven't "backed away from the study and said it wasn't real prayer".  They have stated, literally centuries before the study was created, what was real prayer and what wasn't.  The issue is that the study didn't apply to Catholicism.  Thats not a flaw within the study, it also didn't apply to the Flying Spaghetti Monster.  My objection was purely for information purposes because I found it interesting and thought others might that your mention of the Catholic God was - understandably - overlooking CC2111.

In answer to your question though - I'm not Catholic myself so I can't say for certainty.  My assumption would be that it would need a Bishop's sanction (which is unlikely to be given, but thats a different kettle of fish).  Simply because the goal is to, errrr, guarantee an intervention by the spirit.  There would certainly need to be a priest involved, the laity wouldn't be appropriate.  But I don't fully know...

Hmmm...Its an interesting question.  I'l think on it a bit and see if I can't put anything together.

Offline SabbyTopic starter

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #788 on: April 04, 2013, 07:38:15 AM »
No, I'm not saying the people who did the study are backing away, I'm saying those who don't like the results can just say 'well that wasn't REAL prayer'. And this is the main problem with debating theism. The constant moving of goal posts. Sure, one set of rules for prayer were set at one time and can be used to invalidate the study, but fact is, no matter what 'configuration' is used for a prayer healing study, there will always be wriggle room, because we're working with thousands of years worth of nebulous, contradictory, half formed rules steeped in cultural taboo.

And this applies to Religion in science PERIOD, not just faith healing. You can't study what is not on a solid basis, and the foundations of prayer, faith healing, prophecy, speaking tongues and the like are on a basis of oil and jellybeans, not well laid concrete like actual science is.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #789 on: April 04, 2013, 07:49:08 AM »
I'm not quite sure if we're agreeing or not.  Let me try to put it again and you can say yey or nay.

There are a class of Christian denominations who believe a) faith healing works and b) prayers are always answered.  They can whine as much as they want about the results of the study but they laid their position down before it was made and thats all they're doing, whining.

There are a class of other religions - lets use Islam as an exampe here.  Whatever their thoughts on faith healing, they wouldn't expect that study to work.  The prayers made in it were incorrect.  The study says dick all about the effectiveness of prayers to Allah, to the Greek Pantheon, to me, to you, to anyone except that Christian God as followed by the groups mentioned above.  That doesn't make it a bad study, it's a simple statement of fact.  Those groups have learnt nothing from that study.  "A bunch of prayers that we didn't believe would work didn't."  It doesn't make it more likely they're correct, it doesn't make it less likely.  It's just not a relevant study.

Catholicism falls firmly into the second of those camps.

That's my core point.

I've roped my sister and neighbour into helping me design this experiment.  I want it on record though that I get lead author.

Offline SabbyTopic starter

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #790 on: April 04, 2013, 07:59:50 AM »
No, this is the problem. What is prayer?

That must be answered in order for tests to be fruitful, or even viable at all.

If prayer exists, cultural opinions and other faiths are irrelevant, as there would be an observable phenomena independent of all of that.

Prostenant prayer vs Catholic prayer vs Jewish prayer vs Scientology prayer, it doesn't matter what they THINK prayer is, or what their rules are, if it exists, it can be tested and observed under one set of conditions.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #791 on: April 04, 2013, 08:01:55 AM »
No, this is the problem. What is prayer?

That must be answered in order for tests to be fruitful, or even viable at all.

If prayer exists, cultural opinions and other faiths are irrelevant, as there would be an observable phenomena independent of all of that.

Prostenant prayer vs Catholic prayer vs Jewish prayer vs Scientology prayer, it doesn't matter what they THINK prayer is, or what their rules are, if it exists, it can be tested and observed under one set of conditions.
Not even remotely possible. For one thing, you'd first have to get the entire world to agree on who prayers are directed to. Any experiment whose methodology starts "First, end religious war..." strikes me as worthy but infeasible.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2013, 08:03:04 AM by Ephiral »

Offline Kythia

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #792 on: April 04, 2013, 08:06:24 AM »
No, this is the problem. What is prayer?

That must be answered in order for tests to be fruitful, or even viable at all.

If prayer exists, cultural opinions and other faiths are irrelevant, as there would be an observable phenomena independent of all of that.

Prostenant prayer vs Catholic prayer vs Jewish prayer vs Scientology prayer, it doesn't matter what they THINK prayer is, or what their rules are, if it exists, it can be tested and observed under one set of conditions.

No.  Thats not true.  You seem to be assuming that prayer is some, errrr, some universal phenomenon.  Like, I dunno "Hydrogen."  If that were the case then yes your argument would hold.  But prayer is communion with a deity.  All prayers are not equal.  If I pray to the Catholic God, you to Allah and, I dunno, Bob the lurker to Zeus then those things aren't the same.  Only one of us (at most one of us, in fact) can be praying correctly. 

You can't just say "prayer is prayer is prayer".  Yes, "If prayer exists, cultural opinions and other faiths are irrelevant, as there would be an observable phenomena independent of all of that"for a given value of "yes".  If prayer to the FSM works then other opinions would be worthless.  Obviously (and assuming that the FSM denies the existence of other gods.  I'm actually not sure but lets say yes just to make this easier.)  But that doesn't make my prayers to deities other than the FSM functionally equivalent to prayers to the FSM.

This isn't a matter of cultural opinions.  This is like saying, errrr, if speech works then it doesn't matter who I talk to, I should get the result I want.  In fact, its exactly like that.

Offline LilyS

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #793 on: April 04, 2013, 08:10:58 AM »
Bigger question: Why is the burden of proof not where it belongs? (Hint: The extraordinary claim here is not "God does not exist.")


You guess... :p

Offline SabbyTopic starter

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #794 on: April 04, 2013, 08:12:00 AM »
You can't just say "prayer is prayer is prayer".

Why not? If it exists, it has rules, like everything else that exists.

Special pleading is not an argument. You can't say 'fire works this way everywhere, hydrogen works this way everywhere, clouds work this way everywhere, but prayer is whatever we say it is and still exists like fire, hydrogen and clouds'.

Or are you saying that all Gods exist and so praying is the equivalent of learning new languages? If so, then the question is malformed, as we're now trying to demonstrate Latin over Italian, instead of demonstrating what speech is.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #795 on: April 04, 2013, 08:23:07 AM »
Right.  Clearly I'm putting this very badly, Sabby, and I apologise for that.  I'll try again but I'm honestly running out of ways to rephrase this.

Cecilia, Mithlomwen and Valerian have the "Goddess" title here on E.  Now, I dont know how it works behind the scenes, so we're playing make believe here.  Apologies to those three if they take any offense at all.

Now, unbeknownst to everyone, Mithlomwen and Valerian are actually just dummy accounts Vekseid created one day when he was drunk.  (And apologies to Veks if he takes offense here).

You, I and Bob the Lurker have a problem that requires G-Level inteference.  We each PM one of them.  With me?  Now, of course, it so happens that we each choose a different one to PM.

I'm sure you can see the analogy I'm trying to draw here, but for the sake of clarity.  The PMs are prayers.  They are done in different ways - in this case the difference is as minor as putting a different name in the "To" box but it could be a lot more major.

The Templeton study is the equivalent of randomly PMing Mithlomwen or Valerian.  It had no effect.  However, it says nothing about the effectiveness of PMing the other two.  Because the mthod used for communicating with them is different and that wasn't tested.

Does that make my point at all.  As I say, I'm really sorry I don't seem to be putting this in a good way.

Offline SabbyTopic starter

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #796 on: April 04, 2013, 08:34:55 AM »
Right.  Clearly I'm putting this very badly, Sabby, and I apologise for that.  I'll try again but I'm honestly running out of ways to rephrase this.

Cecilia, Mithlomwen and Valerian have the "Goddess" title here on E.  Now, I dont know how it works behind the scenes, so we're playing make believe here.  Apologies to those three if they take any offense at all.

Now, unbeknownst to everyone, Mithlomwen and Valerian are actually just dummy accounts Vekseid created one day when he was drunk.  (And apologies to Veks if he takes offense here).

You, I and Bob the Lurker have a problem that requires G-Level inteference.  We each PM one of them.  With me?  Now, of course, it so happens that we each choose a different one to PM.

I'm sure you can see the analogy I'm trying to draw here, but for the sake of clarity.  The PMs are prayers.  They are done in different ways - in this case the difference is as minor as putting a different name in the "To" box but it could be a lot more major.

The Templeton study is the equivalent of randomly PMing Mithlomwen or Valerian.  It had no effect.  However, it says nothing about the effectiveness of PMing the other two.  Because the mthod used for communicating with them is different and that wasn't tested.

Does that make my point at all.  As I say, I'm really sorry I don't seem to be putting this in a good way.

Misread your post, I apologize, will attempt to readdress it.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #797 on: April 04, 2013, 08:35:29 AM »
No, thats the exact opposite of what Im saying.

I'm saying there is (potentially) one great divine power out there which has one, usually quite precisely defined in fairness, way of communicating with it.  There are also a load of fake things out there that people wrongly believe are great divine powers.  They all have their own ways of communicating with them.  One power, one method.  The Templeton study checked one of the variety of methods that are, to us, functionally indistinguishable.  They found that that method doesn't work.  This says nothing whatsoever about the effectiveness of any other method whatsoever.

Now, to try to forestall some objections.  I'm not saying we should do an equivalent study for each method, purely because it seems there are things we could be spending that money on that are considerably more important (although, having said that, I am actually greatly enjoying designing the Catholic one).  I'm not saying that there is a "true" method hiding in all the "fake" ones. 

Literally all I am saying is that checking one of the variety of hypothesised ways to talk to a deity and finding it doesn't work has no effect on any of the others and, to return to my initial point, that Catholicism is one of the others.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #798 on: April 04, 2013, 08:41:09 AM »

You guess... :p
This is not a guess. God is the extraordinary claim, as it's an extra entity (of such complexity that it makes any attempt at minimum message length choke) that is completely unnecessary to the observed data. Not-God is the null hypothesis.

Offline SabbyTopic starter

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #799 on: April 04, 2013, 08:45:16 AM »
As I said, I misread your original post, and I do apologize for that. I took a few minutes to read over it again, and I will attempt to address it more thoroughly now.

Cecilia, Mithlomwen and Valerian have the "Goddess" title here on E.  Now, I dont know how it works behind the scenes, so we're playing make believe here.  Apologies to those three if they take any offense at all.

Now, unbeknownst to everyone, Mithlomwen and Valerian are actually just dummy accounts Vekseid created one day when he was drunk.  (And apologies to Veks if he takes offense here).

You, I and Bob the Lurker have a problem that requires G-Level inteference.  We each PM one of them.  With me?  Now, of course, it so happens that we each choose a different one to PM.

I'm sure you can see the analogy I'm trying to draw here, but for the sake of clarity.  The PMs are prayers.  They are done in different ways - in this case the difference is as minor as putting a different name in the "To" box but it could be a lot more major.

To continue your analogy of PMing mods, it's the same as the language analogy, in that we're looking at the question in the wrong way.

Instead of showing that PMing Mith doesn't work and then moving on to Beguile because that wasn't disproved, we should be looking at what a PM actually is. Understanding the communication system is what's needed to successfully communicate. And in the case of PM's, we KNOW that this mailing system in Elliquiy exists, we KNOW what it is, we KNOW how it works, and we KNOW why contacting certain mods can and usually do reach the ultimate authority behind the system but occasionally they won't.

The question here has already been answered. PM's are a proven system that exist. What you need to do is demonstrate a similar system exists with a Deity, not disprove each supposed channel of communication one after the other indefinitely, because that's a never ending process with ever movable goal posts.