1. Standard memberknightmeister
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    29 Aug '08 12:24
    If one is an Atheist who doesn't believe in free will (hard determinist) and has not time for anything remotely to do with intelligent design what are the implications of this?

    One can believe that..........

    1) the very heart of the universe and all reality has it's foundations in logic , reason and consistency and is intelligently and rationally formed (tendency towards the theist view)

    OR

    2) that all life and reality is basically the product of blind , random chance events and has no intelligence or rational deisgn behind it (tendency of atheist view eg- blind watchmaker).

    However , if I am an atheist who broadly subscribes to 2) and am a hard determinist then I must by implication believe that all my own thought processes , beliefs and even my very rationality are the direct product of non-rational , non-intelligent random chance. On what basis can I then trust my own beliefs and thoughts?

    For a theist this is not a problem because one believes 1) and trusting one's own belief and thoughts is entirely consistent with 1). As a Theist I am entitled to believe and trust my own mind and thoughts because I believe that the universe is not rooted in blind chance and randomness but in a rational , reasonable and sentient reality.

    I guess the secondary question is how atheists resolve the conflict of what they put their trust in and what they say they believe. If one believes 2) then placing a huge amount of faith in rationality seems at the very least interesting. If one does not believe that life itself is the product of an intelligent , rational process then why trust rationality so exclusively? Better to trust chaos and random chance because that's what many Atheists say they really believe in , is it not?
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    29 Aug '08 14:132 edits
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    If one is an Atheist who doesn't believe in free will (hard determinist) and has not time for anything remotely to do with intelligent design what are the implications of this?

    One can believe that..........

    1) the very heart of the universe and all reality has it's foundations in logic , reason and consistency and is intelligently and rationall and random chance because that's what many Atheists say they really believe in , is it not?
    …However , if I am an atheist who broadly subscribes to 2) and am a hard determinist then I must by implication believe that all my own thought processes , beliefs and even my very rationality are the direct product of non-rational , non-intelligent random chance…

    Mainly correct -although evolution is not pure “random chance” because some outcomes are more likely than others.

    …On what basis can I then trust my own beliefs and thoughts? ..…

    I think I can see your error in your logic -I think you are wrongly assuming that it must be necessarily true that a process that has random events (such as random mutations in evolution) cannot give rise to something that performs an orderly process (such a our brains that perform the orderly process of rational thought).
    Just for starters, computer simulations have scientifically proven how apparently random processes can lead to apparent order of amazing complexity -this is part of chaos theory:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaos_theory

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attractor

    http://ccrma-www.stanford.edu/~stilti/images/chaotic_attractors/nav.html

    -although, of course, those particular simulated processes don’t give rise to any intelligence.
    Also, the complex geometric shapes of snowflakes that can be seen under a microscope are caused by pseudorandom physical events in their creation and yet each one can clearly be seen to have an orderly structure in their shape.

    So to answer your question: “On what basis can I then trust my own beliefs and thoughts?” I would say that it is because I can usually observe that my thoughts are logically self-consistent but also that I can form hypothesise that then I can then verify their truth or falsity through observation and, if my hypothesise are generally verified to be true, then that gives me some rational credence to the idea that I should trust my particular hypothesise forming process -whether or not the process that gave us the ability to do this in the past is an “intelligent” process is irrelevant to this question.

    …For a theist this is NOT a problem because one believes 1) and trusting one's own belief and thoughts is entirely consistent with 1). As a Theist I am entitled to believe and trust my own mind and thoughts because I believe that the universe is not rooted in blind chance and randomness but in a rational, reasonable and sentient reality. ..… (my emphasis)

    Actually it IS a problem if you assume what I think you are assuming to be correct here! (which is the assumption that non intelligent processes, especially random processes, cannot create orderly processes, especially intelligent processes) -before you were born, regardless of whether or not you are now a theist or an atheist, you were once just a fertilised egg. That fertilised egg had absolutely no ability to form beliefs nor thoughts. And yet, as a result of its development which has no intelligence behind it (because it is driven by the genes and hormones etc as opposed to “intelligence&rdquo😉 and with the help of pseudorandom (or truly random events depending on your interpretation of quantum mechanics) life experiences (note that those random events are not generally caused by a conscious process) it eventually developed into you as an adult human with a brain capable of forming beliefs and having rational thoughts (I assume).

    So even if you are a theist, your ability to think came from non-intelligent and partly random events in the form of life-experiences. Of course this is not a philosophical problem if you reject the assumption (which I do -so “2)” is not a problem for me) I.e. the assumption that “non intelligent processes, especially random processes, cannot create orderly processes, especially intelligent processes”

    -but is that really the assumption you are making here?
  3. Standard memberknightmeister
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    30 Aug '08 09:36
    Originally posted by Andrew Hamilton
    [b]…However , if I am an atheist who broadly subscribes to 2) and am a hard determinist then I must by implication believe that all my own thought processes , beliefs and even my very rationality are the direct product of non-rational , non-intelligent random chance…

    Mainly correct -although evolution is not pure “random chance” because some o ...[text shortened]... s, especially intelligent processes”

    -but is that really the assumption you are making here?[/b]
    So even if you are a theist, your ability to think came from non-intelligent and partly random events in the form of life-experiences. ------------------hamilton-----------------------------

    Not at all , my ability to think and reason stems ultimately from the fact that life itself rests on a reasonable and intelligent foundation ( ie God). The intermediate processes by which my brain is formed are of little consequence because my rationality eminates ultimately from God.

    This is different for you. You believe that the core of all reality (when broken down to it's ultimate foundations) rests on random chaos with no meaning and that your thinking processes are indirectly the result of a random, meaningless process. For me this is not true.
  4. Standard memberblack beetle
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    30 Aug '08 09:40
    Hi Knightmeister, hello again AH🙂

    Dear KM,
    How can you be sure that your ability to think and reason stems ultimately from the fact that life itself rests on a reasonable and intelligent foundation ( ie God)?
  5. Standard memberknightmeister
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    30 Aug '08 09:41
    Originally posted by Andrew Hamilton
    [b]…However , if I am an atheist who broadly subscribes to 2) and am a hard determinist then I must by implication believe that all my own thought processes , beliefs and even my very rationality are the direct product of non-rational , non-intelligent random chance…

    Mainly correct -although evolution is not pure “random chance” because some o ...[text shortened]... s, especially intelligent processes”

    -but is that really the assumption you are making here?[/b]
    So to answer your question: “On what basis can I then trust my own beliefs and thoughts?” I would say that it is because I can usually observe that my thoughts are logically self-consistent but also that I can form hypothesise that then I can then verify their truth or falsity through observation and, if my hypothesise are generally verified to be true, then that gives me some rational credence to the idea that I should trust my particular hypothesise forming proces-------------------------------------hamilton-----------------------------------

    But when it comes to the BIG questions about the foundations of all reality itself you believe that the universe has no ultimate meaning or reason to exist and is the product of random chance or some other unintelligent , irrational process. So how likely is it that your rationality is going to lead you to the truth about life if it is ultimately rooted in chaos. Indeed , is the ultimate truth even likely to be intelligible or reasonable in anyway (eg ideas about the universe "popping" out of nothing).
  6. Standard memberknightmeister
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    30 Aug '08 09:53
    Originally posted by black beetle
    Hi Knightmeister, hello again AH🙂

    Dear KM,
    How can you be sure that your ability to think and reason stems ultimately from the fact that life itself rests on a reasonable and intelligent foundation ( ie God)?
    I cannot be sure BUT (and here's the point really) ....at least my belief in a rational , reasonable ground to all reality is CONSISTENT with my trust in my own rationality and thinking process. I DO NOT believe that the universe is ultimately chaotic , random , irrational and meaningless - therefore it is not contradictory for me to place faith in my own rationality. I can choose to trust in on the basis of my beliefs about reality.

    The Atheist however , does not believe this but still seems to place a heck of a lot of faith in rationality and his own reasoning. It's a bit like saying "the universe is ultimately made of jam , but I'm placing my trust in custard".
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    30 Aug '08 10:082 edits
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    I cannot be sure BUT (and here's the point really) ....at least my belief in a rational , reasonable ground to all reality is CONSISTENT with my trust in my own rationality and thinking process. I DO NOT believe that the universe is ultimately chaotic , random , irrational and meaningless - therefore it is not contradictory for me to place faith in my like saying "the universe is ultimately made of jam , but I'm placing my trust in custard".
    Someone made an observation on a train of seeing a child sitting on the knee of his parent and trying to slap the parent in the face. Without sitting up there on the parent's lap the child could never reach the face of the parent to slap it.

    The Atheist has to borrow a good deal of rational Theistic philosophy in order to try to make an assault against the existence of God.
  8. Standard memberblack beetle
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    30 Aug '08 10:10
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    I cannot be sure BUT (and here's the point really) ....at least my belief in a rational , reasonable ground to all reality is CONSISTENT with my trust in my own rationality and thinking process. I DO NOT believe that the universe is ultimately chaotic , random , irrational and meaningless - therefore it is not contradictory for me to place faith in my ...[text shortened]... like saying "the universe is ultimately made of jam , but I'm placing my trust in custard".
    From your answer I understand that you agree that there are things that you know, things that you cannot understand and things that you can understand. If I understood you well, let me know how can you be sure that your interpretation regarding things that you ignore is right? In addition, what is the source that guided you to this way of thinking, which pushed your thought towards this interpratation?
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    30 Aug '08 15:272 edits
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    So to answer your question: “On what basis can I then trust my own beliefs and thoughts?” I would say that it is because I can usually observe that my thoughts are logically self-consistent but also that I can form hypothesise that then I can then verify their truth or falsity through observation and, if my hypothesise are generally verified to be true ...[text shortened]... e intelligible or reasonable in anyway (eg ideas about the universe "popping" out of nothing).
    …But when it comes to the BIG questions about the foundations of all reality itself you believe that the universe has no ultimate meaning or reason to exist and is the product of random chance or some other unintelligent , IRRATIONAL process.…
    (my emphasis)

    I assume that what you mean by the universe being “irrational” is that it is “purposeless” ? -if so, I would just like to point out that that would mean that the universe being “IRRATIONAL” (as you mean it) does not mean that the universe is “incomprehensible”; it just means it is without “purpose“ and, therefore, it does NOT mean reason is not the best tool to understand it.

    …So how likely is it that your rationality is going to lead you to the truth about life if it is ultimately rooted in chaos...…

    I could ask “how likely is it that your IRrationality is going to lead you to the truth about life etc?”

    Well, thinking rationally is surely more likely to lead to the truth than thinking irrationally! -don’t you agree?

    Also, I don’t assume that thinking rationally WILL lead me to the truth regarding the big questions since I am unlikely to have sufficient data and, much more importantly and fundamentally, for I know, the nature of the universe may be such that it may in fact be impossible for any type of thinking (whether rational or irrational) to be able to actually lead us to knowing the truth about the answers to these big questions. However, it is obvious that, like I just said, thinking rationally is surely more likely to lead to the truth (IF it IS possible to find the particular truth in question) than thinking irrationally!

    …(eg ideas about the universe "popping" out of nothing).. ..…

    I never ever had any serious “ideas about the universe "popping" out of nothing” since that wouldn’t be based on the EVIDENCE nor reason, -now would it!
  10. Standard memberknightmeister
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    30 Aug '08 15:31
    Originally posted by black beetle
    From your answer I understand that you agree that there are things that you know, things that you cannot understand and things that you can understand. If I understood you well, let me know how can you be sure that your interpretation regarding things that you ignore is right? In addition, what is the source that guided you to this way of thinking, which pushed your thought towards this interpratation?
    I don't think it's possible to know anything for certain , however , what we can do is examine our approach to see if it is consistent with what we say we believe.
  11. Standard memberknightmeister
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    30 Aug '08 15:35
    Originally posted by Andrew Hamilton
    [b]…But when it comes to the BIG questions about the foundations of all reality itself you believe that the universe has no ultimate meaning or reason to exist and is the product of random chance or some other unintelligent , IRRATIONAL process.…
    (my emphasis)

    I assume that what you mean by the universe being “irrational” is that it is “purp ...[text shortened]... ing" out of nothing” since that wouldn’t be based on the EVIDENCE nor reason, -now would it![/b]
    Well, thinking rationally is surely more likely to lead to the truth than thinking irrationally! -don’t you agree?--------------------------------------------------------hamilton-----------

    I do agree , but such an approach will only work if the ultimate truth itself is rational and reasonable. A Theist has much more hope of this being true than the average atheist because an atheist tends to believe that at it's core the universe is spawned out of random purposelessness.

    Bear in mind that early scientists began their investigations because they believed in God and believed the universe should be rational because of this.
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    30 Aug '08 15:361 edit
    Originally posted by Andrew Hamilton
    [b]…But when it comes to the BIG questions about the foundations of all reality itself you believe that the universe has no ultimate meaning or reason to exist and is the product of random chance or some other unintelligent , IRRATIONAL process.…
    (my emphasis)

    I assume that what you mean by the universe being “irrational” is that it is “purp ing" out of nothing” since that wouldn’t be based on the EVIDENCE nor reason, -now would it![/b]
    ===================================
    Also, I don’t assume that thinking rationally WILL lead me to the truth regarding the big questions since I am unlikely to have sufficient data
    =======================================



    1.) Do you consider "Is there a God?" one of the big questions?

    2.) Do you as an atheist think you have sufficient data to announce that there cannot be a God?

    =======================================
    and, much more importantly and fundamentally, for I know, the nature of the universe may be such that it may in fact be impossible for any type of thinking (whether rational or irrational) to be able to actually lead us to knowing the truth about the answers to these big questions.
    ==============================================



    Is this then an admission that you have just gone from being an Atheist to being an Agnostic?

    ==========================================
    However, it is obvious that, like I just said, thinking rationally is surely more likely to lead to the truth (IF it IS possible to find the particular truth in question) than thinking irrationally!
    ============================================



    I think KM is saying that if you believe that the tool factory (if you will) of the universe is not rational how can it produce reliably rational tools?

    How did a chaotic and irrational universe furnish you with rational tools?

    I think that you have a perculiar stance that the effect of a cause is greater than the cause.
  13. Standard memberknightmeister
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    30 Aug '08 15:37
    Originally posted by Andrew Hamilton
    [b]…But when it comes to the BIG questions about the foundations of all reality itself you believe that the universe has no ultimate meaning or reason to exist and is the product of random chance or some other unintelligent , IRRATIONAL process.…
    (my emphasis)

    I assume that what you mean by the universe being “irrational” is that it is “purp ...[text shortened]... ing" out of nothing” since that wouldn’t be based on the EVIDENCE nor reason, -now would it![/b]
    I never ever had any serious “ideas about the universe "popping" out of nothing” since that wouldn’t be based on the EVIDENCE nor reason, -now would it!-------------------hamilton--------------------------


    Do you believe that every effect requires a cause? Do you subscribe to an infinte regress of causes or an Uncaused Cause?
  14. Standard memberknightmeister
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    30 Aug '08 15:39
    Originally posted by Andrew Hamilton
    [b]…But when it comes to the BIG questions about the foundations of all reality itself you believe that the universe has no ultimate meaning or reason to exist and is the product of random chance or some other unintelligent , IRRATIONAL process.…
    (my emphasis)

    I assume that what you mean by the universe being “irrational” is that it is “purp ...[text shortened]... ing" out of nothing” since that wouldn’t be based on the EVIDENCE nor reason, -now would it![/b]
    However, it is obvious that, like I just said, thinking rationally is surely more likely to lead to the truth (IF it IS possible to find the particular truth in question) than thinking irrationally!---------------hamilton------------------------------

    Do you think mystical contemplation of the universe is "irrational"?
  15. Standard memberblack beetle
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    30 Aug '08 15:51
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    I don't think it's possible to know anything for certain , however , what we can do is examine our approach to see if it is consistent with what we say we believe.
    It is obvious that your approach is consistent with your beliefs, but my questions were clear: how can you be sure that your interpretation regarding things that you ignore is right? In addition, what is the source that guided you to this way of thinking, which pushed your thought towards this interpratation?
    I am ready to debate over this issue if you wish, but I don't feel ready to receive preaching instead. I just expressed my opinion regarding your thread, my friend;
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