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The Poster Formerly Known as Y2A
Took one hit and bit one bullet.

http://www.philosophersnet.com/games/god.htm

Battleground God

Can your beliefs about religion make it across our intellectual battleground?

In this activity you’ll be asked a series of 17 questions about God and religion. In each case, apart from Question 1, you need to answer True or False. The aim of the activity is not to judge whether these answers are correct or not. Our battleground is that of rational consistency. This means to get across without taking any hits, you’ll need to answer in a way which is rationally consistent. What this means is you need to avoid choosing answers which contradict each other. If you answer in a way which is rationally consistent but which has strange or unpalatable implications, you’ll be forced to bite a bullet.

Rules of the game

The aim of the game is to get across the intellectual battleground unscathed. There are two types of injury you can suffer.

A direct hit occurs when you answer in a way which implies a logical contradiction. We have been very careful to make sure that only strict contradictions result in a direct hit. However, we do make two caveats.

First, because you only have choices between pre-selected and carefully worded statements, you might find that you have taken a direct hit because the statement closest to your own conviction leads into a contradiction. However, had you phrased the statement yourself, you may have been able to avoid the contradiction while expressing a very similar belief.

Such possibilities are unavoidable given the constraints on the game. We merely ask that you do not take it personally if you suffer a direct hit and don't get too frustrated if the choices we offer you sometimes seem to force you into a choice you'd rather not make.

You have to bite a bullet if your choices have an implication that most would find strange, incredible or unpalatable. There is more room for disagreement here, since what strikes many people as extraordinary or bizarre can strike others as normal. So, again, please do not get too upset if we judge you have bitten a bullet. Maybe it is our world-view which is warped!


QUOTE
Battleground Analysis
Congratulations!
You have been awarded the TPM medal of distinction! This is our second highest award for outstanding service on the intellectual battleground.

The fact that you progressed through this activity being hit only once and biting very few bullets suggests that your beliefs about God are well thought out and almost entirely internally consistent.

The direct hit you suffered occurred because one set of your answers implied a logical contradiction. The bitten bullets occurred because you responded in ways that required that you held views that most people would have found strange, incredible or unpalatable. At the bottom of this page, we have reproduced the analyses of your direct hit and bitten bullets.

Because you only suffered one direct hit and bit very few bullets, you qualify for our second highest award. A good achievement!
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How did you do compared to other people?

295668 people have completed this activity to date.
You suffered 1 direct hit and bit 1 bullet.
This compares with the average player of this activity to date who takes 1.39 hits and bites 1.11 bullets.
45.76% of the people who have completed this activity, like you, took very little damage and were awarded the TPM Medal of Distinction.
7.62% of the people who have completed this activity emerged unscathed with the TPM Medal of Honour.
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Direct Hit 1

You answered "True" to questions 10 and 14.

These answers generated the following response:

You've just taken a direct hit! Earlier you agreed that it is rational to believe that the Loch Ness monster does not exist if there is an absence of strong evidence or argument that it does. No strong evidence or argument was required to show that the monster does not exist - absence of evidence or argument was enough. But now you claim that the atheist needs to be able to provide strong arguments or evidence if their belief in the non-existence of God is to be rational rather than a matter of faith.

The contradiction is that on the first ocassion (Loch Ness monster) you agreed that the absence of evidence or argument is enough to rationally justify belief in the non-existence of the Loch Ness monster, but on this occasion (God), you do not.
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Bitten Bullet 1

You answered "True" to Question 16.

This answer generated the following response:

You've just bitten a bullet! In saying that God has the freedom and power to do that which is logically impossible (like creating square circles), you are saying that any discussion of God and ultimate reality cannot be constrained by basic principles of rationality. This would seem to make rational discourse about God impossible. If rational discourse about God is impossible, there is nothing rational we can say about God and nothing rational we can say to support our belief or disbelief in God. To reject rational constraints on religious discourse in this fashion requires accepting that religious convictions, including your religious convictions, are beyond any debate or rational discussion. This is to bite a bullet.
gnuneo
again?

you would imagine that on a network of probably approaching billions of sites, we wouldnt go round and round to the same sites again and again.

i seem to remember this test was flawed anyway - perhaps its improved.

The Poster Formerly Known as Y2A
I just heard them talking about it on the BBC World Service and assumed it was new. I don't think this was ever posted up here before.
gnuneo
yeah, its been done.

quite a long time ago though.


two bites on bullets, no hits. reading it again helped me to remember the many flaws in the assumptions the writers made themselves.

its good, but could be much better. dry.gif
necrolyte
QUOTE
Battleground Analysis
Congratulations!

You have been awarded the TPM medal of distinction! This is our second highest award for outstanding service on the intellectual battleground.

The fact that you progressed through this activity being hit only once and biting no bullets suggests that your beliefs about God are well thought out and almost entirely internally consistent.

The direct hit you suffered occurred because one set of your answers implied a logical contradiction. At the bottom of this page, we have reproduced the analysis of your direct hit. You would have bitten bullets had you responded in ways that required that you held views that most people would have found strange, incredible or unpalatable. However, this did not occur which means that despite the direct hit you qualify for our second highest award. A good achievement!


I got smacked for saying that Atheism was a matter of faith, where belief in the Loch Ness Monster was illogical.

I figured there was less reason to believe in the Loch Ness Monster than there was in God, but I was wrong biggrin.gif
gnuneo
perhaps once a few people have taken the test we should post and discuss the questions?

Greenplanet65
QUOTE(necrolyte @ Jan 8 2006, 07:21 PM)
I got smacked for saying that Atheism was a matter of faith, where belief in the Loch Ness Monster was illogical.
I figured there was less reason to believe in the Loch Ness Monster than there was in God, but I was wrong biggrin.gif


Necro and I did exactly the same thing. smile.gif I ended up with one hit.


E
Molimo
I bit two bullets- one for holding God to a higher standard of proof than evolution (extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, et cetera) and one for saying that God was above all rational discussion. While I think that's true, it doesn't mean that belief in God is above rational discussion.
libvertaruan
QUOTE
You have been awarded the TPM service medal! This is our third highest award for outstanding service on the intellectual battleground.

The fact that you progressed through this activity suffering only one direct hit indicates that your beliefs about God are, on the whole, consistent.

However, you have bitten a number of bullets, which suggests that some of your beliefs will be considered strange, incredible or unpalatable by many people. At the bottom of this page, we have reproduced the analyses of the bitten bullets.

Despite the bullets that you bit, the fact that you did not suffer any hits means that you qualify for our third highest award. Well done!


My beliefs are definitely considered strange by a lot of people (and that includes the vast majority of the evangelical christians I know). I don't like it when people ask a lot of questions, though, so I don't directly advertise them. In fact, I haven't since I was a pantheist like gnuneo.
Stimulant
bit one bullet, nu 16. God, if he existed, could do the logically impossible.

Although nu 16 is impossible to get "right " if you go down the route of rationalism.
MindsWideOpen
Got the same bullet bite, and I still object to it.

Bitten Bullet 1

You answered "True" to questions 7, and 15.

These answers generated the following response:

You've just bitten a bullet! You are consistent in applying the principle that it is justifiable to base one's beliefs about the external world on a firm, inner conviction, regardless of the external evidence, or lack of it, for the truth or falsity this conviction. The problem is that it seems you have to accept that people might be justified in their belief that God could demand something terrible.

This is something many religious people are willing to accept. For example, Kierkegaard believed that it is precisely because Abraham had to contravene established morality to follow God's will and attempt to sacrifice his son which made his act the supreme act of faith.

But as Kierkegaard also stressed, this makes the act incomprehensible from a rational point of view. The rational alternative - that people should require more than such an inner conviction to justify such a belief - is more attractive to most people, but you reject this alternative and bite the bullet.
gnuneo
yeah - the authors have written their own prejudices into it.

the base on is that they apparently can't concieve of a concpet of god that moves beyond the childish 'bloke on cloud' scenario.

we should definitely post the full questions and discuss it. Once everyone (who wants to) has tried the test blind.
Dakyron
Battleground Analysis
Congratulations!
You have been awarded the TPM medal of distinction! This is our second highest award for outstanding service on the intellectual battleground.

The fact that you progressed through this activity being hit only once and biting very few bullets suggests that your beliefs about God are well thought out and almost entirely internally consistent.


The direct hit you suffered occurred because one set of your answers implied a logical contradiction. The bitten bullets occurred because you responded in ways that required that you held views that most people would have found strange, incredible or unpalatable. At the bottom of this page, we have reproduced the analyses of your direct hit and bitten bullets.


Because you only suffered one direct hit and bit very few bullets, you qualify for our second highest award. A good achievement!



Direct Hit 1

You answered "True" to Question 7 and "False" to Question 15.

These answers generated the following response:

You've just taken a direct hit! Earlier you said that it is justifiable to base one's beliefs about the external world on a firm, inner conviction, regardless of the external evidence, or lack of it, for the truth or falsity of this conviction. But now you do not accept that the rapist Peter Sutcliffe was justified in doing just that. The example of the rapist has exposed that you do not in fact agree that any belief is justified just because one is convinced of its truth. So you need to revise your opinion here. The intellectual sniper has scored a bull's-eye!




I object very strongly to this completely assinine line of reasoning... Because I believe one can believe in God and is justified in doing so even if there is no evidence supporting that belief I must also accept that a rapist is justifed in raping and killing simply because he says God told him? What if I dont believe him? What if I think he is crazy? What if I think Satan told him and he confused Satan for God? There are innumerable different scenarios... yet it simply asks true or false and then dings you for not being completely insane...





Bitten Bullet 1

You answered "False" to Questions 10 and "True" to Question 14.

These answers generated the following response:

You've just bitten a bullet! You say that if there are no compelling arguments or evidence that show that God does not exist, then atheism is a matter of faith, not rationality. Therefore, it seems that you do not think that the mere absence of evidence for the existence of God is enough to justify believing that she does not exist. This view is also suggested by your earlier claim that it is not rational to believe that the Loch Ness monster does not exist even if, despite years of trying, no evidence has been presented to suggest that it does exist.

There is no logical inconsistency in your answers. But by denying that the absence of evidence, even where it has been sought, is enough to justify belief in the non-existence of things, you are required to countenance possibilities that most people would find bizarre. For example, do you really want to claim that it is not rationally justified to believe that intelligent aliens do not live on Mars?




It is not rational to believe intelligent aliens do not live on Mars because, in my mind, there is more evidence showing that there are *not* aliens on mars, not simply that we havent found aliens there...

The Loch Ness monster, for instance, could exist theoretically because the conditions for its existence are there, unlike the aliens... There is also infinitely more evidence pointing to the existence of the Loch Ness monster than aliens on Mars... Such stupidity...
Cerian
QUOTE
You have reached the end!

Congratulations! You have made it to the end of this activity.

You took zero direct hits and you bit 2 bullets.


Medal of Distinction. I deny biting any bullets. An omnipotent conception of God is beyond rational discussion. So fucking what. And if they knew anything about logic or probability, they'd realize that there's absolutely nothing wrong with not taking it as absolute fact that there are no sentient aliens on mars.
JLord
QUOTE(Dakyron @ Jan 9 2006, 12:08 PM)
I object very strongly to this completely assinine line of reasoning... Because I believe one can believe in God and is justified in doing so even if there is no evidence supporting that belief I must also accept that a rapist is justifed in raping and killing simply because he says God told him? What if I dont believe him? What if I think he is crazy? What if I think Satan told him and he confused Satan for God? There are innumerable different scenarios... yet it simply asks true or false and then dings you for not being completely insane...
Bitten Bullet 1



You won't believe the rapist "simply because he says God told him." Ok, but then why would you believe in anyone who says that God talks to them. You should be equally questioning of all religious people and even yourself. What if you are crazy? What if you are talking to Satan you are just confusing him with God? etc...

The point is that you seem to be saying "if I agree that it sounds like my personal conception of God, then it's OK to believe without any evidence, but if it sounds like something I don't believe in, then you are not justified in believing without evidence."
Dakyron
A rapist does not have the moral character neccessary for me to believe him. Does that suffice? It disregards so many other factors and boils down to because I that a strong inner conviction is enough to believe in God , that I must take the word of every wacko who claims God told him to do (whatever)? Its so stupid... There is *no* logical inconsistency in my statements.
JLord
QUOTE(Dakyron @ Jan 9 2006, 05:02 PM)
A rapist does not have the moral character neccessary for me to believe him. Does that suffice? It disregards so many other factors and boils down to because I that a strong inner conviction is enough to believe in God , that I must take the word of every wacko who claims God told him to do (whatever)? Its so stupid... There is *no* logical inconsistency in my statements.



You are misinterpreting the questions that were asked. It didn't ask whether you should believe the rapist. It asked if a person is justified in basing his beliefs on an inner conviction, and then it asks whether a rapist is justified in basing his beliefs on an inner conviction. It doesn't ask whether we should believe the rapist.
Dakyron
QUOTE(JLord @ Jan 9 2006, 05:11 PM)
You are misinterpreting the questions that were asked.  It didn't ask whether you should believe the rapist.  It asked if a person is justified in basing his beliefs on an inner conviction, and then it asks whether a rapist is justified in basing his beliefs on an inner conviction.  It doesn't ask whether we should believe the rapist.



It specifically asked whether I thought the rapist Peter Sutcliffe was justified in raping and murdering because he believed God told him to kill and rape. The answer: No. Killing and raping the innocent is never justified. My own inner conviction knows God would never tell someone to kill and rape the innocent. Thus... I am forced to violate my own inner convictions in order to believe his.

A better question would be if God told you to kill and rape, would you do it?

Assuming that I am 100% sure it is God, no, I wouldnt, because at that point my inner convictions would be shattered(convictions that God is benevolent) and thus I would no longer uphold them. The same can be applied to Peter Sutcliffe. If he truly thought God was telling him to rape and kill then God is no longer something to worship, a being whose teaching should no longer be followed.

Its almost like the question is saying... if you truly believe you are right, should you not be allowed to do whatever you want? If you truly think its OK to kill people who cut you off in traffic, shouldnt we let you? After all I believe in God, so therefore if he believes in killing people who cut him in off in traffic, there is no difference and we should allow him his beliefs.

The concept is so.... FUCKING STUPID... that there is no other way to describe it.
necrolyte
No Dakyron, its beleiving right and wrong is fact based on your personal conviction alone. If you have no reason to believe what you believe beyond your personal experience, then there's no rational reason to believe you over him.
Dakyron
You missed the point... The rapist contradicts his own beliefs, thats why you cannot put the two together...

Nevermind... the concept is obviously far beyond your ability to comprehend...
necrolyte
QUOTE(Dakyron @ Jan 10 2006, 03:07 AM)
You missed the point... The rapist contradicts his own beliefs, thats why you cannot put the two together...

Nevermind... the concept is obviously far beyond your ability to comprehend...



Shut the fuck up retard, how does it contradict his own beliefs? The rapist is like Abraham, whose god is the ultimate source of morality, and there is no way to objectively prove to others what God's morality is. There is only your personal conviction.

You clearly believe that there are higher moral beliefs than God, but you probably have better arguments than personal conviction alone. So the only difference between you and him is where your personal faith has been laid. To the rational mind, that is not enough. You must have some other argument for the benevolence of God that enters the realm of reason for your views on his moral decision to make sense.
Dakyron
QUOTE(necrolyte @ Jan 9 2006, 11:12 PM)
Shut the fuck up retard, how does it contradict his own beliefs? The rapist is like Abraham, whose god is the ultimate source of morality, and there is no way to objectively prove to others what God's morality is. There is only your personal conviction.

You clearly believe that there are higher moral beliefs than God, but you probably have better arguments than personal conviction alone. So the only difference between you and him is where your personal faith has been laid. To the rational mind, that is not enough. You must have some other argument for the benevolence of God that enters the realm of reason for your views on his moral decision to make sense.



Edit: Probably shouldnt spam/flame... or at least do it well if I do...
Deus Ex Machina
QUOTE
You have been awarded the TPM medal of distinction! This is our second highest award for outstanding service on the intellectual battleground.

The fact that you progressed through this activity without being hit and biting only one bullet suggests that your beliefs about God are internally consistent and well thought out.

I also deny that I bit any bullets, as per Cerian.

Dakyron:
So do morals come from God, or somewhere else?
Benevolent
False Direct Hit

You've just taken a direct hit!

Earlier you agreed that it is rational to believe that the Loch Ness monster does not exist if there is an absence of strong evidence or argument that it does. No strong evidence or argument was required to show that the monster does not exist - absence of evidence or argument was enough. But now you claim that the atheist needs to be able to provide strong arguments or evidence if their belief in the non-existence of God is to be rational rather than a matter of faith.

The contradiction is that on the first ocassion (Loch Ness monster) you agreed that the absence of evidence or argument is enough to rationally justify belief in the non-existence of the Loch Ness monster, but on this occasion (God), you do not.


Actually, the problem here is that the absence of evidence argument IS an argument for athiesm. The central problem being that I technically didn't take a direct hit; just a minor scratch. If even the absence of evidence argument does not work, then belief in athiesm is not rationally justified.

Other than that, I did ok.
JLord
QUOTE(Dakyron @ Jan 9 2006, 05:19 PM)
Assuming that I am 100% sure it is God, no, I wouldnt, because at that point my inner convictions would be shattered(convictions that God is benevolent) and thus I would no longer uphold them. The same can be applied to Peter Sutcliffe. If he truly thought God was telling him to rape and kill then God is no longer something to worship, a being whose teaching should no longer be followed.



Don't you already know about all the evil that God has done? I would think that you should have already given up worship because God is clearly not (always) benevolent.

QUOTE
Its almost like the question is saying... if you truly believe you are right, should you not be allowed to do whatever you want?


No. You are not understanding the question. It doesn't ask whether he should be allowed to do what he wants. It asks whether he is morally justified. You have a strong conviction that God is benevolent. What if someone else has an equally strong conviction that he is not. You can't just say "I am right, therefore his strong conviction is is false." He could just as easily say the same thing about your strong conviction.
Dakyron
QUOTE(Deus Ex Machina @ Jan 10 2006, 05:06 AM)
Dakyron:
So do morals come from God, or somewhere else?



They come from yourself. Let me explain why, though Ive tried explaining this before and I dont think I did a good job of it.

Essentially, people have to choose to believe in God in order for morals to come from God. If you believe in God and choose to follow His morals, then you are also believing that his morals are correct, either because you agree with Him, or because you believe that He is the ultimate authority and must be right, even if you would otherwise disagree. Either way, you make the choice to follow His rules. If you dont believe in God, then your morals must come from somewhere else, most notably yourself, because no matter what source you base your morals off of, consciously or subconsciously, you choose to follow that particular source over other rival sources(God vs laws for instance).

QUOTE(JLord @ Jan 10 2006, 09:01 AM)
Don't you already know about all the evil that God has done?  I would think that you should have already given up worship because God is clearly not (always) benevolent.


I choose not to further that discussion at this time. However, you are wrong. biggrin.gif

QUOTE
No.  You are not understanding the question.  It doesn't ask whether he should be allowed to do what he wants.  It asks whether he is morally justified.  You have a strong conviction that God is benevolent.  What if someone else has an equally strong conviction that he is not.  You can't just say "I am right, therefore his strong conviction is is false."  He could just as easily say the same thing about your strong conviction.



Exactly, JLord, now you are starting to understand why I can justify something based on my own personal inner conviction, but I cannot justify the actions of another based on *that* person's own inner conviction if it contradicts my own. In his mind, yes, Peter Sutcliffe(assuming he tells the truth) was justified, but in my mind, he is clearly *not* justified for reasons I outlined above. Hence why you cannot use the same logic applied to belief in a supernatural being based on faith and inner conviction with the actions of a person that is *directly affecting other people*.

Peter Sutcliffe is *not* justified in his actions because his actions contradict the teachings of the being he is supposedly following. Thus, for his actions to be justified I would have to assume: 1) He is not speaking to God as I understand Him; 2) The God he is speaking to is unknown to me and thus all my current convictions are wrong; 3) It is ok to kill and rape if you believe it is what the new God wants you to do.

Now, assume that I have a strong inner conviction in my belief in God. There is no way for me to justify him following the will of an evil God. If the God was not evil, then it wouldnt ask for him to rape and kill people.

Sheesh... it is so obvious, that I cannot understand why you dont see it...
necrolyte
Now the problem Dakyron is that you're holding your own conviction over the conviction of others, without any rational reason to do so.
Dakyron
QUOTE(necrolyte @ Jan 10 2006, 09:54 AM)
Now the problem Dakyron is that you're holding your own conviction over the conviction of others, without any rational reason to do so.



Its *my* conviction, why the hell wouldnt I?

That is what you really need to understand. There is no reason for me to put another's conviction on the same level as mine. Mine is always above, because it is mine. If I thought your conviction was more accurate/true/whatever, would I not then change my own conviction?

*sigh*

Nevermind again... I think Im losing you...
zkajan
297229 people have completed this activity to date.
You suffered 1 direct hit and bit 2 bullets.
This compares with the average player of this activity to date who takes 1.39 hits and bites 1.11 bullets.
45.76% of the people who have completed this activity, like you, took very little damage and were awarded the TPM Medal of Distinction.
7.62% of the people who have completed this activity emerged unscathed with the TPM Medal of Honour.



I got hit on the rapist thing. Which is stupid since just because *the guy* thinks God wants him to do X, doesn't mean that *God* wants him to do X.
JLord
QUOTE(Dakyron @ Jan 10 2006, 09:47 AM)
Peter Sutcliffe is *not* justified in his actions because his actions contradict the teachings of the being he is supposedly following.



No. He is obviously not following the same being that you are. But we have to assume that his actions do not contradict his inner conviction. The question makes it clear that he is following what his inner conviction tells him to do, so there can be no contradiction.

QUOTE
Exactly, JLord, now you are starting to understand why I can justify something based on my own personal inner conviction, but I cannot justify the actions of another based on *that* person's own inner conviction if it contradicts my own


That makes more sense. You and him are equal in that you both are following inner convictions without any outside evidence. But you personally think he is wrong due to your own inner convictions. Is this correct. I think I see your point now, the question should be reworded.

Dakyron
QUOTE(JLord @ Jan 10 2006, 11:57 AM)
That makes more sense.  You and him are equal in that you both are following inner convictions without any outside evidence.  But you personally think he is wrong due to your own inner convictions.  Is this correct.  I think I see your point now, the question should be reworded.



Whoa! Im starting to get through to JLord, perhaps there is hope for necrolyte yet... biggrin.gif



JLord
I assumed that the question was more clear. But it is possible to think that both you and the rapist are equally justified in their own minds, but then to also think that he is objectively wrong in his belief. The question is not so clear. I thought you were simply taking the stance that the rapist is objectively wrong and objectively not justified in his belief. But now I know you are not.
necrolyte
The point Dakyron, is that would obviously make sense to you, but ultimately everything in one's world view makes sense to them. That does not make them right. Likewise, it does not make their point of view rationally defendable. The argument leaves philosophy. Because of this, its irrational to hold one's own convictions over the convictions of others because the nature of both is the same. There needs to be some rational argument for one side or the other.

If everyone held your point of view, there would be no "Philosopher's Corner", because everyone would stand by their convictions because it was theirs, and assume everyone else's was either wrong or the same as their own.
JLord
QUOTE(necrolyte @ Jan 10 2006, 12:18 PM)
Because of this, its irrational to hold one's own convictions over the convictions of others because the nature of both is the same. There needs to be some rational argument for one side or the other.



It may be irrational, but that isn't what the question asks.
necrolyte
QUOTE(JLord @ Jan 10 2006, 08:00 PM)
It may be irrational, but that isn't what the question asks.



Well I think the test is trying to discover if the views hold up to rational debate. What Dakyron needs to realize is that philosophy is reason-he's speaking of some sort of narcissistic egotism that holds his own views to be higher than the views of others, which is simply not rational.

As a philosopher, we must all seek reason and truth in our conviction, and both require evidence.
JLord
No. A person can legitimately hold an existential view where "in my mind he's wrong, and in his mind I'm wrong" while still realizing that objectively they are both in an equal situation. I think this is what Dak is saying.
Dakyron
QUOTE(JLord @ Jan 10 2006, 01:36 PM)
No.  A person can legitimately hold an existential view where "in my mind he's wrong, and in his mind I'm wrong" while still realizing that objectively they are both in an equal situation.  I think this is what Dak is saying.



Yes. JLord has got it mostly right.

The ridiculous question is trying to get me to admit I only think God exists because I decided he existed, OK, but then it goes on to say that because I think this, that if some wacko decides that killing and raping is OK, then I must acknowledge he isnt doing wrong because he thinks he isnt... Which is completely assinine. My inner convictions dont permeate society, they are unique to *me*, thus asking if I'm justified in acting on *my* convictions, then the answer is yes, but if asking if *you* are justified in acting on *my* convictions, then I answer yes. However, how am I supposed to answer if *you* are justified in acting on *your* convictions which clearly violate *my* convictions. No matter how I answer, according to the idiot who wrote the question, I am logically inconsistent with myself. In reality, to answer that *you* are justified acting against *my* convictions is more logically inconsistent than saying that *your* convictions are irrelevant to whether or not *I* think something is justified. It comes down to relativism, necrolyte. I understand he thinks he is justified, but I dont think he is justified, and surprisingly, he would understand that I dont think he is justified, but he would think he is.

Essentially, think of it this way. The first question asks whether or not a firm inner conviction needs external evidence or if it is enough on its own. The answer is that *my inner conviction* does not need evidence, but if you want to convince me of your *inner conviction* then I will need evidence.

Understand now? It is complicated, but can be broken down logically.
necrolyte
No I totally understood what you were saying. But just because it can be justified as a subjective viewpoint, that does not make it philosophy.

The question is trying to pinpoint you into a philosophy. I'd argue that your views are not philosophical, at least not in the traditional sense. The question is perfectly fair and good if its quesitoning philosophy (hence, philosopher's corner).

I know you're saying that you find his behavior wrong because it goes against the convictions that you possess. This is fine from a subjective, non-philosophical point of view. But from a rationalist point of view it does not make sense.

Of course, from a non-rational perspective, we all take our judgements above the judgements of others because they're our convictions, they make sense to us. The philosopher questions their convictions, and the convictions of others, and tries to create rationalized arguments for and against. However, one cannot rationally assume that their convictions are better. One must assume that all convictions are inherently equal. The only imbalance occurs when the evidence for those convictions are different, but as the question points out, you think your convictions are justified regardless of the evidence, making them rationally-to the outside observer-to the outside philosopher-unjustifiable. (excepting of course if you're some sort of extreme existentialist who thinks both you and the rapist are justified).
Dakyron
You could be justified in your own mind, but not be justified in an overall sense.

For example... I decide to kill you, and in my own I am justified because you are pro-choice(for the love of God do not argue with me on your viewpoints, they are irrelevant to the scenario) and thus I am really saving lives by killing you. I am justified to myself via my own inner convictions. However, to say that I am justified in an overall, general sense in ludicrous. A person can be justified in his/her own mind but not be justified.
Deus Ex Machina
QUOTE(necrolyte @ Jan 10 2006, 09:57 PM)
No I totally understood what you were saying. But just because it can be justified as a subjective viewpoint, that does not make it philosophy.

The question is trying to pinpoint you into a philosophy. I'd argue that your views are not philosophical, at least not in the traditional sense. The question is perfectly fair and good if its quesitoning philosophy (hence, philosopher's corner).

I know you're saying that you find his behavior wrong because it goes against the convictions that you possess. This is fine from a subjective, non-philosophical point of view. But from a rationalist point of view it does not make sense.

Of course, from a non-rational perspective, we all take our judgements above the judgements of others because they're our convictions, they make sense to us. The philosopher questions their convictions, and the convictions of others, and tries to create rationalized arguments for and against. However, one cannot rationally assume that their convictions are better. One must assume that all convictions are inherently equal. The only imbalance occurs when the evidence for those convictions are different, but as the question points out, you think your convictions are justified regardless of the evidence, making them rationally-to the outside observer-to the outside philosopher-unjustifiable. (excepting of course if you're some sort of extreme existentialist who thinks both you and the rapist are justified).


What are you talking about??? Certainly you're not saying that rationalism and philosophy are the same, or at least that one requires the other? Rationalism is certainly not an a priori given in philosophy. Futhermore, how is a subjective viewpoint of ethics (or anything, for that matter) "non-philosophical"?

Specifically:
>>the philosopher [...] tries to create rationalized arguments for and against.<<
I'm not extremely well versed in philosophy (I read a bit here and there), but cultural relativism (in some of its many incarnations, at least) certainly doesn't try to do this, at least at the level of ethical statements. Neither does existentiallism. Neitzsche, whatever you want to call him, was pretty damn opposed to just that, iirc. And those people are pretty damn conservative when contrasted with the wacky group called the post-modernists.

Wave rationalism around all you want. Just don't try to require everyone who likes philosophy to believe in it.
necrolyte
QUOTE(Dakyron @ Jan 11 2006, 04:16 PM)
You could be justified in your own mind, but not be justified in an overall sense.

For example... I decide to kill you, and in my own I am justified because you are pro-choice(for the love of God do not argue with me on your viewpoints, they are irrelevant to the scenario) and thus I am really saving lives by killing you. I am justified to myself via my own inner convictions. However, to say that I am justified in an overall, general sense in ludicrous. A person can be justified in his/her own mind but not be justified.



Agreed. I think this website is arguing from an overall sense.

QUOTE
What are you talking about??? Certainly you're not saying that rationalism and philosophy are the same, or at least that one requires the other?


Philosophy requires some degree of reason, otherwise its simply not philosophy. The difference between philosophy and everything else is that the philosopher seeks wisdom. To seek wisdom you need an argument. Arguments should, if possible, be grounded in some sort of rationality.

When debating ethics, we don't say "Because I say so", we at least have some kind of rationale, even if it's a poor one ("Because the Bible says so, the Bible is the direct word of God, and the direct word of God is divine law" could count as a philosophical argument, just not a very good one.) That's why Kant is a philosopher, and Bill O'Rielly is not. Philosophy is not the only source of wisdom, and there are definately grey areas (such as the lines between theology and philosophy or science and philosophy, which granted is more clearly defined today than it has ever been), but all philosophy has some basic reason/method to it.
Deus Ex Machina
QUOTE(necrolyte @ Jan 12 2006, 12:48 AM)
Agreed. I think this website is arguing from an overall sense.
Philosophy requires some degree of reason, otherwise its simply not philosophy. The difference between philosophy and everything else is that the philosopher seeks wisdom. To seek wisdom you need an argument. Arguments should, if possible, be grounded in some sort of rationality.

First, I'd like to make the distinction between rationalism (saying that the only valid arguements are ones that come solely from reason; which is what you appear to be advocating, and what I really disagree with) and reason itself (which may or may not be bad).
With that out of the way...
How about Neitzsche's arguement against god (something along the lines of "god cannot exist, because if there was a god, I couldn't stand not being him")? Neitzsche was certainly a philosopher, and that arguement is right in the middle of one of his works. Note that he employed little to no reason there. The whole of that arguement is essentially an emotive statement. I'd still classify it as a philisophical arguement, though.
Two notable philosophers off the top of my head, Keirkegaard and Foucault, seemed to put a lot of effort toward discounting reason as the sole way of philosophising/finding `truth'/finding `wisdom'.
Frankly, I think your intellectual elitism is rather revolting. Putting reason in this priviledged position as the only (or best) way to aquire `wisdom' is not only arrogrant, but absurd, shortsighted, and as dogmatic as the people you criticize. How can you say that your rationalist philosophy is somehow better than that of some monk in Tibet who just sits and meditates (thinking about nothing), and feels elightened?

QUOTE
When debating ethics, we don't say "Because I say so", we at least have some kind of rationale, even if it's a poor one ("Because the Bible says so, the Bible is the direct word of God, and the direct word of God is divine law" could count as a philosophical argument, just not a very good one.)

I don't. I believe that all ethical statements are a combination of emotive statements and enforcable norms, and that trying to justify them rationally is absurd. In my eyes, everyone is saying "because I say so".

QUOTE
That's why Kant is a philosopher, and Bill O'Rielly is not. Philosophy is not the only source of wisdom, and there are definately grey areas (such as the lines between theology and philosophy or science and philosophy, which granted is more clearly defined today than it has ever been), but all philosophy has some basic reason/method to it.


Theology is philosophy in my eyes. Science is the new religion in my eyes. I'm not seeing any difference at all, actually (but that's another thread; I think I've derailed this one enough).
JLord
QUOTE(Deus Ex Machina @ Jan 12 2006, 01:49 AM)
First, I'd like to make the distinction between rationalism (saying that the only I don't. I believe that all ethical statements are a combination of emotive statements and enforcable norms, and that trying to justify them rationally is absurd. In my eyes, everyone is saying "because I say so".



What about a person who says "it is ethical to do what is in your best interest."

Or someone who takes an existential view of ethics and says that whatever you think is ethical, is ethical.
necrolyte
I'm not being elitist. As I said, there are other paths to wisdom. Mysticism, human experience, and theology can lead us down a path to wisdom. Likewise, philosophy doesn't always include only reason. But there must be SOME reason there.

I've never read Foucalt and Kierkegaard, and only some Nietzche, but from what I do know they still had reason and rationality in their philosophy. Likewise, all three can make non-philosophical statements here and there-if most of their work has some reason to it then they're still philosophers.
Deus Ex Machina
QUOTE(JLord @ Jan 12 2006, 09:51 AM)
What about a person who says "it is ethical to do what is in your best interest."

Or someone who takes an existential view of ethics and says that whatever you think is ethical, is ethical.


I was probably a bit unclear: I meant ethical statements in the form of "it is immoral to [whatever]". To recap, I think that "It is immoral to <>" means either "I don't like <>" or "Someone with the power to enforce it say that you can't do <>". The degree to which I'll lean toward either depends on how pragmatic I'm feeling at the time. "It is moral to <>" just means that you're not saying "It's immoral to <>". Your first case is saying that it's distasteful/sickening to be aultristic (Ayn Rand?), while the second case is "Nothing really irks me, as long as you're not doing anything you yourself would find immoral".

QUOTE(necrolyte @ Jan 12 2006, 11:21 AM)
I'm not being elitist. As I said, there are other paths to wisdom. Mysticism, human experience, and theology can lead us down a path to wisdom. Likewise, philosophy doesn't always include only reason. But there must be SOME reason there.

This seems significantly different than what you were asserting before.
>>This is fine from a subjective, non-philosophical point of view. But from a rationalist point of view it does not make sense.<<
This is [apparently] contrasting the philosophical, rationalist point of view with the "non-philosophical" subjectivist point of view. However, let's give you the benefit of the doubt and move on...

QUOTE
I've never read Foucalt and Kierkegaard, and only some Nietzche, but from what I do know they still had reason and rationality in their philosophy. Likewise, all three can make non-philosophical statements here and there-if most of their work has some reason to it then they're still philosophers.


Well, I won't claim to be an expert in any of these authors. However, right off the bat, I can tell you that one of the central thrusts of Foucault's project (as post-modern authors like their work to be called; it's all about the micropolitics) was the destabilization/abandonment of Enlightenment values, namely reason and rationality among others. He may have used reason, but that doesn't mean he advocated it. Nietzsche was all over the place, and I'm not as familiar with his work as I'd like to be, so I won't say that he was necessarily opposed to reason. Keirkegaard, on the other hand, seems to be completely opposed to reason. I've only read some of his work, but at least in regard to Christianity he advocates the complete abandonment of reason, saying that trying to use reason w/ Christianity is no good.

Anyways, I don't want to really get into a huge drawn out discussion over this. It just seems to me that overall (from what I've read of your posts, which is by no means extensive; I'm obviously not the most active poster ever, and rarely venture outside of the `casual' boards here) you advocate rationality above everything else, which is just as bad as the fundementalist evangelicals that you hate so much. Maybe it's just because I've read more modern/postmodern philosophy than is good for me, but I'd rather talk to a hardcore conservative christian than a dogmatic clinger to the wonders of reason, science, and the wonderfulness of the human race, mainly because of the disgusting amount of arrogance that the later always seems to ooze.

edit: people need to be on at 4:20 in the morning so they can reply so I have something to do when I can't sleep.
necrolyte
I don't claim the primacy of reason and logic, but I do think its the most convenient and effective way of debating philosophy. I'm interested in mysticism and theology, and while both have some value, its unethical to judge using those alone.

I'd argue that the problem with enlightenment ideals is that they thought they had reason on their side, but always had some core fallacy to their reason. This runs from the first Greek philosophers, to the Reniassance, up to what we now know of as the European enlightenment. In the ancient world, Aristotle's sexism is never explained properly, and is clearly fallacious, yet he uses the judgements from it extensively. I think the Enlightenment had similar problems. Its really not something I've looked into much, nor is it something I've read on much, so my judgements on the topic would be about as effective as a man 3,000 years ago.
gnuneo
QUOTE
You've just bitten a bullet!

You say that if there are no compelling arguments or evidence that show that God does not exist, then atheism is a matter of faith, not rationality. Therefore, it seems that you do not think that the mere absence of evidence for the existence of God is enough to justify believing that she does not exist. This view is also suggested by your earlier claim that it is not rational to believe that the Loch Ness monster does not exist even if, despite years of trying, no evidence has been presented to suggest that it does exist.

There is no logical inconsistency in your answers. But by denying that the absence of evidence, even where it has been sought, is enough to justify belief in the non-existence of things, you are required to countenance possibilities that most people would find bizarre. For example, do you really want to claim that it is not rationally justified to believe that intelligent aliens do not live on Mars?


someone already said it, but i do not have absolute proof there are no beings on mars, nor is it possible for it to exist. I may regard it as unlikely based upon the sensory data i have recieved, but the scientists cannot entirely assume that that data has been unerroneous. To do so is a religious act, an act of choosing to beleive.

QUOTE
You've just bitten a bullet!

You are consistent in applying the principle that it is justifiable to base one's beliefs about the external world on a firm, inner conviction, regardless of the external evidence, or lack of it, for the truth or falsity this conviction. The problem is that it seems you have to accept that people might be justified in their belief that God could demand something terrible.

This is something many religious people are willing to accept. For example, Kierkegaard believed that it is precisely because Abraham had to contravene established morality to follow God's will and attempt to sacrifice his son which made his act the supreme act of faith.

But as Kierkegaard also stressed, this makes the act incomprehensible from a rational point of view. The rational alternative - that people should require more than such an inner conviction to justify such a belief - is more attractive to most people, but you reject this alternative and bite the bullet.


and here again the assumption is that an act based upon pure faith has more consequence than an act based upon faith AND reason. Once one has an experience of a universe where reason, faith, inner morality and god are combined, it cannot be credited that the being that this man beleived he was worshipping was a benign source of power.

i beleive the individual knows what objective morality is naturally - its instinctive in pack animals especially mammalian pack animals. (is there any other? unsure.gif ), although subjective, social morality is often very wierd indeed. blink.gif


assumes the JCM notion of 'god'. Very limited and western centric question.

or:

QUOTE
You've just taken a direct hit!

Earlier you said that it is justifiable to base one's beliefs about the external world on a firm, inner conviction, regardless of the external evidence, or lack of it, for the truth or falsity of this conviction. But now you do not accept that the rapist Peter Sutcliffe was justified in doing just that. The example of the rapist has exposed that you do not in fact agree that any belief is justified just because one is convinced of its truth. So you need to revise your opinion here. The intellectual sniper has scored a bull's-eye!

You claim that it is justifiable to believe in God based only on inner-convictions. But earlier you stated that the serial rapist, Peter Sutcliffe, was not justified in believing, purely on the basis of inner-convictions, that he correctly discerned God's intentions in his raping and murdering of prostitutes. In order to reconcile these claims you need to show what makes the same form of justification acceptable in one circumstance and unacceptable in another. Perhaps you can do this. But until you can show where the difference lies, you are in danger of taking a direct hit!


not at all - for me god and morality are linked ratioanlly - the very fact of the request would indicate the quality of the source, compared to my own morality.

read this way the story becomes a pretty bleak picture of total servitude to a not-very-nice person. mad.gif
gnuneo
OK, read the rest of the thread now.

necro, you got some awesome teaching there, you should read and understand *everything* said here, yes even including (or perhaps especially) daks.


::you smart guys::

***HUGGLES!!!!****
N.

wink.gif
Forben
and yet again, one must answer a yes or a no to a question that is not nessarily a yes or a no.

the answer should be another question with the murder question, does God constitute being an external attribute? if so, the internal moral force given by God is in fact an external attribute, or some such.

dont much like their reasonings for rational vs illogical reasonings much either.

and yes, i did hit the back button a couple of times to actually understand the question they were trying to ask tongue.gif
gnuneo
and necro, once you have understood what dak was trying to say, its only a suggestion but perhaps you could even try apologising for your arrogant assumptions about his positions? Just because milton treated you with arrogant contempt, and refused ever to acknowledge when you were right and he wrong, is little excuse for you to behave similarly.

it is an interesting thing, but it is noticeable that behaving well is often its own best reward, and that those posters such as DS, who rarely get personal (in a negative way), and who are try to understand others perspectives and will apologise if they have caused offense, are indeed amongst the most respected here.

to the point where they moan at not being disliked enough! laugh.gif


karma is, in its most common form, a very simple and easily understood concept.
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