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Wertbag last won the day on January 15

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About Wertbag

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  • Birthday 02/21/1977

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    Auckland, NZ
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    MMA, gaming
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    Married father of 2 from New Zealand

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?

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  1. We've had plagues, world wars, deadly STDs and genocide, and yet the world population is higher than ever. We just keep out breeding the disasters. God might have to go full "dinosaur killer" on us to reverse the trend.
  2. The well dressed man entered the chemist shop. He paused to scan the shelves packed with boxes and bottles. With a sigh, he made his way to the counter. "Good morning sir. How can I help you today?" said the pharmacist, dressed in his customary white lab coat, the white on black name tag proudly announcing his name as John. "Yes, good morning. I've left the doctors office where I was told I have the flu. When I asked the doctor what I should take he said 'there is nothing for it, anything I give you would be no better than a placebo', so hence I'm here to buy a placebo." "Err, you do realise a placebo is simply an ineffective product that you put your faith in?" "Absolutely, what do you have that has no benefit?" "But surely knowing that the product is not helping would invalidate the effect?" "Nonsense, I have complete faith in the placebo effect, so please point me to your most useless item." "Okay, umm... Well, these herbal remedies are unproven junk. A few roots and berries with no reason to believe they do anything at all. Very popular with people wanting a placebo." "Hmm, that's good but it feels like it still leaves the door open for some herb to actually be beneficial. Do you have anything that removes all doubt?" The pharmacist scratched his head, eyes sweeping the stacked shelves. "Ah, I have just the thing. Essential oils! These things smell nice, but people take the air freshener idea to believe it cures all sorts of things." "Any science or suggested method for it to work?" "The science says it doesn't work. The only suggestions I can remember were either reminding you of pleasant smells from the past, or perhaps some endorphin release." "Well, it still sounds like it has an effect and I was really hoping for something that does absolutely nothing." The pharmacist was at his wits end. How could he possibly find something so completely benign that it has zero effects? Any chemical, no matter how inert, would do something... Perhaps something non-chemical? Then inspiration hit him. "Have you tried prayer?" "No, what is it?" "Well, you talk to yourself, imagining some invisible and silent super being is listening and you ask that imaginary character to aid you." "Does it matter what name I use or what my imaginary character looks like?" "No, not at all. Its equally ineffective regardless of what super being you think of." "And absolutely no science or suggestions on how it could work?" "Quite the opposite. All research shows its useless and the only suggestion is pure placebo." "Perfect, I'll be feeling better in no time."
  3. My great grandad was apparently abusive with bible quotes used for justification (smack 'em with a rod being his favourite). My grandad said he had the Christianity beaten out of him. He could see the bible quotes were true, and that no divine aid came to his prayers, which was in conflict with the description of love and mercy the church tried to preach. The doubt he had was taught to my dad, and while he was a church goer it was always with unanswered questions. By the time it came to me the doubt was passed on and solidified. It took a couple of generations but in a way the child abuse of a century ago lead in part to my atheism.
  4. My brother passed away on Tuesday. He woke unresponsive and was taken to the hospice where he passed away a few hours later. No sign of any consciousness in his last day, which also means no pain or understanding of the impending end. Seeing a loved one degenerate, slowly losing the ability to move, enjoy life or even eat is a painful process. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. Enjoy your life while you can. We never know how long we have.
  5. Do we run into the problem that by trying to link it to certainty that you invalidate both positions? Gnostic as a stance makes no sense if knowledge is impossible, and in turn claiming to be agnostic is at best redundant as knowing or not knowing are not valid points. If you say there are always doubts like living in the matrix, and give those doubts weight, then knowledge doesn't exist and you can neither have it or not. Surely the common standard of beyond reasonable doubt makes more sense? When used, both gnostic and agnostic terms clearly indicate differences in position. Would you have any problem with the statement "I know there is no god beyond a reasonable doubt"?
  6. If you meet God and He sneezes, what do you say? ------------------- They say that when you die you become closer to God. Because you no longer exist, right? ------------------ If God really made everything… He’s Chinese, right? ----------------- How do you teach a bunch of kids about God—who He is, and what He does? Gather them all in a classroom. Then never show up. ----------------- When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bike, until I realized the Lord doesn’t work that way. So I stole one and asked Him to forgive me instead. ----------------- How many religious people does it take to change a light bulb? None. They just sit in the dark and demand you accept that the light is still on. ---------------- Who was the smartest man in the Bible? Abraham. He knew a Lot. ---------------- How long did Cain hate his brother? As long as he was Abel. ---------------- Need an ark? I Noah guy. ---------------
  7. Depending on the characteristics claimed of God we can show those specific versions of god are not logically consistent or just impossible. Things such as the failure of prayer, the lack of communication, the problem of suffering, the lack of any benefit/protection and the lack of any supernatural miracles. Basically saying if a god existed with these specific characteristics then what would our physical world look like and in reverse if god doesn't exist what would we expect to see? Is the claim consistent with reality?
  8. I agree. I stated a variety of knowledge definitions which anyone could rightly hold to and build their definitions from. If there is no single definition, or if the definitions themselves are a grey area then it is impossible to say someone using the gnostic label is incorrect, only that they are potentially incorrect under certain viewpoints. Of course the big requirement is a definition of god. I would say the Christian god is impossible based on the characteristics assigned to it and based on the bible. However if the definition of god is the apathetic, uncaring deist god. One who lit the fuse on the big bang then left, having no further contact with the universe, then that being would be outside of any claim of knowledge on both sides. If the god in question is nothing, does nothing and doesn't communicate in any way then the person claiming it exists has no basis for it, and the atheist would mostly be basing their position on the emptiness of the claim. You could never be gnostic to an irrelevant god. I had one gnostic atheist I talked to say they described it from a courtroom viewpoint. Before the trial the judge and jury are agnostic, having heard no arguments and seen no evidence either way. Both sides then present their strongest case, and both sides give rebuttals of the other, with the final goal being to convince, beyond reasonable doubt, that your side is correct. The Christian god has been tried, the apologetics have been heard and they have had thousands of years to provide evidence that their claim is true. At the end of that trial the atheistic position wins. He therefore said he as a gnostic atheist as long as knowledge is defined as beyond reasonable doubt. Using this definition does have great utility, in that a gnostic atheist is one who has researched both sides, and through cumulative evidence came to the final conclusion. This is distinct from an agnostic atheist who could say the burden of proof is with them and that's all, or who is ignorant of the argument or is apathetic to the subject. I know we will never get agreement on such definitions, but I can see value in using categories that are easier to use and fit a lot more people.
  9. The point that came up can be summarised as "Is someone who is unsure of their belief put into the atheist category?" The idea seems to be belief is black and white, with either an open belief in a position or all other viewpoints are by default unbelievers. When it comes to atheist vs theist, the answer given seems to be: "Do you believe in god?", "I'm unsure, its plausible" equals atheist. To my mind this position is very distinct from an atheist who says "I do not believe in god". Some people define this position as pure agnostic, in that they have no knowledge and that is the only statement they are comfortable with. While we are all keen on people using terms like "I'm unsure" or "I don't know" (which is a knowledge claim not belief) as that is an honest position and a humble understanding of our limits, some say that it is invalid when applied to belief. An honest fence sitter is forced into the category with those who are clear as to where their mind is. Perhaps it is just a definition problem, trying to fit all of the various standpoints into two neat boxes. I'm of the opinion that there are very few binary questions. With so many unique views, so much variation or degrees of belief, that to label the grey range scale in neat packages is nigh on impossible. The categories selected become so vague as to be of little value. Some have tried to expand on the idea with terms like strong or weak belief, or Dawkins 7 point scale.
  10. An interesting discussion point which I'm keen to delve into is how exactly we are define knowledge. From what I can see these definitions are why some people are happy to use the term gnostic while others deem the gnostic position an impossibility. There seems to be 4 common definitions that I've considered, all valid but different but perhaps there are others? Firstly the philosophical definition which seems to be that knowledge doesn't exist because you can never know everything and therefore cannot ever know anything for sure. The scientific version which is said in quote marks with disclaimers attached. A theory being the confirmed and validated facts that we can say we "know" with cavets attached that such knowledge is not an absolute and subject to change. Then we have legal usage which seems the most common definition which is "beyond reasonable doubt". We understand that there will always be unreasonable counters for any subject, but to ever reach a conclusion you eventually have to make a limit. Then theres the day to day definition which is simply any information you can reasonably be expected to hold such as "do you know the time" or "do you know who John is talking to". In this day to day usage there is no validation, just an acceptance that the answer given is something they should reasonably "know". It would seem by the day to day, legal or scientific definitions that a claim of being gnostic would be fine. If you can accept the standard of "beyond reasonable doubt" then it would be straight forward. If you have a absolute view then you can say the gnostic position is impossible. But surely if knowledge doesn't exist then both gnostic and agnostic are equally valueless, as any positions related to knowledge would be irrelevant. Of course I've only used high level generalisations for the definitions, so readily accept there will be better ways to state those positions, but I guess the questions I'm looking at is which definition you use, why that particular one and do you use different definitions depending on the subject?
  11. A lot of great replies that I'd love to delve into. I think I'll take LF's suggestion and open two separate threads, the topics are quite distinct: How do you define knowledge and is someone who is unsure of their belief put into the atheist category? Interesting discuss points if anyone wants to join in.
  12. I still don't see how this can be binary, someone doesn't disbelieve by saying they can't answer the question. But Yes, interesting subjects but getting off topic. Then again unless there is some clarity on the original subject of abuse towards agnostics then this thread is dead before it gets started.
  13. I'm not sure "bowing out" is the term I would use, from what I remember there was a discussion on definitions and a polite back and forth but the answer depended completely on the accepted definition so the discussion ended with more understanding but not necessarily complete agreement.
  14. No, you agree that "I don't know" is valid, then refuse the option to choose that. It is not binary, it is tri-state: yes, no or I don't know. Someone who says IDK isn't stating a lack of belief, they are saying either option is plausible.
  15. I disagree. It is perfectly valid to answer "I don't know". You don't have to believe or disbelieve, you can be unsure and take a pure agnostic position to the question.
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