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On 5/23/2019 at 7:29 AM, hope_for_things said:

But don't you see a problem here with how your average Mormon uses these subjective experiences as "proof" that God has privileged their paradigm over the paradigms of others.  Your average Mormon truly believes that they are chosen by God and that other religious tribes have been blinded by Satan.  This kind of religious superiority complex I find to be very damaging to not only the individuals that hold these beliefs, but to the entire Mormon community.  Its essentially a very prideful way of operating in society.  

How can a person "treat their neighbors like they would like to be treated" when they hold these views.   

 

You have received some good responses, but I thought I might point out a few things. I believe what you are saying about the Church applies to Christianity at large. Didn't Yeshua teach He was the way, the truth and the light? How can that be when He calls the Gentiles dogs? How could He then treat his neighbors as equals like He would like to be treated? Yet, it seems He did. He treated the woman at the well with forgiveness and compassion. Leaders are capable of treating others as they would like to be treated despite their being given authority. In fact I believe God's authority calls them to do that. So, yes some can come off as having a religious superiority complex, which Yeshua warned against, but you seem to be confusing leading in truth to feeling superior. There would be no religious leaders at all if none felt like they had truth to teach. Does that make them prideful?

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Lets say I'm the average orthodox Mormon who believes I have the one and only truth from God and that all my non-member neighbors, no matter how kind and friendly, are unfortunately not as blessed as I am because I have the full truth and they are missing out.  My truth gives me special access to God's powers and makes it so my family can be together for eternity, while my neighbors will unfortunately not have those same privileges unless at some point they join my tribe and accept the real truth and participate in the necessary rituals to get them included in my tribe.  These are the facts about reality that an orthodox Mormon sincerely believes are OBJECTIVE, not subjective in their minds.  Its an unequal superiority complex, that creates a dynamic that doesn't allow for honestly treating neighbors as equals, because the orthodox Mormon world view is that their non-member neighbors essentially aren't equal.  

Again, you are imposing something that is not necessarily there. Did Yeshua have a "superiority complex?" Did He have more truth than the pharisees? Should He have stopped trying to teach truth as He saw it, and stop trying to lead people away from the Pharisees? Believing one is following more truth does not automatically make them have a "superiority complex." Maybe some get that or come off that way, but it certainly not a universal result.

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This is where orthodox Mormonism has a fundamental flaw, the whole idea of exclusivity is in tension with core fundamentals of the Christian ethic such as the golden rule, loving the marginalized, serving others as the way we serve God, all without judgment and holding nothing back.  The whole idea of humility for orthodox Mormonism is limited.  They are humble only up to a point, only open to new information as long as it doesn't challenge their superior view that they hold the ultimate truth, only willing to accept new information that doesn't challenge their precious testimonies. 

All religions are exclusive including Christianity. Christianity teaches one can only be saved through Yeshua. If you have a problem with that, you will not find any truth in religions. You are essentially imposing your observations on the whole membership of the Church. I have characterized my wife as a TBM on this forum. She fits your stereotype pretty well. She is not terribly open to outside information which appears conflicting. I consider myself to be a dedicated member but for this reason I do not consider myself a TBM. I look at more than one side of issues. I try to reconcile all the available information. I do not defend every statement every Church leader has said. Now some may still believe themselves to be TBM, but that is up to them. I am just saying you are painting with a pretty broad brush, which does not apply to every dedicated Church member. In some ways I am "orthodox" as you call it, and some ways I am not. So, although I can see your "fundamental flaw" to some extent in the Church, i think your argument is fundamentally flawed because having exclusive beliefs does not necessarily make one fundamentally flawed. 

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This is the monster that progressive Mormons who learn that correlated Mormonism is no longer objectively true have to face if they really want to be honest with themselves.  You can't hold onto the exclusive authority from God paradigm and also really be humble enough to consider that there is NOTHING about Mormonism that is objectively superior to other religious traditions.  NOTHING AT ALL!  If its all subjective, then you can't say "Joseph was the one appointed to create the Restoration".  No he wasn't, he was just another dude who started a religion.  

I do not know what you mean by "objectively superior." I consider the Church to be scripturally superior - that is it follows the truths of the scriptures better than other Churches. Your standard of "objectively superior" is not a measurable one. There is not some experiment which will show the same results for everyone, because people interpret the scriptures differently. The fact that it is subjective is the very reason I can believe Joseph Smith is the one appointed to restore the Church. That certainly is not objectively provable. Even when all can objectively see the truth before their eyes, there will be those who won't accept it. They will look for reasons not to leave their truth paradigm. This is indeed the monster that has come to be in the world - it exists because men can lead themselves astray. It's a monster of closed-mindedness. A monster of demanding proof before one will believe.  It's a monster I see in you. Yeshua taught He had exclusive authority, yet was humble enough to die for us. It can be done. The fact that not everyone accomplishes it, doesn't make the truths any less true. What you conclude about Joseph, many conclude about Yeshua - he is "just another dude who started a religion." Are you still interested in Christianity?

 

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14 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Well thanks and I have enjoyed the discussion as well.

The only alleged "objective truth" that stands up to definition is something like "peer review". That is, a community agreement between "peers" in a context. It could be the Baptist community regarding something they saw as problematic, physicists, biologists, the citizens of Bowling Green Ky, or a jury of peers deciding on a conviction, or 15 LDS leaders.

Juries actually create the objective facts that might cause a socially acceptable execution, - through peer review. It becomes a fact that Colonel Mustard did it in the ballroom with the lead pipe, and he could die for that fact

 In 2000 years of trying to define "truth" peer review has become the best philosophy has to offer.

It is essentially a majority of subjective opinions shared within a community that creates "objective truth".

So if 15 million "average Mormons" agree that there WAS a man named Moroni, for them, there objectively WAS such a person. His existence cannot be proven or disproven, and theories of his existence are very important to some people.  It works the same way for many theories of physicists, whose livings may depend on agreeing or disagreeing with string theory.

 I only use the word objective to describe this kind of agreement about truth. Essentially pooled subjective experience creates objectivity. Another term for "objective" in this context might be intersubjectivity. That means a lot of subjective opinions in agreement.

 But I sense that you are still using objective as if it means what is really out there.

For me it does no such thing.

So for me, if a billion people in a religious faith think that three beings become one person because they are connected by an immaterial undefined "substance ", that becomes their peer reviewed objective truth. I could not show data to contradict that view, and so I would agree to disagree, just as two physicists who might disagree on the evidence for or against string theory may disagree

So sure your polls reflect objective certainty, which is a PSYCHOLOGICAL state. What else is a certainty other than a psychological state?

And they disagree 

So ?  To me that's like saying that there exist republicans and democrats who disagree about  public policy, and are certain that their respective opinions are correct.

 Where's the beef?

Ok, so how you define objectivity here is definitely not what I'm talking about when I use the term.  I'm thinking about demonstratable, replicable, measurable, empirical objectivity, not the collective subjective opinions of any group of people.  I would prefer the term intersubjectivity to using the term objectivity, as I think it differentiates much better.  

I don't think the number of people that believe in any subjective idea matters.  Whether its 15 million Mormons, or 1 billion Muslims or 25 Shakers.  For that group, their beliefs are really important, but the number of people that believe something doesn't make it more legitimate to people outside of the group.  Also, the number of people doesn't make the belief a better or worse paradigm if we are evaluating paradigms and their utility.  

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14 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

You and a buddy walk into a restaurant.

Suddenly your buddy points to the ceiling and says "What?  Look it's a pink elephant- do you see it too?"

Is the observation now subjective or objective?

You think he is kidding.   He says "NO REALLY! LOOK!"  You look where he is pointing and YOU also see a pink elephant!!

Is the observation now subjective or objective?  Now TWO people have seen it!  He asked you to determine if he was hallucinating BUT YOU SEE IT TOO!  Objective?

Suddenly everyone in the restaurant is pointing to the ceiling and SEEING IT!!

Is the observation now subjective or objective?

A news crew arrives.  The elephant disappears.  The cops show up.

Sober people of all types agree that there was a pink elephant hovering near the ceiling.  No one believes them!

Suddenly there is a noise down the street!  Other people in another restaurant have had the "same experience" of seeing the pink elephant!

Is the observation not subjective or objective?

But none of the news crews or cops could see them- the elephants disappeared before they got there.

But suddenly there are reports from other restaurants in the area that others had seen pink elephants- all at the same approximate time!

It appears you had to be in a restaurant eating a meal in this particular part of town before you saw the elephants!

So now is the observation objective?

Everyone claims certainty.

This analogy is like a private testimony of the gospel.  Millions of people claim to have had similar experiences while others think they are nuts.

So is it objective or subjective?  ;)  True or false?  Hundreds of sightings in many locations, and people across locations agreeing on the particulars of the sighting?

I don't particularly want to debate the issue- I just am saying this is an analogy to the still small voice experience and defining it as either subjective OR objective is problematic.

Its subjective still because eye witness accounts are always subjective.  But the reliability we can have about something occurring that approximates more closely to the descriptions of the witnesses, increases as the numbers increase at least to some degree.  There could of course be a number of explanations for the cause that call into question the beliefs of the witnesses and how they've been culturally primed to interpret what they saw in a particular way.  

The best example I can think of is for all the people who witness a really well performed magic act.  What they think they saw is very different than what the magician knows about how he/she accomplished the magic.  Yet there may not be one person in an audience of thousands who knows how that magician actually did what they showed the audience.  It looks like magic.  So did the pink elephant.  Are all the observations of the people in the audience suddenly "objective" because they all agree about what they saw?  No.

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1 hour ago, RevTestament said:

You have received some good responses, but I thought I might point out a few things. I believe what you are saying about the Church applies to Christianity at large. Didn't Yeshua teach He was the way, the truth and the light? How can that be when He calls the Gentiles dogs? How could He then treat his neighbors as equals like He would like to be treated? Yet, it seems He did. He treated the woman at the well with forgiveness and compassion. Leaders are capable of treating others as they would like to be treated despite their being given authority. In fact I believe God's authority calls them to do that. So, yes some can come off as having a religious superiority complex, which Yeshua warned against, but you seem to be confusing leading in truth to feeling superior. There would be no religious leaders at all if none felt like they had truth to teach. Does that make them prideful?

Again, you are imposing something that is not necessarily there. Did Yeshua have a "superiority complex?" Did He have more truth than the pharisees? Should He have stopped trying to teach truth as He saw it, and stop trying to lead people away from the Pharisees? Believing one is following more truth does not automatically make them have a "superiority complex." Maybe some get that or come off that way, but it certainly not a universal result.

Thanks for the comments, there are some interesting points here.  I think the point about how the kind of pride I'm critiquing Mormonism for, definitely could apply to Christianity to some extent as well as many other religious traditions.  I would hesitate to make blanket statements as there are a lot of variations when it comes to religion.  

How did the Jesus of the NT gospels treat others?  I think you give some examples where its clear that he didn't always act with consistency.  I think of the Jesus of the NT as someone who is critiquing the mainstream status quo of the predominant religions and culture of his day.  I try to imagine what would happen if another Jesus came along a couple hundred years later and critiqued the status quo of that time period.  I think the same would happen today or any place and time.  I see the Jesus narrative as an opportunity for us to evaluate our own religion and culture to see what is worth critiquing as not in alignment with what we believe is divine.

Is that similar to my superiority complex critique, perhaps to some degree.  After thinking about this further, I definitely do have preferences for certain values and that prioritizes what I think is better for society than other ways of operating.  I'm very open to individual variation, which is one significant difference my approach has with the Mormon approach.  I also don't claim that my approach is sanctioned by God and that all other approaches are inferior.  So, there is a high degree of difference between the approaches from my vantage point, but I do agree that my approach is not value-neutral.  

1 hour ago, RevTestament said:

All religions are exclusive including Christianity. Christianity teaches one can only be saved through Yeshua. If you have a problem with that, you will not find any truth in religions. You are essentially imposing your observations on the whole membership of the Church. I have characterized my wife as a TBM on this forum. She fits your stereotype pretty well. She is not terribly open to outside information which appears conflicting. I consider myself to be a dedicated member but for this reason I do not consider myself a TBM. I look at more than one side of issues. I try to reconcile all the available information. I do not defend every statement every Church leader has said. Now some may still believe themselves to be TBM, but that is up to them. I am just saying you are painting with a pretty broad brush, which does not apply to every dedicated Church member. In some ways I am "orthodox" as you call it, and some ways I am not. So, although I can see your "fundamental flaw" to some extent in the Church, i think your argument is fundamentally flawed because having exclusive beliefs does not necessarily make one fundamentally flawed. 

I don't agree that all religions are exclusive, there are a lot who aren't.  Many religious cultures would not even understand our concepts for authority and exclusivity that are so predominant in the Mormon paradigm.  I do agree that Christianity has this strain of thinking as well.   And I agree that this superiority complex critique I've levied at Mormonism applies to other religions as well, but to various degrees across the spectrum and certainly each individual has a different interpretation even within any religious group.  I'm Mormon, and look at me, I don't care one whit about religious authority or exclusivity.  

1 hour ago, RevTestament said:

I do not know what you mean by "objectively superior." I consider the Church to be scripturally superior - that is it follows the truths of the scriptures better than other Churches. Your standard of "objectively superior" is not a measurable one. There is not some experiment which will show the same results for everyone, because people interpret the scriptures differently. The fact that it is subjective is the very reason I can believe Joseph Smith is the one appointed to restore the Church. That certainly is not objectively provable. Even when all can objectively see the truth before their eyes, there will be those who won't accept it. They will look for reasons not to leave their truth paradigm. This is indeed the monster that has come to be in the world - it exists because men can lead themselves astray. It's a monster of closed-mindedness. A monster of demanding proof before one will believe.  It's a monster I see in you. Yeshua taught He had exclusive authority, yet was humble enough to die for us. It can be done. The fact that not everyone accomplishes it, doesn't make the truths any less true. What you conclude about Joseph, many conclude about Yeshua - he is "just another dude who started a religion." Are you still interested in Christianity?

The objectivity comments are in response to my back and forth with MFB.  Essentially we've been discussing the distinction between subjective religious experiences and what is objective, can be replicated, measured and repeated (more along the lines of scientific evidence).  Saying Mormonism is scripturally superior is like saying the Mona Lisa is artistically superior.  Its a subjective judgement and it is more along the lines of your personal tastes.  Its also like saying that your wife is the most beautiful and wonderful woman in the world.  Its just based on your opinion, its not objective.  

I do like what you're sharing around this idea that everyone will be able to see the truth before their eyes and some people won't accept it.  This is what I was trying to tell Mark, because he keeps saying that he rarely bumps into Mormons that think this way, and I've been trying to show him, that this is the way your average active Mormon thinks.  If I understand you correctly, you essentially believe that your subjective ideas about Joseph and God and the reality of your interpretation of the gospel, are objective facts that will be proven someday, and the only caveat is that you also sense that some other people will deny the truth of what they see.  And you likely believe that this denial is due to Satan and other forces of evil deceiving them.  

I see the closed-mindedness as afflicting everyone everywhere including the religious.  If you're unwilling to question your assumptions and critically think about and evaluate evidence and try to prove your operating paradigm wrong, then its hard to learn and grow and identify problems in the narratives we operate within.  

I'm interested in Mormonism, and Christianity and I've been growing in my interest of other traditions and schools of thought as well.  They all have their pros and cons.  Its about taking the good and leaving the bad, thats my approach.  

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4 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

Ok, so how you define objectivity here is definitely not what I'm talking about when I use the term.  I'm thinking about demonstratable, replicable, measurable, empirical objectivity, not the collective subjective opinions of any group of people.

I see.

So who's eyes and senses make it "empirical" then?  Are not "empirical" observations the observations of groups of people?

Like perhaps biologists, physicists etc.

And when they walk into the lab to check their gizmo-meters, are they not having "subjective" experiences of what their eyes tell them the Gizmo-meters "say"?

Is not every single observation any person makes "subjective"?

When Galileo first looked through his telescope and "discovered" what we call "The Rings of Saturn" was that not a subjective experience later replicated as "observations of groups of people" communicated to each other in their human-created languages?

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I don't think the number of people that believe in any subjective idea matters.  Whether its 15 million Mormons, or 1 billion Muslims or 25 Shakers.  For that group, their beliefs are really important, but the number of people that believe something doesn't make it more legitimate to people outside of the group.  Also, the number of people doesn't make the belief a better or worse paradigm if we are evaluating paradigms and their utility.  

The point was more about agreeing with someone that what you saw was something SHE saw as well, like that UFO that took you for a ride.  IF the observation was exclusive to one or five people, is it "objective"?  Obviously with the numbers you are quoting you are missing the point.

How do you know anything is "objective" if only one person experiences it?

"Subjective ideas"?  What does that mean?  You mean ideas that no one has shared with others, like the plan, say, of a suicide bomber out to destroy some building?

How about UFO's?  How many observations does it take to make them "real"?

At some point here we are talking about trees falling in the forest that no one hears.  How can you know the "tree fell" without someone experiencing it?  

In my humble ;) opinion we always stop around this point with you demanding measurable objectivity which cannot possibly exist unless a human observation is made.

Again we are back to Rorty.  If it ain't observable by humans, we cannot know about it.

That is practically a tautology!!  

Observations come out of a human brain- what else did you have in mind  oh wait- that makes it in your mind!! ;)

 

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3 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

Are all the observations of the people in the audience suddenly "objective" because they all agree about what they saw?  No.

Now we are really back to Rorty.  I would say those observations ARE "objective" but their conclusions would fall apart upon further investigation.  What appears to be a pool of water turns out to be a mirage.

It's Kuhn and the boys all over again!!  So the objective observation is that the sun goes around the earth and pops up on the other side, yet what is "objective" upon further examination - by people just as human as the first observers- is that something else quite different is happening.

So now you are saying that science is not objective until every thing unknown is known, and that is a finite set of "facts" to be objectively known!  If the theory/paradigm turns out to be "wrong" then it was never "objective"?

All the tricks of the universe are combined into ONE THEORY of Everything, and the theory predicts every possible phenomenon forever forward from the time of its discovery without flaw.

That is essentially the correspondence theory- the observation must correspond to "reality" before it is "objective".

Yet we cannot get outside of observation to get TO "reality" to see if it "corresponds" or not!!

That is back to Descartes and is 500 year old thinking!

Just don't go to a doctor who thinks that all cures must be known before he can have "objective" truth to treat you!!  ;)

 

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3 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

Its about taking the good and leaving the bad, thats my approach.  

Is good and bad objective?  Just saying, that seems like a very subjective and practical approach to me and not objective at all.  That is basically the approach that the early prophets suggested we should take as Latter-Day Saints.  See, in the end we are not that different.  I think we operate from the same fundamental principles.  

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1 hour ago, mfbukowski said:

I see.

So who's eyes and senses make it "empirical" then?  Are not "empirical" observations the observations of groups of people?

Like perhaps biologists, physicists etc.

And when they walk into the lab to check their gizmo-meters, are they not having "subjective" experiences of what their eyes tell them the Gizmo-meters "say"?

Is not every single observation any person makes "subjective"?

When Galileo first looked through his telescope and "discovered" what we call "The Rings of Saturn" was that not a subjective experience later replicated as "observations of groups of people" communicated to each other in their human-created languages?

Big differences.  Testability, replicatability, peer review, an orientation towards trying to disprove theories, rigorous parameters are in place and science has a proven track record that crosses tribal and cultural boundaries.  Its not even remotely similar to subjective religious musings.  

I think you know, this, so I'm not sure why you're attempting to make the two sound similar now, is this an attempt to get me to be more humble about the limits of scientific knowledge?  I think I am realistically humble enough about that already.  I am willing to follow the strength of the evidence.  I don't feel like I'm married to any particular scientific paradigms that are out there today, even the strongest ideas like the theory of gravity or basic concepts around quantum physics I would have an initial shock if evidence came to light that changed those basic assumptions that our society has taken as consensus and established reality.  I would try to review the evidence with an open mind and adjust my paradigm as necessary.  

Surely you wouldn't claim that the theological imaginations people have about the nature of God or an afterlife are of the same quality as observations about quantum physics?  

1 hour ago, mfbukowski said:

The point was more about agreeing with someone that what you saw was something SHE saw as well, like that UFO that took you for a ride.  IF the observation was exclusive to one or five people, is it "objective"?  Obviously with the numbers you are quoting you are missing the point.

How do you know anything is "objective" if only one person experiences it?

"Subjective ideas"?  What does that mean?  You mean ideas that no one has shared with others, like the plan, say, of a suicide bomber out to destroy some building?

How about UFO's?  How many observations does it take to make them "real"?

At some point here we are talking about trees falling in the forest that no one hears.  How can you know the "tree fell" without someone experiencing it?  

In my humble ;) opinion we always stop around this point with you demanding measurable objectivity which cannot possibly exist unless a human observation is made.

Again we are back to Rorty.  If it ain't observable by humans, we cannot know about it.

That is practically a tautology!!  

Observations come out of a human brain- what else did you have in mind  oh wait- that makes it in your mind!! ;)

Ok, thanks for clarifying, I think I can hone in on your question better now.  For the Galileo example.  When he first looked at Jupiter through his telescope as an individual he had developed some parameters to measure what he was seeing.  This is the first step towards objectivity, the parameters of the test, and the evaluation of the data.  As an individual, he believed his observations were objective, but I don't think we as outside observers should be confident in the reliability of his observations as one man.  We've all seen studies, even published ones with peer review, that were later found out to be flawed.  So the observations of one man, let alone the process of peer review are definitely not a perfect processes.  

Whether something is subjective or objective has more to do with a combination of varied processes that I talked about, replication, rigor, peer review.  I think our confidence is increased over time as more study is done, and the reliability the theories are put to the test.  Perhaps we could look at this like a graph of confidence levels with subjectivity on one end and objectivity on the other.    The quantity of observations can increase our confidence, but only to a certain point, especially when we have other evidence that would contradict those eye witness statements, when things violate the laws of physics or any natural understanding, that should limit our confidence as well.  

And if all this is a tautology, then why do we keep getting on this merry go round!  Perhaps we both like the ride.  :yahoo:

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1 hour ago, mfbukowski said:

Now we are really back to Rorty.  I would say those observations ARE "objective" but their conclusions would fall apart upon further investigation.  What appears to be a pool of water turns out to be a mirage.

It's Kuhn and the boys all over again!!  So the objective observation is that the sun goes around the earth and pops up on the other side, yet what is "objective" upon further examination - by people just as human as the first observers- is that something else quite different is happening.

So now you are saying that science is not objective until every thing unknown is known, and that is a finite set of "facts" to be objectively known!  If the theory/paradigm turns out to be "wrong" then it was never "objective"?

All the tricks of the universe are combined into ONE THEORY of Everything, and the theory predicts every possible phenomenon forever forward from the time of its discovery without flaw.

That is essentially the correspondence theory- the observation must correspond to "reality" before it is "objective".

Yet we cannot get outside of observation to get TO "reality" to see if it "corresponds" or not!!

That is back to Descartes and is 500 year old thinking!

Just don't go to a doctor who thinks that all cures must be known before he can have "objective" truth to treat you!!  ;)

I like your term intersubjectivity much better to describe group subjective experiences.  

As for objectivity, I don't think there are any scientists who are claiming 100% certainty on the theories they feel great confidence in.  There is a reason they use the term theory, and not fact.  Its just that there is a level of confidence we can have in these theories and some have much higher degrees of confidence to be corresponding to reality than others. 

But I think its kind of like the idea of infinity.  We'll always only be approaching reality, but never able to reach it.  We should remain open to new possibilities and understandings.  

All this should not get anyone super excited about the prospects of wild religious speculations about the nature of God and the afterlife, which aren't even on the same playing field as the scientific method when it comes to describing reality.  Look at the varieties of religious creative imagination that cross cultures around the world.  Its very interesting what humans can imagine about things that they really have no evidence to support.  Humans are pattern seeking creatures and see all kinds of patterns in the noise of randomness.  Why even attempt to associate that kind of process with what science does.   

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1 hour ago, pogi said:

Is good and bad objective?  Just saying, that seems like a very subjective and practical approach to me and not objective at all.  That is basically the approach that the early prophets suggested we should take as Latter-Day Saints.  See, in the end we are not that different.  I think we operate from the same fundamental principles.  

I don't know how to prove that good or bad are objective.  I have strong opinions about what is right and wrong for me personally, but I also know that these opinions are a combination of my experiences and nature and nurture.  I can't really test whether or not I'm correct in any objective sense.  For this reason I think morality is somewhat relative, but I'm not able to go all the way into complete moral relativity, because I believe there are some broad principles of morality that I have a sense are fundamental building blocks for life and the universe.  I think this is as close to something that I would say I have faith in at this stage in my life.  I have faith that there is some sense of good and bad that is external to myself and that somehow the universe cares about this.  I don't know how, I don't know why, I can't explain it.  Its just a strong sense that I have, and this is a core part of my personal ethic.  

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3 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

Big differences.  Testability, replicatability, peer review, an orientation towards trying to disprove theories, rigorous parameters are in place and science has a proven track record that crosses tribal and cultural boundaries.  Its not even remotely similar to subjective religious musings.  

I think you know, this, so I'm not sure why you're attempting to make the two sound similar now, is this an attempt to get me to be more humble about the limits of scientific knowledge?  I think I am realistically humble enough about that already.  I am willing to follow the strength of the evidence.  I don't feel like I'm married to any particular scientific paradigms that are out there today, even the strongest ideas like the theory of gravity or basic concepts around quantum physics I would have an initial shock if evidence came to light that changed those basic assumptions that our society has taken as consensus and established reality.  I would try to review the evidence with an open mind and adjust my paradigm as necessary.  

Surely you wouldn't claim that the theological imaginations people have about the nature of God or an afterlife are of the same quality as observations about quantum physics?  

Ok, thanks for clarifying, I think I can hone in on your question better now.  For the Galileo example.  When he first looked at Jupiter through his telescope as an individual he had developed some parameters to measure what he was seeing.  This is the first step towards objectivity, the parameters of the test, and the evaluation of the data.  As an individual, he believed his observations were objective, but I don't think we as outside observers should be confident in the reliability of his observations as one man.  We've all seen studies, even published ones with peer review, that were later found out to be flawed.  So the observations of one man, let alone the process of peer review are definitely not a perfect processes.  

Whether something is subjective or objective has more to do with a combination of varied processes that I talked about, replication, rigor, peer review.  I think our confidence is increased over time as more study is done, and the reliability the theories are put to the test.  Perhaps we could look at this like a graph of confidence levels with subjectivity on one end and objectivity on the other.    The quantity of observations can increase our confidence, but only to a certain point, especially when we have other evidence that would contradict those eye witness statements, when things violate the laws of physics or any natural understanding, that should limit our confidence as well.  

And if all this is a tautology, then why do we keep getting on this merry go round!  Perhaps we both like the ride.  :yahoo:

But what you are not getting, in my opinion is that the purpose of religion is to give an individual choices in finding what gives him personal subective meaning in his life, - what works to give meaning to one person individually in the individual's subjective internal, psychological life! 

The purpose of science is to find the best way to do things for everyone!

We all die alone ultimately and subjectively, and in those moments we need to be able to find meaning in our individual lives, in MY life as I lived it, in your life as you lived it.

The very purpose of religion is to give each individual happiness, meaning, and joy! It is not about proving facts about the color of the streets of heaven, though some might think so.

My point is that the process is the same in finding paradigms etc in both science and religion based on human perception of reality. 

But the purpose of inquiry is entirely different. 

Religion is therapy, and it's central aim is a course to cure the spirit, not to cure cancer or some other disease.

No two people have the same course of therapy.

 Its entire aim is to cure the subjective part within us and "save" and allow each individual in that individual's spirit, to save themselves from fear and guilt and help them fill the measure of THEIR creation, not someone else's

My Paradigm is that eventually we will all find at the same path but no one knows for sure until we get there. That is the plan. Your Paradigm may be different, but it will be your paradigm.

 

Edited by mfbukowski

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5 hours ago, pogi said:

Is good and bad objective?  Just saying, that seems like a very subjective and practical approach to me and not objective at all.  That is basically the approach that the early prophets suggested we should take as Latter-Day Saints.  See, in the end we are not that different.  I think we operate from the same fundamental principles.  

Taking the good and leaving the bad sounds a lot like Alma 32 to me!

But as you point out how come we all think killing babies for fun is "wrong"?  Was the Holocaust "objectively wrong"?

What an antiquated concept!  ;)  ;)

 

 

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18 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

I don't know how to prove that good or bad are objective.  I have strong opinions about what is right and wrong for me personally, but I also know that these opinions are a combination of my experiences and nature and nurture.  I can't really test whether or not I'm correct in any objective sense.  For this reason I think morality is somewhat relative, but I'm not able to go all the way into complete moral relativity, because I believe there are some broad principles of morality that I have a sense are fundamental building blocks for life and the universe.  I think this is as close to something that I would say I have faith in at this stage in my life.  I have faith that there is some sense of good and bad that is external to myself and that somehow the universe cares about this.  I don't know how, I don't know why, I can't explain it.  Its just a strong sense that I have, and this is a core part of my personal ethic.  

I came across an excellent account of some of these issues in- of all places- the online Encyclopedia Britannica 

It is extremely well written and is probably the best quick summary I have ever seen of the nature of religious experience as described by William James- who is after all the source of much of Pragmatism.  Rorty and Dewey both were HIGHLY influenced by James- and Kuhn and Polanyi as well. Polanyi was a well known disciple of Pragmatism on his own.   Because I now know you are now pretty well versed in these matters, I want to show you I am not making this stuff up- this is not JUST ;) Weirdo Bukowski's Matrix.  I will underline a portion below-

This is first from Wikipedia, then we will get to the James article.   Since you know who Kuhn is and his impact, hopefully this will help you put it all together to understand what I have actually been studying and thinking about for like 50 years.  Yes I am that old! ;)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Kuhn#Polanyi–Kuhn_debate

Quote

 

Polanyi–Kuhn debate[edit]

Although they used different terminologies, both Kuhn and Michael Polanyi believed that scientists' subjective experiences made science a relativized discipline. Polanyi lectured on this topic for decades before Kuhn published The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

Supporters of Polanyi charged Kuhn with plagiarism, as it was known that Kuhn attended several of Polanyi's lectures, and that the two men had debated endlessly over epistemology before either had achieved fame. The charge of plagiarism is peculiar, for Kuhn had generously acknowledged Polanyi in the first edition of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.[7]Despite this intellectual alliance, Polanyi's work was constantly interpreted by others within the framework of Kuhn's paradigm shifts, much to Polanyi's (and Kuhn's) dismay.[26]

And now for James.  Of course James was not making this stuff up either- it evolved through Hume and Kant's discussions first in the 16 and 17 hundreds, went through Hegel and yes, Marx and Engels, and then evolving through Peirce and then to James, then modified by Dewey and Rorty. 

I have never related the history before because I think that is of secondary importance to the ideas. But it has its place.

The point is, I ain't makin it up.   In this article's context, your view would be the "classical conception".  I will highlight some points here as well

https://www.britannica.com/topic/religious-experience#ref421288
 

Quote

 

A second attack on the classical conception came from American pragmatist philosophers, notably Charles Sanders Peirce, William James, and John Dewey, for whom experience was the medium for the disclosure of whatever there is to be encountered; it is far richer and more complex than a passive registry of sensible data. Experience was seen as a human activity related to the purposes and interests of the one who experiences, and it was understood as an interpreted product of multiple transactions between humanity and the environment. Moreover, stress was placed on the social and funded character of experience in place of the older conception of experience as private content confined to the mind of an individual. On this view, experience is not confined to its content but includes modes or dimensions that represent frames of meaning—social, moral, aesthetic, political, religious—through which whatever is encountered can be interpreted. James went beyond his associates in developing the broadest theory of experience, known as radical empiricism, according to which the relations and connections between items of experience are given along with these items themselves.

Critics of the classical view of experience, while not concerned exclusively with religious experience, saw, nevertheless, that if experience is confined to the domain of the senses it is then difficult to understand what could be meant by religious experience if the divine is not regarded as one sensible object among others. This consideration prompted attempts to understand experience in broader terms. Cutting across all theories of experience is the basic fact that experience demands expression in language and symbolic forms. To know what has been experienced and how it is to be understood requires the ability to identify things, persons, and events through naming, describing, and interpreting, which involve appropriate concepts and language. No experience can be the subject of analysis while it is being had or undergone; communication and critical inquiry require that experiences be cast into symbolic form that arrests them for further scrutiny. The various uses of language—political, scientific, moral, religious, aesthetic, and others—represent so many purposes through which experience is described and interpreted.

 

And so then this notion that "truth" is a property of sentences evolves- the view expressed in the Rorty quote in my siggy.  That's why its there.  ;)

Quote

 

     Truth cannot be out there- cannot exist independently of the human mind- because sentences cannot so exist, or be out there.  The world is out there, but descriptions of the world are not.  Only descriptions of the world can be true or false.  The world on its own- unaided by the describing activities of human beings- cannot." 

 

Anything anyone thinks must be communicated in text - or math = text, PERIOD.  If we are talking there are only words, not chunks of the world and therefore it is all peer review, religious or otherwise. 

So DUDE you ain't fightin' wit just me, you fightin' wit all them guys too!! 

:vava:;)

Edited by mfbukowski
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On 5/24/2019 at 7:41 PM, mfbukowski said:

But what you are not getting, in my opinion is that the purpose of religion is to give an individual choices in finding what gives him personal subective meaning in his life, - what works to give meaning to one person individually in the individual's subjective internal, psychological life! 

The purpose of science is to find the best way to do things for everyone!

We all die alone ultimately and subjectively, and in those moments we need to be able to find meaning in our individual lives, in MY life as I lived it, in your life as you lived it.

The very purpose of religion is to give each individual happiness, meaning, and joy! It is not about proving facts about the color of the streets of heaven, though some might think so.

My point is that the process is the same in finding paradigms etc in both science and religion based on human perception of reality. 

But the purpose of inquiry is entirely different. 

Religion is therapy, and it's central aim is a course to cure the spirit, not to cure cancer or some other disease.

No two people have the same course of therapy.

 Its entire aim is to cure the subjective part within us and "save" and allow each individual in that individual's spirit, to save themselves from fear and guilt and help them fill the measure of THEIR creation, not someone else's

My Paradigm is that eventually we will all find at the same path but no one knows for sure until we get there. That is the plan. Your Paradigm may be different, but it will be your paradigm.

 

I would agree with you that religion can be a vehicle for providing subjective meaning in the lives of individuals, and I have no problem with thinking of religion in those terms, I think that is a very healthy paradigm for religion to take.  

I would also argue that religion historically has been used for many different purposes, some of which have had very detrimental influences on society.  

Can you add some more clarification about your point saying the “process is the same in finding paradigms... in both science and religion based on human perceptions of reality.”  This is where I get confused.  I pointed out very different parameters in the processes and I see them as very dissimilar, yet you are saying they are the same.  Can you clarify this piece?  

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On 5/25/2019 at 10:26 AM, mfbukowski said:

I came across an excellent account of some of these issues in- of all places- the online Encyclopedia Britannica 

It is extremely well written and is probably the best quick summary I have ever seen of the nature of religious experience as described by William James- who is after all the source of much of Pragmatism.  Rorty and Dewey both were HIGHLY influenced by James- and Kuhn and Polanyi as well. Polanyi was a well known disciple of Pragmatism on his own.   Because I now know you are now pretty well versed in these matters, I want to show you I am not making this stuff up- this is not JUST ;) Weirdo Bukowski's Matrix.  I will underline a portion below-

This is first from Wikipedia, then we will get to the James article.   Since you know who Kuhn is and his impact, hopefully this will help you put it all together to understand what I have actually been studying and thinking about for like 50 years.  Yes I am that old! ;)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Kuhn#Polanyi–Kuhn_debate

And now for James.  Of course James was not making this stuff up either- it evolved through Hume and Kant's discussions first in the 16 and 17 hundreds, went through Hegel and yes, Marx and Engels, and then evolving through Peirce and then to James, then modified by Dewey and Rorty. 

I have never related the history before because I think that is of secondary importance to the ideas. But it has its place.

The point is, I ain't makin it up.   In this article's context, your view would be the "classical conception".  I will highlight some points here as well

https://www.britannica.com/topic/religious-experience#ref421288
 

And so then this notion that "truth" is a property of sentences evolves- the view expressed in the Rorty quote in my siggy.  That's why its there.  ;)

Anything anyone thinks must be communicated in text - or math = text, PERIOD.  If we are talking there are only words, not chunks of the world and therefore it is all peer review, religious or otherwise. 

So DUDE you ain't fightin' wit just me, you fightin' wit all them guys too!! 

:vava:;)

Thanks for sharing the quotes and the background history of where some of our discussion gets into these ideas that have been discussed and debated about for years.  Very interesting stuff.  I wish I had started learning about some of this years earlier in college perhaps.  It’s definitely fun to think about the different arguments. 

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5 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

Can you add some more clarification about your point saying the “process is the same in finding paradigms... in both science and religion based on human perceptions of reality.”  This is where I get confused.  I pointed out very different parameters in the processes and I see them as very dissimilar, yet you are saying they are the same.  Can you clarify this piece?  

I don't have much time at the moment, but I will try.

The paradigms one seeks in science INCLUDE in the requirement that the experience generated can be replicated, and predict other experiences and the ones you listed.  Those MUST be in the paradigm for it to work for its purpose.  Just like a hammer has to have a handle, and a head that has a certain shape to it, the "best" hammer for the job must have certain characteristics.  Have you ever gone into a good tool store and seen all the different types of hammers there are?  I was positively dumbfounded!   Yet each one is the best for the job for which it was designed.

Quote

 

Different types of Hammers

Claw Hammer The most popular hammer for general work, available with a wooden (often hickory), glass-fibre or steel handle; with or without rubber grip. ...

Ball Pein. ...

Cross and Straight Pein. ...

Cross Pein Pin Hammer. ...

Club Hammer. ...

Sledge Hammer. ...

Joiner's Mallet. ...

Soft-faced Hammers.

 

What is the paradigm for the best butter?   Yes- butter!  I wanted to get as far away from hammers as I could.  What recipe gives the best tasting butter?

In both cases, one has a definition in mind of what is "best" based on the purpose of the product.   Hammers have to fit where they need to fit, have shapes they need to have to hammer whatever it is they are used for.

The paradigm for the best butter is entirely different.  Again there are all kinds of butters as well, each the best for some purpose or other.

Quote

 

Here are the different kinds of butter you'll find at the supermarket and how to use each to its advantage.

Regular Salted and Unsalted Butter. ...

Grass-fed Butter. ...

Cultured Butter. ...

European Butter. ...

Clarified Butter (Ghee) ...

Clotted Cream. ...

Homemade Butter. ...

Goat and Sheep Butter.

 

None of the best paradigms for types of butters have the characteristics of what is needed for hammers.

No best butters have handles, nor heads, or precisely machined parts.

On the other hand I am sure all the best butters must be spreadable, have certain fat content,  etc.

What are the characteristics for the best paradigm for finding peace and meaning in your life?

Do the experiences have to be replicable?  No- that is important in science but in finding your meaning in life it can come in one flash!

It depends on your personal needs!  If you are a fearful person, what will bring you peace is security.  Perhaps you should become a monk.    If you are brave, perhaps you won't feel peace unless you are helping others- like perhaps being a police officer or fireman, or in the military.

For some it is a good explanation of God and the afterlife that brings them peace and security.  Since neither of those is based empirically- we cannot see God or the afterlife by definition- then the requirements of being empirically correct becomes irrelevant!

Hope that helps, we can get into it more later if you like.

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