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6 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Sounds like someone was reading books by Carlos Castaneda, who used to take all those things (except maybe the toad secretions).  The only real commonality they share is that they center on Mesoamerica -- Joseph because his BofM is clearly centered there, while Castaneda because he participates in the ancient shamanic nagualism of Mesoamerica.

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6 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

In an article newly published by Interpreter, Brian Hales defends against allegations that Joseph and the early Saints used various psychedelic drugs to induce visions and spiritual experiences in the early Saints.

The Abstract:

 

His conclusion:

 

 

Visions, Mushrooms, Fungi, Cacti, and Toads: Joseph Smith’s Reported Use of Entheogens

 

I hope he did. 

That would make him even cooler to me, IMHO

Some use peyote for religious enlightenment.

Some starve themselves.

Some beat themselves.

Peter Thiel's invested in a pharmaceutical company that's going to use mushrooms to treat people w/ Depression.

 

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3 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

I think I get that. So, all experience is interpretation then, and the question of "experience of God vs. psychopsychological" is to be determined by what works better for the individual? 

Not sure what you mean. There's an odd word in there. ??  Psycho what?

There are no "versus", only different contexts.

A biologist can be an evolutionary biologist at work, and still see the Adam story as valuable and true for his spiritual development.

Both can be true theories and explanations in different contexts, one as a scientist, and the other as a seeker of truth and meaning in life.

Both can be true at the same time and the best solution, depending on how the context is defined by language.

The fall teaches responsibility for one's actions, and evolution is the best explanation for speciation.

What conflict is there between a speciation theory and a view of human responsibility for moral actions? (Choice implies responsibility for action) 

No conflict.

Edited by mfbukowski
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3 hours ago, Calm said:

That stone as pictured has been carved, Tacenda. It is soapstone, not petrified plant. 

Petrified Wood has a ‘grain’ to it. You can see that it was once wood.  I am not sure something like a peyote button could even be petrified as it is usually harder plant material like trunks and branches. The other parts of a plant may be fossilized like in amber or like a leaf imprint. 
 

But that doesn’t even look like a peyote button which doesn’t have holes in it.  If you look closely, you can see carving marks. 
 

https://www.sciencephoto.com/media/268281/view/peyote-cactus-buttons-containing-hallucinogen-drug

BTW, petrified wood is stone.  See here:

https://thekidshouldseethis.com/post/petrified-forest-national-park-how-petrified-wood-is-made-nature-boom-time

Just read the article, it tells you right there it was carved!

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1 hour ago, mfbukowski said:

Not sure what you mean. There's an odd word in there. ??  Psycho what?

There are no "versus", only different contexts.

A biologist can be an evolutionary biologist at work, and still see the Adam story as valuable and true for his spiritual development.

Both can be true theories and explanations in different contexts, one as a scientist, and the other as a seeker of truth and meaning in life.

Both can be true at the same time and the best solution, depending on how the context is defined by language.

The fall teaches responsibility for one's actions, and evolution is the best explanation for speciation.

What conflict is there between a speciation theory and a view of human responsibility for moral actions? (Choice implies responsibility for action) 

No conflict.

I meant psychophysical, sorry. A mechanism which might operate on a physical or psychological level. 

Ok, that seems clear enough. It's hard to break out of the paradigm that true = historical. That being said, I know you are a believer in historicity, but that it isn't a necessary condition for you. It always has been for me, and I do believe in it, but the idea that it could not be essential...that, like classical foundationalism, is a philosophical proposition that seems almost hardwired into me. The cultural training has been such that these ideas have immense staying power, whether they are valid or not. 

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4 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Did you read the description in the article?

I did, but where is it listed that it was carved? But realize now that it is probably like Calm mentioned, soapstone.

4 hours ago, Calm said:

That stone as pictured has been carved, Tacenda. It is soapstone, not petrified plant. 

Petrified Wood has a ‘grain’ to it. You can see that it was once wood.  I am not sure something like a peyote button could even be petrified as it is usually harder plant material like trunks and branches. The other parts of a plant may be fossilized like in amber or like a leaf imprint. 
 

But that doesn’t even look like a peyote button which doesn’t have holes in it.  If you look closely, you can see carving marks. 
 

https://www.sciencephoto.com/media/268281/view/peyote-cactus-buttons-containing-hallucinogen-drug

BTW, petrified wood is stone.  See here:

https://thekidshouldseethis.com/post/petrified-forest-national-park-how-petrified-wood-is-made-nature-boom-time

In my research, I came across this reddit post. I guess there is such a thing as a petrified peyote button. And also, there is such a thing as a fossilized one. https://www.reddit.com/r/Crystals/comments/a3spww/a_petrified_peyote_button_my_aunt_found_in_a_shop/

And below is a pic of a fossilized peyote button, nothing like the one I showed you I thought Joseph had. I'll have to make a visit to the Wilford Wood Museum in Woods Cross to solve this mystery! 

Fossilized Peyote Button - Palaeontology, Archaeology & History -  Unexplained Mysteries Discussion Forums

 

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2 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

I meant psychophysical, sorry. A mechanism which might operate on a physical or psychological level. 

Ok, that seems clear enough. It's hard to break out of the paradigm that true = historical. That being said, I know you are a believer in historicity, but that it isn't a necessary condition for you. It always has been for me, and I do believe in it, but the idea that it could not be essential...that, like classical foundationalism, is a philosophical proposition that seems almost hardwired into me. The cultural training has been such that these ideas have immense staying power, whether they are valid or not. 

That is exactly the problem most people have, they actually prefer to think of reality as something invisible, and which cannot be comprehended through human experience. But they do not understand the magnitude of their error because they have never seen it that way. 

Think about it. That is the logical basis for what is called foundationalism.

I believe that there is no reality we cannot experience one way or another, and  that includes spiritual experience.

James called that "Radical Empiricism" for a reason- if we cannot experience it, it is not "real". All of reality is empirical under that view, and there is nothing to speak about except experience!

"Foundationalism" actually has no empirical foundation, when you see it all anew, and religion within its context and purpose becomes as real as anything we perceive.

For me it is the only rational basis for religion that can possibly be TRUE.

But yes, it seems to turn the world upside down for those who do not understand it.

And so visions ARE about what is real, but what they teach cannot really be communicated to others.

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10 hours ago, nuclearfuels said:

Some use peyote for religious enlightenment.

Some starve themselves.

Some beat themselves.

And some meditate and pray.

10 hours ago, nuclearfuels said:

Peter Thiel's invested in a pharmaceutical company that's going to use mushrooms to treat people w/ Depression.

Smart investment.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.livescience.com/amp/psilocybin-depression-breakthrough-therapy.html

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19 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

I would add that philosophically, it is a category error to assume that chemical brain states are the direct "causes" of particular experiences in an objective, observable, repeatable sense.  All human experiences are subject to the interpretation of the one having the experience, adding another layer of interpretation and uncertainty between the experience and its final result in one's life.

It is not possible for one to take a certain drug to induce a specific experience- one cannot take a drug and see the specific movie "Lion King", in vision, as an example,  and even if it was possible, the vision would still be subject to interpretation- one might decide that the structure of the film was flawed, that talking lions do not actually exist, etc.

Hales mentions these points, but not in a philosophical sense, so I thought I would throw that in as well.  ;)

Taking psychedelic drugs may increase the probability that one will have an hallucination- but what that hallucination contains will vary with each individual, and the interpretation would also vary.

 

Yep.  You and I might be in the same room, we might ingest the same 'shroom (hey, that rhymes! ;)), at the same time, but we might go on vastly different trips: You might go on a "good" trip and I might go on a "bad" one (or, heaven forbid, vice-versa :huh:).  So, in the case where more than one person had the visionary experience, how, exactly, did Joseph Smith get his "co-visionaries" to have exactly the same visionary experience at the same time after they supposedly ingested these substances?

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7 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

That is exactly the problem most people have, they actually prefer to think of reality as something invisible, and which cannot be comprehended through human experience. But they do not understand the magnitude of their error because they have never seen it that way. 

Think about it. That is the logical basis for what is called foundationalism.

I believe that there is no reality we cannot experience one way or another, and  that includes spiritual experience.

James called that "Radical Empiricism" for a reason- if we cannot experience it, it is not "real". All of reality is empirical under that view, and there is nothing to speak about except experience!

"Foundationalism" actually has no empirical foundation, when you see it all anew, and religion within its context and purpose becomes as real as anything we perceive.

For me it is the only rational basis for religion that can possibly be TRUE.

But yes, it seems to turn the world upside down for those who do not understand it.

And so visions ARE about what is real, but what they teach cannot really be communicated to others.

In other words, William Lane Craig's distinction of knowing something vs demonstrating something. 

I'm currently reading an essay from Plantinga in which he promises to take on classical foundationalism, and I admit I'm looking forward to finishing it. Everywhere that I've looked in philosophy promises that foundationalism is dead, positivism is dead, but I can't imagine a world without them. Their funeral invitations seem premature, though I admit I haven't seen the body yet. 

I need to get back to my James, but in short: that which cannot be experienced is not reality? I suppose that makes sense. After all, the abstract inferences of our reason ultimately stem from the fact that we experienced something on which we predicate those inferences. 

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17 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

So getting back to the gospel, AND to the OP-- the direct experience of personal revelation, is, in my opinion, "true reality" unmediated or polluted by words.  But as soon as we put direct experience "into words" we have automatically distorted the direct experience and added in culture and language into the description

This is a good description of mystical experience. 

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7 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

Yep.  You and I might be in the same room, we might ingest the same 'shroom (hey, that rhymes! ;)), at the same time, but we might go on vastly different trips: You might go on a "good" trip and I might go on a "bad" one (or, heaven forbid, vice-versa :huh:).  So, in the case where more than one person had the visionary experience, how, exactly, did Joseph Smith get his "co-visionaries" to have exactly the same visionary experience at the same time after they supposedly ingested these substances?

That is exactly one of the points Bro Hales makes!

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19 hours ago, Tacenda said:

I did, but where is it listed that it was carved? But realize now that it is probably like Calm mentioned, soapstone.

 

Quote

 

Perhaps more intriguing is the unveiling of an artifact allegedly owned by Joseph, which the authors describe as “Joseph Smith’s peyote stone.” EOMWH draws this conclusion by accepting four assumptions:

The stone “was handtooled by a Native American familiar with peyote” (246).

Joseph Smith acquired it from travelers who transported it to Nauvoo from peyote country in Texas.

At Joseph’s demise, the stone passed to Emma Smith, then to Lewis C. Bidamon (1806–1891), whom she married in 1847. Lewis then passed it to his son Charles Bidamon (1864–1944), who delivered it to a half-sister, Mary E. Abercrombie (1859–1942), who passed it to a member of her family (Sarah Luce?), who then sold it to Latter-day Saint collector Wilford Wood in 1943.84 Throughout these transfers the provenance back to Joseph Smith was not contrived, but accurately retained within the family tradition.

[Page 347]The stone’s tooled design resembles a peyote plant: “The stone is smooth in texture with a hole through the center surrounded by eight smaller indentations of alternating sizes where the central flower and tuffs of the peyote button have been cored out. It is comparable to [an] eight-lobed peyote button. … The coin-like ridged circular edge of Smith’s stone not seen on the peyote button signifies the visionary nature of peyote.”(244–45).

 

 

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22 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Sounds like someone was reading books by Carlos Castaneda, who used to take all those things (except maybe the toad secretions).  The only real commonality they share is that they center on Mesoamerica -- Joseph because his BofM is clearly centered there, while Castaneda because he participates in the ancient shamanic nagualism of Mesoamerica.

And of course Castaneda was shown to be a fraud. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlos_Castaneda

 I read all his books as they came out- he was at UCLA the same time I was, in the next building North of the "Social Welfare" building where I was which had a name change.  I think you were there around the same time- '68- '70?   I never met him though.   Isn't that where the Anthro department was housed?

 

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7 hours ago, MiserereNobis said:

This is a good description of mystical experience. 

YES!!   I know I am seen as a bit of a gadfly hereabouts but the fact of the matter is, the only rational path I see through post-postmodernism, culturally, for RELIGION, not just "Mormonism" (intentionally using that word to convey with the faith, the culture as well) is through Neo Pragmatism and Wittgenstein.  Wittgenstein himself can be seen as a "mystic" for precisely the same reasons you mention- that the nature of "reality" cannot be spoken and to do so in fact distorts reality.   He has affinities with St. Thresa of Avila, and was a "closet Catholic" throughout his life.

https://www.amazon.com/Return-Mystical-Wittgenstein-Christian-Tradition/dp/1441104445

Seriously- in my opinion, if we do not accept a Wittgensteinian view of language, in a hundred years Christianity in general will be like Zorastrianism today.  A few adherents in a few little pockets here and there, but more of a curiosity than anything.  Look at Europe!   

We either realize that when God is an exalted Human, humanism becomes theology or we are done. 

And is not Christ a glorified Human with a Human body?  I think even you would believe that!!  ;)   I'd love to have a talk with you about where "The Body of Christ" is now in a physical sense.   I understand we all are parts of the Mystical Body but that is not what I mean.

This is the same thing physicists are saying now- that ultimate "reality" is unknowable because all we see are human perceptions-  and religionists better drop the quasi-scientific pretense and face the fact that their position is much stronger than they even realize- that religious belief is in fact thoroughly rational, reasonable, and part of everyone's life if they like it or not.  Any belief that you have of morality is ultimately "mystical" and yet we have folks demonstrating in favor of "human equality" while denying any religion- when the very notion that people should be "equal" is essentially a religious belief- a HOPE for things unseen!

Look around- do you see "equality" in the world today?   Is that idea empirically based- that all people should be equal??   Of course not!  The belief is grounded in something mystical inside of us!   Equality is itself a religious belief and yet they denigrate religion!!   It is a religion without God!

All this board does, as a microcosm of the society in which it exists, is talk about what is true and yet outside the realm of science.  That is mysticism!

The story of Cardinal Bellarmine vs Galileo is about as much proof as any reasonable person would need to see that!!!  Scripture ain't about science!

Just my Catholic up bringing making me mystic! ;)  

 

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1 hour ago, mfbukowski said:

And of course Castaneda was shown to be a fraud. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlos_Castaneda

 I read all his books as they came out- he was at UCLA the same time I was, in the next building North of the "Social Welfare" building where I was which had a name change.  I think you were there around the same time- '68- '70?   I never met him though.   Isn't that where the Anthro department was housed?

No, I never set foot on the Westwood campus till the late 1980s. By then it was the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, named after a major donor.  The hardest course I took there was Paleoethnobotany, and I had to write a paper on "Ötzi."  The lab included an electron microscope, with which we analyzed pollens. I was in Jerusalem 1968-70.

Whether Castaneda was a fraud, he certainly had his doctoral committee fooled, cause they gave him a PhD.  And I too read all his books.

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13 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

No, I never set foot on the Westwood campus till the late 1980s. By then it was the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, named after a major donor.  The hardest course I took there was Paleoethnobotany, and I had to write a paper on "Ötzi."  The lab included an electron microscope, with which we analyzed pollens. I was in Jerusalem 1968-70.

Whether Castaneda was a fraud, he certainly had his doctoral committee fooled, cause they gave him a PhD.  And I too read all his books.

Ah yes, I should have realized that!

And of course his behavior was discovered many years after the fact.

That was a very powerful philos. department in those days.  Lewis, Church, Davis, Kalish and Montague, Solomon, - quite a stellar if peculiar group of people wandering around on the third floor of the Social Welfare building. ( now Dodd Hall)

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2 hours ago, Tacenda said:

I missed seeing that information, thanks so much!

Well it becomes important because now it becomes a human-created symbolic artifact showing human intentions 

It is an object that would not exist except for human intelligence and the ability to understand abstract symbols.

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On 8/1/2020 at 1:16 PM, mfbukowski said:

In an article newly published by Interpreter, Brian Hales defends against allegations that Joseph and the early Saints used various psychedelic drugs to induce visions and spiritual experiences in the early Saints.

The Abstract:

His conclusion:

Visions, Mushrooms, Fungi, Cacti, and Toads: Joseph Smith’s Reported Use of Entheogens

 

Well, that might explain the white salamander story, wouldn't it?   Wait, that was Mark Hofmann's idea, maybe this theory is applied to the wrong person?

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13 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

In other words, William Lane Craig's distinction of knowing something vs demonstrating something. 

I'm currently reading an essay from Plantinga in which he promises to take on classical foundationalism, and I admit I'm looking forward to finishing it. Everywhere that I've looked in philosophy promises that foundationalism is dead, positivism is dead, but I can't imagine a world without them. Their funeral invitations seem premature, though I admit I haven't seen the body yet. 

I need to get back to my James, but in short: that which cannot be experienced is not reality? I suppose that makes sense. After all, the abstract inferences of our reason ultimately stem from the fact that we experienced something on which we predicate those inferences. 

Finally getting back to you!

Yes I would say that you are right about Craig, though I do not agree with him on other issues.  On the other hand I do not know his work very well.   I just recall seeing some of his comments that convinced me that he was not on the "right path" as I see it.

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I'm currently reading an essay from Plantinga in which he promises to take on classical foundationalism, and I admit I'm looking forward to finishing it. Everywhere that I've looked in philosophy promises that foundationalism is dead, positivism is dead, but I can't imagine a world without them. Their funeral invitations seem premature, though I admit I haven't seen the body yet. 

Well I hope I can show you the grave.  One good place to start is in Quine's "Two Dogmas of Empiricism"  though it is rather technical. https://www.theologie.uzh.ch/dam/jcr:ffffffff-fbd6-1538-0000-000070cf64bc/Quine51.pdf

Do you know the work of AJ Ayer?  He was one of the fathers of positivism   Sir Alfred Jules "Freddie" Ayer FBA (/ɛər/;[3] 29 October 1910 – 27 June 1989),[4] usually cited as A. J. Ayer, was an English philosopher known for his promotion of logical positivism, particularly in his books Language, Truth, and Logic (1936) and The Problem of Knowledge (1956).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._J._Ayer#:~:text=Sir Alfred Jules "Freddie" Ayer,Problem of Knowledge (1956).

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Sir Alfred Jules "Freddie" Ayer FBA (/ɛər/;[3] 29 October 1910 – 27 June 1989),[4] usually cited as A. J. Ayer, was an English philosopher known for his promotion of logical positivism, particularly in his books Language, Truth, and Logic (1936) and The Problem of Knowledge (1956).

 

Everyday I sit in my home office and there is a bookshelf in front of me.  On it is a copy of "Language Truth and Logic".   I deliberately shelve it right next to Rorty's books, hoping that some day the books will come alive and duke it out.  ;)   Maybe I need some LSD in my life.  😮

Why ? Because in the course of his career AJ Ayer himself repudiated his previous position and understood that indeed, positivism cannot be sustained. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logical_positivism

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By the late 1960s, logical positivism had become exhausted.[45] Interviewed in the late 1970s, A. J. Ayer supposed that "the most important" defect "was that nearly all of it was false".[46][47] After some laughter, he says that "it was true in spirit." Although logical positivism tends to be recalled as a pillar of scientism,[48] Carl Hempel was key in establishing the philosophy subdiscipline philosophy of science[16] where Thomas Kuhn and Karl Popper brought in the era of postpositivism.[43] John Passmore found logical positivism to be "dead, or as dead as a philosophical movement ever becomes".[46]

Logical positivism's fall reopened debate over the metaphysical merit of scientific theory, whether it can offer knowledge of the world beyond human experience (scientific realism) versus whether it is but a human tool to predict human experience (instrumentalism).[49][50] Meanwhile, it became popular among philosophers to rehash the faults and failures of logical positivism without investigation of it.[51] Thereby, logical positivism has been generally misrepresented, sometimes severely.[52] Arguing for their own views, often framed versus logical positivism, many philosophers have reduced logical positivism to simplisms and stereotypes, especially the notion of logical positivism as a type of foundationalism.[52] In any event, the movement helped anchor analytic philosophy in the English-speaking world, and returned Britain to empiricism. Without the logical positivists, who have been tremendously influential outside philosophy, especially in psychology and social sciences, intellectual life of the 20th century would be unrecognizable.[16]

 

I would like to mention that in these choice of terms, I am an Instrumentalist which is an alternate term for Pragmatist.   Dewey came up with the term.

Another quote from the above quoted link:

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After World War II, key tenets of logical positivism, including its atomistic philosophy of science, the verifiability principle, and the fact/value gap, drew escalated criticism. It was clear that empirical claims cannot be verified to be universally true.[15] Thus, as initially stated, the verifiability criterion made universal statements meaningless, and even made statements beyond empiricism for technological but not conceptual reasons meaningless, which would pose significant problems for science.[23][36][37] These problems were recognized within the movement, which hosted attempted solutions—Carnap's move to confirmation, Ayer's acceptance of weak verification—but the program drew sustained criticism from a number of directions by the 1950s. Even philosophers disagreeing among themselves on which direction general epistemology ought to take, as well as on philosophy of science, agreed that the logical empiricist program was untenable, and it became viewed as self-contradictory.[38] The verifiability criterion of meaning was itself unverified.[38] Notable critics included Nelson Goodman, Willard Van Orman Quine, Norwood Hanson, Karl Popper, Thomas Kuhn, J L Austin, Peter Strawson, Hilary Putnam, and Richard Rorty.

As mentioned here, the main logical problem of positivism is that it is self-contradictory.- This quote from the other wikipedia article linked above:

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In Language, Truth and Logic (1936), Ayer presents the verification principle as the only valid basis for philosophy. Unless logical or empirical verification is possible, statements like "God exists" or "charity is good" are not true or untrue but meaningless, and may thus be excluded or ignored. Religious language in particular was unverifiable and as such literally nonsense. He also criticises C. A. Mace's opinion[20] that metaphysics is a form of intellectual poetry.[21] The stance that a belief in "God" denotes no verifiable hypothesis is sometimes referred to as igtheism (for example, by Paul Kurtz).[22] In later years Ayer reiterated that he did not believe in God[23] and began to refer to himself as an atheist.[24] He followed in the footsteps of Bertrand Russell by debating with the Jesuit scholar Frederick Copleston on the topic of religion.

So how is the "verification principle" self contradictory?-  from above- 

"Unless logical or empirical verification is possible, statements like "God exists" or "charity is good" are not true or untrue but meaningless, and may thus be excluded or ignored. "

The problem is that that statement itself cannot be empirically verified!

If you want to see the volume of evidence that positivism is dead just google the words "positivism is dead".

I think we have discovered the grave!   But yes when you have been schooled in it for decades and it is all you know about epistemology, it can be difficult to give up.   But to be credible in today's real world (as opposed to on this board) you have to acknowledge that positivism is dead.

And still all the atheists you see hereabouts cling to principles they do not understand.   Go figure!  

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I need to get back to my James, but in short: that which cannot be experienced is not reality? I suppose that makes sense. After all, the abstract inferences of our reason ultimately stem from the fact that we experienced something on which we predicate those inferences. 

Exactly.

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13 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

In other words, William Lane Craig's distinction of knowing something vs demonstrating something. 

I'm currently reading an essay from Plantinga in which he promises to take on classical foundationalism, and I admit I'm looking forward to finishing it. Everywhere that I've looked in philosophy promises that foundationalism is dead, positivism is dead, but I can't imagine a world without them. Their funeral invitations seem premature, though I admit I haven't seen the body yet. 

I need to get back to my James, but in short: that which cannot be experienced is not reality? I suppose that makes sense. After all, the abstract inferences of our reason ultimately stem from the fact that we experienced something on which we predicate those inferences. 

Another thought - using a science which is definitely a "hard" science- lotsa math lotsa theories, very much about the "reality" of the universe, astronomy.

We don't think for a minute though that all that science is about what is presently "real" though, unless we do not know about astronomy.

IN fact we know it is really about OUR PERCEPTIONS of light from thousands or millions of years ago!   Those stars we see may not even exist in "reality" in any sense, and yet from them, we derive theories we apply to the future in making predictions 

That's a pretty good analogy for science in general imo.  All we have are our perceptions to tell us about what is "real" and yet it is not "real" at all!

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I have to wonder why God put things in the earth that create these hallucinations, or visions to create connection to the other side.

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Quite possibly for medicinal reasons if used wisely. 
 

Or just to have fun. 

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Posted (edited)
On 8/3/2020 at 7:55 AM, Tacenda said:

I have to wonder why God put things in the earth that create these hallucinations, or visions to create connection to the other side.

That is probably simultaneously the simplest, AND most profound question of all

To show that his visions which he sends to his children are NOT caused by psychedelic drugs- or brain chemicals, because all those do is cause good trips or bad trips and show that spiritual experience is quite different than drug-originated experience.

Some of us need to learn that the hard way, by experimenting for oneself.

When someone tells me now that religious experience is just electro-chemicals dancing around in my brain, I know for sure that they are NOT, and are REAL, and perhaps the most real and ineffable experience humans are capable of having.

When you see atheists wonder about why it is that cruelty is seen as "bad" or guys like Hitchens wondering why we seem to have a "moral compass" in our brains, I KNOW that naturalism and science cannot explain it.   I know that there is a BEING out there who knows and cares for me and about me, and who, when I let he/she into my heart and open up to her/him, it is a REAL experience and an experience OF REALITY not caused by last night's tacos off the truck. ;)

That still small voice then can become the loudest thing you will ever hear, because you allow it to be.

And we should thank Brother Hales for his very rational, profoundly well researched,  and erudite explanation of that point.

Edited by mfbukowski
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