I wanted to put this question out there to see how strongly everyone feels on this subject. Being that most of us trust in scientific fact and reasoning, I was wondering if everyone is absolutely, undeniably, 100% sure that a god doesn't exist.  I personally take into account that there is no proof of any cosmic creator so therefore I am about 99.9999% sure that there is no god. However we all agree that science is an ever evolving field and I don't think that there will ever be any proof to support the existence of a supreme being, but I can't be 100% sure until there is concrete proof against one. I would like to know what all of your thoughts on this.  

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That's your response? Very thoughtful, Marc. More emotion based metaphor. You are clearly more religious of the two of us, holding on dearly to the blatantly contradictory principle of foundational skepticism. You completely ignore objective definition. Since you are convinced that I am religious, it is clear that you have only arbitrary emotion guiding your definition. Nothing of what you write can be said to represent what you are actually meaning to say. People will always have an arbitrary understanding of what you mean by your essentially meaningless, and arbitrarily defined, words.

Without objective definition, we cannot have knowledge of reality, we can only share feelings, which are not very precise. While we do not need prefect precision for valid knowledge, we do need noncontradiction. Metaphor and feelings do not provide this. I already have an obscure idea of how you feel about it and what you think reality is like, in terms of other things. Teach me something new, about how things actually are, if you can. The yin and the yang. Great. Nice metaphor. You've gone soft and blurry.

Reality cannot be both objective and subjective. Reality was necessarily here before perception. And, then, there was nothing subjective about it. Yet it was here. And that is a fact, for if it were not true we would not be here. Ever heard of evolution? Cosmology? The main thing confusing you and Steven Hawking is that we cannot draw knowledge about epistemology and the foundations of science by using them to probe the limits of our ability to perceive. We can only learn about the metaphysical foundations of reality, which are necessarily not mystical. You cannot use objective concept formation and noncontradiction to verify that they are invalid. Perceptions are subjective. Conceptions are objective. There is one reality and we can have knowledge of it. There is no such thing as subjective knowledge.

You can continue to use this as a standard for truth when your arbitrary definitions fail you, but to be innocently attacked you must wait for the arbitrary that you are familiar with, as you will not find it from me or anyone with the intellectual honesty to stand for objective reality and reason over metaphor for knowledge. Again, as if you didn't even read it before, it is faith, definition by non-essentials, emotion and irrationality that leads to unprovoked violence, not a commitment to noncontradiction and causal law.

Unprovoked violence comes from emotion, like you are clearly influenced by. You have an emotional commitment to a contradictory principle. Skepticism as a foundation is a blatant contradiction, for being certain that certainty is impossible is itself blatantly contradictory. And that's your go-to principle. That is emotional and irrational and where unprovoked violence comes from.

You are improperly equating fervor and certainty with religious. If I say that 2+2=4 and that I am absolutely right about that. That is not religious, but certain and correct. That religious people are, too, certain does not make them correct, incorrect or violent. It is their irrationality, emotions, definitions by non-essential and faith that are the cause of their error and emotional lashing out. You are simply ignoring this and repeating it anyway. That is not intellectually honest. You are not committed to reason, but like using it to suit you and, like other postmodern wizards, then rely on skepticism and subjectivity to blur the lines of meaning until you feel better about your misunderstanding.

Survey.

I am a practitioner of formal logic.

Answer T or F.

True AND False.

"True" in the sense that there are actual Truths.

"True" in the sense that there are actual Falsehoods.

"False" in the sense that Formal Logic REQUIRES that there are ONLY Truths or Falsehoods.  As an Axiom, Formal Logic is a tautology.  I say, there exists valid conclusions to propositions which can be categorized as (T AND F) or (-T AND -F)

Of course, proponents of "Objective Reality takes precedence over Subjective Reality" hate this.  As well, proponents of "Subjective Reality takes precedence over Objective Reality" don't care for it much either.

For me: Just because I hate dealing with contradictions, does not mean I should deny them, dis-categorize them, rationalize them away, and DEFINITELY NOT get so mentally wrapped-up in some Absolute extremist mindset as to somehow justify acting physically against others.

Here's a bumper sticker for you:

Formal Logic can lead to psychological disorders

Hope I'm not the only participant in your survey.  It won't have much use.  LOL

If you sometimes define words with essential meanings and if sometimes you don't, and sometimes you don't, you are not a practitioner of formal logic. You cannot both be and not be a practitioner of formal logic. So, in your case, that would be F, as in False, you are not a practitioner of formal logic. Informal logic is what you practice. And you are in the 100% camp. You are 100% for the impossibility of valid certainty. Or are you only 99.9% sure that we cannot be sure? I think you are opening the flood gates to religious mysticism more than I am creating violence with my certainty of reason.

Your conclusions are valid only if you assume the Formal Logic tautology.  I can be and not be a practitioner of formal logic at the same time.  Neo-Classical Logic is what I have labeled this.  It is not Informal because it is all-inclusive of the Classic Logic format without rejecting as non-valid additional and reasonable categories of conclusions beyond only T or F.  Classical Logic is actually an informal logic system in itself because of its inherent tautological flaw.  But that contradiction is reasonable.  Neo-Classical Logic covers all reasonable conclusions which can be reached by any proposition given - a proper classification for all propositions.  Yes, I have come across a LOT of Informal (Fuzzy) logic systems.  They all dance around the excluded middle without outright denying it.  And they don't offer the additional and reasonable conclusive categories.

The only mysticism in concluding x and -x at the same time is if the additional categories (T and F) or (-T and -F) are used inappropriately, when viable investigations and re-stated propositions would otherwise conclude T or F.  The question posited on this post does not fall in either of the Formal Logic categories.

I know you don't like it.  But contradictions exist.  Of course, not all things are contradictions.  100% vs 99.9999% is a contradiction where the only proper categorical conclusion can be (T and F).  You can continue attempting to force all 'reason' into only your T or F world.  It is proper sometimes; however, other times it can be quite dangerous.  Using Absolute distinctions when discussing the very real and very personal psychological sickness that threatens the lives of very real people everyday is acting as a function of the disorder.

Your point "You are 100% for the impossibility of valid certainty.  Or are you only 99.9% sure that we cannot be sure?" is YOUR attempt to codify my position into YOUR tautological Formal Logic system - to prove your own axiom.

News Flash !!!  Mysticism is alive, well and flourishing in abundance (in the science world as well).

So MCT, my question to you is:  Do you think leadership, along with other qualities, should not only require pragmatic but also utilitarian qualities as well?

Truth dangerous, then so be it, but only because there are mystics who don't see it yet.

Contradictions within reality do not exist. Things only appear contradictory at the limits of our perception, which is where their apparent contradictory manner stays. For building knowledge of entities and how they behave within reality, only what you are calling classical logic works and is appropriate. Your brand of fuzzy logic is only good for mathematical models that predict the behavior of sub-atomic particles. It cannot properly be expanded to include entities within reality or things we can validly say we have knowledge about.

Reality is the standard. It is not tautology. Existence---> perception---->conception---->knowledge. That is a straight line, not a circle. Reality is self-evident. If you deny this, then what are we even talking about? Nothing. A mind without a reality is meaningless.

What you are talking about is only valid for induction as we probe the limits of our perception. In the end, to communicate findings to each other with language, we must use concepts that are able to be reduced to perceptual evidence and which integrate within a knowledge base without contradiction. The law of identity must eventually be satisfied. For to verify something that is found with the use of mystical metaphor or probabilistic math, it must be brought into concrete terms and integrated. Mysticism is only good for induction or indoctrination, but it is not, along with metaphor, sufficient to call something knowledge. Mysticism is alive and well, despite the fact that it hampers reason and progress when used for something other than an imprecise tool for coping with what we are unable to reason. If a mystical idea is proposed, it is checked by the law of identity before it is considered knowledge. Proof requires noncontradiction. Any mystical randomness in the sub-atomic realm must be represented by complex math before it can be talked about using concrete concepts that have specific identities, which are only apparent at the limit of our ability to perceive.

Pragmatism as a tool to get something done as a leader chooses the best possible course of action or advice out of different possible hypotheticals, 'sacrificing' some values, to gain others, fine, but as a fundamental principle from which to lead, no. Pragmatism is not proper when dealing with things that simply are one way. I do not compromise on what might be the answer to 2+2. And anyone who does is leading in the wrong direction. A leader that compromises fundamental principles of truth such as the law of identity or the non-aggression principle is no leader. I do not want a little poison with my food, thanks. I do not want a little mysticism with my reason. And as for utilitarianism, the same. Morality concerns individuals, not groups, so the greatest good for the greatest amount is often contradictory.  The greatest good for the greatest number of individuals, fine.

Being extreme is not bad in and of itself. It matters what one is extreme about. If they are extreme about reason and the nonaggression principle, then that is not a bad thing. If they are extreme about the divine source of the Qur'an, that is very different. It is having mysticism as a sufficient source for knowledge that is the problem, not intensity of conviction. Even if it wasn't incompatible with reason, you value pragmatism, the end result of having mysticism as sufficient for knowledge serves to  blur the line between right and wrong, good and bad. The fact of the matter is, the world actually works in specific ways that are non-negotiable. Ignoring this is bad and can lead to violence.

Faith and the middle ages. Reason and the enlightenment. These don't change because of probability theory or a perceived need to support multi-culturalism. This postmodern crap that started with Plato's magic noumenal world and was supported by Kant's innate ideas is a step backward, despite advances in predicting behavior of small particles, which came from the application of reason, not mysticism. It is not physics that I disagree with, but the false implications mystics draw from the inductive part of learning. And again, remember Ptolemy's superiorly predictive, yet clearly wrong, cosmological model, as compared to Copernicus'. Physics has no business in epistemology.

Ambiguity is a bitch sometimes.

Depends on how you define "god"

Marc, I have been reading your exchanges with MCT and I fail to see how you have made the connection between his world view and his propensity towards violence. Unquestionably a fundamentalist is mindless and acts on the literal word of his good book. But he arrives there by an abdication of reason.

MCT on the other hand is guided by reason. And I assume that his world view would change if there is evidence in the natural world which is contrary to his understanding.

Thank you Glen. And I might add that I think reason leads to the NAP. I am against non-retaliatory force when dealing with other people within society, for good reason. It is irrational and counter-productive.

Glen,

I am sure MCT is not violent.  I take him at his word.  However, language is often used which shows a propensity toward an obtuse position drawing closer and closer toward actions - sometimes closer and closer toward violent actions.  Just because one uses the word "reason" does not make ones position any more valid.  Ultimately it wouldn't matter to me if we were talking about the distinction of 100% vs 99.99999%, some belief in a fictitious god, a fact that exercising improves your health, or even some wacko belief that drinking out of green cups grants immortality.  The right to have a belief is fundamentally inherent and not given (by Nature or Nature's God) nor by Governments nor by anyone else.  By what I've seen, heard and read of the history of the human condition; it is those who hold the archaic mindset of only T or F which more easily find the enemy in the other camp - because there IS only one other camp.  When the guy believing in the power of the green cups gets so absolute about its 'reality', he draws closer and closer to acting out of some need to 'help' others (converting to his camp) AND/OR closer and closer to 'hurt' those he puts in the enemy camp.

I haven't met a lot of agnostics or non-theists who get angry at what others believe.  I have met a lot of Atheists who do get angry.  My concern is that the anger goes somewhere.  Even if there are not near as many Atheists out there doing violence because of his/her knowledge.  We know there are religious zealots who do because of his/her belief.  There are an overwhelming amount of religious believers who don't do violence because of his/her belief.  It makes no sense to me to purport the Extremist Absolute view of knowledge from a tautological Classical Logic framework, taken to the point of a codified Falseness on the claim of the existence of gods, or whatever, unless one is actually trying to establish that 'False' camp in opposition to the only other possible camp out there, True.

Pragmatic and Utilitarian Reason begs for retreat from Absolutism.  Language purporting extremism should be a red flag for anyone.  If you're going to be a leader and spout off about 'realities' and 'ultimate truths', I'm on guard with anyone using language marginalizing toward ONLY truths or falsehoods.

Though I may live just outside the 100%'er camp, I will not be walled by it, nor participate in building weapons (not even weapons of language), nor will I be a part of appearing threatening in effect scaring those back toward the other camp who might have actually left-off the absurdities of religion with a more acute approach.

Marc, your position is itself absolutist. Your bizarre insistence that it is possible for something to be simultaneously true and false is nonsense on its face, and you are sticking to your story, evidence and argument be damned. It's really difficult to see how you are not guilty of the very thing you are complaining about, especially when you have by far the logically weaker position. That is precisely the problem with fundamentalist religionists. They hold some wacky proposition to be so important that they dismiss anything to the contrary. We have explained to you repeatedly, on this and other threads, why your embrace of contradiction is meaningless and unfruitful, yet you hew to it as religionists do to "revelation". Your embrace of contradiction and subjectivity as "truth" is the dangerous position; it allows any conclusion whatsoever to be drawn and fiercely defended, even to the point of violence.

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