• Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:29 PM
    My point was that if someone tried your method for seeking the Truth and failed to experience a revelation, there are only two possibilities: your method is wrong or he wasn't sincere enough. The latter is too easy a way to never have to admit there might be something wrong with your assumptions. It's as if I were to claim that you could experience a revelation by saying certain a certain incantation. If it failed, I could always say, "Well, it works for me. You just didn't say it properly." We will have to agree to disagree on the probability issue, as I don't see how there's any method for assigning probabilities. In the bridge example the number of all possible outcomes is known. But I see no way for anyone to claim to know all the possible ways in which life could be created.
    65 replies | 1430 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:07 PM
    If we don't know how life arose we certainly don't know how probable or improbable its arising is, so it would seem that any discussion of probability is pointless. I agree -- I can't prove I'm not a brain in a vat. But given the regularity of our observations (which admittedly might be delusions), why do we behave as if there's an objective reality that we observe? Btw, what's the second problem?
    65 replies | 1430 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:07 AM
    It surely sounded like you were arguing that based on current understanding, life is impossible based upon some kind of probability calculation. Of course, as you pointed out, "one must understand the entire situation". And that's the big problem with probabilistic arguments about the origin of life -- no one knows the entire situation. I can easily (with the help of Excel) calculate the probabilities for my bridge example because there are only a fixed number of possible outcomes for a bridge hand. But no one knows all of the possibilities for the creation of life, so it seems unconvincing to me to try to use some sort of probability calculation to demonstrate that life is "impossible". Of course, I may have assumed you were using improbability as evidence of the existence of God. In this I may have been in error, given the last part of your post in which you said, "revelation is a very rational and reasonable reason to believe in God." But there are two insurmountable problems with revelation: first, the person receiving the revelation can never be sure that the experience is a true revelation from God or merely a delusion. Of course if the revelations continue and are consistent then one could very well be convinced beyond doubt that they aren't delusions, just as we (or most of us) don't think that we're brains in vats. Second, revelation is personal and can never constitute demonstrable evidence of the existence of God. It is unrepeatable. Accordingly, it is of little use to convince someone to seek God and obtain rewards.
    65 replies | 1430 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    04-25-2017, 09:06 AM
    Some incredibly improbable events don't take much time at all to occur. Suppose four people played ten hands of bridge in the course of an evening. The a priori probability that they would receive the very hands that they were dealt is astronomical -- something like one in 10^288. Yet the event occurred and no one claims that someone stacked the deck.
    65 replies | 1430 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    04-20-2017, 02:21 PM
    I probably wasn't clear in my question -- if I am to discover revealed truths how do I know what spiritual methods to use? TER seemed to suggest that prayer is the method and that through prayer the Truth will be revealed. But even assuming something is revealed to me, how do I know it's Truth and not a delusion on my part?
    14 replies | 344 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    04-19-2017, 03:35 PM
    How is one to know what these laws and rules are if they aren't discoverable by reason?
    14 replies | 344 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    04-18-2017, 12:24 PM
    They appear to be reading an annotated version of the Code, which includes summaries of court decisions. My copy of the Code is "only" 3,000 pages.
    8 replies | 336 view(s)
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We have long had death and taxes as the two standards of inevitability. But there are those who believe that death is the preferable of the two. "At least," as one man said, "there's one advantage about death; it doesn't get worse every time Congress meets."
Erwin N. Griswold

Taxes: Of life's two certainties, the only one for which you can get an automatic extension.
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