survey of Non-Corporeal Beings

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survey of Non-Corporeal Beings

Postby hyksos on February 25th, 2017, 1:02 am 

Methodological Naturalism , is a kind of epistemology in which we proceed with science to produce theories of what can be reliably measured and quantified. While proceeding so, we hold out for the possibility of the existence of angels, demons, ghosts, psychic powers, and an afterlife.

We might ask what motivates us to hold out on the existence of these things, given that the methods of science cannot produce reliable evidence of their existence.

In this thread, I will investigate non-corporeal beings. "Non-corporeal" meaning "without a body.". A non-corporeal being is like a living person without a body. Non-corporeal beings saturate religious literature, and when one comes away from reading such literature, in some cases you have a feeling that ghosts, angels, archangels, and gods are as real and as common as weather. Despite such stories, millions of people continue to have no interaction with them whatsoever. The number of people lacking any contact with them is likely in the billions in modern times.

In the first section, I will survey extra-biblical references to angels and demons.

In a second section, I will cover some references to non-corporeals from the Old Testament and New Testament of the "canonical" Judaeo-christian bible.
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Re: survey of Non-Corporeal Beings

Postby hyksos on February 25th, 2017, 1:09 am 

Non-corporeal Beings
(outside the Bible)

St. Augustine of Hippo was born in 354 AD in northern Africa. (Algeria today). In 426, he completed handwritten work on a book titled The City of God. Despite modern science's inability to produce a shred of evidence of the existence of demons, Augustine describes demons in minute detail, with descriptions covering large sections of this book.

The sections of interest is Book 8 and Book 9, each having the titles.

Book VIII: an argument against the Platonists and their natural theology, which Augustine views as the closest approximation of Christian truth, and a refutation of Apuleius' insistence of the worship of demons as mediators between God and man.

Book IX: a proof that all demons are evil and that only Christ can provide man with eternal happiness.


The details of demons are so literal that a reader from the 21st century will come away completely confused as to what Augustine possibly could be referring to. That is to say, what aspect of nature (now understood by science) was Augustine referring to when he said "demons"? Was he, perhaps, referring to what we now call today "mental illness"? Despite popular culture's depiction of demons as universally maligned, that issue was far-from-settled in the 5th century Europe.

The sections are further broken down with separate titles, such as

"Chapter 8.—How Apuleius Defines the Gods Who Dwell in Heaven, the Demons Who Occupy the Air, and Men Who Inhabit Earth."

"Chapter 20.—Whether We are to Believe that the Good Gods are More Willing to Have Intercourse with Demons Than with Men."


The sections are too long to reproduce on this forum. The interested reader is referred to the following text link :

http://dark-code.bulix.org/8uf9xs-118978


(2.)

Azazel and his coterie of fallen angels.

Azazel was an angel which descended on Mt Hermon, and showed humans how to smelt swords for use as weapons. Other fallen angels at the same time were said to have shown women how to use makeup and other cosmetics.

The stories are described in detail in the Book of Enoch. The excuse-making done by contemporary christians to describe the Book of Enoch as "non-canonical" do not hold up to basic scrutiny. The stories are referenced in Genesis (which is canonical), and Enoch is mentioned in the Old Testament. The word "azazel" appears in the original Hebrew texts of the Old Testament, but has been hastily translated to mean "mountain" or maybe "rocky canyon". Perhaps the most powerful evidence is that the Book of Enoch appeared in the dead sea scrolls, written on the same copper, alongside portions of Genesis and Exodus.

While the stories of Enoch come across to our 21st-century eyes as overly fanciful, and somehow for that reason more easily dismissed as fairytale (for instance), they are part-and-parcel the kinds of real, living interactions with non-corporeal beings seen in every other fully canonical scripture. The non-corporeal beings interact sometimes by just talking, other times by coming in a dream, but then physically interact as well. In Enoch, the descended angels impregnate women, who then give birth to giants. Now if you are chortling right now at how "stupid" that sounds to your ears, please note this little passage in the canonical book of Genesis:

When men began to multiply on earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw how beautiful the daughters of man were, and so they took for their wives as many of them as they chose. Then the Lord said: "My spirit shall not remain in man forever, since he is but flesh. His days shall comprise one hundred and twenty years." At that time the Nephilim appeared on earth (as well as later), after the sons of God had intercourse with the daughters of man, who bore them sons. They were the heroes of old, the men of renown. Genesis 6:1 - 6:4


Those contemporary christians who would futher go on to try to make some sort of literal/figurative distinction would necessarily fall flat in their excuse-making. e.g. "Well these stories were written for their figurative meaning to teach lessons, and dont mean to refer to actual physical or historical events". This is impossible to square with the words in both the Bible and the apocryphal literature which appears alongside it in ancient Hebrew.

These sources are the primary evidence of the existence of non-corporeal beings.

The interested reader who desires more detail is referred to the following links.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watcher_(angel)

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

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

(3.)

Raphael and Uriel

Raphael is an archangel mentioned by name in the book of Tobit.

So Raphael was sent to heal them both: to remove the white scales from Tobit’s eyes, so that he might again see with his own eyes God’s light; and to give Sarah, the daughter of Raguel, as a wife to Tobiah, the son of Tobit, and to rid her of the wicked demon Asmodeus. For it fell to Tobiah’s lot* to claim her before any others who might wish to marry her. (Ch.3)

I was sent to put you to the test. At the same time, however, God sent me to heal you and your daughter-in-law Sarah. I am Raphael, one of the seven angels who stand and serve before the Glory of the Lord.” (Ch.12)


Uriel is another archangel mentioned by name both in the second book of Esdras, as well as by name in the Book of Enoch. Despite our westerny-protestant backgrounds on this forum, Uriel is considered a canonical angel in Eastern Orthodox Churches, on par with annunciators of the Roman Catholic tradition.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uriel
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Re: survey of Non-Corporeal Beings

Postby hyksos on February 25th, 2017, 1:17 am 

Non-corporeal Beings
(in the Bible)

(1.)


We start with Jehovah, which at this point may be entirely redundant. It is worth mentioning the manner in which Jehovah is said to appear and interact with humans on earth.

Numbers, chapter 12. A couple young teenagers swear that Jehovah's voice has come to them in the same way it comes to Moses :

And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman. And they said, Hath the LORD indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us? And the LORD heard it.


In the next scene Jehovah appears in front of them as a cloud shaped into a pillar. (a pillar-cloud?)

And the LORD came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam: and they both came forth. And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.


The book of Ezekiel has multiple regular interactions with Jehovah. Zeke almost always "falls on his face" every time the supernatural voice catches his ear. Too many things to quote here, so the reader is referred to this article to start : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ezekiel

Ezekiel also has elaborate visions of things that are being shown to him by Jehovah, and he made sure to write them all down to the best of his detailed memory. Included among these is some kind of tripped-out wheel.



(2.)

Baal.

The Bible strongly suggests that the Israelites were outside people who invaded the land of Canaan, and who militarily defeated the Canaanites. (the historical evidence is lacking). Nevertheless, the Canaanites had been previously worshipping a god named Baal, who the Israelites then wanted to quickly replace with their newfangled god, Jehovah.

Baal is mentioned over 90 times in the Old Testament, particularly in 1st and 2nd Kings and the book of Judges. "Baal" is likely the etymological root of the word "Beelzebub". From 2nd Kings Ch.1

And Ahaziah fell down through a lattice in his upper chamber that was in Samaria, and was sick: and he sent messengers, and said unto them, Go, enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron whether I shall recover of this disease

(3.)

Gabriel is widely considered to be archangel by the devout, is rarely referred to as archangel. Gabriel's appearances invariably involve explaining something to the person, or giving a message.


From Luke Ch 1.
And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. 28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. 30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.


The above story is referred to as The Annunciation. Gabriel is mentioned again in the book of Daniel, and even makes a cameo appearance in the Quran. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabriel

(4.)

Satan.

The name "Satan" is etymologiclaly derived from ancient Hebrew "ha-Satan", meaning "the adversary". The idea of a non-corporeal adversary is continued in the New Testament. The principle mischief that Satan engages in often involves deception, temptation, and swaying people psychologically from their piety.

We never see an example of Satan doing something violent or genuinely destructive to anyone. His exact nature is not clear. If Satan were a comic-book villain, he would have the same sorts of superpowers seen in , say, Dr. Xavier.

2nd Corinthians, Ch.11
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is disguised into an angel of light.


1st Thessalonians Ch.3
For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith; I was afraid that somehow the tempter had tempted you and that our labor had been in vain.


Mark Ch.4
these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.


Satan tries to reason, cajole, and persuade Jesus:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temptation_of_Christ
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Re: survey of Non-Corporeal Beings

Postby mitchellmckain on February 25th, 2017, 7:29 pm 

hyksos » February 25th, 2017, 12:02 am wrote:Methodological Naturalism , is a kind of epistemology in which we proceed with science to produce theories of what can be reliably measured and quantified.


Science is defined by a methodology to be sure and there is a connection with naturalism but these are not the same thing. Furthermore, there is a difference between Methodological Naturalism and Metaphysical Naturalism. Both of these differ from science because they are a matter of philosophy.

Metaphysical Naturalism identifies reality itself with the scientific worldview. It basically says that only the scientific methodology is a valid means for determining correct claims about about reality itself. This involves something of an inconsistency because the claims of metaphysical naturalism are not themselves something which can be established by the methods of science.

Methodological Naturalism is less well defined but is in general a reference to using at least something like the methods of science when determining the truth about things. The lack of clarity can be resolved by making a distinction between two types of methodological naturalism: hard and soft.
1. Hard methodological naturalism would restrict itself absolutely to the methods of science itself and thus would render itself largely inert for the purpose of philosophical considerations. Nevertheless, I suppose we can associate this with a philosophical stance that limits methodological naturalism to epistemology and thus rather than making claims about reality for which there is no objective evidence, would simply limit what we know with any truth value to the findings of science.
2. Soft methodological naturalism, in the effort to apply something like the methods of science to philosophical (or even religious) questions, represents a wide spectrum. This would range from atheists making claims somewhat weaker than metaphysical naturalism to religious people who prefer to look for explanations for things in some kind of natural law rather than the whims of supernatural beings.

... on the other hand... (quoting myself from another thread)

Science is an activity to address particular types of questions by a methodology that strives for objectivity by making its results independent of who does it or what they believe. It is NOT an ideology, philosophy, way of thinking or way of life! It is something you can do and participate in NOT something to believe in. Neither is it defined by its claims. Rather, quite unlike religion, it is all about method. And why do I say "particular types of questions"? It is because there are criterion by which science judges whether a question/hypothesis is a proper matter for scientific inquiry or not.

1. Is it falsifiable? Some claims practically make themselves true by definition and any test made of the claim simply moves the line/boundary of the claim so that the claim cannot ultimately be proven false.
2. Is it testable? If there is no conceivable measurement or observation which can give a verdict on whether the claim is true or not then this not a matter for scientific inquiry.
3. Is it verifiable? The objectivity which science aims for requires its claims to be demonstrated to people on demand in some way or another.
These are not separate criterion but linked and layered and the point is that they filter out things which the methodology of science is not applicable to.

The crucial part of the so called "scientific method" is that instead of seeking evidence to prove something to be true, you devise a means to test your hypothesis and abide by the results. This is what distinguishes science from the methodology of rhetoric used in most other human activities like politics, the courtroom justice, used car sales, and religion. There is much which tries to pass itself off as scientific by using the lingo and presenting proof of its claims but ultimately it simply seeks evidence to support its claims rather than testing them and thus it is nothing but pseudoscience.



hyksos » February 25th, 2017, 12:02 am wrote:We might ask what motivates us to hold out on the existence of these things, given that the methods of science cannot produce reliable evidence of their existence.


First, I would like to object to the way in which this question is phrased, as if one answer to the question should be accepted by default when the truth is that there is no objective evidence either way. Thus any answer on the question can only be supported by subjective evidence regardless. We can just as reasonably ask what motivates those who deny the existence of these things when science cannot produce reliable evidence of their non-existence.

With that objection made, I would be happy to suggest quite a number of reasons why someone might believe they do exist, quoting myself from posts elsewhere:

1. As a physicist I have to ask myself as other physicists have asked themselves whether life as we experience really can be summed up in the mathematical equations of physics. My necessarily subjective conclusion, the same as many others, is that the very idea is absurd. Science puts our experience through the filter of mathematical glasses and to be sure this methodology has proven marvelously successful at not only explaining many things but discovering new things about the world that we never expected. But this is just looking at life in one particular way and I think it is quite foolish to confuse this way of looking at things with the reality itself.

2. It was through existentialism that I made a connection that first gave some meaning to the word "God" for me (I was not raised in a religion unless it is the "religions" of liberalism and psychology). I came to the conclusion that the most fundamental existentialist faith was the faith that life was worth living. I also concluded that for theists their faith in God played the same role for them in their lives, suggesting that the two kinds of faith were really the same thing in different words. That equivalence basically became my working definition for "God", and from there it was a matter of judging what understanding of God best served that purpose.

3. Physicists experience shock and cognitive dissonance when they first understand what quantum physics is saying for it seems to contradict the logical premises of physics and scientific inquiry itself. But there is one thing that makes sense of it to me at least. If the universe was the creation of a deity who wanted keep his fingers in events then these facts of quantum physics would provide a back door in the laws of nature through which He could do so without disturbing the laws of nature. I am not saying that any such conclusion is necessitated by the scientific facts; only that on this subjective level where quantum physics created such cognitive dissonance for so many physicists, that this idea would make sense of it -- to me

4. I have considerable sympathy with the sentiments of the eastern mystics that logic is stultifying trap for human thought and consciousness. The result is that even if I found no other reasons to believe in a God or a spiritual side to reality and human existence I would very much see the need to fabricate them for the sake of our own liberty of thought. We need a belief in something transcendent in order for us transcend the limitations of logic and mundane (or material) reasons to give our uniquely human ability for abstraction more substance and life.

5. I feel there are profound pragmatic reasons to reject the idea that reality is exclusively objective because it immediately takes any conviction about reality to a conclusion that the people who disagree with you are detached from reality and delusional or in some other way defective, I don't believe that this is at all conducive to the values and ideals of a free society. The plain fact is that our direct contact with reality is wholly subjective and it is the objective which is the abstraction that has to be fabricated. Now I certainly think there is very good evidence that there is an objective aspect to reality but I see nothing to support taking this to the extreme of presuming that reality is exclusively objective.
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Re: survey of Non-Corporeal Beings

Postby hyksos on February 27th, 2017, 3:59 pm 

The plain fact is that our direct contact with reality is wholly subjective and it is the objective which is the abstraction that has to be fabricated.

This is very interesting. I was just thinking of making a whole thread about this topic. I call it the Paradox of Abstraction.

First, I would like to object to the way in which this question is phrased, as if one answer to the question should be accepted by default when the truth is that there is no objective evidence either way. Thus any answer on the question can only be supported by subjective evidence regardless.

There are people who not only have decided that non-corporeal beings exist, but that live their lives in the expectation that those Beings will judge them, and possibly even punish them on the basis of that judgement. Those are the religious and the pious. They number in the millions. (hundreds of millions?) . A sizable proportion of those also think that nefarious and malignant Beings exist as well. These people act on guard to protect themselves and their children from their maligned influences.

We can just as reasonably ask what motivates those who deny the existence of these things when science cannot produce reliable evidence of their non-existence.

This is a logical fallacy writ large and does not belong on a philosophy forum. Demanding evidence-of-absence is the philosophical equivalent of dividing-by-zero in a math class. (I won't speculate as to your situation in real life,) but you may have overlooked the fact that a person cannot produce reliable evidence of the non-existence of something.

1. Hard methodological naturalism would restrict itself absolutely to the methods of science itself and thus would render itself largely inert for the purpose of philosophical considerations. Nevertheless, I suppose we can associate this with a philosophical stance that limits methodological naturalism to epistemology and thus rather than making claims about reality for which there is no objective evidence, would simply limit what we know with any truth value to the findings of science.
2. Soft methodological naturalism, in the effort to apply something like the methods of science to philosophical (or even religious) questions, represents a wide spectrum. This would range from atheists making claims somewhat weaker than metaphysical naturalism to religious people who prefer to look for explanations for things in some kind of natural law rather than the whims of supernatural beings.

I'm aware and appreciative of the kind of Methodological Naturalism that haunts the halls of academic departments in Universities and their penchant for analytic philosophy. That's fine.

But I would say you are skirting the issue is the same way that the Stanford Enc of Philo skirts it. (plato-dot-stanford lets call it). They include this sort of uncomfortable disclaimer at the top of their article, before going into a tirade of analytic and epistemological hairsplitting :

Not all defenders of religious belief endorse this kind of “methodological naturalism”. Some think that religious doctrines do make a difference to scientific practice, yet are defensible for all that (Plantinga 1996). In any case, this kind of “methodological naturalism” will not be discussed further here. Our focus will be on the relation between philosophy and science, not between religion and science


In this context, I think that a good philosopher will fluidly raise and army of examples to attack Methodological Naturalism... and things are not always clear to such a person from day to day and from week to week. In our more cynical days, we may produce arguments that make Methodological Naturalism appear totally absurd.

(As an appetizer: we suppose the goat herders of the the Late Bronze Age were in regular contact with non-corporeal Beings, but us contemporary people are never in contact with them. Why is that?)

On other more contemplative days, we feel like either Methodological Naturalism is totally reasonable, or even in some cases, inevitable.
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Re: survey of Non-Corporeal Beings

Postby mitchellmckain on February 28th, 2017, 10:36 pm 

hyksos » February 27th, 2017, 2:59 pm wrote:
First, I would like to object to the way in which this question is phrased, as if one answer to the question should be accepted by default when the truth is that there is no objective evidence either way. Thus any answer on the question can only be supported by subjective evidence regardless.

There are people who not only have decided that non-corporeal beings exist, but that live their lives in the expectation that those Beings will judge them, and possibly even punish them on the basis of that judgement. Those are the religious and the pious. They number in the millions. (hundreds of millions?) . A sizable proportion of those also think that nefarious and malignant Beings exist as well. These people act on guard to protect themselves and their children from their maligned influences.

Yes and some forms of this are unreasonable (not conforming to the objective evidence) or even psychologically unhealthy to the point of playing a central role in a psychopathology. But I think the same can happen with an excessive rationalist or anti-theistic worldview and thus Scott Peck observed that those helped in his psychiatric practice often went either of both ways (from theist to atheist or from atheist to theist) in the course of progress to greater mental health.

hyksos » February 27th, 2017, 2:59 pm wrote:
We can just as reasonably ask what motivates those who deny the existence of these things when science cannot produce reliable evidence of their non-existence.

This is a logical fallacy writ large and does not belong on a philosophy forum. Demanding evidence-of-absence is the philosophical equivalent of dividing-by-zero in a math class. (I won't speculate as to your situation in real life,) but you may have overlooked the fact that a person cannot produce reliable evidence of the non-existence of something.

It is quite true that a lack of evidence against does not equal evidence for. But we must reject the kind of special pleading used to make one side of an issue correct by default. There is nothing special about a negative position, for any position can be stated as either positive or negative. No evidence either way remains no evidence either way and the efforts of ideologues to put the burden of proof on others is not worthy of intelligent consideration. This is not a demand for evidence of absence but a simple recognition that a lack of evidence cannot be transformed by empty rhetoric into evidence for either side of an issue.

This is not to say that a lack of evidence can never be evidence for anything. On the contrary, if it can be established that a claim implies a reasonable expectation of evidence then the lack of that evidence would evidence to the contrary. Examples:

1. It is not the case that a lack of fossil evidence for a so called "missing link" should be considered evidence that there is no link. This is because the conditions for the production of fossils (let alone the miracle of finding them) is a rare event and thus the cannot be any great expectation that there will be fossil evidence of every single link in an evolutionary chain. This is especially true if I am correct in thinking that the majority of evolution occurs in small populations on the brink of extinction.

2. There are numerous cases of where a theory predicts the results of certain experiments and when measurements found nothing this established that the theory was wrong. The first example which comes to my mind is that of the Michelson-Morley experiments showing that theory of aether was wrong.

hyksos » February 27th, 2017, 2:59 pm wrote:On other more contemplative days, we feel like either Methodological Naturalism is totally reasonable, or even in some cases, inevitable.

The point is that once methodological naturalism is used for a philosophical consideration then it is no longer strictly the methodology of science. The fact is, with my scientific background I have a tendency to such a methodological naturalism for a great variety of subjects including religious.
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Re: survey of Non-Corporeal Beings

Postby hyksos on March 2nd, 2017, 12:30 am 

But we must reject the kind of special pleading used to make one side of an issue correct by default. There is nothing special about a negative position, for any position can be stated as either positive or negative. No evidence either way remains no evidence either way and the efforts of ideologues to put the burden of proof on others is not worthy of intelligent consideration. This is not a demand for evidence of absence but a simple recognition that a lack of evidence cannot be transformed by empty rhetoric into evidence for either side of an issue.

Oh? There is an "issue" with "sides" here?

You have forgotten which thread you are posting in. Instead of saying there are "sides" here, I would have you ask why we would be considering the existence of these non-corporeal beings to begin with in the first place.

The thread so far has provided an answer. The primary evidence for the existence and nature of the non-corporeal beings is the Bible, apocrypha, and non-canonical books. It is these religious texts that are pointed at when you , or anyone else needs to even begin to pretend as if there are "sides" in some sort of binary "debate".
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Re: survey of Non-Corporeal Beings

Postby Braininvat on March 2nd, 2017, 2:15 pm 

I would call religious texts more in the category of anecdotes than evidence. They may inspire a personal quest or meditation of a spiritual nature, but it really comes down to a personal sense of some transcendent aspect of reality. For some it might be Pascal's Wager - if there is any chance that one has an immortal soul, then following certain practices to benefit that soul would be seen as a worthwhile wager. If the conjecture is correct, then one has improved one's soul and one's prospects in eternity. If it's wrong, then one has still been a better person and made moral choices with the "long game" in mind. PW is based on the premise that belief in a soul and a God has positive effects in one's life, even if the belief proves to be wrong. (of course, it it's wrong, you'll never know - that's the epistemological catch)
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Re: survey of Non-Corporeal Beings

Postby hyksos on March 2nd, 2017, 4:18 pm 

They may inspire a personal quest or meditation of a spiritual nature, but it really comes down to a personal sense of some transcendent aspect of reality.

.
PW is based on the premise that belief in a soul and a God has positive effects in one's life, even if the belief proves to be wrong. (of course, it it's wrong, you'll never know - that's the epistemological catch)

That's a fine interpretation and I won't deny its veracity. But I read the bible myself and got a different gist from it.

It seems to me that New Testament is really a story about this thing called the Kingdom of Heaven. The entirety of the gospels keep pivoting on it as a recurring theme. In this sense, Christianity is a mystery religion. (unlike Buddhism, which is much more clear and methodical.) The mystery is this Kingdom of Heaven that Jesus keeps carrying on about to everyone. So much so that they started asking him "What is the Kingdom of Heaven?" "Where is it?" "When will it come?" I had a sense that if you can figure out the answer to the riddle, then you would get the whole point of it. Or as you say what "it really comes down to".
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Re: survey of Non-Corporeal Beings

Postby mitchellmckain on April 1st, 2018, 4:36 pm 

hyksos » March 1st, 2017, 11:30 pm wrote:
But we must reject the kind of special pleading used to make one side of an issue correct by default. There is nothing special about a negative position, for any position can be stated as either positive or negative. No evidence either way remains no evidence either way and the efforts of ideologues to put the burden of proof on others is not worthy of intelligent consideration. This is not a demand for evidence of absence but a simple recognition that a lack of evidence cannot be transformed by empty rhetoric into evidence for either side of an issue.



Instead of saying there are "sides" here, I would have you ask why we would be considering the existence of these non-corporeal beings to begin with in the first place.

I should think the answer to that is perfectly obvious. We consider this for the simple fact that people do believe they exist. Thus I would counter with the much more reasonable question of: why would we consider the existence of these beings to be not worth considering when the fact is that we live in a world where so many people believe they exist. How can we not think this attitude is rank with blind presumption.

hyksos » March 1st, 2017, 11:30 pm wrote:The thread so far has provided an answer. The primary evidence for the existence and nature of the non-corporeal beings is the Bible, apocrypha, and non-canonical books. It is these religious texts that are pointed at when you , or anyone else needs to even begin to pretend as if there are "sides" in some sort of binary "debate".

No. I don't see how that is any kind of evidence let alone primary evidence. Such a text like many texts in many other religions is completely derivative of the one undeniable fact that so many people have believed, and in fact, continue to believe in the existence of these things.
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Re: survey of Non-Corporeal Beings

Postby mitchellmckain on April 5th, 2018, 4:23 pm 

mitchellmckain » April 1st, 2018, 3:36 pm wrote:
hyksos » March 1st, 2017, 11:30 pm wrote:Instead of saying there are "sides" here, I would have you ask why we would be considering the existence of these non-corporeal beings to begin with in the first place.

I should think the answer to that is perfectly obvious. We consider this for the simple fact that people do believe they exist. Thus I would counter with the much more reasonable question of: why would we consider the existence of these beings to be not worth considering when the fact is that we live in a world where so many people believe they exist. How can we not think this attitude is rank with blind presumption.

But maybe the problem here is your particular choice of words. A different wording would have had a very different response, because to be sure the fact that people believe does not constitute objective evidence for their existence (so PLEASE do not resurrect that strawman). Thus the appropriate wording which engages this fact is to ask something more like, "why would we consider the existence of these beings when we restrict ourselves to the objective evidence?" Certainly in the context of science for example you would have my complete agreement, the discussion of such beings has no place there at all. Thus perhaps the presumption involved is that reality is exclusively objective for which there is no objective evidence whatsoever, and then it becomes you who is pushing something where there is no reasonable basis for expecting others to agree.
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Re: survey of Non-Corporeal Beings

Postby hyksos on April 10th, 2018, 2:32 am 

This repeated reference to "exclusively objective" is a conversational ruse (... and likely a logical fallacy too.)
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Re: survey of Non-Corporeal Beings

Postby mitchellmckain on April 10th, 2018, 1:41 pm 

hyksos » April 10th, 2018, 1:32 am wrote:This repeated reference to "exclusively objective" is a conversational ruse (... and likely a logical fallacy too.)


Why do you say this? Perhaps the meaning is unclear to you, but I can elucidate.


I say there is excellent evidence that there is an objective aspect to reality because scientists have found out things about the universe which defy their own expectations to a rather extreme degree. This is rather difficult to reconcile with the solipsistic idea that reality is only in our own head and a product of our own thinking.

But this only shows there are things about the universe which are independent of our expectations and quite the same for everyone, not that all things are the same. We cannot prove that everything which is real is the same for everyone, we can only presume it or define it so. This is all I mean when I talk about the idea of reality being exclusively objective -- that everything which is real is precisely the same for everyone. This is a clear and well defined concept, and thus your accusations make no sense whatsoever, revealing only your own confusion and ignorance.

Or may be this is just a conversational ruse and a logical fallacy which you desperately resort to because you don't like the way this invalidates a desire to shove your thinking on everyone with your own presumption that reality as you see it is the only reality there is. Do you find it difficult to tolerate the idea that other people, whether they be the pigmies in Africa or the natives of Australia, are not simply ignorant savages who haven't learned how superior you are in your correct understanding of reality? You can use definitions and presumptions like this to prop up your own godhood if you like, but I hope you don't delude yourself that you have actually proven any such thing any more that the ontological proof can define God into existence.
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Re: survey of Non-Corporeal Beings

Postby hyksos on April 23rd, 2018, 2:58 pm 

mitchellmckain ,


Stage I

The first place to start in any investigation is to collect all the primary evidence for existence of these super immortal beings who have no body and occasionally interfere in human life here on earth.

But in order to collect this evidence, we have to agree on what constitutes the "primary evidence for". At this point you might be a little bit lost, so let me line up some examples of what may or may not constitute "primary evidence".

  • Trailer park anecdotes. "My toddler daughter saw something in the house and she said its name and I couldn't see what she was talking about." We conclude that non-corporeal beings will make themselves visible to innocent little girls, but hide from adults. This is a trope in hollywood movies like Poltergeist "Carol-Anne. Sweety. Come towards the light."
  • Channeling dead relatives through mediums and psychics. "Your deceased grandmother has passed over. She is talking to me now because I'm a magical psychic. She wants you to know that she loves you."
  • Books of the major Saints like St Augustine of Hippo. He writes large chapters about the nature of demons and gods and men.
  • Visitation in dreams.
  • The Judaeo-Christian Bible.
  • The Quran.
  • The works of Pico-dela Mirandola, who wrote about seraphim.
  • Hauntings of locations and buildings. Haunted houses, haunted broken down hospitals, haunted hotels, et cetera.
  • Beings seen during NDEs. (Near-death experiences).
  • The devas and asuras of Vedic literature.
  • The Kami of Shinto (in japan) Fill in the 'major books' of Shinto here.

I am perfectly comfortable with the possibility that the "primary evidence for" the existence of non-corporeals is word-of-mouth stories about innocent little girls seeing them. It is certainly possible that non-corporeals like little girls with flat blonde hair. Ya know.. who put their hands on a dead teleivision and turn around and say "They're hear." Who am I to judge?

This is all just towards showing you how open-minded I really am towards all of this.

Anyways... We must first establish the primary evidence, and then get it all in one room on a table with bright lights shown on it. Step one. Stage one.


Stage II.

Now that our evidence is all stacked up on the table and we have light on it, it's time to get to work -- get our hands dirty and really start breaking down what is going on. We need to stitch together a basic overview of the nature and behavior of the non-corporeals and their interactions with humans on planet earth. At this stage, we are merely "touching base" with each other about the overview. We should come to a solid consensus on the agreeableness of these bullet point items. There is always room for debate.

For brevity of typing, let NCB = Non Corporeal Being

1.

NCBs are in the vast majority of the time invisible to scientific instrumentation such as video, audio recordings and other gauges such as temperature.

2.

NCBs interact with human beings only very rarely. Their interactions are not a daily occurrence.

3.

NCB apparently have superpowers, such as the ability to teleport.

4.

NCBs never communicate something complicated, such as blueprint diagrams of a engineered machine, how to perform a surgery, or a chapter worth of spoken story. If anything, NCBs are very compact with their communication with humans -- in most cases keeping it less than 2 sentences long.

5.

NCBs may have the ability to perceive the future. However, there is no documented or anecdotal evidence that an NCB has given a human being a hint that allowed them to make a lot of monetary gain -- such as a stock price prediction or the numbers for a state lottery drawing.

6.

NCBs can communicate directly through emotions without having to translate the words into some spoken language.

7.

NCBs prefer personal , quiet interactions 1-on-1 with whichever person they decide to interfere with. There is very little evidence at all that NCBs appear to large crowds in the light of day.


Well there is 7 bullet point items so far. Just an overview to wet the palette.

Stage III.

Do NCBs operate by any laws? Is there behavior bounded by anything? Or is it just a free-for-all? We can't conclude such things yet.

But one thing is perfectly certain : they like to hide from daily human life. They are equal-parts averse to scientific instruments that would reveal their presence. Whatever else anyone might claim about NCBs -- these two items simply cannot be reasonably denied.
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Re: survey of Non-Corporeal Beings

Postby mitchellmckain on April 25th, 2018, 12:38 am 

Ok...

I. Evidence:

1. The only evidence is subjective evidence. All of the evidence you listed is subjective in nature -- derived from personal experiences, founded on premises which cannot be demonstrated, and incapable of convincing a skeptic. The only evidence for which I would use the adjective "primary" is simply the fact that so many people believe they exist. This is primary because all the subjective evidence you listed derives from this fact alone. This primary evidence can be considered somewhat in-between subjective and objective. To be sure, it is not objective to scientific standards, for there is no written procedure which can give results affirming their existence independent of human beliefs. And yet this is not just one individual's personal experience only. Yet the fact is that people have collectively believed things which are wrong and accepting this as valid objective evidence is a formula for the perpetuation of error.

2. Evidence for such things must be subjective. Objective evidence and demonstrability depends on the mathematical physical laws of nature. Therefore anything which is not a part of these physical mathematical relationships cannot be demonstrated or have any objective evidence. This does not apply only to the NCBs of religion but also to the speculation of scientists about things outside the measurable laws of nature, such as a multiverse or things before the big bang.

3. But science does not hold itself up by its own bootstraps. The validity of scientific method cannot itself be demonstrated. The most you can say is that it works, which is precisely what the adherents of religion say about their own beliefs. Thus while the objective nature of scientific evidence gives it a superior epistemological status with regards to what is reasonable to believe, what it cannot do is provide one shred of objective evidence that the belief that only what is shown by the objective evidence is real. There is no way to demonstrate that the web of mathematical physical relationship encompasses the totality of reality. Thus it must be accepted that the claim that NCBs do not exist is just as subjective as the claims that they do exist.


II. What do these facts about the evidence mean?

1. The absence of evidence is only an evidence of absence when we have a reasonable expectation that there should be evidence when such things exist. For example, missing links in the fossils record cannot be taken as evidence that such links never existed because not only is the formation of fossils is a rare event, but it is likely that the most rapid evolutionary change occurs in small populations on the brink of extinction. Thus the absence of evidence is only evidence against claims which are inconsistent with this. For example, trips to the north pole demonstrate that beliefs in a Santa Claus living physically at the north pole of the earth must be rejected. It does not however demonstrate that a Santa Clause existing "in the dream world" as explained in the film Miracle on 42nd Street does not exist.

2. Without objective evidence either way, it is not reasonable for either those who do believe they exist or those who believe they don't exist to expect others to agree with them.

3. NCBs if they exist are no substitute for what is objectively demonstrable. Let people pray for healing all they want, but it is irresponsible and I would even say hypocritical not to do everything, such as medical procedures, which the objective evidence recommends. It would be like praying for money to help the poor while spending all your money on expensive church decorations. Consistency requires making a reasonable effort yourself with what you can rather than just expecting NCBs to do it all for you.

4. The future only exists as a superposition of possibilities, but that does not mean that nothing of the future is knowable. Some things are inevitable given the physical and social forces in play. For example, some Biblical scholars have used the prediction by Jesus of the destruction of the temple reason for dating these writings after 70 AD. But I think this is a dubious argument because I think the social circumstances made this an inevitability and not such a difficult thing to predict.

5. It is incorrect to say that NCBs only appear to people 1-on-1. There are many accounts of appearances to large groups of people. It more correct to say that NCBs don't seem to be very motivated to convince skeptics of their existence. They certainly do not seem willing to demonstrate their existence to people on demand.

III. What sort of rules would govern NCBs if they exist?

1. The rules for rational beliefs would still apply:
a. logical coherence is required for beliefs to be meaningful.
b. consistency with the scientific evidence is required for beliefs to be reasonable.
Thus we would expect NCBs to be limited to what is logically coherent. So for example, the omnipotence of God should not be expected to include an ability to do anything by whatever means you care to dictate. Likewise we would expect the interactions of NCBs with the things of the physical world to be consistent with the laws of nature. Thus the only room for interaction is where the laws of nature are not causally closed, which is only in realm of quantum indeterminacy and its effects. The result is that we can expect all such interactions to be easily dismissed by the skeptic as nothing but chance and coincidence.
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Re: survey of Non-Corporeal Beings

Postby hyksos on April 26th, 2018, 2:05 am 

There is no way to demonstrate that the web of mathematical physical relationship encompasses the totality of reality. Thus it must be accepted that the claim that NCBs do not exist is just as subjective as the claims that they do exist.

Well first of all you are attacking a position called Metaphysical Naturalism here. I am not adopting that position nor promoting it in an underhanded way. Sean Carrol and Victor Stenger subscribe to Meta-Nat. (possibly also Richard Dawkins... although he has softened his stance lately.) Carroll has flat out claimed in public that nothing exists except the physical world, its atoms and its energy. Too bad he doesn't post on this forum. You could have set him straight.

I am actually adopting something called Methodological Naturalism. I am completely open to the possibility of superbeings interfering in human affairs.


Likewise we would expect the interactions of NCBs with the things of the physical world to be consistent with the laws of nature. Thus the only room for interaction is where the laws of nature are not causally closed, which is only in realm of quantum indeterminacy and its effects. The result is that we can expect all such interactions to be easily dismissed by the skeptic as nothing but chance and coincidence.

Right - but if the NCBs interact with the world, the effects of those interactions would be measurable, long after the NCBs have departed the area.


Evidence for such things must be subjective. Objective evidence and demonstrability depends on the mathematical physical laws of nature. Therefore anything which is not a part of these physical mathematical relationships cannot be demonstrated or have any objective evidence.

I don't know why you are so bent-out-of-shape by this subjective/objective distinction. We can be grown adults and declare that the evidence is not objective.. perhaps the primary evidence is word-of-mouth. Perhaps it is in writings, or even ancient myths. We can admit such and get on with our lives.


Thus the only room for interaction is where the laws of nature are not causally closed, which is only in realm of quantum indeterminacy and its effects. The result is that we can expect all such interactions to be easily dismissed by the skeptic as nothing but chance and coincidence.

You are using fancy english here, but at base, what you are claiming is that NCBs must operate by magic. You are dressing it up with flowery phrases like "causally closed". I see right through your smokescreen.

Do they actually operate by magic? I don't think you really know that for sure. I certainly don't.
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Re: survey of Non-Corporeal Beings

Postby mitchellmckain on April 26th, 2018, 2:25 pm 

hyksos » April 26th, 2018, 1:05 am wrote:
There is no way to demonstrate that the web of mathematical physical relationship encompasses the totality of reality. Thus it must be accepted that the claim that NCBs do not exist is just as subjective as the claims that they do exist.

Well first of all you are attacking a position called Metaphysical Naturalism here.

Incorrect. I am not attacking any position at all. I was evaluating the question of evidence with regards to NCBs. To summarize:
1. The only evidence for NCBs is subjective.
2. The evidence for NCBs must be subjective.
3. Any claim limiting reality to objective evidence alone cannot stand.

The point is that while there can be no expectation that others agree with your subjective evidence that NCBs do exist, the same must be said for any claim that they do not exist. Perhaps a 4th point might be added for greater clarity:

4. Any evidence that NCBs do not exist must also be subjective.

hyksos » April 26th, 2018, 1:05 am wrote: I am not adopting that position nor promoting it in an underhanded way. Sean Carrol and Victor Stenger subscribe to Meta-Nat. (possibly also Richard Dawkins... although he has softened his stance lately.) Carroll has flat out claimed in public that nothing exists except the physical world, its atoms and its energy. Too bad he doesn't post on this forum. You could have set him straight.

This is not about you. You were doing so well at making this an objective rational discussion about the actual topic and then you suddenly go all defensive and throwing accusations again. Nobody is attacking you. There is nothing personal about this except in your imagination so why not keep it impersonal?

hyksos » April 26th, 2018, 1:05 am wrote:I am actually adopting something called Methodological Naturalism. I am completely open to the possibility of superbeings interfering in human affairs.

Perhaps you should define what you mean by methodological naturalism because according to the explanations which come up by a google, this sounds like a contradiction.

Google:
Methodological naturalism is a strategy for studying the world, by which scientists choose not to consider supernatural causes - even as a remote possibility.


I have said in another thread that I tend to something like methodological naturalism even in spiritual matters.

But clearly the google definition would not work for this. So what I mean by this is that I simply look for reasons and causes for things being the way they are rather than use the authoritarian methods based on supposed revelation (citing scripture) typically used in religious discourse. The point being that there is a middle ground not often looked at or explored between authoritarian dictation and restricting yourself to scientific evidence as the sole arbiter of what is real.

hyksos » April 26th, 2018, 1:05 am wrote:
Likewise we would expect the interactions of NCBs with the things of the physical world to be consistent with the laws of nature. Thus the only room for interaction is where the laws of nature are not causally closed, which is only in realm of quantum indeterminacy and its effects. The result is that we can expect all such interactions to be easily dismissed by the skeptic as nothing but chance and coincidence.

Right - but if the NCBs interact with the world, the effects of those interactions would be measurable, long after the NCBs have departed the area.

It depends on what you call evidence. The majority of theists see the existence of the universe as an example of this. So it is not just a question of whether effects exist but about whether the causes can be identified objectively. That is only possible if the means by which they are caused are via the mathematical relationships discovered by the objective measurements of science otherwise they are just going to be seen as the coincidental effects of random quantum fluctuations.

hyksos » April 26th, 2018, 1:05 am wrote:
Evidence for such things must be subjective. Objective evidence and demonstrability depends on the mathematical physical laws of nature. Therefore anything which is not a part of these physical mathematical relationships cannot be demonstrated or have any objective evidence.

I don't know why you are so bent-out-of-shape by this subjective/objective distinction. We can be grown adults and declare that the evidence is not objective.. perhaps the primary evidence is word-of-mouth. Perhaps it is in writings, or even ancient myths. We can admit such and get on with our lives.

I don't know why you are so bent-out-of-shape by this subjective/objective distinction. The distinction is important and thus we should be able to discuss it without getting defensive, accusatory, and imagining emotions and conspiracies which do not exist.

The point I was making is that if there are things such as NCBs which do not exist within the mathematical space-time causal relationships studied by science then we cannot expect their existence and actions to be revealed by the kind of evidence used to expose these mathematical relationships.

hyksos » April 26th, 2018, 1:05 am wrote:
Thus the only room for interaction is where the laws of nature are not causally closed, which is only in realm of quantum indeterminacy and its effects. The result is that we can expect all such interactions to be easily dismissed by the skeptic as nothing but chance and coincidence.

You are using fancy english here, but at base, what you are claiming is that NCBs must operate by magic. You are dressing it up with flowery phrases like "causally closed". I see right through your smokescreen.

Apparently "fancy english" is your face-saving way of saying you did not understand, and you apparently equate anything outside the laws of nature with magic. And yet you delude yourself with this claim that you are "completely open to the possibility of superbeings interfering in human affairs." The truth is that you are only willing to consider things within limitations which restrict what you find to aliens and forces of nature.

Science has discovered events for which it has proven there are no variables by which what happens can be calculated -- not within the premises of the scientific worldview. This means that causality which is restricted to what science can determine is not a closed system and the possibility of causality from outside the web of mathematical space-time relationships discovered by science must be admitted as a possibility.

But just because something does not operate by the laws of nature does not mean there are no explanations according to a different set of relationships outside those discoverable by scientific methods.

hyksos » April 26th, 2018, 1:05 am wrote:Do they actually operate by magic?

I believe that the word "magic" basically refers to an experience of infancy where we cry out in need and "greater" beings respond by means we do not understand in order to fulfill those need. Thus I do not believe this can be logically applied to God, because there is no greater being to which he can cry out to. Thus whatever God does has to be accomplished by his own abilities and know-how.

hyksos » April 26th, 2018, 1:05 am wrote:I don't think you really know that for sure. I certainly don't.

If you define "knowing for sure" by the objective methods of science then you are correct. But I do not accept such a defintion. Instead I make this distinction which gets you so bent-out-of-shape between the objective and the subjective. The objective provides a reasonable expectation that others agree and the subjective is sufficient for your own knowledge and belief but not for expecting others to agree.

It is often the argument of atheists that if an all-powerful God really existed then He would be capable of making His existence known to people, and yet He does not make His existence known to them. I quite agree with this argument, and of course, I reject the bogus argument by many theists that God does reveal His existence to everyone and some just stubbornly refuse to believe. However, there are two possible conclusions from this. There is not only the atheist conclusion that this being does not exist, but another possibility is that making people believe He exists is not such a high priority for Him (i.e. there are things which are more important). Thus God limits revealing His existence to subjective methods and to those who would benefit by this knowledge.

Where this leaves me... is defending the rationality of both theism AND atheism, as well as rejecting the claim of some theists that believing in God is some kind of panacea for human problems. On the contrary, I can acknowledge the fact observed in psychology that a belief in God can be a part of some peoples mental pathology doing more harm than good.
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Re: survey of Non-Corporeal Beings

Postby hyksos on April 27th, 2018, 6:04 pm 

3. Any claim limiting reality to objective evidence alone cannot stand.

The point is that while there can be no expectation that others agree with your subjective evidence that NCBs do exist, the same must be said for any claim that they do not exist.


The claim, "NCBs do not exist and reality is limited to objective evidence" -- is the definition of Metaphysical Naturalism. You are attacking that position whether you like it or not, or whether you admit it out loud, or not.

Unfortunately, I'm not adopting Meta-Nat. But tilt at windmills if you must.


But clearly the google definition would not work for this.

Because google is wrong. Everyone inside academia knows that Methodological Naturalism is not Metaphysical Naturalism. Metho-Nat is normally and universally associated with the scientist who does research in genetic molecular biology from Monday through Friday, but is found in the church pews on Sunday morning.


The majority of theists see the existence of the universe as an example of this.


So the God-thing authored the laws of physics, did the big bang, then washed his hands and went home. Never to be seen again. Fine with me. I'm up for that. But that God-thing does not count as an NCB at all, and that God-thing is not even remotely related to the vast majority of claims made by major religions. It is not good enough that he sits idle in a far away place, :existing:, while the laws of physics play out. He must interfere. He must be a ghost concerned with human affairs. Admit this.


That is only possible if the means by which they are caused are via the mathematical relationships discovered by the objective measurements of science otherwise they are just going to be seen as the coincidental effects of random quantum fluctuations.

I read over this eight times, and I simply cannot shake this feeling off. You are blatantly claiming that angels exist and they operate and interfere with the physical world through quantum fluctuations. Don't even try to play coy or dodge with more fancy wordplay. You are flat-out claiming this as a state-of-affairs in the universe.

Man-up and admit it.


Science has discovered events for which it has proven there are no variables by which what happens can be calculated -- not within the premises of the scientific worldview. This means that causality which is restricted to what science can determine is not a closed system and the possibility of causality from outside the web of mathematical space-time relationships discovered by science must be admitted as a possibility.

You are attacking Metaphysical Naturalism again. Unfortunately, I am not adopting it. Never once, not once in this entire thread have I invoked Causal Closure of Physics in any argument or in any sentence I have typed. But tilt at windmills if you must.


Thus God limits revealing His existence to subjective methods and to those who would benefit by this knowledge.



Oh really? The invisible God "grants knowledge" by subjective methods to those who "benefit"?

Interesting. So this is how the NCBs interfere in human life then. Knowledge-granting-via-subjective-feelings.

Okay. Sounds like a claim of state-of-affairs in reality to me. Tell us how you came to know these intricate details about how the God operates in this way.
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Re: survey of Non-Corporeal Beings

Postby hyksos on April 27th, 2018, 6:26 pm 

MM = mitchellmckain

For passersby who are reading this thread (if any of you exist) , mitchellmckain is engaging in full-throttle sophistry and using illogical tactics meant to sway and seduce. SO far what he has done is accuse me (with no evidence at all) that I am adopting a position called the "Causal Closure of the Physical".

Those of you unfamiliar with that part of philosophy are directed to the primary literature https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causal_closure

I am not adopting it. But mm is pretending that I am so he can attack it. This is called "straw-manning". It is a sophistry tactic that is at least as old as the internet.

The other logical fallacy that he is seducing you with probably has a name in latin which I am forgetting. "Ergo propter hoc" (or some variation thereof).

MM's sophistry tactic is shaped something like this:
If the universe is not causally closed, then therefore, it follows that the angels and demons and gods of traditional ancient religions MUST exist as described by those religions.


MM then further doubles down on this claim by asserting that the angels operate and interfere with the world by means of quantum fluctuations. And that if any evidence were ever presented of these divine interferences , that scientists will always quote, "dismiss it as chance and statistical randomness".

This is flat-out what he is claiming , in rather explicit black-and-white english text.

These are his core claims. He dresses up these logical fallacies with pretty language that "sounds official", but not towards the goal of being more clear. (Most people would adopt complex neologisms to enhance communication) Rather he is using fancy language to dazzle your eyes with a pretense of officiality.

He's man on a mission. A person with an agenda. His goal is not to converse like an honest human being, but to persuade and seduce. This is why his tactics turn to illogical fallacies and sophistry.
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Re: survey of Non-Corporeal Beings

Postby mitchellmckain on April 27th, 2018, 8:10 pm 

HO = hyksos

For silent readers of the thread (if any) , HO is engaging in blatant dishonest rhetoric and using lies and logical fallacies to distort the facts in order to turn a rational discussion into a campaign of personal attacks. He begins with the outright lie that I have accused him of a position and makes that strawman the basis for embarking on a witch-burning party.

from google
Post hoc ergo propter hoc (Latin: "after this, therefore because of this") is a logical fallacy that states "Since event Y followed event X, event Y must have been caused by event X." It is often shortened simply to post hoc fallacy.

As anyone can plainly see any attempt to apply this to what I have said involved an outrageous number of outright lies. Where did I talk about one event following another event or conclude that this made one the cause of the other event? Nowhere, except in HO's self-flattering daydreams.

While I applaud any attempt by HO to advance his education by reading wikipedia articles, I must caution the reader not to be distracted and waste time on his link, because it is about a particular metaphysical theory in the philosophy of mind which has little to do with this discussion. But since HO was apparently foundering on the meaning of "causal closure," I am happy to explain it. It simply addresses the question of whether the causes of all events can be found within the mathematical relationship described by modern physics. Experiments have been conducted to demonstrate that this cannot be the case. See Bell's inequality.

As was made crystal clear above, despite HO's desperate attempts to make this all about him and turn this into a personal battle of insults and and accusations, the lack of causal closure was only raised in order to evaluate the the question of evidence for NCBs. Apparently HO doesn't want to do this any more and is instead turning this into a giant ad-hominem argument, "mitchellmckain is a bad guy and so you should not read his explanations and analysis." The desperation of such a tactic is blindingly obvious and I cannot understand how he does not cringe with embarrassment to resort to such a thing -- I would.

Nowhere in the post beginning with "Ok... I. Evidence:" is there any reference to HO or his position or his posts. It is astounding that the only reply he can make is to make it about some invented attack against him. Indeed it is reminiscent of tactics I have often seen made by the religious where they interpret mere ideas as a personal attacks against them. You could simply state the theory of evolution and they act like this violent attack on their religion, way of life, and character. The lame nature of such a response must backfire in the minds of intelligent readers to lend more credence to what they are responding to rather than detracting from it.

So why does HO do this? The answer becomes rather clear in what follows. He doesn't know how to respond to what was actually said so he has to invent an excuse for pulling out some of his canned rhetoric for dealing with old arguments which he handle.

If the universe is not causally closed, then therefore, it follows that the angels and demons and gods of traditional ancient religions MUST exist as described by those religions.


Now this is more like it, he thinks. Here is a argument of straw which will burn quite furiously with the application of his canned accelerants. Hell even a child can burn one of these... LOL

If the system of mathematical space-time relationships is not causally closed then we cannot exclude the possibility of causes from outside that system of relationships. But this certainly does not constitute objective evidence that such causes do exist. Indeed it must be the presumption of science that no causes exist because it is the methodology of science that only demonstrable causes are even considered. Therefore, it certainly does not follow from a lack of causal closure in science that any of the NCBs of religion exist.

But let us not be distracted by HOs argument from a can. The easy burning of this straw argument does not alter in the slightest the correctness of the observation in italics. For what we should be doing and apparently what HO does not want you to do is to examine what can be correctly concluded from this observation.

hyksos » April 27th, 2018, 5:26 pm wrote:
MM then further doubles down on this claim by asserting that the angels operate and interfere with the world by means of quantum fluctuations. And that if any evidence were ever presented of these divine interferences , that scientists will always quote, "dismiss it as chance and statistical randomness".

This is flat-out what he is claiming , in rather explicit black-and-white english text.

Incorrect. What has actually happened here is that HO has demonstrated that even he can see the implication of the above fact in italics, that this is a possibility which cannot be excluded. HO jumps automatically to the elements of his nightmares from a religion he hates, rather than observing that it equally applies to all the other NCBs of myth whether they be fairies, ghosts, or Norse and Egyptian gods. But while this is where a person of tolerance would take the implications, HO prefers walk along hand in hand with the intolerance of fundie Xtians. Rather than simply acknowledging that such beliefs belong to the realm of the subjective (which one can have very good personal reasons to believe yourself but absolute no reasonable justification for expecting others to agree with you), he has convince you that it is only ok to believe as he believes about these things. ...kind of sad really...

Yes I am a man on a mission: logical coherence, consistency with science, and the ideals of a free society. These are what I push without hesitation, ready to blast all the ignorant, irrational, and intolerant ideologues who stand in my way -- whether they are theist, atheist, pantheist, polytheist, Deist, or animist hardly matters to me at all (and all the evidence of my posts on this forum support this claim 100%). Others are more interested in pushing their subjective fetishes as the one and only truth, refusing to accept the simple fact that subjective beliefs provide no reasonable expectation that others agree with them. Instead they hope that browbeating, dishonest rhetoric, and yelling accusations will provide justification for this instead. It fails.
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Re: survey of Non-Corporeal Beings

Postby mitchellmckain on April 28th, 2018, 4:14 am 

Two posts in a row... didn't catch the first post until now...

hyksos » April 27th, 2018, 5:04 pm wrote:
3. Any claim limiting reality to objective evidence alone cannot stand.

The point is that while there can be no expectation that others agree with your subjective evidence that NCBs do exist, the same must be said for any claim that they do not exist.


The claim, "NCBs do not exist and reality is limited to objective evidence" -- is the definition of Metaphysical Naturalism. You are attacking that position whether you like it or not, or whether you admit it out loud, or not.

Incorrect. The fact that you are coming to this conclusion based on my analysis only means that YOU are coming to this conclusion. I don't understand what is so difficult about simply making that observation without childishly turning it into an imagined accusation.

hyksos » April 27th, 2018, 5:04 pm wrote:Unfortunately, I'm not adopting Meta-Nat. But tilt at windmills if you must.

But.... it is pretty obvious that you only need to fabricate such a strawman as an excuse to indulge in your own strawman attacks.

hyksos » April 27th, 2018, 5:04 pm wrote:
But clearly the google definition would not work for this.

Because google is wrong. Everyone inside academia knows that Methodological Naturalism is not Metaphysical Naturalism. Metho-Nat is normally and universally associated with the scientist who does research in genetic molecular biology from Monday through Friday, but is found in the church pews on Sunday morning.

That is quite clearly not what google is saying.

Metaphysical naturalism, also called ontological naturalism, philosophical naturalism, and scientific materialism is a philosophical worldview, which holds that there is nothing but natural elements, principles, and relations of the kind studied by the natural sciences.


Methodological naturalism is a strategy for studying the world, by which scientists choose not to consider supernatural causes - even as a remote possibility. There are two main reasons for pursuing this strategy.


Since hyksos apparently cannot see the difference between these two (frankly a perceptual flaw we see showing up in his other responses), we shall elucidate the difference. The first is is actually making the claim that NCBs do not exist and the second is not. The second simply does not choose to consider this possibility in its study of the natural world. It is like the difference between atheism and agnosticism. But point here is not to grant authority to google for defining these terms but simply to show that explanation is needed because hyksos usage doesn't seem to fit. I even demonstrated how I myself use this term in a way which is different than google and thus explained how I was using the term "methodological naturalism." The hope was that hyksos would follow suit and do the same for his usage.... alas... it appears he is too busy with his holy crusade against those who dare to think differently than he does.

This failure to see this difference is reminiscent of the way he fails to see the difference between what I actually say and all the strawmen he chooses to replace my words with.

hyksos » April 27th, 2018, 5:04 pm wrote:
The majority of theists see the existence of the universe as an example of this.

So the God-thing authored the laws of physics, did the big bang, then washed his hands and went home. Never to be seen again. Fine with me. I'm up for that. But that God-thing does not count as an NCB at all, and that God-thing is not even remotely related to the vast majority of claims made by major religions.

Incorrect. This God-thing is also a non-corporeal being and that is exactly the claim made by the major religions. Christianity teaches that the creator God is spirit which is clearly distinguished as NOT physical. But perhaps we are the victim of a semantic trick on hyksos' part where non-corporeal means something different from what the rest of us mean by this. (the google definition of corporeal is "relating to a person's body, especially as opposed to their spirit.") In which case the burden is on him to define his terms.

hyksos » April 27th, 2018, 5:04 pm wrote: It is not good enough that he sits idle in a far away place, :existing:, while the laws of physics play out. He must interfere. He must be a ghost concerned with human affairs. Admit this.

Theists count the creation of the world as interference, but... whatever... there are plenty of other examples of interference also. Again the point is that it is not enough that there are effect of interference. There can be no objective evidence of the causal connection unless the MEANS by which the interference is made is also within the system of natural laws and mathematical relationships discovered by objective evidence.

hyksos » April 27th, 2018, 5:04 pm wrote:
That is only possible if the means by which they are caused are via the mathematical relationships discovered by the objective measurements of science otherwise they are just going to be seen as the coincidental effects of random quantum fluctuations.

I read over this eight times, and I simply cannot shake this feeling off. You are blatantly claiming that angels exist and they operate and interfere with the physical world through quantum fluctuations.

Ah... I wonder what is the source of these feelings which so overwhelm you, that you are no longer capable of rational discourse on the topic. In any case, it is hardly surprising that the conclusions you derive from feelings rather than logic are simply incorrect -- thinly veiled outright lies, actually.

NCBs are not a part of the mathematical relationships discovered by the objective measurements of science, for that is what I understand "corporeal" to mean. But then how can they interact with things which ARE a part of these mathematical relationships of space and time? There is only one possibility, for there is only one place where science has discovered a lack of causal closure in what it can calculate -- what you call quantum fluctuations. I am not claiming the Egyptian gods ever existed, but I do claim that science cannot rule out the possibility that they do or did exist outside the mathematical laws of nature and that they interacted with the world and the people in it via this one lack of casual closure in the mathematical laws of nature. The same goes for all the NCBs of all the other myths and religions.

The sad thing is that hyksos feels so threatened by this possibility that he may have to treat the people of the world with respect, that he is unable to simply move on with the logical implications. This is that quantum fluctuations is a VERY small window through which these NCBs, if they exist, can interact with the universe. Thus a LOT of claims CAN be rejected as inconsistent with the discoveries of science. For example, the old idea of people consisting of a non-physical mind, spirit or soul operating the body like some kind of puppet must be rejected as unworkable, i.e. incompatible with the objective evidence.

hyksos » April 27th, 2018, 5:04 pm wrote:Don't even try to play coy or dodge with more fancy wordplay.

Sorry, your nasty games of intolerance are not for me. And I certainly will not let your relabeling of tolerance as coy dodging and fancy wordplay browbeat me into sharing your disgusting habits.

hyksos » April 27th, 2018, 5:04 pm wrote:You are flat-out claiming this as a state-of-affairs in the universe. Man-up and admit it.

Incorrect. I certainly will not agree to your lies. Groveling to your browbeating and squeezing myself into your self-flattering daydreams is not what I would would call manning-up. Instead I will man-up and call out your lies for what they are. And then I will stand up for logical coherence, consistency with scientific discovery and the ideals of tolerance in a free society by discarding your excuses for the trash they really are.

The state of the universe is that there is no causal closure in scientific worldview. This means that while we can and should acknowledge that the objective evidence of science has the epistemological superiority over personal beliefs people have for whatever subjective reasons, it does not give licence or justification to intolerant ideologues to look down their noses at all the people in the world whether Wiccan, Maori, Aymara, Hindi, or Navaho as ignorant savages just because the beliefs of those people don't agree with their own worldview.
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Re: survey of Non-Corporeal Beings

Postby hyksos on April 28th, 2018, 5:25 pm 

Anybody can read this thread and see what you are really doing. I have not "lied" about a single thing. Not even once.

"NCBs cannot possibly exist because physical events are causally closed because the physical universe is causally closed."

I never stated this argument. I never adopted it. I never made an argument that relies on it. Not once. Ever in this entire thread. Everyone can easily read above and see this is the truth.. not a "lie".

Everyone can also read that it was you who breached the topic Causal Closure several times, and repeatedly posted long paragraphs to attack it.. repeatedly you have done so.

So tell us, MM, who are you talking to? Me? I never made these arguments. I never adopted them. You are burning a strawman. Everyone on this entire forum can scroll up and see you doing it.

These are all arguments that MM made all by himself without me leading him into them. I did not bring up causal closure of the physical, or breach the subject, nor did I rely on it in a sideways manner. I did not claim that "God does not exist and cannot exist because (insert reasons.)" Not anywhere in this thread did I do so.

At this point, I have no where to proceed with you other than to screen-capture your actual posts in this thread, and repost them again as images with the salient parts highlighted with neon orange circles.

  • mitchellmckain absolutely claimed that Non-Corporeal Beings interact with human beings through quantum indeterminacy.
  • mitchellmckain then doubled down on the claim by saying that if we ever found left-over circumstantial evidence of the non-corporeals doing this, then IN HIS WORDS : Those pesky good-for-nothin' scientists would dismiss the evidence as chance.
I invite all forum participants -- be they moderators -- be they new users -- be they old-time regular users -- to scroll up in this thread. Read what mitchellmckain has posted and see for yourself that he did indeed do all of these things, rather independently of anything I was talking about at the time.
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Re: survey of Non-Corporeal Beings

Postby Braininvat on April 29th, 2018, 9:43 am 

Any further personal attacks, based on the dispute in this thread, anywhere else on this website, will result in a ban. Move on.
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