Do you believe in God

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PeterTurland
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Re: Do you believe in God

Post by PeterTurland » Sat Jun 04, 2011 9:47 pm

Thousands of years ago Plato said we must separate emotion from logic, what we
now know about neurology tells us he was right.

The neuron either fires or it does not, representing the electrical side of
consciousness, it would not surprise me, if it were discovered that there were
Boolean algebra lurking with respect to inter-neuronal communications and
inner-neuronal communication, I hypothesise this is logic.

I came across a fascinating article in New Scientist a good few years ago.

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/peter.turl ... icle3.html

So we come to the other side of Plato's equation - emotion and this is the
side that bears more relationship to questions of religion.

Questions about god require that the term needs definition, if the term is
undefinable, it is unusable, if I am to understand what you really mean.

It has been discovered that some parts of the brain are really active during
'rapture'

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Do you believe in God

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Sun Jun 05, 2011 3:28 am

Martyn Jacobs wrote: Anyway - How the hell could anything possibly come into existence in the first place ???
If there is a 'default' state at the beginning, then how could it possibly come into existence on its own ???
If that argument is valid, it applies equally well to God, yesno?

PeterTurland
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Re: Do you believe in God

Post by PeterTurland » Sun Jun 05, 2011 10:10 am

Martyn Jacobs wrote:Hi
It appears that I have been 'provoked' into discussing philosophy - even though it doesn't usually get anywhere!!
PeterTurland wrote:Thousands of years ago Plato said we must separate emotion from logic, what we
now know about neurology tells us he was right.
This is very tautological,
Of course, using 'logic' to prove a logical idea about logic, doesn't really prove anything.
You're starting from the assumption that logic is correct, and using this to illustrate facts about the nature of logic itself, using that logic
(which you haven't proved is correct, because you can't without the assumption that logic is correct in the first place)

See!!

Also - If you wish to understand emotion, you must see things through the eyes of emotion, and not logic - This will give you a different perspective than what you get from using logic
To me, probably from years back, when programming was a hobby of mine, logic is Boolean algebra. When George Boole came up with his algebra one of his books had the title "An Investigation of the Laws of Thought on Which are Founded the Mathematical Theories of Logic and Probabilities" little did he know around 1854 that his mathematical discovery would form the basis of all computer programs. An ordinary household computer usually will wipe the floor, with any human being, I run a program called Stockfish that plays around 3200 ELO.

I have only just started my essay and today I will be working on a piece, on the religious/emotional side of consciousness.

Religion and logic do not sit easy with each other, which is why many people reject religion an worship football or money instead.

Simon Spivack
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Re: Do you believe in God

Post by Simon Spivack » Sun Jun 05, 2011 11:01 am

Martyn Jacobs wrote:Bobby Fischer, when he won the world championship and was sweeping all before him, was a very devout believer in god, and very religious.
Is Martyn seriously inviting readers to infer that Fischer's playing strength was related to his membership of the Worldwide Church of God? :lol: He was a very strong grandmaster long before 1962, when he became involved with that body.

I don't consider Fischer typical of chess players, even those at the highest level. The unusual behaviour he exhibited makes it easy to paint chess aficionados as compulsive obsessives, which is not true.
Martyn Jacobs wrote:Years later, when he had lost his belief, his chess had deteriorated terrifically
As I recall he gave up the Worldwide Church of God in 1978. Given he wasn't playing the game after 1972, at least not in public, how do we know the rate of decline of his playing strength?

A more rational explanation for the loss of playing strength at Sveti Stefan, as compared to Reykjavik, is the combination of lack of practice and ageing. Twenty years had passed.

Out of curiosity, is Martyn a Creationist?

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Rob Thompson
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Re: Do you believe in God

Post by Rob Thompson » Sun Jun 05, 2011 1:55 pm

Martyn, two questions.

1) Why should i believe in something there is no evidence for?
2) What arguments do you have for the existence of God that don't apply to the Viking Gods?
True glory lies in doing what deserves to be written; in writing what deserves to be read.

Nick Thomas
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Re: Do you believe in God

Post by Nick Thomas » Sun Jun 05, 2011 4:53 pm

Martyn Jacobs wrote:
IM Jack Rudd wrote:
Martyn Jacobs wrote: Anyway - How the hell could anything possibly come into existence in the first place ???
If there is a 'default' state at the beginning, then how could it possibly come into existence on its own ???
If that argument is valid, it applies equally well to God, yesno?
No - Two explanations -

By definition, god is omnipotent -
As I explained earlier, he can do 'anything'.
Any problem we have with his existence, or any logical fallacy, he can remove at a stroke with his omnipotence.

Also, another way of looking at it -
God is outside of our time - He is four dimensional.
For him, time is experienced as a spacial dimension.
Therefore, from this point of view, no time exists, and so no cause is needed.
This is the same 'frame of reference' as light - I.e. In the eternal present - hence the meaning of 'enlightened'.
In the eternal present, anything is possible, because it is paradoxical -('One instant', or 'eternity')
It transcends our duality - The two opposites combine together as one whole (holy)
Wow Martyn you seem to know an awful lot about God :o

PeterTurland
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Re: Do you believe in God

Post by PeterTurland » Sun Jun 05, 2011 8:06 pm

When people had committed suicide, after an autopsy it was discovered that they usually had lowered levels of a neurotransmitter called serotonin. This discovery led to the invention of prozac. Basically the brain has billions of neurons connected by trillions of glial cells with the whole assemblage floating in a chemical sea called cerebral fluid.

There have been discovered many neurotransmitters and probably there are more to be discovered, some that I know of are ananamide, oxytocin, dopamine, GABA, serotonin and many more that Google will tell you about.

What Google will not tell you however, is that neurotransmitters seems to me to be in reality what our emotions are. I remember reading somewhere or other that researchers measured dopamine levels of football supporters before and after the game and the supporters of the winning team had raised levels.

Another very peculiar discovery was that gamblers had raised levels of dopamine after gambling whether they won or lost.

Before I go any further, perhaps some explanation is in order, of why I am going on about such things. I left school at 15 and went into the merchant navy, so don't really have any formal qualifications. I am driven by a relentless curiosity. I suppose I am writing such things because of my desire to share the results of many years of study.

The original question 'Do you believe in God?' for me is a kind of non answerable question, because of how can I say whether I believe in a term that I cannot define?

One of the most famous statements in philosophy is Descartes 'Cogito ergo sum' whereas in the light of current knowledge this should read 'Sentio ergo sum' I feel therefore I am.

I do not think there is a difference between 'thinking' and 'calculating' so it could be said that my PC is thinking when it plays chess, the difference being, that it does not know it is playing chess, my PC has no sense of self.

The thing is about emotion, it is what motivates behaviour, there is good evidence that the people who built the pyramids were not slaves but built them from a religious motivation.

Sometimes religion is the lesser of two evils, I always used to perceive Mike Tyson as being not a very nice person, you know biting someone's ear off, during the noble art of pugilism is not the behaviour of a gentleman.

I happened upon a TV program a while back about Tyson and his hobby of pigeon racing, and he came across as quite a nice bloke, the difference being he had become a Moslem.

In a practical sense 'religion' is a collectivised emotional language full of do's and don'ts. Sometimes believe it or not, some of them make sense.

I first came across a sort of religion by accident, never having been raised in a religious culture.

I was driving a very nice truck, a twin steer Merc that I had driven over a quarter of a million miles in and I had a big row with the boss and walked out. After a couple of weeks I slunk back, but by that time the gaffer had given my beautiful Merc to someone else to drive.

So I ended up with this old Merc and here it gets weird, the Merc had an old radio which did not have FM, so it was either long wave or medium wave. Ever since I started driving in the winter of '76 the year of the long drought, I had discovered that I liked radio 4 big time, mainly because it gave me lots of food for thought, current affairs, science, natural history, you name it, even 'woman's hour' learned stuff from that also and a play in the afternoon. For me radio 4, made the loneliness of a long distance truck driver bearable.

At 9:45 every weekday morning, radio 4 had a service only on long wave, obviously in the previous truck I would have the radio tuned to FM so instead of the morning service I would listen to Book of the week.

In the lorry with only LW and MW it was either silence, inane chatter and music, or the service, for ages and ages I chose silence because I really missed Book of the week, but after a while I did not turn it off I just used to turn it down, I think it was the music that got to me first, the choir on the morning service were awesome, there was one particular preacher that I really liked Colin Semper, well the upshot was I ended up looking forward to the morning service, not that I converted to Christianity or anything, just changed my mind to the nature of religion, I came to see it as a kind of philosophical art form and found it sometimes more than a bit moving.

A creator of magnificent cathedrals, sublime music and a massive hand on the tiller of history.

Truly not a matter of belief or non belief, but a fountain of emotion.

When you ask people if life is a game or a story? Many will answer that life is a game and by that they don't mean a game of chess, they tend to mean a game of status acquisition. This process is making our planet ill. One of the lovely things about religion is it is chock full of stories redolent with metaphors.

Max Weber said to be the father of sociology, nailed it when he made the observation that Protestant Christianity and capitalism go hand in hand.

I caught an early morning program on the world service a little while ago and apparently China is busy promoting protestantism on the quiet amongst its people, Chairman Mao must be turning in his grave.

The man largely responsible for the removal of the 'iron curtain' Gorbachev is actually a Christian.

Looking at consciousness in terms of mathematics, a hypothesis I like is, that logic is to the left of the decimal point and emotion is to the right of the decimal point. Because of the differing amounts of different neurotransmitters in our cerebral fluid means they can be expressed as ratios, it is another hypothesis of mine that the reason music touches us is because chords and notes mimic these ratios.

Nick Thomas
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Re: Do you believe in God

Post by Nick Thomas » Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:18 am

Martyn Jacobs wrote:
Nick Thomas wrote: Wow Martyn you seem to know an awful lot about God :o
I tend to feel that sarcastic put-downs are not the way forward as regards honest debate.
It sort of indicates a lack of wanting to empathise with where someone else is coming from, and also a lack of patience with views other than one's own.

I tend to feel that more might be gained by a slightly deeper interaction where the relevant issues are acknowledged and honestly responded to
It's very easy to misinterpret short posts (or long ones) on a forum and you appear to have done that here. I'll try to make myself clearer.
Wow Martyn I'm very shocked at how sure you seem to be about the nature of your god. How did you come to your conclusions about the specifics? I'm also interested in your previous statement:
As for believing in god -
There is no possible way to prove in the non-existence of god.
Remember that he is by definition, omnipotent.
He can do anything! No limits!

So any possible argument against god, could be removed just like that!
You cannot hope to show that he doesn't exist - especially using logic.
He created the laws of logic, and he can override them any time he wants!!
It also surprises me that you appear to apportion weight to the fact that the non existence of god is not provable. Well of course the onus of proof is on the believer. There are an infinite number of things (or non things if you like) that don't exist and one tends not to believe in them by default until one is convinced to change ones stance. I have no proof that the tooth fairy or Father Christmas, flying hippos, the loch ness monster, spoon bending using mind control, the old Roman and Greek gods exist but my inability to disprove them doesn't make them any more likely.
As for the "omnipotent", "no limits", "he can override them" stuff I suppose I could start a debate on the omnipotence paradox, the nature of an omnipotent god and evil or occam's razor. Since the universes appears to work very well without these beliefs I will limit myself to asking "where is your proof" :?:

Simon Spivack
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Re: Do you believe in God

Post by Simon Spivack » Mon Jun 06, 2011 10:01 am

Further to what Nick has written, even if one accepts Martyn's apparent contention that he was being laughed at, I quite fail to see what is dishonest in that. Quite the opposite, in fact, if undiplomatic. Many find the epistemology behind "we do not understand, ergo He exists" funny.

In a debate many consider it good form to acknowledge errors, or to try to demonstrate that there was no error. This is something Martyn has failed to do, at least up until now.

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Gavin Strachan
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Re: Do you believe in God

Post by Gavin Strachan » Tue Jun 07, 2011 11:37 am

Probably best strategy to believe in God as then you have a chance for going to heaven, whilst if you don't then you just become space matter.

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Re: Do you believe in God

Post by Alex Holowczak » Tue Jun 07, 2011 12:09 pm

Gavin Strachan wrote:Probably best strategy to believe in God as then you have a chance for going to heaven, whilst if you don't then you just become space matter.
I believe this is called Pascal's Wager. The arguments against it are:
(1) You end up faking your belief, which isn't true belief, and thus pointless.
(2) You end up believing in the wrong God, and thus you remove the mathematical advantage of choosing one religion.
(3) Who's to say that being an Atheist will get you into the after-life, and being religious doesn't? There's no evidence either way.

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Re: Do you believe in God

Post by Alex Holowczak » Tue Jun 07, 2011 12:41 pm

Martyn Jacobs wrote:I find it difficult to put it into words, and it is hard to fathom out completely what is going on, from our present limited human awareness.
Sorry, are you talking about spiritual beliefs or ECF Council meetings? :wink:

Simon Spivack
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Re: Do you believe in God

Post by Simon Spivack » Tue Jun 07, 2011 1:36 pm

Martyn Jacobs wrote:Hi! I'm afraid that you seem to have interpreted what I said sllightly innacurately and stated as fact, something that I didn't actually say!
At no time did I call Nick dishonest.
I did say though that his reaction (in my opinion) tended to stifle honest debate.
A good rule of thumb is to attempt to cut out as many adjectives as possible, or to be very careful when bringing them into play. Martyn wrote: "... not the way forward as regards honest debate". The noun "debate" was qualified by the adjective "honest". He could have preferred "... not the way to further the debate". The use of "honest" manifestly foists on the reader the notion that not all the opinions expressed are sincere. Note, too, Martyn's subsequent "... honestly responded to". In polite company, one ought to take it for granted that one's interlocutors are essentially honest, unless their infelicities are too untruthful to ignore.

Everybody tells porkies at some stage or other. I'd only consider an individual dishonest should the deceptions be frequent, destructive and needless, for instance in a bad cause. Thus not only do I accept that Martyn did not call Nick dishonest, but I never even said that Martyn had.

If Martyn had indicated that he did not want to participate in a discussion in which he was being made fun of, then I could accept his point. Note, though, that Nick has clarified that his post was not intended to be ad hominem.
Martyn Jacobs wrote:
Simon Spivack wrote:Is Martyn seriously inviting readers to infer that Fischer's playing strength was related to his membership of the Worldwide Church of God?
You seem to give the impression that you think the connection is ridiculous.
I'm not however coming from a position of dogma.
I'm simply drawing attention to a correlation, without judging whether it is relevant.
Anyone who takes the trouble to read the previous posts will recall that only Martyn has stated that there was a correlation between Fischer's membership of the Worldwide Church of God and his playing strength. He also stated that Fischer's playing strength "deteriorated terrifically" sometime around 1978, when the American left the Church. There is no evidence for this, which is unsurprising given it is balderdash, as I have already demonstrated.
Martyn Jacobs wrote:At worst, it's a lighthearted or amusing observation!
No, at best it is a joke.

Robert Dale
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Re: Do you believe in God

Post by Robert Dale » Tue Jun 07, 2011 5:27 pm

I have read that there is a disproprtionate number of Jewish people amongst top chessplayers. Has that been statistically proven, and if so, any offers on the reasons? Culture? Genetics? I have heard it suggested that the Jewish method of studying the Torah (meticulous analysis, examining every word) is very "chess-like". Any takers for that theory?

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Do you believe in God

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Tue Jun 07, 2011 5:53 pm

Robert Dale wrote:I have read that there is a disproprtionate number of Jewish people amongst top chessplayers. Has that been statistically proven, and if so, any offers on the reasons? Culture? Genetics? I have heard it suggested that the Jewish method of studying the Torah (meticulous analysis, examining every word) is very "chess-like". Any takers for that theory?
It's an interesting theory, and one which would be worth studying. Another plausible theory is that chess has developed during eras where anti-Semitism has been common, which might make it harder for Jewish people to make it in other fields - and thus encourage them to try to make their name in chess.

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