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Sensus divinatus cannot be confirmed or proven. I firmly believe we're subject to Tabula Rasa and that god is totally learned.

Also, it seems ironic that the wikipedia article talks about how the only way to use these senses is through benevolence when John Calvin caused a lot of pain and suffering in Switzerland during the reformation. Calvinism was unique in that they not only killed opposing reformists and catholics, but their own people.
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The last paragraph is an irrelevant ad hominem.

Is the sensus divinitatis subject to more or less scrutiny than any other purported sense?
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Yes, what sense is it? What experience does it bring? I can't say I've ever "felt" god's presence, other than that warm fuzzy feeling I ascribe to a lot of things. I get it better when I listen to classical music or watch an emotionally stirring movie. If we're going by warm fuzzies, Gladiator is my bible. Also, being a hypnotist, I can accurately describe the feeling I ascribed to God as self hypnosis, the frame of mind I was in is near identical to self hypnotic induction. I was raised an atheist, I "found God," I realised the sense of an active god seemed illusory and had counter explanations. Which leaves the only "sense of God" I can think of as "existential crises" and if a person having an existential crisis is to be trusted I'm unsure to what end this discussion will be.

PS. I'm not discrediting the theory that was revised later, just saying John Calvin clearly didn't have a "sense of God".
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It is the sense which is reported when the right medial temporal lobe is highly active, as experimentally noted in the case of transcranial magnetic stimulation studies or temporal epilepsy, which has for the whole of human history been a correlate with Saints or very religious individuals.

The feeling of sensus divinitatis is widely enough reported throughout cultures and well enough viewable in brain imaging to state with fair certainty that it exists. We can also state with certainty that it is not a feeling which all people experience. What we cannot say with certainty or uncertainty is if it is a sense, which responds to some outside stimuli, or an emotion, which is internally fueled.

I imagine to people who experience sensus divinitatis, the argument that it is a sense is overwhelming (like a man with smell explaining it to a man without it). To those who don't, the argument that it isn't is probably equally apparent (like a man without hallucinations listening to man with them).

Edit (in response to your PS): Such a sense is far removed from a sense of morality.
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Though my knowledge of the brain is limited, I was under the impression the Medial Temporal Lobe was involved in the formation and retention of memories. Would it be plausible to say it is a learned phenomenon, something you are more likely to experience given early teachings of God, committing the idea and concept of a god to memory and then, later, experiencing Sensus Divinatus?

Also, using "cross cultural experience of sensus divinatus" as a viable explanation would be countered by how early on in our development as a species a concept of the supernatural was developed. Given that it's not a far leap from "spirits" to "gods," and that some regional religions don't seem to focus on "gods" as we do, but more spirits, demons and supernatural forces, such as Far East Asian religions, it would not be a leap to say religion is a historic and cultural phenomenon with a traceable root.
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Religion in terms of specifics is a learned trait. If my family was agnostic then I doubt I would be Methodist simply because that isn't the way I learned. However it is possible to believe in god even when coming from an atheistic family. Believing or not believing is not a matter of how we were raised but how our brain is wired.
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I think it's a mixture of both, along with individual effort to discover the truth.
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Every person has to determine what he or she thinks is reasonable him or her self. Some people have access to different data than other people (I'm specifically referring to emotional and sense data, in particular the "holy spirit"). Some people have never felt the presence of a greater power, and some people think they have.

However, the more riders we put on an article of faith like "God exists," the less "reasonable" it becomes to believe it. If God is already unnecessary and unprovable, It becomes less "reasonable" to say that It manifests in a complex series of Gods with a complex, self-contradictory mythology. Every additional qualifier regarding the "identity" of God becomes less "reasonable," particularly when taken without evidence.

Edit in response to the above: In terms of this conversation, fictional and nonexistent are synonyms, because we are discussing nonfictional existence--existence as an idea but not as a reality is not important in this conversation, unless you or somebody uses that distinction in a related argument regarding the topic at hand. Otherwise the correction is just pedantic.


One of my points was reasonability can be irrelevant to actuality. Reasonability is based on a perception, which will never have all the data available to make complete decisions. Yet, we must rely on our reasoning because there is no better way to view reality that we can percieve, but in matters not dealing with our origin, it can be safe to assume.
The more riders we put on the less reasonable Gods existence becomes is correct, but reason can be irrelevant to judging god's existence if god is beyond all our understanding as much religious philosophy claims. Theoretically there can always be a philosophy for god that is not against reason as well.

Regarding fiction and non-existence. In terms of actuality fiction can not be nothing or we would not be able to think about it, because it would not be there to think about. "Non-Existence" is beyond comprehension, we can only think about the absence of as many things as we can comprehend. So, fiction exists as ideas. Ideas are real, but not in the physical or tangible sense. The Ontological viewpoint makes this well understood. Therefore god, must exist, yet the nature of gods existence might only be as an idea.
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Hunterr said:
E7 said:
Hunterr said:
If a deity exists, yes it is possible, but you don't need to assume there is. According to occam's razor, the logical hypothesis is the one with the fewest assumptions. even if there is/was a god, they wouldn't be necessary, and we have no way of proving their existence.


According to Occam's Razor yes, but that is only because perspective is limited to probability, while in actuality one could be true or false even with the assumptions. Because no evidence can be gathered for something does not mean it is non-existent. I would refer you to the Ontological viewpoint, and Descartes dream conjecture. If you are familiar with them then you know you can not prove that things like god, ghosts the devil and myths are non-existence, but you can logically conclude that the nature of their existence is fictional. The difference between most fiction and creation myths is that of a deity.


I am well versed in Descartes, do you know much on Hume and the skeptics? Skepticism is the position that true knowledge can never be obtained, and the only way we can "know" anything is by through the human experience. And if you cannot through empirical means deduce that God is real, or that we're brains in jars, or that everyone is a figment of your imagination, no matter how true it is, it's irrelevant, you can't come to that conclusion through sense data, or prove through any means that these are true and correct positions.


I am familiar with Hume and skepticism and you are correct, but it does not follow what we know through experience can be tainted by bias, illusion and many other things beyond our perception. "And if you cannot through empirical means deduce that God is real, or that we're brains in jars, or that everyone is a figment of your imagination, no matter how true it is, it's irrelevant, you can't come to that conclusion through sense data, or prove through any means that these are true and correct positions." Surely you see how faulty this is when you apply the concept of the afterlife. If god was real and we could not get data to support it, the afterlife could be real too. Then it would matter if god existed, whether or not there is empirical evidence. There are many unknowns that affected peoples lives in the dark ages that latter science came up with a reasonable solution for. They did not have the empirical evidence then, yet you say these things are irrelevant without it. It can take time to find it. The question then is when there is a possibility that things exist beyond our comprehension, can we find empirical evidence?
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Your position seems to be a lengthy version of Pascal's wager, that there might be an afterlife so we need God whether he's true or not. Even if it could be definitively proved that a soul exists for which to enter an afterlife, it wouldn't prove which afterlife was correct or how we must get there. How reliable is a bronze age myth perpetuated by cultural means for two thousand years?

You also mention that these dark age problems were later solved by science and we just need to give it some time. You seem to be making the reverse "God of the gaps" claim, where in stead of saying "God is the answer for things we don't understand," you're saying "God is the thing we don't understand but we'll prove it empirically one day." And also, there are many observable phenomena we have no data to confirm, that's when we make a "best guess" model with predictive capabilities, like the Big Bang theory. You know Newton's laws were proved wrong by Einstein's theory of relativity, things are flexible in science, and as we learn more and more, the concept of God and souls seems to be diminishing, not, as you seem to be implying, confirmed.
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Hunterr said:
Your position seems to be a lengthy version of Pascal's wager, that there might be an afterlife so we need God whether he's true or not. Even if it could be definitively proved that a soul exists for which to enter an afterlife, it wouldn't prove which afterlife was correct or how we must get there. How reliable is a bronze age myth perpetuated by cultural means for two thousand years?

You also mention that these dark age problems were later solved by science and we just need to give it some time. You seem to be making the reverse "God of the gaps" claim, where in stead of saying "God is the answer for things we don't understand," you're saying "God is the thing we don't understand but we'll prove it empirically one day." And also, there are many observable phenomena we have no data to confirm, that's when we make a "best guess" model with predictive capabilities, like the Big Bang theory. You know Newton's laws were proved wrong by Einstein's theory of relativity, things are flexible in science, and as we learn more and more, the concept of God and souls seems to be diminishing, not, as you seem to be implying, confirmed.


I never said we will ever prove god's existence. I only said that we can not exclude the fact that there may be things, god included that we will someday be able to gather evidence for, that we presently can not. I did not mean, "observable phenomenon" I meant there may be things, phenomena or not we can not observe or understand, but that does not mean they do not or will not affect us. It does not mean that they do either. You seem to be judging me rather than my point. My point is that it is logical to assume god is real and it is also logical to assume god is fiction (an idea of mankind). There are arguments that make sense for both. While there is no evidence for or against the existence of a divine being, it is simply a matter of whether you are skeptical or not. God can not be proven, nor can he not be proven. Reason and logic do not apply, because, one could easily say, god is the author of logic and there would be no way to disprove it. I am saying given time there may be ways of finding the answers, I will keep thinking and looking for the facts. "The concept of God" is a paradox, for if god is inconceivable, there is no concept of god. The concept and the reality are different. People's religions and perceptions of god will never be relevant, if god is as many claim inconceivable and beyond debate. While we can in action test other claims, we can not yet test or observe god, so the question then is, 'should a belief be considered wrong until proven right, or should a belief be considered right until proven wrong.' As a skeptic one would say a belief has no validity without proof and as a believer, one would say a belief has validity until there is proof against it. It is simply a matter of choice, people base their experiences on. You say that you have had no experience of the divine and remain skeptical, so I would not hold that against, but rather take note that you guard your mind. I do however believe in god, though I distrust religion and take an agnostic theistic point of view based on my experience and observations, however I realize that it is likely god does not exist for I think god is inconceivable and I can not say I know god, only that experience has led me to think there is. Since you seem curious as too what I believe, I will tell you. After many debates I think debating itself proves little beyond who can debate the best, and the truth remains. The only reason I debate is to hone my self expression and ability to use logic in action. I think nothing can be known and that even experience is not infallible. One must be content in being limited, and never knowing what they know, only that they know something.
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E7 said:
Ideas are real, but not in the physical or tangible sense. The Ontological viewpoint makes this well understood. Therefore god, must exist, yet the nature of gods existence might only be as an idea.

We are discussing the existence of God as a an entity, not the existence of God as an idea. It can be argued that God neither exists as an entity nor as an idea, but that is not the discussion at hand--ergo, in the context of this discussion, we can assume that "doesn't exist" is synonymous with "is fictional" unless otherwise clarified. The whole reason I pointed it out is because these discussions tend to get overly pedantic, and the distinction makes no difference on the discussion as is.
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I don't feel as smart because none of my replies are as long as hunter's or hydrogens.
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"Brevity is the soul of wit."
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Don't worry about reply length. With regard to forum posts, "long" does not necessarily mean "good".

Edit: Yeah, that too. ^
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In response to E7. I doubt to a high degree we will find evidence for a god. Being that god seems to be thought of in one of two forms, either as a being outside of the physical universe, therefore, by observing the known universe, we cannot find god ever. Or, as a being which is very involved in this universe to the point of breaking its laws, in which case the hypothesis has neither testability, replicability or predictive capabilities, meaning the scientific method fails in the identification of god, and it would take a universal miracle to totally and conclusively prove. You misunderstand skepticism. It's not that we haven't found god but will, it's that by definition, we cannot prove or observe a god. If it became possible to prove god, I'm sure all atheists would revoke their position, but it strikes me as unlikely we can prove the existence of an entity that exists outside of the only faculties we have for obtaining knowledge.

Don't worry about having big posts. Srsly, it's just time consuming when you get sucked in to a discussion. I could make a lengthy post, one that really drags on, talk about complex definitions and terminological nuances, ensuring that all readers are impressed with the length of both words and paragraphs, I could use endless streams of words flowing ever onwards in the form of complex arguments with multiple faculties or even just one in depth point that all thought must be poured into. I could drag out an argument to the point the message much surely reach through my opponent's mind, being certain they take the time to read and examine my argument.

By doing this I could seem imposing, intelligent, an intellectual giant, a phenomenon, a force to be reckoned with, a bountiful source of infinite wisdom, my chasmic sentences would render my opponents speechless, they would be forced to contemplate the certainty of their demise, watching their arguments crumble like an old statue.

I could even waffle, make it seem as though my minuscule, infinitesimally pointless argument had some measure of import by using words, the size of which would be measured in inches with amounts of repetition, and perhaps, just perhaps, I would use words like mayhaps, and drive these points home with cool features and flashy texts.

Or yaknow, you could write a fifteen word sentence that says the exact same thing.
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^I appreciate the irony of a long post, the majority of which is regarding the length of posts.

I want to have a quick overview of Skepticism (capital S, classically exemplified with Pyrrhonism as defined by the likes of Aenesidemus and Sextus Empiricus). I do this because it has implications regarding the direction of this conversation:

Skepticism is not a prefatory assumption of a null--or the assumption of falsity--prior to evidence. It is the suspension of belief in the face of equipollent concepts. It is aporetic.

A Skeptic would not say that something should be considered false until proven true; a Skeptic would say a thing could be, could not be, or could otherwise be. This (true) claim continues until both a state of being is proven and other states of being are disproven.

This is far removed from the role of "being skeptical," or having a dismissive or unbelieving predisposition, in discussions of God. Skepticism is a mechanism for inviting intellectual competition, while "being skeptical" is a mechanism for dismissing intellectual competition.

The very nature of having belief that there is a God is "skeptical" (in the way heretofore used by others), as is the very nature of assuming there is not God. Both sides are dismissively disbelieving. It is not accurate to say that atheists are more disbelieving than theists.

What the non-God stance does have is verifiable evidence for a system which does not require God, while believers in God have no evidence for a system which does need God. This means people like Young Earth Creationists are more disbelieving than typical atheists, who are not rejecting data but are simply refusing to validate unverified claims. Even famed antitheists like Richard Dawkins publicly offer to be changed in the face of evidence. Most YECs would not change their mind in the face of evidence, or their minds would be changed. Such beliefs reject by nature rather than circumstance, and offers no addendum for alteration.

The following is directed at E7 particularly:
God cannot be disproven or proven (in a way we recognize currently), as you say. But that does not mean that truth or "reasonable" belief is a matter of personal experience. If it is my personal experience that all dogs bite maliciously, that does not make this belief any more true. In the face of data which disproves this stance, my belief stops becoming reasonable as well. A "reasonable" assumption is an assumption which commands the most data and demands the fewest appeals to skewed data or non-data. By definition, this is an assumption derived from reason ("reasonable"). Is every reasonable assumption true in fact? No. But is a reasonable assumption more valuable than a non-reasonable assumption? By its very nature, it is. If making an exclusionary assumption or belief, we are best served by the most reasonable assumption. This is partly because the most reasonable assumptions (should always) leave the most room for alteration in the face of additional evidence.
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Can't the Bible and Evolution both be right?
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That depends on your interpretation of the Bible. Many Christians do not believe they are compatible. I would speculate that most people who recognize the legitimacy of evolution as fact see it as compatible with Christianity. Those who reject theism and are also evolution advocates--Dawkins being the most recognizable example--see theism as incompatible with reality, not necessarily with evolution. Most forms of creationism, however, are not compatible with evolution (or at least reject it by choice). Neither is Intelligent design.

As I've pointed out before, the idea that God works through the natural world to create His vision--the Teleological view--is a very old concept, and much more eloquently stated than modern "intelligent design," which as a theory confines God rather than elevating It.
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"But that does not mean that truth or "reasonable" belief is a matter of personal experience. If it is my personal experience that all dogs bite maliciously, that does not make this belief any more true. In the face of data which disproves this stance, my belief stops becoming reasonable as well." I never said truth is a matter of experience, instead I said it can be, but personal experience can be false because perception is not infallible. I understand your concern for technicalities and pedanticity. The reason I brought it up was in regards to the bringing the focus of the discussion to the actual nature of god's existence and whether it is fiction or not. As for the length of my post, I admit I am not "witty" and I am wordy, but my point remains even if it is something you already understand. The idea of god is irrelevant to the nature of the universe because in actuality god being the universal creator would be inconceivable and have little or no relation to our idea of god. I then ask what now is the focus of the discussion, as we already seem to have determined that evolution and creation are both possibilities beyond our evidence and debate.
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E7 said:
I then ask what now is the focus of the discussion, as we already seem to have determined that evolution and creation are both possibilities beyond our evidence and debate.
Evolution is not beyond evidence. Evolution is scientifically demonstrable and has been demonstrated.
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E7 said:
I then ask what now is the focus of the discussion, as we already seem to have determined that evolution and creation are both possibilities beyond our evidence and debate.
Evolution is not beyond evidence. Evolution is scientifically demonstrable and has been demonstrated.


Yeah, I meant that, but we have no argument. We are at an agreement.
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That depends on your interpretation of the Bible. Many Christians do not believe they are compatible. I would speculate that most people who recognize the legitimacy of evolution as fact see it as compatible with Christianity. Those who reject theism and are also evolution advocates--Dawkins being the most recognizable example--see theism as incompatible with reality, not necessarily with evolution. Most forms of creationism, however, are not compatible with evolution (or at least reject it by choice). Neither is Intelligent design.

As I've pointed out before, the idea that God works through the natural world to create His vision--the Teleological view--is a very old concept, and much more eloquently stated than modern "intelligent design," which as a theory confines God rather than elevating It.


I'm just saying that in the Bible, certain passages could lead both ways, if interpreted correctly. In Genesis, it says that the world and everything on it was created in 7 days, but that can't possibly be true according to science. It never says how much earth time is in God's day. It's only a day from God's point of view.

The order of animal creation in Genesis also coincides almost perfectly with the path of evolution. According to science, the first things to live were in the sea. They were all very little single-celled creatures, but they were in the waters. In the Bible, it says that God first created everything that moves in the oceans. Those were his first creations. It didn't say fish or whales first, but things that lived in the water.
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Yup, that's a pretty common view, but it should be noted that Genesis does not place creation in the order of evolution. In evolution, they would have come in approximately this order:

prokaryotes -> single-celled organisms with photosynthesis -> complex cells -> creatures of the water -> plants on land -> insects and seeds -> amphibians and reptiles -> mammals -> birds -> flowers -> humans

Genesis puts them in this order:
Seed-bearing plants and plants on land -> Creatures of the water and birds -> Insects, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals -> humans

With some creative interpretation, you could say that day six came in the proper order, because it all came in a day and most of life really goes unmentioned in the Bible. Day three is definitely off the mark, and it's hard to make the argument that day five refers to single-celled organisms when it says that he made "great creatures of the sea" (which is practically saying the whales came first). But, in a bind you could dump all of original single-celled life, early anthropods, and other sea-based evolution in this day, which gets the order fairly close.

It should be noted that the Bible also says that every creature of its type was made at the same time, so all the creatures in the sea were made before all the creatures of the land, but evolution is a continuous process, so this also can't possibly be true. We can get around this with some interpretive gymnastics by saying that all the creatures were set into motion, or all of their ancestors were created.

Also, according to the order of the days of creation, plants were created before the Sun, the Moon, and the stars. This is ridiculous, and is unquestionably false.
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Good point, but there is way more evidence of evolution then there is of just creation.
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The Forum > Philosophy & Religion > Evolution, Creationism, and Intelligent Design
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