Oh I’ll play along. Who knows, you might get somewhere smile emoticon I don’t mind the game; but what impressed me is that you didn’t start with it.
So let’s see, how should I answer – I don’t like giving the same answers; I approach it fresh every time; helps my creative thinking processes.
So you’re asking the question “Do you believe any gods exist?”
It gets tricky from the start. I accept terms for their metaphorical content, which often depends on which metaphor is being utilized.
Terms like god is a metaphorical equivalent to a number of other terms, and is used in many different contexts. So, I need more information from you.
Ah, I like that qualification. “I believe the scientific pantheist’s god exists”. Thank you.
I personally hesitate to use the term god for a number of reasons. It depends upon context. This particular context typically leads to a four square categorization of one’s belief system – I don’t remember them offhand.. something like gnostic theist, agnostic atheist, agnostic theist and gnostic atheist…
…something like that? I forget.
So in this context, I am extra careful because of the binary pathways of the question set.
But, if someone was to say to me, “Pray with me” and that involved me saying “God”, I can. In that context, I know there is a psychological benefit for the individual in question, it’s nice quiet time, and because there’s _so much_ we don’t know about the Universe still, I can’t say for certain that there aren’t yet unseen reprecussions due to the prayer.
I am also a fan of embodied cognition, which muddies the answers a bit as well.
One of the questions is often whether or not I believe in supernatural external entities … something like that.
And – that’s where the embodied cognition makes it difficult to answer. Now do I believe there is “super natural”? No. I believe it’s all natural. BUT: There may be things that are natural that we don’t currently recognize as such.
In embodied cognition for example, you are incorporated into my world. You are a part of my environment, through the computer, the internet, even possibly across Time delays (that’s my own spin which is off topic right now).
That also means that I am a part of your environment at present.
Being a part of each others environment means there’s really no “external” agents possible because of the connectedness that is pre-existing.
Ok. Hypothetical. Let’s go into the dreamworld of theoretical physics, also known as science fiction with math.
Superimposed dimension. Just a tiny bit ‘off’, currently outside of range of our objective instrumentation.
Do I believe in a superimposed dimension? No.
Could it exist? Yes.
Could there be natural connections between people that are physical connections that are undetectable currently; connections that better explain social phenomenon that would show up on future instruments?
Yes. I hope there is.
Yes. Precedence. Since before Maxwell, new forces have been discovered. I see no logical reason why we have reached “the end” of that discovery process. There’s too much that is unexplained or explained poorly.
Also, cockiness. That’s a very strong certainty. At the end of the 19th century, many prominent scientists declared that this was the end of the discovery process. We knew all there is to be known, the rest is just the details.
Then Einstein blasts on the scene.
Then Feynman blasts on the scene.
I expect there are people being born today that will discover things we can’t imagine at present.
If we have reached THE END of the scientific discovery process in 2015, then our future is bleak indeed.
I am more skeptical about absolute certainty than I am about belief.
Help me then. Define belief because I might be using the wrong synonym here.
Ah, the “accepting someone’s word without evidence” argument.
I believe you could.
I believe this:
If you say you have a green pocket knife, you might be lying or telling the truth.
If you don’t say either way, I cannot give an answer.
Even if you show me, I cannot be certain.
It does not matter whether I believe you have a green pocket knife.
If this is a financial transaction, I will need to see papers to confirm your ownership.
But I do not care about your ownership of a green pocket knife.
It is a thought experiment designed to expose to me my own reasoning processes to myself to lead me down a garden path that leads me to a conclusion that I must accept. Same tactic used by documentary films and Jehovah’s Witnesses.
This is what is true.
Your beliefs are yours. If your beliefs infringe upon mine, then I will address those areas of concern specifically.
I’ll tell you what I believe in.
Systems and Metaphors, what’s theoretically inspiring and what is pragmatic.