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Personal experience is not a valid case for God not even to the person saying it

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  3. Personal experience is not a valid case for God not even to the person saying it

User Info: Fatestaykitchen

7 months ago#1
I've seen this put forward by kozio dude and it was put forward in my topic. I think it's an idea that's full of holes but I couldn't shoot it down because that's not what the topic was about so I thought I'd address it here.

The idea is that first hand experiences are the most reliable everything else is secondhand anecdote and some evidence can't be shared so it's perfectly valid to use firsthand experiences as evidence of God even if it doesn't reflect reality. He's probably gonna come in and correct me with nitpicks so I'll leave that to him. That's the gist

Let's just get the semantics out of the way. Depending on your definition if you can't share it, it isn't even evidence. The Merriam Webster one says 'an outward sign' . If you wanna base it off the court definition then definition it's just one evidence just one piece of information. You could probably find one to fit what you want. I don't care about semantics and I don't care what definition you use. I care about the ideas so the or kemp with the ideas...

1. It's an asinine point to even make. Such an account is limited in usefulness on its own. What are we supposed to do? We can't base anything on that alone(and neither can they) We have no choice but to disregard it if its stupid or it doesn't measure up otherwise we would literally have to believe everything everyone says and take it as solid evidence. Are we supposed to "respect" it and treat it like its a valid position if its dumb? It isn't. If I said I had firsthand experience that a bunch of dudes gave me the right to bang their wives do you think many would "respect" that? If I said I had first hand experience that God said I should be president do you think anyone would "respect" it? No. We would dismiss it not because it's "secondhand' but because it's just f***in stupid. Because there is no outward evidence of it. Because there is no reason for anyone to believe it. Also because 'f*** you'

This point only makes sense as a bit of thought trivia and barely even that . You can't do anything with it except provide a really terrible excuse for irrational belief.
Just a reminder that we live in a world where "twerk assault" can be said unironically

User Info: Fatestaykitchen

7 months ago#2
2. First hand experience arent the strongest but some of the weakest evidence. Yes it's true your own perceptions are the only thing you can possibly rely on for anything Thing is your perceptions aren't really the window into the reality around you but the way your mind interprets that. Everything you see is just a movie being shown by your mind that is hopefully based in perceptions. Humans can't even perceive most of the universe normally. Your perceptions will never be a 100% indicator of what's going on around you. If you were in a different "movie" than everything else around you you'd have no way if knowing. If everyone is in their own separate 'matrix' you'd have no way of knowing. But that would be the only thing you could rely on. But in this case even your perceived reality is faulty if it doesn't measure up to the rest of your own perceived reality at LEAST

There are tons of reasons to doubt your own experiences and perceptions in some cases. Humans are very malleable things and we're not as solid as we wish we were. Hallucinations exist, daydreaming, brain damage, simple bias, even memory is terribly faulty. People can be manipulated to believe things that never even came close to happen with surprising ease.

If you have a subjective experience and it's contradicted by the rest of reality the reasonable thing is to think you're wrong. I once had a very vivid dream of a full day. When I discussed it with others it turns out it was entirely a dream and that day never happened. I didn't turn around and say 'nah I only trust myself bruh' everyone here has had selective memory's sometimes too.

This is why scientists perform multiple experiments with different people at different times. They don't even trust what they see blindly. They want arrive at an objective truth or as close to it as possible. They want to remove their bias as much as possible.

It might be fine if you're doing something private like for instance I can't currently prove you didn't say have a dream about something. That's in your mind. If we had mind reading technology I would. But you can't prove that you had the dream either outside of very controlled circumstances. As soon as you start using it to make claims about the outside world especially foundational claims about the nature of the universe like religion is, it becomes, while not entirely invalid, just one thing to consider not the be all end all decider if you're even pretending to be rational. It's just one sample. Then you have to measure it against others or else it's worthless to everyone. Yes even you.
Just a reminder that we live in a world where "twerk assault" can be said unironically

User Info: Fatestaykitchen

7 months ago#3
3. The big one that's wrong with almost any religious claim is that even if it could be proven that you had a supernatural experience that's not enough to make the claim. This is actually one of my main issues with anyone who goes the 'omg my son was cured of cancer god exists!'

First of all you're often jumping to conclusions that its supernatural in the first place. That's almost always a faulty assumption no matter what "hand". Even if you think you're making a good case you're usually not. Not even to yourself. Bad arguments aren't suddenly good if you keep them to yourself

Second of all, even if it was actually supernatural it's just faulty reasoning to jump to 'all the claims of that religion are true'. 'I prayed and got what I wanted so that means earth in 7 days, talking snakes, illogical salvation scheme, born of a virgin the whole nine' is a ridiculous leap in logic and even worse argument. Even if you did it while praying to a specific God. Even if that God exists he and answered your prayers that doesn't mean everything else is true. 'Joseph smith is real therefore Mormonism is true'

Third you have no idea what that experience was. Let's say you pray for something and get it and it MUST have been prayer. How do you know the nature of what did that? What if you have superpowers that activate by some mechanism you dont understand? What if it's a spirit? What if it's a demon? What if it's a wizard? What if it's another God that just picks up the calls of any deity you pray to because he's cool like that? What if it's an alien? What if it's fate or karma? What if it's just a universe with ons of variables you csnt possibly account for?

You have no way of proving that, not even to yourself. What's that? The being told you who he was? What if he was lying? What if it's just some aliens f***ing with you? I can grant you all the magic you want. Even if Jesus was born from a virgin performed miracles and was raised in the third day. What if he's a vampire? What if he's a really powerful wizard?

You don't know that. Anything supernatural would be a question, not an answer. It's not a question for most people because they aren't thinking about this at all. They don't even care most of the time. It's just confirmation bias. It can be used to say that something supernatural is out there, IF even that and guess what? You gotta start measuring it against all the other s***. Because whether you realize it or not it's a claim a scientific claim even.

It's a claim about the nature of the universe that can and should be measured and observed. Even you are basing it off observations. If such things existed that would change our understanding of the universe. It's not just a private belief. There are very few truly private beliefs. Even the contents of your own mind aren't really going to be private for very long. Once we figure out exactly how thoughts work it's just going to be a matter of measurement.

So yeah. Those are my problems with this
Just a reminder that we live in a world where "twerk assault" can be said unironically

User Info: kozlo100

7 months ago#4
Fifteen hundred words is a lot to digest and respond to. I'll get to it if you give me a minute, but I feel like a tl;dr wouldn't go entirely amiss here if it's possible to condense your point a bit.

If you feel that's not possible, or not fair, that's cool too. In that case consider this response a 10-4 and I'll give it the attention it's due as soon as I'm able. Shouldn't be more than a couple of days on the outside. Just didn't want you to think I was ignoring this if it took me a bit to compile a response, I'm very interested and a response is forthcoming.
Time flies like the wind,
and fruit flies like a banana.

User Info: dhalsimrocks

7 months ago#5
I actually agree with the TC here, though I'll present my case in fewer words.

1 - Flaws in human perception are well known. The tendency to perceive things that aren't there is very and to experience feelings based on non-existent things common and occurs for a wide variety of reasons.

2 - Humans the world over, past and present, experience mutually exclusive gods and supernatural entities.

Regardless of the strength of one's experience, it is more rational to question one's own "supernatural" experiences with this information in mind. The probability that it is valid is not very high. The best anyone can say is "I might have experienced the supernatural".
May all your disgraces be private

User Info: YHWH_Saves

7 months ago#6
Personal experience is the ONLY form of evidence.

Religious or non-religious - most claimed "knowledge" does not take the form of observation. Most people base their lack of faith on scientific principles/arguments that have never been observed or experienced. Most people of faith base their religion on a God they've not experienced.

Both ways are spiritually/intellectually lazy, if you ask me.

God is accessible to all human beings. Most scientific experimentation is not.

I have observed God in a far more real way that most people have experienced hard scientific principles.

All of this is intentionally meandering, because it's a silly perspective.
"Man will not live off of bread alone, but by every word proceeding through the mouth of God." "You are not able to serve God and wealth.".

User Info: kozlo100

7 months ago#7
Ok, here we go.

To point 1, I think we need to clarify something about the different kinds of evidence and what they can be successfully used for. Basically there is the kind of evidence that I use to inform what I believe, and then there is the kind of evidence that I would use if I wanted to convince you to believe. When I talk about first hand evidence being stronger than other kinds, I'm talking about the former situation. It's almost useless in the latter situation because you can't really give someone first hand evidence, they have to have the experience for themselves. So no, I don't expect you to 'do' anything with anyone else's first hand evidence, except maybe acknowledge that they've told you they have it and told you it is compelling enough for them.

Point 2: Yes, perception is fallible. I know this. There are obviously things you can do to check that your perceptions are accurate, but one thing to remember here is that those checks also come to you filtered through your own perceptions. There comes a point where you have to trust your perception. But let's put a pin in that for now and get back to checking your perceptions.

Yes, one way to check your perceptions is to see if they conform to what others report about their own perceptions. That said other's perceptions are just as fallible as our own, and they may be reporting inaccurately as well. This method only really works well when there is a consensus in what people report perceiving, and in the case of religion, we do not have that consensus.

And then even when you do have consensus, it's perfectly possible that first-hand experience overrides it when the experience is clear and consistent enough. For example, if the whole world told you that the sky is green, and not in the sense that they're misusing 'green' to mean 'blue' but actually green as you understand it, I suspect most folks would go on believing the sky is blue. Interestingly enough, this isn't a hypothetical. There was a time when the whole world would've told you the sky is green.

Finally, we do know there are lots of other ways to check a perception is accurate. Consistency, repeatability, all that sort of thing. Religious folks, by and large, will tell you that they have done those things. They'll even point you at a large group of people that share their perceptions. If we have no evidence that they haven't done those checks, then why wouldn't we take them at their word and allow that they have just as much reason to trust their perceptions as we do to trust ours?

Point 3: To reiterate, the claim I'm talking about is "I believe X exists" not "X exists" Again, it's the difference between explaining why you yourself believe and convincing others to believe.

Beyond that, you're just going down a very solipsist kind of road there. The criticisms you raise can be applied to nearly any kind of experience, not just religious or supernatural ones. We technically don't know that our whole lives aren't just aliens f***ing with us, but at the end of the day we just need to make some decisions about what we do and don't believe and get on with it.

At some point, religious people can have enough of the right kind of first hand experiences that it ticks all the boxes to cross over into the 'things I believe category', even if they can't be totally sure aliens aren't f***ing with them.

By the way, if you want me to wrap all this up in a fun little hypothetical, I can run through a situation in which it's totally reasonable for me to believe in tiny pink talking dragons and also be totally unable to convince you to believe in them too.
Time flies like the wind,
and fruit flies like a banana.

User Info: 3127

7 months ago#8
Fatestaykitchen posted...
If you have a subjective experience and it's contradicted by the rest of reality the reasonable thing is to think you're wrong.

My own personal "experiences" or relationships involving gods, angels, archdemons, etc are not what I would call "right" or "wrong", perhaps because I can see what these forces are objectively... deified aspects of our own individual and collective human Nature (and at times aspects of nature and the universe as well), often times given form and voice in people's hearts and minds. And perhaps more. Sometimes gods are embraced and experienced for the sole purpose of worshipping those aspects... but often times it is done to personally develop and grow in the most prominent attributes of those gods, or angels, or archdemons, and to utilize those attributes in our experiences of life.

To allow a god to become a force in one's life does not require delusion or madness, or self deception. I understand the difference between subjective reality and objective reality, or as some would say, my "interior universe" and the "exterior universe". I utilize the forces experienced within that interior universe to help me live how I Will to live, be who I Will to be, and do what I Will to do. I utilize those forces to help me find strength, power, wisdom, and beauty wherever I Will, and to help me achieve my dreams and goals and ambitions. "Right" or "wrong", "true" or "untrue", etc... these are not words that apply here.

User Info: JoeyBowey

7 months ago#9
1st hand evidence is the greatest form of evidence to the observer. If you are relying on someone elses experience, then that becomes second hand.

User Info: LinkFanatic

7 months ago#10
The problem with personal experience is that it being convincing to the observer still doesn't make it valid, because we have bias when we have an agenda. Like it's one thing to disregard that bias in certain situations, but for something like a god, it's definitely not. This should be self-evident.
The first 2 forms of Cell flaunted his tail, like he's Ron Jeremy. But after he absorbed 18 his tail retracted and only seemed useful for reproducing. -Byron808
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