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cuchulain

Does the human soul exist?

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1 hour ago, hesedlove said:

I attened a very good lecture several years ago where an expert on this matter (who was also a university lecturer on mechnics), delivered a first-rate lecture destroying the theory of evolution.  According to him at the univeristy where he worked  some lecturers had also given up on the "theory" of evolution, (which it is) yet were still teaching it even though they no longer believed it.  That's not an atitude but a fact.  I have bought several books since then which confirmed this view among some scientists - but I didi not say all.  But it reminds me of what either David Hume or Kant said: just because a ball bounces the same way a hundred times out of a hundred doesn't mean it  will bounce that way the next time.  I take this to mean that while something appears to confirm something  it does not make it right.  The sun rose this morning but will it rise tomorrow?  Maybe but no-one can be sure.  I am not an expert but I have read widely and know what I believe. It is not for me to convince you one way or the other.  That's my last word on the subject.       

I am not sure I understand your position on this. There are experts on both sides of the fence so to speak, regarding evolution. I am Christian, yet believe the contrast between evolution and the Bible is not a deficiency in either, but  the inability of us in our limited understanding to reconcile the two.

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17 hours ago, Key said:

But here is where the interesting part comes...what one person may understand, may not be what another does. Comprehension differs from one person to the next. This is why exploring continues, because someone still learns something.

So, while it's still true we can't understand everything, we still strive to try, because there is value in it for some people, and that may ultimately be a benefit for all. Look how technology has advanced so greatly, simply because a few made discoveries that enrich us all in some way.

Even as far as spiritual or religious experience can and has changed over the ages. Comprehension and perspective enlightens, but still not everyone gets it. You know what I mean?

 

This is true.  Two people who don't believe in God, may be rejecting very different ideas of God.  

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On 8/1/2017 at 7:57 AM, cuchulain said:

The dictionary has no problem at all defining soul.  I don't know why the big hoopla?  Soul:  the spiritual or immaterial part of a human being or animal, regarded as being immortal.

Now with that as a working definition, and it's in the dictionary...I don't see a way to measure something immaterial.  But simply because I do not does not mean it is immeasurable, or unprovable.  I simply at this time don't believe in the soul because I haven't seen the evidence as yet. 

The dictionary has no problem defining God, either.  God:  (In Christianity and other monotheistic religions)  the creator and ruler of the universe and source of all moral authority;  the supreme being.  (in certain other religions)  a superhuman being worshipped as having power over nature or human fortunes.

I cannot understand why some things are claimed as undefinable when I can google a definition within seconds.  I get that some religions alter those definitions to suit, but for purposes of study and scrutiny it makes sense to me to use the most common definitions available, hence the dictionary.  Am I mistaken?

 

There isn't any nuance or detail in those dictionary definitions though.  No discussion about the various omni-qualities that go along with a monotheistic god but don't represent polytheistic gods.  No discussion about deities having "superhuman" descriptions in myth, but not all religions have taken these mythic or poetic descriptions literally.  You can't fit these kinds of theological discussions, including major differences in the way religions define what a god is, into one or two oversimplified lines in a dictionary.

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21 hours ago, Key said:

But here is where the interesting part comes...what one person may understand, may not be what another does. Comprehension differs from one person to the next. This is why exploring continues, because someone still learns something.

So, while it's still true we can't understand everything, we still strive to try, because there is value in it for some people, and that may ultimately be a benefit for all. Look how technology has advanced so greatly, simply because a few made discoveries that enrich us all in some way.

Even as far as spiritual or religious experience can and has changed over the ages. Comprehension and perspective enlightens, but still not everyone gets it. You know what I mean?

Understanding may be different, that is mere perception though.  A rose is a rose, whether we call it a tuna fish sandwich or not.  It may be true that not everyone gets it, that people view things differently.  I simply fear the argument that it is unknowable.  That argument can lead to much harm if followed through, I believe.  But, those are merely my perceptions.

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23 hours ago, cuchulain said:

Then for simplicities sake, let's use the dictionary definition. 

But it isn't simple.

 

If the dictionary definition of a soul is not accurate, and that is the only definition you know....

If I ask for proof that a Quark is real, a friendly physicist may have seen proof, but his ability to explain that proof to me is hamstrung by the fact that I have no real clue what a Quark actually is. If he isn't willing to go through the trouble of trying to teach me a post grad level class in modern sub-atomic theory, he has no real motive to broach the subject.

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How do we define anything?  We come to a consensus about it's meaning.  How do we come to a consensus about it's meaning?  It gets discussed, it gets considered, and when a definition is agreed upon it is added to the dictionary.( merriam-webster.com/help/faq-words-into-dictionary )

So...the dictionaries definition is accurate(in terms of the definition of the word accurate).  It is other people's definition which might be flawed.  They should be willing to conform their definition to the standard of a dictionary, in my opinion.  But that is their own choice. 

To me it seems simple.  To you perhaps it does not, or maybe you are simply debating for the sake of testing my theories?  Or some other reason.  I understand that. 

To debate something, we need a working definition of that something, in this case Soul.  Now, I could use my definition, and you could yours.  They might not match.  How to make sure they match?  Use an outside, relatively arbitrary source, such as in a dictionary.  If the one or both people absolutely refuse to conform their definition, then they have no basis for a debate as to the existence of the soul.  They are each debating a different thing.  And that means the debate is pointless.  In order to have a point, they must agree on a definition of the term they are debating.  Otherwise it's comparing apples and oranges, so to speak.

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35 minutes ago, cuchulain said:

How do we define anything?  We come to a consensus about it's meaning.  How do we come to a consensus about it's meaning?  It gets discussed, it gets considered, and when a definition is agreed upon it is added to the dictionary.( merriam-webster.com/help/faq-words-into-dictionary )

So...the dictionaries definition is accurate(in terms of the definition of the word accurate).  It is other people's definition which might be flawed.  They should be willing to conform their definition to the standard of a dictionary, in my opinion.  But that is their own choice. 

To me it seems simple.  To you perhaps it does not, or maybe you are simply debating for the sake of testing my theories?  Or some other reason.  I understand that. 

To debate something, we need a working definition of that something, in this case Soul.  Now, I could use my definition, and you could yours.  They might not match.  How to make sure they match?  Use an outside, relatively arbitrary source, such as in a dictionary.  If the one or both people absolutely refuse to conform their definition, then they have no basis for a debate as to the existence of the soul.  They are each debating a different thing.  And that means the debate is pointless.  In order to have a point, they must agree on a definition of the term they are debating.  Otherwise it's comparing apples and oranges, so to speak.

 

 

So very true.  Often, the things we don't believe in are different things.  

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1 hour ago, cuchulain said:

How do we define anything?  We come to a consensus about it's meaning.  How do we come to a consensus about it's meaning?  It gets discussed, it gets considered, and when a definition is agreed upon it is added to the dictionary.( merriam-webster.com/help/faq-words-into-dictionary )

That isn't quite how it works. Dictionary definitions function as snapshots of aggregate word usage within a given set of publications during a given time period. They do not represent consensus so much as trends in what is fashionable at publishing houses. Because of this, they can lag years, or even decades, behind the general, conversational-level trends that more closely represent actual consensus. The interwebs are helping with this, of course, as publishing becomes more and more decentralized....

https://www.merriam-webster.com/help/faq-words-into-dictionary

Edited by mererdog
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1 hour ago, cuchulain said:

In order to have a point, they must agree on a definition of the term they are debating.  Otherwise it's comparing apples and oranges, so to speak.

Apples and oranges are easy to compare. They are both fruit. They are both tasty. Neither makes a good pickaxe.

We do not have to agree on definitions to avoid semantic disagreements. We simply have to understand each other's definitions.

To me, the key point is that I cannot control how you define things. I can't force you to accept my preferred definition of "soul."

I can tell you how I define things, so that you can use that information to better understand me. I can try to understand how you define things and use that information to more accurately weigh your arguments. That's really all I can do, right?

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1 hour ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

So very true.  Often, the things we don't believe in are different things. 

I have had a few interesting conversations about love with an extremely jaded friend of mine. To me, his conception of love is completely alien to mine but, no matter how hard I try, I can't get him to see these distinctions between our definitions, regardless of how obvious they seem to me. 

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6 hours ago, mererdog said:

I have had a few interesting conversations about love with an extremely jaded friend of mine. To me, his conception of love is completely alien to mine but, no matter how hard I try, I can't get him to see these distinctions between our definitions, regardless of how obvious they seem to me. 

 

Not everyone has your ability to sift out fine points.  Your subtleties can be difficult to follow.  

 

It is common, I think, for Atheists to not believe in different gods.  Love represents the same kind of problem.  If two people are working with different concepts of love, they can agree that love doesn't exist -- without being in agreement at all.  

 

:D 

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9 hours ago, cuchulain said:

How do we define anything?  We come to a consensus about it's meaning.  How do we come to a consensus about it's meaning?  It gets discussed, it gets considered, and when a definition is agreed upon it is added to the dictionary.( merriam-webster.com/help/faq-words-into-dictionary )

So...the dictionaries definition is accurate(in terms of the definition of the word accurate).  It is other people's definition which might be flawed.  They should be willing to conform their definition to the standard of a dictionary, in my opinion.  But that is their own choice. 

To me it seems simple.  To you perhaps it does not, or maybe you are simply debating for the sake of testing my theories?  Or some other reason.  I understand that. 

To debate something, we need a working definition of that something, in this case Soul.  Now, I could use my definition, and you could yours.  They might not match.  How to make sure they match?  Use an outside, relatively arbitrary source, such as in a dictionary.  If the one or both people absolutely refuse to conform their definition, then they have no basis for a debate as to the existence of the soul.  They are each debating a different thing.  And that means the debate is pointless.  In order to have a point, they must agree on a definition of the term they are debating.  Otherwise it's comparing apples and oranges, so to speak.

 

 

Part of the problem is cultural imposition.  I'm sure you have seen dictionary definitions of Atheism, that were so offensive, you didn't know how to respond.  

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On 8/3/2017 at 3:40 PM, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

 If two people are working with different concepts of love, they can agree that love doesn't exist -- without being in agreement at all.  

There are many paths up the mountain. There's also more than one mountain.

And a beach.

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On ‎8‎/‎3‎/‎2017 at 10:34 AM, mererdog said:

Apples and oranges are easy to compare. They are both fruit. They are both tasty. Neither makes a good pickaxe.

We do not have to agree on definitions to avoid semantic disagreements. We simply have to understand each other's definitions.

To me, the key point is that I cannot control how you define things. I can't force you to accept my preferred definition of "soul."

I can tell you how I define things, so that you can use that information to better understand me. I can try to understand how you define things and use that information to more accurately weigh your arguments. That's really all I can do, right?

Case in point:  we disagree about this, because of differing definition.

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On 6/8/2017 at 6:18 PM, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

Skeptic is a problem word.  One of the worst.  If your goal is to avoid offending people, I would find something different.  

Skeptic denotes doubt. That isn't the problem.  The problem is in realizing if the person in question is a hard skeptic or a soft one. A hard skeptic won't try to understand and generally doesn't care what anyone else thinks or how they come to a conclusion. They just consider the other person wrong and won't budge. A soft skeptic will at least try to understand. Some actually do become believers with the right information and a bit of research.

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18 hours ago, cuchulain said:

Case in point:  we disagree about this, because of differing definition.

That's only part of what he's saying. If you each explain your definition so you each know where the other is coming from, you might actually realize you both agree with the idea in question but are getting too caught up in the words used to realize it. Been there, done that, usually just takes a little more discussion and a willingness to understand in order to clear it up.

Edited by AmberLF

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The discussion has become about definitions, and how they differ, and how that difference can lead to misunderstandings.  Case in point. I say that it's like comparing apples and oranges.  I mean it in the terms of the phrase... idioms.thefreedictionary.com/compare+apples+and+oranges  :  to examine the similarities of things that are completely different.  Usage note:  Usually used to explain that two things cannot be compared.

I think mererdog misused the phrase, or misunderstood it at the least, or deliberately altered it's common usage to make a point.  He used it as an actual comparison of fruit, instead of the common usage. 

So when I say case in point, we disagree about this because of differing definition, it's because he just exemplified my point that we are debated two separate things with the same words, and getting no where as a result. 

You are quite right that we could discuss the differences and come to an understanding.  mererdog appears to me to be a very able person in communications terms, at least so far as explaining himself.  I believe myself capable of altering my definition...but if you read up a ways, we were discussing the difficulty of defining the soul if everyone used different definitions and I suggested as a compromise to use an arbitrary source such as a dictionary...and then we are right back where we started. 

There are several topics that people are simply not willing to concede any points on, which makes defining the subject of discussion difficult.  Christians would most likely define the soul differently than an Atheist, who would define it differently than a Wiccan, and they each might insist that theirs is the correct definition.  In a case like that, we can either agree to an arbitrary source, change our own definition to match someone else's, or understand that the debate will not progress.  Maybe there are other options, but I don't see them. 

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7 hours ago, AmberLF said:

Skeptic denotes doubt. That isn't the problem.  The problem is in realizing if the person in question is a hard skeptic or a soft one. A hard skeptic won't try to understand and generally doesn't care what anyone else thinks or how they come to a conclusion. They just consider the other person wrong and won't budge. A soft skeptic will at least try to understand. Some actually do become believers with the right information and a bit of research.

 

What you call a hard skeptic is what I call a true believer.  Or a true disbeliever.   Same difference.  Yes.  They can be irritating.  Sometimes, they stink of piety.  

 

:D   

 

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5 hours ago, cuchulain said:

The discussion has become about definitions, and how they differ, and how that difference can lead to misunderstandings.  Case in point. I say that it's like comparing apples and oranges.  I mean it in the terms of the phrase... idioms.thefreedictionary.com/compare+apples+and+oranges  :  to examine the similarities of things that are completely different.  Usage note:  Usually used to explain that two things cannot be compared.

I think mererdog misused the phrase, or misunderstood it at the least, or deliberately altered it's common usage to make a point.  He used it as an actual comparison of fruit, instead of the common usage. 

So when I say case in point, we disagree about this because of differing definition, it's because he just exemplified my point that we are debated two separate things with the same words, and getting no where as a result. 

You are quite right that we could discuss the differences and come to an understanding.  mererdog appears to me to be a very able person in communications terms, at least so far as explaining himself.  I believe myself capable of altering my definition...but if you read up a ways, we were discussing the difficulty of defining the soul if everyone used different definitions and I suggested as a compromise to use an arbitrary source such as a dictionary...and then we are right back where we started. 

There are several topics that people are simply not willing to concede any points on, which makes defining the subject of discussion difficult.  Christians would most likely define the soul differently than an Atheist, who would define it differently than a Wiccan, and they each might insist that theirs is the correct definition.  In a case like that, we can either agree to an arbitrary source, change our own definition to match someone else's, or understand that the debate will not progress.  Maybe there are other options, but I don't see them. 

Shared connotations of words meanings as well as their uses are necessary to communicate data and ideas. Using idioms to illustrate a point can have unusual repercussions. I believe that is why Jonathan H. B. Lobl continues to lobby for a working definition of G/god when G/god is being discussed.

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