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 Post subject: Battleground God
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 10:57 am 
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I found this nifty little quiz that tests the internal consistency between your beliefs on religion, morality and the physical world. None of the answers to any particular question in the quiz earns you a bullet or a hit, that only arises if your answer to one question completely or partly contradicts your answer to another question. The quiz is scruptiously fair in that there are as many traps for atheists as there are for theists.

http://www.philosophersnet.com/games/god.htm

I got a perfect score (zero hits or bullets) but I know that until three or four years ago when I started examining these sorts of questions much more seriously I would have taken a hit or a bullet at least once. I'll reveal my answers - as an atheist - after a few others have taken the quiz. A theist can of course take this quiz and get a perfect score as well.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 11:06 am 
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Who says there needs to be consistency?

:D

Nice to see you back in here, Demo - I won't have time for anything until after the weekend, but then I'll have a look. :)

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 11:14 am 
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Hm. I took one "hit."

However, I believe that the true-false nature of the questions made it difficult, if not impossible, for me to answer and explain fully what I meant.

I got this comment:
Quote:
You have been awarded the TPM medal of distinction! This is our second highest award for outstanding service on the intellectual battleground.

The fact that you progressed through this activity being hit only once and biting no bullets suggests that your beliefs about God are well thought out and almost entirely internally consistent.


Cool little quiz, though. And I did like the "create your own Deity" one, too.

:D

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 12:03 pm 
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Ok, I thought I could take the quiz while the potatoes are boiling. :D

It's a bit stupid there are no "I don't know" or "I don't understand the question" or "I don't think the way the question is phrased it makes sense" options. ;)

Can we discuss the results here?
Because the arguments posed by the quiz are interesting in themselves, and unfortunately you can't argue with the quiz makers. :D

Ok, I got this:

Quote:
You say that if there are no compelling arguments or evidence that show that God does not exist, then atheism is a matter of faith, not rationality. Therefore, it seems that you do not think that the mere absence of evidence for the existence of God is enough to justify believing that she does not exist. This view is also suggested by your earlier claim that it is not rational to believe that the Loch Ness monster does not exist even if, despite years of trying, no evidence has been presented to suggest that it does exist.

There is no logical inconsistency in your answers. But by denying that the absence of evidence, even where it has been sought, is enough to justify belief in the non-existence of things, you are required to countenance possibilities that most people would find bizarre. For example, do you really want to claim that it is not rationally justified to believe that intelligent aliens do not live on Mars?


If I were to answer unthinkingly, I'd say that, no, I wouldn't claim that.
But giving it a bit more thought, all I can say is that it looks like we might assume that there is no intelligent life on Mars. While I wouldn't say that to assume is irrational, I would say it's not an entirely rational (in the bits and bytes sense of the concept) activity either.

For a pretty long time people looked at the sky and found no evidence that the planets are moving round the sun.
Turned out they were wrong after all.

(I'd like to say more on this one, but the potatoes are done.)

Quote:
In saying that God has the freedom and power to do that which is logically impossible (like creating square circles), you are saying that any discussion of God and ultimate reality cannot be constrained by basic principles of rationality. This would seem to make rational discourse about God impossible. If rational discourse about God is impossible, there is nothing rational we can say about God and nothing rational we can say to support our belief or disbelief in God. To reject rational constraints on religious discourse in this fashion requires accepting that religious convictions, including your religious convictions, are beyond any debate or rational discussion. This is to bite a bullet.


If I believe that God can do everything and has created the world as it is, including all its logic, then he or she could just as well create another world with a different logic.
It would be illogical to say that God can't do anything that is logically impossible, because that would limit God to what we understand about logic - and what we in our limited minds can grasp about logic or the lack thereof might in no way grasp the full extent of what things really are like.


It's interesting that apparently people take more hits than bite bullets (whatever the meaning of that is).

I got the same medal thingy as Jewel, and I liked this:
Quote:
The bitten bullets occurred because you responded in ways that required that you held views that most people would have found strange, incredible or unpalatable.


:D Yep, that's me! :D

Right, got to have lunch now. :)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 1:06 pm 
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I got one hit:

Quote:
You've just taken a direct hit!

Earlier you said that it is justifiable to base one's beliefs about the external world on a firm, inner conviction, regardless of the external evidence, or lack of it, for the truth or falsity of this conviction. But now you do not accept that the rapist Peter Sutcliffe was justified in doing just that. The example of the rapist has exposed that you do not in fact agree that any belief is justified just because one is convinced of its truth. So you need to revise your opinion here. The intellectual sniper has scored a bull's-eye!


But the original question didn't ask if all "inner conviction" beliefs were justifiable, just if it was possible for them to be - had I been able to impose conditions I would have said that that would not ally in the case of the criminally insane. And yes I know that opinion creates more problems but I'm choosing to ignore them. :P

I got the same award as Jewel. :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 3:19 pm 
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I find it hard to compare the existence of God with the existence of the Loch Ness Monster. For Nessie, there is a very limited area to look, and no one has credibly found anything. For God, we haven't looked everywhere, and we aren't even agreed on what we are looking for. Like life on Mars, the study is not by any means thorough.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 5:23 pm 
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I took two hits. But what the makers of this quiz refuse to acknowledge is that belief in God is not predicated on logic.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 6:00 pm 
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Quote:
You took zero direct hits and you bit 1 bullets. The average player of this activity to date takes 1.39 hits and bites 1.11 bullet. 348876 people have so far undertaken this activity.

I apparently erred on the one near the end about the square circles.


eta: I should mention that I skipped two or three questions for which neither 'true' nor 'false' was an acceptable answer.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 6:29 pm 
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I bit one bullet. But I do not equate "rational" with "correct" - I believe you can be coherent but wrong. ;)

So, I didn't consider it biting a bullet. I was merely agreeing that people can act on convictions. They can be justified in it, but I don't have to accept their justifications as true.

Therefore, I do not consider it to be biting a bullet :P

But, here's what they said:
Quote:
You've just bitten a bullet! You are consistent in applying the principle that it is justifiable to base one's beliefs about the external world on a firm, inner conviction, regardless of the external evidence, or lack of it, for the truth or falsity this conviction. The problem is that it seems you have to accept that people might be justified in their belief that God could demand something terrible.

This is something many religious people are willing to accept. For example, Kierkegaard believed that it is precisely because Abraham had to contravene established morality to follow God's will and attempt to sacrifice his son which made his act the supreme act of faith.

But as Kierkegaard also stressed, this makes the act incomprehensible from a rational point of view. The rational alternative - that people should require more than such an inner conviction to justify such a belief - is more attractive to most people, but you reject this alternative and bite the bullet.



Also, I did not like the wording of all the "set-up" questions. There was a lot behind "anything" - how do you define that? I consider God completely free; but I don't consider freedom to include the ability to do things that are wrong, bad or false. Condensing philosophy into a sentence without any discussion or explanation is....unfair. So, I guessed at what they meant, and answered accordingly.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 8:22 pm 
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I took one hit, over the Loch Ness monster and God. Needless to say, I am not happy with their reasoning on this, and I agree with Narya. The monster is a physical entity. I can logically assume that it does not exist, because numerous searches have not located it. However, Loch Ness is a very difficult search environment, and there is a faint possibility I COULD be wrong in my assumption.

Belief in the existence of God is a matter of faith, not logic. I don't think I can give you proof of his existence that will stand up to a severe test of logic. I can, however, give you proof that satisfies ME. That's why you call it 'faith'. (DUH!)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 11:48 pm 
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Alys wrote:
I got one hit:

Quote:
You've just taken a direct hit!

Earlier you said that it is justifiable to base one's beliefs about the external world on a firm, inner conviction, regardless of the external evidence, or lack of it, for the truth or falsity of this conviction. But now you do not accept that the rapist Peter Sutcliffe was justified in doing just that. The example of the rapist has exposed that you do not in fact agree that any belief is justified just because one is convinced of its truth. So you need to revise your opinion here. The intellectual sniper has scored a bull's-eye!


But the original question didn't ask if all "inner conviction" beliefs were justifiable, just if it was possible for them to be - had I been able to impose conditions I would have said that that would not ally in the case of the criminally insane. And yes I know that opinion creates more problems but I'm choosing to ignore them. :P

I got the same award as Jewel. :D


That's one I had meant to comment about, too, because I got that hit, too, Alys, and I didn't count it, because I don't know what they mean by "justified belief" - it can mean several things, but doesn't make much sense in either of them.
I still got the second place award, though. :D

The decisive point of the earlier question for me was that they included: lack of evidence.
In case of lack of other evidence, a "firm, inner belief" is certainly good enough to form an opinion on.


Also, for me, "justified" means "right".
A belief is a belief, the definition is that I don't know if it's right or not. I just believe it to be.
In my reading, if you tell me I'm "justified" in a belief, you are saying I'm correct - if you believe that 2+2=4, you are justified to believe that.

I don't think that this guy's belief was a correct interpretation of God, therefore, in my opinion, he was not justified in his belief.

Another reading of "justified in a belief" (more like what the website seems to mean, I think, as the phrase comes up repeatedly, which helps trying to figure out what they mean) is that it is logically understandable to have this belief. I do think that, in his own opinion, this killer was following his conviction, it is therefore logically understandable why he killed these women - and that , by contrast, would mean that I'd have to click "true" on his being justified. However, I think this is such a weak use of the term "justified" that I wouldn't go along with it.

I tried it as an alternative answer, and got the bullet Mith just quoted. And I disagree with this analysis for the reasons Mith has given.


ETA: wise of you not to link to the do-it-yourself-deity, Demo - I just had a look at it and that one seemed really daft. :D

I wonder if you get different questions for the "Battleground" game if you start off from other premisses? *is off to try*

ETA no.2: nope, same questions, and even same results: same bullets/hits for the same answers, no matter whether I start off believing in God or not. (Why do they ask, then, in the first place?)

ETA no.3: there are lots of other cool games on the site - I just did the "Taboo" game, which I thought was fun! :D

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but being a cheerful hobbit he had not needed hope, as long as despair could be postponed.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 1:27 am 
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truehobbit wrote:
ETA no.3: there are lots of other cool games on the site - I just did the "Taboo" game, which I thought was fun! :D


You are right, that game was a lot of fun, I got a "Fully Permissive" grading and my analysis was as follows:

Quote:
Your Moralising Quotient of 0.08 compares to an average Moralising Quotient of 0.43. This means that as far as the events depicted in the scenarios featured in this activity are concerned you are more permissive than average.

Your Interference Factor of 0.00 compares to an average Interference Factor of 0.30. This means that as far as the events depicted in the scenarios featured in this activity are concerned you are less likely to recommend societal interference in matters of moral wrongdoing, in the form of prevention or punishment, than average.

Your Universalising Factor of 0.00 compares to an average Universalising Factor of 0.51. This means you are less likely than average to see moral wrongdoing in universal terms - that is, without regard to prevailing cultural norms and social conventions (at least as far as the events depicted in the scenarios featured in this activity are concerned).


No surprises there, but an enjoyable quiz.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 1:52 am 
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Argh, I didn't save mine. But IIRC I had 0.37 in the first, 0.00 in the second, and 0.67 or so in the third.
I didn't understand very well what that meant, so I didn't save it.

I did the Morality Play afterwards, and got an above average "parsimony" level - i.e. I tend to apply one principle to different situations. I think it's true that I do that.

I played the Philosophy Quiz after that, and that was great! Tough questions, though, if you're not a philosophy student. :D

There are quite a few interesting sounding games left, I'll probably be trying out more of them. :)

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but being a cheerful hobbit he had not needed hope, as long as despair could be postponed.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 1:56 am 
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truehobbit wrote:
Argh, I didn't save mine. But IIRC I had 0.37 in the first, 0.00 in the second, and 0.67 or so in the third.
I didn't understand very well what that meant, so I didn't save it.

I did the Morality Play afterwards, and got an above average "parsimony" level - i.e. I tend to apply one principle to different situations. I think it's true that I do that.

I played the Philosophy Quiz after that, and that was great! Tough questions, though, if you're not a philosophy student. :D

There are quite a few interesting sounding games left, I'll probably be trying out more of them. :)


There are, I took the Philosophy Health Check and was pleased to see that I had very low tension in my beliefs. The Staying Alive game is also fun, I managed to survive and my choices were consistent with a belief in psychological reductionism.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 11:39 am 
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Heh. I took the "Taboo" test and came out fully permissive! ;)

I got this:
Quote:
Your Moralising Quotient is: 0.13.

Your Interference Factor is: 0.25.

Your Universalising Factor is: 0.00.


Trouble is, most of the scenarios on the quiz had nothing to do with morality at all, IMHO. There was only one scenario that involved harm to anyone else. All the others (such as the dead cat and the chicken!) had to do with people who were weird and odd and possibly a bit loose in the loafers.

But behaving in a weird way is not immoral. It's just...weird. :D

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 12:12 pm 
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I dodged all the hits and bullets on the God test.

On the Morality test I cmae up with:

Moralising Quotient 0.46
Interference 0.25
Universalising 0.67

My beliefs were apprently not inconsistent.

On the Philosophical health check I had a tension of 13% the tension being on the quesiton of God allowing suffering; and loss of consciousness robbing one of selfhood's tension with life after death.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 5:44 pm 
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Oh dear, I'm taking a lot of hits. Blame it on my youth. :D


Well, I took two hits and had to bite one bullet. I believe that my bullet was an unfair one, though. The question was "If God exists she could create square circles and make 1 + 1 = 72" and I answered yes--circles and squares and numbers are arbitrary signifiers on our part, and you could call a circle a square for the same reason you call a circle a circle, right? The concept of a square is still a square and the concept of a circle is still a circle, those remain the same no matter what you call them. Am I just arguing semantics here and missing the real point of the question?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 6:22 pm 
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Yes, that is the problem with simple questions with no discussion - you have to know what they are really asking about.

They were not asking "could God invent a new language where [] is called a circle?" Nor even, "could God invent a non-Euclidean geometry in which a circle would look like this: []" The answer to both those questions is "yes." (The latter is called Taxicab Geometry, if anyone is interested.) The question was really saying "can God make something that is obviously false actually true just by declaring it to be true?" In other words, "is truth arbitrarily determined by God?"


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 7:33 pm 
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Thanks for explaining that, Mith, and I'd have to say that I'd answer yes to the third question as well, really. :scratch: But I'm very relativist when it comes to truth, I guess. God created the universe and everything in it, right? (I'm not saying I believe this, but that's a traditional definition of the western ultimate deity.) So God created truth--then wouldn't God therefore be able to change truth? If truth is unchangeable, even by God, then God would not be the highest authority in the spiritual universe. Truth would be, and God would be subject to the limitations of truth.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 12:20 am 
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I didn't get any hit/bullets. Perfect score - zero!!! :horse:
I hate Philosophy in university, never took it again, but I surprised myself for getting the perfect score.

It was fun though, dodging the bullet, esp. when they said only five to go, so far so good, the trick was read the question twice before answering. :) You know ask yourself "How would a philosopher answer this?"

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