Religion: The Deuce

For the serious discussion of weighty matters and worldly issues. No off-topic posts allowed.

Moderators: Azrael, Moderators General, Prelates

User avatar
LaserGuy
Posts: 4585
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 5:33 pm UTC

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Nov 14, 2013 7:12 pm UTC

jovialbard wrote:But then doesn't this collapse down to just semantics again? For someone to be an atheist they would have to not believe in any of the possible notions of God, but then that seems to be only bound by the fact that they don't call anything that they believe in 'god'. Is that incorrect?


Simply because you believe in something does not imply that it is a god. I believe in democracy as the best system of government. That doesn't mean that democracy is a god, because it doesn't have any of the properties of godliness. It's just something that I happen to feel is right at this point in time. And, hey, maybe somebody will come along with a new system of government that is significantly better than democracy, and I'll have to reevaluate my beliefs.

jovialbard wrote:The problem I have with that is that Ignosticsm seems to apply perfectly to the notion of gods, but I'm not so sure about the notion of God.


Ignosticism applies just as well to one God as it does to many. It's simply a statement that the term "God" is not sufficiently well-defined for us to be able to say anything definitive about it one way or the other.

jovialbard wrote:If one religion is right, then it isn't hubris that they think they're right, it's being correct, isn't it? Basically, all I'm trying to say is that in a religious discussion it is not safe to assume that all moralities are based on perceived moral standards.


Well, unless they can demonstrate that their God exists, that their God has a universal moral standard, and that they know what that standard is, there's no point in privileging their arguments with respect to morality in any way.

jovialbard wrote:The point is, that even without an overall definition of God, you can find adherents to the Abrahamic traditions that hold a universal moral standard. They believe in Good, not just good. Thus using the word good without qualifier in situations relevant to these philosophical traditions is misleading at best.


Well, no, they don't hold a universal moral standard. They believe that a universal moral standard exists. But that's not the same thing at all.

jovialbard wrote:But the statement "without a universal moral standard" would imply that there is no such standard, so they cannot behave morally according to it. Sorry I said "so long as they have" above, I should have said "so long as there is".


Yes, that makes more sense. Normally when people say "Atheists can be good without God", the context is usually "The only way to be moral is to believe in (usually the Christian) God." Certainly if there is no universal moral standard, then nobody can be good by it. But if there is such a standard, I would contend that, for the most part, it's probably possible to by good by it even if you don't necessarily believe in it. Again, assuming it's comprehensible.

jovialbard wrote:
Well, maybe the universal moral standard exists independently of God. Morality is just knowledge that God is aware of, like mathematics. For example, earlier you were claiming that God was the Laws of Physics. Well, atheists can surely learn about and understand (to the extent that we have discovered such things) the Laws of Physics. A belief in God is entirely tangential to this pursuit; it's simply something about the world that we can figure out. But that doesn't mean that the Laws of Physics aren't universal.


True, but then if we are presupposing that my statement that the laws of Physics are God is a true statement and further we presuppose that the laws of Physics contain a moral standard, then atheists aren't being good without god, they're being good with god, they just don't acknowledge the god they are being good with.


No, I was just using the laws of physics as an example. What I was referring to was perhaps more along the lines of moral realism: There is some absolute morality, but it isn't something that it is a direct result of God. God isn't mathematics; mathematics is a concept that helps us solve certain kinds of problems, and presumably God would know about how to use mathematics. Likewise, God isn't morality; morality is a concept that helps us solve certain kinds of problems, and presumably God would know about how to use morality.

jovialbard wrote:Ah, I think this is the crux of our disagreement. I'm arguing that's not the case. The subjective mortal goodness is not qualitatively the same as the absolute divine Good. If two humans disagree about what's moral, they can argue about it. You can't argue with God, at least not fruitfully. If there is a universal moral standard, there's no negotiating with it, there's no live and let live, there's no agree to disagree. You are wrong or you are right. In a sense this causes the goodness of something to become intrinsic as opposed to extrinsic.


This would only be the case if the universal moral standard were unbreakable, like the laws of physics (which, from a moral point of view, isn't very interesting). If it's not absolute in this sense, then it's certainly disputable. It may not be strictly wrong, but it may be irrelevant to us.

jovialbard wrote:Ah, okay. Then I suppose in that example Good is an accident and attributing it to anyone is relatively meaningless thus making Good a notion of trivial importance. At that point an implied good is only as problematic as the differences in peoples subjective moralities. So yeah, there wouldn't be an inherent confusion in the phrase "atheists can be good without the universal moral standard", it would obviously implies a subjective good since the universal moral standard isn't of any use to anyone, but it also would be an essentially uncontroversial statement as well.


To my mind though, this means that the universal moral standard, if it exists, is subservient to our own subjective moral standards. If we look at the universal standard and say "that doesn't make sense, we're going to do our own thing", that implies that our own moral standard is a higher authority than the universal standard. Even if a universal standard did exist, we would not be obliged to follow it--regardless of what it actually said--because it is superseded by the higher standard.

User avatar
addams
Posts: 10325
Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2010 4:44 am UTC
Location: Oregon Coast: 97444

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby addams » Thu Nov 14, 2013 8:22 pm UTC

Simply because you believe in something does not imply that it is a god. I believe in democracy as the best system of government. That doesn't mean that democracy is a god, because it doesn't have any of the properties of godliness. It's just something that I happen to feel is right at this point in time. And, hey, maybe somebody will come along with a new system of government that is significantly better than democracy, and I'll have to reevaluate my beliefs.

So Democracy is your God.
You believe in it. Like a God, it can do no wrong.

You believe you can prove it is not only Real, but useful.

That is nice, Nancy.
I think your God is a tool to keep the Revolting masses from Revolting.

Tell them they wanted it this way.
Tell them they chose these guys.
Blame the victim.

Your God is fine for you. It is fine for me, too.
Your Religion is the dominate Religion.

I will sit over here in the corner with my little Gods.
We will not be bothering you, much.

Are you evangelical? You don't need to be.
Your God has won all the Marbles, therefore you win.

No, I was just using the laws of physics as an example. What I was referring to was perhaps more along the lines of moral realism: There is some absolute morality, but it isn't something that it is a direct result of God. God isn't mathematics; mathematics is a concept that helps us solve certain kinds of problems, and presumably God would know about how to use mathematics. Likewise, God isn't morality; morality is a concept that helps us solve certain kinds of problems, and presumably God would know about how to use morality.

That is charming.
I like it. It does put me in a similar position as your other Religion does.

Yes. God would know Math. No doubt.
If you are better at Math, you talk to it.

I'll do the dishes.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

Nem
Posts: 336
Joined: Fri Aug 14, 2009 12:19 pm UTC

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Nem » Fri Nov 15, 2013 12:08 am UTC

jovialbard wrote:Are you saying that under this notion an atheist is an atheist because they don't name anythings God? Is that purely linguistic? Or is is the combination of both having faith in something and then calling it God? Most, though not all, atheists would seem to have faith in reality, so then, for those atheists, it collapses back down to the idea that they don't name the object of their faith a god... I'm not sure I'm comfortable with that, am I misrepresenting your argument?


Whether or not you put the name on that is largely besides the point, you can be mistaken about names. But I think you need to have at least a general idea of god to believe or disbelieve in it - else you just don't have an opinion. If god should turn out to be reality then of course they'd believe in it. But my point was that under that definition the set of things they don't believe in is potentially so general that you can't use the mere fact of their disbelief to meaningfully cut down the concept space that the definition of god might be in.

I can be an agnostic-style-atheist, for instance, by not having an opinion on, 'anything I haven't seen evidence for.' It's doubtful that taking that definition would yield a meaningful description of god.

jovialbard wrote:I don't think I understand this. Are you talking about the utility of definitions with respect to certain arguments?


Sort of, yeah. There's certainly a level of it where it does pertain to arguments. For instance, when I'm describing my position to my boyfriend's parents I say I'm an atheist - despite the fact that strictly speaking I'm an agnostic they'll get more accurate beliefs that way.

There's another layer to it though where the term itself more or less successfully allows you to refer to the sort of groups that you want to talk about. That has more to do with whether the term you're using describes a group that can be distinguished by more than just the name. Like it would make sense to talk about the group of all Xs if X tended to have a weird socio-economic commonality.

jovialbard wrote:Okay, I think I'm understanding that a little better now. So, if I may rephrase, the ignostic is saying that my theoretical god spaaace is too blurry and broad to provide a clear understanding of atheistic. They would reject the notion that atheism is a broad rejection of gods or God and ask the clarifying question "which one" if someone declared themselves atheistic? Okay, I think I get that.


An ignostic would probably maintain that there isn't yet a clear definition of God. Though if they were nice they might give you a crack at defining it. Even if someone claimed that they didn't believe, for instance, in the Christian God - they might well make the claim that the Christian God is not well enough defined to disbelieve. It's a very cautious position to take since it puts the burden for the majority of the work on the person making a claim with respect to god or gods.

jovialbard wrote:But then doesn't this collapse down to just semantics again? For someone to be an atheist they would have to not believe in any of the possible notions of God, but then that seems to be only bound by the fact that they don't call anything that they believe in 'god'. Is that incorrect?

The problem I have with that is that Ignosticsm seems to apply perfectly to the notion of gods, but I'm not so sure about the notion of God. That is: If we die and end up at the pearly gates and learn that Mormons were right all along does that mean the Baptist God doesn't exist or does it mean that Baptists were wrong about God? I would argue the latter. I think once you introduce the notion of monotheism it becomes less of an abstraction about what you put your faith in and there seems, to me, to be a deeper question about what's out there and what it's nature is. In that context I think something deeper is meant by most people when they say they are atheistic or theistic or some other non-atheistic.


Ignosticism attempts to describe the present state of knowledge. If you assume that the Mormons were right, then god becomes very easy to define,

'What's god?'
'By god I mean that glowing person over there who gives us eternal life and made the universe.'
'Okay.'

You've effectively assumed your conclusion. The question is, before it happens, do you actually know what it would mean if the Mormons were right? What about if the Baptists were right? What about if the Muslims were right? And so on. There's certainly some overlap in those definitions - and it's certainly possible that there's enough overlap that people are talking about the same thing even if they know it by different names, or have a few of its properties wrong. But once you throw away the background noise; what rules god has, what you get in return for following them; you seem to be left with just this concept of god with no associated properties again.

jovialbard wrote:True, 'all ways' may have been an overstatement. I don't think theists would say God is perfectly Evil, that would seem to be a contradiction in terms from a theological standpoint. Does the more general point about perfection being static make sense? That to reach perfection is to reach a point of completion and therefore to reach a point where change would mean leaving perfection? Excepting of course the apparent change that results from providing different inputs or looking at different parts of the whole. For example, looking at the 3d object in 2d will look different depending on the angle you chose despite the fact that the object has not changed.


I can see why they might think that, and I suppose it's not unreasonable. Though it seems to me that perfection may equally well exist in constantly changing yourself to best suit the situation. There probably needs to be a core of your being that remains relatively static, some underlying structure that defines you - but to that doesn't necessarily imply that no part of you changes. Water maintains the same underlying structure but the reason it can perfectly fit into almost any shape is because of how easily it changes. If you could change yourself, I don't see why you wouldn't alter the way you think to make yourself better suited to thinking about particular things and then change to think in another way for other things - that's what I mean when I say that perfection may exist in change. I'm not sure that 'reaching a state of completion' is a more coherent way of putting things than saying 'all ways' if some things are innately better suited for some things than others then it just may not be possible to be perfect along all axis at the same time. Can you be perfectly compassionate and perfectly just at the same time? (Well, I suppose that one depends on your definition of justice - but I think most Christians would probably say that if god was perfectly just we'd be kinda screwed, original sin and not being worthy of the glory of god and so on. So it's an example that I think'll serve here.)

User avatar
addams
Posts: 10325
Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2010 4:44 am UTC
Location: Oregon Coast: 97444

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby addams » Fri Nov 15, 2013 7:38 pm UTC

Can you be perfect?
When were you told you were perfect?

Who would tell you such a thing?
Your Mother? Really?

Maybe she was lying to you.
Did she read a book about, The Self Fulfilling Prophecy?

Tell them they are Great. Even if you have to do it through your teeth?
To Love You, did she have to become half-blind?

Better an imaginary perfect son or young friend.
Than a fricking embarrassment?

Sometimes some people take both.
I heard a Judge tell a young man, "Do it for your Mom."
That Judge knows that young man and his Mom.

Your poor Mother. What does she tell you about Religion?
Does she tell you that you are a sinner? What kind?

Does she spend a lot of time praying for you?
If not; Why are you so interested in Religion?

Me? So weird. My mother was like a Poodle.
She had no clue and did not want one.

One time she told me. "I am busy Living! I don't want to go up there. I can see it from here. I like this view. You go."
I was trying to talk her into going for a walk with me.
I was five. I went alone.

Where did you go? Did your Mom make you go into a scary, scary church?
No wonder you are railing against Religion. Those churches are very adult places.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

User avatar
TheGrammarBolshevik
Posts: 4878
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:12 am UTC
Location: Going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it.

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Fri Nov 15, 2013 8:22 pm UTC

jovialbard wrote:But it would seem to me that if the power to "Create a new button." doesn't exist in that universe, then you are very specifically saying that in order to be omnipotent you must have powers that do not exist. I'm not quite sure what I'm missing from your point.

You are equivocating like mad. Before you suggested that there was some sort of contradiction in having a power that doesn't exist, since the idea of having a power entails that it exists. But there's obviously no contradiction in saying that, even though some power doesn't exist, it would need to exist and a being would need to have it in order for that being to be omnipotent.

What you're saying is like saying that a collector who needs three stamps to complete his collection couldn't do it, since he needs three stamps that he doesn't have, but adding them to his collection would mean that he has them.

jovialbard wrote:I certainly did, you're right, the number might be hyperbole though :) However, setzer777 pointed out moral realism, or something like it, and I basically said "Oh, good point, hadn't thought of that, you're right." Since then I have not argued it. Basically, I'm sure i did not know what moral realism means when I started this conversation, an oversight on my part. I now think I know what it means, but could be mistaken.

Moral realism is believing in right and wrong. How does learning the name for it make the view any more plausible? It's like saying "I don't see how you can believe in God and believe in evolution," and then changing your mind because someone came to you and said "Ah, but what if you believed in evolution and you were a theist?"

jovialbard wrote:Hmm, yes. I was slightly uncomfortable with my argument about omniscience as well, and I think this is why. In order for a bit of knowledge to be in the mind the mind must be able to act on it in some way. Ah, but then if all knowledge that exists is part of existence then isn't existence able to act on all that knowledge? Surely existence has acted on the number of breaths Caligula exhaled in his life, right?

Uhh, no? Unless you think "X acted on Y" just means that X reacted to Y in some way or another. But that would mean I've acted on the basis of my genetic code, which is clearly not the case. Acting on the basis of a fact requires a certain state of mind toward that fact; it is far narrower than just the fact having some causal influence on your actions.
Nothing rhymes with orange,
Not even sporange.

User avatar
The Great Hippo
Swans ARE SHARP
Posts: 7368
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2007 4:43 am UTC
Location: behind you

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri Nov 15, 2013 10:07 pm UTC

jovialbard wrote:Yes. I see that point. However, what confuses me is that I thought we were being very particular about the fact that theism meant the classically implied definition of theism. If that is the case, then at the very least the last sentence becomes very confusing 'It is a mistake to consider the classically implied meaning of theism as the only classically implied meaning of theism'. This would seem to suggest that theism does not have an extremely clear and singular implied meaning. In which case, I'm confused as to why people were yelling at me for not using words correctly.
We weren't talking about the definition of theism; we were talking about the definition of God. The classically implied definition of theism does not require an anthropomorphic God.
jovialbard wrote:Yes, I came to the same conclusion after I wrote this actually :)
Although, using color theory to paint once you understand it is a little different than continuing to study color theory after you already understand it. I think a better analogy might be an art aficionado looking at the same painting many times even as they seem to have learned everything they can from it. I'm saying that the definition of God doesn't seem to be clear to me, which is why I want to explore it. If I already understood the definition of God I might stare at it if I found it aesthetically pleasing or use it to explore other notions, however the only reason to re-explore the definition itself would seem to be either for the sake of nostalgia or teaching. I may be missing other motivations though.
To understand something does not mean you have learned everything there is to know about it. It only means you understand what it is.
jovialbard wrote:But it's not even that your quote isn't what I intended to say. It isn't what I said.
Here's what you said:
jovialbard wrote:If I'm not mistaken many Christian Theologians would take great offense at the notion that God is "anthropomorphic", if you even remotely mean anthropomorphic in the sense of the polytheistic gods of antiquity
Exactly how many different ways are there for me to parse that statement?
jovialbard wrote:It's partly your aggressive response to my statement that reinforced the notion that you were defending the position that anthropomorphism is an essential quality of the classically implied definition of God. That doesn't seem to be the case because Christian theologians (whether many/some/or a few) would (whether they live currently or not) take issue with that characterization. You would seem to be removing those theologians from the classically implied definition of God.

Maybe the confusion was the use of the fairly imprecise language "classically implied". I admit that it’s entirely possible I misunderstood the scope or intent of the phrase "classically implied" and it’s possible I still don’t understand what you mean. It seemed to me that your sentence would be consistent with the phrase "a theistic god must be anthropomorphic", given, gain, that the word theist seems to imply a the classically implied God. I thought your scope was too broad and attempted to correct it by pointing out a counter-example that seemed to fit within your statement. As we continued discussing it became clear, to me, that the problem was a matter of definition. You seemed like the sort of person who cares about that kind of thing (and I was asked by someone else how God is not anthropomorphic) so I offered explanations and attempted to clarify the difference between a personal god and anthropomorphism. I’m not sure what part of that is an egregious break in reasonability or etiquette, but if you point it out I will try to understand your perspective. However, I’m not really comfortable with you using a misrepresentation of my quote as a defense for making accusations regarding my etiquette and knowledge. That seems to be contrary to the standard you are holding me to.
The standard I'm holding you to is simple: Have the courage to stand behind your statements. You still haven't supplied me with a quote from someone who stated that to be a theist, you must believe in an anthropomorphic God -- and now you're waffling on what you actually said regarding those Christian theologians who reject an anthropomorphic God.
jovialbard wrote:I've admitted many mistakes, allow me to enumerate some of them:
-I failed to recognize moral realism as a possible source of a universal moral standard that could therefore inform a universal notion of good
-I failed to understand the more technical definition of theism with regard to it's evolved usage in contrast to deism, and was using a more classical pre-deist and broader sense of the word.
-I presented a playful face initially, through my inexperience in this venue, which may have been perceived as sarcastic or trollish

I've admitted to all of these faults, but If you would care to add to the list, I'm happy to learn.
-You still haven't presented a single quote from anyone in this thread that states 'Theism requires belief in an anthropomorphic God' (and you've yet to tell us you were wrong to make this claim).
-You change the claims you're making without acknowledging that you're changing the claims you're making.
-You consistently use language in a vague and unclear way.

What I'd like to see you do, and what would probably make me stop treating you harshly:
-Either quote me a person here saying theism requires an anthropomorphic God or acknowledge that no such quote exists, and it was therefore wrong for you to claim 'several posters' were saying it here.
-Say 'Yes, I did say many Christian theologists reject an anthropomorphic God, and in truth, that statement was based on little to no evidence'.

Nem
Posts: 336
Joined: Fri Aug 14, 2009 12:19 pm UTC

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Nem » Sat Nov 16, 2013 2:31 pm UTC

Apologies if OT. On the one hand religious interest can have a personal basis, on the other I'm not sure how OT personal responses are so... *shrugs* I've erred on the side of posting, since the main current discussion seems to be winding down, sorry if this is wrong, mods. ^^;

addams wrote:Can you be perfect?
When were you told you were perfect?

Who would tell you such a thing?
Your Mother? Really?

Maybe she was lying to you.
Did she read a book about, The Self Fulfilling Prophecy?

Tell them they are Great. Even if you have to do it through your teeth?
To Love You, did she have to become half-blind?

Better an imaginary perfect son or young friend.
Than a fricking embarrassment?


I don't think that anyone's perfect, in an unqualified sense, and was never told that I was. The fact I've been arguing against the idea that even a god could be perfect along all axis is some evidence of that. My mum loves me because I'm her daughter, not because I've had some emotionally abusive perfection aesthetic foisted on me. I realise this isn't something that everyone can claim, which is one of the sadder facts of life, but the emotional basis you seem to think is there for my interest in religion isn't.

addams wrote:Sometimes some people take both.
I heard a Judge tell a young man, "Do it for your Mom."
That Judge knows that young man and his Mom.

Your poor Mother. What does she tell you about Religion?
Does she tell you that you are a sinner? What kind?

Does she spend a lot of time praying for you?
If not; Why are you so interested in Religion?


I'm not 'so interested in religion,' I've spent just as much time arguing over Star Trek vs Star Wars, practising archery and swimming, (and so on - I could spend a long time laying out my interests.)

Most of my incidental interests are of similar depth. I like thinking and learning.

addams wrote:Me? So weird. My mother was like a Poodle.
She had no clue and did not want one.

One time she told me. "I am busy Living! I don't want to go up there. I can see it from here. I like this view. You go."
I was trying to talk her into going for a walk with me.
I was five. I went alone.

Where did you go? Did your Mom make you go into a scary, scary church?
No wonder you are railing against Religion. Those churches are very adult places.


They don't seem that way to me, and I don't think they ever have.

I remember when I was really young, like five or six, being asked by one of my cousins: "But don't you want to go to heaven?"
I said "Don't you want to go to Narnia?"

Solemnity is often used as a shield against people really thinking about what you're saying, or to protect authority. That's not the same thing as a maturity. Indeed I use whether people can joke about something as a fuzzy filter for whether they have anything worth listening to. Even people dealing with dangerous issues often have a sort of grave-yard humour.

There are exceptions, but in general terms if people are DEADLY SERIOUS about what they do, it's often been my experience that they're more interested in the appearance of what they do than the content.

User avatar
addams
Posts: 10325
Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2010 4:44 am UTC
Location: Oregon Coast: 97444

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby addams » Sat Nov 16, 2013 5:14 pm UTC

You do have a point.
When people are able to laugh, it is a good sign.

I have discovered a kind of unkind humor.
We can give one another the 'benefit of the doubt'.

I like to laugh with my fellow human beings, not at them.

You like learning things? That is why you stumbled into Religion?
I read a book about the subject.

That is so funny. Are you laughing, yet?
Did you know some people restrict themselves to one book?

It is funny and a little tragic. Yes. We all have to have one book we can talk about.
What did you think of Jonna? That is a funny story.

No one can read All the books that have been written about non-physical reality.
Besides, nonphysical realities keep bleeding into one another.

Back to laughing at other people's religion.
I think you are correct in your assessment.

People that take Religion too seriously are not the fun ones.
Of course, It is important to take it seriously enough.

To have somber rituals is good for people.
How do you bury pets? How do you bury friends? Family?

Pets tend to be small. It is easier with Pets.
Is it, really, any different?

Humans have emotional needs. We meet those needs by behaving in prescribed ways.
Those ways are prescribed because, when things are difficult it is difficult to remember.

I read a bunch of stuff about very old graves.
Did we stop being animals and start being uniquely human when we started burying each other?
Probably not.

Religion? What is there to know about Religion?
If church is at your house; You, might want to get dressed.

Oh! Oh! There is a way of doing Church that is so fun.
It starts the night before. Sometimes days before.

EverySunday, Everyone in the Family has to get up get dressed as cute as possible, and Go!
Go where? Does it really matter?

A bunch of friends can do the same thing. It is fun.
Not Work. Fun.

The guys that put on the show are Working. (shrug)
Don't you like a good Floor Show? Seriously?

I listened to a little talk about why we honor, "Our Lady of Sorrows".
It made sense.

The man that gave the talk, had honestly asked the question.
He was a Happy, Happy Guy. He has one of those happy personalities and he loves his life.

He asked, "Why?"
He tells other people the answer, now.

The answer is, "We must be careful and respectful of the Sorrows of Others."
People come into the sanctuary and lay their internal burdens at the feet of Our Lady of Sorrows.

It is not that a statue can help. But; It does help to settle the individual to think, someone, somewhen, somewhere can understand.
Then in true human fashion, people One-Up each other.

Competitive grieving? So stupid.
It is not always competitive grieving.

Sometimes it seems so true that it should have a color and a weight.
Some way to prove it.

There seems to be a burden that is not physical.
That burden is lighter when other people help to carry it.

So; We tell each other our stories. Confessing? Bragging? Complaining?
Telling Jokes over dinner and a few beer. That works, too.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

User avatar
jovialbard
Posts: 613
Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:08 pm UTC

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby jovialbard » Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:37 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:
jovialbard wrote:But then doesn't this collapse down to just semantics again? For someone to be an atheist they would have to not believe in any of the possible notions of God, but then that seems to be only bound by the fact that they don't call anything that they believe in 'god'. Is that incorrect?


Simply because you believe in something does not imply that it is a god. I believe in democracy as the best system of government. That doesn't mean that democracy is a god, because it doesn't have any of the properties of godliness.


Then there are properties of godliness? What are they? That's essentially what I'm asking.

jovialbard wrote:If one religion is right, then it isn't hubris that they think they're right, it's being correct, isn't it? Basically, all I'm trying to say is that in a religious discussion it is not safe to assume that all moralities are based on perceived moral standards.


Well, unless they can demonstrate that their God exists, that their God has a universal moral standard, and that they know what that standard is, there's no point in privileging their arguments with respect to morality in any way.


It's not a privilege, it's an acknowledgement of perspective and context.

...mathematics is a concept that helps us solve certain kinds of problems, and presumably God would know about how to use mathematics. Likewise, God isn't morality; morality is a concept that helps us solve certain kinds of problems, and presumably God would know about how to use morality.


This would suggest that the mathematics and morality you are talking about transcend God. I'm not sure, but some theologians may not view that notion positively

That aside: mathematics is, in foundation, just a logical rejection of paradox. It asks what is or cannot be true given a set of assumptions. Right? Mathematics is then just a space of non-paradoxical notions, right? So what is morality in the analogy?

jovialbard wrote:Ah, I think this is the crux of our disagreement. I'm arguing that's not the case. The subjective mortal goodness is not qualitatively the same as the absolute divine Good. If two humans disagree about what's moral, they can argue about it. You can't argue with God, at least not fruitfully. If there is a universal moral standard, there's no negotiating with it, there's no live and let live, there's no agree to disagree. You are wrong or you are right. In a sense this causes the goodness of something to become intrinsic as opposed to extrinsic.


This would only be the case if the universal moral standard were unbreakable...


Not sure I follow. Morality does not pertain to what can be, like the laws of physics do, it pertains to what should be. To break the laws of physics is to do what cannot be done. To break the laws of morality is to do what should not be done. What should not be done is not essentially equivalent to what can not be done. The notion that a universal moral standard should be unbreakable is conflating the laws of should with the laws of can.

To my mind though, this means that the universal moral standard, if it exists, is subservient to our own subjective moral standards. If we look at the universal standard and say "that doesn't make sense, we're going to do our own thing", that implies that our own moral standard is a higher authority than the universal standard. Even if a universal standard did exist, we would not be obliged to follow it--regardless of what it actually said--because it is superseded by the higher standard.


But aren't good fundamentalists told that if they look at a law of god and say "that doesn't make sense" then they should shut their yap and follow it anyway? For them the universal law is absolute. They hold their personal moral standards as subservient to God even if they do not understand or agree.

Nem wrote:There's certainly a level of it where it does pertain to arguments. For instance, when I'm describing my position to my boyfriend's parents I say I'm an atheist - despite the fact that strictly speaking I'm an agnostic they'll get more accurate beliefs that way.

There's another layer to it though where the term itself more or less successfully allows you to refer to the sort of groups that you want to talk about. That has more to do with whether the term you're using describes a group that can be distinguished by more than just the name. Like it would make sense to talk about the group of all Xs if X tended to have a weird socio-economic commonality.


Ah, then would a better question be: what separates the various atheistic perspectives from declaring a belief in God? Is the question 'What is God' clarified in that context?

I still have trouble with the difference between a mystical God-as-universe perspective and an atheistic perspective. What's the difference? Those guys are dirty hippies and we aren't :)? Does it come down to the mystics believing in spirituality? The odd thing is that this would seem to suggest that the difference between God and not-God is whether I have a soul. So a characteristic or non-characteristic of me defines the appropriate terminology of another entity? That seems peculiar at least.

...it seems to me that perfection may equally well exist in constantly changing yourself to best suit the situation... Water maintains the same underlying structure but the reason it can perfectly fit into almost any shape is because of how easily it changes.


But it's the property of water that it "easily changes" that makes it perfect with regard to "fitting into almost any shape". If the property "easily changes" were to change, let's say to "changed poorly", e.g. by lowering the temperature, then the water is no longer perfect with that regard. The subject of perfection must be unchanging in order to continue to be perfect for the object of perfection. If you change the subject or object then you change what axis of perfection we are talking about. This is all just to explain why perfection means unchanging. I think you're right, God can't be perfect at everything. I think Christians would permit that God is not completely compassionate because he does not show compassion to the evil doers who renounce him. However, he is perfect in his compassion in that his compassion is exactly as it should be and is unchanging. Or something like that :)

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:But there's obviously no contradiction in saying that, even though some power doesn't exist, it would need to exist and a being would need to have it in order for that being to be omnipotent.

What you're saying is like saying that a collector who needs three stamps to complete his collection couldn't do it, since he needs three stamps that he doesn't have, but adding them to his collection would mean that he has them.


I don't understand what you're saying. The proper analogy would seem to be:

"A collector needs three stamps that do not exist in order to complete his collection."

That seems wrong to me. Why would a power that doesn't exist need to exist in order for a being to be called omnipotent? Why would a stamp that doesn't exist need to exist in order for a stamp collector to have a complete collection? I'm just not sure I'm following where the disconnect is between our arguments.

jovialbard wrote:I certainly did, you're right, the number might be hyperbole though :) However, setzer777 pointed out moral realism, or something like it, and I basically said "Oh, good point, hadn't thought of that, you're right." Since then I have not argued it. Basically, I'm sure i did not know what moral realism means when I started this conversation, an oversight on my part. I now think I know what it means, but could be mistaken.

Moral realism is believing in right and wrong. How does learning the name for it make the view any more plausible? It's like saying "I don't see how you can believe in God and believe in evolution," and then changing your mind because someone came to you and said "Ah, but what if you believed in evolution and you were a theist?"


You asked the following question:
Are you sure you understand what "moral realism" means?
I was answering that question specifically. You might understand my quote above better with that in mind. My appologies for the confusion, but I wasn't presenting an argument, merely answering your question.

jovialbard wrote:Ah, but then if all knowledge that exists is part of existence then isn't existence able to act on all that knowledge? Surely existence has acted on the number of breaths Caligula exhaled in his life, right?

Uhh, no? Unless you think "X acted on Y" just means that X reacted to Y in some way or another. But that would mean I've acted on the basis of my genetic code, which is clearly not the case. Acting on the basis of a fact requires a certain state of mind toward that fact; it is far narrower than just the fact having some causal influence on your actions.


That depends on whether I'm positing that existence is a mind or whether I'm positing that existence has a mind. If it's the latter then you're right. If it's the former then everything existence is and does is part of that mind itself and contained within that mind. Every action in reality is a thought of that mind. Thus under that perspective existence would be omnipotent.

The Great Hippo wrote:The standard I'm holding you to is simple: Have the courage to stand behind your statements.


I will do so in so far as they appear to be worth standing behind. When I've made a mistake in a statement I will seek to correct it. To do otherwise would be foolishness. I hope you aren't, and don't believe that you are, asking me to be foolish. That's my standard, can we hold each other to it?

You still haven't supplied me with a quote from someone who stated that to be a theist, you must believe in an anthropomorphic God


I thought that you were making that statement, but I may have misunderstood you. There's also this:

LaserGuy wrote:If you say someone is a theist, that word has a very specific meaning--not just that person believes in a god (or God), but that person believes in a personal, anthropomorphic god that interacts with human affairs.


Now I may have misunderstood that as well. It's possible I'm misunderstanding the relationship between theism and God. See below:

The Great Hippo wrote:We weren't talking about the definition of theism; we were talking about the definition of God. The classically implied definition of theism does not require an anthropomorphic God.
jovialbard wrote:
The Great Hippo wrote:it's a mistake to criticize atheists for rejecting the classical implied meaning of the word -- an anthropomorphic being with supernatural power.

Okay, so just to clarify. The classically implied theism does not define the classically implied God? If that's the case, then that's where my confusion was. I had assumed that when you were talking about the classically implied God that it would also apply to the classically implied theism. I had assumed that there was some correspondence between the meanings of those terms.

Here's what you said:
jovialbard wrote:If I'm not mistaken many Christian Theologians would take great offense at the notion that God is "anthropomorphic", if you even remotely mean anthropomorphic in the sense of the polytheistic gods of antiquity
Exactly how many different ways are there for me to parse that statement?


And you've criticized that statement on the grounds that the theologians I referenced were dead. Where in that sentence did I say they weren't? Then you came at me with this statement:

when you come into a religious thread and start making broad, sweeping, unbacked generalizations like 'Most Christian theologians reject an anthropomorphic God', you shouldn't be surprised when someone actually takes you at your word and responds to the thing you said


Does the quote in that statement equal the quote that you've provided above? No. Are you criticizing the quantity of Christian theologians that would have held that position? Then respond to the word I used, which was "Many" instead of inserting your own defaming hyperbole "Most".

Again. Is it worse that I misunderstood you when I assumed that there was a connection between 'classically implied theism' and 'classically implied God'? Or is it worse that you've misquoted me in order to make me look dumber? Are they equal crimes? Honestly, I don't really care because I'd be happy to forgive, but it seems really important to you.

...now you're waffling on what you actually said regarding those Christian theologians who reject an anthropomorphic God.


If I appear to be waffling it's only because you've 'parsed' my statement many ways but have yet to parse it the way it was written. You can't treat my responses to your misquotes as me waffling with regard to what I said initially. That isn't waffling it's clarifying. You have yet to point out how my above quoted statement is a generalization, sweeping, or even wrong. Unless you think 'many' is a misrepresentation of the numbers. If you want to have a semantic conversation about what constitutes many, and if that's really important to you... well, I would take many to mean more than a few. That still calls to question what is 'a few', but honestly if you want me to change my statement to the more conservative 'some' then I have no problem with that.

jovialbard wrote:I've admitted many mistakes, allow me to enumerate some of them:
-I failed to recognize moral realism as a possible source of a universal moral standard that could therefore inform a universal notion of good
-I failed to understand the more technical definition of theism with regard to it's evolved usage in contrast to deism, and was using a more classical pre-deist and broader sense of the word.
-I presented a playful face initially, through my inexperience in this venue, which may have been perceived as sarcastic or trollish

I've admitted to all of these faults, but If you would care to add to the list, I'm happy to learn.

-You still haven't presented a single quote from anyone in this thread that states 'Theism requires belief in an anthropomorphic God' (and you've yet to tell us you were wrong to make this claim).

I've now presented two. If I misunderstood them, help me understand how and I will acknowledge that I misunderstood them.
-You change the claims you're making without acknowledging that you're changing the claims you're making.

When did I do this? If I did, then I'm sorry I didn't make it clear I was changing my claim. I change my claims easily and often as people poke holes in them. I do so because I don't hold any of them to be sacred. I'm sorry if that gave you the wrong impression. Please point out the claims that you are confused by or where you think I am waffling and I will try to make my thought processes more clear.
-You consistently use language in a vague and unclear way.

I'm afraid I can only offer a impotent apology on that front. Language seems to me to be by it's own nature vague and unclear. I admit that I'm sometimes lax in my treatment of it, and where that has caused issues, I'm happy to clarify if my mistake is pointed out.

What I'd like to see you do, and what would probably make me stop treating you harshly:
-Either quote me a person here saying theism requires an anthropomorphic God or acknowledge that no such quote exists, and it was therefore wrong for you to claim 'several posters' were saying it here.

See above.
-Say 'Yes, I did say many Christian theologists reject an anthropomorphic God, and in truth, that statement was based on little to no evidence'.

I cannot. There seems to be evidence that many Christian theologians would take issue with the notion that God is anthropomorphic. If I have misunderstood this evidence please help me correct my misunderstanding.
I wrote a book exploring the nature of identity and loss of self! And another book about babies!
Also, vlog and short-story blog

User avatar
TheGrammarBolshevik
Posts: 4878
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:12 am UTC
Location: Going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it.

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:24 am UTC

jovialbard wrote:I don't understand what you're saying. The proper analogy would seem to be:

"A collector needs three stamps that do not exist in order to complete his collection."

That seems wrong to me. Why would a power that doesn't exist need to exist in order for a being to be called omnipotent? Why would a stamp that doesn't exist need to exist in order for a stamp collector to have a complete collection? I'm just not sure I'm following where the disconnect is between our arguments.

In order to be a man with 100 Gutenberg Bibles, I would have to collect 100 Gutenberg Bibles. But there aren't that many Gutenberg Bibles in existence, so in order to be a man with 100 Gutenberg Bibles I would have to get some books that don't exist. If I just wanted to be a man with every Gutenberg Bible, this wouldn't be the case: I could just get all the Gutenberg Bibles that exist.

It's true that you could talk about omnipotence like it's the every-Bible case: you only need the powers that exist, so if you don't have a power and that power doesn't exist it's no obstacle to your being omnipotent. On this way of speaking, Fred could be omnipotent even if he can't tie his shoes, so long as nothing can tie his shoes. Call this way of interpreting omnipotence "A-omnipotence." On the other hand, you could talk about omnipotence like it's more like the 100-Bibles case: you need the power to do anything, so if you don't have a power and you want to call yourself omnipotent, it will not be any help to point out that nothing else has that power, either. On this way of speaking, the fact that Fred can't tie his shoes would mean that he is not omnipotent, even if nothing can tie his shoes. Call this way of interpreting omnipotence "B-omnipotence."

It seems to me you have been interpreting omnipotence as A-omnipotence. But can you give any examples of theologians or philosophers who think that A-omnipotence is a good way of understanding God, or of understanding the concept of omnipotence? Why should we think that omnipotence is like having every Bible, rather than like having 100 Bibles?

jovialbard wrote:That depends on whether I'm positing that existence is a mind or whether I'm positing that existence has a mind. If it's the latter then you're right. If it's the former then everything existence is and does is part of that mind itself and contained within that mind. Every action in reality is a thought of that mind. Thus under that perspective existence would be omnipotent.

OK, so the way you are talking about existence being a mind is extremely unusual. First, existence has lots of physical stuff among its components, but I've never heard of a theory of mind that says that a mind could be made of physical stuff. Even the so-called "mind-brain identity theory" is really the theory that mental processes and brain processes are identical; nobody thinks it makes sense to say something like "My mind weighs three pounds." What the hell would it mean to say that a mind is made up of things like the number three, the Eiffel Tower, and the Rocky Mountains?

Second, how are you jumping from "X is contained in this mind" to "X is a thought of this mind"? I agree that this is intuitive in most cases, but it seems to me that this is only intuitive because in most cases we aren't thinking of minds as literally being made of physical stuff: it might be true that saying "I have an apple in my mind" means that I have thoughts about an apple, but that's only because saying "I have an apple in my mind" is different from saying "I have an apple in my brain."

Another way of putting this point is that it's not clear that the sense in which things can be "contained in" my mind is the same as the sense in which things can be "contained in" existence, any more than the sense in which asking whether a book has werewolves "in it" is asking whether there are literally a bunch of tiny lycanthropes hiding somewhere in the binding.

Finally, what reason is there at all for thinking that existence is a mind?
Nothing rhymes with orange,
Not even sporange.

User avatar
addams
Posts: 10325
Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2010 4:44 am UTC
Location: Oregon Coast: 97444

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby addams » Tue Nov 19, 2013 2:17 am UTC

That looks more like Philosophy than Religion to me.
I don't care. Philosophy is fun, too.

And; You are funny. Your examples are Great.
The Omnipotence. Your example is a guy that can't tie his shoelaces and no one else can tie his shoelaces, either.
I knew that guy. I liked him. What a Pain-in-the-Ass he could be.

There were days when it took all the powers of concentration he had to tie his shoelaces.
I could do it. I did not dare. I would stand there and wait.

Was he omnipotent? crap. May as well have been.
He might not have impressed you. I was not interested in his shoelace tying skills.
I could do that.

Then you go on. You are funny.
The mind IS made up of the number three, the Eiffel Tower and the Rocky Mountains.
You have all of that in your mind. I have all of that in my mind, too.

I have the Number three, The Golden Gate Bridge, and the Rocky Mountains inside my mind.
I have a few other things in there, too.
The human mind must be a very busy place a very large place or a very well organized place.
All three?

Some people have brains that are by all measures the same as most other functioning adult brains.
The products of that brain are different in some measurable ways. Why do you think that happens?

So funny. You looped back around.
What reason is there to think that existence is a mind?

We have minds so that we can do better than survive.
We can thrive! It's alive! Let it thrive!

Existence is so survival. eewww. We can do better than that.
Did you ever see the photos of the monkey in the hot spring?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOuiI9N5miY

When I was young, not that long ago in geologic time.
I was shown a photo of a snow monkey sitting in a spring.
He looked miserable. I was asked why he looked so unhappy.
My first guess was hunger. He had to get out of the water to eat.
I learned from the snow monkey that I did not meet, to take food to the hot springs.

Religion and Philosphy are fun.
We don't have to take tests! Yea!

We can get everything wrong and no one cares.
Such Freedom! Do you ever want to get something right, anyway?

How will you know if you got the answer right, if there is no test?
How do you know you got it right?

If it is correct on the test, the author and judge of the test may be wrong.
Or; Better yet; The author and judge of the test might be an AssHole.

Are you still having fun? With Religion or Philosophy?
Not much difference. Both a ton of fun when done correctly.
Both more nuisance than use when done wrong.

Who am I to judge your Religion and life Philosophy?
I am not blind.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

User avatar
TheGrammarBolshevik
Posts: 4878
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:12 am UTC
Location: Going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it.

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Tue Nov 19, 2013 2:42 am UTC

addams wrote:The mind IS made up of the number three, the Eiffel Tower and the Rocky Mountains.
You have all of that in your mind. I have all of that in my mind, too.

Still, the Eiffel Tower is in my mind in a different sense from how it's in Paris, or from how it's in existence.
Nothing rhymes with orange,
Not even sporange.

User avatar
LaserGuy
Posts: 4585
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 5:33 pm UTC

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Nov 19, 2013 2:45 am UTC

jovialbard wrote:
Simply because you believe in something does not imply that it is a god. I believe in democracy as the best system of government. That doesn't mean that democracy is a god, because it doesn't have any of the properties of godliness.


Then there are properties of godliness? What are they? That's essentially what I'm asking.


I've already given you one possible general definition of a god. I don't even need a particularly good one for it to be sufficient to exclude a concept; I just need to say that a god is a being of some kind. I don't even need to specific if it is natural or supernatural.

jovialbard wrote:
Well, unless they can demonstrate that their God exists, that their God has a universal moral standard, and that they know what that standard is, there's no point in privileging their arguments with respect to morality in any way.


It's not a privilege, it's an acknowledgement of perspective and context.


I don't care about their perspective. They can believe whatever they want. It is only the truth of the matter that I am interested in.

jovialbard wrote:
...mathematics is a concept that helps us solve certain kinds of problems, and presumably God would know about how to use mathematics. Likewise, God isn't morality; morality is a concept that helps us solve certain kinds of problems, and presumably God would know about how to use morality.


This would suggest that the mathematics and morality you are talking about transcend God. I'm not sure, but some theologians may not view that notion positively


I don't care what theologians think. I care what is true. Incidentally, though, some theologians take the position that the existence of transcendent concepts like mathematics is proof of God.

jovialbard wrote:That aside: mathematics is, in foundation, just a logical rejection of paradox. It asks what is or cannot be true given a set of assumptions. Right? Mathematics is then just a spaaace of non-paradoxical notions, right? So what is morality in the analogy?


Morality asks what should or should not be done given a set of assumptions, I suppose.

jovialbard wrote:Not sure I follow. Morality does not pertain to what can be, like the laws of physics do, it pertains to what should be. To break the laws of physics is to do what cannot be done. To break the laws of morality is to do what should not be done. What should not be done is not essentially equivalent to what can not be done. The notion that a universal moral standard should be unbreakable is conflating the laws of should with the laws of can.


If something it universal, then it applies everywhere, all the time. If a moral code is universal, then it applies everywhere, all the time. If I do not follow a moral code, then it cannot be universal, because there is at least one place where it does not apply, namely to my own person. Therefore, the only way a moral code can be universal is if it is also unbreakable. The fact that subjective moralities can exist seems to make the prospect of a universal morality rather unlikely--and, as I said, rather unnecessary.

jovialbard wrote:But aren't good fundamentalists told that if they look at a law of god and say "that doesn't make sense" then they should shut their yap and follow it anyway? For them the universal law is absolute. They hold their personal moral standards as subservient to God even if they do not understand or agree.


Well, I don't particularly care about what fundamentalists are told, but... generally, no, even fundamentalists will follow their own morality. I mean, they don't own slaves or stone people to death or worry about the Sabbath, do they?

jovialbard wrote:I still have trouble with the difference between a mystical God-as-universe perspective and an atheistic perspective.


Many atheists feel that pantheism is quite silly for this very reason. Many theists would probably agree.

User avatar
addams
Posts: 10325
Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2010 4:44 am UTC
Location: Oregon Coast: 97444

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby addams » Tue Nov 19, 2013 2:58 am UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
addams wrote:The mind IS made up of the number three, the Eiffel Tower and the Rocky Mountains.
You have all of that in your mind. I have all of that in my mind, too.

Still, the Eiffel Tower is in my mind in a different sense from how it's in Paris, or from how it's in existence.

ok. The one in your mind is different from the one in Paris.
It is different from the one in Las Vegas, too.
What is the one in existence like?

What is this existence? Existence is not what the thing its self experiences?
How are we using that word, now?

Do you like the Eiffel Tower? You must like it. You carry it around in your head.
Do you take it our to enjoy, often?

I am glad you drug it out to use as an example.
I have not thought of it in a long time.

I almost forgot we had one.
We have more than one, now that I think of it.

Religion? Do you believe in the Eiffel Tower?
I listened to a man that thought it looked like a cell phone tower.
I believe it could be used as a cell phone tower. Is it used that way?

It may be a cell phone tower built before its time.
The architect must have been a genius.

Dang. Now are we going to have Him running around inside our heads?

Hey! What do you think is silly about Pantheism?
Talk to the Chemists if you want an explanation that makes sense.

I could tell you, but neither of us would understand it when I was done.
I rest in Pantheism. I don't do the work. That job belongs to eternity and a few Chemists.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

Nem
Posts: 336
Joined: Fri Aug 14, 2009 12:19 pm UTC

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Nem » Tue Nov 19, 2013 2:02 pm UTC

jovialbard wrote:Ah, then would a better question be: what separates the various atheistic perspectives from declaring a belief in God? Is the question 'What is God' clarified in that context?

I still have trouble with the difference between a mystical God-as-universe perspective and an atheistic perspective. What's the difference? Those guys are dirty hippies and we aren't :)? Does it come down to the mystics believing in spirituality? The odd thing is that this would seem to suggest that the difference between God and not-God is whether I have a soul. So a characteristic or non-characteristic of me defines the appropriate terminology of another entity? That seems peculiar at least.


It seems to line up with something I don't think the universe has, and I'd be surprised if people who claimed to believe in god didn't think that they had souls. (I'm probably not an exceptional example, though that's far from being absolute proof that people in general think that way.) If you believe in souls, then you probably believe that god has one, which isn't covered under, 'And I just believe the universe is the set of natural laws and the stuff in it.' At least, not under the 'more or less as we have evidence for' formulation.

Neither would it seem that strange to me if people's motivations for believing things about how the world is sometimes came from their motivations for believing particular things about themselves. It seems to function that way in a lot of respects. For example, someone who's never achieved their dreams because of some aspect of their personality may find it much easier to believe that the world is inherently unfair. They might even, deep down, desire that state of affairs to excuse having to examine themselves too closely.

It wouldn't surprise me if some people, on looking at some of the coldness that's in the world, and at death, gave it compassion and warmth and all the things we might desire - claimed they were immortal and called that hope a soul to believe in it. There are, generally, few immediate penalties for having inaccurate or ill-defined beliefs. And the pain of thinking otherwise, of losing that faith, is probably horrible.

jovialbard wrote:But it's the property of water that it "easily changes" that makes it perfect with regard to "fitting into almost any shape". If the property "easily changes" were to change, let's say to "changed poorly", e.g. by lowering the temperature, then the water is no longer perfect with that regard. The subject of perfection must be unchanging in order to continue to be perfect for the object of perfection. If you change the subject or object then you change what axis of perfection we are talking about. This is all just to explain why perfection means unchanging. I think you're right, God can't be perfect at everything. I think Christians would permit that God is not completely compassionate because he does not show compassion to the evil doers who renounce him. However, he is perfect in his compassion in that his compassion is exactly as it should be and is unchanging. Or something like that :)


As above, you arguably need at least something core to your being that remains the same to remain identifiable as that thing. But without being able to identify what the core attributes of something are and how they'll interact with the environment, you can't really know what unchanging perfection really means. It's fairly simple in water, but when you say that god is perfect without understanding what god is that seems rather ... odd.

User avatar
addams
Posts: 10325
Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2010 4:44 am UTC
Location: Oregon Coast: 97444

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby addams » Tue Nov 19, 2013 3:48 pm UTC

Hell-o;
Maybe I don't understand.
Are you making the point, 'you don't have a soul'?

How do you define soul?
Did you ever take a Psychology class?
Where you told what that word means?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychology#Etymology
Spoiler:
Etymology

The word psychology literally means, "study of the soul" (ψυχή, psukhē, meaning "breath", "spirit", or "soul"; and -λογος -logos, translated as "study of" or "research"[10]).[11] The Latin word psychology was first used by the Croatian humanist and Latinist Marko Marulić in his book, Psichiologia de ratione animae humanae in the late 15th century or early 16th century.[12] The earliest known reference to the word psychology in English was by Steven Blankaart in 1694 in The Physical Dictionary which refers to "Anatomy, which treats of the Body, and Psychology, which treats of the Soul."[13]


Do you mind? Do you have a mind?
Polytheists use human examples of Great Minds as examples of what can be done.

Those are great minds.
Mono-Thesis sometimes say God is perfect. They also say there is only one. They also say God is beyond human understanding and God want to know humans.

People are always saying weird shit.
An atheist and a Mono-Theist are the same dang thing.
One says I can't understand and neither can you.
The other one says there is nothing to understand and neither can you.

That is funny. right?

Now; To the issue of soul:
If you have a mind, you have a soul.
If you are a mindless, careless lump of carbon and trace elements, well.......?

Any creature that has a mind, has a soul.
In many faiths, the soul must be treated as if it were sacred.

It is such a good idea. You don't have to.
If you treat yourself and others as if your mind and their minds are worthless,
You will meet with disapproval, sometimes.

Nothing is as fucked up, in my experience, as an Atheist that uses the language of the soul.
It happens. That is the best argument other Atheists have.

I have noticed that Atheists want to force other people Out of The Closet.
It is such a good idea.

But forcing people that are not in The Closet out of The Closet is, kind of, stupid.
It is like a gay person attempting to force a straight person out of The Closet.

I had a friend that wanted to do that. I came out of The Closet. I had fun and I learned a lot.
My soul became richer. Idiot friends. I love being loved, even by brilliant idiots. Don't you?

An aside: Be nice to Mono-Theists. They have a difficult Religion. Proof?
Fewer Mono-Theists succeed than PolyTheists.

You have a very good point.
Neither would it seem that strange to me if people's motivations for believing things about how the world is sometimes came from their motivations for believing particular things about themselves.


Your point is a good one. AssHoles believe other people are AssHoles, too; And, act accordingly.
They form clubs where some of the activities are illegal to even type about in public.

Innocents often expect others to be that way, too; Those people are dangerously wrong. See AssHoles, above.
Often these people will form clubs to be the hand of God in the world. So sweet.

So; Have you noticed commonalities? You did take a basic Science class. right?
You are looking for commonalities and differences. What do you see?

Do you see Mindlessness in the world? When you see Mindlessness what else do you see? These thing tend to cluster.
Absent minded is not the same as Mindlessness.

Absent minded is often a mind that is working on a problem that is not at hand.
Mindless is often a lazy and undisciplined mind.

To reject releigion because life is full and you are a part of noble, satifing enterprises is more than fine with me.
To reject religion because you are an AssHole and you want No Constaints on how much of an AssHole you can be. That is fucked up. We have that.

To attack people of faith is so stupid.
To challenge people of faith is so great.
Do you know the difference?

Take your soul out and look at it.
Do you like it? Is it in hiding?
Many are in hiding.
Who can blame them?

Your soul is your mind.
You may have a fine one.
You may have a lazy and weak one.

Have you met Sarah Wattie?
https://www.google.com/search?q=saraswa ... 80&bih=738
What a delightful idea.
People that honor human knowledge.

Do you? I relearned something.
People that already know everything are not good students.

Have you noticed that? You know everything about religion?
All those people are wrong and you and yours understand The Truth?
that is funny. Don't hurt people. Don't hurt animals. Have fun with your new Religion.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

Nem
Posts: 336
Joined: Fri Aug 14, 2009 12:19 pm UTC

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Nem » Wed Nov 20, 2013 1:45 am UTC

addams wrote:Hell-o;
Maybe I don't understand.
Are you making the point, 'you don't have a soul'?

How do you define soul?
Did you ever take a Psychology class?
Where you told what that word means?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychology#Etymology
Spoiler:
Etymology

The word psychology literally means, "study of the soul" (????, psukhe, meaning "breath", "spirit", or "soul"; and -????? -logos, translated as "study of" or "research"[10]).[11] The Latin word psychology was first used by the Croatian humanist and Latinist Marko Marulic in his book, Psichiologia de ratione animae humanae in the late 15th century or early 16th century.[12] The earliest known reference to the word psychology in English was by Steven Blankaart in 1694 in The Physical Dictionary which refers to "Anatomy, which treats of the Body, and Psychology, which treats of the Soul."[13]


Do you mind? Do you have a mind?
Polytheists use human examples of Great Minds as examples of what can be done.



It's seems rather a stretch to say that when some people, perhaps, thought they were studying soul they were studying the mind and that thus the soul just means the mind. I suppose it's reasonably arguable that to them the soul and the mind would be the same thing. However, equally they may just have been being poetic. Moreover, most people aren't going to be aware of that definition, and consequently when they use the word they're probably not going to mean the mind - at least not on that basis. As evidence for that, it doesn't agree with the dictionary definition of the term. The Oxford English dictionary defines the soul as:

'The spiritual or immaterial part of a human being or animal, regarded as immortal.

a person’s moral or emotional nature or sense of identity:
in the depths of her soul, she knew he would betray her'

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/defin ... oul?q=soul

And, however ill-defined 'spiritual or immaterial' is, that seems far closer to what most people would seem to mean when they use the word.

For future reference, however: I hereby assert that, unless there's reason to believe otherwise, when I use a word I'm attempting to use it in the sense found in the current edition of the OED.

addams wrote:Have you noticed that? You know everything about religion?
All those people are wrong and you and yours understand The Truth?
that is funny. Don't hurt people. Don't hurt animals. Have fun with your new Religion.


Of course I don't know everything about religion. Anyone who claims to know everything about any complex subject is probably either supremely ignorant or a computer. The question is: When do you know enough to accurately support answers to the questions that interest you?

With regards to any question there will be core issues - and while surrounding issues may further refine the details of the answer you get, if those core issues render a conclusive answer at the level of detail you're interested in then the surrounding issues don't matter. You don't have to know everything about something to know whether what you're being told is accurate or not, or even to have an informed opinion on it. If I tell you that President Obama came to my house last night and ate my dog, you don't need to know every part of the story about him eating my dog to know that it's hooey - nor do you need to read the other fifty books I publish about the extended adventures of Obama and my dog before rendering judgement.

As for honouring knowledge, no. I have curiosity; I love learning; but I wouldn't claim to honour knowledge. Most of the times when I've gotten visibly smarter, from my perspective at least, have coincided with times when I've had challenges to overcome in my life and needed good answers to do so.
I think, and this is just pattern matching so take it with a grain of salt, that honouring knowledge may even be dangerous to people's ability to get to the truth. Because the easiest way to think that you know lots is to be so profoundly ignorant that you don't notice the contradictions and lack of predictive ability that what you 'know' gives you.

When it comes to non-trivial issues, it seems like it may be a good heuristic to say that you often need to have something beyond just wanting to be right to actually be right. Doing things; making predictions about what should and shouldn't happen; tests what you know. If you can't do the thing, then you don't know what you think you know - reality renders an absolute judgement on whether something's accurate enough to answer the question you're interested in, in a way that simple respect for the truth doesn't.

User avatar
addams
Posts: 10325
Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2010 4:44 am UTC
Location: Oregon Coast: 97444

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby addams » Wed Nov 20, 2013 6:48 am UTC

That was not fun. It was mildly productive.
I know now; I am one of those people.
I think of the Mind and the Soul as the same thing.

That language 'works' for me.
I have heard a great many jokes about the subject of minds being lost and minds wandering off.

I like the idea. Minds like souls are not all the same. We do judge ourselves and each other.
We must. There is a difference between being Judgmental and having good Judgment.

umm. We seem to have a misunderstanding.
And; Maybe not.

I don't care if you honor human knowledge or not.
I do. I respect the men and women that have done intellectual work.
It is work and they have earned my respect.

When I read you post, the voice I hear sounds snotty.
You needed answers to a difficult real world problem and you reached into your mind and came up with a brilliant answer?
You think you did that without the support of human knowledge?

Think about that for a while. Like other matters of Religon and Spirituality tempers can flare.
It is mildly offensive that you use a tool and do not give the tool any credit. (shrug)

You are able to use the written word. I am able to use the written word.
I stop and consider how much I love the written word, sometimes.
I stop and consider what a wonderful gift we have given one another.
I stop and am grateful to my teachers. And; I am impressed with human knowledge.

I sure see a lot of stupid. Many of my people can not read.
They don't want to read. But for the Grace of God? Go I? Go you?





When I was introduced to Sarah Wattie, she was being honored as a Goddess that brought the written word to man.
That is one nice gift; If used well.

The woman that introduced me was a teenager. She is a good student.
She has to work hard at being a good student.

That young woman sits for a few minutes with Sarah Wattie.
Then she does the necessary work to please and show respect for Sarah Wattie, her mother, her grandmother, her teachers, and herself. That system is working for her. I liked getting a whole new idea.

I did not get that idea from a theologian.
I got it from a sweet teen age girl and her family.
Bless them. They are a great bunch.

A teen age girl is not the place to get strange, convoluted augments and explanations of Mythology.
This one teen age woman says she feels understood and supported in her labor to learn.
It makes as much sense as praying to Jesus.

It makes more sense than not honoring the product of our human minds.
Human Knowledge.

So much we have known; So much we have been wrong about.
We get some stuff right!
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

Nem
Posts: 336
Joined: Fri Aug 14, 2009 12:19 pm UTC

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Nem » Wed Nov 20, 2013 11:52 am UTC

addams wrote:When I read you post, the voice I hear sounds snotty.
You needed answers to a difficult real world problem and you reached into your mind and came up with a brilliant answer?
You think you did that without the support of human knowledge?


Honouring something means somewhat more than using it. It implies a great degree of respect. I use my shoes too, but at the end of the day I discard them when I'm finished with them and to say that I honour them would be to reduce the meaning of honour to a point where it becomes meaningless.

The problem with honouring knowledge as an abstract I think, as I've said in the previous post to you, is that you're not really sure what is knowledge and what isn't. And this seems to be something that you're aware of yourself 'People who already know everything don't make good students.' What do you think the effect would be of them honouring their 'knowledge'? I just don't see how this can practically be done without incurring significant penalties to one's ability to think.

User avatar
addams
Posts: 10325
Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2010 4:44 am UTC
Location: Oregon Coast: 97444

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby addams » Thu Nov 21, 2013 5:52 am UTC

Nem wrote:
addams wrote:When I read you post, the voice I hear sounds snotty.
You needed answers to a difficult real world problem and you reached into your mind and came up with a brilliant answer?
You think you did that without the support of human knowledge?


Honouring something means somewhat more than using it. It implies a great degree of respect. I use my shoes too, but at the end of the day I discard them when I'm finished with them and to say that I honour them would be to reduce the meaning of honour to a point where it becomes meaningless.

The problem with honouring knowledge as an abstract I think, as I've said in the previous post to you, is that you're not really sure what is knowledge and what isn't. And this seems to be something that you're aware of yourself 'People who already know everything don't make good students.' What do you think the effect would be of them honouring their 'knowledge'? I just don't see how this can practically be done without incurring significant penalties to one's ability to think.

We have very different ways of thinking about our worlds.
I think you may be spoiled. Or; Thoughtless for other reasons.

You wear your shoes and discard them without a thought?
Do you work at keeping your respect and high regard in check?

I wear shoes, too. You and I have that in common.
I hold my shoes in high regard. I love my shoes.

I think very highly of people that would produce such amazing things.
My shoes are a sign of intelligent life.

I am not sure what knowledge is and what it isn't? What??
oh. Are you spliting the hair between what is Knowledge and what is Truth?

An Example:
Common Knowledge is that Dick Cheney is working for the 2nd amendment and the freedom of the American people.
Common Knowledge is that Safeway stores are only on the West Coast.

Truth is that water freezes at 0 C.
Truth is when the lights are off, its dark.
Truth is when a Toy is dipped in water, it is no longer dry.

To honor Common Knowledge may be a bit of a stretch.
To honor Human Knowledge makes sense to me.
To honor our ability to record and transmit data both through space and through time is my privilege.
I get to know that. I choose to be impressed.

Have You Met People??!
People are Idots!!
People built that bridge.
People read notes on paper and turn them into .....sweet sounds that turn out nearly as the author intended, often.
People built weird shit like helicopters and jet planes.

People do that stuff with Human Knowledge.
They use Human Knowledge, intelligence, self control and a few friends.
Look what Human Knowledge has done. You are not impressed?

My religion has a place for honoring individuals that use Human Knowledge.
My religion has a place for honoring individuals that contribute to Human Knowledge.
My religion has a place for honoring Human Knowledge.

(shrug) My religion has a place for honoring my stupid shoes.

EDIT:************Change in Mood and Subject************
It is still Religon. I do not worship the Bible. I think that is stupid.
There are words in the Bible. If treated very carefully the way all mistranslated document should be treated,
The Bible can turn up some good words. Don't consider the source. The source does not matter.

I like this list of words.

But the fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
—Galatians 5:22-23

There are some companion words:
The task in life is not to find yourself.
The task in life is to create yourself.


You will know them by their fruit?
If they have the fruit of the spirit it does not matter what books they have been reading, they will make good companions.

Religions allow people to share the journey of creation.
The only thing most of us have much control over is ourselves.

You create you. I will create me.
Then we can do Show-and-Tell!

If it is fun to show and tell, then we have succeeded.
It we don't like one another, then what?

If we are using the same recipe we should be close.
But; Not always. What do you thing Patience is?

Waiting for you to not tie your shoes, shows great patience on my part.
You had better be able to do Something! (read Math!) Or; I will have one of my rare tantrums.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

Nem
Posts: 336
Joined: Fri Aug 14, 2009 12:19 pm UTC

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Nem » Thu Nov 21, 2013 11:22 am UTC

Obviously, given the reasons I've given for my responses on this matter, I'm unlikely to think of myself in the way that you do. Since you've not engaged with those reasons, and seem to forget critical definitions I've used, such as 'when it comes to non-trivial issues' when coming close to engaging with them, I feel there's no benefit to either of us in carrying this line of the debate any further.

User avatar
addams
Posts: 10325
Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2010 4:44 am UTC
Location: Oregon Coast: 97444

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby addams » Thu Nov 21, 2013 10:58 pm UTC

oh. You don't want to talk t me?
Or; You do not want to disagree?
Or; You do not want to examine Religion and its companion Human Knowledge?

I like both. I also dislike disagreements.
In Religion I find agreement in You Love who You Love.
In Knowledge I find agreement in You Study what You want to Study.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

User avatar
jovialbard
Posts: 613
Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:08 pm UTC

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby jovialbard » Fri Nov 22, 2013 4:44 pm UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:On this way of speaking, Fred could be omnipotent even if he can't tie his shoes, so long as nothing can tie his shoes. Call this way of interpreting omnipotence "A-omnipotence."


That's not quite what I'm saying. Is it possible for Fred to tie his shoes? Maybe he can't right now, and nobody else can, because they don't know how or lack the dexterity, but is tying shoes something that could be done? If it's possible but Fred can't do it, then Fred is not omnipotent. However, if that power is possible then it is a power that exists. I may not be substantiated, but it's part of the framework of existence.

However, if you assume that tying shoes is not possible no matter what, that the power to tie shoes does not exist, then to demand that an entity be able to do it in order to be omnipotent is to presuppose that omnipotence is an impossibility. The only reason to construct the definition of omnipotence that way is to make it easy to argue that omnipotence is absurd. Of course it's absurd for an entity to have the power to do something it doesn't have the power to do. The contradiction is in the definition, making the definition silly.

Now, some theologians may like that definition because they like to think of God as that which is impossible, that God somehow defies paradox. That's interesting, but is it an essential characteristic for God to be impossible and paradoxical? Is the difference between an atheist and a non-atheist that a non-atheist believes in impossibilities?

Another way of putting this point is that it's not clear that the sense in which things can be "contained in" my mind is the same as the sense in which things can be "contained in" existence, any more than the sense in which asking whether a book has werewolves "in it" is asking whether there are literally a bunch of tiny lycanthropes hiding somewhere in the binding.


Hmm, let me try to put forth a description of existence as a mind, tell me what you think: Existence is composed of a body of interactions, a system of logic that defines all matter and energy, time and space, etc. Given the context of the state of existence at any given moment this system of interactions and logic determines how things will unfold as time passes (while in truth time passing itself is a function of this logic). This determination is the agency of existence. This agency acts on everything that exists. When Caligula takes his breath, it is the agency of existence that causes that to happen. If the laws and interactions of existence did not include that breath then Caligula would not breath. It is only a thought of existence, in the form of a body of mechanical laws, that permits each breath Caligula draws in and lets out. Everything that happens, happens because existence is processing it. It is this processing itself that is the mind of existence, and every thing which exists is subject to this process. Everything that exists is subject to and acted upon by the mind that is existence.

Does existence have whims? Does existence use language to describe all that it possesses? Does existence 'remember', and what does memory mean when you are transcendent of time and space? Are whim, language, and memory all essential components of agency or mind, or can something be an agent or a mind without these things?

Finally, what reason is there at all for thinking that existence is a mind?


What reason is there not to? Maybe agnosticism is the best stance on that point, but the question that's interesting to me is: Do you think it's possible that existence has agency?

LaserGuy wrote:I've already given you one possible general definition of a god. I don't even need a particularly good one for it to be sufficient to exclude a concept; I just need to say that a god is a being of some kind. I don't even need to specific if it is natural or supernatural.


Oh, geez, it's been a long conversation, what definition of a god are you working under?

Okay, but humans are beings and they are natural, so what separates them from gods?

I don't care about their perspective. They can believe whatever they want. It is only the truth of the matter that I am interested in.


Do you know the truth? Because if you don't then perspectives would seem to be very relevent. You never know which is right.



Awww, I thought that was going to be interesting, but it's just begging the question. Disappointed :(

jovialbard wrote:Not sure I follow. Morality does not pertain to what can be, like the laws of physics do, it pertains to what should be. To break the laws of physics is to do what cannot be done. To break the laws of morality is to do what should not be done. What should not be done is not essentially equivalent to what can not be done. The notion that a universal moral standard should be unbreakable is conflating the laws of should with the laws of can.


If something it universal, then it applies everywhere, all the time. If a moral code is universal, then it applies everywhere, all the time. If I do not follow a moral code, then it cannot be universal, because there is at least one place where it does not apply, namely to my own person. Therefore, the only way a moral code can be universal is if it is also unbreakable. The fact that subjective moralities can exist seems to make the prospect of a universal morality rather unlikely--and, as I said, rather unnecessary.


Again, you're conflating 'can' and 'should'. If you don't follow the universal moral code it does still apply to you. Breaking a 'should' is not the same as breaking a 'can'. It isn't an impossibility that you broke it, it just makes you evil (or at least bad) that you broke it. Morality does not define what 'can' happen, it defines what 'should' happen, which means that things can exist in opposition to it, they just shouldn't.

Well, I don't particularly care about what fundamentalists are told, but... generally, no, even fundamentalists will follow their own morality. I mean, they don't own slaves or stone people to death or worry about the Sabbath, do they?


Jesus told them to stop stoning people, the bible doesn't tell you that you should own slaves it just says how you should treat them if you happen to, and fundamentalists do worry about the Sabbath. That is, if we are talking about Christian fundamentalists. Islamic fundamentalists do put people to death based on the principles outlined in sharia law. They've stopped with the slavery thing, but then Mohammed kept telling them to release their slaves every chance they get. They do also care deeply about the Sabbath as well.

jovialbard wrote:I still have trouble with the difference between a mystical God-as-universe perspective and an atheistic perspective.


Many atheists feel that pantheism is quite silly for this very reason. Many theists would probably agree.


Atheists think they are silly because they express a sense of wonderment and faith in something that atheists do not believe should be an object of wonderment and faith?

@Nem and @addams So what separates the notion of the Mind and the Soul? The mind is immaterial, right? So it the fact that the mind is not spiritual? What does spiritual mean? Is it the notion that the atheist does not believe the mind is immortal? Is the difference between the two that a soul can be separated from the physical? I suppose that makes sense. So then an atheist is defined by a belief that death is final and that their mind does not live on in any form after their death. That definition seems to be consistent with my experience of atheists.

Nem wrote:honouring knowledge may even be dangerous to people's ability to get to the truth.


Hear hear! Though I get the point addams is making about honoring human knowledge in a sense of respect, I also agree that taking that respect to the level of absolute certainty is the best way to be ignorant.
I wrote a book exploring the nature of identity and loss of self! And another book about babies!
Also, vlog and short-story blog

User avatar
setzer777
Good questions sometimes get stupid answers
Posts: 2762
Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2008 9:24 am UTC

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby setzer777 » Fri Nov 22, 2013 4:53 pm UTC

jovialbard wrote:
Finally, what reason is there at all for thinking that existence is a mind?


What reason is there not to?


The fact that every example of mind we've ever conclusively observed is intimately tied to (possibly identical to) specific patterns of neurons, and those patterns are intimately tied to the process of organic evolution. It's similar to the reason for not thinking existence passes gas - farting is intimately tied to digestive systems, which are a result of genetic evolution.
Meaux_Pas wrote:We're here to go above and beyond.

Too infinity
of being an arsehole

User avatar
LaserGuy
Posts: 4585
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 5:33 pm UTC

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby LaserGuy » Fri Nov 22, 2013 5:53 pm UTC

jovialbard wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:I've already given you one possible general definition of a god. I don't even need a particularly good one for it to be sufficient to exclude a concept; I just need to say that a god is a being of some kind. I don't even need to specific if it is natural or supernatural.


Oh, geez, it's been a long conversation, what definition of a god are you working under?

Okay, but humans are beings and they are natural, so what separates them from gods?


In that particular case, I wasn't working under a fully-formed definition of god. I just noted that any definition of god is likely to be an entity of some kind. Not necessarily anthropomorphic, but at least something that has some level of agency. The definition I was referring to above was this one:

The broadest possible definition I could give would be something like this: A god is something that people believe has supernatural powers, and may be worth worshiping or revering as a consequence of those powers. I suspect that there are still edge cases, and it captures a lot of other things that would not normally be considered gods. A lucky rabbit's foot, for example, would qualify as a god under this definition. I don't think it's particularly fruitful to talk about gods in such broad terms, no.


This definition would exclude humans as gods, except for humans who possess supernatural powers.

jovialbard wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:I don't care about their perspective. They can believe whatever they want. It is only the truth of the matter that I am interested in.


Do you know the truth? Because if you don't then perspectives would seem to be very relevant. You never know which is right.


That's kind of the point. Their perspective is irrelevant unless they are able to demonstrate its truthfulness. I'm not interested in it because they believe it; I'm only interested in it if it's true.

jovialbard wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:If something it universal, then it applies everywhere, all the time. If a moral code is universal, then it applies everywhere, all the time. If I do not follow a moral code, then it cannot be universal, because there is at least one place where it does not apply, namely to my own person. Therefore, the only way a moral code can be universal is if it is also unbreakable. The fact that subjective moralities can exist seems to make the prospect of a universal morality rather unlikely--and, as I said, rather unnecessary.


Again, you're conflating 'can' and 'should'. If you don't follow the universal moral code it does still apply to you. Breaking a 'should' is not the same as breaking a 'can'. It isn't an impossibility that you broke it, it just makes you evil (or at least bad) that you broke it. Morality does not define what 'can' happen, it defines what 'should' happen, which means that things can exist in opposition to it, they just shouldn't.


But then on what grounds can this moral code be considered universal if nobody follows it? Why is it bad to break it? How would you know if you broke it, and what would the consequences be for doing so? How could you even figure out what it is?

jovialbard wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:Well, I don't particularly care about what fundamentalists are told, but... generally, no, even fundamentalists will follow their own morality. I mean, they don't own slaves or stone people to death or worry about the Sabbath, do they?


Jesus told them to stop stoning people, the bible doesn't tell you that you should own slaves it just says how you should treat them if you happen to, and fundamentalists do worry about the Sabbath. That is, if we are talking about Christian fundamentalists. Islamic fundamentalists do put people to death based on the principles outlined in sharia law. They've stopped with the slavery thing, but then Mohammed kept telling them to release their slaves every chance they get. They do also care deeply about the Sabbath as well.


I was thinking specifically about Christians fundamentalists, and, as I've said, the vast majority of them have rejected huge swaths of Biblical morality because it's obviously terrible.

jovialbard wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:Many atheists feel that pantheism is quite silly for this very reason. Many theists would probably agree.


Atheists think they are silly because they express a sense of wonderment and faith in something that atheists do not believe should be an object of wonderment and faith?


Well, atheists have no problem with wonder. I'm not sure what it means to have faith in the Universe, but be that as it may. From an atheist perspective, the difference between atheism and pantheism is essentially semantics. If the Universe is exactly equivalent to 'God', then there is no reason to talk about 'God' at all, because we already have a word to describe that thing--one that isn't loaded with unrelated cultural baggage.

jovialbard wrote:So what separates the notion of the Mind and the Soul? The mind is immaterial, right? So it the fact that the mind is not spiritual? What does spiritual mean? Is it the notion that the atheist does not believe the mind is immortal? Is the difference between the two that a soul can be separated from the physical? I suppose that makes sense. So then an atheist is defined by a belief that death is final and that their mind does not live on in any form after their death. That definition seems to be consistent with my experience of atheists.


Generally, I would expect atheists to believe that the mind is a product of the brain (good evidence suggests that it is) and dies when the brain dies. There is no evidence to support the existence of souls or an afterlife.

morriswalters
Posts: 7073
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:21 am UTC

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby morriswalters » Fri Nov 22, 2013 6:06 pm UTC

An atheist is defined by the idea there is no God. What he may believe after that point is irrelevant to his atheism. You don't need a God even if you wish to define existence after death.

User avatar
addams
Posts: 10325
Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2010 4:44 am UTC
Location: Oregon Coast: 97444

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby addams » Fri Nov 22, 2013 6:07 pm UTC

There is no evidence to support the existence of the soul after death.
I may see evidence to support the existance of the soul before death.

Bodies are not all the same. Minds are not all the same.
Some weird bodies have wonderful souls.
Some wonderful bodies have weird souls.

Nothing wrong with a weird soul. Unless it is dangerous to my well being.
Some souls talk their physical companions into doing weird shit.

Some are mean and nasty and harsh and violent, both is body and mind.
I know. I have been enteracting with (da-daa da-daa scary music) Them.

Don't ya' ever want to hold hands with a friend
and simply rest in the peace that flows between you and your friend?

Religion allows that. It may not be much, but it beats the socks off a lot of other stuff.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

Tyndmyr
Posts: 11443
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Nov 22, 2013 6:46 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:An atheist is defined by the idea there is no God. What he may believe after that point is irrelevant to his atheism. You don't need a God even if you wish to define existence after death.


Strictly, he is defined by a lack of belief in a God. I cannot prove that there is no God, but it seems fairly unlikely, and I certainly have no reason to believe in one, so meh.

You could, I suppose, believe in an afterlife without a belief in any sort of diety, just as one can believe that this life exists without buying into gods. In practice though, it seems unlikely, because the same lack of evidence for a god or gods seems to be the case for an afterlife as well.

User avatar
sardia
Posts: 6813
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:39 am UTC

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby sardia » Fri Nov 22, 2013 7:49 pm UTC

Can an atheist sell their souls for money? Or an organ or something? Like I'd totally sell my soul for a kidney transplate so I can drink more. It's not like they need it. Alternately, can you sell your soul to God for something, like a free house?

Tyndmyr
Posts: 11443
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Nov 22, 2013 8:30 pm UTC

sardia wrote:Can an atheist sell their souls for money? Or an organ or something? Like I'd totally sell my soul for a kidney transplate so I can drink more. It's not like they need it. Alternately, can you sell your soul to God for something, like a free house?


Well, I don't really see that a soul is an actual thing. I mean, if someone'll give me money in return for a paper saying I sell my soul or whatever...cheers!

I don't know what exactly a soul is, though, or how one would actually sell it. One might as well buy and sell gods.

morriswalters
Posts: 7073
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:21 am UTC

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby morriswalters » Fri Nov 22, 2013 8:36 pm UTC

sardia wrote:Can an atheist sell their souls for money? Or an organ or something? Like I'd totally sell my soul for a kidney transplate so I can drink more. It's not like they need it. Alternately, can you sell your soul to God for something, like a free house?
I'll buy it if I can collect at will.

Tyndmyr wrote:Strictly, he is defined by a lack of belief in a God.
Okay but ideas are close enough for Government work. My existence after death is as a green slime on the rocks at the bottom of the Ohio river. I find it comforting for the ich factor it produces as swimmers feel it covering their feet.

Nem
Posts: 336
Joined: Fri Aug 14, 2009 12:19 pm UTC

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Nem » Fri Nov 22, 2013 10:11 pm UTC

jovialbard wrote:@Nem and @addams So what separates the notion of the Mind and the Soul? The mind is immaterial, right?


Doesn't seem to be, at least not according to that time I took a rail road spike to my friend's head and her personality changed.

Or maybe that happened to someone else.

My larger point being that since explaining visible manifestations of the mind, i.e. behaviour, in terms of physical causes - your family, your genetics, your brain structure, etc - seems to reduce uncertainty, and since we can alter the mind via altering the physical, and to my knowledge saying that mind is immaterial never has reduced uncertainty, I see no reason to assume that the mind is immaterial.

User avatar
sardia
Posts: 6813
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:39 am UTC

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby sardia » Fri Nov 22, 2013 10:46 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:I'll buy it if I can collect at will.

Tyndmyr wrote:Strictly, he is defined by a lack of belief in a God.
Okay but ideas are close enough for Government work. My existence after death is as a green slime on the rocks at the bottom of the Ohio river. I find it comforting for the ich factor it produces as swimmers feel it covering their feet.

How much are you offering? I'm not sure what the supply is for souls, but those bibles stories always imply how valuable a single soul is. I'm looking somewhere between the three wishes the devil gives, and ebay of $2000.

Tyndmyr: Parody aside, why can't we sell something we consider worthless, a soul, to someone who wants it badly, Judeo-Christians? Alternately, how much would you have to be paid in order to convert?

User avatar
addams
Posts: 10325
Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2010 4:44 am UTC
Location: Oregon Coast: 97444

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby addams » Fri Nov 22, 2013 10:53 pm UTC

Nem wrote:
jovialbard wrote:@Nem and @addams So what separates the notion of the Mind and the Soul? The mind is immaterial, right?


Doesn't seem to be, at least not according to that time I took a rail road spike to my friend's head and her personality changed.

Or maybe that happened to someone else.

My larger point being that since explaining visible manifestations of the mind, i.e. behaviour, in terms of physical causes - your family, your genetics, your brain structure, etc - seems to reduce uncertainty, and since we can alter the mind via altering the physical, and to my knowledge saying that mind is immaterial never has reduced uncertainty, I see no reason to assume that the mind is immaterial.

Cute? Are you attempting to be cute?
Head injuries do have clinical signs. There are differences that the victim and the victim's family, co-workers and friends note.

What are you attempting to say, beyond the joke? Was it a joke?
Injuries to the mellon have an effect on the victim. That is fact.

Well? About head injuries; No clinician that I know of can tell.
A wonderful person becomes a short tempered AssHole.
A short tempered AssHole becomes a gentle delight to all.

If the Mind is synonymous with the Soul, then what?
Can you buy one? Well? You can buy BrainPower.

When you get your little self up and clean off the night's dust from your body, put on your work clothes and go somewhere to do something useful; How much is that piece of your soul worth?

Do you ever give it away? Well....I do.
I will give you a piece of my mind. I will still have plenty.
In fact, in that situation I may have more after I give you some.
Souls and Minds are like that.

What do you think?
The Athists? Someone keeps asking about the faith of the Atheist.
Someone else keeps speaking for all other Atheists.

You can speak for yourself if you are a person of faith.
You can speak for yourself if you are an atheist.

Do you mind? What a weird word. It is all we have to work with.
What happens to that part of us that is us when we die? I have no idea!

I know that what we do before we die is important to each one of us.
Some people do important things. Some people never get around to doing anything.

In the final analysis, it does not matter. We will all be thrown onto the BonFire of Eternity.
Hey! Don't cause head injuries. It is not nice. It is illegal in some nations.

In the Netherlands it is not legal and they don't allow it. They will allow a bunch of other stuff.
Not that. Well...Did you have a consent form signed, dated and notarized?

I don't know international law. It seems like the kind of thing they would frown on.
So many of those people are Atheists. They get to be. They are advantaged.

EDIT: Convert? How much to convert? Convert to what?
Some people pay to convert. You are offering to pay the converts?

I'll Do It! What are we converting to? This part is the fun stuff.
And; I get paid, too. That is great! Now; What am I converting to?

I rarely make it all the way though a conversion without a lot of giggling.
What Religion or Gang Pledge do you have that you want converts to?
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

User avatar
TheGrammarBolshevik
Posts: 4878
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:12 am UTC
Location: Going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it.

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Sat Nov 23, 2013 5:02 am UTC

jovialbard wrote:However, if you assume that tying shoes is not possible no matter what, that the power to tie shoes does not exist, then to demand that an entity be able to do it in order to be omnipotent is to presuppose that omnipotence is an impossibility.

Depends on what you mean by "no matter what." There are laws of physics, sure, and they guarantee that some things aren't possible: I can't make Jupiter explode by pouring water on my shoe, or whatever. But most philosophers draw a distinction between physical possibility and metaphysical possibility, which is something closer to conceivability. It may be physically impossible to travel at 200,000 miles per second, say, but it is not metaphysically impossible - there is no reason the speed of light couldn't be higher, or we couldn't have a somewhat different physics where light isn't the fastest thing.

Omnipotence requires every metaphysically possible power, not just every physically possible one. God, if he exists, has the power to move faster than the speed of light, and increase the sum total of mass in the universe, and suspend the ordinary workings of gravity, and so on. Are these things physically impossible? Yes, but the point is that God's power goes beyond what mere physical laws allow us to accomplish.

I'm not sure why you think the only reason to define omnipotence thus is to make omnipotence sound absurd. I guarantee you the vast majority of theists would accept this understanding of theism. For example, most theists believe in miracles, divine suspensions of the ordinary operations of physics. If they are right, then there is a problem with saying that existence is God unless you think that existence also sometimes suspends the ordinary laws of physics. And if you have evidence of that, you ought to be publishing in physics journals instead of this message board.

jovialbard wrote:Hmm, let me try to put forth a description of existence as a mind, tell me what you think: Existence is composed of a body of interactions, a system of logic that defines all matter and energy, time and space, etc. Given the context of the state of existence at any given moment this system of interactions and logic determines how things will unfold as time passes (while in truth time passing itself is a function of this logic). This determination is the agency of existence.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. How are you making the jump from "The state of the universe and the laws of physics determine how things unfold" to "This determination is agency"?

jovialbard wrote:Everything that happens, happens because existence is processing it. It is this processing itself that is the mind of existence, and every thing which exists is subject to this process.

Why do you say that existence has to process the laws and the facts in order to effect change? Suppose I knock over a glass of water with my hand. The story you are telling sounds something like this.
  1. My hand moves in such a way that it comes into contact with the glass.
  2. There are certain laws about how glasses behave when hands contact them.
  3. Existence processes (1) and (2).
  4. As a result of this processing, the glass falls over.
But why is step (3) necessary? Isn't it more parsimonious to say that my hand's movement, in conjunction with the law, knocks over the glass? Why does there need to be this extra "processing" step? And if there is such a step, in what sense is there a law about hands knocking over glasses? Wouldn't it really be a law about how the processing works? And, by the way, what is driving this processing? Are there laws governing the workings of the processor? What processes the application of those laws?

More importantly: Even if there is such a "processing" step as (3), you give no reason for the move from "There is processing" to "The processing is a mind." Both here and in the previous quote, there's no argument for why the phenomena you describe should be regarded as mental phenomena. What if I said "Let me try to put forward a description of my dirty dishes as a mind. My dirty dishes grow mold. This mold-growing is the agency of my dirty dishes. The dishes combine the food waste that's stuck on them with mold spores in the air, and this combination is the mind of my dirty dishes." Should the mere fact that I give such a description make you think that anything I'm saying is true?

jovialbard wrote:What reason is there not to? Maybe agnosticism is the best stance on that point, but the question that's interesting to me is: Do you think it's possible that existence has agency?

About as likely as the sun exploding tomorrow.

Do you think we should be agnostic about whether my dirty dishes have a mind? Or suppose I said that, in spite of all appearances, Clarence Thomas wants America to have really strict gun control and mandatory abortions (it's just that all his behavior, including his speech and writing, is unhinged from what he actually wants, so that there's no way to tell). Should we be agnostic about that? Or is it, in fact, possible to gather evidence about mental activity?
Nothing rhymes with orange,
Not even sporange.

User avatar
addams
Posts: 10325
Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2010 4:44 am UTC
Location: Oregon Coast: 97444

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby addams » Sat Nov 23, 2013 5:48 am UTC

Omnipotence requires every metaphysically possible power, not just every physically possible one. God, if he exists, has the power to move faster than the speed of light, and increase the sum total of mass in the universe, and suspend the ordinary workings of gravity, and so on. Are these things physically impossible? Yes, but the point is that God's power goes beyond what mere physical laws allow us to accomplish.


I know this is going to read as very strange to you.
I can't sleep and you can skip this post. So; No harm done.

God. If God exists at all is in the Human Mind.
That God can go out to Jupiter, loop though the rings.
Check on Neptune. Giggle about the rings on Uranus.

Feel the edges of the bounded universe and settle Anthocyanin in between Carotene and Xanthophyll.

Most of that requires speeds greater than the speed of light.
I did not move my physical body? No. God does not have to.

We created God. As we mature our Gods mature.
I have been thinking about Religions that are not Jewish, not Christian, not Islam.

Some of the other stories fit the data.

So for me; God is something we created. The same way we created Goldilocks.
Only God is real, to some of us.

The God in me is real.
When I find God in others it seems real, too.

People that are so unsure of themselves are often Hell bent on forcing others to Know what they Know; They often don't know much.
People that are frightened to read more than one book are unsure people. They put on a good act of being overconfident.
Atheists and Theists are often the same. They are both extreme views.
Sometimes those people are wrong. It is nice for families and friends to love one another and to share a vision of what God is.

God is what we create with our minds.
They look out at a cold and indifferent world and want to be loved and cared for.
In this life and in some other place that they can imagine.

Is the life after death real? I don't know.
Some people imagine Spain. Then they go there.

I imagine here. Here I am.
It could be nicer.

One way for the world that I live in to be nicer is for more people to have a vision of a Fine and Noble Monarch.
Jesus people have a gentle martyr as King. Other faiths have other kings. The one thing most have in common is good and fine leadership.


If we live up to the expectations of a good and noble leader that might help. Some people think it is dishonest and manipulative.
I disagree. To drag our earthy leaders down into the gutters is not a good thing to do.

To lift our selves up to meet the challenges of life as subjects of Good and Noble leaders is a good thing.
Who wants to drag us down into filth and chaos?

Who drags our earthly leaders down? Telling the truth and dragging down are two very different things.
Who is uplifting? People that tell us nothing is meaningful except the size of my truck and the weight of the US economy?

Faster than light. Human thought.
Strong enough to lift the Elife Tower from across the globe. Human thought.
An exterior God. Yes.
You, me and those creepy drunk Meth heads and their boss all project God onto the world.
***EDIT***
That is so judgmental of me.
Not all Meth heads are the same. Are they?
Not all Drunks are the same. Are they?
Not all Pot heads are the same. Are they?

Did you hear what the Irish Poet said?
"All of us are in the gutter. Some of us see the gutter. Some of us see, the stars."

What does that mean to you?
Have you ever tried an Irish Gutter?

Well...In my experience, it is like a grassy incline. Kind of nice.
To see the gutter, one needs a light.

Discord breaks out.

Turn off the light.
I can't see without it.
Turn off the light. You are looking in the wrong direction.

Where are we?
In the gutter, under stars.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZXM2eq46_s

If it does not play willingly.
Google Air on G-String under Stars.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

User avatar
jovialbard
Posts: 613
Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:08 pm UTC

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby jovialbard » Mon Nov 25, 2013 5:04 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:
jovialbard wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:I don't care about their perspective. They can believe whatever they want. It is only the truth of the matter that I am interested in.


Do you know the truth? Because if you don't then perspectives would seem to be very relevant. You never know which is right.


That's kind of the point. Their perspective is irrelevant unless they are able to demonstrate its truthfulness. I'm not interested in it because they believe it; I'm only interested in it if it's true.


Do you mean only if their perspective is falsifiable? Or do you really mean true? How do you prove something is true? Are you only interested in mathematics, because that's the only realm of thinking I know of where truth can be demonstrated (though that may be a failure of imagination on my part).

jovialbard wrote:Again, you're conflating 'can' and 'should'. If you don't follow the universal moral code it does still apply to you. Breaking a 'should' is not the same as breaking a 'can'. It isn't an impossibility that you broke it, it just makes you evil (or at least bad) that you broke it. Morality does not define what 'can' happen, it defines what 'should' happen, which means that things can exist in opposition to it, they just shouldn't.


But then on what grounds can this moral code be considered universal if nobody follows it? Why is it bad to break it? How would you know if you broke it, and what would the consequences be for doing so? How could you even figure out what it is?


Ah, good questions. How can you know the universal moral standard? Well, if you have a book from a God that details it, that certainly makes things easier. Barring that, I suppose some people argue that we know it from observing reality, e.g. Objectivists who draw their moral certainty from 'objective rational thought'. Why is it bad to break it? Because it makes you immoral. Maybe that's circular, but then so is the fact that existence exists. If existence requires no first cause then why should universal morality require a first justifier? I suppose an afterlife certainly makes things easier, and that's why it's so important to Theology, but Objectivists don't believe in an afterlife, and they don't believe that there are any greater consequences to acting immoral than the fact that you are immoral. The fact that universal morality has no explanation is exactly what makes it objective and universal instead of subjective and personal.

I was thinking specifically about Christians fundamentalists, and, as I've said, the vast majority of them have rejected huge swaths of Biblical morality because it's obviously terrible.


Right, but then I don't think you're talking about fundamentalists. Christian fundamentalists take great care in trying to understand and follow every word of the bible, often interpreting as literal that which others would consider parable. Again, they don't stone people because Jesus told them to stop doing that. They don't own slaves because it's illegal ('Give unto Caesar') and the bible never tells them they must own slaves, only how to treat them if they do. They eat pig because Paul said it was alright. I personal don't understand why Paul get's so much theological credit, but hey, it's in the bible, and that's what they place their absolute faith in.

setzer777 wrote:The fact that every example of mind we've ever conclusively observed is intimately tied to (possibly identical to) specific patterns of neurons, and those patterns are intimately tied to the process of organic evolution. It's similar to the reason for not thinking existence passes gas - farting is intimately tied to digestive systems, which are a result of genetic evolution.


I think the thoughts below are relevant to this:

LaserGuy wrote:If the Universe is exactly equivalent to 'God', then there is no reason to talk about 'God' at all, because we already have a word to describe that thing--one that isn't loaded with unrelated cultural baggage.


Fair enough. Though I suppose part of the thought experiment I'm exploring would be that 'God' is not exactly equivalent to the Universe. As an analogy: when you're talking to me you wouldn't say 'How's your body doing today', that would be weird, unless I just had surgery. 'Body' implies the physical part of me. Yes my brain is part of that physical me. Yes my mind is entirely dependent on my brain (barring spirituality, which I'm willing to do as part of the thought experiment). However, my memories, and thoughts, and emotions combined with my physical self are what form the full me. Generally when you say 'the human body' you aren't referring to all of that, you're just referring to the flesh and mechanics. Even if we have the word 'Universe' as a physical thing, if the Universe evokes an agency, then the greater whole of the physical reality and the agency it evokes could conceivably be called God in the same way I'm called 'me' and not just 'this body here'.

Nem wrote:
jovialbard wrote:@Nem and @addams So what separates the notion of the Mind and the Soul? The mind is immaterial, right?


Doesn't seem to be, at least not according to that time I took a rail road spike to my friend's head and her personality changed.

Or maybe that happened to someone else.

My larger point being that since explaining visible manifestations of the mind, i.e. behaviour, in terms of physical causes - your family, your genetics, your brain structure, etc - seems to reduce uncertainty, and since we can alter the mind via altering the physical, and to my knowledge saying that mind is immaterial never has reduced uncertainty, I see no reason to assume that the mind is immaterial.


The 'mind' is immaterial in the same way that a song is immaterial. If you change the physical notes, you change the song. But the song itself is not a material object, it is an... arrangement? result? emergent phenomenon is a good hand-wavy word. If the mind was only the brain, we wouldn't need both words. The brain is what does, the mind is what it does. I suppose one definition of a soul would be a mind that does not depend on a brain, an effect without the cause in essence. On the other hand, some theologies suggest that the soul is a third thing separate from your mind and that when your soul leaves your body it leaves your personality, your will, and your agency behind. I always found that to be a terribly depressing thought.

Funny, to be doomed to an eternity of mindlessness would be hell if you hold your mind as the essence of yourself, but if you learn to give up your ego and embrace god then surrendering your mind and the suffering it brings would be heaven. :)

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:...Omnipotence requires every metaphysically possible power, not just every physically possible one. God, if he exists, has the power to move faster than the speed of light, and increase the sum total of mass in the universe, and suspend the ordinary workings of gravity, and so on. Are these things physically impossible? Yes, but the point is that God's power goes beyond what mere physical laws allow us to accomplish...


But if God decides to move faster than the speed of light, then doesn't the power to move faster than the speed of light exist? It exists for God and not us, so, in a sense, God is privileged, but do his privileges extend beyond existence. Can he, in existence, perform an act or create an object that does not exist? That seems to be a contradiction. Just because a power does not exist for us does not mean that the power does not exist for God.

jovialbard wrote:Hmm, let me try to put forth a description of existence as a mind, tell me what you think: Existence is composed of a body of interactions, a system of logic that defines all matter and energy, time and space, etc. Given the context of the state of existence at any given moment this system of interactions and logic determines how things will unfold as time passes (while in truth time passing itself is a function of this logic). This determination is the agency of existence.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. How are you making the jump from "The state of the universe and the laws of physics determine how things unfold" to "This determination is agency"?


I suppose I could have framed it "This is what I"m calling the agency of existence". You are welcome to interrogate that notion as you do below.

jovialbard wrote:Everything that happens, happens because existence is processing it. It is this processing itself that is the mind of existence, and every thing which exists is subject to this process.


Why do you say that existence has to process the laws and the facts in order to effect change?


I'm saying that change is the laws of reality being processed. If existence didn't do anything, then nothing would happen. That seems like a fairly non-controversial statement.

Suppose I knock over a glass of water with my hand. The story you are telling sounds something like this.
  1. My hand moves in such a way that it comes into contact with the glass.
  2. There are certain laws about how glasses behave when hands contact them.
  3. Existence processes (1) and (2).
  4. As a result of this processing, the glass falls over.
But why is step (3) necessary? Isn't it more parsimonious to say that my hand's movement, in conjunction with the law, knocks over the glass?


You're hand's movement is a product of the processes of existence. The glass getting knocked over is the outcome of that process. Existence is processing all of this, all of this is a process of existence.

Why does there need to be this extra "processing" step? And if there is such a step, in what sense is there a law about hands knocking over glasses?


It isn't extra, it's part of the whole thing. Your 'step 3' is just part of step 1 and 2 that leads to the result, it isn't in addition to. The whole process is the process.

Wouldn't it really be a law about how the processing works? And, by the way, what is driving this processing? Are there laws governing the workings of the processor? What processes the application of those laws?


Yes, many laws about reality are laws about how reality proceeds (or, I suppose, a human's best guess as to how that reality proceeds. The laws are human inventions, reality just is what it is and does what it does.)

More importantly:...you give no reason for the move from "There is processing" to "The processing is a mind." Both here and in the previous quote, there's no argument for why the phenomena you describe should be regarded as mental phenomena. What if I said "Let me try to put forward a description of my dirty dishes as a mind. My dirty dishes grow mold. This mold-growing is the agency of my dirty dishes. The dishes combine the food waste that's stuck on them with mold spores in the air, and this combination is the mind of my dirty dishes." Should the mere fact that I give such a description make you think that anything I'm saying is true?


If you look more closely at your analogy, the dish doesn't grow mold. Nor does the dirt on the dish grow mold. The mold grows on the dirt on the dish as a consequence of it's nature. Now, the mold doesn't have a lot of agency. It's beholden to it's biology, to it's genetics. But those genetics are analogous to a computer program that plays out it's code. Is there agency there? How much? Probably not enough to call it a mind... How much agency do you need to be a mind? Is it a grey-scale or is there a black and white line? How much agency do you need to be a God?

jovialbard wrote:What reason is there not to? Maybe agnosticism is the best stance on that point, but the question that's interesting to me is: Do you think it's possible that existence has agency?

About as likely as the sun exploding tomorrow.

Do you think we should be agnostic about whether my dirty dishes have a mind? Or suppose I said that, in spite of all appearances, Clarence Thomas wants America to have really strict gun control and mandatory abortions (it's just that all his behavior, including his speech and writing, is unhinged from what he actually wants, so that there's no way to tell). Should we be agnostic about that? Or is it, in fact, possible to gather evidence about mental activity?


What Clarence Thomas believes about gun control and abortion pertains to the contents of his mind, not to whether he has one. As for the dishes, I understand a far larger portion of the nature of a dirty dish than I do of existence itself. From what I've seen of dirty dishes, they do not seem to have a great deal of agency, and after a great deal of experiential data, I'm willing to say with great confidence that 'mind' would be an absurd overstatement regarding the level of agency a dirty dish has. Existence? I'm not convinced I know existence well enough to say that it's as dumb as a dirty dish. My excruciatingly limited experience with existence leaves me uncertain whether, knowing it's full nature, I would describe it as 'brilliant' or 'utterly mindless nonsense'.

sardia wrote:Tyndmyr: Parody aside, why can't we sell something we consider worthless, a soul, to someone who wants it badly, Judeo-Christians? Alternately, how much would you have to be paid in order to convert?


Judeo-Christians don't want to buy your soul. That would be a terrible sin against God who judges souls. Satanists might be interested though :)
I wrote a book exploring the nature of identity and loss of self! And another book about babies!
Also, vlog and short-story blog

User avatar
sardia
Posts: 6813
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:39 am UTC

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby sardia » Mon Nov 25, 2013 5:29 pm UTC

Judeo-Christians don't want to buy your soul. That would be a terrible sin against God who judges souls. Satanists might be interested though
Oh right, Judeo-Christians don't want to buy your soul, that would be awful. Instead, they hunt for people at their weakest moment, and offer them shelter, food, and artificial bliss for "free". Who's the real devil offering a pittance for a soul? At least with other religions, nothing bad happens to you if you don't submit. Oh noes, I spend a few lifetimes as some lower animal. Who cares, I have eternity to do and become whatever I want. Alternatively, if you ate the heart of the pope, would you gain his powers? No? What if you sacrificed a nonbeliever to gain a boon from Nyarlathotep?

Nem
Posts: 336
Joined: Fri Aug 14, 2009 12:19 pm UTC

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Nem » Mon Nov 25, 2013 5:49 pm UTC

jovialbard wrote:The 'mind' is immaterial in the same way that a song is immaterial. If you change the physical notes, you change the song. But the song itself is not a material object, it is an... arrangement? result? emergent phenomenon is a good hand-wavy word. If the mind was only the brain, we wouldn't need both words. The brain is what does, the mind is what it does. I suppose one definition of a soul would be a mind that does not depend on a brain, an effect without the cause in essence. On the other hand, some theologies suggest that the soul is a third thing separate from your mind and that when your soul leaves your body it leaves your personality, your will, and your agency behind. I always found that to be a terribly depressing thought.

Funny, to be doomed to an eternity of mindlessness would be hell if you hold your mind as the essence of yourself, but if you learn to give up your ego and embrace god then surrendering your mind and the suffering it brings would be heaven. :)


If 's-Gravenhage was the same place as Den Haag then we wouldn't need both names. Some things get named multiple times, language isn't perfectly efficient.

But anyway. Minds are immaterial in the same sense that chairs and songs and all other abstractions over particular instances are immaterial. Those sorts of concepts are abstractions we use to refer to similarities in particular instantiations, i.e. to patterns. But if you have the only copy of a song that no-one, including yourself, has seen, and you burn it, then the song no-longer exists. It's not an immaterial thing, it just looks like it is because you can generally preserve at least one instance of it when you destroy one somewhere else, but when what you have there in your hands is the sole instance of that pattern to destroy that instance ends the pattern.

I would venture that we may have the concept of minds because people wanted to talk about mental processes long before they knew anything about the brain. But, all talk about minds is entirely reducible to talk about the brain and body and other concrete physical phenomena. So, I suspect, it would be a mistake to assume that we have an immaterial mind, rather than just a general concept for referring to similarities in physical mental processes.

morriswalters
Posts: 7073
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:21 am UTC

Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby morriswalters » Mon Nov 25, 2013 6:20 pm UTC

jovialbard wrote:The 'mind' is immaterial in the same way that a song is immaterial.
A song is material when it is performed or when it is written down as sheet music, it must be or you couldn't hear it or read it or talk about it. It is however ephemeral. It will exist only so long as there is energy expended to keep it separate from the general background.
jovialbard wrote:But if God decides to move faster than the speed of light, then doesn't the power to move faster than the speed of light exist? It exists for God and not us, so, in a sense, God is privileged, but do his privileges extend beyond existence. Can he, in existence, perform an act or create an object that does not exist? That seems to be a contradiction. Just because a power does not exist for us does not mean that the power does not exist for God.
While the idea is interesting the way a good novel is interesting, it is immaterial, since you can't know. It is predicated on the first idea, that he exists. Which you also can't know. I can hypothesize anything or property that I might wish to imbue upon any God. The operative phrase is "I can".
ninja'd by Nem


Return to “Serious Business”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests