My questions have no agenda seriously. [YOU RESPOND]

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My questions have no agenda seriously. [YOU RESPOND]

From:
Sent: Saturday, March 22, 2008 9:07 PM
Subject: [General Question] why rationality?  how far can it take us?

 

chris sent a message using the contact form at http://www.rationalresponders.com/contact.

my questions have no agenda.  seriously.

 

what is your response to kant's "critique of pure reason"?  specifically the idea that we do not experience reality directly, but only as filtered through our senses and intellect, and so our reason cannot really tell us about reality in itself?

 

i guess i'd like to know which you're about: the triumph of rationality or the failure of religion?  they're not necessarily the same.  and just what is rationality?  empiricism?

 

along slightly different lines, how would you answer camus's big question, i.e., why not kill ourselves?

 

finally, to play theists' advocate, if there is no god, just how the fuck do you explain the following miracles:

bob dylan

tom waits

warren zevon

van morrison

johnny cash

nick cave

i'm fairly certain they all are (or were) theists.  just what makes you so much goddamn smarter than the guy who wrote, "there ain't no devil, that's just god when he's drunk."  THERE HAS TO BE A GOD IF HE GETS DRUNK!  DUUUUHHHHH!

 

one love,

chris

 

p.s.  what if religion and rationality both turn out to be bullshit?  then what are you wiseasses gonna give us?  i'm an american, goddammit, i gotta consume SOMETHING....

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Chris wrote:what is your

Chris wrote:

what is your response to kant's "critique of pure reason"?  specifically the idea that we do not experience reality directly, but only as filtered through our senses and intellect, and so our reason cannot really tell us about reality in itself?

I take that seriously but give logical positivism its due for not lolling around in the hopelessness of the situation and taking action toward increasing knowledge anyway. It was the right choice and has proved fruitful; we now have an externally present, prudently catalogued, massive compilation of correlated data on reality to gauge against our ordinary senses, this is called making the best of a situation.

 

 

Chris wrote:

i guess i'd like to know which you're about: the triumph of rationality or the failure of religion?  they're not necessarily the same. 

I am optimistic that the core aim here is the triumph of rationality, although it is sometimes affected by the ideology that the failure of religion is a necessary precedent of the former, I like to think that most here aren't dogmatically unmovable regarding that situation and that it is commonly held that as long as rationality is the victor it's for the good of us all and the details will take care of themselves.

 

Chris wrote:

and just what is rationality?  empiricism?

Empiricism has it's place in rationality, I mean it is one thing to say that art and literature are rational things to engage, and another altogether to say that art and literature are rational things to engage as practical ideology. Empiricism is empiricism, and rationality would dictate that a link between empiricism and imagination should be forged practically or not forged at all. 

Rationality itself is just a gauge for measuring the connectedness of various human ideas. Strong well established connectedness is rational, ie something is to something else. If two concurrent ideas lack connectedness then they lack rationality and to force them to relate directly to each other is irrational. This is why what religion does is irrational. The connectedness between human life and spiritual ideology is not well established, and religion, regardless, seeks to force humans to relate directly to spiritual ideology without offering a concrete connection in order that humans know why or how they should relate to it (commonly referred to as rationale).

Chris wrote:

along slightly different lines, how would you answer camus's big question, i.e., why not kill ourselves?

How would I answer Camus's big question? Strictly, personally. One can only really give an individual answer for individual circumstances, reason not to kill oneself is temporal and too complex to generalise.

Chris wrote:

finally, to play theists' advocate, if there is no god, just how the fuck do you explain the following miracles:

bob dylan

tom waits

warren zevon

van morrison

johnny cash

nick cave

I'm a theist, the burden of proof for the extraordinary claim that musical genius was a lucky coincedence is not on me. Sticking out tongue

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Quote:what is your response

Quote:
what is your response to kant's "critique of pure reason"?  specifically the idea that we do not experience reality directly, but only as filtered through our senses and intellect, and so our reason cannot really tell us about reality in itself?

The problem here is with the implications many people read into the phrase "really tell us about reality."  The fact is, our only way of knowing anything outside of our own existence is through our perceptions -- our senses.  It's not too hard (as Kant showed) to use logic to reach the conclusion that ultimately, there is a separation between deduction and empirical reality.  That's all well and good, but it is a philosophical error to assert that because of this separation, anything is as likely as anything else.  That's nothing more than so much first year philosophy student claptrap.

There is a link between deduction and empiricism.  It's probability.  Please read through this essay before continuing on with my answer:

Why the "Problem of Induction" really isn't a problem. (And why theists don't even get it right)

Quote:
i guess i'd like to know which you're about: the triumph of rationality or the failure of religion?  they're not necessarily the same.  and just what is rationality?  empiricism?

Well, I think on a lot of levels, they're the same thing.  At the risk of getting too bogged down, we have to make sure to know what we're talking about when we say rationality.  My usage refers to using valid critical thinking (logic) combined with the most reliable data available (see Problem of Induction, above) to reach the answer that is most likely true.

With this definition, it is irrational to believe in God, so the triumph of reason implies the failure of religion.  There are a lot of other questions to be asked, including whether or not religion "works" regardless of the truth value of its claims.  Certainly, it does work.  It is pretty much the best way to muster large groups of people and get them to do things they wouldn't ordinarily do, particularly to the detriment of other people.

You probably get where I'm going with this, right?  I think as rationality becomes more popular, religion becomes less.  I don't believe humans as a species are capable of fully giving up irrational beliefs, but I think we could do a lot better than we do now.

Empiricism is nothing more than agreement with the statement that our senses are the only portal to material reality.  Any evidence we have about anything must be linked to objective reality, whether it's accurately representative of it or not.

(Yes, I know that it doesn't have to be linked, but if it is not, then we have no way to experience objective reality, and are effectively brains in a vat.  Again, this is great for discussing over your first Big-Boy Irish Coffee, but it wears a little thin after teenage angst gives way to more level headed thinking.)

Quote:
along slightly different lines, how would you answer camus's big question, i.e., why not kill ourselves?

You answer it yourself.  I don't know why you don't kill yourself.  I would guess it's because you like living and don't want it to end.

Me, I don't kill myself because I've got shit to do before I die, and I still get adequate amounts of good food, good booze, and good sex.  Oh, and as near as I can remember, being "not alive" was not very interesting for those billions of years I did it the first time.  I get bored easily.

Quote:

finally, to play theists' advocate, if there is no god, just how the fuck do you explain the following miracles:

bob dylan

tom waits

warren zevon

van morrison

johnny cash

nick cave

i'm fairly certain they all are (or were) theists.  just what makes you so much goddamn smarter than the guy who wrote, "there ain't no devil, that's just god when he's drunk."  THERE HAS TO BE A GOD IF HE GETS DRUNK!  DUUUUHHHHH!

I'll answer that question after you tell me how to explain the following miracles:

 

All of whom were atheists.

Quote:
p.s.  what if religion and rationality both turn out to be bullshit?  then what are you wiseasses gonna give us?  i'm an american, goddammit, i gotta consume SOMETHING....

Cheeze Wiz?

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Occam's Razor : What is not

Occam's Razor : What is not god ?  Show me one thing. So why religion ?

Answer: There is nothing that exists that is not god, so religion is retarded, because people are retarded. Jesus/Buddha/QM/Dad/Mom/Etc/Etc/Etc told me so ..... thanks !

Nirvana (peace of mind) is free, if all only knew.

No, I am not buddhist, I am god. Just like you, and the dirt. What is not god ? 

      Who thinks they are not god ? Who thinks a higher power is separate from what they are ? Who thinks there is a controller designer  ? And what if there is , how would one worship and why ?     

               

 

 


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Hambydammit wrote:Quote:what

Hambydammit wrote:

(mod edit - Hamby's big list of atheist artists) 

The only problem that I have with list of artists (for either side) is that such lists try to give god or the lack of one credit for their abilities. This completley ignores the hours of labor they put into practicing and honing their skills.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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Quote:The only problem that

Quote:
The only problem that I have with list of artists (for either side) is that such lists try to give god or the lack of one credit for their abilities. This completley ignores the hours of labor they put into practicing and honing their skills.

I hope everyone realizes my answer was flippant.  The question of how to explain really talented people doesn't have anything to do with their personal beliefs.  Science knowledge, critical thinking skills, and rational thinking have never been prerequisites to popularity or musical talent.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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HisWillness
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chris wrote:what is your

chris wrote:
what is your response to kant's "critique of pure reason"?  specifically the idea that we do not experience reality directly, but only as filtered through our senses and intellect, and so our reason cannot really tell us about reality in itself?

Fantastically boring read. He had a point in the sense that someone has a point that we "should all get along". Yes, we should.

chris wrote:
i guess i'd like to know which you're about: the triumph of rationality or the failure of religion?  they're not necessarily the same.

They certainly are different. Rationality holding more sway than religion allows for all kinds of reasonable things. The failure of religion is inevitable for thinking people.

chris wrote:
along slightly different lines, how would you answer camus's big question, i.e., why not kill ourselves?

My interpretation of Camus' "big question" was "what's the difference if we kill ourselves?" Of course, there's a big difference: we affect a great number of people, whether we think we do or not. 

chris wrote:
finally, to play theists' advocate, if there is no god, just how the fuck do you explain the following miracles:

bob dylan

tom waits

warren zevon

van morrison

johnny cash

nick cave

i'm fairly certain they all are (or were) theists.

Those are people, not miracles. People happen all the time. Miracles, on the other hand ...

chris wrote:
just what makes you so much goddamn smarter than the guy who wrote, "there ain't no devil, that's just god when he's drunk."

I don't know if I am smarter.

chris wrote:
p.s.  what if religion and rationality both turn out to be bullshit?

Rationality turns up bullshit all the time. The difference is that when bullshit turns up, the rational mind changes. See "falsification".

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence


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Hambydammit wrote:Quote:The

Hambydammit wrote:

Quote:
The only problem that I have with list of artists (for either side) is that such lists try to give god or the lack of one credit for their abilities. This completley ignores the hours of labor they put into practicing and honing their skills.

I hope everyone realizes my answer was flippant. 

Yes. I hope nobody minds that I trimmed that quote copy-and-paste.

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence