How Do You Know What Real Is?

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How Do You Know What Real Is?

I'm not sure if this is more a Scientific or a Philosophical question, but I will tell you how I arrived to the question, then I will clarify it.

 

Inevitably, the debate between theists and atheists will at some point come to the atheist saying "where did God come from" and the theist asking "where did the gas that made the bang come from". When thinking about this I began thinking of the atheist answer to that question, and somehow (ADHD or stupidity? take your pick) came to the question in my mind. You ask theists "how do you know God is real?" So I am not trying to start a debate, or prove any logic here. I can see how you would think that I'm simply mirroring your question to prove my point, but I assume I ask out of genuine curiosity.

 

How do you know that "real" is real? I ask not in the "what if we are all really just ants and a big kid is playing with us" sort of way, but in that way to say...how do we know that what we see as reality is real, and not what we perceive to be real?

My Master has no desire to be merely victor in a debate: he did not come into the world to fight a battle of logic just
for the sake of winning it. --Charles Spurgeon


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Crossover wrote:How do you

Crossover wrote:

How do you know that "real" is real? I ask not in the "what if we are all really just ants and a big kid is playing with us" sort of way, but in that way to say...how do we know that what we see as reality is real, and not what we perceive to be real?

 

None of the philosophical types like my answer.  A lot of people will disagree with me.  Fine - call me a realistic pragmatist.

If something reflects light and therefore someone could theoretically see it, it is real.  If sound waves are generated and someone could theoretically hear it, it is real.  If someone could theoretically stub their/its toe on it, it is real.  If it can be measured in any fashion - weight, height, length, depth, electromagnetic emissions, radioactive emissions, fMRI, PET (positron emission tomography, fluoroscopy, x-ray chromatography - I'm tired of this.  Any type of measurement will define something as real.  Doesn't mean it has to be material but if its effects can affect the material through various types of testing, it is real.

No effect on material objects - not real.

Notice, this includes feelings as real.  Our hormone levels affect our brain chemistry which affects our hormone levels....... in loops that can be frighteningly positive both inside and out.  Feelings measurably have an affect on material objects.  Therefore, real.

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

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Crossover wrote:How do you

Crossover wrote:
How do you know that "real" is real? I ask not in the "what if we are all really just ants and a big kid is playing with us" sort of way, but in that way to say...how do we know that what we see as reality is real, and not what we perceive to be real?

Simply put this is how:

I generally start with something like Decartes ontological argument for self-existence: "Cogito ergo sum"

From there, I assume that my perceptions of what my mind are receiving is what is reality, thereby what is "real". For all I know, however, I could be a nut-job in a straight jacket in a padded room and I'm imagining this whole thing.....

So, 2 fold: I'm real, and what I'm experiencing is real.

“Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.”


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I appreciate the philosophical

cj wrote:

Crossover wrote:

How do you know that "real" is real? I ask not in the "what if we are all really just ants and a big kid is playing with us" sort of way, but in that way to say...how do we know that what we see as reality is real, and not what we perceive to be real?

 

None of the philosophical types like my answer.  A lot of people will disagree with me.  Fine - call me a realistic pragmatist.

If something reflects light and therefore someone could theoretically see it, it is real.  If sound waves are generated and someone could theoretically hear it, it is real.  If someone could theoretically stub their/its toe on it, it is real.  If it can be measured in any fashion - weight, height, length, depth, electromagnetic emissions, radioactive emissions, fMRI, PET (positron emission tomography, fluoroscopy, x-ray chromatography - I'm tired of this.  Any type of measurement will define something as real.  Doesn't mean it has to be material but if its effects can affect the material through various types of testing, it is real.

No effect on material objects - not real.

Notice, this includes feelings as real.  Our hormone levels affect our brain chemistry which affects our hormone levels....... in loops that can be frighteningly positive both inside and out.  Feelings measurably have an affect on material objects.  Therefore, real.

 

benefits of asking unusual questions in a manner that pushes knowledge forward from the rut - and let's face it Newton's opus was originally called 'the mathematical principles of natural philosophy' - but I am with cj on this. Stuff that can be measured is real. Stuff philosophy comes up with that later is proven real then becomes science. What remains in the realm of philosophy is what has not yet been proven to be real. If philosophy found god then god would be science. I can't see god building all this physical shit out of pixie dust. If god can be true to us then god must possibly be real to us, he's not trapped in some threadbare human mental concept.

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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cj wrote:Crossover wrote:How

cj wrote:

Crossover wrote:

How do you know that "real" is real? I ask not in the "what if we are all really just ants and a big kid is playing with us" sort of way, but in that way to say...how do we know that what we see as reality is real, and not what we perceive to be real?

 

None of the philosophical types like my answer.  A lot of people will disagree with me.  Fine - call me a realistic pragmatist.

If something reflects light and therefore someone could theoretically see it, it is real.  If sound waves are generated and someone could theoretically hear it, it is real.  If someone could theoretically stub their/its toe on it, it is real.  If it can be measured in any fashion - weight, height, length, depth, electromagnetic emissions, radioactive emissions, fMRI, PET (positron emission tomography, fluoroscopy, x-ray chromatography - I'm tired of this.  Any type of measurement will define something as real.  Doesn't mean it has to be material but if its effects can affect the material through various types of testing, it is real.

No effect on material objects - not real.

Notice, this includes feelings as real.  Our hormone levels affect our brain chemistry which affects our hormone levels....... in loops that can be frighteningly positive both inside and out.  Feelings measurably have an affect on material objects.  Therefore, real.

Let's pretend here. You wake up and have some sort of mental problem where you are hallucinating. A person is with you. You can see them, hear them, and even measure them. hey are 100% real to YOU. They, however are not real to me since I can not see them, hear them, or even try to imagine them. They re completely unreal to ME. Who is right?

My Master has no desire to be merely victor in a debate: he did not come into the world to fight a battle of logic just
for the sake of winning it. --Charles Spurgeon


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Crossover wrote:Inevitably,

Crossover wrote:
Inevitably, the debate between theists and atheists will at some point come to the atheist saying "where did God come from" and the theist asking "where did the gas that made the bang come from".

 

OK, first you need to replace the term “inevitably” with “occasionally”. It simply is a fact (and therefore real) that there are plenty of theists out there who do not accept big bang cosmology because they see it as incompatible with the bible. Those theists would never as such a question because, to them, it is simply not possible to conceive of the concept that the bible could be other that the absolute arbiter of what is real.

 

Even so, getting on to the idea that some theists would ask a question like “where did the big bang come from?”, such questions simply need no answer at all. One could just as easily ask “what went bang?” That question any many others simply do not deserve an answer.

 

Big bang cosmology does not answer such questions for the simple reason that it is not a theory about the big bang. Rather, it is a theory about what has happened after the putative big bang. It is well supported by evidence from astronomy, particle physics and related fields.

 

What may have existed before the big bang and what was happening on that stage is not in the domain of BB cosmology. In fact, to even get there requires a very specific definition of time which lies outside of the definition of time that arises from BB cosmology.

 

Oddly, it happens that the idea of god having some kind of existence similar to what you describe comes specifically from theists who have accepted modern cosmological thought as real.

 

Back in the days when nobody really knew that much about how the world works, there was this idea of “god did it”, which is certainly not any worse than the ideas of the ancient Greeks, the tribes of Africa or the American Indians.

 

However, with inquiry into the nature of reality, it seemed that certain things happened according to natural laws. When Ben Franklin developed the lightning rod, it seemed that lightning was no longer the finger of god punishing the wicked. In tiny bits and pieces, there were more things found that operated according to natural laws.

 

By the time that radio was discovered, there was no question but that god did not make radio waves, because of all the work that led up to that. Lots of things needed to explain radio had already been accepted as having a perfectly natural explanation.

 

Here, some very special theists came up with the idea that if all of this stuff could be explained without god, then god must be hiding in the places that have not yet been explained. Today, many people use the term “god of the gaps” to describe that. Pretty much every time something new is learned, god is no longer to be found there. Since, in the minds of those people, god must exist, he has to be hidden further back in the places that science has not explored.

 

So today, about the only place left for god is prior to the big bang. So that must be where god is. Trust me on this one, if you tried telling the ignorant bronze age goat herders who wrote the bible all about your creation story and how god gets smaller every day, you would quickly be stoned to death.

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Crossover wrote:Let's

Crossover wrote:

Let's pretend here. You wake up and have some sort of mental problem where you are hallucinating. A person is with you. You can see them, hear them, and even measure them. hey are 100% real to YOU. They, however are not real to me since I can not see them, hear them, or even try to imagine them. They re completely unreal to ME. Who is right?

 

You are.  <grin>  Replicatable, falsifiable, independently verifiable evidence trumps hallucinations any day of the week.  If you can't perceive that person, then independently verifiable fails.  See my current discussion with drichards.

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

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cj wrote:Crossover

cj wrote:

Crossover wrote:

Let's pretend here. You wake up and have some sort of mental problem where you are hallucinating. A person is with you. You can see them, hear them, and even measure them. hey are 100% real to YOU. They, however are not real to me since I can not see them, hear them, or even try to imagine them. They re completely unreal to ME. Who is right?

 

You are.  <grin>  Replicatable, falsifiable, independently verifiable evidence trumps hallucinations any day of the week.  If you can't perceive that person, then independently verifiable fails.  See my current discussion with drichards.

That may be the first and last time on this forum I hear anyone say I'm right! Too bad it was in a hypothetical situation. But, that would lead to my next question. What is a hallucination? How do you know it is a hallucination if (for instance) it turned out that all of our ways of verifying if something is real are in fact not full proof enough. Basically, if you woke up tomorrow and found out that our ways of measuring what is real are in fact way of measuring hallucinations? Is there any way of knowing, scientifically speaking, that anything is real or if it is all just one giant hallucination? For that matter, by our definition of what is real, does dark matter exist?

 

I am not good at science at all, I somehow managed to sneak a 28 on it on the ACT by bubbling C a lot. So I am asking these questions (as silly as they may seem) in a very literal manner. Also, which discussion are you refering to?

 

 

My Master has no desire to be merely victor in a debate: he did not come into the world to fight a battle of logic just
for the sake of winning it. --Charles Spurgeon


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  What is real?  Good

  What is real?  Good question.

First, you never a priori (every new morning) know that people and things around you are real because you, as Crossover pointed it out, may be hallucinating.  Even worse, you cannot know that YOU are real (recall multiple personality disorder).  

What is my personal position on my own reality?   I believe that I know my parents and parents of my parents, also I know my wifes parents. Everyone who I believe I know, seem to have no problem with knowing me.  For many people and events we can verify the history for at least several centuries back in time.  Something is being created, invented, and discovered without our knowledge.  We may or may not know and use those creations, inventions, and discoveries, which means they have no problem to survive generations of people because we can find in older generations some people who have used or at least have been aware of those creations, inventions, and discoveries.  All this confirms the the continuity of historic events in the most general sense.

If events exist and recorded without my knowledge of them, then they do not depend solely on my perception of reality.   From here there are two possible exits: 1) most of what we see and know is real and do exist independently of our senses or 2) we live in a "Matrix" requiring an "intelligent designer". 

 

 


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The long and short of it is

The long and short of it is -

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, is still there.


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Crossover wrote:Is there any

Crossover wrote:

Is there any way of knowing, scientifically speaking, that anything is real or if it is all just one giant hallucination? For that matter, by our definition of what is real, does dark matter exist?

 

My counter-question: can you imagine that someone from 18th sentry hallucinates about a nuclear reactor, or an iPod?  Do you believe that hallucinating we can produce new knowledge?   

I think you either plain wrong assuming the possibility of reality as a huge hallucination or you are inaccurate in your definition.  It is possible that our reality is not real if we assume the existence of an outer force that imprints the observed hallucinations in our brains (Matrix? Vanilla Sky? ).... wait but then we do not need to have brains, right?

 


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Like Ubuntu said, reality is

Like Ubuntu said, reality is an assumption, but it seems to work so we all go with it.  That is how we 'know' it is real.

This is an old philosophical question, and the answer has remained unchanged for a long time.  We might be brains in jars.  We might be in the Matrix.  We might be God's acid reflux.  The universe might be my hallucination, you might just be a dream I'm having.  We might be nothing, or everything.

But it doesn't matter.  We assume things are 'real' because of simple pragmatism.  There isn't any way to prove it.

 

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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Crossover wrote:What is a

Crossover wrote:
What is a hallucination? How do you know it is a hallucination if (for instance) it turned out that all of our ways of verifying if something is real are in fact not full proof enough. Basically, if you woke up tomorrow and found out that our ways of measuring what is real are in fact way of measuring hallucinations? Is there any way of knowing, scientifically speaking, that anything is real or if it is all just one giant hallucination? For that matter, by our definition of what is real, does dark matter exist?

There is a difference between the questions, "What is real?" and "How do we know what is real?" The first question is probably never going to be answered completely. However, we can make significant progress if we focus on the second question. The success of science shows us that there is a useful way to answer the question: We know what is real if we need it in order to make useful predictions. See my article on pragmatism and prediction.

So, to answer your dark matter question, for example: We know dark matter is real because when we use the concept of dark matter to make predictions about the size and shape of galaxies, then we can make better predictions. When we don't use it, we make worse predictions. It's as simple as that. The more useful a concept is for making predictions, the more confidence we have that it is real. If a concept (such as gods or ghosts or leprechauns) does not help us make any useful predictions, then we can safely conclude that they are almost certainly not real. This last step is known as Occam's Razor. We eliminate extra concepts that don't add anything to our understanding. Occam's Razor itself is justified because it helps us predict which theories are more likely to hold up over time.

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Crossover wrote:cj

Crossover wrote:

cj wrote:

Crossover wrote:

Let's pretend here. You wake up and have some sort of mental problem where you are hallucinating. A person is with you. You can see them, hear them, and even measure them. hey are 100% real to YOU. They, however are not real to me since I can not see them, hear them, or even try to imagine them. They re completely unreal to ME. Who is right?

You are.  <grin>  Replicatable, falsifiable, independently verifiable evidence trumps hallucinations any day of the week.  If you can't perceive that person, then independently verifiable fails.  See my current discussion with drichards.

That may be the first and last time on this forum I hear anyone say I'm right! Too bad it was in a hypothetical situation. But, that would lead to my next question. What is a hallucination? How do you know it is a hallucination if (for instance) it turned out that all of our ways of verifying if something is real are in fact not full proof enough. Basically, if you woke up tomorrow and found out that our ways of measuring what is real are in fact way of measuring hallucinations? Is there any way of knowing, scientifically speaking, that anything is real or if it is all just one giant hallucination? For that matter, by our definition of what is real, does dark matter exist?

 

Well, if you are right, you are right.  I have even apologized to someone on this forum for being wrong.  What's the big deal?  I know, many on the forum are male - and there seem to be a lot of young males.  Harder for them to say - Hey, I'm wrong.

A hallucination is any time we perceive something that is not replicable, falsifiable, independently verifiable.  Heavy on the independent verification.  That is not to say that we all perceive our environment identically.  However, if we are all entering a room through the same door, we can probably feel comfortable that the room and the door are not hallucinations.

I have seen desert mirages.  Very common though I have problems understanding how people can think they are real - even if you have never seen one before, water and the reflection on water suddenly appearing up the road where there wasn't anything but hot dry desert 2 seconds ago is tough to swallow as being real.  And the exact same cacti that were there 2 seconds ago are still there but in what appears to be 2 feet of standing water.  They even pass the independently verifiable test - my grandma liked to go for drives outside of town and she would see them at the same time I did.  But the water is not real.  If you stop the car and get out and walk around where you think you saw water, there is only hot dry desert sand and those cacti.  What is real are the atmospheric conditions that create mirages.

Hallucinations do not stand the test of falsifiable.  That is, you can falsify them usually very easily by walking through them and they disappear.  Matrix - that is sci-fi, people.  Heavy on the "fi" - fiction.  A fun mind game and not much else.  How do I know for sure?  Because I have been reading sci-fi and watching sci-fi movies for 50+ years.  I started when I was in grade school.  The plot is not new, the questions about reality and our perceptions of reality are not new, and have been written about in a number of different ways with some fun and some boring plot twists.  I can't live my life wondering if I am really eating breakfast or hallucinating. 

Dark matter as I understand it was a made up name for a phenomenon that was inexplicable at the time.  I believe it is still up in the air as to whether it is real or not.

edit: I just read Natural's post and obviously he knows more than I do about dark matter.  Go with what he says.

 

Crossover wrote:

I am not good at science at all, I somehow managed to sneak a 28 on it on the ACT by bubbling C a lot. So I am asking these questions (as silly as they may seem) in a very literal manner. Also, which discussion are you refering to?

 

http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/20866  specifically #56 and #66

I don't remember what I got on the ACT in numbers - I remember I was okay for reading, in the 95th percentile for math and the 99th percentile for science.  I remember I didn't manage to finish the science part and was surprised I scored that high without finishing.  I also took the GRE for graduate school though I didn't actually attend after all.  Same pattern, reading okay, computation (math) higher and logic not all shabby.  All scores were respectable, but I would have to search around to get the exact numbers.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

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Real is, what we observe. If

Real is, what we observe. If we observe something, then it must exist - or at least some cause for it must exist. That of course does not mean, that we have a whole image of reality or we're any near to it. Saying that something is reality may be misleading, it may be no accurate representation of the rest of reality. In fact, with all the wild theories of physics lately emerging, it seems that our seen universe is rather anomaly in the greater scheme.

I'd say, the more science discovers, the more of potential space for God there is, but the more the idea of God must change. It must become less like a person and more like nature itself. But I wouldn't go into metaphors all the way, because there is still something missing from the science. The relationship between energy and matter is well known and studied. But I believe in relationship between energy and life, and energy and thought or consciousness.  Discovery of that relationship will provide more accurate idea of reality and what God really might be. Of course, it must be taken in context of string theory and multi-dimensional nature of the universe. I hope somebody understood something of that very deep meaning I had put into these words.

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cj wrote:Crossover wrote:How

cj wrote:

Crossover wrote:

How do you know that "real" is real? I ask not in the "what if we are all really just ants and a big kid is playing with us" sort of way, but in that way to say...how do we know that what we see as reality is real, and not what we perceive to be real?

 

None of the philosophical types like my answer.  A lot of people will disagree with me.  Fine - call me a realistic pragmatist.

If something reflects light and therefore someone could theoretically see it, it is real.  If sound waves are generated and someone could theoretically hear it, it is real.  If someone could theoretically stub their/its toe on it, it is real.  If it can be measured in any fashion - weight, height, length, depth, electromagnetic emissions, radioactive emissions, fMRI, PET (positron emission tomography, fluoroscopy, x-ray chromatography - I'm tired of this.  Any type of measurement will define something as real.  Doesn't mean it has to be material but if its effects can affect the material through various types of testing, it is real.

No effect on material objects - not real.

Notice, this includes feelings as real.  Our hormone levels affect our brain chemistry which affects our hormone levels....... in loops that can be frighteningly positive both inside and out.  Feelings measurably have an affect on material objects.  Therefore, real.

YOU OLD BITTY! You are sooooooooo blind. I saw with my own eyes Penn and Teller saw that woman in half. I saw it! THAT WAS REAL!

(Note to self: duck for cover whilst CJ throws vase at you)

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Quote:I'd say, the more

Quote:
I'd say, the more science discovers, the more of potential space for God there is, but the more the idea of God must change. It must become less like a person and more like nature itself

If it isn't like us, why call it god? I forgot who said it, "If horses had gods, their gods would look like them".

The invention of gods are merely the product of human wishful thinking of the ultimate super protector. There is no such thing. The more we discover about the universe the more violence and hostility to biological life we see and our own tiny existence and short and finite existence in it.

I agree that it IS nature, but nature does not need to be needlessly glorified to the level of human myth to have the ability to appreciate how HUGE it is and the incredibly intense and large potential and kinetic energy in it. I find lots of "awe" in the universe without pretending it is a comic book super hero, much less a god.

Why not simply say, "There are some things I observe in the universe I find really neat" without anthropomorphizing an object(which the universe is) by attempting to give it human qualities(much less super hero qualities).

The universe is nothing like us, we merely live in it. Giving the universe human qualities is as silly as when I hear someone talk to their car and give it a pet name or when someone talks to their plant and gives it a name.

BUT, there are historical figures like Jefferson and Einstein who bucked old myth and old holy books and like you equated "god" to merely being the power of nature. I simply would have said to them, and am saying to you. If a word ANY WORD, in our human language is failing, why try to repackage it, why not dump it.

Science is not leading to a god. It is blazing a trail away from the claim and the only way humans can cling to such a superstition is to attempt to change the packaging.

There is no such thing as a brain with no brain. Nature is merely a word used to describe the world and the universe we observe. It is big and awesome, but hardly magical or superstitious.

 

 

 

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Brian37 wrote:cj

Brian37 wrote:

cj wrote:

Crossover wrote:

How do you know that "real" is real? I ask not in the "what if we are all really just ants and a big kid is playing with us" sort of way, but in that way to say...how do we know that what we see as reality is real, and not what we perceive to be real?

 

None of the philosophical types like my answer.  A lot of people will disagree with me.  Fine - call me a realistic pragmatist.

If something reflects light and therefore someone could theoretically see it, it is real.  If sound waves are generated and someone could theoretically hear it, it is real.  If someone could theoretically stub their/its toe on it, it is real.  If it can be measured in any fashion - weight, height, length, depth, electromagnetic emissions, radioactive emissions, fMRI, PET (positron emission tomography, fluoroscopy, x-ray chromatography - I'm tired of this.  Any type of measurement will define something as real.  Doesn't mean it has to be material but if its effects can affect the material through various types of testing, it is real.

No effect on material objects - not real.

Notice, this includes feelings as real.  Our hormone levels affect our brain chemistry which affects our hormone levels....... in loops that can be frighteningly positive both inside and out.  Feelings measurably have an affect on material objects.  Therefore, real.

YOU OLD BITTY! You are sooooooooo blind. I saw with my own eyes Penn and Teller saw that woman in half. I saw it! THAT WAS REAL!

(Note to self: duck for cover whilst CJ throws vase at you)

 

The correct spelling is "biddy".   Originally a fowl - not necessarily a hen.  And now it is a talkative old woman.  As hot as it is today, I think I'll do us both a favor and dunk you in the pool instead of wasting a perfectly good vase.

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


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Crossover wrote:Let's

Crossover wrote:

Let's pretend here. You wake up and have some sort of mental problem where you are hallucinating. A person is with you. You can see them, hear them, and even measure them. hey are 100% real to YOU. They, however are not real to me since I can not see them, hear them, or even try to imagine them. They re completely unreal to ME. Who is right?

 

I am stuck with my own reality just as everyone else is stuck with theirs. However, there is consensus. I think humans agree on far more than they disagree. We just focus so much on our differences and unfortunately can come to blows over it. Maybe this comes from our fears.  With your example above then I would use other people as a guide. Am I alone with a dozen or more around me think differently. Then I would say I have an imaginary friend.

Religion Kills !!!

Numbers 31:17-18 - Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

http://jesus-needs-money.blogspot.com/


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Wow. Thank you all for the

Wow. Thank you all for the tremendous answers. I really don't have time to reply to them individually (though I did read them all). I can't recall who it was that brought up whether we were all characters in their hallucination...but I can say I don't think I am (but who knows). For that matter, are we all characters in your own version of the Truman Show and you're the star! (or vice versa).

 

So I gather so far that: We basically assume our own reality based upon the scientific observations. Is that pretty much it oversimplified?

 

I'm basically asking if everyone agrees with my conclusion, or if there are any others that would say there is another way we can tell. Apart from "cogito ergo sum" because that isn't quite logical enough of an explanation in my mind.

 

 

My Master has no desire to be merely victor in a debate: he did not come into the world to fight a battle of logic just
for the sake of winning it. --Charles Spurgeon


Atheistextremist
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This is true.

Skyzersdad wrote:

The long and short of it is -

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, is still there.

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


mellestad
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Crossover wrote:Wow. Thank

Crossover wrote:

Wow. Thank you all for the tremendous answers. I really don't have time to reply to them individually (though I did read them all). I can't recall who it was that brought up whether we were all characters in their hallucination...but I can say I don't think I am (but who knows). For that matter, are we all characters in your own version of the Truman Show and you're the star! (or vice versa).

 

So I gather so far that: We basically assume our own reality based upon the scientific observations. Is that pretty much it oversimplified?

 

I'm basically asking if everyone agrees with my conclusion, or if there are any others that would say there is another way we can tell. Apart from "cogito ergo sum" because that isn't quite logical enough of an explanation in my mind.

 

 

No...I would say scientific observations reinforce the idea that we share the same reality (since observations from multiple observers usually agree), but they aren't the reason we assume reality is real.  We assume reality is real because it is the only productive choice to make.  It is necessity.

Think about the alternatives from a anthropological perspective, or an evolutionary perspective...how successful do you think individuals or groups are when they think reality isn't real?  (Many of us would argue that theists can easily fall into this trap by assuming their lives are just a prologue to the 'real' world of the afterlife...which makes it easier to do things like blow yourself up in a cafe.)

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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mellestad wrote:Crossover

mellestad wrote:

Crossover wrote:

Wow. Thank you all for the tremendous answers. I really don't have time to reply to them individually (though I did read them all). I can't recall who it was that brought up whether we were all characters in their hallucination...but I can say I don't think I am (but who knows). For that matter, are we all characters in your own version of the Truman Show and you're the star! (or vice versa).

 

So I gather so far that: We basically assume our own reality based upon the scientific observations. Is that pretty much it oversimplified?

 

I'm basically asking if everyone agrees with my conclusion, or if there are any others that would say there is another way we can tell. Apart from "cogito ergo sum" because that isn't quite logical enough of an explanation in my mind.

 

 

No...I would say scientific observations reinforce the idea that we share the same reality (since observations from multiple observers usually agree), but they aren't the reason we assume reality is real.  We assume reality is real because it is the only productive choice to make.  It is necessity.

Think about the alternatives from a anthropological perspective, or an evolutionary perspective...how successful do you think individuals or groups are when they think reality isn't real?  (Many of us would argue that theists can easily fall into this trap by assuming their lives are just a prologue to the 'real' world of the afterlife...which makes it easier to do things like blow yourself up in a cafe.)

That would make it sound like we assume we a real because its the only assumption to make, and science backs it up. Is that true? I'm not trying to trap you into saying anything, it's just that if that is true it causes more confusion in my mind.

 

As far as this being a prelude to the real" life, a few things play into that. I have my own theory about people who feel that way.

1) I believe it is, by majority, a cultural belief. You find much fewer (not saying they don't exist though) people who are willing to kill themselves for their religion in the West. We know the problems of the middle east, but in places where Christianity is illegal (like, say China) they have a much more devoted lifestyle and look forward to heaven much more than we here in the West do. Not to compare peaceful Christians in China to extremist Muslims in Iran though. However, there are FEW Christians that, if you put a gun to their face, would just be smiley and happy saying "I don't care what you do, I'm going to heaven". No, they value life A LOT.

2) They twist their own respective "holy text" to say what they want it to say.

3) (This one for sure is completely unsubstantiated and being that I am no psychology expert since I failed the class for failure to attend, this is an amateur theory for sure). I believe, and this is how it relates to this topic, that they have no contact with this reality. They live in another world (whether it be one with 72 virgins or just regular heaven) their minds strive for greatness their. Everyone wants to better themselves and their lives. Some people want a Silver Bentley Continental with black interior (ME!), and some people want 72 virgins. The main difference between the two religious people is, person 1 wants to make the most of what we have right now and is satisfied with the promise of a future, person 2 can't make sense of this reality that they have so they live in another and hurry their existence to the second.

My Master has no desire to be merely victor in a debate: he did not come into the world to fight a battle of logic just
for the sake of winning it. --Charles Spurgeon


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Crossover wrote:mellestad

Crossover wrote:

mellestad wrote:

Crossover wrote:

Wow. Thank you all for the tremendous answers. I really don't have time to reply to them individually (though I did read them all). I can't recall who it was that brought up whether we were all characters in their hallucination...but I can say I don't think I am (but who knows). For that matter, are we all characters in your own version of the Truman Show and you're the star! (or vice versa).

 

So I gather so far that: We basically assume our own reality based upon the scientific observations. Is that pretty much it oversimplified?

 

I'm basically asking if everyone agrees with my conclusion, or if there are any others that would say there is another way we can tell. Apart from "cogito ergo sum" because that isn't quite logical enough of an explanation in my mind.

 

 

No...I would say scientific observations reinforce the idea that we share the same reality (since observations from multiple observers usually agree), but they aren't the reason we assume reality is real.  We assume reality is real because it is the only productive choice to make.  It is necessity.

Think about the alternatives from a anthropological perspective, or an evolutionary perspective...how successful do you think individuals or groups are when they think reality isn't real?  (Many of us would argue that theists can easily fall into this trap by assuming their lives are just a prologue to the 'real' world of the afterlife...which makes it easier to do things like blow yourself up in a cafe.)

That would make it sound like we assume we a real because its the only assumption to make, and science backs it up. Is that true? I'm not trying to trap you into saying anything, it's just that if that is true it causes more confusion in my mind.

Well, I don't really think science even reinforces it.  All science does is shows us things are internally consistent, but that doesn't mean reality isn't an illusion.  Like I said, as far as I am aware there is no way to verify the basic assumption that reality is real, neither by logical or empirical methods.  So I agree with the first part of your sentance, but I would say the second  part is not applicable to the question.

Crossover wrote:

As far as this being a prelude to the real" life, a few things play into that. I have my own theory about people who feel that way.

1) I believe it is, by majority, a cultural belief. You find much fewer (not saying they don't exist though) people who are willing to kill themselves for their religion in the West. We know the problems of the middle east, but in places where Christianity is illegal (like, say China) they have a much more devoted lifestyle and look forward to heaven much more than we here in the West do. Not to compare peaceful Christians in China to extremist Muslims in Iran though. However, there are FEW Christians that, if you put a gun to their face, would just be smiley and happy saying "I don't care what you do, I'm going to heaven". No, they value life A LOT.

Well, religion *is* cultural, right?  Doubly so in areas where religion is not separated or limited by the government.  Islam isn't really that different from Christianity, it just seems to be about 500 years behind it...which makes sense, because it isn't quite as old.  Islamist states have not had an enlightenment like Europe did, no Protestant reformation either.  I remember reading journals from the Crusades, and I'm not kidding, it sounded like Osama bin Laden's own diary...Infadel this, heretic that, righteous sacrifice, put them to the sword, martyred for the Holy Christ, etc. etc.  (After all, the Bible tells you to kill people too, but most modern Christians have decided those parts don't apply anymore.)  That might even be what you meant.

Also just a factual point, Christianity is not illegal in China, you can be as Christian as you want, there are plenty of churches too.  What is illegal is public preaching outside of designated areas.  So you can be a Christian and go to church, but you can't stand on a random corner and hand out pamplets and tell people they need Jesus.

Crossover wrote:

2) They twist their own respective "holy text" to say what they want it to say.

Who doesn't?  If a person isn't doing it themselves, they are just taking as gospel (haha) from a source of authority...and they will either accept that interpretation or leave to find one that matches their lifestyle.

Granted, there is definately a chicken and the egg issue, but religion and secular culture are so wrapped up you can't really split them in two.

(Edit:  There are theologians who try to be neutral about their religion and then apply those ideas in a neutral fashion, but as a percentage of theism they are a tiny minority.)

Crossover wrote:

3) (This one for sure is completely unsubstantiated and being that I am no psychology expert since I failed the class for failure to attend, this is an amateur theory for sure). I believe, and this is how it relates to this topic, that they have no contact with this reality. They live in another world (whether it be one with 72 virgins or just regular heaven) their minds strive for greatness their. Everyone wants to better themselves and their lives. Some people want a Silver Bentley Continental with black interior (ME!), and some people want 72 virgins. The main difference between the two religious people is, person 1 wants to make the most of what we have right now and is satisfied with the promise of a future, person 2 can't make sense of this reality that they have so they live in another and hurry their existence to the second.

This, I don't think pans out.  Research tends to show that suicide bombers are fairly 'normal' people.  A couple of things.  One, there is obviously a cultural influence that teaches suicide bombing is noble.  I've read interviews of parents where they are proud their kid blew themselves up.  Two, there are branches of Islam that explicitely teach that as a valid tactic.  Third, suicide bombing is a valid political and military tool that tends to get results.  People often have specific reasons...the killing of a family member, a political goal, a tactical goal, etc.

If the people you are influenced by idealize suicide bombing, and you believe it is something your deity wants you to do, and you have a specific reason to do it, then I don't think you need to be unhinged in any way and the data seems to support the idea, again, that suicide bombers are not abnormal psychologically.

It is all relative anyway.  In our culture we've firebombed entire cities full of civilians and we don't think the airplane pilots were monsters, we might go so far as to think they were grim and bound by duty to do an unpleasant task, but we might think they are heroes too.  But we think suicide bombers are monsters, or that the 9/11 hijackers were figurative or even literal demons.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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Evolution has engineered us

Evolution has engineered us to see hear and understand the world around us through natural selection but we are far from a perfect animal. We may never know the initial cause, reason, starting point or destination of our universe with any certainty which is something we can be more certain of than in any magical unseen beings that worry over our praise and worship and what we do when we are naked.

Faith is the word but next to that snugged up closely "lie's" the want.
"By simple common sense I don't believe in god, in none."-Charlie Chaplin