We have an immortal soul through the eternal recurrence

Mak Thorpe
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We have an immortal soul through the eternal recurrence

Max Tegmark in Scientific American's May 2003 issue wrote an article on "Parallel Universes" in which he presents the argument that existences identical to our own recur infinitely over infinite space.  He describes a few different levels of universes, but one of the simplest is that our big banged "universe may in fact be a local space-time "bubble", and that an infinite number of other such bubbles exist.   Anyway, the basic premise of the eternal recurrence hypothesis proceeds from the assumption that the probability of a world coming into existence exactly like our own is finite. If either time or space are infinite then mathematics tells us that our existence will recur an infinite number of times.

 

Assuming this is true, then our existence survives the death of our flesh in this existence.  What survives over and over, at each moment of our lives, simultaneously throughout the infinite cosmos is the pattern of our life as we lived it and shall always live it.  In short, if the eternal recurrence hypothesis is correct, then we do in fact survive rigor mortis.  

 

Comments?

 


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Mak Thorpe wrote:mellestad

Mak Thorpe wrote:

mellestad wrote:

Mak Thorpe wrote:

mellestad wrote:

Also, the 'theistic' implications of the idea would be everyone is damned and blessed at the same time, but since the universe is still deterministic it doesn't matter either way, at least not to any being currently experiencing said reality.

You mean you feel that because all outcomes have already occurred that you feel no responsibility for making your existence the most righteous variant?  It seems to me that is a morally bankrupt position to take.  

 

On the contrary, eternal repetition of a life filled with morally reprehensible actions is its own hell.  You will face an eternity of experience of the emptiness of such an existence.  

 

I don't feel anything about this, I'm arguing for the hypothetical position since you requested that we do so in your original post.  This idea would not influence my non-hypothetical morality because any alternate beings have no link to me, essentially they are separate beings totally outside my control or interest, duplicates or not.  

 

I guess I got thrown off about your meaning due to the bit : "since the universe is still deterministic it doesn't matter either way, at least not to any being currently experiencing said reality."  I took that to mean that you were asserting that it didn't matter if you participated the damned pattern or the blessed pattern.  I am glad to hear that you feel responsible for the morality of your existence.

I'm happy you're happy.

Mak Thorpe wrote:

mellestad wrote:
You've given me no reason to think any alternate beings should be thought to have continuity with their other selves.

 The hypothesis says the you in the other universes think the same thoughts, feel the exact same emotions you feel at this moment, experience the same consciousness you are experiencing now in every detail.  They just do not share the same body.  You don't feel a linkage with these other instances of you because the atoms are not the same.  It has been estimated that "there isn't a single bit of any of us, not even a stray molecule- that was part of us nine years  ago"  (Bill Bryson. A short history of nearly everything).  Today, your consciousness is now, literally inhabiting a different body than the body of that called itself mellestad nine years ago, so by your same logic of sharing the same molecules that you Bill and Butter are using, you have no reason to feel any principle of connection with this other individual.

Yes, exactly.  Unless the change in matter happened instantly though, there is a fairly obvious metric of continuity, and that is the point right?  Again, all we have is our current atomic makeup, 'our' atoms.  If I made an exact duplicate of you, it wouldn't be you, it would be a copy of you.  It doesn't matter if they are identical, if they think the same thoughts, take the same actions...all that matters is it isn't you.

How else do you define identity?  Simply by thoughts?  If so, we could make a computer simulation of you and as long as it 'thought' it was you, it would be you.  That seems silly, doesn't it? 

I agree, in general, I am not the 'same person' that existed years ago.  The only being 'I' am is the being I am at this current point in time.

Mak Thorpe wrote:

mellestad wrote:
If you accept the premise that, 'you' automatically exist in an infinitely variable state for an infinite amount of time and if you accept that means there is some sort of continuity to, 'you', then it doesn't matter what 'you' do, because another you would have done something else.  Essentially, you'd be arguing for some sort of infinite psuedo omnipresence more than anything else.  Why would the 'me' who chose to act a certain way have continuity only with the infinite alternates who acted in the same way?

No. You are the third person who make this odd leap. As I have often repeated, I don't accept that the variants are me.  Here's why.  The principle of everyone's identity is defined by their actions.  One variant of us might take a dismissive, holier than thou attitude without consideration of what the person has said or done.  By that variant's actions, they are the same sort of ideological bigot that they pretend to be decrying.   Is that who you are?  Is that who I choose to be by my actions?   The next time we act, there are a new set of variant courses that each variant will take.  Who are you?  The variants are distinct because the character they express is different.  Scripture's expression of the principle is that "By their fruits you shall know them".   

So three of us came to the same conclusion?  That is interesting.

So...are you actually arguing that 'scripture' is talking about the multiverse theory?  That seems pretty lame, and it gives the believer zero interest in following any set pattern, because...well, you bring it up below.

Mak Thorpe wrote:

mellestad wrote:
Besides which, the very idea of a multiverse rests on determinism because it is materialistic and the whole thing is based on random quantum fluctuation as the root cause of variation.

It has a finite, computable complexity.  However, there is a multiplicity of deterministic outcomes at any state, so the limitations of determinism are insubstantial.  That is, if you choose to take an active role in your existence, you determine which variant you express.  Is it the mellestad variant that selflessly saved children from a burning home down the street, or the one that beat his wife when she learned he was cheating on her?  There are insignificant deterministic walls standing in the way of the free will to choose how righteous a pathway of states it shall follow.

Yes, and our mental state is a result of the material activity in our brains...which would change based on the fluctuations of matter in the multiverse we happened to find ourselves in.  That means choice is an illusion.  No study or test has ever shown that anything about our thought process is non-material...and the entire idea of multiverses is totally dependent on states of matter.  If you don't understand that, you don't understand quantum theory, which is the very idea that is the foundation behind this discussion.

We think and act like we have 'free will' because it is un-productive to do otherwise, but the reality is our actions are governed by our material bodies interacting with other matter.  At the most basic level, we are just atoms bumping into atoms and forming chemical and electrical reactions, perhaps with the odd quantum event randomly landing heads or tails.  There isn't any free will at that level and the only reason we don't talk about ourselves like that is the process is too complex to monitor at anything but a crude level.

If you don't believe me though, go drink a liter of vodka and see what happens to your free will when the right atoms start bumping together.  Or you could apply a strong magnetic field to certain areas of your brain...which would suck if someone else did that to you and inadvertently made 'you' go down the path of eternal damnation.  Since scripture is talking about advanced cosmology, maybe it can help us with this too?

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


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Mak Thorpe wrote:Okay....

Mak Thorpe wrote:

Okay....  And I acknowledged the divergent states- the ones that could lead to a multiplicity of alternate outcomes for AIG's life.  Are we ok up to there?

naturally, yes.

Mak Thorpe wrote:

 My following step was: nonetheless, AIG in this universe will experience only one set of states.  Is that step ok?

er.. not necessarily. To put it the most basically, the wave function extends in both directions in time. Meaning that you cannot restrict this interpretation to probability selves branching off into future time because a field of quantum objects is in superposition in past time as well. And thus you cannot rule out the idea of a personal ego having taking multiple paths to it's present point either.

In such a case, no, he does not experience only one set of states. It becomes very difficult to identify a 'he' at all in this circumstance let alone apply it to any further inference. 

 

Mak Thorpe wrote:

 And that particular set of states will replicate infinitely.  (true or not true?)

As Bob has well demonstrated, infinity is a tricky concept that almost always, when applied in theoretical physics, introduces impenetrable nonsense to the results. So one can speculate infinities but its widely evidenced that such speculations generally preclude making any useful predictions.

That said, it is possible to conclude infinite replications of oneself existing in superposition to your present state. However, I should add that the many worlds interpretation has it's own infinity of probability states, so to extend it as you have proposed suggests an aleph0 order of total states; and with a many worlds infinity of states, as opposed to a quantum foam multiverse, the physical space in which the alternate realities exist is less a clear cut phenomenon, such that one might find the replicas of oneself are merely different paths back to the same you.

 

 

Mak Thorpe wrote:

So, when I talk about AIG's pattern of existence, I am excluding the variants.  

As I just said, it maybe possible that excluding the variants excludes all difference altogether. So your proposition is very strictly dependent on the assumption of a specific 'type' of multiverse.

Mak Thorpe wrote:

You may not feel that it is proper to feel any sort of "egoistic identity" with that pattern either.  It is certainly true that more than one individual on this forum has asserted they feel no particular sense of relationship with their eternally replicated pattern of existence.  How they "feel" about the relationship between them and their pattern is their choice.  I do assert that however we characterize it, we cannot dismiss the relationship we have to the single pattern that represents our existence as it has played out up until now, and will terminate in whatever pathway we choose to follow in this particular universe.

 

As some others have said, also, regardless of my feeling of connection to the replica identity, the notion of immortality encapsulated by verbatim repetition is not particularly inspiring, is it? I'd rather be ignorant if that was the case, anyhow.

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Mak Thorpe
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butterbattle wrote:Mak

butterbattle wrote:

Mak Thorpe wrote:
Yes.  Experiencing  the same thoughts, feeling the same emotions  but not feeling the same gravity of the situation. Eye-wink

Sorry.  Just hidden meaning humor not sarcasm intended.  I was poking fun at your strained distinction between identical but not same entities.  I think it works for objects, but becomes tenuous when describing more incorporeal things like thoughts feeling and forces.  "I had the same thought" or "I feel the same way" has different semantics than "I have the same car".  I suppose those indoctrinated in the literalist school of naive realistm would attribute this to vestigial Platonism that has so far escaped the Orkin man.   Anyway, I didn't mean to keep you.  


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butterbattle wrote: Mak

[edit- duplicate post removed.]


mellestad
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Eloise wrote:As some others

Eloise wrote:

As some others have said, also, regardless of my feeling of connection to the replica identity, the notion of immortality encapsulated by verbatim repetition is not particularly inspiring, is it? I'd rather be ignorant if that was the case, anyhow.

On the plus side, if you accept that definition then functional immortality might be within reach...you'd just need to take a snapshot of an active brain and store it in stasis and as long as that snapshot was around 'you' would be immortal.  Yay?

I agree though, I'm not sure why you would want to define immortality in such a way.  Well, I understand why in this case, because it is an attempt to fit a square peg in a round hole by matching a theoretical cosmological hypothesis with passages from the Bible, but other than that I don't know why you would.  This seems like a classic case of theistic 'research' where you assume something to be true and then hunt for evidence to prove what you already 'know'.

This thread is starting to remind me of a Nostradamus debate, or maybe of Biblical numerology.

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


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mellestad wrote:On the plus

mellestad wrote:
On the plus side, if you accept that definition then functional immortality might be within reach...you'd just need to take a snapshot of an active brain and store it in stasis and as long as that snapshot was around 'you' would be immortal.  Yay?

So, you're talking about perfectly recording the state of an active brain. Then, you can recreate that state later? 

I don't think I would consider that to be "me" being immortal. That's not much different than a clone. If a human was constructed from that snapshot while I was still alive, it would a different person, not me. Or, is that not what you meant?

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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mellestad wrote:On the plus

mellestad wrote:

On the plus side, if you accept that definition then functional immortality might be within reach...you'd just need to take a snapshot of an active brain and store it in stasis and as long as that snapshot was around 'you' would be immortal.  Yay?

You seem to have read some Dan Dennet, so you probably know he doesn't think that is so.  Personally, I think he made some embarassingly inept assumptions about what is theoretically possible with computation.  It's part of his battle with the AI folks and the brain in the vat (aka "Matrix" ) thought experiment.


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Comfort and Joy

 

Eloise wrote:

 

er.. not necessarily. To put it the most basically, the wave function extends in both directions in time. Meaning that you cannot restrict this interpretation to probability selves branching off into future time because a field of quantum objects is in superposition in past time as well. And thus you cannot rule out the idea of a personal ego having taking multiple paths to it's present point either.

 

In such a case, no, he does not experience only one set of states. It becomes very difficult to identify a 'he' at all in this circumstance let alone apply it to any further inference. 

 

 

 

ok, but that is way past the more easily understood level 1 and 2 models.  It is beyond the multiple world interpretation.  I believe you are refering to the multiple histories account, right?  We can go there if you like, but the discussion would become rarified, likely excluding many folks from contributing.  Just getting folks to accept the plausibility of the Schrödinger's cat paradox takes a great deal of effort, let alone taxing their patience to get to the point where they feel WMI is plausible.

 

For the purposes of the proposition, it is sufficient to show there is a non zero number of plausible accounts supporting time or space infinity that are not scientifically or mathematically invalid.

 

Eloise wrote:

 

Mak Thorpe wrote:

 

 And that particular set of states will replicate infinitely.  (true or not true?)

 

 

As Bob has well demonstrated, infinity is a tricky concept that almost always, when applied in theoretical physics, introduces impenetrable nonsense to the results. So one can speculate infinities but its widely evidenced that such speculations generally preclude making any useful predictions.

 

 

Well ok.  Exact replication would require sets with non finite numbers of states.  This is not limited to the domains of mathematics and quantum physics.  There are some theories in gene expression for example that suggest this is the case.   The discussion could reach out to those who kind of glaze over on the physics dominated details- for it would otherwise come across as sci-fi gibberish- unintelligible mumbo jumbo.

I think you may well be sensitive to this principle but I'd like to make a meta comment that is not directed just at you.  A trap that some of these sorts of discussions get into is that one side tosses undigestable bits over to the other side.  For those few people who can digest the bits, it is oftentimes the case that they are already within your point of view and the communication serves more to reinforce existing views rather then induce conceptual movement in the other camp.

My sense is that we lose 99% of folks browsing the net for answers if we dive into transfinites.  Someone ministering to math majors would make a different tactical judgement.

 

Beyond the question of useful predictions, do you buy Legmark's assertion that the hypothesis is falsifiable?  Certainly not experimentally- no one is going to be testing the precision of Tegmark's prediction of an identical existence within  10 to the 10^28  meters anytime soon.  As for type IIs- the gaps are expanding faster than light, so no one could traverse the inter bubble interval. I can see that some particular models could be disproved theoretically, but is that true of most of them?  I sense you have considerable depth in the domain of quantum physics so I am curious about your opinion- which ones do not appear to be falsifiable?

 

 

Eloise wrote:

 

 

Mak Thorpe wrote:

 

So, when I talk about AIG's pattern of existence, I am excluding the variants.  

 

 

As I just said, it maybe possible that excluding the variants excludes all difference altogether. So your proposition is very strictly dependent on the assumption of a specific 'type' of multiverse.

 

Mak Thorpe wrote:

 

You may not feel that it is proper to feel any sort of "egoistic identity" with that pattern either.  It is certainly true that more than one individual on this forum has asserted they feel no particular sense of relationship with their eternally replicated pattern of existence.  How they "feel" about the relationship between them and their pattern is their choice.  I do assert that however we characterize it, we cannot dismiss the relationship we have to the single pattern that represents our existence as it has played out up until now, and will terminate in whatever pathway we choose to follow in this particular universe.

 

 

 

As some others have said, also, regardless of my feeling of connection to the replica identity, the notion of immortality encapsulated by verbatim repetition is not particularly inspiring, is it? I'd rather be ignorant if that was the case, anyhow.

 

 

Yep.  And with the plummeting costs of full genome sequencing, many folks will ask not to be told about particular terminal conditions they have a high probability of developing.  It begs a larger question doesn't it about what people use truth seeking for.  What if the truth is not especially comforting, and is more depressing than inspiring.  As the Buddhist saying goes- if you see the Buddha coming towards you on the road, the best thing for your ego to do is kill him.  We are usually somewhat more subtle in avoiding truth- adept at rapidly erecting barriers, and coming up with coping strategies to avoid any unpleasant inconveniences requiring us to adhere to a higher quality of human values.  Many come instead for comfort, not the rigors involved in self betterment.  Some escape to science and naive realism, since it can make no recommendations to them regarding human values.  Others flee to churches that tell them the happy news that there is a quid pro quo for buying their way into a literalistic afterlife with countless virgins or streets of gold and so on and so forth. They are seeking comfort, and heaven help you if you challenge their self lie that they are in it for the truth.

 

Anyway,regarding the eternal recurrence there are plenty of respected theologians and secular philosophers who agree with your take on it and have described it as an existential horror.  Nonetheless there are a non zero number of plausible accounts that suggest this might be the way it is.  I suppose there is a happy face that can be drawn on it, but interpretation is outside of the scope of this thread.  If you want to go there, I think I would enjoy exploring it with posters such as yourself.  

 


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Mak Thorpe wrote:mellestad

Mak Thorpe wrote:

mellestad wrote:

On the plus side, if you accept that definition then functional immortality might be within reach...you'd just need to take a snapshot of an active brain and store it in stasis and as long as that snapshot was around 'you' would be immortal.  Yay?

You seem to have read some Dan Dennet, so you probably know he doesn't think that is so.  Personally, I think he made some embarassingly inept assumptions about what is theoretically possible with computation.  It's part of his battle with the AI folks and the brain in the vat (aka "Matrix" ) thought experiment.

I'm not referencing anything outside of the assumptions made in your argument.  If ever present duplicates of a person equals immortality and if identity resides in the thought process somehow removed from the matter in which it resides, then you don't need a human brain or physical body and you don't need any form of continuity to be labeled immortal, you only need a copy of your thought process somewhere within physical space.  It wouldn't have to be a computer.

I don't even see a reason why it would need to be an, 'active' re-creation (again, by your argument), it could be as simple as a atom by atom blueprint of your brain in a given state.

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


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butterbattle wrote:mellestad

butterbattle wrote:

mellestad wrote:
On the plus side, if you accept that definition then functional immortality might be within reach...you'd just need to take a snapshot of an active brain and store it in stasis and as long as that snapshot was around 'you' would be immortal.  Yay?

So, you're talking about perfectly recording the state of an active brain. Then, you can recreate that state later? 

I don't think I would consider that to be "me" being immortal. That's not much different than a clone. If a human was constructed from that snapshot while I was still alive, it would a different person, not me. Or, is that not what you meant?

 

I'm not saying I think that, I'm saying if you agree the premise of 'infinite copies in a multiverse = immortality' then this would also equal immortality.

 

I agree with you, the entire idea is just stating that copies exist, I'm not sure how Mak makes the leap from copies to, 'immortal soul'.

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


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Are incorpor

butterbattle wrote:

I don't think I would consider that to be "me" being immortal. That's not much different than a clone. If a human was constructed from that snapshot while I was still alive, it would a different person, not me. Or, is that not what you meant?

Say the snapshot was reinstantiated in your same brain, but nine years from now.  Is that you?

Otherwise, not sure why it is pertinent to ask where the "snapshot" is reinstantiated.  From your POV, if it is not in the same brain, then you believe it is not you.  

 

Similarly, when you talk to someone on the phone, you are in a mental state where you do not perceive your wife's voice.  You perceive it as a simulation, because to think of it otherwise is not honest.  The real voice is the original one that operated on the particular molecules of air in her throat.  You move in a world where most of what you see and hear are only a simulations.

 

You might stomp your feet and complain in a common sense way that no, you really spoke to your wife and not a simulation of your wife.  But to scratch a little deeper, the entity you know as your wife is only a mental representation- a simulation of the sensory data acquired regarding your wife.  So all of existence itself is in fact a reinstantiated snapshot and replayed simulation, albiet an substantial subsample of the original with wild innaccuracies.  And that snapshot of someone's brain would actually be a snapshot of that snapshot.  

 

But in your view, it wouldn't be you because it's not the same molecules of the same brain. 


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There is a direct line of

There is a direct line of continuity between your wife and yourself though, in any case.

 

However, if you'd like to be technical I don't see why anyone would balk at the idea that you're not talking to your wife, you're talking to a sound linked to your wife via an electronic process.  No-one cares though, it is just another fun little thing to think about....like explaining to people that they don't actually see things, they 'see' photons that have bounced off of things.  Great, but it doesn't really mean anything past that.

--------------------

Really, I don't think anyone has a problem with your point, in general...with conditions.

 

If you want to define immortality as, 'duplicates of my thought process exist infinetly" then sure, go ahead, and within the framework you outline that would be the case.  But if I want to define immortality as "my matter never ceases to exist" then I can do that too, and I'd also be immortal.  But so what?  It doesn't matter in either case, you're just picking an arbitrary definition of immortal and running with it.

You've also done the same thing with the word, 'soul', and again, if you want to define it in that way that's fine, I hope it works for you.  But don't act like it isn't arbitrary.

Then you've tried to tie it into scripture, which...well, actually, I suppose it is the same idea, really.  You've taken a concept and re-defined it arbitrarily to meet some personal goal.

 

However, in all three cases you're using words in an arbitrary way to make an argument.  You can do that, just like anyone can, but I wouldn't expect anyone to be impressed or moved by it.

 

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


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mellestad wrote:There is a

mellestad wrote:

There is a direct line of continuity between your wife and yourself though, in any case.

 

However, if you'd like to be technical I don't see why anyone would balk at the idea that you're not talking to your wife, you're talking to a sound linked to your wife via an electronic process.  No-one cares though, it is just another fun little thing to think about....like explaining to people that they don't actually see things, they 'see' photons that have bounced off of things.  Great, but it doesn't really mean anything past that.

To butterbattle, the distinction between the notions of "same" and "identical" is crucial.  And to him, the disembodied pattern is to be dismissed as only an arbitrary set definition of like entities.  

 

 

mellestad wrote:
  

However, in all three cases you're using words in an arbitrary way to make an argument.  You can do that, just like anyone can, but I wouldn't expect anyone to be impressed or moved by it.

 

You are going to have to do a little more work to show that.  I claimed the pattern of existence was immortal.  If the hypothesis is correct, it is without end, it is eternal.  Perhaps you don't think that conforms to your definition of immortality, and that anything else is "arbitrary".  A soul, in certain spiritual, philosophical, and psychological traditions, is the incorporeal essence of a person or living thing.  The pattern of existence meets that definition as well.  Sorry.  

 


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Mak Thorpe wrote:mellestad

Mak Thorpe wrote:

mellestad wrote:
  

However, in all three cases you're using words in an arbitrary way to make an argument.  You can do that, just like anyone can, but I wouldn't expect anyone to be impressed or moved by it.

 

You are going to have to do a little more work to show that.  I claimed the pattern of existence was immortal.  If the hypothesis is correct, it is without end, it is eternal.  Perhaps you don't think that conforms to your definition of immortality, and that anything else is "arbitrary".  A soul, in certain spiritual, philosophical, and psychological traditions, is the incorporeal essence of a person or living thing.  The pattern of existence meets that definition as well.  Sorry.  

 

The pattern of existence is immortal, sure, but the individual person is not, which is what we've been discussing.  This is the entire point of bringing up continuity, yes?  I'm sorry if that was unclear, but I thought that was obvious.  Yes, my definition is as arbitrary as anything in language, but mine also happens to fit common usage and yours does not, which makes mine, perhaps, somewhat less arbitrary.

 

Incorporeal is a nonsense term just like soul is.  What is incorporeal?  This is circular.  The only people who think, "A soul... is the incorporeal essence of a person or living thing." are people who presuppose that it exists.  You've just said, "I'm right, because some people think a soul is a soul."

Maybe you could define a soul as "The collective material interaction we label as a person's thought process" (or something similar), then define immortality in your particular way.  That's a pretty strange set of definitions, but it is coherent with what you're hypothesizing.  I'd avoid words like soul and incorporeal because it gets in the way if you're trying to make a real argument.

--------------

But that doesn't sound sexy, because all you're really saying is, "If X theory is true, copies of us will exist forever."  I dunno though, that is still pretty cool from a navel gazing perspective.  Why try to jam it into some religious framework where it doesn't make sense?  If that is what you're saying then, yea, you'd be right within the bounds of the original premise.

--------------

And nothing you've said has addressed the issue where you seem to be saying this knowledge would impact moral choices a person makes.  Could you explain why you think it matters and how you avoid determinism in an objectively materialist universe?  If you can't show continuity of consciousness between entities, why would we care beyond our immediate biological death?

 

Edit:  Essentially, you keep running into problems when you try to force religion and words laden with superstition and magic onto these scientific ideas.  Why are you trying to do so?  It dilutes the impact.

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


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mellestad wrote:The pattern

mellestad wrote:

The pattern of existence is immortal, sure, but the individual person is not, which is what we've been discussing.  

Check the title of the thread.  It says soul.  Check the definition of soul.  It says incorporeal.  Now, as to the accusation of who is being arbitrary with their definitions, we have no further to look than your post.    

 

Please try harder.


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Mak Thorpe wrote:mellestad

Mak Thorpe wrote:

mellestad wrote:

The pattern of existence is immortal, sure, but the individual person is not, which is what we've been discussing.  

Check the title of the thread.  It says soul.  Check the definition of soul.  It says incorporeal.  Now, as to the accusation of who is being arbitrary with their definitions, we have no further to look than your post.    

 

Please try harder.

I am genuinely baffled as to why you chose to ignore nearly every point in my post, and then agree with one of my criticisms.  I wish I was in the alternate universe where you chose to debate honestly.

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


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Your technical argument

Your technical argument about the possible existence of multiple identical copies of my thought patterns and body and even life-course are reasonable, in the context of some versions of Multiverse theories.

That is not my issue, or the issue of anyone else here, I think.

My issue is, so what?

I do NOT 'choose' not to feel any particular affinity with these other copies, that is conflating rationality with intuition and feelings. I simply don't feel it, the only 'choice' involved would be whether I consider it plausible enough to contemplate seriously. But for the life of me, I simply cannot get excited about it, in the absence of any form of real continuity, which would have to involve memory.

To be meaningful to me it would have to feel like an indefinite extension of my current life, including a continuing process of accumulating experience and knowledge and understanding, all while being able to look back on my past memories.

That is not a 'choice', that is how I feel on reflection, a deep response from within.

It is no more a 'choice' that the FACT that I prefer certain flavours of ice cream more than others. My preferences largely determine my choices.

And 'soul' is just a concept, with no demonstrated persistent reality beyond the world of ideas. It is meaningless to attribute any temporal attribute, 'eternal' or otherwise, to an abstract idea. That would only apply to the currency of an idea, a concept, within any specific individual or society.

Talk of 'essences' of our self, or our identity, is actually meaningless nonsense. It is a clumsy conflation of the truly abstract world of concepts and principles with actual instantiations of entities approximately described by such ideas.

And please, stop with the scriptural references, they are even less relevant to this infinite copies idea, and really give the game away that you are trying to find some tenuous support in science for the truly illogical and confused nonsense that is Christian dogma.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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mellestad wrote:I'm not

mellestad wrote:
I'm not saying I think that, I'm saying if you agree the premise of 'infinite copies in a multiverse = immortality' then this would also equal immortality. 

I agree with you, the entire idea is just stating that copies exist, I'm not sure how Mak makes the leap from copies to, 'immortal soul'.

Ah, okay. I completely agree with you then.

Mak Thorpe wrote:
Say the snapshot was reinstantiated in your same brain, but nine years from now.  Is that you?

No.

It is still just someone identical to "me," a copy. His consciousness is not mine.

Mak Thorpe wrote:
Otherwise, not sure why it is pertinent to ask where the "snapshot" is reinstantiated.  From your POV, if it is not in the same brain, then you believe it is not you.
 

No, that's not right.

From my point of view, the snapshot is not "me" no matter what brain it is put in. The snapshot can never be me, unless somehow my consciousness was transported into that snapshot. I'm sorry if my distinction is rather hard to pin down. I feel that I have it conceptualized quite clearly in my mind, but I'm having a difficult time explaining it with words. 

1) Suppose that there was a machine that purported to teleport people, but really what it did was destroy the person that went into the teleporter and created an identical person that came out on the other side. From my pov, the person that comes out is not the "same" person that went into the teleporter. Okay, you already knew that.

2) Well, suppose that the teleporter didn't destroy the body of the person that went into it, but it did destroy their consciousness somehow. Then, the person that comes out of the teleporter on the other side has the body of the person that went in, but a new (but identical) consciousness. In that case, I still wouldn't consider the person that comes out to be the "same" person that went in.

3) The only way I would consider it to be the same person is if there was a "continuity of consciousness," meaning that the consciousness of the person that goes into the teleporter actually comes out the other side.

There is no noticeable difference between these scenarios for the person that comes out of the teleporter. His consciousness is identical to the person that went into the teleporter, same memories, feelings, etc., so there is no way for him to determine whether he IS the consciousness of the person that went in or a clone. However, the difference for the person that went into the teleporter is absolutely crucial. If it were scenario 3), it would be like going to sleep and waking up. You become unconscious after you go into the teleporter and regain your consciousness when you come out. On the other hand, if it were scenario 1) or 2), it is no different than dying. You never wake up and become conscious again. It is merely another identical individual that comes out of the teleporter.  

Mak Thorpe wrote:
Similarly, when you talk to someone on the phone, you are in a mental state where you do not perceive your wife's voice.  You perceive it as a simulation, because to think of it otherwise is not honest.  The real voice is the original one that operated on the particular molecules of air in her throat.  You move in a world where most of what you see and hear are only a simulations.

I am not sure how this connects to my distinction between what is or isn't "me."

In a sense, that is correct.

I am not really "seeing" objects "as they are." I am seeing a representation of them via light. Not only that, everything I see and hear actually exists slightly in the past, in a sense. Light and sound waves do have a finite speed, so it takes time for these waves to reach my senses. 

Mak Thorpe wrote:
You might stomp your feet and complain in a common sense way that no, you really spoke to your wife and not a simulation of your wife.  But to scratch a little deeper, the entity you know as your wife is only a mental representation- a simulation of the sensory data acquired regarding your wife.  So all of existence itself is in fact a reinstantiated snapshot and replayed simulation, albiet an substantial subsample of the original with wild innaccuracies.  And that snapshot of someone's brain would actually be a snapshot of that snapshot.

But in your view, it wouldn't be you because it's not the same molecules of the same brain.

Heh, that's actually a really interesting way of thinking about it. You seem to be attempting to present this in a way that makes it unpalatable, but nevertheless, I still don't disagree. I mean, it's simply describing reality; how could I dispute that? So yes, I never really speak "to" my wife or "see" my wife or "observe" my wife at all. But, with the language that we're using, my wife and I are still sending information to each other about our current state (er, slightly in the past state, lol).

Imo, "wild inaccuracies" is an exaggeration. In general, the way we interpret the information that reaches our senses provides us with reliable data about our environment. Obviously, our senses are not perfect, which is why there are optical illusions etc., but they are well tuned for us to live our day to day life. They have to be - if that weren't the case, then our species probably wouldn't have survived. 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Mak Thorpe wrote:You are

Mak Thorpe wrote:
You are going to have to do a little more work to show that.  I claimed the pattern of existence was immortal.  If the hypothesis is correct, it is without end, it is eternal.  Perhaps you don't think that conforms to your definition of immortality, and that anything else is "arbitrary".  A soul, in certain spiritual, philosophical, and psychological traditions, is the incorporeal essence of a person or living thing.  The pattern of existence meets that definition as well.  Sorry.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incorporeality

"Incorporeal or uncarnate means without the nature of a body or substance. The idea of incorporeality refers to the notion that there is an incorporeal realm of existence, or "place", that is distinct from the corporeal or material universe."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essence

"In philosophy, essence is the attribute or set of attributes that make an object or substance what it fundamentally is, and which it has by necessity, and without which it loses its identity. Essence is contrasted with accident: a property that the object or substance has contingently, without which the substance can still retain its identity."

Our conversation is beginning to travel in a circle now, and we are not making any progress. Stop attempting to smuggle nonsensical, meaningless religious terms and phrases like "incorporeal essence" into the thread. Under the way this is usually defined, it's complete and utter bullshit. Otherwise, it is completely worthless AND misleading as discussion tool. 

You're a Christian, right? Quit stalling and explain how this topic relates to your religion.

 

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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I'm not sure

 

 

whether Mak has a theistic baseline for this discussion but it's interesting that the scientific 'proofs' of christianity tend towards areas of intense complexity. There's never a bloody great fossil or anything. When we start discussing the nature of replication in relation to infinite universes of infinite variety there's an epistemology attached to it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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


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Response to bob

[edit- it was unclear that I was responding to Bob's last note.  I insert one quote from him just to make it absolutely clear- not the best quote but I didn't see one that summed everything he said.  also typos- one changed semantics "I couldn't agree  more with Bob and Roseweed"]

 

BobSpence1 wrote:

And please, stop with the scriptural references, they are even less relevant to this infinite copies idea, and really give the game away that you are trying to find some tenuous support in science for the truly illogical and confused nonsense that is Christian dogma.

 

 I know you think the concept of the soul is nonsense, but you are posting in a thread regarding the soul, so I need to be able to use some commonly accepted concepts and language to describe possible interpretations.    I will respect your request and stay away from explicit Christian references but if someone makes a post using that language I will need respond using that language and set of reference points held in common with them, so you will just have to cover your eyes on those.   Fair enough?

Actually, you mistake my motives if you think I am trying to find some support in Science to prop up a particular religious viewpoint.  Roseweeed I think raised that issue earlier, and I couldn't agree more with both of you that such an enterprise is silly.  The fallacy has been identfied as far back as Lao Tsu in the East and the Greeks in the West.  There are good philosophical arguments for why the approach is structurally unsound.  For greater detail, I pointed to Tillich in my response to Roseweed on this issue.

So why my fascination with eternal recurrence/ "immortal soul"?  No secret, and it is partly random- when I was 15 I was heavy into math and actually believed for a time that I had invented the idea.  I got depressed for a week after learning some other jerk in the nineteenth century had come up with it already.   Anyway I looked into it more during college but  put it aside for quite a while since it seems at the time that space-time was actually finite.   The Tegmark article rekindled my interest.  It seems like a good foil for communication on these sorts of spiritual questions- especially after the revelations that gee it is poosible the universe and time is not limited to local space-time after all.

Now there has been a quorum forming in this thread that the idea that the connection between the person's pattern of existence and themselves can be dismissed as just some isolated fellow making an arbitrary connection.    Well, it isn't just me that made the connection, nor does it necessarily have to do with a religious point of view.  You probably know that the notion of the eternal recurrence was made famous by one of the most famous atheists.  Here is the passage where he first described it:

The greatest weight.-- What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: "This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you, all in the same succession and sequence - even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down again and again, and you with it, speck of dust!" Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus?... Or how well disposed would you have to become to yourself and to life to crave nothing more fervently than this ultimate eternal confirmation and seal?

To Fred, a person could regard it with ultimate dread-  but to someone with great respect for their existence and life, they would consider it an ultimate and eternal confirmation of their existence.  

 

Now, I feel no pressing need to convince you of this idea's value, but it puzzles me why you feel no connection to this function/ pattern of your existence  that generates instances of people identical to you.  I mean if there is some function that spins out repetitions of your existence, to me that  has the character of other functions that describe other natural phenomena.  Sure, the "functions" or "patterns" are abstractions, but they describe a process that is embedded in the code of the universe.   That is the sort of connection I feel and Nietzche meant when he referred to an eternal confirmation.

 On a lighter note, maybe you don't feel a connection on aesthetic grounds.  Is it is because it is probably a pretty nasty looking function with lots of parameters?


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butterbattle wrote:Heh,

butterbattle wrote:

Heh, that's actually a really interesting way of thinking about it. You seem to be attempting to present this in a way that makes it unpalatable, but nevertheless, I still don't disagree. I mean, it's simply describing reality; how could I dispute that? So yes, I never really speak "to" my wife or "see" my wife or "observe" my wife at all. But, with the language that we're using, my wife and I are still sending information to each other about our current state (er, slightly in the past state, lol).

Imo, "wild inaccuracies" is an exaggeration. In general, the way we interpret the information that reaches our senses provides us with reliable data about our environment. Obviously, our senses are not perfect, which is why there are optical illusions etc., but they are well tuned for us to live our day to day life. They have to be - if that weren't the case, then our species probably wouldn't have survived. 

Actually, not unpalatable at all.  You sensed I was pushing things- and you were right, but I had a different motivation.  I wanted to see how far you would go before you balked.  Actually I am surprised how developed your views on perception are.  My compliments.  Anyway, this is close to a 19th century German Idealist perspective. Some later thinkers, some call themselves Objective Idealists believe like Owen Barfield, that it is pointless to talk as if any Thing in Itself exists, since all we know are fictions.  I guess I still am old fashioned and still believe in the things in themselves.  Though faith really is all I have to go on to support this dualism.  Anyway, from either of these idealist perspectives, the color Red is a fiction- two object that reflect light that we percieve as red could be two different colors if the wavelengths we were sensitive to were different.  For Christian existentialists like Tillich, in an epistemological mode that is analogous to this, constructs regarding God and other religious concepts are acknowledged as fictions as well.  Generally, fundamentalists and naive realist literalists both mistake this statement as tantamount to saying that an assertion is being made that belief in God is false or a fairy tale.  They do not comprehend that it is true if in the same mode you say that any other physical object is also regarded as a fairy tale.  

 

We believe the wife is really there (and that is all we can really do), although we know that that what we know is in fact an intermediary construct.  

 

As for wild inaccuracies, I would stand by my characterization.  The capacity of our data gathering fascilities as well as our representational neurology is indeed a marvel, but still I think we shouldn't assume should get carried away that we won't do better with a few more million years of evolution.  Consciousness's abilty to model reality is still really very very crude.


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butterbattle wrote:You're a

butterbattle wrote:

You're a Christian, right? Quit stalling and explain how this topic relates to your religion.

 

Stalling?  I beg your pardon.  Very early in this thread I pointed to another thread  and solicitted discussion of  interpretations which I regarded as so huge that it deserved a separate thread.  I have gotten just 1 response.  Christian?  You bet.  Not "christian-ish" or the kind who is "situationally Christian" at weddings funerals, Christmas and maybe for Easter service.  I am the old fashioned every Sunday variety with all but one of my five children in parochial schools, pray every night at dinner...  LIke a Rockwell painting.  The whole bit.  And now for the undercurrent...  If my biblical literalist breathren ever listened to what I was telling them and understood, they would conclude I was nothing more than a Christian atheist like Altizer- that is if they ever cracked a book on theology which I doubt any have.  Anyway, I am giving you the skinny but if you get the idea I have a low opinion of their religious viewpoints you would be correct.  I think they are idolators (that is- literalistic interpretation is nothing more than converting the living Word into a dead lifeless stony idol) which if you understand christian mythology means I think Yahweh holds them in extremely low esteem as well.  Most folks are idolators.  They can't help it.

 

Anyway as a preface, the proposition itself provides no theoretic substrate for my religious views.  My Christian beliefs are quite intact regardless whether this hypothesis is true or false.  As I stated to Bob this evening, it is crazy to look for support of religion in science.  Atheistextremist's observation was spot on.  Oftentimes folks nervously rifle through the drawers of scientific thought exploring the darkest corners, frantically and desperately looking for some currently mystifying phenomenon.  I suppose in the late nineteenth century this vaguely paganistic impulse would have be speculating about magnets and the mysterious static electricity phenomena- causing them to make clumsy vaults of speculative intuitions about the infinite.  

 

The proposition does provide an opportunity for a bridge of communication between the domains of science and religion.  There aren't a lot of these bridges, so I am not eager to play with matches and gasoline while traversing its planks.  

 

Look Bob said he really gets ticked when I go into explicit Christian references.  But Bob you see- he asked.  Anyway, like Nietzche, but apparently unlike any other atheist in this forum, I do feel a profound connection between myself and an incorporeal essense that transcends time.  The proposition offers a plausible account of how such an eternal essense might exist.  I know the reasons why you think that is gibberish, but you said you wanted to know, so I am going to try to rapidly cover ground.  Now, as I mentioned in the other note, there is part of the soul that is turned towards Being-Becoming-God.  That is the Christ essence that others may see in me if I am centered that way at that particular instant.  The other side of the soul is turned to the material flesh.  This is a very old neo platonic idea from a greek thinker named Plotinus.  It got sucked into Christianity, but it is not accurate to think of it in the same vein as a Platonic form.  

 

I stop here, I don't know that this is at all what you wanted me to go into greater depth on.  You tell me.  I suggest we can talk about the immortal soul stuff here if people are done with the science and math aspects of the proposition itself.  If you want to go into other stuff, I might be game, but in some cases I won't see much point of rehashing the generic atheist v. Theist impasses.  I am definately not a biblical literalist, but I do go for the stuff seem to dump in the so called "platonism"/ incorporeal essences bucket.  But that sort of discussion is more the poet versus the vulgar naive realist sort of tit for tat.

 


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Again, I'm confused as to

Again, I'm confused as to why you resisted our responses.  All of us said the same thing and in your last post you seem to agree with us, right?  As near as I can tell, all you are saying is you choose, or intuitively feel, some emotional attachment to some implications of this theory.  OK.

 

This is a forum centered around atheist and theist debate, so when you come in using theistic words, well, I'm not shocked we thought you were trying to prove the existence of the Biblical concepts of soul, heaven and hell.  If you aren't, great.  If you are, I'm confused again because I'm getting mixed signals.

 

As, so far, every single one of us has stated, we don't have a problem with the generic viewpoint you're using and if you acknowledge you're not using your religious terms to try and prove a religious point scientifically could you elaborate on what, exactly, you want to discuss?  Just the theory?  If it has implications to theists?
 

If you want to discuss the latter, then I would say...well, obviously it has implications to you and you're a theist.  I think the problem you would run into is the same that has come up here, there is no continuity by any objective metric.  So you'd be relying on people having the same emotional, intuitive response to carry the idea.  Since you don't seem willing to explain why you think the idea would give a believer reason to act in a certain way because of determinism I'm not sure about that either.  So I'd say, overall, it isn't a useful spiritual idea because the meme isn't aggressive enough to take hold in any wide sense.

 

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


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Mak Thorpe wrote:Max Tegmark

Mak Thorpe wrote:

Max Tegmark in Scientific American's May 2003 issue wrote an article on "Parallel Universes" in which he presents the argument that existences identical to our own recur infinitely over infinite space.  He describes a few different levels of universes, but one of the simplest is that our big banged "universe may in fact be a local space-time "bubble", and that an infinite number of other such bubbles exist.   Anyway, the basic premise of the eternal recurrence hypothesis proceeds from the assumption that the probability of a world coming into existence exactly like our own is finite. If either time or space are infinite then mathematics tells us that our existence will recur an infinite number of times.

 

Assuming this is true, then our existence survives the death of our flesh in this existence.  What survives over and over, at each moment of our lives, simultaneously throughout the infinite cosmos is the pattern of our life as we lived it and shall always live it.  In short, if the eternal recurrence hypothesis is correct, then we do in fact survive rigor mortis.  

 

Comments?

 

 

The only practical reason to imply a Multiverse, in my opinion, would be to explain the arrow of time.  Where the arrow of time in the multiverse is "arrowless" and overall cancel out to a value of 0.  This way we can explain why we remember yesterday and not tomorrow.   Even if that were the case, what you propose is a wildly speculative theory that derives from the string theory.  To make a logic jump to immortality in the multiverse would be just as big a leap of faith as for our universe.

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


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Actually none of this theological perspective is novel

mellestad wrote:

This is a forum centered around atheist and theist debate, so when you come in using theistic words, well, I'm not shocked we thought you were trying to prove the existence of the Biblical concepts of soul, heaven and hell.  If you aren't, great.  If you are, I'm confused again because I'm getting mixed signals.

 

You and many others here are interested in debunking literalistic treatments of the bible.  I happen to be fully in agreement with folks on that effort.  We both agree about the worthiness of the effort of "disproving the existence of these entities".  The entities the biblical literalists are talking about and that you are talking about are what I would call literalistic idols.  The are lifeless caricatures of the concepts in the bible.  

 

This is not a particularly novel concept, nor particularly new.  All of the prominent theologians of the last century talk about this in one way or another, as well as most of the other theological positions I have given glosses of in this thread.   Biblical literalists (that is, most so called"Christians&quotEye-wink are oblivious about them, or deny those who believe them are Christians.  Anyway, I personally think Paul Tillich expresses ideas that I think outline the struggle best, so I have made repetitive referencesto him.  I also have made multiple references to Owen Barfield.   I'm not a devotee of either though and  I would point people to other philosophers depending on where they are coming from.   Those two just happen to be two of the best generalists imo, and their books are among those judged the best spiritual books of the last century.  

So it is no fair complaining you are getting mixed signals.  The concepts are indeed alien to the ones you apparently normally consider here, but they happen to be mainstream in contemporary theological circles, and I have provided citations and references where they are described more rigorously than space allows here.  If one is involved in the the Atheist-Theist debates at a hardcore level,  (and it appears you are since you have made a significant personal commitment of time- btw thank you for your service in the fight against idolatry), then it might serve you well to consider the ideas of some of these thinkers.  

Who knows, maybe you have no significant bones to pick with them, since they are not particularly inclined to ban books on evolution, put people to death for blaspheming Islam (what the assasinated Pakistani secular governor was getting rid of), or employ as a political weapon to promote other laws of intolerance.


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Actually none of this theological perspective is novel

Mak Thorpe wrote:

This is a forum centered around atheist and theist debate, so when you come in using theistic words, well, I'm not shocked we thought you were trying to prove the existence of the Biblical concepts of soul, heaven and hell.  If you aren't, great.  If you are, I'm confused again because I'm getting mixed signals.

 

You and many others here are interested in debunking literalistic treatments of the bible.  I happen to be fully in agreement with you folks on that effort.  So we both agree about the worthiness of the effort of "disproving the existence of these entities".  The entities that the biblical literalists are talking about and that you are talking about are what I would call literalistic idols.  The are lifeless caricatures of the concepts in the bible.  Where we part ways is whether or not that is all there is to Christianity.

 

Bilblical literalists as idolators is not a particularly novel concept, nor particularly new.  All of the prominent theologians of the last century talk about this in one way or another, as well as most of the other theological positions I have given glosses of in this thread.   Biblical literalists (that is, most so called"Christians" ) are oblivious about them, or deny those who believe them are Christians.  Anyway, I personally think Paul Tillich expresses ideas that I think outline the struggle best, so I have made repetitive references to him.  I also have made multiple references to Owen Barfield.   I'm not a devotee of either though and  I would point people to other philosophers depending on where they are coming from.   Those two just happen to be two of the best generalists imo, and their books are among those judged the best spiritual books of the last century.  

So it is no fair complaining you are getting mixed signals.  The concepts are indeed alien to the ones you apparently normally consider here, but they happen to be mainstream in contemporary theological circles, and I have provided citations and references where they are described more rigorously than space allows here.  If one is involved in the the Atheist-Theist debates at a hardcore level,  (and it appears you are since you have made a significant personal commitment of time- btw thank you for your service in the fight against idolatry), then it might serve you well to consider the ideas of some of these thinkers.  

Who knows, maybe you have no significant bones to pick with them, since they are not particularly inclined to ban books on evolution, put people to death for blaspheming Islam (what the assasinated Pakistani secular governor was getting rid of), or employ as a political weapon to promote other laws of intolerance.

 

PS. on the subject of making it completely clear what my position is, I see that some posters have "theist" under their photos.  I didn't see a way in the "my account" tab to turn that on.

 


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Mak Thorpe wrote:Anyway,

Mak Thorpe wrote:
Anyway, this is close to a 19th century German Idealist perspective. Some later thinkers, some call themselves Objective Idealists believe like Owen Barfield, that it is pointless to talk as if any Thing in Itself exists, since all we know are fictions.  I guess I still am old fashioned and still believe in the things in themselves.  Though faith really is all I have to go on to support this dualism.

Well, it's possible that the thing itself exists, and it's possible that it doesn't. I do not think we can justified the existence of any external reality beyond our own existence and our own sensory information. My common sense and intuition both tell me that my "wife" is there, but rationally, this simply isn't necessarily the case. So, I act like she is there, but I justify this with pragmatism i.e. it is practical to live life with this functional assumption, the alternative would be essentially to not live at all. To use faith to believe it is believe it without justification, and I think that is dishonest and not necessary. You can simply say that you will behave as if this were true because it is useful and you prefer to act this way and still hold that it is not logically justified.

Mak Thorpe wrote:
Anyway, from either of these idealist perspectives, the color Red is a fiction- two object that reflect light that we percieve as red could be two different colors if the wavelengths we were sensitive to were different.

Right.

Mak Thorpe wrote:
As for wild inaccuracies, I would stand by my characterization.  The capacity of our data gathering fascilities as well as our representational neurology is indeed a marvel, but still I think we shouldn't assume should get carried away that we won't do better with a few more million years of evolution.  Consciousness's abilty to model reality is still really very very crude.

Fair enough.

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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To repeat, this concept has

To repeat, this concept has no rational or emotional appeal to me - if I try to think about it, it has no more significance to me than someone endlessly replaying a loop of film detailing my life-story.

To add a comment on one scenario already raised, if a 'teleportation' was achieved by destroying the mind at this end and re-creating it, complete with memories, at the other end, that person could conceivable be perfectly convinced that he had backward continuity with the original.

To the original, it would be indistinguishable from being painlessly executed, or simply going into a dreamless sleep, never to awaken.

Even without any religious overtones, your account of how you came to this position is consistent with what seems to have happened several times while I have been here, and on other forums. Someone has become stuck on some subject, engrossed with it, and had an 'inspiration' which seemed to them to represent a great insight, and then proceeded to try and get others to share it, to see it the same way they do, endlessly, unable to grasp that this particular idea is not one of the few great ones, despite patient explanation of why we see it not amounting to much.

I have occasionally had a hint of this, especially when a bit distracted or stressed, and gradually realized that a great idea that had occurred to me had some fatal flaw.

 

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If you're not desperately

If you're not desperately searching for some support for religious ideas, I apologize. I've debated back and forth in my mind about your intentions quite a bit now, and I'm still confused. I'm sorry, but like Mel, I am also feeling "mixed signals."

You claim that it is probably because we are unfamiliar with this kind of discussion and the vocabulary. Even if that is true, for the life of me, I can't imagine the utility of emphasizing terms like "immortal" or "souls" or referencing scripture in this discussion unless you are leaning towards a religious punch line.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Butter's response sums up my

Butter's response sums up my current opinion.  After reading your last reply I'm more confused than ever.

 

You say you're not pushing a literalistic position, which is fine, but literalism is not the only thing we tend to dislike...most of us consider all religious ideas to be irrational.  Actually, I would say the bulk of our time is spent debating non-literal interpretations of theism.  Literalists are easy to shut down quickly.  Words like soul, scriptural, possibly immortal, are all religiously loaded terms regardless of theistic literalism.

 

You are giving off mixed signals.  We've all agreed that secular application of your logic is sound within the original assumptions.  We all get confused when you start applying theistic terminology to the results and refusing to answer repeated requests for justification.

 

We consider quantum mechanics and manyworlds on a regular basis here, so these general concepts are not alien to us, but then you start talking about 'contemporary theological circles' and I get confused again.

 

What I mean about being clear about your purpose is very simple, and it isn't if you are a theist or not.

Purpose: Are you wanting to discuss this in a secular way, or are you trying to discuss some theistic implication of this?  You talk about science then you start throwing theistic terminology around without explaining how you justify the linkage.  I am trying very hard to be generous and give you ample time to respond, but you keep ignoring questions that would pin you down on what you are trying to accomplish with this discussion and it is very frustrating.

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


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BobSpence1 wrote:To repeat,

BobSpence1 wrote:

To repeat, this concept has no rational or emotional appeal to me - if I try to think about it, it has no more significance to me that someone endlessly replaying a loop of film detailing my life-story.

And that has to do with valuation and personal association of particular interpretations.  It can be a very personal and idiosyncratic thing.  The character I sense in individuals is crucial to me.  Integrity is crucial- holding to a personal code, or set of principles of one's identity.  It is a kind of rugged individual thing like Robert Duvall's character in Lonesome Dove.  I don't think the character would give a rat's ass about existentialist mumbo jumbo, but nonetheless, he very much was tied to his eternal soul and was faithful to it.  It is the to be or not to be question of self definition that courses through our culture.  If that way of talking about it does nothing for you, that is fine, but to attempt to trivialize it as some sort of outlier opinion would be mistaken.

 

BobSpence1 wrote:
 Even without any religious overtones, your account of how you came to this position is consistent with what seems to have happened several times while I have been here, and on other forums. Someone has become stuck on some subject, engrossed with it, and had an 'inspiration' which seemed to them to represent a great insight, and then proceeded to try and get others to share it, to see it the same way they do, endlessly, unable to grasp that this particular idea is not one of the few great ones, despite patient explanation of why we see it not amounting to much.

Well to be honest many of my ideas are like that, but as a 15 year old I didn't go around trying to win converts.  I did think it was a great insight, true, and was full of hubris about it.  It kind of constellated everything I experienced and thought about.  I think that it is very plausible that someone who was influenced by the eternal recurrence idea had written a short story or something I had read, and that the seed was planted in me by some other route.  At the time, I thought it was an insight triggered by consideration of the multiplication of infinity times fractions and the idea that fractions can express probabilities. 

Anyway as an old guy, I am less interested in the reaction of those who respond to an idea in an identical fashion that I do.  I hope that I do not appear "stuck" on this particular proposition.  There are many many other things to consider.  This one doesn't do anything for you, and that is fine by me.  As I said before, to each his own.  


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butterbattle wrote:If you're

butterbattle wrote:

If you're not desperately searching for some support for religious ideas, I apologize. I've debated back and forth in my mind about your intentions quite a bit now, and I'm still confused. I'm sorry, but like Mel, I am also feeling "mixed signals."

You claim that it is probably because we are unfamiliar with this kind of discussion and the vocabulary. Even if that is true, for the life of me, I can't imagine the utility of emphasizing terms like "immortal" or "souls" or referencing scripture in this discussion unless you are leaning towards a religious punch line.

I do see it as being intensely relevant to what you call a religious punch line.  If any particular individual sees in it an analogy for the Christian concept of an immortal soul, I think that is great.  

If multiple people are seeing this mixed message issue, then let's get to the bottom of it.  I suggest a step by step approach going from a given point A in the science to a given point B in my theological perspective.  I walked through the steps before, so why don't you pick the point A and B, and folks can jump in and say that point is "ambiguous to me" or whatever.  How does that sound?


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butterbattle wrote:So, I act

butterbattle wrote:

So, I act like she is there, but I justify this with pragmatism i.e. it is practical to live life with this functional assumption, the alternative would be essentially to not live at all. To use faith to believe it is believe it without justification, and I think that is dishonest and not necessary. You can simply say that you will behave as if this were true because it is useful and you prefer to act this way and still hold that it is not logically justified.

Actually, some Christians do think in the same mode as you think about your wife.  Not very many, but some.  That is- "I don't know if god is really there, and I am not going to irrationally make the Kierkegaardian "leap of faith" because I view that as intellectually dishonest.  I will behave as if he is there, and I will feel his presence in my life and interpret events as I always have (hierophanies and so on), though I know it is really a perceptual illusion and he may in fact not really be there."  

 

I can see a lot of parts that would make that sort of view incompatible with some of your premises, but just as a general level, I would assert that it is useful to have a system which is responsive to questions concerning human values.  Science does not answer those sorts of questions.  Philosophy can, but to be participated at a personal level in a culture, it requires everyone to be a philosopher.  Religions have filled this need, and so in my view, it is eminently practical to keep them around so long as they adhere to the truth.


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Alleged refusal to respond to questions on theism connection

mellestad wrote:

 We've all agreed that secular application of your logic is sound within the original assumptions.  We all get confused when you start applying theistic terminology to the results and refusing to answer repeated requests for justification.

 

Refusal?  Really, repetition of the same falsehood does not make it so.  I repeat again for about the fifth time.  There is another thread to discuss interpretations, in particular my theistic ones.  I explicitly solicited responses. Only one response, demonstrating intense lack of interest about the theistic connection.  The one response was yours- asking for the purpose of the post.  Ahem.  The answer is in the post itself.  Please reread it.  It explains that there is a relationship between the proposition and other theistic notions.  

I have referred to my solicitation post in response to this "where's the connection" complaint. so since this seems to have been a challenge for some to verify, it is post #25, immediately after it appeared that there was common ground with butterbattle on the proposition.  My post:

 

Mak Thorpe wrote:

 Folks wondering what theistic places I would go with this proposition might be interested in this thread.  Basically,  if we admit of the patterns of individuals are eternal/ immortal / whatever-outside-the-arrow-of-time term you prefer, then it is not much of a stretch to posit other immortal entities.  I kind of jammed it into a horribly simplistic nutshell that covered too much ground for the words to adequately explicate, and I expect many of you expect you really ought not give any ground on this first proposition because you intuit that there would then be a jumping off point for a horrifying number of theistic tangents.  

 

This intuition would be correct.

So no one is entitled to claim that I have been trying to make the theistic connections obscure.  Folks demonstrated intense disinterest in them then, otherwise they would have clicked the link and responded there.  We could have gone and still can go from there in many many directions.  At this point, I think the Point A to Point B exercise with butterbattle might be a place to focus our attentions so that we can get to the bottom of this perception of "mixed signals".

 

 


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I don't really see how this

I don't really see how this hypothesis has any necessary relevance to the idea of an 'eternal soul'.

Why would there not be multiple 'souls', each associated with a particular individual, whether or not that particular individual in that particular Universe at that particular epoch was an exact duplicate of some other individual in some other Universe??

Why would the fact that some individual in a Universe which, among an infinite number of Universes, happened to be identical in every detail with some other, or infinitely many others, imply any more 'connection' between them, in some sense, than between the even larger number who differed in only something of the magnitude of the exact configuration of one molecule in a skin cell on the big toe on their left foot? Or the yet larger number who varied in the state of at least one brain cell? At what degree of difference would this transcendental connection fade to insignificance?

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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Yes, exactly, the thread

Yes, exactly, the thread where you wrote a big block of text with no paragraphs and refused to respond to the one person who had at least enough interest to ask if you about it.

 

Good luck with Butter, but if you have not recognized where we lose track of you (hint: every single poster in this thread has mentioned it), then I'm at a loss.

-------------

There is no reason to separate the threads, because our only complaint is how you go from, 'copies of me' to 'immortal soul'.  That's it.  The thread you link to doesn't clear that up, it just talks about how....well, I'll let you speak for yourself, but I'll break it up so anyone reading can actually parse it.

Mak wrote:
 

Proceeding then from this common ground, one concept to juxtapose some ideas from Paul Tillich, a twentieth century theologian.  

The eternal recurrence thread discusses the notion of a pattern of existence that each individual is an instance of.  The pattern is eternal and (depending on which model of infinity is valid) existing simultaneously in all possible states of a person's life.   

It is common in theories of management and various schools of psychology, to identify sets of traits that are held in common across many different individuals.  Some of these have well developed narratives of recurrent patterns such as the Jungian archetypes of the "Eternal child", the Wise old man, or the Trickster.  Each of these may be thought of as a set of patterns of behavior that are present in the individual patterns of existence described in the eternal recurrence thread.  

Depending on the system or psychological school, these personages, or personalty types or collective narratives may be considered by some to be invalid or arbitrary, but however they are viewed, it is possible to view groupings of common behavioral patterns into a set and assign them a name.   One of these is identified as Christ and is considered eternal by Christians.  

The eternal recurrence is one way for those with a science orientation of understanding how it is possible for the existence of Christ to be at all compatible with a post enlightenment world view.  Most biblical literalists would deny the validity of this point of view.  They interpret this sort of viewpoint the same way they interpret Tillich's notion of Christian symbols.  To refer to something as a symbol is tantamount to calling it a false fairy tale.  On the contrary,  Tillich and other post literalist Christians would counter that such symbols are no less real than the color red.  

Everything we know are in fact representations, making the perceived presence of the eternal Christ in another as no less real than the perception of a particular color.

 

Which is fine, but it doesn't answer the criticism you face here, you're just back to defining terms in such a way that it validates your ideas of "sum of actions=soul" and "infinite copies=immortality".

You still don't show any objective reason as to why an individual should feel these other entities are a continuation of the self and you don't show how it impacts choice.

 

Maybe these aren't even big differences, but *please* if you think something is wrong don't just ignore it!  You say above I keep repeating a falsehood but only now do you deign to approach it.  Part of the frustration in this conversation is your willingness to pick a single sentence out of a response and ignore the rest.  No matter what your goal is with this discussion you could have made things so much easier by just answering the questions asked in the beginning.

Anyway, just continue your response with Butter unless you choose to answer any of the questions I've asked before, hopefully that will prove fruitful for everyone.

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


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Again, reading that post

Again, reading that post from the other thread, I can see absolutely no way this 'eternal recurrence' idea helps in any way to relate to "the existence of Christ".

The whole thing seems to me a total non sequitur.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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BobSpence1 wrote:Again,

BobSpence1 wrote:

Again, reading that post from the other thread, I can see absolutely no way this 'eternal recurrence' idea helps in any way to relate to "the existence of Christ".

The whole thing seems to me a total non sequitur.

Ok, that's one vote for point B being existence of Christ.  I assume that you mean the entity I referred to in the other post, not the historical person.  I'd like to hear Butter's response and so we can drill on it at each step.  I don't have any illusions that this will convince anybody least of all you or butter since neither of you feel any connection with the secular phenomenon of the pattern or function that creates repetitions of individuals identical to you.   My understanding is that you want to understand how I see a relation between the two.  If you are expecting a proof or thread of logic, then I re-iterate I that do not believe any such thing is ontologically possible.  So if only that would be of interest then your vote for Christ does not count because  I promise you I will not deliver such a proof.    You said you didn't see the relation.  That on the other hand I can show in any level of detail you want.  Others have identified "mixed signals" and I am not sure what they thought I was suggesting that I either explicitly or implicitly contradicted elsewhere.

 

 

BobSpence1 wrote:

Why would there not be multiple 'souls', each associated with a particular individual, whether or not that particular individual in that particular Universe at that particular epoch was an exact duplicate of some other individual in some other Universe??

[edit- oops. on second reading I realize I misread your note- I don't expect many christians would hold that view]  If you had said, why shouldn't there be multiple souls, one for each instance, I think the majority of Christians that follow Barth, Bultmann or Tillich might go that way.  There are pragmatic reasons from a church dogmatics perspective why they wouldn't like the single soul for multiple instantiations idea: Recurrence smacks too much of reincarnation and there would be less to differentiate it from Hinduism/Buddhism.  There are also theological reasons.  I don't know if I should spend too many bytes on that because theological internals is a black box that really probably is nonsense to you because all of its premises are fallicious in your opinion anyway.  But if you want to mechanically understand this sort of thing, I suppose we could look at it in greater depth.

 

 

 

 


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mellestad wrote:Maybe these

mellestad wrote:

Maybe these aren't even big differences, but *please* if you think something is wrong don't just ignore it!  You say above I keep repeating a falsehood but only now do you deign to approach it.  Part of the frustration in this conversation is your willingness to pick a single sentence out of a response and ignore the rest.

Sorry.  Please consider the volume of text I have written and the divergent topics, the number of folks I have responded to.   I have no debate partner on my side, and as I mentioned I have other commitments (5 children), so I have to pick and choose.  If that is not to your liking, or you feel you have worthy arguments that are being ignored then I apologize.  I thank you for your responses but in terms of how I prioritize responses, I work off of a gut feel on who seems the most serious.  Since I am new here I have to work from superficial observations and have been looking at the depth and coherence of the responses.   


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I am really losing interest

I am really losing interest in this discussion.

Mak Thorpe wrote:
I do see it as being intensely relevant to what you call a religious punch line.

So what is the punch line?

Mak Thorpe wrote:
If any particular individual sees in it an analogy for the Christian concept of an immortal soul, I think that is great.

How is that great?

The soul in Christianity is dualism of the most counter inductive kind; it posits that a person's consciousness exists as some supernatural substance, can leave the physical body, and live eternally. This has absolutely nothing in common with the multiverse of entities we are discussing.

Mak Thorpe wrote:
I walked through the steps before, so why don't you pick the point A and B, and folks can jump in and say that point is "ambiguous to me" or whatever.  How does that sound?

A: There are a multiverse of entities identical to myself.

B: Any relevance to Christianity whatsoever.

I suppose I'll look at your other thread, that no one responded to.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Mak Thorpe wrote:mellestad

Mak Thorpe wrote:

mellestad wrote:

Maybe these aren't even big differences, but *please* if you think something is wrong don't just ignore it!  You say above I keep repeating a falsehood but only now do you deign to approach it.  Part of the frustration in this conversation is your willingness to pick a single sentence out of a response and ignore the rest.

Sorry.  Please consider the volume of text I have written and the divergent topics, the number of folks I have responded to.   I have no debate partner on my side, and as I mentioned I have other commitments (5 children), so I have to pick and choose.  If that is not to your liking, or you feel you have worthy arguments that are being ignored then I apologize.  I thank you for your responses but in terms of how I prioritize responses, I work off of a gut feel on who seems the most serious.  Since I am new here I have to work from superficial observations and have been looking at the depth and coherence of the responses.   

 

So you don't respond because my posts are shallow and incoherent.  Ouch, lol.  And your mother was a hamster!

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butterbattle wrote:A: There

butterbattle wrote:

A: There are a multiverse of entities identical to myself.

B: Any relevance to Christianity whatsoever.

Well, if you redefine Christianity enough you can take the entire religion and, apparently, make it fit the multiverse theory.  That is what he seems to be saying.  

For example, take "some people who share my identity in another universe (not sure how the grouping is done, maybe just arbitrarily) will be 'bad' and some will be 'good'.  These good and bad lifespans are defined as 'heaven' and 'hell' for the respective 'souls' (defined as the sum of a particular set of experience...or something).

I'm not sure if he's arguing that the Bible is actually a 'true' book and this might actually be what it means by soul, heaven, hell, etc. or if he just happens to think the thing is a neat thought exercise or...something else.

This seems to be the crux of the argument.  Maybe someone he respects can get him to answer some questions as to why one would want to bother with that re-definition exercise, beyond the intuitive emotional reaction the concepts generate in him personally.

-----------------

I do admire the tenacity of theists to continually re-define their religious truth to fit modern understanding though.  I'll be curious to know if this poster is fully coherent of what that means, like OptionsGeek seems to be, or if he chooses to ignore the implications like so many others who think they have a line on religious truth unique to their time and place.

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mellestad wrote:Well, if you

mellestad wrote:
Well, if you redefine Christianity enough you can take the entire religion and, apparently, make it fit the multiverse theory.  That is what he seems to be saying.

Seems like it.

I feel like he's constantly walking a line between making his concepts fit reality and making his concepts meaningful to himself and applicable to Christianity. Every time he leaves reality, we have to nudge him back a little bit and then he'll explain it in a way that makes it nothing more than an impractical label or abstraction of something that exists.   

I'm bored with this. 

mellestad wrote:
For example, take "some people who share my identity in another universe (not sure how the grouping is done, maybe just arbitrarily) will be 'bad' and some will be 'good'.  These good and bad lifespans are defined as 'heaven' and 'hell' for the respective 'souls' (defined as the sum of a particular set of experience...or something).

I thought all the entities lived identical lives? How can there be good and bad lifespans then?

mellestad wrote:
I'm not sure if he's arguing that the Bible is actually a 'true' book and this might actually be what it means by soul, heaven, hell, etc. or if he just happens to think the thing is a neat thought exercise or...something else.

At this point, I'm guessing whatever it is he means, I probably don't give a shit about it.

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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butterbattle wrote:mellestad

butterbattle wrote:

mellestad wrote:
Well, if you redefine Christianity enough you can take the entire religion and, apparently, make it fit the multiverse theory.  That is what he seems to be saying.

Seems like it.

I feel like he's constantly walking a line between making his concepts fit reality and making his concepts meaningful to himself and applicable to Christianity. Every time he leaves reality, we have to nudge him back a little bit and then he'll explain it in a way that makes it nothing more than an impractical label or abstraction of something that exists.   

That is a good way to express what I'm trying to say.

butterbattle wrote:

I'm bored with this. 

mellestad wrote:
For example, take "some people who share my identity in another universe (not sure how the grouping is done, maybe just arbitrarily) will be 'bad' and some will be 'good'.  These good and bad lifespans are defined as 'heaven' and 'hell' for the respective 'souls' (defined as the sum of a particular set of experience...or something).

I thought all the entities lived identical lives? How can there be good and bad lifespans then?

Well, there are lots of problems if that is what he is trying to argue.  It comes back to the seemingly arbitrary way you define what is 'you' and what is 'not you'.  Since multiverse stuff is all reliant on materialism I don't know why a different reality matches 'you' at all in a non-arbitrary sense, because if you are off my one atom 'you' aren't 'you' anymore.  Plus the lack of continuity, etc.  I think he said flat out the thing that appeals to him emotionally is that the other self has similar experiences and actions, which is cool I guess, but then it only 'matters' to people who have an intuitive reaction to the idea in the first place.

butterbattle wrote:

mellestad wrote:
I'm not sure if he's arguing that the Bible is actually a 'true' book and this might actually be what it means by soul, heaven, hell, etc. or if he just happens to think the thing is a neat thought exercise or...something else.

At this point, I'm guessing whatever it is he means, I probably don't give a shit about it.

Lol.

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


Mak Thorpe
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butterbattle wrote:Mak

Lol indeed.   If anyone is confused about whether I conflate identicals with variants, I urge them to search this thread for any mention I made of the term variant.  No one is entitled to claim I have been unclear about my assertion.  If there is an ambiguous statement somewhere on this question, I challenge them to take a second look.  Really, the technique of mischaracterization and then dismissing may work very well for Rush Limbaugh, but it is not especially useful unless one is interested in playing to an audience of the most unsophisticated and irrational observers who are disinterested in honest discourse.  

butterbattle wrote:

Mak Thorpe wrote:
If any particular individual sees in it an analogy for the Christian concept of an immortal soul, I think that is great.

How is that great?

It is a step towards a Weltanschuang that answers questions of human morality.  Science does not.  It is not inherently great.  If it were some part of a person's journey of simply switching from secular literalism to  literalism of a religious variety, I would recommend the person remain a secularist.  To do otherwise would require jettisoning a person's honesty as well as crippling their rational faculties for apprehending truth.

butterbattle wrote:

Mak Thorpe wrote:
I walked through the steps before, so why don't you pick the point A and B, and folks can jump in and say that point is "ambiguous to me" or whatever.  How does that sound?

A: There are a multiverse of entities identical to myself.

B: Any relevance to Christianity whatsoever.

I suppose I'll look at your other thread, that no one responded to.

The other thread was intended to be a very broad set of relations made to elicit responses regarding interpretation implications that folks might be interested in.  If anyone expresses interest in or or other aspect, I would then elaborate. Space and time limitations precluded an in depth survey in a single note.

 

Ok, so let's start with the most elementary of associations.  The one to one analogy that one could draw between the proposition and theological notions of the Christian soul.  It should be recognized that Christian dogma regarding the nature of the soul is hardly as homogeneous as you suggest.    I happen to follow Tillich who is known as a neo-Orthodox theologian.  His orthodoxy goes back very far indeed.   Actually the greek's cyclic notion of repeating history was the default assumption in the ancient world, and it was enmeshed Christian theological thought from the earliest years- in particular the thinking of Origen- recognized as the first Christian theologian. He had such significant impact that it is widely recognized that no one else had a greater influence on the contents of the New Testament.   Anyway, It was only in the 6th century AD, that the idea of the doctrine of the preexistence of souls, was outlawed by the Catholic church.  Like hindu mythology, many early christians like Origen posited a notion that has no relation to the proposition- that there was state that spanned the instantiations, and that this evolving soul would get closer and closer to god.    However, Origen also had the notion that the soul also had the freedom to return for a replay of the person's existence.   I assert this has a direct relation to the proposition as stated.

 

Of course this is fast forwarding a bit.  The first question I suppose is whether it is fair to characterize the "pattern of existence" as eternal or something that a person would feel any particular relation to.  Some here have suggested that I have arbitrarily identified a set of likes and assert it is eternal because there is always a member of the set in existence.  It is false that this way of thinking about an identicial return is an arbitrary one, or that it is unusual that a person would feel a relationship with these other instances.  Earlier I pointed out that this viewpoint is not restricted to Christians or even theists since both its eternal nature and its relationship to a person was clearly asserted by Nietzche in his first formulation of the concept of eternal recurrence. 

 

Hopefully I did not emit any mixed signals on this brief overview of the direct relationship, but if I did we can more closely examine them by focusing on specific details of these general statements.  As to your definition of the Christian notion of soul- I agree that literalists would go along with the idea that their personality and consciousness survives death.  I think you know my opinion of that take on the bible.  But my viewpoint is not an outlier.  I doubt you would find support for your definition amongst any of the prominent current theologians like Barth, Bultmann or Tillich.    

I sense your fatigue with the subject, but it is quite incorrect to walk away from this discussion thinking there is no  relation between it and either contemporary or ancient Christian thought.

 

If on the other hand you would like to drill on any aspect of this note, let me know which part and we can have at it.


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Are you asserting that these

Are you asserting that these people had divine or supernatural knowledge of quantum events?  Is there some physical way we can feel the existence of these other realities?

 

What I'm getting at is which is more likely, that certain people came up with the idea of cyclical reality in various ways and then some modern scientists come up with the same idea based on quantum theory which is proven my actual testing, but they are not directly related in any way, or that certain people in the past had some sort of extra-sensory (whatever that means) perception of these events and those ideas can be twisted to fit a modern scientific concept?

 

The former strains credulity, obviously, and you'd have a lot of work to show how such a thing would be possible in light of a much simpler and coherent explanation for the (sort of) shared idea.

Now, if so and so in 40B.C. had said something that predicted the results of the double slit experiment you might get more sympathy.

 

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


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 mellestad wrote:Mak Thorpe

 

mellestad wrote:

Mak Thorpe wrote:

.... If that is not to your liking, or you feel you have worthy arguments that are being ignored then I apologize.  I thank you for your responses but in terms of how I prioritize responses, I work off of a gut feel on who seems the most serious.  Since I am new here I have to work from superficial observations and have been looking at the depth and coherence of the responses.   

 

So you don't respond because my posts are shallow and incoherent.  Ouch, lol.  And your mother was a hamster!

 

If I were asked to arrange a series of orange objects according to their hue and I stated the last one in the sequence was closest to red, by some mechanism of inference unknown to me, you have concluded that I stated that the terminal object was red.  I offered apology in advance that I am new here and that my assessments were necessarily superficial.  Errors on my part will for that reason necessarily be numerous, but  I explained why I must prioritize my time.  Regardless, you assumed bad faith and derogatory intent.

Normally I would not have commented on this passage at all.  Since you have the label "moderator" attached to your name, I will expand, and hope you could receive the following remark as constructive criticism.  If the goal of a forum is to consider concepts, and foster a community where members can discuss them in a civil manner, then attempts to personalize a discussion is counter to either of those goals.  It sells air time if you were a moderator on Angry White Guy radio, but I would hope you do not take your lessons in discourse from that venue.

mellestad wrote:

Are you asserting that these people had divine or supernatural knowledge of quantum events?  Is there some physical way we can feel the existence of these other realities?

 

What I'm getting at is which is more likely, that certain people came up with the idea of cyclical reality in various ways and then some modern scientists come up with the same idea based on quantum theory which is proven my actual testing, but they are not directly related in any way, or that certain people in the past had some sort of extra-sensory (whatever that means) perception of these events and those ideas can be twisted to fit a modern scientific concept?

 

The former strains credulity, obviously, and you'd have a lot of work to show how such a thing would be possible in light of a much simpler and coherent explanation for the (sort of) shared idea.

Now, if so and so in 40B.C. had said something that predicted the results of the double slit experiment you might get more sympathy.

 

I am asserting any such thing?  Certainly not.  If you got a mixed signal on that score, kindly point me to any passage that suggested to you that I was building a case that Origen, the Bible or any other thinker proved the existence of an immortal soul.  I have been very consistent in my assertion that no such proof is ontologically possible.  

These concepts seem extremely unfamiliar to you, and really, I think you might benefit from considering the work of some of the prominent contemporary theologians.  I have made no secret of my interest in Tillich and Barfield, but the others in this school are well aware of the trouble which (I am repeating myself) is not a particularly recent revelation (re fallacy identified by Lao Tsu above).  Maybe you should just look some stuff up on Wikipedia.  For example perhaps my perspective would be less baffling if we explored the meaning of the following statement in the Tillich article:

Such literal statements attempt to define God and lead not only to anthropomorphism but also to a philosophical mistake that Immanuel Kant warned against, that setting limits against the transcendent inevitably leads to contradictions.

If that seems perfectly sensible to you, then it might be useful to consider the passage following that one which discusses what Tillich calls Christian symbols.  It would be an error to believe he is dismissing Christianity as "merely" symbolic in the everyday sense of the word symbol or metaphor.  It is closer to what ButterBattle refers to as his mental image of his wife.  He treats the mental construct as real but knows it is actually a mental approximation that is a crude representation of the entity his wife actually is in itself. 

 

 


redneF
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Mak Thorpe wrote:In any

Mak Thorpe wrote:

In any case, the mathematical validity of Tegmark's formulation should be taken up with him.  This thread assumes the mathematical basis for the proposition is sound. 

I'm just going to go with the basic premise (as I understand it)...

There is the possibility of an infinite number of copies of this universe, all with the same matter and patterns.

In simplest terms, isn't that a example of being born, and dying an infinite number of times?

Life would still be finite, within those systems.

If you consider that it's a 'proof' of 'living' for eternity, you can't forget that it's also 'dying' for eternity. Life and death being mutually inclusive. That reality has not been 'escaped'. It's just been duplicated, along with everything else.

 

.

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris


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First, a Nit: actually the

First, a Nit: actually the article and this proposition focuses not on exact replication of the entirety of the universe, just sufficient state duplication to recreate a local area of the universe that produces the exact replay of your existence.  This distinction seems to have no impact on any of your subsequent statements, but it is worth remembering if you make use of the concept in the future.

redneF wrote:

In simplest terms, isn't that a example of being born, and dying an infinite number of times?

yes.

redneF wrote:

Life would still be finite, within those systems.

 

precisely.

redneF wrote:

 

If you consider that it's a 'proof' of 'living' for eternity,

 

No, in quite a number of respects.

  •   Not a proof, - any purported proof of a trascendent is invalid (according to non theologians including Kant, and Wittgenstein among famous recent thinkers, but stretching back to the dawn of philosophy.
  • Not "Living"- the pattern which exists throughout time is not biologically alive
  • Not implying that the separate individual of any one universe is immortal, or that any instance does not die completely in each universe.

redneF wrote:

 

That reality has not been 'escaped'. It's just been duplicated, along with everything else.

Is offering some "Escape" a necessary goal of a concept of soul?  It certainly wasn't for ancient greeks and other cultures who believe that all history repeats itself verbatim.

Apart from religious impacts, many of those who assume this hypothesis is true might use it to take comfort in the idea that right now, the most wonderful moment of their life is taking place again, in an infinite number of locations, and this will continue to take place throughout time.  They might have referred nostalgically in the past as a timeless moment.  This hypothesis asserts that this is not just romantic hyperbole, but in fact a matter of scientific fact.  Natureally, where some  naive realists take exception is the idea that this is like conflating the "idea" of gravity with the instance of gravity that the earth exerts, with the gravity that the moon exerts, with the gravity that is in another bubble universe.  It might surprise you that a non theist on this forum asserted there was a distinction between these different instances.  

Some complain, claiming that gravity is not just an idea, it is a "force", a property of the universe.  It's behavior is expressable by a function, and so on and so forth.  All repetitions of the phenomenon of gravity are the "same thing".  It's all gravity.

Okay?

Now, notice that pattern of individual existence is no less so a property of the universe.  Just as surely as a planet of a given mass and velocity will orbit a star at an exact calculatable distance, there is a function that will describe another phenomenon of the universe: your existence.  It too may be thought of a "force"- it is a "force" of your character operating on matter.  The phenomenon is no different except that each instance has consciousness and the hubris that it is truly unique, placing inordinate value on the exact matter that makes up its instance.  From the perspective of our self centered individualistic culture, it is asserted that because all the others are "clones" that therefore each copy is somehow ingenuine, does not shere the same "character", and we should feel just as alienaed from them as we would with utter strangers.