Daniel Dennett : What should replace religion ?

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Daniel Dennett : What should replace religion ?

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Embedded Video-hope you don't mind

 Brilliant guy

 

 

Religion Kills !!!

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

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My favorite living example

My favorite living example who reminds me that people qualified as, or just thought of as, 'philosophers', can nevertheless still be brilliant and genuinely insightful.

Because I have an exceedingly low opinion of the contribution of the vast majority of philosophers, starting from that dickwad Plato.

FWIW, my other favorites are David Hume and Bertrand Russell.

There are a few others who seem ok, but I haven't got around to really reading enough of their stuff.

 

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

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I think if religion

I think if religion is drug, it would need to be replaced with better drugs. We'd need a combination of medical treatments and social structures that greatly reduce stress and worry. Religion is primitive technology when it comes to doing this, that is why it's on it's last legs.

Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure. A centrally planned totalitarian state represents a complete defeat for the civilized world, while a totally voluntary society represents its ultimate success. --Mark Skousen


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D'you really reckon

EXC wrote:

I think if religion is drug, it would need to be replaced with better drugs. We'd need a combination of medical treatments and social structures that greatly reduce stress and worry. Religion is primitive technology when it comes to doing this, that is why it's on it's last legs.

 

religion is on its last legs? I'd like this to be true but stupid springs eternal in the human breast. We have a huge revival in huge revivalist churches in Australia, replete with bands featuring appalling lyrics and preachers who run around shouting and moaning about the evils of the living satan. 

P'raps I'm just a bit negative at the moment but i can't help feeling there's a risk of a resurgence of religion. Consider more intense consequences of climate change. Instead of blaming our own actions there's a good chance many will point the finger at punishment for sins. 

Even clever people buy into this stuff. It's really depressing. 

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


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Thanks AtheistExtremist

Thanks for embedding that video for me. I have half-assed searched around on the site for instructions on embedding videos, but have not found out how to do so.

Dennett really has some interesting ideas and thoughts. Thus far, I have only read one of his books, Freedom Evolves.

A rather difficult read about determinism, indeterminism, evolution and free will.  I had to re-read several chapters, two and three times before moving on to the next one.

I had to actually search the internet about compatibilism/incompatibilism, soft determinism, libertarianism (not to be confused with the political term) causitive forms and materialism before I could even move past the first few chapters.

I almost felt like my I.Q. must have gained a few points by the time that I was done with it.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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'twasn't me who did the deed...

 

 

harleysportster wrote:

Thanks for embedding that video for me. 

 

Ex-min, maybe? But yeah, I like Dennett, too, though I find his thought processes to be a wee bit challenging at times. 

 

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


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BobSpence1 wrote:My favorite

BobSpence1 wrote:

My favorite living example who reminds me that people qualified as, or just thought of as, 'philosophers', can nevertheless still be brilliant and genuinely insightful.

Because I have an exceedingly low opinion of the contribution of the vast majority of philosophers, starting from that dickwad Plato.

FWIW, my other favorites are David Hume and Bertrand Russell.

There are a few others who seem ok, but I haven't got around to really reading enough of their stuff.

 

You are so wrong there, a lot of philosophers are exceedingly brilliant. You are just looking in the wrong places if you think otherwise. That does not mean they are right by any measure. Its like Descartes, most of the big conclusions he comes to are complete bullshit. God must exist because he is perfect and there is no way we could have this idea of a perfect thing because we are not perfect. (To put it in the most sloppy incorrect way possible) It is the worst arguement of all time in my opinion, but his views on Disease, Desires and Madness are amazing good, not necessarily correct (Some are imo) but amazing for when they were written but you would be hard pressed to find anyone who tell you what they were despite them being held in his most famous work, the meditations. They just are important insights.

Hume is fun, the treatise of human nature is a brilliant work but he is as wrong as you can get as well. I especially enjoyed his stuff on general ideas. I have to think he came pretty close there.

You seem to hate Plato yet even he has some decent insights, sure mostly what he goes on about is complete rubbish but I think he has a point with his views on writing perhaps not correct but he has a point, it is worth thinking about. Though I think the real value of Plato is the topics he talks about, despite his mostly bad solutions, they are the same things philosophers talk about today.

Sadly I have never read Russell.

 

Look if you want truth, philosophy is not for you, most philosopher would tell you they are searching for the truth but that is not what it is about. It is simply about thinking about things in a new way to test your own beliefs. In that way it is far harder to just accept things you have always just taken for granted as true, for many people that would be things like god, but it even makes us question things even more basic like how can we know anything? The value of Hume is not that he is necessarily correct but it gets you thinking about a subject most people have never thought about or have an answer to.Where does inequality come from? Rousseau will tell you a lovely story which a lot of people will reject but that is not what is important about it for me, what is important about it is it gets people thinking about why they agree or disagree. If you want truth, go to science, if that is what philosophy is about for you then I feel you are looking at it in the wrong way and you will be disapointed with 99% of all pieces, the value of most works is not that they are truth, the value is what you think about them.

 

At least that is how I feel about it.

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Tapey,what I said was not

Tapey,

what I said was not that they were not clever, intelligent, etc, but that their contribution was often very low. By that I mean their real net contribution to advancing human knowledge and understanding was often very small and in many cases negative, they made popular some intuitively 'obvious' but completely erroneous ideas, which had to be undone by further proper, ie scientific/empirical research.

I was very much 'into' Philosophy when younger, reading Russell's 'History of Western Philosophy' from the University Library while studying for my engineering degree.

But as I have grown in understanding of Science, and as Science has made real progress into areas formerly considered the domain of philosophy, such as the human mind, and the more subtle aspects of social behavior, I have seen the disparity between the insights I gain from following the Science and the way-past-their-'use-by'-date of so many of the ideas tossed around in Philosophical discourse growing. 

More recently I was pushed further along this road after listening to a podCast series from the BBC on the historically famous philosophers. It certainly was a serious account, and not in any way targeted at 'dissing' them, but to hear many of their ideas described more thoroughly than I could recall previously had me frequently 'face-palming'....

I actually agree that a real value of philosophy is the unrestrained playing with ideas, which can often come up with really valuable insights, but many practitioners, both contemporary and historical, have actually shunned empirical and inductive processes, which are at the heart of science. It has taken other serious students of reality to seize upon the occasional useful insight and see how it can apply to their real-world problems, IMHO. It is inevitable that such open speculation actually leads mostly to nonsense, and, understandably, philosophy 'fans' are reluctant to acknowledge this, except perhaps when aimed at those in a different 'school' of philosophy than what they follow.

 

 

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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This really hits it for me

 

BobSpence1 wrote:

 

I actually agree that a real value of philosophy is the unrestrained playing with ideas, which can often come up with really valuable insights

 

 

the trouble is that philosophy majors think they are dealing with things in the actual - that philosophical concepts actually shape the nature of material reality, rather than being subjective representations or reflections of reality served up by the human mind. 

It's when philosophers insist their musings are laws - to wit, the law of non contradiction - that they get my grundies in a twist. Even worse is when philosophers claim their 'laws' are supernatural...not proved by testable explanation but by 'logic'....

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


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BobSpence1 wrote:Tapey,what

BobSpence1 wrote:

Tapey,

what I said was not that they were not clever, intelligent, etc, but that their contribution was often very low. By that I mean their real net contribution to advancing human knowledge and understanding was often very small and in many cases negative, they made popular some intuitively 'obvious' but completely erroneous ideas, which had to be undone by further proper, ie scientific/empirical research.

I was very much 'into' Philosophy when younger, reading Russell's 'History of Western Philosophy' from the University Library while studying for my engineering degree.

But as I have grown in understanding of Science, and as Science has made real progress into areas formerly considered the domain of philosophy, such as the human mind, and the more subtle aspects of social behavior, I have seen the disparity between the insights I gain from following the Science and the way-past-their-'use-by'-date of so many of the ideas tossed around in Philosophical discourse growing. 

More recently I was pushed further along this road after listening to a podCast series from the BBC on the historically famous philosophers. It certainly was a serious account, and not in any way targeted at 'dissing' them, but to hear many of their ideas described more thoroughly than I could recall previously had me frequently 'face-palming'....

I actually agree that a real value of philosophy is the unrestrained playing with ideas, which can often come up with really valuable insights, but many practitioners, both contemporary and historical, have actually shunned empirical and inductive processes, which are at the heart of science. It has taken other serious students of reality to seize upon the occasional useful insight and see how it can apply to their real-world problems, IMHO. It is inevitable that such open speculation actually leads mostly to nonsense, and, understandably, philosophy 'fans' are reluctant to acknowledge this, except perhaps when aimed at those in a different 'school' of philosophy than what they follow.

 

 

From what you have said here I think we are in agreement then for the most part. What I was responding to was mainly you saying that being a philosopher in some way detramental to someone in being " brilliant and genuinely insightful." I don't know if you intended that way but I feel it is almost certainly wrong if you did. Because thats how it came across to me, as a result you find it suprising that a philosopher can be " brilliant and genuinely insightful." 

Just to remark on what you said about contrabutions to advancing human society, in which field is it not the case where the vast majority of people have little or no impact or a negative impact? I don't think you can single out philosophy in that regard, it is the same in most fields, including many forms of science. Geography for example there were entire periods of complete rubbish, at one point they were going on about how germans have strong legs because they live near mountains (I am exagerating), this is not limited to philosophy. I think it is important to acknowledge this (Not that I am saying that that you necessarily do or don't, just to raise the point).

 

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Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
No animal shall wear clothes.
No animal shall sleep in a bed.
No animal shall drink alcohol.
No animal shall kill any other animal.
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Plato is the most obvious

Plato is the most obvious case - he was definitely not particularly brilliant in the context of his own time and place, but he managed to acquire a reputation way beyond what his work deserved, possibly because of the quality of his oratory and writing. Style over substance.

Somewhat like William Lane Craig now, only maybe worse.

I regard 'Platonic Idealism" as a simplistic, deeply wrong-headed concept that held back human thought for many centuries, maybe a millennium. Especially as it was adopted as a major foundation of emerging Christian Theology as a more explicit 'discipline'.

I think Dawkins, in 'The God Delusion', sees Plato in a similar light.

When you say "I don't think you can single out philosophy in that regard", in a way I completely agree. But I would put it that "Philiosophy" is just a label for a broad category of ordinary human thinking, and does not really deserve to be considered a 'discipline' in the same sense as Science. And most 'philosophers' are just people who acquired a certain prominence for the way they thought, or more realistically, for the way they expressed those thoughts.

I do not find it in any way surprising that there are people like Dennett who are "brilliant and genuinely insightful", who also have "done" Philosophy, or are regarded as "Philosophers". Anyone who speaks in any way that comes across to others as slightly 'above' or more 'clever' than the ordinary person has as much claim to the title "Philosopher' as anyone else, IMHO.

When someone who is genuinely brilliant and insightful does make a real contribution to the progress of human thought, they should be recognized. But to say that is an example of a positive contribution of "Philosophy" is not really saying anything meaningful, to me. Its just saying that human thought can sometimes 'get it right'.

Insofar as a formal course in Philosophy trains students in Logic, Critical Thinking, and the History of Thought, that is fine. Although it does tend to give them a distorted view of the place of Logic in critical and rational thinking. It is important, essential, but utterly inadequate by itself in leading to real new and useful insights and knowledge.

And, as Richard Carrier has commented, a training in Philosophy tends to have people maintaining way too much respect for the thoughts of previous generations of 'Philosophers'. It as if we continued to put the ideas of Isaac Newton on the same level within Science as those of Albert Einstein, whose General Relativity is regarded as superseding Newtonian Theory in this area. We still respect Newton for his massive contribution to progress, but his ideas are no longer given the same regard in the modern context. 

/bitch mode off..

BTW, I heard Carrier make the comment I was referring to on an RRS Show, back when we still did them...

 

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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I agree with your main

I agree with your main points, Tapey, but I also agree with Bob's main points.   

Personally, I'm a big fan of philosophy. I just hate most philosophy that's out there. The way I sort the wheat from the chaff is to apply pragmatism: Use what works (really, really works, not just what you wish would work), and throw away the rest.

Pragmatism is thus my 'meta-philosophy'. A nice bonus is that it 'works' on itself: Pragmatism is itself a useful philosophy, and so reinforces itself (which is not to say that it 'justifies' itself, although I think it comes damn close to doing just that).

Edit 1:

Dennett tends toward the wheat category because he takes science (which is currently the reigning champ of applied pragmatism) seriously. Really, there are few modern, contemporary philosophers more relevant than Dennett (to my knowledge, which is admittedly sparse).

Edit 2:

Oh, I should have mentioned Steven Pinker (I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt as to whether he's a philosopher as well as a scientist), too:


 

alt text

[Introduction by Sam Harris] Steven Pinker is a Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, the author of several magnificent books about the human mind, and one of the most influential scientists on earth. He is also my friend, an occasional mentor, and an advisor to my nonprofit foundation, Project Reason.

Steve’s new book is The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined. Reviewing it for the New York Times Book Review, the philosopher Peter Singer called it “a supremely important book.” I have no doubt that it is, and I very much look forward to reading it. In the meantime, Steve was kind enough to help produce a written interview for this blog.




I suspect that when most people hear the thesis of your book—that human violence has steadily declined—they are skeptical: Wasn’t the 20th century the most violent in history?

Probably not. Data from previous centuries are far less complete, but the existing estimates of death tolls, when calculated as a proportion of the world’s population at the time, show at least nine atrocities before the 20th century (that we know of) which may have been worse than World War II. They arose from collapsing empires, horse tribe invasions, the slave trade, and the annihilation of native peoples, with wars of religion close behind. World War I doesn’t even make the top ten.

Also, a century comprises a hundred years, not just fifty, and the second half of the 20th century was host to a Long Peace among great powers and developed nations (the subject of one of the book’s chapters) and more recently, to a New Peace in the rest of the world (the subject of another chapter), with unusually low rates of warfare.



Need I remind you that the “atheist regimes” of the 20th century killed tens of millions of people?

This is a popular argument among theoconservatives and critics of the new atheism, but for many reasons it is historically inaccurate.

First, the premise that Nazism and Communism were “atheist” ideologies makes sense only within a religiocentric worldview that divides political systems into those that are based on Judaeo-Christian ideology and those that are not. In fact, 20th-century totalitarian movements were no more defined by a rejection of Judaeo-Christianity than they were defined by a rejection of astrology, alchemy, Confucianism, Scientology, or any of hundreds of other belief systems. They were based on the ideas of Hitler and Marx, not David Hume and Bertrand Russell, and the horrors they inflicted are no more a vindication of Judeao-Christianity than they are of astrology or alchemy or Scientology.

Second, Nazism and Fascism were not atheistic in the first place. Hitler thought he was carrying out a divine plan. Nazism received extensive support from many German churches, and no opposition from the Vatican. Fascism happily coexisted with Catholicism in Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Croatia.

Third, according to the most recent compendium of history’s worst atrocities, Matthew White’s Great Big Book of Horrible Things (Norton, 2011), religions have been responsible for 13 of the 100 worst mass killings in history, resulting in 47 million deaths. Communism has been responsible for 6 mass killings and 67 million deaths. If defenders of religion want to crow, “We were only responsible for 47 million murders—Communism was worse!”, they are welcome to do so, but it is not an impressive argument.

Fourth, many religious massacres took place in centuries in which the world’s population was far smaller. Crusaders, for example, killed 1 million people in world of 400 million, for a genocide rate that exceeds that of the Nazi Holocaust. The death toll from the Thirty Years War was proportionally double that of World War I and in the range of World War II in Europe.

When it comes to the history of violence, the significant distinction is not one between theistic and atheistic regimes. It’s the one between regimes that were based on demonizing, utopian ideologies (including Marxism, Nazism, and militant religions) and secular liberal democracies that are based on the ideal of human rights. I present data from the political scientist Rudolph Rummel showing that democracies are vastly less murderous than alternatives forms of government.



Your claim that violence has declined depends on comparing rates of violence relative to population size. Is that really a fair measure? Should we give ourselves credit for being less violent just because there has been population growth?

You can think about it in a number of ways, but they all lead to the conclusion that it is the proportion, rather than the absolute number, of deaths that is relevant. First, if the population grows, so does the potential number of murderers and despots and rapists and sadists. So if the absolute number of victims of violence stays the same or even increases, while the proportion decreases, something important must have changed to allow all those extra people to grow up free of violence.

Second, if one focuses on absolute numbers, one ends up with moral absurdities such as these: (a) it’s better to reduce the size of a population by half and keep the rates of rape and murder the same than to reduce the rates of rape and murder by a third; (b) even if a society’s practices were static, so that its rates of war and violence don’t change, its people would be worse and worse off as the population grows, because a greater absolute number of them would suffer; (c) every child brought into the world is a moral evil, because there is a nonzero probability that he or she will be a victim of violence. 


As I note in the book, “Part of the bargain of being alive is that one takes a chance at dying a premature or painful death, be it from violence, accident, or disease. So the number of people in a given time and place who enjoy full lives has to be counted as a moral good, against which we calibrate the moral bad of the number who are victims of violence. Another way of expressing this frame of mind is to ask, `If I were one of the people who were alive in a particular era, what would be the chances that I would be a victim of violence?’ [Either way, we are led to] the conclusion that in comparing the harmfulness of violence across societies, we should focus on the rate, rather than the number, of violent acts.”

Read on

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natural,I very much agree

natural,

I very much agree that one of Dennett's strongest virtues is that he starts from what we have found from Science and bases his more 'philosophical' speculations very firmly on those as stepping-off points. That is a form of 'philosophy' that I see as of most value, as extending the speculation of what is yet to be uncovered by Science, of where we should look, and so on, in a way that is as unrestrained as possible, but still informed by what has been so far been pretty well established to be an accurate model of reality.

And Pinker is also definitely a favorite of mine - I don't think of him as a philosopher, but of course much of what he says and writes is very much in the very broad realm of what we think of as 'philosophy'.

 

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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BobSpence1 wrote:Plato is

BobSpence1 wrote:

Plato is the most obvious case - he was definitely not particularly brilliant in the context of his own time and place, but he managed to acquire a reputation way beyond what his work deserved, possibly because of the quality of his oratory and writing. Style over substance.

Somewhat like William Lane Craig now, only maybe worse.

I regard 'Platonic Idealism" as a simplistic, deeply wrong-headed concept that held back human thought for many centuries, maybe a millennium. Especially as it was adopted as a major foundation of emerging Christian Theology as a more explicit 'discipline'.

I think Dawkins, in 'The God Delusion', sees Plato in a similar light.

When you say "I don't think you can single out philosophy in that regard", in a way I completely agree. But I would put it that "Philiosophy" is just a label for a broad category of ordinary human thinking, and does not really deserve to be considered a 'discipline' in the same sense as Science. And most 'philosophers' are just people who acquired a certain prominence for the way they thought, or more realistically, for the way they expressed those thoughts.

I do not find it in any way surprising that there are people like Dennett who are "brilliant and genuinely insightful", who also have "done" Philosophy, or are regarded as "Philosophers". Anyone who speaks in any way that comes across to others as slightly 'above' or more 'clever' than the ordinary person has as much claim to the title "Philosopher' as anyone else, IMHO.

When someone who is genuinely brilliant and insightful does make a real contribution to the progress of human thought, they should be recognized. But to say that is an example of a positive contribution of "Philosophy" is not really saying anything meaningful, to me. Its just saying that human thought can sometimes 'get it right'.

Insofar as a formal course in Philosophy trains students in Logic, Critical Thinking, and the History of Thought, that is fine. Although it does tend to give them a distorted view of the place of Logic in critical and rational thinking. It is important, essential, but utterly inadequate by itself in leading to real new and useful insights and knowledge.

And, as Richard Carrier has commented, a training in Philosophy tends to have people maintaining way too much respect for the thoughts of previous generations of 'Philosophers'. It as if we continued to put the ideas of Isaac Newton on the same level within Science as those of Albert Einstein, whose General Relativity is regarded as superseding Newtonian Theory in this area. We still respect Newton for his massive contribution to progress, but his ideas are no longer given the same regard in the modern context. 

I couldn't have expressed my thoughts any better on the topic of philosophy. I fully agree.

And I think natural and I have a very similar appreciation for Sam Harris. I actually think Sam Harris is beyond exceptional as a 'thinker', which is what philosophers are, for the most part, which BobSpence1 pointed out so succinctly.

I've taken much interest over the last few years since coming across the 4 Horsemen (thanks to the waves created by Christopher Hitchens in the media) in listening to lectures and debates given by secular 'thinkers'.

It's occurred to me that the 'dilemmas' surrounding morality and ethics are virtually the same as 'dilemmas' in economics, so I tend to view these discussions as the study of ecological economics where 'dilemmas' need a 'qualifier' (objective) to be established in order to talk about 'strategy'. In this sense, discussing what's right or wrong is discussing moves in a game of chess. You need to identify an objective, and there are always consequences for every single move you make while moving toward an objective.

To look at morality and ethics as simply 'this (x) and that (y) is always to be avoided' is to simply not being qualified to discuss the topic, or navigate properly through the multiple stages that are intrinsic to the game.

That's life.

Anyone who doesn't acknowledge that, simply is not qualified to do anything more than express and argue their 'feelings' over how they view the game, and how they view the course of the game.

Same with life.

 

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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Interesting analogy with

Interesting analogy with chess there, redneF. I sometimes crank up my old ChessmasterX program and play different AI variations (either against myself or against each other) just to see how they 'think', and your analogy seems apt when compared to the minimax algorithm that most chess programs use to pick the 'best' move. Different objectives (e.g. different variations on the AI, different weightings for 'taking pieces' vs. 'defending pieces', etc.) can produce subtle variations in which moves to play.

The only thing is that I think most philosophy falls into the category of amateur, and there are only a very few masters, and even fewer grand masters. Hmm, maybe that's actually in line with chess, as well. Still, there are quite a few grandmasters in chess, and seemingly much fewer in philosophy.

(BTW I'm not that great at chess, I just like watching the AI go. I can't use a screen-saver either, or else I would spend hours watching the bouncing lines, trying to analyze how the bouncing is going to go.)

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I don't think religion will

I don't think religion will ever be replaced by anything. The only way it could be is if humanity lost the ability to imagine and/or gained sufficient knowledge of the multiverse to accurately predict the future.

Religion is going to evolve. Every generation changes it a little bit. Often without being aware of the changes until they've propogated sufficiently to split denominations out of a whole.

The future of religion, I think, is a further abandonment of organisation in favour of individual perspectives.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


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Vastet wrote:The future of

Vastet wrote:
The future of religion, I think, is a further abandonment of organisation in favour of individual perspectives.

In the past few years, I have noticed one very popular cultural meme among people, is the tag "I am spiritual but not religious".

Much like the recent posting of one of our new members that uses the term "Deist".

People that believe in some sort of god, are fed up with the corrupt ignorance of organized religion, and are teetering close to being "Agnostic Theists".

I went through a period in my life, when I first abandoned the church, where I secretly began to suspect that god was nothing more than an invention, but still could not quite let go of the belief there had to be SOMETHING.  Thankfully, I have long moved past that.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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Apologies, redneF, I tried

Apologies, redneF, I tried deleting the first post of your duplicate posting, but it seems to have taken out both.

There must have been some linkage between them, it is like when you delete a post it will take out any replies to that post.

Damn!

Sorry, I should have deleted the second one, probably would have been safer...

 

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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BobSpence wrote:Apologies,

BobSpence wrote:

Apologies, redneF, I tried deleting the first post of your duplicate posting, but it seems to have taken out both.

There must have been some linkage between them, it is like when you delete a post it will take out any replies to that post.

Damn!

Sorry, I should have deleted the second one, probably would have been safer...

 

No worries, Bob.

As it turns out, the habit I've gotten into of Ctrl A copying my posts to my clipboard saves the day!

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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natural wrote:Interesting


natural wrote:

Interesting analogy with chess there, redneF. I sometimes crank up my old ChessmasterX program and play different AI variations (either against myself or against each other) just to see how they 'think', and your analogy seems apt when compared to the minimax algorithm that most chess programs use to pick the 'best' move. Different objectives (e.g. different variations on the AI, different weightings for 'taking pieces' vs. 'defending pieces', etc.) can produce subtle variations in which moves to play.

The only thing is that I think most philosophy falls into the category of amateur, and there are only a very few masters, and even fewer grand masters. Hmm, maybe that's actually in line with chess, as well. Still, there are quite a few grandmasters in chess, and seemingly much fewer in philosophy.

(BTW I'm not that great at chess, I just like watching the AI go. I can't use a screen-saver either, or else I would spend hours watching the bouncing lines, trying to analyze how the bouncing is going to go.)

Ya, games are a very good illustration of thermodynamic systems.

This is why most philosophy, and apologetics in particular, are completely inadequate to solve 'dilemmas' that occur in life. And the insistence of theists that their 'beliefs' provide a good framework to apply to real world dilemmas just underscores their inability to string together cogent thoughts, or even understand the paradoxes that occur within their worldview.

So, adhering to a static strategy that tells you to always make certain moves, in a dilemma that's in a state of flux is completely mentally retarded. Then you're just an automaton sitting in for a robot.

Asking what the 'correct' move in poker is, is not only rhetorical, it's plain stupid. We need to qualify exactly what we mean when we are aiming at an objective. Objectives in life are subjective.

One of my subjective 'objectives' in life would be to not let someone kill me, or the ones I love, and if I let someone kill me, or the ones I love because I didn't kill them in order to stop them when their intention was clear to me that their objective was to kill me, or the ones I loved, I would have failed in my personal 'objective'.

The strategy of 'killing' another human being, is a completely sound reason, and objectively 'good' based on my 'subjective' objective in life.

Someone claiming that I can't possibly rationally morally define or soundly argue killing as 'objectively' good, doesn't know what they're talking about.

 

According to the Christian worldview of 'freewill' I would be not only 'designed' to have the potential to kill, but I would have been given the liberty to do so by the only one who could have absolutely prevented me from even having the potential, opportunity to do so, or to be created into a possible world where that's possible.

The blame isn't on the player of the game. It's on the designer of the game.

In which case, God is solely responsible for 'sin' and 'evil' in this possible world because of his failures to meet his own desires and criteria.

Claiming that 'God' is 'good' and 'perfect' is a complete and utter non sequitur.

 

 

 
 

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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Heh, I try to remember to do

Heh, I try to remember to do that, especially when I realize my response is getting long. What too often happens is that I inadvertently hit a key or cliclk on a part of the screen which invokes something that takes me back to the thread. The inadvertent clicking is a bit easier to do on my laptop, where the button and the cursor positioning are not as integrated on a track pad as with a mouse. At least in the way I have got used to using it. I can just press harder on the place I am dragging on the pad, I guess, to be less likely to move the cursor when I press the left-button area. Aargh! No ideal interface.

Of course, Murphy's Law means that too much of the time when it happens, I forgot to do the 'Select-ALL' + 'Copy'.

 

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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...

Vastet wrote:
I don't think religion will ever be replaced by anything. The only way it could be is if humanity lost the ability to imagine and/or gained sufficient knowledge of the multiverse to accurately predict the future. Religion is going to evolve. Every generation changes it a little bit. Often without being aware of the changes until they've propogated sufficiently to split denominations out of a whole. The future of religion, I think, is a further abandonment of organisation in favour of individual perspectives.

 

The biggest challenge to date for religion is the internet (combined with our increasing knowledge, of course).  Like Dennett said, and I'm paraphrasing, "Religions can't rely on enforced ignorance anymore.  Any religion that survives the internet deserves to live."  I hope I didn't forget to put something in there, but that's the idea. 

I'm worried about all the bad ideas that the internet is facilitating, but I think most people will accept most science and rationality eventually -- they'll just mix in their religious thinking.  It's wired into our brains after all, and it takes conscious effort to think properly.  Theologians will most likely continue their arms race against atheistic philosophy, finding more and more ways to accomodate a deity into a scientific worldview. 

The upside to this is that theologians are accepting more and more science.  There are still a bunch of creationists arguing against a 4.5 billion year old earth, a 14 billion year old universe, the big bang, and evolution.  But now it's common for creationists to accept the big bang, old earth and universe, and parts of evolution.  That's progress.

 

 

 


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BobSpence wrote:Plato is the

BobSpence wrote:

Plato is the most obvious case - he was definitely not particularly brilliant in the context of his own time and place, but he managed to acquire a reputation way beyond what his work deserved, possibly because of the quality of his oratory and writing. Style over substance.

Somewhat like William Lane Craig now, only maybe worse.

I regard 'Platonic Idealism" as a simplistic, deeply wrong-headed concept that held back human thought for many centuries, maybe a millennium. Especially as it was adopted as a major foundation of emerging Christian Theology as a more explicit 'discipline'.

I think Dawkins, in 'The God Delusion', sees Plato in a similar light.

When you say "I don't think you can single out philosophy in that regard", in a way I completely agree. But I would put it that "Philiosophy" is just a label for a broad category of ordinary human thinking, and does not really deserve to be considered a 'discipline' in the same sense as Science. And most 'philosophers' are just people who acquired a certain prominence for the way they thought, or more realistically, for the way they expressed those thoughts.

I do not find it in any way surprising that there are people like Dennett who are "brilliant and genuinely insightful", who also have "done" Philosophy, or are regarded as "Philosophers". Anyone who speaks in any way that comes across to others as slightly 'above' or more 'clever' than the ordinary person has as much claim to the title "Philosopher' as anyone else, IMHO.

When someone who is genuinely brilliant and insightful does make a real contribution to the progress of human thought, they should be recognized. But to say that is an example of a positive contribution of "Philosophy" is not really saying anything meaningful, to me. Its just saying that human thought can sometimes 'get it right'.

Insofar as a formal course in Philosophy trains students in Logic, Critical Thinking, and the History of Thought, that is fine. Although it does tend to give them a distorted view of the place of Logic in critical and rational thinking. It is important, essential, but utterly inadequate by itself in leading to real new and useful insights and knowledge.

And, as Richard Carrier has commented, a training in Philosophy tends to have people maintaining way too much respect for the thoughts of previous generations of 'Philosophers'. It as if we continued to put the ideas of Isaac Newton on the same level within Science as those of Albert Einstein, whose General Relativity is regarded as superseding Newtonian Theory in this area. We still respect Newton for his massive contribution to progress, but his ideas are no longer given the same regard in the modern context. 

/bitch mode off..

BTW, I heard Carrier make the comment I was referring to on an RRS Show, back when we still did them...

 

I think you're right. I majored in philosophy during undergrad, and I remember a definite point where I realized that many of my peers and mentors were simply memorializing certain philosophers or schools of thought, with no real concern for progress or truth. It was all about teaching Heidegger or teaching Kant, not actually building on their ideas.

Oh well! At least I got to be a bum for a few years.