What Kind Of Evidence?

jeffreyalex
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What Kind Of Evidence?

So, my question is What would you make of it if the following happened to you?

 

I had a roommate a few years ago. He was a rather militant atheist as was I, at the time. He had the following experiences, which I know to be true. 

He was 20 at the time. He had been in a relationship with a boy named James for just over two years. They had met only twice, and he lived in Texas, whereas we lived in NYC. Nonetheless, they spoke everyday, wrote letters, etc. James was a couple years younger and when his parents found out he was a homo they took away his phone, computer, cut his hair, and sent him to a Christian school. Soon, after a short while of communicating with my friend Allen via mutual friends, James called it off, and then had somewhat of a breakdown. Allen was upset, naturally. At this same time I was gifted a CD called Messages From Spirit. It was a guided meditation that leads you in asking "Spirit" for guidance. Then you just have to keep your eyes peeled for 'messages' or symbols, things that stick out in your daily life. It came with a booklet/dictionary of symbols that would help you interpret what they meant. I gave it to Allen and he actually listened to it. His questions were, of course, 'does James still love me' and 'what should I do next' (because from the way the breakup went James gave the impression that he was now going to be straight and said that he hated Allen and wished he'd just disappear). 

I had endless fun making fun of this ridiculousness. The next morning, I dragged moping Allen to jog on the beach with me, something I did most days. After running two sections (sections are what we call the strips separated by jetties) we saw rose petals all over the shore and floating on the water, pink and white, easily thousands. They covered the water from jetty to jetty, about 150 feet wide, and out to about 70 feet off the shore. Allen noted that this must be a sign. I admitted that I at least, in five years of running by every morning and some evenings, had never seen anything like that. We kept going and ran across a big pile of organized shells. Again, Allen noted it must be a sign. I commented, exact words, "And what pray tell dear Allen are scallop shells a sign of, exactly?" He didn't respond except to say that we would consult the booklet upon returning home. On the run back I pointed out a ship offshore, which Allen noted as another sign. Again, I was suspicious that a ship was a sign of anything relevant to the situation. However, it was true that large ships rarely passed where we saw it pass.

Upon getting back to the apartment, we consulted the booklet. White roses are the sign for divine love, pink roses are the sign of romantic love. Okay, iffy, but okay, relevant. Shells were not listed in the booklet, so I googled "scallop shell"... otherwise known, it turns out, as the Shell of Saint James (thank you Wiki). And finally, a ship indicates a trip. I reminded that we were going to take a trip to Florida in two weeks, to stay with my Dad and little brothers. Allen thought it might mean he should go to Texas. 

I said it was interesting and left the room, to go to my own room. Allen came into my room and sat on the bed saying "it's a little weird, huh?" I said, "I guess". He got up to leave and on his way out knocked down three books I had on my shelf by the door, two written be James Merrill and one by James Joyce. 

At this point, I wasn't convinced of anything. But fast-forward two weeks and we're in Florida at my dad's house on Valentines day. 

We were sitting upstairs when Allen got a text from Courtney, a mutual friend of ours and James' saying that he, James, had been really a mess lately. I suggested, half-jokingly, that Allen do the Messages meditation again, which he did. Right after, we went downstairs to the backyard for the BBQ we were having. My brother Daniel who was 7 at the time comes up to Allen and starts singing a song which goes "Fifty, nifty, United States, fromt he thirteen original cooolonieesss...". Allen starts crying and goes inside. James once sang that same song to Allen and then Allen would insist that James sing it on a frequent basis. It was a big point of contention between them whether the song was popular or not. Allen had never heard it, he ran it by me more than a year ago at that point, and I'd never heard it. 

At that point, I heard the doorbell and went to the door. It was UPS with an Amazon delivery. I had ordered a book. I opened the packaged only to find that it was not the book I'd ordered but a book of PostSecret cards. Disappointed, I went to find Allen. I went up to the guest room where he was doing the Message meditation yet again. I asked what the question was. It was 'Does James love me?' Not a minute later does a helium balloon alight on our balcony with the words I Love You written on it. Admittedly, I'd tied the balloon to the chair I was sitting in write beneath those windows, but still. Allen looked at me and said, "Maybe I should go to Texas? What's in your hand?" I told him it was a book but not the one I ordered, and handed it over. Allen said out loud, "Should I go to Texas?" and then, as if he knew it would be there, opened the book I'd just mistakenly received to a random middle page with a facsimile of a PostSecret that read 'Take that trip you're thinking of. It'll be good.' He looked at me and said. "At this point I'm waiting for a burning bush to talk to me or for the clouds to just open up". And I understood what he meant. 

As it turned out, it was good. Allen would go to Texas for four months but he wouldn't see James. However, a long while after he'd returned to New York, James finally came around and told Allen it meant the world to him that he'd gone to be there, and they're still best friends. Happy ending. 

 

 

 


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jeffreyalex wrote: If

jeffreyalex wrote:

 

If you're stuck under a rock but you see no one around you holler "Help! Can anyone hear me?!" You well know there might just not be anyone there.

 

   Except that in the case of hollering for help from another human being I know their existence is a proven fact.    Not so when it comes to your God's alleged existence.

 

jeffreyalex wrote:
And as far as "on my knees", that's for two reasons: 1) the person I'm "hollering" to in prayer would be the greatest conceivable being before whom it would be appropriate to be a bit humble and 2) it's just the most natural position, it seems.

  

Why would a being who allegedly eclipses you in every conceivable way even desire for you to assume a position of degradation and servitude ?   If I knew that I was actually the pinnacle of all sentient beings why would I need affirmation from lesser beings ?   It smacks of human-style ego and certainly lacks any noble motivation.

 

I'm a right wing atheist because I enjoy being hated by everyone.


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These things

 

jeffreyalex wrote:

 

That creation includes individuals, minds, with moral intuitions and experiences, suggests that God is morally good and an agent, a sort of mind. 

That's not ad hoc.

 

 

individuality and minds equipped to be socially responsible in social animals were developed by life, not created by god. We are, demonstrably, a product of our ancestors. When it comes to morality, this is a label we apply to 'other-focused' behaviour in the absence of the recognition of the fact that in-group survival is more important than our individuality and that at some core level, we would all give our lives for the whole. If I was required to die to save the world, I wouldn't think twice about it, would you? 

Many creatures will die for their offspring or die in the bid to breed or die in the act of breeding. Further, bacteria are highly social. They sacrifice themselves for the greater good, just as our own individual cells do, they warn each other of danger and they try to protect each other. Microscopically, you are the colony of Jeff. Your concept of 'individuality' is dubious. The most important communication path for life is that between cells, not that between human beings. 

I would argue this self sacrifice we label morality is a quality of symbiotic life forms, not of minds, and it operates not just at the cellular level but within cells. We are built by molecular co-operation. It's not surprising we rate sacrifice and in-group behaviour as being the 'best' behaviour. What's interesting is that we ascribe this behaviour to human minds alone and do so in the absence of a recognition that every cell in every body and every cell in every physical brain is a mutually supporting community jointly facing a hostile external environment. 

What do you think of Sagan's broad comfort with the idea that the universe's 'creative force' was the underlying 'laws of nature' and that there is no personal anthro-style god?  

 

 

 

 

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


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Jason Segel, Jeff, Who Lives At Home

Jeffreyalex,
Pardon the aside.
I just saw the movie "Jeff, who lives at home". Jeff (jason segal) is always on the lookout for signs from the universe. It reminded me of your OP. Have you seen it? Did you identify with the Jeff character?

Religion Kills !!!

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

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


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ProzacDeathWish

ProzacDeathWish wrote:

jeffreyalex wrote:

 

If you're stuck under a rock but you see no one around you holler "Help! Can anyone hear me?!" You well know there might just not be anyone there.

 

   Except that in the case of hollering for help from another human being I know their existence is a proven fact.    Not so when it comes to your God's alleged existence.

 

jeffreyalex wrote:
And as far as "on my knees", that's for two reasons: 1) the person I'm "hollering" to in prayer would be the greatest conceivable being before whom it would be appropriate to be a bit humble and 2) it's just the most natural position, it seems.

  

Why would a being who allegedly eclipses you in every conceivable way even desire for you to assume a position of degradation and servitude ?   If I knew that I was actually the pinnacle of all sentient beings why would I need affirmation from lesser beings ?   It smacks of human-style ego and certainly lacks any noble motivation.

 

 

The analogy is to calling out when you don't know if there's anyone to hear you. 

 

Regardless of what a God might want (if a God can want), from my own perspective the appropriate attitude is humbleness. The same humbleness I would feel toward meeting a truly great person. 

I don't know where you read "degradation" and "servitude", cause I didn't use those words. 


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ex-minister

ex-minister wrote:
Jeffreyalex, Pardon the aside. I just saw the movie "Jeff, who lives at home". Jeff (jason segal) is always on the lookout for signs from the universe. It reminded me of your OP. Have you seen it? Did you identify with the Jeff character?

 

I was just telling my friend I'm in the mood for Chinese food and a movie tonight, but that I didn't know what to watch. Not a minute later I check here and you're talking about Jeff Who Lives at Home. I guess I'll watch it!

But, seriously, no, I wouldn't regard that as a definitive sign from the 'universe' and I'm not the type to look for or see signs everywhere. The 'signs' in the OP were ones that struck me as very uncanny, unlikely, and clearly and objectively meaningful (that is to say "Take the trip" has clear meaning in English).


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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

jeffreyalex wrote:

 

That creation includes individuals, minds, with moral intuitions and experiences, suggests that God is morally good and an agent, a sort of mind. 

That's not ad hoc.

 

 

individuality and minds equipped to be socially responsible in social animals were developed by life, not created by god. We are, demonstrably, a product of our ancestors. When it comes to morality, this is a label we apply to 'other-focused' behaviour in the absence of the recognition of the fact that in-group survival is more important than our individuality and that at some core level, we would all give our lives for the whole. If I was required to die to save the world, I wouldn't think twice about it, would you? 

Many creatures will die for their offspring or die in the bid to breed or die in the act of breeding. Further, bacteria are highly social. They sacrifice themselves for the greater good, just as our own individual cells do, they warn each other of danger and they try to protect each other. Microscopically, you are the colony of Jeff. Your concept of 'individuality' is dubious. The most important communication path for life is that between cells, not that between human beings. 

I would argue this self sacrifice we label morality is a quality of symbiotic life forms, not of minds, and it operates not just at the cellular level but within cells. We are built by molecular co-operation. It's not surprising we rate sacrifice and in-group behaviour as being the 'best' behaviour. What's interesting is that we ascribe this behaviour to human minds alone and do so in the absence of a recognition that every cell in every body and every cell in every physical brain is a mutually supporting community jointly facing a hostile external environment. 

What do you think of Sagan's broad comfort with the idea that the universe's 'creative force' was the underlying 'laws of nature' and that there is no personal anthro-style god?  

 

 

 

 

Thanks AE. This means a lot to me. It explains the world and my own life in ways never met by woo-woo.

Religion Kills !!!

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

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


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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

jeffreyalex wrote:

 

That creation includes individuals, minds, with moral intuitions and experiences, suggests that God is morally good and an agent, a sort of mind. 

That's not ad hoc.

 

 

individuality and minds equipped to be socially responsible in social animals were developed by life, not created by god. We are, demonstrably, a product of our ancestors. When it comes to morality, this is a label we apply to 'other-focused' behaviour in the absence of the recognition of the fact that in-group survival is more important than our individuality and that at some core level, we would all give our lives for the whole. If I was required to die to save the world, I wouldn't think twice about it, would you? 

Many creatures will die for their offspring or die in the bid to breed or die in the act of breeding. Further, bacteria are highly social. They sacrifice themselves for the greater good, just as our own individual cells do, they warn each other of danger and they try to protect each other. Microscopically, you are the colony of Jeff. Your concept of 'individuality' is dubious. The most important communication path for life is that between cells, not that between human beings. 

I would argue this self sacrifice we label morality is a quality of symbiotic life forms, not of minds, and it operates not just at the cellular level but within cells. We are built by molecular co-operation. It's not surprising we rate sacrifice and in-group behaviour as being the 'best' behaviour. What's interesting is that we ascribe this behaviour to human minds alone and do so in the absence of a recognition that every cell in every body and every cell in every physical brain is a mutually supporting community jointly facing a hostile external environment. 

What do you think of Sagan's broad comfort with the idea that the universe's 'creative force' was the underlying 'laws of nature' and that there is no personal anthro-style god?  

 

 

I watched Cosmos a dozen times when I was younger and have Sagan's books. I think he's really great. He said, I think it was the last installment of Cosmos, at the very end of the episode, something like 'we are star-stuff' and spoke about how we are the universe understanding/exploring itself. I thought that was a very neat way to look at things, and still do. In the Jamesian sense, I think he was a very religious man. 

 

I don't think I have any major disagreements with your points re morality, but I think there's plenty to discuss and clarify and look into deeper. For example, the connection between our physical being, our mind, and morality does not seem straightforward. I definitely don't think morality is a feature of matter. I don't think, for example, a bacteria is being morally great by sacrificing itself. 

But regardless where that discussion would lead, I think we can agree that we observe ourselves as minds and experience morality as something objective. If there is a God, it is reasonable to think It knows what it is like to be a human being, an embodied mind—and something that is not a mind, itself, could not know what it is like to be a mind. 

Of course, it doesn't follow that the what-it-is-likeness of being God is anything like the what-it-is-likeness of being a human person. 


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Hi Jeff

 

jeffreyalex wrote:

...the connection between our physical being, our mind, and morality does not seem straightforward...I don't think, for example, a bacteria is being morally great by sacrificing itself. 

 

What I would argue is that morality is the sound we make to describe certain behaviours (that can be observed in all life forms) as they apply to our individual actions in the real time neural work space of human consciousness. Bacteria might not say they are being moral but their behaviour displays obvious universal altruism. The same applies to cells inside our own bodies that run around fighting pathogens. The pattern of behaviour is clear discounting the ambiguity of language we bring to the discussion. 

 

jeffreyalex wrote:

But regardless where that discussion would lead, I think we can agree that we observe ourselves as minds and experience morality as something objective. If there is a God, it is reasonable to think It knows what it is like to be a human being, an embodied mind—and something that is not a mind, itself, could not know what it is like to be a mind. 

 

I can agree the types of behaviour we call moral, which are within certain limits, relative, are indeed objective but they cannot be measured on the basis of 'goodness', only in my opinion, in terms of their usefulness to evolutionary selection.  

 

jeffreyalex wrote:

I definitely don't think morality is a feature of matter. 

 

This might be the crux of the issue. All life is comprised of molecular biochemical systems preying on free energy, discounting the quantum weird at the heart of the matter. Why should matter not be capable of providing a container for instincts and feelings that drive self sacrificing behaviour? Why is human consciousness the only crucible of what we recently 'conscious' arrivals have decided to label as moral 'goodness'? Personally, I think we have been blind to the interconnected nature of life and the nature of symbiotic self-hood for far too long. 

 

Chimpanzees

 

We are certainly not the only social creatures to have developed feelings of empathy, respect, loss, pain, togetherness. Are we. 

 

 

 

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


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There are a good many

 

jeffreyalex wrote:

I watched Cosmos a dozen times when I was younger and have Sagan's books. I think he's really great. He said, I think it was the last installment of Cosmos, at the very end of the episode, something like 'we are star-stuff' and spoke about how we are the universe understanding/exploring itself. I thought that was a very neat way to look at things, and still do. In the Jamesian sense, I think he was a very religious man. 

 

lovers of Carl on these boards. Noting your correct 'life reaction' definition of his views, I still think it's a shame Sagan's big feelings of awe and privilege and delight at his sense of simultaneous comprehension and incomprehension have to be labelled religious or spiritual in any way. I think such labels are poisoned by association with things that he did not embrace. My alternative viewpoint is that Sagan was a complete human

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


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AE, where did you get the

AE, where did you get the picture of the caring monkeys? Is there an article with it?

Religion Kills !!!

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

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


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hey ex-min

 

ex-minister wrote:

 

Thanks AE. This means a lot to me. It explains the world and my own life in ways never met by woo-woo.

 

 

I've read a lot of books in this area - some quite enjoyable (Life from an RNA World, Microcosmos, The Emergence of Life) and others, like Gould's gigantic Structure of Evolutionary Theory and texts relating to the biochemical nature of cellular function, the latter of which have been more or less impenetrable to my mind. Over time I've tended to come to a Pandora-like sense of what life is and how its own processes have contrived to drive its development.

I wish we knew the truth of the thing and could trace each change in our genome from protein to enzyme to RNA, to DNA and every twist and turn ever since. Given the complicity of evolution, mapping the collective interconnected genetic biomes that comprise the entire biosphere is what would be required to gain a more complete understanding. Such an vast undertaking hardly bears thinking about. 

Personally, I think matter is strange and amazing enough to be the sole candidate as our fundamental universal matrix. I see no need to reach for a 'spiritual' dimension of something we cannot understand. 

 

 

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


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Here you go...

ex-minister wrote:

AE, where did you get the picture of the caring monkeys? Is there an article with it?

 

http://www.news.com.au/features/chimps-mourn-death-of-fellow-primate-in-display-of-grief/story-e6frflor-1225792369187

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


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jeffreyalex wrote: If

jeffreyalex wrote:
 

If you're stuck under a rock but you see no one around you holler "Help! Can anyone hear me?!" You well know there might just not be anyone there.

And as far as "on my knees", that's for two reasons: 1) the person I'm "hollering" to in prayer would be the greatest conceivable being before whom it would be appropriate to be a bit humble and 2) it's just the most natural position, it seems.

I find reverse cowgirl to be more natural Smiling

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


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 AE, I understand that you

 

AE, I understand that you acknowledge our moral sense, but you attribute it to evolutionary processes. It seems to follow that there isn't any objective 'good' or 'evil' or 'right' or 'wrong'. There is just what happens to feel right or wrong. 

 

Imagine a species evolved on an undiscovered continent almost identical to ours. They kill most female children, keeping some till childbearing age at which time they impregnate them. They keep the male children and they grow up. A sizable fraction of the men are held as slaves. 

This seems like a rather evil society. What would you say about it? 

 


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Ktulu wrote:jeffreyalex

Ktulu wrote:

jeffreyalex wrote:
 

If you're stuck under a rock but you see no one around you holler "Help! Can anyone hear me?!" You well know there might just not be anyone there.

And as far as "on my knees", that's for two reasons: 1) the person I'm "hollering" to in prayer would be the greatest conceivable being before whom it would be appropriate to be a bit humble and 2) it's just the most natural position, it seems.

I find reverse cowgirl to be more natural Smiling

It does seem to hit all the right spots. In a sense, it is a prayer position: you often find yourself screaming "Ohhhhh Goddddddddd". 

 

Annnnnnyyywayyyyyyy.... >_>;


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jeffreyalex wrote: The

jeffreyalex wrote:

 

The analogy is to calling out when you don't know if there's anyone to hear you.

 

   ...and my reply was in keeping with your question.   As in  the difference between calling out for your dear old uncle to help you or calling upon Super Man.   Which proposition is grounded in reality ?

 

jeffreyalex wrote:
Regardless of what a God might want (if a God can want), from my own perspective the appropriate attitude is humbleness. The same humbleness I would feel toward meeting a truly great person. 

I don't know where you read "degradation" and "servitude", cause I didn't use those words. 

 

       Bowing down before someone with your head to the ground is the posture a slave would assume to indicate total subservience to their master.  Slavery is generally regarded as a degrading and humiliating occupation.  Christopher Hitchens has mentioned the posture of prayer in these same terms.

 

 

I'm a right wing atheist because I enjoy being hated by everyone.


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ProzacDeathWish

ProzacDeathWish wrote:

jeffreyalex wrote:

The analogy is to calling out when you don't know if there's anyone to hear you.

   ...and my reply was in keeping with your question.   As in  the difference between calling out for your dear old uncle to help you or calling upon Super Man.   Which proposition is grounded in reality ?

jeffreyalex wrote:
Regardless of what a God might want (if a God can want), from my own perspective the appropriate attitude is humbleness. The same humbleness I would feel toward meeting a truly great person. 

I don't know where you read "degradation" and "servitude", cause I didn't use those words. 

       Bowing down before someone with your head to the ground is the posture a slave would assume to indicate total subservience to their master.  Slavery is generally regarded as a degrading and humiliating occupation.  Christopher Hitchens has mentioned the posture of prayer in these same terms.

 

We know Superman to be an invented comic book superhero. It follows that he won't hear you.

If one is an agnostic, one does not KNOW whether there is a God listening. Hence it makes sense that an agnostic might pray.

 

There is nothing degrading or humiliating inherent in the action bowing; a master can force a slave to bow to him, it could be tradition to bow before a king, one can freely choose to bow as a sign of respect, for example. 

Christopher Hitchens was a writer, not the source of all truth and knowledge as concerns the practice of bowing.

 

I'd like to come back to your point that it doesn't make sense to bow because What could an Almighty deity want with you bowing anyway? That's not the point. If someone tremendously wealthy and happy and influential did something good for you, it would not be bananas for you to want to present them with something nice, a gift, some kind gesture, even though they could have anything they wanted without your help.


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jeffreyalex wrote: We know

jeffreyalex wrote:

 

We know Superman to be an invented comic book superhero. It follows that he won't hear you.

   Of course.

 

jeffreyalex wrote:
If one is an agnostic, one does not KNOW whether there is a God listening. Hence it makes sense that an agnostic might pray.

 

  No, it only makes sense that a theist might pray. 

 

jeffreyalex wrote:
There is nothing degrading or humiliating inherent in the action bowing; a master can force a slave to bow to him, it could be tradition to bow before a king, one can freely choose to bow as a sign of respect, for example.

 

  There's nothing inherently degrading or humiliating in the Nazi one-armed salute either,  only by what it's associated with.

 

jeffreyalex wrote:
Christopher Hitchens was a writer, not the source of all truth and knowledge as concerns the practice of bowing.

 

  His observation is still valid, historically speaking.  

 

jeffreyalex wrote:
I'd like to come back to your point that it doesn't make sense to bow because What could an Almighty deity want with you bowing anyway? That's not the point.

 

  Well it was my point, but if you want to sweep it aside no one's stopping you.

 

jeffreyalex wrote:
If someone tremendously wealthy and happy and influential did something good for you, it would not be bananas for you to want to present them with something nice, a gift, some kind gesture, even though they could have anything they wanted without your help.

 

    Bowing in the manner you suggest would not occur to me.   Neither would  kissing their feet ( like the woman before Jesus in Luke 7:36 ) or any similar behavior.    Why would I do that, do they doubt my sincerity ?

 

 

I'm a right wing atheist because I enjoy being hated by everyone.


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I would say

jeffreyalex wrote:

AE, I understand that you acknowledge our moral sense, but you attribute it to evolutionary processes. It seems to follow that there isn't any objective 'good' or 'evil' or 'right' or 'wrong'. There is just what happens to feel right or wrong. 

Imagine a species evolved on an undiscovered continent almost identical to ours. They kill most female children, keeping some till childbearing age at which time they impregnate them. They keep the male children and they grow up. A sizable fraction of the men are held as slaves. 

This seems like a rather evil society. What would you say about it? 

 

Imagine an evolving species living almost exclusively in family groups for many millions of years, all individuals related, largely powerless physically, always under threat from its environment, entirely interdependent on its relatives and evolving towards greater interdependence. A species, which, over a period of cultural development that includes the coding and exchanging of information to promulgate knowledge laterally, explosively grows out of its family groups into huge cities and states, while still retaining the intrinsic sense of family group morality that has served it so well for so long. 

This load-bearing member of my personal moral code, this predisposition to share and care, physiologically supported by mirror neurons that allow me to feel the pain of others, dictates that I cannot harm my brother or sister and must support my parents and protect my nephews and nieces and their children to the death. Further, as I have grown older and more thoughtful, experience has lead me to consider that in-group favoritism in large, melded societies is often morally inconsistent and may be the source of all bigotries, that all life is intertwined, all life is equal, and that harming others through violence or slavery is always and ever, wrong. 

 

 

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


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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

jeffreyalex wrote:

AE, I understand that you acknowledge our moral sense, but you attribute it to evolutionary processes. It seems to follow that there isn't any objective 'good' or 'evil' or 'right' or 'wrong'. There is just what happens to feel right or wrong. 

Imagine a species evolved on an undiscovered continent almost identical to ours. They kill most female children, keeping some till childbearing age at which time they impregnate them. They keep the male children and they grow up. A sizable fraction of the men are held as slaves. 

This seems like a rather evil society. What would you say about it? 

Imagine an evolving species living almost exclusively in family groups for many millions of years, all individuals related, largely powerless physically, always under threat from its environment, entirely interdependent on its relatives and evolving towards greater interdependence. A species, which, over a period of cultural development that includes the coding and exchanging of information to promulgate knowledge laterally, explosively grows out of its family groups into huge cities and states, while still retaining the intrinsic sense of family group morality that has served it so well for so long. 

This load-bearing member of my personal moral code, physiologically expressed through mirror neurons that make it physically impossible for me to watch horror movies, dictates that I cannot harm my brother or sister and must support my parents and protect my nephews and nieces and their children to the death. Further, as I have grown older and more thoughtful, experience has lead me to consider, using my prefrontal cortex, that in-group favoritism is morally inconsistent and the source of all bigotries, that all life is intertwined, all life is equal, and that harming others through violence or slavery is always and ever, wrong.  

 

I'm having trouble responding to this because something about it makes me feel really sad. I've read and reread it and started typing and backspaced and reread and started over several times. 

What do I really want to say? These are just beautiful words, but that's all. I don't want to obscure the point by saying more, because I think you know what I mean.

There is no noble struggle and grand history of the species; there are accidents of chemistry, there are animals, meat that wants to avoid pain and not die. There is no value to the lives of your family or anyone's. There is nothing righteous or good in your desire to protect them. You're right to say that all life is equal—it's all worth nothing, no more than a rock, because that is what it is: just stuff. 

In the end, if you watch a man torture a young child to death, you're left with no way to say there's anything wrong with it. You can say your neurons are ablaze with anger, or sadness, or disgust. But who cares? You can say people are not wired for killing kids. So what? Apparently this guy is. You can say that the behavior is not adaptive for the species, as if the survival of the species is some kind of moral good. It's not. You can tell this guy life is all intertwined. He might remind you that the kid he's killing is exactly equivalent to a 35 kg bag of water with 15 bucks worth of chemicals added in, maybe with a spark of electricity. Finally you might say 'but he's alive, he feels things, he has rights'. But, really, what rights? What difference does it make that he feels things? None. The kid matters to nothing and ultimately no one. Do you want to say we ought to value him for the sheer fact that he is a living being? We don't get 'oughts' from 'is'. 

 

Believe when I say that I want to take your side on this particular issue. But I honestly see it as a way to smuggle into Life some meaning, some goodness, something transcendent, even, by way of eloquent language—eloquent language that appeals to nothing but an admittedly illusory sense of objective Goodness. 


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ProzacDeathWish

ProzacDeathWish wrote:

jeffreyalex wrote:

 

We know Superman to be an invented comic book superhero. It follows that he won't hear you.

   Of course.

 

jeffreyalex wrote:
If one is an agnostic, one does not KNOW whether there is a God listening. Hence it makes sense that an agnostic might pray.

 

  No, it only makes sense that a theist might pray. 

 

jeffreyalex wrote:
There is nothing degrading or humiliating inherent in the action bowing; a master can force a slave to bow to him, it could be tradition to bow before a king, one can freely choose to bow as a sign of respect, for example.

 

  There's nothing inherently degrading or humiliating in the Nazi one-armed salute either,  only by what it's associated with.

 

jeffreyalex wrote:
Christopher Hitchens was a writer, not the source of all truth and knowledge as concerns the practice of bowing.

 

  His observation is still valid, historically speaking.  

 

jeffreyalex wrote:
I'd like to come back to your point that it doesn't make sense to bow because What could an Almighty deity want with you bowing anyway? That's not the point.

 

  Well it was my point, but if you want to sweep it aside no one's stopping you.

 

jeffreyalex wrote:
If someone tremendously wealthy and happy and influential did something good for you, it would not be bananas for you to want to present them with something nice, a gift, some kind gesture, even though they could have anything they wanted without your help.

 

    Bowing in the manner you suggest would not occur to me.   Neither would  kissing their feet ( like the woman before Jesus in Luke 7:36 ) or any similar behavior.    Why would I do that, do they doubt my sincerity ?

 

 

 

Just as the man trapped by a rock would scream because he believes someone may be there to hear him, an agnostic may pray because he believes God may exist to hear him. This isn't rocket science.

Historically speaking, people bowed before god/s/ idols. Slave owners appropriated the gesture. Not that it's relevant, because I already told you my own motivation for bowing.

It seems that there's something in bowing (whether before an idol, a king, or a slave-owner) that suggests that the bower is inferior, in some respect. I'd be willing to say it's a safe bet that a human person is inferior to the creator of the universe. The free choice to bow demonstrates and acknowledges that inferiority. Just to mention, though, there are cultures where equals bow to each other. 

 

Anyway, I'm done beating this horse to death. I don't even believe you have as much trouble understanding this as you're putting on. 


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jeffreyalex wrote:

 

I'm having trouble responding to this because something about it makes me feel really sad. I've read and reread it and started typing and backspaced and reread and started over several times. What do I really want to say? These are just beautiful words, but that's all. I don't want to obscure the point by saying more, because I think you know what I mean.

 

I don't think I do know, Jeff. I hear what you are saying but think you are wrong. 

 

jeffreyalex wrote:

There is no noble struggle and grand history of the species; there are accidents of chemistry, there are animals, meat that wants to avoid pain and not die. There is no value to the lives of your family or anyone's. There is nothing righteous or good in your desire to protect them. You're right to say that all life is equal—it's all worth nothing, no more than a rock, because that is what it is: just stuff. 

 

This is clearly a key issue for you. I have absolutely no trouble at all finding meaning in my accidental existence, great and beautiful and vibrant meaning. I'm trying to decouple myself from that sense and feel a sense of the uselessness of it because there is no god but I can't really manage it. There is value because I feel there is value. That's what feelings are for. By nature and necessity, humans create their own context, religious or not. We are not meat, we are part of symbiotic system of symbiotic systems, a system of energy exchange. Morpheus was partly right.  

 

jeffreyalex wrote:

In the end, if you watch a man torture a young child to death, you're left with no way to say there's anything wrong with it. You can say your neurons are ablaze with anger, or sadness, or disgust. But who cares? You can say people are not wired for killing kids. So what? Apparently this guy is. You can say that the behavior is not adaptive for the species, as if the survival of the species is some kind of moral good. It's not. You can tell this guy life is all intertwined. He might remind you that the kid he's killing is exactly equivalent to a 35 kg bag of water with 15 bucks worth of chemicals added in, maybe with a spark of electricity. Finally you might say 'but he's alive, he feels things, he has rights'. But, really, what rights? What difference does it make that he feels things? None. The kid matters to nothing and ultimately no one. Do you want to say we ought to value him for the sheer fact that he is a living being? We don't get 'oughts' from 'is'. 

 

Look - the murder rate in my country is about 1-100,000, mostly domestic very rarely children. I think there's an element of false dichotomy in this argument and an endless appeal to (rare) consequence. As if such things are commonplace. As if on a regular basis stray people just kill children for entertainment when we both know they do not but almost exclusively make huge sacrifices for their children, for the children of other people. Why don't we see this? Almost all children survive. 

I believe there is no god and 25 per cent of my countrymen agree with me but lo, when a child is murdered we all break into uproar. This is the way humans are. We make our own meanings. It's part of our intrinsic functionality. We don't depend on external forces to feel love, feel care, feel protective. We do feel these things as individuals and communities as brute fact. The world was transfixed by Apollo 13, we quiver in horror at trapped miners, girls being eaten alive by bears, kids trained as soldiers, child prostitution and all the other nasties. And yet there is no god in this place.  

 

jeffreyalex wrote:

Believe when I say that I want to take your side on this particular issue. But I honestly see it as a way to smuggle into Life some meaning, some goodness, something transcendent, even, by way of eloquent language—eloquent language that appeals to nothing but an admittedly illusory sense of objective Goodness. 

 

I agree with you, differently. Existence as the self awareness of the universe is a frightening, awe inspiring and wonderful thing. This thing is part of the objective human experience. We can embrace it or put our hands over our minds and pretend it's not happening.

I've said this before elsewhere. Being truly human, eschewing mythical belief and standing alone on the edge of what we can only ever arguably know, staring space and time and mutual mortality in the face with warmth, humour, bravery and kindness for all life, these are the highest expressions of the human spirit. We quail in the face of our pained and finite existence because as sentient beings these terrible things are true. Because this is what it means to be human.  

 

 

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


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jeffreyalex wrote:

A_Nony_Mouse wrote:

jeffreyalex wrote:
Moral goodness may (and I think obviously does) require a choice. To illustrate the point, if someone is forced at gunpoint to give ten dollars to charity that person has not made any noble moral choice—he's made a necessary (if he doesn't want to get popped) choice. Given the ability to choose, man has many times chosen to do bad.

In what way does a gun to the head differ from go to hell? If salvation is via faith and works then charity is a work and a gun to the head. Therefore it has no more value than a gun to the head.

Quote:
If a god intervened in cases where man has done bad then man would never see and understand the consequences of actions. Do you know children's cartoons where the bad guy can try to kill the protagonist all he wants, but he always fails in some comedic way? In that cartoon universe, without real suffering and without death or the possibility of real horror, the villains immoral choices mean nothing, and we manage to find the villain just another fun and lovable character in the show. 

So, it seems plausible and likely that a moral world is necessarily one where immorality is possible. And if man is to be genuinely responsible for his actions then his actions must lead to their consequences.

But the consequences must be in this life to learn. AND doing the morally correct thing must always lead to beneficial consequences to learn doing them is a good thing.

However this world for humans cannot be distinguished from the general rules for any social species. Members must help each other be then ants, bees, cattle, chimps, or humans. The differences among them are rather easily attributed to the nature of the species. You can throw human ideas around any of the behaviors to make them sound different but in the end a human army and warriors ants do the same thing.

There are necessary functions members of social species must perform. They are the definition of a social species.

I don't subscribe to any idea regarding "salvation".

 

Which gets you back to where I ended. There is no point to any morality or moral goodness or moral world there is only the behavior of social species. Morals and morality are nonsense terms having nothing to do with the real world.

So what is it that you think you are talking about?

 

Jews stole the land. The owners want it back. That is all anyone needs to know about Israel. That is all there is to know about Israel.

www.ussliberty.org

www.giwersworld.org/made-in-alexandria/index.html

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jeffreyalex

jeffreyalex wrote:

Atheistextremist wrote:

jeffreyalex wrote:

AE, I understand that you acknowledge our moral sense, but you attribute it to evolutionary processes. It seems to follow that there isn't any objective 'good' or 'evil' or 'right' or 'wrong'. There is just what happens to feel right or wrong. 

Imagine a species evolved on an undiscovered continent almost identical to ours. They kill most female children, keeping some till childbearing age at which time they impregnate them. They keep the male children and they grow up. A sizable fraction of the men are held as slaves. 

This seems like a rather evil society. What would you say about it? 

Imagine an evolving species living almost exclusively in family groups for many millions of years, all individuals related, largely powerless physically, always under threat from its environment, entirely interdependent on its relatives and evolving towards greater interdependence. A species, which, over a period of cultural development that includes the coding and exchanging of information to promulgate knowledge laterally, explosively grows out of its family groups into huge cities and states, while still retaining the intrinsic sense of family group morality that has served it so well for so long. 

This load-bearing member of my personal moral code, physiologically expressed through mirror neurons that make it physically impossible for me to watch horror movies, dictates that I cannot harm my brother or sister and must support my parents and protect my nephews and nieces and their children to the death. Further, as I have grown older and more thoughtful, experience has lead me to consider, using my prefrontal cortex, that in-group favoritism is morally inconsistent and the source of all bigotries, that all life is intertwined, all life is equal, and that harming others through violence or slavery is always and ever, wrong.  

 

I'm having trouble responding to this because something about it makes me feel really sad. I've read and reread it and started typing and backspaced and reread and started over several times. 

What do I really want to say? These are just beautiful words, but that's all. I don't want to obscure the point by saying more, because I think you know what I mean.

There is no noble struggle and grand history of the species; there are accidents of chemistry, there are animals, meat that wants to avoid pain and not die. There is no value to the lives of your family or anyone's. There is nothing righteous or good in your desire to protect them. You're right to say that all life is equal—it's all worth nothing, no more than a rock, because that is what it is: just stuff. 

In the end, if you watch a man torture a young child to death, you're left with no way to say there's anything wrong with it. You can say your neurons are ablaze with anger, or sadness, or disgust. But who cares? You can say people are not wired for killing kids. So what? Apparently this guy is. You can say that the behavior is not adaptive for the species, as if the survival of the species is some kind of moral good. It's not. You can tell this guy life is all intertwined. He might remind you that the kid he's killing is exactly equivalent to a 35 kg bag of water with 15 bucks worth of chemicals added in, maybe with a spark of electricity. Finally you might say 'but he's alive, he feels things, he has rights'. But, really, what rights? What difference does it make that he feels things? None. The kid matters to nothing and ultimately no one. Do you want to say we ought to value him for the sheer fact that he is a living being? We don't get 'oughts' from 'is'. 

 

Believe when I say that I want to take your side on this particular issue. But I honestly see it as a way to smuggle into Life some meaning, some goodness, something transcendent, even, by way of eloquent language—eloquent language that appeals to nothing but an admittedly illusory sense of objective Goodness. 

 

I find it interesting that you think there has to be some kind of universal source of unified morality to assume that a person can talk about something being bad or good. You have a very odd view of reality to say so, would you also assume then that the only reason that we nonbelievers don't harm others is fear of consequences? There is the idea of interdependence, that I need you and you need me because we as a species are stronger together. It's easier to feed myself and myself alone but it's way easier for us to work together and bring down something that can feed us both and that we couldn't have handled alone. Traits that made us 'play well with others' were more likely to get passed on, now we can look at some things more morally, compassion for example could be either a kind of side effect of a different trait or maybe it does help us understand each other and thus live together more easily. Tell me Jefferey, you argue like a theist, in fact you argue like a theist who had that position default but wanted to see what would happen if you tried from a different position. So lemme ask you this, and try to be honest, say you were shown incontrivertable proof that there was no god, no higher being in the theistic sense, would you change your behavior radically, IE would you start hurting others? Or what about if we found out that there was a deity, only this deity was a monster, something hateful that liked making humanity grovel and whimper, essentially a good afterlife was one where you only had to grovel and debase yourself whereas a bad one had that plus torture, would you follow such a being?


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jeffreyalex wrote:  Just

jeffreyalex wrote:

 

 

Just as the man trapped by a rock would scream because he believes someone may be there to hear him, an agnostic may pray because he believes God may exist to hear him. This isn't rocket science.

 

Right, it isn't rocket science.  In fact praying to an imaginary being isn't based upon science at all,   it's more akin to fairy tales. 

Do you grasp the significance yet ?   ....fairy tales ? ....not real ? .... praying to ?    And your statement to me "I don't believe you have as much trouble understanding this as you're putting on" seems to apply to you perfectly.               

                 

 

I'm a right wing atheist because I enjoy being hated by everyone.


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Joker wrote:Tell me

Joker wrote:
Tell me Jefferey, you argue like a theist, in fact you argue like a theist who had that position default but wanted to see what would happen if you tried from a different position. So lemme ask you this, and try to be honest, say you were shown incontrivertable proof that there was no god, no higher being in the theistic sense, would you change your behavior radically, IE would you start hurting others? Or what about if we found out that there was a deity, only this deity was a monster, something hateful that liked making humanity grovel and whimper, essentially a good afterlife was one where you only had to grovel and debase yourself whereas a bad one had that plus torture, would you follow such a being?

 

              Interesting question...

I'm a right wing atheist because I enjoy being hated by everyone.


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ProzacDeathWish wrote:

Joker wrote:
Tell me Jefferey, you argue like a theist, in fact you argue like a theist who had that position default but wanted to see what would happen if you tried from a different position. So lemme ask you this, and try to be honest, say you were shown incontrivertable proof that there was no god, no higher being in the theistic sense, would you change your behavior radically, IE would you start hurting others? Or what about if we found out that there was a deity, only this deity was a monster, something hateful that liked making humanity grovel and whimper, essentially a good afterlife was one where you only had to grovel and debase yourself whereas a bad one had that plus torture, would you follow such a being?

              Interesting question...

Or we can simply take believers at their word and imagine what disgusting, horrible creatures they would be without their religion. It is the only thing that restrains them from being mass murderers and pedophiles and thieves all at the same time. They know themselves better than we do. Who are we to disagree with them?

 

Jews stole the land. The owners want it back. That is all anyone needs to know about Israel. That is all there is to know about Israel.

www.ussliberty.org

www.giwersworld.org/made-in-alexandria/index.html

www.giwersworld.org/00_files/zion-hit-points.phtml


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Joker wrote: I find it

Joker wrote:
 

I find it interesting that you think there has to be some kind of universal source of unified morality to assume that a person can talk about something being bad or good. You have a very odd view of reality to say so, would you also assume then that the only reason that we nonbelievers don't harm others is fear of consequences? There is the idea of interdependence, that I need you and you need me because we as a species are stronger together. It's easier to feed myself and myself alone but it's way easier for us to work together and bring down something that can feed us both and that we couldn't have handled alone. Traits that made us 'play well with others' were more likely to get passed on, now we can look at some things more morally, compassion for example could be either a kind of side effect of a different trait or maybe it does help us understand each other and thus live together more easily. Tell me Jefferey, you argue like a theist, in fact you argue like a theist who had that position default but wanted to see what would happen if you tried from a different position. So lemme ask you this, and try to be honest, say you were shown incontrivertable proof that there was no god, no higher being in the theistic sense, would you change your behavior radically, IE would you start hurting others? Or what about if we found out that there was a deity, only this deity was a monster, something hateful that liked making humanity grovel and whimper, essentially a good afterlife was one where you only had to grovel and debase yourself whereas a bad one had that plus torture, would you follow such a being?

 

For someone to talk about breaking a law, a law must exist. 

I have no question you, as an atheist, can TALK about good or bad anymore than you can talk about unicorns or toilet paper. I'm saying that you're not really talking about anything when you talk about good or bad, at least nothing that even minimally obligates me to behave in any certain way. 

 

I have no problem answering that question as honestly as I can. First, I don't think that such a proof is possible and, second, I can't really imagine for sure how I would react to such an incontrovertible proof. 

But the question misses the point: whether there is a God or not, people obviously have a moral SENSE. That's not in question. The question is whether there is something such as morality. Is the moral sense about actual moral goods or is it about things that feel nice? 

If you mean to say those things are moral which promote the health of the species, you're saying nothing, really. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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jeffreyalex wrote: If

jeffreyalex wrote:

 

If you're stuck under a rock but you see no one around you holler "Help! Can anyone hear me?!" You well know there might just not be anyone there.

 

 

Actually the proper analogy would be that you were stuck under and a rock and you had never seen another person in your life ever and had no evidence to suggest that any other person ever existed, and you cried out for help.

 

 

Rill


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Juvenile Narcissist

Juvenile Narcissist wrote:

jeffreyalex wrote:

If you're stuck under a rock but you see no one around you holler "Help! Can anyone hear me?!" You well know there might just not be anyone there.

 Actually the proper analogy would be that you were stuck under and a rock and you had never seen another person in your life ever and had no evidence to suggest that any other person ever existed, and you cried out for help. 

 

But your point begs the question, and I think you're intelligent and understand that. We're not talking about an atheist praying—that would be more puzzling. 

We're talking about an agnostic praying. An agnostic may disagree with you and hold that their are reasons to suspect that God exists. 

 

Even given your modification, if I'd never seen another person in my life, I could still think there may be other people and so it would make sense for me to holler to them for help. Not only might I think there were other people, but I might very well be correct. 


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jeffreyalex wrote:  But

jeffreyalex wrote:

 

 

But your point begs the question, and I think you're intelligent and understand that. We're not talking about an atheist praying—that would be more puzzling. 

We're talking about an agnostic praying. An agnostic may disagree with you and hold that their are reasons to suspect that God exists. 

 

Even given your modification, if I'd never seen another person in my life, I could still think there may be other people and so it would make sense for me to holler to them for help. Not only might I think there were other people, but I might very well be correct. 

What questions is it begging? I didn't say that people didn't exist. Just that the person calling out had never seen one or had any evidence to substantiate one existing. Doesn't matter if it's an atheist, an agnostic or a theist, the analogy stands. You may suspect a god exists all you want, but you don't have any evidence.

 

And, no, I don't think you would call out for help if you had grown up without other people around. We cry out because it's been reinforced in us from infancy. When it isn't reinforced, we stop doing it (like those kids from Romania that Americans were adopting back in the '80s). But that's really neither here nor there. Especially since to really make the analogy work, it couldn't be another person you were calling out to but some infinitely more powerful extraterrestrial that you had to believe would stop what it was engaged in to pull your ass out from under a rock. If it would even hear you or understand you at all. Much more of a leap than your analogy.

 

I'd like to address your original question as well. I wouldn't make much of your little story about your friend if it happened to me. For a couple reasons.

One, you build up to the this epic trip to Texas where...nothing happens. You've argued that the trip is what convinced James to contact your friend again, but I doubt that's the case (especially since you said it was a long time after his trip that James finally contacted him again). Seems he just needed a bit of time to get over himself. Kind of thing happens all the time. So if it happened to me, I'd feel like I wasted my time and money bumming around Texas (gag) for 4 months.

Two, I just don't have the narcissism (funny enough considering my handle) to believe that some supernatural force is gonna take time out of its busy schedule of deforming babies, starving people and murdering them by acts of itself to bother strewing some flower petals around and stacking shells, because it's taken some inexplicable interest in my quasi love life. If it cared that much, it would cut back on the baby deforming.

Rill


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jeffreyalex wrote: I have

jeffreyalex wrote:

 

I have no question you, as an atheist, can TALK about good or bad anymore than you can talk about unicorns or toilet paper. I'm saying that you're not really talking about anything when you talk about good or bad, at least nothing that even minimally obligates me to behave in any certain way. 

 

But the question misses the point: whether there is a God or not, people obviously have a moral SENSE. That's not in question. The question is whether there is something such as morality. Is the moral sense about actual moral goods or is it about things that feel nice?  

 

I don't think morals and feeling nice are necessarily in the same category. 

There have been times that it was a major inconvenience to get out of bed in the middle of the night and go help someone that had gotten themselves into a jam. Now, some people would say "You got yourself into this mess, it is your problem,". I chose not to. I was not in the best of moods upon getting out of bed nor was I pleased that money was involved in the situation because I was pretty broke at the time. 

Now, I did not tell the person any of this, nor did I act irritated. (Even though I was highly irritated and fell back into bed very grudgingly). It did not FEEL nice nor was anyone forcing me to do it. 

There have been many times that altruism was totally inconvenient and a major pain in the ass for me to do and I got nothing in return for doing them. ( Not bragging on myself here, just trying to make a point). 

Sometimes, taking the easy way out might feel nice, but often times, people will take the harder option because they feel that it is the right thing to do. 

Now, before we go any further, the underlying theme of these last few points seem to be about the existence of morality as a human invention or a spiritual one. Well, let's put some terms together and see what we can come up with : 

Atheist : Lacks a belief in god and probably (not all, but in general) will tell you that morality is somewhat subjective and most of our species are byproducts of millions of years of evolution. Would also probably state that since there does not seem to be evidence to the contrary, the logical default position of god/ spirituality is non-belief. 

Deist : Believes in a creator that does not intervene. If there is a creator that does not intervene in human affairs, then morality would have to come from humanity itself. 

Agnostic : Would claim to not know. If there is no way of knowing, then there would not be a way to take a position that morals are arbitrated by some sort of deity or innate through human evolution. They would technically be unable to take a position. They might be open to arguments on both sides, but still would say it is not able to be determined. 

Christian/Islamic/ Jewish Theist : All morals are arbitrated to human beings by god and all evil comes from the innately evil and base instincts of mankind. 

There are other belief systems here, but can you see where I am going with this ? 

I could argue that theist morals may be practiced because it "feels nice" to believe they are pleasing their deity/karma or pick your term. 

 

“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


Atheistextremist
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At last

 

jeffreyalex wrote:

I have no question you, as an atheist, can TALK about good or bad anymore than you can talk about unicorns or toilet paper. I'm saying that you're not really talking about anything when you talk about good or bad, at least nothing that even minimally obligates me to behave in any certain way. 

 

I am forced to conclude you are not listening. 

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


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Hi OPIE

Your thread demonstrates the physics of sin beautifully.

Your roommate was a strick atheist as a result of him being a hardcore/strict homosexual.

Action flows from and away from its base. In order to not be accountable (in his mind) for his lifestyle of utter disgust, he is an agnostic pretending to be an atheist.

I rest  my case.

Respectfully,

Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).

A Rational Christian of Intelligence (rare)with a valid and sound justification for my epistemology and a logical refutation for those with logical fallacies and false worldviews upon their normative of thinking in retrospect to objective normative(s). This is only understood via the imago dei in which we all are.

Respectfully,

Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).


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Jean Chauvin wrote:Your

Jean Chauvin wrote:

Your thread demonstrates the physics of sin beautifully.

Your roommate was a strick atheist as a result of him being a hardcore/strict homosexual.

Action flows from and away from its base. In order to not be accountable (in his mind) for his lifestyle of utter disgust, he is an agnostic pretending to be an atheist.

I rest  my case.

Respectfully,

Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).

That's it ? That's your whole case ? Oh wow. You should have been a lawyer. 

Action flows from and away from it's base ? What sort of drugs are you taking ? I want to try some of that. On second thought, maybe not. 

“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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Satanic .. a new base for a 'new' conspiracy ??

 

Jean wrote:
  a strick atheist as a result of him being .. Action flows from and away from its base. In order to not be accountable (in his mind) for his lifestyle of utter disgust, he is an agnostic pretending to be an atheist.

I rest  my case.

Respectfully,  Jean Chauvin (Jude 3).

  Their destiny is destruction

experts of Interview with a Vampire (Novel) wrote:

INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE :

Louis with the Vampire Armand

..

Louis tears his eyes off Armand and looks up at the
large picture of 'Satan', hanging above the fireplace.
ARMAND
Why do you stare at that? It's a
picture, nothing more.
He rises suddenly, composure broken, grabs the picture
off the wall and throws it into the fire.
LOUIS
It has no meaning.
ARMAND
You know it does not. It's a
symbol.
LOUIS
But the old ones, the very old
ones...
Armand takes his hand.
ARMAND
I know nothing of God or the Devil.
I have never seen a vision, nor
heard a divine voice, nor learnt
a secret that would damn or save my
soul. And I am the eldest. For
all I know I am the oldest living
vampire in the world.

 

     Satanic .. a new basis   for  a  new conspiracy ??



  Jean before you tear off and rest cases. A second, Clarification "ontological foundations" are in the delusion or of the sin ? This is to your fairly new thread you opened: "Physics of sin" (elsewhere).

  2 Thes. reads -- the one whose is coming in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power .. they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.

   ? Comment when you get back, please.  We neednt wait  for hells to freeze over  .

 

 


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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

jeffreyalex wrote:

I have no question you, as an atheist, can TALK about good or bad anymore than you can talk about unicorns or toilet paper. I'm saying that you're not really talking about anything when you talk about good or bad, at least nothing that even minimally obligates me to behave in any certain way. 

 

I am forced to conclude you are not listening. 

 

I'm listening. All I'm hearing is nice words, though. 

I'm hearing that you and many members of our species feel outrage at sights of violence and experience feelings of strong attachment to your families, and that this is a result of evolution which favored such behavior for its use to the survival of the species. 

Natural selection randomly selected such behaviors for their value to species survival, therefore they are objective goods morally binding on all members of the species? No. 

 

If natural selection began to favor aggressiveness violence and sociopathic tendencies and strong in-group favoritism for the survival of our species into the future, then all those would lead to objective moral goods very different than ours. In fact, it would make things we would call moral, immoral. That's exactly because the morals are not objective. 

If you visited this future species and observed a member of it demonstrating compassion, etc., I think you would either admit that it seemed he was behaving objectively right or you would admit that "oh well, for this species this behavior just isn't morally right". In fact, by your reasoning, you would have to admit that the compassionate member of the species is behaving precisely immorally, if what is moral is what evolution selected for species survival. 

 


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Juvenile Narcissist

Juvenile Narcissist wrote:

jeffreyalex wrote:

 

 

But your point begs the question, and I think you're intelligent and understand that. We're not talking about an atheist praying—that would be more puzzling. 

We're talking about an agnostic praying. An agnostic may disagree with you and hold that their are reasons to suspect that God exists. 

 

Even given your modification, if I'd never seen another person in my life, I could still think there may be other people and so it would make sense for me to holler to them for help. Not only might I think there were other people, but I might very well be correct. 

What questions is it begging? I didn't say that people didn't exist. Just that the person calling out had never seen one or had any evidence to substantiate one existing. Doesn't matter if it's an atheist, an agnostic or a theist, the analogy stands. You may suspect a god exists all you want, but you don't have any evidence.

 

And, no, I don't think you would call out for help if you had grown up without other people around. We cry out because it's been reinforced in us from infancy. When it isn't reinforced, we stop doing it (like those kids from Romania that Americans were adopting back in the '80s). But that's really neither here nor there. Especially since to really make the analogy work, it couldn't be another person you were calling out to but some infinitely more powerful extraterrestrial that you had to believe would stop what it was engaged in to pull your ass out from under a rock. If it would even hear you or understand you at all. Much more of a leap than your analogy.

 

I'd like to address your original question as well. I wouldn't make much of your little story about your friend if it happened to me. For a couple reasons.

One, you build up to the this epic trip to Texas where...nothing happens. You've argued that the trip is what convinced James to contact your friend again, but I doubt that's the case (especially since you said it was a long time after his trip that James finally contacted him again). Seems he just needed a bit of time to get over himself. Kind of thing happens all the time. So if it happened to me, I'd feel like I wasted my time and money bumming around Texas (gag) for 4 months.

Two, I just don't have the narcissism (funny enough considering my handle) to believe that some supernatural force is gonna take time out of its busy schedule of deforming babies, starving people and murdering them by acts of itself to bother strewing some flower petals around and stacking shells, because it's taken some inexplicable interest in my quasi love life. If it cared that much, it would cut back on the baby deforming.

 

What question is it begging? What question are atheism, theism, and agnosticism about? The existence of God. 

The three have different views about whether there is evidence for and reason to believe that there is a God. We are asking if it makes sense for an agnostic to pray. Given that an agnostic may hold that there are reasons to suspect a God, it makes sense that an agnostic would pray.

You're saying "there's no reason, there's no evidence". You're saying that it makes no sense to be an agnostic, assuming the position you already hold to be true. You're not saying that it makes no sense for an agnostic, as an agnostic, to pray.

 


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Juvenile Narcissist

Juvenile Narcissist wrote:

I'd like to address your original question as well. I wouldn't make much of your little story about your friend if it happened to me. For a couple reasons.

One, you build up to the this epic trip to Texas where...nothing happens. You've argued that the trip is what convinced James to contact your friend again, but I doubt that's the case (especially since you said it was a long time after his trip that James finally contacted him again). Seems he just needed a bit of time to get over himself. Kind of thing happens all the time. So if it happened to me, I'd feel like I wasted my time and money bumming around Texas (gag) for 4 months.

Two, I just don't have the narcissism (funny enough considering my handle) to believe that some supernatural force is gonna take time out of its busy schedule of deforming babies, starving people and murdering them by acts of itself to bother strewing some flower petals around and stacking shells, because it's taken some inexplicable interest in my quasi love life. If it cared that much, it would cut back on the baby deforming.

A lot happened (besides the reconciliation, which is really the least of it). In every way possible, the trip, and where the trip lead, was extremely unusual and life-changing. I went along, and I have to admit it was life-changing for me, as well. 

My initial response to the situation was similar to your second reason: "There are deformed innocent children and nuclear accidents, and your getting signs about love and trips?" However, that something seems incoherent or inconsistent does not mean it's actually so. 


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jeffreyalex wrote:Juvenile

jeffreyalex wrote:

Juvenile Narcissist wrote:

jeffreyalex wrote:

 

 

But your point begs the question, and I think you're intelligent and understand that. We're not talking about an atheist praying—that would be more puzzling. 

We're talking about an agnostic praying. An agnostic may disagree with you and hold that their are reasons to suspect that God exists. 

 

Even given your modification, if I'd never seen another person in my life, I could still think there may be other people and so it would make sense for me to holler to them for help. Not only might I think there were other people, but I might very well be correct. 

What questions is it begging? I didn't say that people didn't exist. Just that the person calling out had never seen one or had any evidence to substantiate one existing. Doesn't matter if it's an atheist, an agnostic or a theist, the analogy stands. You may suspect a god exists all you want, but you don't have any evidence.

 

And, no, I don't think you would call out for help if you had grown up without other people around. We cry out because it's been reinforced in us from infancy. When it isn't reinforced, we stop doing it (like those kids from Romania that Americans were adopting back in the '80s). But that's really neither here nor there. Especially since to really make the analogy work, it couldn't be another person you were calling out to but some infinitely more powerful extraterrestrial that you had to believe would stop what it was engaged in to pull your ass out from under a rock. If it would even hear you or understand you at all. Much more of a leap than your analogy.

 

I'd like to address your original question as well. I wouldn't make much of your little story about your friend if it happened to me. For a couple reasons.

One, you build up to the this epic trip to Texas where...nothing happens. You've argued that the trip is what convinced James to contact your friend again, but I doubt that's the case (especially since you said it was a long time after his trip that James finally contacted him again). Seems he just needed a bit of time to get over himself. Kind of thing happens all the time. So if it happened to me, I'd feel like I wasted my time and money bumming around Texas (gag) for 4 months.

Two, I just don't have the narcissism (funny enough considering my handle) to believe that some supernatural force is gonna take time out of its busy schedule of deforming babies, starving people and murdering them by acts of itself to bother strewing some flower petals around and stacking shells, because it's taken some inexplicable interest in my quasi love life. If it cared that much, it would cut back on the baby deforming.

 

What question is it begging? What question are atheism, theism, and agnosticism about? The existence of God. 

The three have different views about whether there is evidence for and reason to believe that there is a God. We are asking if it makes sense for an agnostic to pray. Given that an agnostic may hold that there are reasons to suspect a God, it makes sense that an agnostic would pray.

You're saying "there's no reason, there's no evidence". You're saying that it makes no sense to be an agnostic, assuming the position you already hold to be true. You're not saying that it makes no sense for an agnostic, as an agnostic, to pray.

 

On the contrary, most of us are agnostic atheists. Agnostic describes a standard of knowledge not belief.

What gnostic theists (as I suspect you are) do is claim to know that a God exists. This is a position you and other gnostic theists should be able to support but can't. This is why I don't think one can be truthful and claim to be a gnostic theist or a gnostic atheist about every possible god.. 

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


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jcgadfly wrote: What

jcgadfly wrote:
 

What question is it begging? What question are atheism, theism, and agnosticism about? The existence of God. 

The three have different views about whether there is evidence for and reason to believe that there is a God. We are asking if it makes sense for an agnostic to pray. Given that an agnostic may hold that there are reasons to suspect a God, it makes sense that an agnostic would pray.

You're saying "there's no reason, there's no evidence". You're saying that it makes no sense to be an agnostic, assuming the position you already hold to be true. You're not saying that it makes no sense for an agnostic, as an agnostic, to pray.

On the contrary, most of us are agnostic atheists. Agnostic describes a standard of knowledge not belief.

What gnostic theists (as I suspect you are) do is claim to know that a God exists. This is a position you and other gnostic theists should be able to support but can't. This is why I don't think one can be truthful and claim to be a gnostic theist or a gnostic atheist about every possible god.. 

 

This response isn't relevant to the discussion. 

The question is, Is action A reasonable given belief B? If you think you may find food in the fridge, it's reasonable to open it and check. If you think there may exist a God, it is reasonable to pray.

The question is NOT Is it reasonable to think there may be a God? That's a different question, and the one which Juvenile begs in his response. 

 

Now, there's no need to suspect what I am, because I have clearly stated the beliefs I actually hold. I don't believe certain knowledge is possible. I think it's reasonable to suspect that there is a God. And I am only slightly inclined to think there is a God.


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jeffreyalex wrote: The

jeffreyalex wrote:

 

The question is, Is action A reasonable given belief B?

 

 

      What one considers reasonable action is purely subjective.    To members of al-Qaeda  actions such as flying planes into buildings  are reasonable given their beliefs.  In their case there is no conflict between the two.

 

       Nevertheless, maintaining consistency between actions and beliefs in no way validates either the action or the beliefs.

                    

I'm a right wing atheist because I enjoy being hated by everyone.


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jeffreyalex wrote: I'm

jeffreyalex wrote:

 

I'm listening. All I'm hearing is nice words, though. 

I'm hearing that you and many members of our species feel outrage at sights of violence and experience feelings of strong attachment to your families, and that this is a result of evolution which favored such behavior for its use to the survival of the species. 

Natural selection randomly selected such behaviors for their value to species survival, therefore they are objective goods morally binding on all members of the species? No.

Can you cite evidence to the contrary ? Can you prove or make a valid argument that morality is otherwise ? You keep countering that morality has to be MORE than simply a byproduct of human evolution. Yet there is simply no evidence to prove otherwise. I have no problem with the concept that something spiritual may exist beyond intrinsic human values, but until such evidence is demonstrated to me, I see no reason to believe so. 

jeffreyalex wrote:

 

If natural selection began to favor aggressiveness violence and sociopathic tendencies and strong in-group favoritism for the survival of our species into the future, then all those would lead to objective moral goods very different than ours. In fact, it would make things we would call moral, immoral. That's exactly because the morals are not objective. 

If you visited this future species and observed a member of it demonstrating compassion, etc., I think you would either admit that it seemed he was behaving objectively right or you would admit that "oh well, for this species this behavior just isn't morally right". In fact, by your reasoning, you would have to admit that the compassionate member of the species is behaving precisely immorally, if what is moral is what evolution selected for species survival. 

 

There is no guarantee that such a thing may/may not happen. However, I would point out that every nightmare society was generally founded on the belief of making a BETTER future rather than a dystopian one. 

The Inquisition did not torture and burn all of those people in the name of immorality. They did so because they whole heartedly believed that it was the right thing to do. 

If our species were to head towards entropy a lot faster and favor more violent tendencies, then I would think that it would not last very long. But, where is it guaranteed that the human race will survive or move to higher purposes ? 

Our millions of years of history would seem to point in that direction, but that guarantees nothing. Again, I still does not see how that argument would deny that morality is a subjective term. 

I don't like the idea that I am going to grow old and die. All of the arguing and theorizing is not going to change that. Unless science comes up with some sort of viable alternative.

“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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jeffreyalex

jeffreyalex wrote:

tonyjeffers wrote:

jeffreyalex wrote:

ProzacDeathWish wrote:

jeffreyalex wrote:

                          

    A god may not be morally good—a god may be morally indifferent. However, the existence of suffering is compatible with the existence of a good god. 

 

                 How do you know what a god may be ?  How did you determine the inclinations of a god you've never met much less communicated with ?

 

 

Well, God could be good, God could be evil, or God could be neither or both. That covers all the bases. Similarly, if I got a car for my birthday but didn't know what color it was (not having seen it, yet), I could say "my car may be dark blue". It's a logical possibility. If you showed that there is no longer a drop of dark blue paint in existence, then it would be a logical impossibility. 

'God may be good' is a proposition. If you can show that God absolutely cannot be good then go for it, otherwise it is a logical possibility that God may be good. 

 

Jeffrey. I'm sorry to interrupt a good conversation here, but I've been meaning to ask you-   Do you  pray?  If so would you be so kind as to tell us in what manner. - do you address him/it by name "God" or " a god" etc. ?

 If you don't pray, then please tell us why you don't.

I think this would bring to light and maybe help nail down your "beliefs" or the theme or your philosophies.  If you wouldn't mind? Just wondering?

 

Sure. That's a good question and I'm happy to answer it. 

I don't pray on a regular basis. When I have prayed it's always been a very similar prayer. 

First, I don't know what to address. I think "God", "Spirit", "Universe", "Whatever is out there", then I qualify it in my head with an "...if you exist." After that I say I'm sorry IF I've fallen short in some way. Then I ask to be led to truth, to see clearly. At that point, I recognize that as a kind of silly request: If there is something which would grant such a request, then the truth must be that there is such a thing. If there is no such thing, then there is nothing which would lead me to truth versus confusion. I end with a sense of gratefulness and an expression of love for God and for creation, in general. 

So if you can call that prayer, then yes, I sometimes pray. If it's relevant, when I do pray I do it on my knees with my head down to the ground. 

 

I see this thread has addressed this question since I asked, so forgive any repetition, as I have just browsed thru the replies. After i escaped the clutches of chistianity, prayer in the "if you exist" form was the last thing to shake off. I'm sure many would tell you the same. Eventually you have to tell yourself to stop talking to yourself. It's mental illness in it's most basic form.-like a brain-washing hang-over.

I see no other way to break it down than this-

We all know the basic drives and purposes for prayer.- worship, guidance, assistance, confession, and even general conversation, etc. 

the direct act of prayer for someone who truly believes in their god is not entirely irrational thinking in itself. Their belief in a god with no evidence is really what is irrational in the first place.

You said " I think "God", "Spirit", "Universe", "Whatever is out there", then I qualify it in my head with an "...if you exist.". 

 There are really only three options here. You are attempting to telepathically worship or communicate with an entity, physical object, or a "whatever". -all being addressed as "YOU"

So your 'whoever' is unidentified and  your 'whatever' is being personified when you speak to it in your head and address it as "you".

It is irrational to talk to a being unless you truly believe it exists. Again I say the initial belief and prayer as a whole is what is irrational. And to talk to an inconceivable object is crazier yet.  It would be more logical to talk to something that you at least had proof of or some concept of it's existence, like the sun, a tree stump, or statue, than to talk to something you can't even define.

If you were praying out-loud and someone faintly overheard you in the next room and they asked you "who the hell were you talking to in there?"- your only logical answer could be "I don't know who or what I was talking to"

If you went to a christian home and they asked you to lead them in grace to jesus, would you? If you did would you not just think you were talking to an imaginary figure?

What makes your telepathic conversations more rational than theirs?  They at least think they are talking to a "who" they believe exists and has a name, and not a "whatever" or "whoever".

Are you being entirely honest, or have you named your god?  And when you  tell him or it "if YOU exist" do you ever apologize for doubting his or it's existence?

I've went thru all this shit myself.  It's all batshit madness. Good news is people can have a full recovery.

First step is accepting that there is no "whoever" or "whatever" out there taking personal requests to intervene with your miniscule existence nor does something or someone that doesn't make it's existence evident require your worship.

If you disagree why not just name your god? Really what could it hurt? It would make your conversations simpler. Just give it an everlasting disclaimer that you are naming it just to make things easier and you won't have to clarify every time. Surely such a god wouldn't forget or hold it against you anyway since it doesn't reveal it's name.

Just call it "BUB". 

I'm making this sound silly cuz that's exactly what it is.  I clearly remember battling this bullshit. I even use to to give god the disclaimer of "not the god of Abraham" after first tossing the bible aside and wasn't ready to let go of god yet.

I can laugh at myself now cuz I know I was just a victim of brain-washing and early indoctrination.  But I don't laugh when it comes to the agressors and religion that poisoned my mind.

"...but truth is a point of view, and so it is changeable. And to rule by fettering the mind through fear of punishment in another world is just as base as to use force." -Hypatia


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tonyjeffers wrote:   I

tonyjeffers wrote:

 

 

 

I see this thread has addressed this question since I asked, so forgive any repetition, as I have just browsed thru the replies. After i escaped the clutches of chistianity, prayer in the "if you exist" form was the last thing to shake off. I'm sure many would tell you the same. Eventually you have to tell yourself to stop talking to yourself. It's mental illness in it's most basic form.-like a brain-washing hang-over.

I see no other way to break it down than this-

We all know the basic drives and purposes for prayer.- worship, guidance, assistance, confession, and even general conversation, etc. 

 

I'm making this sound silly cuz that's exactly what it is.  I clearly remember battling this bullshit. I even use to to give god the disclaimer of "not the god of Abraham" after first tossing the bible aside and wasn't ready to let go of god yet.

I can laugh at myself now cuz I know I was just a victim of brain-washing and early indoctrination.  But I don't laugh when it comes to the agressors and religion that poisoned my mind.

Tony,

I went through the same thing with prayer after I left the Catholic Church. I flirted with meditation and new-ager stuff and even buddhism for a while. 

My last prayers went like this " God, I don't know who you are, what you are where you are or if you are, but if you will help me get through this, I promise to do better and try harder,". 

I said that for several months before realizing that it never worked and was a waste of my time. I said it over dying friends, desperation over the loss of a job and house, said in gratitude when things went well and then realized that it ultimately meant nothing. 

Prayers and petitions were the last things to go. 

“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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Why do you behave morally Jeff

jeffreyalex wrote:

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

jeffreyalex wrote:

I have no question you, as an atheist, can TALK about good or bad anymore than you can talk about unicorns or toilet paper. I'm saying that you're not really talking about anything when you talk about good or bad, at least nothing that even minimally obligates me to behave in any certain way. 

 

I am forced to conclude you are not listening. 

 

I'm listening. All I'm hearing is nice words, though. 

I'm hearing that you and many members of our species feel outrage at sights of violence and experience feelings of strong attachment to your families, and that this is a result of evolution which favored such behavior for its use to the survival of the species. 

Natural selection randomly selected such behaviors for their value to species survival, therefore they are objective goods morally binding on all members of the species? No. 

 

If natural selection began to favor aggressiveness violence and sociopathic tendencies and strong in-group favoritism for the survival of our species into the future, then all those would lead to objective moral goods very different than ours. In fact, it would make things we would call moral, immoral. That's exactly because the morals are not objective. 

If you visited this future species and observed a member of it demonstrating compassion, etc., I think you would either admit that it seemed he was behaving objectively right or you would admit that "oh well, for this species this behavior just isn't morally right". In fact, by your reasoning, you would have to admit that the compassionate member of the species is behaving precisely immorally, if what is moral is what evolution selected for species survival. 

 

 

Are you having personal sessions with the master of the universe or do you just tell yourself what's right in your own mind, blindly and with no supernatural support? It's the latter, obviously. I find it so difficult talking to you at times. You too, make your own meaning. You tell yourself there is some bedrock but you cannot know this to be true. You then have the temerity to suggest our moral sense is based on nothing when we tell you it is based on the relationships we have with the real human beings and other real life forms around us. Which of us is deceiving themselves? What is this core moral truth you claim you know that is not an unproven fallacious appeal to consequence and thus entirely irrational?

Your insistence on objective moral value necessarily driven by your own arbitrary feelings and cultural values does your argument no credit. I find it quite bizarre that you insist the feelings humans have for those they care about must constitute some universal constant of moral good to have personal and group meaning which, in the case of mental concepts like morality, is all the meaning it can have. You can't measure goodness, only feel it. 

And similarly, I struggle with your consistent application of false dichotomy (based on reading too many online news feeds, perhaps)  that the world is more evil than it is good. You claim the unusual is the normal. You ignore the measurable facts. That highly social cooperative behaviour between humans is the norm and it is the norm because the most socially adept and caring of us are the most functional of us, the most loved of us, and historically constitute the most successful breeding pairs. 

This quote, appeal to authority that it is, is something a man told a classroom full of enthralled Brooklyn schoolkids in 1980. And it applies to all of us in this space time, Jeff, theist or atheist. He said:

"We live on a mundane planet, orbiting a mundane star on the outskirts of a mundane galaxy...we make our world significant by the courage of our questions and the depth of our answers."

He was Carl Sagan and what he said was true. Don't just say these are only words. Instead, if you can measure moral meaning, tell us how. Give us your objective moral hypothesis that is not expressed thus: "It must be so or else it's bad, meaningless, hurtful to that universally objective yardstick otherwise known as the limbic system of Jeff..." 

 

 

 

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


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ProzacDeathWish

ProzacDeathWish wrote:

jeffreyalex wrote:

 

The question is, Is action A reasonable given belief B?

 

 

      What one considers reasonable action is purely subjective.    To members of al-Qaeda  actions such as flying planes into buildings  are reasonable given their beliefs.  In their case there is no conflict between the two.

 

       Nevertheless, maintaining consistency between actions and beliefs in no way validates either the action or the beliefs.

                    

 

Okay. I'll take that as an admission that you had absolutely no point when you said that it makes no sense for an agnostic to pray, and therefore I must be a theist. I have shown, and you have agreed, that given agnostic belief, it is reasonable to pray. 

So, there is no inconsistency between my being an agnostic and me praying. 


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tonyjeffers

tonyjeffers wrote:

jeffreyalex wrote:

tonyjeffers wrote:

jeffreyalex wrote:

ProzacDeathWish wrote:

jeffreyalex wrote:

                          

    A god may not be morally good—a god may be morally indifferent. However, the existence of suffering is compatible with the existence of a good god. 

 

                 How do you know what a god may be ?  How did you determine the inclinations of a god you've never met much less communicated with ?

 

 

Well, God could be good, God could be evil, or God could be neither or both. That covers all the bases. Similarly, if I got a car for my birthday but didn't know what color it was (not having seen it, yet), I could say "my car may be dark blue". It's a logical possibility. If you showed that there is no longer a drop of dark blue paint in existence, then it would be a logical impossibility. 

'God may be good' is a proposition. If you can show that God absolutely cannot be good then go for it, otherwise it is a logical possibility that God may be good. 

 

Jeffrey. I'm sorry to interrupt a good conversation here, but I've been meaning to ask you-   Do you  pray?  If so would you be so kind as to tell us in what manner. - do you address him/it by name "God" or " a god" etc. ?

 If you don't pray, then please tell us why you don't.

I think this would bring to light and maybe help nail down your "beliefs" or the theme or your philosophies.  If you wouldn't mind? Just wondering?

 

Sure. That's a good question and I'm happy to answer it. 

I don't pray on a regular basis. When I have prayed it's always been a very similar prayer. 

First, I don't know what to address. I think "God", "Spirit", "Universe", "Whatever is out there", then I qualify it in my head with an "...if you exist." After that I say I'm sorry IF I've fallen short in some way. Then I ask to be led to truth, to see clearly. At that point, I recognize that as a kind of silly request: If there is something which would grant such a request, then the truth must be that there is such a thing. If there is no such thing, then there is nothing which would lead me to truth versus confusion. I end with a sense of gratefulness and an expression of love for God and for creation, in general. 

So if you can call that prayer, then yes, I sometimes pray. If it's relevant, when I do pray I do it on my knees with my head down to the ground. 

 

I see this thread has addressed this question since I asked, so forgive any repetition, as I have just browsed thru the replies. After i escaped the clutches of chistianity, prayer in the "if you exist" form was the last thing to shake off. I'm sure many would tell you the same. Eventually you have to tell yourself to stop talking to yourself. It's mental illness in it's most basic form.-like a brain-washing hang-over.

I see no other way to break it down than this-

We all know the basic drives and purposes for prayer.- worship, guidance, assistance, confession, and even general conversation, etc. 

the direct act of prayer for someone who truly believes in their god is not entirely irrational thinking in itself. Their belief in a god with no evidence is really what is irrational in the first place.

You said " I think "God", "Spirit", "Universe", "Whatever is out there", then I qualify it in my head with an "...if you exist.". 

 There are really only three options here. You are attempting to telepathically worship or communicate with an entity, physical object, or a "whatever". -all being addressed as "YOU"

So your 'whoever' is unidentified and  your 'whatever' is being personified when you speak to it in your head and address it as "you".

It is irrational to talk to a being unless you truly believe it exists. Again I say the initial belief and prayer as a whole is what is irrational. And to talk to an inconceivable object is crazier yet.  It would be more logical to talk to something that you at least had proof of or some concept of it's existence, like the sun, a tree stump, or statue, than to talk to something you can't even define.

If you were praying out-loud and someone faintly overheard you in the next room and they asked you "who the hell were you talking to in there?"- your only logical answer could be "I don't know who or what I was talking to"

If you went to a christian home and they asked you to lead them in grace to jesus, would you? If you did would you not just think you were talking to an imaginary figure?

What makes your telepathic conversations more rational than theirs?  They at least think they are talking to a "who" they believe exists and has a name, and not a "whatever" or "whoever".

Are you being entirely honest, or have you named your god?  And when you  tell him or it "if YOU exist" do you ever apologize for doubting his or it's existence?

I've went thru all this shit myself.  It's all batshit madness. Good news is people can have a full recovery.

First step is accepting that there is no "whoever" or "whatever" out there taking personal requests to intervene with your miniscule existence nor does something or someone that doesn't make it's existence evident require your worship.

If you disagree why not just name your god? Really what could it hurt? It would make your conversations simpler. Just give it an everlasting disclaimer that you are naming it just to make things easier and you won't have to clarify every time. Surely such a god wouldn't forget or hold it against you anyway since it doesn't reveal it's name.

Just call it "BUB". 

I'm making this sound silly cuz that's exactly what it is.  I clearly remember battling this bullshit. I even use to to give god the disclaimer of "not the god of Abraham" after first tossing the bible aside and wasn't ready to let go of god yet.

I can laugh at myself now cuz I know I was just a victim of brain-washing and early indoctrination.  But I don't laugh when it comes to the agressors and religion that poisoned my mind.

 

But I grew up without a religion, without religious friends or family, no religious education. I didn't grow up praying or reading religious texts or surrounded by people at home, in school, or in the community who were religious. 

And I don't pray for anything, I don't ask for anything, I don't make promises. I don't need the conversation, I have friends. I don't need encouragement, I have a good life. I'm not scared to be out of control, I know I can take care of myself no matter what. 

You describe getting rid of religious indoctrination as a recovery from alcoholism or something and you're giving me advice on how to make the same recovery. But I never had the disease. I've been exactly where you are now. I've been exactly the atheist you are; and I've never been the religiously indoctrinated person you were. 

I was a kid, I had a few thoughts a year about Is there a God, and then, by my mid-teens I became an atheist. I made every single point you've made and every single point I've seen on this forum, and many points I'm surprised no one here makes. However, my own journey of reason has led me to hold that there are reasons to believe God exists. 

 

As far as how I address whatever I'm praying to, it's just a convention of language. I tried to sort of convey some of my thoughts in prayer to you, using language, but I don't really speak in my head and I don't pray out loud. I don't know if God exists, but I'm inclined to think so. I sure as heck have no idea what to call it but I know I can't call it "I" and I know it's not an object, which leaves "you". It's a convenient word. 

 

As far as what my prayer amounts to, I think it would be something of an acknowledgment, a 'message in a bottle'. Why do people write those? Not because they're certain anyone will ever read them, that's for sure—but possibly someone will. The question remains, What is the content of my message? It's something like "I don't know what to say, but if you're reading this... Hi, thanks".

You think, for some reason, that you know the explanation and psychology of my agnostic's prayer. I actually think you're very wrong. 


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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

jeffreyalex wrote:

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

jeffreyalex wrote:

I have no question you, as an atheist, can TALK about good or bad anymore than you can talk about unicorns or toilet paper. I'm saying that you're not really talking about anything when you talk about good or bad, at least nothing that even minimally obligates me to behave in any certain way. 

 

I am forced to conclude you are not listening. 

 

I'm listening. All I'm hearing is nice words, though. 

I'm hearing that you and many members of our species feel outrage at sights of violence and experience feelings of strong attachment to your families, and that this is a result of evolution which favored such behavior for its use to the survival of the species. 

Natural selection randomly selected such behaviors for their value to species survival, therefore they are objective goods morally binding on all members of the species? No. 

 

If natural selection began to favor aggressiveness violence and sociopathic tendencies and strong in-group favoritism for the survival of our species into the future, then all those would lead to objective moral goods very different than ours. In fact, it would make things we would call moral, immoral. That's exactly because the morals are not objective. 

If you visited this future species and observed a member of it demonstrating compassion, etc., I think you would either admit that it seemed he was behaving objectively right or you would admit that "oh well, for this species this behavior just isn't morally right". In fact, by your reasoning, you would have to admit that the compassionate member of the species is behaving precisely immorally, if what is moral is what evolution selected for species survival. 

 

 

Are you having personal sessions with the master of the universe or do you just tell yourself what's right in your own mind, blindly and with no supernatural support? It's the latter, obviously. I find it so difficult talking to you at times. You too, make your own meaning. You tell yourself there is some bedrock but you cannot know this to be true. You then have the temerity to suggest our moral sense is based on nothing when we tell you it is based on the relationships we have with the real human beings and other real life forms around us. Which of us is deceiving themselves? What is this core moral truth you claim you know that is not an unproven fallacious appeal to consequence and thus entirely irrational?

Your insistence on objective moral value necessarily driven by your own arbitrary feelings and cultural values does your argument no credit. I find it quite bizarre that you insist the feelings humans have for those they care about must constitute some universal constant of moral good to have personal and group meaning which, in the case of mental concepts like morality, is all the meaning it can have. You can't measure goodness, only feel it. 

And similarly, I struggle with your consistent application of false dichotomy (based on reading too many online news feeds, perhaps)  that the world is more evil than it is good. You claim the unusual is the normal. You ignore the measurable facts. That highly social cooperative behaviour between humans is the norm and it is the norm because the most socially adept and caring of us are the most functional of us, the most loved of us, and historically constitute the most successful breeding pairs. 

This quote, appeal to authority that it is, is something a man told a classroom full of enthralled Brooklyn schoolkids in 1980. And it applies to all of us in this space time, Jeff, theist or atheist. He said:

"We live on a mundane planet, orbiting a mundane star on the outskirts of a mundane galaxy...we make our world significant by the courage of our questions and the depth of our answers."

He was Carl Sagan and what he said was true. Don't just say these are only words. Instead, if you can measure moral meaning, tell us how. Give us your objective moral hypothesis that is not expressed thus: "It must be so or else it's bad, meaningless, hurtful to that universally objective yardstick otherwise known as the limbic system of Jeff..."  

 

I, myself, am baffled at the twists and turns and vagueness and appeal to what feels right and waxing eloquent of your 'arguments'. I can see why that's necessary: you need to stir up a sense of meaning and profoundness to work in place of reason. If that's not what you think you're doing, then we'll just have to agree to disagree. 

 

I want the rest of this post to be very clear. I want you to clearly understand what I AM saying (and what I am NOT saying).

I'm not bringing up false dichotomies, I'm not saying unless we believe in God we'll all run amok, I'm not saying we can't get along without objective morals, I'm not even saying I know the truth of the matter regarding what's moral, nor am I saying God necessarily means there are objective morals.

I'm making one point. Please, make this clear in your mind, and either agree or disagree. I'm saying OBJECTIVE MORALITY DOES NOT EXIST ON ATHEISM. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Atheistextremist
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And it's clear

 

 

jeffreyalex wrote:

 

I, myself, am baffled at the twists and turns and vagueness and appeal to what feels right and waxing eloquent of your 'arguments'. I can see why that's necessary: you need to stir up a sense of meaning and profoundness to work in place of reason. If that's not what you think you're doing, then we'll just have to agree to disagree. 

I want the rest of this post to be very clear. I want you to clearly understand what I AM saying (and what I am NOT saying).

I'm not bringing up false dichotomies, I'm not saying unless we believe in God we'll all run amok, I'm not saying we can't get along without objective morals, I'm not even saying I know the truth of the matter regarding what's moral, nor am I saying God necessarily means there are objective morals.

I'm making one point. Please, make this clear in your mind, and either agree or disagree. I'm saying OBJECTIVE MORALITY DOES NOT EXIST ON ATHEISM. 

 

 

that I am saying objective morality does not exist in theism. That we both base our sense of right and wrong on things that cannot be measured but that in some of your arguments it seems you are saying that you do not.  

Many times you have argued that the existence of morality argues for god. Now you seem to want to move the goalposts. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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