Why shouldn't practice irrational things anyway?

jes
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Why shouldn't practice irrational things anyway?

Clearly, there are some difficult questions that both Theists and Atheists are asked to answer. There are two points both parties are fairly evenly matched at. One is the beginning of the universe or first cause problem. The second is the mind body problem.

The Theistic position is irrational only in so far as it proposes a supernatural event takes or took place rather than a natural one. In the world we observe, there are no supernatural events, so we can infer that a supernatural event did not once occur (at the dawn of time), to then never be seen again, or that it magically works on one place (within the mind) and no where else in nature. As always, the position of the Atheist relies on probability and rational inference, rather than extreme possibility or a commitment-to-a-deductive-proof-or-anything-goes mentality. Am I being cynical?

A Theistic response does lend a helping hand to physical problems we have trouble comfortably explaining, such as the mind body problem, or the problems we have fathoming energy and matter truly never being created or destroyed (emphasis on CREATED).

To be frank, it IS hard to imagine that the universe has simply existed, with no starting point. And the problems that come with the mind body problem are far too numerous and complex to really get into here. The Theist may find some comfort here; however, I feel it is short lived. Primarily theists almost always belong to some religious sect. This is THEIR downfall.

A real irrational jump comes in when we talk about the transition from theism to Christianity. Even IF we wish to accept that theism must be accountable for some aspect of our being, ANY answer involving a story about God, (Christianity, Judaism, any Islamic tradition, the Greek Gods, the Roman Gods, the Flying Spaghetti Monster) all seem equally as likely, given you can invent ANY story about your God to fit in nicely with the observable world. Though it seems easy to by into a theistic position, any position you take beyond that is pure extrapolation.

-Jes

I think that I ought to say that I am an Atheist, because, when I say that I cannot prove that there is not a God, I ought to add equally that I cannot prove that there are not the Homeric gods. - Bertrand Russel


jes
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Why shouldn't practice irrational things anyway?

There are two sides to man. Rational and emotional. Both of which are imperative for a good life, and neither of which should be neglected. Ironically, I often see Atheists who do serve a God: Rationality. Many Atheists feel that anything emotional is bad and must be shunned. They feel the almighty rationality must be held high, and revered. It must be obsessed over and sought after and protected at all costs. However, rationality is a tool. It is a tool that serves man, and man must not serve it.

Consider this: without a commitment to emotionality, how would you love? How would you enjoy a sunset? How would you have a hobby? Why would you live? There is no formulaic logical proof that would convince me logically to enjoy life. That is the job of the emotional side of man

You might think to yourself that because you are an Atheist, you are a being whose life is ruled strictly by reason and rationality. This is probably false. For example, can you rationally justify the moral decisions you make. Independent of any sort of Theistic system of morals, there are many moral theories that float around, none of which is that much more rationally compelling than the next. Can you rationally justify not giving more money to the needy? Can you rationally justify having a baby of your own flesh and blood instead of adoption? Can you rationally justify eating meat? Can you rationally justify the system of government you buy into? Moreover, can you justify it enough to give yourself a healthy advantage over the opposing view point. Remember, Atheists tout not JUST a rational explanation, but a rational explanation that is far and above the opposing view point to serve as ?an answer from the best explanation?.

The answer is: Probably not. Really, it is extremely difficult, very tiring and boring to live a strictly rational life

So, why is Theism different? If you want to talk in the STRICT sense of doing something to make you feel good, there is NO reason to abandon theism. People are happy go lucky idiots about all sorts of things, why not let them be happy about God and Jesus.

Of course, once you talk about people using theistic arguments to make decisions about your life, and they are not forced to justify their answers in a way that gets any rational man on board, you run into problems. Without a standard of rationality in the decisions that affect other people, you abandon any sort of necessary explanation at all. You could just as easily say that abortion is illegal because God said so as you could say that we all must wear pink underwear because bananas grow upside down (by the way, DO bananas grow upside down? I?m inclined to say we actually eat them upside down, but that is a different thread, I?m sure).

So, while its pretty easy to explain why Theism is irrational, I have a rough time saying you shouldn?t believe or practice it BECAUSE its irrational, given the immense number of irrational practices and inconsistencies most people practice without second thought. Moreover, I'd like to see the rational reason why you shouldn't do something irrational (meaning more WITHOUT reason, rather than directly opposed to it).

I do feel comfortable shunning irrational practice is when those beliefs very directly affect my physical and emotional freedom. How often that is, might be a different article.

I think that I ought to say that I am an Atheist, because, when I say that I cannot prove that there is not a God, I ought to add equally that I cannot prove that there are not the Homeric gods. - Bertrand Russel


jes
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Oh damnit

Ok, I ment to post this in the area with the "why is theism irrational to you" thread.

I've never used a message board before.

I'm... sorry. I suck.

Just go there to reply, if you want.

-jessie

I think that I ought to say that I am an Atheist, because, when I say that I cannot prove that there is not a God, I ought to add equally that I cannot prove that there are not the Homeric gods. - Bertrand Russel


Sapient
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Re: Oh damnit

jes wrote:
Ok, I ment to post this in the area with the "why is theism irrational to you" thread.

I've never used a message board before.

I'm... sorry. I suck.

Just go there to reply, if you want.

-jessie

Actually that would be the wrong place to post it since the rules were to post a piece about the irrationality of theism, not to question why we can't hold irrational beliefs. This place is perfect but in the wrong forum. I'm condensing all of your posts into one thread, and putting it in the irrational precepts section.

- Brian Sapient


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Equilibrium
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Why shouldn't practice irrational things anyway?

Interesting, jes. Most Straight Theists do not claim that they are experiencing God in their spiritual minds - merely proposing stupid arguments related to the beginning of the universe.

Nevertheless, I see Reason as the chief guardian of Emotion (spirit), they must not be viewed as mutually exclusive.

The first cause argument is easily refuted by modern Cosmology. Richard Carrier stated the conclusion best: If God-the-creator existed, he would have had to make the universe look exactly like it would if God didn't exist. The level of Unintelligent Design clearly shows this.

Mind/Body has one piece of evidence - why do we have large oxygen-sucking organs called Brains if mind and body were seperate? Mind and Body are clearly linked in this way, but the nature of consciousness and the deepest workings of the human psyche are even more difficult to talk about than the existence of God.

As to claiming Supernatural - it is indeed irrational, and a horrible violation of Ockham's Razor. I believe everything is natural - that it is possible for our minds to evolve with increasing power. What we know as Supernatural is actually very natural and very possible - but we cannot analyze such mysteries by speculating.

"Character is higher than intellect... A great soul will be strong to live, as well as to think."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson


jes
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Why shouldn't practice irrational things anyway?

Equilibrium wrote:

Mind/Body has one piece of evidence - why do we have large oxygen-sucking organs called Brains if mind and body were seperate? Mind and Body are clearly linked in this way, but the nature of consciousness and the deepest workings of the human psyche are even more difficult to talk about than the existence of God.

I am not suggesting that the mind and body are seperate, rather that mental states take place in the physical brain, but are NOT bound the the laws of cause and effect. To say they are removes the ability for us to think "freely". While that is possible, I'm inclined to say there is a better answer somewhere.

I think that I ought to say that I am an Atheist, because, when I say that I cannot prove that there is not a God, I ought to add equally that I cannot prove that there are not the Homeric gods. - Bertrand Russel


jes
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first cause

Equilibrium wrote:
The first cause argument is easily refuted by modern Cosmology. Richard Carrier stated the conclusion best: If God-the-creator existed, he would have had to make the universe look exactly like it would if God didn't exist. The level of Unintelligent Design clearly shows this.

While this argument suits the Atheist well against the Christian, there are many people who feel as if there must have been SOMETHING that started the universe in some way (thus being its own cause and effect... supernatural yadda yadda). There is no reason a supernatural being could or even WOULD have NOT have created such a universe.

This is the conceivability aspect of the appeal of Theism I was talking about. Not that I buy into it, but I don't think the answer "the universe exists as it always has since matter cannot be created or destroyed" sits well with most people.

It does, however, get them to shut up. Which is just as satisfying.

I think that I ought to say that I am an Atheist, because, when I say that I cannot prove that there is not a God, I ought to add equally that I cannot prove that there are not the Homeric gods. - Bertrand Russel


Equilibrium
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Why shouldn't practice irrational things anyway?

Such things are completely non-cognitive at this time. However, any dimension (including time) can theoretically be infinite.

The Unmoved mover does not solve the problem, and creates only the potential for error - logically it can be dismissed until more is known.

A lot of things make Theists shut up.

"Character is higher than intellect... A great soul will be strong to live, as well as to think."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson


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I'm not going to give an

I'm not going to give an entire rebuttal, because I'm tired right now. but I'll rebut a couple of points:

jes wrote:
Ironically, I often see Atheists who do serve a God: Rationality.
attempting to define "rationality" as "god"?
rationality is a completely different, irreconcilable notion to that of a god.

simply put, a god in the traditional sense is supposed to be a creator of the universe. a physical entity.

rationality is merely a concept. it is the name given to things which make sense.

if you were to define rationality as a god, then that implies that rationality is the creator of the universe.
and that is simply, irrational.

Quote:
Many Atheists feel that anything emotional is bad and must be shunned.
broad generalisation without merit or evidence. and quite simply, a false one at that.

no, Atheists do not believe that emotions are "bad"
we simply do not use emotion to answer questions about the existance of the universe.

"why are we here?"
"because the universe likes us"
"why is the universe here?"
"because it enjoys existing"

the examples above show that emotions simply do not apply when answering logical questions. but that has absolutely no relation to what we think of emotions.


neon
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I'm pretty tired of people

I'm pretty tired of people defining anything that someone does a lot, or likes a lot, as "a god." That's not what the word means.


reason_passion
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neural problem

jes wrote:
I am not suggesting that the mind and body are seperate, rather that mental states take place in the physical brain, but are NOT bound the the laws of cause and effect.

So, as all mental states are physical and physical reality necessarily coincides with cause and effect relationships (not always one for one) how do you propose that you're not saying they're separate?

jes wrote:
To say they are removes the ability for us to think "freely".

And here, I think, is where thought is curbed by squeemishness. I do hope you're not hooked on the cartesian assumption of free-floating will, where our thoughts are free in that they have no connection to the laws of cause and effect. If you are, it would be best to clarify just what it is your're talking about, as the only means of having a free-floating will is to have mind and brain separate and then bring in another reality or settle in to naturalistic dualism. I do hope it isn't the latter, because there's already a discussion going on about that and I'd hate to have to repeat what's already been said.

Every one of your relationships to man and to nature must be a definite expression of your real, individual life corresponding to the object of your will. -Erich Fromm