science vs. religion / search for fact vs. search for comfort? [Kill Em With Kindness]

bodhi smith
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science vs. religion / search for fact vs. search for comfort? [Kill Em With Kindness]

Do religions have a purpose? What do you get for "believing"? 

Think before you respond (if that's possible) it's more complex than you may realize.

 

 


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Quote:"Why do you like

Quote:

"Why do you like cherry ice cream?" (Assuming you do).

Your response: "Because of certain happenings in my body that illicit that sense of satisfaction from cherry ice cream.  Those illicit-ed responses were created because of many "evolutionary pressures" that were exerted on the generations that came before me that predisposed me to respond to eating cherry ice-cream with the sense of satisfaction."
 

 

You left out the most important bit of what I said. The "pleasure" effect is not in fact dependent on genetics (whereas the "acceptable food" bit is). The pleasure is derived in a huge way from another function of the brain, to create pleasurable associations between variously inputted data. It is an important part of how memory is used in the cognitive process, and one effect is the development of preferences for particular forms of input. This is the bit that our incremental experience (unique to everyone) dictates, but it is dependent naturally on our exposure to input and THAT can be controlled, deliberately or as a matter of course, by our cultural and geographical environment.

 

Quote:

I agree with all that you say, except for the notion that "religion" is necessarily a "short circuit."
 

 

I did not say that. The short-circuit is a completely natural process in which we bypass our rationale completely when the situation demands it. We all do it from time to time, it is essentially a fear reflex but we do it also sometimes for completely other reasons. What religion does is exploit that tendency. It exploits in particular the comprehension that we all "must" do it by providing us with ready answers to anticipated curiosity and then employing that "must" to the dodgy data it provides. Where religion is proposed, the subject of obligation is never far behind, and the substance of that obligation is always phrased to appeal to our sense of instinct, not our rationale, whatever pseudo-rational language it may employ in doing so.

 

In effect it hijacks our cognitive ability and cuts off the random lines of inquiry such cognition will potentially follow. It does this in order to impose common behavioural values, to produce conformity where individuality would otherwise prevail, and this has in the past had a traditional social value - hence its survival. What this means nowadays though is that societies which have achieved this aim through another more rational process are still subject to the same archaic religious influences and this has led religion to justify itself with even more appeal to instinct, not less, since its innate social justification is no longer evident or even required.

 

En route this process has led to readily recognisable anomalies which should serve as a signal to the rational mind that religion's function is now a handicap to development and no longer in any way a benefit. The imprisonment of Galileo for telling the truth can almost be used as an analogy for how religion approaches human cognition generally. It requires and demands (and achieves unfortunately) a level of control which counters dissemination of fact except through reference to itself, blithely corrupts fact when it has the potential to harm religion's survival, and ultimately imprisons its subscribers in a very limited cognitive loop of its own devising in which the individual's chances of employing rationale as a means of evaluating data are severely curtailed by its insistence that he or she trust their instinct with as much or more resolve than their deductive powers of reason. What it doesn't do is admit how it has intentionally informed that instinct - that is essentially how the exploitative process works so effectively, and also why those caught in that loop find it really difficult to differentiate between which values, qualities, thought processes and other aspects to the body of knowledge they have acquired have originated with them and which "belong" to their "faith". Religion ultimately takes credit for the entire cognitive process since adherence to it resides in that part of our brain's functionality which transcends rational processes, while the data it provides mimics the results of such processes very successfully.

 

Hence my question about how you, as a theist, would describe the "satisfaction" you derive from your particular belief.

I would rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy


RhadTheGizmo
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Quote:You'd hope ? You're

Quote:
You'd hope ? You're not sure ? But it's your belief. Surely you decide what happens. (Seriously, as far as I know, that's how it works)

Well.. I say "hope".. because, my belief entails the acknowledgment that I cannot know to any absolute certainty the mind of God.. or the way he thinks.

So yes.. I "hope."  If he did send people to the hell you think of.. it would take one hell of a convincing argument to make me belief it was "just."  And if it was not just.. I would not wish to "worship" him.

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That doesn't bother you ? Doesn't that devalue your satisfaction just a little bit ?

The fact that some people like vanilla.. and I like chocolate.. doesn't devalue my satisfaction gained from vanilla.

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Did you really just say that ? You can't possibly be a theist. Isn't the point of religious faith that you stick with it even if , and especially when, it gets detrimental to other people's lives ?

Er.. no.  At least not what I believe.

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And anyway, what would motivate you to try and give it up ? Do you have morals independent of your beliefs ?

Of course I do.  My "morals" influence my belief.. not the other way around.

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Heh, yeah, they're such shy and elusive creatures, these "fundies". So rare too.

Do they look anything like badgers? Because we don't need no stinkin' badgers.

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Could be. Would those people be okay with ID being taught in schools ?

I don't know much about ID. From what I hear, and what I do know, it doesn't seem like something that should be taught in public schools.

That's my personal opinion.. I don't know whether these other people would be.

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Sure. Fine. Just as long as you're not suggesting that their religion makes them better at it.

Of course not.

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Sure, it can co-exist, but that doesn't mean there's a connection.

Well.. there might be a connection for an individual, e.g., "I became a doctor because I believe God wants me to help people."  But an absolute connection? No, of course not.


RhadTheGizmo
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Quote:You left out the most

Quote:
You left out the most important bit of what I said. The "pleasure" effect is not in fact dependent on genetics (whereas the "acceptable food" bit is). The pleasure is derived in a huge way from another function of the brain, to create pleasurable associations between variously inputted data. It is an important part of how memory is used in the cognitive process, and one effect is the development of preferences for particular forms of input. This is the bit that our incremental experience (unique to everyone) dictates, but it is dependent naturally on our exposure to input and THAT can be controlled, deliberately or as a matter of course, by our cultural and geographical environment.

So then.. would this be an accurate summary:

"Why do you like cherry ice cream?" (Assuming you do).

Your response: "Because of certain happenings in my body that illicit that sense of satisfaction from cherry ice cream.  Those illicit-ed responses were created because of my exposure to input and the development of preferences between types of input--which in turn, is affected by a matter of course, cultural and geographical environment, partially genetics."

?

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I did not say that. The short-circuit is a completely natural process in which we bypass our rationale completely when the situation demands it.


Quote:
We all do it from time to time, it is essentially a fear reflex but we do it also sometimes for completely other reasons.


Quote:
What religion does is exploit that tendency. It exploits in particular the comprehension that we all "must" do it by providing us with ready answers to anticipated curiosity and then employing that "must" to the dodgy data it provides.


Quote:
Where religion is proposed, the subject of obligation is never far behind, and the substance of that obligation is always phrased to appeal to our sense of instinct, not our rationale, whatever pseudo-rational language it may employ in doing so.


Quote:
In effect it hijacks our cognitive ability and cuts off the random lines of inquiry such cognition will potentially follow.


Quote:
It does this in order to impose common behavioural values, to produce conformity where individuality would otherwise prevail, and this has in the past had a traditional social value - hence its survival.


Quote:
What this means nowadays though is that societies which have achieved this aim through another more rational process are still subject to the same archaic religious influences and this has led religion to justify itself with even more appeal to instinct, not less, since its innate social justification is no longer evident or even required.


Quote:
En route this process has led to readily recognisable anomalies which should serve as a signal to the rational mind that religion's function is now a handicap to development and no longer in any way a benefit.


Quote:
The imprisonment of Galileo for telling the truth can almost be used as an analogy for how religion approaches human cognition generally.


Quote:
It requires and demands (and achieves unfortunately) a level of control which counters dissemination of fact except through reference to itself, blithely corrupts fact when it has the potential to harm religion's survival, and ultimately imprisons its subscribers in a very limited cognitive loop of its own devising in which the individual's chances of employing rationale as a means of evaluating data are severely curtailed by its insistence that he or she trust their instinct with as much or more resolve than their deductive powers of reason.


Quote:
What it doesn't do is admit how it has intentionally informed that instinct - that is essentially how the exploitative process works so effectively, and also why those caught in that loop find it really difficult to differentiate between which values, qualities, thought processes and other aspects to the body of knowledge they have acquired have originated with them and which "belong" to their "faith". Religion ultimately takes credit for the entire cognitive process since adherence to it resides in that part of our brain's functionality which transcends rational processes, while the data it provides mimics the results of such processes very successfully.


So.. religion is proposed as a fear reflex.  It appeals to instinct, not our rationale.  People grab onto it in order to gain ready answers to curiosity.  In doing so, it creates some behavior uniformity, but also has a tendency to get in the way of progress, both on an individual level and a communal level, that is inconsistent with the religion. 

Would that be a correct summary?


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Quote:So.. religion is

Quote:

So.. religion is proposed as a fear reflex.  It appeals to instinct, not our rationale.  People grab onto it in order to gain ready answers to curiosity.  In doing so, it creates some behavior uniformity, but also has a tendency to get in the way of progress, both on an individual level and a communal level, that is inconsistent with the religion. 

 

Why summarise? You've done this before in discussion and turned the debate from the subject matter to one of the accuracy of your "summarising". It seems you are doing the same thing again, and again your summarising is bad.

 

I did not say religion is a fear reflex. I said religion exploits the inclination to make decisions without using ration which itself is a necessary part of the fear reflex. But I also said it is used by us all for other reasons - intellectual laziness alone must account for much of its use. Religion does not care why the short-circuit exists or how the individual would be inclined to use it. It exploits it regardless.

 

I said our built-in acceptance that we are capable of irrational thinking and are obliged to employ it is exploited by religion in order to infer a sense of obligation. Pitching that sense of obligation is the appeal to instinct therefore, and as religion has lost its previously innate justification for existence at a social level it has come to rely on this appeal to human instinct even more.

 

I don't understand your last part of your summary. I said nothing about religion having "a tendency" to get in the way of progress that is inconsistent with the religion. I don't even know what it means. I did however explain why I think religion obstructs an individual's use of his or her own intellect in a way that makes it very difficult for that individual to detect.

 

The reason I did not present my argument to you in summary form myself is because, as you have amply demonstrated, one ends up distorting one's own meaning and leaving important bits out. If turning the conversation into a polemic about the accuracy of your summaries is preferable to you than engaging in debate then you're on your own. It is tedious to write the same things twice over - once to impart with as much exactitude what I mean, and the second time to correct inferior summarisation on your part.

 

Some topics are not done justice when reduced to sound-bite exchanges. Religion's propogative techniques and the effects they have on cognitive development represent one such subject. If such debate is beyond you, fine. After all, all that I really asked of you was to define exactly what you meant when you compared the satisfaction you receive from a belief in a deity with that of eating an ice cream. Is it so difficult to analyse and explain to a third party something that is a constant in your own life and on which you place value?

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RhadTheGizmo
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Quote:After all, all that I


Quote:
After all, all that I really asked of you was to define exactly what you meant when you compared the satisfaction you receive from a belief in a deity with that of eating an ice cream. Is it so difficult to analyse and explain to a third party something that is a constant in your own life and on which you place value?

No, it's not.  And I did respond.  You felt my response was inadequate.. or "weak."

In order to discern what you meant by that.. I asked further questions, the most relevant of these being, "how can one explain the reasons for a "feeling of satisfaction" without being circular or self-reflexive in their explanation?"

I then proceeded to ask you to explain a situation where it is not the case.

You brought up a satisfaction for ice cream.. to which you attempted to give an explanation without being circular or self-reflexive.

This is part of what you said:
Quote:
You left out the most important bit of what I said. The "pleasure" effect is not in fact dependent on genetics (whereas the "acceptable food" bit is). The pleasure is derived in a huge way from another function of the brain, to create pleasurable associations between variously inputted data. It is an important part of how memory is used in the cognitive process, and one effect is the development of preferences for particular forms of input. This is the bit that our incremental experience (unique to everyone) dictates, but it is dependent naturally on our exposure to input and THAT can be controlled, deliberately or as a matter of course, by our cultural and geographical environment.


I attempted to resummarize it:
Quote:
So then.. would this be an accurate summary:

"Why do you like cherry ice cream?" (Assuming you do).

Your response: "Because of certain happenings in my body that illicit that sense of satisfaction from cherry ice cream.  Those illicit-ed responses were created because of my exposure to input and the development of preferences between types of input--which in turn, is affected by a matter of course, cultural and geographical environment, partially genetics."

?


Surprisingly, you didn't respond to this part.. even though it seemed the MOST relevant part to the original question that you asked.. Instead, you continued on what I considered a tangential topic.  First respond to the issue above.. my summary of your much shorter exposition on "what exactly is being satisfied by the ice cream?" should be less objectionable than my summary of your much longer exposition into why you think people latch onto religion.. and what purpose you think religion serves or what things it exploits.

But.. I will keep my response to that issue on hold.. saved in a file if you still want to see my response to the rest of your post.


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You'll have to run all that

You'll have to run all that by me again as it doesn't make sense.

 

The ice cream was your analogy, not mine. I'm paying you the courtesy of staying within it, but now you're saying that I "brought it up"?

 

You did indeed ask how the feeling of satisfaction can be explained witout circular reasoning employed in the response and I obliged you.

 

Your "summary" in which you put words in my mouth (elicit and illicit are two very different words by the way) is a pastiche of what I took pains to explain to you, an explanation that you requested. ""Because of certain happenings in my body that illicit that sense of satisfaction from cherry ice cream.  Those illicit-ed responses were created because of my exposure to input and the development of preferences between types of input--which in turn, is affected by a matter of course, cultural and geographical environment, partially genetics." This is not a fair representation of what I said, but even if it was, why bother? I've already said what I meant, why attempt to repeat it in an inferior manner? You may not have noticed, but you do not actually make a point of any description yourself. And then you say that it is surprising that I do not respond to it but persist in a "tangential topic" which is, in fact, an answer to the question you asked me?

 

Ok - let's drop the "tangential topic" so and get back to simply answering my question, which despite your claim above, you have not done. You can forget about "summarising" me as it seems to be a pointless exercise if it does not contain a point made by you and in any case is being done incredibly badly.

 

Can you explain to me in what way the satisfaction you derive from a belief in a deity is comparable, as you stated, to that derived from eating an ice cream that you particularly like? And now that we have both agreed to avoid tangents, pointless summarisation and circular reasoning, perhaps the answer this time can be constructed logically - you know, along the lines of "I find the experiences comparable because ....".

 

And try not to say " ... because I just do" or "... because of X reasons." Explain the comparison in other words.

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Easier

Surely, for some, it is easier to believe than to think.....

 

Man does not discover his gods, he invents them. He invents them in the light of his experience and endows them with the capacities that indicate the stage of man's mental development.

As man's knowledge increases and expands, he does not discover new gods, but discards old ones. There has not been put forth a new major religious belief in the last 1300 years.

Religion is most likely an attempt on the part of primitive man to turn his attention away from his short, cruel earthly existence and allow him to focus on a hereafter with all the implications he has given the "hereafter."

The last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument: "It came from god."


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Quote:The ice cream was your

Quote:
The ice cream was your analogy, not mine. I'm paying you the courtesy of staying within it, but now you're saying that I "brought it up"?

I did use it originally.  But when I asked my question to you.. I did not use it.  You decided to use it again.  I guess this may have been a "courtesy."

Quote:
You did indeed ask how the feeling of satisfaction can be explained witout circular reasoning employed in the response and I obliged you.


Quote:
Your "summary" in which you put words in my mouth (elicit and illicit are two very different words by the way) is a pastiche of what I took pains to explain to you, an explanation that you requested. ""Because of certain happenings in my body that illicit that sense of satisfaction from cherry ice cream.  Those illicit-ed responses were created because of my exposure to input and the development of preferences between types of input--which in turn, is affected by a matter of course, cultural and geographical environment, partially genetics." This is not a fair representation of what I said, but even if it was, why bother? I've already said what I meant, why attempt to repeat it in an inferior manner? You may not have noticed, but you do not actually make a point of any description yourself. And then you say that it is surprising that I do not respond to it but persist in a "tangential topic" which is, in fact, an answer to the question you asked me?

Okay.

Quote:
Ok - let's drop the "tangential topic" so and get back to simply answering my question, which despite your claim above, you have not done. You can forget about "summarising" me as it seems to be a pointless exercise if it does not contain a point made by you and in any case is being done incredibly badly.

If you say so.

Quote:
Can you explain to me in what way the satisfaction you derive from a belief in a deity is comparable, as you stated, to that derived from eating an ice cream that you particularly like? And now that we have both agreed to avoid tangents, pointless summarisation and circular reasoning, perhaps the answer this time can be constructed logically - you know, along the lines of "I find the experiences comparable because ....".


First, your original question was "Can you please define what exactly is being satisfied by your theistic belief?"

That is completely different then what you are asking now which is to "compare satisfaction derived from eating ice cream to belief in a deity."

I will answer the first..

I can employ the term "satisfy" with regard to myself in many ways. The most relevant way, for the purpose of your question, is why am I "satisfied" by "believing in a deity."  When I use the word "satisfied" in this sense, I am using it to express a feeling I perceive myself to have, much like "happiness," "sadness," "fear," etc.

These "feelings" are not based upon "sensory input" per se, instead, they can be derived from mere mental creations such as, for example, imagining a raining day might make me feel "comforted."

With regard to this sort of "satisfied" the answer to "why are you satisfied by a belief in God" is easy to explain.  In this case, a perceived reality or imagination [of a God] creates inputs that are received by chemoreceptors in one part of my brain from another.  The resultant impulses are distributed through my neurons (the bit that is common to all of us) and then on to other parts of my brain, in a pattern which is unique to each person.

How exactly my hippocampus and hypothalamus react has been conditioned genetically but also by associative incremental experience.

Memory, in fact, plays a significant role in deciding whether or not the neurological impulses then reach the part that creates the feeling of "satisfaction."

We as a species are generally uniform in what is painful to think about and what is not, but remarkably unique individually in deciding which particular thoughts evokes the "satisfaction."


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bodhi smith wrote:Do

bodhi smith wrote:

Do religions have a purpose? What do you get for "believing"? 

Think before you respond (if that's possible) it's more complex than you may realize.

 

 

High. They get the self-delusional person opiate like high. This enables people to survive by enabling them to enure misery.

It's an opiate for the individual but poison for society.

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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Yes, GaiusJanus - all sound

Yes, GaiusJanus - all sound points. But what we're dealing with on this thread (at least at the moment) is how a not-so-primitive man in a modern context interprets and explains his committment to such a belief in a way that conforms to ration, logic and reason.

 

The original poster asked what the theist "gets" from his or her theism. It was generally agreed that this should not necessarily imply that theists were simply in it for a reward, but that some feeling must accrue from the committment nevertheless or it would indeed be meaningless. Then along came a claim from a theist that it elicits a satisfaction akin to eating a particularly yummy ice cream. This deserved a little bit more analysis (a lot more actually) since it seems at first glance to be a very tenuous association, let alone a justification for faith that conforms to ration, logic and reason.

 

And here we are still waiting.

 

[Hasty edit] no we are not - a reply has arrived.

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Quote:With regard to this

Quote:

With regard to this sort of "satisfied" the answer to "why are you satisfied by a belief in God" is easy to explain.  In this case, a perceived reality, or imagination, creates  input that are received by chemoreceptors in other areas of my brain.  The resultant impulses are distributed through my neurons (the bit that is common to all of us) and then on to other parts of my brain, in a pattern which is unique to each person.

How exactly my hippocampus and hypothalamus react has been conditioned genetically but also by associative incremental experience.

Memory, in fact, plays a significant role in deciding whether or not the neurological impulses then reach the part that creates the feeling of "satisfaction."

We as a species are generally uniform in what is painful to think about and what is not, but remarkably unique individually in deciding which particular thoughts evokes the "satisfaction."

 

Why have you chemoreceptors in your brain? Is such a disfigurement of the organ an essential part of being religious?

 

But then, you haven't really a clue what you're talking about here, have you? You have simply attempted to paraphrase my description of how taste and smell trigger pleasure in one's brain and hope that it applies to faith.

 

You describe a process of transmission of thoughts created by the imagination via neurons. Can you explain what you mean by this? Distribution of what, and by what, and why? I thought I understood basic brain processes but this unattributable transmission theory is new to me.

 

You then take the "learnt associative emotion" principle and apply it to religious faith. So, what I have been saying all along is true then - the good feelings evoked by religious adherence are completely the result of conditioning since the predisposition is all that is resident in the brain's more primitive components but is fed by incremental experience (not a concept ever to be confused with knowledge - a whole other thing entirely) which apparently cannot distinguish between input derived purely from the imagination and that grounded in more dependable sensory input. You are admitting to having been brainwashed in other words, and that is tremendously honest of you.

 

Your last statement cries out for citation in its support. Are we really uniform in agreeing what is painful to think about? I can think of several things which are extremely uncomfortable to think about but which apply only to me. I can think of even more things which are uncomfortable to think about or cause me to "feel bad" as a result of my social conditioning, something which also produces wide degrees of variation throughout the species. Only your final statement - that we show marked variation in what gives us particular pleasure - rings true, but your explanation as to why religious adherence evokes it is remarkable and confirms my worst suspicions about religion and its role as inhibitor of cognitive development.

 

Are you sure paraphrasing the process of taste and smell analysis is the way to go here? Perhaps you need a little while to rethink?

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GaiusJanus wrote:There has

GaiusJanus wrote:

There has not been put forth a new major religious belief in the last 1300 years.

Wrong.  Atheism was started by Richard Dawkins in 2006.   


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Whereas "bad joke-ism"

Whereas "bad joke-ism" probably predates religion itself!


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I'd just like to echo

I'd just like to echo Pineapple here and say it's not necessary to be getting something out of belief, you can just believe because you actually think there is a god. You can come to thinking there is a God because you've looked into the proposition and found something of it convincing - and it was looking into it that you did for gain while believing was something of what you gained from doing it and that is the long and short of the whole thing.

Pineapple is right that the question is loaded. In my opinion this is a perfectly good explanation as to why someone would believe. I don't buy the rhetoric, Hamby, you don't have to be impaired to have a belief founded on intellectual reason.

 

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Quote:Why have you

Quote:
Why have you chemoreceptors in your brain? Is such a disfigurement of the organ an essential part of being religious?

I guess I should of looked up what a chemoreceptor was.  Apologies.  I assumed it was something, I was wrong.

Quote:
But then, you haven't really a clue what you're talking about here, have you?


You'd be surprised.

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You have simply attempted to paraphrase my description of how taste and smell trigger pleasure in one's brain and hope that it applies to faith.

Not hope but believes that it does.

Quote:
You describe a process of transmission of thoughts created by the imagination via neurons. Can you explain what you mean by this?

I'd imagine that "imagination" is created in some area of the brain.. and in order to get any sort of stimulation from it.. it must be transfered to those areas that evoke some sort of perceived stimulation.

Quote:
Distribution of what,

Electrical impulses

Quote:
and by what,

Neurons

Quote:
and why?


Because I have been conditioned genetically as well as associative incremental experience.  Memory plays a significant role in deciding whether or not the neurological impulses reach the part of the brain that creates the feeling of "satisfaction." 

Quote:
I thought I understood basic brain processes but this unattributable transmission theory is new to me.

Unattributable?

Quote:
You then take the "learnt associative emotion" principle and apply it to religious faith.


Quote:
So, what I have been saying all along is true then - the good feelings evoked by religious adherence are completely the result of conditioning since the predisposition is all that is resident in the brain's more primitive components but is fed by incremental experience (not a concept ever to be confused with knowledge - a whole other thing entirely) which aparently cannot distinguish between input derived purely from the imagination and that grounded in more dependable sensory input.

This is such a convoluted sentence, it's incredible.

(1) So what you have been saying all along is true:
(a) good feelings evoked by religious belief are the result of conditioning, since
(i) predisposition is all that is resident in the brain's more primitive components but
(ii) is fed by incremental experience which
(iii) cannot distinguish between input derived from imagination and that grounded in sensory input.

Quote:
You are admitting to having been brainwashed in other words, and that is tremendously honest of you.

It happens. 

But, to clarify, "brainwashed" suggests external conditioning.. you did not state that as the type of conditioning you were speaking of above.

How much is external conditioning and how much is internal, I cannot say.  I have always admitted, however, that it is possible that I have been brainwashed (i.e., that my belief was substantially created through external conditioning).

Quote:
Your last statement cries out for citation in its support. Are we really uniform in agreeing what is painful to think about? I can think of several things which are extremely uncomfortable to think about but which apply only to me. I can think of even more things which are uncomfortable to think about or cause me to "feel bad" as a result of my social conditioning, something which also produces wide degrees of variation throughout the species.

All true.  Perhaps, in this case, as in my use of the word chemoreceptors, was a bad place to paraphrase.  Yet, it's truth or non-truth, appears to be immaterial to the question.

Quote:
Only your final statement - that we show marked variation in what gives us particular pleasure - rings true, but your explanation as to why religious adherence evokes it is remarkable and confirms my worst suspicions about religion and its role as inhibitor of cognitive development.

I only suggest that you consider the possibility that substantial "internal conditioning" and predisposition is what results in the good feelings evoked by religious beliefs... instead of "external conditioning" (i.e., brainwashing) and predisposition.

In fact, I'm not sure the "external conditioning" would apply at all necessarily.  A belief could be completely based upon a predisposition to believe that belief.  I'm fine with that proposition.  (Not to suggest that one cannot condition himself not believe such a belief or be subject to "external conditioning" that would lead him to go against his predisposition)

A person may believe in a loving God and, in accordance with my explanation, was probably predisposed to believe that because he was predisposed to gain good feelings from the belief..  That does not mean that external circumstances, e.g., the death of his wife, the loss of his limbs, could not "condition" him to believe the belief anymore).

I say this even though the statement "incremental experience which cannot distinguish between input derived purely from the imagination and that grounded in more dependable sensory input" presents some confusion for me.

(1) Why can't incremental experience distinguish between input derived from within the mind and that grounded in more "dependable sensory input"?
(2) If the end result of the "incremental experiences" and the "conditioning" is a beneficial feeling, what does it matter whether it is grounded within the mind or in more "dependable sensory input"?


Quote:
Are you sure paraphrasing the process of taste and smell analysis is the way to go here? Perhaps you need a little while to rethink?

I conceded points where I should not have paraphrased.. but in all other parts, I believe, it is still accurate.


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Quote:... you don't have to

Quote:

... you don't have to be impaired to have a belief founded on intellectual reason.

 

Do you mean reasoning or a reason?

 

If the former can you share the evidential information used to inform your reasonng?

If the latter can you explain why an intellectual reason alone, without evidence, is necessarily sufficient to found a lifestyle upon?

Most essentially, if you can produce evidence that you have deemed sufficient basis upon which to draw intellectual conclusions, can you explain how you evaluate its worth?

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Nordmann wrote:Quote:... you

Nordmann wrote:

Quote:

... you don't have to be impaired to have a belief founded on intellectual reason.

 

Do you mean reasoning or a reason?

Latter, I've typo'ed it should read 'an intellectual reason'.

Nordmann wrote:

If the latter can you explain why an intellectual reason alone, without evidence, is necessarily sufficient to found a lifestyle upon?

It's not, but belief is not a lifestyle. I think we might have crossed wires here, I was answering the OP's second question, but maybe I shouldn't have since my answer doesn't relate to the first question at all. I can give you a purpose for theology, but not for religion, I don't believe religion has much of a valuable purpose of itself, though some traditions in religion do have symbolic and practical purpose. For example meditation is practically purposeful, prayer is symbolically purposeful, in my opinion.

 

Nordmann wrote:

Most essentially, if you can produce evidence that you have deemed sufficient basis upon which to draw intellectual conclusions, can you explain how you evaluate its worth?

Yeah, you test it against reality, against your experiences and knowledge of reality. Why?

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Quote:I conceded points

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I conceded points where I should not have paraphrased.. but in all other parts, I believe, it is still accurate.

 

Incremental experience as the expression normally applies to brain function is an "information gathering" exercise based on exposure to stimuli and the resultant perception of reality which accrues. In the process we build up memories, but we also build up the ability to cross-reference the input as it comes in with that already stored. Knowledge, at least in the strict sense of the term, is something else that accrues eventually in the process, but is neither the prime purpose of the exercise nor in any way guaranteed. Memory itself does not constitute knowledge, but our reliance on memory is vital. Another way of putting this is that absolutely knowing something to be true, in terms of ensuring survival, is way secondary to believing it to be true based on our incremental experience. As long as that experience is fed by generally dependable source data informing rather basic cognitive function we can get by being pig-ignorant about almost everything.

 

You however have stated categorically that this process can, in the case of being religious, be used as a parallel to a similar process whereby religious faith is acquired - the necessary precursor to it then going on to evoke feelings of satisfaction, pleasure etc. But of course you have had to include the imagination as a source of sensory input in order to make the claim ring true. Imagination, the ability to invent constructs not necessarily related to any survivalist function or basic need, is what might be better termed a higher function of the brain. In your model of how the brain works such constructs, which might be as fanciful as the imagination allows, are employed as sensory input feeding what is a more basic application of the organ. You have placed something that exists at the end of a sequence right back at its beginning. But you have not said why the brain should do this, or how this works mechanically - and neither is it anything that I have ever come across before. That is why I need you to explain the attribution of purpose to the process.

 

In fact your analysis, while I don't think it is in any way supportable evidentially, does however illustrate the subversion principle I referred to earlier and how religion hijacks the brain's requirement to process information quickly without necessarily ever attempting to cross-reference, store or otherwise relay the information to an area devoted to cognitive reasoning. You are happy to reverse the cognitive process as an acceptable explanation for how you acquired your faith. To do this required cognition on your part, but you are using cognition to justify its demotion to the role of input. The motivation to do this - place reason behind sensation in terms of the sequence of operation - requires explanation.

 

So while you might think you have been accurate, I am afraid I still find your argument vague.

 

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Quote:Yeah, you test it

Quote:

Yeah, you test it against reality, against your experiences and knowledge of reality. Why?

 

Because I'm wondering just how objectively the conclusion that religion makes sense can be arrived at. It's the old question of evidence again. The theist claims that he or she has tested their faith experientially against reality and their knowledge of reality, but when pressed can rarely if ever suggest the objective criteria employed in this test, or why their subsequent decision is not therefore a totally subjective bias which, by definition, can never really be tested at all.

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Nordmann wrote:Quote:Yeah,

Nordmann wrote:

Quote:

Yeah, you test it against reality, against your experiences and knowledge of reality. Why?

 

Because I'm wondering just how objectively the conclusion that religion makes sense can be arrived at.

I don't think, as I said, that religion can make sense, so I don't know of an objective way to arrive at that conclusion. On the other hand, if by religion you mean religious writings and concepts, the objective manner of reaching the conclusion that they do or do not make sense is to let them "speak for themselves". Because religious evangelism sets up an expectation that theological works should speak for the religious following and for their projected notions rather than for the author, that probably rarely happens. And I suspect in countries where religious preaching is very overwhelming and political that it's especially difficult to read religious text without anxieties and emotions. I credit my non-religious upbringing for giving me the ability to read theological texts with basically impassive curiousity.

Nordmann wrote:

It's the old question of evidence again. The theist claims that he or she has tested their faith experientially against reality and their knowledge of reality, but when pressed can rarely if ever suggest the objective criteria employed in this test, or why their subsequent decision is not therefore a totally subjective bias which, by definition, can never really be tested at all.

I find that when it comes to this issue people expect evidence for too many things at once. If someone wants evidence for a reasonable belief in God they tend to want proof of faith, souls, revelation, omnipotence, omniscience, creationism and a solution to the problem of evil in a one word sentence or nothing, so to speak. This is too much to ask, not because a person necessarily cannot produce it but because a clear and rational discussion necessarily cannot contain it.

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 Quote:I find that when it

 

Quote:

I find that when it comes to this issue people expect evidence for too many things at once. If someone wants evidence for a reasonable belief in God they tend to want proof of faith, souls, revelation, omnipotence, omniscience, creationism and a solution to the problem of evil in a one word sentence or nothing, so to speak. This is too much to ask, not because a person necessarily cannot produce it but because a clear and rational discussion necessarily cannot contain it.

 

I'm patient, Eloise - not that this has helped of course.

 

 

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Quote:So while you might

Quote:
So while you might think you have been accurate, I am afraid I still find your argument vague.

Fair enough.  It's not as late now, hopefully I can do a little better.

Quote:
Incremental experience as the expression normally applies to brain function is an "information gathering" exercise based on exposure to stimuli and the resultant perception of reality which accrues. In the process we build up memories, but we also build up the ability to cross-reference the input as it comes in with that already stored. Knowledge, at least in the strict sense of the term, is something else that accrues eventually in the process, but is neither the prime purpose of the exercise nor in any way guaranteed. Memory itself does not constitute knowledge, but our reliance on memory is vital. Another way of putting this is that absolutely knowing something to be true, in terms of ensuring survival, is way secondary to believing it to be true based on our incremental experience. As long as that experience is fed by generally dependable source data informing rather basic cognitive function we can get by being pig-ignorant about almost everything.

Got it.

 
Quote:
You however have stated categorically that this process can, in the case of being religious, be used as a parallel to a similar process whereby religious faith is acquired - the necessary precursor to it then going on to evoke feelings of satisfaction, pleasure etc.

Rephrase, unclear.

Quote:
But of course you have had to include the imagination as a source of sensory input in order to make the claim ring true. Imagination, the ability to invent constructs not necessarily related to any survivalist function or basic need, is what might be better termed a higher function of the brain.

Imagination was not the only word I used.  I also used a phrased "perceived reality."  This was meant, not as a synonym for imagination, but as its own separate thing meant to qualify the use of the word imaginations. (e.g., although I don't believe I am "imagining" the existence of God, which would suggest incorrectness, I realize that other people on this forum might.  In order to satiate them, I use the word to cover that possible basis).

Although related to imagination, which uses external information to create new or merely replicate the same information within the mind, "perceived reality," as I used it, may "imagine" things, but may also be the product of knowledge and external experience. 

For example, one would not say that I "imagine" that my wife loves me (not that I'm married) but would rather say I "believe" or "perceive" that she does.  This perception is based upon a predisposition to believe your life partner will love you as well as knowledge, regarding what you are taught about "love" and what it means with regard to a relationship and how one is meant to be treated, and experience, e.g., the way the person has actually treated you in the past.

Quote:
In your model of how the brain works such constructs, which might be as fanciful as the imagination allows, are employed as sensory input feeding what is a more basic application of the organ. You have placed something that exists at the end of a sequence right back at its beginning. But you have not said why the brain should do this, or how this works mechanically - and neither is it anything that I have ever come across before. That is why I need you to explain the attribution of purpose to the process.

I never said the brain "should do this" and as for how it works mechanically, I thought it was clear.  The imagination, or the "perceived reality," are not spontaneously created.  Instead, acting upon the predisposition of the person, the person combines external information (and knowledge) in a way that leads him to a particular conclusion, which in this case is a "perceived reality" which may or may not include something "imagined."

Quote:
In fact your analysis, while I don't think it is in any way supportable evidentially, does however illustrate the subversion principle I referred to earlier and how religion hijacks the brain's requirement to process information quickly without necessarily ever attempting to cross-reference, store or otherwise relay the information to an area devoted to cognitive reasoning.

And this is where I think you are wrong.. at least.. this statement is not necessarily the explanation that must be derived.

Quote:
You are happy to reverse the cognitive process as an acceptable explanation for how you acquired your faith.

I don't think I reversed it at all, I think you are misinterpreting what I have said.. or at least, inferring what I did not imply.

Quote:
To do this required cognition on your part, but you are using cognition to justify its demotion to the role of input. The motivation to do this - place reason behind sensation in terms of the sequence of operation - requires explanation.

While I do feel that "imagination" can be, in some sense, an input, I do not suggest, and I thought it was clear, that this "imagination" does not have motivation.

Back to using the phrase "perceived reality." 

I was introduced to the concept of God at a very young age.  Whether or not I actually knew what it meant or believed it, is entirely unclear.  Nevertheless, that does not change that as I grew up I continually questioned the idea because I was prompted by new knowledge about how the world worked scientifically and how it "should" work based upon a concept of an "all loving God," and experience, e.g., what actually happens in the world and how this made me feel.

As I grew up, I was continually able to make compatible the two ideas, the existence of God with qualities XYZ, and the way the world worked in actuality as well as what I had learned through my education.

This was a practice in "reason."  Through such reason, I realizd that the "God" was never a necessary conclusion of the facts I was given, merely a possible one.

However, when presented with the two options of holding onto a belief in God or giving it up for the other possible (what I considered equally possible conclusion, that there was no God) conclusion, I decided to stay with the belief because it, as I said earlier, it provided (a) meaning that a pure-evolutionary model did not and (b) hope that a purely historic model did not.

The idea that "meaning could not be had for me based on a pure-evolutionary model," was also based upon knowledge and experience, and the cross referencing between the two.  Knowledge was gained that suggest to me that all things come to an end, species become extinct, and are merely forgotten except for a picture within a book.  Experience had taught me, then whenever something I've done is forgotten, that it felt almost meaningless that I had ever done it in the first place.

Hope that a purely historical-model could not provide, likewise, was created through a cross referencing of knowledge and experience.  The knowledge was countless history classes as well was current news.  The experience was my own shortcomings in my life that occurred even thought I foresaw the shortcomings and tried to avoid them, and how such experiences left me feeling hopeless. 

All things seemed to suggest a circular movement, suggesting, the grande scheme of things, the way we treated each other as a species will never change as well as individually I will never be able to live up to my ideal.  The concept of "God," is merely the concept, thing, or entity, which I fit in to fill in the gap left by the "not alone" at the end of these conditional statements "If I can't change => hopeless, If not hopeless => I can change, If alone => can't change, If change => not alone, therefore, If not hopeless => can change => not alone."

Please don't get to much on the issues of "what does change mean? why don't you feel you are your ideal? why would you stop trying to change merely because you have failed in the past?"

I will try to answer it now.  Change, in the grande scheme of things, means reaching my individual ideal regarding how I treat other people.  I don't feel I am my ideal because my internal moral compass still suggests I am not, and I find myself apologizing many times to people I know.  As for why I would stop trying to change, I wouldn't.  My belief does not require that I stop trying merely because I cannot alone.

(Earthquake happened.. JUST RIGHT NOW.  That was a bit unnerving.. heh).

And now I can't type anymore because the house is going to fall down. :P  No time to even spell or grammar check.
 

 


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What Theists Get

It appears that theist "get" a way to turn their attention from the crises of life using something that is familiar and passed down through time...... belief.

The last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument: "It came from god."


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Rhad, you're doing a great

Rhad, you're doing a great job explaining something about how you justify your continuation of a belief in a supernatural being to yourself. But you're not actually employing much logic in doing so, leaving me with the impression still that you favour your subjective (and unsubstantiated by actual evidence) decision over objective fact.

 

You asked for clarification regarding why I think you are drawing a parallel that doesn't apply.

 

Imagination is the ability to perceive and visualise internally those perceptions. Perceived reality is therefore only a phrase for part of that process. The crucial point is that both are features of the brain's higher function. Imagination functions with minimal direct input and the minimum amount of stored input - we see no great difference in MRI scans conducted on new-born babies and adults - but we know that accrued memory plays a huge role in how the process leads to improved ability to internally visualise, the key step towards effective cognitive reasoning, and that the biggest step is taken in early childhood.

 

But the brain throughout our lives retains a more primitive functionality, and sensory perception is included amongst these. All the memories and the thoughts constructed from them arrived via a much more basic and primitive route. Even memory itself is temporarily stored in the limbic lobes before being sent further, a function which facilitates flight from danger for example, and it is the limbic system (the hippocampi, the hypothalamus etc) which is also responsible for many of our basic emotions and emotional responses. Sexual urges, terror, warm fuzzy feelings - they all originate there. So it is not just a relay station, it is a thinking apparatus too - just not as well informed as the frontal lobes, but has first crack at processing incoming data. It is also the area where cross referencing begins to take place, and this is crucial to what we are talking about.

 

The limbic system components are not capable of evaluating much beyond very basic thinking and response. Is this dangerous? Should I run? Where should I run? Anything still within short-term memory is referenced in order to decide and act as quickly as possible. All the senses feed into it. It is immediate stuff. But it is not all one-way traffic. It is open to suggestion (dangerously so, sometimes). It corresponds with other parts of the brain almost in an interrogative manner. Should I go back the way I came? Is there a better way out of this predicament? Do I remember anything which might help me here? If the situation allows it and enough of these questions are answered positively then activity switches to those areas better able to assimilate and process the required data. A similar process takes place if we are physically attracted to a member of the opposite sex. We do not act immediately on our impulse and rape another person because other parts of our brain kick in with better data which serve as a crucial control filter.

 

Now it seems to me that what you were hypothesising was a reversal of the interrogative process. If you weren't, then maybe you should have been. This is in fact something that does happen occasionally. When we watch a horror film for example we "suspend" the control - the bit where we know it's only a film - and let our limbic system have a ball. We call it entertainment. The limbic nodes, while not taking over, are allowed free rein to emote and the frontal lobes reduce their activity almost to that of a tape machine. With some people this reversed traffic ability becomes almost like a leakage. Ideas and notions formed by and resident in the frontal lobes are fed back to the limbic system as perceived reality, to use your phrase. There they function exactly as sensorily perceived input would and excite emotion, and even further thought which is then sent back. We know that this is what's happening when people report feelings of "ecstacy", for example. It is not quite a surrender to emotion but the wilful reversal of a process within the brain in which the limbic nodes become the brain's central reference point for the duration. Higher function does not stop but it puts itself to the service of feeding its more primitively established companion within the organ.

 

When the reversal function is not designed to achieve exaggerated emotional states it can still be employed in other respects. Delusional people, for example, are often typified by their failure to distinguish between that data which has come normally through the limbic system and that which has been recycled. People who watch soap operas and talk about it as if they have witnessed real life have done some of this recycling. The archetypal madman who thinks he is Napoleon is doing it too.

 

Rationality - the forcing of all incoming data to eventually run the gauntlet of credibility in the part of the brain best equipped to apply logic, the frontal lobes - is the opposite. When one runs god through this process it falls down completely. Without any association with warm fuzzy feeling or access to notions which have been through the limbic system more than necessary, god and all the received notions must be analysed using only logic, and if they fail the analysis must be rejected.

 

The rest of your post is a personal, and honestly portrayed, account of how you yourself have tried to rationally account for your religious belief. I do not doubt that it is true. But throughout your account you fail to reference or even wonder if some of the input data on which your decision has been based has not been through a process internally that renders it faulty, at least when it comes to the application of logic. Maybe in light of my clarification you can answer that, and just maybe, answer the original question - which is still out there.

 

Remember, the ice cream and all?

 

Hope I'm not talking to a PC under a pile of rubble, by the way - how did the quake go?

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Quote:Imagination is the

Quote:
Rhad, you're doing a great job explaining something about how you justify your continuation of a belief in a supernatural being to yourself. But you're not actually employing much logic in doing so, leaving me with the impression still that you favour your subjective (and unsubstantiated by actual evidence) decision over objective fact.

You've asked me to explain a feeling of satisfaction I gain from a belief, not to justify it.  That being said, it is the satisfaction itself that justifies the continuation of the belief.  But, in case you infer what I do not wish to imply, that satisfaction is predicated upon a belief that I am cross-referencing objective fact (and knowledge) with the personal experience (the supposed satisfaction I get from the belief) on a continuing basis to review whether they are still consistent with one another.

Since you have asked me to explain a feeling of satisfaction.. of course the impression I leave with you will suggest a favoring of subjective decision.. for the feeling itself is highly subjective.  Yet, I feel, as if the conversation is turning more towards the idea of "justifying the continuation of a belief" rather than "explaining why I feel something."  If that is the case, then I will have focus more on the predicate of the satisfaction which the is the perceived "cross referencing" that takes place.  In order to do that.. I need to understand some things, which you were kind enough to write about in the following post.. and to which I ask questions to clarify more so as I can answer in your terms and not my own, even though we might be talking (effectively) of the same things.

Quote:
Imagination is the ability to perceive and visualise internally those perceptions. Perceived reality is therefore only a phrase for part of that process. The crucial point is that both are features of the brain's higher function. Imagination functions with minimal direct input and the minimum amount of stored input - we see no great difference in MRI scans conducted on new-born babies and adults - but we know that accrued memory plays a huge role in how the process leads to improved ability to internally visualise, the key step towards effective cognitive reasoning, and that the biggest step is taken in early childhood.

Okay.

 
Quote:
But the brain throughout our lives retains a more primitive functionality, and sensory perception is included amongst these. All the memories and the thoughts constructed from them arrived via a much more basic and primitive route. Even memory itself is temporarily stored in the limbic lobes before being sent further, a function which facilitates flight from danger for example, and it is the limbic system (the hippocampi, the hypothalamus etc) which is also responsible for many of our basic emotions and emotional responses. Sexual urges, terror, warm fuzzy feelings - they all originate there. So it is not just a relay station, it is a thinking apparatus too - just not as well informed as the frontal lobes, but has first crack at processing incoming data. It is also the area where cross referencing begins to take place, and this is crucial to what we are talking about.

Okay.

Quote:
The limbic system components are not capable of evaluating much beyond very basic thinking and response. Is this dangerous? Should I run? Where should I run? Anything still within short-term memory is referenced in order to decide and act as quickly as possible. All the senses feed into it. It is immediate stuff. But it is not all one-way traffic. It is open to suggestion (dangerously so, sometimes). It corresponds with other parts of the brain almost in an interrogative manner. Should I go back the way I came? Is there a better way out of this predicament? Do I remember anything which might help me here? If the situation allows it and enough of these questions are answered positively then activity switches to those areas better able to assimilate and process the required data. A similar process takes place if we are physically attracted to a member of the opposite sex. We do not act immediately on our impulse and rape another person because other parts of our brain kick in with better data which serve as a crucial control filter.

Okay.

Quote:
Now it seems to me that what you were hypothesising was a reversal of the interrogative process. If you weren't, then maybe you should have been. This is in fact something that does happen occasionally. When we watch a horror film for example we "suspend" the control - the bit where we know it's only a film - and let our limbic system have a ball. We call it entertainment.

Suspension of disbelief.

Quote:
The limbic nodes, while not taking over, are allowed free rein to emote and the frontal lobes reduce their activity almost to that of a tape machine. With some people this reversed traffic ability becomes almost like a leakage. Ideas and notions formed by and resident in the frontal lobes are fed back to the limbic system as perceived reality, to use your phrase. There they function exactly as sensorily perceived input would and excite emotion, and even further thought which is then sent back. We know that this is what's happening when people report feelings of "ecstacy", for example. It is not quite a surrender to emotion but the wilful reversal of a process within the brain in which the limbic nodes become the brain's central reference point for the duration. Higher function does not stop but it puts itself to the service of feeding its more primitively established companion within the organ.

What higher function are you talking about in this case? Unclear to me.  You've said that imagination is a higher function.. but you've used the phrase, I believe, to refer to other things as well.  So I just wanted to know exactly what function you are speaking of.

Quote:
When the reversal function is not designed to achieve exaggerated emotional states it can still be employed in other respects. Delusional people, for example, are often typified by their failure to distinguish between that data which has come normally through the limbic system and that which has been recycled. People who watch soap operas and talk about it as if they have witnessed real life have done some of this recycling. The archetypal madman who thinks he is Napoleon is doing it too.

"Come normally," as in, through actual real life happenings.. and "recycled" as in, those that are fed back in from the frontal lobes as "perceived reality."  Correct?

 
Quote:
Rationality - the forcing of all incoming data to eventually run the gauntlet of credibility in the part of the brain best equipped to apply logic, the frontal lobes - is the opposite. When one runs god through this process it falls down completely. Without any association with warm fuzzy feeling or access to notions which have been through the limbic system more than necessary, god and all the received notions must be analysed using only logic, and if they fail the analysis must be rejected.

This seems to be the general consensus on these forums.. yet I have never seen it shown to be true.  Whether or not my feeling derived from belief in a God-figure exists is the product of normal limbic system traffic or recycled limbic traffic, is a question that exists independent of whether or not a God figure can logically exist.

I can not believe in God, not get a good feeling in a belief in God, and still make the case that a God-figure can logically exist.  The logic used to argue that is, hopefully, objective.  And so, independent of subjective feelings, I should be able to make the case for or against his possible existence, assuming a case can be made.

 
Quote:
The rest of your post is a personal, and honestly portrayed, account of how you yourself have tried to rationally account for your religious belief. I do not doubt that it is true. But throughout your account you fail to reference or even wonder if some of the input data on which your decision has been based has not been through a process internally that renders it faulty, at least when it comes to the application of logic. Maybe in light of my clarification you can answer that, and just maybe, answer the original question - which is still out there.

By "through a process internally that renders if faulty," you are referring to the recycled traffic in the limbic system? Or something else?

Quote:
Remember, the ice cream and all?

I do.  Do you want me to compare the feeling of satisfaction in my belief with that of ice cream?  Once again, let me point out, that this was not your "original question."  Your original question was just to explain "exactly how I am satisfied by a belief in a deity."

Quote:
Hope I'm not talking to a PC under a pile of rubble, by the way - how did the quake go?

5.8, epicenter some 15 miles away.  Quite a jolt.. haven't had something like that for awhile.  Nothing compared to the Northridge one a few years back.


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Quote:... of course the

Quote:

... of course the impression I leave with you will suggest a favoring of subjective decision.. for the feeling itself is highly subjective. 

 

It's individual, but it is subjective in a manner transparent to logical analysis. At least if it relates to the satisfaction derived from eating one's favourite food etc. That can be readily explained, and given the verifiable data, demonstrated. Which begs a question about "satisfaction" derived from non-verifiable data.

 

Quote:

What higher function are you talking about in this case? Unclear to me.  You've said that imagination is a higher function.. but you've used the phrase, I believe, to refer to other things as well.  So I just wanted to know exactly what function you are speaking of.
 

 

The higher function is the ability of the prefrontal area of the frontal lobes - that is where we concentrate, attend, and elaborate thought. It is referred to as the "gatekeeper" for that reason, since it is assumed that without it we cannot have a comprehensive understanding of anything, we lose the ability to search for particular memories, and most essentially we lose the ability to apply logic and reason to what we are thinking. We lose our judgement, in other words. So yes, this area is employed very much in what we call imagination. But crucially to the topic in hand, should it function simply as a retrieval system of memory for processing elsewhere then it can lead not only to impaired judgement but to actual delusion.

 

Quote:

"Come normally," as in, through actual real life happenings.. and "recycled" as in, those that are fed back in from the frontal lobes as "perceived reality."  Correct?
 

 

Correct. Anecdotal evidence is a typical example of evidence that undergoes such recycling. We learn quite a lot from narratives, for example, be they films, books or whatever, and often when we have "suspended our disbelief". It is necessary up to a point since we cannot always wait for direct empirical evidence to present itself, but over-reliance on this process cannot lead to guaranteed sound judgement. Too much often has been edited for the more logical part of the mind to trust its veracity.

 

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This seems to be the general consensus on these forums.. yet I have never seen it shown to be true.  Whether or not my feeling derived from belief in a God-figure exists is the product of normal limbic system traffic or recycled limbic traffic, is a question that exists independent of whether or not a God figure can logically exist.
 

 

Only if it suits you to regard it as independent. Since the inputted data is anecdotal in nature it most definitely should, in my opinion, have much to bear on whether a god figure can logically exist.

 

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I can not believe in God, not get a good feeling in a belief in God, and still make the case that a God-figure can logically exist.  The logic used to argue that is, hopefully, objective.  And so, independent of subjective feelings, I should be able to make the case for or against his possible existence, assuming a case can be made.
 

 

And I think I have offered you one logical reason why you cannot do it.

 

Quote:

By "through a process internally that renders if faulty," you are referring to the recycled traffic in the limbic system? Or something else?

 

It was an over simplification of the reversal process on my part but, yes. The parts of the brain are interdependent and when all is functioning as it should the traffic pattern is rather stable. But reversals or aberrations are not always the fault of illness, bad design or anything else internally. The "brainwashing" reference earlier is one typical example of how this process can be fundamentally affected externally, but the average person's life is riddled with others, less malevolent examples. What I was referring to was data that presents itself for cognitive analysis which has been derived as much from internal reference to the limbic and other more basic components as it has from sensory input. Science is, in reality, an attempt to bypass this aberration by placing all deduction reliant on directly experienced input. God doesn't get through that process, that's for sure.

 

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I do.  Do you want me to compare the feeling of satisfaction in my belief with that of ice cream?  Once again, let me point out, that this was not your "original question."  Your original question was just to explain "exactly how I am satisfied by a belief in a deity."


 

I'm sorry to lose the ice cream. I was looking forward to it. I could have constructed a whole new theory regarding the religious experience and the hippocampi, and simultaneously explained why god seems to be a matter of personal taste for some people at the same time. Guess the nobel prize can wait a bit.

 

Good to hear the house is still standing. One up the road from me has just had a hole blasted in its roof from a fork lightning hit and I've been without mains power for two hours. I'm expecting to see trees and cars floating past my window shortly. Seems to be that kind of day.

 

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RhadTheGizmo
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Hey Nord, I'm actually

Hey Nord, I'm actually beginning to enjoy this conversation.  Heh. Smiling I will try to get a response in within the next 24 hours.


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Quote:It's individual, but

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It's individual, but it is subjective in a manner transparent to logical analysis.

As is most everything.

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At least if it relates to the satisfaction derived from eating one's favourite food etc. That can be readily explained, and given the verifiable data, demonstrated. Which begs a question about "satisfaction" derived from non-verifiable data.

I see.  I think you're using non-verifiable data a bit narrowly... so let me see if I'm right:

One concludes from the actions his partner takes with him that she loves him.  Is his internal perception of love a bit of "non-verifiable data"? Or if it is not, is it not "non-verifiable data" because the data which was used to derive this internal perception (a piece of data itself?) is verifiable data?

Quote:
The higher function is the ability of the prefrontal area of the frontal lobes - that is where we concentrate, attend, and elaborate thought. It is referred to as the "gatekeeper" for that reason, since it is assumed that without it we cannot have a comprehensive understanding of anything, we lose the ability to search for particular memories, and most essentially we lose the ability to apply logic and reason to what we are thinking.

Alright.

Quote:
We lose our judgement, in other words. So yes, this area is employed very much in what we call imagination. But crucially to the topic in hand, should it function simply as a retrieval system of memory for processing elsewhere then it can lead not only to impaired judgement but to actual delusion.

Got it.

Quote:
Correct. Anecdotal evidence is a typical example of evidence that undergoes such recycling. We learn quite a lot from narratives, for example, be they films, books or whatever, and often when we have "suspended our disbelief". It is necessary up to a point since we cannot always wait for direct empirical evidence to present itself, but over-reliance on this process cannot lead to guaranteed sound judgement. Too much often has been edited for the more logical part of the mind to trust its veracity.

Got it.

Quote:
Only if it suits you to regard it as independent. Since the inputted data is anecdotal in nature it most definitely should, in my opinion, have much to bear on whether a god figure can logically exist.

But.. see.. you're attaching them.. and I guess I still don't understand.

One one hand, we have the ability to explain a feeling as a product of X or Y, and on the other hand the ability to make a logical construct that includes a god-figure and that is consistent with verifiable data.

The first failing may be a product of my less-then-stellar knowledge in neural-science, the other might be a failing of my knowledge in logical reasoning.  But in neither case, do I believe, can one be said that they are connected.

But, perhaps, just a difference of opinions?

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And I think I have offered you one logical reason why you cannot do it.

Which was?

To this point, I think all that you've offered me is that argument that a feeling of satisfaction derived from a belief in God cannot be trusted.. but, I reassert, that has nothing to do whether it is logically possible for one to exist--as I suggested above.

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It was an over simplification of the reversal process on my part but, yes. The parts of the brain are interdependent and when all is functioning as it should the traffic pattern is rather stable. But reversals or aberrations are not always the fault of illness, bad design or anything else internally. The "brainwashing" reference earlier is one typical example of how this process can be fundamentally affected externally, but the average person's life is riddled with others, less malevolent examples. What I was referring to was data that presents itself for cognitive analysis which has been derived as much from internal reference to the limbic and other more basic components as it has from sensory input. Science is, in reality, an attempt to bypass this aberration by placing all deduction reliant on directly experienced input. God doesn't get through that process, that's for sure.

God doesn't get through what process? The process of science or the process of reliance on "directly experienced input"?

Once again.. this makes me think that the question asked above is rather important.  Whether the perception that another person loves you is "reliant on directly experienced input" or not?

Quote:
I'm sorry to lose the ice cream. I was looking forward to it. I could have constructed a whole new theory regarding the religious experience and the hippocampi, and simultaneously explained why god seems to be a matter of personal taste for some people at the same time. Guess the nobel prize can wait a bit.

Just a bit I'm sure.

Quote:
Good to hear the house is still standing. One up the road from me has just had a hole blasted in its roof from a fork lightning hit and I've been without mains power for two hours. I'm expecting to see trees and cars floating past my window shortly. Seems to be that kind of day.

Hopefully you're not in Oz by now.

there is no place like home,
RtG


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Quote:One concludes from the

Quote:

One concludes from the actions his partner takes with him that she loves him.  Is his internal perception of love a bit of "non-verifiable data"? Or if it is not, is it not "non-verifiable data" because the data which was used to derive this internal perception (a piece of data itself?) is verifiable data?

 

A lot of it is indeed non-verifiable data. A loving relationship, unlike in the fairy stories peddled by romance fiction authors, is in fact a very good example of how incremental experience overrides at times certainty derived from cognitive reasoning. No matter how sure one is at the outset, only time (ie. accrued experience) will allow one to feel comfortable with one's assumption (or not, as the case may be - that's the problem wth faith-based decisions). But at least there is scope in the end to start applying cognitive reason to the accrued data since it has been gathered evidentially.

 

It's a really bad example to raise in fact, unless of course one is likening one's faith in god to a sort of intimate relationship with one of its personifications. Do you really love Jesus that much Rhad?

 

Quote:

On one hand, we have the ability to explain a feeling as a product of X or Y, and on the other hand the ability to make a logical construct that includes a god-figure and that is consistent with verifiable data.

The first failing may be a product of my less-then-stellar knowledge in neural-science, the other might be a failing of my knowledge in logical reasoning.  But in neither case, do I believe, can one be said that they are connected.

But, perhaps, just a difference of opinions?
 

 

A difference in the interpretation of logic and its function, certainly. We can apply logic to any construct. Lord Of The Rings aficianados can knock themselves out discussing ad nauseum how Peter Jackson's films are "illogical" in parts based on the "reality" Tolkien went to such great pains to construct in his book. Creating a logical "god" does not make "god" any more credible. Only evidence supporting its existence will do that.

 

Quote:

To this point, I think all that you've offered me is that argument that a feeling of satisfaction derived from a belief in God cannot be trusted.. but, I reassert, that has nothing to do whether it is logically possible for one to exist--as I suggested above.
 

 

Are you still confusing reasonable with logical? A paedophile can derive immense satisfaction from abusing a child. That is logical. Is it reasonable? When set against the structure of ethics called morality it is not at all a reasonable action, but it still retains logic. By the same token you can run completely counter to another structure, that of reason itself, and declare yourself satisfied with any figment of the imagination you care to dream up. If you are prone to fantasy then this would be logical. But is it reasonable?

 

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God doesn't get through what process? The process of science or the process of reliance on "directly experienced input"?

Once again.. this makes me think that the question asked above is rather important.  Whether the perception that another person loves you is "reliant on directly experienced input" or not?
 

 

God doesn't get through the process of being a deductible entity based on factual data, that's what.

 

Using your own comparison, you actually stand a better chance of being correct in your assumption that someone "loves" you. At least they might have said so, or performed some action that led you to believe it. God doesn't seem to be capable of doing these things, for all the claims made about "gods love" for people, it's left up to people themselves to complete the contract from both ends at once and make that assumption based on absolutely no evidence whatsoever.

 

There's a world of difference between one assumption and the other, or can't you see that?

 

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Quote:A lot of it is indeed

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A lot of it is indeed non-verifiable data. A loving relationship, unlike in the fairy stories peddled by romance fiction authors, is in fact a very good example of how incremental experience overrides at times certainty derived from cognitive reasoning. No matter how sure one is at the outset, only time (ie. accrued experience) will allow one to feel comfortable with one's assumption (or not, as the case may be - that's the problem wth faith-based decisions).

Bold statement.. assertion.. support for "no matter how sure . . . only time"? Not that it matters, a tangent of course.  I will assume you are correct for the purpose of the conversation (as I do with many of your statements).

Quote:
But at least there is scope in the end to start applying cognitive reason to the accrued data since it has been gathered evidentially.

"Scope in the end"? Vague.. expand.  Do you mean the "comfortable with one's assumption" is the "scope in the end"?

 
Quote:
It's a really bad example to raise in fact, unless of course one is likening one's faith in god to a sort of intimate relationship with one of its personifications. Do you really love Jesus that much Rhad?

The example wasn't necessarily analogous to a relationship with God.. but rather was used by me so that I could understand how you were using the phrase "non-verifiable data" and whether you were apply the phrase to suggest that all data must be verifiable, or merely based upon verifiable data.

Based upon what you have said, your answer to my question, it would seem that you are using it in the latter sense.

Correct?

Quote:
A difference in the interpretation of logic and its function, certainly. We can apply logic to any construct. Lord Of The Rings aficianados can knock themselves out discussing ad nauseum how Peter Jackson's films are "illogical" in parts based on the "reality" Tolkien went to such great pains to construct in his book.

True.

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Creating a logical "god" does not make "god" any more credible.

If exists => logical.
If not logical => not exist.

Having a logical 'god-figure' does not make it more credible if your baseline is non-belief.  That being said, having an illogical god-figure surely makes it less credible if your baseline is non-belief.

Non-belief = no belief in god, not belief there is no god.

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Only evidence supporting its existence will do that.

Granted.

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Are you still confusing reasonable with logical?

All that is reasonable is logical, all that is logical is not reasonable.

Of course.. are we suggesting there is an objective "reasonable"? What would this objective "reasonable" be based on if not merely "logical"?  You suggest morality later on.. I'll get to that.

Quote:
A paedophile can derive immense satisfaction from abusing a child. That is logical. Is it reasonable?

The question above controls the day.  I personally believe in "subjectively reasonable." 

It may be reasonable for him, even as it might be reasonable that a person might kill another because he perceives that the other person is approaching him with a gun.  

But me, possibly being a third person witnessing, might easily see that it is not a gun at all, but rather a cell-phone.  And so, to me, it would be unreasonable that he killed the man.

Judgments about reasonableness or unreasonableness, IMO, are predicated upon individual perception, i.e., how they view things and how they imagine others view things, balancing the two.

Nevertheless, no matter what my personal views on the question of "reasonableness" are, that does not change the fact that it means something completely different when I, or someone else, is asked to judged his "reasonableness" upon some standard.. say.. logical-ness, or personal morality, or communal morality as suggested through the codification of laws.

Just an added question.. so are you talking about logical or reasonableness? Because it seemed you were talking about logical before.. i.e., "explain to me exactly how you derive satisfaction from a belief in a deity?"

This is asking for either facts about how it is derived (logic), why you believe it comes about (perception), or a mixture between the two.  i had assumed, based upon further discussion, that you were looking for facts about how it was derived. 

If you had asked "explain to me exactly why I should think that your belief in a deity is reasonable?" That would be a different story..

So are we talking about reasonableness then? I.e., why is it reasonable that I derive satisfaction from a belief in a deity?

Once again, this would be dependent upon what we think about the concept of reasonableness.  If it's subjectively based, then I can argue from my subjective perspective--and I feel as if this would be most unsatisfying to you.  If it is objectively based, then the question needs to be asked, what is that objective basis? And why is that the objective basis?

Since I've come to RRS, I have assumed, for the purpose of arguing here, that there is an objective reasonableness, and this objective reasonableness is based upon logic.

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When set against the structure of ethics called morality it is not at all a reasonable action, but it still retains logic.

Morality based upon what? Why would this be the "objective standard of reasonableness" if even "morality" is not objective?

Quote:
By the same token you can run completely counter to another structure, that of reason itself, and declare yourself satisfied with any figment of the imagination you care to dream up. If you are prone to fantasy then this would be logical. But is it reasonable?

Not sure I understand this statement..

Do you mean "logical" in your satisfaction with the figment of your imagination? I'm not sure you can say "would be logical" with such scant information.  It would be dependent upon a whole list of assumptions he's making about the world, evidence, imagination, satisfaction, "fantasy," etc., etc... if none of those assumptions are contradictory and they allow for the conclusion that he is satisfied with a figment of his imagination... then, it could be said to be logical.

At least that's how I think "being logical" works.

Quote:
God doesn't get through the process of being a deductible entity based on factual data, that's what.

Bold statement.

If I defined 'God' as merely the thing that existed prior to the big bang, with no other qualities but that he caused the big bang, certain this entity would be "based on factual data."  Would it not?

The way I see it, the big bang was either caused or was not caused.  If not caused, then no need for a causer.  If was caused, then need for a causer.

But either of these statements are deducible "based on factual data."

Now.. whether you choose to believe in one, the other, or take no stance on it (the scientific approach), is a matter of personal predisposition and preference.  But since there is no factual data that makes either of these beliefs non-deductible, why is there a problem?

The problem you suggested with the whole recycling of data from the frontal lobes to the limbic system was that the process might keep out direct sensory data.  But in the absence of contrary data, what would make the belief any more harmful than deriving pleasure in the belief that characters in the illiad were based upon actual human characters during the greek dark ages?

Quote:
Using your own comparison, you actually stand a better chance of being correct in your assumption that someone "loves" you. At least they might have said so, or performed some action that led you to believe it. God doesn't seem to be capable of doing these things, for all the claims made about "gods love" for people, it's left up to people themselves to complete the contract from both ends at once and make that assumption based on absolutely no evidence whatsoever.

We'll keep it simple.. step one, above.  If we can't get passed that.. then won't be able to get much farther than that.

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There's a world of difference between one assumption and the other, or can't you see that?


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Quote:If exists =>

Quote:

If exists => logical.
If not logical => not exist.
 

 

Well actually, Rhad, here is the crux of our difference right here. You left out the one that theists cling to and upon which all religious faith depends: "If presumed to exist, whether or not logic applies, it exists."

 

You see, the problem is that this kind of presumptiveness too can indeed contain much that is of logical construct (like any good fiction). But without evidence to support the object of the presumption, does it really exist? I say no.

It appears that you say maybe.

 

The ability to predict presumptively in this manner is used even in science, sometimes in order to advance theory, sometimes when deduction is based on behaviour rather than mechanical analysis and a mechanical extrapolation is required. But the crucial difference here is that science makes presumptions which can be tested and eventually proven or disproven to be true. The god proponents do no such thing. Fiction writers don't have to - it's only a story.

 

The rest of both our points on either side of the argument pale into insignificance if you oppose my assertion above.

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Quote:Well actually, Rhad,

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Well actually, Rhad, here is the crux of our difference right here. You left out the one that theists cling to and upon which all religious faith depends: "If presumed to exist, whether or not logic applies, it exists."

All religious faith depends? Depends on how you define faith.. I personal would say that my faith depends on that assertion.  Rather, "Presumed to exist, if and only if it is logical."

The presumption is based upon a preference, yet the predicate of "logic" is necessary as a check to my preference.

I may have a preference to believe that monsters live under my bed, but if I look down there and find no monsters, than it would be illogical to think there are monsters under my bed because one of my assumptions, from which all beliefs must be run through, is that contrary evidence trumps a preference to believe.

Quote:
You see, the problem is that this kind of presumptiveness too can indeed contain much that is of logical construct (like any good fiction).

A fiction book may be, in and of itself, logical.  That does not mean believing that the fiction is reality is logical.  For instance, if a book, self contained as it is, states that California has fallen into the ocean because of an earthquake than, to believe that California has for the sake of reading the book (suspension of disbelief) would be logical.

However, to take that belief and apply it to the world, i.e., outside of the book, would be illogical if one believes that (a) direct evidence controls the day, (b) seeing that California has not fallen into the ocean constitutes direct evidence, (c) and yet still believes that California has fallen into the ocean.

No, perhaps the person doesn't believe either (a) or (b).. then it might be possible for him to be "logical" in his belief (assuming he can actually live his life without impliedly consenting to those assumption), but for his belief not to reflect actuality. 

This would be an example of what I suggested above, that being logical does not suggest actuality. 

Quote:
But without evidence to support the object of the presumption, does it really exist? I say no.

It appears that you say maybe.

Even if something is perfectly logical.. doesn't mean it exists.. it doesn't even make it "more likely to exist" (presuming the baseline is non-stance on it's existence).

I had a long conversation with Hamby awhile back about this.

So ya, let me make that clear, I agree with you if that is what you are saying.

What I do not agree with, however, is the implication (which it sometimes appears that you are giving) is that without evidence the thing cannot exist.

That is a different assertion altogether than what I have stated my position to be.

In 1AD a person could have presumed that planets existed beyond jupiter.. but they had no evidence that they did.  Does that mean they didn't exist?

How I understand things, the only things that cannot exist are those things that are either (1) illogical or (2) defined well enough as to suggest that if the thing exists it would exist as to be able to be deduced, and yet, it cannot be.

A lack of evidence, however, doesn't mean anything in and of itself.  It's strength as evidence, would be entirely dependent upon what it is the lack of evidence is meant to suggest and what it is the lack of evidence is suggesting about.

Quote:
The ability to predict presumptively in this manner is used even in science, sometimes in order to advance theory, sometimes when deduction is based on behaviour rather than mechanical analysis and a mechanical extrapolation is required. But the crucial difference here is that science makes presumptions which can be tested and eventually proven or disproven to be true. The god proponents do no such thing.

They do not do what?  Make presumptions that can ever be tested? Or don't care to test presumptions?

I don't know how one can ever make a presumption that can be said, as a fact, can never be tested.. unless, of course, the presumption is "X exists in such a way that it can never, as a fact, be tested."  But short of that, how can we predict what the future will hold?

As for disproven, that's just false.  God proponents, throughout history, have been forced to accommodate new findings of fact or science to old understandings of God.

At one point, god proponents presumed that God created an unchanging world, no change in species, every was as it was.

But, many god proponents now, have given that presumption up.

While the presumptions made by god-proponents may not be immediately provable or disprovable, it does not mean that they are, as a matter of fact, incapable of being proven or disproven.

Although, I leave open the possibility that some of them might be.

If it is the "don't care to test them?" that you were meaning to suggest.. all I can say is that it doesn't apply to me.. whenever I am presented with new evidence regarding the way the world works, I will cross-reference with presumptions I hold about God, and see if they can be reconciled.  If not, I do away with the factor or go back to the neutral "non-stance"--whichever may be demanded by the evidence.

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The rest of both our points on either side of the argument pale into insignificance if you oppose my assertion above.

I guess we'll find out.


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Someone in 1AD suggesting

Someone in 1AD suggesting planets exist beyond Jupiter is making an informed presumption. Planets exist. Maybe more exist.

 

Not the same as the god thing at all.

 

Instead of (as you say) letting your gradual education regarding the universe whittle away at the faith based on nothing to which you cling, why not abandon blind faith in something that defies proof anyway and either actively seek that proof if the subject still interests you, or (better suggestion) stop wasting so much of your time and energy on the subject and use your intellect, time and enthusiasm to go off and do something worthwhile?

 

Afraid of something?

 

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Quote:Someone in 1AD

Quote:
Someone in 1AD suggesting planets exist beyond Jupiter is making an informed presumption. Planets exist. Maybe more exist.

Okay then.. 1AD, someone presumes dark matter exists.

So.. since no evidence, doesn't exist?

 
Quote:
Not the same as the god thing at all.

Well..

 
Quote:
Instead of (as you say) letting your gradual education regarding the universe whittle away at the faith based on nothing to which you cling,

Here you go again.. "faith based on nothing." Which is untrue.  (1) Based upon circumstantial evidence, mainly, the universe and it's structure, (2) based on predisposition and preference, (3) based upon "fiction," i.e., the bible.. which purports to be, at least partially, historical.

If you meant "not based on anything" in the sense, "it is not scientifically justified," then you should have said so. Or, if you meant "based on anything that makes it more probably that not, or has the preponderance of the evidence tending towards its conclusion," then should have said that.  In the absence of any qualifiers as to what is the limits of what can be used as evidence, or what would need be the level of evidence, and its affect on an objective viewer, or whether it even need affect an objective viewer, the statement "based on nothing" is rather devoid of any argumentative affect.

As for the bible, that is something else entirely.   Purporting to be, in part, historical, it can be accepted as evidence. And so, the question is not whether it is all true or all false, but rather which parts are true and which parts are false.  In the same way, the illiad is judged, or any number of other mythological texts. 

Quote:
why not abandon blind faith in something that defies proof anyway

What does "defies proof" means?  It's ambiguously stated..

In any case, "blind faith" suggests, IMO, either not letting contrary evidence affect the faith (I have suggested that I do let contrary evidence affect my faith) or having the faith without any supporting evidence (I have suggested that I do have evidence for my belief).

Yet, as I have often said on this forum, the evidence I have neither necessitates God, nor necessarily makes him more likely than other possible conclusions.  So, in the absence of any "more or less" likelihood, my predisposition and preferences lead me to believe in the existence as opposed to his non-existence, or to the absence of a belief to begin with.

Quote:
and either actively seek that proof if the subject still interests you,

Proof is subjective.. unless you are speaking of "seek to scientifically prove".. or something of that nature.

Quote:
or (better suggestion) stop wasting so much of your time and energy on the subject and use your intellect, time and enthusiasm to go off and do something worthwhile?

How much time and energy do you suspect I use on the subject? It's not exactly the most time consuming of tasks.. the belief is the prism through which I see the world through, it is not a bicycle.

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Afraid of something?

What would I be afraid of?


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Did someone in 1AD suggest

Did someone in 1AD suggest dark matter? Could they even?

 

You  see the difference between your arguments and mine?

 

You're obviously a guy seriously looking for answers. But you've been sidetracked.

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Quote:Did someone in 1AD

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Did someone in 1AD suggest dark matter? Could they even?

That is immaterial.  The question was directed to point out the fault of your argument which was "If someone presumes something to exist, yet cannot provide any evidence to support his presumption, it does not exist."  And so, in my question was asked, "If a person presumed dark matter to have existed in 1AD, did it not exist by mere fact that the person could not present any evidence in support of his presumption?"

 
Quote:
You  see the difference between your arguments and mine?

I see a lot of differences.

 
Quote:
You're obviously a guy seriously looking for answers. But you've been sidetracked.

Not at all in the case at hand.


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But DID they? And if not,

But DID they?

 

And if not, why not?

 

(I am determined to keep you talking real, no matter where your delusion wants to bring you)

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RhadTheGizmo wrote:(2) I'd

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

(2) I'd like to believe that our actions and accomplishments (as a species) are more "meaningful" than the actions and accomplishments of other species.  I used this example before, but here it goes again:  If we are nothing more than a particular species on the evolutionary line, than our ability to transplant hearts is no more meaningful than the dodo bird's ability to crack nuts.

I find this one strange. Why is it necessary to derive meaning from an external invisible source when a heart transplant is obviously so much more amazing than the ability to crack nuts?

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Quote:But DID they?I don't

Quote:
But DID they?

I don't know.. there were a couple million, 10's of million, people alive at the time.  Perhaps one of them DID.  If one of them did.. would that have satisfied you about "talking real"?

The whole matter of whether someone DID or DID NOT, however, is ridiculous.  With so many people in the world at the time I could not say someone did presume even as you cannot say that all of them did not. 

I just don't understand how the establishment that one single person actually did presume would satisfy your "attachment to what is real."

You've made an assertion.  If the assertion is to have any validity it must be logical.  If it is to be logical, it must stand up to logical hypotheticals (such as the hypothetical, "someone did presume&quotEye-wink.

As we have suggested in the past in this discussion, mere logic does not denote reality, and so why should absolute reality be required as a predicate for creating a logical hypothetical? 

Quote:
And if not, why not?

I don't know why they would not..

Quote:
(I am determined to keep you talking real, no matter where your delusion wants to bring you)

Logical assertions demand logical responses.

*I raelize that you are interested more in the "why?" then anything else--but the issue I have, is that when you make an assertion, or contend a particular idea, that I feel is clearly wrong, I must challenge it.  How could I not?

If you don't wish to argue it, don't state it.  If you do state it, be prepared to defend it.  If you cannot defend it, do not brush it off as "not important anymore." 

If it wasn't important, why was it stated in such an unequivocal manner?

So either defend the contention, conceed the point, or if you really feel as if it is not important merely state "for the purpose of this argument we will assume that you are correct."


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Quote:I find this one

Quote:
I find this one strange. Why is it necessary to derive meaning from an external invisible source when a heart transplant is obviously so much more amazing than the ability to crack nuts?

What makes it more amazing? I mean.. from an evolutionary standpoint.


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RhadTheGizmo wrote:Quote:I

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

Quote:
I find this one strange. Why is it necessary to derive meaning from an external invisible source when a heart transplant is obviously so much more amazing than the ability to crack nuts?

What makes it more amazing? I mean.. from an evolutionary standpoint.

From an evolutionary standpoint, I can't think of any other species that can purposely prolong life. Not by not starving, or not falling off a cliff, but by figuring out what's wrong and then fixing it - on purpose. You don't find that unique? That's not just building a tool. We have a relationship with the universe that far transcends that of a chimpanzee or bonobo, our closest relatives. Our behaviours are much more complex and interesting (although, admittedly, just to us).

AND we can actually have crises of meaning! From any standpoint, not just evolutionarily, we're bizarre and unique as a species.

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Quote:From an evolutionary

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From an evolutionary standpoint, I can't think of any other species that can purposely prolong life.

What do you think cracking nuts is? They ain't doing it for fun.

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Not by not starving, or not falling off a cliff, but by figuring out what's wrong and then fixing it - on purpose.

So.. what's makes it "amazing from an evolutionary standpoint" is that it's done on purposes, as opposed to by instinct?

Quote:
You don't find that unique? That's not just building a tool. We have a relationship with the universe that far transcends that of a chimpanzee or bonobo, our closest relatives. Our behaviours are much more complex and interesting (although, admittedly, just to us).

Nono.. you misunderstand me.  From my perspective, of course I find it much more complex and interesting.. as I'm sure a dodo bird would have viewed nut cracking as complex and interesting.. if he could actually think in that way.

My point, was merely that viewing from the outside in (which I am personally prompted to do at times), I see no difference between nut-cracking and heart transplants if I'm viewing purely from an evolutionary standpoint.

Both are means by which a species prolongs itself.. and humans (like the dodo bird) are likely going to fail in doing so.

Quote:
AND we can actually have crises of meaning! From any standpoint, not just evolutionarily, we're bizarre and unique as a species.

"Crisis of meaning" really isn't an "accomplishment" or "practice."  I was speaking only of "accomplishments" ad "practices." 

We may be bizarre and unique... that doesn't make are accomplishments or practices particularly noteworthy in the large scale.

Heck.. ostriches are bizarre and unique.


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RhadTheGizmo wrote:From my

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
From my perspective, of course I find it much more complex and interesting.. as I'm sure a dodo bird would have viewed nut cracking as complex and interesting.. if he could actually think in that way.

So who is it that you imagine would not find us complex and interesting? On what grand scheme of things are we not the most complex organism in this solar system?

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
My point, was merely that viewing from the outside in (which I am personally prompted to do at times), I see no difference between nut-cracking and heart transplants if I'm viewing purely from an evolutionary standpoint.

Okay, so it's you who's making the judgement. But I thought you just said you found us interesting! Help me out here! Whose perspective are you imagining in which we are not amazing? What outside viewer could we imagine who thinks we're merely okay (who is not also depressed)? 

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
Quote:
AND we can actually have crises of meaning! From any standpoint, not just evolutionarily, we're bizarre and unique as a species.

"Crisis of meaning" really isn't an "accomplishment" or "practice."  I was speaking only of "accomplishments" ad "practices."

You don't think being capable of a crisis of meaning is interesting? What other species needs meaning? And what would you consider an accomplishment for an entire species?

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
We may be bizarre and unique... that doesn't make are accomplishments or practices particularly noteworthy in the large scale.

Why not? As far as we know, we're the most self-aware biological creature in existence. That has to count for something. The fact that we can calculate the motion of the planets so  accurately is pretty impressive, I'd say. Compared to other animals, that's like seeing into the future. We can see into the future!

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
Heck.. ostriches are bizarre and unique.

I guess so ... but there are emus, too. And birds are really bad at trigonometry.

We thrive on significance - it's the way we're wired. Celebrities are significant because ... they're celebrities! That's not confusing if you know that we have a desperate need to ascribe meaning and significance to everything. Even people.

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Quote:So who is it that you

Quote:
So who is it that you imagine would not find us complex and interesting? On what grand scheme of things are we not the most complex organism in this solar system?

An evolutionary one.  There is no "interesting" no "complex"--merely, does it increase the chances of surviving or increase the chances, IMHO.  And while each species may not "think" about the fact that what they are doing is increasing they chances of survival or decreasing them; we, being self-aware, do.  Also, being self-aware, at least me, allows myself to look at all of supposed history and see that it's only a matter of time before a species goes extinct.  So, while an individual action taken by me, or our species as whole, might increase our chances of survival *for a particular time,* most likely nothing will do will stop the inevitable coming of our extinction.

And, from that viewpoint, what do any of our accomplishes really mean? i.e., a post-human universe.  Because, from a post-human universe, we failed at our evolutionary directive, to continue our species.

Quote:
Okay, so it's you who's making the judgement. But I thought you just said you found us interesting! Help me out here! Whose perspective are you imagining in which we are not amazing? What outside viewer could we imagine who thinks we're merely okay (who is not also depressed)?

See above.

I find things interesting.  Viewing from an evolutionary standpoint, however, where there is only one goal and one to which all species will likely fail, nothing, to me, would seem spectacular.

Yes.. it is an "imaginary" viewpoint because I am attempting to put myself into the position of myself except with a purely evolutionary viewpoint.

Quote:
You don't think being capable of a crisis of meaning is interesting? What other species needs meaning? And what would you consider an accomplishment for an entire species?

Did I say I didn't find it "interesting"?  I just said it wasn't really an accomplishment or practice.  Since accomplishments and/or practices were what I originally opined on, I wanted to keep the discussion to that.

An accomplishment for an entire species? Hmm.. e.g., learning to crack a nut.. learn to transplant a heart.. learning to make fire.  Our "crisis of meaning" is a by-product of our level of consciousness... no person really work at it.. so I don't see it as an accomplishment.

Quote:
I guess so ... but there are emus, too. And birds are really bad at trigonometry.

Pfft.. you've never met my parrot.  All it does is squak about trigonometric functions.

Quote:
We thrive on significance - it's the way we're wired. Celebrities are significant because ... they're celebrities! That's not confusing if you know that we have a desperate need to ascribe meaning and significance to everything. Even people.

Saying that we are predisposed to find signifance in what we do and what we see? No doubt.

Which is why, I guess, we're having trouble communicating with regards to this sort of "two mind" approach I'm taking to this discussion.  On one hand, heart transplants are interesting, on another, not so much... all depending on through what "prism" I wish to view them.  If that "prism" is merely my own life, my own needs, wants, and the needs wants of those around for a substantial time in the future and from the past--then sure, interesting all around.  But trying to view "objectively," from an "evolutionary perspective," we're just another species in a long line of species.. our self-awareness is merely another by-product of evolution, and heart transplants are just another way in which an evolutionary species has created to make itself survive.
 


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Quote:Pfft.. you've never

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Pfft.. you've never met my parrot.  All it does is squak about trigonometric functions.

 

Don't make assertions if you're not prepared to defend them.

 

Keep it real, Rhad. I sense you're sliding again.

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RhadTheGizmo wrote:Quote:So

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

Quote:
So who is it that you imagine would not find us complex and interesting? On what grand scheme of things are we not the most complex organism in this solar system?

An evolutionary one.  There is no "interesting" no "complex"--merely, does it increase the chances of surviving or increase the chances, IMHO.

Ah. So you're imagining that on a larger time scale, we'd be insignificant. In fact, you're suggesting that in the absence of judgement, we cannot judge what is interesting and what is not. Well that's true enough. But what you call an "evolutionary perspective", where survival is the only thing, is actually a choice to limit your perspective beyond what I'd call reasonable. Even if our time is brief, our uniqueness in our corner of the universe is undeniable.

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
And while each species may not "think" about the fact that what they are doing is increasing they chances of survival or decreasing them; we, being self-aware, do.  Also, being self-aware, at least me, allows myself to look at all of supposed history and see that it's only a matter of time before a species goes extinct.

It's also a matter of time before you die. Does that alone make your life insignificant? I'm not kidding when I say the evolutionary perspective that you've imagined sounds depressed. This is like looking at a Christmas tree and thinking, "Pff. It'll just be on the street in a week."

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
And, from that viewpoint, what do any of our accomplishes really mean? i.e., a post-human universe.  Because, from a post-human universe, we failed at our evolutionary directive, to continue our species.

Again, this is a strange perspective to me, and it ignores the fact that we don't actually know enough about what you're calling an "evolutionary directive" to determine whether we could fail at it or not.

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
I find things interesting.  Viewing from an evolutionary standpoint, however, where there is only one goal and one to which all species will likely fail, nothing, to me, would seem spectacular.

That's presuming you know exactly what the evolutionary perspective is. It also presumes that you know how a species can "fail". I'm not saying there isn't a perspective from which to consider all events equally uninteresting, or equally insignificant, but making the choice of viewing things from a grander scale, I'd say we're more precious because of our collective brevity.

If  we're a flash-in-the-pan species that lasts only, say, 350,000 years on the planet, and we survive that whole time, where's our failure? We don't even know if that's an all-universe record for the maintenance of complexity! We could be the champs!

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
I just said it wasn't really an accomplishment or practice.  Since accomplishments and/or practices were what I originally opined on, I wanted to keep the discussion to that.

For a species to go beyond its basic survival, to exceed all others in complexity, and be able to figure out its literal place in the universe is amazing from any perspective. Your version of the evolutionary perspective strikes me as downright depressed. Note: I'm not saying YOU'RE depressed, I'm just saying that the perspective you've created just seems like that of a depressed person.

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
An accomplishment for an entire species? Hmm.. e.g., learning to crack a nut.. learn to transplant a heart.. learning to make fire.  Our "crisis of meaning" is a by-product of our level of consciousness... no person really work at it.. so I don't see it as an accomplishment.

You don't, eh? Then I don't imagine that you'd see anything as an accomplishment, you're right. But again, naturally in the absence of judgement, there can be no positive judgement. Is this where the third party god comes in?

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
Pfft.. you've never met my parrot.  All it does is squak about trigonometric functions.

Then your parrot is amazing. Even from an evolutionary perspective.

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
But trying to view "objectively," from an "evolutionary perspective," we're just another species in a long line of species.. our self-awareness is merely another by-product of evolution, and heart transplants are just another way in which an evolutionary species has created to make itself survive.

I'm just saying that "objectively" is totally made up in this case. You've decided upon a perspective wherein nothing has significance to point out that from that perspective, there is no significance to our species. Well yeah.

But enough of this circular nonsense. Explain how a third-party judgement creature would provide the significance that an objective universe lacks.

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answers to these easy questions

I having been a Lutheran before my atheism would give these honest responses

What mental state do you achieve from believing?

euphoria similar but not the same as the trance like state one could achieve being a 9 year old watching Sunday morning cartoons

What physical benefits do you achieve from believing?

 

What tangible benefits (money/property/etc) do you achieve from believing?

fatty rich German food on potluck night a "free" bible and if you so choose a confirmation paper

What intangible societal benefits (acceptance in the group/social status/etc) do you achieve from believing?

social acceptance within reason still made fun of and laughed at for being a nerd

What benefits do you achieve after this life, in any form or fashion?

an everlasting existence that is similar to leave it to beaver Ozzie and Harriet in heaven with a sadomasochistic pervert that likes mass murder sometimes

so whom do i get to hang out with since i don't believe the list goes like this

Al Pacino Harvey Keitel Elizabeth Hurley Rosalinda Celentano Trey Parker Jim Fortier Jose Luis Aguirre Robert de Niro Jack Nicholson Victor Buono Peter Cook Viggo Mortensen akaakaaka Satan Beelzebub the dark prince the morning star etc etc

and don't forget all the actors whom have played god as that is blasphemy anyone whom has manufactured or posted the ten commandments revelation 22

22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

22:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

anyone who has looked at porn

all the Jews Hitler killed

anyone who was in porn

all the Jews atheists wiccans pagans gays pantheists Egyptians (according to the catholics all the doctors) and all of the people whom know how to throw a good party

hell sounds like Way moar fun than heavan

sounds like the freakers ball to me (Dr hook will be playing in hell too i think)

 

 

mohammed is mr poopy pants allah is a cootie queen and islam is a lint licker
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religion

jmm wrote:

GaiusJanus wrote:

There has not been put forth a new major religious belief in the last 1300 years.

Wrong.  Atheism was started by Richard Dawkins in 2006.   

me and l ron hubbard would have to agree on that with jmm religion is producing new bullshit at rates that defy normal bull anus dimensions surly this is the miracle that would prove once and for all that religion is the biggest fertilizer factory in the world.

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Quote:Ah. So you're

Quote:
Ah. So you're imagining that on a larger time scale, we'd be insignificant. In fact, you're suggesting that in the absence of judgement, we cannot judge what is interesting and what is not. Well that's true enough. But what you call an "evolutionary perspective", where survival is the only thing, is actually a choice to limit your perspective beyond what I'd call reasonable. Even if our time is brief, our uniqueness in our corner of the universe is undeniable.

In the absence of judgment?

No doubt, the perspective I speak of is limited.

Quote:
It's also a matter of time before you die. Does that alone make your life insignificant? I'm not kidding when I say the evolutionary perspective that you've imagined sounds depressed. This is like looking at a Christmas tree and thinking, "Pff. It'll just be on the street in a week."

If I die, the things I do might affect the next generations and so on.  But if all generations die, then yes, that would make my life insignificant.. from this perspective from which I speak of.

Quote:
Again, this is a strange perspective to me, and it ignores the fact that we don't actually know enough about what you're calling an "evolutionary directive" to determine whether we could fail at it or not.

True.  Perhaps we can't.  I am merely supposing what this "directive" is.. and if I'm correct, then  I think we will probably fail.

Quote:
That's presuming you know exactly what the evolutionary perspective is. It also presumes that you know how a species can "fail". I'm not saying there isn't a perspective from which to consider all events equally uninteresting, or equally insignificant, but making the choice of viewing things from a grander scale, I'd say we're more precious because of our collective brevity.

If  we're a flash-in-the-pan species that lasts only, say, 350,000 years on the planet, and we survive that whole time, where's our failure? We don't even know if that's an all-universe record for the maintenance of complexity! We could be the champs!

Heh.  True. Smiling

But in 350,000+50 years, what did we win? What is there to show for it?

Quote:
For a species to go beyond its basic survival, to exceed all others in complexity, and be able to figure out its literal place in the universe is amazing from any perspective. Your version of the evolutionary perspective strikes me as downright depressed. Note: I'm not saying YOU'RE depressed, I'm just saying that the perspective you've created just seems like that of a depressed person.

Indeed, it does.  Which why I choose not to take the perspective--as I suggested in the original post.

Quote:
You don't, eh? Then I don't imagine that you'd see anything as an accomplishment, you're right. But again, naturally in the absence of judgement, there can be no positive judgement. Is this where the third party god comes in?

Cracking nuts and heart transplants are accomplishments.

Quote:
Then your parrot is amazing. Even from an evolutionary perspective.

Heh.

Quote:
I'm just saying that "objectively" is totally made up in this case. You've decided upon a perspective wherein nothing has significance to point out that from that perspective, there is no significance to our species. Well yeah.

But enough of this circular nonsense. Explain how a third-party judgement creature would provide the significance that an objective universe lacks.

Like I said, a third party that possibly could sustain the species for an indefinite amount of time.. well then, that would solves the problem of the species going extinct and making all prior actions of that species insignificant.

And ya.. not "objective".. just "subjectively objective." It is an attempt at an objective thought.



 


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Quote:Don't make assertions

Quote:

Don't make assertions if you're not prepared to defend them.

 

Keep it real, Rhad. I sense you're sliding again.

Ever watched the Sword in the Stone?  The Disney version? You know Merlin's Owl Archimedies? That guy was based on my parrot.  So don't tell me he's not real. Sticking out tongue