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Atheism

Re: Atheism
January 23, 2014, 12:27:50 AM
Vigilance, despite what you may think. I don't get your point at all. I think Wild is also unclear on it too.

More specifically, I don't see the point IN your point.

Your point is just that naturalism (looking for causes, laws, and operating with reductive methodology) emerged from deism?

If so, this does not make the former 'boring'.

If so, this does not mean the former is stuck with the same ontology as the latter, now, 400 years later.

Do you not believe that naturalism has a more complete, deep, and systematic understanding of how the cosmos works than theism/deism?

Re: Atheism
January 23, 2014, 12:28:55 AM
Two can play the ad-hoc pictures game. Let's bring an actual Ubermench into the ring to represent the 'atheists'

lol for fucks sake.

Its a request, not a suggestion, a very humble one at that, but pleeeeease can we let this thread die? You dont come in after a trainwreck to rape the survivors, its just not... nice.

I'm trying to save the survivors from the rapists.

Re: Atheism
January 23, 2014, 12:49:59 AM
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Do you not believe that naturalism has a more complete, deep, and systematic understanding of how the cosmos works than theism/deism?

What makes you think that?

(Just out of curiosity.)

I can see how one could see this situation both ways. I'll try to explain:

1. Theism is lacking, because it limits thought at a stopping point (the super-human deity), beyond which all questioning and investigation is purposeless by definition.

2. Naturalism (which you define somewhat like the scientific method ["looking for causes, laws, and operating with reductive methodology"]) is lacking because it limits our observations to what we can observe empirically.

Hopefully, at this point, we can admit that there is more to the universe's basic functions than can be observed by the naked eye, or the telescope, or the microscope, or the computer.

Looking at it this way, I see that both systems have a self-imposed limiting factor in common; that is, experiences beyond our observation ought not to be questioned. The two schools of thought break apart there, because science says that we should not question the systems until we can test them, while theism says we should not test the systems at all, or we would be defiling sacred ground (or just wasting our time).

Maybe someone has some idea of how to synthesize these two perspectives.

Re: Atheism
January 23, 2014, 01:22:02 AM
2. Naturalism (which you define somewhat like the scientific method ["looking for causes, laws, and operating with reductive methodology"]) is lacking because it limits our observations to what we can observe empirically.

Why do you suppose the scientific methodology is 'lacking' for this reason? Some would say that this is what propels it.

You are not using a computer to engage in this discussion because a commitment to naturalism (plus some logic) has proven itself insufficient!

Hopefully, at this point, we can admit that there is more to the universe's basic functions than can be observed by the naked eye, or the telescope, or the microscope, or the computer.

Yes, mathematical concepts (number, shape etc), and subjective experience. Is there anything else i've missed?

EDIT: also, the initial constants.

Re: Atheism
January 23, 2014, 01:34:26 AM
What's interesting however is that you've basically outlined for me the extent to which you've subscribed to the ideology of our day.

God, this is getting tired. It matters not one whit the origins of views, simply whether they stand up to examination.

The idea that man isn't a true component of this planet, his destiny is among the stars. Man has dominion over the earth and industry is his arm. Technology must progress vaguely and infinitely. So on and so forth. This is all very much rooted in Christianity. The universe and nature is imperfect so man must transcend it after death in glorious paradise beyond life. On and on.

This is incredible derivation from my views. Wrapped in prophetic garb and all. I don't hold much of this at all. So we seem to be talking past each other, which is something that is always sad.

Man is NOT a true (or if, by this, you mean 'essential) component of this planet, sure. We are simply a complex vehicle for the transmission of genes. Life could arise on any planet under similar conditions. This doesn't mean we are not special though, we COULD be the only life capable of reflection, the only manifestation of nature to comprehend its own being, in the entire universe.

Technology must progress, not because of some futurist/technocratic wet dream ideology mixed with Christian teleology, but so that when the sun swallows the earth, we have a place to go and continue evolving. I don't want to waste consciousness. Like I said, we could be the only bearers of this torch to ever have been and come again.

Also, I just don't believe we will divert ecological damage via 'turning back the clock', where everyone voluntarily throes off their technology. What a dream!  Technology is here to stay, and it will have to be used to fix the problems it has been partly responsible for creating in the first place: http://www.amazon.com/God-Species-Planet-Survive-Humans/dp/0007375220/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1390460041&sr=8-2&keywords=the+god+species

It must also progress so that we are not dominated by other societies with said technology. If you think the USA, for example, or some other Western country (ie some country with more historical complexity than utopias that no one cares about like Burma) could revert to agrarian lifestyles, and not be invaded by China, Russia, and other ideological foes, then I think you're dreaming.

Re: Atheism
January 23, 2014, 02:03:40 AM
2. Naturalism (which you define somewhat like the scientific method ["looking for causes, laws, and operating with reductive methodology"]) is lacking because it limits our observations to what we can observe empirically.

Why do you suppose the scientific methodology is 'lacking' for this reason? Some would say that this is what propels it.

You are not using a computer to engage in this discussion because a commitment to naturalism (plus some logic) has proven itself insufficient!

Hopefully, at this point, we can admit that there is more to the universe's basic functions than can be observed by the naked eye, or the telescope, or the microscope, or the computer.

Yes, mathematical concepts (number, shape etc), and subjective experience. Is there anything else i've missed?

EDIT: also, the initial constants.

I was actually doing my best to synthesize the two views while defining their separations. The fact that the "scientific" or naturalist view compels us to cease putting faith in that-which-cannot-be-observed is important; it means that we must stop at a certain point and wait for our capacity for curiosity to catch up with our capacity for observation,

For example, the recent idea of our universe being "holographic" (that is, the universe stores information non-locally, much like a piece of holographic film) suggests that we can obtain fuzzy glimpses of parts of the universe very physically (or causally) separated from our own. In this way, theism makes some amount of sense, because we can interpret those "fuzzy" glimpses into far-off mechanisms. But, on a smaller scale, those glimpses are not empirically observed because not everyone is in a mind-state to allow those perspectives to overcome their egos or rationale. This is a normal situation, and I am not criticizing it (or your claims), just offering a slightly altered point of view.

Re: Atheism
January 23, 2014, 03:13:28 AM
I didn't read a single preceding post; I only posted the pics as a joke. It's part of a "campaign" by Reddit users to personify their atheist beliefs by uploading photos of themselves with inspirational quotes. Look on Google image search for something like "Reddit atheist neckbeard" and you'll find dozens of these bejowled failures.
-l-

Re: Atheism
January 23, 2014, 06:31:30 AM
Dead Last and Dawn, fair enough.


Re: Atheism
January 23, 2014, 03:14:37 PM
My point:

Atheism is boring. It accepts the same ethics and cosmology as its parent theistic faith.

Note: Boring is an opinion. My opinion.

The meat of it was contained in the second sentence.

During the course of our little discussion you managed to demonstrate most eloquently the subtler ideology that has driven much of the West since Nietzsche first witnessed the death of God.

We are not talking past each other by any means. The way you view technology is very much in line with the ideology of progress.

For example: You say technology is here to stay. Of course it is, aqueducts are technology, passive solar water heaters are technology, a hammer is technology. Technology takes many forms and to many purposes.

Look, I don't care to debate whether you are right or wrong here. You just happen to demonstrate a strong commitment to the contemporary rationalist ideology which is entirely derivative of Christianity. This doesn't mean every detail is going to line up (this is where you attempted to show your reasoning behind your beliefs, without significant divergence mind you) but the core narrative is fixed in place.

The scientific revolution didn't "start from scratch" it came gradually and used the intellectual tradition of Western Europe to determine its scope and its trajectory of inquiry.

Re: Atheism
January 24, 2014, 08:05:22 AM
Note: Boring is an opinion. My opinion.

It's interesting you seem to value your opinion, simply because it is yours, and seem a bit insensitive to considering one that might(?) be more accurate. Or perhaps you did consider the alternative, related to the unification, depth and reduction of modern science vs Christian ontology, but just chose not to respond. Whatever! One topic that might be worth dwelling on briefly before this discussion undergoes a well-deserved death:

Look, I don't care to debate whether you are right or wrong here. You just happen to demonstrate a strong commitment to the contemporary rationalist ideology which is entirely derivative of Christianity. This doesn't mean every detail is going to line up (this is where you attempted to show your reasoning behind your beliefs, without significant divergence mind you) but the core narrative is fixed in place.

Are you saying the Greeks did not find joy in putting the world to rational inquiry? The Egyptians?

My views are a mix between normative and descriptive. I would like to be clear:

Someone might hold the view that 'technology is here to stay'. This does not necessarily mean they buy into a narrative of linear progress - of the sort pagans apparently did not hold. I.e. some underlying metaphysical necessity producing progress.

Such a person might think technology is here to stay, not because of some underlying metaphysical narrative with causal power, but because the 'contingent' atomic, isolated, empirical facts suggest that technology will be a defining part of human life into the future - and that this has some degree of robustness (holds under some amount of changing circumstances).

For example, even if one society were to experience economic collapse (war, environmental implosion, whatever), they would pick technology back up from another. If the entire modern world were to collapse, then the survivors would probably also pick technology back up. The causal factors would still be there: the scientific method would be reformulated (in time), which, combined with a mix of inter-group hostility (arms races), materialism, inquisitiveness, interest in survival, and vanity would, I think, lead to something like technological progress again.

The idea that technological progress is likely under a variety of circumstances is not a metaphysical commitment, neither is it completely a normative one ('this is good' - although I do think exploring space, for example, is an amazing goal, and that science is unearthing amazing things). It can be a prediction, based on contingent facts about human beings that presumably will lead to similar outcomes throughout changes in local circumstances (war, environmental collapse, etc).

Re: Atheism
January 24, 2014, 03:50:58 PM
Responding from a mobile device, sorry if I missed something:

I value my opinions as they are my opinions. Naturally some get discarded over time while others become reinforced, who cares though? Finding the mechanical cosmological model to be boring has little to with a matter of how accurate it is, you know. I never did share my opinion of THAT. Further, atheism is in general boring, but not useless as it tends to serve civilization rather well during certain periods until the particular movement fails to live up to its own claims. Nevertheless, on the whole it's a boring view of life IMO.

Rational inquiry and Rationalist Ideology - the core narrative of every rationalist period which is typically derivative of a parent faith - are two wholly separate entities. Rational inquiry is a check and balance of narrative vs. reality. I think this is where you are getting caught up, probably my fault.

I'd rather not make anymore assumptions, so what do you mean by technological progress?

 Certainly, technology is employed to perform a myriad of tasks. These tasks usually revolve around whatever a particular society thinks is most important. Progress is rather vague because that is contingent. A society picking up on the ruins of industry might not hold that man has dominion over nature, thus, you aren't likely to see technologies that reflect this view. Even then, what's going to be available to future generations is going to be entirely contingent on what resources they have available. In this context, I will have to say that absolutely, yes technological progress is entirely normative.

Re: Atheism
January 27, 2014, 02:03:12 AM
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The unknown is very much a part of reality and an aspect of reality - it is simply not known.


How can any part of reality be said to be "known" or "unknown" independent of anything that might "know" or "not know" it?

This is an unnecessarily complicated way to frame things.  We used to think the sun revolved around the earth, now we know it is the opposite, reality did not change, only knowledge changed.

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The atheist mistakenly assumes that if something is not known or cannot be known theoretically, it is not worthy of belief.

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This is not as accurate as it could be. Theory without observational evidence is not grounds for belief. If observational evidence is present, then it is safe to consider it valid.

That's fine with me, I was trying to give the benefit of the doubt.  Ontologically speaking (I believe Im using that word correctly?) it would be natural to assume that there are things that are true but not known and work that into the equation.

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Once again, a belief in only what the individual or collection of individuals think, know, perceive, or feel.

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Do you know of any religion which did not arise and be communicated through what individuals think, know, perceive, or feel?

Religion is based on belief and works the unknown into the equation.  It does not claim otherwise.  Atheism has nothing to say about the unknown.
His Majesty at the Swamp / Black Arts Lead to Everlasting Sins / Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism / Oath of Black Blood / Privilege of Evil / Dawn of Possession / In Battle There is No Law / Thousand Swords / To Mega Therion

Re: Atheism
January 27, 2014, 02:15:35 AM
The atheist mistakenly assumes that if something is not known or cannot be known theoretically, it is not worthy of belief.  Once again, a belief in only what the individual or collection of individuals think, know, perceive, or feel.  The unknown is not the same as unreal.

I largely agree with your post. I particularly agree with the general point that belief ('faith') is an essential part of being human. It is a source of energy. Despite welcoming the collapse of Xtianity, Nietzsche, for instance, wrote of the utility of belief for driving human mind to higher endeavors.

Yes but it is not *merely* utilitarian.  Belief is utterly inescapable.
 
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However, keep in mind that Atheists, on an underlying level, have their own faith and their own mission. They are driven by belief. You cannot 'know' (in sense of having a 100 per cent certain true belief) that the supernatural does not exist. You are simply driven, if an atheist, by the conviction that physicalism captures the stuff the cosmos.

This is not to say that most of the objective evidence does not point towards a physicalist ontology... but just that it does so probabilistically, and not with 100 per cent certainty.

The premise is simple:  the unknown is not a lesser aspect or lesser part of reality, if anything it is primary.  For every one thing that is known, there are ten things that are unknown.  What you don't know could fill a library.

Yes, the unknown is like an open ocean to an explorer, or a christian village to a Viking.

However, do not conflate the unknown with the known-probably-not-to-exist.

It is one thing, from the point of view of knowledge, to not be 'captured by human minds' because you are yet to be reached - another not to be 'captured by human minds' because you don't exist.

Something that is beyond your grasp you cannot put in a basket, alternatively you can't put what doesn't exist in your basket either.

"known-probably-not to exist"?  That is not very scientific of you.  In any event I like your analogy very much.  Yes, the unknown is like the ocean, and the known is like a tiny little island.  We are utterly surrounded by the unknown and yet we hardly think of it.  If anything, knowledge is the anomaly.  But no one thinks of it like that, do they.
His Majesty at the Swamp / Black Arts Lead to Everlasting Sins / Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism / Oath of Black Blood / Privilege of Evil / Dawn of Possession / In Battle There is No Law / Thousand Swords / To Mega Therion

Re: Atheism
January 27, 2014, 08:19:38 AM
The atheist mistakenly assumes that if something is not known or cannot be known theoretically, it is not worthy of belief.  Once again, a belief in only what the individual or collection of individuals think, know, perceive, or feel.  The unknown is not the same as unreal.

I largely agree with your post. I particularly agree with the general point that belief ('faith') is an essential part of being human. It is a source of energy. Despite welcoming the collapse of Xtianity, Nietzsche, for instance, wrote of the utility of belief for driving human mind to higher endeavors.

Yes but it is not *merely* utilitarian.  Belief is utterly inescapable.

Hello Jim!

Some belief is purely instrumental, if it's not true and or justified. All belief is inescapable, but only some are true and justified.
 
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However, keep in mind that Atheists, on an underlying level, have their own faith and their own mission. They are driven by belief. You cannot 'know' (in sense of having a 100 per cent certain true belief) that the supernatural does not exist. You are simply driven, if an atheist, by the conviction that physicalism captures the stuff the cosmos.

This is not to say that most of the objective evidence does not point towards a physicalist ontology... but just that it does so probabilistically, and not with 100 per cent certainty.

The premise is simple:  the unknown is not a lesser aspect or lesser part of reality, if anything it is primary.  For every one thing that is known, there are ten things that are unknown.  What you don't know could fill a library.

Yes, the unknown is like an open ocean to an explorer, or a christian village to a Viking.

However, do not conflate the unknown with the known-probably-not-to-exist.

It is one thing, from the point of view of knowledge, to not be 'captured by human minds' because you are yet to be reached - another not to be 'captured by human minds' because you don't exist.

Something that is beyond your grasp you cannot put in a basket, alternatively you can't put what doesn't exist in your basket either.

"known-probably-not to exist"?  That is not very scientific of you.  In any event I like your analogy very much.  Yes, the unknown is like the ocean, and the known is like a tiny little island.  We are utterly surrounded by the unknown and yet we hardly think of it.  If anything, knowledge is the anomaly.  But no one thinks of it like that, do they.

Nope, it is. Science works via induction, and inductive truths are never 100 per cent certain. That only comes from deductive truths (logic) or mathematic truths.

It is a common error, or a common violation of good norms of rationality, to have 'knowledge' mean absolute certainty (unless you're a logician or mathematician!).

Re: Atheism
January 27, 2014, 08:25:09 AM
Responding from a mobile device, sorry if I missed something:

I value my opinions as they are my opinions. Naturally some get discarded over time while others become reinforced, who cares though? Finding the mechanical cosmological model to be boring has little to with a matter of how accurate it is, you know. I never did share my opinion of THAT. Further, atheism is in general boring, but not useless as it tends to serve civilization rather well during certain periods until the particular movement fails to live up to its own claims. Nevertheless, on the whole it's a boring view of life IMO.

But it's mostly likely the true account. So whether we like it or not, we have to come up with interpretations of it that go above and beyond shopping, immediate gratification, and lowest common denominator culture.

I guess that the main difference between a few other folk around here and me is that they see this being achieved by conserving beliefs about reality that I cannot see working in a practical sense. Theistic, traditionalist, pagan, quasi-mystic beliefs are too antagonistic to other beliefs we now hold as a society. They will reply that, for their part, 'ascending' cultural practices, divorced from traditional beliefs about reality are just not functional, and would be like trying to grow a tree after chopping off its roots.

I'd rather not make anymore assumptions, so what do you mean by technological progress?

I think something similar to your remarks that followed. Something as normative-free as possible. Scope of, usefulness of, and depth/complexity of...