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Messages - AnHero

1 ... 13 [14]
196
Interzone / Re: Religion in Modern America
« on: August 07, 2009, 04:10:21 AM »
We don't accept ideas because of their usefulness.  We accept them because of their veracity.

Who's "we"? Why accept an idea that is of no use? Which leads me to...

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What you're suggesting is that it's just fine to lie on a massive, institutional level as long as it serves some purpose.

Yes.
What's the problem?

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Wait.
Did someone really just insinuate that religion makes people behave sensibly?  I couldn't possibly be understanding you correctly.

You talk like religions institutions never had any purpose. They may have become misinterpreted and obsolete but did people not survive, construct great civilizations, create works of art and development refined culture over the past... forever? They were doing so under the guide of religious institutions. I know you look in a church and see people kneeling and whispering and it looks weird as hell, but those wacky beliefs that also maintains order. So if it ever becomes necessary to limit human population, maybe preachers could just start saying "God said to have fewer kids" and they'll start doing it. You should know that people really are that dumb on the large scale.

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The truth is, most other industrialized societies are getting less and less religious.  It's withering away to nothing in many countries.  These countries have lower crime rates, lower teen pregnancy rates, lower abortion rates, lower drug usage rates, higher incomes and higher education than places where religion is ranked as important.

It does make some sense. Smarter people are more likely to stay away from religion and avoid the behaviors listed.

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It's time to let go of the fairy tales and for the human race to grow up.

It will if it survives. You can't just take a little kid, put him behind the wheel of a car and tell him to grow up. Individual people might seem pretty smart when you talk to them, but a large group of people is just like any other large group of animals. You don't keep them in a cage and they consume everything (as observed) and fornicate everywhere (as observed). People aren't any smarter than they used to be, they just have different ideas in their heads.

Take some time to think about what the real purpose of religion was. It wasn't to explain the world to people. It was to propagate a values system that evolved over time and proved itself. It's slow to change, yes. But it was far-reaching into history to see what works. How is this process going to be replaced. When someone says religion, you think they are referring to mythology, but it's the underlying concepts that are important. How do we impress these concepts into future generations. I don't think a god is going to work anymore. Do you have any suggestions?

197
Interzone / Re: Religion in Modern America
« on: August 07, 2009, 03:44:21 AM »
By bizarre claims, I'm referring to the bizarre claims made by all religionists.  Nous appears to be of the school that believes that religion and "spirituality" are things that you try on like shoes until you find one which suits you.

Some people like lies more than others.  Personally, I think religion is an absolutely pernicious virus. 

Well, getting back to the original question - what to replace religion with? Do you think people will behave sensibly because it is sensible? (I'm trying to avoid morally-loaded terms like "right" and "wrong" and "do the right thing")

Note that I define religion as a body of values, and principles (one kind of "beliefs") and a mythology to illustrate and present them (another kind of "belief") (also includes ritual practices of some kind)

198
Interzone / Re: Religion in Modern America
« on: August 07, 2009, 03:35:49 AM »
By bizarre claims, I'm referring to the bizarre claims made by all religionists.  Nous appears to be of the school that believes that religion and "spirituality" are things that you try on like shoes until you find one which suits you.

Some people like lies more than others.  Personally, I think religion is an absolutely pernicious virus. 

Well, getting back to the original question - what to replace religion with? Do you think people will behave sensibly because it is sensible? (I'm trying to avoid morally-loaded terms like "right" and "wrong" and "do the right thing")

Note that I define religion as a body of values, and principles (one kind of "beliefs") and a mythology to illustrate and present them (another kind of "belief")

199
Interzone / Re: Religion in Modern America
« on: August 07, 2009, 03:09:51 AM »
Of course, in the absence of any evidence to support your bizarre claims, you have no alternative.

Just out of curiosity - what do you think he's claiming that is unproven? You could try to get him to explain before just saying "I don't understand so you're wrong"

nous: You said that ideas might just exist without people understanding them or having discovered yet. And you've said that there are universal truths, so I assume that once one has found these universal truths, they are not subject to reason, or do they not need to tested? You said there was a way to overcome the trail-and-error method of learning, is this by interpreting these ideas from the ancients? How do you know they are correct?

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Yours is the individual fallacy. You look at the individual, and you see how the individual learns, and you see a process, as notions are honed and refined.
Only that you transfer this picture to reality as a whole, and imagine that there, too, ideas were honed and refined. This is your error.

Even if ideas are eternal, our discovery of them would be trial and error. Where else do ideas come from unless we're just making them up?

(please no more snide comments from RR - let's try to understand what the man is saying)

200
Interzone / Re: Religion in Modern America
« on: August 07, 2009, 03:01:59 AM »
Just a thought; what if the ideas were objective, only that not everyone could understand them?
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And we're talking of ideas that simply "are"; they don't care if there's a human mind which thinks them.

I'm aware of the possibility that just because I don't understand something doesn't mean it doesn't exist or doesn't work. More people should keep this in mind, it is the source of much humility.

something i just noticed from your other posts: are you referring to factual information? (that the earth is round and always was round, even when people weren't aware of it)

This is more of an opinion, but I tend think that ideas and qualities exist only inside the human mind (some of them might exist in the minds of other animals, subconsciously, i don't know), since they don't have a physical presence (they are not objective, I am claiming). If you claim any ideas exist outside of someone thinking them or knowing of them, then you might have to say that all ideas that ever existed or ever could exist already do and always have. It is my opinion that it  doesn't actually matter - ideas that no one knows of are of no use.

Some ideas (personally and societal values and principles) are very sensible and strong and thus may seem eternal in a sense, as they apply to so many situations. Unless you were referring to a different kind of idea.

It might be important, as the breadth of the conversation grows, to state how each point relates back to the OP.

201
Interzone / Re: Religion in Modern America
« on: August 07, 2009, 02:45:04 AM »
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A figurative usage which is an embodiment of the physical laws of nature and/or the higher principles that the person using it believes in. Some examples of higher principles: (loyalty, wisdom, courage, love, discipline, honesty, intelligence, beauty, self-denial, responsibility, health and strength).
Why have the lie at all?  Why not just value the higher principles instead of the intermediary lie?

(Of course I don't want to be lied to, and on top of that, I don't think anyone starts believing in a literal god once they've been shown that the concept doesn't make any sense. The OP's question was what to do now that god is dead, implying that we will not be able to return to theistic religions)

The figurative usage is the version that is not a lie. That's something you need to understand. In this thread, when someone says "God", they are not referring to a mythical being, just a metaphor - it's usage is a shorthand for saying the things it represents, so we don't have to list them - the laws being the hand of god and the principles being the godly way. I don't think anyone in this thread is a theist or is advocating theism for anyone else in the thread. But you keep responding to posts as though they are. They are not.

As for the mythology of a religion (What I think you mean when you say "the lie"), refer to the Schopenhauer dialogue on religion posted earlier.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/s/schopenhauer/arthur/religion/chapter1.html

Quote from: Schopenhauer
You’ve no notion how stupid most people are.

Related thread:
http://www.anus.com/metal/hall/index.php/topic,6690.0.html

Do you think most people have the intelligence and disciple to do things they don't want or avoid doing things they do want, just because it makes sense? I'm not sure they are. Those are the people who need the lie.

The lie doesn't even need to be a god. A few posts up, I noticed that concepts like freedom and equality are kind of like the new gods, and modern people strive to bring those into existence. Maybe a new religion would work like this, just with better (at least workable) concepts.

202
Interzone / Re: Religion in Modern America
« on: August 07, 2009, 01:33:10 AM »
Also, what exactly is "God" and how do you know so much about him?

The term "God" has been used two different ways here and we haven't always specified which one:
- A personified entity who listens to your prayers and watches you while you masturbate.
- A figurative usage which is an embodiment of the physical laws of nature and/or the higher principles that the person using it believes in. Some examples of higher principles: (loyalty, wisdom, courage, love, discipline, honesty, intelligence, beauty, self-denial, responsibility, health and strength).

^ some of those are more earthly (health and strength), and more directly related to the need to survive, so they're not all Higher Principles, but long-term necessities.

I doubt anyone here is actually a believer in the first kind and when promoting the belief of the first kind, it is only for the masses who can't understand the principles themselves, so we just tell them: "God said so."

Before you get upset that someone insists we believe a lie, consider they aren't talking about you, but the masses of people, who can't comprehend the truth (as discussed in the Schopenhauer link).

203
Interzone / Re: Religion in Modern America
« on: August 07, 2009, 01:20:25 AM »
It's curious, our approach to what our new "religion" or philosophy our civilization should adopt. Do you think that the principles and religions symbols other culture's adopted were decided around a conference table? Or did they just evolve over time? There are apparent contradictions in the bible, ironic because it was more likely to have been edited by an institution than the Nordic myths, are there similar issues with other sacred texts?

I'd have to imagine that a cohesive philosophy or values system that is agreed upon would be more effective than one that is pasted together over the centuries, but how do you tell people: "All that stuff you used to believe [both the symbols and the principles] was wrong, believe this instead." Especially if they couldn't understand the justification.

One more thing to think about: Which would be harder, convincing someone that there isn't a god in the clouds watching over them or that a value of theirs (like equality) is false? My intuition tells me the first, since the theist's entire perspective on life would be based on the existence of such a god and the fact that he said to live a certain way. But, in my observation, it's the former. Word's getting out that god (a personified, sits-on-a-throne-in-the-sky God) doesn't exist, but a principle like equality persists. This is strange, because the case against god is a lack of supporting evidence, but the case against equality seems more substantial (it's disprovable).

I must object: first of all, some perspective: what you call the "scientific method" is a materialistic method; the (good, true) ancients never cared for it because they knew that quality is more important than quantity. A people that focus too much on quantity will lose sight of quality. From the viewpoint of quality, man is the vicegerent of God on earth. Man's relative position in space is unimportant compared to that...
...

I appreciate the response, nous, and I'd have to say that I actually agree with you and most points, either you are misinterpreting me or I didn't pay much attention to the details of my writing - terminology and phrasing. The perspective you're offering me is one I already have.

- I called them the "dark ages" because that's what they commonly called, not because I think of them that way.

- The personified Christian God (or whatever religion)  is an invention of man, even if the higher purpose or principles he represents are not, and are not just arbitrary.

- I don't think the ancients were lesser evolved, but I wonder how many were still theistic followers (the less intelligent of the bunch, just like today). The thing about science vs. religion was an attempted explanation of how our society came to be post-modern and valueless. (The church was proven wrong: about existence of god, flatness of the earth -> people don't believe other things the church teaches, things that actually matter: principles and values). This kind of conclusion is like the thinking of a teenager who struggles to help grandpa use a computer, and then assumes he's completely incompetent and doesn't know anything about life.

- I understand some values make more sense than others, but I was trying to argue against a poster who claimed it was possible to live a fulfilling, meaningful life with only science and reason. A third poster mentioned that the satisfaction that people who are supposedly purely rational get from their work depends on valuing the pursuit of scientific facts, and the value of the truth cannot be proven since all value is perceived (I thought this was the cornerstone of nihilism, would I be wrong?). So I agree it's saner to value some things over others, but value cannot be proven with reason alone, even the valuing of reason. See reply #82 where someone caught on to this.

^ So I'd say any form of metaphysical or qualitative analysis would be considered unscientific because they are nonobjective because they reside in the human mind.

204
Interzone / Re: Religion in Modern America
« on: August 05, 2009, 04:26:09 PM »

You're assuming something that doesn't exist, a supernatural reason, and running your logic into the ground because you can't use logic to prove something supernatural in the first place.

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Even the sense of accomplishment one gets from physical accomplishments, even the valuing of one's own life, even the valuing of music and culture (which is likely why you're here, whoever is reading this), even the valuing of a realistic understanding of the universe are all completely irrational and unfounded by empirical evidence. The valuing of these things comes from a metaphysical mindset, which someone can hold, even as they call it a steaming pile of shit.

No it doesn't. You're making a completely unnecessary assumption. All of those things can be explained rationally. You don't even have an argument, you're just making fallacious statements based on the fact that you're assuming a priori the existence of something supernatural or metaphysical.

It's very possible I was using terminology incorrectly, but what I was trying to say is that any kind of value system is irrational. There is no logical reason to value something. Now, if you're saying there is, show me a value and then give it's logical reason. My argument is that there is no reason until one is logical proven and evidence is shown. Someone said that it wouldn't make sense to believe anything without scientific evidence, but all the actions we take are ultimately built on premises that are unprovable in their value.

^ My argument is that something does not exist, to prove me wrong, all you would have to do is prove some instance of it does. (show me something valued and then give the logical reason for valuing it). Some are more detached from nature than others, I know. But that doesn't make the ones that are less detached rational.

(The only value systems that are natural are our instincts and those don't get us to do anything besides survive. I am assuming that there is agreement that a civilization should do something beyond surviving.)



Getting back to the original point of the thread - obviously a god-fearing religion is out of the question for smarter people (I'd have to imagine there were people throughout history who didn't believe in god, even when a theistic religion was dominant), but the lower half of civilization is just as dumb as it always has been, I wonder why we couldn't just give them a new god?

Imagining for a moment that everyone of average intelligence and below was killed (somehow), I wonder if the remnant would be able to understand the need for a shared philosophy within communities and nations, and leaders wouldn't need a god to scare people in line, they would just be able to understand the way things work. There would need to be a population that we could just talk straight with, instead of scaring them with myths or stroking their egos with socialization. Is that possible with large groups of people?

205
Interzone / Re: Religion in Modern America
« on: August 05, 2009, 01:35:58 AM »
Quote from: AnHero
Even the sense of accomplishment one gets from physical accomplishments, even the valuing of one's own life, even the valuing of music and culture (which is likely why you're here, whoever is reading this), even the valuing of a realistic understanding of the universe are all completely irrational and unfounded by empirical evidence. The valuing of these things comes from a metaphysical mindset, which someone can hold, even as they call it a steaming pile of shit.

Right.  I didn't say valuing life is objectively good.  I stated that if you value your life, as an assumption, metaphysical claim, etc, then from there you can objectively derive the value of medicine.  It's just like mathematical theorems; they are proven objectively, but in order to do so you must start with assumptions/postulates.

That wasn't necessarily directed at you, since you seem agree that ultimately irrational metaphysical claims are necessary. It's posters who claimed that all metaphysics are bunk - unless they weren't, and where were just lumping them in with religion.

Either way, can we get this thread back on track? Without the belief in an almighty god to impress people into line, how would you get members of a society to live in accordance with a shared value system? We've talked about what we can do personally, but that's not the point, what are the leaders of the next civilization going to do? I think that's what Ameera was asking, since people aren't just going to start believing in god again, and as we see now, they are shiftless without something to motivate them.

The laws of nature, knowledge of history and the observation of the ruins of this civilization will be enough to convince them what they need to do just to survive sustainably (although they aren't convincing people now), but they will need something beyond that or cooperation will seem for not when the society grows to the large scale and survival seems so far away.

206
Interzone / Re: Religion in Modern America
« on: August 04, 2009, 11:50:22 PM »
There is no need for a science-religion dualism; in fact, the two can be harmonized. Most here would probably define science in a way that effectively denies religion, and then the definition would be unfit. But why do that? Why can we not avoid this by simply postulating one Reality on which everything is dependent? It sounds crazy to atheists, I know. But just try to imagine: If traditional religion is nothing more than this postulation and its consequences, and science is understood as understanding reality and nature from a certain point of view, both views can coexist peacefully--if all views are harmonized correctly in the hierarchy of reality, and their scope is remembered.

I think the religion vs. science issue began when use of the scientific method started to rebut religious symbols: the age and shape of the earth, the structure of the universe, the existence of a deity, and other information in sacred texts. As the literal presence of these symbols is disproved, people start to question the validity of the concepts they represent. You could never tell a believer this, but I'm sure the pope would admit it if you got him drunk: traditional religious values were not dictated by god, they are realized by religious leaders and then god was created to impose them. Seeing this, during the dark ages, church leaders silenced scientists in order to preserve order amongst the populace.

I think we've come full circle back to the OP - without a religious system, most people won't behave just out of the goodness of their hearts. Having strict laws won't work because man's law can be overthrown, in time. Although religions do go out of fashion, too. It seems the collapse of a societies' belief system - values, morals, and the religion that delivers those ideas to the masses, is a sign that that civilization is doomed. Burzum's Balder Død is about this very issue:

Quote from: burzum.com
COMMENTARY: Varg appears to imply that Ragnarok, the greatest battle of all, is in fact fought out in our minds... The Gods (Asgardians) are brought down by Loki as prophesied, but Loki takes the form of the cold, calculating logic of modern society, that leaves no room in our minds for spiritual planes of thinking. He implies that Ragnarok will in fact be a battle of the unconscious and the conscious and that it will be cold logic, nurtured in the artificial plastic light of today's society, that will finally spell the twilight of the Gods.

http://www.burzum.com/eng/discography/official/1997_daudi_baldrs.shtml

I tried to make a point like ^ this ^ in an earlier post. Faith and intuition are a significant part of the human experience, even for people who are such geniuses that they realize there is no god (no one's asking you to read the bible or pray to The Bastard). After all, if you have any kind of value system, like a two-year-old, I could just keep asking "why do you believe that?" and you would run out of answers. Without irrational, unfounded, metaphysical meaning (Baldr) in my life, I would find myself in a state of permanent existential crisis, unable even to feed myself, because I cannot prove there is a good reason to. Don't waste time by saying "instinct," it's just as unfounded.

addendum: Valuing rationality and truth is irrational and has no logical or scientific basis. At some point you're going to have to accept the fact that you are a mere human being, with subjective experiences, unreasonable preferences, and will not always be completely right about everything. It is forgivable. Recognize that for a civilization to function, it's members would have to have some kind of body of values and that those values would have to be transmitted to the next generation in a way that they could understand, starting in youth. For relatively unintelligent cultures, it will be through a theistic religion, for others, it will be through more thoughtful philosophy, and for the Übermenschen, who knows.

If you value your life, then you can objectively prove they are worth doing.

Even the sense of accomplishment one gets from physical accomplishments, even the valuing of one's own life, even the valuing of music and culture (which is likely why you're here, whoever is reading this), even the valuing of a realistic understanding of the universe are all completely irrational and unfounded by empirical evidence. The valuing of these things comes from a metaphysical mindset, which someone can hold, even as they call it a steaming pile of shit.

Religion is primitive science.  It's a collection of lies that attempt to explain the universe. 

Like I said above, religion is not science at all. The two do completely different things. One sees how the physical world works - using experimentation and observation. With it we can figure out HOW to do things. Spirituality/Metaphysics uses intuition, anecdotal evidence from other cultures, and it even evolves (cultures with workable values thrive, cultures with unworkable values, or none, die). It's goal is to give us a reason WHY to do things. Using both of them, we can find WHAT to do (what is physically possible and metaphysically valuable). That's why religion shouldn't be used to disseminate objective or physical information (I know it was in the past and sometimes still is) and scientists shouldn't tell us what's right or wrong (Like showing racial lines are more related than we thought, so we should all just get along).

Hasn't this distinction been made a few times in this same thread before? Why do I need to repeat it?

addendum: Maybe the admin should just delete all replies to the OP and start over, since the question was never fully answered. That or, we could take Replies #3 through the end and change the topic sentence from "What should replace religion as a force of philosophical cohesion" to "Religion is retarded."

207
Interzone / Re: Religion in Modern America
« on: August 04, 2009, 03:16:01 PM »

Where's the proof?
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Science and reason are moving us forward just fine.


Before we go any further, I think we should see some solid evidence that the scientific method leads us to a better understanding of reality. Or should we just accept that as a fact at face value?

Or, even when you see something with your own eyes, how do you know objectively that you even saw it? You cannot prove that you're actually reading this, but you believe you are anyway? Ridiculous!

Furthermore, I think you would then need to prove that the direction that science and reason (science and reason alone) are moving us in, which have vaguely referred to as "forward", is something desirable.

I'm sorry if that sounds shitty, but you're insisting we throw out thousands of years of life-fulfilling practices for... what exactly? And then you have to show (prove) that what we're getting is better than what we had. The burden of proof is on the one that insists we change. It would take more work to change people's minds than to do nothing and let them believe what they want.

Note that I am not suggesting that we embrace theistic belief, just that we value something, even though any kind of value system is utterly irrational, including valuing science and reason or valuing the accomplishment one gets by succeeding in them. A couple of posters mentioned that medical and computer science are some things that pure reason is responsible for, but why do those matter? How could you prove they matter? Even as I type on a computer and remember having undergone medical procedures that had their intended effects, I cannot prove objectively that these things are worth doing.

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