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Everything posted by romansh

  1. Joseph recently posted Living with Uncertainty and I could not help identify this as a form of agnosticism. Anyway being of an agnostic persuasion made, it made sense or most of it, I think. Here is a quote from Bertrand Russell a poster boy for atheism (and agnosticism) which parallels Joseph's line of thought. Perhaps the quote is a bit more aggressive than Joseph's “The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.” and another from Russell I think nobody should be certain of anything. If you’re certain, you’re certainly wrong because nothing deserves certainty. So one ought to hold all one’s beliefs with a certain element of doubt, and one ought to be able to act vigorously in spite of the doubt…. One has in practical life to act upon probabilities, and what I should look to philosophy to do is to encourage people to act with vigor without complete certainty. Now I personally would not call uncertainty,God, Love or Being.
  2. Joseph While I can't immediately put my finger on it, I think there are some major differences between my waking perception and dreams in general. But end of the day as I think you are suggesting both are products of past experience, chemistry and genetics etc. The largest difference I think is the immediacy of my waking perception ... it stretches back just a couple seconds, though it does draw on historical events from my local past and evolutionary past. Whereas dreams by and large draw on almost forgotten pasts if not forgotten ones. Dreams at least for me are of little sense to me. Tough to remember and generally rapidly gone. Dreams and waking perception are both of the universe unfolding. I can't help but be reminded of a tom Clancy quote" The difference between reality and fiction? Fiction has to make sense. For me my waking perception (of reality) makes more sense than my dreams.
  3. For me losing the life quote, I interpret as understanding an intrinsic self is an illusion and moving on from there. What the ancient scribes meant by this, I don't know. And where did it come from and was it borrowed from some earlier Eastern tradition, again, I don't know.
  4. Well thormas I find it interesting that we as human beings confabulate a teleology for not just for ourselves, others, but also for animals, plants etc, sometimes for inanimate objects, the universe and an imaginary entity that is present to everything. If you find teleology fertile ground here go for it.
  5. Illusion ... calling some thing an illusion can be for some a scary or at least its outcome. So I think we need to practice a bit of rigour here and clarify what me mean by illusion. Otherwise we talk past one another. Of course our perceptions are not only coloured but actually formed by our experiences, chemistry, genetics etc. So our perception of reality is at best only a reflection of a small part of the universe or more accurately weighted to a small part of the universe. I suppose it could be argued some reflections are more accurate (more complete?) than others. Though it has been demonstrated some take on a post modernist flavour and claim we can't measure the accuracy not even relatively. I personally might not describe our waking perception as dream but I think our perception is limited and therefore reality cannot be as perceived with absolute accuracy ie, not what it seems. This sort points to Kant's noumenon and phenomenon. Phenomenon is but a refection of noumenon. But by using numerous kinds of phenomena we can build up a more accurate description of the noumenon assuming we have error checking in place. This is hopefully an ongoing process and we are never at the final description and needs to be viewed over centuries. Carl Sagan ... We are a way for the Cosmos to know itself. (I might argue about the word "know", but I think the general sentiment points in the right direction)'
  6. illusion: something is not as it seems, I accept there are other senses ... ie it can be synonymous with delusion.
  7. On the original/earlier Wiki page for ignosticism there was a position quoted along the lines that words should be defined otherwise conversations would not be meaningful. I must admit I tend to agree. Now there are many words used here in these threads that seem to mean slightly different things to different people and at times seem at odds to my trusty Oxford Concise (trust me you would not want have Concise dropped on your bare feet). Some of these words include: Divine/divinity Transcendence/transcend/transcendent Immaterial God Holy Spirit/Spiritual ... OK this has been done before Grace Now I may add some other words as they crop up but I would be interested in people's succinct definitions for each these. I am not expecting agreement but just a sense of how people use these words. Thanks in advance rom
  8. Thormas ... I must admit for me this was way too long and if I may say so flowery. To me this seems like rhetorical question about your beliefs. Choice about love? Absolutely none - at least free choice. Could it be otherwise? I don't see how. But generally I disagree with the premise preceding. See 3 Why do we exist? Teleology! What evidence do we have of a purpose or intent for our existence? More teleology ... not necessary in my opinion. What causes love? ... the properties of matter. The same that causes hate, lust, greed, fear, jealousy, etc .. you get the picture. Already answered. More teleology. More teleology More teleology It just might be a more accurate description of existence. Anyway my answers.
  9. Actually I have mentioned to Joseph (in the past and before your time here) I am not a fan long posts. I prefer to have more of a discussion. So if you see it as snarkiness aimed at you fair enough. But I would appreciate it if you could summarize the points you want me to address.
  10. If I want a wall of text I normally pick up a book. What is (or are) the questions you would like to be answered. One that comes to mind how we measure accuracy which I answered already. What were the others.
  11. I pick just one aspect of your reply ... in that there I find much that does not make sense and is off topic and not make discussion too unwieldy. This is a 'positive' claim in a philosophical sense. What is your corroborative evidence for rejecting happenstance?
  12. If by perpetrator you mean proximate cause ... then I agree. There are a whole bunch of causes (seen and unseen) supporting you being a perp. If there was true order then my pointing could be spot on. While we can see order in the rotation of the moon about the Earth which rotates about the Sun ... these are in fact chaotic. Or at least the evidence points that way. Evolution is chaotic, the molecules around us are chaotic, the very fabric of matter appears to be chaotic. Yes we can pick out pockets of order.
  13. What I do see is a chaotic universe in which there are pockets of what appears to be order; the ticking universe can be described by what we call laws, ultimately these descriptions are not accurate in an absolute way, but can be pretty darn good. I suppose I could call this balanced. This I think I can justify. I can see action and reaction, cause and effect. I fail to see a perpetrator; though I can imagine one. I am seeing the same universe as you Joseph. Now not knowing you can justify the perpetrator you see is what I would call faith. But understanding that you know you do not know you can justify this is (I would argue) agnosticism. So in the nomenclature of the topic that would make you an agnostic theist. I know we may not like descriptors, but they do facilitate discussion.
  14. Good and evil ... ultimately figments of our imagination.
  15. Just ignoring the disparity in noun versus verb for the moment ... rusting from the metal's point of view is electron loss and refining (ie removing the oxygen) is electron gain. But I might agree that good and evil are not opposites. Closer to illusions in my book.
  16. that one should not demean or ridicule another. It was not my intention to demean, my apologies if you feel demeaned. Most rely on this 'objective reality' on a daily basis to function. In addition, believing there is no proof must be an extreme agnosticism No not really. I could be a semantic issue here. Weak agnosticism might claim I don’t know and I don’t know what you might know. Having said that I might be skeptical that others claim they know. They might think or believe they know. - one that would leave its few adherents cowering in the corner (there being no proof, no evidence that it exists either) as one just doesn't know .....anything. As for "faith is any old thing" - again demeaning and full of ridicule which seems to be so un-PC. Here you conflate no proof and no evidence as the same thing. When dealing with the real world all we have is inductive logic where we always have alternative possibilities. Proofs might be found in deductive logic but here we must agree on the axioms and agree that the logic used is sound and that logic can be used. You have never heard anyone argue that one can’t prove there isn’t a god and therefore it is OK to believe? You make two mistakes if, as it seems you are, suggesting this is my view: first I do not equate the universe with God (this is pantheism) so I do not believe a 'holistic panentheism can be attributed to this universe.' I have read this through several times. Just to be clear do you think Love is in everything? So we find Love in nasty parasites or are you suggesting Love is only found in some behaviours? I am not sure how there is love in a speck of dust out in deep space. Unless you are using some unusual definition of Love. And second, it is your 'belief' and only a belief, that because there is much in this universe that cannot be easily coupled with love (I would go further adding in direct opposition to Love), it follows that God is not Love. Many 'believe' the opposite. Merely because you state it, does not make it so, Well you have not demonstrated in a convincing way that love can be found in malaria for example. Sure some people care for those infected with malaria, but who or what actually Loves malaria? You state your 'belief' that some of the higher mammal attribute loving bits to life while it is obvious that others (including classic and contemporary theists) would neither character love as such or consider love as merely a human (and higher mammal) contribution. Again we have your belief vs. others: my point all along. This makes no sense to me, thormas. Firstly, I did not quite say what you said. I said Sure we can have loving bits attributed to life, primarily some of the higher mammals. So it is your belief we do not attribute Love to mammals and life in general? is no proof but there is reliable evidence, ok. But I was making a simple statement about believing that loves that leads to action and you introduce infidelity. My point stands, lets discuss infidelity at a later date because, as you said, you are getting frustrated. You miss the point completely here thormas … the discussion here was faith versus agnosticism. It still is sort of. there is no evidence and no proof there is a God, the universe is God or for or against the panentheistic understanding of God. It is belief, as your stance is also a belief. If there is no evidence for a God what causes this belief? And if a lack of belief is a belief, then this is some interesting semantic jugglery, at least I believe so. there will be those who accept (ie. believe') that God is love and those that will reject it. To look for evidence (not to mention proof) for or against God is to not recognize that all the religious or non-religious stances are matters of belief. So you believe. Is your belief accurate? How do we adjudicate our beliefs? We can argue about what is the quickest route between point A and point B. We can gather evidence look at cellphone responses, travel the routes ourselves. Ask others, ask Google. Now we can never be sure in any given instance which will be the quickest, but inductively we can make a more accurate choice. As an example, I could easily make an argument against the classically understood theistic God and provide 'evidence' that such a supreme being, above and beyond the universe, but who is both omnipotent and all loving 'does not exist' or, better and more accurately, that I don't believe or accept such a God. Two points, the presence of evil can be 'explained' (and I'm not saying it is a satisfactory explanation for me or all others, but definitely for others) in classic theism and I do not believe in a such theistic God. For me, the problem of ‘evil’ is a problem for traditional and panentheistic gods that has not been explained away to my satisfaction. This may well be a belief, but then so what? Feel free to start a thread on this subject, should you wish. We might be striving for a better understanding of our existence but how is 'accuracy' measured in such a endeavor (an endeavor of faith)? I respect the agnostic and the atheist to name two but I am not either: they do not resonate and provide no insight/understanding that would (since both are statements of faith) compel me to action, to live a certain way. And I recognize they feel the same - so what? Diversity in Unity. I am not out to convince them, I am wiser than that as I, again, recognize and respect the beliefs of others; the faith of others cuts it for me. This fair enough.
  17. I must admit I am experiencing some frustration here thormas. As we are on a thread about agnosticism and you are discussing this with an agnostic, the comment Who can prove another loves them? leads me to the Homeric response of Duh! There is no proof in this world and frequently people seem to think that as a consequence it is reasonable to have faith in any old thing. Case in point being Love is God. There is much in this universe that cannot be easily coupled with love. And if this true then a holistic panentheism cannot be attributed to this universe. Sure we can have loving bits attributed to life, primarily some of the higher mammals. While I would agree evidence can be misleading. Some reasons we might consider are a ) the data that the evidence is based on is just plain wrong, b ) The data that points to the evidence also points to other hypotheses and c ) a proponent does not have the skill and perhaps the wherewithal to actually go from data to evidence. Nevertheless if data and evidence are handled well it can lead to accurate descriptions of the universe. So plainly we can love an unfaithful wife that is not the problem here and that we can have faith where it has no business being is not a surprise. But should the wife being faithful be important to us then it, I think, would be wise to get some corroborating evidence, one way or the other. Similarly God being somehow equivalent to love then I think it would wise to get some corroborating evidence for a fully panentheistic view of this, bearing in mind the horrible diseases, parasites, hunger and destruction that routinely visit this world. This is of course is based on an assumption that we are striving for a more accurate description of our existence and that being more accurate is somehow important to us. Faith as a method does not cut it for me.
  18. For me faith is a little different. If I were to say I believe my wife is not having an affair, I could cite a whole bunch of evidence to corroborate my belief. On the other hand if I were to say I have faith my wife is not having an affair, this will be despite not having a lot of evidence to support this view or perhaps evidence to the contrary.
  19. Thormas What is the difference between a thought and a belief?
  20. Is there evidence that the universe is happenstance? Yes ... quantum phenomena. If god and the universe are synonymous then yes there is evidence that there is a pantheistic god. If however we wish to add special properties like Love or the en in panentheism then I would agree it is far from evident. An agnostic might not be sure (know things are evident or not) but she may be sufficiently convinced that there is a universe but understand there is no conclusive proof. In fact she would understand looking for proof is nonsense. To define the universe as god is simply a semantic issue. To define the universe as God with some magical added property is the tricky bit. And from my perspective a remnant from the more orthodox beliefs that are in society. No it means somethings were not understood and may remain so. But labelling things incomprehensible as God does not make much sense to me. And God not making much sense is God also does not make sense. ad infinitum
  21. The process of belief, for me, is an unconscious process which I rationalize after the fact.
  22. True ... but I would call it the universe primarily for clarity. (Thormas note the lower case u). In a Joseph Campbellian way I think a lot of folklore and myths point to the universe as god, but we as a society and as individuals hold on to duality. Sure there is much that is not understood in this universe. But that is OK. I don't have a need to revere the bits that I don't comprehend. The bits that were once incomprehensible cease to be God as we gain understanding? Perhaps we don't have the physiology that allows to accurately understand the universe does that mean there is a God?
  23. This I think is an accurate observation Burl. I think back to when I was learning to drive. All that consciousness was not necessarily a hindrance but something to get past to become a fluid driver. Similarly for the sports I have played. Whereas this : I can't say correlates with my experience. I don't ever recall being aware of a first mover never mind being habituated to its presence.
  24. Then you can't say they have beliefs.