Author Topic: Victor's Theism vs Ethics debate  (Read 20328 times)

Offline cato

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 91
Re: Victor's Theism vs Ethics debate
« Reply #45 on: October 27, 2010, 10:54:57 AM »
Parents do exist, they just chose not to make themselves known to the kids. The believers knowledge of parents is certainly not complete, but they believe there is a thing called parents and that it is a good thing. The belief is hard-wired, a bit like the way migratory bird can navigate across the oceans.

ok mark, it's an interesting experiment. i'm going to have a think about this and get back to you - can't promise an answer as interesting or amusing though  :)

have you read a brave new world by the way? i bloody love that book!

Offline Mark H

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 19722
  • Middleclass Machismo now available.
Re: Victor's Theism vs Ethics debate
« Reply #46 on: October 27, 2010, 10:59:37 AM »
Yes, a long time ago and I can't remember anything about it. Is it still relevant do you think?
Buy Bristle Side Down, The Man Who Wore Brown Shoes and Middleclass Machismo here:
http://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?contributorId=570142

If poetry is not your thing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PueM04F0Qz8 or: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0Zm8cj9MGg

Story

  • Guest
Re: Victor's Theism vs Ethics debate
« Reply #47 on: October 27, 2010, 11:12:43 AM »
To say that the universe is and has always been is no more conclusive than saying God is and has always been. Neither one convinces me that God does or does not exist.


Offline Amie

  • Esteemed Contributor
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8460
    • threegeese
Re: Victor's Theism vs Ethics debate
« Reply #48 on: October 27, 2010, 11:15:03 AM »
Especially not if you subscribe to one of the philosophies that says that God is the universe :)
"You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet." - Kafka

Offline Amie

  • Esteemed Contributor
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8460
    • threegeese
Re: Victor's Theism vs Ethics debate
« Reply #49 on: October 27, 2010, 11:18:44 AM »
However, in response to your earlier point, I'm not sure that you can't prove that the universe has always existed (if it has). If you could somehow prove the statement that the passage of time is an illusion, then perhaps the logical conclusion of that would be that the universe has always existed.
"You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet." - Kafka

Story

  • Guest
Re: Victor's Theism vs Ethics debate
« Reply #50 on: October 27, 2010, 11:31:13 AM »
Quote
However, in response to your earlier point, I'm not sure that you can't prove that the universe has always existed (if it has). If you could somehow prove the statement that the passage of time is an illusion, then perhaps the logical conclusion of that would be that the universe has always existed.

Agreed, except that time is predictable and repeatable - and measureable (even though it is not constant).  If I say that the faster I go the slower time goes, then I must support that with scientific theory (which of course has been done conclusively).  How can it be an illusion if it's scientifically measured? It has been proven to be relative, true, but to my (admittedly limited) knowledge it has never been disproven.

Energy equals mass times X squared.  Solve for X   :-)



Offline Amie

  • Esteemed Contributor
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8460
    • threegeese
Re: Victor's Theism vs Ethics debate
« Reply #51 on: October 27, 2010, 11:37:11 AM »
Yep. Even so, many physicists (including Einstein) say this it is an illusion. We experience the passage of time, but it doesn't pass, it just is. If you believe Einstein. The closest analogy I can give you is something like... say you have a house with lots of interconnected rooms. Each room is painted a different colour. You can only see the colour of each room, one at a time, in a certain order. But they are always there, they don't just appear because we pass from one room into the next. This is, I gather, what time is like. It's always here, but for some reason we experience it as the flow of increasing entropy.
"You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet." - Kafka

Offline cato

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 91
Re: Victor's Theism vs Ethics debate
« Reply #52 on: October 27, 2010, 11:37:53 AM »
Yes, a long time ago and I can't remember anything about it. Is it still relevant do you think?

i don't know how relevant it is, only it's opening reminds me a lot of your scenario. it's a society in which the population is grown in test tubes according to different genetic blue prints. cracking book. anyway i am on a train but i'll reply in more detail shortly.

Story

  • Guest
Re: Victor's Theism vs Ethics debate
« Reply #53 on: October 27, 2010, 11:53:00 AM »
Quote
You can only see the colour of each room, one at a time, in a certain order. But they are always there, they don't just appear because we pass from one room into the next. This is, I gather, what time is like. It's always here, but for some reason we experience it as the flow of increasing entropy.

Yep, but I have never seen a good explanation for why time must travel in one direction.

If we were in a series of rooms and the rooms were nothing more than a series of rooms, why can't we find a way to go the the room we were in sayy in late december 1963?  (-oh what a night... but I digress!) 

And if time is an illusion, how can entropy exist? 

If entropy is defined as

Quote
a hypothetical tendency for the universe to attain a state of maximum homogeneity in which all matter is at a uniform temperature.


and time is an illusion, then how can we move towards entropy, shouldn't we be there already?

It's these questions that kept me out of the really good parties in high school.  :-D


 

Offline Amie

  • Esteemed Contributor
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8460
    • threegeese
Re: Victor's Theism vs Ethics debate
« Reply #54 on: October 27, 2010, 11:59:48 AM »
Yep, but I have never seen a good explanation for why time must travel in one direction.

Possibly for the same reason that space is ordered in a particular way? Why can't I get from Houston to Paris by travelling straight upward from the ground?

 
Quote
And if time is an illusion, how can entropy exist? 

If entropy is defined as ...

and time is an illusion, then how can we move towards entropy, shouldn't we be there already?

I think you're getting the question a little backward - we are already there. We just don't experience it that way. So, I can move toward my bedroom from my living room, but my bedroom is here right now - I just am not experiencing it now.

They aren't easy concepts, and not even necessarily correct (even if subscribed to by the biggies in physics). Feynman also concluded that time is just a direction, like north to south. I think it's a pretty common belief, amongst physicists. I'm not sure I can explain it any better than I have, but I will try, if you keep asking the questions :)
"You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet." - Kafka

Offline cato

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 91
Re: Victor's Theism vs Ethics debate
« Reply #55 on: October 27, 2010, 12:24:25 PM »
THOUGHT EXPERIMENT FOR CATO

This is NOT an argument in support of a benign deity, it is an argument in support of considering all possibilities, even illogical and improbably ones.

In 500 years time, parents are so sick of their egregious children, with their constant demands and smelly bottoms, that they come up with a way of keeping them sequestered from birth to age 21. The kids are conceived in a test tube, incubated in a plastic womb, delivered by robot, raised by elder children, and then eventually, at age 21, shipped out to the adult world via conveyor belt. While in the Sprog-Zone the kids have no knowledge of the outside world.

The kids are human though, with human DNA, and most seem to hold some innate memory of a concept they call parents. To try and make sense of this "feeling" of parents they create dogma and it soon becomes a mortal sin to run in the corridors. Some of the kids are genetic mutants with no innate sense of parents. They are totally sceptical about the whole parenting thing and often hop backwards down the corridors just to show that parents won't strike them down. Moreover, the sceptical kids use logic to show that those with faith in parents are dimwits that lack clarity of thought.

Every single bit of evidence they have suggests that parents don't exist; the believers admit that, yet still they believe. They can't help it, it's innate.

right then, had a mull. i think i'm still possibly confused about what you're trying to get me to think about here. what you seem to be demonstrating is that it's possible that someone might not believe in something which actually exists. now, leaving aside for a moment the issue of whether or not that belief is innate (i'm afraid i don't think your scenario helps us figure that out one way or the other), i have to say i've no argument with you. the case of the black swan is usually used to illustrate this - everyone assumed swans were white till they popped over to aus and discovered black ones.

so it's certainly possible that someone might not believe in something which exists, but that's not the same as saying everything someone doesn't believe in might possibly exist. note the placement of 'might' in those statements. the latter does not logically follow from the former. so when you say it's an argument in favour of considering all possibilities - i agree we should consider 'all' possibilities. i'm just saying that not everything can be considered a possibility, and we have to have criteria for establishing what is.

this brings us back to your scenario. whether the possibilities are logical or illogical i'm not sure. are you suggesting your unbelievers are considering the possibility that parents don't exist? because i'm not sure that's what they're doing. but their beliefis certainly illogical.

it suddenly dawned on me as i was reading this that you've pretty much described exactly the position of most theists. a theist doesn't believe in parents either, ultimately. they believe in their parents, and their parents' parents, but eventually they think you reach a point where there are no more human parents, and they interpose god (or if they're not creationists they go back further and ultimately run out of causes). what you've shown in your scenario is that a rejection of the underlying principle of causation i.e. that every effect has a cause, and each cause in turn has a cause, and so on - which everyone from david hume to bertrand russell to richard effing dawkins (i gather that's the full name on his passport) has been banging on about for centuries - leads to false belief, which is precisely what happens to theists. the only difference in your scenario is that the unbelievers haven't invented the concept of god yet, but i reckon it's only a matter of time!  ;D

Offline cato

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 91
Re: Victor's Theism vs Ethics debate
« Reply #56 on: October 27, 2010, 12:34:41 PM »
To say that the universe is and has always been is no more conclusive than saying God is and has always been. Neither one convinces me that God does or does not exist.

story, to go back to this, and sorry because i see you've moved on somewhat, but what i say is the following:

causation describes the relationship between things that exist i.e. every effect has a cause, which in turn has a cause, and so on, and this causal relationship describes the interaction between matter and energy. causation is impossible, therefore, unless things composed of matter and energy exist. existence cannot be caused, it is a foundation on which causation functions. the logic in this to me seems unassailable. as i said earlier in the thread, if someone can't be convinced of something, that doesn't necessarily mean it hasn't been proved, all it means is that the person who remains unconvinced may not understand the concept properly, or may be unwilling to accept it for other reasons - e.g. ego or cultural conditioning.

i would acknowledge that the first time this occurs to you - that the universe cannot logically have had a beginning - it seems completely counter-intuitive. but i promise the more you think about it objectively, the more difficult it is to countenance an alternative.

Offline Amie

  • Esteemed Contributor
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8460
    • threegeese
Re: Victor's Theism vs Ethics debate
« Reply #57 on: October 27, 2010, 12:42:41 PM »
Although, just to contradict my earlier statements, physicists apparently do believe that you can create something from nothing, and that the universe might have been created from nothing: http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/mark_vuletic/vacuum.html (I know, how can you create something if there's no time? I've asked these questions before - sometimes I understand the answers and sometimes I don't)
"You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet." - Kafka

Story

  • Guest
Re: Victor's Theism vs Ethics debate
« Reply #58 on: October 27, 2010, 01:12:07 PM »
Amie, I really love trying to understand these things and the more I learn the more I know that I don't know anything.

Which goes back to my point that I am an agnostic.  I just don't know what the truth is, but I can't rule out the possibility of God (But, I also can't completely believe in the concept - hence the agnostic).

Offline Mark H

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 19722
  • Middleclass Machismo now available.
Re: Victor's Theism vs Ethics debate
« Reply #59 on: October 27, 2010, 01:59:37 PM »
right then, had a mull. i think i'm still possibly confused about what you're trying to get me to think about here.

The thought experiment is not meant to be a simplified representation of theism, I just wanted a situation whereby those with faith were correct (against all the odds) and those that applied logic were wrong. If you like, you can assume that by the time the experiment takes place, scientists have discovered the God gene and cured it with gene therapy. Of course if you reject the idea that things like "ideas" could be held in the genes and transmitted from generation to generation, then the experiment doesn't stack up anyway because none of the kids would be believers in parents.

I saw a program earlier in the year where scientists tried to bring up wolves as if they were domestic dogs. It didn't work, they remained wild animals. There are things that dogs do that are innate, they don't learn how to live with people, they are born with that knowledge. The implication is that dogs and wolves have evolved differently from a shared ancestor. To me that suggests that something like belief in a good god could be innate. Or, as in my thought experiment, an expectation that there are/should be parents.

M
Buy Bristle Side Down, The Man Who Wore Brown Shoes and Middleclass Machismo here:
http://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?contributorId=570142

If poetry is not your thing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PueM04F0Qz8 or: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0Zm8cj9MGg