Started by Kythia, July 02, 2013, 12:39:06 AM
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Quote from: EphiralSo the problem is that you think there are problematic concepts bundled up in "information", and I don't see how communication is not communication because we tack "God's" on the front of it. I propose rationalist taboo: I'll drop "information" and all synonyms from my vocabulary, and you drop "communication" and all synonyms from yours. Now: What are you talking about? What traits does it actually have? The thing I'm talking about is some signal by which things not previously known by a human can be imparted to that human, and spread from one human to another. As such, it must be comprehensible by the human brain and representable by human language and communication. Is there any disagreement here?
Quote from: EphiralWe have at least three other excellent sources of information: Archaeological evidence, trade records from the era (these are very often extremely detailed and do a good job of showing who was talking to whom), and the actual records of these outsider cultures
Quote from: EphiralI appreciate you not just pointing to these medieval accounts as a fait accompli.
Quote from: EphiralI am not entirely sure what you mean by "people" here. Clearly it is not individuals, but it isn't exactly nations or cultures either. Can you clarify? The point is interesting, and I would like to address it.
Quote from: EphiralYou don't get to define something as "this happens, no exceptions" and then acknowledge that exceptions exist without abandoning your original point.
Quote from: EphiralI... I really don't want to be insulting here, but... it sounds like you start by defining a statement as true, and then building your view of reality around accepting only concepts which uphold that statement, regardless of whether they match reality. This is a poor way to understand the world-as-is, and a very good way to go extremely far off the rails extremely quickly.
Quote from: EphiralThe premise is "Humans have used the transmission protocol you described before." This is true. From that, we gret that humans stopped using it because it was extremely poor at actually communicating. The medium might be different, but I'm talking about the protocol - whether you use pulses of light or electricity or magnetic bits or ink on cellulose pulp or timed smoke clouds or furrows in dirt or scratches in clay or direct beaming to the brain is irrelevant to why this is a poor idea.
Quote from: EphiralAll right, then. I'll abandon scientific predictions as an example and turn to science fiction. We have a lot of examples there of elements that were imagined for the sake of telling a good story, which we know for certain exist now. This was in a system which, by your definition, has no constraints - they were free to not write a story, after all, or to write a different one.
Quote from: EphiralTime to bite the bullet: You are stating an objection to human rights laws.
Quote from: EphiralAnd it fails to provide the same output as my system in every situation because a) sometimes my reasoning is flawed, b) I am not a paragon of morality even as I understand it, c) I will likely get bored and stop responding very quickly, and d) before C happens, I might decide to respond badly in a relatively harmless way to demonstrate the failings of this system to you.Preemptive response to your expected response to point A: Yeah, sometimes I screw it up. Other people help correct me, either by showing my flaws directly (if they use the same system) or by providing a differing perspective that causes me to reevaluate. The system did not provide the wrong answer; I failed to use it or use it properly.
Quote from: EphiralOkay, I admit I screwed up there. "Negligible chance" is as close as I get to "no chance", because 0 and 1 are infinities in probability, and screwy things happen when you start using them casually. So I kinda took it as read that the brute-force approach - try all possible ethical systems until you arrive at a collision - was not on the table. I would like to specify an additional criterion in light of this: Humans, with whatever tools you care to give them, should be reasonably likely (lower bound 50.1%, say) to find the superior non-evidence-based approach before... let's say the death of Earth. This cuts off brute-force approaches on a nigh-infinite search space, but I figure it should leave you a reasonable amount of wiggle room.
Quote from: Kythia on July 16, 2013, 09:56:10 AMOnly a minor one. I have no issue as I think I've mentioned with information theory being applied to the spread from human to human. I'd draw the boundary a bit tighter at: "The thing I'm talking about is some signal by which things not previously known by a human can be imparted to that human" if that's agreeable?
Quote from: Kythia on July 16, 2013, 09:56:10 AMAre we happy to proceed?
Quote from: Kythia on July 16, 2013, 09:56:10 AMHence "best" not "only"
Quote from: Kythia on July 16, 2013, 09:56:10 AMYeah, I deliberately used a relatively nebulous term here as if there is a precise anthropological term then I'm not aware of it.The way it was explained to me is as follows:Let's imagine that reincarnation is true. You are born, thousands of years ago, in, for the sake of argument, London (the area we in the present day would call London). When you die, your consciousness is immediately transferred to a baby born in London. And so on, until the present day. You're a celt, then a roman, then a romano-britain, then English then British. THe language you speak evolves and is occasionally replaced wholesale, ditto for your religious beliefs. It's that stream of individuals I'm talking about. Inhabitants of a place is perhaps the closest I can get to it. Does that make sense?
Quote from: Kythia on July 16, 2013, 09:56:10 AMThey're not exceptions. The progression holds true without exception, my point was that there was/is an emerging trend that may be the start of a next stage - animism -> polytheism -> monotheism -> polytheism.
Quote from: Kythia on July 16, 2013, 09:56:10 AMRather I think there is an element of bad faith here. Not malicious per se simply that these systems are "made up" rather than "believed" - by the creators at least. Gardner is a prime example here. In essence, I believe they have tried to construct a religion rather than developed one, if you can get the distinction I'm drawing. It's interesting to note that many of these harken back to (hideously mangled) versions of earlier belief systems - Garnder and his almost complete lack of understanding of Celtic beliefs for example - or syncretism - voodoo, say.
Quote from: Kythia on July 16, 2013, 09:56:10 AMHmmm. I don't think I've made any statements that are contradicted by reality (or, provably so, leaving aside a presumed objection that "God exists" is contradicted by reality). Further I've made a couple of statements of potential aspects of reality that would, if shown, be a body blow to my beliefs. I'm not certain that charge is well founded, to be honest.
Quote from: Kythia on July 16, 2013, 09:56:10 AMAgain, I think you're being a little disingenuous there. There is self evidently a premise behind the one you state - some variant of "This is a transmission protocol recognisable by and understandable to humans" Thats the one I object to. Before you can state that transmission protocol has been used, you need to state that its usable.
Quote from: Kythia on July 16, 2013, 09:56:10 AMYeah, pretty much. Once the constraints get tight enough to start cutting off vast swathes then it becomes prediction, while they're loose it's imagination.
Quote from: Kythia on July 16, 2013, 09:56:10 AMYes, obviously. I'm not certain what you're getting at here? Is it simply confirming I agree with the extrapolation of my ideas?
Quote from: Kythia on July 16, 2013, 09:56:10 AMA and B seem out of context. My point was that that system gave exactly the same answers as the one you, personally, have deduced through an evidence based approach, not that it gave an infallible moral system.
Quote from: Kythia on July 16, 2013, 09:56:10 AMFair enough. There's probably something about automatic fight/flight type responses but A) that strikes me as a conversation I'm not overly interested in and B) it seems somewhat outside the scope of your question anyway. Let me put a bit of thought into this. I have a few gut feelings around certain areas - marriage and population migration are the two strongest but I'm struggling around a few issues on each of them - arranged marriages for political purposes and whether economic analysis would yield similar/better results to a desire to be somewhere else respectively, should you care. I'll develop those a little, with your permission, and put forwards any I feel are strong.
Quote from: EphiralThat's fine, though it makes me curious as to what the point of evangelism is if the message can't be shared
Quote from: EphiralUm, sort of, but I think you're suffering from the vagueness of your concept, there. For one thing, it imagines lines of descent even when they're clearly broken - by this understanding, "inhabitants of Newfoundland" would have a line of descent that went "Native-Viking-Native-English", despite there being no meaningful connection between steps 1, 2, and 3.
Quote from: EphiralI could just as easily, and I think more justifiably, propose that if such a chain exists, it goes animism-polytheism-monotheism-nonbelief. We're about 14% of the population, a number that is on the rise and tends to spike higher in nations with strong ties to Christianity, and the overwhelming majority of nonbelievers, on an individual level (and thus showing a clear line of descent), come from a religious background - disproportionately a Christian one, in places where Christianity has taken root in a significant way. This seems to be a problem with your "all religions are working toward Christianity" concept.
Quote from: EphiralFirst: Voodoo is a spectacularly poor example for your case. It is descended from a polytheistic system, and did not abandon that. Its practitioners were introduced to monotheism, and told to believe under pain of pretty much any punishments their owners could dream up - and rejected it. They took its trappings to avoid punishment, but at no point I can see did they ever actually decide that they were wrong on the whole "multiple deities" thing.
Quote from: EphiralYou have asserted things as fact that, if true, would have observable effects on reality. Those effects have not been observed despite us having the tools to spot them. Again, at the very least, we should be able to trace Christianity back to multiple distinct and separate roots if there were a "God exists!" message being transmitted to the species as a whole.
Quote from: EphiralYou... already specified the protocol. I was working strictly from your description of it. If you're abandoning that specification, fine, but I'd like to make it explicit. That said, a protocol must be understandable and recognisable to the receiving party, else the receiving party is unable to, y'know, receive messages. In layman's terms, you can't read a letter without being able to read the language it was written in, knowing where your mailbox is, and knowing how to open an envelope. You can't listen to the radio without some understanding that different frequencies will contain different messages. You can't get on the Internet without knowing what a computer looks like. You don't have to be able to explain protocol layers or build a TCP/IP stack from scratch, but you must be able to understand what communication looks like when you see or hear it, and how to be in a position to see or hear it.
Quote from: EphiralSo we've imagined things both real and unreal. Still not seeing a barrier to ideas-about-God existing in !God-world.
Quote from: EphiralPretty much. People often grow enamored of the benefits of their ideas without considering the downsides. It's fine to bite the bullet and say "Yes, this is an acceptable consequence"; the point is to make sure you're aware of the consequences you're accepting.
Quote from: Kythia on July 16, 2013, 02:34:43 PMErrrm, I mention in the very thing you quote that the message can be spread from human to human and information theory applies to that.
Quote from: Kythia on July 16, 2013, 02:34:43 PMI'm really not sure what to say to this Ephiral. It's not my concept, there are centuries dead historians you need to take that up with (along with almost unargued current academic consensus). If you object to the premise of the scholarship then there doesn't seem much point in explaining it. You, errrrm, you seem to be on auto-attack a little there?
Quote from: Kythia on July 16, 2013, 02:34:43 PMMmmkay. Yes, you could just as easily make that claim. You can make whatever claims you wish. But I would argue that you would also need to explain why you are in the privileged position to come up with the idea when decades of scholarship hasn't. This is hardly state of the art. Im not claiming that new additions to an idea are impossible, but...
Quote from: Kythia on July 16, 2013, 02:34:43 PMI think you have a western bias here. The samkhya and mimasa schools of hinduism are atheistic and developed alongside more theistic branches. The various proofs of God dating back centuries show that atheism was known. Jainism is arguably atheistic. Xenophanes in the 6th century BC was an atheist. Atheism has clearly evolved alongside religion, and hence doesn't form part of the progression.
Quote from: Kythia on July 16, 2013, 02:34:43 PMFurther, your argument doesn't even fit the facts. The world population is growing at 1.41%, several religions are growing faster than that, meaning that on current trends atheism seems to be shrinking as a percentage of the population even if growing in real terms (unless you are claiming that the bulk of that growth rate is that both e.g Christianity and atheism are winning converts from e.g Shinto?) Again, I suspect your position is coloured a little by a western bias there. All stats are from here
Quote from: Kythia on July 16, 2013, 02:34:43 PMFinally, I have always heard atheism explicitly called out as "not a religion", your final sentence seems to be arguing that it is. Personally, I agree, but its not a claim I've heard come from atheists before.
Quote from: Kythia on July 16, 2013, 02:34:43 PMI struggle to see the relevance of this point. I said voodoo was a syncretic polytheistic religion that had developed relatively recently and not, I felt, based on a genuine belief in its gods. You seem to agree? I'm not sure what you're getting at? It seems to me you think I'm saying that voodoo is monotheistic? If so then I apologise for being clear - that entire paragraph was, for the record, discussing bad faith belief as an aspect in the creation of recent polytheistic beliefs.
Quote from: Kythia on July 16, 2013, 02:34:43 PMWell, one you're trying to have your cake and eat it there, it seems. You can't argue, as you did in this post that you don't consider claims worth investigating then cry foul at me for making claims that haven't been investigated. That's precisely the unfairness I was talking about.
Quote from: Kythia on July 16, 2013, 02:34:43 PMTwo I am amazed to hear you claim that absence of evidence is evidence of absence.
Quote from: Kythia on July 16, 2013, 02:34:43 PMI've made repeated claims that are checkable against reality, you said I was arguing "regardless of whether they [my claims] match reality" and it does a seem a little like you've shifted your position to put on onus an me to prove the unproved claims rather than simply not make disproven ones. My theory fits all known facts and doesn't contradict any. It makes explicit predictions. What precisely do you want from me here.
Quote from: Kythia on July 16, 2013, 02:34:43 PMNo. This, again, is the point I keep making. You made the claim that information theory was applicable and hence what I was stating must, therefore, be translatable into information theory terminology. I didn't, in fairness to you, immediately notice the flaw with that position. But in your last post you agreed that a conversation stripped of information theory terminology would be more useful and then we are here again. Just because it works that way in human terms is no guarantee that it works that way in divine. Souls don't show up on x-rays but somehow "a protocol must be understandable and recognisable to the receiving party".
Quote from: Kythia on July 16, 2013, 02:34:43 PMCould you give me an example of an imagined real thing, just so I know percisely what we're talking about.
Quote from: EphiralApologies; I've not encountered it before. it still seems pretty flawed in light of cases like my example - yes, you can argue that a geographic region has ideas pop up in this pattern, but if there's no clear line of descent between the ideas, the idea that they're evolving or growing more refined from X to Y is laughable. It would be just as valid, on that basis, to claim that the Internet is the ultimate evolution of sheep-herding (IPoAC aside).
Quote from: EphiralI reject that "coming up with ideas" is a privileged position. An idea should be judged on its merits, not its origin; you are simply making an appeal to authority here.
Quote from: EphiralAnd monotheism has clearly evolved alongside polytheism, as evidenced by the fact that polytheistic belief systems bearing clear lines of descent to antiquity with no breaks still exist.
Quote from: Ephiral"Several" is, as you indicated, not conclusive if you're only judging lack of religion by negative inference. There's also the problem of defining "fastest growing" by percentage of the existing body of believers, which xkcd so wonderfully illustrates. Education and economic growth show a very direct correlation with lack of religious belief, on the other hand, which is pretty telling for the future. As for western bias: Are people in East Asia more or less likely to identify as nonreligious than westerners?
Quote from: EphiralI may have been unclear. My point was that "All religions are working toward their own obsolescence, Christanity included" would appear to be at least equally valid on the facts.
Quote from: EphiralNot based on a genuine belief in its gods? It was formed out of a desire to cleave to those gods despite extremely strong pressures to convert. What do you define as "genuine belief"?
Quote from: EphiralBut that's just it. Your claim carries, as a direct consequence, the idea that humans will interact with information and ideas in a way which violates the existing models. Human interaction of this type has been studied extensively, and found to fit the models - which is why the models haven't been discarded yet.
Quote from: EphiralAbsence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Absence of evidence when we're looking where that evidence should be does, however, drastically lower the likelihood that your proposal is correct.
Quote from: EphiralOkay, from my perspective: You are claiming that there is something imparting knowledge to humans which breaks all known models of human knowledge acquisition. You seem to take it as read that humans are acting on this knowledge. I am saying "Okay, so we should see human behaviour that breaks those models... but we don't seem to see that." You respond "Oh, no, those models are the wrong tools!" I ask what the right tools are, and you seem to be saying "Start from the assumption that I'm correct, and it all makes sense." But... even if we assume you are correct, as long as humans are acting based on the knowledge imparted to them, this should show as the models grow increasingly unreliable and are discarded.
Quote from: EphiralThis... isn't exactly information theory terminology. This is how perception works. If you are illiterate, you cannot understand the written word. If you don't speak English, then the BBC is of little use to you without a translator. If you are colourblind, then any message written in one of those coloured-dot charts is lost on you. If you are deaf and blind, the world outside arm's reach might as well not exist for all it's going to be communicating with you. You have to be able to a) see the message in the first place, and b) translate from message-as-delivered into your brain.
Quote from: EphiralJules Verne came up with rocket-powered travel to other worlds, lunar landing modules, solar sails, submariens that didn't require human power, and deep ocean diving. Rogue planets pop up all over the place in science fiction; we discovered them in 2011. Otto Loewi quite literally dreamed up a proof that nerve impulses were chemical. August Kekulé came up with the structure of benzene the same way.
Quote from: Kythia on July 16, 2013, 05:39:19 PMIt seems there is a clear line of descent in the ideas. Excepting rare cases where a population has been literally exterminated and then the area resettled, there will always be other people there. Your reincarnated baby self absorbs values from the surrounding population, values which your now-dead former self helped to shape. And so on.
Quote from: Kythia on July 16, 2013, 05:39:19 PMNot quite. My issue is that I consider it more likely that scholars who have spent their lives looking at the idea have already come up with an objection - one you were able to think up within hours of hearing the idea - and answered it than that not being the case.
Quote from: Kythia on July 16, 2013, 05:39:19 PMNot within a people, though. Yes, there are a few extant polytheistic religions and considerably more animist ones. My point was, though, that alongside a given culture's dominant religion or religions there has always been a strand of atheism. However, its only once cultures started intermixing that there has existed a polytheistic strand alongside a dominant monotheism or vice versa and these are almost universally (I cant think of a counter example but its not actually important) idealogical imports.
Quote from: Kythia on July 16, 2013, 05:39:19 PMI actually have no idea, though I judge from the phrasing of your question that you do and they are.
Quote from: Kythia on July 16, 2013, 05:39:19 PMHow would you prefer lack of religion to be measured other than negative inference?
Quote from: Kythia on July 16, 2013, 05:39:19 PMXkcd is funny, sure, but its a bit of a red herring because "fastest growing" forms no part of my claim whatsoever - simply that it is growing in absolute terms faster than the world's population.
Quote from: Kythia on July 16, 2013, 05:39:19 PM"Genuine belief" isn't the point of rupture, here. "Its gods" is. You say yourself that various of the voodoo loa were traditional west african beliefs that were mixed up with and covered over by merging them with Catholic saints - well, you don't say precisely that but I think we can agree to it. I'm calling "its gods" as the syncretic product of that while, it appears to me, you are using that term to refer to the underlying traditional beliefs.
Quote from: Kythia on July 16, 2013, 05:39:19 PMCould you expand here a little. I think I see where we've diverged but I'm not sure. "Human interaction of this type" is my particular issue - what type precisely is "this type"?
Quote from: Kythia on July 16, 2013, 05:39:19 PMI suspect I'm going to say that what has been studied extensively is inter-human communication of a type you are defining as similar, but I don't want to jump the gun too much.
Quote from: Kythia on July 16, 2013, 05:39:19 PMWith the best will in the world, I would also characterise your argument as of the "start from the assumption I'm correct" variety. You are stating that the models are applicable to this situation and that my position that they're not is incorrect. I think we may just both have to let that slide a little.
Quote from: Kythia on July 16, 2013, 05:39:19 PM"How old are these models?" would be my main question. If you're arguing that they will grow increasingly unstable and that forms a detection mechanism I think its relevant whether they were developed yesterday or before recorded history. I'm not, just to allay any concerns, going to try to dick around and answer "well, thats not long enough" to simply any answer you give, I hope I've come across as arguing in better faith than that. But I do think the question is relevant. The system Im proposing, which works across multiple generations, would seem to need to be monitored across multiple generations at a minimum in order to cause a blip on the radar.
Quote from: Kythia on July 16, 2013, 05:39:19 PMTelepathy. Or, rather, the ability to place an idea in someone's brain, Im not 100% clear a) if there is a standard definition of telepathy and b) if, if there is, it includes that.
Quote from: Kythia on July 16, 2013, 05:39:19 PMOK. I'm going to ignore Jules Verne for the moment. Just so you don't think I'm asking for an example then saying I'll ignore it (or, rather, just so you know why I've just done literally that):It seems there are two classes there. Verne imagined things that later became real, the other examples imagined things that were currently real but unknown. I think the conversation would get confusing if we were to discuss the two classes at the same time. Im more than happy to return to Verne, or even start with him - the decision was entirely arbitrary - but I do think its worth splitting them.Is that agreeable? I don't want to run roughshod over your examples here and start a conversation in, apparently, bad faith by having ruled out of bounds something essential to your argument.
Quote from: EphiralMmm... if it does acknowledge those cases as exceptions, then it does sound like you're talking about nations
Quote from: EphiralThen the appropriate response is "That has been addressed by X", not "You lack the proper credentials."
Quote from: EphiralA point I have been trying to make for some time now is that the source is irrelevant to the question of whether we can use evidence-based approaches to study the phenomenon, because the destination is always a human being, and we can study that side of the equation to learn things about the message.
Quote from: EphiralNot terribly, I'll admit. But... why is this relevant?
Quote from: EphiralBut... even if we assume you are correct, as long as humans are acting based on the knowledge imparted to them, this should show as the models grow increasingly unreliable and are discarded.
Quote from: Ephiralor God is forcing actions as well as thoughts
QuoteGod created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them. Man occupies a unique place in creation: (I) he is "in the image of God"; (II) in his own nature he unites the spiritual and material worlds; (III) he is created "male and female"; (IV) God established him in his friendship.
Quote from: Kythia on July 18, 2013, 03:42:13 AMMy major objection to that is that atheism has always existed as a strand of thought alongside religions and within the population the religion draws from, throughout at least polytheism and monotheism - the earlier societies tended to not have written records so its difficult to be sure there. By definition, though, the population of a religion has not had both polytheistic and monotheistic tendencies, the two are mutually incompatible.
Quote from: Kythia on July 18, 2013, 03:42:13 AMPlease forgive the crudity of the graph, and the layout/represented percentages are for illustration only - especially the straight line of atheism's growth which clearly doesn't match historical trends and the hard cut offs between forms of religion which don't either. I'm simply trying to convey that I believe atheism is a separate trend that, while it may come to supersede religion, doesn't form part of the same process. An illustration would be a house. Over time an extension is added, a conservatory, a downstairs toilet. Then the house is knocked down and a motorway built in its place. The modifications to the house form part of an unbroken chain, the motorway is something replacing it.
Quote from: Kythia on July 18, 2013, 03:42:13 AMYou are, of course, correct. I'm sorry.I'm never certain if an explanation cheapens an apology or not. I go to and fro on this matter. As you can tell by the way I'm about to launch into an explanation I am currently fro (or possibly to, I didn't really define my terms). If you feel it would cheapen it then I ask you not to read.As you're no doubt aware there is a widespread belief that the vocal atheist movement holds scholarship and academia from the humanities in contempt. I personally blame the influence of Dawkins here, but that is simply opinion. Regardless of its source, it can be seen repeatedly. Theology perhaps coming in for particular vitriol - leprechaunology - but the pattern holds across other areas as well. I have heard it suggested that some are so enamoured of the ability of science to derive a conclusion from first principles that they find irrelevant any discipline not based on the sciences which rings somewhat true for me, but that is again mere supposition.
Quote from: Kythia on July 18, 2013, 03:42:13 AMQuite honestly, I didn't expect this to be a controversial point or to generate any discussion at all, let alone the amount it did. It seems clear that I view it as distinct enough from its origins to be called something different and you don't. In all honesty, I'm not certain it matters. I am hoping we can just agree to disagree on that rather than prolong a conversation that I strongly suspect neither of us have any real interest in.
Quote from: Kythia on July 18, 2013, 03:42:13 AMMy apologies, I hadn't realised that was a point you were trying to make. We spent two pages discussing the necessity of the sender to develop good protocols, etc. and I think that amount of discussion on the source may have led me to miss the fact that your underlying point was that the source was irrelevant. I'm very sorry, I know that sounds sarcastic and I have written and rewritten the paragraph a few times to try to remove that but every new phrasing fails just as badly or worse. I mean to say that I think we may have allowed the conversation to become sidetracked, then, into a different issue that unfortunately obfuscated your main point a little.
Quote from: Kythia on July 18, 2013, 03:42:13 AMYou state that the mechanism for seeing our models aren't applicable would be them increasingly growing unreliable. That "increasingly" seems to imply, to me at least, that you don't view this as an instantaneous matter. As such, it seems clear to me that the models must exist for a certain amount of time - I proposed a number of generations as the message itself spreads on the scale of generations - in order to see if they are, indeed, growing increasingly unreliable and being discarded. If I say that the test of my house building skills is that my houses don't fall down it would not be unreasonable to say that one must observe my houses for a period of time before conceding that point.
Quote from: Kythia on July 18, 2013, 03:42:13 AMI lack the specialised vocabulary in this area and have thus made statements that are incorrect based on a stupid attempt to mimic yours. It does seem to me though that you're being intransigent in your insistence that the models of information theory apply. Many aspects of religion should have measurable effects given the current state of science - I return again to ensoulment - and I fail to see the distinction you draw between those and this. Throughout this thread I have explicitly raised any predictions that my beliefs lead to that are, in my opinion, checkable. This, Ephiral, either isn't or, at a minimum, I haven't understood your argument. We have been discussing, a side issue as I say, for some considerable time now though and I would submit that if this is the case we have both given it a good crack of the whip.
Quote from: Kythia link=topic=178506.msg8594768#msg8594768First, you could argue that while obviously we don't know anyone omniscient we do know people smarter, don't know anyone immortal we do know people older. That is to say the attributes of God are mere extrapolations rather than new characteristics. Varying in degree, not kind. This is a strong argument, in my opinion, and in the end comes down to a matter of line drawing. When does something become different enough from the original to become something else? It seems to me from our brief discussion of voodoo that you consider that to be quite some way further than I do, but absent an agreed on definition I'm not sure how much further we can progress there?
Quote from: Kythia link=topic=178506.msg8594768#msg8594768Second you might point to the stab we've taken at xenocreatures or Adams' hyperintelligent shades of the colour blue as examples of things we've imagined that don't correspond to anything we've seen. First, loads of aliens are clearly based on humans with bumpy foreheads, they can be discarded with a wave of the hand. Planet of Hats TV TROPES LINK!! BEWARE!! The alien races that are more serious attempts, I remember reading somewhere about a hypothetical species of floaters living in the atmosphere of a gas giant which was quite interesting, are pretty clearly predictions. Given what we know of how life works, what we know of gas giants, what we know of etc. what would a life form in that situation look like. Hyperintelligent shades of the colour blue aren't a thing. No-one believes in them. No-one thinks they are or could be real while, pretty unarguably, people do think that about God. The point I'm getting at here is that no-one has ever proposed the existence of those things and worked through the ramifications because the idea is internally inconsistent. While religions, God, no matter how much you might disagree that they are consistent with the rest of the world, are internally inconsistent.
QuoteAssuming that's not what you meant, and that you want something that is completely imaginary but which groups of people can believe in... <snip> Roswell-style grey aliens. Reptilians. Bigfoot. Nessie. Ghosts. Yes, these are patently silly from our outsider's perspective - but taken as deadly serious real things by their adherents.
Quotegaumular and God, not between God and, say, dragon
QuoteMarriage (also called matrimony or wedlock) is a social union or legal contract between spouses that establishes rights and obligations between them, between them and their children, and between them and their in-laws. The definition of marriage varies according to different cultures, but it is principally an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged. When defined broadly, marriage is considered a cultural universal.
Quote from: Kythia on August 07, 2013, 06:36:53 PMI actually don't believe I am using two definitions of population. I think the point is a little more subtle. My dad, step-dad technically, would self-identify as a Muslim. But he doesn't go to Mosque, cheerfully eats haram foods, and frankly doesn't believe in Allah. The situation is even more heightened if you look at Judaism. The entry criteria is "mother is a Jew". It's entirely possible to be an atheistic Jew, it's not possible to be a polytheistic one - at that point you become something else. And that's just the western/abrahamic religions. Schools of Hinduism and Buddhism are explicitly atheistic but adherants are still Hindus and Buddhists. In short, while I agree its impossible to believe in many gods and no gods, belief in a deity isn't and realistically never has been the entry criteria to belonging to the population of a religion. It's possible to be a UK citizen without holding a UK passport, it's not possible to be a UK citizen and hold a foreign passport. (It is, of course. My father does. But lets pretend that dual citizenship doesn't exist just so my analogy works).
Quote from: Kythia on August 07, 2013, 06:36:53 PMThat's why I bar atheism with "it existed simultaneously!". Because atheism exists as a strand within religious populations simultaneously to other forms of belief, but those forms of belief are mutually incompatible.
Quote from: Kythia on August 07, 2013, 06:36:53 PMAs a brief aside, this is why I was a little surprised to hear you espouse self-identification rather than negative inference as a means of counting atheists, I suspect it will cause the number to plummet.
Quote from: Kythia on August 07, 2013, 06:36:53 PMI'd like to think my argument was badly phrased rather than inconsistent, your mileage may vary. My point wasn't strictly plausability, it was more depth of imagining. There are ramifications to imaginary creatures - for the sake of argument lets include all Gods in that. Dragons have to live somewhere and eat something, Gods have to have desires, ghosts have to be created somehow. Hyperintelligent shades of blue have had none of those things fleshed out, it's essentially a random string of words linked together rather than a cohesive idea. Does that make any more sense?
Quote from: Kythia on August 07, 2013, 06:36:53 PMBut none of those are Gods. None even purport to be. That's my core point, and I realise you disagree. But there is no real difference between nessie and a dragon, bigfoot and unicorns. You have mentioned that you see the line as being between and that's fair enough but I disagree. And, ultimately, I think this may come down a little to where individual lines are drawn.
Quote from: Kythia on August 07, 2013, 06:36:53 PMFinally, Verne. I think you're overestimating the man's engineering knowledge a little. Sure, there are engineering challenges in making a vessel requiring neither human power nor open atmosphere but Verne solved precisely none of them. There's nothing to suggest he was even aware of them. I think you're applying your knowledge of engineering to him and saying that it's totally outside his realm of experience based on a distinction he didn't know. I can "predict" massive colony ships travelling faster than light to Alpha Centauri when there are substantial engineering problems in the way of them, but I simply don't know of them. I'm not sure how well I've made that point.
Quote from: Kythia on August 07, 2013, 06:36:53 PMMarriage. The choice of who to marry has real tangible effects and doesn't benefit from an evidence based approach.Lets get some terms here. I'm trying to cast nets as widely as possible, and if I rule something out that you feel should be ruled in then please shout. The first few lines of the wikipedia entry run:And I'm broadly happy with that. The other term I want to throw up - and get your agreement on - is about the degree of "choice" within marriage. Over here there's a broad distinction made between arranged marriages and "unarranged" ones. But I don't think its helpful to define that as a binary, rather as a spectrum. How much say an individual has over their marriage partner(s) ranges from "none at all" to "100%" by time, place and culture with the two extremes being no more than two points on the spectrum.Happy with terms? Shall I proceed to give my argument?
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