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Author Topic: Do You Believe In God?  (Read 6695 times)

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Offline Sabby

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #350 on: July 15, 2014, 05:59:49 AM »
Let me rephrase it this way. I can choose to kick the pinball machine over. That is something that was always possible, due to physics, yet I chose to make it happen. Did I really make a choice?

Online Vergil Tanner

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #351 on: July 15, 2014, 06:01:38 AM »
Tainted, I would argue that you do. If your brain has the processes to come to "Moral" decisions, it should be praised, whereas the brains whose processes come to immoral conditions should be punished and conditioned to come to better conclusions. Free Will is simply the ability to act on your desires, and regardless of whether those desires are deterministic or not, your brain has a choice that it uses these processes to come to. It doesn't matter whether your brain would have "always" come to that decision, the fact is that there were two or more possibilities, and your brain decided. Since your brain is you, you still decided on a course of action, and that course of action should either be praised to encourage your brain to make more decisions like it, or scorned to try and get your brain to stop making those decisions. But I covered that in a previous post. XD

The flaw that I see in your thinking, Tainted, is thinking that determinism and Free Will are mutually exclusive. They're not. You use deterministic processes - from what I can tell, anyway - to exercise your Free Will. The fact of the matter is, regardless of what you choose, there was always an alternative possibility, and with slightly different input, you may have come to a different conclusion, and some decisions will be closer calls than others. Free Will doesn't defy physics; it is simply the ability to act on your conscious desires.

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #352 on: July 15, 2014, 06:02:07 AM »
No, if you kicked it over then its because of prior events, but it sure as hell felt like it was a choice!

Look, whether or not "hard determinism" is real is debatable. I don't know if it really can be proven.

Offline Sabby

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #353 on: July 15, 2014, 06:11:11 AM »
So, if my body were not here, and my brain did not go "I hate pinball" and tell my leg to kick the machine over, would it still have happen?

I was the agent of change here. My presence and my thoughts changed the world immediately around me. If that's not an expression of will, then I don't know what is.

Online Vergil Tanner

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #354 on: July 15, 2014, 06:11:45 AM »
I agree with Sabby, to an extent, but Tainted....what's the functional difference between "feeling like" a choice and actually having a choice? There's plenty of philosophical difference, but what is the functional difference?

Offline Dice

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Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #355 on: July 15, 2014, 10:15:11 AM »
Guys I thing you have moved quite a distance from the original question. Maybe this should call upon it's on dedicated thread.

Online Vergil Tanner

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #356 on: July 15, 2014, 10:21:34 AM »
Oh, I agree. I think we should probably curb this discussion now and let people answer the original question, haha. :D

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #357 on: July 15, 2014, 02:16:12 PM »
I don't know if I have time now, but yeah, let's make a separate thread and call it something like "Hard Determinism"

The opening topic should briefly explain what it is and then ask if this is so. Is everything that happens a result of prior results like a huge domino effect, or can people change this course of events via choice. If I have time to make the opening thread I'll do so and then delete this post. If I can't do it in say 20 mins, I'll do it in about 12 hours from now when I return.

Online Vergil Tanner

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #358 on: July 15, 2014, 03:05:57 PM »
Haha, well, I think I would have to do some further research before I weigh into that :P But I'll probably get involved once I've looked into it some more and gotten a more informed opinion XD

Offline Beorning

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #359 on: July 15, 2014, 04:16:50 PM »
Here's a thought...

If God exist (at least, the Christian idea of God), all of us here are pretty much screwed. Elliquiy is a total den of sin, after all...  :o

Online Vergil Tanner

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #360 on: July 15, 2014, 04:18:49 PM »
Bahaha. If the Christian God exists, everybody is screwed, since everybody has sinned at least once, and even saying his name seems to piss him off :P :P

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #361 on: July 16, 2014, 01:23:35 AM »
An interesting point I saw raised by a Christian writer the other day: Every time Jesus mentions dividing people into the righteous and the unrighteous, the heaven-bound and hell-bound - every single time, according to him - the dividing line is what they did in life. There is at least one specific reference to nonbelievers who did good deeds going to heaven, and believers who did nothing of value being cast out. So... depending on where your focus is, he's a bit more forgiving than that.

Online Vergil Tanner

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #362 on: July 16, 2014, 04:09:17 AM »
That's not quite true; it also states in Revelations that the Unbelievers will burn in a lake of fire for all eternity (Revelation 21:8). And of course, when the Pope came out and said that Atheists could go to heaven, the Vatican had to send a spokesperson out to correct him. Apparently, the Vatican - if you're a catholic - is the word of God on Earth, and most of them think that atheists are going to hell. The Bible really is the "Big Book Of Multiple Choice." As for the Believers....it is stated that they would be "Least in the kingdom of Heaven." They would still be saved, since by Christianity standards in the Bible, all it takes is belief in God (this is pretty much what the Protestants think). If you want to find something in the bible, it says about two or three different things about the same subject sometimes. It's very internally inconsistent.

Offline Clorinda

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #363 on: July 16, 2014, 06:00:23 AM »
Laa,

You have provide me thus far with three definitions of thought.  Is thought: 1) an electro-chemical impulse; 2) abstract problem solving with the ability to self-correct; or 3) an awareness that forces are acting upon something?  If it's 1, every living thing with a nervous system thinks.  If 2, only humans and a few other animals think.  If 3, every living organism thinks.

As far as the cogito is concerned, I had been under the impression that it posits that the only thing that one can know with any certainty is that one exists because one can think, not that if one can think one can be aware of the existence of a number of other things, as you seem to suggest (or perhaps I'm misreading you).  But, if I am correct in my interpretation, let us ponder the mechanism by which one receives external stimuli (i.e. become aware of things that we cannot be certain exist) and thought (that which we can be certain exists).  External stimuli impact the body and then, through the nervous system, are communicated to the brain and interpreted.  Thought is communicated within the brain and interpreted.  So, the only difference is that one relies on the nervous system external to the brain and the other doesn't, correct?  If we cannot trust our sense to correctly identify external stimuli, then how can we be trust the same system to correctly identify the internal stimuli of thought, especially when (as stated before) that process is simply nerve cells being impacted by chemicals across a synapse?  Can we be certain that those various chemicals exist, since the means of identifying them (a nerve cell's chemoreceptors identify them) is essentially identical to how we identify external stimuli?

Further, Kiekegaard's criticism is just that how can we be certain that we are the ones doing the thinking?  Further, "I think, therefore I am" is tautological if we are defining thinking as "the thing my brain does."

And, you're saying, the only difference between thinking algorithms and non-thinking algorithms is their length and the number of variables they can handle?  Even if we allow for that, choice is still impossible if a given set of inputs will always result in a single output.


Mr. Tanner, can you define a desire?  Is the desire to reproduce a desire or a need?  If it is a need, then you would have to argue that it is necessary for a given organism's survival (how you defined need above), while if it's a desire, you'd have to admit that all living organism have it and thus free-will is not unique to humans.  If it is a need, how?

And, Mr. Tanner, you still cannot explain how the brain makes a decision - what is that thing that chooses between two options?  How does it make its decision?  If it is a purely materialistic action, how does it introduce a new stimulus into the brain and how is it not just an effect from some earlier cause?  You have to remember, I'm not saying "choice doesn't have a materialistic answer, therefore soul," I'm saying "Choice doesn't have a materialistic answer, therefore choice is an illusion generated by a complex process of cause and effect."  The soul only comes in if we want to assert, despite what seems like evidence to the contrary, that choice and free will do exist.


Sabby, that is not my position.  It is not because we lack infinite possibility, it's because we would lack even two possibilities - the idea is that given a scenario, there is only one thing a human will do.  The reason we seem to be able to choose is because the number of variables is so great that we have no idea how many there are, much less what they all are.  But, just as we can make a coin always land heads by controlling all of the variables around it, we should be able to control human behavior by controlling all the variable that go into a given action.


And, Mr. Tanner again, if you're going to start quoting the Apocalypse of John as a source for what Christians believe, you're probably going to run into trouble as most consider it a work of allegory and would consider it reckless to read it literally.

Online Vergil Tanner

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #364 on: July 16, 2014, 06:46:19 AM »
Clorinda:

1st, he gave you three definitions, yes. All of them are the same definition. They are stages. He explained that; those three together are the definition of thought. That is what you're not getting.

Mr. Tanner, can you define a desire?  Is the desire to reproduce a desire or a need?  If it is a need, then you would have to argue that it is necessary for a given organism's survival (how you defined need above), while if it's a desire, you'd have to admit that all living organism have it and thus free-will is not unique to humans.  If it is a need, how?
It can be both. To reproduce is an instinct in most animals, since the ones that don't have it died off. However, it can also be a desire; you want to have sex, you want to have children. It is entirely possible to not want children. So in most animals it is an instinct, but some individuals do not want it and can overpower that instinct with their own specific desire. As for free will not being unique to humans...I never said it was, did I? Humans are animals. I don't see a reason why animals can't have free will as well. To clarify further: You NEED to eat, but you WANT to eat bacon. There's no specific NEED to eat bacon, you consciously decided that you want bacon over, for example, a crumpet.

"And, Mr. Tanner, you still cannot explain how the brain makes a decision - what is that thing that chooses between two options?  How does it make its decision?  If it is a purely materialistic action, how does it introduce a new stimulus into the brain and how is it not just an effect from some earlier cause?  You have to remember, I'm not saying "choice doesn't have a materialistic answer, therefore soul," I'm saying "Choice doesn't have a materialistic answer, therefore choice is an illusion generated by a complex process of cause and effect."  The soul only comes in if we want to assert, despite what seems like evidence to the contrary, that choice and free will do exist."
I have explained it, as have many others, so that part I'm not going to bother repeating. I will say this: New stimuli are fed into the brain via the senses; sight, sound, touch, etc etc. Choice DOES have a materialistic answer. There are usually multiple possibilities one can pursue, so those are "choices." Whether or not one is more likely than the other doesn't change the fact that there are multiple possibilities. So that part of your assertion is flawed. And as I've detailed, Free Will and Choice has NOTHING to do with a soul, and if you want to assert that it does, you have to provide evidence, which you have failed to do thus far. But I will posit the same question I did earlier: Granting for a second that there is only the illusion of choice...what is the functional difference between choice and the illusion of choice? How would it affect our day to day lives? Answer: It wouldn't. So I don't see a need to slot something supernatural in there. You have yet to answer my questions on the nature of a soul, so I see no reason to accept your proposition that a soul is necessary for free will (which is, I think, utterly wrong).

"And, Mr. Tanner again, if you're going to start quoting the Apocalypse of John as a source for what Christians believe, you're probably going to run into trouble as most consider it a work of allegory and would consider it reckless to read it literally."
"But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death." [Revelations 21:8]
What other way is there to interpret that, hm? And the bible itself specifically states - said by Jesus, no less - that the Scripture is not open to interpretation, thereby meaning that it should all be taken literally. And how do you go about deciding which bits are allegorical and which bits aren't? What system, what criteria do you use to decide which bits are literal and which aren't? I've read the bible, and there is no tag that says "This book is allegorical," so how do you decide which is literal and which one is metaphorical?


HOWEVER, I think we need to move this to PM's, since this is MASSIVELY off topic.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2014, 06:51:24 AM by Vergil Tanner »

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #365 on: July 16, 2014, 07:53:03 AM »
That's not quite true; it also states in Revelations that the Unbelievers will burn in a lake of fire for all eternity (Revelation 21:8). And of course, when the Pope came out and said that Atheists could go to heaven, the Vatican had to send a spokesperson out to correct him. Apparently, the Vatican - if you're a catholic - is the word of God on Earth, and most of them think that atheists are going to hell. The Bible really is the "Big Book Of Multiple Choice." As for the Believers....it is stated that they would be "Least in the kingdom of Heaven." They would still be saved, since by Christianity standards in the Bible, all it takes is belief in God (this is pretty much what the Protestants think). If you want to find something in the bible, it says about two or three different things about the same subject sometimes. It's very internally inconsistent.

There's a reason that I said "depending on where you focus". This is... one of the larger problems with most organized religions, yes. On the other hand, if one takes the whole of the New Testament, certain overarching themes do emerge - and those themes are things like love, forgiveness, and justice for the oppressed. Do I necessarily think that means it's a good idea to try to base one's worldview and morality on? No. Not by a long shot. But it's not exactly as vicious and petty as a lot of people on my team make it out to be.

Online Vergil Tanner

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #366 on: July 16, 2014, 08:08:04 AM »
Well, there are obviously going to be linking threads since each book was written to be able to coexist with the last. It wasn't all written at the same time...and whilst the NT isn't as vicious as the OT, the NT doesn't - as some people like to believe - cancel out the OT, and there are plenty of horrible things in the NT that are never addressed. "Justice for the oppressed?" Yeah, right. What about that whole "Slaves Obey Your Masters" stuff, or that the woman is the property of the man? Yeeeaaaah, great justice.   -__- Forgiveness? Only if they believe the same thing as you and aren't a child that talks back. If you ARE one of those two, death. Love? See previously. There are small threads of what could be an ok moral system, but the bible as a whole is a pretty nasty book. Is it the worst book on Earth? No, of course not. But the New Testament is still very vicious and unpleasant. Compared to the OT, it's an ok book, but that's like saying "Ted Bundy was OK compared to Jack The Ripper," or "Vladimir Putin isn't that bad compared to Stalin." They're still pretty damn bad! Lmao.

Offline Clorinda

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #367 on: July 16, 2014, 09:13:39 AM »
As to how this pertains, saying God gives humanity free will (or God has preordained the world) is common among various strains of Christianity, so a proof one way or the other might be relevant.

But, Mr. Tanner, you still can't say where desires come from.  In order for free will to exist, they would have to be generated ex nihilo from the mind, but that seems impossible.  It is much more likely that they are generated based on our environment (including history) and genetics, which means that it is not chosen, but generated in the same way as instinct.

On the other hand, this comment was great,  "I've read the bible, and there is no tag that says "This book is allegorical," so how do you decide which is literal and which one is metaphorical?". I've read The Fairies Queen[\i] and Jerusalem Delivered, but neither has a tag that says "This book is allegorical." " This bookis clearly about pigs rebelling against farmers, not once does it declare itself an allegory," is a preposterous sentiment.

Online Vergil Tanner

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #368 on: July 16, 2014, 09:29:03 AM »
As to how this pertains, saying God gives humanity free will (or God has preordained the world) is common among various strains of Christianity, so a proof one way or the other might be relevant.
True, but the question is "Do you believe in God?" Not "Do you think free will exists and that this world is deterministic?" As I - and several others - keep saying, this belongs in its own thread or PM's rather than this thread.

"you still can't say where desires come from."
I have. Desires are things that you consciously decide that you want. These desires come from the brain. Whether or not they are deterministic processes is largely irrelevant; the fact of the matter is that you have desires, you act on them, you have free will.

" In order for free will to exist, they would have to be generated ex nihilo from the mind, but that seems impossible."
Wrong. This seems to be what you're not getting; Free Will is an abstract concept, a label we give to something intangible. It is a concept, nothing more, like love, justice, honour, mercy, etc. Just like Gravity is the label we give to the attraction of objects with mass (as a rule of thumb; it's a label that we apply to the phenomenon), Free Will is simply the ability to act on desires.

"It is much more likely that they are generated based on our environment (including history) and genetics, which means that it is not chosen, but generated in the same way as instinct."
So? Instincts are, basically, things that are hardwired into you that you need to survive. You need to eat. You need to sleep. You need to breathe. Desires are conscious decisions that are reached only with higher cognitive functions that you don't necessarily need to survive, you just want them because they give you pleasure or happiness or satisfaction. As I said. There IS a difference; you may need to eat, but wanting to eat bacon over bread is not necessary to survival, it's just a personal preference because bacon may make you happier or satisfy you more than bread. I agree that they are generated out of environment and history and whatnot, but that does not make desires the same as instincts. That is a false equivocation.

"I've read the bible, and there is no tag that says "This book is allegorical," so how do you decide which is literal and which one is metaphorical?". I've read The Fairies Queen[\i] and Jerusalem Delivered, but neither has a tag that says "This book is allegorical." " This bookis clearly about pigs rebelling against farmers, not once does it declare itself an allegory," is a preposterous sentiment."
As is this. The difference is, the bible is presented as a work of non-fiction, purports to be literal and people present it as such. OR people pick and choose bits to take literally and figuratively without any visible system for deciding. What I meant by that particular (quote mined) comment was that the bible is made up of different "books," and there is no specific tag within any of those books (here meaning the books WITHIN the bible, for example John and Luke and whatnot) that marks them out as allegorical as opposed to the rest of them. The POINT of that comment - which you seem to have misunderstood - was that "how do you decide which bits are literal and which bits are allegorical, especially considering that several times the Bible itself states that it is not open to interpretation?" Again, false equivocation.

Offline laa

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #369 on: July 16, 2014, 09:37:26 AM »
Laa,

You have provide me thus far with three definitions of thought.  Is thought: 1) an electro-chemical impulse; 2) abstract problem solving with the ability to self-correct; or 3) an awareness that forces are acting upon something?  If it's 1, every living thing with a nervous system thinks.  If 2, only humans and a few other animals think.  If 3, every living organism thinks.

No no, they're all part of one definition. So, all of 'em together. Except that last one. I don't think it fits the definition of thought at all.

Quote
As far as the cogito is concerned, I had been under the impression that it posits that the only thing that one can know with any certainty is that one exists because one can think, not that if one can think one can be aware of the existence of a number of other things, as you seem to suggest (or perhaps I'm misreading you).  But, if I am correct in my interpretation, let us ponder the mechanism by which one receives external stimuli (i.e. become aware of things that we cannot be certain exist) and thought (that which we can be certain exists).  External stimuli impact the body and then, through the nervous system, are communicated to the brain and interpreted.  Thought is communicated within the brain and interpreted.  So, the only difference is that one relies on the nervous system external to the brain and the other doesn't, correct?  If we cannot trust our sense to correctly identify external stimuli, then how can we be trust the same system to correctly identify the internal stimuli of thought, especially when (as stated before) that process is simply nerve cells being impacted by chemicals across a synapse?  Can we be certain that those various chemicals exist, since the means of identifying them (a nerve cell's chemoreceptors identify them) is essentially identical to how we identify external stimuli?

Further, Kiekegaard's criticism is just that how can we be certain that we are the ones doing the thinking?  Further, "I think, therefore I am" is tautological if we are defining thinking as "the thing my brain does."

And, you're saying, the only difference between thinking algorithms and non-thinking algorithms is their length and the number of variables they can handle?  Even if we allow for that, choice is still impossible if a given set of inputs will always result in a single output.

I'm beginning to see why you don't understand: You're mixing up two subjects. A: The existence of consciousness. B: The nature of consciousness.

"I think therefore I am" never states what thought is exactly, or what the 'I' is exactly. It just states that it is. That's all. It could even be an emulation where you think you think, but someone else is actually doing it for you - you'd still exist.

Offline Blythe

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #370 on: July 16, 2014, 09:42:22 AM »
I don't know if I have time now, but yeah, let's make a separate thread and call it something like "Hard Determinism"

The opening topic should briefly explain what it is and then ask if this is so. Is everything that happens a result of prior results like a huge domino effect, or can people change this course of events via choice. If I have time to make the opening thread I'll do so and then delete this post. If I can't do it in say 20 mins, I'll do it in about 12 hours from now when I return.

Just wanted to say that this is a good idea, since determinism is not this thread's topic.

Offline Beorning

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #371 on: July 16, 2014, 10:34:03 AM »
Quote from: Vergil Tanner There are small threads of what [i
could[/i] be an ok moral system, but the bible as a whole is a pretty nasty book. Is it the worst book on Earth? No, of course not. But the New Testament is still very vicious and unpleasant. Compared to the OT, it's an ok book, but that's like saying "Ted Bundy was OK compared to Jack The Ripper," or "Vladimir Putin isn't that bad compared to Stalin." They're still pretty damn bad! Lmao.

Okay, I cannot leave this uncommented. I'm an atheist (although an ex-Catholic one) and I can't agree that NT is "vicious and unpleasant". For me, the core of NT is the life of Christ... and he rocked. The core message of NT is absolutely fantastic.

Online Vergil Tanner

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #372 on: July 16, 2014, 10:50:57 AM »
I'm sorry, but I disagree. I've read the NT front to back, and whilst it's better than the OT, it's still pretty nasty. Jesus himself preached some very nasty things. Jesus (supposedly) said some nice things...but also some very horrific things. He also fully supported and advocated the evil in the Old Testament. What is the "Core Message?" Do unto others, etc etc? Except the unbelievers, or anybody who disagreed with him. The core message of the NT was "Love me more than anybody else or my father/me [depends on who you ask] will burn you for eternity." He also gave some pretty crap advice. If you think Jesus was a cool guy, fine....but I disagree. Jesus:

- Advocated the murder of a family member if that family member refused to follow him.
- Advocated slavery and the oppression of women.
- Ordered the deaths of unruly children.
- Encouraged self mutilation as punishment for Thought Crimes.
- Instructed people not to defend themselves if attacked.
- Outright condemned people for planning for the future (what a crap piece of advice).

NT was better than the OT...but the NT was still pretty horrific in places.

Offline Clorinda

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #373 on: July 16, 2014, 11:15:21 AM »
Why was it not off topic for multiple people, after I answered the question, to begin saying "You're wrong?". If the topic were " Does God exist" then such statements might be germane, but beginning to tell me my belief is wrong does not address the stated topic of the thread either?

Online Vergil Tanner

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #374 on: July 16, 2014, 11:18:03 AM »
Firstly, I don't think anybody said "you're wrong," just that we disagree. They're slightly different. I, personally, never said that a soul doesn't exist...just that I'm not going to believe it without evidence. Second, the topic has moved a long way away from the original question, and all we are saying is that it would probably be best to move the discussion elsewhere to avoid clogging the thread up too much.