Author Topic: Oh dear.  (Read 1437 times)

Re: Oh dear.
« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2018, 01:28:06 PM »
Hi omokuroi!

I hope you have as much fun here as I do, and I look forward to some interesting posts.

I am absolutely certain that I don't believe in any [G]od or gods, or any other supernatural claptrap.

Quote from: Charles Bradlaugh

The atheist does not say,"There is no God", but he says, "I know not what you mean by God"; the word God is to me a sound conveying no clear or distinct affirmation.

The word "God" can mean anything at all, and therefore it means nothing at all.

God Not Found
"I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”
Stephen Hawking

Offline Baruch

Re: Oh dear.
« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2018, 01:34:23 PM »
Two kinds of nihilism here, apparently.  There is the political kind aka anarchism.  And the epistemological kind ... that nothing is knowable at all.  And all sorts of degrees.  One person says that life has no overall, objective meaning, but there are many individual subjective meanings.  I don't consider that real nihilism ... in that area, one would have to also deny any individual subjective meaning as well.

As an empiricist, not a rationalist, I only accept something I have experienced myself.  I don't accept authority, nor majority opinion, nor hearsay, nor yet ideology or dogmatism, nor any writings.  If I can rationalize what I have experienced, fine and good, but if my rationalization (is that even a good?) can't reconcile something, I accept the thing anyway.

I love animals, but I am not a vegetarian.  But I can appreciate that.  I am not an anarchist or pacifist, but I can appreciate people being disturbed about social constructs or governments.  Life is disturbing and confusing, and I have learned to live with that.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2018, 01:36:37 PM by Baruch »
שלום

Re: Oh dear.
« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2018, 01:42:33 PM »
And it's not even my responsibility to look for new evidence.  Researchers at CERN aren't required to re-examine luminiferous æther theory just to make sure it's still not an accurate descriptor of physics before applying relativity, nor are chemists expected to re-disprove the Thompson model of the atom before trying to calculate how a reaction will proceed and a novel molecule form.
Responsibility is such a slippery word...

We have plenty of evidence that humans make countless errors, distort everything they see to fit their biases, and on and on. Yet you accept on faith that the conclusions and hypotheses of certain humans are valid, while summarily dismissing the conclusions and hypotheses of others.

I know as well as you do that one of these groups of humans is rather more trustworthy, if not by their nature then at least by the methods they use to subdue that nature. That does not change that they are humans.

As such, you are making nothing more than an educated guess. The probability that either they or you are correct may be more than a coin toss. It may be more than 80%. It may be more than 95%. It is not 100%.

Claiming knowledge is counting your chickens before they hatch. Nothing more, nothing less.

The word "God" can mean anything at all, and therefore it means nothing at all.
...Point taken. Of course, this is a semantic argument, but it's certainly true that a word people can't even consistently define falls far short of philosophical and scientific rigour.

On the other hand, if we take a specified definition of god to begin with, the rest of my points still apply to any given definition. Though I don't know of any definition which would likely correspond to something which actually exists.

Two kinds of nihilism here, apparently.  There is the political kind aka anarchism.  And the epistemological kind ... that nothing is knowable at all.  And all sorts of degrees.  One person says that life has no overall, objective meaning, but there are many individual subjective meanings.  I don't consider that real nihilism ... in that area, one would have to also deny any individual subjective meaning as well.
More than two, actually. For most any subject you can think of, a nihilist standpoint exists, boiling down to: "<concept> doesn't exist."

An existential nihilist says there is no meaning to existence. You're correct that this extends to individual, subjective meanings.

How can I say that? Because all people--myself included--will say something "has meaning" at one moment and then deny the very same the next. Subjective meaning? Hardly. It's a game of pretend, an insistence that what is felt in the moment is some pervasive, some truly significant quality. It's not. What you love today you will lose your passion for tomorrow. What has scarcely drawn your attention today may seem the most important thing in the world tomorrow.

It's a farce. Nothing you do, nothing you feel, nothing you think will ever "amount to" anything. Not even to you. It all just crumbles, the same way a rock on the beach is ground into sand.

Pure vanity.

Offline Baruch

Re: Oh dear.
« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2018, 01:59:13 PM »
Why do you hate vanity?  And are you Buddhist?  I am partial to Mahayana myself, but like a diet of only rice, I am still hungry afterwards ;-)

People recently got excited about evidence that the speed of light isn't constant.  And that is held in a dogmatic way now, as the basis for defining the "meter" off of the physical definition of the "second".  Turned out the experiment was flawed.  But it could be overturned at any time.  Theoreticians have speculated that things change depending on where you are in the universe, or when you are ... aka anti-uniformitarianism ... something always worth challenging.

Yes, most of us accept some authority or other.  But for philosophy/theology, I don't need a microscope or telescope or PhD.
שלום

Re: Oh dear.
« Reply #19 on: January 16, 2018, 02:07:38 PM »
Why do you hate vanity?  And are you Buddhist?
I don't, actually. I think it's great. The fewer things are solid, the more blank space I have to paint whatever I like.

I am partial to Buddhism, but I'm not technically a practising Buddhist. Occasionally when I don't feel like marking down "nonreligious" on a form that asks the question, I'll mark "Buddhist" instead. Not usually, though.

Quote
Turned out the experiment was flawed.  But it could be overturned at any time.  Theoreticians have speculated that things change depending on where you are in the universe, or when you are ... aka anti-uniformitarianism ...
I don't trust my intuition much, but it does tell me that constants are either context-dependent or slowly changing over time. It's hard for me, personally, to imagine that anything can actually be "fixed." I know that may just be my way of thinking, though.

Quote
Yes, most of us accept some authority or other.  But for philosophy/theology, I don't need a microscope or telescope or PhD.
I can't bring myself to trust authority. No matter how well-qualified, experienced, or intelligent you are, you're not omniscient--and most authorities act like they really are!

Humans. Blech.

Offline Baruch

Re: Oh dear.
« Reply #20 on: January 16, 2018, 02:11:08 PM »
Some forms of Buddhism are close to non-religious.  But not the Tibetan kind ;-)  I am my own yi-dam.
שלום

Re: Oh dear.
« Reply #21 on: January 16, 2018, 02:12:06 PM »
Was the author of Ecclesiastes a nihilist? I think it's likely. It's the only book of the Bible that really says something interesting.
God Not Found
"I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”
Stephen Hawking

Offline Mr.Obvious

Re: Oh dear.
« Reply #22 on: January 16, 2018, 02:15:17 PM »
Vegetarian?!

Not sure where we can find you a tofu-baby for The annual bbq...

But Welcome to our little band of heathens anyway.
"Intention is no matter. Only consequence has true form."
- Spencer Porkensenson

Offline Baruch

Re: Oh dear.
« Reply #23 on: January 16, 2018, 02:19:28 PM »
Was the author of Ecclesiastes a nihilist? I think it's likely. It's the only book of the Bible that really says something interesting.

Don't confuse with curmudgeon.  We are mostly curmudgeons here, with wrinkles to prove it.

That and the Book of Job.  Both are in the Wisdom Literature section ... for a reason.
שלום

Offline Baruch

Re: Oh dear.
« Reply #24 on: January 16, 2018, 02:20:30 PM »
Vegetarian?!

Not sure where we can find you a tofu-baby for The annual bbq...

But Welcome to our little band of heathens anyway.

You could get him a tar baby courtesy of the Tobacco Institute ;-(
שלום

Re: Oh dear.
« Reply #25 on: January 16, 2018, 02:26:40 PM »
Was the author of Ecclesiastes a nihilist? I think it's likely. It's the only book of the Bible that really says something interesting.
I remember trying to read the Bible a couple times and stopping early on both times.

If you're writing a work of fiction you need an interesting plot, but apparently old-timey Christians couldn't manage that...

Bizarre, when the myths behind so many "pagan" faiths are page-turners in their own right.

Re: Oh dear.
« Reply #26 on: January 16, 2018, 02:33:46 PM »
I'd've thought that an Omni-everything God could've written a much more interesting, less confusing book if it really wanted to communicate with its creation. I read the thing 3 times, and it was a real slog every time. I've read Ecclesiastes many times, though.
God Not Found
"I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”
Stephen Hawking

Re: Oh dear.
« Reply #27 on: January 16, 2018, 02:38:20 PM »
I'd've thought that an Omni-everything God could've written a much more interesting, less confusing book if it really wanted to communicate with its creation. I read the thing 3 times, and it was a real slog every time. I've read Ecclesiastes many times, though.
Or else it knew about the effort-justification effect and devised making its book a pain in the ass just so people would hold it up as more important?

Re: Oh dear.
« Reply #28 on: January 16, 2018, 02:43:47 PM »
Yeah, no pain, no gain, right?
God Not Found
"I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”
Stephen Hawking

Offline trdsf

Re: Oh dear.
« Reply #29 on: January 16, 2018, 03:46:08 PM »
Responsibility is such a slippery word...
Responsibility is a very definite word.  I'm not the one making a claim.  The statement that there is no god simply assumes the universe is as we see it, and so far there is no evidence to indicate otherwise.  To state that there is a god, or even that there might be one, is a statement that the universe is not as we observe it, and that claim requires evidence before I have any reason to take it seriously even as speculation.  And the ones with the responsibility to find the evidence are the ones making the claim, not I.

We have plenty of evidence that humans make countless errors, distort everything they see to fit their biases, and on and on. Yet you accept on faith that the conclusions and hypotheses of certain humans are valid, while summarily dismissing the conclusions and hypotheses of others.

I know as well as you do that one of these groups of humans is rather more trustworthy, if not by their nature then at least by the methods they use to subdue that nature. That does not change that they are humans.
If human fallibility were the measure, there would be a point here.

But it's not.  The measure is independent repeatability of observations, so we never have to rely on the word of just one researcher, and furthermore that the probability of an error is vastly reduced because of the number of people looking at the problem.

There's a saying in the Linux world that 'all problems are trivial' -- what this means is that what's intractable to one person may be obvious to someone else.  A comparable system works in research: what's obviously correct to one researcher may reveal an obvious flaw when looked at by someone else who doesn't have a potential emotional attachment to a particular theory, and the determinant is the data.

So you can certainly argue that any one human is capable of making a mistake, but to hang back from a declaration of knowledge because 'humans are fallible' is to assume that all researchers are all making the same error.

Even when a scientific consensus is in error, the research community itself will eventually find and correct that error.  That's the fastest route to a Nobel: prove the consensus wrong.  It certainly worked for Perlmutter, Schmidt and Riess, who won for demonstrating the accelerating expansion of the universe, when that wasn't even what they were looking for -- much less trying to demonstrate.

That's why the scientific method works: when one researcher makes a claim, it needs to be independently validated.  It is never just taking an observation "on faith".  If you want to argue that I'm "just taking the word" of researchers "on faith", that includes an assumption on your part that the entire research community has a reason to obscure or manufacture evidence, and that treads dangerously close to conspiracy theory.

As such, you are making nothing more than an educated guess. The probability that either they or you are correct may be more than a coin toss. It may be more than 80%. It may be more than 95%. It is not 100%.

Claiming knowledge is counting your chickens before they hatch. Nothing more, nothing less.
Claiming knowledge based on evidence is more than just chicken-counting.  All the evidence to date indicates the universe is exactly what we observe: a natural object that evolves along natural lines following laws of physics that we are occasionally able to tease out.

I'm comfortable with not having 100% upon which to base knowledge, simply because if we waited for 100%, we'd never get anything done scientifically.  And I am perfectly comfortable with the reliability of the scientific community on the whole, which has over and over and over and over demonstrated its ability to self-police and self-correct.

I'm also comfortable with the odds of being proven wrong, and I don't mind admitting that I am wrong when so demonstrated.
"It's hard to be religious when certain people are never incinerated by bolts of lightning." -- Calvin and Hobbes
"I thought I committed regicide today, but I committed deicide!" -- Sadie Doyle, Beyond Belief

 

SMF spam blocked by CleanTalk