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Old 07-21-2014, 06:47 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,190 posts, read 9,077,440 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nozzferrahhtoo View Post
If you have something precious in one box, and then another box containing an infinite supply of that something precious.... then the contents of the first box will not be so important to you after all.
OR, you don't really believe at some level that the imagined infinite supply actually exists. I am convinced that for most believers, the infinite supply is a desperate hope, not a concrete reality, because they cling just as tenaciously to life and grieve just as much at the death of loved ones as anyone else. Even the Bible adjures them not to "grieve as others, who have no hope". It is telling that those "others" are not said to have "no afterlife". Merely the hope for one.

The other reason I believe this is that to even hope to truly believe in an afterlife, one must actually bring awareness to one's mortality -- the very thing that afterlife beliefs is designed to circumvent.
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Old 07-22-2014, 06:16 AM
 
Location: Missouri, USA
4,343 posts, read 2,972,404 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nozzferrahhtoo View Post
I am not comparing them. I am making an analogy. The point is that the rarity, transience and uniqueness of life is what gives it is value. The concept of an after life erodes these facts into nothing. If you have something precious in one box, and then another box containing an infinite supply of that something precious.... then the contents of the first box will not be so important to you after all.
This is an inappropriate analogy. The afterlife has value because this life has value. An afterlife would merely be more life. If this life has no value, the afterlife has no value, and vice-versa.

What you are doing here is a rationalization technique. It is a useful tool, but but logically it doesn't make any sense.

Now, you could say that a belief in an afterlife is damaging to this life, but that is not your entire argument. Part of your implication is that an afterlife would not be desirable for some people, or many which is nonsense, and another part implied by your post is that a belief in an afterlife would not be beneficial to some people, which appears to be wrong if we look at society.

What seems to be the case, is a belief in an afterlife makes this life more pleasant for many people. We can see it by looking at and listening to them.
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Quote:
Not really. Ignoring facts because they do not sit well emotionally is not "valuable'". One can not simply avoid reality where reality fails to be pleasing. Our species are not children. We might shield children from many of the horrors of the world while they are young, but eventually they have to grow up and learn these realities. There is no utility in lying to them ALL their lives.

Similarly our species needs to grow up and get with reality. There is no utility I can see to delude oneself, and serperate ones world view from reality, simply to avoid facts that do not sit well.

And this is all, as I keep saying, before you pan out to the big picture and not just look at "an after life makes things less depressing" and start looking at the side effects and costs of maintaining this happy slappy world view.

And I think even theists often do not really believe what they pretend to. Why then do theists grieve for the dead? It makes little sense in the light of their purported expectation to relatively soon see the dead people again, and then continue to do so for all eternity.

For people who claim to believe in an after life, the graving theists appears to act like they do not actually hold any such expectation at all.
I would not say they lack a belief...I would say they most likely have a sort of halfway belief. Part of their brain is convinced there is an afterlife, and another part is not. This is what I do anyway, and that seems to be the most useful tactic for me. It seems like many people use rationalization techniques to deal with inevitably dying.

Here are some false arguments I've heard about why dying is a not such a bad thing:

1. the point is that the rarity, transience and uniqueness of life is what gives it is value. The concept of an after life erodes these facts into nothing. This is false because of reason's I've already stated.

2. dying isn't so different from going into a deep sleep this is false, because we awake from sleep.

3. It's natural True...but misleading. Not everything natural is good.

And none of those are any different from saying "I'm going to go to a magical happy land after this life is over. All are misleading. All get the job done.

I did hear one statement that seems both relatively accurate and calming though: dying is simply undergoing a transition from being to un-being, and not something to be feared or desired That one has value...but so do the illusions in their way.


Quote:
Except yes, yes you are. You are cherry picking a few of the benefits you think religion affords us. And you are doing so in isolate of the side effects and cost of those religions too.

But religion does cause obvious harm, and a lot of it.
Since the beginning of our conversation, we have not been discussing all religion. We have been discussing this type of religion:

(What I mean by unorganized, is there are no traditions involved that are continued by other people. Think deism, pantheism, or the type of Christianity where the belief is "There's a nice man in the sky who loves me named Jesus, and there is no hell because a just god would not do that, and because I'm note entirely sure...I'll go with science being true rather than that loony young Earth idea).

and if we focus on getting rid of that, we're basically just fearing our own imaginations and that seems rather miserable and self-destructive.
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Old 07-22-2014, 09:33 AM
 
7,802 posts, read 5,278,109 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clintone View Post
This is an inappropriate analogy.
Except it is not. It is the perfect analogy. The point being that you either have a temporary transient life that will come to an end.... or you will live forever. If it is the latter then the value of life itself is eroded because it is an infinite resource. And the value of this life here and now on Earth, compared to this eternal life, is insignificant and meaningless and empty.

And if life is an eternal resource, what value does it have? If gold was as readily available as water, what value would it have?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clintone View Post
The afterlife has value because this life has value. An afterlife would merely be more life.
Exactly my point. You started off your post like you disagree but you then go on to make my point for me. Do you often disagree with people by entirely agreeing with them?

What value has this life here and now if the after life is just "more life"? What meaning do you think giving your life for a cause or a person or a place or an ideal even HAS if all that it means is more life? Is that not like giving money to a begger on a piece of string and taking it right back by pulling the string when he is not looking?

The idea of sacrifice of your life means nothing if that sacrifice just means moving from life.... to more life.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clintone View Post
Now, you could say that a belief in an afterlife is damaging to this life
I _could_ say it? I _have_ been saying it. One example I gave was how belief in an after life allows some parents to watch their children die of easily treatable diseases. And the belief in an after life is divisive because there is no way to reconcile differences of opinion about it, what it is like, how to get there, or how to ensure a good quality of life while there. People die and kill over such irreconcilable differences.

So I very much have been saying it, even without you informing me I "could".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clintone View Post
Part of your implication is that an afterlife would not be desirable for some people, or many which is nonsense
No. It is not nonsense. There are many people who find the idea of an after life not just undesirable, but positively abhorrent. I am one of them. Not only do I see no argument, evidence, data or reasoning to think there IS an after life of ANY kind.... I am also very relieved and over joyed at this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clintone View Post
What seems to be the case, is a belief in an afterlife makes this life more pleasant for many people.
Quite the assertion. By all means back it up. And while backing it up make sure you are looking at the full picture.... inclusive of the costs and side effects society has for maintaining this alleged heightened pleasure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clintone View Post
I would not say they lack a belief...I would say they most likely have a sort of halfway belief. Part of their brain is convinced there is an afterlife, and another part is not.
Or, as Daniel Dennett would say, they believe in belief. That is they do not actually believe this stuff, but they believe in acting like they do, claiming they do, and even telling themselves they do. But many simply do not actually. As I said, their actions as believers seem indistinguishable from their actions as unbelievers.

The grieving process, which is what belief in the after life is often cited as being good at alleviating, seems to be no less powerful in the believer than the non-believer. They seem to me to suffer every bit as much as those with no expectation or ideas of an after life. What then is the utility to which you keep harping on if the pain it is meant to alleviate is every bit as strong in them as in people like me?

And in fact for many the false belief in an after life actually makes the grieving process WORSE because many people lose their faith in it later. They stop believing. And so they have to not only go through the graving process all over again.... when they now realize their loved ones are NOT actually waiting up in the cloudy haven..... but they have to go through it WORSE than they would have without this belief. Because many of the tools they would have had to help them cope..... such as fresh and recent memories of the departed..... are now eroded, or even gone.

It is with a shudder I reluctantly recall such people who I personally witnessed having this precise problem. Upon loss of belief in the concept of an after life they entered the grieving process again. I hope you never have to hold the shuddering and grief racked form of someone in your arms as they wail "I can not even see his/her face any more! I can not even remember what he/she looked like!".

Peoples memories are a massive tool in coping with the grieving process and canards like the after life leave some postponing the grieving process to a time when the memories that would have been so important to their recovery, were no longer accessible to them.

And having held people in my arms suffering directly from that, I can do no more than scoff at your assertion that belief in the after life brings some over all increase in pleasure to the world. But as I said, by all means substantiate your assertions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clintone View Post
This is false because of reason's I've already stated.
No it is not. For the reasons I have already stated. And clarified.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clintone View Post
2. dying isn't so different from going into a deep sleep this is false, because we awake from sleep.
You just said it isn't "so different" and then said the statement is false because you can list ONE difference. Is English your first language I wonder? Saying it is not "so different" means that there will be SOME differences. So listing ONE of those differences does not falsify the statement. At all. So no, the statement is not false.

And by mentioning the awakening you miss the point of the comparison. The point of the comparison is that being dead is subjectively, at the time of being dead, not SO different from being asleep, at the time of being asleep. Your mentioning of awakening then does not only not falsify the statement.... as I just pointed out.... it missed the whole POINT of the statement too.

So double fail from you here I am afraid.

If you really are looking for quotes or sound bites about death then the ones you arbitrarily cherry picked are probably easily improved upon. This one right here for example is about as good as it gets.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clintone View Post
And none of those are any different from saying "I'm going to go to a magical happy land after this life is over. All are misleading. All get the job done.
They are not really all that misleading as I just pointed out. Further you seem to be making a 0:1, black V white thing out of it. Things are either misleading.... or not.... so they are all equivalent? Bull. There is a continuum of misleading and some things are only a little misleading and some are massively so. Comparing the claim there is an after life..... which is massively misleading..... to the claim that death is just like sleep..... which is barely misleading at all...... is a crass attempt by you to build a totally false and transparent equivalence between the statements.

What I think has "value" is facing up to the reality of life and death and incorporating that reality into our world view. There is nothing terrifying about it at all when one confronts it and contemplates it and acknowledges it. I warrant that some people are more terrified of doing that, than they ever will be of the results of doing it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clintone View Post
Since the beginning of our conversation, we have not been discussing all religion. We have been discussing this type of religion:
Speak for yourself. I know what I have been discussing. I will not have you tell me, especially falsely, what it has been. By all means tell us what you think you are discussing. Do not presume to tell me mine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clintone View Post
and if we focus on getting rid of that, we're basically just fearing our own imaginations and that seems rather miserable and self-destructive.
Nothing I have written here, elsewhere, anytime or ever even implies, let alone directly suggests, a fear of human imagination. I think you are erring towards the error of misrepresenting me now or, at the very least, towards talking past me.

Imagination is one of the most important attributes we have. Possibly the most important one in my estimation second only to the art of Human discourse. I would do nothing to rid us of it.

What I would rid us of is that penchant we have for over stepping imagination and thinking what we imagine is real. Therein lies the danger, the potential for harm, and the source of most of the nonsense the theistically bent people around here trot out on to the forum on a daily basis.
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Old 07-23-2014, 09:01 AM
 
Location: Missouri, USA
4,343 posts, read 2,972,404 times
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Default I hope you're retired...or you skim this...or I pity you. REMEMBER I ALMOST NEVER DO RESEARCH. YOU'VE BEEN WARNED.

Note...as a general rule, I'm allergic to research and do hardly any of it. I am spending several hours on this response though, so I hope it will be a good one. I apologize for the length. Feel free not to read it if you don't want to, or don't have the time. Note also that I sometimes have a way of forgetting what I was originally talking about. There could very well be parts of this that contradict things I've stated in prior posts If you yell at me about something specific...maybe I'll go back and look at my prior posts and see if I really did change my mind about certain views...or if I merely hadn't explained the entirety of my views or what. I have no intention of reading any more of my posts now. It is 9:am in the morning, and I started this response at 1:20 am.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nozzferrahhtoo View Post
Except it is not. It is the perfect analogy. The point being that you either have a temporary transient life that will come to an end.... or you will live forever. If it is the latter then the value of life itself is eroded because it is an infinite resource. And the value of this life here and now on Earth, compared to this eternal life, is insignificant and meaningless and empty.

And if life is an eternal resource, what value does it have? If gold was as readily available as water, what value would it have?



Exactly my point. You started off your post like you disagree but you then go on to make my point for me. Do you often disagree with people by entirely agreeing with them?

What value has this life here and now if the after life is just "more life"? What meaning do you think giving your life for a cause or a person or a place or an ideal even HAS if all that it means is more life? Is that not like giving money to a begger on a piece of string and taking it right back by pulling the string when he is not looking?

The idea of sacrifice of your life means nothing if that sacrifice just means moving from life.... to more life.
I probably should be more friendly in my responses than I have in the past. I'll try now. These foundation types of logic can be important cogs in our mental processes. We should make them accurate (at least when having intelligent discussions), or our other mental processes may be flawed because they are flawed. That's what analogies do: They act as important cogs in our mental processes. There is an art to making them. Analogies are a wonderful tool to clarify. Another fine tool they can be used for is to uplift...but we must be careful with them, more careful, I think, than with normal speech or poetry or even other comments in serious debates. With them we can reach into others' minds and uplift, clarify, but also twist and corrupt thought inadvertently, at a foundation level where it is most vulnerable and the corruption can echo through the mind. I have a great and probably irrational fear and respect for analogies, but I do think they're powerful.

Your analogy was this: Why is gold precious? It is precious because it is rare. If you could multiply the quantity of gold on this planet 100,000 times bigger over night it would lose most of its value.

So similarly what makes life precious? Its transience, rarity and uniqueness. What value does your life have if it is only a precursor to an ETERNAL after life?


One of my problems with this statement is...do most people really long for eternity when they long for an afterlife? or are they simply longing for more life? It would seem like the survival instinct would just want more. Presumably someday, many of us would get tired of living, but that seems irrelevant now. Now it seems like many of us would just want more time.

Therefore, I would say a more accurate analogy for an afterlife would be a person getting ten more dollars per day. That should make sense. However, just like with mathematics we can check analogies for logical accuracy. If you want, you can check my new analogy and tell me if I did anything wrong.

I don't think the following comment is really relevant because even if there there is an afterlife, most people won't be sure about it. All they'll know is a loved one has gone away.
The idea of sacrifice of your life means nothing if that sacrifice just means moving from life.... to more life.

Moving on from that....

I talked about value of a belief in an afterlife. I dislike a very large percentage of the ideas about potential afterlives...possibly most afterlives that are believed in. Also, it does seem like there would be a high chance an eternal life would get dull...unless there's some sort of memory-erasing button or insta-fixing magic spray that fixes all our problems including emotional ones. But despite all the rotting in fire/boredom/etc. I'm going to say none of that is part of what I will define as the root meaning of afterlife. I will define the root meaning of afterlife as simply: more life after this one is over.
That seems to be what the survival instinct wants: more life. Now, our higher consciousness may not want an afterlife. You may not want an afterlife. However, because our survival instinct wants more life...that seems like it would make it likely many people want more life after this one.

It seems like we tend to be more likely to believe what we want to believe, and it seems like we tend to believe what we perceive as a potential threat. I could see why a god could be a potential threat...but not an afterlife. Therefore I'm assuming most people who believe in an afterlife want an afterlife of some kind.

Then there's the more selfish version of an afterlife I use...where as far as I'm concerned...I'm going to a magical paradise, and you all can rot in the ground for all I care I'm not sure that's the type of mentality we'd really want to encourage in society...so maybe that doesn't count as a real advantage.

There's also this though:

Ever hear anyone say: "When my father/mother/sister/brother passed away, I had to believe they still existed somewhere" and so they did. So that's the primary value I see to an afterlife. It's not much...but it is something, and that, at least for a few people, seems to give an afterlife value. It seems like she chose, and the possibility of an afterlife gave her that choice. I don't think I'm knowledgeable enough about to say her choice was wrong.

There is also of course a sort of cheap-shot factor I can fall back to, of a belief in an afterlife simply long having been the most common way of things. This may not be a good reason to view a belief in an afterlife as not good to remove...but I think the bigger the change, the more we should know about potential repercussions before making that change. I'm not saying you don't know enough to advise the making of that change. I'm saying I don't know enough to advise the making of that change.



Quote:
No. It is not nonsense. There are many people who find the idea of an after life not just undesirable, but positively abhorrent. I am one of them. Not only do I see no argument, evidence, data or reasoning to think there IS an after life of ANY kind.... I am also very relieved and over joyed at this.
This was in response to a miscommunication. What I should have typed was "Part of your implication is that an afterlife would not be desirable for any people, or would not be desirable for many which is nonsense" I think you seemed to be implying that. You were speaking of it like it is some horrible...diseased concept earlier. Even diseases can be used as vaccines.

On another note: You may be irritated by how I nitpick your posts while making numerous mistakes in mine. There are some mistakes I think are important not to make, and there are other mistakes I view as close to irrelevant. Analogies can be quite potentially damaging. The miscommunication above doesn't seem capable of doing any more harm than wasting your time and irritating you. I don't see it as capable of misleading anyone in any important ways. The same thing can be said when I make random, un-researched comments like What seems to be the case, is a belief in an afterlife makes this life more pleasant for many people. (and what I meant by...and I don't think would have been important to specify this) is that by just looking around without doing any research or intense thought...an afterlife don't look bad.

Regarding the statement:
I am not comparing them. I am making an analogy. The point is that the rarity, transience and uniqueness of life is what gives it is value. The concept of an after life erodes these facts into nothing. If you have something precious in one box, and then another box containing an infinite supply of that something precious.... then the contents of the first box will not be so important to you after all.

This is an excellent analogy. I should have complimented it earlier. It seems to clarify and guide accurately and clearly. I don't think that transience and uniqueness of life is what gives it value though.

If we live for a billion years longer...then our lives will begin to lack value, but I don't think they will now. Now, our time will lose value if we have a billion years, but until I get bored, I think I'd be having just as much fun as I've always had...and the reason why I'm mentioning that is to clarify why I think someone might want an afterlife. However, I agree with your analogy, basically. If we believe in an afterlife, it will probably detract from this one in some way...unless they find a temporary existence significantly depressing for a long enough time period.

I'm hoping people like that continue on with a halfway belief like I have in a life-after-kicking-the-bucket (which I'm not sure I really need...I just can't think of a good reason to get rid of it). I don't see it likely anyone (or hardly anyone) needs to believe in an afterlife or sit in misery or anything like that. It doesn't seem possible we're that weak of a species...but it seems like someone, somewhere in our 6,000,000+ population (or is it 7,000,000+ now?) will be worse off without the emotional uplifts of their religion. With Christianity and Islam...It does seem like most people on Earth would be better off as atheists.

However, it seems like we're more likely to believe threatening things are true...but we're also more likely to believe things we want to be true are true and it looks like there are groups of Christians who revel in glorifying a loving god (and their version of god would never roast anyone in fire for a belief). Even without the hell-belief, there's still the hazards of peer-pressure into a headless, mindless group mentality, as well as the more definite hazard of religions of not seeing the world the way it is. However, it seems like we can get rid of all negatives of religions, potentially, except for the hazard of not seeing the world the way it is, (and we're not talking about religion like hockey being a religion in Canada. We're talking about deity-centered religions) but if a religion has few enough negatives, (ideally no negative peer pressure and no hell for non belief) and if it's uplifting enough, and if the view of reality between a believer and nonbeliever of the religion can be similar enough...We could have ourselves a religion in which the trade of a small amount of logical ability is worth the emotional benefits for pretty the same reason we watch mindless comedy shows. It feels good. Within such people lies the value of religion...and I think it'd be safe to guess there are some of them on Citi-Data, judging from comments of several believers.




Quote:
Or, as Daniel Dennett would say, they believe in belief. That is they do not actually believe this stuff, but they believe in acting like they do, claiming they do, and even telling themselves they do. But many simply do not actually. As I said, their actions as believers seem indistinguishable from their actions as unbelievers.
I want to emphasize that there's a third group, in addition to the ones who actually believe and the ones who want to act like they believe. The third group really gets something uplifting out of envisioning false gods/etc, despite the fact that they might be described as not actually believing in those gods...or at least not having complete beliefs.

Speaking of which, I wonder how many atheists were responsible for the spread of religion? Storytellers who wanted their beautiful fabrications to be so real, that they told listeners they were real? It seems like someone who might understand best how to create effective religious propaganda would be someone who viewed religion not as something holy and mysterious...but as something that could be built and modified by humans....

Quote:
The grieving process, which is what belief in the after life is often cited as being good at alleviating, seems to be no less powerful in the believer than the non-believer. They seem to me to suffer every bit as much as those with no expectation or ideas of an after life. What then is the utility to which you keep harping on if the pain it is meant to alleviate is every bit as strong in them as in people like me?

And in fact for many the false belief in an after life actually makes the grieving process WORSE because many people lose their faith in it later. They stop believing. And so they have to not only go through the graving process all over again.... when they now realize their loved ones are NOT actually waiting up in the cloudy haven..... but they have to go through it WORSE than they would have without this belief. Because many of the tools they would have had to help them cope..... such as fresh and recent memories of the departed..... are now eroded, or even gone.

It is with a shudder I reluctantly recall such people who I personally witnessed having this precise problem. Upon loss of belief in the concept of an after life they entered the grieving process again. I hope you never have to hold the shuddering and grief racked form of someone in your arms as they wail "I can not even see his/her face any more! I can not even remember what he/she looked like!".

Peoples memories are a massive tool in coping with the grieving process and canards like the after life leave some postponing the grieving process to a time when the memories that would have been so important to their recovery, were no longer accessible to them.

And having held people in my arms suffering directly from that, I can do no more than scoff at your assertion that belief in the after life brings some over all increase in pleasure to the world. But as I said, by all means substantiate your assertions.
Oh...I don't understand theistic afterlife views. I just kind of assume the whole...it's been this way, so that is presumably the best way, mentality. And that's still true. You have gone far to convince me down the opposite direction, toward the view that the afterlife is not such a good thing for most people. I'm not there yet though. I'm sorry you...and to a much greater extent they...had to experience that.


No it is not. For the reasons I have already stated. And clarified.


Quote:
You just said it isn't "so different" and then said the statement is false because you can list ONE difference. Is English your first language I wonder? Saying it is not "so different" means that there will be SOME differences. So listing ONE of those differences does not falsify the statement. At all. So no, the statement is not false.

And by mentioning the awakening you miss the point of the comparison. The point of the comparison is that being dead is subjectively, at the time of being dead, not SO different from being asleep, at the time of being asleep. Your mentioning of awakening then does not only not falsify the statement.... as I just pointed out.... it missed the whole POINT of the statement too.

So double fail from you here I am afraid.
Nope. There is quite a big difference between going to sleep then waking up again...and going to sleep and not waking up again. Also, the brain is quite active during sleep, as I'm sure you know. Therefore I can only guess about why you made the above argument.

Quote:
If you really are looking for quotes or sound bites about death then the ones you arbitrarily cherry picked are probably easily improved upon. This one right here for example is about as good as it gets.
"People don't last forever, do they Annie? No they don't! That's why we have to be kind to each other"

That is an excellent statement...yes. That'd be good to get more people to think that way. That could make the world a much better place.

Quote:
They are not really all that misleading as I just pointed out. Further you seem to be making a 0:1, black V white thing out of it. Things are either misleading.... or not.... so they are all equivalent? Bull. There is a continuum of misleading and some things are only a little misleading and some are massively so. Comparing the claim there is an after life..... which is massively misleading..... to the claim that death is just like sleep..... which is barely misleading at all...... is a crass attempt by you to build a totally false and transparent equivalence between the statements.
I have no idea why you think I'm making a 0:1 black v white thing about it. Yes, there are varying degrees of accuracy. It's just that the one that went dying is simply undergoing a transition from being to un-being, and not something to be feared or desired is accurate...and all the others are varying degrees of inaccurate, to my mind. I might be able to explain my views in more detail if you're interested.

Quote:
What I think has "value" is facing up to the reality of life and death and incorporating that reality into our world view. There is nothing terrifying about it at all when one confronts it and contemplates it and acknowledges it. I warrant that some people are more terrified of doing that, than they ever will be of the results of doing it.
That depends on what you mean by confront it and contemplate it Sometimes it can be uplifting to fear dying. I think it is for me. It gives me a sense of power, I think. I like my pseudo-belief in an afterlife and fear of death just fine. I enjoy the mild, irregular fear. Now...if you're talking about getting rid of a view that dramatically alters your behavior (such as say...a Wal-Mart cart-pusher who likes to repeat the phrase "I can't wait till the apocalypse comes and I go up to heaven) who listens to some sort of church-related instruction in headphones at work and seems to live in his mind...yeah, it would be wise for that guy to open his eyes considerably wider.

Quote:
Imagination is one of the most important attributes we have. Possibly the most important one in my estimation second only to the art of Human discourse. I would do nothing to rid us of it.

What I would rid us of is that penchant we have for over stepping imagination and thinking what we imagine is real. Therein lies the danger, the potential for harm, and the source of most of the nonsense the theistically bent people around here trot out on to the forum on a daily basis.
this is a wise quote. Thanks for this.

Go blind yet?
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Old 07-23-2014, 09:25 AM
 
Location: The backwoods of Pennsylvania ... unfortunately.
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Originally Posted by Clintone View Post
I'd think of it more like something that causes no harm until it breaches a certain boundary or involves certain characteristics. Then it becomes a disease. Until then, much of the time it seems more like a neutral force.
The problem is that religion will -always- seek to breach that "certain boundary."

While an unorganized religious belief in an afterlife may not be harmful to the individual, it ultimately -does- become harmful to society.

For one thing, unorganized religious belief will -always- attempt to organize itself. We are a gregarious species and we like to be around other people who share our views and interested - including religion. Get enough people together who share the same unorganized belief and now you have organized religion. Once it becomes organized, sooner or later, a charismatic leader will rise above the pack.

And without anyone even being consciously aware of it, this leader will begin to steer everyone down a course of groupthink so that the -leader's- version of God and the Bible becomes the one that the congregation accepts. A cult is born.

And if this cult can spread enough, it becomes a religion.

Unorganized religion doesn't stay unorganized - especially if it has a vacuum to fill.

Now ... what makes this all even worse is that "unorganized" religious beliefs, to me, aren't -really- all that unorganized. I hear people all the time say they don't follow a specific religion; they just believe in God.

But press the point further and I invariably find out that, while yes their beliefs might be "unorganized," it's just a patchwork version of Christianity. It's not theism, it is deism, and the worship goes to a specific deity sitting at the helm of an organized religion. All you've done is to keep the things you like while ditching the things you don't. While it is good that you don't believe in hell and a young earth (phew!) your beliefs still give credence to the existence of Bronze Age tribal gods and the blood sacrifice of a messiah that no one else (including contemporary historians) even knew was alive.

A simple belief in a nameless deity of which we know nothing about is, well, to my mind, pointless. BUT at least that truly isn't harmful.

What -could- be harmful is if you tell a child that Jesus loves you only for him to grow up, die, and end up explaining himself to Allah. Who knows? There is this presumption that the dominant cultural belief we live in is the only right one - EVEN if it doesn't mesh with mainstream dogma. Thus, even though you may not believe in hell, most Christians do, and hell can't both exist and not exist simultaneously. Ergo, you obviously believe -your- version of religion is right and everyone else is wrong.

Which is why religion is the single-most divisive paradigm in all of human history. Look what's happening in Gaza right now and you see my point. The violence in the Ukraine right now is a fairly rare issue of politics. But 9 times out of 10, large scale violence is the result of differing opinions of god concepts.
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Old 07-24-2014, 02:26 AM
 
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Note...as a general rule, I'm allergic to research and do hardly any of it.
Then my expectation of any useful content in your posts is severely hampered. If you can not research or back up your claims, then your claims are no more useful than simply randomly typing whatever words pop into your head. The whole purpose of research and learning and searching and collating is to substantiate views, to raise them up above the level of mere arbitrary opinion.

I however spend not just minutes or hours, but my entire life, checking, re-checking, substantiating and falsifying my views. You fear that you perhaps changed your mind about certain views during the research and response? That is a GOOD thing. That is the whole reason to be ON discussion forums like this. Because through debate we grow, learn, and divest ourselves of poor and baseless ideas.... and replace them with ones that are substantiated and reasoned out. I simply would not be on such a forum as this if I thought my mind, opinions or knowledge would not be changed by the experience.

Embrace it.

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One of my problems with this statement is...do most people really long for eternity when they long for an afterlife? or are they simply longing for more life?
But my point has nothing to do with what people LONG for. My point is only to do with the impact on the value of life if life was an infinite resource and not a finite one. The question I asked which has still gone unanswered (you simply called it irrelevant, out of hand, and then moved on) for example is: What value has the giving of ones life in sacrifice even got, if one is not actually giving ones life, but merely changing state from one part of life to the next?

When a man jumps into a river and dies saving a small child, we cherish his memory and his sacrifice. He literally gave all and everything he had to save another. This level of altruism is hardly ever reflected anywhere else in the animal kingdom, yet we do it. If however that man did not give his life but simply moved from one part of life to the infinite next part..... where then is the value of his sacrifice? Tell me this.

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Now it seems like many of us would just want more time.
Then you have made my point for me in a way by adumbrating an argument I have not yet made. When we sit around wanting for something, then we are doing nothing to attain it. This sitting around wanting _more life_ or an _after life_ is simply an exercise in WASTING THIS ONE. Rather than cherishing every moment of the one we have now, we waste the one we have now (and likely the only one we actually have) waiting around for "more" of it (which there is no evidence whatsoever any of us will even get).

So not only have you not rebutted my argument that the concept of an after life cheapens the value of THIS life.... you have highlighted another argument that the concept of an after life leads people to WASTE THIS one. One wonders indeed how many more people would "live in the moment" and cherish the time they have actually got, if they were divested of the notion that they have this "more" time. Again this cartoon here highlights exactly what I mean quite beautifully and is quite moving indeed.

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I talked about value of a belief in an afterlife.
I am not so convinced you did "talk" about it. I think you merely asserted it then moved quickly on as if the making of the assertion in and of itself supported the assertion.

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Also, it does seem like there would be a high chance an eternal life would get dull...
Christopher Hitchens before he died, and during the period he knew he was about to die very soon, put this quite beautifully. He said the knowledge of your own mortality is like being at a really good party (life) and being tapped on the shoulder and told not only do you have to leave..... but that the party was going to go on without you.

Before allowing you to get too wistful about this image however he then added, that the concept of an after life was like being tapped on the shoulder and being told.... the party is going to go on forever.... you can NEVER leave.... and that while you are there the host positively INSISTS you have a good time.

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It seems like we tend to be more likely to believe what we want to believe
It does seem this way. Actually we seem to want to believe what our emotions suggest we should believe.

As you do not do research, but I do, you might not have heard of Capgras Syndrome. This is a unique and interesting conditions where people construct wild fantasies. A common fantasy is that a person who is normal in EVERY way suddenly starts to think people in their life.... usually people very close to them like wives, mothers, fathers and so forth..... have been replaced by 100% identical replica impostors.

A man called VS Ramachandran and his team investigated this condition and discovered there is a part of the brain that produces an emotional response when we see people or objects or places dear to us. If you hear a sound.... a pathway in the brain links the "sound recognition" centre of the brain to this "emotional response" location in the brain and you get an emotional response, or varying levels, depending on how dear the sound is to you.

If a path way from some sensory input to the "emotional reaction" part is damaged however, you no longer get this reaction. So in these people the LINK between the "facial recognition" part of the brain and the "emotional reaction" part becomes damaged and they no longer get the usual response to seeing their mother or partner.

And then they construct wild and fantastical conspiracy theory nonsense to justify and rationalise this new reaction to sensory input. Even when shown objective clear evidence of the damage in their brain they STILL prefer their conspiracy theory nonsense to the reality. Because, it seems, human beings will believe any nonsense as long as it conforms with their current emotional states, than believe reality in the face of a wealth of evidence and substantiation.

Amazingly when you get the loved one to PHONE this "sick" person they instantly get the emotional response and believe it really is their mother or partner, because the aural recognition centres are the ones now kicking in more than the visual ones, and feeding their inputs to the emotional centres. Massively interesting stuff.

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Then there's the more selfish version of an afterlife I use...where as far as I'm concerned...I'm going to a magical paradise, and you all can rot in the ground for all I care
Actually that is one aspect of the "heaven" some people believe in I have never understood. What if someone you love does not make it there and ends up in "hell". You are supposed to be eternally happy in "heaven".... but what kind of sick maniac would be happy in an eternity of knowledge knowing their loved one is absent or suffering or worse?

You can come up with some rationalisations for this. For example the memory of the missing loved one would be erased. But what sick maniac wants THAT? Watch the Film "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" for one view on that. Another example is that you wont KNOW your loved one is in hell because some replica replacement will be provided for you. But what a sick delusional idea THAT is? That this paradise of "heaven" is a realm of delusion and lies and imposters and deception. Another example is that you will have this knowledge but will be made to simply not give a damn. But that is even sicker again. To be changed into a state where the suffering or loss of others is beneath even your mildest contempt.

No there simply is no concept of this "heaven-hell" divide I can square with even the lowest level of ethics, morality or simple human empathy. Every concept I can come up with is sick and twisted to a degree most abhorrent.

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Ever hear anyone say: "When my father/mother/sister/brother passed away, I had to believe they still existed somewhere" and so they did.
They do. In our memory. And there is utility and benefit in facing that reality because only through facing that reality can we really cherish and honor that memory in the way it actually deserves. And in facing that we find solace from our grief in the one place where it actually does exist.... in the other people who also share love and memories for that departed one.

All of this utility and reality is diluted and eroded by this fallacious and unsubstantiated nonsense about an after life.

You call this a "primary value" and I see it as a primary devalue. Because to me it is like taking pain killers for an open and infected wound. Treating the pain but allowing the wound to fester and worsen. Where instead of treating the pain we should be treating the wound THROUGH the pain, and finding ways to alleviate the pain (through others and through our memories) while still treating the wound (by facing up to the reality of death and dealing with the grieving process maturely and effectively).

And as I said when people are later divested of that "primary value" you imagine being there.... through loss of faith in the idea of this after life...... they then are in the situation where the pain killers no longer work.... the wound is still there..... and the infection and damage has festered and worsened and the treatments are not as effective as they would have been on day 1.

And you call this "value". I call it horrific and abhorrent.

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The third group really gets something uplifting out of envisioning false gods/etc, despite the fact that they might be described as not actually believing in those gods...or at least not having complete beliefs.
I agree with this and pretty much said the same thing myself earlier in the thread. We as a species have the, possibly unique, ability to personify things. Being able to envision aspects of reality, or even all of reality itself, in a personified fashion allows for higher levels of reasoning, art and literature. It is powerful stuff. We are also able to create representations of the minds of others in our own mind, like virtual computer machines, and run processing on them as if they are real. Again powerful and useful stuff.

The damage and harm comes when people step from these personifications and virtual representations.... into thinking them REAL.

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Speaking of which, I wonder how many atheists were responsible for the spread of religion? Storytellers who wanted their beautiful fabrications to be so real, that they told listeners they were real?
Likely something impossible to ever answer or estimate I am afraid. However Terry Pratchett is interesting on this. In a book on science he co-wrote with some scientists he suggested that in the biological nomenclature the "Homo Sapien" is actually a misnomer and misleading. He suggests rather than Homo sapiens (Wise Man), we might be better described as Pan narrans (Storytelling Chimpanzee). I found this suggestion resonated with me intellectually on quite a number of levels.

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but as something that could be built and modified by humans....
I think that is _exactly_ what it is. But I would go a step further. It is likely that in many, if not most, cases that the modifications were not even done intentionally or with foresight or design. Rather, religion undergoes memetic evolution and natural selection much like genetics do. Small modifications occur, creating variation, in the stories and lies and fantasies of religion..... and a form of "natural selection" occurs over time as some variations survive better in the knowledge pool than others..... either because they are in some way more appealing, in some way manipulate the host better or more effectively, or somehow are more reproducible and so better propagate.

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Originally Posted by Clintone View Post
Nope. There is quite a big difference between going to sleep then waking up again...and going to sleep and not waking up again.
You are still entirely missing the point of the analogy. The point of the analogy has nothing to do with waking up again. And it also has nothing to do with dreaming either. The point is that that period of sleep of which we have no subjective experience, awareness, or memory, is what is being compared to death. Nothing else. You are attempting to falsify the analogy by contriving to over extend the analogy. Which helps nothing, and achieves less.

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Originally Posted by Clintone View Post
I have no idea why you think I'm making a 0:1 black v white thing about it.
Odd, I thought I was quite clear here. My point was that you are attempting to build a false equivalence between two very disparate and different things, by simply including them under one label. In this case the label is "misleading". By labeling both "misleading" you are attempting to show they are in some way(s) the same thing, or on the same level. But THAT is misleading. It is equivalent to trying to make apples seem almost the same thing as elephants, by including them both under the label "life form" or "protein".

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That depends on what you mean by confront it and contemplate it
By this I mean to make oneself aware of the reality, and then invest time in contemplation of what this reality means to you subjectively, how it impacts you, and how your life choices, ethics, morality and goals should be formed to reflect, represent and incorporate this reality.

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Originally Posted by Clintone View Post
Go blind yet?
I was quite interested in sex when I was very young. I wanted to know all about it. But I had few good sources for this. One source I did have however was the fiction novels my mother read which, on the majority, were punctuated with various sex scenes.

As such I read them all when she was not looking and, because it had to be done when she was not looking, I slowly over a period of about 5 years from age 8 to 13, developed the ability to read great blocks of text, very fast, while taking it all in and processing it. I am essentially a high functioning speed reader.

So short of writing a TOME (which is probably impossible due to the post length restrictions this forum operates on) your potential for blinding me, boring me, or losing me, is likely quite low :-)

A fact that has been the demise of a few people who tried to use exceptionally long posts full of repetition, misrepresentation, and empty rhetoric and fillers (you can see one example of such a poster who eventually gave up and ran) and found they were investing many times more time in this crass attempt, than I was investing in responding to it :-)
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Old 07-26-2014, 12:35 AM
 
Location: Missouri, USA
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Thanks for your responses. I'll think about all you've typed. I still hate your analogy though Nozz...because it sounds like brainwashing propaganda from a used car salesperson. That's long been my point. I was trying to determine why we might disagree...and attempting to make sure you were not just being fooled by your own faulty logic. Your analogy is faulty logic. Get rid of it. Seriously.

You cannot tell people an afterlife would not be desirable if it were true for some people...and that's what your b.s. analogy seemed to be doing. It made me suspect you spent a whole of five minutes researching religion...rather than your whole life, because you resorted to such b.s. analogies rather than actual useful information. Never use that crap analogy again...lol.

Last edited by Clintone; 07-26-2014 at 01:02 AM..
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Old 07-26-2014, 02:25 AM
 
Location: City-Data Forum
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Originally Posted by Clintone View Post
Thanks for your responses. I'll think about all you've typed. I still hate your analogy though Nozz...because it sounds like brainwashing propaganda from a used car salesperson. That's long been my point. I was trying to determine why we might disagree...and attempting to make sure you were not just being fooled by your own faulty logic. Your analogy is faulty logic. Get rid of it. Seriously.

You cannot tell people an afterlife would not be desirable if it were true for some people...and that's what your b.s. analogy seemed to be doing. It made me suspect you spent a whole of five minutes researching religion...rather than your whole life, because you resorted to such b.s. analogies rather than actual useful information. Never use that crap analogy again...lol.
I liked the "pain killers for an open wound" one.
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Old 07-28-2014, 01:05 AM
 
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Thanks for your responses. I'll think about all you've typed. I still hate your analogy though Nozz...because it sounds like brainwashing propaganda from a used car salesperson.
That is a bit of a throw away and empty insult there. Thankfully your "hatred" of the analogy does not dilute its usefulness or its accuracy however. Which is all I require of it.

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Your analogy is faulty logic. Get rid of it. Seriously.
Until such time as you can argue as to WHY it is "faulty logic" I am afraid I am not about to rid myself of any such thing. You merely declaring it to be and then, frankly, running away..... is not likely to motivate me to modify anything at all. Especially given that in the LARGE number of people I have presented it to.... the number of people who have an issue to it now count at precisely..... ONE. You.

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You cannot tell people an afterlife would not be desirable if it were true for some people...
I can tell people what I want to thank you. I neither neither you permission, nor am I likely to pander to your lack of it.

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It made me suspect you spent a whole of five minutes researching religion...rather than your whole life, because you resorted to such b.s. analogies rather than actual useful information. Never use that crap analogy again...lol.
So now you are going a) off the topic of the thread and b) not actually replying to a single thing I said..... and instead choosing to go on some ad hominem attack against me. The only one therefore who needs to divest themselves of "b.s." here is you.
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Old 07-30-2014, 02:34 PM
 
Location: Missouri, USA
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Originally Posted by Nozzferrahhtoo View Post
That is a bit of a throw away and empty insult there. Thankfully your "hatred" of the analogy does not dilute its usefulness or its accuracy however. Which is all I require of it.



Until such time as you can argue as to WHY it is "faulty logic" I am afraid I am not about to rid myself of any such thing. You merely declaring it to be and then, frankly, running away..... is not likely to motivate me to modify anything at all. Especially given that in the LARGE number of people I have presented it to.... the number of people who have an issue to it now count at precisely..... ONE. You.


Quote:
I can tell people what I want to thank you. I neither neither you permission, nor am I likely to pander to your lack of it.
Yes you can. Some people probably would find the prospect of an afterlife appealing if it existed though. Maybe it wouldn't be appealing eventually...but it'd make sense some people would want it initially. It'd make sense they'd fantasize about it too.

Quote:
So now you are going a) off the topic of the thread and b) not actually replying to a single thing I said..... and instead choosing to go on some ad hominem attack against me. The only one therefore who needs to divest themselves of "b.s." here is you.


@
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Originally Posted by Nozzferrahhtoo View Post
Except it is not. It is the perfect analogy. The point being that you either have a temporary transient life that will come to an end.... or you will live forever. If it is the latter then the value of life itself is eroded because it is an infinite resource. And the value of this life here and now on Earth, compared to this eternal life, is insignificant and meaningless and empty.

And if life is an eternal resource, what value does it have? If gold was as readily available as water, what value would it have?



Exactly my point. You started off your post like you disagree but you then go on to make my point for me. Do you often disagree with people by entirely agreeing with them?

What value has this life here and now if the after life is just "more life"? What meaning do you think giving your life for a cause or a person or a place or an ideal even HAS if all that it means is more life? Is that not like giving money to a begger on a piece of string and taking it right back by pulling the string when he is not looking?

The idea of sacrifice of your life means nothing if that sacrifice just means moving from life.... to more life.
%

My complaints about the above statement that begins with @ and ends with %:

1. You typed "And if life is an eternal resource, what value does it have?" It has value because this life has value. Eventually it seems like it would lose value...but not immediately. Not until we'd get bored. However, if gold were as readily available as water, there would be immediate dilution of value. That is one way your analogy is invalid.

2. Despite that eternal life seems like it would eventually lose value due to boredom...even that is not necessarily true (A magic memory-deletion button/magic emotional-problem solver/etc?) but's that's not nearly as relevant as that...if someone wants an afterlife, it only makes sense he or she will not be thinking about long-term boredom, or will have some fantasized solution (like a magic memory-deletion button/or magic emotional-problem solver). This is a reason why the fantasy of an eternal life does not necessarily appear unappealing. Your analogy makes it seem like the fantasy of an afterlife would be unappealing as gold being available as water. This is a second way your analogy is invalid.

3. This statement: The idea of sacrifice of your life means nothing if that sacrifice just means moving from life.... to more life. is false in many instances. Even for someone who knew there was an afterlife...in many instances there could be pain, worry about the unknown new life, and having to leave loved ones and an old life behind. Then there's that most people don't 100% believe there is an afterlife. How could they?

4. This statement again: The idea of sacrifice of your life means nothing if that sacrifice just means moving from life.... to more life. It is true that heroic actions would lose value if someone believed in an afterlife to a great-enough extent. However, some atheists would describe death as something neither to be feared, nor desired...just transitioning from being to un-being. Either way, you're leaving your home and friends and society. Either could be desirable or undesirable depending on our situation in this life.

5. This statement: If it is the latter then the value of life itself is eroded because it is an infinite resource. And the value of this life here and now on Earth, compared to this eternal life, is insignificant and meaningless and empty. is false because even if we would never develop some way of mentally dealing with eternity...I see no reason why an eternal life would be more dull at its start than this life would be. The closest way of looking at an afterlife I could think of that would make this statement true is if we think of an afterlife losing value eventually...and that can only be said if we envision a very specific variant of afterlife.

6. This statement: What meaning do you think giving your life for a cause or a person or a place or an ideal even HAS if all that it means is more life? Is that not like giving money to a begger on a piece of string and taking it right back by pulling the string when he is not looking? is just the reverse version of the idea that life has no value if it ends at some point and there is no afterlife. Either way, if we assume we still have the same emotional drives...it would seem like we'd have goals. They'd just be more long term.

It seems like, because your analogy and above statements are accurate in so few ways, your analogy and above statements are more misleading than clarifying. The people who liked you analogy probably liked it because it sounds like convincing propaganda. I think it does sound like convincing propaganda. I don't like it because it sounds misleading.

Last edited by Clintone; 07-30-2014 at 02:45 PM..
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