There is not much that I can add to this except that Sam and I don’t agree on all things but on this video mashup, we’re in synch all the way.
Enjoy… then go buy presents for people that already have more than they need…
Archive for the ‘ atheist ’ Category
There is not much that I can add to this except that Sam and I don’t agree on all things but on this video mashup, we’re in synch all the way.
Enjoy… then go buy presents for people that already have more than they need…
are but bits and bytes in the simulation. Never shall they themselves echo in the universe or wander the seemingly empty voids of existence. No, they are forever locked inside your head and there they will comfortably stay till you unlock the passage and loose them on the unsuspecting world around you. Nay, they will not escape and infiltrate the universe on their own, they cannot. The cold, harsh, uncaring universe would best like them kept locked in your mind… should it ever begin to think on its own.
Just random fluctuations of chemicals and electricity, chemistry in action… meaningless to the entirety of existence while confined to the bits of matter between your ears. They say you can’t kill an idea, but you can. An idea without expression is still-born, in a manner of speaking.
Should we paint everything with green and orange giraffes? Not hardly, but you’re getting the idea. Combine known items with items not usually associated with them – now you have some thoughts. Consider further how this combination would interact with other items in the known existence and you have more complete thoughts. If one of the possible interactions leads to a result you do not or will not like, you have a fear … or maybe many of them. Combine them in a way that leads to desired consequences and you have a plan. If that desired consequence is seemingly unlikely, you have a dream or a hope. If someone comes along and acts in a way that disturbs your connection chains from now to a desire result, you have anger.
Wait, are you saying that I/we can be separate from our anger and hopes etc.?
Yes, I am.
But wouldn’t that make us dispassionate and distant?
Yes, yes it would.
That’s bad right? It’s not good to not have feelings, right?
I guess that depends on how painful your feelings are. When you are torn with grief, would you rather be dispassionate, or would you rather walk around inside that pain and suffering?
Wait, can’t I just be sad? Does it have to be painful?
Well, if you want your emotions to function the way that evolution designed them, yes, it has to be painful. Really, I mean it has to be painful. If we did not feel pain at the loss of our in-group we would not have survived. That is why it is thought strange or even sinister if one does not grieve the loss of their in-group.
Wait, are you saying that emotions are just chemical reactions to bits of information?
Yes, I am. The simulator running in your head releases chemicals based on the electrochemical reaction of bits of data in your brain. So, with some stimulus your brain floods your body with hormones and with other stimulus it floods your body with depressants. The loss of a loved one causes actual pain to be felt. It’s just bits of data in your brain, but you ‘feel’ it just the same… not because there is physical damage, but because there is chemical alteration to the sensors which normally indicate damage.
Did you just say that my body produces falsified physical feelings based on electrochemical actions in my brain?
Yes, yes I did. How does that make you feel? (I’ll be here all week)
Okay… I don’t understand, how does my brain do this magic stuff?
Electricity and chemical reactions. In short, biology. Chemistry becomes biology when the interactions become coherent over time and across reproductive cycles.
Wait, this is about sex too? I’m pro-life, I don’t have coherent reproductive cycles or whatever you call it.
Stay tuned readers… How is the next stop. ‘What is a thought’ is the end of the line, all passengers must change destinations at the end of the line.
There are a few things that simply rub me the wrong way, not because I’m a disagreeable sort (and I am) but because they simply don’t mesh with logical thinking.
Prayson Daniel posted an article about CSLewis (who I have little respect for) but I don’t
Descartes’ God, wrote Harry G. Frankfurt, is “a being for whom the logically impossible is possible.” (Frankfurt 1977, 44) God, for Descartes, is ex les. His power is beyond our reason and morality. God, in this view, can bring about any state of affairs. If this is true, then contrary to Lewis, God could have created higher creatures with free will that freely and voluntarily choose the right things only.
The problem, with adopting Cartesian absolute power of God that could even bring about logical impossible states of affair, is that the problem of pain and suffering disappears with it. If God can bring about logical impossible states of affair, then it would follow that God could bring about what atheologians believe to be logically impossible, namely the coexistence of pain and suffering and omnicompetent and benevolent God.
I don’t actually want to address Prayson’s article or CSLewis per se. The article touches on a couple of subjects which twiddle the irritation switch in my head.
In the first paragraph we see the problems born of switching or losing context. There is no agreed upon definition of what ‘god’ is or can do. We have only the imagined facets of a being that is supposed to be existent outside of space and time. Think that through for a minute. If something is completely outside the confines of all that humanity has or does know and beyond the scope of our ability to experience, then we cannot know what that being is like nor what magic powers it might possess. It is illogical to think that we can imagine something not confined to the existence we know of and further that we know what that being is like…. pure bullshit. If a thing is defined as beyond imagination or understanding then that is exactly what it is… stop trying to change it or the context of the conversation. If god is not know-able, then stop telling me you know him. If the mind of god is not knowable, stop telling me you know what it is. If the powers of your or any god are not knowable, stop telling me what they are and what limitations the god has. In this I side with DesCartes,
Now the second paragraph which tries to put limits on infinity…. so to speak. The problem seems logical, except that it is not. It injects context to the proposed equation which is limited to human experience and understanding. To say that an omnipotent and omnibenevolent god would not allow pain and suffering is to say that benevolence demands alignment with human understanding of such. There is the contradiction that invalidates the argument. Who is to tell an omnipotent deity what benevolence is? Once you create such a being, you don’t get to tell it how to behave, and in being that sort of being it will decide for all creation what is benevolent and right and moral and just. While this does clear the one argument, it beguiles another: If the deity decides what is moral and just there is no objective morality etc.
Without objective morality the purpose of such a being becomes exponentially more dubious and worrying. Just ask Abraham or Joshua about objective morality. They both have a few words on the subject.
If your god is confined to the behaviors and emotions which reside within the realm of your understanding and scope of your experience, then your god is no god at all… unless that is the label you give to wishful thinking. If your deity is such a being as described, then it is very improbable that you, as a human, will be able to comprehend the deity — and as such, there is no point to worship for you cannot even know if this is desired, useful, or if it is something which will actually earn you eternal torments. In short you can know nothing of such a being…. Now, if you simply made up a story about such a being you’d be able to describe it and it’s behavior etc.
Perhaps that is what has happened?
That’s right, today about 15000 people will starve to death or die of nutrition related issues. I just made a donation the size of what I spent on the day… did you? Why not? Are you not thankful enough?
I am known to occasionally stroll around various topics of wordpress and there I sometimes find the strangest things. Case in point is this snippet from a Christian apologist:
“As C.S. Lewis put it in Mere Christianity, “Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”
So even those who scream that there is no God also have the need to discover something more than a life of mere materialism. Even they seek to transcend the mundane world they find themselves in. While shaking their fists at God, they give the game away by imitating religion.”
As for the first assertion listed, that must mean mass killings exist to fulfill the desires of mass murderers? Buildings exists to fulfill the desires of arsonists? What a steaming pile of logic that is. We are born with desires because of how our brains work and how it interacts with the trillions of cells that make me me and you you. Desire is the drive to increase pleasure/safety and reduce harm/fear. Our brains calculate the risks and possible actions like a chess computer millions of times per day. To say that a satisfaction must exist for any given desire a creature might have is to confuse things beyond repair. It is to say that you cannot desire that which does not exist, yet people desire the impossible, the improbable, and the non-existent all the time. This logic fails miserably yet believers buy into it because of the really super good examples of sex and water.
Then he jumps into something stupid.
So even those who scream that there is no God also have the need to discover something more than a life of mere materialism
I cannot explain how CSLewis concludes that I have a need to discover something more than a life of mere materialism. I’m actually pretty fucking happy with a materialism, monism, mechanical atheism, nihilism and so on. To me it explains how the world works, and so far I don’t need to invent anything to complete that explanation. Yes, I know that there are a lot of things that still need explained, but these things are so far beyond what religion and deities explain in the first place that to include them in such a discussion warrants being slapped very hard with a frozen fish.
Even they seek to transcend the mundane world they find themselves in. While shaking their fists at God, they give the game away by imitating religion.
Apparently this geezer has never met me. I do not imitate religion, and won’t, until religion starts making fun of religion like I do then there might be cause for confusion. I do not seek to transcend the mundane world, as he calls it, because to transcend it is to ignore it and this world (mundane or not, your call) is all we have. If you talk to many of the popular speakers for astronomy etc. you’ll find there is plenty of reason to think this existence is not mundane at all.
This is a picture of what exists in a very boring and mundane black section of the night sky. If you look long and hard enough at that black emptiness you will find millions of other worlds. Mundane? I think not. CSLewis was an idiot apologist. People who quote him are following in his footsteps. Nature abhors a vacuum I am told, but I am befuddled what is between the ears of those who quote CSLewis as if he has something useful to say.
To be fair, it’s not that bad of a quote mine for a response to the ‘atheist church’ thing… just not well thought out. It relies on the notion that religion invented social interaction and the social parts of religion come only from religion. Society existed long before religion as did atheism but you can’t convince a believer of that because it means they have nothing worth anything except their crusted and dusty beliefs that have no credible supporting evidence. It also relies on a characterization of atheists as all being the same. We’re not. Hell, we can’t even agree among ourselves what we’re supposed to be or do… other than the fact that we don’t believe in the supernatural.
Summary: Quoting CSLewis makes you look as stupid as CSLewis. Nuff said.
EDIT: Link to quoted blog
Yeah, I realize that this is exactly the wrong moment to do that title, or so it seems. Let me try to explain before you click on the imaginary down vote button.
I read tonight where the apathetic theist wrote about being small and thankful… and that kind of twists me up inside along with some other things I think are wrong.
While the sheer immeasurable nature of the universe makes me feel quite small, it also makes me marvel at its wonder. My wonder is also multiplied by my belief that the universe has no maker, that it happened by chance. The fact that my birth came about through a series of chances that have been happening over billions of years is far more breathtaking than if someone had planned it all. When I feel insignificant and lonely, I remind myself that the chances of my ever coming to exist were almost nil, and translate this knowledge into the charge that I must make the most of every day.
First, lets deal with the thanks and giving and stuff.
This point of the year when people talk about what they’re thankful for sort of irritates me. They don’t seem to willing to go share that wonderment with anyone that would be thankful for a cold turkey sandwich or even some left over mashed potatoes.
If you want to tell me you’re thankful for things in your life… just don’t fucking do it. Go online to a charitable web site and donate some of that stuff you’re thankful for. I don’t want to hear about your damned blessing. I only want to hear that the world is better off next month than it is this month… then we can all be thankful for something together.
Now, that thing that twists me up. It’s the idea that non-believers have to imitate believers in ill-perceived notions of well being.
The idea that I have to make the most of every day because I don’t believe in a deity is complete hogwash. Let’s face it, nobody makes the MOST of every day. Day after dreary day passes and we barely make a dent in our personal debt or world hunger. Life sucks. Get used to it. Your shitty neighbor is still going to be shitty tomorrow. This is how life is. Thinking you can and SHOULD make the most of every day is a very limiting statement when you put the constraints of real life on it. I do not have to be happy all the time or find the love of my life or a true vocation. All I have to do is … well, nothing. Not even surviving is a have-to-do thing.
Gratefulness or thankfulness is an emotion. Emotions are hardly what you should base the judgement of your life’s effort on. That I feel awe or inspiration is neither here nor there. I am not bound by any law in the universe to feel these things. Non-believers like to compare and say they feel the same things as believers claim to feel. The trouble is that even believers don’t feel those things, not all the time. Life is not how we like to describe it. There is no one-size-fits-all emotion set we need to have. Fuck, if you are depressed, live in it for a bit, figure out why, get help if you need, move on. There is no shame in it. It just is.
The USA is a highly religious place. More than 70% of USAians claim to be religious and still there is a 50% divorce rate. Do you think all those people are happy? As much as 50% of the adult population are living unhappy lives. I call bullshit on this religious bit where you’re supposed to have happiness and peace. Their deity doesn’t give it to them and there is no value or basis for claiming that it is what you get with religion or what you should have in life. Clearly the statistics show us that this is not so.
No, no sir. I don’t try to make the most of every day… instead, I simply try not to waste any day. Some days the best you can do is grab a beverage, sit comfortably, and watch the ants crawl up the wall while trying to relax and not die from stress. Fuck it, some days that’s all there is. I don’t try to make the most of every day I have in this life. I didn’t choose it, but sometimes, the ride is pretty good so I endure the parts that are not. I’m never going to claim that I’m making the most out of every day… that sounds like an incredibly tiring amount of work.
The coffee was good, cappuccino is coffee, right?
She said the sky was too grey, it pulls the life out of her.
I asked about the weekend. Were there any plans. She laughed in a kind, but annoyed sort of way.
As she chewed a chocolate, rather cow like, I couldn’t help but notice the poised way she held herself – the chair seeming an afterthought.
She said, with chocolate breath, “I want to see that new movie” and motioned with her hands as if this was telling me which movie she meant … I said I know the one
I asked if she had a date? She said “There are no takers yet” with a sardonic smile and a slight eye roll.
I wondered to myself, what her life must be like. could she really be just ordinary? Who knows?
Just as I thought I could take her maybe to see the movie she asked to take a puff of my cigarette.
Handing it to her across the table, I noticed a slight weariness in her poise.
I looked into her eyes as she inhaled carefully and asked if she was ok?
Yes, she said, I just don’t like to smoke in public. She went on to explain that she is a tour guide.
I joked that she could show me around and her face lifted a bit. The smile walked across her face like a sunrise.
Sure, she said. We can visit all the best places.
I said “I’m going to see the Vatican in 20 minutes” and gave her an inviting look.
At first she did a double take, then pointed at her chest with both hands and asked “me, me go to the Vatican?” Her smile widening.
“Sure” I said, “it’ll be a laugh”
“okay” she said “but I want to have a full cigarette first”
I laid the pack on the table and dove back into the coffee with some relish. She talked for 20 minutes about Vatican stories, continuing as we walked the ages old pavement leading us there.
I’m not so sure about my writing sometimes. If you would like me to finish this short story, please comment. If I get enough I’ll finish writing it down.
There is this post at Illuminutti.com (borrowed from listverse.com) that lists some common ‘folklore’ about our brains to explain phenomenon that we all seem to experience and all of that is done without any explanation of how the brain works. There seems to be no end of folk that will offer explanations without even trying to attempt the basic explanation. Trust me when I say that trying to explain a huge Lego build without the listener knowing what Lego blocks are is going to be a failure of the four blind men and an elephant type.
Let’s just go through the ten with some commentary…
They described this one fairly well, but did not explain it. When your brain is searching for the definition or meaning of something it uses an algorithm or three. The more you search the less there is in your head to retrieve. Your brain is only looking at the latest retrieval information. After a number of retrievals, there is nothing being returned and the simulation in your head loses context. This is because all of this work is done by your subconscious mind. Each previous retrieval is treated in the simulation as a miss… so the next retrieval is treated as a hit… but the retrieval is not cumulative. You experience the weird stuff because you are asking your subconscious to do something that does not make sense normally — keep searching because the last answer was wrong. Your brain tells you that you don’t know the answer at this point but you know that you know what the object is.. so you get the weirdness.
This one is not even described well, using only one example. When you go out of normal environs and physically wear yourself out, you are not keeping self aware. When you wake your brain is expecting the comfort and safety of your normal sleeping place only to find that this is not so. Your subconscious mind sees a bear and initiates the flight/fight response… this kicks in and your brain catches up as it pieces together the events of the last 24 hours and the fact that there is actually a real bear looking at your nose like it’s breakfast. When consciousness kicks in, it is not immediate and can take several minutes… even in the comfort and safety of your normal abode.
This is not described very well. It is not just songs, even movie sound bites will do this among many other things. Your brain is very complex and it has working memory. In the absence of input, previous inputs will hang around. The suggested goldilocks treatment adds new inputs. Note that if you are not paying attention the ‘earworm’ won’t happen. Your brain has to be focused on the ‘earworm’ to start with and void of other inputs at the time… generally speaking. This sets up the condition where something can seem to get stuck. Music, language, and other ‘functions’ are handled by the subconscious mind… if the parts that handle them do not get busy with other stuff, that earworm is all they have going on so every time they input data to the simulation in your conscious mind it will be the same thing… gah Spice Girls
This is where the post went right on down the garden path. There are a dozen things they should have to explain, but in a ‘top ten’ list such things never happen. I encourage you to read the post just to get this one. The simulation we run in our brains is based on rules. If we learn (indoctrination) as a child that cannibalism wrong we make that one of the rules in our simulation. If it is never challenged we cannot explain why that is a rule, only that we know it is a rule. There is no effing magic to this. When you ask someone to define their god you get some woo woo definition. Each time they are challenged they will change their definition…. but no matter how they are challenged they will continue to believe in a god even if they cannot explain why. They accepted the rule to their simulation without questioning it.They accepted it as an unquestionable truth. Incest, for example, is not ‘wrong’ … it simply increases the chances of disease because of how genetics works. With no offspring the question becomes very simple… there is nothing wrong with it outside of cultural customs. The trouble is that people accept that incest is bad without questioning why, so they can’t explain it when finally asked.
This is another miss. It is not the use of GPS but the failure to use your brain to build spatial maps that is bad for you. This is like saying that toaster pastries are bad for you, so using toasters makes you fat. Many of my readers will not remember how to do 8th grade algebra… oh noes, calculators are making their brains shrink! The simple fact is that if your brain does not need a process, it will shelve it in order to use energy more effectively by only concentrating on the tools and algorithms it needs daily. Further to this, what is the definition of a healthy brain? All these folk that claim something is bad for your brain will never tell you because they do not know. The examples on this are like saying relying on your left leg is bad because when you don’t have it your brain won’t know how to function properly. That leads into prosthesis and robotics… but there is no room here for all of that discussion. If you’re not always going to have a calculator, learn math. If you’re not always going to have gps, learn to get around. There is no weird trick here.
The simulation in your head is running while you are conscious. Without input, noisy sensors will give some input. The rest of your brain will try to make sense of it in the simulation. Ergo, you will have a tendency to hallucinate. This is not a trick, just a simple misunderstanding of how the brain works. It is not a perfect machine that knows everything. Your subconscious mind continues to look for faces, ferret out sounds from the noise of life and so on. These processes feed data to your simulation which tries to assemble cogent components from the noise… it’s only natural that things will get muddled up.
This one is interesting. Your brain runs a simulation. Seeing and understanding the activities of another get simulated in your own brain and the response is the same as if the signals had come from your own body sensors. This is nature doing double duty on the sensory input thing – you seeing someone get hurt is the same signal inputs as you getting hurt so that it works out the same in the simulation. To do otherwise would require two processes, one running your own body inputs and another feeding data to the simulation from a different point for other’s pains etc. Our brains are complex, but not that complex. When you cut your finger, ‘pain’ is not transmitted to your brain, just signals… your brain’s simulation turns those signals into ‘pain’ so when your brain feeds you identical signals to the simulation in response to someone else getting hurt, you feel the pain too… but without physical sensation.
On this one they get real close. This is even accurate in as much as they get detailed. The process of linking memories to and with cause and effect allows us to piece it altogether in accordance to the rules in our brain’s simulation. Without all the details our brains will supply suggestions from subconscious that the conscious mind forces together to make what seems like a coherent story – remember back to waking up with a bear salivating over the thought of your left arm for breakfast? Your brain has to make sense of that and it takes time. If you have false inputs or are willing to accept inputs/data with very low credibility, any crazy story can seem to make sense…. and that is how we get belief in gods.
Clearly these people have never been drunk. It might be similar, but tired people don’t fall flat on their faces and laugh about it. We’ve covered this a bit already. The problem with losing consciousness is trying to regain it when you wake. Many people are really bad at gaining full consciousness on waking for minutes to hours. I personally find that talking is difficult when just woken up. Too much sleep just means that more of the simulation has been put to rest and has to be revived. There is chemical issues going on to remove consciousness during sleep. Too much sleep can increase the chemicals which take longer to wear off… thus causing what is described here. Still, these people have never really been drunk… tired and drunk are NOT the same thing at all.
They go on to explain that when your brain is getting mixed signals, it can hallucinate – No shit? So all that stuff about sensory deprivation is something different? During sleep your body generates the chemicals to stop motor function and shut off sensory input… when that process is only half complete there will be weirdness… any machine will do that. Go on, corrupt a spreadsheet file and see what it displays on the screen. Duh!
And for the bonus round, our home audience might rejoice at the grammar nazi issues in this post. Here’s a beauty:
And our brains are not satisfied with their games only when we are sleeping or in that twilight state between worlds—neurologically normal people can have auditory hallucinations even when wide awake.
As you lay there trying to enjoy your last breath in life, when you ask how you could have done things better I hope you remember this:
Stop living in fear! Seriously, just stop it.
Stop fearing whether you will fit in.
Stop fearing if you will not be liked.
Stop fearing that others will not like your clothes, laugh, jokes, ideas… your whatever
Stop fearing god, stop fearing hell
Stop fearing these things you have no control of. If fearing them would do you any good you would have control of them. The only thing you can control is how you feel or react. Work on that part and the fear will take care of itself…. generally by leaving to go somewhere else.
We fear doing things we are unsure of. We fear new things. We fear what we don’t know, who we don’t know. We fear so much that it really does end up defining how we live but living in fear really isn’t living at all, now is it?
They say that it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. I say that it is better to live without fear and die young than to have lived a very long life of fear….
What will you stop fearing this week?
Yes, kind of an odd title… let’s see if I can make it flow. Yes, an anti-theist challenges all non-theists to answer a few small questions.
My friend PreacherOnTheWeb always puts out a sermon of sorts and I think them through, comment, and question. This latest one leads me to ask what other non-believers will or would answer:
“What do you say to yourself when you are pressed in on every side by dangerous situations? What do you do when you face troubles?”
Preacher has lots of verses and just one book that you have to keep to help you answer these questions. Since non-believers are not using that book or other holy text, how do you answer these questions?
Please let us know in the comments.
My answer is here