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Is self-delusion possible?

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Eduk
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Re: Is self-delusion possible?

Post by Eduk » July 15th, 2018, 10:22 pm

Greta I'm not attempting to put words into anyone's mouth. I concede that defining agnostic is rather problematic as it seems to be predicated on something which is extremely personal and changeable, ie definition of God.
Let me try to give an example. If I said I can fly you would likely not be agnostic. Although you can not prove that I cannot fly. A lot of people claim to be agnostic towards God because they cannot disprove God.
Why do you think there is such a difference Greta?
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Re: Is self-delusion possible?

Post by Burning ghost » July 15th, 2018, 11:51 pm

Logically speaking anything makes sense.
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Re: Is self-delusion possible?

Post by Greta » July 16th, 2018, 12:03 am

Eduk wrote:
July 15th, 2018, 10:22 pm
Greta I'm not attempting to put words into anyone's mouth. I concede that defining agnostic is rather problematic as it seems to be predicated on something which is extremely personal and changeable, ie definition of God.
Let me try to give an example. If I said I can fly you would likely not be agnostic. Although you can not prove that I cannot fly. A lot of people claim to be agnostic towards God because they cannot disprove God.
Why do you think there is such a difference Greta?
It's not due to inability to disprove. Of course I'm atheist to the Abrahamic God as described by most theists, which is obviously just metaphors being treated as literal reporting.

So I take for granted that intelligent, reasonable people will simply discount obvious myths and focus on the nub of the claims rather than the details, which tend to be more pantheistic or panentheistic (the difference between the two is actually just how they define "universe" and "God"). Pantheism strikes me as more grounded, less inclined to postulate possibly false divisions. That may involve panpsychism or not, and if we are talking about God or gods then we are referring to larger, containing conscious systems.

The issue then for me is, since I can neither prove or disprove that a larger conscious systems than ours exist, and they may have many of the characteristics attributed to God (or equivalent) in sacred texts, I am agnostic.

The way I see it, if it turns out that I'm waxing lyrical about a fictitious deity, then I'll feel like an idiot. By the same token, if I make a blanket denial of any higher/larger/containing consciousness than ours, then I'll also feel like an idiot. Since I don't want to feel like an idiot for *all* of my life (just the vast majority will do) - I avoid making certainty claims about things I'm not equipped to know. I also question those who eschew what I see as a fairly basic level of intellectual discipline (not superiority, note the difference).

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Re: Is self-delusion possible?

Post by Karpel Tunnel » July 16th, 2018, 5:18 am

Eduk wrote:
July 15th, 2018, 10:22 pm
Greta I'm not attempting to put words into anyone's mouth. I concede that defining agnostic is rather problematic as it seems to be predicated on something which is extremely personal and changeable, ie definition of God.
Let me try to give an example. If I said I can fly you would likely not be agnostic. Although you can not prove that I cannot fly. A lot of people claim to be agnostic towards God because they cannot disprove God.
Why do you think there is such a difference Greta?
The difference between your flying and the existence of God is the former is based on possible characteristics of bodies, which we have a lot of direct experience of and concrete knowledge about bodies. The latter has to do with the incredibly mysterious fact that there is a universe coupled with what a lot of people do experience - or think they do. If you can fly you can demonstrate this or fail to fairly easily. Generally, for example, to experience God or the aliveness of all things or...whatever depending on your belief system, it requires a long participatory process, when you engage in the practices of the religion and perhaps come to believe or not.

The flying example is not a good one.

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Re: Is self-delusion possible?

Post by Eduk » July 16th, 2018, 5:21 am

Greta in my eyes you are taking an unreasonable belief. Ie belief in abrahamic God. And then charitably, according to you, defining it to be a belief grounded in something which you find more palatable. Just feels like you have to jump through multiple hoops to get to that definition.
Let me again try to make an analogy. If I said there was a tea pot behind Mars but offered no reason for that belief and then there was a tea pot behind Mars. Would I be right? Would it have been reasonable? Let's imagine there was some consciousness greater than our own, would that make abrahamic religions right or reasonable?
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Re: Is self-delusion possible?

Post by Eduk » July 16th, 2018, 5:25 am

Karpel I understand the distinction you are making but it makes belief no more reasonable. I can give a more like for like example perhaps? If I claimed I could communicate with the dead would you believe me?
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Re: Is self-delusion possible?

Post by Karpel Tunnel » July 16th, 2018, 6:05 am

Eduk wrote:
July 16th, 2018, 5:25 am
Karpel I understand the distinction you are making but it makes belief no more reasonable. I can give a more like for like example perhaps? If I claimed I could communicate with the dead would you believe me?
I'd wanna see you in action. Wanna try contacting my mother? About you I would be agnostic, though I can imagine being convinced. Not the best example. I believe in a lot of stuff you would be an atheist about)

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Re: Is self-delusion possible?

Post by chewybrian » July 16th, 2018, 6:10 am

Eduk wrote:
July 15th, 2018, 10:22 pm
Greta I'm not attempting to put words into anyone's mouth. I concede that defining agnostic is rather problematic as it seems to be predicated on something which is extremely personal and changeable, ie definition of God.
Let me try to give an example. If I said I can fly you would likely not be agnostic. Although you can not prove that I cannot fly. A lot of people claim to be agnostic towards God because they cannot disprove God.
Why do you think there is such a difference Greta?
A few important differences between the flying claim and the God claim spring to mind. First, it is pretty easy to disprove the flying claim. There are plenty of tall buildings around. Second, 60% of the world is not telling me they can fly. Third, I am very confident that I can not fly, which leads me to think nobody can. I am not 100% sure there is no God, so I am apt to believe others' claims of belief or disbelief as genuine.

There is more to agnosticism than the inability to disprove God. You can make all sorts of claims that can not be disproved which I might immediately dismiss as so unlikely that I would label them untrue. But, there is a sort of need for God. There is the idea of perfection which can not be achieved by man. And, there is the question of why anything came to be in the first place. I don't mean how did events follow on from the big bang, but rather why have a big bang in the first place; why have space, matter, energy at all? And, most of all, why did consciousness develop? Chemicals don't have hopes and dreams.

Something more is going on within us that speaks to the possibility of God. I don't see any need (or any way) to understand the nature of God to be agnostic. It is, for me, at least, the honest admission that I don't know everything and never will, and that God is a possible, even if unlikely, explanation for what I don't know.
Burning ghost wrote:
July 13th, 2018, 9:48 am
Am I teh first oen here to simply ask ... what do you mean?
We consider ourselves rational, and it seems to be a contradiction, in that light, to think that we could convince ourselves that things were true which we know to be untrue. I am curious if people think we do manage this, and if we do, why and how do we do it? Do we have valid reasons to try to fool ourselves, and what would they be? Do we still know the truth of the thing about which we are fooling ourselves? Can we hold contradictory positions as true at the same time?

I tried to make the question clear enough without trying too hard to direct the discussion.
Burning ghost wrote:
July 13th, 2018, 9:48 am
It sounds like a deluded OP to me :D
Having already admitted I am a Bengals fan, even to the point of thinking they were going to win the Super Bowl on several occasions, I have left no room to defend myself against such claims.
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Re: Is self-delusion possible?

Post by Eduk » July 16th, 2018, 7:00 am

Karpel considering that you find talking to the dead plausible it must be quite a good example :-)
I could also be convinced. It would require more than the dead person was 'happy' though. I'd personally want to know details, such as was entailed happiness in the afterlife. Thus far no one has posited any information that cant be found here on plain old non magical earth though. So for me I'm not convinced. I just require a higher standard of evidence than other people think its true.
Chewy. I dont have an idea of perfection. And thus I find it poor evidence. I do exist and I don't know how. Some would call the how God. But this comes back to my earlier point. Let us somehow imagine we found a how. Would that then mean all theists were right, all agnostics were at least not wrong and all atheists were wrong?
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Re: Is self-delusion possible?

Post by chewybrian » July 16th, 2018, 7:54 am

Eduk wrote:
July 16th, 2018, 7:00 am
Chewy. I dont have an idea of perfection. And thus I find it poor evidence.
You may find the idea of perfection poor evidence; I'll buy that. But, I don't buy the notion that you don't have the notion. Your response was not: "What are you talking about, Chewy?"

You have some idea of perfection in your head, along with some grasp of infinite time and space and other concepts that may stretch the limits of understanding, and may or may not be true, yet have a toe in the deep end of the pool of your brain. You can choose not to believe in the prospect of perfection, or struggle to understand it in the abstract, but you have some notion of it.
Eduk wrote:
July 16th, 2018, 7:00 am
Some would call the how God. But this comes back to my earlier point. Let us somehow imagine we found a how. Would that then mean all theists were right, all agnostics were at least not wrong and all atheists were wrong?
You must first define right and wrong before seeing the answer. If you were convinced that seven was about to come up on the roulette wheel, then you would be wrong to assume this, even if a seven did come up. If you believed the color would probably be black or red, you would be right, even if it came up green. If the wheel was fully concealed from you, and you did not know the design of it in any way, or in fact if there was a wheel behind the curtain, then making any prediction might be seen as wrong, even again if it turned out to be correct.

To torture the analogy to the limit, we might consider the wheel hidden from us, but see the reactions of some of the others gathered around the wheel, appearing to place their bets, and assume there might be a roulette wheel behind the curtain. A third of the people in the room might tell us they have seen the wheel, a third may say they believe it is there, but have not seen it, and a third might say they are convinced there is no wheel. In this case, we might be 'right' to be agnostic, no matter what the truth may be.
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Re: Is self-delusion possible?

Post by Eduk » July 16th, 2018, 9:40 am

In normal speech you might put up a shelf and say it's perfectly flat. Perhaps you would put a ball on top of it to prove it. But if I was pedantic I might say well in one corner if I drop the ball just right or rolls off. Maybe you whip your plane and sanding paper out. Then maybe I get an electron microscope. And you would probably think well wood can't be perfectly flat and you would be right. If you gave me a perfectly level shelf how would I test it?
I agree with your definition of right and wrong. That is basically the point I was making.
Hmm the roulette wheel hidden behind a curtain with nothing but audience reaction to go on might not be the worst analogy. Thank you for running with it. So what if the audience were all reacting differently? How much do you think I could piece together? What if you were on a quizz show and you knew the audience was part of the show? As in could you trust their intentions. What if instead of an audience watching behind the screen it was an audience watching another audience who were watching behind a screen. I mean my point here is that I know what humans look like and how they act. Imagining things is something I see humans do every day. It's not proof of anything.
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Re: Is self-delusion possible?

Post by Burning ghost » July 16th, 2018, 11:01 am

Chewy -

I was referring to the idea of “delusions” beinf chosen. That is contrary in and of itself. Purposeful delusion is like saying willfully unable to do anything, or happily sad.

Rational meaning what? It doesn’t seem like you’re using these terms in a way that fits into philosophical discussion. Some people believe things and some people don’t. What we don’t tend to find is people turning their world upside down if it goes against their previous world view - for what I would assume were obvious enough reasons? What may seem like a trivial change for one person can literally destroy another.
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Re: Is self-delusion possible?

Post by LuckyR » July 16th, 2018, 12:40 pm

chewybrian wrote:
July 15th, 2018, 6:56 am
LuckyR wrote:
July 14th, 2018, 10:36 pm
In the current climate (with numerous examples on this Forum), folks routinely profess to support this or that policy or law or opinion for this or that reason, when it is quite plain that the opinion expressed favors the position of the writer and thus is a self-serving action. Naturally there is nothing wrong with that, in fact it is the most normal and predictable action imaginable. Yet I believe that the individuals involved truly believe that the origin of their opinion is rooted not in self interest, but in their world view.
That is politics in a nutshell. "This policy which is in my self-interest just happens to be the morally correct position, and here are the tortured reasons why this is so:"... I disagree that there is nothing wrong with that.

Suppose I was a drinker, and wanted pot to be illegal. I *could* try to justify that position with correlations, pretending they must be cause and effect. Pot smokers tend to be involved in other illegal activities; why would that be a surprise? The correlation comes from the very fact that we made pot illegal, not from some cause and effect relationship between pot smoking and armed robbery! The reality seems to be that alcohol causes more harm than pot, and if alcohol should be legal, then they should both be legal. You are violating the social contract by expecting others to honor your preferences while you deny theirs to them (unless their preference is for armed robbery).

Putting yourself in the other guy's shoes is difficult if not impossible. How much of a 'world view' do we have if we get more worked up about Stormy Daniels than political prisoners in North Korea or people starving in Africa? Being a cosmopolitan citizen of the world is a tall order.
What I meant by not being wrong, was that it was not unpredictable, it was not a value judgment. I agree with you that it is intellectually dishonest and ultimately illogical (though completely logical if the goal is promoting one's own self interest).
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Re: Is self-delusion possible?

Post by Karpel Tunnel » July 16th, 2018, 5:00 pm

Eduk wrote:
July 16th, 2018, 7:00 am
Karpel considering that you find talking to the dead plausible it must be quite a good example :-)
I could also be convinced. It would require more than the dead person was 'happy' though. I'd personally want to know details, such as was entailed happiness in the afterlife. Thus far no one has posited any information that cant be found here on plain old non magical earth though. So for me I'm not convinced. I just require a higher standard of evidence than other people think its true.
I am sure you require more evidence than some people, but this sounds like you know you require more evidence than anyone who believes it is possible. How do you know that?

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Re: Is self-delusion possible?

Post by Karpel Tunnel » July 16th, 2018, 5:10 pm

Eduk wrote:
July 16th, 2018, 9:40 am
In normal speech you might put up a shelf and say it's perfectly flat. Perhaps you would put a ball on top of it to prove it. But if I was pedantic I might say well in one corner if I drop the ball just right or rolls off. Maybe you whip your plane and sanding paper out. Then maybe I get an electron microscope. And you would probably think well wood can't be perfectly flat and you would be right. If you gave me a perfectly level shelf how would I test it?
Inr normal speech you might refer to another person, the type of mind or personality they have. But what do you really know about it? How much like yours is it? We believe in other selves, in the specific sense of other experiencers, with pain and intentions and desires and mental habits that may or may not always show on their faces and in their acts. The specifics, what it is like for them, the contours, the differences from us the similarities we have guesses at. We cannot prove what is going on in there or know exactly or even remotely, but a floppy category of another self/another experiencer is something we work with all the time. Most of us believe in other minds. A few solipsists may not. There may be some agnostics. What self are they not believing in being out there in others? Or not sure of?

If I am agnostic about the multiverse must I know which particular multiverse or many world version I am agnostic about`?

If I am agnostic about dark matter, must I know what is would be made of exactly if it were to exist?

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