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What is Theism Reducible to?

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
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Re: What is Theism Reducible to?

Post by Belindi » December 12th, 2018, 2:19 pm

Fooloso4 wrote:
That evil will befall you is always a possibility. As I see it, it is a matter of chance and accident, not determinism or fatalism.
As a modern person I'm confused about the difference between chance and accident on the one hand and determinism or fate on the other hand. When you say that it was a matter of chance or accident not determinism or fate, do you imply that the editors inserted the story of Job into The Bible in order for that story to illustrate the transition between magical thinking and faith?

it's reasonable to presume that people always seek for causes of evils . If ancient Hebrews and Jews had been more affected by older gods of nature and of place than by Jahweh, then perhaps divine justice would not have been a problem for Job and he would perhaps attributed his misfortunes to his lack of proper sacrificial donations to them. Job had paid full attention to Jahweh's laws (he had been a good man: he was Jahweh's man)and Job was applying magical thinking to Jahweh's justice. However Jahweh's justice was not simple magical cause and effect as for the old gods ,which was what Job seemed to be assuming, but was to be a matter of faith in a higher intelligence (if I may say "higher intelligence").


I dislike faith in a higher intelligence or in a higher goodness because it is time that we took full responsibility for ourselves.

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Re: What is Theism Reducible to?

Post by Fooloso4 » December 12th, 2018, 3:59 pm

Belindi:
As a modern person I'm confused about the difference between chance and accident on the one hand and determinism or fate on the other hand.
The question in its modern form goes back to Laplace and the idea that if a sufficiently intelligent being had complete and perfect knowledge of the condition of the universe at any given moment it could perfectly predict the future and reconstruct the past given the laws of nature, in other words the universe is deterministic. Nothing can happen in any other way then the way it does. Although this may have the appearance of iron-clad irrefutable, science behind it, physicists and philosophers of science are not all in agreement. Sean Carroll, for example, suggests that while the laws of nature are deterministic what actually happens is probabilistic - things do not happen randomly or arbitrarily, but within a range of probabilities. If that is the case, the the universe is not deterministic.

In a deterministic universe if I am going to get hit by a bus when I leave the house then is going to happen no matter what. If one accepts the ideas of chance and accident then the patch of ice and the driver of the bus going too fast and me deciding to go out rather than do what needs to be done in the house and countless other things all just happen to occur together. If I was diligent and did the work at home that needed to get done I would not have been hit by the bus. If the road crew has salted the road I would not have been hit by the bus, and so on.
When you say that it was a matter of chance or accident not determinism or fate, do you imply that the editors inserted the story of Job into The Bible in order for that story to illustrate the transition between magical thinking and faith?
I don’t know what the author(s)/editors intentions were in telling or including the story. One thing the story rejects is, so to speak, peaking beyond the curtain. We do not know why things happen as they do. The story is, at least on one level, existential. How are we to live given whatever life brings us? As to the question of faith: what is it built on? (See Job's response to his wife below).
it's reasonable to presume that people always seek for causes of evils . If ancient Hebrews and Jews had been more affected by older gods of nature and of place than by Jahweh, then perhaps divine justice would not have been a problem for Job and he would perhaps attributed his misfortunes to his lack of proper sacrificial donations to them.
The Hebrew Bible is a patchwork. Some of the stories are much older than others. Some have changed with the telling and some have changed through combination. On the former see how what God tells Adam changes by the time Eve tells the serpent. On the latter, see, for example, the two creation stories, the two stories of the Flood, and Moses’ unifying of the gods of their fathers into the nameless "god of your fathers" who is who he is.

It should be noted that Job did stress the importance of burnt offerings, both before and after his plight.
Job had paid full attention to Jahweh's laws (he had been a good man: he was Jahweh's man)and Job was applying magical thinking to Jahweh's justice. However Jahweh's justice was not simple magical cause and effect as for the old gods ,which was what Job seemed to be assuming, but was to be a matter of faith in a higher intelligence (if I may say "higher intelligence").

I dislike faith in a higher intelligence or in a higher goodness because it is time that we took full responsibility for ourselves.
When Job’s wife scolds him for holding to his integrity tells him to curse God and die, he replies by saying:
Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil? (2:9)
The question of God’s justice is raised in Ecclesiastes as well. The brute conclusion is that there is no justice under the sun and when we die that is the end and it is the same for all of us.

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Re: What is Theism Reducible to?

Post by Belindi » December 13th, 2018, 7:36 am

Fooloso4, you are unshakeably true to the text as it is , and to refusing to interpret according to some a priori frame. I like to use a frame of historical/ anthropological interpretation.

We two have been at the same impasse before. You are disinterested when you do philosophy whereas I do philosophy as means to an end.

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Re: What is Theism Reducible to?

Post by Papus79 » December 13th, 2018, 8:06 am

Belindi wrote:
December 12th, 2018, 12:50 pm
Yes. However might we rather say "causes for things happening", as 'reasons for things happening' implies conscious intent.
And Job shows a story of such intent. I think one of the corners that Christianity and Judaism got boxed into as they evolved was taking on Neoplatonist types of ideas of there being one omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent God but forgetting the implication that under those conditions either - with God being all - things either only happen by the Will of that deity or that, having internal inconsistency and subconscious aspects like us, said deity is having battles within Itself and every being with agency is a minor aspect of itself. In that sense it seems like the Manichean/Zoroastrian dualism of long-term salvation and perdition, or battles of good and evil, seem to need a sort of polytheism and perhaps that's one of the things Zoroastrianism was more consistent in - ie. having dipole deities rather than trying to explain evil away as a rogue creation in sphere of the all-knowing, all-seeing, and all-powerful creator.

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Re: What is Theism Reducible to?

Post by Fooloso4 » December 13th, 2018, 9:23 am

Belindi:
We two have been at the same impasse before. You are disinterested when you do philosophy whereas I do philosophy as means to an end.
I have never thought of it as an impasse, just different approaches. I do not see them as mutually exclusive. I do not simply attempt to interpret the text as an end in itself and be done with it; it is a step in my engagement with the text. Although I try not to attribute things to the text that may not be there, sometimes I do find things that send me off in another direction, things I find interesting and pursue whether or not this is what the author meant. I try to be careful though not to attribute my own thought to the text.
I like to use a frame of historical/ anthropological interpretation.
I think an historical frame is very important, but do not see an author as necessarily a product of the times, but as responsive to the times, which may mean opposed to the times. I also see the philosopher as speaking across the times, addressing Plato or Kant or Platonists and Kantians. And, I see the historical frame as a movement, a development; one that connects us to and separates us from the past.

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Re: What is Theism Reducible to?

Post by Belindi » December 13th, 2018, 11:16 am

Fooloso4 wrote:
December 13th, 2018, 9:23 am
Belindi:
We two have been at the same impasse before. You are disinterested when you do philosophy whereas I do philosophy as means to an end.
I have never thought of it as an impasse, just different approaches. I do not see them as mutually exclusive. I do not simply attempt to interpret the text as an end in itself and be done with it; it is a step in my engagement with the text. Although I try not to attribute things to the text that may not be there, sometimes I do find things that send me off in another direction, things I find interesting and pursue whether or not this is what the author meant. I try to be careful though not to attribute my own thought to the text.
I like to use a frame of historical/ anthropological interpretation.
I think an historical frame is very important, but do not see an author as necessarily a product of the times, but as responsive to the times, which may mean opposed to the times. I also see the philosopher as speaking across the times, addressing Plato or Kant or Platonists and Kantians. And, I see the historical frame as a movement, a development; one that connects us to and separates us from the past.
"I try to be careful though not to attribute my own thought to the text. " you wrote, Fooloso4. I view interpretation of texts as two separable lines of enquiry.
One of these is asking the author "What did you mean?" and the other is asking myself or other living or dead people "What did the text mean for me or for you?"

The former line of enquiry can be pursued only by means of some frame or other because everybody , from earliest infancy, views the world through a frame and there is no such thing as pure objectivity. Your principle "I try to be careful though not to attribute my own thought to the text" therefore can't help in the case of unearthing what the author meant, and each successive interpretation is an intertextual one.



For the latter line of enquiry your principle "I try to be careful though not to attribute my own thought to the text" is the only guard against dearth of facts, against ideologies, or against looniness .

With regard to The Bible these discussions have sometimes failed to distinguish between 'What did the author mean?' on the one hand, and ' What does the text mean for you?' on the other.

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Re: What is Theism Reducible to?

Post by Belindi » December 13th, 2018, 11:37 am

Papus79 wrote:
December 13th, 2018, 8:06 am
Belindi wrote:
December 12th, 2018, 12:50 pm
Yes. However might we rather say "causes for things happening", as 'reasons for things happening' implies conscious intent.
And Job shows a story of such intent. I think one of the corners that Christianity and Judaism got boxed into as they evolved was taking on Neoplatonist types of ideas of there being one omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent God but forgetting the implication that under those conditions either - with God being all - things either only happen by the Will of that deity or that, having internal inconsistency and subconscious aspects like us, said deity is having battles within Itself and every being with agency is a minor aspect of itself. In that sense it seems like the Manichean/Zoroastrian dualism of long-term salvation and perdition, or battles of good and evil, seem to need a sort of polytheism and perhaps that's one of the things Zoroastrianism was more consistent in - ie. having dipole deities rather than trying to explain evil away as a rogue creation in sphere of the all-knowing, all-seeing, and all-powerful creator.
I think that there was a social control motivation for Manicheanism's being named as heresy. I think that Manicheanism does dispel the problem of evil without inventing holy mystery. Alternatively, don't you think that evil as absence of good, although the idea reduces God's power somewhat, also dispels the problem of evil?

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Re: What is Theism Reducible to?

Post by Fooloso4 » December 13th, 2018, 12:27 pm

Belindi:
I view interpretation of texts as two separable lines of enquiry.
One of these is asking the author "What did you mean?" and the other is asking myself or other living or dead people "What did the text mean for me or for you?"
To a greater or lesser degree what I take the text to mean is always what it means for me, that is, as I interpret it. Its meaning is never transparent, it is mediated by all sorts of things. But what it means for me can also mean what its significance is for me. I think what the significance the text has for me can only be enriched by trying to figure out what the author meant. I believe that there are authors I can learn from and so I am attentive to what the say and try to discern what they mean.

I frequently come across people who either love or despise an author but it is evident that they have not understood the text. The text may have meaning or significance for them, but it may be nothing more than an echo.
The former line of enquiry can be pursued only by means of some frame or other because everybody , from earliest infancy, views the world through a frame and there is no such thing as pure objectivity.
Yes, I agree.
Your principle "I try to be careful though not to attribute my own thought to the text" therefore can't help in the case of unearthing what the author meant, and each successive interpretation is an intertextual one.
The problem can never be eliminated, but we can do a great deal to minimize it. For example, it was not until quite recently that scholars began once again to take note of the whole of the Platonic text - the setting, the action, it dialogic movement. They regarded it as they would a discourse. Another example is the rediscovery of philosophic esotericism (not to be mistaken for mystical or perennial esotericism). For much of the history of philosophy authors did not state their true thoughts overtly. They hid. Here is a compilation of statements by writers from Homer to Wittgenstein on this that runs almost one hundred pages: https://www.press.uchicago.edu/sites/melzer/index.html

Here is one from Wittgenstein. It is from a draft of a foreword:
For if a book has been written for just a few readers that will be clear just from the fact that only a few people understand it. The book must automatically separate those who understand it from those who do not. Even the foreword is written just for those who understand the book.

...

If you have a room which you do not want certain people to get into, put a lock on it for which they do not have the key. But there is no point in talking to them about it, unless of course you want them to admire the room from outside!
The honorable thing to do is to put a lock on the door which will be noticed only by those who can open it, not by the rest.

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Re: What is Theism Reducible to?

Post by Papus79 » December 13th, 2018, 11:52 pm

Belindi wrote:
December 13th, 2018, 11:37 am
Alternatively, don't you think that evil as absence of good, although the idea reduces God's power somewhat, also dispels the problem of evil?
At least for right now I'd say we're spoiled rotten in that we not only grew up with Darwinian evolution as public knowledge but people are finding ever keener and sharper ways to understand evolutionary psychology, game theory, etc. and to that end evil seems persuasively to be an unsavory side effect of biology and structure as well as incentive problems in a culture. What the more pantheistic traditions seemed to have in common was a similar idea, they didn't have genes to describe it, but pointed to it as a side effect of ignorance - which to a degree is correct, lack of self-insight makes a person a much easier plaything of their deeper unconscious drives.

As far as God's power though - I'm sort of forced to defer to observation and analysis on this. God is what It is. If the Neoplatonists got it wrong - so be it. If it turns out to be more in tune with Iamblicus - so be it. There seem to be more interesting and even more plausible ideas coming to the foreground these days such as a sleeping universe in the process of a God becoming, or a God who doesn't exist in the formal sense but is on It's way to being born. There's also the possibility that these superbeings people run into either while doing Renaissance style evocation, while deep in long meditation, taking psychedelics, or even having NDE's, may also be what they feel like - vast fields that matter takes a dip in in ways that we don't fully grasp. If God or the gods are what they are we probably have more to be interested in, especially as emprically oriented as we are these days, what they are and what their degree of responsibility for the world is, whether they're from before the Big Bang or emergent byproducts like ourselves, and ginning up a reliably steady conversation with them could probably tell us a lot about where we are, where we're going, etc. Figuring out the world around us, including naturalizing what's real within the 'supernatural' box, seems like it's critical for us getting our heads on straight and figuring out how to orient ourselves in the universe. Instrumental issues of public perception are probably more backseat.

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Re: What is Theism Reducible to?

Post by Belindi » December 14th, 2018, 11:33 am

Papus79 wrote:
December 13th, 2018, 11:52 pm
Belindi wrote:
December 13th, 2018, 11:37 am
Alternatively, don't you think that evil as absence of good, although the idea reduces God's power somewhat, also dispels the problem of evil?
At least for right now I'd say we're spoiled rotten in that we not only grew up with Darwinian evolution as public knowledge but people are finding ever keener and sharper ways to understand evolutionary psychology, game theory, etc. and to that end evil seems persuasively to be an unsavory side effect of biology and structure as well as incentive problems in a culture. What the more pantheistic traditions seemed to have in common was a similar idea, they didn't have genes to describe it, but pointed to it as a side effect of ignorance - which to a degree is correct, lack of self-insight makes a person a much easier plaything of their deeper unconscious drives.

As far as God's power though - I'm sort of forced to defer to observation and analysis on this. God is what It is. If the Neoplatonists got it wrong - so be it. If it turns out to be more in tune with Iamblicus - so be it. There seem to be more interesting and even more plausible ideas coming to the foreground these days such as a sleeping universe in the process of a God becoming, or a God who doesn't exist in the formal sense but is on It's way to being born. There's also the possibility that these superbeings people run into either while doing Renaissance style evocation, while deep in long meditation, taking psychedelics, or even having NDE's, may also be what they feel like - vast fields that matter takes a dip in in ways that we don't fully grasp. If God or the gods are what they are we probably have more to be interested in, especially as emprically oriented as we are these days, what they are and what their degree of responsibility for the world is, whether they're from before the Big Bang or emergent byproducts like ourselves, and ginning up a reliably steady conversation with them could probably tell us a lot about where we are, where we're going, etc. Figuring out the world around us, including naturalizing what's real within the 'supernatural' box, seems like it's critical for us getting our heads on straight and figuring out how to orient ourselves in the universe. Instrumental issues of public perception are probably more backseat.
Papus79, your perspective regarding matters of God is broader than I am accustomed to. I have been presuming that there is no concept of Abrahamic God other than the eternal creator for which time and place are irrelevant. So please be patient if I don't quite understand.

Firstly, I can't discuss Neoplatonism or Iamblicus as I don't know.I guess from what you wrote there is that those sources discuss the power of the eternal version of God.

God as process such as you describe seems to me to get rid of God as deistic determinism; I presume that there is no ontic end point of the processes that you mention.The sensation of freedom conferred by process theology although heady is not any more scary than atheism. I may have missed something but process theology shows me no open door between is and ought.

Your discussion of superbeings and suchlike is interesting . For me, it runs into my fixed idea that such paranormal experiences must run counter to individuals' surviving until they can reproduce themselves i.e. the base of natural selection. And yet humans are possibly unique in our evolution through the cultural not the genetic channel. I guess that a society has to be affluent and organised enough to support individuals who contribute little or nothing for food production or defence.That's not uncommon; we know of shamans and so on who wield authority in their societies.In support of shamans and other mystical evidences of an ontic superpower it's true that the more mystical varieties of the Abrahamic religions are also the liberal, less authoritarian, ones.

Modern neuroscience is I guess well capable of naturalising paranormal experiences, would you agree? I wonder what you think is the big problem about public perception.

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Re: What is Theism Reducible to?

Post by Dark Matter » December 14th, 2018, 2:10 pm

Why do people make things so complicated? Simply put, theism is reducible to experience and memory association.

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Re: What is Theism Reducible to?

Post by Papus79 » December 15th, 2018, 1:08 am

Belindi wrote:
December 14th, 2018, 11:33 am
Firstly, I can't discuss Neoplatonism or Iamblicus as I don't know.I guess from what you wrote there is that those sources discuss the power of the eternal version of God.
I wouldn't say both, I'd contrast the two. Neoplatonism was the peak of the Greek pantheistic monist current, something that got its first kickoff at least as early as Pythagoras. It could be that Philo Judaeus might have had a significant impact on the Platonization of Judaism, it seems like the roots of Kabbalah, ie. Sephir Yetzirah, are from late antiquity and tend to date to 2nd or 3rd century AD. OTOH Iamblicus wrote on topics of high magic and theurgy and the book I read by him was his dialog with Porphyry - he describes a vast biome of different beings living in sort of multi-tiered higher state of nature and tried to defend Egyptian theurgy against Porphyry's skepticism by describing what the operations were intended to do (ie. rising on the planes, things like that).

My big experience with the bible was 2013 when I read it probably 4 or 5 times (for better or worse I had a really dead end job and was able to read the King James in five weeks on my first run). The historical understanding of Judaisms evolution from polytheism to henotheism to true monism seems to walk itself out through the course of the Old Testament and by the time you read the Gospel of John it feels like a philosophy that had no relation to the older Judaism made its way in. I remember the times I went to hear a really fiery evangelical give sermons at his congregation, I mean the guy was so fiery that when he did my friend's wedding he chased all the guests around and just about cleared the place. In his sermons, in the David Pawson sermons I'd listen to on Youtube, I started to notice that when the stuff really seemed to 'work' or aim at a transcendent reality it seemed to point at a different object than what one would commonly think of as the bible. Similarly Revelations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Zechariah, etc. will filled to the brim with local cosmological analogies that pretty directly proved to me that the bible didn't drop like the 2001 Space Odyssey monolith, that it was a cultural development. Around that time I was looking for a way to dive deeper into what I was seeing and that's also about the time I decided to pick up Manly P Hall's Secret Teachings of All Ages. A lot of people would say that MP might have been a bit driven in that he was in a sense something of a Rosicrucian minister for most of his life, might not have been the absolute best historian, but he definitely did the thing Focault wanted to see which was breathing life and significance into history. Also TBH his stuff on perhaps his favorite time of history to study, antiquity, seems like he his head well wrapped around the needs of the times, what people were hoping to achieve with the various mystery schools and religion, and he also explains the practical reasons well as to why Christianity triumphed while Neoplatonism, Gnosticism, and Hermeticism, took something of a 1000 year nap until the DiMedici's started grabbing scripts from monasteries. In antiquity it seems like Alexandria Egypt was a melting pot where most of the major philosophic, theological, and mystical ideas had it out and that may have had a lot of influence of Judaism's jump from a local henotheism (ie. a powerful local Jovian/Jupiterian deity battling it out with other gods and demanding absolute loyalty of his followers) to the more vast and infinite approach which is to claim that God is all things, all time, all space, and thus omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent.

My sense of the bible is it's a book people read, have very different reactions to, and it has its own way of throwing people out in different directions who aren't quite built for it. For me I was trying to find the core essence of what the best ideas in it were and I found a lot of that was intertwined with the Hermetic tradition - so I started reading books like Mediatations on the Tarot - A Journey into Christian Hermeticism as well as a lot of the Hermetic Golden Dawn diaspora like Fortune, Knight, and Butler, I got real interested in Martinism was for a while, I also checked out Crowley because I figured I had a sense of what he was doing and it turned out to be correct (essentially just sticking punk and emo patches on Kabbalah and personifying the four elements in angsty ways). As of right now I feel like I'm taking a step back to try and figure out where all of these traditions sit in the scheme of things or what their core deliverables actually are. At a minimum it seems like it was a way to keep nerds quiet and out of trouble, it's also fascinating how much the sort of unspoken heritage of the esoteric currents shaped things like the days of the week, our architecture, that odd pre-Victorian period where putting occult geometric symbols in city planning as a blessing was all the rage, so it's one of those things that as interesting an epiphany as one's first time dropping acid when they realize how much of what they see around them in the way of art and design has fingerprints of that state of mind.

As for the metaphysics of it all - I don't know what I necessarily believe these days. In the areas I've looked I think there's pretty strong evidence that there's some sort of living/sentient data beyond neurons but here's the trouble, I don't know that what it is in and of itself would give us much relief and this is sort of where I'd have to say I started out more like a Neoplatonist and found myself closer to Iamblicus in my interpretation of what all of this amounts to. There are also plenty of people who, fair enough, would claim that even if such things do exist as deities it's no proof that we don't cease to exist at death. That's challenging to fully refute because in a way unless you've had some sort of out of body experience that you yourself can corroborate evidence for there's little that would truly enough and even if a person has such experiences, with enough hard living you can start second-guessing them for lack of context in short order.
Belindi wrote:
December 14th, 2018, 11:33 am
God as process such as you describe seems to me to get rid of God as deistic determinism; I presume that there is no ontic end point of the processes that you mention.The sensation of freedom conferred by process theology although heady is not any more scary than atheism. I may have missed something but process theology shows me no open door between is and ought.
Technically while we have a sense of how big our universe is we still have no idea how vast old, or even infinite the superset of all such universes might be. If it's truly eternity that's a long time for a lot of things to happen. There's also the idea, may be true or may be false (for example would be somewhat false if conscious dualism were true) that conscious awareness is the intrinsic side of matter or, if it happened to be dualissm, we're in a situation where consciousness still seems to leapfrog from physical form to physical form.

As for the scariness of process theology - yes, it's quite frightening because it seems a lot like Darwin on a broader scale and there's no guarantee that being eternal brings gradual progress. A lot of human lives are deeply miserable, it only gets worse if you look back across history, so the thought that you might keep getting welcomed into Bardo for a time and then shot back here to get beaten and abused for another 80 to 90 year and do that ad infinitum - it's not comforting.

While in studying Hermeticism I became aware of the concept of the Great Work I'm still not sure where I sit with it. It reminds me a lot of secular humanism with some mysticism thrown in. That's not a bad thing necessarily but, like any system of hope, I have to scratch my head and ask myself whether it's real or whether it's just what's hoped for. There might be some suggestion that systems try to reach equilibrium, gain greater efficiency, and maybe just that process might offer some hope. Other than that though it looks quite a bit like what we may have on our hands is akin to a mystic or animistic existentialist nihilism. Lots of fascinating and beautiful things to look at, very few of them bring peace and it seems like the only peace you really can somewhat guarantee is the peace you're able to establish by setting your own inward equilibrium and tuning down one's own unneeded battles.
Belindi wrote:
December 14th, 2018, 11:33 am
Your discussion of superbeings and suchlike is interesting . For me, it runs into my fixed idea that such paranormal experiences must run counter to individuals' surviving until they can reproduce themselves i.e. the base of natural selection. And yet humans are possibly unique in our evolution through the cultural not the genetic channel. I guess that a society has to be affluent and organised enough to support individuals who contribute little or nothing for food production or defence.That's not uncommon; we know of shamans and so on who wield authority in their societies.In support of shamans and other mystical evidences of an ontic superpower it's true that the more mystical varieties of the Abrahamic religions are also the liberal, less authoritarian, ones.
Out of curiosity, did you see Bret Weinstein's talk with Richard Dawkins? He said some really fascinating things and I think of the best arguments he made was that so much of what we've done that seems directly counter-intuitive had more to do with lineage selection and that religion in so many ways was not only a memetic curation channel but that those who chose not to have children and instead served as clergy were acting as vanguards of the lineage. I think he also just about buried the idea that memes have a life of their own and use us, perhaps our genes can and will use us and exploit our blindspots regularly for more basal goals but I think his devil's advocate bit about beaver ponds evolving on their own was brilliant.

As for what you said in that first sentence I've often pondered that particularly about NDE's. One would think that a proper NDE in the truly Darwinian and reductive materialist sense would lead a guy to start going to the sperm bank every day he can or buy a fast car, climb the top of the corporate ladder as fast as he can, and get as many panties off as possible. Similarly you'd expect women having such an NDE who are with average guys to either divorce them right then and there and find something more alpha because they just had a powerful reminder of how short their time is to procreate with the highest quality genes possible. In that context, at least assuming reductive materialism, it's quite strange that what people get is much the opposite. Then again, thinking of it in a dualistic frame - maybe the only things that can stand not embodying are things that are well enough equilibrated internally that they be in their own company for thousands of years without any buffer, and that would probably yield a certain kind of order with respect to the 'heavenly' seeming to be full of bliss and love.
Belindi wrote:
December 14th, 2018, 11:33 am
Modern neuroscience is I guess well capable of naturalising paranormal experiences, would you agree? I wonder what you think is the big problem about public perception.
Mostly politics I think. A lot of people seem like they can't think with nuance about these things, and when it comes down to it it's their concern over what the rival ideological tribe would do with any concessions, even concessions to where evidence tends to point. For example if we're still in a culture where the loudest poles are the dogmatically skeptic and the Christian, Jewish, or Islamic right, then you either believe that the bible is the perfect word of God, written by 20th century scholars with a time machine and written from a 20th century way of thinking, or you're a prim and proper naive materislist who believes that consciousness is either illusory or something just sort of comes out of dead matter based on complexity. If I've noticed one thing about a lot of the people I do like even in the Skeptic community it's that they tend to be very focused on certain things and pay very little attention to other things. it's almost comedic to watch Massimo Pigliucci have a debate with Rupert Sheldrake because they're perfectly equipped to talk past each other for an hour. Sam Harris is probably the most well rounded, I've loved his Waking Up podcast for several years not but I also appreciate the he's on board with me on what I think is the most important takeaway of all this stuff (whether Buddhism, Gnosticism, Hermeticism, etc.) and that's the ultimate value of things like meditation, contemplation, and mystical experiences regardless of whether or not they're strictly material phenomena happening on human brains. I think that's a critical step because it's one thing for us to have deep and interesting cultural debates about the possibilities of what consciousness is or isn't and how that ties back to the universe, but you can't even get that far when people are so bereft of self-inquiry and self-reflection that they even think that meditation or 'subconscious' must be BS.

I think the most salient thing of all of this perhaps is this - regardless of what's out there, whether cognition continues and in what forms, we're clearly stuck dealing with a physical world and handling physical world problems that tend to require the same kind of internal development that they would regardless and there's really no escaping that aspect of it. What I'm probably the most interested in is seeing concilience of moral philosophy between all the different camps, and I think Sam has a good way of putting it - that we should all be on the human side and use that allegiance to make the quality of human life, and it's impact on nature, better .

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Papus79
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Re: What is Theism Reducible to?

Post by Papus79 » December 15th, 2018, 1:21 am

Dark Matter wrote:
December 14th, 2018, 2:10 pm
Why do people make things so complicated? Simply put, theism is reducible to experience and memory association.
So is everything though.

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Re: What is Theism Reducible to?

Post by Dark Matter » December 15th, 2018, 2:12 am

Papus79 wrote:
December 15th, 2018, 1:21 am
Dark Matter wrote:
December 14th, 2018, 2:10 pm
Why do people make things so complicated? Simply put, theism is reducible to experience and memory association.
So is everything though.
That's the point. Spectrum's aim is to call into question the validity or rationality of theism on psychological grounds. Well, duh. what POV doesn't have a psychological basis?

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Re: What is Theism Reducible to?

Post by Papus79 » December 15th, 2018, 2:38 am

I thought he was more trying to peg it's place of origin in terms of the needs that bring it into prominence.

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