• AmadeusD
    1.3k

    @JanusJust going to step in here noting that I have professionally trip-sat in the past and observed clinical psychedelic trials.

    Get. A. Sober. Sitter. That is all. Bad trips are pretty easy to mitigate and bring back around with certain techniques - but an informed sitter is required to ensure you can get through the rivers of fire. All imo.

    Some being created the world and fucked off… it leaves us with nothing to do but get on with it.Tom Storm

    I largely agree, though when I do consider Deism seriously, I think its the metaphysical implications that catch any interest from me at all. If there are 'entities' larger and more encompassing than we've ever recognized then that's a pretty extreme bit of ontology to take on. Also, if It doesn't care about us what might it be interested in? What are missing in our cosmology?
  • Tom Storm
    8.1k
    I hear you. For me most things revolve around the ordinary. What practical difference does a belief make? For me deism makes none. Setting aside the small problem of inferring a creator from poor evidence.
  • AmadeusD
    1.3k
    I guess it opens up avenues of discussion and research that aren't open to the anti-deist. That's all it does, really, and for a non-Deist like yourself (or myself) it appears paltry at best. But for someone taking it seriously,. questions around the nature of a Deistic intelligence is pretty interesting.
  • Tom Storm
    8.1k
    You're probably right. I'm not a big fan of speculative thinking, so I cheerfully rule myself out of a lot of discussions.
  • Tom Storm
    8.1k
    'God is the necessary condition of intelligibility and guarantees reason on earth, but he allows humans to use reason for good or ill, via freewill.'
    — Tom Storm
    That's very odd. Reason is supposed to guarantee the truth of its conclusions. The truth might be used for good or ill, but that's not the fault of reason, is it?
    Ludwig V

    I'm no expert, but it goes something like this. How does reason guarantee its own truth - this is circular and offers no meaningful explanation. The presup might start with the question, why does reason (this mysterious, immaterial phenomenon) work so well? Why do the laws of logic - identity, non-contradiction and excluded middle - work, seemingly everywhere and for eternity? If the world is just blind physical forces behaving, how do such mysterious laws work and allow us to created math, languages and reasoning?

    The presup will argue that we can't really know that the laws of logic work if they do not have a foundation. If they are just floating in a meaningless reality, how can they function? Is reason perhaps just a kind of gibberish?

    The laws of logic work, they conclude, because they reflect the consistent and orderly nature of God's creation. How else could we guarantee the truth of these laws in an inherently meaningless and godless universe?

    The best an atheist can say is that the logical absolutes work - it's a presupposition which can be continually demonstrated and there need be no additional presupposition to guarantee them. Particularly not god/s which has/have yet to be demonstrated as existing.

    It's fun to me because presups in tackling the use of reason to disprove god, twist it around and use god to disprove reason. (Which I don't find convincing but do find ingenious.)

    It's kind of a variation of the argument by design, with reason sitting in place of a tree or bird.

    You can have a guarantee of intelligibility that is not a God.Lionino

    Good point. Some people have even suggested alien intelligence instead of god. Others accept Platonism.

    I think that would be epicureanism, yes? Gods exist but they don't care and can't bother.
    Non-religious theism is just... theism without any dogma.
    Lionino

    I agree. But not just no dogma, no relationship with the creator at all. An impersonal god. Many of the America founding fathers, like Jefferson were deists. It was fashionable in the 17th century.
  • wonderer1
    1.5k
    The best an atheist can say is that the logical absolutes work - it's a presupposition which can be continually demonstrated and there need be no additional presupposition to guarantee them. Particularly not god/s which has/have yet to be demonstrated as existing.Tom Storm

    I tend to go with a more "in your face" approach, in the (admittedly slim) hope of getting the presuppositionalist to question his presuppositions.

    A recent convo I had:

    Theist:
    My question is how laws of logic are accounted for on an Atheistic worldview.

    Me:
    I suggest that there are no laws of logic, and that what we call laws of logic are actually incorrigible intuitions about how language tends to relate to reality. Such intuitions arise from pattern recognition which occurs in the neural networks of our evolved brains. The regularities of the universe, are what allowed for the evolution of the brains which our minds supervene on. Having some understanding of how brains work can lead to a lot of understanding of people’s minds, not least our own. From this perspective, your lack of understanding of minds seems a bit problematic, when you want to presuppose that an omniscient and omnipotent mind can exist for no reason.
    Full thread.

    In that case I got a more thoughtful response than I tend to expect from presuppositionalists.

    I generally find presuppositionalists more sad than funny, because presuppositionalism is pure epistemic poison, that badly cripples the thinking of many who fall into it.
  • Tom Storm
    8.1k
    An excellent response.

    I suggest that there are no laws of logic, and that what we call laws of logic are actually incorrigible intuitions about how language tends to relate to reality. Such intuitions arise from pattern recognition which occurs in the neural networks of our evolved brains

    Yeah, could be. Certainly more plausible than a magic man from where I sit. You are also right to question the supposed inherent meaning of regularities. (in the thread)

    I generally find presuppositionalists more sad than funnywonderer1

    Yeah, many of them are just parroting the arguments without fully understanding them and are terrible.
  • wonderer1
    1.5k
    Yeah, many of them are just parroting the arguments without fully understanding them and are terrible.Tom Storm

    Yeah, it is usually more rhetorically effective script, than thought through position.
  • Lionino
    849
    But not just no dogma, no relationship with the creator at all.Tom Storm

    I was talking about two different things in the same paragraph. Epicureanism as about no relationship with creator. Non-religious theism as about god without dogma.

    In the topic's theme, relating "America" with names like "Jefferson" and "McWhatever" sort of erodes grounds for intelligibility as those are contradictory theologies. The former is Catholic, and the latter two I would expect to observe them within a Wendy's praying to their tri-une god George Floyd.
  • wonderer1
    1.5k
    Just going to step in here noting that I have professionally trip-sat in the past and observed clinical psychedelic trials.AmadeusD

    Wow! That's some unusual career experience. :rofl:
  • AmadeusD
    1.3k
    I ran a charity that funded psychedelic research for some years - and technically I still run the Psychedelics New Zealand Facebook community :)

    It was a good decade lol
  • Ludwig V
    663
    Non-religious theism as about god without dogma.Lionino
    That could work if a religion primarily of practice works. Depending on the details of the practice, that could be an intellectually respectable way to go. Perhaps that's why Bhuddhism is so popular these days.

    I generally find presuppositionalists more sad than funny, because presuppositionalism is pure epistemic poison, that badly cripples the thinking of many who fall into it."wonderer1
    I think it depends a bit on the attitude of the presuppositionalist. It seems to me the poison is in the attitude (as in the video earlier). Worse still, that dogmatic inability to engage with someone who verntures to disagree seems likely to me to betray a certain level of uncertainty.

    How else could we guarantee the truth of these laws in an inherently meaningless and godless universe?Tom Storm
    I would suggest that gives far too much to the other side. If logic needs a guarantee, that means it could be wrong. But how could it be wrong?
    For myself, I would go for observing that God's guarantee doesn't seem to be worth much, given how much chaos and disorder there is in the universe, and wondering why It didn't bother to include sub-atomic particles in its promise.
  • Lionino
    849
    That could work if a religion primarily of practice works. Depending on the details of the practice, that could be an intellectually respectable way to go. Perhaps that's why Bhuddhism is so popular these days.Ludwig V

    Buddhism is very interesting, especially because there are so many sects. Some people hesitate to classify it as a religion.
  • Hallucinogen
    250
    This is equivalent to saying what I was saying before: according to you, to rationally believe X, one must know X (saying it is a fact is redundant).Bob Ross

    So what is your response to my claim that to rationally believe X, one has to know X?

    I don’t think one needs to know X to believe XBob Ross

    I said to rationally believe X. Do you think one needs to know X to rationally believe X?

    "To rationally believe X, I have to know what X means"
    This is perfectly compatible with agnostic atheism. An agnostic atheist knows what it means for god(s) not to exist, so they can “rationally” believe that god(s) don’t exist without knowing god(s) don’t exist.
    Bob Ross
    I was giving you an example of atemporal dependency, not telling you what is sufficient for rational belief. Knowing what X means is required for rational belief in X, but it is obviously not sufficient. It doesn't establish that an agnostic atheist can rationally believe that God doesn’t exist without knowing God doesn’t exist, only that they can't without knowing what it means. The connection between rational belief and knowledge is just the connection between mental representation and informational content. For some kinds of information, there's a temporal dependency, but there are always atemporal dependencies (rationality itself, semantics etc).
  • AmadeusD
    1.3k
    I said to rationally believe XHallucinogen

    If i missed this in my responses, that changes my position to 'yes, they do' and i retract all previous objections.
  • Lionino
    849
    I was just reading "Defining Atheism and the Burden of Proof" by SHOAIB AHMED MALIK (recommended by a presup).
    I don't agree with it, but it is an interesting read nevertheless.
  • Ludwig V
    663


    Yes, I thought it an interesting - even ingenious - manoeuvre. But it ends up as a rather fruitless disagreement, which is fundamentally merely tactical.

    What follows is not hard core philosophy, merely reflections.

    Supposing this issue is raised by a presuppositionalist who wishes to simply assume the existence of God, without argument. All the atheist needs to do is to assert that they do not wish to make the same assumption. End of debate.

    But that's not, apparently what presuppositionalists really want to do. Van Til, at least, wants to mount a transcendental argument for God and claim that order and reason in the world cannot be explained without appeal to God. No atheist would accept that idea, so, again, end of argument.

    I'm not sure that the existence of at least some order and reason is a contingent fact. It seems to me more like a project, a way of looking at the world which we need to stick to because without it, we could not live. The concept of an entirely chaotic world is, by definition, incomprehensible to me.

    One thing that I and the presuppositionalist might agree on is that the existence of God is not susceptible of rational proof (and hence not susceptible of rational disproof, either). I don't say that Christianity is irrational, only that rationality comes in after the starting-point (hinge proposition? axiom?) is established. I prefer, however, to say that the doctrine is secondary to an attitude and a way of life and derives from that, rather than the other way about.
  • AmadeusD
    1.3k
    the doctrine is secondary to an attitude and a way of life and derives from that, rather than the other way aboutLudwig V

    Does this explain some of the cognitive dissonance required for specific religious claims counter to empirical evidence forr you?
  • Ludwig V
    663
    Does this explain some of the cognitive dissonance required for specific religious claims counter to empirical evidence for you?AmadeusD
    I hadn't thought that far ahead. But yes, why not? It might require accepting, what Wittgenstein never said, but I suppose might have thought, that the rules of a specific language-game might be inconsistent, In fact, empirically, we find that existing language-games frequently throw up inconsistencies where we "don't know our way about"; we just settle them as we go, so that's all right. There's a further complication that what seems an inconsistency to an atheist, might not seem inconsistent to a theist - the problem of evil might be an example. Internally, at least in Christianity, there are certainly doctrines that seem inconsistent to some, but not to others - the Trinity, perhaps.

    The big issue would be whether and how that way of life relates to other ways of life. I read Wittgenstein as thinking that there can be different ways of life, but not thinking about what differences between them mean - conflict or incommensurability. In practice, I would say, religions mostly think that their way of life should be universal and having great difficulty in inter-acting with them.

    Are atheism and agnosticism ways of life? In a way, yes. Perhaps not entirely comfortable.
  • Tom Storm
    8.1k
    Are atheism and agnosticism ways of life? In a way, yes. Perhaps not entirely comfortable.Ludwig V

    How so?
  • Ludwig V
    663
    How so?Tom Storm
    Good question. It is awkward and that's why I like it.

    Wittgenstein leaves us with these ideas, but little indication of how he would take them further. I am sure some people have tried to develop them, but there don't seem to be any inspiring ideas. It's a difficult area to deal with. It doesn't fit comfortably with what we think of as philosophy, which has abandoned the core question of Greek philosophy - how to live - because it appears unscientific and therefore not respectable.

    For Berkeley, the point of his argument is not that it is true, but that it is the basis of what I will vaguely call an attitude. Paragraph 109 in the Treatise says:-
    For, after all, what deserves the first place in our studies is the consideration of God and our duty; which to promote, as it was the main drift and design of my labours, so shall I esteem them altogether useless and ineffectual if, by what I have said, I cannot inspire my readers with a pious sense of the Presence of God; and, having shown the falseness or vanity of those barren speculations which make the chief employment of learned men, the better dispose them to reverence and embrace the salutary truths of the Gospel, which to know and to practice is the highest perfection of human nature.
    That's an attitude and, according to Berkeley, it is the basis of a Christian life. It follows that he thinks that the scepticism, atheism that he is arguing against do not support that attitude. One wonders, though, what attitudes he thinks those doctrines lead to.

    Religions codify and organize life, so it is easy to see what the implications are of accepting his arguments. Atheism and Agnosticism do not have a codified way of life that goes with them and it is not clear what kind of attitude or way of life might go with them.

    Starting-points might be the Greek Sceptics - Pyrrho and Sextus Empiricus. It seems that they were working in the same arena as Stoicism and Epicureanism and, like them, were pursuing scepticism as a way of reaching ataraxia - tranquillity. See Stanford Encyclopedia on Sextus Empiricus 3.3

    In a different vein, Existentialism (and Romanticism) seem to me to be a response to the idea that the universe is a soulless, meaningless machine.
  • Tom Storm
    8.1k
    Religions codify and organize life, so it is easy to see what the implications are of accepting his arguments. Atheism and Agnosticism do not have a codified way of life that goes with them and it is not clear what kind of attitude or way of life might go with them.Ludwig V

    Yeah. That's the key. People often confuse atheism with secular humanism. Which does have a worldview. Atheism itself is about a single issue and doesn't have a worldview. I know atheists who believe in astrology, ghosts and UFO abductions, so skepticism isn't necessary.

    For, after all, what deserves the first place in our studies is the consideration of God and our duty; which to promote, as it was the main drift and design of my labours, so shall I esteem them altogether useless and ineffectual if, by what I have said, I cannot inspire my readers with a pious sense of the Presence of God; and, having shown the falseness or vanity of those barren speculations which make the chief employment of learned men, the better dispose them to reverence and embrace the salutary truths of the Gospel, which to know and to practice is the highest perfection of human nature.

    For my money this is waffle. It only makes sense if you already presuppose an account of god as per Berkeley. A Scientologist might make similar arguments using their beliefs. It's just the rhetoric of someone who assumes truth. I'm not aware of the Gospels offering humans anything except some stories and claims which can be twisted in endless directions. Jesus death seems absurd and pointless. To believe in the New Testament you could be a rapist or a priest (or both), a homophobic fascist or a gay socialist. I would suggest there is no Christian worldview either. It supports disparate and contradictory worldviews.

    In a different vein, Existentialism (and Romanticism) seem to me to be a response to the idea that the universe is a soulless, meaningless machine.Ludwig V

    Does romanticism generally hold that the world is soulless or meaningless? Existentialism certainly seems to have been constructed as a way to deal with meaninglessness and in Camus' case, absurdity. The idea that we need to find meaning in a world without gods in it always makes me laugh. It's not as if theists don't find life meaningless. I have worked in the area of suicide intervention and on balance those who find life meaningless and become suicidal are just as likely (if not more so) to believe in a god.
  • Ludwig V
    663
    Atheism itself is about a single issue and doesn't have a worldview.Tom Storm
    I guess that's true, though it leaves room for people to adopt a range of views, non of which would be incompatible so long as it doesn't presuppose a "Nobodaddy in the sky".
    Agnosticism is similar. It's important that Buddhism starts from a diagnosis of the cause of suffering, and everything revolves around that. If religion is defined as believing in a god(s), it is not a religion. If religion is defined as a way of life, it is.

    For my money this is waffle. It only makes sense if you already presuppose an account of god as per Berkeley.Tom Storm
    I wasn't saying that it is anything but waffle, just that Berkeley reveals here that his argument is constructed in the service of a project. There are other passages where he makes is quite clear that his metaphysics is supposed to reveal God's glory and lead to an awareness of the omni-presence of God. Side-note:- It seems that elsewhere, he thinks that we will then go on to accept that we need to obey him and his representatives on earth (and that includes the king).

    (Don't forget he lived 1685–1753, so he would have had the British Civil War and all that in mind. One assumes he would also have disapproved of the French and American Revolutions if he had known of them.)

    Does romanticism generally hold that the world is soulless or meaningless?Tom Storm
    I generalize cautiously - on the whole the answer is no, but the critical idea is the opposition to the dominance of the new science and critique of the industrial revolution, which seems to be a result of it.

    It's not as if theists don't find life meaningless. I have worked in the area of suicide intervention and on balance those who find life meaningless and become suicidal are just as likely (if not more so) to believe in a god.Tom Storm
    I'm not surprised. The standard sales pitch makes big assumptions about what believing in God means. There are also people whose belief in God means guilt, self-loathing and sadism.

    I do accept that "is" does not imply "ought". But there is no doubt that "is" does lead people to conclude "ought". Analytic philosophers, whose tradition derives from Hume, have great trouble recognizing that. Hence discussion of it is not academically respectable. Cavell points us in a different direction.
  • Lionino
    849
    Analytic philosophers, whose tradition derives from Hume, have great trouble recognizing that. Hence discussion of it is not academically respectable.Ludwig V

    More on that?
  • Tom Storm
    8.1k
    'm not surprised. The standard sales pitch makes big assumptions about what believing in God means. There are also people whose belief in God means guilt, self-loathing and sadismLudwig V



    I do accept that "is" does not imply "ought". But there is no doubt that "is" does lead people to conclude "ought".Ludwig V

    Certainly and it makes sense. We make choices about what we ought to do based on inferences and predictably.
  • Fire Ologist
    65
    I can see why people who believe in God, and who like philosophy, would want to prove the existence of God, so they can philosophically treat God as another real object in their philosophy. But frankly, I don't think you can prove the existence of anything, except yourself, to yourself. I can't prove the existence of anything to you, because you can't prove the existence of anything to yourself, except yourself (good ole Descartes). So if I can't prove the existence of my computer, to even me, how would I prove the existence of God?

    Inversely, disproving the existence of something is just as difficult, if not impossible. At least I can prove that I exist, to myself. But proving for sure that something doesn't exist? May as well try to demonstrate a hole in the fabric of the universe (whatever that means). No one can prove God does not exist, just like no one can prove tree-elves do not exist. Nor should anyone bother to prove or disprove existence.

    We assume something exists, and then we prove things about it's motion, it's nature. It either is, or isn't that's a separate question. Not subject to proof. Only subject to experience.
  • flannel jesus
    777
    I don't think we need to cop out so drastically. Sure, we can't prove something to certainty, but reasonable people can discuss their reasons for believing or not believing certain propositions, and they might be able to find that some propositions are unreasonable, or some people are unreasonable in their treatment of those propositions. You don't just have to throw your hands up in their air and say "we're helpless to learn anything about this topic". Even if there's no certainty to be found, there's still reasonable conversations to be had.
  • Lionino
    849
    But proving for sure that something doesn't exist?Fire Ologist

    If you can prove that a concept entails a contradiction, that would be a proof of its non-existance. Here is an argument against the concept of the Christian God by Alex Malpass.
  • Fire Ologist
    65
    reasonable people can discuss their reasonsflannel jesus

    can prove that a concept entails a contradictionLionino

    These both agree with my point. My point is that reason and proof sit in between things that exist. We have to simply experience something to consider it's existence, and if we want to be reasonable about it, the first step is defining that experience as a concept. Once we enter the world of concepts we can start to be reasonable. It wasn't reason that delivered the experience of the thing we are now trying to be reasonable about.

    Some people think they experienced God. Who could penetrate that without being that person? Some people experienced tree-elves. Who could penetrate that? If they want me to "believe in" a tree elf, they need to work with the things I have already experienced and would agree already exist, and use these experiences to show me the distinct place where tree-elves should be in view, but they would be better off to just throw a tree-elf in my face. Give me the experience.

    We can say that "All swans are white." and therefore if someone says "there is a black swan" they are either not pointing to a swan, or my definition of a swan was wrong - reason and logic show this. But whether any swans at all actually exist - nothing has been said about that, and no reason or logic or even science can prove logically one way or the other.

    It's not that we give up on trying to show what exists. It's that we can't show it by reason. We show it. Period. Then we can look for how it fits reasonably in world where other things exist.

    I don't think you can rule out the existence of some thing with reason alone, because I don't think you can rule in the existence of any thing by reason alone. Except your self, to your self. Which does no body else and nothing else in the world any good.

    "All men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Therefore Socrates is mortal."
    Tons of reason here and room for reasonable analysis.
    None of will ever show you that a man is, mortality is, Socrates is. We reason about existing things, not to existing things.
  • 180 Proof
    13.8k
    It's not as if theists don't find life meaningless. I have worked in the area of suicide intervention and on balance those who find life meaningless and become suicidal are just as likely (if not more so) to believe in a god.Tom Storm
    :fire:

    :100:
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