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Thoughts on God/Purpose

Posted by TheThorn 
Re: Thoughts on God/Purpose
February 03, 2015 06:26PM
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Navy2711
Navy: So option #3 is "The universe simply is."

Thorn: Which is just a re-phrasing of #2.


... with the critical distinction that #3 recognizes "reason" as illusory. It gives no weight to the concept of "reason." It does not treat "reason" like a thing, such as a basketball or a sad thought, which can be defined as "there or not there."

If it is said that there is no reason, then there is no reason. Phrase it whichever way you want.

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"Meaning," as a human understands it, is simply the flux of the human brain. The chemical workings of the brain's molecules. From the human's point of view, the relative sense, he/she experiences "meaning." In the absolute sense, there is only flux.

You get that experience is as much a part of the universe as a star or magnetism though right?

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If there were a deity or creating force that created the universe for a "reason," what would that reason be? From the deity's/force's point of view, the relative sense, it might be something like, "To glorify My almighty being!" or "To give the living beings in this universe a chance to experience life!" In the absolute sense it would simply be the flux of the force/deity.

That's how religions get started Navy winking smiley

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Sam
Thorny, Re: "The idea that consciousness, life and the purpose we imbue on the universe has meaning is no more or less fantastical or harder to fathom than the notion that the universe just exists and its natural laws lead to the formation of conscious beings for no reason whatsoever."

Except that if there IS a reason/purpose for the existence of the universe it would require an intelligent designer which IS pretty damn fantastical and hard to fathom.

The truth is that meaninglessness and meaning are both equally incomprehensible to human minds. Just like timelessness and a time before time. Just like a contained universe and an infinite one. When it comes to almost any metaphysical pondering, the limits of our minds are shown up pretty sharply. The truth is that whatever the real nature of the universe is, we aren't equipped to understand it.

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There IS a reason the universe is as it is now: cause and effect/evolution. But that's not the question. The question is why does the universe exist at all.

Precisely.

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There can be no reason unless there is/was an intelligent designer

I would be careful of anthropomorphising here... the "it just is" concept expressed by Navy can just as easily be applied to a purposeful universe. No easier to fathom either way, but its not just a meaningless hypothesis that gets to lean on that crutch.

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and there is no evidence to make that claim therefore I don't believe it. It's not rocket science how we come to believe what we do and we don't choose what to believe or not believe either. Each of us uses our own experiences and critical thinking skills (if present) to weigh evidence for a claim and if no convincing evidence is there we just don't believe it's true. Unless we've been indoctrinated to believe things without the benefit of experience or evidence which I suspect is the case for every single true believer and confused agnostic on this question. Based on my personal experience and critical thinking skills I believe the absence of evidence for the existence of something IS evidence of its absence and that's why personally do not believe there is/was an intelligent designer of the universe.

We differ, but that's a perfectly reasonable train of thought. For me, that fact that we are capable of such complex thought is in itself a kind of evidence, but I digress...

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To go even further, which will inevitably upset all the agnostics both theistic and atheistic, I know there is no intelligent designer as confidently as I know that other fantastical creatures do not exist. It's really just that simple to me.

And you went and threw it all away... winking smiley
Re: Thoughts on God/Purpose
February 03, 2015 06:34PM
"Phrase it whichever way you want."

Your implication being that the two are equivalent, which is incorrect.

"You get that experience is as much a part of the universe as a star or magnetism though right?"

Yes. That's the absolute sense. That's my point. Do you get it?

"That's how religions get started Navy"

And ^^^that's^^^ how Selectsmart posters dodge.
Re: Thoughts on God/Purpose
February 03, 2015 07:08PM
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Navy2711
"Phrase it whichever way you want."

Your implication being that the two are equivalent, which is incorrect.

You haven't yet made a serious case for why they aren't. They mean the same thing. I'm happy to use your phrasing, but there is no meaningful distinction between the two.

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"You get that experience is as much a part of the universe as a star or magnetism though right?"

Yes. That's the absolute sense. That's my point. Do you get it?

I get your point, but I'm trying to shift your view point a little. Our perception, our consciousness itself is a part of the universe. Something in a "human sense" is still part of the universe. People tend to think of us as separate units looking in on the universe - we aren't - universe means "everything" our consciousness is a part of it.

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"That's how religions get started Navy"

And ^^^that's^^^ how Selectsmart posters dodge.

Was there actually a question for me there?
Sam
Re: Thoughts on God/Purpose
February 03, 2015 07:39PM
Thorny, Re: "The truth is that whatever the real nature of the universe is, we aren't equipped to understand it."

Prove it. winking smiley

Re: "I would be careful of anthropomorphising here.."

You should take your own advice here since you are the one who believes there is a purpose for the existence of the universe. How is it possible to have a purpose/plan without a Planner? lol If you don't believe there is a planner then you are using the word purpose weirdly as in "the purpose of earth's gravity is to pull things toward it's core". Nonsense.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/03/2015 07:48PM by Sam.
Re: Thoughts on God/Purpose
February 03, 2015 07:44PM
Thorn,

"People tend to think of us as separate units looking in on the universe - we aren't - universe means "everything" our consciousness is a part of it."

Ok, we might actually be on the same page.

1. Humans perceive that there is "meaning" and "purpose" in their lives (that's the relative sense) and ultimately there is not. The "purpose" that humans perceive is simply an illusion created by the workings of their brain. It is simply another mechanical happening in the universe, like planets going around a sun. (That's the absolute sense, in which "purpose" is seen as an illusion.)

2. If there were a deity, and if it had some intention in creating the universe, then the same would apply. The deity would perceive that it created the universe with intention and purpose (relative), but ultimately that perception is illusory — the deity's perception of its purpose is simply another mechanical working of the universe (absolute).

3. So why is there any question as to whether or not the universe has "meaning?" Even if there is a deity, that deity's perception that it created things with a purpose would simply be another mechanical part of the universe.

If one wants to ask, "Does a deity exist that created the universe and thinks that it did so for a purpose?" ... then that is a valid question. But if one asks, "Does the universe have meaning," then the answer is no, because all meaning is illusory.
Re: Thoughts on God/Purpose
February 03, 2015 08:04PM
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Sam
Thorny, Re: "The truth is that whatever the real nature of the universe is, we aren't equipped to understand it."

Prove it. winking smiley

Re: "I would be careful of anthropomorphising here.." You should take your own advice here since you are the one who believes there is a purpose for the existence of the universe. How is it possible to have a purpose/plan without a Planner? lol If you don't believe there is a planner then you are using the word purpose weirdly as in "the purpose of earth's gravity is to pull things toward it's core". Nonsense.

Is the universe infinite, or does it have a boundary? One must be true but both are equally incomprehensible.

Has the universe always existed in some state, or did it have a starting point? Again, an a/b choice where neither option makes any sense.

We cannot comprehend going back in time forever, we cannot comprehend the universe continuing forever. Equally we cannot make sense of any finite explanation. If the universe started at some point, what happened before then? And the idea collapses as fast as our mind does when it considers the alternative. If the universe ends at some point, what happens if you keep walking? Again, two impossible ideas competing.

We have the exact same impossibilities with broader metaphysical questions about purpose and meaninglessness.

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Navy
Thorn,

"People tend to think of us as separate units looking in on the universe - we aren't - universe means "everything" our consciousness is a part of it."

Ok, we might actually be on the same page.

1. Humans perceive that there is "meaning" and "purpose" in their lives (that's the relative sense) and ultimately there is not. The "purpose" that humans perceive is simply an illusion created by the workings of their brain. It is simply another mechanical happening in the universe, like planets going around a sun. (That's the absolute sense, in which "purpose" is seen as an illusion.)

2. If there were a deity, and if it had some intention in creating the universe, then the same would apply. The deity would perceive that it created the universe with intention and purpose (relative), but ultimately that perception is illusory — the deity's perception of its purpose is simply another mechanical working of the universe (absolute).

3. So why is there any question as to whether or not the universe has "meaning?" Even if there is a deity, that deity's perception that it created things with a purpose would simply be another mechanical part of the universe.

If one wants to ask, "Does a deity exist that created the universe and thinks that it did so for a purpose?" ... then that is a valid question. But if one asks, "Does the universe have meaning," then the answer is no, because all meaning is illusory.

We kind of are on the same page, just looking at it from a different point of view.

The workings of our brain are a part of the universe, the perceptions we create for ourselves are too. Our ability to create purpose is a part of the universe, and has to be considered alongside any other part of it when we consider or reject broader notions of purpose.
Re: Thoughts on God/Purpose
February 03, 2015 08:48PM
Thorn,

"Our ability to create purpose is a part of the universe, and has to be considered alongside any other part of it when we consider or reject broader notions of purpose."

I just did that very thing. I noted that the act of a deity having a "purpose" would be a mechanical activity of the universe, and a deity's perception of that purpose would be an illusion.
Re: Thoughts on God/Purpose
February 03, 2015 08:50PM
1. Humans perceive that there is "meaning" and "purpose" in their lives (that's the relative sense) and ultimately there is not. The "purpose" that humans perceive is simply an illusion created by the workings of their brain. It is simply another mechanical happening in the universe, like planets going around a sun. (That's the absolute sense, in which "purpose" is seen as an illusion.)


If that were true - why did you bother posting it? smoking smiley
Sam
Re: Thoughts on God/Purpose
February 03, 2015 08:52PM
Thorn, Re: "Is the universe infinite, or does it have a boundary? One must be true but both are equally incomprehensible."

Both may be incomprehensible to you but maybe not to some who understand physics better than you do. Also, it is not necessarily so that it must be one or the other. It could be that it changes, esp. when we study it (gotta love those quantums!). Regardless, you have not proven we are not equipped to understand it. If you really believe that, why do you keep trying? lol
Re: Thoughts on God/Purpose
February 03, 2015 10:54PM
"If that were true - why did you bother posting it?"

Because as I said back on page 1, although our perception of "purpose" is an illusion, we all live our day to day lives as if it were accurate. Even those who are aware that it's an illusion. It's an integral part of our existence, but it's not necessarily reflective of "what is."
Re: Thoughts on God/Purpose
February 04, 2015 01:22AM
Sam, for the truth of an assertion, a hypothesis, etc, to be underdetermined, it just means basically that the evidence available to us at a given time may be insufficient to determine what beliefs we should hold in response to it. A simplified example given in the Stanford Encyclopedia of philosophy goes like this. All you know is that I spent $10 on apples and oranges. Apples cost $1 and oranges cost $2. You know I couldn't have bought six oranges. Should you believe that I bought four oranges and two apples? Should you believe that I 'didn't' buy four oranges and 2 apples? From my perspective you don't have enough information to make that determination and the most rational thing to do IMO would be to suspend your judgement until you had more info. Why 'should' you have to believe one or the other? If you think (believe) I bought four oranges and two apples or that I didn't, you'd have to bring something else into your decision making besides the evidence. When most people believe an underdetermined hypothesis, they use hunches or guesses (personality plays a part), usually based on lots of assumptions and preconceived beliefs they already hold, and they believe what just 'seems' to make the most sense to them. Can you really not withhold judgement on something if you feel you don't have enough info?
Sam
Re: Thoughts on God/Purpose
February 04, 2015 02:18AM
Imo, no, not on a true or false claim regarding whether or not something exists and that's what the question at hand is. What you are trying to figure out and what I'm talking about? Apples and Oranges. smiling smiley
Re: Thoughts on God/Purpose
February 04, 2015 03:18AM
Sam, does my casita exist?
Re: Thoughts on God/Purpose
February 04, 2015 03:36AM
By the way, it's good to be see all my old friends still here! I just have to be careful not to get too caught up in this debating stuff. It's much too easy to spend way too much time here lol!
Sam
Re: Thoughts on God/Purpose
February 04, 2015 05:46AM
Isle, If you say you have a casita, then yes, I believe your casita exists.

Good to see you, Isle, and hope you and yours are doing great. I just came here looking for some Londoners and have found a couple so will be moving along soon but it sure was nice seeing everyone again.
Re: Thoughts on God/Purpose
February 04, 2015 10:49AM
Great answer, Sam.

And why shouldn't Sam believe (note: not claim to know) that Islander has a casita based on nothing more than Islander's claim that he has one. There's nothing particularly extraordinary about his claim. After all, lots of people own small houses and Islander seems like the kind of person who wouldn't lie or be mistaken about such a mundane, easy-to-verify matter, although, of course he could be lying or mistaken about it. But that's just the thing: if he is lying or joking about it and Sam finds out, Sam would change her belief because she would then have evidence that pointed her in that direction.

It's called "believing with the evidence," folks. It doesn't lock you into anything. Based on the evidence currently available, I believe X. If the evidence changes in such a way ~X becomes more likely than X, then I hope at that point I'll have the courage to believe ~X.

The mere claim that something extraordinary exists without any sort of tangible evidence whatsoever that the thing actually does exist, is enough for someone to believe (note: not claim to know) that the thing (a god or a tachyon or a 2015 Seahawk Super Bowl win) doesn't exist.

I agree with Islander that belief can be and sometimes is underdetermined, which is just another form of irrational belief. However, much, much more often what happens, as is the case with belief in the existence of a god or gods, is that people just don't want to state their belief publicly.

Do you believe Big Foot exists? Martians? The ebola virus? Atlantis? Athena? The Ark of the Covenant? Joseph Smith's golden plates? Tachyons?

Remember, I'm not asking you whether or not you KNOW that these things exist. I'm asking only whether you BELIEVE they do. Big difference.

You either have enough information now or can easily get enough information to automatically, unconsciously come to a simple belief one way or the other about the existence of virtually anything, including the existence of God. If you don't want to publicly state your belief, fine. Just say that. I think it's a bit disingenuous, however, to pretend that you are completely unfamiliar with the subject or don't have enough information about it to automatically form a belief one way or the other on the matter.
Re: Thoughts on God/Purpose
February 04, 2015 02:33PM
Sam, when I asked you if my casita exists...do you know what I'm talking about? You don't know whether I have an actual casita since I never told you I did. So I'll have to ask you again. Based on the evidence you do have, "Do you believe my casita exists"?
Sam
Re: Thoughts on God/Purpose
February 04, 2015 05:20PM
Isle, When you said "my" it gave me a clue that you probably believe it exists so I believe you that it probably does exist but I don't know and I don't care. So on that question I'd have to say I'm an agnostic believer. smiling smiley
Re: Thoughts on God/Purpose
February 04, 2015 06:02PM
If the matter of whether Islander owned a casita was of importance to her Sam could easily get enough info to form a belief on the matter. She could start, for example, by simply asking Islander whether he owned a casita.

This same process applies to just about everything else, as well, and certainly applies to belief in God or in a particular god or in gods. If someone says, "I don't believe or disbelieve in God's existence," he's not (truthfully) saying, "I lack the necessary evidence or information to form a belief on the matter."

He's saying, "I don't want to tell you what I believe about God."
Sam
Re: Thoughts on God/Purpose
February 04, 2015 06:43PM
What Dick said.

I think one of the fundamental problems for self-proclaimed agnostics is that they don't believe that absence of evidence is evidence of absence even though they absolutely believe this to be true in all other cases besides the case of whether or not gods exist. I suspect giving gods this special case exception is due to previous indoctrination and social/psychological pressures to believe or at least to not NOT believe. That deep seated fear that "just in case" it does exist they better not ever say they believe it doesn't because they could be punished forever, ohmy, and if not that, then they are just the sort of people who are uncomfortable with the prospect of ever being wrong which is weird because they absolutely believe we can never know the answer to the god question so they can never be proven wrong no matter what they believe yet they have no problem saying they know other things don't exist (or do) which have a much higher probability of having new evidence sway their belief so that they no longer can say they know it is true. A very perplexing kind of thinker those agnogs.
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