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Ser Scot A Ellison

Why does anyone like the idea of "the Singularity"

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4 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

I'd say that the irrational cultural enshrinement ridiculous religious ideas get is sort of a special case. If most societies were caring less about such superstitions since could move forward much faster. Granted, in the case we are discussing here I definitely say that religion isn't the main/only reason behind the whole insistence that we must have a self. But religions sticking to the idea of a soul or an afterlife help to perpetuate that idea.

I think you're giving too much credit to rationalism, and ignoring the fact that cultural beliefs, even irrational ones, can have positive consequences.

In this specific case the way we view consciousness might matter a great deal when it comes to thinking about human societies. And I'd rather consciousness kept a mythical side to it for the time being... Forms of hyper-rationalism have had terrible consequences in the past.

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6 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Because that's the issue at hand. The question who created animal and plant life. If you said god had nothing to do with that - or that god wasn't necessary, which is what Darwin did - then you would have had massive problems in the middle ages. You would still have massive problems if as a cleric you declared that god had nothing to do with evolution and it was a mindless process, not destined/designed to bring forth naked apes worshipping the big naked ape in the sky they created in their image.

Scientific questions were always a thing, just as people were always curious about their surrounding world.

Now, this is more nuanced, if still rather pointless. Your example presupposes knowledge that is, according to your Darwinian example, 1100 years ahead. And which is built on several stepping stones along the way. 

That's why your Benedictine monks make little sense. They do not have the knowledge from which to start looking for a Darwinian evolution, and simply positing that "well, I don't think they would because literal Bible reading" doesn't add anything of value. 

Creationism is a creature of the 18th century. The conflict thesis is a creature of the 19th century. Both, in other words are very recent phenomena. That creationism has, to a large degree, merged with evangelicalism in the US is, to me, a tragedy.

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37 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

If you go by the traditional ways to interpret the Bible the literal interpretation is always one way to go by it. Taking the Bible literally is not wrong - it can also be an allegory, have some moral meaning that's not expressly spilled out in the text. But the idea that you can tell a true believer that he cannot or should not take a part of his holy scriptures as literally true is pretty weird.

The lukewarm people just have moved goal posts - they still insist that Jesus and/or his sacrifice are real/relevant, or that at least the god is real, etc.

How much Church history do you actually know?  Literalist, Sola Scriptura is a low church Protestant creation.  It was not the Church tradition for the first 1500 years of the Chruch’s tradition.

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4 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

I don't really care about people's private beliefs. The issue is when things like that creep into their professional work. This doesn't stop at science but continues to law, politics, etc. In fact, it is much worse in the latter category

Si.  So many people are getting into the legal profession because they want to change the laws.  Durrrr.   It's the wrong place for them, since that's supposed to be where you go to uphold the law.  So we're in for another generation of sabotage by those who'd rather not do their job of enforcing the law yet they refuse to quit and find their true calling.  All because they can't keep their personal and professional separate.  

3 hours ago, Rorshach said:

Creationism is a creature of the 18th century.  

...That creationism has, to a large degree, merged with evangelicalism in the US is, to me, a tragedy.

I want to believe the "hardness" over creationism is new, like the church found a blue pill late in life.  But aside from the centuries they were being persecuted hasn't the history of the church been one of harsh non-permissive stories of folks getting excommunicated, the smashing of icons, burnings, schisms..... I'm having trouble picturing someone scoffing at the creation story in the fifth century and receiving soft treatment.  Maybe they'd get a nicely worded letter to the golashans at first... but you don't hear about any 637th letter because those damn goloshans woulda received a swift  jesus kick to the sack well before that to get them in line.

And about that literalist tragedy, um, yes.  Testify.   I'm one of those unrespectable ones with capacity for both myth and method.  Where the two clash, like creationist teachings in schools, I've always just bypassed those sinkhole issues fast to avoid getting caught in the feedback loop that steals people's focus away for, like, their whole lives.   Not everything has to make sense.   Why would everything in science and religion overlap and conform perfectly to a synthesized world view?  Why would anyone expect it to?   And the two aren't playing by the same rules, so why does it need to be a contest!?   And why would that contest produce a legit winner?   ("Jim ran the marathon while Stacy biked the course.  Now let's compare their times to see who won.")   Jeesh.

Steer around the bumps and keep truckin.

4 hours ago, Rippounet said:

In this specific case the way we view consciousness might matter a great deal when it comes to thinking about human societies. And I'd rather consciousness kept a mythical side to it for the time being... Forms of hyper-rationalism have had terrible consequences in the past.

I want well rounded scientists with some classical learning on top of all their phd's.  They're dealing with weighty problems, some of them, and i want those people to have a backbone.  A soul, so to speak.  For when it might become highly relevant, I want the antiquated notions of morality in their heads informing their decisions, acting as a check on their behavior.  Before they engage in something damnedable, I want them to at least stop and ponder, "Won't i be damned for doing this?"    

The alternative seems to be a modern self reliance undeserved.   People completely divest themselves of religion as something irrational therefore worthless.   Then, they're that much more likely to do whatever they feel like.   (Danger, Will Wheaton!)    Now they're worthless.  They're no longer anchored to anything as weighty as the ethical decisions at hand, so they're unequal to the big moments.  There are rational horrors.  Things we quail at if unarmed with the concept of soul.  Better to carry a weak bit of wholesome irrational belief within you as a vaccination against going truly nuts.

Edited by The Mother of The Others

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27 minutes ago, The Mother of The Others said:

.

The alternative seems to be a modern self reliance undeserved.   People completely divest themselves of religion as something irrational therefore worthless.   Then, they're that much more likely to do whatever they feel like.   (Danger, Will Wheaton!)    Now they're worthless.  They're no longer anchored to anything as weighty as the ethical decisions at hand, so they're unequal to the big moments.  There are rational horrors.  Things we quail at if unarmed with the concept of soul.  Better to carry a weak bit of wholesome irrational belief within you as a vaccination against going truly nuts.

Surely you can be ethical and without religion?

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Individuals can do all sorts of things.  Like having impressive ethics.   Based on their individual sense of discipline.    But human society as a whole?   We raised the tent of civilization by fear of god keeping the main group grounded in solid foundations.   Some jerks were always lawless, that's why they had commandments like Stop Banging Hoskins' Wife.   But by and large we have all the things we take for granted today because fear of gods kept the herd together and bent them toward a shared purpose.   Without that, as the herd pisses civilization away slowly, do even the good individuals keep true to their ethics, or do they see the state of things and say screw it and take that Chinese bribe to share their findings with the sun kingdom?   Because hey, sin and sun kingdoms are only a phoneme away.   I say we have a situation that can't be held together much longer by the ethical few.   Not that I'm huge on the old world returning either.  But their coping was better than our coping.   Their resilience more proven, our trend angling more toward the suicidal.  As if we threw out the forge of society and went with an easy bake oven in its place.

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These days the narrative is -finally- being inverted though.

Yes, human societies needed ethics, and rules. That's how religions got their strength, their legitimacy. But the necessity of ethics and justice can be separated from supernatural beliefs. In fact, anthropologists and historians have dramatically reconsidered their views on past religions. There are just so many cases where the strength of a religion is correlated to the requirements of a human society, and many others, even in ancient history, in which religion and ethics were already somewhat distinct. In short, it isn't the fear of gods that has kept individuals in line, but the fear of justice performed in the name of the gods. And the gods could be cruel in ancient times, because that's often what it took in those days, when survival of most people was an everyday concern and violence was just a few days of empty stomachs away.

That's what some people would call "liberal bias in academia," ha!

But we haven't moved past the stage where we need faith in something for civilization to exist just yet. We at least need to believe in justice, because apes are naturally inclined to desire fairness. Hence several competing visions of justice, which themselves lead to competing visions of society.
I know which one I want to prevail, but I wouldn't look down on the other(s) just yet.
In other words I'd rather have an erroneous vision of what consciousness is rather than none. We don't need faith in gods, but without it we need faith in humanity all the more. Throw away the gods and the idea of a mystical "spark" in ourselves, and what will we get? Nothing good imho.

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11 hours ago, Rippounet said:

I think you're giving too much credit to rationalism, and ignoring the fact that cultural beliefs, even irrational ones, can have positive consequences.

Many things can have positive consequences, but it is better if good things have even better positive consequences than when a broken watch tells the right time twice a day - and in the end that's the kind of 'knowledge' religions as religions can offer people. This doesn't change the fact that many non-religious concepts were swept up and taken over by various religions. I mean, if you are honest then the only difference between Joseph Smith and 'St.' Paul is that the former was convicted as the fraud that he was.

11 hours ago, Rippounet said:

In this specific case the way we view consciousness might matter a great deal when it comes to thinking about human societies. And I'd rather consciousness kept a mythical side to it for the time being... Forms of hyper-rationalism have had terrible consequences in the past.

I don't think something as, well, unconcrete as the nature of the human self would affect the day-to-day lives of people in a meaningful way.

11 hours ago, Rorshach said:

Now, this is more nuanced, if still rather pointless. Your example presupposes knowledge that is, according to your Darwinian example, 1100 years ahead. And which is built on several stepping stones along the way. 

The question was real in every age. Even our stone age ancestors would have asked each other where the hell the animals and plants and humans came from.

11 hours ago, Rorshach said:

That's why your Benedictine monks make little sense. They do not have the knowledge from which to start looking for a Darwinian evolution, and simply positing that "well, I don't think they would because literal Bible reading" doesn't add anything of value. 

The point was that a Benedictine monk in the 8th century considering a Darwinian-like evolution would have either made no impact at all (because the idea would have been ridiculed) or he would have faced severe repercussions by his order's leadership who he was supposed to obey like a good little monk.

11 hours ago, Rorshach said:

Creationism is a creature of the 18th century. The conflict thesis is a creature of the 19th century. Both, in other words are very recent phenomena. That creationism has, to a large degree, merged with evangelicalism in the US is, to me, a tragedy.

Natural theology - the idea that nature and the way it is 'set up' is can count as proof for god's existence is a child of the 18th century (or was at least very fashionable in that century) - but that's also a sign of decline for actual theology. Religious doctrine and the contents of revelation are dying when you start to try to convince people that god is real by using arguments you think even people who do not already believe could swallow.

And to be perfectly clear - the concept of a natural evolution of life isn't something that came up in the 18-19th centuries. This idea was considered even back in the days of Greek philosophy. The main issue why such ideas never took much steam is because people had no idea about the true age of the earth nor were they all that able to imagine the transition between generations in as short a time as would have been necessary. This was still a problem in the 19th century when science hadn't yet figured out how old the earth and the sun actually were - and how exactly the sun worked.

It is actually not that great an accomplishment of Darwin's to realize that species are the way they are because they adapted to fit the environment they live in. This is the problem with human hubris - the idea that we are not things that evolved but things that were intentionally created like we create tools and dolls and toys to amuse ourselves. And of course animals and plants - on who we are dependent to survive - were also created to fulfill our needs rather than, you know, them having gone through exactly the same process to come into existence that we went through.

11 hours ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

How much Church history do you actually know?  Literalist, Sola Scriptura is a low church Protestant creation.  It was not the Church tradition for the first 1500 years of the Chruch’s tradition.

But it was always part of the tradition. Jesus Christ supposedly actually existed and were actually nailed to that cross and did actually resurrect. He didn't die for 'our sins' and resurrect the Bultmann way, no?

And if there is something a Christ believing in the nonsense story of Christ's resurrection and salvation must believe that there was some kind of original sin nonsense - because if that wasn't the case then there was no point in Christ dying and resurrecting at all. In that sense, the creation story in Genesis isn't as irrelevant to Christian doctrine as most of the other books of the Hebrew Bible (nobody really cares what judge followed whom or how wicked Jezebel was) and it is intellectual dishonesty to separate the concept (original sin isn't in the Hebrew text, it is much later construction derived from Christian ideology) from the actual text - meaning that people believing in Adam and Eve are more honest than people dismissing that notion but insisting that there still must have been some kind of silly original sin nonsense (which was never the actual point/theme of the Genesis story, anyway).

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

The question was real in every age. Even our stone age ancestors would have asked each other where the hell the animals and plants and humans came from.

No-one's denying that, so please - leave your strawmen at the door, you have enough other problems in your reasoning without adding more.

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

The point was that a Benedictine monk in the 8th century considering a Darwinian-like evolution would have either made no impact at all (because the idea would have been ridiculed) or he would have faced severe repercussions by his order's leadership who he was supposed to obey like a good little monk.

Of course he would make no impact! Or are you saying my cow-dung theory is something you actively consider?

What I would like you to do now, is to back up your personal incredulity, which is atm your only argument, with fact. Show us these severe reprecussions, please. These holders-back of science. These bang-the-bible-in-your-head haters. That is your only move now, because without it ... you have nothing but prejudice. 

And for someone hyper-rational, that irony is really too much. 

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

Natural theology - the idea that nature and the way it is 'set up' is can count as proof for god's existence is a child of the 18th century (or was at least very fashionable in that century) - but that's also a sign of decline for actual theology. Religious doctrine and the contents of revelation are dying when you start to try to convince people that god is real by using arguments you think even people who do not already believe could swallow.

And to be perfectly clear - the concept of a natural evolution of life isn't something that came up in the 18-19th centuries. This idea was considered even back in the days of Greek philosophy. The main issue why such ideas never took much steam is because people had no idea about the true age of the earth nor were they all that able to imagine the transition between generations in as short a time as would have been necessary. This was still a problem in the 19th century when science hadn't yet figured out how old the earth and the sun actually were - and how exactly the sun worked.

It is actually not that great an accomplishment of Darwin's to realize that species are the way they are because they adapted to fit the environment they live in. This is the problem with human hubris - the idea that we are not things that evolved but things that were intentionally created like we create tools and dolls and toys to amuse ourselves. And of course animals and plants - on who we are dependent to survive - were also created to fulfill our needs rather than, you know, them having gone through exactly the same process to come into existence that we went through.

Quite a lot of ideas have been considered by quite a lot of thinkers throughtout most human history. That is known. 

What you seem to miss, is the obvious: when no evidence supports a theory, it tends to die away. And the evidence for natural selection is millenia away. 

That *isn't* a trivial point. But it's a point you should strongly consider, as it hampers your reasoning at every point here. 

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In terms of the Abrahamic religions and a lot of other gods I think ego is at least part of the equation. 
I once read this book about gods returning to a society, and how the gods themselves have always been affected by 
their followers belief.

Interesting thing is that the most popular God was the most strict. The most draconian. He had rules for every everything no matter how minute.

One of the gods in the story actually make comment on why such a restricting force was so popular.  Because many people desire every little thing they do to matter. If you specifically don't worship a certain you’ve committed such a GREAT crime you deserve damnation. Because the entity that created the universe needs your validation. 

 

And I'm not saying all believers in religions that promise salvation/Damnation  are especially egotistical because of it. I understand it could genuinely offer comfort to most people. 

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6 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

And if there is something a Christ believing in the nonsense story of Christ's resurrection and salvation must believe that there was some kind of original sin nonsense - because if that wasn't the case then there was no point in Christ dying and resurrecting at all. In that sense, the creation story in Genesis isn't as irrelevant to Christian doctrine as most of the other books of the Hebrew Bible (nobody really cares what judge followed whom or how wicked Jezebel was) and it is intellectual dishonesty to separate the concept (original sin isn't in the Hebrew text, it is much later construction derived from Christian ideology) from the actual text - meaning that people believing in Adam and Eve are more honest than people dismissing that notion but insisting that there still must have been some kind of silly original sin nonsense (which was never the actual point/theme of the Genesis story, anyway)

Again, how much Church history do you know.  The idea of what constitutes “orginal sin” in the Orthodox East is very different from the idea of “Original Sin” in the Roman Catholic/Protestant West.  The difference matters as in the East it is the world, not every individual human being, that is fallen.  So, the creation story in Genesis doesn’t have to be taken literally for it to have impact.  It can be recognized as an allegory attempting to understand and explain the origins of humanity in a story that is not 100% fact.  

What I find frustrating is your claim that everything in the bible has to be entirely literally true or none of it is true.  That’s clearly a false dichotomy.  You also claim that something must be repeatable to be true.  How do you square that with Hume’s criticism of inductive reasoning (Empricism)?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_of_induction

From the link:

The problem of induction is the philosophicalquestion of whether inductive reasoning leads to knowledge understood in the classic philosophical sense,[1] highlighting the apparent lack of justification for:

  1. Generalizing about the properties of a class of objects based on some number of observations of particular instances of that class (e.g., the inference that "all swans we have seen are white, and, therefore, all swans are white", before the discovery of black swans) or
  2. Presupposing that a sequence of events in the future will occur as it always has in the past (e.g., that the laws of physics will hold as they have always been observed to hold). Hume called this the principle of uniformity of nature.[2]

The problem calls into question all empiricalclaims made in everyday life or through the scientific method, and, for that reason, the philosopher C. D. Broad said that "induction is the glory of science and the scandal of philosophy." Although the problem arguably dates back to the Pyrrhonism of ancient philosophy, as well as the Carvaka school of Indian philosophyDavid Hume popularized it in the mid-18th century.

 

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10 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

I don't think something as, well, unconcrete as the nature of the human self would affect the day-to-day lives of people in a meaningful way.

Humans have waged war or committed genocide for disagreements over this kind of thing.

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waged war or committed genocide for disagreements over this kind of thing.

difference of a single diphthong, yeah.

 

 

regarding literalism-that's a strawperson trick in some atheist literature: claim that scripture must be read literally and then make mincemeats of an allegedly literal interpretation that the atheist constructs, rather than taking an actual fundamentalist's argument to task.  there may be some fundamentalists that believe in literal interpretation, but they aren't very serious, but so too is the critique of literalism not very serious, to the extent that literal and figurative interpenetrate. consider:

Quote

I have shown--convincingly, I hope--that the Comedy is based on a figural view of things.  In the case of three of its most important characters--Cato of Utica, Vrigil, and Beatrice--I have attempted to demonstrate that their appearance in the other world is a fulfillment of their appearance on earth, their earthly appearance a figure of their appearance in the other world.  I stressed the fact that a figural schema permits both its poles--the figure and its fulfillment--to retain the characteristics of concrete historical reality, in contradistinction to what obtains with symbolic or allegorical personifications, so that figure and fulfillment--although the one 'signifies' the other--have a significance which is not incompatible with their being real. An event taken as a figure preserves its literal and historical meaning. It remains an event, does not become a mere sign. The Church Fathers, especially Tertullian, Jerome, and Augustine, had successfully defended figural realism, that is, the maintenance of the basic historical reality of figures, against all attempts at spiritually allegorical interpretation. Such attempts, which as it were undermine the reality of history and see in it only extrahistorical signs and significations, survived from late antiquity and passed into the Middle Ages. Medieval symbolism and allegorism are often, as we know, excessively abstract, and many traces of this are to be found in the Comedy itself. But far m ore prevalent in the Christian life of the High Middle Ages is the figural realism which can be observed in full bloom in sermons, the plastic arts, and mystery plays; and it is this figural realism which dominates Dante's view.

(auerbach. mimesis at 195-96).

 

o many people are getting into the legal profession because they want to change the laws.  Durrrr.   It's the wrong place for them, since that's supposed to be where you go to uphold the law.  

the distinction  doesn't really work for me here.  most attorneys argue for changes in the law at some point.  it's fairly common. or they argue that their interpretation of the law, however novel, is actually what the law has always meant; that's very common.  that's just litigators. those on the legislative side very specifically go into law to craft legislation. and those who want to work for a judiciary no doubt have their ideas on what the law should be. i really doubt, actually, that very many legal professionals want the status quo to be maintained in all its particulars.  right now, for instance, i am extremely vexed by the current interpretation of 33 USC 933(g) in the US fifth circuit. either the judicial doctrine needs to change, in my not at all humble opinion, or the statute needs amended.  my opinion there is not radical, though it is subject to reasonable controversion.

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