Hellfire and Buggery Part II: Crazy goes to Crazytown!!

Immediately following on from my last blog, about how I'd posted a video on Facebook about Homosexuality and Christianity, received one angry message from a Christian who promptly de-friended me (how shall I ever live with myself ? ? ? ) - someone began commenting on the video.

Turns out - as you'll see - he's something of a spiritual, new age kind with a penchant for CRAZY and lists, LOTS of lists and half-finished....


This began a debate between me and him and it has been going on ALL DAY (is still going on as I type this)

I figured I'd just transcribe the lot over here and let you guys pick over the bones.

It's been a relatively fun if not just a little exhausting.


AR:
Not that much of a dig at christianity to say it did not understand how God controls populations all those years ago it was written ? We develope medicines to counteract his virus' and bacteria so more are gay lol .

RH:
I am kind of curious how the author of that sainted book, ad *ahem* "creator of our universe" *ahem* so failed to mention micro-organisms. Seems like an over-sight.

I mean off al the commandments he could have issued apart from love me love me, love me, adore me, worship me , don't kill, steal or perjure, honour mum and dad and don't covet otherpeople's assets - he might have thought to mention that shalt not take the cooking utensils near the spot where you've dug the midden privy, and wash your hands before mealtimes.

You're right not much of a dig at Christianity per se, but still a good video nonetheless with a useful message.

AR
I like to work on the concept of God , but would not say I am christian . In fact i'm somewhat of a religion based hedonist . I like bits from all of them .

RH:
I shrugged off that hypothesis once I stopped believing in ghosts and started cracking open books without pictures™ somewhere in my teens.

My stated position that I have reached after many years is I know of no evidence, good reason or sound argument why I should believe in other people's gods. I have yet to encounter anything to persuade me otherwise, perhaps that is impossible, but given the vanishing likelihood of anything supernatural actually being real I discovered I live my life as an atheist with the agnosticism implicit, as I believe it ought to be and that suits me just fine.

I find faith deeply weird and sometimes a little bit creepy.

AR:
I think christianity does say we should try to understand God , new testament i admit . So wouldn't he intentionally leave bits out?

I like all picture info , like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ibc8sD5sgw

Check out my profile , you'll see i like science too :)

re: I find deep faith weird and sometimes a little bit creepy.
--------------------
but we all use faith every day. Evidence that the chair will hold you up is very often unchecked before you sit.

RH:
To that end of trying to understand god, I find god of the bible to be arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty, ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.

Well clearly the people who wrote the bible didn't know the first thing about bacteria that's why they don't mention them; they also didn't know much about the history and formation of the earth, theevolution of the biosphere since they get all of that wrong as well nor it would appear are they on first name terms with How To Play Nicely
With Others.

As a first attempt at organising the cosmos, the bible bears the stamp of it's lowly origins as a thoroughly human document, in my opinion. It's a small mercy so much of it isn't true. And hence we can overcome this burden on our culture, not least in the
way we treat minorities.

It would, and this was my original point, be rather odd if the book was the accurate words of a god who while he feels it necessary to spell out for instance the laws on sex slavery for raped women (Deuteronomy 22:28-29) doesn't feel obliged to mention contagious disease and how it could largely be prevented.

AR:
Without trying to find God or trying to understand the true nature of God science would not have come into being . Hence why I prefer the concept to the written description.

Lol can something that is the entirety of everything really be megalomaniacle ?
If we were termites we would be struggling to understand the concept of table :)

All a termite knows is it lives in tunnels , all we know is planets stars etc. Can we get far enough away to see the table ? Not yet .

RH:
Well yes that's probably true up to a point, that the *concept* of a godly ordered universe was useful in brining about empirical investigation of reality for the worshipful better wanted to understand what they thought of as creation.

That in no way lends to the idea that god did in fact create the universe one shred of legitimacy. We are now at a point where it is I think patently obvious that the universe is not so ordered and not created with us in mind and there's no evidence it was created in such a way as that anyhow. So there's a historical point there but we're largely beyond that now.

"The entirety of everything" - are you a pantheist?

I think the character of god in the bible is distinctly megalomaniacal. For instance The Book of Job opens with a bet between god and satan to ruin Job's life so god can prove satan wrong.

That's pretty twisted, but at stake is how devout is Job's love for god, that's what these two fictional beings are wagering over: I'd call that pretty megalomaniacal.

AR:
Our will is tested regardless of who you are , it makes you strong. For me this life is about learning and making choices of what you find acceptable or not , I like to think of this process as designing your afterlife .


RH:
I don't need faith to think that this chair will hold me up. I see chairs regularly, I understand how they work, I have in fact sat on many chairs in the course of my life, and they've never failed to hold me up yet. I know of no evidence, good reason or sound argument why I should have faith in other people's gods.

The analogy doesn't hold up. That's redefining what to have faith in something is. Broadly to believe something without evidence. To sit with confidence upon a chair is in a very general sense an act of empirical assurance.

You believe there's an afterlife? Again, without wanting to sound repetitive, I know of no reason... fill in the blanks. I'm not even sure an afterlife is desirable.


AR:
Individuals impression of god or gods is different and personal as with all definitions we make for ourselves. Chairs do break but we don't check to see if they are damaged before we sit. Paralell universes, quantum physics . Possibilties are there .


RH:
But I was with you up until then about learning and how the choices we make are our own, and not the dictates of a mystical sky-daddy, who is almost certainly a collective fantasy. One that I simply do not share. Termites and tables - sorry, you've lost me?
What was your point?

AR:
I have no definition of God . I feel that by defining any property is or could be limiting a limitless being . There are things common in all we understand , it's these things that
describe existance of design. mathmatical formular(kirchovs pi ), magnetism , polarity(+/- positive negative/good/bad) etc...


RH:
Just finished watching the youtube video of Fibonacci spirals.

I depart around 3:20 where the narrator starts whittling on about proof of
a designer, proof of a creator.

Um.. no it isn't ...

The geometry of reality is built on simple self-replicating rules, which are naturally select for and thus form complexity.

Self-organisation is a fundamental principle of nature.

But don't take my word for it:

Watch this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HACkykFlIus

There are 6 parts to this documentary which covers all the basics which you should listen to in order to grasp the central idea, but the key passage comes in part 5, starting at 5 minutes, discussing complexity based upon simple rules and the mathematics of the universe.

The other guy is simply wrong.


AR:
I also depart at same place.


RH:
re: Each person's god is different"
---------------------
Now that I do agree with. I'm into the habit now or having to ask "which one?" when someone tells me they believe in god as it is in my experience, very rare that people will believe in the same god as someone else, even if they profess to. Doesn't give me much hope that god isn't another term for collective delusion.

Chairs do break, that's true, but I am still not seeing the relevance of the analogy to my lack of experience of any description whatsoever that would confirm that gods exist. Chairs break in the real world. I see no evidence of god in the real world. At. All.


re: "Parallel Universes, Quantum Physics, possibilities are there"
----------------------

I'll say this as nicely as I can.

I confess I do find it incredibly irritating when people take scientific principles or ideas like Quantum theory and misapply it to mean something wholly different.

The weirdo homoeopaths and spiritualists do this all the time my whirling chakra energy spot is actually a whirring black hole - or some such rot. I again fail to see how the mathematics principally or just our understanding of the quantised energy states, is informative about the role or nature or existence of god or gods. It strikes me as 'reaching' when someone has to retreat to such an extent that god's only chance of
survival is in a parallel universe or 'outside of space and time' as if those ideas were coherent, which they usually aren't.


re: I have no definition of God . I feel that by defining any property is or could be limiting a limitless being .
------------------------

With respect, I disagree, I think you probably do have a conception of god, otherwise where did that comment about 'how can the everything of everything be megalomaniacal?" come from? Even if it's only a default derivation by some form of negation, I think you do have a concept of god.

Nature is self-organisingly complex, not designed. to reach such a conclusion one must ignore what large parts of modern science in various fields and modern mathematics tell us about how the universe is organised and run, and instead institute, what I can only
describe as a bias, an imposed perspective which has nothing to do with reality as observed.

re:
There are things common in all we understand , it's these things that describe existance of design. mathmatical formular(kirchovs pi ),
magnetism , polarity(+/- positive negative/good/bad) etc.

------------------------
Pi, magnetism, polarity, all have natural explanations; I am franked perplexed that they are the foundation of anyone's belief in a supernatural.


"I also depart at same place." (of not thinking the universe is created)

Well that's encouraging to hear.

I'd love to know your reaction to "the secret life of chaos" I linked to....



AR:
‎'how can the everything of everything be megalomaniacal?" come from? The omnipresence of God . To be everywhere he must be all of .


I have had many debates on yahoo answers as to what exists in everything and ,as far as we know it , nothing . The answer is magnetic flux .


I am franked perplexed that they are the foundation of anyone's belief in a supernatural .
I explained preveiously :"I like to work on the concept of God" Not that I believed in one .


RH:

Contrast:

I have no definition of God . I feel that by defining any property is or could be limiting a limitless being

The omnipresence of God . To be everywhere he must be all of [everything]....

Like I said - that sounds like a concept you hold to me, and also - as I said - quiet pantheistic.

Clearly you are - as you said - not a Christian, as I have my bible to hand, had I the time I'd scan through it, I would but alas I don't however I can recall any passage that indicates god is omnipresent rather the contrary, passages which seem to indicate god, if her were real as being in one spot and not another and beneficiary of several bodily functions
such as seeing, hearing, walking, speaking - so I therefore presume this aspect of god is one of the number of infusions you've taken from other sources, am I correct?

I explained previously :"I like to work on the concept of God" Not that I believed in one .

Fair point.

"I have had many debates on yahoo answers as to what exists in everything and ,as far as we know it , nothing. The answer is magnetic flux."

Sounds interesting - would you mind explaining that then and I'll take a look when I get back. Thanks.


AR:

I see no harm in designing/deciding an afterlife as a part of my existance as it can do me no harm but could prepare the way to it (theoretically).


re:"I confess I do find it incredibly irritating when people take scientific principles or ideas like Quantum theory and *misapply* it to mean something wholly different."
---------------------
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmv5bXuYDlc



The secret life of chaos: I've seen before , agree in part .


I am closer to believing that we make and actually are our own god.


Hence the paralell universes........?


re: Termites and tables - sorry, you've lost me. What was your point?
----------------------
Omnipresence of god has bugged me for 25 years . If you tell a termite he lives in a table , he will say you are mad, because he knows he lives in tunnels . It's a matter of perspective .


Mode of the Divine Knowledge: Scripture brings God's knowledge into connection
with His omnipresence. Psalm 139 Ephesians 2:17, 18; 1 Corinthians 12:13


RH:
re: "I see no harm in designing/deciding an afterlife as a part of my existence as it can do me no harm but could prepare the way to it (theoretically)"
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

That sounds a little like Pascal's wager - the loss, is one might (and I don't mean you, but to return to the original post for example) conclude it is the godly thing to hate homosexuals, and that if one does not do so, one's eternal salvation might be jeopardised.

I think it it is both injurious on the person who thinks that way that their respect for the fellow human beings is so contorted, but also to the person who may become subject to
that hate.

In a more general way, I think if one subjugates this life for one that is believed to be forthcoming - that is injurious to the individual - again I don't necessarily mean you - and to society at large If someone chooses to not pursue their dreams or to live life
repressed from who they are becuase they fear their afterlife is jeopardised. What a miserable existence, especially, if as I believe there is no life other than the one we are living now. However, we see this power imbalance in the way the godly seek power - always it is in this life is it that pastors and ministers and Imams and Popes demands
fielty and obedience. Always in this life is it that their beliefs must be exerted and expressed over others and power and money accrued to their causes because it simply isn't enough to believe it themselves that this life does not end, and that certain moral standards revealed by god apply they don't stop there they can't - not until I believe it
too.

Coming back to the idea of there's no harm in preparing, well there might well be if to take some seriously hypothetical examples:

a) The hell of whatever conception, isn't that bad or is only temporary.

b) if the means of existing in an afterlife is not eternal (a soul could conceivably be something like a parasite capable of living on after it's host is dead but still of itself only
finite.

c) if there is in fact no afterlife of any kind and death is just the end of us as individuals, then at the very least what has been lost is the colossal amount of time that was wasted in this "preparation" which could have been spent learning or as we are doing, in discussion, or with friends and family or any other activity really which could be self-improving or helpful to others.

d) No you might object that learning, discussion, family and helping others are all activities which might be done as part of the preparatory work and that I should not separate them - well alright then I still have a major problem with the ethics of doing anything good - not becuase it is right to do something - but for the selfish and self-preserving reason of this will help me in the afterlife.

Notwithstanding either the moral confusion of having ethical statements based upon revelation from divine super-beings is incoherent anyway. The old dilemma of Euthyphro.


re: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmv5bXuYDlc
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Yes, just like that.

Just teasing, I hope.

The Deepak Chopra / The Secret et al - it's pseudo-scientific nonsense
taking scientific words and concepts and applying them in ways that
sound credible but aren't.

On the other hand - cool music - Kronos Quartet and Requiem for a Dream, unless I am mistaken.


re: The secret life of chaos: seen before , agree in part
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

My candidate for best science documentary of 2010.

Although I agree, I had a few reservations - so now I'm curious if you agree in part, which parts did you disagree with?


re: I am closer to believing that we make and actually are our own god.
- - - - - - - - - - -

I think that's probably accurate. I don't think gods are real. I think they are creatures of our imagination given a cultural presence which they don't deserve, and we'd be better of without.


re: Omnipresence of god has bugged me for 25 years. If you tell a termite he lives in a table , he will say you are mad , because he knows he lives in tunnels. It's a matter of perspective .
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I'm still not getting the point of the analogy.

I understand the structure of it fine, it's like - oh I dunno - ant's walking around the circumference of a telegraph cable, they'll tell you (if an ant could talk) that they are walking on a flat surface where the universe is folded and you return to the point you
left, but we can see from our perspective it's a 3-dimensional wire in space, in an expanding, flat universe.

Okay so I get the idea of thing look different from different perspectives, but how does that help either evidence either the reality of gods or some feature of them?



AR:


I'm still not getting the point of the analogy.

If god is omnipresent/all of everything. We would have to send a probe past everythings limit , far enough to look back and see it in it's entirity to see god .


RH:
re: Divine knowledge

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I've had debates in the past about "Sanctified Common Sense", which is now a term of mockery and abuse with some of the people I happily associate
myself, but to paraphrase the idea was how could X know what god
intends, and after much picking apart, it came down to "I just know"
"it makes sense to me" "yes there's no evidence nor causal mechanism"
it's all the workings of the mysterious spirit - how dare you question
it?.

--------

Now, I'm not saying these two things are identical, I just want to clear the air a little
bit 'cos y'know when I read Ephesians "we have access to the father
through the spirit" that sounds remarkably similar to this unspecified
meta-magical telepathic process.

How is it supposed to work, exactly?

If we are trading bible passages: I'd probably go for Genesis 3:8 - where god is described as walking and can't find Adam and
Eve - which seems oddly inconsistent if he's omnipresent.


AR:
If they conviced themselves they could hide they get their wish , ask and ye shall recieve.

god is god and jesus(man form) and spirit (magnetism for arguments sake)



RH:
re: Ask and ye shall receive

---------

Is that web series reflecting something of what you do believe in then, I take it, since that's the 3rd time you've referred to it?

AR:
Believe ? or would like to be included in my percieved afterlife? I do give string and chaos theory some credibility , also much fantasy and science fiction . But hey it's my design :)




RH:

re: spirit is magnetism.

WTF???

I've had a fundie Christian tell me the soul was electricity before - and the afterlife consisted of us as electric replicas. We're not heading
down that route are we?

Cos like you can measure magnetic fields, if "spirit" is in some way magnetic it should be detectable - agree?
or not? I'm confused.

---------

re: god is god and jesus(man form)

Ah well now, I think it probably likely that someone called Jesus existed, based purely on the improbability of this
all starting if there wasn't, however, there are no eyewitness accounts
of any of the events accorded to him in the bible, which makes the
stories impossible to verify, and it is the very lack of verification
which leads me to doubt they are accurate and probably didn;t happen if
they could happen at all which I also doubt.

I certainly don't believe Jesus (if he existed) was the son or simulacrum of a god, it's
more likely to have been an embellishment of the story in accordance
with other Mediterranean myths - the virgin birth for instance is a
claim about biology that I think is patently false and didn't happen,
but it is consistent with a lot of other divine entities who were also
'born of virgins' or somehow metastasised by some divine energy; the
simplest explanation is not that god impregnated a teen by magic but
that this part of the story (and probably a lot more besides) is
made-up.


AR:
magnetism is the only thing present everywhere in physics. Omnipresence thing again.

he was a manifestation of something too large to scale for adam and eve to reference . The man form got the name jesus when he was born as jesus.

for the holy trinity to work it must always have been (god living outside of time)


RH:
String theory I'll be prepared to put some credence in when it has some experimental results to back up it's hypotheses with some facts. The LHC might just come in useful there but we are at the bleeding side of
the cutting edge on that one so it may not be forthcoming immediately.

Chaos theory seems plausibly borne out by the mathematics of however long it's been - what, forty years
(?), I've not paid that much attention to be honest - but it seems to be
holding up okay.

These things are not on the same level as science fiction though (well String Theory, maybe)

Imperfect as I am - I try to base my opinions on evidence and try to divest myself of
any of my wishful thinking.

The problem I think with designing reality is - well I can kinda see the appeal - but I do think there is
an objective reality out there to be discovered, and yes, okay our
visual cortex's create what we see, we don't see photons of light - yeah
yeah yeah I get that - but I don't actually think that matters that
much.

It's great for all the new age-ists who like to pretend it's all deeply significant, but it's more the case that reality can be
studied with a minimum of subjectivity, and patterns established (like
Chaos) and functions modelled which *WORK* (like electricity) and if it
is only the case, minimally as it were, the understanding we have of
such things is based upon our models, then the great thing about them is
that models can be revised.

So I don't rule out entirely that one day, the simplest and best explanation of why momentum is conserved
in collisions might be as a supernatural vibration in a cosmic fabric -
that might be where we end up epistemologically,but we are most
definitely not there now, and I don't realistically see any prospect of
that actually happening. I am only conceding that I don't rule it out




re: for the holy trinity to work it must always have been (god living outside of time)

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

You are aware that the only passage in the bible which explicitly refers to the
trinity was inserted into the bible in the 16th century, yes?

Ah - here we go - what was I saying earlier?: god is outside of space and time - ooh it's like putting on an
old pair of comfortable slippers.

Really? Do go on......


re: magnetism is the only thing present everywhere in physics. Omnipresence thing again.

---------

Are you perhaps referring to electromagnetism as one of the four fundamental forces of physics? (The other three being, namely: the
strong and the weak nuclear forces and gravity)



AR:
I believe spirit to be more than magnetism as it includes our design/decisions . On a sub atomic level everything is made of energy , magnetism is energy (the only energy found in as
close to nothing as exists) so in theory it is the lowest common
denomenator .
Decisions designs etc can be stored in energy bundles.


RH:
re:he was a manifestation of something too large to scale for adam and eve to reference . The man form got the name
jesus when he was born as jesus.

uh-huh. Okay. Interesting. Evidence please (or a good reason or sound argument)



AR:
time as my internal organs and cells might percieve is probably a lot different to the time i myself percieve , perspective again


RH:

re:I Believe spirit to be more than magnetism as it includes our design/decisions . On a sub atomic level everything
is made of energy , magnetism is energy (the only energy found in as
close to nothing as exists) so in theory it is the lowest common
denomenator. Decisions designs etc can be stored in energy bundles.

I recognise the words but that doesn't make sense to me.

What - just to be clear - do you think energy is?



AR:
magnetism matter and momentum



AR:
re: why momentum is conserved in collisions might be as a supernatural vibration in a cosmic fabric .


Without this phenomena earth would have had a cold core before life could start.
The moon is what is left after 2 planets collided liquified and spat a bit
out .

Implosive fusion. Emp . Hmm....

I don't need faith to think that this chair will hold me up.
Faith is acting without assesing the risks/getting all the facts.
Or even believing without evidence :)
Panthiesm is a very limited view compared to my own impression of God.



AR:
Have you never asked yourself how you would like God to behave or how you would do it if you were god or the devil for that matter?

These things define boundaries defining points of a design .

A design I like to think is the program part of my spirit .
If you like : Gods tick list
So you want this But you don't want this



RH:
re: Decisions designs etc can be stored in energy bundles....

------------------

Right so I think of energy as the capacity for doing work, and that can be for
example in the case of, say potential energy , merely a function of the
height of a given object in a gravitational field. There you have the
force acting on the object when it is dropped it looses height gains
kinetic energy giving you a vector of movement, if it pushes on another
object then the displacement to the second object is a measurable amount
of work done by the object carrying a measurable amount of energy.

Now I agree that patterns can be stored in energy like electromagnetic -
that's the basis of a computer, so clearly it can, our brains are
electrical the nerve impulses are charged ions flooding in and out of
axons of myelinated fibres.

What I'm struggling to understand is how this nuts and bolts stuff of physics is held to be significant this
call and return thing of "ask and she shall receive."

I say significance, becuase it's kidn of trivially true that "we are all made
of energy" but the kind of control and influence suggested in those
videos seems more like new age waffle than anything actually
scientifically pleasurable or measurable.

Which energy in all it's states is.



re:

Earth's cold core
The origin of The Moon
Implosive fusion
EMP


Okay - nice list, what's the point?



re: I don't need faith to think that this chair will hold me up.
- - - - - - -

Actually I believe that was my point.

You said:

"but we all use faith every day. Evidence that the chair will hold you up is very often
unchecked before you sit."

It was my point that such a view isn't faith as it is not a belief held without evidence we have plenty
experience of chairs , we have none of a comparative faith-based belief
such as that of god.

If I have managed to persuade you that the analogy was mistaken and that actually it is not an act of faith to sit
on a chair without first examining it for fault then woo-hoo!

Otherwise, you seem to be contradicting yourself.



re: Panthiesm is a very limited view compared to my own impression of God.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

My problem with pantheism is that it's kind of redundant and superfluous.

If we can describe all of reality in terms of physical laws and matter, and god is identical with all the
physical laws and matter in the universe, then we've just done away with
god, and can speak sensibly about just physical laws and matter.

My argument with people who say god isn't identical with everything is
then in what does god consist, and oh boy are there multiple ways to
answer that question, but none of them yet have persuaded me with any
evidence sound argument or good reason that they are sensible, credible,
true, verifiable or even desirable.

That's MY beef with Pantheism - what's yours?



AR:
re: What I'm struggling to understand is how this nuts and bolts stuff of physics is held to be significant this call
and return thing of "ask and she shall receive.

-------------

At quantum level things only exist in any given space at any given time by being checked/orbersved.
Same with the sub concious .
You didn't watch part 6 :)



You believe the chair you see will hold you up without checking if someone has sawn half through the legs as a joke . This is having faith (a belief without evidence) that the chair is
serviceable or according to the matrix a belief that the
chair is even there .


RH:
re: Have you never asked yourself how you would like God to behave or how you would do it if you were god ?

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

No I haven't.

Or the devil for that matter.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Still no.

A design I like to think is the program part of my spirit .
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I don't mean to be rude but is that sentence supposed to make sense?
Perhaps an example or two might help?

If you like :
Gods tick list
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Like this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvRPbsXBVBo


AR:
I have my own definitions , my idea of good/ evil , beatiful /ugly , right/wrong . Also I have my own limits as to what I would or would not do . These definitions make me who I am , it
is not a far stretch to imagine these definitions being files in a
program of sorts.

As they need only be yes/no in certain locations then they could pass from this life as energy to wherever they may go


Think of each file being a coloured ball on a double helix for example as to programme structure.

RH:

You didn't watch part 6
Oh yes, I did.

I think this whole privileging of consciousness for observing quantum events gets the universe back to front in a strange way. Consciousness isn't some thing of unique properties, in any kind of daulist sense, consciousness, I think, is something akin to an epi-phenomenon: the experience of a sufficiently complex cortex operating and processing - an emergent property. Computers have more raw processing speed, but brains as complex as ours are have essentially more processors working in parallel and at a smaller scale.

I think for instance, there is nothing to rule out, say a computer becoming conscious with
sufficient complexity, the caveat to that is that the buttress might come in that the energy requirements and the physical manufacturing limits of something like Moore's Law, biology has had millions of years to hone the simple fluctuations of patterns in biological systems. A
computer imitates it, was designed to replace it, with erm consciousless computation - that was (one) of Alan Turing's genius contributions.,

The problem I have of thinking consciousness is a determinant for quantum events is that - although that's the popular understanding - it's something more akin to an equatino with multiple solutions, and it's the mathematics of quantum events that describe the dual nature and the reality of observed patterns - the light duality thing is the mathematics of reality being solved one way and not another in a properly non-deterministic and probabilistic way - but not becuase consciousness is special. It's fascinatingly complex but nothing over and above a part of material reality.

AR:
re: God or the devil for that matter.

See mental breakdown as reason for why my answer may differ from yours :)


Think of each file being a coloured ball on a double helix for example as to programme structure or as locations within the brain that are polarised to your limit of
acceptance.



RH:
re: You believe the chair you see will hold you up without checking if someone has sawn half through the legs as a joke .

Oye - back to the chair again!

So short of deliberate and malicious manipulation by an evil outside agency (how very Cartesian) I must have faith, is that it?

Well no see I disagree, I think you are using a definition of faith like one might use trust. I trust that the chair will hold me up and not let me fall. But trust is based on evidence, in the most general sense, it a comparison against experience I've sat on enough un-sawn-chairs to possibly spot one that has been tampered with; or perhaps I won't spot it - jokes on me and down I go, but - this is not analogous to how people have faith in gods which is to believe in something in the total absence of ANY evidence.

Oh yes The Matrix.. hmmm

"what is real?" If you mean what we touch taste, smell hear and see then real is just
electric signals interpreted by our brains."

I'm frankly suspicious of anyone who want's to embrace such a solipcistic view as to
undermine any case we might build for have a reality we can understand.

Where we diverge I guess is that I don't have faith in any gods or supernatural dimensions (really - I DON'T) and I don't think reality is a hologram, I think this becuase science works, repeatedly.

If reality is reducible down to an hallucination (or even pacce half-sawn chair legs - some sort of deceptive experience by a higher agency of which I am unaware) I would have no reason to think that this would be the case, or even to what end believing such a thing to be true would
achieve.

If it were truly your position that all reality is holographic and illusory - how can you sensibly hold to any of your views about the nature of god or energy if those too are subject to this
same kind of corrosive doubt? I suggest you cannot and do not.


AR:
re: I think this whole privileging of consciousness for observing quantum events gets the universe back to front in a strange way.
- - - - - - - - - - - -

They can only describe what they find .


If anything is possible by perception then free will would truly be accomplished .


re: If it were truly your position that all reality is holographic and illusory - how can you sensibly hold to any of your views about the nature of god or energy if those too are subject
to this same kind of corrosive doubt? I suggest you cannot and do not.

As an afterlife designer :P, I would consider the idea of a lifetime as a being who could conjure into being anything and anywhere he wants to be. And as anything he might want to be also.

In fact if we are to learn teleportation we would have to that mental ability.

gets a tick on my list :o)


RH:
Y'know...I starting to think in the words of the Heath Ledger's Joker: "You and I are destined to do this...forever"


RH:
re: I have my own definitions , my idea of good/ evil , beautiful /ugly , right/wrong . Also I have my own limits as to what I would or would not
do . These definitions make me who I am , it is not a far stretch to
imagine these definitions being files in a program of sorts.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Likewise, largely culturally transmitted but also personally modified values. Certainly not
objective values.
As to whether it's a stretch to imagine these as elements of a computer program.

I read Dan Dennet's Consciousness Explained a while back (it didn't by the way just
delimited various options) however his conception was of the self as
kind of virtual machine which emerges by the operation of independently
modular and interaction pieces of biological machinery. (I hope I'm
doing justice to the book now!!)

So in a sense, I can kind of understand what you might mean, but I'm wondering if your metaphor and
mine are identical or not, and I really can't judge.


RH:

re: As they need only be yes/no in certain locations then they could pass from this life as energy to wherever they may go.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

They who?

Confused, again. ',:^ /



AR:
they files. Me programme / spirit thingy .
they definitions and emotional tag

they magnetic fluctuations and neuclear spin (on a limb nice analogy)


Good luck finding god here :P, but would you like there to be one in your next life ? Should you have the capacity to choose of course , and assuming there is such a thing .

‎"thing"=afterlife , God you would create , or not ?

RH:

re: think of each file being a coloured ball on a double helix for example as to programme structure , Or as locations within the brain that are polarised to your limit of
acceptance.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Oh yes, very clever - except DNA doesn't work like that, it's an analogy to think of DNA as a blueprint for creating a cell of specified type but one that is more than a little bit inaccurate.

A true blueprint of say a car or a house embodies one-to-one mapping from paper to finished product. It follows from this that a blueprint is reversible. It is as easy to go from a completed house to a blueprint precisely becuase it is one-to-one mapping.

|"in fact it's easier - all you have to do is measure the house and draw the blueprint , you cannot no matter how fine your choice of 'measuring stick' measure the dimensions of an animal (any animal - ourselves included) and reconstruct it's DNA.

DNA is better thought of as a recipe - becuase no two cakes emerge from the over exactly alike becuase they are all individually varied even if the contain similar ingredients.

This in a neat way brings us back to the moral of "The Secret Life of Chaos" (which by the way you never did mention which parts you disagreed with , but moving on) namely that of self-assembly.

It's a bottom up developmental process that isn;t akin to the top-down design of a programming model (or a blueprint)

I fact it brings us back to your termites - a termite mound has architecture that isn't designed but comes about in form in shapes stunningly complex by the pure operation of simple rules
repeating themselves.

Now there are some kinds of computer programs which obey bottom up, simple, local rules - you can for example model the flight of starling groups interacting.

Here's the real thing:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XH-groCeKbE

Note, how the interacting groups achieve stunning complexity and defined shapes and edges never making a collision and so on - not becuase there is "a plan" nor even "a leader" but because each individual bird is obeying a series of rules for how to fly with it's neighbours - and the emergent result is great complexity and patterns. Now the reason why th birds do this has an evolutionary explanation - watching for predators, in large groups, the majority are protected.

You see that idea picked up in the simulation of starling flight, also built on simple local rules
for each bird, also displaying the same emergent behaviour property - but this time involved in avoiding a pair of predators.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rN8DzlgMt3M

So summing up: DNA isn't a program that has been programmed by a programmer, it is if we must retain the metaphor at all it's more akin to a recipe than a programme.

But the take-home message is this: There is no choreographer here is no leader order, organisation, structure all *emerge* as by-products of the rules which are obeyed locally (per
cell or per starling) repeated this gives rise to complexity it requires no global action

Specifically in the case of DNA the division of cells, how they invaginate and diversify is a stratified process that happens over time (10 months to be precise), cells are bonded as tissues
and as they bend and fold and change, so 3-dimensional bodies are built.

Now from this to go to who we are as people would take twice as long again to explain - and my dinner is nearly ready, and also I can no longer feel and blood in my finger tips I've been typing so long!) but genes (that is regions of DNA on the chromosomes) don't code for behaviour - again it's not as simple as that, wherever you have a gene, it is modulate by environment in how when or if it is expressed.

This again puts the skids under the idea that DNA is just a simple program, it isn't becuase it interacts with the environment in which the body the DNA built lives and survives, and is altered accordingly.

Let's say, there *is* a gene for obesity from being unable to process high levels of starch and sugars

That gene may well have been in existence in Humanities infancy in The Rift Valley in Africa, but
there'd be very few obese homo habilis, due to the lack of large amounts of starch and sugars - indeed it is the phenomenon of the sweet tooth that has evolved to make us love sweet things becuase of their relative scarcity. Sugar and fat are great stores of energy if you have to run
50 miles to catch your dinner each day - giving into a craving for double chocolate fudge cake is what Niko Timbergen would call a Hyper-normal stimuli, it's tastes so good becuase we have evolved to enjoy sweet things, like apples not double chocolate fudge cake, and now if you factor in the genetic factors for obesity (if there are some) what now matters is when in history you lived.

If you were Homo Habilis, the genes may have had no appreciable effect (in fact they may
have been beneficial if they meant you found the apple and didn;t starve to death. If however you are alive now your behaviour and eating habits, with the genetic element and the culture availably of sweet things might make you fat (unwell - maybe depressed) in short it could
have consequences for who you are as a person

but just to clear genes interact with environment this is how it works and it's not really
the same as the programming model that you are suggesting we have.



AR:
I was only using dna strand as example of possible programme structure no implication to what dna is or how it works . It was the image of the ladder rungs holding opposing views shaded to our acceptance and tagged with an emotional responce .



RH:

re: Good luck finding god here :P, but would you like there to be one in your next life ?

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

Doubtful. and doubtful again.

I value my scepticism, and accordingly I don't think there will be a time when I will come again.

And that makes me value this life all the more.

This life of mine is incredibly special becuase there is only the once chance I have have
to live it.

"We are going to die. And that makes us the lucky one. Most people are never going to die becuase they are never going to be born Of all the other potential people who could be sat here in my stead but who in fact will never see the light of day number greater than all the sands of Arabia Certainly those unborn ghosts include poets greater than Keats, scientists greater than Newton we know this becuase the set of possible people allowed for by our DNA so far exceed the number fo actual people. In the teeth of the stupifying odds you and I are here."

- Richard Dawkins. "Unweaving The Rainbow" Page 1.



AR:

I think fantasy has it's place in this life . And designing a place to escape to is often a pleasant experience .

re: I think of energy as the capacity for doing work,"
That would be fuel.

electrical energy is made by moving a conductor through magnetic flux.


RH:

re: I think fantasy has it's place in this life . And designing a place to escape to is often a pleasant experience .

- - - - - - - - -

As do I, I think cultivating a healthy imagination is a fine and wonderful thing I'm not an advocate of some sterile acerbic wasteland. Just as I am equally an advocate for what is real and set my face against the not real where it is used to manipulate others. I do care passionately
about what is true, and religion is not, pseudoscience is not, delusion is not.

And just, look how far we have come: from god being the everything of everywhere to reality to being 'created' by our consciousness to we have no basis for assuming reality is real; to fantasy is important.

Is that it, that the concept of god is just a kind of wish fulfillment? 'cos y'know I'd not object to
that as I think gods are fictitious with no more reality than ... Harry Potter on The Grinch (both incidentally far more entertaining)

and I thank you Alan for an entertaining and conceptually challenging
debate.

AR:
"Right so I think of energy as the capacity for doing work,"
That would be fuel.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Well I can't be 100% certain but I think what I gave is more-or-less the textbook definition of energy as given in the energy/work equation. I wrote a paper on it not long ago, that's
why it's so fresh in my mind.

Fuel, specifically the hydro-carbon kind is just a form of chemcical energy released through a
reaction in that particular instance combustion.

But work can also be done by other forms of energy not just chemical which is why it
can be generally described asI did so that it includes fuel but includes other types of energy as well.


re: electrical energy is made by moving a conductor through magnetic flux.

- - - - - - - - - -

er...um. yes-ish.

I thought that would be inducing a current?

Which I suppose arguably is the same thing, just sounds odd to say "electrical energy is made", if you're moving the coil through the field. or moving the magnet closer to the coil) you're
converting chemical energy from your food into kinetic energy in your muscles to electrical energy in the form of a flow of current. You could swap out your arm and conducting wand for steam-powered turbine heated by a nuclear reactor and the process would be the same - the
conversion of one type of energy into current.


AR:
Delusion is real while you suffer it !
Religion as used as a mass manipulation device is certainly real !
"pseudo" means man made .
Pseudo science is not scientific as yet but as to whether it is real or not is a matter of perspective . It is documented
and therefore exists in documentation .

magnetic flux cutting through conductor , regardless of whether the field is expanding and collapsing or condutor
moving within a field .



RH:

Oh yeah what was that about 'mental breakdowns' from before? I didn't understand what you meant.

Well by definition a delusion is not real or it wouldn't be a delusion. It might *seem* real but that's the difference: it isn't.

Pseudoscience is not science. Period. I just don;t hold to this idea that all notions are equally valid and truth is a matter of perspective. Science is not the boon to let us believe whatever we want to beleive, it prevents us from belivinging whatever we want to be beleive by ensuring that reasoned and observable evidence is the foundation of our beliefs.

I can feel a 'what is science' debate coming on - but the headline version is, repeatable,
testable, empirical objective facts hypotheses and theories are science. The things which are pseudosciene fail to be repeatable and testable (or frequently observed) and typically in contravention of the known laws of physics.

A good example of this kind of fraud would be Homeopathy.

It's a good example becuase there's plenty of testimony to say that ultra dilute stuff is very effective cure for all sorts of ailments, except there is no reason to work, it contravenes the
known laws of physics in how it is aid to work and when tested to see if it has any genuine medicinal benefit, in well-constructed fair trials with randomised double blinding and published results in reasonable experimental conditions etc etc - Homeopathy performs no better than a
similarly administered placebo.

The same goes for dowsing, auras, mind-reading, tarot cards, mediums, psychics yada yada yada

So frankly that something been written down is no more consequential to it being true than whoever dreamt it up in the first place.




RH:
re: magnetic flux cutting through conductor , regardless of whether the field is expanding and collapsing or condutor moving with a field .

- - - - - - - - -

Uh-huh. What is your point? I mean we can discuss the physics of induction all night, I assume this is building to something?


AR:
reality is a matter of perspective !

re: Well by definition a delusion is not real or it wouldn't be a delusion.
Oh yeah what was that about 'mental breakdowns' from before?

During a delusion the deluded understand the delusion as reality, so for them it was, and the memory always will be real.
During my breakdown I challenged everything i experienced /read/saw overheard , all of it . God/Satan and what they may or may not entail was just a part of my experience .


The experience could be likened to hdd failure , and i had to rebuild my programme by making decisions about everything all over again. Actually more like my programme got scrambled and had to be patched.


RH:

Ooh-hoo, we have a disagreement.

I do not agree that reality is a matter of perspective. if you think that then I invite you to try stepping out of your window on your way to work tomorrow morning and seeing if you
float.

Okay not really, but reality is not a matter of perspective. That's ludicrous....

I was not aware that you had had a breakdown. (I was starting to suspect from the way in which you were talking about it, and I am sorry to hear that but this is the first time you have confirmed it.)

I understand delusions may seem real but this is not the same thing as them being real.

I really don't know what happened to you or if you feel happy talking about it. I sense it's a sensitive topic so if you'd rather leave it be then that's fine by me. I'm not in the business of treading on private grief.

But I can talk in abstract, that delusional beliefs even if they are perceived to be real, lack any kind of external verifiable quality.

Schizophrenics have problems with disorganised thinking and hallucinations. Now I accept the reality of the hallucination for the schizophrenic is a real experience, but the content of the hallucination has no external reality - it is an hallucination caused by the disorder.

Paranoia, is another example - a feeling of deliberate persecution by others, we can distinguish between a person feeling paranoid and whether or not they are actually being persecuted by others. There is a separation between reality perceived and reality as is.


(Well I suppose it's making more sense to me know why you speak of your self in this programming metaphor.)


AR:
re: I understand delusions may seem real but this is not the same thing as them being real.

Like nightmares :o)
I mean like dreams are not real events .
I question your ethos .
Reality for a chicken is not the same as our percieved reality even your and my
realities differ by psychology‎, physical form , mental abilities,
capacity for emotion, sensitivity of senses etc. etc.


RH:
Hmmm. I should have thought the word reality was clear enough but perhaps it is becoming confusing.

I think we need to be clear to distinguish between the Real World and any variation on perception (or for that matter delusion)

A personal example: I am colourblind - this means for example sometimes the tomato soup I'm heating in the pan will becuase it is orange will look to me like it's green.

Now, it isn't (in The Real World) green but to my perception (my own personal subjective reality, if you will) that is how it looks.

However I can separate knowing what I am seeing isn't true from how The Real World must be, and one way I can do this is to share my observation with someone else.

"What colour is this soup?" I may say.

and They'll say "red"

and I'll say "not green?"

and they'll say no definitely red, it's just your eyes."

Okay so I get the whole 'altered perception' thing.

I have it every day.

my point is the tomato soup was never green even if I thought it was.










------------------------------------------------------------------


And that more or less is it. There's a little bit more mostly me explaining what colourblindness is for the umpteenth time and it's gradully petered out, as I was typing all this up.

And he's not said anything for the last 40 minutes so I think that's it done.

Mercy!

Over 9 hours of back and forth between me and him.

136 individual posts.


I may never recover the feeling in my hands!


So, as I contemplate retirement from blogging about Atheism - my fellow A|N bloggites

  • Any comments on how I did - stick 'em below.
  • Any comments about ARs arguments or lack thereof - the same.
  • Anything funny or witty observations - ditto

And now I'm going to stick my hands in a bucket of ice. The causes of reason and science secure for one more day at least!!


Views: 21

Tags: Spiritualists, crazy, delusion, electricity, god, health, magnetism, mental, new age, physics, More…reality, reason, satan, science, weird

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Comment by Richard Healy on July 14, 2010 at 5:11pm
He's a livewire alright, this one.

The conversatino has continued today and it has gotten really strange

I'll transcribe all of that as part III when I get a chance...
Comment by Richard Healy on July 14, 2010 at 4:34am
and started cracking open books without pictures™ somewhere in my teens."

That was pretty awesome, if it's not copyrighted I might use it in the future :D


If anyone wants to mimic anything I have to say I am deeply honoured.
Take it, with my compliments.
Comment by Richard Healy on July 14, 2010 at 4:33am
I did have a headache when I was finished - but it was kinda worth it. :-)

It bugged me that I was trying to reason each of my posts and I'd get back sometimes lists:

"EMP", "The formation of The Moon."

Er.. is that an an argument - for what??

The stuff about the soul is magnetic (I kept wondering if that was shorthand for electromagnetic which is marginally better but still nonsensical)

I sensed I was talking to someone who think Depak Chopra is basically okay.

I did feel kind of bad when he told me he'd had a breakdown and there I was tearing into his carefully rebuilt metaphor of himself as a programmable computer. I imagine that might have been helpful for him.

Though I did reserve a small smile when I had to school him on DNA and his next post was a semi-pleading - I was only using DNA as an example, I wasn't describing how it works!
Comment by Fabio on July 14, 2010 at 4:16am
Generally speaking, I don't think he knows what the hell is talking about most of the time. Between his penchants for solipsism and New Age and his tendency to jump from subject to subject without much of a strategy, the whole debate looks like it was a pretty painful experience. :P
Comment by Fabio on July 14, 2010 at 4:09am
"and started cracking open books without pictures™ somewhere in my teens."

That was pretty awesome, if it's not copyrighted I might use it in the future :D

'"Right so I think of energy as the capacity for doing work,"
That would be fuel
.'

That one made me lol :P

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