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  #31  
Old 03-15-2013, 08:11 PM
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Well, I don't feel it's any great loss. If anything, the loss for me, in my own exodus from the church, was realizing I had no afterlife to look forward to. But I've kind of made peace with that as well.
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  #32  
Old 03-15-2013, 10:19 PM
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Well I don't know about you but if the bible's anything to go by, I'd rather be dead and without conscious than have to spend the rest of eternity with the likes of Yahweh.

As for free will; here's a guy who's saying pretty much everything I've been saying but perhaps with more clarity.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCofmZlC72g
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  #33  
Old 03-16-2013, 12:13 AM
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That was a cool talk. So cool that I just forwarded the link to several of my family and friends, and encouraged them to watch it and comment.

I like the fact that he seemed to cover all the bases. He addressed the idea that *even a soul does not grant us free will.* He addressed the idea that it still makes sense to try to make the right "choices." He showed that having no actual free will doesn't mean that we should or have to just throw up our hands and do nothing. And perhaps best of all, he shows how this idea (of free will being an illusion) helps us follow Jesus' counsel to "love our enemies."

At first I figured "Ugh, this is over an hour long." But within about five minutes I could tell that it was going to be an hour well-spent. So I recommend it to any others reading this thread. Even if you don't agree with what the guy says, it's still an interesting (thought-provoking) talk.

As for the classic description of Heaven, you're right, it doesn't sound all that fun to float around playing a harp for the rest of eternity. From an LDS viewpoint, LOL, I long ago imagined myself spending the rest of eternity sitting through boring church meetings, and decided that didn't sound very fun either.

Now if an afterlife could come with some freedom (such as to travel around exploring the Universe), that wouldn't be so bad. Ah well, even a short mortal life, blessed as I am in my particular circumstances, is still infinitely better than to not have existed at all. I've learned and experienced much that is good, and it seems to have been worth enduring the bad.

Re: the Bible and its description of God ... yeah, the Old Testament especially describes (what to me is) a scary Deity. I like Richard Bach's God better.
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  #34  
Old 03-16-2013, 08:15 AM
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If anyone has any objections to it I'm all ears.

When I was young, I briefly converted to Satanism (of the fundamentally Christian type). This was partly due to seeing 'the garden of delights' by Hieronymus Bosch. It wasn't exactly idyllic but it looked far more fun than any depiction of heaven.

Anyway, we're past all that silliness and the new transition is this emergence from the free will bubble. So... what's next? Well even for those who fully agree that free will is a fallacy may still have a long way to go in fully accepting it and all its implications all the way to the bottom of ones subconscious. This is a pretty accurate description of myself I think. It's been over 2 years since I had my epiphany but I'm still prone to making nonsense egocentric thought processes. This emergence is an ongoing process. Any time I notice a glitch, I find the switch and flick it. It'll keep flicking back for a period but it's the same as any learning I think.

As for heaven, well... It may well be possible to create one, not just in the sense of a Utopian future but as an extension to that - an immortal simulation of one sort or another. I don't hold out much hope for our generation that we can be part of this (that's if it's even possible or likely to be achieved) but whatever's possible, we can be a generation to push humanity in the right direction.
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  #35  
Old 03-16-2013, 08:04 PM
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Yes, life extension is unlikely in this generation (alas for me in my selfishness). I believe it will happen in some future generation, but of course no one can "predict the future." Not with that many variables.

The number of variables involved in how we "make choices" is probably one of the reasons why we have thought (in the past) that we had free will. Decisionmaking is an extremely complex process. As the guy was saying in the talk, so much goes on in our subconscious of which we're unaware. So due to the complexity, we've been able to say, "It's all very mysterious; it must be free will." But as the guy said, if I can't predict my next thought, how then am I controlling that thought?

It's also hard to lay aside the free will paradigm because it's built into our language. It's hard (some would argue convoluting) to purge our everyday conversations of their "free will elements." I tend to just suggest to people ahead of time, if I think they're open to the idea, that I mean words like "choice" in a colloquial way.

Yes, I believe that Heaven exists somewhere in the future. An "on Earth as it is in Heaven" type of Heaven. A "the meek shall inherit the Earth" type of Heaven. But I can't exactly predict what that Heaven will be like, as everyone's idea of Heaven is a little different, and I value the diversity of our various personalities.

Re: Satanism of the fundamentally Christian type ... LOL, there's a mind-bender.
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  #36  
Old 03-18-2013, 11:40 AM
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In standard deterministic terms we're talking purely factors rather than variables. Variables only come into it with the element of chance as far as we have reason to believe (although we have little if any reason to believe that chance exists. If it does, it could well be confined to the realms of quantum mechanics).
Hmmm, that gives me an idea...
...if that is the case and the only time chance effects us is when these quantum events have an effect on our existence, then what if we instegate the occurance of quantum chance events and regulate their interaction with existence at large? True - we still have no free will in this but in doing so, we may be able to alter the course of existence. I don't know what causes chance (if anything) but this would be a new layer of occurance no?

Re: Ambiguosity of the word 'chance'. Yeah, I still use the word to signify something other than a quantum event. Something closer to 'a vaule that is unknown by me/unknown by anyone/unknowable due to known unknown contributing factors/known unknowable contributing factors (like quantum events)/the possibility (there's a similarly missused word) of there being unknown unknown factors/the possibility that even given all relevant factors, we'd not be able to do the math.
Maybe we need a new word but for the time being I'll just say 'chance'.
Perhaps it's true to say that globally, language is less than adequate to convey progressive thinking - even with modern philo terms. Wouldn't it be nice to have a universal language for this purpose?
Re: Valuing 'diversity in personalities'.
Shit, I'm all for diversity but at the moment, homosapiens generally differ in the most pitiful of ways. (Almost all of which are directly the fault of our skewed perception of self (the rest being medical issues that would be less likely to have occurred/far more likely to be curable in a world where the fallacy of free will is forgotten)).
Once we begin to iron out these fundamental flaws, we will start to really explore the worth in personality as well as begin to make close interpretations of our emotions rather than continually swamped in our defence mechanisms.
There is no reason why 'Heaven' cannot be diverse in itself.
Satanism as I understand it is the name given to non-christians like pagan, wiccan or heratic but it supposes a belief in Satan who is obviously included in Christian superstition. I acknowledge that many so called Satanists don't actually believe any Christian mythology but consider Satanism to be a hedonistic philosophy.
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  #37  
Old 03-19-2013, 02:33 AM
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Re:
Quote:
"In standard deterministic terms we're talking purely factors rather than variables. Variables only come into it with the element of chance as far as we have reason to believe (although we have little if any reason to believe that chance exists. If it does, it could well be confined to the realms of quantum mechanics)."
I think I see what you mean. I was actually using "variable" in an imprecise sense without conscious intent. Like you said, some things seem like "chance" because they're unpredictable to us given our limited scope of knowledge and computational ability.

Re:
Quote:
"What if we instigate the occurance of quantum chance events and regulate their interaction with existence at large?"
By "instigate" I take it you mean that things we do can bring about further quantum chance events, making us participants in odds or chaos. I'm less certain how to interpret "regulate," unless you mean some future technology by which we can decide how quantum chance events play out?

Re: language ... I'm somewhat pragmatic in that area; that is, I think changes in language evolve slowly, so I am resigned to working with what we have for the most part. Hopefully sometime in the future, people will have a better-defined and more-progressive way of expressing themselves in everyday life.

Re: fundamental errors that people harbor ... humanity has far to go before attaining even a truly civilized existence. However, I like to see most people as basically good people who sometimes do bad things. For sentient life as a whole, the road to Heaven may be paved with good intentions. I just don't expect us to travel that road in a few generations.

Re: Satanism ... I can't tell if you actually believed in a being called Satan, or were more of just the wiccan/heretic camp and perceived as a "worshipper of Satan" by Christian persons. It doesn't sound like something you stayed with a long time, in any event.
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  #38  
Old 03-19-2013, 08:35 AM
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Yes, firstly in incurring quantum events, we (the molecular world) are expanding the role that chance has on reality. By regulating (perhaps isolating unwanted effects of synthesised chance events) we (the white horses of causality) may be able to interact/create reality around us on a new plane.
There is always the very real possibility that I'm talking out my arse but it's a thought.
Re: Language.
Yup, things do generally happen gradually and often it's for the best but it doesn't always have to be slow and it's not always for the best. Look at evolution. Look at the chaotic mess of our bodies; the vas deferens, the recurrent laryngeal nerve, the inverted retina. Evolution works but it isn't ideal because it can't go back to the drawing board or design things. Similarly, the development of language works to a degree but it's hardly succinct. I'm well aware that there are other things that give a language value and I'm not in any way suggesting that we scrap all the others but a universal language designed to be succinct rather than just tinkering with the existing ones would be a great idea I think...though a bit further down the line perhaps.
Re: Satanism
Nah, I didn't stick to it for long but I was Christian in the sense that I held a belief in the existence of the Christian god but turned my back on the useless cunt and started pandering to Satan instead. After that I developed a stronger faith than ever before in a different fantasy wherein I was from a fairly civillised collective of aliens who'd used me in a scientific project to collect data by living as a human. I shit you not I believed it and would spend hours talking to the night sky, begging them to take me back. I was not the happiest of children.
Ah well, logic is prevailing now and one day I may even become a well adjusted human being. If there is such a thing.
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  #39  
Old 03-19-2013, 08:33 PM
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I can relate to the sensation of belonging to a different planet; I've had the sensation, although I didn't go so far as designing a belief system around it. I've also gone through various stages of not having too high an opinion of (Christianity's) God. These days I kind of shrug my shoulders and figure everyone believes in a slightly different God, which they are welcome to do if it's what brings them happiness.

Re: the future ... I fancy that eventually technology will change things on an order of magnitude that we couldn't even imagine or comprehend at present. I know some view technology as evil, dysfunctional, or "playing God," but I have a more optimistic view of it. Like language and physical form, it won't evolve perfectly, but it will evolve and gradually improve. Right now it's enough that we figure out what to do with the knowledge we have, but far future generations will have far more to play with.

Re: well-adjusted human beings ... it's not healthy to be perfectly happy with the world that we have since there is much amiss with it. However for the sake of sanity and endurance we need a certain amount of ability to just enjoy/appreciate the here and now. Each person needs to find their own balancing point as far as loving or hating this brief mortal life is concerned. It's lucky at least that we have a forum like this where we can talk and ponder these things.
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  #40  
Old 03-23-2013, 03:42 PM
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Re: Believing god exists.
I'm a live and let live kinda guy. If it doesn't effect anyone detrimentally I'd say there's not even an argument but it is detrimental isn't it? Especially for those who influence others (especially young children) into believing the same. If it isn't logical, it isn't rational, it isn't reasonable and isn't ethical. You can't have ethics without logic so any belief system that relies on religious faith isn't ethical.
There are some circumstances where I think it may be for the best to leave people to believe these things. Ineffectual people who are close to death generally. Those with one foot in the grave. My nan is Christian but it seems hardly worth getting into a serious debate with a 98 year old. I think she's got over her piety these days anyway.

Re Tech
True; it won't 'evolve' perfectly but unlike biological evolution, it will be designed. It's major limitation will be in it's designers.
Re: Well adjusted human beings
Some are better equiped than others in putting up with the current state. They tend to be not so well equipped in other areas. I often wonder why Ethiopians (for instance) don't just top themselves. How did people go from day to day in the dark ages? I suppose they didn't live all that long anyway and they we're all high on chemicals induced by untreated wounds, infections, malnourishment etc... they must have all been stark raving mad.

Now, as much as I appreciate conversing with you Kevin, I think you'll agree it would be good to hear opinions other than our own. Shall we start a new thread or two. Perhaps on free will (as it may not hit the same wall as religious debate tends to).
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