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Pascal's Wager.
Posted: 12 January 2005 04:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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What planet are you from Lawrence?

Bob

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Posted: 12 January 2005 11:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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I suspect he is from the same one I am, only he uses alot of words.

It is quite possible the “life force” is a quantifiable natural force like gravity, and carries with it the formula for consciousness, and we can’t discern it yet, prolly cause we are too busy being the trees to see the trees.

Lawrence, you know about the monarch butterfly?

Now there is a life cycle that is absolutely confounding to me.

An incredible migration pattern carried out by succesive generations.

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Posted: 13 January 2005 02:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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[quote author=“CanZen”]What planet are you from Lawrence?

Bob

Earth, the third planet from our star, the sun in a spiral arm of the Milky Way Galaxy. What planet are you from?

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Posted: 13 January 2005 02:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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I guess we’re from the same planet?  I was only curious but now I can rest in peace.

Bob

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Posted: 13 January 2005 02:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
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[quote author=“Iisbliss”]I suspect he is from the same one I am, only he uses alot of words.

It is quite possible the “life force” is a quantifiable natural force like gravity, and carries with it the formula for consciousness, and we can’t discern it yet, prolly cause we are too busy being the trees to see the trees.

Lawrence, you know about the monarch butterfly?

Now there is a life cycle that is absolutely confounding to me.

An incredible migration pattern carried out by succesive generations.

Words are symbols for concepts. Concepts catagorize experience. Experience provides knowledge. Knowledge is expressed in words that are symbols of concepts.

I love Monarch butterflies.

One year when we went to camp and hike in the Mojave National Preserve there was an explosion of Monarch butterflies.

They spun a type of sac, looked sort of like a spider web, in which the new caterpillars hatched. I saw these ‘sacs’ hanging on many ‘cats claw’ bushes. (Mormons called the plant a ‘come-along’ bush, when you walk by it and it grabs you, you must ‘come along’, retrace steps to allow removal of the vicious hook, shaped and functional as a cat’s claw.)

I was curious about the sac so I split it open and found a mass of caterpillars.

As we stood below the summit of a hill hundreds of Monarch’s floated by with the breeze all heading south to the Mexican border.

When I see a Monarch I stop and watch it and marvel at the beauty of life.

(I also stop to smell the roses, the ‘peace’ rose is my favorite, sort of a subtly fruity smell that is not as sweet as fragins osmanthus, the base of most perfume)


What is life? No one knows. Life is aware of itself the moment it becomes life, that much is certain - and yet it does not know what it is. Consciousness, as sensitivity to stimuli, is undoubtedly aroused to some extent at even the lowest, most undeveloped stages of life’s occurrence; it is impossible to tie the emergence of consciousness to any particular point in life’s general or individual history - to link it, for instance, to the presence of a nervous system.


The lowest animals have no nervous systems, let alone a cerebral cortex, and yet no one dares deny that they are capable of responding to stimuli. You can anesthetize life, life itself, not just the special organs capable of the response that informs life, not just the nerves. You could temporarily suspend the responses of every speck of living matter, in both the plant and animal kingdoms, narcotize eggs and sperm with chloroform, chloral hydrate, or morphine.


Consciousness of self is an inherent function of matter once it is organized as life, and if that function is enhanced it seems to turn against the organism that strives to fathom and explain the very phenomenon that produced it, a striving of life to comprehend itself, as if nature were rummaging to find itself in itself.


What is life? No one knows. No one can pinpoint when life first emerged from nature. Nothing in the realm of life is self-actuated, yet life seemed to have actuated itself. If anything can be said about life, then, it is this: life’s structure is so highly developed that nothing like it could occur in the inanimate world. The distance between an amoeba - a pseudopod - and a vertebrate was minor, insignificant in comparison to that between the simplest form of life and inorganic matter, which does not even deserve to be called dead - because death is merely the logical negation of life. Between life and inanimate nature is a yawning abyss.


What is life? Life is warmth, the warmth produced by instability attempting to preserve form, a fever of matter that accompanies the ceaseless dissolution and renewal of protein molecules, themselves transient in their complex and intricate construction. Life is the existence of what, in actuality, has no inherent ability to exist, but only balances with sweet, painful precariousness on one point of existence in the midst of this feverish, interwoven process of decay and repair.


What is life? Life is not matter, it is not spirit. Life is something in between the two, a phenomenon borne by matter, like the rainbow above a waterfall, like a flame. But although it is not material, life is sensual to the point of lust and revulsion, it is matter shamelessly sensitive to stimuli within and with out - existence in its lewd form. Life is a secret, sensate stirring in the chaste chill of space. Life is furtive, lascivious, sordid - nourishment sucked in and excreted, an exhalation of carbon dioxide and other foul impurities of a mysterious origin and nature. Out of overcompensation for its own instability, yet governed by its own inherent laws of formation, a bloated concoction of water, protein, salt, and fats - what we call flesh - ran riot, unfolded; and took shape, achieving form, beauty, and yet all the while was the quintessence of sensuality and desire. This form and this beauty are not derived from the spirit, as in works of poetry and music, nor derived from some neutral material both consumed by spirit and innocently embodying it, as is the case with the form and beauty of the visual arts. Rather, they are derived from and perfected by substances awakened to lust via means unknown, by decomposing and composing organic matter itself, by reeking flesh.

-from The Magic Mountain, Thomas Mann (won the noble prize for literature)

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Posted: 13 January 2005 05:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
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well, matter and energy are the same thing

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Posted: 06 February 2005 04:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
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The most obvious problems with Pascal’s Wager are:

How do you know which God to believe in? There are plenty to choose from, and if you pick the wrong one, you could be in big trouble (e.g. what if you choose Jesus, but get to heaven only to come face-to-trunk with Ganesh?). This is known as the “Avoiding the wrong Hell problem”. If a dozen people of different religions came to you with Pascal’s Wager, how could you possibly choose between them? After all, many religions are quite specific that they are the One True Religion, and not any others. Jesus Christ said “I am the way, the truth and the light. None shall come to the Father except through me.” [emphasis added] and no doubt most other religions make similar claims. If a Christian considers the Wager as strong support for his faith, surely he must accept that it is equally valid for all other religions when presented to himself?

God is not stupid. Won’t He know that you’re just trying to get a free ride into Heaven? How can you sincerely believe in a God simply out of convenience?

If there is no God, you have still lost something. You have wasted a good portion of your life performing the various devotional rituals, attending Churches, praying, reading scripture and discussing your deity with His other followers. Not to mention giving your hard-earned money to the church, wasting your intelligence on theological endeavours and boring the hell out of people who really don’t want to hear your Good News.

Can you get away with just sort of generally believing in a Supreme Being, without specifically believing in one particular Deity? Probably not - God will still know what you’re up to. Also, many Gods are quite particular about how they should be worshipped. Many born-again Christians will tell you that the only way to Heaven is through accepting Jesus Christ as your personal saviour - nothing more and nothing less. General-Deity-Belief and being nice simply won’t do. Many people believe that all the different religions are merely alternative routes to the same destination. Nice and tolerant (if a little warm’n'fuzzy) though this may be, there is no valid reason to accept this stance over the fire-and-brimstone fundamentalist position : if the fundies are right, then the un-Saved liberal theists are in just as much trouble as the nonbelievers.

Few, if any, atheists disbelieve in deities out of choice. It’s not as if we know the god is really there, but somehow refuse to believe in it (for example, see if you can choose to truly believe that Australia does not exist). Most atheists disbelieve simply because they know of no compelling evidence to suggest that any sort of god exists. If you want an atheist to believe, show her some good evidence, don’t just say it’s in her best interests to believe even if there is no god. A person cannot choose to sincerely believe in something, just because it is pragmatic to do so. Sure, you could say all the right prayers and attend church regularly, but that is not the same thing as actually believing, and any God worth his salt would obviously see straight through that.

It is quite insulting. It amounts to a thinly veiled threat, little better than saying “Believe in my God or He’ll send you to Hell” (in fact, this is often the form it is presented in). Also, the theist making this threat assumes that the atheist believes there is a Hell or a God to send her there in the first place. If you don’t believe in Hell anyway, it’s not a scary thing to be threatened with - a bit like saying “If you don’t start believing in unicorns, one will trample you to death while you’re sleeping.” Who would be worried by that?

It is often self-refuting, depending on the person’s description of God. If you believe that God will forgive anyone for anything, or judge people purely on how they lived their life and not what they believed, or that everyone gets to Heaven regardless (unless maybe they were genocidal cannibal serial killers), then the Wager is meaningless. You might as well say “Believe in God, or you’ll… erm… go to Heaven anyway.” In such a case, it doesn’t make a scrap of difference whether the person believes or not.

The Atheist’s Wager:

This seems to be much more reasonable, both for atheists and theists :
“It is better to live your life as if there are no Gods, and try to make the world a better place for your being in it. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will be remembered fondly by those you left behind. If there is a benevolent God, He will judge you on your merits and not just on whether or not you believed in Him.”

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Posted: 06 February 2005 06:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]  
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It’s perfect.  Pascal’s Wager is still used as a study tool in philosophy courses and it wass a good way (until now) to get people to thinking about deities and self, but your argument has really made the whole episode entirely ridiculous.  I will be sending your response to all my philosophically inclined friends - it’s a must read.

Your “Atheist’s Wager” is also a remarkable new take on the problem of belief - I’ve never read anything so ‘common sensibly’ applicable to every person’s life choices concerning belief and faith.  Thanks Andrew!

Bob

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Posted: 12 February 2005 07:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]  
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The Atheist’s Wager:

This seems to be much more reasonable, both for atheists and theists :
“It is better to live your life as if there are no Gods, and try to make the world a better place for your being in it. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will be remembered fondly by those you left behind. If there is a benevolent God, He will judge you on your merits and not just on whether or not you believed in Him.”

Nice try Liberal.

It is better it live your life as if… doesn’t cut it with me.
If there is a benevolent… Benefitting whom - you?

Too egotistical for my blood.

Live your life by the light by truths you have,
discovered for your self,
and share among like precious jewels,
knowledge, love and wealth.

Uphold the good and generous soul,
praise brave and worthy deed.
But most of all have some respect
for the Man who does not need.

And where is one such to be found
with disciplined affair?
By being The Compasionate,
with Rightousness in there.

And by this marvel, Man anew
Two worlds they do collide,
First of water then of Light
A home that all abide.

‘And did you ask “where art thou God?”
The spendour that you see.
That earth unfolds as it should
why did you rebel me?’

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Posted: 12 February 2005 10:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]  
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I think it is a perfect post!  Sure says it for me.  Here is another one.

 

Pete

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Posted: 27 February 2005 01:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]  
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How do you ‘make’ yourself believe?  Try as I might, regardless of wager, I cannot make myself believe in Santa Claus.  I can believe in the spirit of giving.  I can even believe in the legend of Saint Nicholas…..but Santa Claus?  No   The laws of physics won’t allow me to believe that one overweight white man riding a sleigh pulled by eight flying reindeer could haul, and deliver presents to all the ‘good’ children of the world in one night.  I just can’t believe it anymore.

I can’t believe that ‘rain’ comes from beyond the stars…
I can’t believe in a flat earth or geocentrism.

The irony here is that most believers today don’t believe in a flat earth or geocentrism….and the why of that is overwhelming evidence to the contrary.  And this overwhelming evidence is overwhelmingly in the general publics face.

Now there is a tremendous amount of evidence for UFO’s…....unidentified flying objects…..  but extremely little for extraterrestrial space ships.  Now many UFO believers would jump on me about this….but that fact of the matter is that they ‘conflate’ the UFO and turn it into the alien space ship.

We do the same thing with our ‘spiritual’ experiences.  We already know the answers before we ask the questions.  We have an experience and we attribute it to ‘God’.....to a particular faith…..etc….Why?  We do it because these things are already a part of our world and interpretive complex.

Why are we so afraid to look into the possibility that some of our ‘sacred cows’ are open to reinterpretation or are just plain wrong?

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Posted: 01 March 2005 08:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]  
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What Ing overlooks is that god might prefer the abstinent, that he reserves special rewards for those who deny themselves the comfort of beliefs. Perhaps the intellectual refusenik will win all while those who compromise their intellectual integrity will lose everything.

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Posted: 01 March 2005 11:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]  
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Guest,

You have compromised your intellectual integrity with that post, so maybe it’s time to start worrying?

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