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AngelRho
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17 Apr 2010, 7:19 am

Sand wrote:
AngelRho wrote:
Sand wrote:
Wikipedia is very vague about the term relativism.


That's because relativism, by it's very nature, is vague.

As addicted as I myself am to Wikipedia, I have to be careful with it. While it can be very helpful, it is not consistently the best source of information.


I take it you feel Wikipedia is evil.


Yes!! ! Wikipedia is the very source of all human evils.

No, I'm kidding again. To be serious, to label Wikipedia evil would be false. You COULD say that certain people who edit wikipedia, posting articles that are unsupported and show bias might be evil. For example, I could write a biography about my favorite composition teacher based on my experiences with him and list some facts about his life and philosophy of music. That would be a good thing. But I could also write an article about, say, the Spark Festival, which once rejected one of my compositions and expose them in a very unfavorable way. That would be evil, since I have no real experience with the Spark Festival and my motives are improper.

Anyway... I'm trying to remember what I learned about pragmatism in my undergrad philosophy class. That's the idea of "what works, works," basically, right? At one time I would have called myself a pragmatist. I can see how you'd take that on, since it has some very favorable implications for logical, reasonable thinking, scientific method, and so forth.

There does seem to be a flaw in this worldview, though. By consequence, it allows for a wide diversity of things to work: Those things which work for some people, and those things which work for others. If you were to look at a painting from one angle and I the opposite, we'd be seeing two completely different things. What works for you is the symbolic, representational art on the front of the canvas. What works for me is that there is only an easel, a frame, and some canvas. Our ideas are in direct conflict. If what works for you is true, then my idea is false. But if what works for me is true, then what works for you is false. We can't BOTH be right, but neither can we BOTH be wrong.

Let's switch sides. Assuming you retained the knowledge from your previous view, you would have to concede that your former position no longer "works." I would have to do the same. I would also have to assume your previous assertion as you would mine. But here we again run into the same problem. We still can't BOTH be right and BOTH be wrong.

This kind of thinking is also the basis for relativism. The difference is that in relativism, one tolerates or understands that others hold differing views and values them all equally without accepting those views for himself. "You have your morality, I have mine. You have your religion, I have mine. You have your god, I have my god. You have your reality, I have mine." The key feature is that there is no universal or objective truth or reality. You can very well make it up as you go.

As to where you and I stand, Sand, this is my understanding of our respective positions: We both agree that there is an objective reality or truth. We don't agree on what that is exactly, but we do agree that it's there. The problem I have with your position is that what you seem to say is that "What works (for me) is true." If that is correct, and I sincerely hope it isn't, then it follows that ONLY "what works" for you is true and nothing else. That puts you in the position of only what is right for you is valid and everything else is contradictory and therefore false--which would be the rest of the world!

If I've misunderstood, please clarify.



AngelRho
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17 Apr 2010, 7:41 am

CaptainTrips222 wrote:
stratify wrote:
The only explanation I can think of is that lack of socializing --> less friends --> less sinful lifestyle.
Maybe I'm just being presumptuous here.


Why does God make anybody with a condition that sets them up to suffer? He's a ******* a** hole.



I don't see AS as something that sets me up to suffer. I've been doing a lot of suffering due to AS, but that's not because AS is a big sign that says "Hey! Look at me! Come make me miserable today!" I look at AS as a gift. It allows me to think in unique ways and be originally creative.

I absolutely love the story of Temple Grandin. I don't know her views on God, but she certainly didn't look at autism as a curse. She discovered that her condition allowed her to do things other "normal" people couldn't do. Sure, other people treated her horribly, but she didn't much care in the end. She's here to do what she's here to do, and I find that inspiring.

God is not an expletive. God is merciful. That we are born with a condition is only a product of how we are made, i.e. it could point to possible flaws that were, at some time, introduced into our genetic makeup. If we're talking about the God of the Bible, we learn that this is a result of human failure to carry out God's will. We decided to learn right from wrong at a time when there was no need to and, as a consequence, became flawed. God gave us over to our spiritual flaws and, as punishment, our physical flaws as well. That we are even allowed to live out our lives according OUR own will, whether consistent with His will or not, is an act of mercy, not an evil nature.

Because we are endowed by God with a capacity to choose, we can choose to act in rebellion to His will (to do evil) or we can choose to forfeit our spiritual freedom in favor of His will (becoming a slave to God, earning freedom FROM evil). God doesn't make us mindless robots--that would be cruel. But God can't still be a merciful God and keep us against our will from doing evil.

That we are "set up" for suffering at the hands of others through our condition is not a God-made condition. Our suffering is partially the result of the evil of human beings who choose to make our lives difficult. The psychological and physical effects of our condition is a result of human history.



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17 Apr 2010, 9:36 am

AngelRho wrote:
Sand wrote:
AngelRho wrote:
Sand wrote:
Wikipedia is very vague about the term relativism.


That's because relativism, by it's very nature, is vague.

As addicted as I myself am to Wikipedia, I have to be careful with it. While it can be very helpful, it is not consistently the best source of information.


I take it you feel Wikipedia is evil.


Yes!! ! Wikipedia is the very source of all human evils.

No, I'm kidding again. To be serious, to label Wikipedia evil would be false. You COULD say that certain people who edit wikipedia, posting articles that are unsupported and show bias might be evil. For example, I could write a biography about my favorite composition teacher based on my experiences with him and list some facts about his life and philosophy of music. That would be a good thing. But I could also write an article about, say, the Spark Festival, which once rejected one of my compositions and expose them in a very unfavorable way. That would be evil, since I have no real experience with the Spark Festival and my motives are improper.

Anyway... I'm trying to remember what I learned about pragmatism in my undergrad philosophy class. That's the idea of "what works, works," basically, right? At one time I would have called myself a pragmatist. I can see how you'd take that on, since it has some very favorable implications for logical, reasonable thinking, scientific method, and so forth.

There does seem to be a flaw in this worldview, though. By consequence, it allows for a wide diversity of things to work: Those things which work for some people, and those things which work for others. If you were to look at a painting from one angle and I the opposite, we'd be seeing two completely different things. What works for you is the symbolic, representational art on the front of the canvas. What works for me is that there is only an easel, a frame, and some canvas. Our ideas are in direct conflict. If what works for you is true, then my idea is false. But if what works for me is true, then what works for you is false. We can't BOTH be right, but neither can we BOTH be wrong.

Let's switch sides. Assuming you retained the knowledge from your previous view, you would have to concede that your former position no longer "works." I would have to do the same. I would also have to assume your previous assertion as you would mine. But here we again run into the same problem. We still can't BOTH be right and BOTH be wrong.

This kind of thinking is also the basis for relativism. The difference is that in relativism, one tolerates or understands that others hold differing views and values them all equally without accepting those views for himself. "You have your morality, I have mine. You have your religion, I have mine. You have your god, I have my god. You have your reality, I have mine." The key feature is that there is no universal or objective truth or reality. You can very well make it up as you go.

As to where you and I stand, Sand, this is my understanding of our respective positions: We both agree that there is an objective reality or truth. We don't agree on what that is exactly, but we do agree that it's there. The problem I have with your position is that what you seem to say is that "What works (for me) is true." If that is correct, and I sincerely hope it isn't, then it follows that ONLY "what works" for you is true and nothing else. That puts you in the position of only what is right for you is valid and everything else is contradictory and therefore false--which would be the rest of the world!

If I've misunderstood, please clarify.


Perhaps this helps. They are two graphics abstracted from the same pattern.

Image

Image

They are two images discovered in the same underlying pattern. The underlying "reality" is the pattern with unrealized images. In all probability there are many more images in that underlying pattern. Neither one describe a universal reality which is a basic sense source. Which image is "true"? The question is meaningless.



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17 Apr 2010, 11:38 am

Sand wrote:
They are two images discovered in the same underlying pattern. The underlying "reality" is the pattern with unrealized images. In all probability there are many more images in that underlying pattern. Neither one describe a universal reality which is a basic sense source. Which image is "true"? The question is meaningless.


I see. But at face value we're only superimposing our own ideas of what we see onto the image itself. We are adding to objective reality, not purely accepting it for what it is.

You can do the same trick with star constellations. Bears and spoons and archers don't exist in the sky--stars and other celestial bodies do. They are useful for describing what we see. Once upon a time it helped us develop a primitive calendar that made seasonal cycles predictable.

Anyone can use their imagination to either bring forth something from nothing or bring order to chaos.

Taken metaphorically, your drawing implies to me two things: You can superimpose your imagination onto it to help label and understand it. Or you can twist or distort the original meaning and intent (assuming there was one, of course) to mean whatever your whim dictates it to be.

That second implication isn't meant to sound condescending, and I don't mean to imply that is your view. I have a very negative opinion of relativist thinking. It's intentionally vague to justify whatever it is the relativist wants to believe, whether it is true or not. I think it's more a defense mechanism than anything else, because relativists tend to be easily offended when someone puts forth an idea that they do not like. That's when you find that relativist thinking is not rooted in good logic or reasoning--they just don't like to admit they're wrong.

No one LIKES to admit being wrong, but at least with other world views we have a point of reference. I don't agree much with a lot of things I grew up in the church believing, and I can point those things out by actually studying the Bible for myself. You have the ability, if you wanted to, to explore other options if you feel something is wrong with your own thinking, or you can point to evidence to support your ideas. The relativist has no need for a point of reference nor the desire to examine anything. They have their feet planted firmly in mid-air.



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17 Apr 2010, 12:21 pm

AngelRho wrote:
Sand wrote:
They are two images discovered in the same underlying pattern. The underlying "reality" is the pattern with unrealized images. In all probability there are many more images in that underlying pattern. Neither one describe a universal reality which is a basic sense source. Which image is "true"? The question is meaningless.


I see. But at face value we're only superimposing our own ideas of what we see onto the image itself. We are adding to objective reality, not purely accepting it for what it is.

You can do the same trick with star constellations. Bears and spoons and archers don't exist in the sky--stars and other celestial bodies do. They are useful for describing what we see. Once upon a time it helped us develop a primitive calendar that made seasonal cycles predictable.

Anyone can use their imagination to either bring forth something from nothing or bring order to chaos.

Taken metaphorically, your drawing implies to me two things: You can superimpose your imagination onto it to help label and understand it. Or you can twist or distort the original meaning and intent (assuming there was one, of course) to mean whatever your whim dictates it to be.

That second implication isn't meant to sound condescending, and I don't mean to imply that is your view. I have a very negative opinion of relativist thinking. It's intentionally vague to justify whatever it is the relativist wants to believe, whether it is true or not. I think it's more a defense mechanism than anything else, because relativists tend to be easily offended when someone puts forth an idea that they do not like. That's when you find that relativist thinking is not rooted in good logic or reasoning--they just don't like to admit they're wrong.

No one LIKES to admit being wrong, but at least with other world views we have a point of reference. I don't agree much with a lot of things I grew up in the church believing, and I can point those things out by actually studying the Bible for myself. You have the ability, if you wanted to, to explore other options if you feel something is wrong with your own thinking, or you can point to evidence to support your ideas. The relativist has no need for a point of reference nor the desire to examine anything. They have their feet planted firmly in mid-air.


You miss the point completely. The so-called underlying reality is unavailable to you anyone else. It is not possible to perceive. You can only impose your interpretation. That's all you have. That's all you'll ever have.



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17 Apr 2010, 1:06 pm

Sand wrote:
You miss the point completely. The so-called underlying reality is unavailable to you anyone else. It is not possible to perceive. You can only impose your interpretation. That's all you have. That's all you'll ever have.


This is not always true. Let's take your drawing, for instance. I can imagine the underlying image without the pencil marking and see it for what it is. Whether I understand it is not an issue. Visual art is not my area of expertise, so to me the pattern appears random unless the original artist can show me that color patterns are by design. The underlying reality, whether I understand it or not, remains available to me regardless. I can see it. Just because you perceive it in different ways, you can't change the nature of what it is. You made it available to me. You put it out there. You can't take it back, even if you edit your post because I remember it! It IS. We've discussed it. We've crossed that point of no return. To say that the underlying reality is unavailable is to deny that it ever existed in the first place.

Perception is NOT reality.

The second image is only the first image upside down. That it can be interpreted differently is irrelevant. It still IS.

I understand the metaphor, I really do. We see things differently. We interpret things differently. But if it isn't possible to perceive reality, only interpret it, how is it possible that scientific observation has any merit at all? You may interpret certain findings to be harmful. I may interpret certain other findings to be beneficial OR I may find a way for the harmful effects to be useful. Botulin toxin, for instance, had long been a mysterious killer within preserved foods until the bacterial cause of it was discovered. But that same poison helped restore nerve function in Leon Fleisher's right hand (that's a death sentence for a pianist), who released his first two-handed recording in 40 years not long after I met him. It's two sides of the same coin. If you can't accept it, examine it and understand it for ALL that it is. Otherwise, if you don't care, you just leave it alone.

Yet another way to look at it is invisible things--emotions, souls, God, morals, "the great beyond," or whatever--are all facets of the same reality. They lie not on the same facet of reality, but we can through other means of investigation discover the other facets. If we can't use the classic senses to "interpret" them, as you say, then we require some other sense. Without emotions, we can't "feel." Without empathy, we can't understand the feelings of others. When I feel sad, I don't "interpret" that my emotions are trying to tell me something. I KNOW, because I feel sadness. You can't convince me otherwise that what I'm feeling is any other thing because I know for a FACT that is what I feel. I might have to uncover an underlying cause to deal with it or simply wait for it to pass, but I feel what I feel. What we have is so much more than "interpretation."



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17 Apr 2010, 1:30 pm

You still cannot grasp that all that so-called invisible stuff is no more real than my interpretations of the underlying pattern and that underlying pattern which I used as a symbol of reality is itself an interpretation of various light absorptions of the dyes and paper which would be different for a honeybee or a grasshopper. Many of those stars that you think you see in the sky at night haven't been there for millions of years. You are just interpreting light patterns. You cannot grasp that your so-called "reality" is just interpretations, no more real than my two interpretations of the basic color patterns on paper. Your God, your soul, your religious fantasies are mere interpretations. That's all any of us have. Some of those interpretations let us get by successfully and some are just mental garbage.



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17 Apr 2010, 2:22 pm

Sand wrote:
You still cannot grasp that all that so-called invisible stuff is no more real than my interpretations of the underlying pattern and that underlying pattern which I used as a symbol of reality is itself an interpretation of various light absorptions of the dyes and paper which would be different for a honeybee or a grasshopper. Many of those stars that you think you see in the sky at night haven't been there for millions of years. You are just interpreting light patterns. You cannot grasp that your so-called "reality" is just interpretations, no more real than my two interpretations of the basic color patterns on paper. Your God, your soul, your religious fantasies are mere interpretations. That's all any of us have. Some of those interpretations let us get by successfully and some are just mental garbage.


OK. If all we have are "interpretations," then it follows that our "interpretations" have some basis in objective reality. Otherwise, we wouldn't have any source from which to draw those "interpretations." If my emotions, my morality, my food preferences, my craving for cheap "Cold Duck" sparkling wine, my love for my family are all interpretations, what are they interpretations of? You could say values. But show me a "value." What is it? Where does it come from? Can I compress it in a coil and use it to keep my Cold Duck cold? Nevertheless, my values are REAL. They CAN be said to exist. If all I have is an interpretation of an underlying reality, that underlying reality is I have delicious cheap wine in my refrigerator, my beautiful wife sitting on the couch, and my wonderful children in their beds taking their afternoon nap.



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17 Apr 2010, 5:02 pm

some one has to invent the gluon-bomb, so that the planet is blown to an asteroid belt, and Jesus can finally come. :)



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17 Apr 2010, 7:27 pm

AngelRho wrote:
Sand wrote:
You still cannot grasp that all that so-called invisible stuff is no more real than my interpretations of the underlying pattern and that underlying pattern which I used as a symbol of reality is itself an interpretation of various light absorptions of the dyes and paper which would be different for a honeybee or a grasshopper. Many of those stars that you think you see in the sky at night haven't been there for millions of years. You are just interpreting light patterns. You cannot grasp that your so-called "reality" is just interpretations, no more real than my two interpretations of the basic color patterns on paper. Your God, your soul, your religious fantasies are mere interpretations. That's all any of us have. Some of those interpretations let us get by successfully and some are just mental garbage.


OK. If all we have are "interpretations," then it follows that our "interpretations" have some basis in objective reality. Otherwise, we wouldn't have any source from which to draw those "interpretations." If my emotions, my morality, my food preferences, my craving for cheap "Cold Duck" sparkling wine, my love for my family are all interpretations, what are they interpretations of? You could say values. But show me a "value." What is it? Where does it come from? Can I compress it in a coil and use it to keep my Cold Duck cold? Nevertheless, my values are REAL. They CAN be said to exist. If all I have is an interpretation of an underlying reality, that underlying reality is I have delicious cheap wine in my refrigerator, my beautiful wife sitting on the couch, and my wonderful children in their beds taking their afternoon nap.


Your values objectify your personal preferences. If your values were real in the absolute sense they would be the same for everybody. Are you really so egotistical as to believe that?



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17 Apr 2010, 9:16 pm

Sand wrote:
Your values objectify your personal preferences. If your values were real in the absolute sense they would be the same for everybody. Are you really so egotistical as to believe that?


Not true. That I have cheap wine in my refrigerator is a statement of fact. That I enjoy drinking it is also fact, and that it is something of value to me is also fact. My wife (being beautiful being subjective thing, a good friend of mine once asked me if she still possessed a certain "pulchritudinous intensity"--of course I answered in the affirmative) is something I value, and I value my children. My values are very personal and unique to me. Perhaps you have an expensive taste in wine or none at all. You value science, that much is plain. Values are also things we possess but are unseen. I can't switch on a value and watch my favorite movie on it. But values themselves are concrete. They are objective.

Think of it also in terms of things you can see. I live a house. I assume you do as well, or perhaps another form of residence building such as a condominium or apartment. My house can be said to EXIST, but not just because I say so. That's easily verifiable--not that it has to be verifiable to be real, but anyone can come by my house and agree that it indeed does exist. I can't SEE your domicile, but I have no reason to doubt it, and it's likely just as verifiable as mine. At least YOU know it exists in a very real way. Is it the same house? No. Why should it be? Your place exists in an objective reality. There may be many like it. But that one is yours. I can make the same claim regarding my own place.

Values, emotions, other invisible thing ARE objectively real, but each person is in possession of unique sets of emotions, values, and other things that only pertain to that individual. When I grieve, it's not the same as when you grieve--so I can never say "I know how you feel" with any degree of honesty. Yet the "realness" of the feeling/emotion is the same. We can't deny that. We can't see it with our eyes, but we do sense it beyond the physical senses. That makes it concrete. That makes it objective. The fact that what one senses is different from that of another is irrelevant. It's no less real. Just different.

The relativist argument would be that each of our realities are separate, that there are no objective truths. As far as I'm concerned, you don't even exist. Or if you do exist, your existence to me depends on whether I choose to believe in you or not.

I'm sure, of course, that YOU know yourself to exist. Emotions are absolute. Your emotions either exist or they don't at any given time. You might feel one emotion now, and a different one later. But that doesn't change their existence. Truth doesn't change. It is also objective. That we misunderstand it, misperceive it, distort it, and rationalize it to suit our selfish desires is irrelevant. It still IS. It's silly to argue otherwise.

You're welcome to try, of course.



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17 Apr 2010, 9:20 pm

This debate is rather two-sided. =.= Could you uh... change that?



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17 Apr 2010, 9:43 pm

phil777 wrote:
This debate is rather two-sided. =.= Could you uh... change that?


Sorry, phil777. Please, feel free to jump in any time. :)



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17 Apr 2010, 9:47 pm

Seeing how heated and vehemently you two defend your positions, i wonder what could a young'in like myself possibly do. =/



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17 Apr 2010, 9:51 pm

phil777 wrote:
Seeing how heated and vehemently you two defend your positions, i wonder what could a young'in like myself possibly do. =/

Pick a side and watch to see if "your guy" wins.



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17 Apr 2010, 9:54 pm

I don't like to promote such competition, especially in such a vague topic as religion... =/