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Awesomelyglorious
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01 Feb 2009, 8:15 pm

Clarifier wrote:
I'm proposing that there is a logical and realistic possibility of a just afterlife that doesn't imply either the stupidity of religion or the nihilism of atheism.

Doesn't anybody want to talk about this stuff?

Well, in order to talk about an afterlife, we would need to bring up a few things:
--A framework for this afterlife to exist within
--A way of maintaining human identity so that human beings can leave the real life and be transferred to the afterlife, and such that human lives are different than other lives.
--A metaethic to determine "just"

Religions usually answer all 3 to some extent, but other notions of an afterlife have problems because they do not supply one or more of these necessary functions. I mean, it is pointless to talk about a random afterlife, it is pointless to talk about an afterlife that has no way of bringing dead humans there, and it is pointless to talk about "justice" without a metric for knowing what justice really is. In fact, whenever you get the point of getting all 3 of these things together, you are probably on the cusp of a religious opinion, so conflating this matter with religion or nihilism seems to make sense.



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01 Feb 2009, 10:24 pm

The only thing in favor of an afterlife is wishful thinking. The argument I find convincing negating afterlife is no evidence.



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02 Feb 2009, 3:30 am

My thanks to Awesomelyglorious for a thought provoking response.

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
--A framework for this afterlife to exist within

Sentient beings living under a just government, either in bodies on habitable planets, or somehow in the 11 or 13 dimensions currently proposed by physicists.

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
--A way of maintaining human identity so that human beings can leave the real life and be transferred to the afterlife, and such that human lives are different than other lives.

Possibly human identity is analogous to software on a hard drive, and is therefore transferable.

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
--A metaethic to determine "just"

Justice is that which is deserved. That which is deserved is justice. A circular definition is all we've got, and in my opinion, all that's possible. But it's sufficient to be understood intuitively by a concensus of "normal" human minds. I'm confident that a large quantity of super-evolved intelligent beings living in community would have a concept of it sufficient to satisfy me. For me, sufficient justice doesn't have to be perfect justice. e.g. If Hitler deserves 100,000,000 years of a certain measured quantity of pain or emotional displeasure, and he gets 90,000,000 or 110,000,000 years I'm not going to suicide out in protest. One thing necessary is a way to measure and quantify units of pleasure or displeasure. That would require supernatural (beyond our 4 manageable dimensions) record keeping.

I am convinced that a personal Supreme Being is necessary to accomplish all this, but not as presented by religions. (I will discount pantheism on grounds of irrationality.) Monotheistic religions claim to know that "God" communicated with certain persons, and made rules which are applicable on all people for all time. I say it's impossible to know if a Supreme Being or anyone in His chain of command ever communicated with anyone. e.g. If the sky split open, and a gigantic dude with a white beard lifted me up and said, "I'm God. Do what I say!" I would most likely do it, but I would have no way to know if this guy was in any way related to the Supreme Being. Much less would I accept somebody else's testimony.

I'm saying that I figured out by reason alone that a just being to whom mankind is accountable is a reasonable bet, and nothing more than a bet. If pressed, I would say that ultimate justice is the only reasonable bet to anyone who can't live with irrationality or nihilism. Therefore I bet my "soul" on ultimate justice, and whatever prerequisites are necessary for it. If any group of fools wants to make a religion of that, I doubt that they would agree on much in terms of liturgy, scripture, or rules.


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02 Feb 2009, 9:29 am

In science x can easily be the truth and the accepted truth can easily be incorrect.. science has shown this many times. If people were to dismiss x because they have no proof of x then science would be far behind what we know today. It is illogical to skimpily dismiss x if you cannot provide any evidence against x, such a response is purely an emotional remark. No true logical mind would dismiss a possibility without proof that the possibility is false. a closed mind is a mind that assumes to know what it cannot.

Clarifier wrote:
Here are a few things for which I know of no evidence for or against their existence, but which, in my opinion, could easily exist:
  • other universes
  • dimensions beyond those currently proposed


certain phenomenon recently observed at the edge of our universe seems to point to the possibility of another universe beyond the cosmic horizon. for more info look up "Dr Alexander Kashlinsky - Dark Flow"

there is no official number of known dimensions scientists are constantly debating/ researching and theorising on the number of dimensions.



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02 Feb 2009, 9:51 am

Clarifier wrote:
Sentient beings living under a just government, either in bodies on habitable planets, or somehow in the 11 or 13 dimensions currently proposed by physicists.

Well, right, I also was thinking of proposed mechanisms and reasons. I mean, there is no reason for people to die and suddenly be the only creatures to go elsewhere.

Quote:
Possibly human identity is analogous to software on a hard drive, and is therefore transferable.

Perhaps it is transferable, or perhaps it isn't. One of the issues is conscious perception, as that seems very well tied to the physical body. Even if we could take the information from our bodies, there would be no reason it would be the same consciousness perceiving the afterlife.

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Justice is that which is deserved. That which is deserved is justice. A circular definition is all we've got, and in my opinion, all that's possible. But it's sufficient to be understood intuitively by a concensus of "normal" human minds. I'm confident that a large quantity of super-evolved intelligent beings living in community would have a concept of it sufficient to satisfy me. For me, sufficient justice doesn't have to be perfect justice. e.g. If Hitler deserves 100,000,000 years of a certain measured quantity of pain or emotional displeasure, and he gets 90,000,000 or 110,000,000 years I'm not going to suicide out in protest. One thing necessary is a way to measure and quantify units of pleasure or displeasure. That would require supernatural (beyond our 4 manageable dimensions) record keeping.

Well.... I know that you could have a circular idea, however, the problem is that you have to have a theory of justice. Not only that, but why would justice be a matter of "normal" human minds? How would it be perceived or found? What about instances where notions of justice change? Would all human beings be punished for their evil acts? And how much? And where would the line be if they were not? And why would they be punished? Like, why is there this ethical principle floating around to bother human lives? How does it have *any* impact on our lives after we die, etc. I mean, the requirement of supernatural record keeping already seems to show how close you are getting to some religious idea.

Quote:
I am convinced that a personal Supreme Being is necessary to accomplish all this, but not as presented by religions. (I will discount pantheism on grounds of irrationality.) Monotheistic religions claim to know that "God" communicated with certain persons, and made rules which are applicable on all people for all time. I say it's impossible to know if a Supreme Being or anyone in His chain of command ever communicated with anyone. e.g. If the sky split open, and a gigantic dude with a white beard lifted me up and said, "I'm God. Do what I say!" I would most likely do it, but I would have no way to know if this guy was in any way related to the Supreme Being. Much less would I accept somebody else's testimony.

Well, ok, so you are alright with accepting a religious notion. In any case, the proof of the afterlife giving God is likely more probable than proof of the afterlife itself, even if actually knowing about this being is practically impossible.

Quote:
I'm saying that I figured out by reason alone that a just being to whom mankind is accountable is a reasonable bet, and nothing more than a bet. If pressed, I would say that ultimate justice is the only reasonable bet to anyone who can't live with irrationality or nihilism. Therefore I bet my "soul" on ultimate justice, and whatever prerequisites are necessary for it. If any group of fools wants to make a religion of that, I doubt that they would agree on much in terms of liturgy, scripture, or rules.

Well, for one, you'd have to define justice and the rules of the afterlife, and this notion of justice. Secondly, you'd have to wonder why your god takes interest in human lives, and likely this could lead to an attempt to make personal appeals. In any case, I find it even more slippery than existent religions to some extent, as you are betting on what could only be a narrow conception and perception for no good factual basis. At this rate, you might as well bet that Santa exists but was abducted by the US government.



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02 Feb 2009, 11:55 pm

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
One of the issues is conscious perception, as that seems very well tied to the physical body. Even if we could take the information from our bodies, there would be no reason it would be the same consciousness perceiving the afterlife.

I admit that I can’t claim to assert probability on these hypotheses I consider necessary to achieve justice. But neither is there evidence to assert their improbability.

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
I know that you could have a circular idea, however, the problem is that you have to have a theory of justice.

OK. Then I’ll propose one. It will be as primitive as the Ten Commandments, and ever in need of clarification and greater specificity to deal with the “What if?s”, but if intuitive understanding is insufficient, then I propose the following:
Justice is:
1. receiving the same pleasure to displeasure ratio that one has attempted to cause in one’s sphere of influence.
2. behaving so as not to violate the rights of any being having rights.
I know this can easily be attacked, but if you contend that an unassailable definition is necessary in order to assert that justice is the most important universal value, I disagree on grounds that no values have unassailable definitions, yet we all claim to understand them.

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
Not only that, but why would justice be a matter of "normal" human minds?

Would you propose an alternative?

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
How would it be perceived or found?

The same way it is perceived and found now. We all have an intuitive understanding of justice – though admittedly corrupted by greed, politics, and culture. I suspect that supernatural beings will have the same problems, but I’m still willing to bet that a popular consensus of evolved beings who have experienced one or more previous lives will have a concept of justice compatible with my own. If not, then I would not want to live among them, and would choose death.

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
What about instances where notions of justice change?

God, I HOPE notions of justice change! A major problem with religions and their stone-tablet scriptures is that they don’t allow notions of justice to evolve to accommodate the needs of society. In the Bronze Age vigilante justice was often the only justice available. So “God” sanctioned it. When Israel became stable enough for state law to supersede vigilante law, “God” gradually began to favor state law. Unfortunately, now that the “Word Of God” is written down, “God” has no way to tell people that homosexuality & abortion are OK in an overpopulated world.

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
Would all human beings be punished for their evil acts?

Yes, and conversely rewarded for their good acts. Even those who cop to Jesus, and get “forgiven” will end up punished. They get to go to “heaven”, where they are still “rewarded according to their works”, and they get to worship Jesus forever in a land full of other cheats, liars, and bastards who also got forgiven.
If you desire a better deal than you deserve, then you deserve to live with other people who desire a better deal than they deserve. Hey, I just spent 63 years on a planet where people want a better deal than they deserve, and I definitely don’t want to do it again.

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
And how much?

However much is warranted by the weight of their good vs. bad acts. This is where quantifiable units of pleasure/displeasure become necessary. Bad guys serve good guys until the bad guys work off their debts, and the good guys use up their rewards. Either successive personal audits, or successive judgment days will be necessary.

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
And where would the line be if they were not? And why would they be punished? Like, why is there this ethical principle floating around to bother human lives? How does it have *any* impact on our lives after we die, etc. I mean, the requirement of supernatural record keeping already seems to show how close you are getting to some religious idea.

I’m not sure what you’re asking here. So unless you clarify it, I’ll skip it and move on to questions I can answer. More to follow. And THANKS!


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03 Feb 2009, 12:16 am

Clarifier wrote:
I admit that I can’t claim to assert probability on these hypotheses I consider necessary to achieve justice. But neither is there evidence to assert their improbability.

Well, Occam's razor is the best argument to assert improbability, I mean, the question brought up was one of mechanism. If there is no plausible mechanism, then a theory better understood and with less assumptions would make better sense.

Quote:
OK. Then I’ll propose one. It will be as primitive as the Ten Commandments, and ever in need of clarification and greater specificity to deal with the “What if?s”, but if intuitive understanding is insufficient, then I propose the following:
Justice is:
1. receiving the same pleasure to displeasure ratio that one has attempted to cause in one’s sphere of influence.
2. behaving so as not to violate the rights of any being having rights.
I know this can easily be attacked, but if you contend that an unassailable definition is necessary in order to assert that justice is the most important universal value, I disagree on grounds that no values have unassailable definitions, yet we all claim to understand them.

What do you mean by values? I usually claim that most values are not coherent to be honest.

Quote:
Would you propose an alternative?

I am a moral skeptic, if not a moral nihilist. I do not have an alternative, and, as a non-neurotypical, democracy seems a terrible assumption to me.

Quote:
The same way it is perceived and found now. We all have an intuitive understanding of justice – though admittedly corrupted by greed, politics, and culture. I suspect that supernatural beings will have the same problems, but I’m still willing to bet that a popular consensus of evolved beings who have experienced one or more previous lives will have a concept of justice compatible with my own. If not, then I would not want to live among them, and would choose death.

I do not trust intuitive understandings of anything. I mean, what ties these intuitions to something real? There seems to be no mechanism, and in some cases, what intuitions claim seems to go against what research claims, such as with economics, or advanced physics, perhaps even free will claims.

Quote:
God, I HOPE notions of justice change! A major problem with religions and their stone-tablet scriptures is that they don’t allow notions of justice to evolve to accommodate the needs of society. In the Bronze Age vigilante justice was often the only justice available. So “God” sanctioned it. When Israel became stable enough for state law to supersede vigilante law, “God” gradually began to favor state law. Unfortunately, now that the “Word Of God” is written down, “God” has no way to tell people that homosexuality & abortion are OK in an overpopulated world.

If notions of justice change, then how can justice be a constant quality? If justice is not a constant quality, then how can any judgment according to it be non-arbitrary? It seems as if justice would have to be a constant, with conceptions changing rather than justice itself changing.

Quote:
Yes, and conversely rewarded for their good acts. Even those who cop to Jesus, and get “forgiven” will end up punished. They get to go to “heaven”, where they are still “rewarded according to their works”, and they get to worship Jesus forever in a land full of other cheats, liars, and bastards who also got forgiven.
If you desire a better deal than you deserve, then you deserve to live with other people who desire a better deal than they deserve. Hey, I just spent 63 years on a planet where people want a better deal than they deserve, and I definitely don’t want to do it again.

I actually do not think that good acts are possible so much as reductions in evil acts. If X is good, then it seems as if it would be obligatory and thus if a person refuses to do X, then they have done an evil act. What does good mean if one isn't willing to sacrifice everything to goodness? How can something be more good than good? How can morals be traded off?

Quote:
I’m not sure what you’re asking here. So unless you clarify it, I’ll skip it and move on to questions I can answer. More to follow. And THANKS!

Basically, a lot of those questions were ones of the workings of such an idea. Like, I do not see why punishment would be necessary. I also do not see a reason for ethics to exist. You presuppose that ethics exist independent of humanity, but why would there be anything like that?

In any case, I do not see much in your idea that really seems of value, as I think that assuming ethics is an even shoddier assumption than assuming a god.



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03 Feb 2009, 12:58 am

jrknothead wrote:
pretty good quote i saw on the internet (or a reasonably close facsimile from memory):
Quote:
Q: Can you prove that god does not exist?
A: OK, but first you'll have to show me how. Prove that Zeus and Apollo don't exist and I'll use your method."

I wouldn't say to be that good, it seems something that few atheists would love, which it looks obvious, and nothing more than that, I don't think that argument holds much logical consistency and it looks similar to how the PIU argument can be used as well.

It kinda looks something like this:

The existence of A
The existence of B and C (B and C are said to be as A)
B and C don't exist
therefore, A doesn't exist.

Considering that A is one thing, B and C can be different things to be unrelated in many aspects and in their nature with A, it's very possible that the three can be related and negating one could negate all, but they can be independent of each other as well, if the nature of A is unknown, it isn't proof enough to argue against it, with the known B and C.

Same argument can be used in relation to the existence of aliens:
Q: Can you prove that aliens don't exist?
A: Ok, but first you'll have to show me how. Prove that vulcans and klingons don't exist and I'll use your method."

In other words, if vulcans and klingons don't exist then aliens must not exist.


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03 Feb 2009, 1:46 am

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
Well, for one, you'd have to define justice and the rules of the afterlife, and this notion of justice.

I don’t have to define justice any more than I have done in order to know I want to live in a just system. A child doesn’t have to define ice cream and know how it’s made in order to know he likes it. I don’t need to draw a blueprint of a house in order to have a general idea of what kind of house I’d like to live in.

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
Secondly, you'd have to wonder why your god takes interest in human lives,

I’ve speculated on that, and have a list of possibilities in mind, but that’s a tangent. In order to assert that my bet is reasonable, I only need to assert the possibility of a god that likes justice as I do, and whose purpose is best served by maintaining a just system. If I lose the bet, I’ve passed up a lot of pleasures in this life, but after death, I’m no worse off than anyone else.

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
and likely this could lead to an attempt to make personal appeals.

I don’t understand what you mean by this.

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
In any case, I find it even more slippery than existent religions to some extent,

I don’t understand what you mean by this.

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
as you are betting on what could only be a narrow conception and perception for no good factual basis.

Let’s say the chances of my being right are 100 to 1 against. If that one chance is my only chance of getting to a quality of existence that is preferable to non-existence, then it is a sensible bet. If I lose, I’m no more screwed than anybody else. I am either designed by my creator to need justice, or evolved dirt that will disappear at death.

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
At this rate, you might as well bet that Santa exists but was abducted by the US government.

You were doing pretty good until now. I hope you will continue with your better quality material. But I suppose it’s only a matter of time before you live up to the image you’ve presented in your sig. Unfortunate. I hope you will consider the possibility that reality might be worthy of preserving.


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03 Feb 2009, 5:08 am

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
Well, Occam's razor is the best argument to assert improbability, I mean, the question brought up was one of mechanism. If there is no plausible mechanism, then a theory better understood and with less assumptions would make better sense.

Occam's razor is irrelevant to what I am proposing. Nobody knows or can assert probability on those parts & events in the universe for which there is no evidence. The mechanism for what I have proposed is no less plausible than that of religions or atheism with its assertion that life just happens. There are no more assumptions in what I’ve proposed than there are in of religions or atheism. But since my theory is new, admittedly other theories are better understood.

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
What do you mean by values? I usually claim that most values are not coherent to be honest.

Values are usually divided into ethics & esthetics. Basically they are those things that generate pleasure or displeasure. I would need an example to respond to your claim that most values are not coherent.

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
I am a moral skeptic, if not a moral nihilist. I do not have an alternative, and, as a non-neurotypical, democracy seems a terrible assumption to me.

Then I can see why you appear to be tiring of our discussion.

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
I do not trust intuitive understandings of anything.

Neither do I, any more than necessary. But many concepts are so basic that they have no logical underpinnings, and can be understood only intuitively. The terms used in attempt to identify these concepts are themselves defined by the concepts in question. Justice is such a concept. Try to define it and you will find the same problem of circularity that I found.

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
I mean, what ties these intuitions to something real?

Nothing, unless you assume a transcendental Supreme Mind that made the connection. Be careful. That’s one of the arguments for the existence of you know who.

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
There seems to be no mechanism, and in some cases, what intuitions claim seems to go against what research claims, such as with economics, or advanced physics, perhaps even free will claims.

In these cases, those intuitions are probably wrong.

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
If notions of justice change, then how can justice be a constant quality?

The conditions of human life on earth change over centuries. Please review my examples of vigilante justice and the bans on homosexuality & abortion being just in one set of circumstances, and unjust in another set of circumstances. Did you find my examples inadequate? Surely you don’t stand with the religionists who would assert a single set of rules for all people at all times!?!?!

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
I actually do not think that good acts are possible so much as reductions in evil acts.

If there is such a thing as a worthy cause, and you voluntarily contribute to it, have you not done a good act?

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
If X is good, then it seems as if it would be obligatory and thus if a person refuses to do X, then they have done an evil act.

If there are a thousand worthy causes that you do not contribute to, have you done a thousand evil acts?

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
What does good mean if one isn't willing to sacrifice everything to goodness?

If there is a personal creator of mankind, and that creator provides worthwhile life to persons whose good acts outweigh their bad acts, then that creator is good, and cooperating with him/her/it is good.
If there is no personal creator of mankind, then nihilism is true, and good is an imaginary concept. This holds true regardless of how much anyone is willing to sacrifice to goodness.

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
How can something be more good than good?

I don’t know what you mean by this one.

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
How can morals be traded off?

I’m not sure what that means, or if I said anything that would imply it. I did say that good acts and bad acts exist in matters of degree, and that justice for any individual would require the weight of their good acts balanced against the weight of their bad acts, and that rewards or punishments should be in proportion to the result.

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
I do not see why punishment would be necessary.

You don’t think bad acts should be punished? Oooookay. I can do nothing but shrug.

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
I also do not see a reason for ethics to exist.

Then apparently you are a nihilist, and there is no point in continuing the discussion.

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
You presuppose that ethics exist independent of humanity, but why would there be anything like that?

Ethics exist as soon as any sentient being with free will has the power and opportunity to cause undeserved displeasure to a being that has emotions. Doing that act is unethical.

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
In any case, I do not see much in your idea that really seems of value, as I think that assuming ethics is an even shoddier assumption than assuming a god.

Then apparently we’re done. I regret that I can’t pay you back for the pleasure and thought organization you’ve given me. But then, since you see no value in payback, I suppose it’s no big deal.


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03 Feb 2009, 9:39 am

Clarifier wrote:
I don’t have to define justice any more than I have done in order to know I want to live in a just system. A child doesn’t have to define ice cream and know how it’s made in order to know he likes it. I don’t need to draw a blueprint of a house in order to have a general idea of what kind of house I’d like to live in.

Here's the thing: justice is mind-independent, without direct ability to perceive. Ice cream has a direct ability to perceive it. I mean, you might have an idea of justice, but so did a slaveholder, and so did Hitler.

Quote:
I’ve speculated on that, and have a list of possibilities in mind, but that’s a tangent. In order to assert that my bet is reasonable, I only need to assert the possibility of a god that likes justice as I do, and whose purpose is best served by maintaining a just system. If I lose the bet, I’ve passed up a lot of pleasures in this life, but after death, I’m no worse off than anyone else.

Ok, but you are making a random assertion.

Quote:
Let’s say the chances of my being right are 100 to 1 against. If that one chance is my only chance of getting to a quality of existence that is preferable to non-existence, then it is a sensible bet. If I lose, I’m no more screwed than anybody else. I am either designed by my creator to need justice, or evolved dirt that will disappear at death.

Well, the issue is just that you do not know the probabilities, because the entire concept is one that you literally created just for self-satisfaction. You might talk about being "designed by your creator for X", but X could have literally been anything so the choice of justice is somewhat arbitrary, and there is absolutely NO evidence for anything you posit, no evidence at all, none, zip, zilch, perhaps even evidence against your own conception given that most systematic notions of justice end up breaking away from what is considered just at some point.

Quote:
You were doing pretty good until now. I hope you will continue with your better quality material. But I suppose it’s only a matter of time before you live up to the image you’ve presented in your sig. Unfortunate. I hope you will consider the possibility that reality might be worthy of preserving.

Ok.... but you are literally betting upon an imagined idea.

Reality worthy of preserving?? Why? If there was a just god, he would have never created a world with people and likely not any other form of life either.



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03 Feb 2009, 10:14 am

Clarifier wrote:
Occam's razor is irrelevant to what I am proposing. Nobody knows or can assert probability on those parts & events in the universe for which there is no evidence. The mechanism for what I have proposed is no less plausible than that of religions or atheism with its assertion that life just happens. There are no more assumptions in what I’ve proposed than there are in of religions or atheism. But since my theory is new, admittedly other theories are better understood.

No, it is pretty relevant. You are proposing processes that there is no evidence for. I mean, you can say "Oh, there is a first cause" but you are saying that the first cause is offering you an afterlife, based upon a heretofore unmeasured unit, because that being might feel like doing so. I mean, Occam's razor can accept that you have a mysterious first cause, but the rest? You're just making stuff up.

Quote:
Values are usually divided into ethics & esthetics. Basically they are those things that generate pleasure or displeasure. I would need an example to respond to your claim that most values are not coherent.

Frankly, I would think that just about any value present would actually lead to some form of unpalatable conclusion, or clash with another value. Think about the idea of justice, where is mercy? Mercy, by it's nature, undermines justice, but it is a part of our ethical ideas, to have a world of justice would be to punish every crime, and actually I think most people actually find the idea somewhat odious. Heck, your apparent utilitarianism is not agreed with by many people, as shown with popular surveys, with even advocates of utilitarianism claiming that the idea goes against intuition and many notions of justice.

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Then I can see why you appear to be tiring of our discussion.

Hmm... perhaps it shows. I dunno, I can be negative.

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Neither do I, any more than necessary. But many concepts are so basic that they have no logical underpinnings, and can be understood only intuitively. The terms used in attempt to identify these concepts are themselves defined by the concepts in question. Justice is such a concept. Try to define it and you will find the same problem of circularity that I found.

Well, or not understood at all. People have historically disagreed with each other on justice. I have disagreed with people close to me on justice. I mean, we can say "Oh, there's the core values that everyone agrees with", but I've known pacifists who believe in mercy above all punishment, and I have read men who have lambasted the idea of justice as just a more civil revenge.

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Nothing, unless you assume a transcendental Supreme Mind that made the connection. Be careful. That’s one of the arguments for the existence of you know who.

So, you are assuming a Supreme Mind made the connection for unknown reasons for the purposes of helping some monkey race on a random planet in a random galaxy get an afterlife? You have not made an argument for the existence of a god, as you are assuming god. If I deny that morality exists, then denying that god exists goes hand in hand with it.

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In these cases, those intuitions are probably wrong.

Well, duh, but you claim that yours is right, even though it is as much of an intuition as the others. So, if some intuitions are wrong, the probability that any intuition is right seems much lower. So, any connection of one of your intuitions to a deity will seem ad hoc, as the intuition would have a high base probability of being wrong.

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The conditions of human life on earth change over centuries. Please review my examples of vigilante justice and the bans on homosexuality & abortion being just in one set of circumstances, and unjust in another set of circumstances. Did you find my examples inadequate? Surely you don’t stand with the religionists who would assert a single set of rules for all people at all times!?!?!

Yes, I stand with the religionists. If justice exists, then it must be constant, as otherwise we have contradictions in justice. I mean, today the US has a certain concept of justice, and certain tribes in Africa have another concept of justice, if the US is right about justice then the African tribes are unjust, but vice versa then the US is unjust. We can argue that each society is different, but if we are arguing from concepts of justice, then it would seem that justice is universal, thus both cannot be right as they would both argue the other to be wrong. Not believing in moral relativism seems pretty philosophically valid.

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If there is such a thing as a worthy cause, and you voluntarily contribute to it, have you not done a good act?

You've refrained from the evil of not contributing. If a person can do good acts, this presupposes that there is an arbitrary line between good and evil or good and evil and neutral. I do not see how such a line can exist though, as there are always more or less good things, and a doing a lesser good seems to still not be an attribute of a good being.

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If there are a thousand worthy causes that you do not contribute to, have you done a thousand evil acts?

Well, assuming none exclude the others, then yes. Is it not an evil act to refuse to aid the suffering and dying? Then how is it different if the suffering and dying are very far away and unseen? Most charities(an equivalent to the worthy cause) go off to aid those suffering and dying people.

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If there is a personal creator of mankind, and that creator provides worthwhile life to persons whose good acts outweigh their bad acts, then that creator is good, and cooperating with him/her/it is good.
If there is no personal creator of mankind, then nihilism is true, and good is an imaginary concept. This holds true regardless of how much anyone is willing to sacrifice to goodness.

But, I do not see how a lesser good is anything but a lesser evil. If you aided some dying widows, but got tired and decided it was not worth it to help the rest, then how are you NOT callously evil? You let people die because it was uncomfortable to help.

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I don’t know what you mean by this one.

I am trying to imply that choosing anything but the greatest good is evil, because it denies the goodness of good.

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I’m not sure what that means, or if I said anything that would imply it. I did say that good acts and bad acts exist in matters of degree, and that justice for any individual would require the weight of their good acts balanced against the weight of their bad acts, and that rewards or punishments should be in proportion to the result.

I know, but it would seem to me, that trading goodness for anything else would be an evil action. Thus, I do not agree with your focus on good acts.

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You don’t think bad acts should be punished? Oooookay. I can do nothing but shrug.

Well, why should they be punished? I mean, why not forgiven? Why not have reforming? The assumptions are ad hoc based upon your own personal notions.

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Then apparently you are a nihilist, and there is no point in continuing the discussion.

Perhaps that is true, but you are just making up things based upon how cool you think they sound.

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Ethics exist as soon as any sentient being with free will has the power and opportunity to cause undeserved displeasure to a being that has emotions. Doing that act is unethical.

I think that free will has already been successfully argued against by showing that neurons function according to classical physics, something that I think was successfully done by MIT physicist Max Tegmark.



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03 Feb 2009, 10:59 pm

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
justice is mind-independent, without direct ability to perceive. Ice cream has a direct ability to perceive it. I mean, you might have an idea of justice, but so did a slaveholder, and so did Hitler.


If by mind-independent you mean objective rather than subjective, I agree. In my Feb 02, 2009 6:30 pm post, I said, “But it [justice] is sufficient to be understood intuitively by a consensus of "normal" human minds. I'm confident that a large quantity of super-evolved intelligent beings living in community would have a concept of it sufficient to satisfy me.”

You replied, “why would justice be a matter of "normal" human minds?”
I asked if you had an alternative.
You said, “I am a moral skeptic, if not a moral nihilist. I do not have an alternative,”

If you want to equate morality and justice, in this context, I’ll go along with it. So either you assert that morality/justice doesn’t exist, or that you are skeptical about it.

Rather than try to chase you all over the abstract universe, I want to know where you stand before continuing. In your opinion:

  1. Does morality/justice exist or not? If you say it doesn’t exist, you have no business talking about the nature of it.
  2. If you say morality/justice does exist, what criteria do you propose by which it can be determined?
  3. If you have no criteria to offer, what objection do you have to my criteria: a consensus of "normal" minds?

I’m saying that morality/justice exists objectively in the mind of a Supreme Being. It consists of those policies that will promote the evolution of sentient beings thru whatever states of progression the Supreme Being wants them to progress thru.
I say that a consensus of "normal" minds will be sufficiently conformed to the Supreme Being’s concept of morality/justice for the Supreme Being’s purposes to be achieved. Further, I say that such a consensus of normal minds will evolve in its particular rules as the needs of the communities of sentient beings (villages, nations, planets, federations of planets) evolve.


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03 Feb 2009, 11:20 pm

Clarifier wrote:
If you want to equate morality and justice, in this context, I’ll go along with it. So either you assert that morality/justice doesn’t exist, or that you are skeptical about it.

Well, the issue is that morality and justice are usually not considered completely separate, with justice being a principle of moral rightness by some definitions.

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I’m saying that morality/justice exists objectively in the mind of a Supreme Being. It consists of those policies that will promote the evolution of sentient beings thru whatever states of progression the Supreme Being wants them to progress thru.

So, justice consists of evolving through the states that a Supreme Being wants us to evolve though? Then why wouldn't justice have a *lot* more to do with genetics? I mean, so many acts of justice are either indifferent or against a specific evolutionary chain appearing that the assumption seems questionable.

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I say that a consensus of "normal" minds will be sufficiently conformed to the Supreme Being’s concept of morality/justice for the Supreme Being’s purposes to be achieved. Further, I say that such a consensus of normal minds will evolve in its particular rules as the needs of the communities of sentient beings (villages, nations, planets, federations of planets) evolve.

I say you are just making stuff up, and nothing more. I mean, if I had to judge, I would say that a Christian, a Muslim, an Orthodox Jew, or even a Scientologist could all have a higher epistemic right to believe what they do than you do for believing what you do. Because of that, I sort of have to wonder what the point is? Whether or not you can make up convoluted manners for saying that your idea is possible? I cannot rule that out, just like I cannot rule out the existence of a purple elephant in Africa, but as a rule, it seems more plausible to rule out something where I can be almost certain that the author of the idea is just making it up, rather than ruling out something where I might be less certain.



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04 Feb 2009, 1:36 am

I repeat:

Clarifier wrote:
Rather than try to chase you all over the abstract universe, I want to know where you stand before continuing. In your opinion:

  1. Does morality/justice exist or not? If you say it doesn’t exist, you have no business talking about the nature of it.
  2. If you say morality/justice does exist, what criteria do you propose by which it can be determined?
  3. If you have no criteria to offer, what objection do you have to my criteria: a consensus of "normal" minds?

If you want me to revise these questions with morality and justice separated, I will do so. I only merged them because you equated them. If you don't present a coherent epistemological identity you are not worth responding to.


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04 Feb 2009, 10:01 am

Clarifier wrote:
I repeat:
Clarifier wrote:
Rather than try to chase you all over the abstract universe, I want to know where you stand before continuing. In your opinion:

  1. Does morality/justice exist or not? If you say it doesn’t exist, you have no business talking about the nature of it.
  2. If you say morality/justice does exist, what criteria do you propose by which it can be determined?
  3. If you have no criteria to offer, what objection do you have to my criteria: a consensus of "normal" minds?

If you want me to revise these questions with morality and justice separated, I will do so. I only merged them because you equated them. If you don't present a coherent epistemological identity you are not worth responding to.

I already made an objection, it seems ad hoc as the mechanism has no necessary existence, and thus what you propose seems to have terrible epistemic foundations. As I stated, you just seem to be making stuff up, and then going with it because it follows your pre-chosen conclusion. That eliminates your epistemic right to believe what you say.

I think I have presented a reasonably clear one. I mean, not believing in ethics does not prevent me from talking about it just as being an atheist wouldn't prevent me from talking about theology and philosophy of religion, this is a matter of a branch of knowledge. I have also made the argument before that you are just making stuff up, so really, yeah, you are making stuff up.