In the last two posts on this series (here and here), we have developed an understanding of several fundamental human cognitive characteristics: archetypes, the Master-Slave-Hero dialectic, and cognitive dissonance. Here we explore the role of cognitive dissonance in religion.
To repeat from earlier, Wikipedia states that:
“Cognitive dissonance is a term used in modern psychology to describe the feeling of discomfort when simultaneously holding two or more conflicting cognitions: ideas, beliefs, values or emotional reactions. In a state of dissonance, people may sometimes feel “disequilibrium”: frustration, hunger, dread, guilt, anger, embarrassment, anxiety, etc.”
Basically, cognitive dissonance is when you believe in two opposite things to be true, that can not actually be true at the same time. You believe in two things, but those two things can not both be true. Usually, these beliefs are kept compartmentalized or are otherwise justified in some manner, or simply ignored. It is when someone is forced to reconcile or confront these mutually-contradictory beliefs that dissonance can create violent reactions, as people attempt to run from, hide from, or destroy the source of the confrontation with the dissonance.
The examples of mutually-contradictory concepts in religion are very simple to identify…they in fact form the basis of the three main religions of the West and Middle-East, as we’ll see.
Before we continue, given what I’m going to say below, I’d like to say to my “mainstream” religious acquaintances that I typically prefer your company over that of mainstream atheists and liberals. I myself am actually a liberal, but I typically feel revulsion towards other liberals in watching them get on with themselves. The people who I see “being liberals” today aren’t “rationalist cooperators” interested in mutual growth and personal independence, but are rather people who are interested in conformity, uniformity, and who lack and even ridicule independent knowledge; i.e., the government takes care of things for you, meaning it “takes care” of knowledge for you, rather than you actually having knowledge and wisdom yourself that you beneficially share with others. The ideal of a “positive liberty” government I agree with on the liberal side; the problem is that we don’t currently have governments capable of providing positive liberty. And even if you had the intentions of a positive liberty government, it would still be the most evil thing in the world if everyone was merely dependent upon it for survival and the people had no individual knowledge, capability, or wisdom, which is the typical way liberals use government today…as an excuse to be non-self-responsible. Given the essential Plutocracy we have today in the World, it is not surprising that the reaction is towards a “negative liberty” government, where the government just “leaves you the heck alone” – your liberty is to be free from government, which is entirely justified today. Positive liberty government would be where the government actually did beneficial things, sovereignly, without plutocratic pay-off, that helped the people, where you actually wanted involvement of the government in your life because it actually made sense and did sensical things, and helped you and everyone else out in meaningfully productive (physically and mentally) ways. The US Constitution for their Republic had this mind, but it didn’t last against the plutocratic oligarchs.
For example, liberals are all about universal health care. I’m not. I’m about a raw food diet (raw fruits and veggies and some nuts making up at least 50% of caloric intake, cooked veggies the rest, and a small amount of cooked meat eaten not everyday), alkaline water to drink with the correct balance of trace minerals, occasional fasting sometimes seven days long on water only, and I value the knowledge of why I need those things. To most liberals on the other hand, health is about the government paying for drugs for you, while you continue to have zero knowledge of what actually makes a human being physically and mentally healthy, and zero ability to apply such knowledge even if you had it. Because for most liberals, being healthy means taking pharmaceuticals when you get sick from years of eating garbage (i.e. the standard diet), and everyone else should pay for that for you. Duhhhhhh!
I also acknowledge the existence of God, Satan, Lucifer, and most of all, the soul. Hence, unlike liberals, I value life, really idealistically value it, which makes me much closer to practicing conservatives today. But where I part from religious conservatives is that I don’t have a god that I worship, but one that I wish to emulate and eventually join in a community of gods, as a god; the God I emulate is named Abraxas and it is the dialectal end-point of the struggle between good vs. evil, which is pure rationalism, ultimately based on ontological mathematics, which is the arche (the arche of number). Abraxas is the true God because it doesn’t require worship (which would be an imperfection), and because it is 100% rational, 100% moral, and 100% good. It has no contradictions, no cognitive dissonance. One might ask of this God, such as it is, why does it “let bad things happen if it has the power to stop them”, much like people ask of the Abrahamist god. In the Abrahamist case, the answer is that that god (Jehovah) is actually Satan, condemning most humans to hell and therefore being responsible for the infinite torture for infinite time of those souls. Of course, nothing about Abrahamism is true in any case. The truth is that all of our souls are on a dialectical, evolutionary, reincarnational journey that ends in our souls achieving gnosis and becoming gods ourselves. Comprehending ontological mathematics and the dialectic are key to that journey. Good as well as bad “things” happen in that journey and are required in that journey for your soul to grow. Abraxas was the first soul to go through it all, and experience it all, and was the first soul in this iteration of the universe to achieve gnosis. (Apparently it is a lot like being Neo in the Matrix…but better!) Your soul also desires to become God (the Nietzschean “Will to Power”), but it has to do it itself; it can’t be dependent upon Abraxas or else it wouldn’t be an equal and ultimate God.
The problem is that the dialectic also applies to “ascended” “god-like” souls before they fully become mathematically ontologically rational, and this is where Satan comes in. Satan (a “male”) is the negative (evil) side of the dialectical “god progression” who is 100% narcissistic, 100% insecure, 100% jealous, 100% self-obsessed, 100% in need of worship; Lucifer (a “female”) is the positive (good) side of the dialectic who is 100% selfless, 100% confident, 100% loving, 100% empathetic and concerned for others. This antithesis/thesis pair is resolved in Abraxas, 100% judicious mathematically ontological reason, beyond good and evil.
Finally, I know I have free will. This is something most liberal atheist scientists can not acknowledge. I do wonder if this is why the “zombie meme” is so popular among young atheist liberal scientists today. These people either deny free will, or they deny the ontological existence of the mind, labeling it an epiphenomenon of matter. Hence they are zombies. But if you truly acknowledge free will, then you rationally have to accept the ontological existence of the mind and soul, and then you rationally have to accept the non-extended domain, and then you rationally have to accept reincarnation, and then you have to accept evolution to god-consciousness. (This can all actually be defined mathematically, which is a much more convincing and rational way to do it instead of arguing about these word statements indefinitely, but this is a close word description for it. The mathematical definition also explains what souls are and why they exist, in case you were wondering if souls needed to be created by a “creator god” – they don’t, they’re actually the mathematically fundamental unit of existence, eternal and uncreated…all of them). Religious conservatives can understand most of what I wrote above and therefore they can understand me, and I can understand them, and I appreciate that they are capable of discussing it with me. Most of all, above all else really, I appreciate that they value life – currently living, unborn, and future life. Atheist liberal scientists can’t. (Although, I wouldn’t appreciate if religious conservatives started a modern inquisition to murder “heretics”; they don’t really behave like this anymore and if they start then I’ll insist that I’m a Christian. At least we still have freedom of religion.)
This being said, in regard to my atheist and liberal acquaintances, I appreciate your company as long as you actually live up to and rationally defend what you claim to, and not be narcissistic, defeatist, nihilist, anti-life, anti-mind, or denialist about it. Pessimism is actually allowed given that it is typically the last refuge of the idealist! And that is the way in which I’ll accept it!
The story of Eve in the Garden of Eden. In this story it is told that Eve made an “evil decision” to “eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil”, disobeying God’s command not to do so. The moral of this story is that humanity “fell” from a state of grace, and became evil, when it became self-aware and attained the knowledge of good and evil. In other words, the knowledge of good and evil is itself evil. But here’s the question: can you actually even be a human if you don’t have the knowledge of good and evil? If you’re not self-aware and not capable of deciding between good and evil, then what are you? You’re certainly not a human. In fact, you’re an animal. So, this makes the entire premise of humanity an evil thing in and of itself, but specifically due to the existence of mans’ mind. It is a deranged story that establishes a cognitive boundary condition of guilt (original sin), and thus of slavery to that guilt, and thus of slavery to the “being” who claims you should feel guilty for simply being human and from whom you require forgiveness and approval. So there are two dissonances here: a) every religious person actually does value their free-will and their knowledge of good and evil, and you couldn’t possibly even be a human if you weren’t able to identify and feel the effects of the difference between good and evil; however, you are brain-washed to feel guilty for this gift; b) if knowledge of good and evil is itself evil, then does that mean God is evil? How come it is only evil knowledge if humans have it, but not if God has it? Basically, the human mind is said to be evil because of its knowledge of good and evil, whereas the human mind only exists because of its knowledge of good and evil.
Or take the commandment “to not covet thy neighbor’s wife” (or husband, presumably, from the woman’s perspective). This is usually explained to mean that you should not have any thoughts of attraction to women/men other than your wife/husband. This is like asking a human not to breathe. I’m sorry, but the female form is a work of art, that defines the concept of beauty itself. Women are beautiful, mentally and physically, and this is something that men appreciate and it is something which defines being a man. On the other hand, confident, strong, tall, capable, daring, and kind men are irresistible to most women. And so again, the “command” here is based around the simple presence of a thought itself, even if the thought is only ever expressed internally in the privacy of your own mind, and a thought which defines being a human. You have to feel guilty for a thought.
And do you know what the punishment is for having a basic human thought? Infinite torture, for infinite time! Do you really think that infinite torture in Hell, for infinite time, is a punishment equal to the thought of thinking that not just one woman/man, but many women/men, are beautiful? Now of course, Christians say that you can avoid such infinite treatment in Hell simply by believing in Jesus, but is that to then mean that those of us who don’t believe in Jesus do still deserve infinite torture in Hell for infinity, for that same thought!? Do the Jews think that all Christians and Muslims are going to hell, the Christians think all Jews and Muslims are going to hell, and the Muslims think all Jews and Christians are going to hell? Well yes, they quite do! Infinite torture for infinite time, from a God that is supposed to be loving, forgiving, and who is your father. This isn’t rational, it is an insane degree of cognitive dissonance that makes you insane.
However, Christians apparently get to see their cakes (other attractive women/men) and, eat them too (be forgiven for any deeds, even if acted out!, let alone simply thought about). But everyone else gets infinite torture for infinity simply for thinking things. Now, some might say that the idea of this commandment is a warning to not act out on your lusts…but this is exactly what Christians get to do, and be forgiven for! No wonder Christianity became so popular. And in any case, it was the presence of mere internal thoughts that the Inquisition murdered tens of thousands of people for. Do you know that it was impossible to not be a heretic if the Inquisition asked you any questions, and you had any rational ability to answer them whatsoever? There were so many forms of heresy that if you answered one question successfully in the eyes of the Inquisitors, it would automatically condemn you in another. The only solution was to be completely illiterate, completely unable to even understand questions. Actually that didn’t even help. This is of course what the Catholic Church desired, and what all the religions of anti-mind desire most of all, and it wasn’t until Protestantism arose that the power of independent thought in great numbers of people became too much for the Church to handle. Protestantism was good in that literate people began to believe in their own ability to understand things, but it was bad in that stupid people who could nonetheless read began to believe themselves as authorities. Take Martin Luther who declared: “Reason is the Devil’s whore!”. Only stupid people believe that reason is from the Devil. Likewise, only stupid people believe that human reason is infallible. Hence, Martin Luther was a complete idiot.
Speaking of fathers who are supposed to be loving…the Story of Abraham and his son Isaac. Jehovah asked Abraham to murder his son and slaughter him as a burnt sacrifice, and Abraham was about to actually do it. Religious people justify this as a test of Abraham’s obedience. I entirely agree! Obedience to what? A psychopath? Obedience to the degree of psychopathy? Abrahamists think this is supposed to be a “good story” to tell your children! A story of the founding father of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Oh, how nice and quaint…is it something you tell your children before bedtime? So let’s get this straight: being so obedient that you would kill your children if Jehovah requested it is a moral good, a morally good demonstration of obedience? Why in the Hell would anyone ever need to be THAT obedient to anything!? Remember, this story defines Abraham, the patriarch of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. (These three religions can be called “Abrahamism” as they are all based on the belief in the same “god”.) Would such religious people today actually go through with murdering their children if they heard the voice of Jehovah asking them to do it? If they wouldn’t, then they’re not Abrahamists! That’s a fact: if a Jew, Christian, or Muslim wouldn’t murder their children if Jehovah/Allah asked them to, then they’re not a Jew, Christian, or Muslim! If they would, then they should have their children removed from their care immediately by non-Abrahamist family members, friends, or the State! For Christians, they either may or may not murder their children when Jehovah asks them to, because Jesus will a) forgive them for murdering their children, or b) forgive them for not obeying Jehovah. Christianity isn’t a religion, it is just a way to do whatever the hell you want.
If such people are willing to murder their own children for the sake of religious obedience, then do you think that they would even hesitate at the thought of murdering other people for their “god”? Isn’t that exactly what they’ve done throughout the ages and still today? The story of Abraham should send chills down the spine of any rational moral person. Can you not imagine the psychopathic desire for worship and obedience that this admittedly “jealous god” must crave to even demand such a thing of a person? Imagine yourself asking that of an employee, or a friend, or a stranger, because you need it from them to feel complete and to assuage your jealousy! This god is insane. (In fact, this “god” is actually Satan.) And is the person who agrees to murder their children to appease the jealous desires of this “god” not proving themselves just as psychopathic and insecure? Instead of denouncing this story as despicable, for religious people it provides some form of actual meaning to their lives in setting a standard for how abjectly enslaved you should to be to “god”! As if the real “god” wants you to be obedient to it! How is the jealous desire for worship or obedience a property of the perfect God? Or the property of a god rational people should choose to follow? If God is perfect, then isn’t the psychopathic desire for worship – actually, ANY degree of desire if even the meekest request – from infinitely lesser beings, an imperfection? Hence, the Abrahamic god is refuted, full stop. There is nothing moral or good about a god, or about a person, or about a religion, who demands or values this degree of obedient slavery from humanity.
This can all be expanded upon in great detail and has formed the basis of many, many treatises on rational philosophy, and there were even ancient Gnostic societies who concluded (rightly) that Jehovah was really actually Satan, who had tricked everyone while pretending to be the true God, a conclusion they based on the horrors and lack of any rational or moral logic of the “entity” presented in the Old & New Testaments. One such group were the Cathars, who are remembered in history for the very creation of the Inquisition, and who were all subsequently tortured, burned, and otherwise murdered by the Catholic Church. If this “god” is perfect, then why is he so insecure and violent!?
But what’s the point? The point is that these mainstream religions are based on attacking the mind, based on destroying the capability to even form thoughts. They exploit cognitive dissonance which seems to be an archetypal feature of the human mind (if it wasn’t, it wouldn’t last for thousands of years in the manner of singular expressions). Cognitive dissonance easily encompasses self-hating belief patterns which can become so psychopathic and neurotic that not only will people commit murder (even of their own children) to defend it, they will even risk their very own life to commit the necessary murder to defend and protect against their comprehension of their cognitive dissonance.
The basic dissonance is found in that a person implicitly has a mind and uses their mind and wants a mind, but then they paradoxically believe in ideas which are based on negation of the mind. That needs to be repeated: belief in ideas which are based on negation of the mind. It is a total mind job! The most fundamental cognitive dissonance: using the mind to hold ideas to negate the mind. (Note that this is where modern science is going, in denying that the mind or soul are actually ontologically real phenomena.) This can make people insane to the point of psychopathy, and the founding of Abrahamism is the story that proves it (too bad so few people can understand the truth of what’s being shown in that story).
With this all now in place, in the next post I will finally explain how climate alarm based on the greenhouse effect plugs almost perfectly in to the system of cognitive dissonance of using the mind to negate the mind, which has been established as above and emplaced in the mass human psyche for thousands of years. A possible interesting corollary is that climate alarm was actually meant to be the religion that replaced Abrahamism. Hence why we see such fanatical defense of the GHE, the basis of the religion of climate alarm and the subsequent war on climate change which can never end, even though it makes no sense whatsoever. Note that this would still all be true even if the GHE turned out, somehow, to be real – it would then just supply the required legitimacy to the war on climate change religion. But it is my scientific opinion that the GHE is a simulacrum, given everything covered on this blog, with more yet to come.
I think you miss out an important phase in the Abraham story. The story goes that the moment Isaac was on the altar there appeared a Ram caught by its horns in a thicket which could conveniently take the son’s place. The god of Israel did not allow Abraham to go through with the human sacrifice which would have been proscribed in a similar way to idolatry. The god of Israel must needs remain a purely abstract entity (“immortal, invisible – in light inaccessible, hid from our eyes”) which would set it apart from the emblematic gods of the surrounding communities who certainly practiced human sacrifice or at least ritual suicide (remember the great Chaldean death pit at Ur – where Abraham is supposed to have been born). The story shows all this was unnecessary and for me this is the moral of the story.
Speaking for myself, I have been an atheist since the age of ten but can live with the cognitive dissonance you describe and the alcoves in the mind all this necessitates, otherwise you negate all culture and mythology that enriches human existance; you just have to be aware of them, that’s all. I do hope I have some sort of free will and can assume choices I make.
[Reply: In the Koranic version of the story, there was another being nearby named “Shaitan” who was pleading Abraham not to murder his son. Three times, Abraham and his wife threw stones at the “evil intruder” to ward him off so that they could continue with the sacrifice of their son. This is celebrated in ritual to this day with the throwing of the stones at Mecca. So, the “evil” being was the one who didn’t want Abraham to murder his son, and somehow “God” is the being who wanted the son murdered. They obviously got it wrong.
Yes I too was an atheist but then I discovered that you didn’t need to be. I value life and the mind and this always conflicted with the nihilistic aspects of atheism, which I saw in other atheists. It is certainly wrong for a scientist to have faith; there is nothing wrong with having a rational, ontological math based understanding of reality grounded in thousands of years of philosophy updated to the beyond the leading edge in modern science, which rationally proves the existence of souls. It is not about worshiping but about acknowledging the existence of the soul in the non-extended domain, etc. Go to the links in this article and read the entire set of work, in order of publication date, associated with them. When you’re finished, let me know if you’re still an atheist…I would be very interested to discuss that with you afterwards.]
The story of the Garden of Eden is perhaps the worst understood ancient tale, which metaphoric content we do not understand any more. It was written about three thousand years ago by one or more writers who explained to their public the rise of human consciousness. The tale is full of ancient humor and does not deal with evil in the modern sense. The Garden of Eden would be called in present language a closed or totalitarian society. A citation from another book:
‘[This book] sketches some of the difficulties faced by our civilization – a civilization which might be perhaps described as aiming at humaneness and reasonableness, at equality and freedom; a civilization which is till in its infancy, as it were, and which continues to grow in spite of the fact that it has been so often betrayed by so many of the intellectual leaders of mankind. It attempts to show that this civilization has not yet fully recovered from the shock of its birth – the transition from the tribal or ‘closed society’ , which its submission to magical forces, to the ‘open society’ which sets free the critical powers of man.’
The text comes from the introduction to Karl Poppers book ‘The open society and its enemies’, first published in 1945, consisting of two volumes, the first about Plato, and the second about Hegel and Marx. Popper considers Hegel an oracular philosopher.
[Reply: Thanks. I suggest you too read the set of work linked in the article, in order of publication date, and see if it changes how you understand philosophy and which philosophers you value most. It is all well and fine, as with the other comment, to reinterpret and rationalize what is found in the bible, but these rationalizations have nothing to do with the actual practice of the relevant religion, and you don’t find them at the pulpit.]
I suspect you are getting very close to meeting your own cognitive dissonance with respect to the existence or non-existence of gods and devils. However, I think you are spot on as far as the Abrahamists, Climate Alarmists, and the modern so called liberals are concerned. At the very least, your thoughts are worthy of many long discussions over beer and pizza or some such.
When it comes to Christianity/Christians, I think you have to differentiate between the secular and Gospel views. Like many things, the understanding of something can depend from which point you view it. I agree that the outward image of Christianity when viewed through the ages is in some part not a good one, but look at it from the Gospel view, i.e. from God’s own viewpoint, and you see a very different picture. As a Christian, I see and hear many judgements of Christianity and God from the secular view, but much of that is based on just that, the secular view and wrong understanding. The biggest mistake is to judge from a human standpoint, a bit like a young child judging his/her parents from their very limited knowledge, understanding and view of the world (which is why parents have legal responsibility for children up to a certain age, whether it be 16, 18 or 21). Similarly, our view of the world when trying to critique Christianity is as a child’s understanding rather than God’s, which is why the Bible calls human wisdom “Foolishness”.
There are many Christians like myself who require evidence of things before taking decisions, including becoming a Christian, the evidence of the life of Jesus is there for all to see in the Gospels and referenced in other historic literature. The Christian proposition is entirely rational and based on that Biblical evidence. Our ‘faith’ is believing that evidence (of 2,000+ years of documented history) and rational proposition. It is that same evidence requirement that make us sceptical of the CAGE hypothesis. There is, I would suggest, no conflict between true Christianity and science, as both require evidence and a basis and the exposure of truth. In Christianity, it is the truth of our self, our thoughts and actions measured against the Godly standard we are called to live up to, something we regularly fail to do, hence the constant need for God’s fatherly forgiveness). In science, it is the manifestation of the physical world. No doubt you will ask whether I believe God created the world 6,000 years ago? No I don’t. I see the evidence for a much longer geological history and the evolution of species. Do I therefore believe God created the universe and our world. Yes, but within the context of the scientific evidence, which I plainly admit I don’t understand even a fraction of yet, or will (but who does?), but I continue to seek, to explore and learn. The Genesis account is illustrative of God’s power and wonderment rather than literal, an account of his generosity toward man, albeit within the context of His authority. The Genesis account is about how God relates to man’s soul and not intended to be a scientific account of the formation of rocks, oceans, stars, etc.
Sorry for the mini essay, but I thought it was important to clarify, probably very badly, that the truth of scientific evidence to ‘judge’ hypothesis is critically important, but does not mean Christianity is in conflict with it. It is a shame for many Christians scientists and lay people (like myself) that the term ‘religion’ has been used to describe the green/environmentalist movement that promulgates climate sphistry, and so tars us with the same brush.
Thank you again for your articles.
[Reply: No problem with the essay.
“The biggest mistake is to judge from a human standpoint”
I do not think this is a mistake, I think this is the highest standard. The Christian God tells you it is a mistake to use human reason because human reason can’t make sense of anything the Abrahamic God is doing or has done. Therefore, the idea that the Abrahamic God is doing rational things has to be taken ON FAITH. This is a contradiction in terms because faith is devoid of reason…it is what you need to do when reason fails to justify a supreme cognitive dissonance.
What I choose is to align my thinking in general with Gnostic Illuminism. A knowledge system of my rational and informed choice rather than something I merely got from my parents and my locality (if I was born elsewhere, I would have had a different childhood religion, so there isn’t anything really special about Christianity since half the world doesn’t believe it). It is simply a much more incredible idea, much more sublime, much more beautiful, much more profound, much more amazing, much more exciting, much more confirmatory of life, much more confirmatory of human potential and human future, much more empowering, much more inclusive of actual human philosophy and reason, etc etc etc, system of thought.
The Abrahamic heaven doesn’t even make any sense if you think about it. What do you do there? Think of what Muslisms think heaven is: sex with virgins forever. That would actually get boring. Same issue with Abrahamic hell: it would get boring. You’d get desensitized to either heaven or hell, and this would simply be another form of hell. I went to a Mormon temple public tour where they show you around before they close it to the public and only allow “recommends” inside. They had a room where they said you could feel what it will be like in heaven. You sat there and it was quiet, with nothing moving and no sounds, and you were just supposed to enjoy how quiet and peaceful it was. That can’t actually be heaven either because it too would turn into Hell.
The only rational end-point for your soul is that you too become a God. Becoming God is the highest end for a soul, by definition. There is no reason why that eventuality should be blocked by a “higher being”. Souls can also be defined mathematically, and are then understood to be uncreated and eternal. Lucifer told Eve that our souls could become Gods; Jehovah hated humans for having been given that knowledge. Jehovah never told anyone that our souls can (and will inevitably) become Gods, therefore Jehovah isn’t God. No real God wants our worship. No true God wants or requires “thanks” from other beings.
“look at it from the Gospel view, i.e. from God’s own viewpoint, and you see a very different picture”
But we can’t see it from that point of view, by definition, since we do not understand the mind of this god. You’d be a blaspheming heretic in ages past. The gospel’s viewpoint is that of diminishing the human mind, and it never tells us anywhere that we have it within us to become God. Since the gospels never tell us that we can become God, as great and greater even than God, they are false…or they at least are seriously lacking in what should have been the main message, and are hence mostly irrelevant. Any “gospel” that doesn’t teach you that you can become God, and make that the main point, is false.
“Similarly, our view of the world when trying to critique Christianity is as a child’s understanding rather than God’s, which is why the Bible calls human wisdom “Foolishness””
This is a belief system which therefore negates the human mind. Why doesn’t the Bible have ANY math in it? No equations, no anything. It has no logos in it whatsoever. Why believe in something which reduces your mind to a child? Why think of God as a parent? Is an adult who thinks of their mind as that of a child’s and as God their parent, not the actual child here? An electrical engineer already has a mind far more powerful than the God of Abraham because God didn’t mention a single thing about electricity or science or math anywhere. Christianity is about feelings, that’s all.
“the evidence of the life of Jesus is there for all to see in the Gospels”
The Gospels are void of reason, since they have no math, and conflicting morality. It is all about feelings. Jehovah created racism with his “chosen people” gambit, and it never got any better. He was responsible for the genocide of entire people’s, when he told the Jews to take their lands etc etc. Humans should take reason, mathematics, and philosophy seriously…not the Gospels which are the least rational thing on Earth.
“The Christian proposition is entirely rational and based on that Biblical evidence”
That’s pretty weak evidence. And faith has no need of evidence. None of this makes any sense. “Christian proposition”? As opposed to the rest of the world’s religions? Might want to go to Mecca and tell them they’re wrong.
“There is, I would suggest, no conflict between true Christianity and science, as both require evidence”
Faith doesn’t require evidence. None of this makes any sense. If there were no conflict between Christianity and science, then the Bible would have had some math, science, evolution, etc, described in it. It would have also taught you that your soul will become God. Instead, the Bible is all about negating the mind.
Read the entire set of works linked to in the above article:
Read them in chronological order.]
The Bible is the Word of God. How do we know? It is because The Bible says so. That means whatever The Bible says is the honest to God’s TRUTH! After all, we have The Bible that says so.
OK. There is a book that says “God does not exist and that religion is noise.” There is another book that says “God is dead.” There is still another book that “God is a creation of man’s mind”. There are other writings that says God is really a Flying Spaghetti Monster or a Bronze Age Sky Warrior. However, the true believers in God will say these are the works of the devil. How do they know? The Bible tells them so. It’s rather like the bumper sticker: “God said it, I believe it, and that settles it.”. They are not to be confused by any irrelevant piffle of a thing like reason, reality and logic or the likelihood that The Bible itself is a work of the devil (aka evil men with an evil goal).
Oh my. The true believers are soooo offended. I say get over it. Either prove the existence of your God by presenting OBJECTIVE EVIDENCE and DEMONSTRATE THE MECHANISM by which he supposedly creates his miracles or keep it to yourself!
You say that no man can know the mind of God. Why then do you pretend that you do? God won’t like that. How do I know? The Bible tells me so. You are not to think or decide for yourself. You are simply supposed to do the “Will of God.” Oh my, another logical circle feeding upon itself.
Looks like religion is nothing but a tangled pile of catch 22s. You are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Interestingly, that is the point. Only the people accepting the idea they are damned from the get go can be controlled by the so called leaders of the screed.
Which reminds me, this: http://motls.blogspot.ca/2013/01/greenhouse-effect-doesnt-contradict-any.html?m=1
Could someone explain this to me?
[Reply: From the link:
“The existence of the lapse rate requires the greenhouse effect by itself.”
This is wrong. And it is stupid. I derived the lapse rate here http://wp.me/p1WpeG-5Y and it has nothing to do with the GHE. This is important; they HAVE to try to say that the lapse rate is caused by the GHE because the fact is that the lapse rate is what determines the surface temperature. So they just invert everything. The lapse rate is natural and is not caused by the GHE.]
BTW, I noticed the Christian argument. There is no conflict between science and religion, and Christianity was shown to have nurtured and encouraged science. The modern science we know of and teach was born out of Christianity. You didn’t see this in Muslim societies.
If you knew about the history of science, you would see that most scientists were, in fact, religious. There is no conflict between science and religion and I think it’s a bit shameful for another atheist to spew his diatribe with no EVIDENCE to back it up, say historical evidence that religion suppressed science. As a scientist who is supposed to respect evidence, you are unaware that Christianity is indeed responsible for the science you do now.
Where do you think science came from? Out of thin air? No, it came from rational people, and those rational people did happen to be religious. Isaac Newton was religious. Do you condemn him?
I\m amazed at the intellectual, Dawkin’s-like reasoning of atheists. Astrophysics is your major, and obviously history isn’t.
Yes, yes. The world would be so much better if we were all atheists. Well, then, if you want to toss out Christianity, you should toss out all of the science you know, because that arose out of Christianity. I am amazed at the complete lack of evidence at how Christianity is so oppressive.
Every person has a religion and wants something to believe in. Deifying science and saying “religion is bad” and not even citing HISTORICAL evidence is downright ridiculous coming from a scientist. Since when does Christianity condemn reason? Last I checked, Christians didn’t strap bombs to themselves or kill animals because of spirituality.
The reason why we are not mindless savages is because of religion. There is no conflict between the two; only between militant atheists and their acolytes. I’m not even religious and I’m amazed at the intellectual depravity.
Same thing. Your “precious” science didn’t emerge out on its own. Pick up a history textbook. Because if either of you had studied the history of science, both of your arguments that religion was oppressive and stupid would fall flat on its face.
Generally, Mr. Postma, it would’ve been better had you avoided the whole Christian vs. Atheist topic. It really took away from your main points, and for that, I am disappointed. Just stick to the GHE and Greenies, not religion where it seems that your atheism prevents you from seeking the truth, as a scientist is supposed to do.
[Reply: Where do you get that I’m an atheist? Atheism is certainly more intelligent and rational than believing in a Satanic torture God to worship for your salvation (whatever that means), but my own rationalism is that I in fact will become God. Isn’t the belief that you’ll become GOD infinitely more rewarding than believing you have to worship a being that will torture you in Hell for infinity for irrelevant “mistakes”?
You also seem to have forgotten that Christianity burned scientists at the stake, alive. The claim that Christianity created science is ridiculous. Why is Christianity so anti-scientific today then?
The reason why I am not a savage is because I have a mind and I can tell right from wrong. Apparently if you didn’t believe that you would be punished for it, you would be a savage. Therefore one of us is intrinsically moral and one of us isn’t. BTW, you believe in the same God that Muslims do.
Please read all of:
before trying to defend Abrahamism.
In regards to Abrahamism and Jehovah, etc, they are religions of the devil. The Bible defines Jehovah as Satan if you read it rationally. It is used by evil men to do evil things…not that Jehovah or the devil or Satan are actually real things…they’re just ideas people created.]
Nevermind. I’m sorry I labelled you an atheist; that was foolish on my part. The comment section was the first thing I read; because my attention was directed towards that. My apologies.
[Reply: Don’t apologize. I am far more than an atheist. I am an absolute and utter heretic – I believe I am superior to Jehovah and that the God of Abrahamism is Satan, and that I will become God myself…a far greater “god” than the supposed “jehovah”. I believe that all Christians, Jews, and Muslims are Satan worshipers. When Jehovah/Allah and all of the evil ideas spread in his name are eradicated, I will rebound with joy.]
Why did it take the Vatican take 500 years to “forgive” Galileo for telling a truth that went against the Church Dogma if they were so pro science? Galileo had evidence if they had just looked but they refused. Their dogma was vastly more important than reality. They were all tired, frightened old men who were terrified of losing their power and control over the unwashed and illiterate impoverished masses. They knew if the truth got out, they were done for. They did their best to hide the truth for centuries thereafter. Ultimately, they did not succeed.
I will give one member of the ancient Church some gratitude. St. Thomas Aquinas reintroduced the works of Aristotle, especially his works on logic, into the medieval world and that sparked the rebirth of respect for the human mind and its powers of reason. That rebirth resulted in the political revolution in the US, the industrial revolution in the developed world, and the scientific/technological revolution around the globe. No thanks to religion as such. It was the ideas of Aristotle and the consequent freeing of the mind of man from the foundation of and primary cause of evil called Faith that did it.
Now if your God is so real stand and deliver the objective evidence of his existence and a demonstration of the mechanism by which he presumably produces his miracles or keep your mouth shut and learn something about the real world from those of us who do know.
Let’s start with the end of your reply “Faith doesn’t require any evidence”. Think again. Firstly, did I ever use the word “faith” in my comment except as a descriptive word linked to documentary evidence, in this case, the Gospels being a historical record of the personal witness, of not just one, but 4 independent people. Would you therefore dismiss all works from past authors, only accepting those who are still alive and able to testify in person? This is a logical fallacy.
Further, why does the Bible need maths, science and evolution when it’s dealing with the fundamental issue of man’s relationship with God, which applies equally to scientists, philosophers, teachers, and factory workers. I will restate that there is no conflict between science and Christianity (by which I don’t mean religions in general, as i can’t speak for any others) for the very reason that under God, we are all equal. You could equally say that there is a conflict between Christianity and teaching, between Christianity and manufacturing, and between Christianity and road sweeping. All require a level of rational thought.
The point about thinking of God as a parent is that a parent wants his children to grow in knowledge, to experience life in all its fullness, which is why so many scientists in my home town of Cambridge are Christians, and quite a few are Professors of long standing and high academic achievement. God says that we should seek (the truth), to “seek”, and has given us minds to think and explore and create. If He had done that (given us creative and thinking minds) but forbidden us to use them, that would be a cruel and very strange God, and one I certainly would not follow, or have ‘faith’ in.
The point about understanding from the Gospel and God’s perspective is linked to this. We can do that for the same reason as above, that we do have minds that can think and reason. The rational position though is understanding that God is right about us, and the reason why he sent his Son as a gift for us, to die and take the ‘blame’ for all our imperfections and wrong-doing so we don’t have to. One manifestation of this ‘foolishness’ is how we think we are ‘perfect’ and ‘wise’. Against Gods’ standard, against His wisdom, we are imperfect and foolish. (This doesn’t mean though that a Christian scientist’s work is foolish.)
We don’t need to be God to know and understand this, nor is the logical progression that we need to become God (which is why the Gospels don’t tell us how, nor can we be). A reading of the Gospels and Epistles provides such an insight into God that we can understand far more of God than the atheist or secular person would claim. The route to understanding this is to read the Gospels themselves, on their own merit, and not judge them second-hand by looking at mans’ actions in history, as much of it done in the name of ‘Christianity’, e.g. the Crusades and catholic indulgncies (and regarding climate, much of the church today) was despicable and most certainly not Christian according to the Gospel definition.
Christianity does not negate the human mind. By your own definition, I am living proof of that, as I have ‘faith’ in the rationality of evidence based science, and not the false prophets we see today that would try to convince us of sophistry.
What (the Christian) God does do, is challenge our very core. But what is that challenge that man finds so unpalatable? It is our belief that we are the ultimate creature on Earth (in the Universe?), a the top of the tree, so to speak. This belief leads to incredible arrogance and self-flattery, a trait just about everyone dislikes in others but can never see in themselves. God holds up a mirror to us, and gives us the ability to measure our imperfection against His own perfection, a perfection also found in His son Jesus Christ. However, when we see our own imperfection, God does not hate or condemn us, but offers forgiveness and a way back to his perfection. We don’t achieve or reach perfection in this life, but a sure promise of a future in Heaven. A thought struck me about the recent record of the UK Met Office posted on WUWT, where they still try and claim they know what’s going on when just about every prediction they have made regarding rainfall levels has been so very wrong. Do I have ‘faith’ in the MO? No! However, when God, through independent witnesses and documentary evidence written in the Bible, has me and humanity’s condition entirely correct, 100%, why would I not have ‘faith’ in His future promise? That after all, is the rational position.
Sorry, I have gone on so again!
[Reply: Christianity is only a subset of all possible religions. There is no evidence to suggest that it is true. Other religions are entirely opposite, and some are at entirely 90 degrees, to Christianity. To think that Christianity, and your individual interpretation of it, is anything other than a personal belief system, is irrational. Just because you believe it doesn’t make it true. Go to India, to Tibet, to Mecca, and tell them they’re all wrong. There is nothing in this world that makes your faith religion true. Saying that Christianity isn’t based in faith would be a big surprise to the Pope. There is zero evidence for the truth of Christianity…zero.
No more posts on this topic until you read the entire set of work I have linked for you. All the best.]
For me it is quite simple. Religion is an entirely human construct so that a small group of people can have power over a larger group of people. It has no other function and serves no other purpose. This has been true for all religions past and present and will be so for all that are created in the future.
In the context of human existence, it is only rational to celebrate life and enrich the life of yourself and others. However you need to remember that this is a very limited context. We are an short lived mammalian species on a unremarkable planet in an insignificant solar system in a corner of an ordinary galaxy amongst billions of such galaxies in the universe. Thinking that we are divine or are in any way linked to the divine is weapons grade arrogance to say the least. This may be frightening to some which is why religion can be so attractive as it can cloak this insignificance with talk of the divine and being a “special part” of creation. Even Buddhism, which I generally find quite inoffensive, “cures” this fear through the idea of reincarnation (carrot), which at the same time say that bad behaviour will cause you to come back as a lower animal (stick).
True rationality does not promote mathematics to anything greater than it is. Mathematics is a universal and pure language of explanation and physical understanding within the human context, but I take you back to how small that context really is.
[Reply: Agreed about religion. Although I think you are too dismissive of the potential of mind, which probably stems from the nihilism caused by atheism. Yes the universe is large; our mind is unique within that universe and does things the universe never would or could without mind; small as yet, but potential to be much larger. Take evolution – do we know what the maximum expression of evolution is? What is the maximum end point of evolution? Finally, mathematics is not a human construct, it is independent of logic. Logic is a result of number/mathematics. Pythagoras said “all is number”, and he was right. Science is not the final answer – it can not answer where the laws of science are actually stored, it can not answer why the universe exists or how it came to be created, it doesn’t know what the imaginary number is or even what negative numbers are, it can’t handle zero and infinity. Rationalism can do those things, based on ontological mathematics. Give it a try, read that set of works, and see if anything changes.]
Joe, I must say that in this series your writings and replies to some commenters have an evangelical ring to them. You seem to be suggesting that we atheists are unlikely to remain so if we read the writings (scriptures?) on Illumination; in other words we’re sure to undergo a conversion.
In any case, it seems clear if we don’t come back to this blog as budding illuminati after reading all the recommended literature, we get the door slammed in our face – right? – if so, very disappointing as I for one have found your site particularly stimulating and positive; the same regarding your earlier writings debunking the Greenhouse effect, most particularly the Copernicus article which for me will always be a key reference.
I have followed your links to Amazon and for the moment have not got past reading the lists and the “biography” shared by two people: Michael Faust and Adam Weishaupt (strange!).
Anyway one statement stood out:
“All atheists, agnostics, skeptics and cynics will find a spiritual home within Illuminism. They are most welcome. “Believers” are not.”
Well at least they haven’t closed the door.
One more thing, then I’ll shut up: I haven’t found any Koranic text alluding to the stoning of Shaitan; perhaps you can put me onto it, unless it’s simply Islamic tradition.
[Reply: If there is a rational reason to not be an atheist, then yes I think a rational person will decide that they aren’t an atheist, by definition. The trick is in being exposed to an actual rational reason. An important factor is not believing in a creator in the way Abrahamism does or at all, no worship, etc., among many other things. I don’t know what your response would be to reading all of that work, but you should in order to find out. I was atheist and rational before I read it, now I am rational and not atheist, but I don’t have faith and don’t believe; I just understand a heck of a lot more philosophy, and the concept of number/mathematics. There is nothing but philosophy in those books, the history of thought and rationality, science, religion, etc. Nothing you won’t be familiar with, it is just all explained for once. Indeed, no doors slammed in faces but please don’t say things like “Christianity is based on rationality and science” because that WILL get doors slammed in faces. Not that YOU would say that. The author names are pseudonyms BTW. The story of “Shaitan” I picked up from those books, and a couple of other random places.]
“No more posts on this topic until you read the entire set of work I have linked for you.”. Ok, I will read them (won’t be immediately, as have our village pantomime this week – Jack & the Beanstalk, and may have to travel to Asia again next week), but in return, will you read the 4 gospels, starting with John’s, but as mentioned, reading them without reference to or influence of mans’ generally very poor history of using Christianity’s name (whether Catholicism or Protestantism) for his own end, but afresh in their own right.
Please do keep up with the exposure of climate sophistry. For my part, I am actively working with some Christian friends in the UK to bring the subject of climate and climate policy to the fore within the Church of England, to call them away from their blind and uncritical following of the green religion to an understanding of scientific truth, based on observational evidence, so rejecting the CAGW, GHE, etc. hypotheses as false. Your articles are an invaluable aid in helping me understand the issue more deeply and accurately, but it is the Godly love and care I have for man that drives me to want to lift the evil of CAGW/GHE based policy, regulation & taxes, as they are a cruel, heavy and unnecessary burden (also take a look at http://www.cornwallalliance.org/ and their “Resisting the Green Dragon” program). Thank you.
[Reply: Yes, I have read those gospels and fairly recently, last year or so. I can look at them again, but because they’re only stories and there’s no real meat to them, and nothing that makes a difference to my life, they didn’t mean much to me. Why are those gospels superior to the billions of Hindu’s and Buddhists etc? I COULD “believe” those stories, but there is no reason to take it seriously. I have a reason to take Gnosticism seriously because it makes rational sense and is based on rationality.
The powers that be have their own form of gnosticism, but they think the exact same way as I’ve written about here. I actually wrote this article FOR religious people because I want you to understand that this is how the powers that be think that you think. They think that they’ll be able to get you on to a new religion, which they will be in control of, that they think matches the archetypal underpinnings of your current religion, which they also believe themselves to be in control of (and they are IMO). The criticism in my article is not for people of faith to argue about – they have faith and that’s all they need, and rational criticism doesn’t matter. Their final answer is that “God said so” and that’s fine for them. For rationalists, the criticism may lead to new perspectives given the links I have provided. The point for everybody is that this is what it seems like the powers that be are trying to do, and that from a rational perspective, the archetypes inside climate alarm are the same as that in religion (Abrahamism). The rationalists will see this right away, while the religionists won’t agree with the critical analysis of their beliefs but the hope is that they will at least see what climate alarm is trying to do.]
Hmmm, I lack faith of any sort. Indeed I actively strive to purge any beliefs as soon as I get an inkling that they may exist, as I would much rather live in a state of honest doubt than lie to myself and pretend I possessed certainty which I lack.
I have what appears to be free will of sorts, in that I definitely experience the sensation of making decisions, and observe the outcomes of said decisions, yet I am aware that the past and future are just as real as this moment I am currently observing, so everything I’ve ever done or will do is already a part of the overall shape of the universe.
Whether there are influences that can change that shape I can not say, but I do not think the past and future existing is actually incompatible with the ability to choose which path you follow. There are choices I will make later, as there are choices I have made before. The important thing isn’t whether or not I was actually able to choose differently, only that I did/am/will.
As for theism/atheism/gnosticism, I do not possess a soul, and I can not give an answer to a broken question, so those sets do not include me. Without prior assumptions about whether the god concept is valid, I would be lying if I gave any sort of answer beyond “reply hazy, try again later”, to be honest.
Similarly I can find no force carrier or observational support or mathematical theorem which lends the term “soul” qualities that I posses. I am not a thing with set qualities, I am a process, a verb, an action, I am what happens when various molecules come together in a certain manner and act like me.
Those molecules change dancer partners often, but the music remains much the same, and so I appear to have a persistent nature. Yet I can not say for certain that I am not a simulation which just now booted up and thinks it is me.
…that aside, I completely agree about positive liberties.
[Reply: Your discussion of past and present etc. is discussed at length in the “God Series” by Mike Hockney, along with how free-will etc relates to it all. All based on quantum physics, mathematics, and rationality. The concept of the soul/mind comes in when you realize that there is no rational reason to discount the possibility that unextended things exist. Science is based on materialism, that the only things which exist are things which are larger than zero and smaller than infinity. This automatically refutes science as having any final answers because science cannot answer where the laws of physics are “stored”, or why the mind “perceives”, or how the universe came from nothing (i.e. zero). There is a rational way to handle all of this, as you will see – no beliefs, but rational analyses. What justification is there that mathematics should be limited to only a subset of itself? That paradigm of science doesn’t make sense since science even USES a larger set of mathematics in its equations, like the imaginary numbers etc, but then it says they don’t mean anything! Basic contradictions. Science is based today on the quantum equation which is imaginary, zero, infinite, complex, etc., but then says that none of this means anything unless your mind observes it. Well what the heck is a mind? Is science saying that the mind is so special? But it also says that the mind is merely an epiphenomenon of matter and doesn’t really ontologically exist. Then why it is so important? Science can’t get around these problems because it isn’t rational enough, because it hasn’t yet realized that mathematics is at the basis of science, and always has been.
I do agree with the problem of illusion of free-will and your thoughts are very similar to mine as of a few months ago. If you did or didn’t have free will, could you tell the difference? What will have changed? But you can see this bordering on nihilism, or being nihilistic, and I don’t think nihilism is the point of the universe. Again, no beliefs, but a rational assessment. A person has argued (elsewhere) that rationalism IS based on belief and faith, but this is just more nihilism. Existence IS knowable by the mind; to say it isn’t knowable (like Kant’s noumenal domain…basically Plato’s domain of Forms) is to totally strip existence of all meaning and value. Kant was wrong not about the noumenal domain, but that it was unknowable – it IS knowable, through rational reason.]
The problem of mind, free will, and existence is the nihilism of which you speak. The nihilistic demand is to prove mind without using a mind, prove free will without having a will, and to prove existence based upon non-existence. However, you cannot prove anything if you have no mind, no free will, and do not exist. So even their demand destroys itself in an ocean of contradiction. The basic assumption of nihilism is that non-existence is prior to, superior to, and caused existence. Sometimes I wish they would achieve their highest goal and become non-existent.
More specifically on the matter of free will and the soul. Too many people infer from the phrase “free will” as not being caused and to be free from natural law. It just happens without connection to reality. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are bound by the laws of causality and have no choice about that fact. However, we do have choice over one very important thing: our awareness,
We can choose the intensity of our awareness, its point of focus, and its span of relevance. We can choose to be more or less aware. We can choose what to focus our attention on. We can choose what relevance to place upon what we choose to be aware. Yes, there are real things that can impact those choices such as alcohol, fatigue, or a bullet in the brain but within the range of our nature , we are free to choose those things. Free will is simply part of causality as much as is our grasping hand pulling a trigger.
The soul is merely the consciousness that makes those choices. Is this soul a matter of being an emergent property of the specific structure of the matter of which we are built? I think we can clearly know that because of the evidence. However, can it exist apart from that specific structure? We have no more evidence of that than we have evidence that God or Satin exists: meaning none, zero, nada. zilch. Unless and until objective proof can be found, it is a question that has no meaning in reality – there is no referent to study. Thus no meaningful question can be asked about it except “why do you ask?”
One might say, could it not be possible? Without evidence, how can one possibly take meaning from that question? It is just a word salad that tries to say “anything is possible”. No, anything is not possible. A thing cannot both be and not be the same thing in the same way at the same time. Or more simply, you cannot have your cake and eat it too. So believe in the continued existence of the soul or not but don’t rely on getting a payoff from that belief after you are dead. Your odds are much worse than getting paid next Tuesday for the a hamburger someone asks you for today. See: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=I%27ll+gladly+pay+you+Tuesday+for+a+hamburger+today
Uh, Satin definitely exists, and it makes wonderful sheets!
Part of the way I think about time involves the way our awareness behaves. It might seem natural to think of it like a camera which records events in the viewfinder, but it doesn’t quite seem like it fits enough for me.
If you shine a flashlight in a darkened room you can see the portion illuminated by your beam, the rest of the room is no less real, the inability to see it is a result of how you view time, nothing more.
[Reply: Well there are lots of studies showing that “decisions” are actually taken before we have conscious realization of them. Does this mean the decision was “coming down the line”? It doesn’t actually. Rather, our conscious awareness actually seems to lag our unconscious which is actually doing the decision making for us, but the process leaves the impression of self-aware choice. But then does this mean that self-aware choice never occurs? No, but many choices which don’t require a high-level of aware consciousness are handled by the unconscious…like driving for example and then you can’t remember the last 5 minutes etc. When you have an actual problem to solve, then you engage full-blown conscious choice and analysis. But even that can tap into intuition and intuition seems to happen spontaneously.]
Yeah, I try to avoid going into my own pet hypothesis about the nature of time too much, but I’ve long wondered what the result would be if you made a tweak to one part of relativity: rather than the rate of time being 1 at infinite distance from a gravity well, would it make any sense for R=1 to occur at a non-zero mass?
Rather than a wave function being treated as an extended spatial interaction, what if it were an extended temporal interaction?
[Reply: Ah yes indeed, there is indeed a tweak required for relativity. They cover this is the “God Blunder” book. I also had worked it out myself a few years ago. Something we could discuss elsewhere for sure.]
Let me respond to your response …
“Although I think you are too dismissive of the potential of mind, which probably stems from the nihilism caused by atheism.” – Completely incorrect on three counts. I am not dismissive of the potential of the mind as I am sure it is capable of the absolutely wondrous – in the context of human existence. It is trying to take the human mind out of the context of human existence that is fundamentally flawed. Nihilism is just an intellectual term of “giving up” in my book and has no place in my personal view of the world as it applies to me. Atheism goes off the rails when it says “there is no God” just as much as theism does when it says “there is a God”. Failure to prove the positive (there is a God) does not prove the negative (there is no God). Similarly failure to prove the negative does not prove the positive. It is an argument that is both circular and pointless.
“Yes the universe is large; our mind is unique within that universe and does things the universe never would or could without mind; small as yet, but potential to be much larger. ” – Each blade of grass is unique. Every rock on every celestial body is unique. Uniqueness is everywhere and not particular special or remarkable. In fact exact duplication would be far more remarkable than being unique. Our mind does things in the human context that are not possible for those things without a mind. The universe does fine without our mind. Our mind only matters in the human context, which is everything to us, and completely insignificant to the universe.
“Take evolution – do we know what the maximum expression of evolution is? What is the maximum end point of evolution? ” – Taking the Darwinian concept of evolution (which is a theory with merit, but not proven enough to expressed as a law), then evolution will go as far as it needs to. If there is no environmental driver to be selective about which versions of the DNA survive, then all versions of the DNA do and no evolution occurs.
“Finally, mathematics is not a human construct, it is independent of logic.” – Wow. This is so wrong. Mathematics is entirely a human construct, but it is a good construct in that is a universal way of describing and explaining the universe around us. It is so good at doing that, that we humans have elevated it to being akin to a divine language. It is a human language to convey concepts that are relevant to explaining our perceptions of the universe.
“Logic is a result of number/mathematics. Pythagoras said “all is number”, and he was right. Science is not the final answer – it can not answer where the laws of science are actually stored,” – The laws of science are not “stored” anywhere. The universe just is. The best we can do is gain an imperfect understanding of it. Our laws of science are just humans using language (usually mathematics) to convey that understanding to future generations.
“it can not answer why the universe exists or how it came to be created, it doesn’t know what the imaginary number is or even what negative numbers are, it can’t handle zero and infinity. Rationalism can do those things, based on ontological mathematics.” – “Why” is a philosophical question that is only relevant in the human context. Science can answer how it can to be created, it just can’t do that right now. Negative numbers, zero and infinity are mathematical constructs and science does not have to explain them.
[Reply: Cheers. Everything in reality can be associated with a number. 1+1=2 always, forever. Mathematics is therefore uncreated and eternal. We discover the existence of number & their mathematics, much like we discover nature. Science is successful only in so far as it is mathematical. With human logic, we can create illogical paradoxes. Ontological and complete mathematics is the only thing that never contradict itself, as proven by Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem. What do we discover when we do science? The nature of material? Or the nature of mathematics? It is the latter since science is only successful and unambiguous when put into mathematics. Also, we know that matter is only the illusion created by energy and probability fields anyway. This isn’t to say this thing we call matter isn’t objective, but it is to say that this thing we call “material” is mathematical. Science can’t make sense of it. Look at the GHE: it has so many word descriptions all of which have their problems, and no mathematical description. We know the math it requires is the math of heat flow, 2-D PDE’s to start with, yet we never see this being used to explain the GHE, and we never see code which would model it. If we had a legitimate mathematical solution based on the math of heat flow, we wouldn’t have this debate about the GHE. The problem is that the math of heat flow never has something cold heating something hot, and is therefore likely why the GHE has never been put in terms of the differential equations of heat flow. Mathematics is Plato’s domain of Perfect Form, similar to Kant’s Noumenal Domain, but unlike what Kant said, this domain IS knowable by the human mind, as we discover mathematics.
Something has to be at the basis of reality, does it not? There needs to be something consistent at the basis of reality because if there were any inconsistency anywhere, then there could be inconsistency everywhere and hence there would be chaos and no objective reality. Science can not explain what is at the basis of reality because it can’t even explain where the Laws of Physics come from or where they are stored, and it can’t explain where the universe came from, etc. But what is the basis of science? Mathematics. Science has yet to realize what allows it to function – mathematics. Mathematics is the basis of reality because it is the only thing which is complete, at its infinite limit, as proven by Godel, and eternal. There is no logical reason that the entire set of mathematics should only be limited to a subset of what itself allows. 1+1=2 and this can never be different. It is the only tautology which is logically valid, and allowed. “Word” tautologies are fraudulent and not allowed, such as “God exists because he is God”. The number zero is actually at the basis of mathematics itself and hence the absolute basis of reality; if you have one zero there is no reason you can’t have infinite zeros. Infinity is the inverse of zero. Hence, all numbers are created by zero. But all types of numbers are also included, such as negative numbers, and imaginary numbers. The entire set of numbers are described by the complex plane. The entire basis of modern physics is the wave equation which is complex, but science can’t understand why the imaginary number is in there, and what it does in there. So, who’s winning: science, or complete ontological mathematics? Mathematics with its complex numbers is describing more than what science knows how to explain. Science uses it, the complex equation, but insists it is the more fundamental even though it can’t explain why it uses imaginary numbers. Hence, science is about discovering mathematics, although it hasn’t realized it yet.]
A bit more continuing from my reply of the last comment:
Thermodynamics, for example, is simply the theory of large numbers. That’s all it is. The Laws of Thermodynamics are called such because they have a complete mathematical foundation – they’re laws because numbers can’t do different things than what mathematics allows them to do. It started with observations and theories, yes, but these all got turned into a complete mathematical foundation during the 19’th century. With an extremely large number of “numbers” in a small space, you can’t stop them from distributing in certain ways because the probability is inevitable.
Actually, all scientific laws are mathematical laws. Kepler’s Laws are actually based on mathematics, if you know how he derived them. Newton’s Laws are also purely mathematical.
When science says that its “Laws” are created “after long time that a ‘theory’ is continually verified”, it couldn’t be further from the truth. If there is a fundamental, inevitable mathematical reason for something to be, then it is a Law. If there isn’t a mathematical reason for something to be, then it is called a theory – the theory will obviously use math, but if it is based on observation and a few postulates to explain the observation, then it will always just be a theory. If the postulates however can then be justified fundamentally by mathematical inevitability, then it can become Law. If the observations can be given a mathematical justification and foundation, such as with Kepler’s Laws or Newton’s Laws, then it is transformed from theory, to “Law”. Note that Relativity, as good as it is, is still called theory, not Law, and this is because it didn’t actually explain away the concept of ether; it simply made a postulate about ether and light propagation, but this postulate doesn’t have a mathematical basis, only an observational one.
Science would be SO much better if it acknowledged the role of mathematics at its basis. Science is successful only in so far as it is mathematical. You can’t engineer human-language-level descriptions of things; it has to be mathematically describable and quantifiable to make it engineerable, which means that is is REAL. (This relates to Abrahamism and religion being devoid of math, at a deep level.) Mathematics is infinitely more fundamental and eternal than human language. Science is ultimately about how we discover mathematics, and then putting it into materialist language that we can analogize with sense-perception. Therefore this type of science will come to an end once it realizes that you can’t do that with imaginary numbers. If someone were to spend their time figuring how to justify the postulates/observations of relativity on a mathematical foundation, they would win a Nobel Prize. This would be the step just before doing the same for QM, and thus creating a grand unified theory of everything resolving QM and relativity.
I said : “Science is ultimately about how we discover mathematics, and then putting it into materialist language that we can analogize with sense-perception. Therefore this type of science will come to an end once it realizes that you can’t do that with imaginary numbers.”
And this therefore indicates the supremacy of mind, because this is only something which can be understood by the mind, in the mind, abstractly, with no connection to sense-perception at all. Only the mind, independent and without recourse to sense-perception analogies, can understand the role of imaginary numbers and pure mathematics. This puts mind on the level of mathematics, and therefore, as fundamental.
From your comment “the supremacy of mind” I infer that your fundamental premise is the same as Kant’s: reality is optional and unknowable – the mind creates all.
Question: Does reality exist?
Question: If so, how do we know it?
Question: if not, who are we, why are we here, what is it that we are doing, and how can we do anything if we don’t exist?
While you may not be willing to admit it, you are “meeting your own cognitive dissonance”.
[Reply: No that’s not what I meant. The human mind does not create reality; this is a very stupid thing for the mental idealists to say. It is a tautology and a paradox, such as when Bohr said that the moon doesn’t exist if we don’t look at it, or a cat has two states before we check it. It’s just all messed up. The moon exists because our material EYES, sense-perception, makes it so!!?? And only then? And we interpret that as our own MIND making it so? Stupid.
Mathematics exists and is the perfect domain, and it is knowable via the mind. The only thing that qualifies as Plato’s perfect domain or Kant’s domain is mathematics, but the mind CAN know this. This is thus Aristotlean although it is more of a synthesis; there is a perfect domain that the mind CAN know, and this domain underlies reality. That domain is the eternal truth of number, 1+1 = 2, or 2=2, i.e. A = A. But A = A put in terms of mathematics, 1+1=2, and even “zero thus infinity”, is more complete. This all indicates the value, power, I called it the supremacy, of mind, because we can understand the principles, which are mathematical, behind which reality functions. Not that human mind is what creates reality. Where was reality before the human mind then? It is just a dumb idea.
Mind is as fundamental as mathematics because it is the only thing that can know it, and it is knowable. Objective reality is knowable. It is a synthesis between Kant’s/Plato’s Noumenal domain and Aristotle’s immanent forms. There is a perfect knowable domain of mathematics and it is the basis of reality.
Yes reality exists.
We know it exists because ‘nothing’ can not have the quality of existence, or else it would be ‘something’. But the basis of existence has to be indivisible (or else it wouldn’t be the basis) and uncreated (or else it would be created). This is zero, the Monad (the basis of how Leibniz created calculus). Being zero, it is indivisible, and being nothing, it is uncreated (since it doesn’t require creation). But if there is one zero then there is no sufficient reason why there shouldn’t be an infinite number of zeros. Zero reflects infinity and all numbers in and of its one self, but it also indicates an infinite number of other zeros. But if nothing can not have the quality of existence, and zero is nothing yet must be the basis of existence since it is the only thing which is indivisible and uncreated, then this conflict is resolved in the synthesis of BECOMING – not being, not nothing, but becoming. Eternal becoming. The “present” is the razors edge of becoming. Eternal evolution and development. What are we becoming? Well, what is the ultimate expression of becoming? What is the ultimate to become? God. Your soul is actually a real Monad and eventually all monads go from pure potential to pure actualization – base metal into gold. This is reflected in mind, in mind becoming more and more conscious, more and more powerful, more and more aware. This is why the “evil powers” wish to negate mind – they are trying to negate reality, to negate becoming. They don’t want competition. They are fearful of losing control. In another sense, they are here to force us to fight to become. Our own free will determines if we allow ourselves to be negated, or if we allow ourselves to become. It is a long process…by human standards.
So mind is as fundamental as mathematics. The rational basis of reality, the Monad, has infinite potential, since it defines infinity. Science can not say, via materialism, where mind is or where it appears. Mind IS the expression of the actualization of the monad.
We know reality exists because mathematics is eternally true. A = A; 2 = 2; 1+1=2. The only legitimate tautology, therefore the only legitimate basis for existence. Also 0 = 0, but 0 implies infinity, implicitly. Knowable by the mind knowing its own nature. The more it understands its own nature, the more godlike it becomes. The range of awareness in the human distribution of mind goes from higher-functioning animal consciousness (low quality mentation, very stupid people), to lower-functioning god consciousness (high quality mentation, very intelligent people). Very few people are actually intelligent; most are consumed with sense-perception stimulation of their material bodies via various forms of “entertainment”, rather than rational stimulation of their immaterial mind via philosophy and mathematics (and science and engineering). Scientists who aren’t philosophers are typically the “material entertainment seeking” kind of personality.]
You need to examine your words more carefully and check the premises behind them. When you do, you will meet your cognitive dissonance big time, front and center.
If the mind had never had experience with perceiving anything, it could not conceive of quantity because it could not form the concept of me let alone thee and other. Hence ALL of mathematics has its foundation in man’s actually perceiving reality and thinking about it. It became possible for man to think mathematically, once he learned to count more than one thing. As soon as he discovered that when you add one thing to one thing you had two things, he was on his way. It took a long time and it was an error filled path but that was the start of actual mathematics. Even the central study of math, measurement, requires one to count the number of standards you can put end to end to measure an extended thing.
Having zero being the foundation of mathematics being able to generate itself, infinity, and all numbers is nothing but mystical silliness. There was a lot of mathematics done prior to the invention of the number line (Euclid for example). That there was a zero point on that line and that numbers could be negative as well as positive was an important advance but it was only an important advance. It was not the rock bottom foundation of anything. The zero is nothing but a scaling factor indicator. The zero point on the number line can be shifted to any arbitrary position on the number line by adding a non zero number to all positions on the line. Something that can be shifted so easily cannot be a foundation. Nothing does not exist. Only existence exists.
For your words to have meaning they must ultimately refer to something that actually exists. Otherwise your words only point to an internal intent, wish, or feeling that is not knowable either by yourself or anyone else. Even when you refer to nothing, you must refer to something that is not there. However you can easily fool yourself into believing you have said something but there is no way to verify that it IS something by you or by anyone else. It is nothing but brain noise.
Existence is primary. Mind exists but only if existence exists. Consciousness exists only if the mind can perceive existence via the senses. Since an existent thing is what it is and since the senses exist, they cannot lie in what they tell you. They MUST be what they are. The challenge comes in understanding what it is they are telling you. Hence, you can know reality but you are responsible for doing all the work to discover the proper methods, do the error checking, and making sure you get it right. That part is NOT automatic. You must always check with reality to make sure. Brain noise does not inform.
[Reply: There must be an underlying principle to reality, or else it wouldn’t be rational or discoverable by the mind. Mathematics, or number, is the only thing that is independently rational; A = A, 1+1=2, 2=2, etc. Mathematics doesn’t have its foundation in man’s sense-perception of reality, but rather, man’s sense-perception has its foundation in mathematics, which is the reality that mind discovers. To say that reality exists and we know it through sense-perception is incomplete – this can’t explain where reality came from and therefore makes reality unknowable. Science and engineering is successful only in so far as it is mathematical. Existence is primary = mathematics is primary.]
Sorry. You have cause and effect inverted. I have shown you the start of math. It is your task to see what I have shown.
The underlying principle of reality is that it exists, it is what it is, and it is the only thing that is. Man can discover what it is because man exists and is what he is. In identity is causality and causality does not stand apart from identity. Existence is identity. Causality is identity interacting with identity.
Things do what they do because of what they are. Nothing else is necessary. There is nothing behind that. It simply is. The universe of the ideal that was Plato’s fantasy does not and never did exist. The false notion led to all the crap you decry so much and the crap you are spouting here. There is no there, there!
Math is simply one of man’s ways of describing what is. It is neither the cause nor the fabric of reality. It is a consequence of reality and man’s interacting with his environment. If man or his rational equivalent did not exist, math wouldn’t exist. Equations do not create reality. It is our responsibility to assure the equations we use correspond to what is as much as it is our responsibility to make our words coherent with what is. The primary is that which exists and that is the cause. Words, math, our concepts, our ideas are secondary and a consequence of that reality.
All of this is what I mean when I say that you cannot have a correct science without a correct epistemology. You can’t have a correct epistemology without a correct metaphysics. Get one fundamental part wrong and it all crashes on the rocks at the bottom of an abyss of contradictions. This means that if your qualitative understanding is not correct, all the math in the world won’t help you. It is that understanding that gives math its meaning and validation.
You imply as much when you write about earth centric epicycles being able to be as accurate as you need but are false to fact because it simply describes what is seen from the perspective of a stationary earth. Kepler obits are much more true to fact because they describe what would be seen from outside the solar system. However the two maths give much the same result when computing the position of the planets in the sky. How then can math be the primary and reality just be playing a bit part?
I am taking the time and effort in this conversation because I have seen in your writings the core of what I say. Your overlay that you present here will eventually mislead you in major ways. It would be a shame for that to happen. However, it is your choice.
“The underlying principle of reality is that it exists, it is what it is, and it is the only thing that is.”
But that doesn’t state WHAT it is. It sounds to me as if you are stating that reality is not knowable, or is only knowable in so far as we perceive it. Yes it exists and is the only thing that does, but this doesn’t identify what it is. Can we not identify some prerequisites for whatever it is? It must be rational. It must be complete. Etc.
“Things do what they do because of what they are. Nothing else is necessary. There is nothing behind that.”
But that’s not true. There IS rational principle behind which things function. The Laws of science as discussed earlier are based on mathematical principles. They exist whether we know them or not, but we know them via rational analysis and what is allowed under mathematics. To say that “things do what they do because of what they are” does not identify WHY they do what they do – thus you are actually saying that there is no reason for things, and thus things are not knowable. Essentially, give up the question of asking why things are the way they are, and just accept that they are. They are knowable only in the sense of what they appear to be what they are, and there is no principle behind what they are. Kepler discovered a reason for why the motion of the planets appear as they are, and this reason was beyond what sense-perception could ever tell you about reality. This “reason” Kepler discovered turned out to be the force of gravity, caused by the Sun. The motion of the planets “were what they were” when sense-perception was used to simply accept the fact, and epicycles were a baseless invention to describe the appearances. Kepler discovered a reason for why the appearances were what they were, an underlying cause, that sense-perception could never tell you. It was a unique epiphany, an intuitive leap of reason, to postulate that the Sun actually caused the planetary motions. Applying that reason, and discovering the principle by which it would function, via mathematical requirement, was the discovery of gravity.
The epicycles actually did have a problem that they couldn’t overcome – they had no reason to explain why it should be so and not otherwise. Ptolemy’s system, Copernicus’, and Brahe’s, were all equivalent, and all shared the same observational errors. Nobody had ever considered that the Sun could be the cause, and it was only Kepler’s postulation of such which actually founded a true-Sun centered solar system, where the Sun was the actual cause for the planetary motions, rather than simply sitting at the middle because it could be equivalently described that way. Kepler figured out how to describe that cause mathematically. Copernicus didn’t put the Sun at the center of the solar system because he actually thought it was a cause of anything, but only because he considered the Sun the primary body because of its obvious size and heat. His system was mathematically equivalent to Ptolemy’s. But these systems were inaccurate at the 10-arc-minute level, indicating that this wasn’t the correct mathematics to describe them. An approximation, but not complete. One MAY have been able to add more epicycles (basically “correction tables”) to make it more accurate, but they would have known that there was no good philosophical justification for creating additional epicycles, and philosophy was important to them; at least the ones they had were based on making one planet or another (or the Sun) the center of the system. Kepler’s intuitive insight changed all of that, and his laws are the inevitable mathematical principles he discovered if the Sun was the cause of planetary motion. This intuitive act created modern science, the study of causes.
We can identify a prerequisite for reality – that it must be rational. Why do we always find that mathematics is what explains reality, such as in the Laws of Science (as discussed earlier, which are actually mathematical laws). Why do mathematical laws explain reality? Coincidence? Why can you engineer reality only by using math? Look at how bad our words are at describing reality. Or our feelings. Or our analogies. Consider how perfectly mathematics describes reality once we figure out what the underlying mathematics actually is.
So are we discovering “reality” when we “discover reality”, or are we discovering mathematics? We are discovering the reality of mathematics. We are discovering the mathematics of reality.
This is rational objectivity: A = A; 1 = 1; 1 – 1 = 0; 0 = 0; 1+1 = 1+1; 1+1 = 2. No logic is required. No human interpretation.
Everything that exists is rational (even if the human mind has a difficult time understanding it, reality still must be ontologically rational or else it wouldn’t exist), hence everything that exists can be associated with a number.
The blog format is too restricting to respond fully to your last reply. Interestingly, you make your argument again and then immediately destroy it. It is going to take me some time to untangle your words and respond. I also have to decide if there is any point in my continuing with this discussion. You repeatedly seem to come close and then run away from a genuine understanding. Then you revert back to your original disconnected from reality dogma. You are writing what you write quite sincerely but I may just be whistling in an empty rain barrel (old mid western country saying).
We are discussing things which few people in the world can track, and which can not be stated all that briefly. A concept may be simple but it may also require thousands of words to work to up an understanding of it. I don’t view this discussion negatively, but supremely interesting. I am less than half your age and it may require much more time for me to integrate everything which I need to realize.
How about I ask a couple of questions:
Is reality rational?
If so, why?
Does it have a rational basis? If so what is it?
Does it have a cause?
What is the extent to which we can know/understand reality?
Is reality rational?
No, not all. Only a part of it is. As far as we know, only man can be rational and not all of them succeed most or all of the time. The issue is the nature of rationality. It is a capability of the human mind to integrate the information provided by his senses and thereby acquire conceptual knowledge that helps him to survive and thrive.
If so, why?
Reality isn’t rational so there is no why. Man is rational sometimes because he is able to be rational. It is part of what he is. There is no why beyond that. Oh, you might be able to explain how the capacity to reason came about and even trace the evolutionary tree that led to that ability but that is only a how. Ultimately, each man chooses his own why for living and being rational and that why has meaning only for him. If he chooses the wrong why, he does not long thrive or survive. If he chooses the right why, he may thrive and live longer. That is if he is up to it. This means each man is his own reason for being. He is his own answer to the question why.
Does it have a rational basis? If so what is it?
I presume “it” refers to reality. It simply is. What it is, is a different matter but even that does not confuse reality because it remains steadfastly what it is. However, what reality is does confuse man because he must learn what it is by choice, he must learn how to learn by choice, and he must learn how to avoid error by choice. This is neither automatic nor easy and it takes a great intellectual focus, effort, discipline, and honesty to achieve.
Does it have a cause?
Again presuming “it” refers to reality. It exists. That is sufficient in and of itself. As I said before, existence IS identity and within identity is causality. A thing does or reacts because of what it is – it’s identity. The confusion here is that in usual parlance, cause stands independent and separate from entity or identity. Cause is thought to be something floating out there some place and then, on a whim, swoops down and makes something happen. This is nonsense. Entity, identity, and causality are merely different co-resident aspects of the same thing. Cause becomes evident when the identities of entities interact and react.
What is the extent to which we can know/understand reality?
To the degree we remain rational and to the extent that we are actively alive we can know what we must know to continue living. However, behind that question is a presumption that knowing means knowing for all time, all space, and all circumstances. That is not possible. We can know what we know in context of our span of attention, experience, prior knowledge, and the like. This context can expand without limit as long as we are alive. Will it? Not for most people. Most people stop expanding their context as soon as they graduate from school if not sooner.
Those were very good questions. Very pertinent to our discussion. The rain barrel may have something in it after all.
[Reply: Thanks for that. This is a good place to leave it; lots to think about!]
*pops in to stir up trouble*
No trouble at all.
How about f+1=10?
The universe just is. The “why” is an entirely human construct. Rational people try to discover the “how” of it all. Scientists work out “how” to explain it, usually using mathematics. Engineers work out “how” to use it, invariably using mathematics. Mathematics is the best human language for the “how” it works and “how” to use it in our daily lives.
Irrational people try to look at the “why” and that is where religion comes from. The “why” is unknowable because it does not exist. That is why the “why” becomes the foundation of dogma and control. Since it is unknowable, the religious version of “why” cannot be disproven which makes it a perfect vehicle for control. That is why there are so many versions of the religious “why”. None of them are based in reality, so they can all be equally false and equally safe from being disproven in a “how” sense.
Joe, my interpretation of what Lionell is saying (which I completely agree with) is that you are starting with the “how” and trying to end up with the “why” and that is where you are coming unstuck. Free yourself from the “why”. Revel in the intellectual freedom of the “how” and unlimited potential that it can bring in the limited context of human existence.
Joe,I have to tell you I started off my day reading the huffington post and all the crap the president said then decided to go back to my research of trying to disprove (at least in my mind) the human impact of global warming. At one point I was starting to look at the science and the charts and graphs and told myself. This could really be happening. But I’m persistant in my denial. Which brought me to you. I’ll say at the very least you’re an interesting read. Enlightenment is to strong a word. Maybe conformation would be better suited. You almost lost me with Araxas but after I started that reference which lead to another and more and more and looking at the clock now I’m into 4 hours of this and then you came back full circle. It’s been a truely great read I even sighed up for more updates. Glad I found you and will give quite a bit of thought to what I’ve learned.
(Although, I wouldn’t appreciate if religious conservatives started a modern inquisition to murder “heretics”; they don’t really behave like this anymore and if they start then I’ll insist that I’m a Christian. At least we still have freedom of religion.)
If you do that wouldn’t that be enslaving yourself to them? Or would that be more self preservation?
Nice to meet you Andy. I’ll have another post for you soon. Yes about the Abraxas stuff etc…that seems to be the mythos side of Gnostic Illuminism from what I’ve read, but I wanted to include it as an example of an alternative type of God to believe in, that’s all. What if main-steam religions were based around being smart vs. stupid, instead of good vs. evil. The whole good vs. evil religious paradigm hasn’t produced all that much good. I bet smart vs. stupid would actually be the paradigm that produced more good! I also wanted to give an overview of Gnostic Illuminism in case it caught anyone’s attention…the books I’ve cited are the best conglomeration of philosophy, science, mathematics, and psychology I’ve come across; I’ve always been interested from a very young age to have a complete, rational, and mathematical explanation for the basis of reality. That kind of ruled out Abrahamism for me. I’d like someone else to read the set of work and give their thoughts.
Yes, self-preservation. And the fact that I can at least live with them. Actually, the reason why I write so critically of liberals is because I am an actual liberal, and I hate what I see in the liberals around me – they’re not liberals at all because they do not actually want to help others, or believe in freedom and and the personal responsibility associated with that, or believe in human worth and the value of their own mind, etc etc. It actually seems like the Christian Conservatives are the true liberals today, valuing life, freedom, self-responsibility, community, etc. The liberals I know around me seem to be fascinated with depopulating the planet, for various and many reasons they will invent on the spot to justify the premise. This seems to be their only moral guide, in fact.
Nice anti-religious rant.
About Abraham, you forgot to mention that it’s pretty sure that he was married to his sister–same father, different mothers. Some say that was a ploy–telling people she was his sister–in an attempt to somehow try and protect her. Others think she was actually his sister. Ergo, incest, for certain of God’s people was not a bad, punishable offense. Think of Lot and his daughters. Can you get so drunk on wine that you cannot tell you’re having sex with your daughter, especially when you’re supposed to be out in the wilderness alone with them? And then repeat it all again the next day. Oof! Such a hangover! In my younger days, when I drank too much, I occasionally passed out before the sex if I drank too much, but I always knew who I was in bed with.
Yes, for any logically-thinking person who is willing to question what they have been taught, the Bible is so full of contradictions and irrationality as to make a rational person cry to see his or her loved ones being duped by the purveyors of religion.
However, I take the stories in the Bible, and in other religions, to be the mental constructs of humans (beginning early in the Paleolithic Age) trying to make sense of the world and to give them hope. Once our pre-human ancestors became self-conscious it didn’t take long for them to realize that they might be able to escape from lions and tigers and bears (Oh my!), but in the end they couldn’t escape death. It was necessary, therefore, to create the gods and an afterlife… or go crazy. So without the religions it might have been the end of humanity. Or so it seems to me.
But I have question. What is your proof that humans have “souls” or do you just accept that on faith? I’m not saying we don’t have. I’ve just never seen any proof that such a thing exists. That is to say, I would like to continue on as fully self-aware entity, including my life experiences here and now, after my physical death. I just have no proof that such a thing can happen.
As to the “greenies,” the “Gorists,” and the “warmists,” there is a better than even chance that their new-found religion will come crashing to a halt and fairly soon. Many well-known and expert climatologists are saying that a mini-ice-age is just around the corner, maybe starting next year, 2014. And, if conditions are bad enough, it could morph into a full-blown ice age… and then all bets are off.
To the writer of this article/set of articles, you have a very intelligent and interesting mind! If wishes were horses, I would wish to meet with you in person. I would love for us to talk and reason together. Many things can’t be done over the internet for a number of reasons… But I believe I would give you strong reasonable reasons to re-evaluate some of your stand points. With a mind like yours, you should make for a wonderful discussion/series of discussions.
Life is scary. Faith helps many people cope. Your faith helps you cope Joseph. Cope with the fact that underneath it all you just don’t know what life is about. The god of ontological mathematics. Whatever floats your boat mate and helps you cope. If it gives you purpose and makes it easier when you wake up each day to handle the darkness every night, all well and good.
Your faith is YOUR truth, not THE truth. No different to any religious belief and all well and good until someone starts asserting others must accept their truth.
Stick to the what and the how, or if you can’t help yourself with the assertions of why, please put an “I believe” infront of each sentence where you wish to express it.
1 + 1 = 2 is not faith. It is the only thing that is true. Please read this: http://www.amazon.com/Mike-Hockney/e/B004KHR7DC so that you can know what you’re talking about 🙂