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  1. #31
    The High Priestess Amargith's Avatar
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    Pale.
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    "Harm none, do as ye will”

  2. #32
    Let me count the ways Betty Blue's Avatar
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    Well, probably this has been said befor but my faith and my belief starts with and ends with myself...so umm....
    "We knew he was someone who had a tragic flaw, that's where his greatness came from"

  3. #33
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Oh dear. You've gotta watch that -- the last time I lost an argument, I ended up moving from Evangelicalism -> existential depression -> agnosticism before I stabilized.
    Ha. That is my progression. I feel freedom from certain aspects of religion, and sometimes feel a nostalgia for believing that everyone I love will be in heaven. Sometimes the greater uncertainty makes me sorrowful. When I look at the night sky I am both inspired and saddened by the fact that I do not know the nature of the universe. What I hold onto are the principles of reason and compassion. Together they guide me still.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

  4. #34
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cascadeco View Post
    Weird... I wouldn't have thought an impulse to live/survive was 'irrational', seeing as all other lifeforms have the same drive to live, survive, propagate, etc. Do you think it is 'irrational' only because we're aware of this desire? Does lack of awareness for many of the other lifeforms mean rationality/irrationality then doesn't apply?
    Well, Perceiving functions are "irrational" -- they are not judgments of data, they are just forms of data streams in themselves.

    Similarly, the survival instinct is not a rationalized conclusion that then drives our behavior so that we try to survive. Instead it is an inborn, preexisting impulse that seeks to remain alive; whatever drives it is inside of a black box we can't scrutinze or understand via cause/effect.

    IOW, we just want to live.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  5. #35
    Senior Member Lightyear's Avatar
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    If I wouldn't have gone down the faith route as a young adult but remained an atheist my life would have developed very differently, that's for sure.

    If I hadn't become a Christian...

    ... I would have no understanding why people develop fundamentalist (religious) mindsets. Been there, done that, seen the consequences of that and though I have no intention of returning to a fundamentalist bubble I understand how people can end up there, how for example someone can be so blinded by religious self-rightousness that they think it's a good idea to blow themselves up for their faith.

    ... I would have concluded a long time ago that life is pointless. I sometimes still conlude that and wonder why one should get up in the morning but my faith keeps me going.

    ... I would have only myself to rely on since I would have neither believed in God nor the power of prayer.

    ... the world would make much less sense and would appear much less like a miracle. Once I became a Christian I suddenly perceived a spiritual realm, meaning was added to my world and extra layers beyond what I can perceive with my five senses became appearant to me.

  6. #36
    Senior Member Pseudo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qlip View Post
    That's a very interesting statement, it's like a transposition of Pascal's wager, an attempt to rationally explain why it's best to believe in God. In other words, this is a rational attempt to explain why it's best to believe living is good, with the same success as Pascal's argument. As far as the pain argument, I don't think that has anything to do with why people think life is better than death, and I don't think you think so either. This can be explored by doing a thought experiment where everyone has the ability to die painlessly by will. I'm not going to flesh that one out, I don't have a lot of time this second.

    The connection to belief, is that belief is a bridge over things that can't be rationalized. Sometimes it's things that are false, sometimes it's things that have to be taken at face value because it can't be reasoned to, it's an axiom of life: I am alive and I wish to continue living, I believe living is good. There is no reason to that.

    Death cannot be worse or better than being living, because there will be nobody for it to be better or worse for. The only way to judge better or worse is to be alive. The statements are nonsense, we need to short circuit them to do what we were going to do anyway, rational or not, eat sleep and play and all those other things we do.
    It's not an argument for why living is good. It's an argument that some people live not because of hope or a sense of faith or interconnectedness, but as a way to avoid pain and the possibility of pain. It's just recognizing that human beings have responses to unpleasant stimuli. Starving to death, bleeding to death, burning to death and drowning are all unpleasant. I didn't argue that it was best to live only that living as a know variable is more enticing to human beings who typically fear the unknown (with the thought that is could be painful or unpleasant). It an evaluation of a current situation versus the unknown. If more painful your current state is the more likely to are to gamble that the next state could be better, the more likely you are to commit suicide. I don't see it as similar to pascals wager because rather than accepting something intangible in the hopes of it paying off later you are simply responding your environment and the overall pain/pleasure of it.

    I don't think an experiment where we imagine painless death we are really doing any valuable evaluations. Pain and death are linked in the human mind as a product of how we experience our world. Even if we do this thought experiment our results will be contaminated by lingering connotations and impressions because the reality of death is pain and unpleasantness. I assume your implying that people would still choose life if death was painless but I would argue that the lifelong prejudice against death (actually pain or discomfort) is what causes them to reject it rather than some arbitrary decision that life is better.


    There is a simple reason that living is better than dying. Dying does not feel good. Unless you enjoy pain or feel you deserve pain living is good because it is not painful. It's the same instincts all animals have to avoid painful stimuli. It's don't take some irrational belief to not want to be stabbed and get malaria or fall off a cliff and break all your bones or even just get elderly and slowly lose bodily function. If you step away from the abstract notion of "death" and look at the diseased/injured body or corpse I think it becomes more obvious why the pursuit of life isn't irrational when it comes to people with bodies that experience pain.

    All you statements about death are all based on the idea that you are certain of what happens after death. Also it ignores the fact that while alive you can still make a valued judgement (if say you believe there is no afterlife simply a stop in the bodies function) between life and nothingness. Is your current state between that nothing. I think that would depend on the relative amounts of pleasure and pain you feel. Again any tip in the scale making suicide or living more appealing.

  7. #37
    Post Human Post Qlip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pseudo View Post
    It's not an argument for why living is good. It's an argument that some people live not because of hope or a sense of faith or interconnectedness, but as a way to avoid pain and the possibility of pain. It's just recognizing that human beings have responses to unpleasant stimuli. Starving to death, bleeding to death, burning to death and drowning are all unpleasant. I didn't argue that it was best to live only that living as a know variable is more enticing to human beings who typically fear the unknown (with the thought that is could be painful or unpleasant). It an evaluation of a current situation versus the unknown. If more painful your current state is the more likely to are to gamble that the next state could be better, the more likely you are to commit suicide. I don't see it as similar to pascals wager because rather than accepting something intangible in the hopes of it paying off later you are simply responding your environment and the overall pain/pleasure of it.

    I don't think an experiment where we imagine painless death we are really doing any valuable evaluations. Pain and death are linked in the human mind as a product of how we experience our world. Even if we do this thought experiment our results will be contaminated by lingering connotations and impressions because the reality of death is pain and unpleasantness. I assume your implying that people would still choose life if death was painless but I would argue that the lifelong prejudice against death (actually pain or discomfort) is what causes them to reject it rather than some arbitrary decision that life is better.


    There is a simple reason that living is better than dying. Dying does not feel good. Unless you enjoy pain or feel you deserve pain living is good because it is not painful. It's the same instincts all animals have to avoid painful stimuli. It's don't take some irrational belief to not want to be stabbed and get malaria or fall off a cliff and break all your bones or even just get elderly and slowly lose bodily function. If you step away from the abstract notion of "death" and look at the diseased/injured body or corpse I think it becomes more obvious why the pursuit of life isn't irrational when it comes to people with bodies that experience pain.

    All you statements about death are all based on the idea that you are certain of what happens after death. Also it ignores the fact that while alive you can still make a valued judgement (if say you believe there is no afterlife simply a stop in the bodies function) between life and nothingness. Is your current state between that nothing. I think that would depend on the relative amounts of pleasure and pain you feel. Again any tip in the scale making suicide or living more appealing.
    Before this meanders too much, I just want to restate that I was originally saying that I think we're all born with a very strong bias to believe that living is good, or to have faith that life worth striving for. What qualifies it as a belief is that it can't be proven one way or another.

    Your counter argument is essentially that we aren't striving to live, we're avoiding the physical pain of dying, which I still disagree with the pain thing, but I'll get to that. You bring up an interesting question. Is there a difference between believing something is good (life?), and thinking something is bad (death?). Make that value judgement, and the dichotomy is born.

    I don't think you've adequately demonstrated that death is the same as pain. I just totally disagree with all that simplistic/animalistic representation of our relationship with pain, and how it functions in our motivations.

    And, if you're using the possibility of afterlife as a strong reason in any kind of rationale, I think this discussion will probably go into infinity. And I'm saying this because of many many reasons, not because I think it's totally impossible.

    This is a very long way of saying that I'm fine with leaving the discussion as it is, because I'm interested in finding something shinier.

  8. #38
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    'If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite.'

  9. #39
    Senior Member Pseudo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qlip View Post
    Before this meanders too much, I just want to restate that I was originally saying that I think we're all born with a very strong bias to believe that living is good, or to have faith that life worth striving for. What qualifies it as a belief is that it can't be proven one way or another.

    Your counter argument is essentially that we aren't striving to live, we're avoiding the physical pain of dying, which I still disagree with the pain thing, but I'll get to that. You bring up an interesting question. Is there a difference between believing something is good (life?), and thinking something is bad (death?). Make that value judgement, and the dichotomy is born.

    I don't think you've adequately demonstrated that death is the same as pain. I just totally disagree with all that simplistic/animalistic representation of our relationship with pain, and how it functions in our motivations.

    And, if you're using the possibility of afterlife as a strong reason in any kind of rationale, I think this discussion will probably go into infinity. And I'm saying this because of many many reasons, not because I don't think it's totally impossible.

    This is a very long way of saying that I'm fine with leaving the discussion as it is, because I'm interested in finding something shinier.
    I made an argument without the afterlife . Life versus nothingness.

    I don't see how you can divorce our understanding of life/death from physical reality since all of our knowledge come from physical interactions with the world and the physical realities of our bodies. Death and discomfort/pain are linked.

    I don't believe we are really born with any desires for anything. Even the idea of instinct to avoid pain i think is misleading. If something hurts we recoil from it and that conditions us to avoid that thing. Over time this is the instinct ot avoid pain which I think turns into the instinct to avoid death. Not that it can't be overcome in regards to valuing other things more than avoiding pain or preserving your individual life.

  10. #40
    Senior Member Pseudo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qlip View Post
    Before this meanders too much, I just want to restate that I was originally saying that I think we're all born with a very strong bias to believe that living is good, or to have faith that life worth striving for. What qualifies it as a belief is that it can't be proven one way or another.

    Your counter argument is essentially that we aren't striving to live, we're avoiding the physical pain of dying, which I still disagree with the pain thing, but I'll get to that. You bring up an interesting question. Is there a difference between believing something is good (life?), and thinking something is bad (death?). Make that value judgement, and the dichotomy is born.

    I don't think you've adequately demonstrated that death is the same as pain. I just totally disagree with all that simplistic/animalistic representation of our relationship with pain, and how it functions in our motivations.

    And, if you're using the possibility of afterlife as a strong reason in any kind of rationale, I think this discussion will probably go into infinity. And I'm saying this because of many many reasons, not because I don't think it's totally impossible.

    This is a very long way of saying that I'm fine with leaving the discussion as it is, because I'm interested in finding something shinier.
    I made an argument without the afterlife . Life versus nothingness.

    I don't see how you can divorce our understanding of life/death from physical reality since all of our knowledge comes from physical interactions with the world and the physical realities of our bodies. Death and discomfort/pain are linked because our physical bodies typically experience them together.

    I don't believe we are really born with any desires for anything. Even the idea of instinct to avoid pain i think is misleading. If something hurts we recoil from it and that conditions us to avoid that thing. Over time this is the instinct ot avoid pain which I think turns into the instinct to avoid death. Not that it can't be overcome in regards to valuing other things more than avoiding pain or preserving your individual life.

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