Page 7 of 20 FirstFirst ... 5678917 ... LastLast
Results 61 to 70 of 197

Thread: The Big Religion Thread

  1. #61
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Fuckin' Bible belt....
    Posts
    1,361


    Default

    Uhh... Theoretically artificial intelligence might be possible someday, but that day is pretty far off. Even the "smartest" machines we have, like say, Deep Blue, aren't even as close to sentient as my cat. The real problem with artificial intelligence is machines can be programmed with lots of complex subroutines and commands, calculate large data sets, perform physical tasks, oftentimes better than a person,..but it doesn't understand why it's doing it. It lacks even the most basic intuition or comprehension. It may not be possible to create artificial intelligence ever, but I wouldn't necessarily rule it out.

    Well, my point wasn't so much that it's possible now as it was that it's theoretically possible in a purely materialistic worldview. If we are all just synaptic reactions in a biological environment, then that's what we basically are: EXTREMELY complex computers. There is no "spirit" or other outside force/influence that makes our consciousness, sentience, or otherwise-named self-awareness unique or true; it's basically an illusion. If that is in fact the case, then I believe it must follow that a like entity could, even if only theoretically, be constructed from basically non-living matter (much in the way that the simplest life was made from non-living matter, like sugars and minerals) in such a super-complicated way as to resemble human behavior.

    For example, it's then theoretically possible to create a "robot" with synaptic responses complex enough to mimic human behavior, feeling and decision. There is nothing in hard materialism that places emotions or perception above the biological functions of our bodies. Which means they are controlled by variables in our brains --- which are theoretically reproducible.

    And the point of making that point was that, going on a purely materialistic worldview, there is no way to differentiate between such a theoretical "super-complex machine" and a living human, because they share the same biological synaptic processes.

    I guess I should ask before I go on: Do you believe that there is anything about human behavior (from a biological standpoint) that absolutely cannot ever be manually reproduced by any means?
    "I'm sorry
    For all the things that I never did
    For all the places I never was
    For all the people I never stopped
    But there was nothing I could do...
    "

  2. #62
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Staten Island, NY
    Posts
    3,138


    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by NGNM85 View Post
    Well to truly be a Hindu would mean not just believing the world was created by magic beings, but karma, Ganesh, Vishnu, etc., which is obviously problematic. Again, just because it is not 100% proven so does not constitute proof in itself. I can't "prove" you don't have fairies dancing in your garden, but based on all my knowledge and understanding I can't seriously entertain the notion. The scientific position on the origin of the universe or the origin of life is "I don't know."
    I didn't say that there was prrof of the supernatural. Quit putting words in my mouth (er, keyboard). I'm talking about the possibility, and you're acting like it's impossible.
    Quote Originally Posted by alexandematthew View Post
    Sometime I think about the Drama and Jokes I visit on this Board. This is not only for Drama and Jokes but some important information like Handmade Mattresses.

  3. #63
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Cascadian Exile
    Posts
    19,600


    Default

    I'm just going to post here to sum up my views as to why I think NGMN85 is completely wrong. I haven't read every post in this thread I'm afraid, but I've read more than a handful. I wasn't planning on posting or engaging in a debate, but well I'm an intolerant man when it comes to intolerance.

    I think the most important flaw in the argument so far has been the idea that science and religion are contradictions, or competing factors. This is a common misconception but it seems rather simple to avoid. The main factor behind this misconception is that it was a contradiction in the past, a rather large one. Now it is only a contradiction in certain 3rd world countries, and in a minority of the Republican party, a minority that has lost significant steam in the last years.

    For most of the western world religion and science are not competing in the same field, and perhaps this is true even in much of the 3rd world as well. The functions of science and religion are not even the same anymore. Religion is no longer used as an end-all explanation for the majority of the faithful. Far from it, the majority of the faithful find comfort in religion in ways science never could offer. Dealing with the death of a loved one for instance, or struggling through what would to oneself be an otherwise meaningless existence. This seems to me to be the primary function of religion. The Catholic church even recognizes evolution as a fact.

    Science on the other hand is a tool for understanding the physical world around us. However NGMN85, it seems to me that you have a very dogmatic view of science as absolute fact. Any scientist will tell you that what we know now as 'fact', may become fiction when more knowledge and data has been ascertained. This of course has been the history of science until now. As scientific methods change, so does our understanding of the world.

    Of course there are groups who wish to create and maintain this contradiction between science and religion. The religiously dogmatic and the atheist dogmatists (those for example who take science as absolute fact, as opposed to what it really is, a work in progress.) It also seems to me that the religious vs. atheist debate is significantly more polarized in the US than it is in much of Europe.

    Its great, NGMN85 that you do not need nor want religion to find solace in. However I take issue with your inability to understand or really tolerate those who do choose to take solace in their religion. Yes I read that you come from a catholic upbringing, and I can understand how that would suck. From what I gather most people from a Catholic upbringing don't really appreciate it. (That was a joke).

    Now this is where I've never appreciated the anarchist view on religion. The Marxists at least relied on dialectic materialism to guide their approach (a sociological method in itself). Anarchists seem to lack a methodology, which then seems to lead many of them to extremist absolutist views towards many sociological issues. I'm not saying there aren't extremist Marxists, or dogmatic Marxists, of course there are. Far far too many of them. However I have always found the core of Marxism to be far more sympathetic to religion than that which was put into practice. As I quoted before in this thread, Marx viewed religion as the heaving sigh of the oppressed masses, the opiate of the people, during a time when opium was a medicinal painkiller, not an addictive drug. (which it also was, but they didn't know that.) In fact this was during a time in medicine when surgeries had to be performed quickly because there was no knowledge of real painkillers, nor did they know of bacteria, which meant they often used the same unwashed instruments. With new knowledge in the field of medical science, the methods of medicine radically changed for the better. The previous methods now seem barbaric to us.

    Without understanding the social role of religion, and its roots it is no surprise to me that there are these atheist dogmatists.

    They also easily overlook the good that religion has done. An interesting anecdote that I enjoy is why Poland is so ridiculously and overtly religious compared to the rest of both Eastern and Western Europe. The Polish church and its clergy were actively working against the Nazi occupiers, often at great risk to their own lives. Much of the clergy itself was rounded up and put into concentration camps for their efforts to help their countrymen. There are examples of priests who did collaborated, but they are not representative of the majority of the Polish church at the time.

    I'm through, end of argument. You're all wrong and I'm right as usual.
    Last edited by wheelchairman; 06-11-2009 at 08:26 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by T-6005 View Post
    I do no be following, fortune prick me if I do no.

  4. #64
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Cascadian Exile
    Posts
    19,600


    Default

    On a completely different note I also wish to address the common claim that 'religion' is the cause of so many evils in this world.

    This in my own opinion is far too simplistic a view. Simply because it lacks context in most cases. This could be an acceptable world view if you were to subscribe to Samuel Huntington's 'clash of civilizations' outlook, however I find that to be oversimplified as well.

    Religion more often than not functions as the banner call for a group action, it in itself is rarely the catalyst or even the main motivation. The motivations, will and power in pushing forth the 'religious wars' or whatever other ill you wish to bring up has a far deeper root than religion, usually there are historical, cultural, economic and sociological factors at play, where the religious are simply exploited to serve a means. Are they exploited because they are faithful? Similar to industrial workers being exploited for whatever reasons they have, or poor people being exploited by their landlords. Soldiers follow orders, employees follow orders, tenants follow orders, etc. Any argument you raise against the religious for being tools can be raised against the working class for their acceptance as well.

    On top of that such a view of religion paints religion as a monochrome entity, where every religion has their hard-liners and their reformists. Not to mention the fact that there are a number of religions in the first place.

    Essentially in a jumbled and fatigued manner I am trying to say that religion is not the sole cause of any action taken by men, there are always other factors and to ignore this is simply to be ignorant.

    p.s. According to Max Weber, its religion that is to blame for why the Germanic peoples are always so punctual. That's a good thing I guess. :/
    Last edited by wheelchairman; 06-11-2009 at 08:20 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by T-6005 View Post
    I do no be following, fortune prick me if I do no.

  5. #65
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    9,431


    Default

    Thanks, Per. As usual you take what I want to say and make it understandable.

    Focusing on any one element as a defining factor is a methodological and intellectual faux pas. Everything needs to be situated in terms of historic/social/economic/cultural context.
    Thibault's New Music Site!
    Quote Originally Posted by wheelchairman
    Those wool-headed buffoons have more pride than a Shaido with one goat.

  6. #66
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Vienna
    Posts
    1,568


    Default

    I read that someone who studies biology MUST in fact be sure that something godlike cannot exist, simply because you cannot verify it.
    In my opinion it's exactly the other way around.
    As a scientist, you know how complex life is. Gravity, human interactions, animals, the orbit, metalbolism, the golden section, evolution, history, anatomy, molecules, languages, technology, fonts, arcitecture, time, sports and so on. They seem too complex to happen spontanious, out of nowhere. Believing there is a higher being behind this as a scientist sounds more reasonable (to me) than saying it's just coincidence.
    I hope this doesn't sound too dump.
    Do you think you‘d sell your soul
    To just have one thing to turn out right?

  7. #67
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Staten Island, NY
    Posts
    3,138


    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Offspring-Junkie View Post
    I read that someone who studies biology MUST in fact be sure that something godlike cannot exist, simply because you cannot verify it.
    That's not really how science works. Just because something isn't provable, doesn't mean it's disproven. The supernatural is sort of out of the scope of science. And either way, science doesn't require atheism, so whoever told you that was full of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Offspring-Junkie View Post
    In my opinion it's exactly the other way around.
    As a scientist, you know how complex life is. Gravity, human interactions, animals, the orbit, metalbolism, the golden section, evolution, history, anatomy, molecules, languages, technology, fonts, arcitecture, time, sports and so on. They seem too complex to happen spontanious, out of nowhere. Believing there is a higher being behind this as a scientist sounds more reasonable (to me) than saying it's just coincidence.
    Well, a good amount of the things you mentioned are man-made, and therefore not "out of nowhere". Also, very little about science is spontaneous. Keep in mind that the universe is about 14 billion years old.

    I'm not sure what you mean by "coincidence". Do you mean that it's a coincidence that all of these things happened and we exist now? I've heard that point before, and I thought it was rather arrogant. It's like assuming the universe exists just for us to populate it, and that's not the case at all. The past didn't occur to make the present possible, the present is an extension of the past.

    Quote Originally Posted by Offspring-Junkie View Post
    I hope this doesn't sound too dump.
    lol
    Quote Originally Posted by alexandematthew View Post
    Sometime I think about the Drama and Jokes I visit on this Board. This is not only for Drama and Jokes but some important information like Handmade Mattresses.

  8. #68
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Boston
    Posts
    148


    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Static_Martyr View Post
    ...in a purely materialistic worldview. If we are all just synaptic reactions in a biological environment, then that's what we basically are: EXTREMELY complex computers. There is no "spirit" or other outside force/influence that makes our consciousness, sentience, or otherwise-named self-awareness unique or true; it's basically an illusion. If that is in fact the case, then I believe it must follow that a like entity could, even if only theoretically, be constructed from basically non-living matter (much in the way that the simplest life was made from non-living matter, like sugars and minerals) in such a super-complicated way as to resemble human behavior.
    ...
    And the point of making that point was that, going on a purely materialistic worldview, there is no way to differentiate between such a theoretical "super-complex machine" and a living human, because they share the same biological synaptic processes.
    ...
    I guess I should ask before I go on: Do you believe that there is anything about human behavior (from a biological standpoint) that absolutely cannot ever be manually reproduced by any means?
    Well, this is all very theoretical and subjective. Tje equivalence would depend on creating true sentience, consciousness, as you say, thats' the trick. How to even program such a thing is fraught with complications. All the other basic processes are mostly pretty easy to create, machines that self replicate, umm, they would need some kind of power source which would be roughly analagous to feeding, conduits carrying energy to different parts, not wholly dissimilar to our circulatory system. Real emotions would also be tricky, even if a sentient machine were to be created, our instincts toward sympathy and empathy, which are essentially developed survival imperatives, would be most likely absent. Also, such an entity might not even want to reproduce, though it would probably be capable. I think it would have a natural sense of self-preservation, though. Again, this is highly speculative. So, my best answer would probably be "not really", or "not necessarily."

  9. #69
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Boston
    Posts
    148


    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by That_Guy91 View Post
    I didn't say that there was prrof of the supernatural. Quit putting words in my mouth (er, keyboard). I'm talking about the possibility, and you're acting like it's impossible.
    It's impossible until there is reason to believe it's possible. Again, thats' not how the scientific method works, simply because i can't prove there aren't fairies in your garden, doesn't mean I should seriously entertain the possibility. I fully admit one cannot fully disprove the existence of god (or gods) however the value of that fact is often overstated. A scientific person, again, like me, says "I don't know." The word "supernatural" is also highly dubious. It's a nonstatement. Like I said before I don't have to "believe" in gravity, because it's true, it's a matter of verifiable fact. Anything that is actually real would have real properties. Say Zeus, or Quetzelcoatl, or Horus (The egyptian god on whom the character of Christ is probably based.) were to land tomarrow out of the sky. Then religion would become science, because we'd be dealing with things that actually exist. You'd have physicists with PHD's figuring out exactly how many angels you can fit on the head of a pin. So, "supernatural" essentially means "not real", or "made up."

  10. #70
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Boston
    Posts
    148


    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wheelchairman View Post
    I think the most important flaw in the argument so far has been the idea that science and religion are contradictions, or competing factors. This is a common misconception but it seems rather simple to avoid. The main factor behind this misconception is that it was a contradiction in the past, a rather large one. Now it is only a contradiction in certain 3rd world countries, and in a minority of the Republican party, a minority that has lost significant steam in the last years.
    For most of the western world religion and science are not competing in the same field,
    I completely disagree. Unless you say you believe I god as a metaphor or something, in which case you’re not actually religious. No mythological figure meets the criteria set forth by the scientific method, which is also the philosophical method.

    Also you understate the size and power of the radical religious right, believe me they are major players in American politics.

    Quote Originally Posted by wheelchairman View Post
    and perhaps this is true even in much of the 3rd world as well. The functions of science and religion are not even the same anymore. Religion is no longer used as an end-all explanation for the majority of the faithful.
    I’m quite aware that in the west fewer people believe religious texts 100% literally, although there are some very frightening figures regarding America which is much more like third world nations in terms of religious fanaticism/fundamentalism. The simple truth however remains, you can’t be a rational person and be 100% sure of that which you have no proof. The object of science is to look at what you can prove, and then to even subject that to rigorous testing, and what survives is truth.

    Quote Originally Posted by wheelchairman View Post
    Far from it, the majority of the faithful find comfort in religion in ways science never could offer. Dealing with the death of a loved one for instance, or struggling through what would to oneself be an otherwise meaningless existence. This seems to me to be the primary function of religion.
    I think Atheism generally gets a bum rap on this. I think it’s possible to have a life-affirming atheism. If you believe, as there is reason to, that this is the only life there is, it becomes more precious. I think the majesty of the universe is plenty significant and awe-inspiring without needing magical beings.

    Quote Originally Posted by wheelchairman View Post
    The Catholic church even recognizes evolution as a fact.
    Barely. They’ve stopped vehemently attacking it, but they don’t really endorse it either. I think they’re just taking a pragmatic approach because it’s generally understood to be the truth. Sadly, again, the US is unique in the amount of our population who does not believe in evolution, including, as mentioned, three finalists in the presidential primaries.

    Quote Originally Posted by wheelchairman View Post
    As scientific methods change, so does our understanding of the world.
    Absolutely. For example dark matter and dark energy which are all the rage right now might be based on faulty premesis. There is a competing theory called Modified Newtonian Dynamics, however dark matter and dark energy seem to have a little more weight, hence the greater acceptance by the scientific community. Hey, neutrinos used to just be an idea, rejected by some, now they can be made in a lab. The difference is science generally does the homework first, unlike religion, and also, scientists will admit they are wrong and change the paradigm if it is disproven, while religious types often dismiss any factual evidence that contradicts their preconceived notions.

    Quote Originally Posted by wheelchairman View Post
    Of course there are groups who wish to create and maintain this contradiction between science and religion. The religiously dogmatic and the atheist dogmatists (those for example who take science as absolute fact, as opposed to what it really is, a work in progress.)
    I think every rational person acknowledges science is a work in progress.

    Quote Originally Posted by wheelchairman View Post
    It also seems to me that the religious vs. atheist debate is significantly more polarized in the US than it is in much of Europe.
    Yes, absolutely. There are reliable polls, the difference is astounding. I have a feeling this has to do with cultural differences, as well as economic differences. For being the global superpower in terms of homelessness, unemployment, and infant mortality, we’re closer to the third world in many respects.

    Quote Originally Posted by wheelchairman View Post
    Its great, NGMN85 that you do not need nor want religion to find solace in. However I take issue with your inability to understand or really tolerate those who do choose to take solace in their religion.
    Well, if they could keep it entirely to themselves I’d be more accepting. But either way, it involves suspending logical thought, which I think is generally a bad thing. Someone might discover something great or be inspired to do something by not thinking logically, but I don’t see it as beneficial in the long run.

    Quote Originally Posted by wheelchairman View Post
    Now this is where I've never appreciated the anarchist view on religion. The Marxists at least relied on dialectic materialism to guide their approach (a sociological method in itself). Anarchists seem to lack a methodology, which then seems to lead many of them to extremist absolutist views towards many sociological issues. I'm not saying there aren't extremist Marxists, or dogmatic Marxists, of course there are. Far far too many of them. However I have always found the core of Marxism to be far more sympathetic to religion than that which was put into practice. As I quoted before in this thread, Marx viewed religion as the heaving sigh of the oppressed masses…
    Anarchists are generally materialists on the whole with some exceptions, some of the earlier proto anarchists or fellow-travelers were religious (Tolstoy, for example.), generally believing that god’s law had primacy over man-made law, and made such law redundant. The chief difference is for his understanding of class, Marx fully embraced monolithic power structures. The dictatorship of the proletariat, not unlike Plato’s “philosopher king.” Anarchists are more likely to support the adage “absolute power corrupts, absolutely.” This was the central thesis of Bakunin’s split with Marx, and I think Bakunin’s perspective is on more solid ground, looking back. Anarchism is critical of all monolithic concentrations of power, seeing them as the primary source of inequality and human suffering. Rather than proletariat/bourgeoisie, although Anarchists are commited to class struggle, Anarchists generally view the forces of oppression/exploitation as more of a triumvirate: state/church/financial institutions. If one analyzes these institutions they function in virtually identical ways, fundamentally, and are intrinsically linked. This is a really insufficient treatment, if you're interested in discussing Anarchism I'd suggest a switch to the Anarchist threads, although I'd recommend you read my previous posts I've expounded on this at some length.

    Yes, Marx as an ideologue, would probably have been horrified by most of what was done in his name.

    Quote Originally Posted by wheelchairman View Post
    Without understanding the social role of religion, and its roots it is no surprise to me that there are these atheist dogmatists.
    “Dogma” could be applied to my Anarchist beliefs, although I’d debate that, however any rational scientific perspective is inherently skeptical, whereas “dogma” is more rigid. I’d have no problem with god if he showed up tomorrow, I just refuse to absolutely accept fantastical premesis.

    Quote Originally Posted by wheelchairman View Post
    They also easily overlook the good that religion has done. An interesting anecdote that I enjoy is why Poland is so ridiculously and overtly …etc.
    Yes, that’s’ true. The CIA essentially went to war against the catholic church in South America, because they were championing the poor, while we were arming the military juntas which were tied to foreign interests and moneyed classes. The most notable being Archbishop Romero, or Jean-Bertrand Aristide. There are other examples, like Bishop Belo, or that priest who tried to kill Hitler. However, the Vatican was very supportive of the third reich, and has often sided with the oppressor over the oppressed. I fully acknowledge that religious organizations have done good, but that religion was not the essential ingredient, there are many secular human rights groups, it’s not vital, in that case I think it’s superfluous.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •