Can materialistic science answer life’s big questions? |317|

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, May 27, 2016.

  1. Laird

    Laird Member

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    Is there a (perhaps not so) subtle contradiction in these two quotes?

    Is there a (perhaps not so) subtle self-contradiction in this quote?

    In any case, your post and the ideas in it were very creative and original, thanks for sharing.
     
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  2. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    Well my point was that some people also voluntarily go out and climb mountains, run marathons, go to emotionally disturbing films and weep, etc.

    David
     
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  3. Laird

    Laird Member

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    But you also referred to people being beaten by their mothers, and falling ill, which are more like (but far from the most extreme of) the examples of suffering to which the problem of evil applies. So, do people voluntarily submit to lives in which they are beaten by their mothers, and fall ill, when there is no need to? And if there is such a need, then on what is it based?
     
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  4. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    Well the analogy is with various arduous activities - like say trekking over the Arctic and risking frostbite. I know a man who goes climbing and he has endless storied of near fatal situations! There is no doubt that people like to have experiences that are unpleasant at times!

    I think something similar may be happening when people get engrossed in a computer game. They immerse themselves in a (fake) situation in which they are in danger and need to fight.

    David
     
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  5. gabriel

    gabriel New

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    That's like saying that a doctor who gives his patient a nasty tasting medicine, or a mother who tells her child to go to bed on time, isn't being benevolent. Nice isn't always kind, and vice versa. The world is clearly a hugely challenging environment which appears to have the physical ingredients to match mankind's mental aspirations, for better or worse.
     
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  6. Laird

    Laird Member

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    I don't think I need to share stories of the most ghastly abuses and tortures that occur in this world, because we have all heard too many of them: they go way beyond "unpleasant", and no sane person would voluntarily agree to incarnate to experience them unless there was some sort of need to do so. So I have to repeat my question: what is this need? You know my own answer: the need is to defend against an enemy.
     
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  7. Laird

    Laird Member

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    I can only emphasise that which I wrote to David above: some of the cruelty and suffering in this world is unspeakable. Your posts are filled with euphemisms. Not "nice"? "A hugely challenging environment"? "Nasty medicine"? Sure, "take your medicine" is one way to put it to a victim of sex trafficking, paedophilia, torture by the CIA, etc etc. Not a particularly compassionate way, mind you.
     
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  8. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I agree - don't discuss such stories - we all have our imaginations.

    I would say that none of the explanations of the larger reality seem to fit well - that is why you started your project.

    Clearly the perspective of a disembodied person is likely to be vastly different from that of someone who is embodied (and who doesn't have access to a larger picture). I was trying to point out that even embodied people have an instinct to put themselves through hardship and danger voluntarily. I know a soldier who spent time in Afghanistan, and he said that most soldiers were looking forward to their tour of duty out there - they saw it as the culmination of all their training! He didn't even talk of honour, or a job that had to be done - they wanted to get there - and yet if they had been captured, they could have faced any of the situations that you alluded to above.

    Even your idea of defending against an enemy doesn't fit all that well - I mean why launch action on the physical plane to deal with something that only becomes clear in a larger reality? What does the enemy want, and why?

    I'm not trying to argue that my idea is necessarily right, but I am arguing that it is hard to come to any simple conclusion.

    David
     
  9. gabriel

    gabriel New

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    I'm not making an equivalence between a nasty taste and torture, I'm suggesting that the world encompasses the most profound good and unspeakable evil. It's difficult to envisage a life with only unpleasant and agreeable within it, and again can only re-state that Christianity is founded on these very polarities. The Romans were thought to have borrowed crucifixion from the Phoenicians as a way of slowly killing their victims by suffocation (drowning in their own fluids) and blood loss, at the same time as public humiliation (an agonised naked man urinating and defecating for the amusement and horror of onlookers). The religion embraces this degradation as its key symbol. This is either a sick joke or the most profound gesture imaginable, either way the bad stuff isn't going to go away. Evil is more than bad parenting and personality issues.

    Still not sure what this has to do with the thread's title..?
     
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  10. Laird

    Laird Member

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    OK, but do you think that, if they had been captured, and endured unspeakable suffering, they, just possibly, might retrospectively have changed their minds? And isn't an omnipotent and omniscient God thoroughly capable of such foresight as would have avoided the need for such retrospection?

    Another way of putting it is this: isn't this suffering, whether people ahead of time are willing to risk it, utterly unnecessary, and isn't an omnipotent and omniscient God utterly capable of eliminating it?

    I don't have all the answers, but one possibility is that "the physical plane" is the interface between two morally opposite spiritual realms, and thus it is where the battle "has to" occur.

    What it wants? Total domination, "a boot stamping on a human face - forever".

    Why? Lust for power and hatred of its moral opposite, and, potentially, because terrorising innocents is the only way that it can gain satisfaction and energy; because in some sense it "feeds off suffering".
     
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  11. Laird

    Laird Member

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    Yet, oddly, it cannot explain the second of them adequately. The idea that some angels rebelled and started wreaking havoc on Creation, and God just sat back and said, "No problem, go ahead - let humanity suffer, it'll end eventually on Judgement Day, oh, and in the meantime, kill my son. It won't eliminate evil, and it won't even save everybody from a hell (which I created for no obvious reason) since those who reject him are bound for it no matter what, but it is a sign of my love for humanity. Being omnipotent, I could eliminate evil without any such bizarre self-sacrifices, but I'm not going to; hey, Satan is, as my son acknowledges, prince of this world, but ... you know, so be it until Judgement Day. I could destroy him with a flick of my finger, but... I'm not going to" - is just absurd.

    I think on a reinterpretation of Christianity it is the most profound gesture imaginable, but it does require a reinterpretation. On a view of God as omnipotent, it is worse than a sick joke. But if we understand God to be battling an enemy who is not utterly within His power to defeat, then it is possible to conceive that the humbling and sacrifice of an avatar of good serves some genuine purpose in overcoming evil.
     
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  12. gabriel

    gabriel New

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    Life is what it is, declare God dead and it doesn't improve the human condition one iota, as various atheistic regimes have proved. The fact remains that our internal world is so far in advance of our physical constraints that hypothesising about the origin of the disparity is inevitable. Any biological object is on a fast track to death, yet our aspirations are cosmic and eternal. Square that circle with whatever fury, hope or irony you can muster.
     
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  13. Laird, AFAICTell, isn't proposing an absence of God. Rather his thinking in is line with those Manicheans who see this reality as the intersection of two places - Universe A (Good) & Universe B (Evil). Further there is a corresponding appropriately aligned deity for each universe.

    Interestingly enough I was gifted an artist edition of Kirby's New Gods last night. :)



    p.s. There were some Neo-Nazi type guys who came to the Marvel Office because they didn't like the idea of a Jew drawing the Captain America book. Kirby eventually went down, punched them out, and went back upstairs to finish drawing.
     
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  14. gabriel

    gabriel New

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    Any paradigm based on cartoons is uninteresting to me. World views that have stood the test of time do so because people recognise their viability as a narrative and as a reflection of their inner existence. Those realities do not require novelty to maintain interest.
     
  15. You do realize the Manicheans have been around for a long time? That's just Kirby's take on the idea.

    The idea of equal, conflicting powers of Good/Evil has definitely stood the test of time in a way no singular religion could ever hope to achieve even with the help of colonialism/imperialism/slavery/genocide.
     
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  16. Laird

    Laird Member

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    Correct. Thanks for clarifying.
     
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  17. Laird

    Laird Member

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    Right, and it was - as I understand it, though I am not an expert - political persecution that knocked them from the pedestal of dominant world religion, to the very minor role they have now. Not that I necessarily endorse the Manichaean religion in its specific (and intricate) mythology, but I do think its general idea is most reasonable of those I've encountered.
     
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  18. gabriel

    gabriel New

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    What happened to the original question? I has access to an exhaustive mythos of two thousand years based on another two millennia, at least. A battle between good and evil is intrinsic to it. The difference is it's a conflict for the souls of humanity, not between super hero gods.
     
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  19. Yeah, I don't doubt there are, for certain people, some core truths and resonant narratives in the extant religions of today. But there was a lot of mundane historical factors that lead to these specific faiths being extant today.
     
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  20. Laird

    Laird Member

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    Doesn't (or couldn't) this amount to much the same thing? And isn't it impossible to reconcile with the Christian God? Why would He, being omnipotent, have to surrender any human soul?
     
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