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Lord Larehip 07-21-2013 11:53 AM

A Logical Argument for Reincarnation
 
While I am a hardcore atheist, I grapple with the idea that this one life is all there is going to be. I can live to be 200 years old and what will I have learned about existence? Really nothing. This life we are living is just not long enough for us to really learn anything about that life.

If life was really whatever you wanted to make of it and it didn't matter what you did because when you're gone, you're gone, then why don't I just go and kill everybody I hate and just rape all the women I've always wanted to have sex with? Gee I have never burned down a house full of people or sexually molested a child so why don't I just go do these things for the hell of it? There's no payback so what does it matter?

And yet, it DOES matter, doesn't it? Many religious people think that if you don't believe in their god, their religion, that you WILL do those things. Of course, they must be brain-dead because most of the people that currently exist or have ever existed were not members of their religion and they did not go around killing and hurting people just because they wanted to. The truth is, they didn't want to. But the question is WHY? The answer doesn't really suffice: "Because it's wrong!" But why would someone with no religious convictions at all believe it is wrong? "Because society frowns on it!" But that's not the reason you don't do that stuff. You don't do it because YOU don't believe it's right--period. F-uck society. YOU don't believe in behaving that way. But the truth is, you really don't know why.

Serial killers, war criminals who murdered and tortured innocent people, rapists, thieves--they feel no remorse. They're not bothered by what they did. Why would you be bothered by doing the same thing if there is no real payback if you can get away with it?

We can talk about conscience, ethics, increasing the chances of survival by reinforcing certain beliefs and behaviors but all of these are empty if you really analyze them. To say I don't murder people because I have a conscience is saying what? What is a conscience? From Meriam-Webster:

Main Entry:con£science
Pronunciation:*k*n(t)-sh*n(t)s
Function:noun
Etymology:Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin conscientia, from conscient-, consciens, present participle of conscire to be conscious, be conscious of guilt, from com- + scire to know — more at SCIENCE
Date:13th century

1 a : the sense or consciousness of the moral goodness or blameworthiness of one's own conduct, intentions, or character together with a feeling of obligation to do right or be good b : a faculty, power, or principle enjoining good acts c : the part of the superego in psychoanalysis that transmits commands and admonitions to the ego
2 archaic : CONSCIOUSNESS
3 : conformity to the dictates of conscience : CONSCIENTIOUSNESS
4 : sensitive regard for fairness or justice : SCRUPLE
–con£science£less \-l*s\ adjective
–in all conscience or in conscience : in all fairness

(As an aside--ALWAYS keep a dictionary loaded into your computer, it's so very, very handy.)

Our definitions are tautologic--they go around in circles. To truly understand this definition, you'd have to define every word in it and then each of those definitions must also be defined until you finally end up back where you started none the wiser. The definition fails simply because it doesn't tell us WHY we have a conscience or why others don't.

I posit that the reason some of us have a conscience and some don't MAY be because those who do not have a conscience feel deep down that there is anything to regret after death. Those who do have a conscience, on the other hand, cannot escape the belief that SOMEHOW there WILL be a payback. Maybe it's not some bearded, wizened old man in a robe up in the clouds surrounded by angels that passes judgment. But somehow, some way, we must pay for what we do. Even if you're an atheist.

By examining the various philosophies and religions of the world, I found that the doctrines of karma and reincarnation to be the most palatable explanations. So began a long search for a philosophical argument to support it. After many years, I think I have one that is air-tight. It doesn't explain everything or even much of anything but it does lay out a case for reincarnation and that's enough for right now.

If you're interested, I'll lay it out for you (it's fairly complex).

Sansa Stark 07-21-2013 01:17 PM

there are no rewards, get over it. Don't be a pussy.

Freebase Dali 07-21-2013 04:35 PM

I don't agree with the statement that those who behave morally are doing so exclusively because of some sort of fear for retribution, in this life or the next.
I'm an atheist, and I truly don't believe there is any judgement in the "next life" or any karmic underpinning to our actions beyond cause and effect. However, I don't go around murdering and raping and being a monster out of fear of prison.
I don't know "why" I'm not a monster, but if we were to speculate, no matter what you take off the table, the simple fact of the matter is that we would not have survived as a species if we did not evolve some sort of base moral code. So in absence of any other evidence, you can say with certainty that there is a very high likelihood that it's just a part of us as a successful human race. Most of us just don't go around killing, raping and drowning kittens because we don't want to, not because we want to but don't want to end up in a prison cell or a fiery pit.
To have that sort of outlook is hugely cynical and flies in the face of all the evidence we see on a daily basis that the majority of us do actually care about others... and not because we think we'll get a medal at the end of the race.

TheBig3 07-21-2013 06:40 PM

Sounds like

"I'm an atheist because Evangelicals are ****ty, right? But also, I'm not"

Necromancer 07-21-2013 10:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lord Larehip (Post 1347548)
I posit that the reason some of us have a conscience and some don't MAY be because those who do not have a conscience feel deep down that there is anything to regret after death. Those who do have a conscience, on the other hand, cannot escape the belief that SOMEHOW there WILL be a payback. Maybe it's not some bearded, wizened old man in a robe up in the clouds surrounded by angels that passes judgment. But somehow, some way, we must pay for what we do. Even if you're an atheist.

By examining the various philosophies and religions of the world, I found that the doctrines of karma and reincarnation to be the most palatable explanations. So began a long search for a philosophical argument to support it. After many years, I think I have one that is air-tight. It doesn't explain everything or even much of anything but it does lay out a case for reincarnation and that's enough for right now.

If you're interested, I'll lay it out for you (it's fairly complex).

Well I certainly believe in positive karma and having good moral scrutiny in ones life verses the opposite. But I believe and understand it having more viability during ones lifetime more so, than the so called, after life, reincarnation, or however you want to label it. When we die, its over with and doesn't matter.
I would actually like to hear your view concerning the subject of your post Larehip, it is quite interesting and I am not completely closed minded on the subject, please continue.

butthead aka 216 07-21-2013 11:31 PM

hardcore atheist....... air tight argument for reincarnation..... does not compute captain.

reading this i got the feelin you were stoned bull****tig wit ya bois about religion and just typed it up. id like to hear your explanation. i think a bulk of your passage is 'why dont we break laws and break social norms' and the bulk answer to that would be fear of getting caught and consequences

Paul Smeenus 07-22-2013 12:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Freebase Dali (Post 1347631)
I don't know "why" I'm not a monster, but if we were to speculate, no matter what you take off the table, the simple fact of the matter is that we would not have survived as a species if we did not evolve some sort of base moral code. So in absence of any other evidence, you can say with certainty that there is a very high likelihood that it's just a part of us as a successful human race. Most of us just don't go around killing, raping and drowning kittens because we don't want to, not because we want to but don't want to end up in a prison cell or a fiery pit.


This. Your premise doesn't hold water, at all.

tore 07-22-2013 12:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lord Larehip (Post 1347548)
But the truth is, you really don't know why.

Yes, at least some of us do. I feel like I'm repeating myself from another thread now and probably many threads in the past, but morality has evolved. It is a behavioural strategy to maximize fitness. Other people are potential resources or potential competitors to us and so we have evolved emotions that motivate us to deal with others in a way that ultimately helps up our own fitness. Morality is part of human nature.

If you observe social animals like wolves or bonobo chimpanzees or dolphins, you'll see they too have rules that dictate how to behave. It may f.ex be that the alpha male is the first who gets to eat. Eating before the alpha is "rude", perhaps seen as a challenge, and provokes aggression. Our ancient ancestors would have social rules too; a more primitive version of todays human morality.

Many things flavour morality, like culture, upbringing, availability of resources and health, but what I wrote is the general jist of it. It's a huge subject and if you want to get further into it, I suggest you read up on some biology. I often recommend reading Dawkins The Selfish Gene because, even though it's not about morality, it will give you great insights into how and why such things inevitably evolve and a greater understanding of what stirs in the depths of not just human nature, but in all of life.

edit :

Sociopaths are, for some reason, underdeveloped emotionally. It might be environmental with a very strong genetic component. Either way, healthy humans are not sociopaths.

Lord Larehip 07-22-2013 10:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Freebase Dali (Post 1347631)
I don't agree with the statement that those who behave morally are doing so exclusively because of some sort of fear for retribution, in this life or the next.
I'm an atheist, and I truly don't believe there is any judgement in the "next life" or any karmic underpinning to our actions beyond cause and effect. However, I don't go around murdering and raping and being a monster out of fear of prison.

That's the fictional narrative that your conscious mind creates to explain the subconscious desires and inclinations that we all act on. You can test it by asking yourself if you've ever done anything for which you could be arrested and sent to prison. If the answer is yes, then you don't abstain from activities out of fear of going to prison.

Quote:

I don't know "why" I'm not a monster, but if we were to speculate, no matter what you take off the table, the simple fact of the matter is that we would not have survived as a species if we did not evolve some sort of base moral code.
We could have evolved any type of moral code or none at all and the results wouldn't be appreciably different in terms of survival. Psychopaths have survived quite admirably.

Quote:

So in absence of any other evidence, you can say with certainty that there is a very high likelihood that it's just a part of us as a successful human race. Most of us just don't go around killing, raping and drowning kittens because we don't want to, not because we want to but don't want to end up in a prison cell or a fiery pit.
It's not fear of hell either. It's a subconscious feeling that once the deed is done it has a price attached to it. It cannot be unwritten. Nothing more than that.

Quote:

To have that sort of outlook is hugely cynical and flies in the face of all the evidence we see on a daily basis that the majority of us do actually care about others... and not because we think we'll get a medal at the end of the race.
Cynical it is. The scientific finding that we don't have any idea why we do what we do and believe what we believe and must make up narratives to explain is about as cynical as it gets. But it has been proven. Do we actually care about others and why?

Lord Larehip 07-22-2013 05:01 PM

Okay, the argument. Let's get to it.

First, we have to establish that we exist. How do we do that? Descartes put it best: "I can doubt everything, except one thing, and that is the very fact that I doubt." We know we exist because we have thoughts. Put another way: we have self-awareness.

There is the brain-in-the-vat argument that goes: You are nothing but a brain in a vat of solution in the laboratory of a mad scientist (the same guy who created the human centipede). He dumps various chemicals into the solution and shoots voltage through it and this causes you to have various sensations--sitting on a beach in Waikiki watching the sunset as the waves gently lap the shore, running down a dark alley for your life from a knife-wielding maniac with your adrenalin pumping and your heart in your throat, having hot belly-rubbing sex with the person of your wildest fantasies, sitting in a chair in front of your computer reading this post, etc. None of it is really happening. It's nothing but an electro-chemical reaction in your suspended brain being stimulated by a madman. How could you prove you are really where you believe you are, who you are, what experience tells you what and where you are and not simply a brain in a vat? You can't. You must doubt all your experiences, sensations, memories, beliefs. But you can't doubt that, in some way or other, you exist.

"And now, Igor, we put the lime in the coconut!"


And what is the agency responsible reaching this conclusion? In a word--consciousness. You are a conscious being. So let's define consciousness in an experiential way that we can all understand and relate to:

I. I experience.
II. I know I experience because I remember my experiences.
III. I can also remember remembering my experiences.
IV. I can remember some experiences as many times as I wish--an infinite number of times theoretically.
V. How many experiences must I remember to be conscious? All of them.

That's it. Simplistic but to the point. These are the bare minimum requirements in order to be conscious. You can add more but it makes no difference here. You can't take any of them away, however. But most importantly, they are a priori or self-evident. I don't want to get into long discourses on dualism and materialism. This clutters the landscape unnecessarily. Let's keep it simple and see where it takes us.

Okay, what is an experience? There are two kinds--inward and outward. Or those that happen within the mind of the experiencer and those that happen outside. For now, we are only interested in those that happen outside or what we call external events.

When you sense an event, you have an experience, right? Not quite. You must have a memory of the event that you sensed. Why? Because without it, can you know you had the experience? Or, more properly speaking, was it experience at all? Suppose, we are standing on opposite sides of the street and two cars collide in the street between us. I look at my watch and yell across to you that the accident occurred at 4 pm. An hour later, you say to me. "At 4 pm today, we witnessed a collision of two cars in the street."

But suppose I was drunk at the time and in a blackout mode and now say, "Sorry but I don't remember that at all."

Even though I witnessed the accident and even noted the time, without a memory of that event, did I experience it? Now you might say, "Yes, you were there." (The empirical view) But that doesn't matter to me--I don't have any recollection whatsoever of this event. I may as well have not been there. Without memory, I have no experiences.

Hence, my experiences are a chain of memories of events. I live in the same area I grew up in but I spent 6 years in the armed forces traveling much of the world. I was changed so much by those experiences that I am not the person I was before I left town/the state/the country. But if I could not remember anything of my travels would I be any different than before I left? No.

Moreover, if I lost the memory of all my travels and everything I encountered during those travels would I just have this 6-year gap of no memories? No, I couldn't or I would be remembering something--namely, a period of no memories. In other words, my consciousness is continuous. It has no gaps in it. If I lost the memories of my travels the day after I returned to town, it would seem to me as though I never left. Instantaneously, 6 years just went by. You can't remember having no memory. To be aware of nothing means you cannot even be ware of the passage of time or you would be aware of something. CONTRADICTION.

Ok, let's break here. I have things I have to do and I want to make you sure you understand what I have said here. If you have questions, ask away.


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