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Old 12-21-2014, 05:01 PM   #171 (permalink)
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i notice random coincidences where it feels like god could be trolling me. but then again it could just be random.
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Old 12-21-2014, 06:45 PM   #172 (permalink)
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I don't think there are very many people who would say that it's 100% certain that there isn't a god. I'd go so far as to call it a strawman argument to criticize atheists for that. Atheists who actively believe that there is no god generally feel that the lack of evidence for god and evidence for a naturalistic universe are convincing enough that they feel comfortable saying that he doesn't exist, but would stop short of calling it a certainty.



For the most part, there is no such thing as a gnostic atheist. It's simply not a philosophical position that makes any sense to say that you know god doesn't exist. Even the most militant atheists would only describe themselves as agnostic atheists unless either A.) they had a different definition of "gnostic atheist", or B.) they were an idiot.


One other thing that picks at my brain. I can respect the logic behind being agnostic, but the basic idea of someone being able to remain completely undecided about such an important and defining concept as the existence of a god seems ludicrous to me. Your certainty might not be strong, but I just don't think the human brain can keep you from forming an opinion one way or the other, just because your logic might tell you that your belief was irrational.
I generally find gnostics annoying whether theist or atheist.

Agnostic doesn't mean undecided in the 2D view (though I recognize some people use it this way as a medium ground between atheism and theism in the 1D view).

In this 2D terminology, it just means you have no ontological knowledge or you don't think one can ever have ontological knowledge of a god's existence. So basically, an agnostic atheist has nothing to prove, since the matter isn't in the domain of material evidence.

And of course, you can't prove a negative in the real world. That's why the burden is always on the positive claim.
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Old 12-21-2014, 06:53 PM   #173 (permalink)
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do you know what straw man means? cause i'm making my own argument, not representing yours. my argument is that suffering is necessary for a universe where life is capable of evolving and interacting with that universe. you can disprove that argument by describing a universe that would logically achieve that end goal without including suffering, which is what i challenged you to do. not a straw man. a simple challenge is all.
Many "lower" life forms probably don't have suffering, just avoidance responses. That is, there's likely not a consciousness associated with simple lifeforms, especially the ones without a brain. The structures associated with consciousness probably didn't come about until after chordates. So we already have a universe in which suffering wasn't necessary for life. Consciousness, and the suffering that comes with it, could just be a biological spandrel.
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Old 12-21-2014, 07:47 PM   #174 (permalink)
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Many "lower" life forms probably don't have suffering, just avoidance responses. That is, there's likely not a consciousness associated with simple lifeforms, especially the ones without a brain. The structures associated with consciousness probably didn't come about until after chordates. So we already have a universe in which suffering wasn't necessary for life. Consciousness, and the suffering that comes with it, could just be a biological spandrel.
ok this is interesting cause from what i recalll you are a scientist or at least are studying in that field..so let me ask how do you differentiate between suffering and avoidance responses?
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Old 12-21-2014, 08:00 PM   #175 (permalink)
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Just sweeped some change across this table and it formed this cross, completely unintentional, no foolin. So after two miracles I have more evidence supporting the existence of a god than not. I believe.

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Hmm, what's this in my pocket?

*epic guitar solo blasts into my face*

DAMN IT MONDO

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Old 12-21-2014, 09:10 PM   #176 (permalink)
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Once when playing Axis and Allies (board game) I was mocking Jesus out loud, because I was an atheist kid and that's what we do, and I rolled three sixes. I did not heed the advice. Next I rolled either a six-six-five or a six-six-seven. I stopped talking **** for a little while after that. Actual true story.
The number of the beast.
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Old 12-22-2014, 11:35 AM   #177 (permalink)
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ok this is interesting cause from what i recalll you are a scientist or at least are studying in that field..so let me ask how do you differentiate between suffering and avoidance responses?
Basically, it's been a concern of ethics boards in biology experiments; it's been determined that the complex structures and dynamics associated with suffering (so-called "neural correlates of consciousness") exist in the forebrain.

If you take an animal like c. elegans (the nematode), they don't really have a brain - more like a nerve bundle (the neuronal ring) that integrates sensory systems (input) and muscle/endocrine systems (output) but these structures and their associated dynamics are more akin to reflexive responses in humans (for example when you withdraw your arm - the signal doesn't travel to the forebrain, lower brain handles reflexive actions, if we had to be conscious of a fire burning our hand before we reacted, we'd probably be too slow).

IACUC (the ethics board for animal experimentation in the US) requires us to first anesthetize tadpoles and frogs, then remove their forebrain to eliminate the chance of them experiencing suffering. Experiments are then performed on the neurons of the remaining living, but presumably not-conscious, hind or mid brain.

And we see some similarities and complexities in animals with a big forebrain to body mass ratio (dolphins, elephants, monkeys, humans). All these animals seem to have rich and conflicting emotions that implies are richer conscious experience (due to having more elaborate morphology and dynamics associated with the forebrain). All of these are of course, vertebrates, which is a requirement for having a well-organized and divided brain (rather than a kind of symmetric bundling of wiring)

Of course, this isn't definitive, and we still have a lot to discover about consciousness in the first place, but there have been useful theories developed based on this and the resulting complexity of the information integrated across systems (Tononi's Integrated Information Theory is an example). Their usefulness has been in assessing the consciousness of comatose patients, I believe (I'd have to review the literature again to be sure).
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Old 12-22-2014, 08:03 PM   #178 (permalink)
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so would it be more accurate for me to say that instead of life requiring suffering, consciousness requires suffering?
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Old 12-22-2014, 09:53 PM   #179 (permalink)
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I don't know. I would guess that suffering is a byproduct of consciousness and consciousness is either:

1) a selected trait that enhances cognitive functions (an adaptation)
2) a byproduct of cognitive traits that were selected for (a spandrel)
3) a physical fact regardless of biology (panpsychism).

I've always kind of went with 2) I guess.
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Old 12-24-2014, 09:10 AM   #180 (permalink)
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well what i was basically asking you is if you think consciousness is possible without suffering.

but now i am also curious which cognitive traits that were selected for you think consciousness is a byproduct of. cause i always thought consciousness served a purpose of sorts in basically helping to tie together the lower cognitive functions.
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