Tillich on why you can't be an atheist.

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Re: Tillich on why you can't be an atheist.

Post by Metacrock » Mon Jun 02, 2008 1:01 am

sgttomas wrote:
QuantumTroll wrote: Personally, I'd like someone to explain in concrete terms what is meant by "Life has no depth! Life itself is shallow. Being itself is surface only." Clearly, I'm fairly ignorant of Tillich's writing, but I simply can't make enough sense out of this to determine whether I agree with these statements.
Meaning. The perception of meaning is what gives life depth.

Peace,
-sgttomas

well said!
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Re: Tillich on why you can't be an atheist.

Post by Metacrock » Mon Jun 02, 2008 1:03 am

sgttomas wrote:
Wyrdsmyth wrote:I would say if someone defines God as "the depths of your life, of the source of your being, of your ultimate concern, of what you take seriously without any reservation" then that is different from the way people normally use the word God, at least in the Western monotheistic tradition. I think a great many Christians would disagree with that definition, because it doesn't indicate a being that is separate from and distinct from YOU. What Tillich is saying sounds more in line with an Eastern position, where the deepest self and God are the same. That's a heresy to most monotheists.
Great!

I think you'd agree....?

Peace,
-sgttomas

Near the end of his life Tillich studied Buddhist thought and said that it was very close to what he meant by "being itself." That is to say the "Buddha mind" is what he spoke of.
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Re: Tillich on why you can't be an atheist.

Post by Metacrock » Mon Jun 02, 2008 1:08 am

sgttomas wrote:
QuantumTroll wrote:Somewhere on his website, Metacrock answers the charge that theists attempt to "define God into existence". I'm more worried about him defining God out of existence, in the sense that God is used to denote something of no substance whatsoever.
WHY!!?!?!??!?!??!?!?!?
That seems like it should be utterly out of your realm of concern.


yea really!


Metacrock wrote:The strategy that I see is that you roll back the definition of God until it's so general one can't help but accept its existence, and in the next breath you implicitly attribute a lot of properties to God. I perceive a disconnect between the God that theologians like to defend and the God they actually believe in, and it seems that Wyrdsmyth thinks so too.
My experience has been coming to terms with something I can possibly deny (or as you say it, "something so general one can't help but accept its existence". If such a thing is justified, then you can't object to it. There are no logical grounds to at this point.
[/quote]


good point, but I tend to think QT does have a point here. But that is not a danger because there is always the possibly of rejecting an attitude of the sacred. If it just comes down to the bare essentials, it's really a contest between "I value existence such that I see it as containing a dimension of the sacred," vs. "I do not accept a dimension of the sacred." the latter is always a choice.
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Re: Tillich on why you can't be an atheist.

Post by QuantumTroll » Wed Jun 04, 2008 4:10 pm

This thread has gotten long. Ima try to respond to the most salient points in all your posts. No offense intended if I happen miss something important.
Metacrock wrote:The mistake you are making is to think of it an object "out there" that we an argue about. He was taking God as synonymous with being,not as an individual object among other objects that one could debate about, not the sum total of all physical matter either. The existential basis of what it is to be. Unless you think there is nothing more to life than just dead atoms in a meaningless void then you have some basis for belief in "the sacred." That is God, the generalizable "sacred."
You just contradicted yourself and proved a point I've been trying to make. You're inconsistent with what God is, even while trying to have this very weak formulation. The existential basis of what it is to be =/= "the sacred". The Ground of Being is a metaphysical law or maybe even a law of physics. The "sacred" is that which makes life more than just dead atoms in a meaningless void. That is not the same thing. According to me, the sacred is a psychological phenomenon just like other feelings, whereas the Ground of Being is a logical/metaphysical singularity in the same sense that the Big Bang is a space-time singularity. Call it God or call it not, it's fine with me :)

It seems to me that even Tillich is guilty of this. Or maybe I still don't get him. Maybe the problem is that I believe that the experience of meaning and depth in life is part of being a thinking mammal (thanks to evolution), and this robs the Ground of Being of meaning. Or maybe not, I'm not sure.
Metacrock wrote:
QuantumTroll wrote: Personally, I'm still not convinced there's any reason to believe there is such a thing as transcendence.
Empirically there is, people experience it.
And people experience UFO abductions, too. That doesn't mean there really are little green men in flying saucers whizzing around the planet. Empirically, there is nothing extra special about religious experiences as compared to similar psychological perturbations. Did you know that, on average, Lourdes certifies one miracle per 29 million visitors? That essentially means that doctors know what happened 99.999997% of the time. Is that last case a miracle or statistical inevitability? I'm sorry, but I still feel that a purely materialistic universe (with no space aliens) makes a lot of sense despite some people's experiences.
Metacrock wrote:
QuantumTroll wrote: I agree that God is necessary for transcendent morality or love, which is why I think this point is very important. Far too often do I see people assume the transcendent and then argue for God, when in fact they're two faces of the same premise. Really, I would love to see some support for the idea that ethics, love, and meaning are transcendent.
Unless you mean they exist somewhere physically like buildings, then it is self evident in the nature of our ultimate concerns. That's what Tillich is saying. The object of our ultiamte concerns, the thing we find in our guts as the most important and meaningful.

For example, does it matter that Hitler killed six million Jews? why? they were just dead atoms in a useless void, what difference does it make? Prove it matters, can you show me some kind of empirical evidence that says Hitler was wrong? No, of course not. But don't you just know he was wrong? Do we really have to prove that empirically?
You're pulling the "morals: therefore God" argument. I'm not going to argue against it here, but I'd like to explain my position on morality. Yes, we feel morals "in our guts" and we do not have to prove empirically that we intensely feel that Hitler was wrong. This is part of being human, biologically and culturally. Love, hate, and morals seem transcendent because, being human, we cannot transcend them. I doubt that the universe outside our minds even knows these concepts exist.

Sgttomas wrote:
Quantumtroll wrote: [in response to a description of what "depth" means] Perhaps I'm your dull-witted empiricist, but I think you're seeing phenomena that do not really exist outside the psyche.
lol. The whole world exists in the psyche.

That's the whole crux of this conversation. Where you look to the mechanics and say, "mechanics!". I respond, "but it is a *you* that perceives the mechanics, that infers meaning in the mechanics, therefore it is the *you* where all of reality resides".

That *you* is the mechanics of reality, the perception of the mechanics of reality and the memory of that perception (perception of perception). That kind of self-reference means that meaning is a basic aspect of reality - it is not equivalent to mechanics.

[..]Truly the world exists outside of my mind, but has absolutely no meaning unless it is perceived by my mind. So attempts to relate to God by the meaning imbued in the world are justified. They may not be acceptable to you, but that is due to an inability to come to terms with such a God.
It appears that we couldn't disagree more about this subject ;). I would say that the psyche resides in the world, and is limited by the portion of world that it sits in, namely your brain and your humanity. On the other hand, the world we see is in the psyche, and is a strange fun-house mirror version of the real world. Our fun-house mirror puts in things like meaning and depth. We cannot escape the effects of the mirror until we die, and I doubt that my analogy holds beyond the grave. Hmm, I'm curious, does this worldview make any sense to you guys?
KR Wordgazer wrote:
QuantumTroll wrote: Really, I would love to see some support for the idea that ethics, love, and meaning are transcendent.
Well, one such support, it seems to me, is that it seems almost impossible for us as human beings to really and truly act as though we believed they were not.

As Metacrock's example of Hitler makes plain. Outrage is what we feel when we look on what Hitler did. Not just, "hmm, his personal, subjective ideas about how to treat people weren't very practical ideas for the furtherance of humanity." No. We feel outrage. Something real about people, their value and and dignity, and our moral obligation to one another, has been violated.

Even Hitler must have felt something of this, for he justified his actions by deciding that non-Aryans weren't truly people. He didn't actually act as if ethical constructs were really nothing more than good ideas for the practical-value-only survival of humanity. He had to justify, which implies that "just" and "unjust" are real.

And no one who is really and truly in love says to him/herself, "I am only feeling a mating urge tinged with cultural illusion." They say, "All I am is yours forever. I am a better me because I am joined to you. No matter what happens, we are one, and life will never be the same."
Again, I think that we feel love deeply because we are human. Our entire mind gets filled up with dopamine (etc.), so our entire subjective universe shifts and a moment becomes eternal and sacred. I'm sure some other chemical races across the blood-brain barrier when you really consider the colossal magnitude and horror of Hitler's schemes. The complete sincerity of these feelings don't change the fact that they're just feelings. There's nothing profound in the fact that we feel profoundness, if that makes any sense ;)

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Re: Tillich on why you can't be an atheist.

Post by Metacrock » Thu Jun 05, 2008 11:44 am

QuantumTroll wrote:This thread has gotten long. Ima try to respond to the most salient points in all your posts. No offense intended if I happen miss something important.
Metacrock wrote:The mistake you are making is to think of it an object "out there" that we an argue about. He was taking God as synonymous with being,not as an individual object among other objects that one could debate about, not the sum total of all physical matter either. The existential basis of what it is to be. Unless you think there is nothing more to life than just dead atoms in a meaningless void then you have some basis for belief in "the sacred." That is God, the generalizable "sacred."
You just contradicted yourself and proved a point I've been trying to make.
[/quote]

No. look: saying "ground of being" is like saying "first cause." there's an indeterminate category, whatever it is that is the basis of all things being. If I think God serves that function, that no more means that being is God than it means that to say God is first cause is saying that all causes are good.

I am not constructing a seperate entity that exists apart from the universe is called "the ground of being." It's a function, the basis upon which all things cohere. Or to say "God is being itself" meaning God is the basic thing that being is in essence.

Now where's the contradiction? I have different idea about God than Tillich. I am not Tillich. I have my own ideas. I'm not the prophet of Tillich. But My ideas are influenced by him and much like his but not identical.

Sometimes I'm telling you what Tillich said, and sometimes what I think. If I say "Tillich said this" that doesn't necessarily mean it's my view. Or that I wont change my view at some point.

You're inconsistent with what God is, even while trying to have this very weak formulation.
How could it be otherwise. God is beyond our understanding. All language about God is merely analogy. So anytime you have that it's going to be fuzzy.

The existential basis of what it is to be =/= "the sacred". The Ground of Being is a metaphysical law or maybe even a law of physics.
No it's not. It's a metaphysical idea, I didn't know there any "metaphysical laws." Certainly not laws of physics. It would have to be the basis of the laws of physics. The courts are not the legislature. Laws are passed by legislatures.
The "sacred" is that which makes life more than just dead atoms in a meaningless void. That is not the same thing. According to me, the sacred is a psychological phenomenon just like other feelings,
You are just redefining it to suit your criticism of it. trying to define it in such a way that you lose the phenomena and make it go away. "The sacred" is a value, it's what we as humans find most important, too important to be profaned or taken lightly. That means it's a value in our minds. Does that mean it's nothing more than a value and has no legitimate basis in reality? if so they you lose science, you lose law, you lose morality ,you lose everything that could ever say Is important.


whereas the Ground of Being is a logical/metaphysical singularity in the same sense that the Big Bang is a space-time singularity. Call it God or call it not, it's fine with me :)
what does that mean? what is a logical singularity?

It seems to me that even Tillich is guilty of this. Or maybe I still don't get him. Maybe the problem is that I believe that the experience of meaning and depth in life is part of being a thinking mammal (thanks to evolution), and this robs the Ground of Being of meaning. Or maybe not, I'm not sure.
how could evolution bestow a sense of the sacred upon creatures without connection to inherent meaning? You are trying to personify evolution and use it as a replacement for God. But if that was the case, then I fail to see the distinction between that and God. So you have merely proven Tillich's point that you can't say being has depth and be and atheist. You just illustrated what he's talking about.

Metacrock wrote:
QuantumTroll wrote: Personally, I'm still not convinced there's any reason to believe there is such a thing as transcendence.
Empirically there is, people experience it.
And people experience UFO abductions, too.
nope! they don't. They experience delusions of it but they don't experience it. the difference? Transience really changes your life long term positive sense and ufo abductions don't. How could it change your life long term in a positive way in a dramatic way without something real being at the root of it?

check it out, the whole point of transcendence is to transcend and if you do actually transcend then you have transcendence!

y9u can dey that and pretend its not there, the studies prove it is.

That doesn't mean there really are little green men in flying saucers whizzing around the planet. Empirically, there is nothing extra special about religious experiences as compared to similar psychological perturbations.


this is where I get mad. I've proven over an dover agan that theer is. I've proven it wiht 326 studies empricial scientific studies. a mouton of evidence,e quotes form sceintists. and you jus tgo "O no that doesnk' exist not true. I've never read a single page of any of those, but I don't want to believe this so I just ignre it."

You are just palying a little game with yourself. It's proven. it's there. you can't deny ti. is'motehr fucking dead to god dman fucking proven!

studies say it's the no1 factor in well being, changes your life dramatically like nothing else can like that can make it all better. but there's nothing special about it. nothing esle does that. nothing else anywhere will do what the studies show RE does. but it's not special!

nothing else like it but its not speical.




Did you know that, on average, Lourdes certifies one miracle per 29 million visitors? That essentially means that doctors know what happened 99.999997% of the time. Is that last case a miracle or statistical inevitability? I'm sorry, but I still feel that a purely materialistic universe (with no space aliens) makes a lot of sense despite some people's experiences.
[/quote][/quote]

Obviously that's because the evidential requirements are so exacting. That's based upon 66 ofical miracles. But they 2000 remarkable cases. that means they missed it just by one piece of paper or one xray or one doctor who could not be reached, but everything else checks out. Then they have over a million claims of miracles.


why doesn't one miracle prove miracles?

that has nothing to do with religous experince.

that's a very dishonest way to argue. you should be ashamed of ourself.
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Re: Tillich on why you can't be an atheist.

Post by Metacrock » Thu Jun 05, 2008 11:51 am

Metacrock wrote:
QuantumTroll wrote: I agree that God is necessary for transcendent morality or love, which is why I think this point is very important. Far too often do I see people assume the transcendent and then argue for God, when in fact they're two faces of the same premise. Really, I would love to see some support for the idea that ethics, love, and meaning are transcendent.
Unless you mean they exist somewhere physically like buildings, then it is self evident in the nature of our ultimate concerns. That's what Tillich is saying. The object of our ultimate concerns, the thing we find in our guts as the most important and meaningful.

For example, does it matter that Hitler killed six million Jews? why? they were just dead atoms in a useless void, what difference does it make? Prove it matters, can you show me some kind of empirical evidence that says Hitler was wrong? No, of course not. But don't you just know he was wrong? Do we really have to prove that empirically?
OT:You're pulling the "morals: therefore God" argument. I'm not going to argue against it here, but I'd like to explain my position on morality. Yes, we feel morals "in our guts" and we do not have to prove empirically that we intensely feel that Hitler was wrong. This is part of being human, biologically and culturally. Love, hate, and morals seem transcendent because, being human, we cannot transcend them. I doubt that the universe outside our minds even knows these concepts exist.
you are answering a valid argument from sign by platitudes. you think the term "human" carries so much weight it makes up for the bad logic that you can offer no reason what so ever why we should find these things. But you are totally missing the point of the argument anyway on another score.

It's not that things are good because god makes the good because he says they are. Its' that finding them so is an example of depth in being. That's Tillich's point, if you find depth in bein you know that there is an aspect to being that is special and transcendent, so you can't be an atheist because to be an atheist is to stop with the atoms in the void and not see anything special about being. If you understand that morality is not just something we make up to ge social order but goes all the way down to the basis of being then you are defacto a believer in God. God is that special aspect of being that makes it Holy or transcendent.


there's the difference in Tillich's view and my view. he would stop there and say that's all we need. there's an aspect of being that is special and from it we get the sense of the numinous and all the timings like morality that's all we need for saying "God." But I say God is consciousness, the consciousness that is the basic property of nature and that bestows itself upon conscious beings.






l




That's the whole crux of this conversation. Where you look to the mechanics and say, "mechanics!". I respond, "but it is a *you* that perceives the mechanics, that infers meaning in the mechanics, therefore it is the *you* where all of reality resides".

That *you* is the mechanics of reality, the perception of the mechanics of reality and the memory of that perception (perception of perception). That kind of self-reference means that meaning is a basic aspect of reality - it is not equivalent to mechanics.

[..]Truly the world exists outside of my mind, but has absolutely no meaning unless it is perceived by my mind. So attempts to relate to God by the meaning imbued in the world are justified. They may not be acceptable to you, but that is due to an inability to come to terms with such a God.
[/quote]

That means you need a bigger mind over all to sort out one set of values from another.





It appears that we couldn't disagree more about this subject ;). I would say that the psyche resides in the world, and is limited by the portion of world that it sits in, namely your brain and your humanity. On the other hand, the world we see is in the psyche, and is a strange fun-house mirror version of the real world. Our fun-house mirror puts in things like meaning and depth. We cannot escape the effects of the mirror until we die, and I doubt that my analogy holds beyond the grave. Hmm, I'm curious, does this worldview make any sense to you guys?
QuantumTroll wrote: Really, I would love to see some support for the idea that ethics, love, and meaning are transcendent.
wordgazer: Well, one such support, it seems to me, is that it seems almost impossible for us as human beings to really and truly act as though we believed they were not.

As Metacrock's example of Hitler makes plain. Outrage is what we feel when we look on what Hitler did. Not just, "hmm, his personal, subjective ideas about how to treat people weren't very practical ideas for the furtherance of humanity." No. We feel outrage. Something real about people, their value and and dignity, and our moral obligation to one another, has been violated.

Even Hitler must have felt something of this, for he justified his actions by deciding that non-Aryans weren't truly people. He didn't actually act as if ethical constructs were really nothing more than good ideas for the practical-value-only survival of humanity. He had to justify, which implies that "just" and "unjust" are real.

And no one who is really and truly in love says to him/herself, "I am only feeling a mating urge tinged with cultural illusion." They say, "All I am is yours forever. I am a better me because I am joined to you. No matter what happens, we are one, and life will never be the same."
Again, I think that we feel love deeply because we are human. Our entire mind gets filled up with dopamine (etc.), so our entire subjective universe shifts and a moment becomes eternal and sacred. I'm sure some other chemical races across the blood-brain barrier when you really consider the colossal magnitude and horror of Hitler's schemes. The complete sincerity of these feelings don't change the fact that they're just feelings. There's nothing profound in the fact that we feel profoundness, if that makes any sense ;)

sort of the genetic fallacy. you try to put some special onus on the term "human' that's suppose to mean something special. It's just a propaganda piece. there is no reason why attaching that word explains anything, that's just cicualr reasoning.



you are trying to lose the phenomena by reducing it to the point that you explain it away. "Its chemcials. it's because we are human." you can reduce it more. it's because we be. and God is being itself. you haven't said anything and none of that is an objection.
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Re: Tillich on why you can't be an atheist.

Post by KR Wordgazer » Thu Jun 05, 2008 2:47 pm

QuantumTroll wrote: Yes, we feel morals "in our guts" and we do not have to prove empirically that we intensely feel that Hitler was wrong. This is part of being human, biologically and culturally. Love, hate, and morals seem transcendent because, being human, we cannot transcend them. I doubt that the universe outside our minds even knows these concepts exist.

***

Again, I think that we feel love deeply because we are human. Our entire mind gets filled up with dopamine (etc.), so our entire subjective universe shifts and a moment becomes eternal and sacred. I'm sure some other chemical races across the blood-brain barrier when you really consider the colossal magnitude and horror of Hitler's schemes. The complete sincerity of these feelings don't change the fact that they're just feelings. There's nothing profound in the fact that we feel profoundness, if that makes any sense ;)
I fail to see what difference it makes that the non-sapient universe doesn't "know" transcendence. We humans are the only physical beings we know that even can understand transcendence. We are also the only physical beings we know that can understand higher mathematicals, or representational art. There is, in short, another dimension to us that the rest of the known physical universe doesn't have. To say we only experience transcendence because we, as humans, can't transcend our concepts of love and morals, is the same as to say love and morals can't be transcended-- because we are the only ones who could transcend them, and we still can't. That doesn't mean that all that morals or love are, is an excess of dopamine in our brains, any more than higher mathematics is just an excess of whatever chemical helps us reason, in our brains.

For the rest, if I may step in here--
Metacrock wrote:you are just playing a little game in your head called "denial land."


Perhaps you're letting your frustrations with the empiricists (as expressed in the other thread) get to you, and taking them out a bit on QuantumTroll? I know I'd get upset if you said this to me. But if Quantum doesn't actually mind, I'll just get my nose out of you two's business. :oops:
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Re: Tillich on why you can't be an atheist.

Post by Metacrock » Thu Jun 05, 2008 3:24 pm

KR Wordgazer wrote:
QuantumTroll wrote: Yes, we feel morals "in our guts" and we do not have to prove empirically that we intensely feel that Hitler was wrong. This is part of being human, biologically and culturally. Love, hate, and morals seem transcendent because, being human, we cannot transcend them. I doubt that the universe outside our minds even knows these concepts exist.

***

Again, I think that we feel love deeply because we are human. Our entire mind gets filled up with dopamine (etc.), so our entire subjective universe shifts and a moment becomes eternal and sacred. I'm sure some other chemical races across the blood-brain barrier when you really consider the colossal magnitude and horror of Hitler's schemes. The complete sincerity of these feelings don't change the fact that they're just feelings. There's nothing profound in the fact that we feel profoundness, if that makes any sense ;)
I fail to see what difference it makes that the non-sapient universe doesn't "know" transcendence. We humans are the only physical beings we know that even can understand transcendence. We are also the only physical beings we know that can understand higher mathematicals, or representational art. There is, in short, another dimension to us that the rest of the known physical universe doesn't have. To say we only experience transcendence because we, as humans, can't transcend our concepts of love and morals, is the same as to say love and morals can't be transcended-- because we are the only ones who could transcend them, and we still can't. That doesn't mean that all that morals or love are, is an excess of dopamine in our brains, any more than higher mathematics is just an excess of whatever chemical helps us reason, in our brains.

For the rest, if I may step in here--
Metacrock wrote:you are just playing a little game in your head called "denial land."


Perhaps you're letting your frustrations with the empiricists (as expressed in the other thread) get to you, and taking them out a bit on QuantumTroll? I know I'd get upset if you said this to me. But if Quantum doesn't actually mind, I'll just get my nose out of you two's business. :oops:

hey I didn't say that. go look again you wont find it. :mrgreen:

yes I took it out. thanks.

sorry OT>
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Re: Tillich on why you can't be an atheist.

Post by QuantumTroll » Thu Jun 05, 2008 3:58 pm

Metacrock wrote:I am not Tillich. I have my own ideas. I'm not the prophet of Tillich. But My ideas are influenced by him and much like his but not identical.

Sometimes I'm telling you what Tillich said, and sometimes what I think. If I say "Tillich said this" that doesn't necessarily mean it's my view. Or that I wont change my view at some point.
Yeah, sorry I've probably been conflating your thoughts and Tillich's. Thanks for pointing that out.

Metacrock wrote:
Quantumtroll wrote:The "sacred" is that which makes life more than just dead atoms in a meaningless void. That is not the same thing. According to me, the sacred is a psychological phenomenon just like other feelings,
You are just redefining it to suit your criticism of it. trying to define it in such a way that you lose the phenomena and make it go away. "The sacred" is a value, it's what we as humans find most important, too important to be profaned or taken lightly. That means it's a value in our minds. Does that mean it's nothing more than a value and has no legitimate basis in reality? if so they you lose science, you lose law, you lose morality ,you lose everything that could ever say Is important.
I don't think my worldview and my definitions makes you lose these phenomena. It's a different perspective on them than the one you've adopted. Do you think the neurobiologists who mapped out the biochemistry of love have lost the ability to love? No, of course not. A reductionist/materialist understanding of love (or morality, etc) does not destroy the experience.
Metacrock wrote:
Quantumtroll wrote:whereas the Ground of Being is a logical/metaphysical singularity in the same sense that the Big Bang is a space-time singularity. Call it God or call it not, it's fine with me :)
what does that mean? what is a logical singularity?
Sorry, science jargon. A singularity is an event where the ordinary rules we are used to collapse and things get very difficult to analyze. A technological singularity might be machine intelligence, because it would change the world in ways we cannot imagine. A physical singularity like a black hole is a singularity because they're infinitely dense and laws of physics become nonsense. A historical singularity might be aliens invading, because everything we know about human society would no longer work. All these singularities are events that we can approach using ordinary rules and procedures for study, but we cannot actually study the event itself or any region beyond the event because any conclusion we'll get is just nonsense. A logical singularity is a point where logic collapses and refuses to serve us. The Ground of Being is something one can logically point to, and say "hey, this is the framework that supports beings", and much like the Big Bang, we can look around and see evidence that this singularity exists, but it's hard to do anything more. Long drawn-out analogy that may not hold water. Enjoy it or forget it, eh?

Metacrock wrote:
Quantumtroll wrote:It seems to me that even Tillich is guilty of this. Or maybe I still don't get him. Maybe the problem is that I believe that the experience of meaning and depth in life is part of being a thinking mammal (thanks to evolution), and this robs the Ground of Being of meaning. Or maybe not, I'm not sure.
how could evolution bestow a sense of the sacred upon creatures without connection to inherent meaning? You are trying to personify evolution and use it as a replacement for God. But if that was the case, then I fail to see the distinction between that and God. So you have merely proven Tillich's point that you can't say being has depth and be and atheist. You just illustrated what he's talking about.
No, I did not, and I'll try to explain why not. Tillich is talking about inherent meaning. I am talking about the perception of meaning. Natural selection would favor the ape that perceives meaning in things, even if there is no intrinsic meaning. If the perception of the sacred is an adaptation for differential reproductive success, the sacred need not be inherent in the world. In one sense, I can accept what you're saying. If God is defined as the reason we hold some things sacred, and I just said that evolution is the reason we hold some things sacred, then God is evolution. Quite frankly, I think that's a slightly preposterous statement. How can God be evolution AND the Ground of Being? I suppose that evolution can be considered a reflection of the fact that "stuff that ceases to exist no longer exists, and stuff that does not cease to exist continues to exist", and this fact could be associated with the Ground of Being. But I ramble...

Metacrock wrote:
QuantumTroll wrote: And people experience UFO abductions, too.
nope! they don't. They experience delusions of it but they don't experience it. the difference? Transience really changes your life long term positive sense and ufo abductions don't. How could it change your life long term in a positive way in a dramatic way without something real being at the root of it?
There is a very real change in your brain at the root of it. The cause of the change is not necessarily tied to the reality of the experience. Out of body experiences also involve real changes in the state of the brain, but the out of body experiences themselves are not real.
Metacrock wrote:
Quantumtroll wrote:That doesn't mean there really are little green men in flying saucers whizzing around the planet. Empirically, there is nothing extra special about religious experiences as compared to similar psychological perturbations.


this is where I get mad. I've proven over an dover agan that theer is. I've proven it wiht 326 studies empricial scientific studies. a mouton of evidence,e quotes form sceintists. and you jus tgo "O no that doesnk' exist not true. I've never read a single page of any of those, but I don't want to believe this so I just ignre it."

You are just palying a little game with yourself. It's proven. it's there. you can't deny ti. is'motehr fucking dead to god dman fucking proven!
Sorry to make you angry, mate, but you have proven nothing with "326 empirical scientific studies". I've honestly tried to follow up on these studies, and nothing I've seen has even been close to convincing. Sure, there is a positive effect from religious experiences. Great. There is also a positive effect when doctors and nurses smile at people when they treat them. Also great. If you really want to help me understand where you're coming from, you really need to help me find some of these studies. Really. Because what I've seen on your website led me to see some things on other websites, and I have checked out some journals here at the uni, and NOTHING strange is going on that isn't perfectly ordinary tricks of the mind. As far as I know. You can get angry and accuse me of playing games, but I'm really not playing any games I'm aware of. Just living my sciency life the best way I know how.
studies say it's the no1 factor in well being, changes your life dramatically like nothing else can like that can make it all better. but there's nothing special about it. nothing esle does that. nothing else anywhere will do what the studies show RE does. but it's not special!

nothing else like it but its not speical.
There's nothing else like LSD or DMT, either. Are they special, too? A single Ecstasy pill will make you love people, open up and really trust them and bond with them, a very special moment that has to be experienced to be believed. Does this make MDMA special? I realize that drugs have bad side effects and RE by definition do not. But to me these positive transformations that you call RE merely indicates the strength and flexibility of the human mind.
Did you know that, on average, Lourdes certifies one miracle per 29 million visitors? That essentially means that doctors know what happened 99.999997% of the time. Is that last case a miracle or statistical inevitability? I'm sorry, but I still feel that a purely materialistic universe (with no space aliens) makes a lot of sense despite some people's experiences.
Obviously that's because the evidential requirements are so exacting. That's based upon 66 ofical miracles. But they 2000 remarkable cases. that means they missed it just by one piece of paper or one xray or one doctor who could not be reached, but everything else checks out. Then they have over a million claims of miracles.

why doesn't one miracle prove miracles?

that has nothing to do with religous experince.

that's a very dishonest way to argue. you should be ashamed of ourself.
Dishonest? I do not think I am being dishonest. I think one REAL miracle would prove miracles, yeah. I also think that an institution that very honestly looks for miracles and invites lots of people who believe in miracles and want miracles to happen will find miracles. Think about this from an unbeliever's perspective for a moment. Is Lourdes really convincing? I'd be convinced by the restoration of an amputee or something similarly tangible and concrete. Cancer remission, for example, can happen naturally with or without prayer. At Lourdes, this would be a candidate for a miracle. At Uppsala University Hospital, it would become a tissue sample and perhaps a PhD thesis.

Again, I'm sorry I upset you. That is not the purpose of these discussions. I'm trying to explain to you as honestly and as plainly what my beliefs and thoughts are, not because I want to convince you to adopt them as your own, but because I want to convince you that the atheist worldview is self-consistent and maybe even pleasant. At least, I'm pretty comfortable with it right now, but maybe I won't be after you show me some of those 326 studies.

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Re: Tillich on why you can't be an atheist.

Post by QuantumTroll » Thu Jun 05, 2008 4:10 pm

KR Wordgazer wrote:
QuantumTroll wrote: Yes, we feel morals "in our guts" and we do not have to prove empirically that we intensely feel that Hitler was wrong. This is part of being human, biologically and culturally. Love, hate, and morals seem transcendent because, being human, we cannot transcend them. I doubt that the universe outside our minds even knows these concepts exist.

***

Again, I think that we feel love deeply because we are human. Our entire mind gets filled up with dopamine (etc.), so our entire subjective universe shifts and a moment becomes eternal and sacred. I'm sure some other chemical races across the blood-brain barrier when you really consider the colossal magnitude and horror of Hitler's schemes. The complete sincerity of these feelings don't change the fact that they're just feelings. There's nothing profound in the fact that we feel profoundness, if that makes any sense ;)
I fail to see what difference it makes that the non-sapient universe doesn't "know" transcendence. We humans are the only physical beings we know that even can understand transcendence. We are also the only physical beings we know that can understand higher mathematicals, or representational art. There is, in short, another dimension to us that the rest of the known physical universe doesn't have. To say we only experience transcendence because we, as humans, can't transcend our concepts of love and morals, is the same as to say love and morals can't be transcended-- because we are the only ones who could transcend them, and we still can't. That doesn't mean that all that morals or love are, is an excess of dopamine in our brains, any more than higher mathematics is just an excess of whatever chemical helps us reason, in our brains.
You have a point, but I guess what I was getting at is that love and morals exist in the brain only, so we find them transcendent because we're stuck in our brains. The alternative would be if love and morals existed as Platonic forms or something. I'm going to have to ponder this some, because I really didn't mean to be arguing against the reality of Platonic forms, if such an argument even makes any sense. I view God and transcendent qualities as something intrinsic in aspects of the universe, and that is something I disagree with. Essentially I think these things are "figments of the imagination" that we all share for reasons of common descent and culture. The question I should ask myself is whether this "extra dimension" that we see represents anything more than the peculiarities of the primate brain. My initial reaction is in the negative, but I'll ponder it for a little while. What do you folks think of this line of thought?
KR Wordgazer wrote:For the rest, if I may step in here--
Metacrock wrote:you are just playing a little game in your head called "denial land."


Perhaps you're letting your frustrations with the empiricists (as expressed in the other thread) get to you, and taking them out a bit on QuantumTroll? I know I'd get upset if you said this to me. But if Quantum doesn't actually mind, I'll just get my nose out of you two's business. :oops:
Things get said in the heat of the moment. If I really let it bother me, then I would no longer converse with Metacrock. We respect each other despite these little spats.

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