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What is your Religion?  

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4 hours ago, DeltaV said:

Especially the problem of subjective (phenomenal) consciousness, which in other humans can't be measured or observed. But we certainly believe it exists.

Consciousness is just a term we use to describe a subjective experience, or a pattern of behaviour. I don't believe it's something that exists the way an object or a force does, any more than, say, "happiness" exists.

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On 5/31/2018 at 7:21 PM, DeltaV said:

Especially the problem of subjective (phenomenal) consciousness, which in other humans can't be measured or observed. But we certainly believe it exists. So belief without observable, measurable evidence isn't necessarily absurd (like belief in Russell's teapot is) and in the case of consciousness (which may have been the starting point of the whole “spirit”/“gods” thing) it is actually very weird to be skeptical.

 

Okay. I might then put 'subjective (phenomenal) consciousness' in a similar category to ideas like 'cause and effect' and 'objective reality' (one that carries on existing whilst I'm asleep, for example). We can't necessarily have direct empirical evidence of these things (and that may even be impossible given the definition of the concepts themselves?) but as working hypotheses/models they seem to help account for an enormous number of disparate phenomena. The example I recall Bertrand Russell giving - in the context of the plausibility of an objective independent reality - was that the cat grew hungry at the same rate regardless of whether it was being watched or not! Similarly, people act like their behaviours are the outcomes of similar internal processes (subjective consciousness?) to mine. Plus their brains are made of empirically similar stuff that can be shown to behave similarly in response to stimuli (in MRI machines, for example). But I don't think people tend to put god(s) in that same sort of category of 'mere' working hypothesis/model?

 

There's also then the question of what god(s) are adding in terms of explanatory power that isn't already provided by other, arguably more justifiable, hypothesis (and ones that you'd typically need to invoke anyway for god(s) to make sense e.g a world for a creator to actually create that's independent of the creations subjective experience of it).

 

Aaaand now my brain hurts! :S

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On 5/31/2018 at 10:52 PM, eatingcroutons said:

Consciousness is just a term we use to describe a subjective experience, or a pattern of behaviour.

Subjective qualitative experience is a synonym for (phenomenal) consciousness.

On 5/31/2018 at 10:52 PM, eatingcroutons said:

I don't believe it's something that exists the way an object or a force does, any more than, say, "happiness" exists. 

Happiness as an emotion is just a special kind of subjective experience, so yeah…

 

For something to make a real difference in the world it doesn't have to be an object or force, but can also be a property (it seems at least in some areas like in elementary particles “object” and “property” are not so easy to distinguish anyway).

 

I certainly don't think that phenomenal consciousness only exists in the way the “health” exists, as a mere abstraction describing (or supervenient on) physical processes and functions. Because we can't imagine one healthy human body and a physically identical human body which is not healthy. But for phenomenal consciousness we don't see such a contradiction, and so prima facie it is no way such an ”abstraction”.

On 6/1/2018 at 11:43 PM, NullVector said:

Okay. I might then put 'subjective (phenomenal) consciousness' in a similar category to ideas like 'cause and effect' and 'objective reality' (one that carries on existing whilst I'm asleep, for example). 

I certainly don't want to deny that there are very significant differences between god(s) and phenomenal consciousness.

 

It's just that there's imho something very wrong in general with Russell's teapot if it is an attempt to show that belief without evidence is irrational in general. There are simply too many important exceptions. Also the ones mentioned by William James in his essay “The Will to Believe” linked above:

 

A whole train of passengers (individually brave enough) will be looted by a few highwaymen, simply because the latter can count on one another, while each passenger fears that if he makes a movement of resistance, he will be shot before any one else backs him up. If we believed that the whole car-full would rise at once with us, we should each severally rise, and train-robbing would never even be attempted. There are, then, cases where a fact cannot come at all unless a preliminary faith exists in its coming. And where faith in a fact can help create the fact, that would be an insane logic which should say that faith running ahead of scientific evidence is the ‘lowest kind of immorality’ into which a thinking being can fall. Yet such is the logic by which our scientific absolutists pretend to regulate our lives!

On 6/1/2018 at 11:43 PM, NullVector said:

The example I recall Bertrand Russell giving - in the context of the plausibility of an objective independent reality - was that the cat grew hungry at the same rate regardless of whether it was being watched or not!

Though it's curious that this doesn't hold in the human social realm (like the train robbers example) and also if we go far outside of our everyday experience. For example, if you're flying past me with 0.99 c, my clocks, which I checked to be synchronized, will not appear synchronized to you and so although from your observation I “suffer” from length contraction, it's clear to you (because of my “unsynchronized” clocks) why I come to infer the opposite, that it's not me but you who suffers from length contraction. ;)

 

(yeah, I managed to avoid Internet philosopher's cliché number 1: appeal to quantum mechanics! xD)

On 6/1/2018 at 11:43 PM, NullVector said:

Plus their brains are made of empirically similar stuff that can be shown to behave similarly in response to stimuli (in MRI machines, for example).

But that imho is, as I've already said, just a common sense argument or, more respectfully phrased, “empirically informed philosophy”…

On 6/1/2018 at 11:43 PM, NullVector said:

But I don't think people tend to put god(s) in that same sort of category of 'mere' working hypothesis/model?

When we look at nixian_hound's claims that they can interact directly with Loki, Loki is certainly much more real for them than a mere working hypothesis.


Here we also run into another problem, the problem of unsharable evidence. Everybody accepts that somebody who has been exonerated of a crime was in the possession of strong unsharable evidence (their memory) that they didn't commit it, and so rationally believed in their innocence. But there are other cases where we don't even seriously consider there COULD be such unsharable evidence.

 

All that dancing around the issue to avoid committing oneself to a positive thesis is very annoying. If one would truly subscribe to the definition of atheism as mere “lack of belief in god(s)” why not be open to the possibility that some people are in possession of unsharable evidence for God, yes, even Loki? But of course that's not realistic…

On 6/1/2018 at 11:43 PM, NullVector said:

There's also then the question of what god(s) are adding in terms of explanatory power that isn't already provided by other, arguably more justifiable, hypothesis (and ones that you'd typically need to invoke anyway for god(s) to make sense e.g a world for a creator to actually create that's independent of the creations subjective experience of it). 

Actually this was just about Russell's teapot, that's all. It's one of those unfortunate “memes” like the ‘Sagan standard’ etc.

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14 hours ago, DeltaV said:

Subjective qualitative experience is a synonym for (phenomenal) consciousness.

Well then asking someone to prove that consciousness exists is utter nonsense. It's like asking someone to prove the existence of the colour blue. "Blue" isn't something that physically exists in the natural world, it's just a description we've made up for subjective experiences of physical phenomena. It exists as a concept if we define it to exist as a concept, but that doesn't tell us anything about the actual state of the universe.

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On 6/3/2018 at 6:36 PM, eatingcroutons said:

It exists as a concept if we define it to exist as a concept, but that doesn't tell us anything about the actual state of the universe.

But a universe with the quale “blue” is a different universe than one without it. So I don't see how the subjective experience of “blue” only exists as an abstract concept. It exists as conscious experience and since humans are obviously part of the universe, its existence or nonexistence is a fact about the actual state of the universe.

On 6/3/2018 at 6:36 PM, eatingcroutons said:

"Blue" isn't something that physically exists in the natural world, it's just a description we've made up for subjective experiences of physical phenomena.

That might just mean that even all the physical facts can't fully describe the universe.

 

 

Of course, modern physics ignores such qualitative, sensual properties and ignoring them was one of the decisive moves from Aristotelian science to modern science.

 

Now I say that whenever I conceive any material or corporeal substance, I immediately feel the need to think of it as bounded, and as having this or that shape; as being large or small in relation to other things, and in some specific place at any given time; as being in motion or at rest; as touching or not touching some other body; and as being one in number, or few, or many. From these conditions I cannot separate such a substance by any stretch of my imagination. But that it must be white or red, bitter or sweet, noisy or silent, and of sweet or foul odor, my mind does not feel compelled to bring in as necessary accompaniments. Without the senses as our guides, reason or imagination unaided would probably never arrive at qualities like these. Hence I think that tastes, odors, colors, and so on are no more than mere names so far as the object in which we place them is concerned, and that they reside only in the consciousness. Hence if the living creature were removed, all these qualities would be wiped away and annihilated.

– Galileo Galilei: The Assayer

 

But in the end, the brute fact that “blue” is simply still experienced, cannot be ignored, so in the early modern period it was that move which also gave rise to modern dualism (Descartes) in which the exterior world is conceived as completely mechanistic and free of such qualitative properties – and inside of this world the utterly different, purely immaterial res cogitans is “imprisoned,” which then projects such qualities onto the world. As implausible as this bifurcation is, at least it acknowledges the problem.

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2 hours ago, DeltaV said:

I don't see how the subjective experience of “blue” only exists as an abstract concept. It exists as conscious experience and since humans are obviously part of the universe, its existence or nonexistence is a fact about the actual state of the universe.

My point remains that as "blue" is an defined as a subjective experience, it is meaningless to talk about objective proof of the existence of "blue". Just as it's meaningless to talk about proof of the existence of consciousness.

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17 hours ago, eatingcroutons said:

My point remains that as "blue" is an defined as a subjective experience, it is meaningless to talk about objective proof of the existence of "blue". Just as it's meaningless to talk about proof of the existence of consciousness.

Hmm. Both have biological connections though. For someone who is not colour-blind, the lowest wavelength sensitivity peak is the range commonly defined as blue, thus I can establish an objective, physical measurement of blue. In the same way, we can find consciousness in the brain. I believe there is research into what areas of the brain are critical for someone to be conscious. Thus isn't it reasonable that we could develop an objective definition of consciousness?

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4 hours ago, BionicPi said:

Hmm. Both have biological connections though. For someone who is not colour-blind, the lowest wavelength sensitivity peak is the range commonly defined as blue, thus I can establish an objective, physical measurement of blue.

Not really, because different cultures and languages have different semantic boundaries for "blue", and many don't have a word/concept for "blue" at all. Which is what I mean when I say that "blue" is defined entirely in terms of subjective experience. Wavelengths of light exist, but splitting them into arbitrary colour categories is a figment of the human imagination.

 

4 hours ago, BionicPi said:

I believe there is research into what areas of the brain are critical for someone to be conscious. Thus isn't it reasonable that we could develop an objective definition of consciousness?

Research into necessary criteria, sure. But as far as I know we still don't have a handle on sufficient criteria for consciousness. Look at the ways we talk about assessing "consciousness" in artificial intelligence, for example - it's entirely based on whether we interpret an AI's behaviour to be subjectively indistinguishable from a human's, because we have no objective way to define consciousness.

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On 6/6/2018 at 1:18 AM, eatingcroutons said:

My point remains that as "blue" is an defined as a subjective experience, it is meaningless to talk about objective proof of the existence of "blue". Just as it's meaningless to talk about proof of the existence of consciousness.

“Meaningless” doesn't mean that the question can't be answered, but that it does not even have understandable content… but it seems perfectly meaningful to me to ask “Does person X have the same subjective, qualitative experience when looking at this patch of blue as I do?”,  and that this question refers to certain state of affairs which either make the answer “Yes” or the answer “No” true.

On 6/6/2018 at 11:36 PM, eatingcroutons said:

Not really, because different cultures and languages have different semantic boundaries for "blue", and many don't have a word/concept for "blue" at all. Which is what I mean when I say that "blue" is defined entirely in terms of subjective experience. Wavelengths of light exist, but splitting them into arbitrary colour categories is a figment of the human imagination.

Now we're back at Loki again… xD

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On 6/9/2018 at 9:40 PM, DeltaV said:

Now we're back at Loki again… xD

We're really not, and I really don't have the patience to rehash arguments I got bored of when I was a teenager 😂

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Another weirdo here. I'm, uh, mostly a polytheist I suppose would be the simplest way to put it. My primary god of worship is the Slavic fire / forge god Svarog, but I'm also a devotee of Lugh, the Irish master of craft and skilled labor.

I'm alterhuman too, /u/nixian_hound, and I'm actually really interested in the convergence of alterhumanity, neurodivergence, and arospec identity, so if you'd like to discuss your personal beliefs I'd be willing to share with you!

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On 6/14/2018 at 6:34 PM, gravityspiker said:

Another weirdo here. I'm, uh, mostly a polytheist I suppose would be the simplest way to put it. My primary god of worship is the Slavic fire / forge god Svarog, but I'm also a devotee of Lugh, the Irish master of craft and skilled labor.

Well, to clarify what I regarded as weird belief wasn't simply believing in gods who aren't a live option for most people (which surely applies to Svarog and Lugh); perhaps not even believing in gods from multiple different religious traditions (Celtic/Slavic in your case). But rather…

 

  • Tamara Siuda, who founded Kemetic Orthodoxy claims to carry Horus' kingly ka in her; though not even this is so surprising – after all, also the pope claims to be the earthly representative of Christ. What's surprising though, is that she's also a high-ranking member of the clergy (a Mambo Asogwe) in Haitian Vodou. And this religion, because it is monotheistic (the Loa aren't gods), makes a major truth claim which is incompatible with polytheistic Kemeticism. I'm really surprised that people don't see a problem with this.
  • Regarding Lokeanism we have to remember what happened to Loki according to Norse mythology: he was chained for his role in the killing of Baldr (crafting the mistletoe spear) and will only break free at the onset of Ragnarök. So as Lokean you (a) worship a immobilized god who therefore can't do much for humans or (b) believe Ragnarök has already occurred (when?) or (c) believe, contrary to the tradition Loki was taken from, that Loki can somehow supernaturally escape his imprisonment, like being at multiple places at the same time (why don't the Æsir notice that Loki isn't actually chained?) or (d) believe in a very different Loki, who was never chained.
  • Then there is believing in multiple whole pantheons from different religions so you end up with many “competing” different gods doing the same job and so many major incompatible truth claims.
  • Finally, believing that you yourself, literally, here and now, are a god. While the concept of self-deification is present in quite a few religions (Greek paganism, Mormonism, Sethianism), it's not taken to such an extreme; it's regarded as something that happens later after you left this earthly plane or is regarded symbolically. If you claim that you are literally a god here and now… well, I would at least associate powers far beyond those of normal human beings with a god and I'll have some doubts that you actually possess such powers.

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