I think rune is littletoe's alter ego . . .
Why ? Why? WHY???
LittleToe: ... No, you didn't upset me - no apology needed. Impatience with your lack of comprehension is what fueled that long reply. Strong words are necessary when one is trying to be direct. Just dump all the ideas of emotional vendettas, it's just not happening for me. Next time put up a huge banner saying 'kiss my friends asses so I won't badger you in a mindlessly repetitive fashion' so I'll know. At least you're giving me the benefit of the doubt now, though that really isn't necessary, since if you just read my last reply in full, I went into painfully meticulous detail what I meant.
Well, as frenchbabyface pointed out, since objectivity has been dropkicked out the window I'll just lose it for this next part:
........as for your Africa stuff: Look, write a romance novel on your love affair with Africa ok? Yes I've travelled a little, and I live in a very beautiful part of Canada. Do I feel like the 'fibre of my being' has been saturated by it? No. Do you understand your whimsical fancies aren't experienced by everyone? I take my world literally. I see beauty, I feel pleasure from it. Raw fucking pleasure, it's wonderful and I can never get enough of it. Unless I want to shape a story of something I've experienced for someone, I don't paint my own judgements with fancy ideas, I just remember the experience exactly as it was, nothing more. Heck, for all I know that's what you're doing, just to make your trip to Africa sound like you had sex with it rather than just a nice visit. Telling me the experience of your visit to Africa has nothing to do with sensory experience just indicates you are once again, deluding yourself, changing/enhancing your own experience & memory of Africa into something better. That's just great, but like I said, it really has nothing to do with me. Yes this is a lot like Dansk's point, since we have to keep bringing it up: Delude yourself enough and you can make yourself feel something really magical and special. Congrats. :) Ok I am not going to say this again. In fact, if my replies have to constitute repeating myself to you anymore, I'm just not gonna make them. I'm just trying to help you understand my position but you just don't get it! I didn't 'go for the jugular', remain objective & do not 'pour your heart' into an objective discussion. I have been saying this all along and frenchbabyface even repeated it a few times as well.
Ok, back to being objective.
LittleToe (again): The crux of the matter is that the things you & Dansk have suggested rely solely on faith. I will not submit to faith because I will end up self-convincing / deluding myself. That is why I need proof, because it is a clue external to myself that tells me something is more likely true. If you don't need proof, that is your choice, but don't expect me to sympathize with delusion (more than I already have) or to abandon logic.
Narkissos: Another interesting point - you're good at those. Hmm... Those Attitudes aside for a moment: Is believing in what might not exist mentally healthy? These desires for those under Hypothesis 0 root from an emotional basis do they not? And an emotional need is caused by a possible emotional defecit (for instance, someone may not be lacking at all if their needs are supposedly met by their faith, reinforced by family/friends/whoever, from a very young age and still remain with it). If someone is lacking for something emotionally in some respect, and their desires weave (or take in) something that mostly likely cannot be, are they not dangerously setting the bar to a place that mostly likely cannot ever be reached? I suppose I am just speaking from a mental health perspective. If disillusionment occurs, any number of things can happen, because that emotional need once again gapes open, this time with the gruesome realization that it was all a dream and the world is much 'harsher' than the subject was prepared for. Look at ex-Witness behavior for examples. But anyway... All in all, the desire itself is not in any way a bad thing, especially not the way you put it for Hypotheses 0. It is the fanaticism that may result; desire, or the structuring of one's life based on one's beliefs, can run rampant when it is given no boundary in 'the real'. People imposing views on their children, or being treated with sexual discrimination because of their beliefs are some examples of where I see this to be a problem - but there have been far worse and bloodier examples throughout history. Witnesses for instance have their desires flared up by meetings, assemblies, literature and one another about a happy existence later, after a long period of their servitude/donations. However, one may argue that these detrimental effects actually root from human nature rather than the belief structure, in which case are just going to be as harmful to one another with or without this. (Perhaps people just take on beliefs that align with the way they are going act anyway, is my other point, which would make sense, even if they change and later realize those beliefs no longer lie in accordance with them.)
Mental health aside; the very center of the matter is whether the central idea of Hypothesis 0 is wrong or not: Hypothesis 0 is phrased in a way that is not in accordance with belief; a believer will not admit that what they believe in cannot be. Is what the believer believes in really there? Well, it could be, but we can take a look at people as whole. So many people have different beliefs, many of which contradict one another in a fashion that it will end up that, if any are right, most definitely some will be wrong. Perhaps then, all of them are wrong. Who is to know, without proof? This is the basis for my agnostic outlook; there are simply too many possibilities to consider, and it is very difficult or perhaps impossible to be absolutely certain one is true. Since I will not use faith to supplement lack of evidence, 'I sit on the fence.' The only clues we have then, are probability. What sways probability? The only thing that can - the world around you. That which you can actually see, hear, touch, smell etc. Everything that is taken in by the senses. David Hume was a great man in some respects. Thereby, if I see creatures die, and rot away - I am swayed to think that creatures die and rot away. I do not however, see their soul, or experience their spirit, so I have no indication to sway my views towards thinking such things exist. This is really simply common sense, and as I have said in the past to others, relates to how we learn, from the moment we begin learning. It is comparable to how we repeat behaviours that have a beneficial or pleasant effect for us, and avoid those that have detrimental or unpleasant effects wherever possible - learning. It is a bit of a stretched comparison, I must admit: But when I experience something with my senses, it is like that positive effect of an action reinforcing a behaviour, only it reinforces my idea of the probability of reality being a certain way instead. When I do not, and I only hear of it from the words of others, I do not have that sensory reinforcement - I do not have anything to go on. Hence I don't believe. But simply because my senses have not detected something yet (or ever) is not the be all and end all of the universe. I simply still cannot know for certain whether something is true. Hence, I am swayed, but never fully absolute on my views, which helps for remaining open so long as proof is supplied to improve them. My views will only be changed out of proof or emotional necessity, and I feel this may be the case for others too - perhaps everyone. (I am not trying to sell my belief system to anyone by speaking about myself by the way, I am just the most readily available example to myself - so, anyone who reads this may rest assured I am not trying to steal your faith from you.)
Big Tex: I disagree. Wouldn't 'wisdom' - common sense, good judgement, the ability to discern what is true or right - root from an extensive amount of knowledge about the world around you? The more the better I'd say, since the more details and factors you can consider, the more precise your judgement - your wisdom - can be. The only problem would be possessing incorrect knowledge, in which your judgement would be flawed. The best chance of not having incorrect knowledge would be to acquire knowledge that has been empirically demonstrated to be sound.
frenchbabyface: Haha! Thanks for your support. I really don't know why people don't just debate without getting their emotions involved. It's easier on everyone, and much simpler too!
under74: Not yelling. Debating.
xochsi: No frickin way.
And an emotional need is caused by a possible emotional defecit (for instance, someone may not be lacking at all if their needs are supposedly met by their faith, reinforced by family/friends/whoever, from a very young age and still remain with it). If someone is lacking for something emotionally in some respect, and their desires weave (or take in) something that mostly likely cannot be, are they not dangerously setting the bar to a place that mostly likely cannot ever be reached? I suppose I am just speaking from a mental health perspective. If disillusionment occurs, any number of things can happen, because that emotional need once again gapes open, this time with the gruesome realization that it was all a dream and the world is much 'harsher' than the subject was prepared for.
Hmm...I have to agree that filling an emotional need (or trying to) with "a dream" is a dangerous proposition. But we all do that in so many ways, not just with religion, and not just out of foolishness. Part of being young (indeed, any age, b/c we are always learning and never know everything) is that we look towards filling whatever need is the most prominent as some sort of salvation. "If I was in love..." I think is the most common. And so we close our eyes and jump blindly - or even if our eyes are open, our desires color what we see. I think (hope) we learn as we grow older, but I think we are all capable of self-delusion (without even knowing it at times) and although it's a dangerous thing to do, I don't know that we ever grow past it in our short lifespan, at least not entirely. Point is this: I know I want to fill my emotional needs with things of substance, but I have deluded myself before (being a dub, etc) and I don't pretend that I am so mature/intelligent/etc. that I can guarantee that won't happen again. It hurts like hell to realize you were wrong, but the fortunate thing is that hurting is fatal. I hope realizations don't ever end for me, it would be tragic if I had nothing else to gain emotionally.
With all due respect rune, wisdom is more than a simple accumulation of facts and/or knowledge. Just as there is a difference between intellectual IQ and emotional IQ.
However I would like to take a stab at answering your original question(s). Throughout time, people have used the mystical to explain the realities presented them, and in all candor it's a fairly intelligent and creative solution. Especially if you factor in somewhat limited scientific knowledge. Ultimately though the existence of God/Allah/Higher Power/the mystical cannot be empirically proven or disproven. I submit that the choice we make whether to believe or not believe is a matter of faith. Even for atheists. No one was there at the exact moment the universe sprang into existence. Yes we can deduce, based on currently accepted scientific facts what happened afterward (and some of those facts are subject to change as well!). But no one can say with certainty why all that energy sprang into existence (and thereby leading to the universe as we now know it) or what caused all that energy to begin with.
Those who believe in the concept that there is more to life than this world, answer "why" with a spiritual, or mystical answer. Those who believe in the concept that this is all there is, answer differently. But with current knowledge being limited, we cannot say definitively "why" (or technically even "what" other than one day the universe began from an indescribibly powerful but small burst of energy). In that sense, we are no different than the ancient Greeks, Egyptians or cavemen for that matter. We are trying to patch together the holes in our knowledge with guesses, with faith or with hope.
Why do humans do it? I think we have an inner yearning to explain and, hopefully then, understand. I guess I differ from you in that I see all humanity, and not just those believing in the spiritual/mystical, using what they believe to explain the realities of this life.
kitties_and_horses_oh_my!: Yes we do dream about a great many thing, I agree, as well about our desire colouring what we see. But even so, there is more than one way to attempt to fill an emotional need, rather than blindly jumping into something. If you're hopeless about life, you can seek a support group, take up a new hobby, anything to encourage you and/or get you around people who are motivated - but instead, some sign up with a religion like the Witnesses. Are you saying that making what I see as huge mistakes like these is unavoidable for some? I suppose you wouldn't be wrong there... I'm just not sure if what you said was just a statement (in which, ok, it was pretty good IMO)...or was it an argument for just letting people do what they do because they're going to make huge mistakes in their lives no matter what?
Big Tex: All right, you got a point there. Someone with an enormous wealth of knowledge might still be a complete idiot when it comes to their decisions, simply because they are childish. I still don't think deciding you know nothing would further your wisdom. I want to point out something to you about your stab at my questions though... you say:
Ultimately though the existence of God/Allah/Higher Power/the mystical cannot be empirically proven or disproven.
For something to be thought to exist, one must prove it. It is the same for any claim. The only people who do not require this proof are ones who are willing to believe without it - those with faith. This process does not work backwards. You don't say God/Allah/Higher Power/the mystical exists because you can't disprove it, you can only say it possibly exists.
As for your description of people using the mystical to explain things as being "fairly intelligent and creative", I must point out that when these people encountered things they didn't understand or wondered about the universe at large (another thing they didn't understand), they made stuff up to explain it. Naturally, it's possible that something secret was revealed to them that not everyone that can just plainly see, but until they prove it it is only creative IMO. Perhaps the original creation of these beliefs is intelligent (for instance, how the Witness faith and so many others use denial as a powerful tool in their belief system). From how I see it, it doesn't take any intelligence to just believe some views you are told and convinced of by others. The point being that your average believer who didn't invent all their own beliefs completely from scratch is neither all that intelligent or creative.
Faith is belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. Atheists, in my opinion, make the same mistake as believers, only perhaps not quite to the same degree. Atheists deny the existence of God/Allah/Higher Power/the mystical completely. Although it is true that if you cannot prove a belief to someone then it cannot be shown to be true to them, likewise they cannot say that your belief is absolutely invalid. The most accurate response that I think they could give would be that 'since you can't prove that belief to me, it is most likely wrong'. But without completely proving that it is false, there is always the slight possibility that God/Allah/etc could exist. A slight possibility among countless possibilities of what could be. Not everyone carries beliefs of absolute truth and certainty though. Yay for agnostics. You're right, no one can know (at least not now) how the universe came to be.
Not everyone just guesses at why things work. Scientists use experimentation to collect empirical data as to how some things work. That is to say, they experiment with things in a controlled setting and monitor how things work out. They repeat this several times to ensure that the data is consistent. That's how the data becomes empirical. Confusing religion with science is a big no-no that a lot of misguided people make the mistake of doing. Science is not a new religion, nor is it an absolute truth like a religion claims to be. It is just our best guess, for now. That is not faith. That is completely in line with an agnostic/faithless method of thinking. Sure, the theory of gravity could be completely wrong - perhaps there's a weird quirk in gravity we don't know about, and someday for a fraction of a second, all gravity will increase a hundredfold and crush us all of the sudden. Empirical data simply tries to get the best most accurate information we can collect about things at this time. Science itself is just a method of discovery - discovery, not just learning information from a pre-written book or being told by someone. Scientific discovery is about uncovering things that were not previously known to anyone. It is not like joining a religion and being told God exists, blah blah, here are the rules and here is how you serve. People who use science as the best guess to explain some things in the world are not like those with faith, as long as they recognize that no scientific data is meant to be taken as absolutely for certain and could be changed/improved in the future.
Yes, I agree, humans are innately curious. But not all of us are believers.
Actually I can understand why anyone can get emotional about anything (they just have to tell why ... simple) ... what I can't understand is how much time it takes them to realised that they have been a bit too emotional about something (even when not personnal).
Also I guess that most do confond their ways with others ways, thinking that if they do something in some way it must be for the reason they would have (for any good or bad reason) ... Not only here, it's true in real life ... I can be guilty of that too and try to avoid it as much as I can now ... Cause I realised that well ... I'm just different (PERIOD) also some times I have hard time to understand them ... and of course they probably have hard time to understand me ... Nothing new (also anybody could say the same actually as we are all different)
Anyway the subject itself is interesting ... the point could be that we wont be able to solve any big trouble if we focus on the symptomes and not the sickness (nothing new here too). dissapointement, frustration, waste of time and love in things which doesn't worth it and can be dangerous at the end when more people get into communautarisme (division from any belief), that's when they are not totally (if not ready) able to realise anymore how wrong or unfair they can be, cause they feel that they are not alone to think that way - or just not alone = to belong to a community) to finally fall into fanatisme.
And just for you to know ... I do believe in some kind of energy (nothing to do with God - something most related to the univers chimestry when its active and intuition when its passive) I just can't proove it ... so I don't say anything particular about it anymore ... I'm waiting for a tangible proof damnit ! But I dont think it's important ... just that it could be interesting (but also dangerous) ... So ... back to your statement ...
frenchbabyface: True, but I did warn them several times and it just kept happening - that's what I don't understand... Oh well, no use crying over spilled milk. What you say is pretty easy to understand, or I think so... Hm, is what I write a bit confusing? Do I phrase it strangely or something? IMO you are right about the community -> fanatcism. There are probably several reasons for why people end up there though - personal tragedy, for instance. Yes, it was clearly visible that you believed in some kind of energy in one of your previous posts regarding Dansk...yes...maybe mild beliefs that don't rule your whole life are the best ones to have if one must have them at all.
If I may make a quick observation. It seems that you believe that showing emotion during a debate means that all objectivity is lost. Having made that assumption, I do not think that it is even possible for emotion to be completely left out of any conversation. Humans are innately emotional. Just as we are also innately intellectual.
Therefore, while I am not saying that you don't have some valid points here, the people who have been MORE honest and accurate in this discussion are the ones who have admitted that they are in fact being emotional, to a certain degree.
It is hard for me to accept that you are calling these people "delusional".
* Human = emotional being
* During debate one party admits this = honesty
*Other party's basic argument is that emotion = loss of objectiveness
* Neither party is ABSOLUTELY right.
* However, by a preponderence of the evidence, a determination is made that the party ackowledging a basic human tendency over which he may try to minimize for the debate's sake, but will never be able to eliminate altogether is slightly MORE right.
Do you find that argument within any realm of possibility?
I enjoyed your answer.
To make things a little clearer, I have to say my "hypothesis 0" is nothing but a personal expression of what I gathered from Jacques Lacan's theory about the subject and desire. Simply put, what I desire always was, is and will be what I miss. In this hypothesis the "materialistic attitude" cheats on the very nature of desire and exposes the subject to multiple disappointment (on the other hand, it favors accomplishment -- and subsequent frustration). The "religious attitude" cheats on the radical impossibility of satisfying the desire, but is somewhat truer to the nature of it (it really cannot be fulfilled "in this world"); it may imply a lower level of accomplishment but this is not always the case.
In any case, I guess you have got a few clues to your initial question ("why?"), and understand that the religious paradigm cannot be refuted from a purely utilitarian perspective. IMO the pars veritatis of unbelief is that there is no other world; the pars veritatis of belief is that I am not satisfied with this world. Accepting and holding fast to both implies recognizing that as subjects we essentially exist on a symbolical level, which is distinct from both "real" and "imagination". "Man cannot live by bread alone." Man could well live by the "word of God" if he didn't imagine that "God" is real. Perhaps this is the true point about not making an image of "God".
I still don't think deciding you know nothing would further your wisdom
Actually what I said was, "The beginning of wisdom is the recognition of how little one actually knows."
A subtle, but important, difference don't you think?