Getting off Mount Atheism

Leah Libresco (of “Unequally Yoked”) suggested the idea of a local maximum as a helpful way of looking at competing worldviews. This is a great analogy, and I’d like to share my interpretation of it.

Imagine an undulating surface with mountain peaks of various sizes, like this surface (left). This space is Rationality, and the higher you are on the surface, the better that spot explains reality.

I hope the analogy remains clear as we explore this fantasy world. I realize it’s imperfect, but I think it gives both insights and a new vocabulary for discussing worldview changes. Here goes …

If you’re on a slope in Rationality space, you realize that you can do better, so you climb higher (by study or discussion, for example). When you get to the top of your mountain, movement in any direction takes you to a place that does a poorer job of explaining reality. You’ve now reached a local maximum. Let’s add a little ambiguity by imagining that it’s foggy, so you connect with other people who share your mountain. With time, study, and discussion, you might be discover that your mountain goes higher still, and you become even more pleased with your position.

Things look pretty good … but what if you’d climbed a different mountain? Maybe that mountain would be higher and provide a more complete explanation of reality.

Another mountain is hard to get to. From your current location, a step in any direction takes you to a worse spot, and because you’d move down into the saddle between two peaks, it would get a lot worse before it got better. This mountain change (that is: worldview change) isn’t to be taken lightly.

The open-minded Catholic (say) at the top of one mountain might wonder how things look from other mountains (the atheist or Buddhist or New Age mountains, for example), so she asks the atheist. The atheist assures her that his mountain is far higher than hers—but of course that’s what he would say. If he didn’t think that his perch was the best, he’d be at the top of a different mountain. It would be a rare person—someone who was dissatisfied with an old view and was slogging through Rationality space searching for something better—who would not recommend their current position.

People sometimes spend years in the investigation required to trek from one spot to another, moving from Fundamentalist Christianity to Buddhism to New Age to atheism, for example. That’s not to say that the journey was a waste. It can be a educational and even enjoyable process, but it can also be a long one.

I’d like to map onto this analogy my hypothesis that well-informed atheists never convert (through rational arguments) to Christianity. Those wandering listlessly around the base of Mount Atheism could call themselves atheists, though they have put little time into finding more about Rationality space or climbing higher. Not knowing the various options, they could be convinced to follow Christians to one of their mountains. This is the Type 2 atheist converting to Christianity.

Others take a different path. Not only do they climb Mount Atheism, but they also explore the various Christian peaks well enough to speak with confidence about how they compare. Or perhaps the order is the reverse: they start from a thorough knowledge of a Christian peak (and an initial confidence in the rightness of that position) and then go far afield to understand the terrain around the atheist peak.

My hypothesis is that those who understand that terrain and conclude that Mount Atheism is the place to remain, the Type 3 atheists, are stuck there with no path to anything higher.

Let’s consider again Richard Morgan’s remarkable story. He was at the top of Mount Atheism but was transported in an instant to the Christian peak. He was familiar with the landscape—Christianity wasn’t a strange place to him—but he teleported there and has remained there for four years now.

A Type 3 atheist—the well-informed kind like Richard Morgan—can teleport to a Christian peak that he already knows well, but this doesn’t give the rest of us a trail. Denied the option of teleportation, atheists look for a new route.

Translated, these atheists are looking for intellectual arguments that show that the Christian worldview explains reality better. And they are still waiting.

Reality is a cold and heartless bitch,
and I love her for it.
— someone on The Nonprophets podcast

Photo credit: Wikimedia

About Bob Seidensticker
  • Aldo Jackson

    My pathway away from atheism was the realization that world was full of imaginary stuff (often called “social constructs”). Further, I realized that people got most of their meaning in life from these things, and that, of the things that matter most in the lives of people, not very many of them are empirically verifiable. Because this powerful and expansive imaginary world perplexed me, I try to reach out to the ruler of this realm, who bears the title “God”. Contact with this imaginary being has helped me to understand all the important imaginary things that don’t exist in our world. The peak of atheism and reality is quite useful if your life’s focus is scientific research. But, if you care about imaginary things, you need a paradigm that can take them into account.

    • Michael Neville

      So you became a wooist (that’s a special kind of theist) because you reject reality because it’s boring and confusing. It’s much more enjoyable preferring the imaginary to realism. That’s a gateway to psychosis but you don’t care. Imaginary is more fun.

      • Aldo Jackson

        Actually, this outlook has helped me to make sense of things that previously confused me. Instead of maintaining that everyone is foolish for demonstrating their belief in imaginary stuff like political parties and states, I now get to let the imaginary stuff do the things that it likes to do, and work out a way to prosper in the midst of it. Empirically verifiable stuff is definitely helpful as well, but many imaginary things blend in so well that they look real, and people certainly regard them as being real.

        • MNb

          Makes sense to you.
          For everyone else it’s woo.
          But you’ve made clear quite a while ago that your religion is narcissistic. The only thing that matters to you is that it makes sense to you.

          “blend in so well”
          Given your refusal to specify your criteria this is just more gibberish. No, a lame analogy like a bridge over a river only clarifies very little.
          Which doesn’t matter to you. You want to cross that river, no matter how or what.

        • Aldo Jackson

          When you really need to cross a river, I doubt you scruple overmuch over the color of the boat, or the material the bridge might be made out of. By blending in, I am referring to the way people think that social constructs are real in the same measure as empirical things.

        • Dys

          It sounds like you’re playing at bad analogies to excuse believing in fantastical nonsense.

        • MNb

          It quacks like a bad analogy, it walks like a bad analogy, it smells like a bad analogy, it looks like a bad analogy …..

        • Aldo Jackson

          Why is this a bad analogy? I’m just using George Lakoff’s Life is a Journey analogy.

        • adam

          Maybe because you are talking about MAGIC and Lakoff is talking about metaphors.

          And metaphors are real.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f7906f1f271064a11b79610d7a44f9939e4a984d876b606d0c8a7211953037e0.jpg

        • Aldo Jackson

          Using the definition popular among practitioners “Creating change in accordance with will”, magic is the foundation of social constructs. And, magic is different from magical thinking.

        • adam

          “magic is different from magical thinking.”

          Nope they are the same.

        • Aldo Jackson

          Magic is to magical thinking as physics is to folk physics.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magical_thinking

        • adam

          “Magical thinking is a term used in anthropology and psychology, denoting the fallacious attribution of causal relationships between actions and events,”

          Again, belief in magic due to ignorance, often time deliberate ignorance.

        • Aldo Jackson

          There’s more to it than that, which is why I linked the article.

        • MNb

          Yeah, but it remains fallacious.

        • Aldo Jackson

          The placebo effect seems to be real, and that’s one of the things in the article.

        • adam

          So?
          The placebo effect is real and can be demonstrated.

          You’ve had plenty of opportunities to demonstrate that YOUR ‘God’ and MAGIC are real, but you’ve failed. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/681785c573e0e941d7e81f66dd2e305bc7671f7e9b41f0b84b263f098be05d79.jpg

        • Aldo Jackson

          If the placebo effect is part of magic, and the placebo effect is real, then magic is at least partially real. Interesting blog. If this claim in the quotation is accurate, then it implied that Jesus’s tactics were effective.

        • adam

          “f
          the placebo effect is part of magic,”

          but its not, the placebo effect is real, magic is IMAGINARY

          AGAIN, you’ve had all the opportunity in the world to demonstrate this MAGIC of yours, but alas, you’ve been an abject FAILURE.

        • adam

          So?
          The placebo effect is real and can be demonstrated.
          It is science, you know, the opposite of MAGIC. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d6bca93ae7c80d595c91fdafdb2bf026527bd663a5a400261e534679da52b2ef.jpg

        • MNb

          Finally something substantial. I’m not talking your lame bridge analogy. Expanding it makes it only lamer.
          No, my compliment is about specifying what “blend in” means. And immediately it’s clear you’re simply wrong.
          The particular social construct called God and gods doesn’t blend in very well at all when you refer “to the way people think that social constructs are real in the same measure as empirical things”. See, the people who have constructed God and gods have significantly higher tendency to write nonsense about physics, chemistry, biology, geology, history and math. You are one of them given your love for your fallacious Argument from Gödel.

        • Aldo Jackson

          In a book called The Money Game, the author discusses his difficulty in explaining to people how, if the Parisians had found a mountain of gold in their catacombs during the siege of Paris, they would have found it useless, unless they found a way to get the money out of Paris, and the goods back into Paris.
          https://www.quora.com/Is-money-worthless-until-or-unless-you-are-able-to-spend-it
          People think that lots of social constructs are real because they blend into their lives. Catholicism became expert at this during the counterreformation, but there are many examples of both secular and religious social constructs blending into people’s lives.
          I have abandoned the argument from Gödel, because of the realization that atheists do not think that the universe (that we live in) is a formal mathematical system. So, I realized that I was engaging with a strawman, rather than an actual atheist belief.

        • adam

          “unless they found a way to get the money out of Paris, and the goods back into Paris.”

          So not useless at all, just restricted.

          “People think that lots of social constructs are real because they blend into their lives.”

          Money is real, cities are real, states are real, countries are real.

          MAGIC is still IMAGINARY https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4e5bf0bb965dfea057390a60ed5831b4a71e150c0766d79eca7bf17a4b30f682.jpg

        • Aldo Jackson

          If we all stopped believing in those things, they would go away or have a different meaning from the customary meaning. (For example, a bill of money, if there is no belief in money, would be kindling, or a collectable, but not money.) Food and drink can still nourish and sustain, regardless of belief. All it takes for that potential to be realize is for one person to eat or drink it.

        • MNb

          If we all stopped believing in God and gods they just would go away – they wouldn’t get a different meaning.

        • Aldo Jackson

          Going away is certainly an available option, as noted above.

        • Greg G.

          See Small Gods by Terry Pratchett. In Discworld, the size of the gods are determined by the number of believers.

          You should read the whole series. They’re all about magick. You gotta start with the first two books but Pratchett didn’t realize he would write so many books about it. The characters are more fully developed as it goes along.

        • Aldo Jackson

          Sounds excellent. Also, to make something imaginary last indefinitely (like a foundation, for instance) it needs to get ahold of enough of a source of energy (say, enough money) to become self-sustaining.

        • adam

          “If we all stopped believing in those things, they would go away ”

          So they are IMAGINARY, as I have so often stated.
          Where you keep stating they are real.

        • Aldo Jackson

          They are social constructs, perhaps even egregores. They are imaginary if the sense of not existing in a technical sense. They are real in the sense of having a lot of influence on people’s lives.

        • adam

          “They are real in the sense of having a lot of influence on people’s lives.”

          Of course, THIS is THE PROBLEM

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a818e212e568df34cc9f84c4a157a7e9c6282d330a282e3cab1c881ab0937bda.jpg

        • adam

          “They are real in the sense of having a lot of influence on people’s lives.”

          Of course, THIS is THE PROBLEM

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c3a8a396ec4c00e69aedeb38b2ba0ec8b3390225418c2e86b7972cc452eb0b69.jpg

        • adam

          “They are real in the sense of having a lot of influence on people’s lives.”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b2a0c489aaa08880d81edb21febaa7862da5b6803a4c9ad943f73429909ace05.jpg

          AGAIN, THAT’s

          THE PROBLEM.

        • MNb

          Those people think wrongly. You are one of them – or will you abandon that as well?
          Money may be useless in certain circumstances (I can think of much better examples than the Parisian commune), the coins and notes are still totally real. So as soon as humans use them for the social construct called money that social construct still refers to something that exists independent of humans (in the end the matter they are made of), just like churches, political parties etc. That still doesn’t apply to God and gods.

        • Aldo Jackson

          Yes; I’m happy to abandon the commonplace error that social constructs are real. I regret any statements that I might have made to that effect. The churches are socially constructed as a place to interact with God and gods, who would therefore also be social constructs, since they are not empirically verifiable.

        • MR

          Precisely. A monetary system or a religious belief system can be real, but it says nothing about the ‘realness’ of money or a god. A person might retreat into a fantasy world, and that might even seem beneficial to them, but that doesn’t mean their make believe world is real.

        • Aldo Jackson

          Life is mainly composed of real systems like this, and they seem to be our main sources of meaning.

        • MR

          No, life is mainly composed of physical interactions. That muggles tell themselves a few stories, doesn’t mean those stories are true. It would be foolish to continue believing in Santa Claus just because it’s a nice story. Just because a story exists and makes us feel good doesn’t make it worth believing. When we leave the fairy tales behind it’s called growing up.

        • Aldo Jackson

          Life is indeed composed of physical interactions, on a technical level. But, when people describe they activities, the discuss visiting Costco, voting, paying taxes to their nation, marriage, and things of this nature. This kind of thing is where people derive meaning, not from brushing past air molecules as they move around.

        • MR

          Which tells us nothing about the existence of God. Your ramblings are no different than the ramblings of a cult leader.

        • Aldo Jackson

          I was endeavoring to answer your question. God exists, because god is a title, referring to a particular office, that is usually filled. Apologists have been barking up the wrong tree. Rather than try to prove the unprovable (the supernatural, for instance), it is best to demonstrate the validity of the core concept. Augustus Caesar bore the title of god, as a reflection of his power. Many people have obtained more power than he had, therefore such people could legitimately claim said title.

        • adam

          “I was endeavoring to answer your question. God exists, because god is a title, referring to a particular office, that is usually filled”

          So who is holding this ‘office’ NOW, and how do we contact them to complain about the shitty job they are doing?

          ” Augustus Caesar bore the title of god, as a reflection of his power. ”

          ti·tle
          [ˈtīdl]
          NOUNa name that describes someone’s position or job:

          But he wasnt god, he was lying like you do about God and magic.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/06091f1f3465af170c19826d987e626590fa562e338c588cf4278fb694454f4f.jpg

        • Aldo Jackson

          When people say God they mean “god of the universe”. There are many gods at any given time. You can contact the IMF. They have vast power over human affairs. Rupert Murdoch would be another of these, with all the news conglomerates that he owns. The Security Council can veto anything that the UN plans, putting them in that category as well. In his day, Augustus Caesar was regarded as a god, because he had power over life and death. His personal decisions could affect the lives of a great many people. Concentrations of power and authority that the ancients, who wrote the holy texts that religions are based on, described as the province of the gods, are now greater than ever before. I would interested in reading about your proposed reforms for the Powers that Be, to discuss the viability of said changes.

        • adam

          “You can contact the IMF. They have vast power over human affairs. “. .

          So the IMF can create Universes and operate sunernaturally?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d52d33d2c5323afc11042117f7247e8b808341f48c9dc67222e2829791d7f15f.jpg

        • Aldo Jackson

          No. But you don’t need to be able to do that to fit into the god category as conceived of by the ancients.

        • adam

          “But you don’t need to be able to do that to fit into the god category as conceived of by the ancients.”

          Yes, they operated out of FEAR of the power that is not deity.

          So expanding your definition of God and magic to include ordinary humans that people fear for the life from (the ancients) is just more DISHONESTY.

          Why is DISHONESTY such a REQUIREMENT for Magical thinking?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7786df5050a13684367f90eb753b953b17c746ef048fe8e05b1f3a989a977fd3.jpg

        • Aldo Jackson

          As best I can tell, the logical problems with the notion of the supernatural were obvious even to the ancients. So, every religious text must have meant something more natural.

        • MNb

          Your best once again is not very good. During Antiquity most people didn’t distinguish the supernatural from the natural. That became only relevant during the 18th Century.

        • epeeist

          Mild disagreement. You can go back to Adelard of Bath who said that one should prefer natural explanations for natural events.

        • MNb

          No disagreement at all – I wrote “most people”. I’ve forgotten who, but there seems to have been a Roman as well who did the same.

        • Aldo Jackson

          Ok; so, the natural and supernatural were distinguished from each other for most of history, making everything have the same basic nature. Maybe the 18th Century divide is a false one.

        • adam

          “Maybe the 18th Century divide is a false one.”

          About the same odds as you demonstrating that the supernatural is anything but IMAGINARY.

          ZERO

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/496aec3b2dd6b9edc54da2a17c1679717f47d6c6a2047e092200dbf0d91c281d.jpg

          You are still promoting IGNORANCE as equal or superior to KNOWLEDGE, i.e. you are being DISHONEST.

        • Aldo Jackson

          Everything is natural. There are simply methods that work for the goal you are trying to achieve and methods that don’t work for the goal you are trying to achieve. And, you tell the difference by deciding upon a goal, employing a method, and seeing how well the method works.

        • MNb

          Not at all. I tell the difference not by personal preference, like you, but by an objective criterion: does something consist of or is it emergent from matter/energy.

        • Aldo Jackson

          I cannot imagine anything that does not meet the criteria that you have described.

        • Greg G.

          What you imagine is what does not meet the criteria. Your idea of God does not meet the criteria. I have heard of a South American tribe that considers a certain tree frog to be a god. It meets the criteria for existence but not for being more than a tree frog.

        • Aldo Jackson

          We are made of matter and energy, so when we imagine something, it is emergent from our matter and energy.

        • Greg G.

          But they are still imaginary. You cannot imagine a tree frog into existence nor can you imagine a god into existence. You can imagine that a tree frog is a god but you cannot imagine a tree frog into an actual god.

          This isn’t hard for a thinking person.

        • Aldo Jackson

          You may be able to summon a god. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egregore

        • Greg G.

          Ha ha ha. That is not a god or anything like a god. It’s a group of people sharing ideas.

        • Aldo Jackson

          The concept is nevertheless common in occult circles, which shows what a number of scholars in the field mean by gods.
          If I describe a supernatural concept, you can demonstrate that the supernatural is an incoherent and unprovable notion.
          On the other hand, if I describe a natural concept that plays a crucial role is magic, you can say that, because you define gods as supernatural, this stuff that I describe does not apply to that. This dynamic makes it impossible to demonstrate the existence of gods.
          As a side note, if we’re going to define the Soviet Union, for instance, as being religious, we need to use the natural concept of religion, because they were materialists.
          The reason why people are patriots is much the same as the reason why they are devout.
          People naturally make up (or are inspired with) lots of propaganda about their god of choice. Sift through that, and you find some useful information about the underling dynamics at play.

        • adam

          “Everything is natural.”

          Nope

          Supernatural is not natural, and neither is your MAGIC.

          “There are simply methods that work for the goal you are trying to achieve and methods that don’t work for the goal you are trying to achieve.”

          We’ve covered this: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b6b5240f53deb4a0141b0d9196de29540d1f8931a4c8d5713b9547eca65cbd2f.jpg
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/576b5354eb99d2993f45ae1c298d7ea1beb6be63a081a92e69a99632f9b856b3.jpg

        • MNb

          Maybe not, given that the synonym for the scientific method is methodological naturalism. This means science only can investigate what’s derived from nature, ie empirical evidence. Your god can’t be investigated by science (because he/she/it doesn’t consist of matter/energy) and hence doesn’t belong to our natural reality.
          So maybe your feel good method is once again totally unreliable.

        • Aldo Jackson

          Human beings can be empirically investigated, so if/when a god interacts with someone, we can investigate that interaction, as we investigate the interactions between lobbying and the government. Just as we can’t do double-blind studies of people unless said people permit it, it is the same with the kind of people known as gods. And, gods are made of energy, according to the lore regarding them.

        • Greg G.

          Human beings can be empirically investigated, so if/when a god interacts with someone, we can investigate that interaction, as we investigate the interactions between lobbying and the government.

          Some events are good for humans and some are not. Believers attribute random events as interactions with a god, mostly the ones with outcomes they like. You can’t investigate it as an interaction with a god because gods are defined to be not detectable. People have tried to detect gods and the interactions with people and things. So far, nothing!

          Just as we can’t do double-blind studies of people unless said people permit it,

          You can analyze data collected for different studies that would be a double-blind experiment. You can misinform the subjects as to the nature of an experiment so they don’t alter their behavior regarding what is actually being studied.

          And, gods are made of energy, according to the lore regarding them.

          Either you do not know what energy is or you are equivocating again. The lore is that gods are immaterial, neither matter or energy. Ideas about gods are much older than any concept of energy. You are badly misinformed by woo.

        • Aldo Jackson

          Gods are defined as naturally powerful beings.
          But, to do a double-blind study requires that scientific conditions be met, which implies adequate control of the environment. To put it another way, to run a study on a person, you need either more power than that person, the consent of that person, or both.
          Stories about gods describe them as pillars of light, burning bushes, or people. So, energetic/material forms, in our modern lexicon. In other words, when people actually interact with them, they often take an energetic/material form that we can detect. Further, with brain scans, we can detect energetic/material changes in brain state caused by religious experiences, as in the meditation studies.

        • adam

          “he logical problems with the notion of the supernatural were obvious
          even to the ancients.”:

          Nope, that is what they IGNORANTLY believed such Gods as Thor and Zeus and Jehovah.

          ” So, every religious text must have meant something
          more natural.”

          Yep, the struggle for POWER.

          Look at history, the Gods who survived and prosper were those who were the Gods of the most powerful warriors, Jehovah IS a War God.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b6b5240f53deb4a0141b0d9196de29540d1f8931a4c8d5713b9547eca65cbd2f.jpg

        • adam

          “Augustus Caesar was regarded as a god, ”

          Yes, disagree with Caesar and DIE, he had the power of life over death.
          Still no MAGIC involved.

          And Caesar was NOT a God, by definition.

          Just DISHONESTY on your part.

        • MR

          You’re not even wrong. You’re not even interesting.

        • Aldo Jackson

          I regret any tedium; I’m just not sure what the suitable points to make are.

        • MR

          You have none to make. You’re like a politician who uses vagueness and ambiguity to say precisely nothing. You have no god. You refute nothing. Your religion is like a conspiracy theory. It’s based on dubious connections, has no rhyme or reason, no structure…, just smoke. I don’t even believe you believe the things you say. You just talk to talk–un Principe della Menzogna.

        • Aldo Jackson

          I don’t know what you find useful, and why you find it useful. I just know what I find useful. Technique is key, and I try to study a practice various arts that provide a path to victory. The reason why people wrote religious texts, in so far as it wasn’t a swindle, was to provide answers to power of whatever nature might be encountered. This project interests me. Perhaps you have some effective answers to power; I would be interested in hearing about them.

        • MR

          What I don’t find useful are your vague, ambiguous nothings.

        • adam

          Funny, I thought you were saying that all meaning comes from MAGIC and MAGICAL THINKING

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/51d896ac1e97dd8dc947aa106dced45602107c45658b9b232c2ac6daf3b5d340.jpg

        • Aldo Jackson

          I am saying that people, collectively and individually, invent their own meaning. Magic is a means, not an end.

        • adam

          ” Magic is a means,”

          So then you can demonstrate Magic, right?
          Or are you just LYING?

        • Aldo Jackson

          I can’t prove that lobbying works. I can only infer it. Same with magic.

        • Michael Neville

          Can you show any examples of magic working?

        • Aldo Jackson

          Hypnotism works. Placebos work.

        • Michael Neville

          But there’s explanations for both of these things, ergo they’re not magic. Try again.

        • Aldo Jackson

          Magic is not defined as being unexplainable. It is simply a model for interacting with the world.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magical_thinking
          It discusses the placebo effect there.
          What is the scientific explanation for the placebo effect, and for hypnotism, out of curiosity?

        • Michael Neville
        • adam

          Lobbyists sure can.

          Piss poor analogy.

        • Aldo Jackson

          And shamans, can prove their claims as well, after a fashion.
          Has there been a double-blind scientific study of the effectiveness of lobbying?

        • adam

          “And shamans, can prove their claims as well, after a fashion.”

          Nope, sorry, studied shamanism for decades, no MAGIC.

          “Has there been a double-blind scientific study of the effectiveness of lobbying?”
          No, need to.
          All you need to do is study how law is formulated and passed and you can watch the direct effect of lobbying. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/034947f80482493d2646517257816e678e2500965a15e6d5832c0a23295bc07d.jpg

          Can you demonstrate your God and your MAGIC?

        • Aldo Jackson

          What is shamanism based on, if not the worldview of magic? We may well be able to find the scientific basis for everything we care about. That doesn’t mean the scientific paradigm about these matters is easy to grook, and, so long as that’s the case, people will use the magic paradigm.

        • adam

          “What is shamanism based on, if not the worldview of magic? ”

          Brain chemistry, we’ve covered this before, if you can’t keep up, please take notes.

        • adam

          “I am saying that people, collectively and individually, invent their own meaning.”

          So God and magic is MEANINGless…

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/981904913d75df9249044aafc8f182c9c59cc6b91a2e3ed0b60e9f528eb010b6.jpg

        • Aldo Jackson

          They draw upon collective sentiments. That’s how they come into being.

        • adam

          “They draw upon collective sentiments.”

          No they draw collectively on their IGNORANCE, as has been demonstrated by your posts.

        • Aldo Jackson

          Ignorance is often used to describe sentiments that the describer disagrees with.

        • adam

          “Ignorance is often used to describe sentiments that the describer disagrees with.”

          From the IGNORANT, of course

          Definition of ignorant
          1a : destitute of knowledge or education an ignorant society; also : lacking knowledge or comprehension of the thing specified
          b : resulting from or showing lack of knowledge or intelligence ignorant errors
          You’ve all but admitted that magic is just ignorance on steroids. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/724df7219712d2f1fd9a3091844665e917cc798d76dbde226a91677f8fa44f52.jpg

        • Aldo Jackson

          Ignorance is part of a dualistic pair. It requires knowledge for contrast. If there is an important question, but no knowledge to be had, than ignorance loses significance. Also, sometimes we know, in broad outline or precisely, how customary magical practices work, such as hypnotism and placebos. Some of what alchemists did, chemists continue to do, and have proved why it works.

        • MNb

          There are contrasts: what magical thinking claims to know (a lot) and actually does know (nothing): what magical thinkers know (little and often by accident, like those alchemists) and scientists know (still little, but also a lot more than magical thinkers). If we know “how customary magical practices work” (btw it’s very, very questionable to call hypnosis a magical practice) it’s due to those pesky scientists. Magical thinkers never have been able to contribute anything to “sometimes we know …..”.

        • Aldo Jackson

          Yes; scientists make science. Magicians don’t make science. Various customary magical practices (i.e. practices commonly used by magicians) work, but science hasn’t explained them. You can learn how to do the magic from magicians, and you can learn the science behind it (when available) from the scientists.

        • Greg G.

          Various customary magical practices (i.e. practices commonly used by magicians) work, but science hasn’t explained them.

          Name some of those practices.

        • MR

          Fi on you and your disbelief. I once saw Penn and Teller saw a woman in half and then magically put her back together. True story!

        • Susan

          Hi MR,

          This is way off-topic but your e-mail address is buried deep in my inbox and I can’t seem to find it. (ACH! e-mail)

          Could you possibly send me a quick one and i’ll try to respond in the next couple of days?

          Gracias por tu paciencia.

        • Aldo Jackson

          The placebo effect (and nocebo effect) are a couple of these. They are known to work, (and made use of in vivid magical rituals) but science has not yet determined and proven exactly how they work. In general, it is difficult to bridge the gap between the black box of persuasion, and brain activity.

        • Greg G.

          They are known to work on psychological and emotional issues like pain. They do not work on actual physical problems.

        • Aldo Jackson

          If the world’s most important problems were physical in nature, they would be solved by now. The psychological and emotional realms are rather more significant in terms of world events.

        • Greg G.

          The psychological and emotional realms are rather more significant in terms of world events.

          Placebos don’t work on those kinds of problems. Your magically thinking is making you seem silly.

        • Aldo Jackson

          I am not saying that placebos specifically are the single solution to world problems. A mixed approach is necessary. While placebos work on personal psychological and emotional problems, the method/concept of propaganda, invented and employed in something approaching its modern form by the Roman Catholic clergy, is quite effective on the world stage.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propaganda
          The method used by Zen and Taoism (like Sun Tzu, for instance) can also be quite effective, at seeing to the essence of things, and interacting with stuff on that basis.

        • adam

          “When you really need to cross a river, I doubt you scruple overmuch over
          the color of the boat, or the material the bridge might be made out of.

          First try crossing a river on an imaginary boat, or an imaginary bridge.

          Do you scruple now? https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7b4b196ac9ef2c0c44ccfdda5945b947192e261a355b78dff68175d1612e13b6.png

        • Aldo Jackson

          As the river is imaginary as well, I’m okay with crossing it in an imaginary boat. The peril lies in dealing with the empirical using the imaginary.
          I am simply a poor, foolish sinner, and I have come here to learn.

        • adam

          “the peril lies in dealing with the empirical using the imaginary.”

          But since your empirical is imaginary, all this is merely mental masturbation.

          “I am simply a poor, foolish sinner,”

          So with an IMAGINARY disease as well.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6dcc69951467cdee1110228ac54595c79373de4c5b7cb128997a085f34d18054.jpg

          “and I have come here to learn.”

          Strange, all it sounds like from here you

        • Aldo Jackson

          No, empirical means things like food and drink. My empirical is real. Sin means error. I can learn by speaking and by listening.

        • adam

          “No, empirical means things like food and drink. My empirical is real.”

          But you can’t know that, you can only IMAGINE that, so it is imaginary as well, by your ‘philosophy’

          ” Sin means error”

          Words have meanings

          sin1
          [sin]
          NOUN
          an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law:

          So sin is IMAGINARY.

        • Aldo Jackson

          I’m not a solipsist; I’m a pragmatist. We can empirically demonstrate that people, like other life forms, need food and drink to survive (naturally, which foods and drinks qualify for sustenance differ somewhat among species). This claim has been thoroughly proven by peer-reviewed studies.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sin
          “To sin has been defined as to miss the mark”.

        • adam

          “I’m not a solipsist; I’m a pragmatist.”

          Not if you depend on God and MAGIC. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b376726da21670ed559cc7658a593f30853db86672970f14393287bbf2765e6b.jpg

        • Aldo Jackson

          I know that you understand the importance of science, so there’s no point in me defending its manifest utility to you. Like most people in the modern era, I rely on science for many day-to-day things. If I was into “pie-in-the-sky-by-and-by”, I’d be going on about the glories of heaven. As it is, I turn to God and magic, when I need an answer, and science doesn’t have one. For the same reason I’m not waiting around for a heaven, I’m not waiting around for a discovery either.

        • adam
        • Aldo Jackson

          Insofar as you are correct, science will provide the necessary answer to questions of practical importance, and gods and magic will not be necessary for the answering of questions.

        • adam

          “and gods and magic will not be necessary for the answering of questions.”

          They dont provide answers already.
          They PROMOTE ignorance.

          James Mountain “Jim” Inhofe (/ˈɪnhɒf/; born November 17, 1934) is the senior United States senator from Oklahoma and a member of the Republican Party. First elected to the Senate in 1994, he was the ranking member of the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) and was its chairman from 2003 to 2007, and again from January 2015 until January 2017.

          “Inhofe: Well actually the Genesis 8:22 that I use in
          there is that ‘as long as the earth remains there will be seed time and
          harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night,’ my point is,
          God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human
          beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me
          outrageous. ”

          Yeah, like smoking cigarettes really cause cancer, God’s still up there, right?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/678a2d711010a1d69c13c89e8ce2d1575bbbe85ea4a45be583970972e42c46bb.jpg

        • adam

          ” As it is, I turn to God and magic, when I need an answer,”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c0aec5bb6e3813d658dc99a8138b4905b1dbed26d29a303d2d70f69694c44450.jpg

          The same reason Ava’s parents use.

        • Michael Neville

          Neither states nor political parties are imaginary. They may not be concrete, like concrete is, but that doesn’t make them any less real. As I said before, you’re rejecting reality because you find it confusing and prefer to live in your head, except that reality keeps intruding on you.

          “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, fails to go away.” –Philip K. Dick

        • epeeist

          Neither states nor political parties are imaginary.

          Agreed, they are social constructs. However our friend seems to have difficulty telling the difference between these and fact and fiction.

        • Aldo Jackson

          Yes; my claim is that states, political parties, and God and gods are all social constructs.

        • MNb

          Yes, and?

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_constructionism

          “form the basis for shared assumptions about reality”
          What we dispute is that the shared assumptions by believers regarding God and gods are valid – that this particular social construct means something independent of the people who constructed it. As many deconverts will tell you: getting rid of this particular social construct hardly changes their lives and who they are. Getting rid of the social construct called electricity may get you electrocuted.
          Denying that God and gods are social constructs means denying that there are people believing in them. That may be an option for you – because for you everything is possible as long as you get some unspecified benefit out of it – but not for us.

        • Aldo Jackson

          Electricity is based on an empirical fact. But, social constructs like laws, money, and gods, indeed mean nothing apart from the people who constructed and maintain them. For some people, the social construct of God has little meaning, even if the assent to it. For others, it has great meaning, and removing it would involve rethinking their life. Having accurate beliefs is pragmatic. Only believing things for which there is scientific consensus is not pragmatic. I am a pragmatist.

        • adam

          But, social constructs like …, money, … indeed mean nothing apart from the people who constructed and maintain them.

          Nope, still has meaning apart from the people who constructed and maintained them.

          https://www.moderncoinmart.com/world-coins/ancient-coins/roman-coins/?campid=161321187&adgrpid=1206164277426815&semkey=75385289009910&adid=75385270948393&qry=roman%20coins%20for%20sale&device=c&extn={ProductId}&ad=mms280&msclkid=2151db902a6b49d3b134c79f729dcfc7&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Ancients%20-%20Phrase&utm_term=%2Broman%20%2Bcoins&utm_content=Roman

        • Aldo Jackson

          Ancient coins are ancient artifacts. They no longer serve the social function of money, as you cannot go to the grocery store and buy things with them.

        • Greg G.

          I’ll take all of your ancient coins off your hands if you believe they are worthless.

        • Aldo Jackson

          They have value, because people like them. But, the greengrocer won’t accept them, because they aren’t legal tender, just as the greengrocer doesn’t accept goats or trading cards, even though they have value also.

        • Greg G.

          OK, keep your ancient coins and send me your US currency or any other imaginary currency. I’m so evil, a little more currency won’t hurt me.

        • Aldo Jackson

          Just because money imaginary doesn’t mean it lacks value. We can still use it to buy stuff at the grocer, after all. And, it is still represented by a physical object. If you store money in a bank, then the money is only as real as the bank’s and the law’s belief that it is yours. Money (currency notes, coins) is indeed real, like statues of saints, but the key properties of these things are not empirically verifiable the way the law of gravity is.

        • adam

          “Ancient coins are ancient artifacts. ”

          So?
          still has meaning apart from the people who constructed and maintained them.

        • Aldo Jackson

          Yes; the value comes from the fact that we still value precious metals, and because they are ancient works of art to our eyes. On the other hand, currency from Zimbabwe is practically worthless, because the country is a failed state.

        • adam

          “On the other hand, currency from Zimbabwe is practically worthless, because the country is a failed state.”

          Practically?
          And it still plays in the world market

          So still has meaning apart from the people who constructed and maintained them.

        • Aldo Jackson

          If something is rare and collectible, it will have value. Belief in money and collectibles is constructed and maintained by everyone who deal in them. Exchange-value is constructed and maintained by people, use-value is inherent in the object.

        • Michael Neville

          Yes indeed.

        • Aldo Jackson

          Churches are real, as well, then.

        • MNb

          Yes, and?

        • Michael Neville

          I pass several of them on my way to work every day.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Why would you care about imaginary things? Is reality not enough?

      • Aldo Jackson

        Well, the world has imaginary people in it, like Safeway and Walgreens, that sell things. People use magic pieces of paper, whose value is based on faith, to buy things at said locations.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Walgreens exists. Greenbacks exist. Trust in things that have proven themselves (the value/use of money) exists.

          God is just pretend, as far as anyone can show. Big difference.

        • Aldo Jackson

          The concepts of God and gods have proven to be useful for discussions about power and knowledge. The ancients understood this when they deified emperors. God plays an important role in maintaining order among the many immaterial, invisible, human inventions. God is rather like an A.I. that was invented way back in the day. And, yes there are building that are called Safeway and Walgreens, but the corporate persons that own them are legal fictions.

        • MNb

          “The concepts of God and gods have proven to be useful for discussions about power and knowledge.”
          The concepts of God and gods have proven to be totally useless for discussions about knowledge. That’s why you won’t find them anymore in scientific texts.
          As for so called “nonscientific knowledge” you yourself have extensively demonstrated that it’s nothing but baked air, because exactly that is what you produce over and over again in your comments.

        • adam
        • Aldo Jackson

          Very few people seek knowledge in good faith, even those it is power. This is regrettable. We need all the useful models that we can find.

        • adam

          “Very few people seek knowledge in good faith, even those it is power. This is regrettable.”

          Regrettable that way too many choose MAGIC and MAGICAL thinking

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9731425d60f7f75692a1d77e41400a4bcd614e31a9f8dcbaecfc1e4f33535d10.jpg

        • Aldo Jackson

          Magic is a kind of power, rather than a kind of knowledge.

        • adam

          “but the corporate persons that own them are legal fictions.”

          Nope, legal FACTS

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7be189b43a8d6da24f528e28fd9c3b3c6b7911182fff825bc06b4beeb99b4e6a.png

        • Aldo Jackson

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_fiction#Corporate_personhood
          There is some disagreement about this point, but when first developed, it was indeed a legal fiction.

        • adam

          But not now, right, and we ARE talking about now, in this reality.

        • Aldo Jackson

          Now, it is an open question whether corporations are legal fictions or legal facts, but in any case they only exist because of laws we invented.

        • adam

          NO that question has been answered.

          I only exist because my parents had sex.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/517f6dd1714bb8e18067f05700bc73a308546606dee7d246b6f4b62d84cc7dbe.jpg

        • Aldo Jackson

          Yes; we are agreed about why human beings exist. The question I addressed above is why corporations exist.

        • adam

          A corporation is a company or group of people authorized to act as a single entity (legally a person) and recognized as such in law. Early incorporated entities were established by charter (i.e. by an ad hoc
          act granted by a monarch or passed by a parliament or legislature).
          Most jurisdictions now allow the creation of new corporations through registration.

          Registered corporations have legal personality and are owned by shareholders[1][2] whose liability is limited to their investment
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporation

          So to LIMIT liability

        • Aldo Jackson

          Agreed.

        • Greg G.

          Corporations were invented by people to protect their personal assets from their business fuck-ups.

        • Aldo Jackson

          And, agreed.

        • Otto

          Why do stoplights exist?

        • Aldo Jackson

          Stoplights exist to help people follow traffic laws, so that cars don’t crash into each other or run over pedestrians.

        • Otto

          Good, then we can agree that stoplights as a concept actually exist, and they physically exist, same with corporations. Now do that with God.

        • Aldo Jackson

          There are physical stores, and conceptual corporations. There are physical churches, and conceptual gods.
          Further US law makes provision for corporations, and also makes provision for gods (or egregores), through the 1st Amendment.

        • Otto

          No, the First Amendment makes provision for ‘god’ belief, not for gods themselves.

          I agree that the concept of gods and deities exist. It is a whole other thing to show gods exist like a stoplight exists.

        • Aldo Jackson

          The thing we call a stoplight is a physical object. But the traffic regulation that discuss stoplights are concepts. The physical building labeled Starbucks is not Starbucks; it is merely a building owned by Starbucks. I agree that gods and deities do not have a commonplace physical form like a stoplight.

        • adam

          Otto

          Aldo Jackson

          10 hours ago

          Good, then we can agree that stoplights as a concept actually exist, and they physically exist, same with corporations. Now do that with God.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          How is the discussion of god(s) any different than the discussion of anything else made up? You can say, “Imagine if you will that God exists…” but from that point, everything is just ungrounded speculation.

          Safeway and Walgreens are legal fictions that we know exist. You’re having a hard time with that whole evidence thing.

        • Aldo Jackson

          We can say “How would someone with vast power and knowledge act?”, and that is a useful question. God is an office that calls out for an occupant. We know this legal fiction, this office, exists, because when the seat is vacant, a new claimant rises. Power vacuums seldom remain empty for long.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          God is an office that calls out for an occupant.

          Superman is an office that calls out for an occupant. He was a heckuva lot more useful than God in the movies. But Superman is just a fiction. Why imagine that God is any different?

        • Aldo Jackson

          Superman is modeled on the notion of God. God is a title of an office, short for “the god of the universe”. Empty offices create power vacuums, which get filed by someone who acquire enough power and knowledge to do a decent impression of the role. Once the office is filled, it becomes real, like a real president for instance, as opposed to the office of president. The fiction of God, like the fiction of Superman, exerts a strange magnetism. Someone will pick up the cape and play the role.

        • Greg G.

          People don’t become bullet-proof or omnipotent because of power vacuums.

        • Aldo Jackson

          A power vacuum can inspire someone to approximate vast power and knowledge as best they can. Science keeps discovering new ways to influence the course of events. The ancients gave the title of god to emperors and pharaohs; there are a number of people in modern times with more power than these people had.

        • Greg G.

          The ancients gave the title of god to emperors and pharaohs;

          Pharaohs and emperors were not really gods. They’re all dead. Julius Caesar was the most powerful human to have lived up to his time and he wasn’t even knife-proof.

          there are a number of people in modern times with more power than these people had.

          They’re not gods either.

        • Aldo Jackson

          “The king is dead, long live the king!” The role and duty can be eternal, as long as the torch keeps getting passed along.

        • Greg G.

          In one of Pratchett’s Discworld books, he says that there is one thing that travels faster than light: that is monarchy. As soon as the monarch dies, the next in line instantly becomes the monarch. One of the characters speculated on how to torture a monarch at the point of death to modulate a faster than light communication signal.

        • Aldo Jackson

          Interesting; these books sound excellent.

        • Greg G.

          It’s Lord of the Rings meets Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy with a lot of satire and allegory about our societies. There is edge of your seat suspense and fall off your chair laughing.

        • Aldo Jackson

          And; it even seems to have animated movies and audiobooks, which is helpful when doing various projects.

        • adam

          “The ancients gave the title of god to emperors and pharaohs; ”

          Well probably because they would be killed for disagreeing.

          While MONSTEROUS like the character Jehovah in the bible,

          And while CLAIMING Gods and magic are real…

          Just demonstrates that CLAIMS and BELIEFS dont reflect REALITY. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/53ec94e8083d59120089cc69072da442139819ed8f409d30ac86093d1acf7ba9.jpg

        • Aldo Jackson

          If Hobbes and Locke were proven wrong, and there was no need for courts and states, and thus they faded away, then that would disprove the need for gods, because there would be no need for the concentrations of power that characterize said gods. The reason for using the definition of the ancients, is that said ancients recorded the holy texts.

        • adam

          “is that said ancients recorded the holy texts.”

          Well of course, by humans wanting to take advantage over other humans.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/60865103a336b5d68f96eb3254e706491af8f8a5dbd80dafef9edf2beab0319d.jpg

        • Aldo Jackson

          There’s no need to justify actions. People can just do what they want to do. The important part of understanding anything of significance is to under the subtle complexity of its purpose. In the aggregate, things don’t change that much. Even if our ideals become loftier and loftier, facts on the ground remain much the same.

        • adam

          “There’s no need to justify actions.”

          Sure there is, when MAGICAL thinking is involved.

          “The important part of understanding anything of significance is to under the subtle complexity of its purpose. ”

          Of course

          “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.”


          Voltaire

          “Even if our ideals become loftier and loftier, facts on the ground remain much the same.”

          Really?
          Tell that to blacks who can now vote instead of being strung up or beaten by their slave masters

          Tell that women who can now vote instead of being the property of their husband.

          Tell that to gays and others that are different in our society, when in other societies they are still killed to appease your MAGICAL God.

          Things can change on the ground quickly,
          but when you encapsulated in your own delusional MAGIC show, you miss that.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f972c27e2980ca47bdf19591b616c85594874d86298f9e21eaef5c8245cc4a60.jpg
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casualties_of_the_Iraq_War

        • Aldo Jackson

          I mean, there is no technical necessity to justify actions, regardless of which paradigm you use. There have been people who perpetrated atrocities under the banner of many and various world views, so evidently the psychopaths and sociopaths will make up any excuse to gratify their depraved urges.

          16.44% of the world’s population live in the most developed countries of the world. Thing are pretty rough still everywhere else. There’s always been some places that are nicer to live in than other places. https://www.quora.com/What-percentage-of-the-worlds-population-lives-in-developed-countries

        • adam

          “The reason for using the definition of the ancients, is that said ancients recorded the holy texts.”
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5fc7ae814c0160c0c443e448af14c3b39fb8f9c14da1a96d478544a03093bbba.jpg

        • adam

          “A power vacuum can inspire someone to approximate vast power and knowledge as best they can.”

          Yep, AGAIN, THE Problem with God and magic both.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/786aa041db474d7281572474c8a28d1d8731be60a715708aaf2f858ea4bc78c2.jpg

        • Aldo Jackson

          If science has a cure, and the cure is readily available, then you can simply promote said cure. If the cure is inaccessible or undiscovered, that’s where the problems arise.

        • adam

          There WAS a CURE for Andrew, but his parents BELIEVE in MAGIC.

          And they BELIEVED the MAGIC was stronger than the cure.

          THAT’s where the problem arises.

        • Aldo Jackson

          When there is a proven cure (as in this case) we should use it. And, I agree with your assessment here, that ignoring known answers causes problems.

        • MNb

          And jumping from unknown answers to some random supernatural entity is the non-sequitur called God of the Gaps. It also causes problems, though of quite a different kind.

        • Aldo Jackson

          When people run low on answers, they look around for some kind of power to relieve their distress. Sometimes, they encounter various specific natural entities (perhaps made of unusual materials) that can guide them along.

        • adam

          “And, I agree with your assessment here, that ignoring known answers causes problems.”

          It not ignoring known answers, it is belief in MAGICAL thinking, and the belief that ‘Faith’ is BETTER than knowledge.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3e8cf5b743bdb737ae0f6745e608eb426f0017f72b3c6aa58fa138ca0b9ff0eb.jpg

        • Aldo Jackson

          Knowledge is better than faith, when placed in contest with one another. But, for various reasons, knowledge is not always available when we need it. And, it is possible to combine them. Arrive at your conclusion using knowledge, then carry it out with faith and fervor.

        • adam

          “Knowledge is better than faith, when placed in contest with one another.”

          Knowledge is always better than wishful thinking.
          https:/ https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c0aec5bb6e3813d658dc99a8138b4905b1dbed26d29a303d2d70f69694c44450.jpg /uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b12fa1635e121ebbb3409640826d721ba93278771f0064bd133804faa3f01397.png

          ” then carry it out with faith and fervor.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b6b5240f53deb4a0141b0d9196de29540d1f8931a4c8d5713b9547eca65cbd2f.jpg

        • Greg G.

          The meme says his condition was easily treatable.

        • Aldo Jackson

          You can try this argument; maybe it will help with the devout: God allowed the scientific cure to reliably work; so use it!
          Best of luck with preventing preventable diseases.

        • Greg G.

          God allowed the scientific cure to reliably work; so use it!

          It was faith in God that kept the believers from using it. God didn’t work out for them despite their extreme faith.

        • adam

          “The fiction of God, like the fiction of Superman, exerts a strange magnetism. Someone will pick up the cape and play the role.”

          AGAIN, the very problem with God and Magical thinking.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cd298430ec0142a27d3b4df489113b880b74231c62c045d6d9b1effe70165e2d.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fbee2ae71608c49ff6cd3778051384d5ac950eab0a8c65082bd7d40a20822ade.jpg

        • Aldo Jackson

          This is indeed a difficulty we need to resolve at the root. Bringing forth a lasting Golden Age, would likely quiet the discontent that is at the root of the problem.

        • adam

          “This is indeed a difficulty we need to resolve at the root. ”

          The root is MAGICAL thinking.

          “Bringing forth a lasting Golden Age, would likely quiet the discontent that is at the root of the problem.”

          But a lasting Golden Age is not what christian magical thinking is aimed at.

          It is aimed at Armaggeddon, all because people WANT to believe in YOUR MAGIC.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e645a3aea01854fa7060d899278361f395017ca7a45ac404a1cebf8b2018a330.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b992ff74631b3b9091377f5cf70ea58f36c9245636423e3c6d806c664a2de080.jpg

        • Aldo Jackson

          Transhumanism is an intriguing school of thought. And, I agree with the Scott Adams quote; God is an emergent phenomenon, that gains in strength as time passes. And I would personally rather have a Golden Age, than Armageddon, and many Christians feel the same way, even though many feel the opposite. Has any society succeeded in end magical thinking and bringing forth a Golden Age? How you propose to bring this change about? Would ending magical thinking suffice, or are there other needed steps?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          God is emergent? Give us evidence of this god, emergent or not.

        • Aldo Jackson

          The artificial intelligence Eliezer Yudkowsky is working on would possess godlike power if completed, and thus qualify.

        • adam

          ” godlike power if completed”

          But not Godlike?

          Your DISHONESTY is showing again.

          Besides AI is real, all your Gods are still IMAGINARY.
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f4dfabc0ef18dc9d0baa54f7626dcc4d5a915fad73af80c35518f54e8195072c.jpg

        • Aldo Jackson

          Sure, maybe even Godlike. Anyway, the thing I’m defending is the utility of God and gods as philosophical concepts. If the character who fulfills the duty of God or gods is/are AI, then I’m okay with that.

        • adam
        • Greg G.
        • adam
        • Aldo Jackson

          Defending the utility of God and gods as philosophical concepts is different from defending every last thing that people have dressed up as religion. It is more like defending the Platonic Demiurge, and Jesus’ answers to the powers of his epoch.

        • adam

          “Defending the utility of God and gods as philosophical concepts is
          different from defending every last thing that people have dressed up as
          religion. ”

          No, its not, because why?
          Yep, MAGIC and MAGICAL thinking.

          ” It is more like defending the Platonic Demiurge, ”

          NO, more like PRETENDING the Platonic Demiurge.

          “and Jesus’ answers to the powers of his epoch.”

          What?
          PRETENDING that MAGIC was going to free them during their lifetimes?

          And then getting himself killed?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d65465b7fd698ec62bc245fb34696d1c805fb7e1442f4d61d6b5f9eb26c24145.jpg

        • Aldo Jackson

          If there’s stuff that’s bigger than you out there, it’s important to dredge up some answers, in case you happen to get on the wrong side of it.
          http://cpt.org/files/BN%20-%20Jesus'%20Third%20Way.pdf

        • MNb

          Zeus is bigger than you.
          Thor is bigger than you.
          Allah is bigger than you.
          Brahma is bigger than you.
          Quetzalcoatl is bigger than you.
          The Flying Spaghetti Monster is bigger than you.
          Ctulhu is bigger than you.
          Voldemort is bigger than you.

          No matter how many answers you dredge up, you are on the wrong side of several of them.
          My suggestion: the correct answer is that all these bigger names – and specifically add YHWH – are nothing but fiction. Jesus wasn’t bigger than me and you.

        • Aldo Jackson

          If you’re on the wrong side of something that’s bigger than you are, you’ll know it. Then, the question is if you investigated the folklore, and become prepared for powerful stuff, or not. The powerful stuff can be Zeus, or the Roman Empire, or something else; but, you need an answer regardless of what the powerful stuff is, so that you can survive the encounter more or less intact.

        • MNb

          Repeating your error does nothing to remedy it.
          I already gave you the answer. The powerful stuff cannot be Zeus etc. They are fiction.
          The Roman Empire wasn’t.
          Crucial difference.

        • Aldo Jackson

          Jesus tried to come up with an answer to the Roman Empire, in this link: http://cpt.org/files/BN%20-%20Jesus'%20Third%20Way.pdf
          I like to think of religion like the CDC’s Zombie Preparedness Program.

        • MNb

          Very nice, but that doesn’t make Jesus more powerful than me, let alone divine.
          Indeed preparing for Zombies is as much a waste of time as preparing for Jesus’ Second Coming.

        • Aldo Jackson

          I do not know your power level; setting aside the incoherent category of the supernatural, we are left with natural beings of various power levels. The reason the Center Disease Control promote a Zombie Preparedness Program, is because it also helps with earthquakes and such.

        • Greg G.

          Matthew 27:51-53 says Jesus caused zombies.

        • adam
        • Aldo Jackson

          There is a need for someone to do a competent job of ruling things, thus fulfilling the office of god. If you envision the future as a Golden Age, then you must have a viable plan to get us there. Soviet Russia (and satellite states) demonstrated that you can get rid of religion, and still run into problems with sociopaths and psychopaths.

        • adam

          “There is a need for someone to do a competent job of ruling things, thus fulfilling the office of god.”

          Been there done that, MAGIC still is the problem.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/108af0b2a83dd5b9eb2faf131b0329a52bed5997eea706079750280ee0b9c0b4.jpg

          “Soviet Russia (and satellite states) demonstrated that you can get rid
          of religion, and still run into problems with sociopaths and
          psychopaths.”

          I get it, Christianity is no worse than Stalin.

          But Soviet Russian didnt get rid of religion any more than North Korea has.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cult_of_personality

          They invoked MAGIC, just like you do.

        • Aldo Jackson

          So, what would resolve the world’s problems would not be the replacement of theistic religions with atheistic religions (or a professed system of state atheism, in the Soviet fashion). What is required is the mass acceptance of reason. I can agree with this; however, building a system based on reason require widespread uplift. I would be interested in learning how to accomplish this, as then my duty would be fulfilled, and the world would be a better place.

        • Michael Neville

          That’s an IBM Selectric II typewriter. I’d forgotten how long ago Asimov died (25 years ago next month, I just looked).

        • Michael Neville

          Asimov’s birthday was January 2nd, celebrated in one of the few Garfield cartoons I like:

          https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-ckXzV_AZk0A/VofUyVvEaoI/AAAAAAAAATE/oXrTCB_ygJU/w900-h263/isaac-asimov-happy-birthday-garfield.jpg

        • Greg G.

          Pi Day is Tuesday.

        • adam

          “God is an emergent phenomenon, that gains in strength as time passes”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/45dd842d504bf41dc40188a391c8bf8b689376b72eb646fb8e2420b851e668e7.jpg

          Thanks for demonstrating once again that your God is IMAGINARY.

          ” And I would personally rather have a Golden Age, than Armageddon, and many Christians feel the same way, even though many feel the opposite. ”

          The fact that any do is evidence of just how dangerous MAGICAL thinking really is.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c95e927c4e95d2cffdd3ef1e9366cb46bfed529f568bfad72911e50e30e88468.jpg

          ” Has any society succeeded in end magical thinking and bringing forth a Golden Age? ”

          No, but Armageddon is hardly a Golden Age for human beings.

          “How you propose to bring this change about?”

          By demonstrating the fundamental error of magical thinking. It is nothing more than glorified IGNORANCE used by people to get and hold power to separate people from their money and sense of self.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/376e0963c18adc7f2f27dd920bdb64aaa7ffc8d9ce5edbe651a2db0e2ed684b2.jpg

          ” Would ending magical thinking suffice, or are there other needed steps?”

          I see that we have no hope as long as magical thinking pervades our society.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ab1bc7cb47df140d2e012e4bc5a99edb763d3aed95ae30e236e1b1b79a38e852.jpg

        • Aldo Jackson

          People vary in terms of how much power they possess. Even if someone fools a great many powerless people, they will not thereby gain great power. Powerless people are intermittently crushed by powerful hurricanes. So, you can demonstrate the error of magical thinking using all the logic that you like, but those who employ it are going to need an alternative that they can use to resolve their problems.

        • adam

          “Ignorance is part of a dualistic pair. It requires knowledge for contrast.”

          But God is absolute.

          “but those who employ it are going to need an alternative that they can use to resolve their problems.”

          But like YOU, so many are either afraid of reality or so entrenched in their own magical thinking that they DON’T WANT reality, they WANT the MAGIC of IGNORANCE and relish in it as you do. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/898b47b5d4ffdbca435abd06d3ef1fddbd50a9350bac4b8c5b6f8e4eaa553860.jpg

        • Aldo Jackson

          Holy texts are full of propagandistic claims that are logically impossible. However, they are written by hermits and prophets, who live a simple existence, and thus don’t seem to benefit from making things up. Putting these points together, we conclude that there is someone behind the scenes who is okay with making stuff up; a Sufficiently Advanced Alien, perhaps.
          People often simply reciprocate reality’s opinion of them. I’m mostly okay with reality, and delight in reasoning things out, but would like some additional answers.

        • adam

          “but those who employ it are going to need an alternative that they can use to resolve their problems.”

          Magical thinking is the CAUSE of their problem.
          Reality is the solution.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f3baea42de308575a66675fcf4a4e48c4e292f43f319b3314755dbe5e9a1c4f7.jpg

        • Aldo Jackson

          Then you’ll need to discover a lot more reality, because we’re short on it.

        • adam

          “The fiction of God, like the fiction of Superman, exerts a strange magnetism. Someone will pick up the cape and play the role.”

          AGAIN, the very problem with God and Magical thinking.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3e8cf5b743bdb737ae0f6745e608eb426f0017f72b3c6aa58fa138ca0b9ff0eb.jpg

        • adam

          “The fiction of God, like the fiction of Superman, exerts a strange magnetism. Someone will pick up the cape and play the role.”

          AGAIN, the very problem with God and Magical thinking.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/576b5354eb99d2993f45ae1c298d7ea1beb6be63a081a92e69a99632f9b856b3.jpg

    • adam

      “My pathway away from atheism was the realization that world was full of Contact with this imaginary being has helped me to understand all the important imaginary things that don’t exist in our world.imaginary stuff (often called “social constructs”)”

      But social constructs are real not IMAGINARY>

      “Further, I realized that people got most of their meaning in life from these things,”

      Yes, like hate, racism, sexism, slavery and abuse

      Feeding off the IMAGINARY MAGICAL thinking of religion.

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/eafe4502493500dea4e6452065e545ef602f7a21889d0ad499f2c769484b11c2.gif

      “I try to reach out to the ruler of this realm, who bears the title “God”.”

      Then you should have understood that it is not “God” who rules THIS realm, it is Satan

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/05cafdf4e54d70a9410dfd45f846304eb9891592e53b7561d59d1be03b899362.jpg

      ” Contact with this imaginary being has helped me to understand all the important imaginary things that don’t exist in our world.”

      So contemplating your navel allowed you not to not understand imaginary things about your navel.

      “But, if you care about imaginary things, you need a paradigm that can take them into account.”

      In SCIENCE it is called psychology and psychiatry.

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ab1bc7cb47df140d2e012e4bc5a99edb763d3aed95ae30e236e1b1b79a38e852.jpg

      • Aldo Jackson

        Ok; that would make God real also, being a social construct and all. And, indeed, just because something is a source of meaning doesn’t make it nice. But, we need meaning, regardless, and get our meaning fix from somewhere. According to the Bible, Satan serves God. How do psychology and psychiatry deal with various spontaneous religious and paranormal experiences that affect people’s minds while they going about their day-to-day lives?