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Killing the Devil inside of me, with the help of Descartes?

Discussion in 'Christian Apologetics' started by 2PhiloVoid, Jun 5, 2019.

  1. Moral Orel

    Moral Orel Proud Citizen of Moralton

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    I can show you what engagement isn't:
    Look, I'm seriously not bashing you if you don't want to engage at that level. I may sound angry since it is frustrating to have dialogue get shut down like that. I don't bother with the Politics subforum anymore because I don't want to engage with people on the level of questioning, "Well, what did Trump really mean when he rage tweeted that during his morning dump?" and that's essentially all that political discourse has devolved to lately. So I don't fault you if there's a level you feel like conversing at, and I'm not at that level. If you want to come down here with us dirty plebs, great! Use all that knowledge you've soaked up from all those books to explain it to us instead of telling us where we can figure it out for ourselves. I'm seriously asking, is that a conversation you even want to have? If not, it's fine. You don't have to feel obligated.
     
  2. 2PhiloVoid

    2PhiloVoid Life is lived in the shape of a "?" Supporter

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    Here's a little secret that I'm sure you and many others might like to be in on: I purposely give abbreviated 'signal statements' as stand-ins for argumentation if and when I feel I have to further evaluate whether or not the person I'm attempting to have a discussion with is genuinely interested in the subject matter. So, when I toss out a statement like "You'll have to argue with Descartes about that, among many others, not the least of which will be various Jewish and Gentile theologians," you may need to try to interpret it with an alternative meaning like "there's a heck of a lot more to the overall complex of various concepts we're scrutinizing than what I'm currently able to address in the space of 100 words and much more will need to be done by both of us to try to get at anything that even closely resembles a clear and distinct conclusion," or something more or less along those lines. :dontcare:

    Frankly, I could care less if anyone here bashes me. They can bash away as much as they want (as they at times do) and I typically won't get offended, or not too much so. I'll usually just take it with a bit of humor and bounce back, repeating my own mantras when I do.

    BUT, if I get even a slight scent that someone is merely putting up a front for the purpose of mindlessly bantering back and forth with me, then please know that I do consider that to be a gross waste of our time. I mean, if people want to talk about juggling, doing somersaults, how cool it would be for us to keep each other entertained, along with the fact that their cat just pooped, well that's fine by me, but I'd prefer for him/her to be upfront about it so I don't end up typing out 100s upon 100s of words of attempted argumentation for the sake of all things Christian only to have those words shunted to the side...after they were supposedly requested. Does that make sense, or am I just speaking like a madman caught in a solipsistic vacuum? :argh::lost:
     
  3. Moral Orel

    Moral Orel Proud Citizen of Moralton

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    That's a weird way to gamble. If we were playing poker, unless I gave you good reason to assume I had a full house, you wouldn't consider it when you're placing a bet?
    Tell me this, what are the stakes that are of concern in the wager? Avoiding eternal torment, gaining eternal bliss, psychological contentedness? I'm thinking all of these things so far, anything I'm missing?
     
  4. 2PhiloVoid

    2PhiloVoid Life is lived in the shape of a "?" Supporter

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    ok. I've read the article you've provided and I think that perhaps, on some level, you may have a point about us being in some ... *ahem*... some form of Matrix like circumstance. However, the focal point of this thread is on an evil, deceptive omni-power being employed within the structure of our analysis. So, if that is the case in this analysis and there is a moral dimension to this conceptual simulation, then does this change things for you in your overall evaluation, Nick?
     
  5. bhsmte

    bhsmte Newbie

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    At the end of the day, whatever works for each person to improve the quality of person they are, should be embraced.
     
  6. Silmarien

    Silmarien Existentialist

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    That's a bad comparison for two reasons. For one, if you're playing poker statistically, you're going to know what the probabilities are that an opponent has any particular hand. The odds of getting a full house are not terribly good, so I would not immediately toss out a weaker hand simply because someone might have one. You will judge based on your opponents' behavior whether or not you think it's likely that they have a stronger hand, so yes, there does need to be good reason to assume such is the case before acting upon it.

    More importantly, this is very different than poker. This is more akin to assuming that your opponent has a wild card of some sort when there has been no indication that such cards are in the game at all. In that case, you absolutely should not operate under such an assumption without good reason.

    Ultimate purpose, maybe?
     
  7. Moral Orel

    Moral Orel Proud Citizen of Moralton

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    It's not akin to regular old poker, no. It's more like poker with a deck of cards that you don't know the contents of. Whether all 52 cards are there, whether there are duplicates, whether there are jokers or not, and whether they left the instructions card in there, whatever that would mean. I mean, it's still poker because the rules about what card combinations are better hands than other combinations are still there. But you don't know what you're working with.
    What's the benefit of that? Or the downside of not knowing that? I'm thinking that's just tied into psychological contentedness. If I feel like I know my ultimate purpose, I'll feel happier. If I feel like I don't know my ultimate purpose, I'll feel sadder. Thankfully, I know my ultimate purpose:

    Eating chocolate ice cream.
     
  8. Moral Orel

    Moral Orel Proud Citizen of Moralton

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    I think that being in a matrix like circumstance is inevitable for anyone that is part of a physical reality that was created by a being that transcends physical reality. How we experience things is always going to be manufactured, in a sense, and that mere fact doesn't automatically constitute an intent to deceive us. Sound reasonable so far?
     
  9. 2PhiloVoid

    2PhiloVoid Life is lived in the shape of a "?" Supporter

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    Sure, it would be generally reasonable for me to agree with you on some level, IF we were chatting about the conceptual ins and outs of Flatland. I do think the article you've provided me forces me to reaffirm my own position for Critical Realism and reassess how Putnam's reliance upon Internal Realism may only take us part of the way in the analysis of Brain-In-A-Vat type scenarios.

    At the same time, I'd like to try ('try' ^_^) to keep us on the path I've set up in the OP. However, if you'd rather talk about the related epistemic issues we're on at the moment, we can do so. If we do, I'll just say that I think your assertion, while moderately applicable, will suffer from a kind of 'conceptual parallax' in the end, Nick.

    On this front, @Silmarien has given what I think is a cogent illustration with her 'poker' example, and in following her lead, I'll add that I think the implications for your apparent insistence of similarity between belief structures in these epistemic endeavors is like comparing a person, one the one hand, who has been playing on ongoing game of Dungeons and Dragons in the attempt to get his character to 30th level, while holding and playing with all of the usual dice for various probabilities of success or failure, with a person in our real life situation who has been attempting to live and believe in the claimed outcomes of the Christian faith, on the other hand.

    Somewhere along the way, I think the similarity in these epistemic endeavors breaks down when compared.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019 at 1:45 PM
  10. Silmarien

    Silmarien Existentialist

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    But if you hold that life is so completely incomprehensible that there is no way to make sense of it or figure out what to do, then you just fall into another Pascalian Wager. And a very powerful one. Every religious revelation is its own set of instructions, its own self-contained explanation, so if reality is something that screams out that you're lost without divine revelation, you ought to take into consideration the possibility that perhaps there was one (or multiple) genuine revelations.

    You can either choose whichever revelation is most internally consistent and makes the most sense of reality, and then wager on there being an actual answer somewhere, or you can wager on there being no answer anywhere. The only sort of god who would be for the second option is a nihilistic one who is all about a meaningless existence, in which case you'd end up with meaninglessness and despair no matter what, so once again, the first option is the only one that really has positive outcomes.

    You do realize how horrifyingly nihilistic it sounds to say that your ultimate purpose is eating chocolate ice cream? That's saying that purpose in life can be reduced to transient materialistic pleasures, and that intellectual or social pursuits, whether artistic, social, philanthropic, religious, or so forth and so on, are basically meaningless.

    This is why the wager works. If you're willing to bet that there's more to life than chocolate ice cream, you're going to end up with a significantly more meaningful life than one dedicated to ice cream alone (which doesn't mean that you need to go without ice cream). If you refuse that wager, all you're going to end up with is ice cream and a ton of health problems. The solution should be obvious.
     
  11. Moral Orel

    Moral Orel Proud Citizen of Moralton

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    Why can't I be content with meaninglessness? Why must despair follow? It sounds like projection, but maybe you've got a reason I should feel bad but don't.
    That last bit was a joke and a callback to our only other lengthy conversation.
    There is more to life than chocolate ice cream, I know. There's also mint chip. But seriously folks, there are a lot of things that make me happy, and making myself happy is where I find meaning. No, that isn't pure hedonism either. Being nice to nice folk makes me happy. But being mean to mean folk makes me happy too. What religion says that's okay? I'd have to forgo something that I know makes me happy for an incalculable chance that it might make me happy in the future to possibly be wasting the only bit of existence I've got.
     
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  12. Silmarien

    Silmarien Existentialist

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    Yes, I do think meaninglessness is an objectively terrible concept, but that seems to be the sort of thing that you either see or you don't. If you don't, then literature is probably the best vehicle for really grasping that, since there's a lot of great nihilistic stuff out there.

    That said, it's not necessarily about feeling bad. It's about the wager. If life is meaningless, then you don't really "win" anything by deciding that it's meaningless, since there's no harm in pretending that it isn't. On the other hand, operating as if it's meaningless when it actually is not is the sort of thing that could be potentially disastrous. That's the underlying theme of the wager: you're either betting that things matter or that they don't, and only one side of that bet really has consequences, for better or for worse.

    Why does being mean to mean folk make you happy? I'm not familiar with any religion that says you can't confront them, but spite for the sake of spite seems psychologically harmful.

    That's the underlying problem with a subjective approach to fulfillment--sometimes what seems to make us happy is objectively bad for us. Consider someone who thinks they're only happy when they're too drunk to function properly. I don't think an alcoholic wins by insisting that alcohol is what makes them happy and that they'd be potentially wasting their life if they didn't spend it in a drunken haze.

    If a religion is true, I don't think it should be asking you to do without anything that can be genuinely fulfilling, but I also think that disordered passions can be a real issue.
     
  13. Moral Orel

    Moral Orel Proud Citizen of Moralton

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    Yes, wasting the only bit of existence I've got chasing after a false religion is a consequence. If I had some reason to assume that a religion was true, then it would be worth a gamble. Feeling like it aligns with what makes me happy isn't a reason to think it's true, it's just me choosing to feel happy in the here and now anyways. A hope of what's to come can feel good, but lacking it doesn't equate to meaninglessness.
    For the same reason that being nice to nice folk makes me happy. Manipulating emotions is a skill and the same strategies work for any given emotion you're attempting to trigger. I don't have any sort of preference for which emotions I'm targeting, but I guess you could say variety is the spice of life as to why I don't choose to only make people feel nice. I just limit being mean to mean folk, not out of spite, but because I don't care if I foster a lasting relationship with someone that is rude. Just like I'm nice to nice folk because I would like to foster a lasting relationship with folk that are nice. Is that inherently selfish? Yeah, I guess so. I look at it as more of a symbiotic relationship though.
    Like being gay? I know you're no religious fundie that wants to bash gays, but lets take that as an example. What about a gay fellow named Dave that likes everything about Christianity, but not the "don't be gay" stuff. Is forgoing any chance at a meaningful romantic relationship during his lifetime for the hope that he'll make it into a Heaven that he isn't even sure exists a "no consequence" bet? Would you say that "ultimately" the lifelong marriage to his partner Steve is meaningless if being gay is a "disordered passion" and being gay is wrong? Let's amp up the stakes with a person who might actually be a good person. I'm just a cold, indifferent, jerk. Plus, it gives me an excuse to roll out a quote I wrote, feel free to add it to your signature, it's that good ;). "Everyone is hypothetically a good person".

    I have to add as per the rules of the site, no I'm not defending being gay, being gay is a sin and it's wrong and unnatural, blah blah blah. It's a fair hypothetical to restrict it to calling being gay a sin, since it's all about beliefs anyways. If Dave doesn't believe in God, but if he thought any religion might be right it could only be Christianity, and if he believes Christianity forbids gayness, then what should be his wager?
     
  14. Silmarien

    Silmarien Existentialist

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    I wasn't specifically talking about any particular religion. I'm talking about ultimism in general--which is basically the proposition that there's some ultimate something out there which is the source of our ultimate good. I'm not sure how one could possibly waste one's existence chasing after something like that, especially since "wasting one's existence" is a value laden concept in the first place, so without ultimism hardly makes any sense at all.

    So if someone suffering from PTSD or any other chronic physical or mental illness acts rude, being cruel to them in return is an enjoyable act of manipulating their emotions to you? Does this not seem at all problematic to you?

    Many of the Mainline Protestant churches allow homosexual marriage, so this strikes me as a false dilemma. If a person who experiences same sex attraction believes that acting upon it would be sinful, then they should refrain, but I think that all the serious social issues require careful consideration, not reactionary snap decisions in either direction.

    Conversion does involve an altered sense of morality, though, that much is true. I was at one point radically pro-choice, and now I am not. I don't think Pascalian logic works as well here--you can't arbitrarily declare something sinful, just in case. Those are the types of shifts that happen after the fact of their own accord, and once they do, it's not really a negative consequence. Or at least I don't think it should be.

    I think you're taking the wager much too literally, though. People don't really wake up one morning and say, "Well, this doesn't make any sense at all, but on the off-chance that it's right, I'm going to suddenly start adhering to it out of the blue." Moments do arise, though, when knowledge looks impossible and you have to decide whether you can live with uncertainty. Pascal's Wager says there's every reason to do so, and no reason not to.
     
  15. 2PhiloVoid

    2PhiloVoid Life is lived in the shape of a "?" Supporter

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    Good golly, Molly! Why does every other conversation between Christians and Skeptics/Atheists either include or revolve around issues of homosexuality? There are other 'sins,' much worse sins, that even Jesus and Paul the Apostle spoke about. How about we center on those if we're going to center on human sinfulness at all as it relates to the possibility of any of us here being deceived one way or another by a Diabolical force or entity? (...yes, I'm trying to steer things back to my OP. I might fail, but it's worth a try! ;))
     
  16. Moral Orel

    Moral Orel Proud Citizen of Moralton

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    There are lots of secular reasons to consider the other "much worse sins" wrong.
     
  17. 2PhiloVoid

    2PhiloVoid Life is lived in the shape of a "?" Supporter

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    There very well may be secular [i.e. non-religious] reasons to consider being a "hater of God" as reflecting a morally wrong perspective, but I'd have to knock myself out to figure out which view that is particularly? I know it's not one that comes from the typical Leninist/Stalinist/Maoist adaptations of Marxist thinking. So, to what other 'secular' viewpoint are you referring precisely? :scratch:
     
  18. Moral Orel

    Moral Orel Proud Citizen of Moralton

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    It all just sounds like finding happiness in the here and now. I agree that being generally morally good leads to being happier than being an awful person, but that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with some ultimate good. It sounds like you keep saying to pick the religion that feels good to you, so it seems to me that if no religion at all feels good, then that's just as good of a pick.
    My wife suffers from all three. There's a difference between a person that is generally always bummed out or grumpy that makes them snappier than normal, and rude folk. I said "mean folk" not "anyone who dares forget their manners around me once". I know what its like to live with a person who very regularly snaps for no good reason, and that isn't a mean person.
    Yeah, it still just sounds like do what makes you feel good as long as you're doing good.
     
  19. Moral Orel

    Moral Orel Proud Citizen of Moralton

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    If it's secular, then it has nothing to do with God by definition, so I'm not sure what you mean.
     
  20. 2PhiloVoid

    2PhiloVoid Life is lived in the shape of a "?" Supporter

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    ...well, according to Paul the Apostle, one of the sins worse than being gay is to be a 'hater of God.' So, since you said that there are also secular reasons by which to consider the worse sins as wrong, I was just wondering which of the various secular ethical viewpoints would describe that state of mind in that way.
     
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