Poll: What is your preferred afterlife
This poll is closed.
Supernatural hell: Get tortured for a hundred years, but not actually and then be turned loose to temp people. 11.76% 2 11.76%
Supernatural heaven: Supposedly your idea of paradise, but from what I saw way too cramped to spend an eternity. 23.53% 4 23.53%
Catholic idea: Burn forever. 0% 0 0%
Seperation from god for eternity. 64.71% 11 64.71%
Total 17 votes 100%
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Poll: What version of the afterlife would you prefer?
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08-10-2017, 07:16 AM
RE: Poll: What version of the afterlife would you prefer?
(07-10-2017 05:47 AM)Belaqua Wrote:  
(07-10-2017 05:35 AM)unfogged Wrote:  ...IT is a summation based on decades of experience listening to and investigating claims of this type. They may present any arguments they like but until they can present evidence supporting those arguments it is all just vacuous nonsense...

Well, I was asking you about the claim that people came up with all the ideas about eternity and heaven because they fear death, and that they added the part about "outside time" because heaven lasting forever sounded boring. You're making some pretty big claims, and something that it would be hard to prove, I think.

I'm not asking you if you think their beliefs are true; I know you don't. I'm asking about your claims concerning motivation.

It remains speculation, unprovable, and based on your assumptions about other people's unacknowledged mental states.
...
Since I try to base my beliefs strictly on logic and evidence, I don't see how you can hold to this claim.

Call it a working hypothesis. These arguments are obviously the result of a great deal of thought and I don't think I ever implied that the people making them were not intelligent. The problem for me is that they are based on nothing but imagination; there is no evidence to support the ideas that they are presenting and no way to even begin to verify the claims.

That makes me stop and take a step back to try to figure out what the most likely explanation for their being willing to overlook the obvious problems. Based on innumerable examples of people not wanting death to be the end the fear of death seems to be a much more likely explanation for the claims than the idea that these philosophers discovered a deeper truth, especially when it involves concepts that humans have no experience with and can't really even discuss because the language for it isn't there.

I could very well be wrong, especially in individual cases, and there may be some other motivation involved. All I can say is that it seems to be a sufficient explanation in every case I've seen so it has become my baseline assumption. I will say that I probably should have qualified my initial comment better; tone doesn't translate through text, especially with somebody new.


(08-10-2017 05:37 AM)Belaqua Wrote:  I should clarify that this is not "my" theism. It's a fascinating topic that I study. Since it was so widely known before, I find it odd that few people acknowledge it today, and in particular the people who argue against religion seem to think that all Christianity is something very different.

The segments of Christianity that are focused on a "prime mover" type of god are typically not the problem. The problem is the widespread belief in a personal god that monitors your every thought and commands specific beliefs and behaviors. It doesn't do much good to try to convince the average Christian that medieval thinkers moved beyond their comparatively simplistic ideas of what their god is when that isn't what they are living on a daily basis. The religion that I am against is not the religion of Aquinas because that is largely irrelevant in my life.

Quote:It is compatible with science because it holds God to be, like Aristotle's Prime Mover, the metaphysical source which holds things in being. It doesn't address any subject which science can deal with, by definition.

That strikes me as an odd use of "compatible" since it doesn't describe two things that fit well together but rather two things that exist in isolation. Since science can only deal with things that can be tested anything that it can't deal with would be incompatible. I don't think we disagree on that but I do hear Christians and others claiming that their religion actually is compatible with science. Ken Ham is a prime example.

Quote:Whether we want to call this Christian or not is something the Christians can debate, I guess. To say it isn't Christian is to say that neither Thomas Aquinas nor Augustine is Christian, which I find to be a strange claim.

The label is really not that important in my opinion. They called themselves Christians and their thinking influenced the religion but I'm not so sure that the average Christian today holds the same beliefs or has even thought much about it. What percentage of Christians not knowing or accepting a particular view of the Christian god is enough to make that belief no longer Christian?

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08-10-2017, 07:22 AM (This post was last modified: 08-10-2017 07:26 AM by TheInquisition.)
RE: Poll: What version of the afterlife would you prefer?
(08-10-2017 05:37 AM)Belaqua Wrote:  
(08-10-2017 05:16 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  What is "classic theism" then?

This would be a reasonable start.

"You may have redefined your theism in some way to be compatible with science, but I doubt you can honestly call it Christianity."

I should clarify that this is not "my" theism. It's a fascinating topic that I study. Since it was so widely known before, I find it odd that few people acknowledge it today, and in particular the people who argue against religion seem to think that all Christianity is something very different.

It is compatible with science because it holds God to be, like Aristotle's Prime Mover, the metaphysical source which holds things in being. It doesn't address any subject which science can deal with, by definition.

Whether we want to call this Christian or not is something the Christians can debate, I guess. To say it isn't Christian is to say that neither Thomas Aquinas nor Augustine is Christian, which I find to be a strange claim.

From your link:

Whereas most theists agree that God is, at a minimum, all-knowing, all-powerful, and completely good,[1] some classical theists go further and conceive of God as completely transcendent (totally independent of all else), simple, and having such attributes as immutability, impassibility, and timelessness.[2]

So the article states these qualities of god: standard omniscience, omnipotence, and omnibenevolence, then you toss "immutability", "impassibility" and "timelessness"onto the pile of ridiculous qualities that this god has.

The prime mover is an argument from ignorance. Drinking Beverage

It is compatible with science because it holds God to be, like Aristotle's Prime Mover, the metaphysical source which holds things in being. It doesn't address any subject which science can deal with, by definition.

What does that even mean? Hold things in "being"? Things just are, they don't need to be held there by some silly prime mover, no god is needed.

Are you about to unleash quantum mechanics=god as an explanation? Drinking Beverage

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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08-10-2017, 07:28 AM
RE: Poll: What version of the afterlife would you prefer?
(08-10-2017 07:16 AM)unfogged Wrote:  
(07-10-2017 05:47 AM)Belaqua Wrote:  Well, I was asking you about the claim that people came up with all the ideas about eternity and heaven because they fear death, and that they added the part about "outside time" because heaven lasting forever sounded boring. You're making some pretty big claims, and something that it would be hard to prove, I think.

I'm not asking you if you think their beliefs are true; I know you don't. I'm asking about your claims concerning motivation.

It remains speculation, unprovable, and based on your assumptions about other people's unacknowledged mental states.
...
Since I try to base my beliefs strictly on logic and evidence, I don't see how you can hold to this claim.

Call it a working hypothesis. These arguments are obviously the result of a great deal of thought and I don't think I ever implied that the people making them were not intelligent. The problem for me is that they are based on nothing but imagination; there is no evidence to support the ideas that they are presenting and no way to even begin to verify the claims.

That makes me stop and take a step back to try to figure out what the most likely explanation for their being willing to overlook the obvious problems. Based on innumerable examples of people not wanting death to be the end the fear of death seems to be a much more likely explanation for the claims than the idea that these philosophers discovered a deeper truth, especially when it involves concepts that humans have no experience with and can't really even discuss because the language for it isn't there.

I could very well be wrong, especially in individual cases, and there may be some other motivation involved. All I can say is that it seems to be a sufficient explanation in every case I've seen so it has become my baseline assumption. I will say that I probably should have qualified my initial comment better; tone doesn't translate through text, especially with somebody new.


(08-10-2017 05:37 AM)Belaqua Wrote:  I should clarify that this is not "my" theism. It's a fascinating topic that I study. Since it was so widely known before, I find it odd that few people acknowledge it today, and in particular the people who argue against religion seem to think that all Christianity is something very different.

The segments of Christianity that are focused on a "prime mover" type of god are typically not the problem. The problem is the widespread belief in a personal god that monitors your every thought and commands specific beliefs and behaviors. It doesn't do much good to try to convince the average Christian that medieval thinkers moved beyond their comparatively simplistic ideas of what their god is when that isn't what they are living on a daily basis. The religion that I am against is not the religion of Aquinas because that is largely irrelevant in my life.

Quote:It is compatible with science because it holds God to be, like Aristotle's Prime Mover, the metaphysical source which holds things in being. It doesn't address any subject which science can deal with, by definition.

That strikes me as an odd use of "compatible" since it doesn't describe two things that fit well together but rather two things that exist in isolation. Since science can only deal with things that can be tested anything that it can't deal with would be incompatible. I don't think we disagree on that but I do hear Christians and others claiming that their religion actually is compatible with science. Ken Ham is a prime example.

Quote:Whether we want to call this Christian or not is something the Christians can debate, I guess. To say it isn't Christian is to say that neither Thomas Aquinas nor Augustine is Christian, which I find to be a strange claim.

The label is really not that important in my opinion. They called themselves Christians and their thinking influenced the religion but I'm not so sure that the average Christian today holds the same beliefs or has even thought much about it. What percentage of Christians not knowing or accepting a particular view of the Christian god is enough to make that belief no longer Christian?

I would say this is closer to what most Christians believe today:

[Image: Joel_Osteen_Preaching_%28cropped%29.jpg]

And not this:

[Image: Vd_URruj_400x400.jpeg]

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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08-10-2017, 07:35 AM
RE: Poll: What version of the afterlife would you prefer?
(08-10-2017 07:22 AM)TheInquisition Wrote:  
(08-10-2017 05:37 AM)Belaqua Wrote:  This would be a reasonable start.

"You may have redefined your theism in some way to be compatible with science, but I doubt you can honestly call it Christianity."

I should clarify that this is not "my" theism. It's a fascinating topic that I study. Since it was so widely known before, I find it odd that few people acknowledge it today, and in particular the people who argue against religion seem to think that all Christianity is something very different.

It is compatible with science because it holds God to be, like Aristotle's Prime Mover, the metaphysical source which holds things in being. It doesn't address any subject which science can deal with, by definition.

Whether we want to call this Christian or not is something the Christians can debate, I guess. To say it isn't Christian is to say that neither Thomas Aquinas nor Augustine is Christian, which I find to be a strange claim.

From your link:

Whereas most theists agree that God is, at a minimum, all-knowing, all-powerful, and completely good,[1] some classical theists go further and conceive of God as completely transcendent (totally independent of all else), simple, and having such attributes as immutability, impassibility, and timelessness.[2]

So the article states these qualities of god: standard omniscience, omnipotence, and omnibenevolence, then you toss "immutability", "impassibility" and "timelessness"onto the pile of ridiculous qualities that this god has.

The prime mover is an argument from ignorance. Drinking Beverage

It is compatible with science because it holds God to be, like Aristotle's Prime Mover, the metaphysical source which holds things in being. It doesn't address any subject which science can deal with, by definition.

What does that even mean? Hold things in "being"? Things just are, they don't need to be held there by some silly prime mover, no god is needed.

Are you about to unleash quantum mechanics=god as an explanation? Drinking Beverage

How dare you overreact so much, TheInquisition. Now you're gonna get a talking-to Drinking Beverage

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08-10-2017, 10:37 AM
RE: Poll: What version of the afterlife would you prefer?
(07-10-2017 01:59 PM)mordant Wrote:  
(07-10-2017 05:35 AM)unfogged Wrote:  I'm not comfortable taking unsubstantiated ideas from people who lived centuries ago and for which no supporting evidence has been found in the meantime and simply accepting them on face value. I have every reason to believe that people then were similar psychologically to people now and that I can make reasonable assumptions regarding obvious bullshit.
I think people were most likely psychological similar, although if you go far enough back, the unprovable hypothesis of the "bicameral mind" introduces the possibility of a rather different psychology.

Interesting. I'd heard the term but don't remember reading up on it before (at least the voice in my head is saying it is novel). It seems a bit far-fetched that things would change so drastically in such a short time; I'd think you'd have to go back at least to the development of language for that kind of shift to take place.

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08-10-2017, 12:18 PM
RE: Poll: What version of the afterlife would you prefer?
(08-10-2017 10:37 AM)unfogged Wrote:  
(07-10-2017 01:59 PM)mordant Wrote:  I think people were most likely psychological similar, although if you go far enough back, the unprovable hypothesis of the "bicameral mind" introduces the possibility of a rather different psychology.

Interesting. I'd heard the term but don't remember reading up on it before (at least the voice in my head is saying it is novel). It seems a bit far-fetched that things would change so drastically in such a short time; I'd think you'd have to go back at least to the development of language for that kind of shift to take place.

If you read Jaynes, you'l find that the development of language was, to a point, what led to the eventual breakdown of the bicameral mind. His book is a good read, quite fascinating. While he doesn't quite prove his original thesis, he does inadvertently provide an origin story for gods and their byproduct, religion.
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08-10-2017, 02:09 PM
RE: Poll: What version of the afterlife would you prefer?
(08-10-2017 10:37 AM)unfogged Wrote:  
(07-10-2017 01:59 PM)mordant Wrote:  I think people were most likely psychological similar, although if you go far enough back, the unprovable hypothesis of the "bicameral mind" introduces the possibility of a rather different psychology.

Interesting. I'd heard the term but don't remember reading up on it before (at least the voice in my head is saying it is novel). It seems a bit far-fetched that things would change so drastically in such a short time; I'd think you'd have to go back at least to the development of language for that kind of shift to take place.
The theory is that the shift from hunter-gatherer to more cooperative forms of society triggered the expression of different genes -- so it is hypothesized to be an epigenetic rather than genetic trigger. Also the change was not over a short time in the sense that everyone didn't just wake up one day different. It probably took generations if not centuries for the tipping point where the formerly normal voice-hearing types were marginalized / ostracized.

One of the fascinating things about the theory is that it would explain certain things like the prevalence of animistic religions prior to the shift -- if you readily hear voices then spirits inhabiting tress and clouds or whatever, or ancestral spirits, are far more plausible and common-sensical. Also would help explain how that kind of religious ideation seemed to fade worldwide during the era Jaynes thought the shift began, IIRC, ca 4000 BC to 3500 BC, inconveniently just before the advent of writing.
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08-10-2017, 02:45 PM
RE: Poll: What version of the afterlife would you prefer?
(08-10-2017 02:09 PM)mordant Wrote:  
(08-10-2017 10:37 AM)unfogged Wrote:  Interesting. I'd heard the term but don't remember reading up on it before (at least the voice in my head is saying it is novel). It seems a bit far-fetched that things would change so drastically in such a short time; I'd think you'd have to go back at least to the development of language for that kind of shift to take place.
The theory is that the shift from hunter-gatherer to more cooperative forms of society triggered the expression of different genes -- so it is hypothesized to be an epigenetic rather than genetic trigger.

I could see that, but then what caused the shift in the first place. Perhaps the change was the other way around and it was the change in the way the brain works that encouraged the move away from h/g... or some kind of feedback loop between the genetic and epigenetic... hmmmm...

Quote:Also the change was not over a short time in the sense that everyone didn't just wake up one day different. It probably took generations if not centuries for the tipping point where the formerly normal voice-hearing types were marginalized / ostracized.

One of the fascinating things about the theory is that it would explain certain things like the prevalence of animistic religions prior to the shift -- if you readily hear voices then spirits inhabiting tress and clouds or whatever, or ancestral spirits, are far more plausible and common-sensical. Also would help explain how that kind of religious ideation seemed to fade worldwide during the era Jaynes thought the shift began, IIRC, ca 4000 BC to 3500 BC, inconveniently just before the advent of writing.

I'd still think even a few thousand years is very fast for such a difference. Perhaps if the advantage it gave was really significant near the start of the process it could spread quickly and require only a score or two generations to become prevalent but I'm skeptical.

Somewhere along the line our sense of self took off. There are gradations of it in other animals and the idea of it snowballing after reaching a tipping point isn't inconceivable but if I had to bet I'd say his time frame is too recent and too short. I'll have to watch out for more info though as it is an interesting idea.

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08-10-2017, 05:50 PM
RE: Poll: What version of the afterlife would you prefer?
You: "Why would atheists need to study ancient Christian philosophers at all..."

Atheists absolutely do not need to study anything ancient.

You: "...since science does a perfectly adequate job of explaining the world we see without any God hypothesized for its theories?"

For comfort, efficiency, and business purposes, there is no need to study anything other than science.

You: "...my questions about evolution, general relativity, and quantum mechanics. How is God necessary for any of them?"

Thinking about God is not necessary for the study of any of these fields.

You: "God must necessarily be conscious and willful as defined by the usual attributes of both Islam and Christianity. What I was left with was a concept of truth, or Truth if you prefer, but not God."

That's fine. You have decided, and I have no interest in persuading you otherwise.
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08-10-2017, 05:52 PM
RE: Poll: What version of the afterlife would you prefer?
(08-10-2017 07:35 AM)Vera Wrote:  How dare you overreact so much, TheInquisition. Now you're gonna get a talking-to Drinking Beverage

Vera, do you think that my replies come across as scolding? I've been asked to explain myself, and have tried to do that.

If you feel I shouldn't I'll stop.
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