Refuting "the problem of evil"
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25-08-2014, 11:06 AM
RE: Refuting "the problem of evil"
(25-08-2014 07:29 AM)phil.a Wrote:  
(25-08-2014 07:09 AM)Chas Wrote:  Their fires would be 'hot'.

There are no fires or any other sources of heat, everything everywhere is the exact same temperature.

Pointless and inaccurate.

Quote:
Quote:No, I just gave you an example of a continuum - temperature. One needs neither experience of ice to know hot nor of fire to experience cold.

A continuum exists between 2 opposites.

Phil

It's really not that simple. A continuum exists between any two points on a continuum.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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25-08-2014, 02:35 PM (This post was last modified: 25-08-2014 03:23 PM by Baruch.)
RE: Refuting "the problem of evil"
(25-08-2014 06:12 AM)phil.a Wrote:  
(25-08-2014 04:51 AM)Baruch Wrote:  I think your confusing "reality occurs to me as nonduality" vs a metaphysical understanding of reality may be monist.

I am not confusing these two things. To differentiate them, the former is "zen" and the latter sounds more like "stinking of zen".

Quote:Monism and pantheism - actually deny any transcendence because reality is made of a single substance (whatever that may be eg energy, matter).
Yes there is no "absolute separation" by any Monist can agree with that be it Bertrand Russell's "Neutral Monism" or George Berkeley's idealism or Baruch Spinoza's Pantheism or even John Searles case for "aspect dualism" (the dualism is just a a human perspective vantage point) or Aristotles hylomorphism. or various forms of physicalism such as Galen Strawson - You can look up the terms & names - but essentially all point to the same thing that reality is "one thing" i.e Monism (without committing to exactly what the substance is in some cases).

In your opinion, how do these systems specifically deny the general idea of transcendence? Perhaps if they make the mistake of reifying the "essential essence" at the heart of reality, then I'd agree with you. But all monist philosophies which actually do that have made a category mistake by describing the essence itself in terms of a few products of the essence. This is rather like trying to put a box inside itself! It's worse and less meaningful than a circular argument because it involves not just self-reference but reduction.


Quote:The above philosophers are in contrast to the dualistic perspectives such as plato, Descartes, most religious systems etc.
Any Monist would agree with this - all the above philosophical traditions.
However this denies the universal transcendentals your talking about (Beauty, Goodness, truth etc) - THESE universal transcendentals fit better within a dualist framework like Plato.


OK fair point, although did you not notice that i've integrated Plato's transcendentals into a single absolute. I've said that reality is a dialectic of Beauty, Goodness and Truth. So "the absolute", e.g. the "essential stuff" of monism occurs as a process dialectic, that of Beauty -> Goodness -> Truth. Another way of putting this is that Beauty, Goodness and Truth are perspectives of the absolute, or faces of the absolute. The absolute itself is radically beyond human language, or as the Tao Te Ching begins: "The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao".


Quote:...and by the way - you DON'T experience non duality

I do. I think perhaps you mean, you don't?


Quote:- your phenomenological perspective is split up and that's an emergent REAL property of your mind NOT an illusion. The fact you see a rainbow in different colours is dependent on your neurology & particularly V1 visual cortex, different wavelengths of light, photoreceptors [cones for colour] in the eyes and a whole host of other factor. These are all real properties which give you a real phenomena of seeing a rainbow as something split up.

Perhaps, but beyond "taking a perspective" there is simply "being present to what is".

Have you ever had a peak experience? Perhaps something out of the ordinary occurred and silenced your mind and brought you into the present moment into an intense and direct experience of wonder and awe. Perhaps it was a beautiful sunrise, or perhaps someone close had just said or done something that touched you deeply.

In the moment, no analysis, no thinking about the experience, just being there in the experience, as the experience.

Phil

Quote:In your opinion, how do these systems specifically deny the general idea of transcendence? Perhaps if they make the mistake of reifying the "essential essence" at the heart of reality, then I'd agree with you. But all monist philosophies which actually do that have made a category mistake by describing the essence itself in terms of a few products of the essence.
Explain what you mean ?
Specifically by
Quote:reifying the "essential essence" at the heart of reality,

The Monist philosophies basically say reality is one interconnected stuff. [dont have to commit to what the stuff is eg energy, space-time or whatever]

WHere are you going with essential essences ? According to you it will an infinite regress of essences ?
A monist philosophy which appreciates emergence as a real phenomena can just say there is some basic stuff and everything is made of that stuff in various patterns & combinations. Once there is a more complex pattern this might form a new essence eg atoms making molecules which have different properties to the individual atoms as we have discussed.

An alternative would be to go Kantian and just say there is phenomena we experience and a noumena which is beyond us and we can say nothing about - kind of a radical skepticism about what cannot be directly experienced as phenomena. You cannot even say the noumena is "absolute" - technically you can say nothing about it - just unknown. This is a skeptical position & not claiming some absolute transcendental universals. Many will be happy to just stick to this framework without making any commitments or speculations about the 'absolute' (if there even is an absolute - a Kantian will say "I dont know" and not make stuff up avoiding all the speculative metaphysical systems of the past). Of course you would have to read critique of pure reason and that would be like sending you to the desert without water.

Personally I find monist ontic structural realism more convincing & integrating- [for a mouthful of jargon.]
Basically I think we can infer & theorize to a great degree about the structure of reality beyond out direct phenomenological experiences - the best example being the relationships within the periodic table of elements. However the theorizing is well grounded because eventually there is a causal link to experiments, empirical experience and often tangible pragmatic results from discoveries. (with some limitations in pure mathematics)

A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence -
David Hume


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25-08-2014, 02:48 PM
RE: Refuting "the problem of evil"
Quote:OK fair point, although did you not notice that i've integrated Plato's transcendentals into a single absolute. I've said that reality is a dialectic of Beauty, Goodness and Truth. So "the absolute", e.g. the "essential stuff" of monism occurs as a process dialectic, that of Beauty -> Goodness -> Truth. Another way of putting this is that Beauty, Goodness and Truth are perspectives of the absolute, or faces of the absolute. The absolute itself is radically beyond human language, or as the Tao Te Ching begins: "The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao"

On the contrary - I think that's precisely what you have done with Goodness & Beauty is the fallacy of rectification turning it into something "absolute & real" when it is just a phenomenological perception limited to our conscious minds [and some other conscious animals].

Quote:Reification (also known as concretism, hypostatization, or the fallacy of misplaced concreteness) is a fallacy of ambiguity, when an abstraction (abstract belief or hypothetical construct) is treated as if it were a concrete, real event, or physical entity.In other words, it is the error of treating as a concrete thing, something which is not concrete, but merely an idea


Goodness & Beauty are "merely ideas" restricted to our phenomenological perceptions - it doesnt mean anything to say they are some "absolute faces of reality" What on earth could beauty even mean outside a conscious being ?

Quote:The absolute itself is radically beyond human language, or as the Tao Te Ching begins: "The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao"
[/quote]
If you want to go down the kantian route and associate the Tao with the Kantian Noumenon then fine - but you cannot call it the absolute - just unknown.
Quote:Immanuel Kant gave this point of view its classical version, saying that the noumenal world may exist, but it is completely unknowable to humans

A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence -
David Hume


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25-08-2014, 03:19 PM
RE: Refuting "the problem of evil"
Quote:Have you ever had a peak experience? Perhaps something out of the ordinary occurred and silenced your mind and brought you into the present moment into an intense and direct experience of wonder and awe. Perhaps it was a beautiful sunrise, or perhaps someone close had just said or done something that touched you deeply.

In the moment, no analysis, no thinking about the experience, just being there in the experience, as the experience.
Quote:Have you ever had a peak experience?
YES.

In the moment, no analysis, no thinking about the experience, just being there in the experience, as the experience.
YES.

I have practiced mindful meditation, Zen etc and experience peak moments and "no mind" moments......

...and what, your now claiming my mind melted into the oneness of the universe and I became nothing and everything - and I am supposed to infer some metaphysical absolutes based on this experience ??? That I had no "I" and no ego and my non-dual nature was revealed ?

I dont think so.

When I sleep I don't hypothesize the world ended and died.
When I dream I don't hypothesize fantasy land has become real and all the laws of physics have come to an end.
When I take psychedelic drugs I dont hypothesize the rest of reality has become psychedelic.
Basically I am not solipsist.
So when doing zen, mindfulness, no-mind, gaps between thoughts, deep meditation and pure awareness - whatever peak experiences I have I do not infer solipsism !!!


...and in any case we know the "I" feeling of autonomy is an emergent property of our consciousness and for that matter can be quite fragile and can disintigrate under some circumstances. In schizophrenia the self concept can collapse as it does with various brain injuries and damage.
Psychoactive drugs are a good way of showing some of the fragility of the "I" sense of autonomy we have once we alter the neuro-chemical properties of the brain which directly affects our phenomenological awareness.
Is it any surprise that meditation, peak experiences, states of no thought etc alter our perceptions ? Of course not.
If we feel "timelessness" "increased awareness" "presence" etc then these are states of mind - nothing to suggest we have reached or tapped into some absolute.

I DONT believe in any soul of any sort - so I am not troubled by the fact that the self concept can disintegrate but still leave awareness - and in some sense this is actually a more primitive that enlightened state (as per Antonio Demasio's comments on this topic which I agree with)
Saying that, whilst intellectually I not concerned about the self disintegrating, emotionally some of these states vary from the very peaceful to the utterly terrifying.
This isnt surprising because drugs which shut down perceptions of anxiety (whether they inhibit amygdala functioning or whatever) really can make people feel incredible peaceful.
Consider someone with Urbach-Wiethe disease - they can feel no fear or anxiety whatsoever if the amygdala is damaged.
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notroc..._unQWNc4yA
Now someone doing mindful meditation or zen can probably reach a state where fear disappears - but this isnt because of tapping into some absolute - just that some parts of the brain require exercises and various practices to control such as meditation. ...same with all the other states of mind, no matter how peak & how cool.

A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence -
David Hume


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26-08-2014, 02:43 AM (This post was last modified: 26-08-2014 03:37 AM by phil.a.)
RE: Refuting "the problem of evil"
(25-08-2014 02:35 PM)Baruch Wrote:  
Quote:In your opinion, how do these systems specifically deny the general idea of transcendence? Perhaps if they make the mistake of reifying the "essential essence" at the heart of reality, then I'd agree with you. But all monist philosophies which actually do that have made a category mistake by describing the essence itself in terms of a few products of the essence.
Explain what you mean ?
Specifically by
Quote:reifying the "essential essence" at the heart of reality,

OK I guess "reify" isn't quite the right word here, I used it because I could not think of a better word rather than because it was a perfect fit (note to self: don't do that!)

What I mean is - reducing this or this to any particular thing inside spacetime (it's an invalid step to take). And notice that human concepts are "things" in spacetime.


Quote:The Monist philosophies basically say reality is one interconnected stuff. [dont have to commit to what the stuff is eg energy, space-time or whatever]

OK, only the "stuff" can't be in space-time nor can it be limited to space-time because that leaves the problem of how space-time occurred, what it was "made" from.

What it was "made" from must be somehow fundamentally beyond space-time, otherwise we're either left with a circular argument or a creation myth.

Quote:WHere are you going with essential essences ? According to you it will an infinite regress of essences ?

Im not really sure where any of this is going any more to be honest, I am now just chatting about whatever comes up that seems interesting.

Quote:A monist philosophy which appreciates emergence as a real phenomena can just say there is some basic stuff and everything is made of that stuff in various patterns & combinations. Once there is a more complex pattern this might form a new essence eg atoms making molecules which have different properties to the individual atoms as we have discussed.

OK, well provided that this is considered the "basic stuff", then I can go along with that.

Quote:An alternative would be to go Kantian and just say there is phenomena we experience and a noumena which is beyond us and we can say nothing about - kind of a radical skepticism about what cannot be directly experienced as phenomena. You cannot even say the noumena is "absolute" - technically you can say nothing about it - just unknown. This is a skeptical position & not claiming some absolute transcendental universals. Many will be happy to just stick to this framework without making any commitments or speculations about the 'absolute' (if there even is an absolute - a Kantian will say "I dont know" and not make stuff up avoiding all the speculative metaphysical systems of the past). Of course you would have to read critique of pure reason and that would be like sending you to the desert without water.

The Kantian position seems to be based on dualism as a given, my experience is that separation is an illusion. But taking a dualistic perspective for a minute, this does not mean that I can't see "what's there" (the noumena), because what do you think would happen if the nature of my mind became a perfect reflection of the nature of the "outside" world? How would reality look from such a mind? In a sense there's the problem that subject and object are inseparably tangled up together, but if one is nothing more than a reflection of the other then when I look from my (reflecting) mind I am also seeing what is really there in fact.

Quote:Personally I find monist ontic structural realism more convincing & integrating- [for a mouthful of jargon.]

Based on the facts of your experience as you've revealed it, I think that's completely reasonable. I'm certainly not suggesting you take what I am saying on faith (which you'd need to do if you don't have direct experience which seems to support the truth of what I'm saying) - I am a very strong advocate of skepticism.

Quote:Basically I think we can infer & theorize to a great degree about the structure of reality beyond out direct phenomenological experiences - the best example being the relationships within the periodic table of elements. However the theorizing is well grounded because eventually there is a causal link to experiments, empirical experience and often tangible pragmatic results from discoveries. (with some limitations in pure mathematics)



I agree with you, I do think we can infer and theorise a great deal about the structure of reality beyond our experiences (in fact, to go back to an earlier topic, this is essentially why I felt confident to speak of a molecule potentiality within atoms!)

For me, here's the interesting thing! When we accurately infer about the structure of reality, then what inevitably next happens is that science makes use of it and some gadget appears in the world which leverages the human insight.

E.g. humans pluck realities out of thin air via facts-based reason and then go on to manifest them, these things appear on the planet as new layers of emergent complexity (the Internet itself is quite a good example of such a new process layer).

Insofar as emergent complexity occurs on this planet today, I would argue that by far the most significant part of that process is taking place in human consciousness, and coming out into the world via our human mind.

Although from my perspective this is nothing more than the same overall process occurring which has been occurring since the big bang. It's just that now, in human mind, that process has become reflectively self-aware (we are the cosmos).

Phil
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26-08-2014, 02:53 AM
RE: Refuting "the problem of evil"
(25-08-2014 02:48 PM)Baruch Wrote:  
Quote:OK fair point, although did you not notice that i've integrated Plato's transcendentals into a single absolute. I've said that reality is a dialectic of Beauty, Goodness and Truth. So "the absolute", e.g. the "essential stuff" of monism occurs as a process dialectic, that of Beauty -> Goodness -> Truth. Another way of putting this is that Beauty, Goodness and Truth are perspectives of the absolute, or faces of the absolute. The absolute itself is radically beyond human language, or as the Tao Te Ching begins: "The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao"

On the contrary - I think that's precisely what you have done with Goodness & Beauty is the fallacy of rectification turning it into something "absolute & real" when it is just a phenomenological perception limited to our conscious minds [and some other conscious animals].

OK, let's explore this idea a bit more. If for a minute we take a Kantian dualistic perspective, would you say that there is a total lack of "noumena" in a human perception of Beauty or Goodness?


Quote:Goodness & Beauty are "merely ideas" restricted to our phenomenological perceptions - it doesnt mean anything to say they are some "absolute faces of reality" What on earth could beauty even mean outside a conscious being ?

Nothing - but likewise with Truth.

Quote:
Quote:
Quote:The absolute itself is radically beyond human language, or as the Tao Te Ching begins: "The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao"
If you want to go down the kantian route and associate the Tao with the Kantian Noumenon then fine - but you cannot call it the absolute - just unknown.
Quote:Immanuel Kant gave this point of view its classical version, saying that the noumenal world may exist, but it is completely unknowable to humans

"The Tao" is a synonym for "the absolute". It's just the name that the Taoist spiritual tradition uses for it.

The absolute is fundamentally beyond dualism (concepts of noumena). Anything that's absolute must equally exist in subject and object.

Phil
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26-08-2014, 03:31 AM (This post was last modified: 26-08-2014 05:57 AM by phil.a.)
RE: Refuting "the problem of evil"
(25-08-2014 03:19 PM)Baruch Wrote:  
Quote:Have you ever had a peak experience? Perhaps something out of the ordinary occurred and silenced your mind and brought you into the present moment into an intense and direct experience of wonder and awe. Perhaps it was a beautiful sunrise, or perhaps someone close had just said or done something that touched you deeply.

In the moment, no analysis, no thinking about the experience, just being there in the experience, as the experience.
Quote:Have you ever had a peak experience?
YES.

In the moment, no analysis, no thinking about the experience, just being there in the experience, as the experience.
YES.

I have practiced mindful meditation, Zen etc and experience peak moments and "no mind" moments......

...and what, your now claiming my mind melted into the oneness of the universe and I became nothing and everything - and I am supposed to infer some metaphysical absolutes based on this experience ??? That I had no "I" and no ego and my non-dual nature was revealed ?

I dont think so.

Neither do I.

Actually my only point there was - the experience of intellectually analysing reality is different to the experience of being directly conscious of reality, because the former requires that we step back from reality, e.g. conceptually separate ourselves from it in order to look at it. But once we've stepped back from it, we are no longer "in" it, so to speak. We no longer have direct awareness of it as it exists in and of itself, rather we are looking at how it appears through the filter of our theories and beliefs. In peak experiences, the mind goes quiet and everything tends to feel very fresh and real and direct - that's because we are actually there, in reality, aware of reality.

On the subject of peak experiences, what is your understanding of the Zen Satori experience?



Quote:...and in any case we know the "I" feeling of autonomy is an emergent property of our consciousness and for that matter can be quite fragile and can disintigrate under some circumstances. In schizophrenia the self concept can collapse as it does with various brain injuries and damage.
Psychoactive drugs are a good way of showing some of the fragility of the "I" sense of autonomy we have once we alter the neuro-chemical properties of the brain which directly affects our phenomenological awareness.

Yes I hear what you are saying here. Although you say you've had flashes of no-mind through meditation, do you put this into the same class of experience as the disintegration or regression of that emergent "I" that can happen on (for example) recreational drugs?

Here's an interesting thing that I have noticed. If I inhale the vapours in a controlled way, ether alcohol is really good at regressing the emergent complexity of my mind. It's possible to collapse it back to a more rudimentary state (perhaps more like that of a 3 year old) where subject and object is rather confusingly merged, and the "I" sense of a separate self no longer exists.

But having reached that state, if I stop inhaling the ether, something really interesting occurs. As the ether starts wearing off, I sort of "pop" back into full reflective self-awareness, and suddenly remember who and where I am. The popping sensation is a sense of (a) remembering who I am and also of (b) an increase in clarity and intensity of consciousness.

The interesting thing is, I have found the exact same quality of (a) remembering who I really am and (b) an increase in clarity and intensity of consciousness pertains to experiences of "no-mind" when arrived at from full and sober reflective self-awareness.

That, to me, supports the idea that, whilst pre-mind and post-mind have certain attributes in common, one is not the other. And in fact - post-mind is an emergent complexity of mind, e.g. it's a higher order awareness rather than a regression back to pre-mind.


Quote:If we feel "timelessness" "increased awareness" "presence" etc then these are states of mind - nothing to suggest we have reached or tapped into some absolute.

Can you explain why "states of mind" are necessarily incompatible with certain perceptions?

It's my opinion that the experience of rational cognition (something a 2 year old does not experience) is, in a sense, nothing more than a sustained state of mind. Eg there is an underlying biological foundation that supports it.

Phil
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26-08-2014, 05:18 AM
RE: Refuting "the problem of evil"
(18-08-2014 02:30 AM)phil.a Wrote:  This is perfectly true, but only from a relative or dualistic perspective.
...

The way I see it, there are two types of people in this world:

Dualists and ...

oh

Dodgy

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26-08-2014, 10:00 AM
RE: Refuting "the problem of evil"
I am an anti-theist, but I consider the problem of human evil to be a poor argument that has already been refuted. Free will can account for human evil, but what disproves a benevolent god in my opinion is natural evil. If there is a benevolent god what is Onchocerca volvulus and the screwworm fly doing here? Why do men cum faster than women? Why do we have earthquakes and volcanic eruptions? Why would a benevolent god forbid the eating of bacon only to make it delicious?

A benevolent god would not use the natural world to torture his creations. He would not play mind games like he does with bacon and the fruit in Eden.

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02-09-2014, 12:21 PM
RE: Refuting "the problem of evil"
Actually I think the point I was trying to express on this thread is more clearly expressed here.

So "god" is triune: Beauty, Goodness and Truth. And evil is self-expression (Beauty) that lacks Goodness, so whilst the action "is" god, the evil aspect of it is about a lack of god.

Phil
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