What kind of god would you LIKE?
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17-11-2011, 09:02 PM
 
RE: What kind of god would you LIKE?
to everyone who is throwing out the tired 'life is life' red herring:

i think you are kindof missing the point here... it's not about 'life' it's about conciousness and the ability to feel pain. you can't just lump everything into the 'life category' and say its all the same. there is a broad spectrum of conciousness and intelligence, and what we do as vegetarians is try to limit our predation to those forms of life who lack the clear and scientifically demonstrated ability to suffer. no central nervous system. no neurons. no nerves. the whole 'life is life' argument is complete bullshit. it's what pro lifers use to browbeat people into accepting that a 1 week old zygote is the same as a grown human being. these tactics are dishonest and a simple observation of the variety of life on out planet shows that it is not quite so simple.

so when we compare these things (say a carrot and a cow) they are both life, but not all life is sentient or able to feel pain.... saying that a cow and a carrot (or all life) are basically the same thing is incredibly dishonest. if you really thought they were in the same category, you would be equally able to happily and casually slaughter a carrot and a calf... and im guessing one of those would trouble you a bit more than the other.

then there is ther fact that most plants that humans eat have actually evolved to be eaten, and actively use the fact that we eat them to their own species benefit. strawberry seeds being coated in a substance that can protect them from mammal's stomach acid, therefore using them to spread their species through our droppings is a perfect example.

so we have creatures that obviously suffer horribly when they are killed, and others that not only do not suffer, but actually actively use smells and tastes evolved to attract other creatures to eat them.

i respect what clown guy said because he is honest. people should at least get real and say "you know what -- the suffering of other mammals and birds for my pleasure means jack shit to me because i like the taste" this sounds grim, but at least they are not lying to themseleves by throwing out the 'carrots have feelings too' red herring.

plants and animals are very different, and it's not the 'same thing' any more than a human and a flu virus are the same thing.

photosythesis would be great, but i find it lazy and intellectually dishonest for someone to grant that it would be better, but who still eats their fellow sentient beings and uses a the 'life is life' justification to continue doing it without feeling bad.
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17-11-2011, 09:03 PM
 
RE: What kind of god would you LIKE?
(17-11-2011 08:54 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  If we don't already have an old thread on vegetarianism around here somewhere, we might think about starting one.

Good idea, GirlyMan, but I really covered it in the lsat few posts (for myself)! Tongue

This thread is supposed to be about the kind of god we wished we had (if we had any) and, maybe, about redesigning the world according to some INTELLIGENT plan, for a change.

As I said in one of my earliest posts: "god screwed up so badly with the original plan that not even a god can fix it without complete redesign".

Removing predation would be a step in the right direction. Photosynthesis, a nuclear power pack or antennas to extract energy from cosmic radiation might do the trick.

We also mentioned god bringing the stars closer to each other, so we could travel to other planets or, failing that, doing away with Einstein' speed limit.

Any other ideas?
(17-11-2011 09:02 PM)paulesungnomo Wrote:  but i find it lazy and intellectually dishonest for someone to grant that it would be better, but who still eats their fellow sentient beings and uses a the 'life is life' justification to continue doing it without feeling bad.

Paul, you have been a 'bit' too harsh with your judgment here. Both Lilith and GirlyMan are highly intelligent and honest debaters. Some of the comments were in good humour, others were way deeper than it appears on the surface.

I suggest you spend a little more time here before passing unjustified judgment on people, before you really get to know them.

Just a friendly advice! Smile
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17-11-2011, 09:15 PM
 
RE: What kind of god would you LIKE?
oh man...i guess that didnt come out right.

im not targeting what anyone in particular said, i was targeting the statement that people often throw out about 'life being life'. it bothers me because nobody actually lives their life that way. we all draw lines and we all have an innate sense of what other creatures can share the kind of pain we experience. science has expanded this and now we now that it's not just a 'sense', its objective reality.

i was not making personal attacks at all, i dont know anyone here and i don't think anyone is dumb, what's dumb is that statement. hope that makes sense.
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17-11-2011, 09:22 PM
RE: What kind of god would you LIKE?
(17-11-2011 12:34 PM)Zatamon Wrote:  I think cufflink is hiding under a rock somewhere for having started this thread -- even though it is (and still could be) an oustandingly interesting thread, challenging human imagination and creativity to come up with a truly INTELLIGENT DESIGN! Smile

You called, sir? Smile

(It was getting kinda icky under that rock—all those creepy-crawlies and things.)

Well, the thread took off in its own direction, but that’s par for the course. The putative value of suffering, the meaning of meaning . . . heavy stuff. But, Zat, thanks for re-emphasizing the spirit of the OP: I was indeed thinking of a complete reworking of the universe, this time with a truly benevolent—and competent!—designer. A fantasy, of course, or as GirlyMan put it, “a curious and entertaining intellectual diversion,” but one that provides the opportunity for creative thinking. I have no doubt that if given the chance, we could all do a better job than You Know Who.

That said, I have to confess that what interests me the most is still the question of the amount of . . . I’d better avoid the s-word . . . let’s call it discomfort. How much discomfort, if any, should our new-and-improved god allow in the world?

Let’s imagine a linear scale for comfort/discomfort (or pleasure/pain) going from minus infinity to plus infinity. Moving from zero in the positive direction, we have eating a pint of Häagen-Dazs coffee ice cream at +10; spending a night of love with your ultimate heartthrob at +1,000; proving the Riemann Hypothesis at +2,000; etc. (Obviously the details will be different for different people.) In the other direction, we have hangnails at -15, mild toothaches at -75, hitting your thumb hard with a hammer at -200, speaking in public without realizing your fly is open at -500, being the victim of unrequited love at -3,000, watching your kid suffer and die of cancer at -10 billion.

Most of us would agree, I think, that in our ideal world, the really bad stuff on the negative side of the ledger is gone. Forget the Holocaust. Forget war. Forget cancer. But the question is, if you’re the RGG (Really Good God), do you exclude everything on the minus side from the world you’ve designed?

Zat, a while back you wrote,

Quote:Of course there is the inevitable pain and suffering like headache, stubbed toe, toothache, injury, illness and death . . .

As Peterkin said, pain has a biological function—in this world. But in the ideal world, fires don’t have to burn—or if they do, the RGG always pulls your hand out in time. Under our hypothesis, none of the stuff Zat mentioned is inevitable.

So . . . What would a world be like that included nothing at all on the negative side of the scale? For example:
  • There’s no such thing as illness. People remain perfectly healthy their entire lives.
  • Every time you’re careless with a hammer, the RGG deflects it away from your thumb.
  • Kids who run out into traffic are never harmed.
  • If you fall in love with someone, that person always loves you back equally.
  • You always get a good grade on every test you take, even if you don’t study.
  • If you jump off the roof of a tall building, you always land unharmed on a pile of feathers or foam rubber.

In short, no one ever gets hurt by anything, ever. No suffering, no pain, no discomfort. Period.

Is that desirable? To me it’s not clear. And I don’t say that because I’m a victim of the Protestant Work Ethic (for better or worse, I’m anything but) or because I think suffering is always ennobling. But I do wonder if there’s such a thing as the RGG being over-protective of his creatures. In our present world, parents can be over-protective of their children, intervening when it would be better to let the kids make their own mistakes and experience the negative consequences. Could that be true of the RGG in our ideal world as well? How much and how often should the RGG intervene?

The simplest answer is: always, and to whatever extent is necessary to prevent any and all discomfort. We want nothing at all of the negative side in our redesigned world.

Maybe that would be heaven on earth. But what would be the consequences of no bad consequences, ever, regardless of what you do?

If, on the other hand, you say the RGG should allow some negativity into the world—for example, as the consequences of poor choices people make—and shouldn’t always intervene to make things right, then where do you draw the line? Banging your thumb with a hammer will result in significant if temporary discomfort, but the RGG won’t let you cut your hand off with your table saw?

And by the way, if the ideal world incorporates death, even if it’s pain-free to the one who dies, isn’t it inevitably a source of pain for the loved ones who are left behind? So with death in the world, is it even possible to prevent all major suffering?

Anyway, it may be tiresome to revisit this territory . . . in which case I’d be delighted to hear more ideas along the lines of a predation-less planet and photosynthesis via leaves in ears. Wink

Religious disputes are like arguments in a madhouse over which inmate really is Napoleon.
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17-11-2011, 09:28 PM
 
RE: What kind of god would you LIKE?
(17-11-2011 09:15 PM)paulesungnomo Wrote:  i was not making personal attacks at all, i dont know anyone here and i don't think anyone is dumb, what's dumb is that statement. hope that makes sense.

That's all right then, Paul -- stick around, there are quite a few brilliant people here, give yourself the chance to find them! Smile


(17-11-2011 09:22 PM)cufflink Wrote:  How much and how often should the RGG intervene?

Hi cufflink, very interesting post.

My short answer is: RGG should completely redesign the panet, without predation, and then stay the hell away -- we can take it from there.

But that is not what you were talking about: you seem to insist that we must have a RGG and then you want to know where to draw the line for daddy?

I don't think you can draw a line at all because the question is so complex that any line that might be justified in some instances, would be arbitrary and wrong in others.

I will think a bit more about your question and come back to it tomorrow but it is time for me to quit for today.

Maybe somebody else will have the perfect answer before that! Big Grin
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17-11-2011, 10:17 PM
RE: What kind of god would you LIKE?
Hey, GirlyMan.

Quote:You seem to get discouraged rather quickly.

Bailing on page six isn't quick. Cufflink asked a really profound question. I was taking the discussion seriously. Others weren't. Serious and silly don't mix. I'm not condemning silly, I just reached the end of my patience. Throw on top of that; I have about as much interest in defending the mechanics of semiotics and human cognition to people who are just dismissing it as an evolutionary biologist has interest in defending evolution to a creationist who is just dismissing it. I don't have to defend those fields. Universities around the world do a fine job of it.

People want to talk about eliminating suffering and predation. OK. That's fine. I just indicated to the bus driver that I'd reached my stop. I wish those riding to the terminus well.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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17-11-2011, 11:04 PM
RE: What kind of god would you LIKE?
Quote:Cufflink:

If, on the other hand, you say the RGG should allow some negativity into the world—for example, as the consequences of poor choices people make—and shouldn’t always intervene to make things right, then where do you draw the line? Banging your thumb with a hammer will result in significant if temporary discomfort, but the RGG won’t let you cut your hand off with your table saw?

I would have been okay with the good parent kind of god: similar biology to what we have now, only more rational and fair. A decent sort of god would let us all make mistakes and take warning from discomfort, but stop the injuries short of permanent damage, either physical or psychological. As we might allow our children to skin a knee, but not to run under a truck.
My biggest problem with suffering as identity, or suffering as a means of recognizing its opposite, or even as a tool for teaching empathy, is the extremely uneven distribution of pain and pleasure. It's not the victim of water-boarding, or of foetal alcohol syndrome, who draws the philosophical lesson, but someone detached, comfortable - and often smug.
A thousand chickadees freezing to their night-time branches won't make me one jot more human. A million children starving to death won't produce a single concerto.... And if they did, would you enjoy hearing it?

But then, if a god designed the world differently, its products would be different, wouldn't they? That's why i mentioned the anesthetic earlier. So much of what we have done and what we have become was in response to bad conditions: the disparity of pain and pleasure, the effort to minimize one and maximize the other, and the perceived necessity of doing so at the expense of other creatures.... So much of what we have thought and written and believed is attempted rationalization of pain and injustice... Without all that, we'd be some other kind of - nicer, more peaceful, less striving and confused - creature. Probably, as Ghost says, not human at all.
But we wouldn't know it; would be as pleased with our alternate selves as we are with this one.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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18-11-2011, 01:20 AM
RE: What kind of god would you LIKE?
This is indeed a very good thread (now that I actually read it =p).

My first statement is primarily to Ghost. The reality of pain is understood and accepted, but when did we understand it? When did we accept it? Babies learn an innumerable number of things about the world they live in, and leaving the age of innocence generally slows the learning process. Many learn more before they realize the bad than they ever will after they do. A life that isn't based on survival allows for a fuller attainment of knowledge. Why does the monkey sit in the chair pressing the button all day? Because he remembers a time when there was no button.

This thread is a thought exercise so it's pretty awkward to argue too heavily on, "but this is reality". Especially for philosophically minded people who are used to trying to reach outside of the box.

As I said I don't generally imagine a world that is better because this world is so complicated I have to work on following it. I like viewing everything as random because it allows for things to be attributed to something unthinking, but the fact is that some sort of system exists which keeps the lucky ones lucky. Anyway let's try

What is a perfect existence? What would it look like? Is perfect what we want? Isn't a perfect existence the same as there being no existence? How imperfect should everything be? So we look at the world as it is and say there are thoughts in our heads that tell us the right answer whether we follow it or not, but those are just should'ves not shalls. So maybe there's nothing telling us the proper path and way to be, nothing gives us a chance at perfection only the thought that it was missed. The world that exists currently is a world where imperfection is innate, everything succeeds in being imperfect at every moment. Life itself is an imperfect system. So where do we find an example of perfection? Non life. We wish to be immortal and live as the statues do. These sorts of thoughts exist. They've been cultivated over many cultures. Non life seems to most to be a much more understandable existence than life, but we want to live.

Many scoff at hedonism and suggest that it gets stale, but if you are always capable of feeling pleasurable then how does it get stale? Taking the monkey as an example again the button triggered a chemical reaction of euphoria. No matter how many times the button is pressed the chemical process in it's brain remains the same, (unless some sort of tolerance builds) so how could pressing the button ever get old? As long as things feel good and make you happy then you're not going to get tired of them. The thinker like me though, suggests that no matter how good it feels it's not progress it's not acting and doing. But then often enough I find myself escaping into simple pleasures hoping to simply not have to think. Free will is the curse of life, but at the same time it's the only part of life which really can be classified as life. Being controlled is the same as being non-living, that's how we continue to define machines as non-living despite their many actions and movements. So how can we have both a freedom to do what we will and a way to enjoy it?

The best answer to me is a rather simple one. Let's look at the idea of a deity parent. If something is to be considered omni-omni then we can forgive all notions of reality that exist outside of logic which answers some things better than any other reality could. If the deity were something known and understood by all things and it created many tasks to be done, perhaps think of it like the deity being a scientist and all life being the lab assistants trying to find new things. all that would need to exist in order for all of our creative and intellectual desires to spark would be a positive response to progress. Say you get something right and the deity hugs you. There wouldn't really need to be a negative response because not having the positive response would be enough reason to seek it. And there could be increasingly positive responses to convince the life-forms to reach further and further. This idea is thought of in a few books (though I'm not sure of the titles). But the fact of the matter is that humans are simple, so what else do you expect us to come up with but a slightly refined version of now? Suffering is not necessary for competitive drive, simply not being rewarded is enough of a punishment to bring forth the desire. And in this case death or any other existence in the now is arbitrary due to life constantly being lived for the sake of achievement. This is an academic nirvana, but definitely what most humans would seek.

I've written enough for one post. As I said in another thread I'm rather wordy recently =p

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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18-11-2011, 01:57 AM
RE: What kind of god would you LIKE?
(17-11-2011 10:17 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, GirlyMan.

Quote:You seem to get discouraged rather quickly.

Bailing on page six isn't quick. Cufflink asked a really profound question. I was taking the discussion seriously. Others weren't. Serious and silly don't mix. I'm not condemning silly, I just reached the end of my patience. Throw on top of that; I have about as much interest in defending the mechanics of semiotics and human cognition to people who are just dismissing it as an evolutionary biologist has interest in defending evolution to a creationist who is just dismissing it. I don't have to defend those fields. Universities around the world do a fine job of it.

People want to talk about eliminating suffering and predation. OK. That's fine. I just indicated to the bus driver that I'd reached my stop. I wish those riding to the terminus well.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt

Yes, Ghost... you are just so far beyond the rest of us. You are so vast and all those universities around the world are defending you and your points. I really should remove myself from the glaring light of your presence. I'm so foolish to not understand your most absolute understanding. Please oh Please have patience with us master... Mark.

Tongue Tongue Tongue Tongue Tongue

Who can turn skies back and begin again?
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18-11-2011, 05:17 AM
 
RE: What kind of god would you LIKE?
(17-11-2011 10:17 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Cufflink asked a really profound question. I was taking the discussion seriously. Others weren't. Serious and silly don't mix.

Matt, you are right, I became silly. I often do it when I am exasperated. I tried so hard to understand what you meant, kept asking questions, trying to clarify my position, and we just got nowhere.

However, I apologize for the silliness.

I was serious when I asked what you meant by 'meaning'.

What is the meaning of a table (you said everything has meaning)?

Is meaning the same as its definition? Its use and function for human beings? Its significance and importance in the overall scheme of things?

If so -- how does it apply to human life?

We can define what life is, more or less precisely. Can life have a 'meaning' beyond the obvious: being life? If so: what is it? If we do not talk about religion then it can have any personal 'meaning' (significance, importance,etc) I wish to give it. Then it is arbitrary and as such, it is undefined.

For me, "meaning of life" has some undefined mystical, spiritual connotation and, as such, I resist the concept. I was 18 years old when I wrote in my diary: "Today I discovered the meaning of life: it is life itself to be lived in happy, healthy harmony". It was a profound realization for me at the time, and still is.

I have never taken the 'profound' philosophical questions, like "Who am I?", "Where did I come from?", "Why is the world like this and not like something else?", "How did it all start?", "What is the meaning of existence?" seriously. For me it was downright silly to try to step outside of the universe and outside of our own minds and look back.

When you add what sounded like a justification, and approval of, pain and suffering (by finding it necessary to be fully human) to this mystical-sounding concept of "meaning", all my red flags go up because we are very close to religion and political manipulation for purposes of exploitation (you quoted JFK in post #19!). I know that you did not mean it that way but, for my life, I could not figure out in what way you meant it.

So I became more and more frustrated and, eventually, escaped into silliness. I am sorry for that. If you can, and are willing to, answer my questions in this post (provided they make sense to you), then I am willing to resume our discussion on the subject. I DO take it seriously. Smile
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