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Atheism discussion

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Yes, whenever I try to think about after my death, I eventually come to the conclusion that since my conscious mind won't even exist at all, everything will exist, in a way. Kind of hard to fathom
Don't worry about it until it happens. Afterwards you probably won't feel like worrying :D
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Exactly :P It's just so hard to fathom, so it's a great intellectually challenge to imagine yourself not imagining ;D I'm not "worrying", I just plan on enjoying life

One topic that I actually DON'T like to think about too much is free will. If you think about it, the undeniable conclusion is that we have no free will, at least in the sense that it's commonly used.

HOWEVER, I would like to make the argument that it's not either "free will" (impossible) or "determinism" (confusing and possibly paradoxical due to our apparent consciousness)... or "randomism" (I just made that up :P) which is basically "determinism" but based on random events, not determined from the beginning - ie, acknowledging that there is in fact probabilistic randomness in the universe (a lot of it)... or maybe pseudo-randomness, I'm not sure if true randomness can exist at all. But randomness doesn't allow free will any more than determinism

I think it's sort of in the middle. On the particle level, it's essentially randomism/determinism, but emergent patterns build on simple rulesets (I love saying that :P), and on a higher level we do have free will, even though we don't. The concept is just sort of floating in my mind, I can't really explain it.

We have evolved with such complicated brains that I think the distinction is blurred anyway, and it's kind of like how an incredibly complex, exabyte-long randomizing algorithm can blur the line between pseudo-random and the impossible idea known as random.

I guess what I'm saying is that we've evolved to experience our own free will, built upon our lower levels of consciousness, and to sort of be a spectator to ourselves... it's like we ARE the computer chip of a computer (I know that made no sense lol), so it must be beneficial in an evolutionary sense to be more self-conscious and more self-aware, which helps basic survival. So, my conclusion is basically that even though we may not actually have any control, within our own system we do have control since we ARE control (okay, again, that made no sense lol), and it's best to live life to the fullest either way... so don't be testing out any Lazy-Bones Paradoxes, because you can essentially say that we DO have free will, even though we actually don't, because of the level of complexity, and that you can't go back and see what would've happened - for example, whatever choice the Lazy Bones makes, that's what was made.

Furthermore, going back to the emergent system thing, things can have intentions and choices on a higher level, even though they're just made up of atoms and molecules and compounds.

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Posted · Report post

One topic that I actually DON'T like to think about too much is free will. If you think about it, the undeniable conclusion is that we have no free will, at least in the sense that it's commonly used.

HOWEVER, I would like to make the argument that it's not either "free will" (impossible) or "determinism" (confusing and possibly paradoxical due to our apparent consciousness)... or "randomism" (I just made that up :P ) which is basically "determinism" but based on random events, not determined from the beginning - ie, acknowledging that there is in fact probabilistic randomness in the universe (a lot of it)... or maybe pseudo-randomness, I'm not sure if true randomness can exist at all. But randomness doesn't allow free will any more than determinism

The state of things according to observation is probably closest to "randomism", though I'd like to add a fourth option, which I find much more pleasing and elegant: "everythingism" - a model in which, quite simply, every possible event occurs. This explains how, in a quantum event, a random occurrence is arrived at. How is the event which actually happens chosen from the scope of those on offer? Simple. It isn't! They all happen, in an equally real sense. Free will kind of melts into the background when you think that every choice you could have ever made, you did make. You can think of the current state of the universe as one branch of a very big tree. You can't experience the other branches from here, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. Of course it's pure conjecture but the more I think about it the more I like it :D
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Posted (edited) · Report post

Nice! I like it! I'm categorizing the possibilities: (hehe :P)

* True Free Will - impossible, as some higher level of consciousness would need to affect atoms from outside the real world. Works with a religious concept of the soul, but then of course brings about questions of what the soul is made of and how THAT has free will. Basically, free will is impossible, since our brain can't consciously choose to apply extraneous force to its own atoms

* Determinism - the idea that every event is a cause which leads to another, and if you rewound, the same exact thing would happen all over again because each state of the universe is based off of the previous states. This can't work, IMO, because of the unveiling of randomness and uncertainty at quantum levels

* Randomism - random (or pseudo-random) quantum events affect the motions of particles and create a dynamic world (if you rewound, a different thing could happen ["the butterfly effect"], etc), though the different random options are still based on the previous state of the universe, it's not chaos or anything, it's just acknowledging that randomism exists. This isn't THAT much different than determinism, and does not allow True Free Will, however free will in a way emerges as an emergent behavior on a higher-level system as I talked about in post #77

* Everythingism - quantum branching theory, where each possible alternative branches smoothly into an ever-increasing number of universes (infinite numbers? Does each event have an infinite number of quantum outcomes? Who knows :P), which means our current selves are on a single branch of a massive tree - perhaps the Big Bang was the first splitoff? Anyway, this means we did make every choice we did make, even though it's not really - this is very similar to randomism, though it implies the existence, though totally unconnected, of other "ourselves" in other flows of the universe. Again, free will is an emergent behavior in this one

* Edit - something we haven't thought of yet :D

Edited by unreality
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Posted · Report post

Nice! I like it! I'm categorizing the possibilities: (hehe :P)

* True Free Will - impossible, as some higher level of consciousness would need to affect atoms from outside the real world. Works with a religious concept of the soul, but then of course brings about questions of what the soul is made of and how THAT has free will. Basically, free will is impossible, since our brain can't consciously choose to apply extraneous force to its own atoms

* Determinism - the idea that every event is a cause which leads to another, and if you rewound, the same exact thing would happen all over again because each state of the universe is based off of the previous states. This can't work, IMO, because of the unveiling of randomness and uncertainty at quantum levels

* Randomism - random (or pseudo-random) quantum events affect the motions of particles and create a dynamic world (if you rewound, a different thing could happen ["the butterfly effect"], etc), though the different random options are still based on the previous state of the universe, it's not chaos or anything, it's just acknowledging that randomism exists. This isn't THAT much different than determinism, and does not allow True Free Will, however free will in a way emerges as an emergent behavior on a higher-level system as I talked about in post #77

* Everythingism - quantum branching theory, where each possible alternative branches smoothly into an ever-increasing number of universes (infinite numbers? Does each event have an infinite number of quantum outcomes? Who knows :P), which means our current selves are on a single branch of a massive tree - perhaps the Big Bang was the first splitoff? Anyway, this means we did make every choice we did make, even though it's not really - this is very similar to randomism, though it implies the existence, though totally unconnected, of other "ourselves" in other flows of the universe. Again, free will is an emergent behavior in this one

* Edit - something we haven't thought of yet :D

Hmm I'd go for Random-Everythingism :P

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Posted · Report post

The state of things according to observation is probably closest to "randomism", though I'd like to add a fourth option, which I find much more pleasing and elegant: "everythingism" - a model in which, quite simply, every possible event occurs. This explains how, in a quantum event, a random occurrence is arrived at. How is the event which actually happens chosen from the scope of those on offer? Simple. It isn't! They all happen, in an equally real sense. Free will kind of melts into the background when you think that every choice you could have ever made, you did make. You can think of the current state of the universe as one branch of a very big tree. You can't experience the other branches from here, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. Of course it's pure conjecture but the more I think about it the more I like it :D
Actually in the current quantum physics model your "everythingism" isn't too far off the mark. Particles operate in a probability wave - there are various probabilities for example that a particle will be in this state or any other - two sets of probabilities actually one is its location that can be at any point in the universe at any one time, and it speed/direction at that point: Only one of which can be measured at any one time: You can know where it is or (not and) its speed/direction! Anyway this probability wave is not as we normally think of probability; which is that the particle actually is at one of the points (100% there, 100% probability) but we don't happen to know it. But this probability is actual - until measured, when the particle immediately gets set in place; the probability wave collapses to one 100% point, until then it is actually spread out in the probability function across the entire universe! the particle, until meausered, actually is a probability function! :blink:
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I would like to say that what I believe is stated so well in "what the bl33p so we know?"

And why would an atheist go to church? Yes, there are other forms of community involvement but they dont have the same mixture of people that the church I attend does.

I do like the tradition aspect of it. If it want for this church I wouldnt go. I tried a unitarian universalist church but that wasnt structured enough for me. Probably due to my upbringing. And I like the sermons that are based on biblical scriptures because I took way too many art history classes so I get a new look at old theology. The bible facinates me.

It is the most manipulated book in the world! maybe the Koran too.

I go to this place because there are people studying sufism, zoroastrianism, judism. Its just such a wild odd group of professors, jews, christians, buddists, artists, doctors, lawyers, janitors, artists.....jeez we sound soooooo west coast!

No one believes the same. Great discussions!!! I suppose what we have in common is the desire to learn, our intellectual asses cant help it!

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Posted · Report post

Actually in the current quantum physics model your "everythingism" isn't too far off the mark. Particles operate in a probability wave - there are various probabilities for example that a particle will be in this state or any other - two sets of probabilities actually one is its location that can be at any point in the universe at any one time, and it speed/direction at that point: Only one of which can be measured at any one time: You can know where it is or (not and) its speed/direction! Anyway this probability wave is not as we normally think of probability; which is that the particle actually is at one of the points (100% there, 100% probability) but we don't happen to know it. But this probability is actual - until measured, when the particle immediately gets set in place; the probability wave collapses to one 100% point, until then it is actually spread out in the probability function across the entire universe! the particle, until meausered, actually is a probability function! :blink:
Yes, until decoherence occurs particles really are lots of places at once. But I wonder if the same isn't also true after decoherence, just that we can't observe it, because the probability wave has larger consequences and we really have to experience only one set of consequences if we're not going to get into a frightful muddle. I wish some physicist would set me straight, I don't really know what I'm on about :lol:
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Yes, until decoherence occurs particles really are lots of places at once. But I wonder if the same isn't also true after decoherence, just that we can't observe it, because the probability wave has larger consequences and we really have to experience only one set of consequences if we're not going to get into a frightful muddle. I wish some physicist would set me straight, I don't really know what I'm on about :lol:
That's okay. I don't think most quantum physicists know what they are on about either! :lol: In most cases they know that it works, the theories and calculations get the results, but they don't know why!

I am currently reading The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene, which is really good, and aimed at us lay readers ;)

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check this out, lol. At least the Church of England is starting to make amends.... kinda like how the church (I think the Catholic church) didn't finally accept that the Earth was round until 1992 or something :lol:

I kind of want to shift the topic to something interesting: atheism in TV, books, movies, etc

In TV, a surprising number of shows promote atheism, in a way

BONES - all the "smart" people on this show are reasonable, cool atheists. Bones herself, and Dr. Sweets, etc. When Booth talks about his religion (some mainstream form of Christianity), Bones' replies make so much sense I smile ;D

HOUSE - House himself is an atheist, as well as most of the doctors, ie, the "smart" people. Religious characters make the theme of the show, ie, by refusing treatment or some such. Though House being an atheist isn't exactly a good thing to promote it, lol

There are more, obviously. And much more that are in the opposite vein, of course

What do you guys think?

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Posted · Report post

hmm, I know for a fact that exactly one person gave this a 1*

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check this out, lol. At least the Church of England is starting to make amends.... kinda like how the church (I think the Catholic church) didn't finally accept that the Earth was round until 1992 or something :lol:

Actually it was this:

The Catholic Church (The Pope) finally accepted in 1992 that the Earth was not the stationary centre of the solar system. ;)

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Posted · Report post

Ah so we turn in place, but we're still the center :rolleyes:

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He's got a point you know. If the universe is infinite, who's to say we're not in the centre?

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Posted · Report post

Then everything else is the center too ;D

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Posted · Report post

Yeah, infinity can't really have a center.

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So.. I haven't read all 10 pages of this topic, so hopefully this will correlate with the topic.

I would describe myself as atheist 90% of the time. I'm reasonably certain there is no "higher power" and that's it's all just some BS made up thousands of years ago, but that doesn't stop me from questioning it. The fact that countries all over the world all have some sort of a religious view is somewhat significant; everyone can't have the same idea, especially if it's before proper colonization and stuff.

Beyond that, I could really care less. If I'm wrong, I win. If I'm right, I'm right, and man I hate being wrong.

Large Hadron Collider potentially proving the Big Bang all the way. :D

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Posted · Report post

Potentially, if it isn't bombed by some religious nut to salvage his religion or something :P Hopefully it brings about some sort of breakthrough

Controversial Scientific Breakthrough Pattern:

* Earth is round and the solar system is heliocentric not geocentric. Church denies at first, only accepts hundreds of years later and fits it into their worldview

* Evolution changes species over time gradually, eventually some things become so different that they are considered separate species (speciation). We can trace our evolution through the fossil record back a long way. Church denies at first, only accepts hundreds of years later (right now we're about halfway through the acceptance process, I'd say), and fits it into their worldview

* Big Bang (or some other model, I'm just speculating here) proved to be correct. Church denies at first, only to accept much later... and then they'd STILL fit it into their worldview ("God planted the seed of the Big Bang!"). Religion goes on ;D

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He's got a point you know. If the universe is infinite, who's to say we're not in the centre?
You guys! :lol:

But no, centre of the solar system, not universe - sorry. It was once presumed (cause their magic book said so, well they thought it did) that the earth was stationary (it doesn't move that would be messy, and we can't feel it...) and that the sun. moon and stars rotated around it :rolleyes:

Kepler and Galileo (contemporaries) blew that out of the water, and the Catholic Church, being so quick on the uptake of new information - BAM a mere 360 years or so later; accepted it. (and three years later rescinded the charge of heresy on Galileo.)

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Posted · Report post

WHAM they're quick! ;D

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* Big Bang (or some other model, I'm just speculating here) proved to be correct. Church denies at first, only to accept much later... and then they'd STILL fit it into their worldview ("God planted the seed of the Big Bang!"). Religion goes on ;D

Oh man, that would annoy me /so/ much.

Someone should start working on the Theory of Why There Isn't, Never Was, and Can Never Be a God. :D

Unless, you know, they're right. <_<

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Oh man, that would annoy me /so/ much.

Someone should start working on the Theory of Why There Isn't, Never Was, and Can Never Be a God. :D

Unless, you know, they're right. <_<

Just by coincidence; I am just starting to read God: The Failed Hypothesis by Victor Stemger, which essentially does just that. :lol:
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Posted · Report post

Ahahaha, brilliant.

How is it?

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Yeah tell me how it is, and I might check it out. I'll only read it if it has more substance than preaching to the choir (irony, irony, lol)... ie, tell me if it changes anything about your atheism

Edited by unreality
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If I had to recommend only one book as a reference guide for dealing with theist arguments, that would be it. Excellent book!

I've heard the "preaching to the choir" charge levied at atheist books such as The God Delusion. If there's a choir that already knows all the information in either of these books, I'd like to meet that choir. Are any of the books in this category going to change anyone's atheism? Not likely. If you already are an atheist because the theistic claim is an incredible one which you've seen no evidence for and claims that you must have faith aren't going to sway you, then these types of books most likely aren't going to change that. But they will educate you on why many typical theist arguments are so poor and why an all-knowing, all-powerful being that always existed is highly unlikely. And if you're going to argue with theists on message boards (or elsewhere), they're practically indispensable, especially Stenger's.

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