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When logic doesn't matter


Domarius
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I was just hoping to broaden the minds of those who follow the religious debates when I thought to post this. In any case, it'll give you guys something to discuss which seems to be a big thing at the moment.

 

Back in one of the other religious threads, I encountered a very dogmatic form of athiesm. Well I know oDDity said some things along these lines at least. "If there's no evidence that something is there, then you shouldn't even be thinking about it!" but as I like to point out, athiesm is the absence of a belief in god, so I can suppose about what happens after death if I like, and to respond to the counter-argument, no it does not mean I'm supceptible to religion or sympathetic with it either. And no it doesn't mean I don't cherish this life either - whatever I think is after this one just can't be anything like this one, so I still cherish the rareity and finiteness of this life just as much as any athiest claims to.

 

Richard Dawkins, in his book "The God Delusion" acknowleges that "second voice" that seems to guide us. Personally I think it's a subconcious collection of lots of little unknown information that can, at times, end up leading to ESP-like abilities. Like his example of the girl who's imaginary friend ended up making her beneficial choice to go to Uni, or like when you think of someone and they call you. Or just the other day, I thought "lah dee dah... don't feel like obeying habit, I'm going to get on THIS other carriage today" and I had the good fortune to meet someone I was hoping to run into again. I know you can put it down to probabilty - that person and I both go on the same train line, and are bound to run into each other, but to me it's too much of a coincidence that I met them while I was still thinking about them when I finally decided to break my tradition of getting into the same carriage every day. Lucky I suppose. But it wouldn't have turned out if I didn't let my mind wander.

 

My point is that just because there's no reason to think of something doesn't make it wrong to think of it. Only if there's a good reason not to.

 

The other thing is that there's a lot we don't know about the universe, so we should allow room for inspiration.

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I was listening to this radio show the other day where this guy was explaining the probability of things happening by chance. His example went something like this...

 

We know that everything in this world is constructed of some form of fundamental building block. Pretend for a moment that you have a fish bowl and you fill it with an assortment of colored marbles where each color represents a unique building block.

 

Now, from this point forward you take out marbles and assemble them into groups at random. When you run out of marbles you've determined one possible arrangement so you put them all back into the bowl and repeat. Given an infinite amount of time it's inevitable that you would come up with the same arrangement more than once and furthermore that you'd come up with a series of arrangements in the same order numerous times.

 

The argument being that if time has no beginning or end, then the very world we live in, the arrangement of everything has happened before and it will happen again.

 

I'm not sure where I stand on that one. It implies that there is no such thing as free will.

 

At the same time, it's a very interesting concept. It's to say that this very moment has happened before. I've typed this response infinite times. Maybe that's what deja vu is?

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I know you can put it down to probabilty - that person and I both go on the same train line, and are bound to run into each other, but to me it's too much of a coincidence that I met them while I was still thinking about them when I finally decided to break my tradition of getting into the same carriage every day. Lucky I suppose. But it wouldn't have turned out if I didn't let my mind wander.

 

IMO the major problem with probabillity is intuition. Of course it seems extremly lucky from your point of view, but think of all the people where this does NOT happen, and you see that this is not very remarkable. A good exmaple is IMO a lottery win. There are thousands of people playing lottery. The chances to win are pretty slim and are mathematically determined based on the population where the lottery takes place. Now everybody of the players KNOWS that the chances to win are pretty slim, but given the huge number of players there is, sooner or later, bound to be somebody to win it. From his personal perspective this is a very lucky coincidence, and he might start to wonder "Why me? Why now?", but on the other hand, everybody else can ask the same question in the opposite direction "Why NOT me, it's always somebody else!"

 

Another good example is the research in physics to proof or disprove a certain aspect of a GUT theory. The half life for this occurence is about 10^35 which is EXTRMELY long. Doing such a test will not be possible, because it takes longer then the universe already exists. However, the experiment can still be carried out and in fact already was performed. If you can't wait 10^35 years, you can assemble a huge number of protons and look if ANY if them decays. If there are enough protons the time for one of them to decay is much shorter. So they built huge tanks and put 10^35 protons in side it and detectors. On average it would be expected that at least one proton every year should be detected. I think that experiment is still ongoing and after about 25 years none have been found.

 

The bottom line is - With the huge numbers it doesn't matter to wich particular proton this happens, it only matters that SOME of them expose this feature. Same with lottery. The lottery doesn't make any assumptions about WHO will win, the only prediction is that SOMEBODY will win. And the same holds true for your experience as well. Of all the 9 billion people, living on earth I bet there are millions who have similar thoughts as you, but they DON'T meet them as you did, because the probabillity is low but NOT zero, so somebody is bound to have such an experience.

Gerhard

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Richard Dawkins, in his book "The God Delusion" acknowleges that "second voice" that seems to guide us. Personally I think it's a subconcious collection of lots of little unknown information that can, at times, end up leading to ESP-like abilities. Like his example of the girl who's imaginary friend ended up making her beneficial choice to go to Uni, or like when you think of someone and they call you. Or just the other day, I thought "lah dee dah... don't feel like obeying habit, I'm going to get on THIS other carriage today" and I had the good fortune to meet someone I was hoping to run into again. I know you can put it down to probabilty - that person and I both go on the same train line, and are bound to run into each other, but to me it's too much of a coincidence that I met them while I was still thinking about them when I finally decided to break my tradition of getting into the same carriage every day. Lucky I suppose. But it wouldn't have turned out if I didn't let my mind wander.

 

My point is that just because there's no reason to think of something doesn't make it wrong to think of it. Only if there's a good reason not to.

 

The other thing is that there's a lot we don't know about the universe, so we should allow room for inspiration.

 

I don't know why you're always trying to justify it. You're obviously not comfortable with your own belief system and are constantly try to make it sound reasonable.

That alone means that there's something wrong with it.

The logical part of your brain is in a constant struggle with the fantasy side, so you end up trying to justify the fantasy with warped logic to keep both sides happy.

Logic is real, fantasy isn't, that's all you have to remember.

Me? I'm perfectly comfortable with my belief system, because I don't have one. No belief is required when you're dealing with logic, it's already there in black and white.

Civillisation will not attain perfection until the last stone, from the last church, falls on the last priest.

- Emil Zola

 

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Like his example of the girl who's imaginary friend ended up making her beneficial choice to go to Uni

 

The obvious choice, no ESP involved. The majority of people benefit from going to Uni.

 

or like when you think of someone and they call you.

 

Coincidence. Most of the time when you think of somebody they DON'T call you, you just remember the times when they do.

 

Or just the other day, I thought "lah dee dah... don't feel like obeying habit, I'm going to get on THIS other carriage today" and I had the good fortune to meet someone I was hoping to run into again.

 

See above.

 

Of course it's up to you what you believe, but the idea that something is "too much of a coincidence" is just nonsense.

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I don't know why you're always trying to justify it. You're obviously not comfortable with your own belief system and are constantly try to make it sound reasonable.
I'm not afraid to put it on the line. If I have a belief, what good would it do me to keep it to myself where I know it can never be proven wrong? That's the path of delusion.

But I don't know where you get the "always" from - there were two times where you challenged me about it (from memory - here, and some other thread I can't be bothered to look up) so of course I'm supposed to justify it. This time is the only time I've brought this sort of thing up myself.

 

 

After rich's, Spar's and Orb's response, I can totally accept that this is actually probability, the odds of these things happening are bound to happen eventually, given the frequency that they occour. And yes, Uni is good for everyone.

 

But still, my main point is, what a strange way for that girl to decide to go to Uni. Why couldn't she just decide like everyone else? Maybe it's just the way she personally needed to do it.

 

If I hadn't have wandered off on my whim, I wouldn't have met the person. There was nothing inherently wrong with doing this. I wasn't following logic. If I had have been - I would have stuck with the optimal carriage for most probable ease of embarking and disembarking based on approximate visually determined number of passengers (which I usually do, like most people)

 

Logic may have played a part but it wasn't obvious, and that's my point. It just felt right. And by following this intuition (and in the girl's case - the purple man) things turned out for the better.

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I'm not afraid to put it on the line. If I have a belief, what good would it do me to keep it to myself where I know it can never be proven wrong? That's the path of delusion.

But I don't know where you get the "always" from - there were two times where you challenged me about it (from memory - here, and some other thread I can't be bothered to look up) so of course I'm supposed to justify it. This time is the only time I've brought this sort of thing up myself.

Where you're getting it wrong is having a belief system in the first place. I don't have any.

A belief founded on a reasonable probability due to logically relevant factors is one thing (such as the belief that extraterrestrial life exists) but these totally unfounded religious belief systems based on pure fantasy are nothing but hot air, they're not even worth talking about, or wasting any thought process on at all.

Civillisation will not attain perfection until the last stone, from the last church, falls on the last priest.

- Emil Zola

 

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But still, my main point is, what a strange way for that girl to decide to go to Uni. Why couldn't she just decide like everyone else?

 

Maybe because she wasn't like everybody else? Having imaginary friends as a child may be uncommon, but it is certainly not unprecedented.

 

If I hadn't have wandered off on my whim, I wouldn't have met the person. There was nothing inherently wrong with doing this. I wasn't following logic. If I had have been - I would have stuck with the optimal carriage for most probable ease of embarking and disembarking based on approximate visually determined number of passengers (which I usually do, like most people)

 

And maybe if you hadn't wandered off, you would have met somebody in the "normal" carriage who was even more important to you?

 

No matter what decision you make, you can never be sure that the other option wasn't better. This makes it impossible to say that your particular method of making the decision was appropriate.

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Yes, coincidences are strange but you have to remember that 99% of the time you get on a train you don't meet someone you know, and of course that experience passes by without a thought; you don't think "that was weird, there wasn't a single person I knew on that train".

 

It's the same when you find out connections between people you know from different places; there are lots of people I know who know other people I've met in entirely different circumstances, but really, it's not so surprising when you consider that we all live in the same general area of the UK, belong to the same social class, tend to have similar levels of education - and therefore mix in certain similar circles.

 

As to the argument rich mentioned, you could say it's the same as thinking; there is THIS precise arrangement and composition of energy, atoms, molecules, whatever particles we haven't discovered yet; and there are THESE laws (which we may not know about for sure) which govern their behaviour; since THIS arrangement exists, THIS outcome is the only possible one. Such as a hypothetical universe where a ball must bounce; it can only bounce because those are the laws.

 

Of course, this doesn't mean we can predict events on such a grand scale because we don't have access to all the information, but it's still a weird thought that for instance I CAN ONLY be writing these words and have no real choice; it's simply a result of every atom and piece of energy interacting in the universe. On a more simplified scale it's a result of the electrons firing in my brain, and I only have one brain and one arrangement of neurons within it so they can only fire one way given the right stimulus, right?

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The argument being that if time has no beginning or end, then the very world we live in, the arrangement of everything has happened before and it will happen again.

 

I'm not sure where I stand on that one. It implies that there is no such thing as free will.

 

At the same time, it's a very interesting concept. It's to say that this very moment has happened before. I've typed this response infinite times. Maybe that's what deja vu is?

 

Assuming that time is infinite, and there is some process where we get to reset and choose from the same set of possibilities again (big bang / big crunch cycle?), I'm still not too worried about free will. We have to consider our individual time scale vs. the time scale of the universe.

 

Within our 100 years or so of consciousness, we are never going to see the exact same arrangement of choices present themselves again, even if it will eventually happen to some other copy of us at some very distant time in the future or past. So from our limited-time perspective, we still only get one shot at the choices we make, and we only get to see one possible unfolding of all the events influenced by those choices.

 

If you could somehow exist outside of the "reset" process, and remained conscious for an infinite amount of time with a perfect memory, then I agree you'd become pretty jaded about free will. But we don't get this luxury due to our time limit on consciousness. Much like how if you looked at a mountain over a large time scale, you would not see a mountain but a momentary wave in an ocean of flowing terrain. In our time scale though, a mountain remains solid, and the choices we make only happen once.

 

Deja vu

This assumes no coupling between our current "consciousness", and the exact copies of our consciousness that exists in the past and future. Maybe deja vu is a coupling of "consciousness" between these exact copies of our brain, as some suggest. If that's the case, I would have to wonder why we don't get deja vu all the time? If there's some sort of coupling that can take place across these huge expanses of time, then there are an infinite number of copies of our brain in copies of our universe to couple from. Why does deja vu only happen a small number of times during our lifetime? Is the coupling some kind of probabilistic process where there is some dependence on the time-spacing between copies, so that farther away copies are less and less likely to give us deja vu?

 

Also, in order to call this coupling deja vu, it would have to be coming from a copy of our mind in a copy of our universe, but with time advanced by some amount so that the events in our current copy already happened. Why doesn't the reverse process occur with a copy of our mind at an earlier time, so that we would get the feeling of "what the hell am I doing here, this hasn't happened yet?!?!"

 

Anyway, I personally suspect that deja vu is a brain fart that will some day be able to be induced on command in a test subjects. :) I have had some weird experiences though where it seems like I've been able to pin down the original time I experienced the deja vu moment to a dream I had on a particular day several months earlier, but I'm probably just crazy.

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I don't recall the exact wording of the explanation, but I've heard déjà vu explained quite well as a brief lapse in one's perception. The person thinks that they are experiencing something they already experienced a year or a week ago, but in reality, what they are "remembering" is what's happening right now, but their perception of right now slipped or disconnected for a moment, long enough for the brain to get confused. The question becomes, "I feel like I've done this before," and the answer is, "you did, a few seconds ago; but your continuous memory of the event got interrupted." That was the jist, anyway. I don't think it explains all cases, but it makes some sense.

 

Either that or it's a glitch in the matrix.

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IT does explain all cases, added to the fact that we end do do pretty much the same things i nthe same places over and over again anyway.

Occam's razor again. No explanations greater than what is necessary to fit events, please.

A sock goes missing, no, it wasn't thieving aliens, your brain fucks up and mis-remembers something, no, it doesn't mean the universe is in some sort of infinite time loop.

What is it with people and their obsession with trying to make everything more exciting and intriguing than it actually is.

I think reality is amazing enough as it is.

Civillisation will not attain perfection until the last stone, from the last church, falls on the last priest.

- Emil Zola

 

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No matter what decision you make, you can never be sure that the other option wasn't better. This makes it impossible to say that your particular method of making the decision was appropriate.

Yes - neither desicion is appropriate, so you are free to wander. That's my point - your mind is allowed to wander when there is no logical reason not to. oDDity places so little value on this, and chastises people for doing it. But this is the same process by which we can experience some unexpected and sometimes useful things, such as inspiration.

 

... The question becomes, "I feel like I've done this before," and the answer is, "you did, a few seconds ago; but your continuous memory of the event got interrupted."

Sounds pretty reasonable to me. All the times I had deja vue, I wasn't quite 100% sure the memory actually happened, I couldn't quite "get a hold of it" in my head.

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Yes - neither desicion is appropriate, so you are free to wander. That's my point - your mind is allowed to wander when there is no logical reason not to. oDDity places so little value on this, and chastises people for doing it. But this is the same process by which we can experience some unexpected and sometimes useful things, such as inspiration.

 

I think he is criticising illogical belief systems, such as "God loves us", "The stars guide our fate", "There must be something after death" and other nonsense.

 

If there is no logical distinction between two choices, then obviously it doesn't matter which one you choose -- you might as well toss a coin. This is not the same as holding irrational beliefs.

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Exactly. if your only reason for believing something is based entirely on anecdotal evidence, backed up with wild speculation, then don't bother, and don't waste anyone's time talking about it.

Things in this category include, god, ghosts, an afterlife, fairies, unicorns, extraterrestrials the US government have caught...it's all the same old shit, and you have no reason for believing it, other than you think it's a more exciting and interesting possibility than the realistic alternatives.

These ideas have all been invented by the unfortunately large number of people with a mentality where they see something a bit odd, and jump straight to the wildest and most unlikely explanation possible.

It's not so much that they genuinely believe in god an ghosts, it's that they want to believe in god and ghosts.

And of course, one you've gone that far, there's not much point drawing a line between fantasy and reality at all any more, if you're prepared to accepted one piece of wild speculation based on anecdotes, then there can't be any reason not to believe all of them.

 

 

Let me ask you domarius, do you believe that unicorns exist? Do you believe it's even a possibility that unicorns exist somewhere on earth? Do you doubt for a nanosecond that it's just some total fantasy cooked up by the endlessly wandering minds of your fellow man?

If ot, then there's no more reason to believe in any of those other things than there is to believe in unicorns. They are total equivalents.

Civillisation will not attain perfection until the last stone, from the last church, falls on the last priest.

- Emil Zola

 

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Actually I would believe more easily in unicorns than in an alien abductions and god (in that order), because each of these gets progressively more speculative.

There are precendets for animals with a single horn. There is at least one precedent of life in universe. There is no precedence for any god though.

Gerhard

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Well exactly, yet a lot more people believe in ghosts than unicorns.

It quite clear that their belief stems from the fact that if ghosts exist, it means they also have some sort of afterlife to look forward to.

Religion stems from the same basic idea - that you don't actually die, but live on in some way after death, all religions contain some version of this.

Can you imagine anyone signing up to a religion that said 'Nope, when you die, that's it over, you just don't exist any more and never will - now fuck off and get on with your life while you still have one, instead of wasting it wondering what happens when you're a heap of rotting flesh'.

Civillisation will not attain perfection until the last stone, from the last church, falls on the last priest.

- Emil Zola

 

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Let me ask you domarius, do you believe that unicorns exist? Do you believe it's even a possibility that unicorns exist somewhere on earth? Do you doubt for a nanosecond that it's just some total fantasy cooked up by the endlessly wandering minds of your fellow man?

If ot, then there's no more reason to believe in any of those other things than there is to believe in unicorns. They are total equivalents.

... I think you MIGHT be referring to the fact that I like to believe something else happens after you die. Which I've already stated is completely different - my reason for believing this is because it makes me happier, which is kept afloat by the fact that it can't be disproven.

 

Unicorns however, I have no reason to believe in.

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Unicorns however, I have no reason to believe in.

 

On the contrary there is more evidence to support the notion that Unicorns MIGHT exist, while there is absolutely zero evidence to support the notion that naything at all happens with you (as a personality) after you died. Apart from energy conservation of course.

Gerhard

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On the contrary there is more evidence to support the notion that Unicorns MIGHT exist, while there is absolutely zero evidence to support the notion that naything at all happens with you (as a personality) after you died. Apart from energy conservation of course.

Unicorns aren't going to make me feel better about death though.

 

I know it's hard for you guys to understand but it's a point I'm constantly trying to make.

 

If I'm wrong, I die without fearing that I'll just become nothing. If I'm right, w00t. That's it. That's my reason. I've never claimed any substantial proof that it's true - that's why it's a belief.

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I dont know why you are so obsessed with dying. I know I felt a bit sad when I was living alone, but now that I have my son and my daughters, I don't worry anymore. Especially my son is so similar to me in many regards, which is probably the closest thing to continue living on, that I can get. :)

Gerhard

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Well, good for you, Mr "I have a wife and kids". :P For the rest of us that dont;

 

Obsession

The domination of one's thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image, desire, etc.

By having the belief that something else happens afterwards, I remove the fear, so I think about it LESS.

 

Since you want to give your family as a reason, then I ask - aren't you afraid of how THEY will feel after you die, Mr selfish? ;)

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