On Sun, Jan 13, 2013 at 12:50 AM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:

>  On 1/12/2013 9:21 AM, Jason Resch wrote:
> On Sat, Jan 12, 2013 at 10:32 AM, John Clark <johnkcl...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Sat, Jan 12, 2013 at 12:41 AM, Jason Resch <jasonre...@gmail.com>wrote:
>>  > Please provide some reference showing almost all theists use that
>>> definition of God [ a omnipotent omniscient being who created the universe]
>>> .  I find it unlikely that most theists would incorporate every facet of
>>> that definition.
>> That's true. Many theists, the more intelligent ones anyway, reject the
>> idea of God but they become so in love with a word they play a silly and
>> rather cowardly game. If, as so many have, you redefine the word "God"  to
>> mean "a power greater than myself" then I am a theist who firmly believes
>> in God because I believe that bulldozers exist. But if by "God" you mean a
>> being with super-human abilities then God is just a comic book superhero
>> (or supervillan) and I am a agnostic about something like that actually
>> existing somewhere in the universe.
>>     > It doesn't matter if 95% of theisms are ones you find fault with;
>>> it only takes one correct theism to make atheism wrong, which is why I
>>> think it is an untenable and illogical position.
>> Obviously I can't refute every one of the tens of thousands of Gods that
>> humans have invented over the eons,
> It is not about refuting all of them.  It is that maybe there are some you
> would do believe in, if you knew more about them.  Even one who has spent
> years studying all known human religions lacks knowledge about religions
> unknown to history, or any of the individually developed privately known
> religions, or religions of other species or civilizations on other
> planets.  How can anyone presume to know enough to know that they are all
> false?
>>  but your statement assumes that if there is no hard evidence for or
>> against a theory then there is a 50% chance that it is correct and thus
>> worthy of serious consideration. And that is idiotic.
> I never said there was a 50% probability, or that all theories are worthy
> of serious consideration.  I do find it absurd, however, to reject all
> theories when one has no evidence for or against them.  Why not remain
> neutral until you have a reason otherwise?  Also, if you don't think 50% is
> a valid starting point, what do you suggest is a good *prior probability*to 
> use in Bayesian inference when one lacks any evidence for or against a
> proposition?
>>> > John said that he "just believes in one less god" than I do, but he
>>> refused to say what that one God was that I believed in but he doesn't.
>> I don't believe in a omnipotent omniscient being that created the
>> universe and I think you do.
> No you don't.  I've said before an omniscient being does not have the
> power to forget, and hence cannot be considered omnipotent.  However, if
> you limit those words to refer to something else, like a universe (rather
> than to itself, where the contradiction is created), then it may be
> possible to be both omniscient and omnipotent in reference to that other
> thing.
> Since you and I are both platonists, we agree that anything not ruled out
> by its definition exists.   So you should agree there are instances in the
> plentitude where beings create vast simulations of entire universes.  We
> humans have already played this role in creating relatively simple GoL
> universes.  In the context of the simulation, a being can know everything
> about it and simultaneously exercise complete control over it, even
> changing the laws or altering its natural progression of the simulation.
> As one who often writes simulations, I note that I *don't* know everything
> about them and the reason I create them is to find out something I don't
> know.  Of course you may say that I could find it out, after the simulation
> has run - but that does seem to be what the religious mean by omniscient
> since they include knowing things before they happen.
Time doesn't translate between universes.  Consider two independent
universes A, and B each with inhabitants.  For those inhabitants in
universe A, you cannot say what time is it in universe B, whether universe
B even started or is it already over.  Time only has meaning in the context
of existing within some universe.  The same is true of the full trace of
your simulations execution.  From our perspective there is no time, it is a
timeless object which we can inspect and one can know the beginning and end
and all the details in between.

> If you believe everything with a consistent definition exists, then there
> exists a universe just like ours that was created by a being who knows
> everything that happens in it and has complete control to alter it in any
> way that being sees fit.  There is nothing inconsistent or impossible about
> this.  So you have a choice: either abandon platonism or abandon atheism.
> The two are incompatible.
> If it's possible we live in a simulation, it's also possible we don't.  So
> I don't see the incompatibility.

It doesn't matter which one we are in.  If you accept Platonism then you by
extension accept these semi-omniscient, semi-omnipotent beings exist.  When
Atheism says they do not.

Also the question of which one we are in is ambiguous if you consider that
multiple instances of ourselves (with identical mind states) exist in such
simulations.  In what sense are we not in them?

>  This is more easily demonstrable when you use other definitions of God,
> such as when you identify the platonic plenitude with the Hindu's Brahman.
> You and Brent seem hell-bent on using a definition where God is an
> omniscient and omnipotent person,
> And beneficent and answers prayers.  Other gods who may have created the
> universe for amusement and who are not beneficent are possible.  Gods who
> created this universe as a simulation to see how it turns out and who
> therefore never meddle in it, deist gods are possible.
> But many things are possible.  I don't go around believing them just
> because they are possible.

Then you are not a Platonist.

>   A-theism doesn't mean believing there are no gods, it just means failing
> to believe there are gods (at least theist ones).

Do you agree or disagree with the stronger form of Atheism that rejects
deist gods?

>  so I offer the above example of the simulation hypothesis as an example
> more fitting to your definition.
> While on this subject, I have another question for you and Brent: Do you
> believe in an afterlife or immortality?
> I think the evidence is against it.

What evidence is there against it?

I see the following evidence for it:
Nearly all scientists would agree that the material identity is not
important to continuity of consciousness.  Therefore any time the
appropriate instantiation arises, consciousness can continue.  In an
infinitely large and varied reality (Platonism, QM, infinite hubble volume,
or eternal inflation), our patterns continually reappear.  Just as you
might find a certain string of digits appear infinitely often in the digits
of Pi.  If consciousness is informational/computational, and no special
properties are required by the matter of the substrate, then we may even be
resurrected or reincarnated in entirely different universes.  We can
therefore survive even the heat death of this universe.

Immortality is given if consciousness is mechanistic and that reality is
infinite in time, extent, or variety.  There are plenty of scientific
theories suggesting both of these requirements exist.

>  Is there any definition of "soul" you agree with?
> That's a liberal theologians question: There's a word "soul" I'd like to
> use.  Please think of something it applies to so we can agree that it
> exists.

The word "energy" has existed for thousands of years, yet with each
generation its actual meaning has evolved through our greater understanding
of the mechanics behind it.  It is the nature of progress for the meanings
of words to change while the particular words remain and survive through
the newly evolved understanding.  If we had to change our vocabulary each
time we learned something new about a concept we would find reading past
texts impossible.

> I'd be happy to agree with any definition that captures common usage and
> is definite.  I think common usage equates soul with the basic character
> and expressed values of a person or other agent.

John provided a number of good elements to in his definition which both
largely fits with the existing usage and is scientifically justified.


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