On 1/13/2013 12:34 PM, Jason Resch wrote:



On Sun, Jan 13, 2013 at 2:13 AM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net <mailto:meeke...@verizon.net>> wrote:

    On 1/12/2013 11:37 PM, Jason Resch wrote:


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

            On Sat, Jan 12, 2013 at 12:41 AM, Jason Resch <jasonre...@gmail.com
            <mailto: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.


I thought you'd never notice.

          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?

    People don't remember previous lives (and don't tell me about Bridey 
Murphy).


Maybe you will when you wake up from this one. Consciousness will continue along any path it can,

And maybe not. How is that consistent with the idea that consciousness is a process and not a thing. What capabilities do you imagine that it can employee so that it can continue?

including those paths which may be less likely than normal (such as finding your entire life as Brent Meeker to be a dream, or the experience of a God-like mind who has infinite computing resources at its disposal, and chooses to explore reality first-hand, by becoming all the possible beings in it).

Or as Saibal Mitra suggested, when my consciousness is reduced to that of a baby I'll be reincarnated as some baby. But that runs into the identity sans memory question. As Saibal said, "The person I was when I was 3 years old is dead. He died because
too much new information was added to his brain."


    Consciousness is interrupted by a blow to the head or too much Jack Daniels 
- so
    it's not likely it survives decay of the brain.


Yes, if you ignored what I said about infinite other instantiations of your brain elsewhere. Also, as brain states decline in complexity it becomes more likely that it will intersect that of another (perhaps developing) brain elsewhere, leading to reincarnation.

From a third-person view, consciousness can be interrupted. But when have you ever lived that interruption first hand?



    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.

    That would imply that copies of one's soul exist.  But John defined souls 
as being
    impossible to copy.


So you reject the possibility of what I said above on the basis that souls 
cannot be copied?

I don't accept it as likely if that's what you mean by 'reject'. What's your definition of "soul"? Can it be duplicated? You seem to imply that your think your soul and the rest of you already exists in infinitely many copies - in which case I would wonder what you aren't all of them, like the Borg. And if you're not all of them now, why would you suppose you would become one of them when you die?



    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,

    But John contrasted soul with information.  What definition are you using?  
You ask
    for definitions and then you start making assertions apparently based on 
some
    definition you invented.


The only word I used in the above quote was "consciousness". I refrained from using the less defined "soul".



then we may even be resurrected or reincarnated in entirely different universes. We can therefore survive even the heat death of this universe.

    And how will we know it is us?


The same way you remember you are you from moment to moment.

Then why aren't we surrounded by people who remember previous lives? Why don't we remember them?

    Will we remember this life?  If not, I'd say it's not us.


Some continuation paths will.




    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.

    Whereas "soul" has evolved to have no definite meaning at all  - which is 
not doubt
    why you wanted John and I to define it rather than defining it yourself or 
simply
    referring to its (non-existent) common meaning.


I am attempting to change that. I think science is revealing reasons for a set of beliefs not unlike those found across many of the world's religions. Ultimately, we may have a set of agreed upon definitions for words like "soul" as we now do for words like "energy".

Maybe. But why suppose they will bear any more resemblance to the religious concept than "energy" bears to the biblical "sweat of the brow".

Brent


Jason



    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.

    It's a confusion of categories to say a definition is scientifically 
justified. And
    John didn't define "soul" he just listed some attributes that he thought it 
should have.

    Brent
    "Only through ignorance and delusion do men indulge in the
    dream that their souls are separate and self-existing
    entities. Their heart still clings to Self. They are anxious
    about heaven and they seek the pleasure of Self in heaven.
    Thus they cannot see the bliss of righteousness of the
    immortality of truth.' Selfish ideas appear in man's mind
    due to his conception of Self and craving for existence."
          --- Siddhartha Gautama
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