On 13 Jan 2013, at 09:13, meekerdb wrote:

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

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?

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

This use a supervenience thesis which makes no sense in the computationalist theory of mind.

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.

And he is right. When you duplicate the body at the correct level, you don't duplicate the soul, you duplicate only the manifestation of the soul. "I" is never duplicate as I cannot fell the split and actually never 1-split.


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.

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

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.

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.

"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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