On 1/11/2013 10:19 AM, Bruno Marchal wrote:

On 10 Jan 2013, at 19:59, meekerdb wrote:

On 1/10/2013 8:02 AM, Bruno Marchal wrote:

On 09 Jan 2013, at 20:17, meekerdb wrote:

On 1/9/2013 2:48 AM, Bruno Marchal wrote:

On 09 Jan 2013, at 01:01, meekerdb wrote:

On 1/8/2013 12:25 PM, Alberto G. Corona wrote:
Le me add some meat here

Nah.  It's just your wishful thinking that everybody has to believe in God.

All correct and self-introspective machine will believe in (some) "God". Keep in mind that atheists usually believe in some primary matter, which is a god-like entity, or a metaphysical hypothesis.

That is dishonest in two ways. First, primary matter is not "god-like" except in your idiosyncratic redefinition of "god" (c.f. John Clark's "How to Become a Liberal Theologian").

Why? Nobody has "seen" primary matter, but the believer in it usually attribute it a fundamental role in our existence. It was the third God or many Platonists (the most famous one being Aristotle). Of course it is not like the Christian God. Now the christian God is already very different for some american and european Christians.

It's not a person, it didn't create the world, it doesn't care what people do, it has not dogma, no temples, no priesthood, no sacred writings.

OK. Nice.

It's not like any god,

That's not true. It is like the God of those who introduce the concept, or the very idea that we can reason on that concept.

except the liberal theologians god which can be anything.

It might be any thing that we can conceive as being the explanation or model of the universal realm. Why does atheist defended so much the idea that only the Christian's notion of God make sense?
Why defending a notion of God just to say that it does not exist?

That atheists usually believe in some primary matter, is irrelevant. It is not a necessary part of being an atheist. You might as well say atheists usually drink beer - which is equally true.

I was just saying that many, if not all, atheists are already "believer" in some sort of God (in the greek sense, not in the Roman sense).

But you've redefined 'God' (in the greek sense) so that anybody who believes anything is a theist?

Well, everybody who believe in primary matter is a theist. But you don't need to be theist to believe in matter. Only when you posit the existence of something non jusitifiable, as a complete type of explanation, are you doing theology.

Science is agnostic, by definition. But many scientist believe in primary matter without even realizing that this needs an act of faith, and then as I show it contradicts the comp explanation of mind and body, without suggesting any theory of mind and its relation with matter.

When atheists judge that there is no "God" (none at all, not even taoist one, in my neighborhood) they implicitly make primary matter into "the" God,

How do you know that?

I asked them for years. They reject papers who submit doubts in the domain.

 Do they worship at a shrine of primary matter?

They reject papers who submit doubts in the domain. It is equivalent, even if it looks more "modern".
The atheists around here hate more the agnostic than the Christians.
They consider as crackpot any attempt to just doubt primary matter.
And some of them have cult and quasi equivalent notion of God, when you ask the details. If you insist they can even invoke secrecy.

Do they quote primary matter as a reason for legislation?

Well, there is the case of China and the USSR who did.

and worst, they believe this explains everything, which can make them quite sectarian, arrogant and impolite (and acting like in the inquisition (actually much worst)).

It is arrogant and impolite to attribute implicit beliefs to those who disagree with you in order to discredit them.

It is explicit beliefs. It is true that some can doubt in private, but they will not say so in public, and will discredit you, i.e. the doubter, in name of non dogma, but yet dogmatic proposition. you are just lucky never have met that kind of sectarian form of atheism.

We can not reduce the concept of God to a boring principle that we need to put somewhere. Like a ugly furniture inherited from the grand-parents which for its sentimental value we have to keep and locate somewhere, so that the familly visits show that you are a well educated and respectful person. God is like the refligerator. if you drop the old one, you need another.

That will come as a shock to ten million atheists in the U.S. as well as those in Europe where they constitute a plurality of religious opinion.


Why? because religion -or an extended notion of religion and divinity- is deeply embedded in human nature. An objective study of God includes an explanation of the subjective reality or the resulting description is incomplete. if the reality is overall, mental and divinity a neccesity, then the divinity is part of reality

For reasons that I detail below, God must be the absolute source of meaning in all aspects. therefore it embodies the causation and direction of what is "physical" as well as what is mental, personal or moral and any else. Therefore, for the believer, God must be personal, among other things, or else, the believer lacks a foundation for the aspects that God does not includes.

Sounds like you've studied John Clark's "How to Become a Liberal Theologian".

As I tried to show in robotic Truth, religion is a neccesity for the operation of social beings. If there is no agreed meaning, that is, goals, there is no inequivocal rules for social action. if there are no inequivocal rules for social coordination, descoordination and internal decomposition of the group follows. For that matter religion is the core social instinct. it is as deeply embedded in social nature as is other unique human traits, like the white in the eyes, another social adaptation (facilitates the reading of the emotional states and intentions of others).

I agreed with your point that social robots would develop social values. But that doesn't mean they would have to invent a supernatural robot who defined the values.

They will need some non sharable notion of truth to give a value to values.

What does 'truth' have to do with values? Do I love my children because of some 'truth'?

Yes. the truth that you have children, for example.

A sharable notion of 'true' is needed in order to communicate and cooperate and effect changes in a shared world.


Probably the first religion was a cult of the person of the recently dead leader of the tribe that was an example and a guide to all the other members by emulation. That's why by history and by neccesity a god, must be personal .

Actually the first religions embued animals and weather with agency. There was no sharp line between science and religion because agency, which could be manipulated by prayer and sacrifice, was ubiquitous. Only later did the voice of the dead leader and dreams become the basis of spiritualism and eventually religion with shamans and priests.

A society with a impersonal Principle is full of smalller personal gods in conflict, sometimes violent.

Which was the case in Mesopotamia around the time Judaism developed. Yaweh at first insisted on being the top god, over all the personal and household gods. Then later he evolved into the only god - as explained by Craig A. James in "The God Virus".

Philosophers, Demagoges, scientis, rock stars, Soccer clubs. This politheism becomes salient and agressive when there is no personal God, or, at least, no Cesar or Zeus that make clear who is the ultimate authority. A dialectic materialist society need a Lenin and a Stalin because its impersonal Principle is not personal. The abstract and incognoscible Allah need a ruthless political Mahoma.

The cult to the blood, the leader and the territory. These are the almost mathematically inexorable traits of the primitive tribal religion that we have by default in the genes. In the origin, the cult to the leader, the public rites, The bloody sacrifices, All are devoted to strengthen coordination and ensure collaboration, and mutual recognition between the members. And the sharp distinction between us and the others.

Yes, it must be sad for theists who long for the good old days of the Aztecs, the Holy Inquisition, the Albigensian Crusade, the unifying force of The Cultural Revolution,...

It is an intrinsic weakness of the theological field: to be perverted by 

Have you not considered that this is because it is a wholly imaginary field invented especially to augment politics and social control (c.f Craig A. James "The God Virus")?

I have actually done that in my youth, but I have stopped to believe this. All field can be perverted, but more so for the theological field because it touches deeply our global view on reality, and is full of non-communicable propositions.

But this is not a rational reason to abandon the field. On the contrary, it is even more politicized when it is abandoned by the academicians.

It is political by construction and it attracts academicians who want to have political effects.

In the university based on a conventional religion. Scientific theology is simply not part of the curriculum since 1500 years, in *any* university.

A membrane separates the entity from the outside and defines an living unit that perdures in time, be it a cell or a society, in the latter case, the membrane is created by religion, the physical territory and the blood ties. In this sense, primitive religion may be exigent, very exigent and dangerous. The bloody mesoamerican religions, which grew unchallenged during centuries, with his pyramids of skulls illustrate how a primitive religion evolves in itself when not absorbed or conquered by a superior civilization.

Thatæ„€ why the belief in a all transcendent God that created all men at its image and dignity and incarnated in a person, Christ to imitate, is the best use of this unavoidable and necessary part of us called religion. In this sense, Christianity free us from the obedience to the dictatorial earthly leaders, the bloody sacrifices, the cult to the lebensraung (vital space) of the tribe , or the supertribe, with its psycopathic treatment to "the others".

And it gave us Hitler and The Final Solution, the slaughter of the Cathars, the burning of witches, the Crusades,... "What shall we do with...the Jews?...set fire to their synagogues or schools and bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them." ---Martin Luther

Because nihilism is unbearable except as a self-steem booster by means of a self-exhibition of strength for a certain time, as the young russians did in the early XX century. If hihilism would not be painful it would not be a matter of exhibition. Sooner or later the nihilist has to choose between the suicide, that has a perfect evolutionary sense, since someone isolated, with no guide to help others in society is a social burden, and suicide is the social apoptosis, by means of which the social body re-absorb the useless.

What makes you think an atheist is not part of a society (however much you may wish it were so). 93% of the members of the National Academy of Science are atheists. They don't seem much prone to suicide or isolation or not helping others. In fact they are far more help than those theists who prayed to cure polio and small pox.

Keep in mind that atheists are believers. Indeed, they share most parts of the Aristotelian theology with the christians. Atheism is only a slight variant of christianism, especially compared to the mystics or the Platonists.

Mere assertion.  I'm an atheist

I think that american put "agnostic" in atheism. If you are a real atheist, believer in primary matter and believer in the non-existence of any God, then you are an Aristotelian believer.

and I'm quite willing to consider your ontology based on computation.

That's nice, and show that you are agnostic on primary matter, which makes you a very special sort of "atheist". You should meet my "friends".

I'm agnostic on everything if you mean not being absolutely certain.

OK. Well, I doubt you can be agnostic on your own consciousness "here-and-now", but indeed we can doubt any other content. Now I have less doubt for 1+1=2 than for G= kmM/r^2, to give simple examples.

I just gave up telling people who asked, that I was an agnostic because then they would assume I was uncertain about the existence of their god, Yaweh, Jesus, Allah, Zeus,... when in fact I was pretty certain their god didnt' exist.

OK, but pretty certain is not "certain", and besides, they might be partially correct. With comp they are certainly partially not correct has they do the deeper theological error of giving a name to what many consider as being not nameable, still less socially usable. But it is not because they make error, that everything they say is incorrect.

Since most of these people were theists, I found it easier to just say, "I'm an atheist", because that succinctly conveys (to those who respect the meaning of words) my lack of belief in their theist gods.

Then I am atheist too. I am just out of that debate. The real question is does God exist, and then we can measure if such or such religion is closer to that God. But God is defined here by the (unnameable) transcendental (independent of me) from which all notion of existence emerge. Then we can ask if we can have personal link, like with the notion of inner god. For a plotinian God is both a universal soul attractor, and the reason why soul fall from it, in some circumstances.

No, the real question is whether there is something fundamental from which all that we experience can be derived and if so what is it? If you were German and called it "Urstoff" I'd go along with you. But you insist on calling this hypothetical thing "God" thus dragging in all kinds of connotations of personhood, judgement, worship, dogma,...

Some atheists describe my work as super-atheism, as all Aristotelian Gods are refuted, somehow. But they are usually not even aware of the other conceptions of God and reality.

Other physicists I know like Tegmark's idea or Wheeler's "It from bit" and many work on information based physics. None that I know hold primary matter as dogma that they "believe" even if they think it's the best current model.

Tegmark and Wheeler are the closer to comp, and are rather exceptional.

No, they are not. Of course most physicists don't worry about 'what's fundamental, mathematics or matter'. But among those that do think about it, I'd say more are close to Tegmark than to Aristotle.

Really? Note that Tegmark is still close to Aristotle too. he has not embrace the comp reversal between physics and machine "theology/psychology/biology". There is still a notion of "physical universe", even if he become perhaps more cautious, and get closer to comp.

Yes, but his "physical universe" is just mathematical. It is "physical" like your fundamental stuff is "God" - it's just a use of an old word to mean something quite different. Physicist are sometimes criticized (rightly) for the same thing, using words like "color" and "free energy" in ways that are only vaguely related to the common meaning. But they at least all agree on the technical meaning - whereas every theologian redefines "God" for himself.

You seem to be unaware of the many atheist sects. Many are secret and non transparent. I think you might never have met fundamentalist atheists.

I belong to the Ventura County Freethinkers, which has some fifty members almost all of whom call themselves atheists. I'd say a only two or three match your idea of believing in 'primary matter', but most of them haven't thought of it that deeply anyway.

Even the cat believe in primary matter by default. Milk is a sort of independent substance for him/her. Our brains are constituted that way. Only people with frequent realist dreams usually can doubt, by themselves, the basic nature of reality.
So people who does not think deep on this usually have never doubt "primary 

You are putting thoughts into their head. Cats and people believe in matter. They don't need to have any opinion about whether it is primary.

They just know they don't believe in theism, the belief in a personal God.

Do they believe in the non existence of a theist God. if not, that is agnosticism. I know that for some american, agnosticism is part of atheism, but this is quite confusing.

No, agnosticism is the belief that it is impossible to know of any god whether or not that god exists.

For many of them the reasons more moral and ethical than epistemological or philosophical.

I have no problem with the anticlerical.

I think you are inventing secret opposition.

I don't want to talk about that.

Those that are atheists, and that's almost all of them, assume there is no personal agency controlling the world, as a working hypothesis - but they would give up that if there were good evidence. All this is in strong contrast to Christianity and the other theisms, which require dogmatic belief in a personal superbeing. You are just slandering straw men.

You oppose atheism and christianism.

Sure, because Christianity is a theism, as is Islam and Judaism and 

OK, but they might be wrong on some point and correct on others.

But they claim infallible revelations - so if they are wrong on some point their whole system if refuted.

The vindicating atheists are just more wrong on some point and less on others.

So point on where they are wrong. So long as they are right not to believe in the theist god, they are still atheists.

The division Plato/Aristotle is more interesting, and more scientific.

Sure, the question of what is fundamental, or whether anything is, is more 

I oppose Aristotle and Plato theologies. From that points of view, European Atheists are more fundamentalist than European Christian, because they pretend that science is on their side, and they mock (to say the least) and hide any argument which might generate a doubt on this.

I don't know what 'their side' means. If it means Christianity is wrong, I think science is on their side.

Science is not on any side. It asks only for interesting hypothesis. God is an interesting hypothesis,

Only if you *don't* mean the god of Christianity or Islam or Zoroaster or...

but this is hidden in the fable and superstition encouraged by the manipulators.
Personally, I am already not sure that christianism, before 500, has anything to do with Christianism after 500.

Or that either has anything to do with the events of 0 to 30CE. Saul of Taursus invented the dogmatic religion of Christianity based on what he heard of a mystic cult leader.

In science, in case of big ignorance, we often extend the terms to make easy the reasoning. So define God by whatever is responsible of our existence.

"Responsible" is an ethical concept. Why should there be anything that has ethical responsibility for our existence. Why not simple cause of our existence?

Then I see that some theories (like weak materialist theories) are incompatible with other theories (like computationalist theories).

Maybe. I don't think they are as incompatible as you do. I think that even if computation is fundamental, we (that is consciousness) can only exist within the context of material existence.

"My Atheism, like that of Spinoza, is true piety toward the
universe and denies only gods fashioned by men in their own
image, to be servants of their human interest."
      --- George Santayana

They don't allow the doubt and the scientific attitude on the fundamental question. They already "know".

It's quite possible to know answers are wrong without knowing the right answer.

They know that the fable are incorrect, but some believer knows that too. Atheism evacuates the question and often present science as the answer, when science is only a tool to formulate the questions and test some answers.

Well, I will not insist as my opinion on atheists comes mainly from my personal experience with some of them, and it is hard to communicate about that.





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