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Old 12-22-2012, 11:05 AM   #26 (permalink)
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That's not you living on bro.

What if you found out you were going to die, and die young at that? So now instead of facing, what you believe to be, permanent nothingness in 50+ years (distant enough in our short lifetimes to seem like nearly eternity), you must face it within 1-2 years.

Would any of this change your views? I guess my point is that it's a lot easier to say death is the end of everything, when death is, from our perspective, a long way away. It is in fact so distant, that most people our age spend little time thinking about it.
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Old 12-22-2012, 01:48 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Would any of this change your views? I guess my point is that it's a lot easier to say death is the end of everything, when death is, from our perspective, a long way away.
There's really something here that's just not getting through to you, I guess. Whether or not you believe something or not does not affect it's truth.

This isn't Peter Pan. If enough people think positive, happy afterlife thoughts it's not going to magically make evidence of an afterlife appear. So basically what you're asking is sort of insulting -- as if suddenly faced with my death I will change my entire worldview? That I would sacrifice my rational and logical sense for a happy fantasy that my life will continue after I die?

Look man, as I've said: I don't not believe in an afterlife because I think it would suck. I think it would be awesome. I don't believe in an afterlife because it doesn't seem to be TRUE.

Psychedelics are illegal not because a loving government is concerned that you may jump out of a third story window. Psychedelics are illegal because they dissolve opinion structures and culturally laid down models of behavior and information processing.

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Old 12-22-2012, 02:14 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Because you don't believe it to be true. But simply because you believe something to not be true doesn't make it not true.

You know as much as everyone else about death. Considering how little we as a species know about EVERYTHING, to have such strong beliefs about death, which is one of the things we know the absolute least about, is donkey brained.

What do we really know about death? We know that the body shuts down and organs stop working. Cells die and the body decomposes. A person who lived, who had hopes, dreams, experiences, skills, knowledge, and passion goes away and never comes back.

Do you have donkey brains?
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Old 12-22-2012, 05:17 PM   #29 (permalink)
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I guess my point is that it's a lot easier to say death is the end of everything, when death is, from our perspective, a long way away.
There is a reason why it's easier: it makes sense.

I honestly find it comforting that death is final. It's a little (rather little), like "Groundhog Day" otherwise.
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Old 12-22-2012, 05:18 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Because you don't believe it to be true.....to have such strong beliefs about death, which is one of the things we know the absolute least about, is donkey brained.
A hope in an afterlife is a belief in an afterlife. You are positing something exists, when the default state of the universe (as we know it), is not life. I'm sure I don't have to remind you that, so far, we on Earth is the only life that has ever existed ever. I don't believe that for a second, of course, but you will notice I said "as we know it".

The phrase "as we know it" is something very important I think we should discuss here. It means that, given the evidence (or lack thereof) for certain things, the best answer is to go by the likely truth of the matter. Historically, this has not always been correct, and has lead to several major paradigm shifts. The geocentric/heliocentric theories, for example.

But the thing is, we can't blame those people then. They were going with what they knew best at the time. It's the nature of how knowledge is built -- piece-by-piece. The only people we can blame are those who, after examining the new evidence, and the conclusions that they point to, still chose to believe in the geocentric theory (in this case, the Catholic Church after Galileo presented evidence to the contrary). These people are commonly known as "wrong" or "have the wrong idea".

So, where does that bring us back to. Ah, yes, evidence-based-belief. This is what I consider myself to have. I either hold no opinion on something, until I can see the evidence, or I believe in things, I check them against the evidence, and if it doesn't match my belief, then I change it. That's the nature of a rational mind. You just don't believe in things without evidence.

So when you say...

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What do we really know about death? We know that the body shuts down and organs stop working. Cells die and the body decomposes. A person who lived, who had hopes, dreams, experiences, skills, knowledge, and passion goes away and never comes back.
...Exactly. We know a lot about death, as death is ending the presence of life, which is all we do know. I'm not saying for sure there's no afterlife. There could be. But we have absolutely no evidence of it, and we have lots of evidence that show us exactly what you say before.

There's just no evidence for you to believe that a person's "personality" "soul" "spirit" or whatever exists that you know of a person "survives" death. Side question: If the soul or spirit is real, why do head injuries and head trauma often permanently change a person's personality in some way? What more glaring evidence do you need to see that the mechanical, materialist brain, is only a physical object?

There is nothing magical or supernaturally "special" about humans. We're just animals. We die. And we are forgotten. I could be wrong, of course --- but for me to be wrong, and you to be right, you'd need evidence. You're claiming something exists. The burden of proof is on you. It's not 50/50. If you don't have evidence for a belief, you cannot rationally continue believing in it. Therefore, to believe or hope in something so important, without any evidence whatever, makes your views on this subject irrational. I'm not saying you're an irrational person -- every single one of us is at times. Don't even get me started on me and relationships. But on this issue, you are letting your hopes and desires overcome your rationality.

Psychedelics are illegal not because a loving government is concerned that you may jump out of a third story window. Psychedelics are illegal because they dissolve opinion structures and culturally laid down models of behavior and information processing.

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Old 12-22-2012, 06:26 PM   #31 (permalink)
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I have absolutely zero fear in death because I know where I'll be afterwards, and yes I truly mean that. Flame away

There's life and then there is Cubs baseball, it's a chore to seperate the two.
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Old 12-22-2012, 09:58 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Check your ego, bro. You and DH are arguing very different things. His are worthy of responding to, because he's so close!

Psychedelics are illegal not because a loving government is concerned that you may jump out of a third story window. Psychedelics are illegal because they dissolve opinion structures and culturally laid down models of behavior and information processing.

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Old 12-23-2012, 01:12 AM   #33 (permalink)
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The point I've been trying to make has nothing to do with truth. It's about being happy and healthy. Having a positive outlook on life and death is good for you. I recognize that there's a good chance that I'm just a hunk of shit and this is all there is. I find this to be a disturbing and senseless thought. But the fact remains that it's a strong possibility. Still, holding out hope that there is something more, something better, and something which gives purpose to life makes me feel good. And if this really is all there is, then I'd prefer to be happy rather than with hope for nothing.

That was one of the first questions I asked, is truth greater than hope and faith. Perhaps a better way to put it would be to ask, is truth greater than happiness? I realize the two are not mutually exclusive. Truth brings happiness in many instances. However, in the case of death, the scientific "truth" is depressing as shit. The real truth about death is "who knows?", and I like that. It gives me hope.
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Old 12-23-2012, 02:40 AM   #34 (permalink)
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"If two people love each other there can be no happy end to it."

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Old 12-23-2012, 02:29 PM   #35 (permalink)
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is truth greater than happiness? I realize the two are not mutually exclusive. Truth brings happiness in many instances. However, in the case of death, the scientific "truth" is depressing as shit. The real truth about death is "who knows?", and I like that. It gives me hope.
This is a really important point and probably the heart of the issue and cause of the philosophical divide.

Interesting you take the stance you do, DH.
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Old 12-23-2012, 02:36 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Repug is right, you've basically just summed up philosophy in a couple sentences, DH. Nice clarification.

Of course, I don't have an answer, as many minds much greater than any of ours have tried to tackle this question, and who knows if we'll ever know.

I guess if I were to give any personal input, it would be that once I grasp onto an idea that seems supported by evidence (or doesn't seem supported by any), it is very difficult for me to believe in it simply because it brings greater happiness. I have often questioned if this is because of an inherent aspect of my temperament/disposition, because it seems that many people actually can willfully ignore the apparent truth in order to have greater happiness. I just have a very difficult time doing it.

Psychedelics are illegal not because a loving government is concerned that you may jump out of a third story window. Psychedelics are illegal because they dissolve opinion structures and culturally laid down models of behavior and information processing.

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Old 12-23-2012, 02:44 PM   #37 (permalink)
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It's definitely the unknown of what happens after death that gives people enough wiggle room to hold out hope. Perhaps consciousness is independent of the body? We don't really know yet. But the gnawing truth seems to be that the idea of an "after life" is oxymoronic--if something was after life, wouldn't it just still be life?

For me truth is more important than hope. I think that's why I've always been hostile towards my family concerning this. Then again, truth doesn't always equate fact. But now we're getting a little wishy-washy...

Either way, I've never bought into Beebs idea that it's comforting, because it makes this life more important. That's the same line of thinking Dawkins argues too, and it's always rang hollow for me.

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Old 12-23-2012, 02:51 PM   #38 (permalink)
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lol
edit : thats towards the "science doesn't know the distinction between living and dead" thing, was going to give my thoughts but that's put me off, another time.

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Old 12-23-2012, 03:22 PM   #39 (permalink)
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It's definitely the unknown of what happens after death that gives people enough wiggle room to hold out hope. Perhaps consciousness is independent of the body? We don't really know yet. But the gnawing truth seems to be that the idea of an "after life" is oxymoronic--if something was after life, wouldn't it just still be life?
Unfortunately, no evidence other than human hope to believe that consciousness is independent of the body. Recently came to the idea that if "consciousness" or a "spirit" or "soul", etc. exists outside of the body, why do people's personalities change so drastically when they survive head trauma? Did their spirit get a concussion? I'm not being smarmy, I legitimately think this is an interesting thought exercise. Same applies to the reality-bending consequences of drug use. Physical interactions seem to point to affecting consciousness, which few can deny, but then why postulate that consciousness is ethereal?

Would be interested in any philosophical arguments you have for consciousness post-death, though.

RE: "oxymoronic", the professor in the OP of this thread mentions the same thing in his second lecture. Highly recommend watching them if you get a chance.

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Then again, truth doesn't always equate fact. But now we're getting a little wishy-washy...
Go on...

Psychedelics are illegal not because a loving government is concerned that you may jump out of a third story window. Psychedelics are illegal because they dissolve opinion structures and culturally laid down models of behavior and information processing.

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Old 12-23-2012, 03:25 PM   #40 (permalink)
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That's the same line of thinking Dawkins argues too, and it's always rang hollow for me.
Just felt appropriate.


Psychedelics are illegal not because a loving government is concerned that you may jump out of a third story window. Psychedelics are illegal because they dissolve opinion structures and culturally laid down models of behavior and information processing.

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Old 12-23-2012, 04:05 PM   #41 (permalink)
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If there is no God and we just die and that's it, then there is no objective meaning to life. You can say there is the meaning you give yourself, but that's not objective. If we apply the scientific method to meaning we find that you can't measure or quantify such an abstract concept. And if scientific knowledge is the only way to objectively know anything about life and the universe then it stands to reason that "meaning" does not fall within the scope of science, and therefore knowledge, meaning that there is no such thing.

This is the materialist world view and it can only lead to nihilism. So if this is all just one big cosmic prank then all we can really do is eat, drink and be merry. But it certainly doesn't make this life (without an afterlife) more meaningful.
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Old 12-23-2012, 04:13 PM   #42 (permalink)
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I agree there are some very real inconsistencies between meaning and the materialist worldview.

I disagree that it can only lead to nihilism though -- what about existentialism? I mean, I don't even think I could be a nihilist even if I tried. It's just not in me; I don't see myself ever being "broken" and hopeless that much. I suppose, when you think about it, nihilism and existentialism are two sides of the same coin. I guess, if one were to ascribe me having "faith" in anything, it's in the future of humanity. And that is much more a hope than undoubting faith, really -- sort of in the same way DH is describing his views on death. That's interesting; the way DH regards the afterlife is the same way I regard hope for the human race, so I deserve some of the same criticism I was giving him about "believing in something because it makes you feel good. Hm.

Ultimately, I suppose you could easily compare religion (or spirituality, or any other thing that gives people meaning) to the existentialist view, which I try to adhere to but it sure is easy to get depressed on sometimes, especially when you are having a hard time "creating your own meaning." I find it's different in the aspect that you don't have to assert anything about "how things should be" or "how things might be". To me, it just puts the control of your own life, your own morality, and your own meaning in your own hands. I like to think of it as leading by example, something I'm only really taking on seriously very recently. But, again, what "example" is that, other than "me"? Does it mean people should try to emulate me? No, But I think it means that I should try to act as good as possible, and perhaps that will be seen by other people who admire it and want to act in the same way. But forcing others to think the same way as one does, either physically or in a debate/argument, I think is not the right way to go and something I am working on changing in my nature. Be the change you wish to see in the world, etc.

For me, benevolent existentialism (trying to be as kind to others and help when you can, being a good person, wanting others to succeed and trying to mold your life around this philosophy) seems to be the best answer as long as I'm still adhering to the materialist view.

What are some good critiques of existentialism?

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Old 12-23-2012, 04:18 PM   #43 (permalink)
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Old 12-23-2012, 04:19 PM   #44 (permalink)
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If there is no God and we just die and that's it, then there is no objective meaning to life. You can say there is the meaning you give yourself, but that's not objective.
I understand what you're trying to get across, but this is still a problem I have with philosophical truth as a whole -- isn't all philosophical truth (being that it comes from human minds, human perspective, human experience of reality) subjective as well, in regard to the human experience?

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Old 12-23-2012, 04:20 PM   #45 (permalink)
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Yes.

The idea is you can make a rational argument that no one can dispute with logic. But like any scientific theory, it can be "disproven" once further knowledge is acquired.
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Old 12-23-2012, 04:21 PM   #46 (permalink)
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Everything seems to hinge on question 3, I guess, for the existentialism/nihilism difference.


Do you consider yourself a nihilist, or have you suspended judgment for the time being?

Psychedelics are illegal not because a loving government is concerned that you may jump out of a third story window. Psychedelics are illegal because they dissolve opinion structures and culturally laid down models of behavior and information processing.

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Old 12-23-2012, 04:23 PM   #47 (permalink)
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Yes.

The idea is you can make a rational argument that no one can dispute with logic. But like any scientific theory, it can be "disproven" once further knowledge is acquired.
So I guess my question is, has the "winning" philosophical stance, so far, come to the philosophical truth that there is no meaning in life at all, thus validating the nihilistic view?

Psychedelics are illegal not because a loving government is concerned that you may jump out of a third story window. Psychedelics are illegal because they dissolve opinion structures and culturally laid down models of behavior and information processing.

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Old 12-23-2012, 04:24 PM   #48 (permalink)
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Everything seems to hinge on question 3, I guess, for the existentialism/nihilism difference.


Do you consider yourself a nihilist, or have you suspended judgment for the time being?
In the absence of God I consider myself a nihilist. I think it's the most intellectually honest position to take as an empiricist.
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Old 12-23-2012, 04:26 PM   #49 (permalink)
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So I guess my question is, has the "winning" philosophical stance, so far, come to the philosophical truth that there is no meaning in life at all, thus validating the nihilistic view?
There is no winning philosophical stance. There are maybe three of four core positions people start from, and then, like in chess, the different lines of thought (or moves) start to splinter off in different directions, each generally disproving the other, like a big, circular flow chart.

It's maddening.
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Old 12-23-2012, 04:39 PM   #50 (permalink)
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In the absence of God I consider myself a nihilist. I think it's the most intellectually honest position to take as an empiricist.
But do you live like a nihilist? I'm not trying to doubt your own belief stance, but a man who cares about his career, is happily married to (presumably) the love of his life, and (probably) intends to eventually have children just doesn't seem like nihilistic behavior to me.

EDIT: Or is that you don't want to be a nihilist, thus...

Psychedelics are illegal not because a loving government is concerned that you may jump out of a third story window. Psychedelics are illegal because they dissolve opinion structures and culturally laid down models of behavior and information processing.

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