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-   -   Do clever people outsmart themselves? (http://www.internationalskeptics.com/forums/showthread.php?t=337906)

Scorpion 30th July 2019 11:44 PM

Do clever people outsmart themselves?
 
I know a lot of people on this forum are very clever, and might be described as intellectuals, but does that mean they cannot understand wisdom that is available to simple people. I think it was probably the Buddha who said,
"the mind is the great slayer of the real".
If there is a God he would hardly make it impossible to realize him without a high functioning intellect. Most religious people accept their beliefs on faith not by reasoning. Religious doctrines may serve only to pacify the mind so that a person can open their heart to spiritual experiences. It may not matter if the doctrine is absolutely true. A simple person of faith can experience much comfort and inner peace from believing in doctrines that sharper intellects find fault with.
So I put it to the forum that you may be outsmarting yourselves.

arthwollipot 30th July 2019 11:55 PM

...what?

HansMustermann 30th July 2019 11:57 PM

Well, if to understand God you have to be not very smart, I'd say the first message is on the right track :p

8enotto 31st July 2019 12:00 AM

Which is worse? A large group of sheep like beings content that with little real knowledge or curiosity are lead to a fleecing or a slightly discontent individuals being curious and learning, that can avoid being fleeced?

Human nature says the trusting and uneducated will be taken advantage of, exploited. That isn't good. We can't all be super genius minds but we can know how to not be the stooge of them.

Scorpion 31st July 2019 12:11 AM

Correction, I just looked it up, and it was Blavatsky that said, "the mind is the great slayer of the real" Which does not help my argument much because Blavatsky was a self confessed fake.

arthwollipot 31st July 2019 12:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scorpion (Post 12771824)
Correction, I just looked it up, and it was Blavatsky that said, "the mind is the great slayer of the real" Which does not help my argument much because Blavatsky was a self confessed fake.

Good for you for owning up to that.

bluesjnr 31st July 2019 12:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by arthwollipot (Post 12771826)
Good for you for owning up to that.

Seconded.

Dave Rogers 31st July 2019 01:31 AM

I was going to say "Yes, we do," but on further reflection I realise I'm not totally certain of that.

Dave

JesseCuster 31st July 2019 05:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scorpion (Post 12771807)
If there is a God he would hardly make it impossible to realize him without a high functioning intellect..

Why not? Maybe God's a dick. Who says God has to be a nice guy or has to make sense?

I'm sure your answer is going to be some evidence free touchy feely ad hoc nonsense.

My contention is that if God exists, he's clearly an *******.

alfaniner 31st July 2019 05:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scorpion (Post 12771807)
A simple person of faith can experience much comfort and inner peace from believing in doctrines that sharper intellects find fault with.

Ignorance is the new bliss.

JoeMorgue 31st July 2019 05:23 AM

"LOL Smart people are so smart they aren't happy" must be the absolute best mentality for a stupid person to adopt.

I should point out I hate this mentality when it comes from smart people (either actual smart people or self describe smart people) as well. Too many see happiness as something shameful.

Just because you aren't Frank Miller Batman doesn't make you a Pollyanna and I've always, always fought against "Cynical grumpy nihilism" becoming the defacto "default personality" for intellect.

Scorpion 31st July 2019 05:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JesseCuster (Post 12771947)
Why not? Maybe God's a dick. Who says God has to be a nice guy or has to make sense?

I'm sure your answer is going to be some evidence free touchy feely ad hoc nonsense.

My contention is that if God exists, he's clearly an *******.

If there is a God and he created the universe, he is obviously a vast intellect capable of planning an incredible act of creation down to the finest detail. The divine mind would have to make sense to have achieved such a creation.
Clearly, from the cruelty of nature, God does not concern himself much with our suffering. But this could simply mean in the greater scheme of things suffering serves the purpose of forcing change and growth which could not be accomplished without such pressures. Animals are forced to evolve by the struggle between predator and prey, and although individual animals die the species grows stronger for the struggle. So God may not seem to be a nice guy from the point of view of those that suffer, but if life has a higher purpose and outcome such as everlasting, immortal bliss, it may be that our earthly suffering is a small price to pay.

theprestige 31st July 2019 05:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JoeMorgue (Post 12771970)
"LOL Smart people are so smart they aren't happy" must be the absolute best mentality for a stupid person to adopt.

I should point out I hate this mentality when it comes from smart people (either actual smart people or self describe smart people) as well. Too many see happiness as something shameful.

Just because you aren't Frank Miller Batman doesn't make you a Pollyanna and I've always, always fought against "Cynical grumpy nihilism" becoming the defacto "default personality" for intellect.

All well and good, but real talk? You need to fight a lot harder.

And none of the smart people here seem particularly happy.

Dave Rogers 31st July 2019 05:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scorpion (Post 12771807)
If there is a God he would hardly make it impossible to realize him without a high functioning intellect.

But why would he make it harder to realise him with a high functioning intellect?

Dave

TragicMonkey 31st July 2019 05:50 AM

Knowledge and wisdom are different things.

As for being smart and happy, I consider myself to possess both traits to a reasonable degree.

Scorpion 31st July 2019 05:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JoeMorgue (Post 12771970)
"LOL Smart people are so smart they aren't happy" must be the absolute best mentality for a stupid person to adopt.

I should point out I hate this mentality when it comes from smart people (either actual smart people or self describe smart people) as well. Too many see happiness as something shameful.

Just because you aren't Frank Miller Batman doesn't make you a Pollyanna and I've always, always fought against "Cynical grumpy nihilism" becoming the defacto "default personality" for intellect.

I don't say intelligent people cannot be happy. But the consensus of opinions on this forum is there is no God. Therefore most people here have to face a universe without a meaning or purpose. But religious people have belief in immortality of the soul and feel comforted by that. It may be that much of their religions doctrines are false beliefs. But that may be because the human mind cannot get a handle on the divine mind. The divine mind is presumably infinitely great, whereas the human mind is limited and finite. Possibly by the fact we are using a physical brain to think with. Occult theory states that when we die the spirit mind expands into greater consciousness because we are no longer held back by the limitations of the physical brain.

TragicMonkey 31st July 2019 05:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scorpion (Post 12771990)
I don't say intelligent people cannot be happy. But the consensus of opinions on this forum is there is no God. Therefore most people here have to face a universe without a meaning or purpose. But religious people have belief in immortality of the soul and feel comforted by that. It may be that much of their religions doctrines are false beliefs. But that may be because the human mind cannot get a handle on the divine mind. The divine mind is presumably infinitely great, whereas the human mind is limited and finite. Possibly by the fact we are using a physical brain to think with. Occult theory states that when we die the spirit mind expands into greater consciousness because we are no longer held back by the limitations of the physical brain.

A god is not required for existence to be meaningful or have purpose. Meaning and purpose are not required to be happy.

Oystein 31st July 2019 06:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by theprestige (Post 12771980)
...

And none of the smart people here seem particularly happy.

Do the dumb people here seem happier to you?

JoeMorgue 31st July 2019 06:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scorpion (Post 12771990)
Occult theory states that when we die the spirit mind expands into greater consciousness because we are no longer held back by the limitations of the physical brain.

Stupid theories say a lot of stupid things. How happy they make you does not change that.

Oystein 31st July 2019 06:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scorpion (Post 12771977)
If there is a God ... [snipped lengthy speculation and monday-morning godding]

But since there is no god, all that you say past that phrase is moot.

JoeMorgue 31st July 2019 06:05 AM

We could all have punch and pie if only we had some punch and some pie.

The Great Zaganza 31st July 2019 06:08 AM

a question of hindsight.

Scorpion 31st July 2019 06:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave Rogers (Post 12771981)
But why would he make it harder to realise him with a high functioning intellect?

Dave

It seems to me we are on this earth to work things out for ourselves. God does not hand us an operators guide to what we are, or what we should do.
Unless of course you take the view that the Bible is such a manual. Personally, I think the bible is largely fiction made up by Jews to promote their tribe.


Intelligent people may see through religious theologies and find them wanting whereas simple people just accept what they are taught. In accepting such doctrines they find peace of mind denied to intellectuals who can see flaws in theology.

Since the veil between this world and the afterlife is down, and there is no proof of its existence, most intelligent people assume no such thing exists.

Oystein 31st July 2019 06:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scorpion (Post 12771990)
... the consensus of opinions on this forum is there is no God. Therefore most people here have to face a universe without a meaning or purpose. .

Actually all people do, in fact, face such a universe without a god-provided meaning or purpose, which most people here get, and some don't.


Quote:

Originally Posted by Scorpion (Post 12771990)
...But religious people have belief in immortality of the soul and feel comforted by that. It may be that much of their religions doctrines are false beliefs...

This proves that people are perfectly capable of finding meaning and purpose amid the absence of any actual god. A god is therefore not necessary for anyone to be happy or find meaning. Nor is being happy evidence for the workings of gods.

sackett 31st July 2019 06:11 AM

Happiness is created by the ancestors in their realm beyond the horizon. It can be seen in the shovels, rice, canned fish, batteries, and teeshirts that come out of ships and big shiny metal birds. Right now, witepellah controls everything and won't let us be happy free for nothing, the way the ancestors intend.

Witepellah thinks they're so smart! Woh! Laughing! Soon John Frum will come, and His Believers will all ride Mopeds and wear USA cloth and eat tinned salmon! Witepellah go buggerimup pinis!

JoeMorgue 31st July 2019 06:13 AM

Oh so this is just another sad "Without God what's the point?" thread.

For frack's sake people just say that you start these threads instead of the opening pre-rambles.

Dave Rogers 31st July 2019 06:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scorpion (Post 12772014)
Since the veil between this world and the afterlife is down, and there is no proof of its existence, most intelligent people assume no such thing exists.

In other words, you posit a god who has created a universe in which humans are given intelligence and encouraged to use it, yet use of that intelligence makes them unhappy and unable to perceive the things that would give them the greatest happiness. Your god is therefore a perverse sadist.

Dave

Scorpion 31st July 2019 06:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JoeMorgue (Post 12772020)
Oh so this is just another sad "Without God what's the point?" thread.

For frack's sake people just say that you start these threads instead of the opening pre-rambles.

Its turning into that, but the original idea of the thread is that intellectuals may deny themselves spiritual experience because they find reasoning to refute the existence of a God.

If a person can still their mind, and stop thinking of all the negative reasons why there can be no God, they may find they can open their hearts to emotional floodgates of inner spiritual experience.

JoeMorgue 31st July 2019 06:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scorpion (Post 12772028)
Its turning into that, but the original idea of the thread is that intellectuals may deny themselves spiritual experience because they find reasoning to refute the existence of a God.

Well that the most nonsense that ever sensed a non.

TragicMonkey 31st July 2019 06:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scorpion (Post 12772028)
Its turning into that, but the original idea of the thread is that intellectuals may deny themselves spiritual experience because they find reasoning to refute the existence of a God.

If a person can still their mind, and stop thinking of all the negative reasons why there can be no God, they may find they can open their hearts to emotional floodgates of inner spiritual experience.

Spiritual experience does not require deities or belief in deities. In fact such belief may be a hindrance.

JoeMorgue 31st July 2019 06:34 AM

Like I've been telling Woo Slingers and Woo Apologists of various stripes for years, if a sunset stops being beautiful to you after you learn it's "just" the light rays from a G-type mains sequence star 90 million miles away scattering into various wavelengths in the atmosphere as the star moves out of your field of view due to the curviature and rotation of the Earth.... and NOT a magical flaming chariot being driven across the sky by the god Apollo I can do nothing but pity you.

Scorpion 31st July 2019 06:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave Rogers (Post 12772024)
In other words, you posit a god who has created a universe in which humans are given intelligence and encouraged to use it, yet use of that intelligence makes them unhappy and unable to perceive the things that would give them the greatest happiness. Your god is therefore a perverse sadist.

Dave

I think history has been a balance between spiritual and intellectual development. It goes in cycles, and intellect is currently dominant, at least in the West.

If our intelligence develops we are becoming more fulfilled as a species, but if we go too far we loose our spiritual awareness.

Communism is an example of intellect eclipsing the spiritual and it did not work.

Dave Rogers 31st July 2019 06:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JoeMorgue (Post 12772044)
Like I've been telling Woo Slingers and Woo Apologists of various stripes for years, if a sunset stops being beautiful to you after you learn it's "just" the light rays from a G-type mains sequence star 90 million miles away scattering into various wavelengths in the atmosphere as the star moves out of your field of view due to the curviature and rotation of the Earth.... and NOT a magical flaming chariot being driven across the sky by the god Apollo I can do nothing but pity you.

I remember a piece of sculpture my sister made as a college art project, where the assignment was something involving holes in objects. Everyone else who saw it took a quick look, and said, "That's nice." I was taking a course on crystal symmetry and point/space groups, and was fascinated by the way she'd taken a cube, modified it in a way that only partially broke the symmetry, and had ended up with a figure with two-fold, three-fold but no four-fold symmetry. It was a superb demonstration, among other things, of how cubic symmetry is defined not by four-fold symmetry but by four separate three-fold axes. I've forgotten a lot of the theory since then, but I remember enjoying working out the point group of the object she'd created. It served as a valuable lesson for me that I've never forgotten: a full intellectual understanding of an object enhances, rather than detracts from, its beauty. I've always applied that to my thinking ever since, and I could not begin to estimate how much joy it has brought me over the years. Just a couple of weeks ago I watched the sun setting over a river estuary and reflecting off the water to make a perfectly parallel-sided track, giving the appearance of a lower case letter i, and the beauty of the moment was deepened and made more intense by my understanding of exactly how geometrical optics made this possible. And I can't help feeling sorry for people who, because they've been brought up only to value the ideas passed down to them in meaningless religious dogma, refuse to think for themselves, and cut themselves off from such a profound sense of joy.

My sister died eight years ago, leaving many happy memories, and this among other valuable life lessons.

Dave

theprestige 31st July 2019 07:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Oystein (Post 12772000)
Do the dumb people here seem happier to you?

Hard to say. I don't see a lot of "dumb" people here. Just a lot of smart people harboring a lot of hate.

dann 31st July 2019 08:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scorpion (Post 12772045)
Communism is an example of intellect eclipsing the spiritual and it did not work.


Communism was never seriously attempted. What was actually tried, worked for decades, and intellect wasn't what eclipsed it.

Quote:

If our intelligence develops we are becoming more fulfilled as a species, but if we go too far we loose our spiritual awareness.

Intellectuals have to come up with very contrived arguments to give themselves permission to believe in God and/or the supernatural. Ordinary people just believe in whatever they want to believe in. If the intellectuals were smart before they started believing, becoming 'spiritually aware' is the point where they've stopped being smart.

dann 31st July 2019 08:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave Rogers (Post 12772063)
I can't help feeling sorry for people who, because they've been brought up only to value the ideas passed down to them in meaningless religious dogma, refuse to think for themselves, and cut themselves off from such a profound sense of joy.


I know what you mean, but unfortunately feeling sorry for people who cut themselves off from a profound sense of joy is what Christians often say when they pity atheists.

Dave Rogers 31st July 2019 08:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dann (Post 12772107)
I know what you mean, but unfortunately feeling sorry for people who cut themselves off from a profound sense of joy is what Christians often say when they pity atheists.

Oh, the irony isn't lost on me; nor, though, is the invalidity of the argument which tries to portray that feeling as evidence for god. If both sides feel the same sort of things, then those feelings cannot be used to distinguish between one side and the other. Since that's exactly what Scorpion is trying to do, there's actually no better refutation than "But it looks precisely the opposite way round from our side."

Dave

TragicMonkey 31st July 2019 08:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by theprestige (Post 12772094)
Hard to say. I don't see a lot of "dumb" people here. Just a lot of smart people harboring a lot of hate.

You consider hate and happiness incompatible? It would be nice to imagine hateful people can't truly be happy, but that seems like wishful thinking to me.

TragicMonkey 31st July 2019 08:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dann (Post 12772107)
I know what you mean, but unfortunately feeling sorry for people who cut themselves off from a profound sense of joy is what Christians often say when they pity atheists.

One can't really enjoy serenity of mind unless one knows other people don't have it, and those people realize they don't have it, and also they acknowledge one does have it, and are burning up with envy over it!

Didn't the Buddha remark "nyah nyah, I'm enlightened, you losers can suck it"?

Foster Zygote 31st July 2019 08:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scorpion (Post 12771990)
I don't say intelligent people cannot be happy. But the consensus of opinions on this forum is there is no God. Therefore most people here have to face a universe without a meaning or purpose.

Careful with all that straw. It's a fire hazard.

The idea that a sense of meaning and purpose can only come from a belief in a god or gods is entirely false. In fact, I think it far nobler to choose as one's meaning the understanding (to the best of our abilities) of the structure of the universe as it really is, and as one's purpose the betterment of ourselves and those around us. I don't need a magical agency to validate my wonder at the imaging of a supermassive black hole 54,000,000 light years away, or my joy at seeing the excitement on my little daughter's face as she watches a hummingbird moth feeding from the flowers in my wife's garden. And I don't need an anthropomorphic omnipotence to feel deep love for my family and friends, and to want the world to be a pleasanter place for my species as a whole.

There is no less meaning or purpose in life without gods. In fact, I would argue the opposite: there is a myriad of meaning and purpose without the imposition of the official Meaning and Purpose of some religious dogma, as we are able to find our own. Which is only appropriate seeing as meaning and purpose only exist in our minds anyway, much like love and wonder.

Quote:

But religious people have belief in immortality of the soul and feel comforted by that.
This assumes that the idea of extinction is universally terrifying, and that no one can possibly experience happiness unless they feel assured that they will continue to consciously exist eternally. Mark Twain noted that he'd been dead for billions of years prior to his birth and it hadn't caused him the least bit of bother. So why should he fear the same nonexistence after his life?

You can't experience nonexistence. And if someone can't find any joy in living a temporally bounded conscious existence, to the point that he/she needs to believe on faith it is boundless in order to enjoy it - if that person can't take joy and meaning from being a temporary part of a great chain of life that extends far beyond any one of us - well then I feel sorry for that person.

Quote:

It may be that much of their religions doctrines are false beliefs. But that may be because the human mind cannot get a handle on the divine mind. The divine mind is presumably infinitely great, whereas the human mind is limited and finite. Possibly by the fact we are using a physical brain to think with. Occult theory states that when we die the spirit mind expands into greater consciousness because we are no longer held back by the limitations of the physical brain.
It may also simply be a way for our brains to comfort themselves by anthropomorphizing the universe into a form that we think we can anticipate and manipulate. After all, if it is something like us, we can potentially please it and cause it to give us what we want. It may even protect us selectively from what we fear. This, I believe, is the ultimate origin of the construction of all such spiritual agencies.


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