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Old 3rd September 2019, 04:00 PM   #81
Robin
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Originally Posted by Lithrael View Post
Mark me down for ‘easier to be optimistic while irreligious, actually’ because I don’t have to deal with The Problem of Evil, which would bug me a lot if I was most flavors of Christian. There’s religions out there that probably wouldn’t give me brain aches though.

Overall knowing that the terrible things of the world are just cause ‘things happen’ and not necessary for, or a part of, anybody’s plan, leaves me far more settled than the alternative.

And knowing that the wonderful things of the world are just cause ‘things happen’ makes me feel, ironically I suppose, very blessed.
Yep. The world, considered as the deliberate work of a super-intelligent being, seems pretty fourth rate.

But considered as the result of blind forces, it is pretty amazing and we can make allowances for people on the same basis.

In my experience atheists are a pretty optimistic bunch.
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Old 3rd September 2019, 09:23 PM   #82
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
For example: one of the first things that Socrates/Plato taught was to define and compare.
Remind me which dialogue this is found in?

Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
You compare ancient philosophers with modern science. That is a big mistake. If you are speaking of ancient philosophers you have to compare them with ancient scientists.
Why?

Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
By the way, I don't know what a strange mania you have caught from the poor Protagoras, of whom only a couple of phrases are known. For example: "Man is the measure of all things: of things which are, that they are, and of things which are not, that they are not." I think it is suggestive.
I don't incline towards Protagoras' ideas in the slightest.

Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
If you want to compare contemporary science with philosophy you have to choose some contemporary philosophers. Do you know any? Wittgenstein, Carnap, Sartre, Rawls, Habermas, Foucault...? Someone else?
Scarcely any of those philosophers you've listed are contemporary. In any case, I'll admit that Sartre and Wittgenstein have piqued my interest, the latter who seems to have crossed paths with several of these individuals.
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Old 3rd September 2019, 09:34 PM   #83
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Originally Posted by Lithrael View Post
Uh oh, someone said ‘philosophy’ in earshot of David Mo!
It only bothers me that some people who call themselves rational, skeptical and atheists maintain an unjustified phobia of something they really don't know in depth.
And it amuses me to see that there are people who attack every philosophy using a particular philosophy. As if theirs were the Bible of the atheist.
I'm also bothered by certain philosophies.I say this from my particular philosophy. Know yourself. That's where you have to start.
I believe that there is a confusion between philosophy and religion that has been preached by believers as I way to save their irrational beliefs and has been uncritically accepted by a certain branch of positivist atheism. This a Internet commonplace on the Anglo-Internet, but in academic circles it's absolutely out of the picture.

I am atheist and I think that atheism is something more complex than a set of slogans.
It only bothers me that some people who call themselves rational, skeptical and atheists maintain an unjustified phobia of something they really don't know in depth.
And it amuses me to see that there are people who attack every philosophy using a particular philosophy. As if theirs were the Bible of the atheist.
I'm also bothered by certain philosophies.I say this from my particular philosophy. Know yourself. That's where you have to start.
I believe that there is a confusion between philosophy and religion that has been preached by believers as I way to save their irrational beliefs and has been uncritically accepted by a certain branch of positivist atheism. This a Internet commonplace on the Anglo-Internet, but in academic circles it's absolutely out of the picture.

I am atheist and I think that atheism is something more complex than a set of slogans.
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Old 3rd September 2019, 09:59 PM   #84
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That is why the question of this thread cannot be answered with a slogan.

Of course, atheism implies some dramatic question. You cannot abandon religion and continue to live like nothing has happen. This is the existential "nausea" that every one copes as he can. There are lucid ways and illusory ways.

But for all I know religious people are not free of this kind of nausea. They rationalize it in other ways like doubt, God's silence and distressing mystery of a terrible god.

I think that religious people are more prone to illusory ways that atheist. It seems more consolatory, in principle. But it is ironic that this illusory consolation leads them to new anguishes that come from a dependence of a terrible father. How do you be calm with an incomprehensible and violent father? It is useless that I constantly repeat that my Father loves me if I see how He treat his creatures.

That is why that questioning about the advantages or disadvantages of religion is an useless question. Be lucid and search your way. There is not other that is valid for you. The head-in-the-sand solution is not even useful for ostriches.

Last edited by David Mo; 3rd September 2019 at 10:07 PM.
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Old 3rd September 2019, 10:25 PM   #85
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Originally Posted by ehhz View Post
Remind me which dialogue this is found in?

Deleted because repeated.

Last edited by David Mo; 3rd September 2019 at 10:58 PM.
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Old 3rd September 2019, 10:54 PM   #86
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Originally Posted by ehhz View Post
Remind me which dialogue this is found in?
It is a common tactics of the figure of Socrates in all Plato's dialogues. Given that it is specially marked in the early it is usually attributed to Socrates himself.

Originally Posted by ehhz View Post
Scarcely any of those philosophers you've listed are contemporary. In any case, I'll admit that Sartre and Wittgenstein have piqued my interest, the latter who seems to have crossed paths with several of these individuals.
In history, the contemporary age is the one that succeeds the modern age. More or less from the twentieth century onwards.

I am glad you have found Wittgenstein is interesting . There are more philosophers that hold similar point of views in Anglo-Saxon world. Sartre is more complex. I have an ambivalent position about both. And I have learn a lot from both. This is my personal approach to philosophy: you can learn things with almost every philosopher if your approach is critical and without preconceptions. Sometimes you say "I had not thought so!". This is my way, as Sinatra said.
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Old 4th September 2019, 07:54 PM   #87
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
It is a common tactics of the figure of Socrates in all Plato's dialogues. Given that it is specially marked in the early it is usually attributed to Socrates himself.
What about drawing contrasts?

Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
In history, the contemporary age is the one that succeeds the modern age. More or less from the twentieth century onwards.
What's your assessment of Goethe?

Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Sartre is more complex.
How come?

Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
I have an ambivalent position about both. And I have learn a lot from both. This is my personal approach to philosophy: you can learn things with almost every philosopher if your approach is critical and without preconceptions. Sometimes you say "I had not thought so!". This is my way, as Sinatra said.
I see, I can agree with that.
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Old 4th September 2019, 10:47 PM   #88
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
I am atheist and I think that atheism is something more complex than a set of slogans.

I can't see anything complex about lacking a belief in each and every version of the various gods supported by people around the world. Apart from the occasional post on a BB, my lack of belief rarely, if ever, effects any part of my life or my interaction with others. Most days, thoughts of god or religion, or lack of, don't come within miles of my radar.



It just sits there in the background as a part of my life, far less important than deciding what to eat for breakfast, or what time to go to bed. It is, to me, just the natural order of things and I see no reason to otherwise defend it, get on a soap box and promote it, or even bother to think about it outside of the odd post here and on FSTDT.


There is nothing particularly exciting, or difficult, or important about living without a god belief. Its not even all that different than many people who live with a god belief, and pop off to Church once a week, and trying to claim a higher moral ground, or the slightest feeling of importance or rebellion is just, well, "meh".

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Old 5th September 2019, 01:40 AM   #89
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Originally Posted by ehhz View Post
What about drawing contrasts?

What's your assessment of Goethe?

How come?

I see, I can agree with that.
Drawing contrast with?

I have not read anything by Goethe except some fragments of Faust. I cannot hold any assesment.

Because Sartre is half a philosopher and half a writer.
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Old 5th September 2019, 01:51 AM   #90
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Originally Posted by fromdownunder View Post
I can't see anything complex about lacking a belief in each and every version of the various gods supported by people around the world. Apart from the occasional post on a BB, my lack of belief rarely, if ever, effects any part of my life or my interaction with others. Most days, thoughts of god or religion, or lack of, don't come within miles of my radar.



It just sits there in the background as a part of my life, far less important than deciding what to eat for breakfast, or what time to go to bed. It is, to me, just the natural order of things and I see no reason to otherwise defend it, get on a soap box and promote it, or even bother to think about it outside of the odd post here and on FSTDT.


There is nothing particularly exciting, or difficult, or important about living without a god belief. Its not even all that different than many people who live with a god belief, and pop off to Church once a week, and trying to claim a higher moral ground, or the slightest feeling of importance or rebellion is just, well, "meh".

Norm
To reject the father is difficult.
To find the truth by yourself is not easy.
To build the meaning of life without the instruction book is not easy.
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Old 5th September 2019, 02:43 AM   #91
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
To reject the father is difficult.
To find the truth by yourself is not easy.
To build the meaning of life without the instruction book is not easy.
What inanity is this? You appear to have adopted a fundamental tenet in your argument that to be an atheist one must have left a religion and/or abandoned religious beliefs. That does not define atheism.

ETA - to your second platitude: there is nothing in atheism that requires one to find truth (for whatever arbitrary definition of truth you’re using here) on a solo basis.

To the third platitude: “the” instruction book?? which instruction book? What meaning - and whose version of meaningfulness are you using? Is easy the desired approach?
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Old 5th September 2019, 02:53 AM   #92
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Originally Posted by Scorpion View Post
Having no underlying spiritual beliefs to mitigate suffering, are atheists inevitably seeing the world through a glass darkly?
Who says atheists suffer?

The best realizations you can have as a human is a) This life is the only one you get. Make the most of it, and b) Life has no meaning or purpose. It just happens.

Having made these realizations humans are free to enjoy life.

In short the answer is "No".
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Old 5th September 2019, 03:19 AM   #93
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Originally Posted by erlando View Post
Who says atheists suffer?



The best realizations you can have as a human is a) This life is the only one you get. Make the most of it, and b) Life has no meaning or purpose. It just happens.



Having made these realizations humans are free to enjoy life.



In short the answer is "No".
I think it may be a bit of projection. Imagine if you have a belief system in which suffering is necessary, that everything that happens to you and everyone else is part of an overall plan, that stopping the 3 year old being raped repeatedly by soldiers is to do a disservice to the spirit that is currently that child. Perhaps then you'd want to think that everyone else had such a terrible, bleak and horrifying view on life as a form of comfort?

I'm just glad that my beliefs don't mean I'm doing wrong if I try to prevent other people from suffering. Which of course is not an "atheist " belief.
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Old 5th September 2019, 04:50 AM   #94
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
To reject the father is difficult.
To find the truth by yourself is not easy.
To build the meaning of life without the instruction book is not easy.
What are you talking about? What father? What truth? I know the meaning of life (42) because I have read the instruction book trilogy, which is in five parts, and I accept towel day as my truth.

But your stuff above looks like it comes straight from the extremist religious fanatic handbook, and the bits that come out of a bull that helps roses grow. It's as though you think that somehow being an atheist is some sort of higher calling, when in fact, it is at least arguable that the lack of belief in gods is the default position.

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Old 5th September 2019, 08:38 AM   #95
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Of course, atheism implies some dramatic question. You cannot abandon religion and continue to live like nothing has happen. This is the existential "nausea" that every one copes as he can. There are lucid ways and illusory ways.
Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
To reject the father is difficult.
To find the truth by yourself is not easy.
To build the meaning of life without the instruction book is not easy.
Pardon? Similar to Norm and Kid: nothing demands I seek any kind of ‘deeper truth’ and at no point did I embrace anything enough to characterize my current position as an abandonment of anything. It is in fact totally possible to be honestly comfortable with ‘meaning is whatever you make it.’ At the end of the day I’m a fancy animal and I’m allowed to ignore the nasty side effects of cognition like the ability to develop existential dread.

I don’t have a problem with philosophy, it’s interesting, I’m just not into it.
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Old 5th September 2019, 10:38 AM   #96
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Just because something is difficult doesn't mean it isn't convenient or necessary. Don't shoot yourself in your interpretations. I am not defending religion.

Religion offers a comfortable way of life to those who do not wish to face reality lucidly. The three points I mentioned refer to that illusory comfort: protective father, predetermined sense and dogma for everything.

I don't know what your anger is about. It seems to me that atheism cannot offer this triple protective shield and leaves man alone with himself. There is a challenge.
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Old 5th September 2019, 10:47 AM   #97
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Originally Posted by Lithrael View Post
At the end of the day I’m a fancy animal and I’m allowed to ignore the nasty side effects of cognition like the ability to develop existential dread.
If you solve the problems of existence as an animal I don't know what to say. It doesn't work for me.

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Old 5th September 2019, 04:20 PM   #98
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Just because something is difficult doesn't mean it isn't convenient or necessary. Don't shoot yourself in your interpretations. I am not defending religion.

Religion offers a comfortable way of life to those who do not wish to face reality lucidly. The three points I mentioned refer to that illusory comfort: protective father, predetermined sense and dogma for everything.

I don't know what your anger is about. It seems to me that atheism cannot offer this triple protective shield and leaves man alone with himself. There is a challenge.
Why?

You seem to assume that everyone (anyone?) would need such a shield, or feel its absence.

I certainly don't.
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Old 5th September 2019, 04:21 PM   #99
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
If you solve the problems of existence as an animal I don't know what to say. It doesn't work for me.

Sounds like a personal problem.
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Old 5th September 2019, 11:53 PM   #100
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Originally Posted by quadraginta View Post
Why?

You seem to assume that everyone (anyone?) would need such a shield, or feel its absence.

I certainly don't.
Religion is a shield only for those who lack lucidity and courage.
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Old 5th September 2019, 11:54 PM   #101
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Originally Posted by quadraginta View Post
Sounds like a personal problem.
Don't think the desire to live a human life is a personal problem.
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Old 6th September 2019, 01:51 AM   #102
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Originally Posted by Scorpion View Post
Are atheists inevitably pessimists?

No, atheists have reasons to be cheerful:

The Number of Americans with No Religious Affiliation Is Rising (Scientific American, April 1, 2018)
The Guardian view on irreligion in the US: a rising tide (Guardian, May 19, 2017)
Irreligion Rising: Why More Americans Are Becoming Secular (Aug. 7, 2015)
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I AGREE
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"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 6th September 2019, 06:22 AM   #103
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Originally Posted by Robin View Post
Yep. The world, considered as the deliberate work of a super-intelligent being, seems pretty fourth rate.
That is exactly what I dislike about the Fantasy genre: When things get difficult, dangerous, even impossible to solve or escape, you can always conjure up some magic or some superpower to lift the hero out of misery and prevent death and the premature end of the story.
That's intellectually lazy.
I very much prefer the courageous hero who is limited to actual, natural resources, but puts cleverness, wit and courage to creative use to solve a quagmire.
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Old 6th September 2019, 10:32 AM   #104
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Don't think the desire to live a human life is a personal problem.
You mean engaging with all of our moral and meaningful quandaries? I'm only even able to do these things because of the luck of the draw of what I am. While it's an ideal I aspire to from time to time, I'm not obliged to do anything the cat is not obliged to do. I have lots of empathy so I'm motivated to want to help others, but meaning? It's just not in my wheelhouse.
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Old 6th September 2019, 10:53 AM   #105
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
If you solve the problems of existence as an animal I don't know what to say. It doesn't work for me.
Humans are not separate from animals. We are animals.

'Fancy animal' I imagine was Lithrael's of referring to his humanity in a wry way. Humans aren't even that fancy as a species.
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Old 6th September 2019, 09:19 PM   #106
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Originally Posted by Scorpion View Post
Having no underlying spiritual beliefs to mitigate suffering, are atheists inevitably seeing the world through a glass darkly?
The way I see it, religion is rather like an addictive drug whose nature its users are unaware of. They convince themselves that it's necessary to cure some inherent disease of humanity, never realizing that the "cure" is in fact the disease's source.
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Old 7th September 2019, 12:55 AM   #107
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Originally Posted by Lithrael View Post
You mean engaging with all of our moral and meaningful quandaries? I'm only even able to do these things because of the luck of the draw of what I am. While it's an ideal I aspire to from time to time, I'm not obliged to do anything the cat is not obliged to do. I have lots of empathy so I'm motivated to want to help others, but meaning? It's just not in my wheelhouse.
Originally Posted by JesseCuster View Post
Humans are not separate from animals. We are animals.

'Fancy animal' I imagine was Lithrael's of referring to his humanity in a wry way. Humans aren't even that fancy as a species.
We're different animals. No cat poses moral dilemmas or writes a book about them. Empathy alone does not solve moral dilemmas.
No cat feels that the world is absurd and that one must give it meaning or fight against injustice.
No animal is defined by a project. Man does. It is the project that gives meaning.

No animal is defined by a project. Man does. It is the project that gives meaning.

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Old 7th September 2019, 04:31 AM   #108
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
We're different animals. No cat poses moral dilemmas or writes a book about them. Empathy alone does not solve moral dilemmas.
No cat feels that the world is absurd and that one must give it meaning or fight against injustice.
The fact that we've walked on the moon or can contemplate our navel is no reason to divorce us from what we really are.

Has anyone suggested that 'empathy alone' can solve moral dilemmas? I might have missed that claim in this thread.
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Old 7th September 2019, 06:47 AM   #109
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That's kid of the rub, really. I don't know if moral dilemmas are solvable, and they're certainly not solvable by me. And why should they be solved by me? We give the cat a pass cause it's incapable of operating on such a level. Why not give myself a pass too? I'm not THAT much better at it than the cat is. I'm gonna go ahead and flip the bird to the idea that the ability to do a thing implies an obligation to do it.

It's not unlikely that the closest we can get to The Truth is already out there and just doesn't have any traction - in which case what good is it really? Besides participating in collective action I'm going to get a lot more positive mileage out of personal level, empathy based actions, than out of trying to figure out The Truth.

Again though not dissing philosophy in general, just saying it's not really for me.
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Old 7th September 2019, 08:23 AM   #110
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
We're different animals. No cat poses moral dilemmas or writes a book about them. Empathy alone does not solve moral dilemmas.
No cat feels that the world is absurd and that one must give it meaning or fight against injustice.
No animal is defined by a project. Man does. It is the project that gives meaning.

No animal is defined by a project. Man does. It is the project that gives meaning.
You have obviously not read the books of Lobsang Rampa. I think it was the fourth book in the series which describes cat legends which cats apparently tell each other. I threw out his previous three books when I read that. It strained even my credibility.
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Last edited by Scorpion; 7th September 2019 at 08:24 AM.
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Old 7th September 2019, 09:29 AM   #111
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Originally Posted by Scorpion View Post
You have obviously not read the books of Lobsang Rampa. I think it was the fourth book in the series which describes cat legends which cats apparently tell each other. I threw out his previous three books when I read that. It strained even my credibility.
Another source rejected.....
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Old 7th September 2019, 02:28 PM   #112
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Originally Posted by Scorpion View Post
You have obviously not read the books of Lobsang Rampa. I think it was the fourth book in the series which describes cat legends which cats apparently tell each other. I threw out his previous three books when I read that. It strained even my credibility.

I'm surprised. I thought you might run with the idea of cats chatting, as you told us that all animals have souls in another post.

Your credibility seems to be remarkably robust and I wonder what yardstick you use, to establish the truth or reliability of a source of knowledge. Do you just feel things in your chakras, or is it the spirits talking to you? As I have gleaned from your writings, you seem to need mediums to obtain the messages from the spirits, so how do you establish if the medium is genuine or fake?
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Old 7th September 2019, 02:56 PM   #113
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
I'm surprised. I thought you might run with the idea of cats chatting, as you told us that all animals have souls in another post.

Your credibility seems to be remarkably robust and I wonder what yardstick you use, to establish the truth or reliability of a source of knowledge. Do you just feel things in your chakras, or is it the spirits talking to you? As I have gleaned from your writings, you seem to need mediums to obtain the messages from the spirits, so how do you establish if the medium is genuine or fake?


I need mediums to get clear messages from the spirits and the quality of the message you receive tends to be the only measure of whether a medium is genuine or not. If they tell you enough factual things they could not have known, it indicates they may be genuine.
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Even in the valley of the shadow of death two and two do not make six.
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Old 7th September 2019, 04:49 PM   #114
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Originally Posted by Scorpion View Post
I need mediums to get clear messages from the spirits and the quality of the message you receive tends to be the only measure of whether a medium is genuine or not. If they tell you enough factual things they could not have known, it indicates they may be genuine.

You're not underestimating the cold reading ability and research efforts of some mediums are you?

Do mediums refer clients to each other? Do mediums have a network and compare notes perhaps? ...... "I had a client the other day who may be coming to see you. I can give you some facts about this guy, like his penchant for parrots climbing on his glasses."

From what I read there seem to be a couple of different types of mediums. You have the ones that listen to the spirits and past the message on to you - like the John Edwards type. And then there are the ones that lend their voices to spirits who talk directly to you. The later type usually claim no knowledge of what message was conveyed. What sort of medium do you go for?
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Old 7th September 2019, 09:50 PM   #115
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What the marks think a medium could not have known, and what a medium could have found out/intelligently guessed/got right by chance amongst a bunch of stuff they got wrong which the mark promptly forgot about, are two different things. That's why only testing under scientifically rigorous conditions can actually determine which mediums are genuine. So far the number of genuine mediums identified is zero.
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Old 8th September 2019, 01:54 AM   #116
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Originally Posted by Scorpion View Post
You have obviously not read the books of Lobsang Rampa. I think it was the fourth book in the series which describes cat legends which cats apparently tell each other. I threw out his previous three books when I read that. It strained even my credibility.
No, obviously not and you should give me very strong reasons to do so. I am not interested in pseudoscience mixed with pseudomisticism.
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Old 8th September 2019, 02:01 AM   #117
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Originally Posted by JesseCuster View Post
The fact that we've walked on the moon or can contemplate our navel is no reason to divorce us from what we really are.

Has anyone suggested that 'empathy alone' can solve moral dilemmas? I might have missed that claim in this thread.
Divorcing man from the animal would be stupid.
Not to recognize what differentiates man from animals would be absurd.
Projecting the present into the future, giving meaning, posing moral problems are essential differences. There is more.

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Old 8th September 2019, 02:23 AM   #118
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Originally Posted by Lithrael View Post
That's kid of the rub, really. I don't know if moral dilemmas are solvable, and they're certainly not solvable by me. And why should they be solved by me? We give the cat a pass cause it's incapable of operating on such a level. Why not give myself a pass too? I'm not THAT much better at it than the cat is. I'm gonna go ahead and flip the bird to the idea that the ability to do a thing implies an obligation to do it.

It's not unlikely that the closest we can get to The Truth is already out there and just doesn't have any traction - in which case what good is it really? Besides participating in collective action I'm going to get a lot more positive mileage out of personal level, empathy based actions, than out of trying to figure out The Truth.

Again though not dissing philosophy in general, just saying it's not really for me.
I don't understand the cat passing. What does it mean?

In any case you cannot make disappear the moral dilemmas because they bother you. They are there when you are faced with decisions such as voting or not voting, helping or not helping, supporting or not supporting, fighting or not fighting...

Using empathy to deal with the dilemmas posed by social life is a good philosophy, but not enough. Faced with such problems you will have to decide when and how to apply empathy and for that you will need something more. What?

Your reference to The Truth amazes me. Sounds like a cult. Have you ever been involved in one? I'm afraid you interpret "searching for meaning" in religious terms. You are mistaken. It is a problem raised by prominent atheists such as Sartre or Camus who did not believe in any Truth.

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Old 8th September 2019, 07:55 AM   #119
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“Give a pass” means to excuse someone for not doing or attending something.

The moral quandary does not go away if I don’t deal with it, correct. But what I’m saying is I can’t solve the moral quandary anyway. It’s going to stay there no matter what I do. I’m absolutely not going to get better results with any formal philosophy than I am with Best Guess intersection of empathy and available info when it comes to my personal level choices.

This is sort of what I mean when I say maybe the truth is out there but has no traction; if we had a reliable way to answer these questions of what to do and a reliable way of figuring out goals to strive for then a whole lot of us would already be doing and using those methods and we’d be able to point to what obviously works, instead of the whole thing of humanity being a barely navigable morass of ideas.

I’m just using “truth” as a shorthand for whatever philosophy is trying to reach. That “something more” you say I need.

Last edited by Lithrael; 8th September 2019 at 08:07 AM.
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Old 8th September 2019, 12:13 PM   #120
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Originally Posted by Lithrael View Post
“Give a pass” means to excuse someone for not doing or attending something.

The moral quandary does not go away if I don’t deal with it, correct. But what I’m saying is I can’t solve the moral quandary anyway. It’s going to stay there no matter what I do. I’m absolutely not going to get better results with any formal philosophy than I am with Best Guess intersection of empathy and available info when it comes to my personal level choices.

This is sort of what I mean when I say maybe the truth is out there but has no traction; if we had a reliable way to answer these questions of what to do and a reliable way of figuring out goals to strive for then a whole lot of us would already be doing and using those methods and we’d be able to point to what obviously works, instead of the whole thing of humanity being a barely navigable morass of ideas.

I’m just using “truth” as a shorthand for whatever philosophy is trying to reach. That “something more” you say I need.
I don't know what "formal" philosophy you're talking about that wants to reach the "truth." We all want to achieve some truth. But the methods are many and the truths too. Some philosophers use some methods and others use different methods. There is a lot of diversity. If you don't precise, we don't know what you're talking about.

Nor is it understood what you mean by solving a moral problem. There are no algorithms or crucial experiments in morality. There are decisions to be made and ways to justify them. Moral philosophy (formal or informal) is charged of analysing these latter.

Your way of solving a moral problem includes empathy, information and goals. As I said this includes at least two points that are strictly philosophical. To whom do you direct empathy and which goals are the best. If the word philosophy bothers you, use another one. What you do will be what philosophers have been doing for centuries.
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