Comment History

on 153 Roots

153 Comments

Forum: Cognitive Dissonance and Hypocrisy
Burning bird
2

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I apologise then, I did not mean to simplify it to Science vs. religions/philosophy. They are both important in their own ways. I have encountered people like your friend and I do know that we have different perspectives on the truth.
You are correct about religions being different from each other, varied number of gods etc. That they do have 'static' texts and such is quite obvious. My own 'Catholic view' has a tendency to unify the truth while other views within my own 'religion' also contradict one another. Some views can be violent. There's no denying it here.
But again, it comes down to the rationality argument. You may hold the human mind as being able to at least get a clue of the fundamentals using philosophy and ethics. I am not the most rational person but I agree with you actually, we can get clues about the truth using our own fantastic grey matter. But I also believe that there are fundamentals, including moral ones, outside of our minds. Extrinsic forces, ludicrous ideas that we don't even begin to comprehend. How useful are these ideas? It's a mystery but as you echoed, as humans we kind of want to discover it.
Christians believe that God is good, perfect etc. other religions and schools of philosophy maybe don't. Should I go to 'war' with them because of that? Why should I hurt (physically, mentally, spiritually or any kind of harm) and kill whom I don't understand? There are some 'truths' that fill up our brain to the point that we lose track of other 'truths' around us. I think that the conflict we have is mostly the lack of understanding and a lack of love for things that we do not agree with.

I'll address the issue of the Holy Bible first. I do have personal gripes with 'Bible-only' Christianity where the Bible is essentially their go-to source. I find nothing terribly wrong with it except when they forget that there were people writing these which makes the writings, in some ways, limited. As a Christian myself, I cannot say that the Bible is imperfect because I don't think I am capable of judging these words and how well God is represented as I don't know the full extent of God. Why I believe in it then? It's because I can see an inkling of the authors' faith in God and I trust the authors and God. It's fairly straightforward.

Well what does this mean for the Bible and seeking truth? I understand that some people tend to limit themselves once they found a 'stable faith'. But what if I told you that Jesus was not satisfied when people grew 'spiritually lazy'. I believe that Christians are called to continue seeking. The fact that you have shaken your friend even just a little is a thing to be celebrated!

I think the quote about the wisdom of man appearing foolish in the eyes of God mostly means that God is ultimately above us. God is not trying to laugh at us and put us and our work down. If you have an integrated view of science as part of God's work, this shouldn't be an issue. I think this kind of thought arises when the believers separate out 'God-less' science from the good Godly science. They are all in the same boat.

We put Him on a pedestal, which we believe is deserved. Perhaps, God is greater than science, philosophy, even religion, but He still created them and that is worthy of respect by believers. You cannot simply shun it because you don't like how it sounds or fits with your view on God. As a common example, many Christians see other religions as man-made or 'corrupted' as you said in a previous post. I don't think it's a good attitude to have; I'd rather leave it at the mystery of God's work. Admittedly, it is unclear how religious, interreligious and scientific view can be completely reconciled and that is something that we can work on.

About interpretations and decisions, my answer is that we really don't know. I think you may conceptualise religion as something that you choose. Once you are religious however, you tend to think that you have been chosen instead and to be honest, that's what makes the most sense to me. I didn't choose to be Catholic, at least not to my full agreement initially. I was baptised as a new-born and I have gradually come to accept it. My parents certainly had a degree choice as they were adult converts. But if I ask them how they came to make that decision, they would tell me that this is what they could understand the most. But I don't understand them myself, there's a grain of doubt when they tell me this. Then, what could explain it? The typical Christian answer, because God made it so. A lack of logic explained by a lack of logic, I can't imagine anything else that fits and I have tried for a long time.

On a rational level, I am not exactly 'sane' which might annoy you. I cannot justify to you why this web of truth is the one to believe in but I simply trust it. I have the same hope that we reach greater certainty and consensus but honestly, it's hard to accomplish; with or without religion.

@Ribbit, I think we have reached a stalemate as I can find little to disagree with in your post. Good talking to you!
Forum: Cognitive Dissonance and Hypocrisy
Burning bird
0

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1. The difference here between Christian believers and perhaps atheists is that believers think that this 'room' includes God, who represents that intrinsic truth. We do not 'get' God, on the contrary, on the inside, we are never certain as you pointed out. You cannot muster up faith but some people have and that is where things differ.

Why can't you have faith? Because you are not sure if it is true.
Why do I have faith? Because I am not sure if it is true.
I cannot reason out this action, it's somewhat impulsive I'll admit but it resonates with me. Tama is correct, I could have mustered up that faith to believe in a magical unicorn (which I do given the right circumstances ;)). But I trust in God and I, at least, want to experience His presence. I imagine that it is an uncannily similar experience for you but in the reverse and logically based.

2. The question about core assumptions is quite an interesting one. I do wonder how you got to that conclusion that you need to start out with nothing. A common criticism is: Can something be made out of nothing? Is that logical? If we count God as an ever-present being, present at the Big Bang perhaps, He is the starting point. If He does not exist, then we are simply stardust or 'nothing' as you might call it, a logical conclusion. Thus to me, there's a need for something.
Christians have defined that thing as God and other religious traditions have defined it as something else. Whether that is right or not cannot be reasoned out but it doesn't make it any less valid than thinking that 'nothing' was there. In my view, believing that there was nothing (complete nothingness or no God, only matter) requires as much faith as believing that there was something and more. They are both illogical.

I do agree that religion does not necessarily tells us how the world functions. Rather it is about what and why the world is, things that we find hard to answer.

3. I am glad that you can keep an open-mind about changing perspectives. For sure, some things 'do not need the God hypothesis', we can reason out things for ourselves. But what about things that we can't? Objectivity, truth and morality, is it really just individual and evolutionary pressures?

I do think that you have a misconception of religion. The basis of Christianity is that God has created us and given us freedom. Following the rules, given by God or prophets or whatever authority power, is certainly not the point of religion. Of course, some people have abused these 'gifts from God' and caused many wrongdoings which may (or may not) include rigid practices and shunning other religions. But it does not detract from God's truth, at least in the Christian perspective.

I would think that other religions have elements of freedom too. The Church agrees with other religions in some respects. I suppose from your perspective, religions are ideas made by men who have wildly different ideals that often contradict each other and require strict adherence to avoid such contradictions.

Religious practices serve mostly to commemorate, celebrate and strengthen beliefs. To some, it is the source of love, to others the source of evil depending on your particular faith creed. In my view, different creeds do contradict each other on a rational level as men have always had flawed concepts but do they detract from the intrinsic truth? I don't believe so.
To claim that the truth is muddled in a 'sad and pessimistic way' does require some 'logical leap' just as much as it is to claim that it has not in a 'nice and happy way'. I fail to see how one can be truer than the other in a logical sense nor do I see how our 'understanding of truth dwindles' if we are adding more muddled truth to our already muddled truth. It's a 'glass half-full' approach on my part which is equally logically invalid as a 'glass half-empty approach'.

We can never be sure who is right but, in my case, there is not much to do other than trust God has a plan for all of us. Blind hope but hope nonetheless, which you may find insulting as it doesn't make sense. To that, I can accept that you don't agree based on some form of logic that you personally believe in.

I disagree that we can't work with an unclear truth. Christians believe that some clarification of that truth was revealed when Christ came on earth. Does this mean that we can't learn anymore? Is religion 'static' as Tama Yoshi said? I'd beg otherwise as the 'truth' is beyond us and we always want to clarify it no matter what it takes, whether through science or religion or whatever else. We can work even if we don't fully know the truth. It is why we seek and discover. If I had to draw an analogy, among the Judeo-Christian religions there is a strong 'theory of God'; just like how there is a strong 'theory of Evolution' in modern biology. Current religions seem rigid because followers have always been keen on preserving the truth obtained so far. But that does not mean that they stopped seeking. Deep inside, we do have doubts on the reality of things but we can only hope and try to overcome these to reach the truth which is why we seem to take things 'further' than science in terms of pure belief; we have realised our limitations and seek a greater being as the truth who declared Himself as the truth.

To sum it up, I am prepared to admit that my logic requires a belief in the truth. And the key word is belief. I cannot rationalise without having some form of core assumption a.k.a. belief. But I trust in that belief and hope for the best just like your trust in that objectivity room except my room has a place for God. Whether that place is justified/ 'correct' or not, I do not know myself but I trust it. Rationality is possibly one of the few things that we can work with but I don't agree that a hidden depth is completely absent from this mess or that we can't live without a complete truth.

Sorry for the long ass reply :p I tried to respond to some points made by Tama Yoshi as well.
Forum: Cognitive Dissonance and Hypocrisy
Burning bird
0

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Forgive me if it feels like I'm trying to con you but I'd like to ask you a few questions:
1. Do you believe that you can truly be objective or do you accept some sort of 'collective subjectivity' that forms the objective truth?

2. Do you consider yourself able to construct the same kind of core basic assumptions that you talked about but replacing the God concept with an objectivity concept as you may have answered in q1?

3. If yes to q.2, what makes your objectivity concept 'better' than both religious concepts AND other objectivity concepts in terms of being thrown into a 'helpless dismay' if it turns out to be wrong?

I guess what I'm trying to get at is that concepts have always been flawed. My concept of God, despite being a believer, is most likely flawed in some way. 'Is God Himself flawed?', you might ask, I would most likely say no but I will readily admit that I do not know God entirely and won't be able to back it up.

Increasingly, I am finding that trying to achieve some kind of 'logical perfection' is dangerous on the person. Why do things like religion need to be objectively, logically, scientifically right when their very concepts vary among people?

Why is N-1 logical concept wrong then?
Why can't I turn this argument against religion onto logic itself?
From what I understand of logic, logic can hold fundamental assumptions: Good logic is right. Bad logic is probably wrong.
Can we accept such an assumption? Who knows.

If people are living well physically, mentally and spiritually with their own beliefs, I do not think it's worthwhile to try and 'convert' them. If they come to conclusions that differ from mine, I would contest them but in the end, I will respect their freedom of choosing that path. If they conclude the same, then let's party!

I suppose my view on religion is more about discovery. Believing in Judeo-Christian religion is about discovering God's love for yourself and mankind. To discover that requires a 'leap of faith' as they call it, and has little to do with how logically feasible it is. Missionaries and people actively going to proclaim the Gospel should only be asking you to allow this 'faith'. The rest is between you and God.

I cannot agree that all religions apart from my own are wrong because I simply don't know the 'truths' behind them. I am an optimist and I genuinely hope that these other 'truths' ultimately agree with mine. If mine needs to be corrected, I will incline but only when the truth is revealed. Who really knows how that revelation will happen; I simply have faith that it will.
Forum: Cognitive Dissonance and Hypocrisy
Burning bird
3

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I think what it comes down to in your arguments with your friend is that you have different ideals of what is good. But that's not the point of the topic, so let's leave it aside.

Rationality, in my eyes, is simply a tool for achieving some kind of reconciliation in this context like you have well described. A lot of people that are 'anti-religious' tend to hold that concept as a gold standard and they are rightly entitled to. But like many things, it is flawed as you have realised.

So one question that can be asked is where can rationality be used best?
Religion certainly is not the best place in this age. In the past and today in rare cases, people very skilled in rational thought have indeed made religious claims that were quite convincing in the thoughts of that time. Assuming that these claims were true, I think that it wasn't the rationale of their claims that made them convincing but possibly something else. I must confess that, as a religious person, I believe that it was indeed that 'something else', the mysterious truth, not the rationale, that brought people to any religion for that matter.

Thus, religious belief does not base itself on rational thought. At least, not entirely. Your friend may also feel that your belief that religion is wrong is based on rational thought. From his perspective, you may not have accepted the mysterious truth and by the sounds of it, you probably won't accept it because you hold rationality as a gold standard.

If it was me, I'd just accept it at this point. The truth that I know personally, could never be revealed entirely by just having long conversations with people. There comes to a point where, I daresay, arrogance, not just hypocrisy, plays a role in masking the truth. If I kept talking, it would be like saying that the truth can't speak for itself and that it comes down to me to drill that truth into people. So my advice for your friend, is that talking can only lead you so far.

To finish off, I am not telling you to give up the gold standard of rationality but to keep in mind that your friend believes in something 'beyond rationality'. If you think it's bogus, you are entitled to think so. But I warn you that rational thought will not 'shatter' his ideas.

Rationality is a good thing but it is hard to find it in religion, I can fully admit that. In fact, for some people, it is that very reason that they are attracted to religion as they realise the apparently great flaws that make rationality too shaky to live with. (I disagree with those people as well)

Where rational thought is good at is problem solving. As can be seen in technology, science, even the justice system and social problems, it has prospered very well. But when it comes to the grey areas of human thoughts, mysticism etc., it only has a partial role as there are other forces acting there.
Forum: Honestly I can't think of a good title
Burning bird
1

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I pray that blessings come onto your family in these times of distress and that little Frankie is safe and grows up happy.

I've said it before on Fig Hunter but keep your brother's love in your heart and perhaps meditate on it like Brock said. Love is not meant to be just saccharine and beautiful. There's a very painful side to it like thorns on a rose. But in the end, it has a real power and use that power to follow through in your life. If you can understand it well enough, you could even try to teach Frankie. I hope that his mother understands your brother's love or is at least stirred up by the tragedy to be a better parent.

I think Brock is also right in saying that you should take a break if you can. Sometimes, distractions can only take so much pain away and when things come rushing all at once and you haven't dealt with it properly, things can go sour. So whenever you have the luxury, take the time to blow off the steam and tears together as a family. Hopefully your hearts will be at ease after that and you will be able to take care of the next generation.

Forum: An interesting story I found
Burning bird
0

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Well, I may have implied the soul but in my beliefs, I can still conceptually separate the biology from the soul itself.

What I'm really saying is that I doubt it's entirely feasible to recreate the biology of the brain using mechanical inventions as 'primitive' as leaflets and air. I can vouch that we still have little idea how these cells actually work and there is a high degree of complexity that in my view would be quite difficult to convert into pure mechanistic processes. You may think otherwise but from my experience of biology, I've learnt that it's not a good idea to underestimate these cells of today and to me, reducing processes as complex as consciousness into mechanical parts feels like a fairly substantial underestimation of biology which makes me uneasy when people do it in fiction and frustrated when done in real life.

I guess my view is that living cells aren't just ultracomplex energy consuming machines with neat functions developed over years of evolution. As I've said before, there seems to be a "deeper" mystery to them that we can only hope to crack open and it doesn't even seem like my idea of the soul as a religious person; i.e. the mystery seems more biological than spiritual in nature. I think my problem with the robots is that despite all their mechanisms in place to simulate life, I can't bring myself to acknowledge that they are 'living' 'mechanical organisms' because of the simple fact that they don't seem to possess cells.

Even I think I might be a lunatic for thinking that way! Of what I've glimpsed in biological research, I've learnt that it is not really us who are discovering things; rather, it is the cells that are teaching us. From that perspective, I hope you understand why I hold biological systems so highly.

But it is a science-fiction piece after all, so I can at least take the brunt off and turn on my fantasy goggles.
Forum: An interesting story I found
Burning bird
0

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You're right he did mention it but he didn't 'dare voice it' and yet could obtain his resources. Maybe it's a freer society which would be convenient for his scientific progress :p

By information world, I mean in the sense that those robots could be 'conscious' via *spoilers* gold leaflets and patterning in tubes. *spoilers*

I don't know, I just feel that that kind of assumption is the biggest thing that irked me in this story. It's sort of like the author is basing his story on a limited idea of how consciousness works, like some sort of information process that could easily be measured etc. Kind of like a scientist's wet dream lol.
It's sort of brushed upon that this is a fact in that world but it was kinda hard for me to swallow. But in any case, that didn't detract too much from the point of the story.
Forum: An interesting story I found
Burning bird
1

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As a biologist (or at least, from a biology student's perspective), there was quite a lot of "suspension of disbelief" on my part but all in all, it was a nice story.
You could also tell that it is fiction since he mentioned his hypothesis about the mechanical fatigue only after he's done his experiments. This is a huge contrast to real life as you wouldn't be allowed resources to complete the experiment without making a whole caucus about how it would be useful. Or at least, that's how it goes in standard medical research :p

I find it interesting how our current scientific perspective can look like when extended in this kind of fictional setting. Is the mind really just information stored in the brain? Can particular emotions be activated by sending some kind of digital code to the brain? Personally, I don't believe our consciousness is strictly in the information world. If it is, then I kind of wish that there was something more to it because having no mystery is kinda boring to be honest.
Forum: WHAT'D YOU DO OVER FIG BREAK, CLASS?
Burning bird
3

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Let's see, I got to have 2 tests, 3 oral presentations and about 5 lab reports. Plus a few long-term projects, a new pretty pretty IKEA wardrobe and a couple all-nighters working my butt off. Fun stuff.
Forum: dog church
Burning bird
1

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I am inclined to disagree with this. Most animals certainly may not be able to communicate in the most effective and complex way that humans have come to specialise into. But they can certainly communicate in complex and effective ways between each other within their respective species.

I don't know if animals consider their peers as "persons" as per human understanding. Heck, if you take ants for example, it seems that for some animals, the individual's "personality" is even more heightened, in a sense, as they are a collective and have specific roles rather than individuals fending for themselves if that makes sense.

I agree that humans need to learn to cooperate with animals since our livelihood depends a lot on them. They can certainly have greater wisdom than us in a lot of aspects; research is being done to replicate many biological products for example. But are they equal to us, inferior to us or possess greater ability to understand us? Well, we may never know. I prefer to consider them as belonging to leagues of their own.

For the topic itself, the heck do I know lol. They probably won't ever understand why they're being brought to church due to fundamental differences in communicative ability. Unless there are dog preachers, then it's up to them not the pet owners. Woof.