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This is what I think god is. I am not religious. Agnostics and believers, how can this be dismisse

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posted on Aug, 8 2010 @ 02:06 PM
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reply to post by Illusionsaregrander
 

I already read the post.

Could you explain, please, why you think pointing out the irrationality of all religious speculation is in any way the same as insisting, on no evidence, that one of those speculations has to be correct?




posted on Aug, 8 2010 @ 02:20 PM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 


Im not. Im pointing out that you both feel any discussion of God is a meaningless waste of time. Im not arguing that you both agree why that is the case.



posted on Aug, 8 2010 @ 02:56 PM
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No need to get off-topic over this......you both rock!!!

Respect!!

Peace



posted on Aug, 8 2010 @ 11:12 PM
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reply to post by operation mindcrime
 

Why, thank you very kindly indeed.

As long as my argument with Illusionsaregrander made enjoyable reading for you--and I hope for others--it was worth it. But it could and probably should have been much shorter. Our positions are not actually opposed, and this was made clear at a very early stage in the proceedings:


Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander
I do think that God is the totality of "All that is" and I do believe that each "thing" within that totality is a fragment of God, serving as "cells" in God being as a loose analogy.



Originally posted by Astyanax
Fine, so long as one doesn't expect this God to actually do anything.

Since this exchange, Illusionsaregrander has made it clear that she does not, indeed, expect her God to do anything Godlike. It just sits there, emanating divinity, and that's that.

If the only qualifications for divinity are existence and totality, I freely grant that by definition 'the sum of all there is' must then be 'God'. My own criteria of divinity are decidedly more stringent. God must be all-seeing and all-powerful. He must lay down the laws of creation for mortals to follow. He must also be able to break those laws (ie perform miracles) if and when He chooses.

These are the common attributes of God in all religious cultures. Illusionsaregrander interpreted the opening passage of the Rig-Veda entirely after her own lights in this post, pretending that the description she quotes is one of God. In fact, it refers to the formless chaos out of which the universe is said, together with the gods, to have arisen. This is made abundantly clear in the text itself. The Rig-Veda insists that the beginning is unknown and nameless. It is Illusionsaregrander who has named it 'God'.

Illusions and I really have no quarrel, because what she means when she says 'God' is something vastly different from what I mean when I say it. Illusions' God is just the universe. It has--indeed, by definition, cannot have--any actual godly powers; it just sits there, existing. To me that's no God, that's just a hot fuzzy lump.

A further word about the futility of trying to make rational statements about God. It is not the same thing as showing the futility of making rational statements about God. The second is what I have been trying to do throughout this thread, by showing that all definitions of God--all definitions, at least, that demand Godlike behaviour from the entity they define--are irrational and paradoxical, and therefore futile. God is either beyond rationality or beyond existence.



posted on Aug, 9 2010 @ 12:15 AM
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Originally posted by Astyanax

Since this exchange, Illusionsaregrander has made it clear that she does not, indeed, expect her God to do anything Godlike. It just sits there, emanating divinity, and that's that.


Which is, coincidentally, exactly what the Christian God, which I assume by your description is the one you advocate, appears to be doing this past 2000 years or so.



Originally posted by Astyanax
My own criteria of divinity are decidedly more stringent. God must be all-seeing


Mine would be, if you use "seeing" interchangeably with "aware of all that is."


Originally posted by Astyanax
and all-powerful. He must lay down the laws of creation for mortals to follow.


Technically, even an unaware universe meets these criteria.


Originally posted by Astyanax
He must also be able to break those laws (ie perform miracles) if and when He chooses.


This may be a sticking point. In my view, God would not choose to do this. Because to the God I would argue for, all things are Good, (which also eliminates the need to explain why YOUR God allows evil, which is a particularly nasty sticking point for Christian philosophers) so whether such a God would be able to or not, we simply would not know. Such a God would not be motivated to.


Originally posted by AstyanaxThese are the common attributes of God in all religious cultures. Illusionsaregrander interpreted the opening passage of the Rig-Veda entirely after her own lights in this post, pretending that the description she quotes is one of God. In fact, it refers to the formless chaos out of which the universe is said, together with the gods, to have arisen.



Yes, if you ignore the last line. And the part about that One breathing windless, etc.

www.boloji.com...


The gods came afterwards, with the creation of this universe.
Who then knows whence it has arisen?

Whence this creation has arisen
- perhaps it formed itself, or perhaps it did not -
the One who looks down on it,
in the highest heaven, only He knows
or perhaps even He does not know.


One thing I find remarkable, is that this description is not so different from the calling into creation of heaven and earth in genesis, except of course they had their God delineated from the One already by then.


Originally posted by Astyanax
This is made abundantly clear in the text itself. The Rig-Veda insists that the beginning is unknown and nameless. It is Illusionsaregrander who has named it 'God'.


That last bit (about God not knowing,) is a hint. It is perfectly clear, but it does depend, I suppose, how ones mind works. "Let he who has ears hear," and all that. If you read enough translations of this piece, because they all differ slightly, you may or may not get a different idea about what is being said here. But it seems clear to me that Genesis is derived from this same teaching, though changed a bit.


Originally posted by Astyanax
It is not the same thing as showing the futility of making rational statements about God. The second is what I have been trying to do throughout this thread,


The problem I have with that is that you demand irrationality. And so, if someone offers rational argument, there is no point. Some people can have rational arguments about God. I did on my little quiz. It was completely logically consistent. And it did not require deviation from reason. YOU cannot have a rational argument about God, and thats fine. But your God is only one version of God. And I would suggest to you that the remarkable similarity you see running through ALL religions ( you claim) is probably due more to the fact that what we read about ALL religions tends to be filtered through a Christian culture before it gets to us, or, as in Tibetan Buddhism, other religious beliefs were merged into the core teaching to make it more palatable as it moved around geographically and displaced other religions.


Originally posted by Astyanax
by showing that all definitions of God--all definitions, at least, that demand Godlike behaviour from the entity they define--are irrational and paradoxical, and therefore futile. God is either beyond rationality or beyond existence.


Even the ten commandments are entirely rational, if you view them for what they are. A manual for playing the game of group selection and winning. The Christian God is little more than Nature anthropomorphized, given a beard and the temperament of a pissy child and sent up into the sky. Hardly "Godlike" as I see it.



posted on Aug, 9 2010 @ 03:32 AM
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reply to post by Illusionsaregrander
 


...the Christian God, which I assume by your description is the one you advocate...

You think I'm a Christian?

Dear oh dear.

You disappoint me, Illusionsaregrander. I'd taken you for someone with more perceptivity than that. No wonder you've been doing your best to mug me. You've been gnawing at the wrong end of the stick from the very outset.

I am, in functional terms, a scientific materialist. An atheist.

I grant that God--in the sense of a being with creative and other Godlike powers--theoretically could exist, either immanent in or even separate from the universe, but that is neither here nor there; it makes no difference from the human, empirical perspective unless this God actually does something Godlike.

And that is impossible, because any attempt to turn God into a Olympian or Abrahamic meddler inevitably results in logical and moral paradoxes so vicious as to render the whole idea both nauseous and practically untenable.

I'm not a Christian. You are diametrically off target.


(My conception of God) would be (all-seeing), if you use "seeing" interchangeably with "aware of all that is."

No, that is not the same thing. I speak of a universal omniscience, not of some discrete, fragmented 'awareness'.


Technically, even an unaware universe (lays down the laws of creation for mortals to follow).

True, but irrelevant. This is a mere precondition for stating that


Originally posted by Astyanax
He must also be able to break those laws (ie perform miracles) if and when He chooses.

And, as you say, that is the sticking point. Not because the Christian God (not my God, please) allows evil, but because your 'God' is impotent.

As for your attempt to cover up that little fib about the Rig-Veda, what part of


The gods came afterwards

don't you understand?

*



You demand irrationality. And so, if someone offers rational argument, there is no point. Some people can have rational arguments about God. I did on my little quiz. It was completely logically consistent. And it did not require deviation from reason. YOU cannot have a rational argument about God, and thats fine. But your God is only one version of God. And I would suggest to you that the remarkable similarity you see running through ALL religions (you claim) is probably due more to the fact that what we read about ALL religions tends to be filtered through a Christian culture before it gets to us, or, as in Tibetan Buddhism, other religious beliefs were merged into the core teaching to make it more palatable as it moved around geographically and displaced other religions.

Bravo! A magnificent rant. Yes--if your God has no actual divine powers but is just a fuzzy lump, the 'ground of all being' or whatever other meaningless thing you want to call Him, I dare say you can make rationally consistent statements about Him. But who cares for such idle, inconsequential speculations? Who wants to discuss a paralyzed, impotent God?

Still, if such things fascinate you, speculate away by all means. I am only interested in concepts of God that are effectual in the real world. To me God is essentially a human phenomenon--an evolutionary, psychological and social phenomenon. It should be conceived of as such. But all such God-concepts are fundamentally irrational. God is an irrational concept.

Please don't pull the Mysterious Eastern Philosophers card on me, because I can trump you with an entire deck. I am South Asian. The dominant faiths in my country are Buddhism and Hinduism. Although I was raised in a Christian family and went to a Christian school, I have been on terms of close acquaintance with Hindu, Buddhist and Islamic faith and thought since my mid-teens, when I first began getting curious about things like that. I have observed puja at Hindu kovils, offered flowers before images of the Buddha, debated with Buddhist monks and Hindu religious, watched firewalkers and self-mutilating devotees of the God Murugan, tried unsuccessfully to meditate, edited books on the Hindu and Buddhist art and history of my own country and of Indonesia, travelled extensively in India and also in Nepal and written on these places too. I read those Hindu scriptures you quote so long ago that I have forgotten most of them (and no, I have no plans to refresh my memory; they are boring). You are not talking to some naive, ignorant Midwestern Christian apologist. You are talking to a well-travelled brown-skinned atheist with a lifelong interest in and fascination for religion.


Even the ten commandments are entirely rational, if you view them for what they are. A manual for playing the game of group selection and winning. The Christian God is little more than Nature anthropomorphized, given a beard and the temperament of a pissy child and sent up into the sky. Hardly "Godlike" as I see it.

At least you can't be faulted for tenacity, my dear: once you get a bone of contention between your jaws you worry it to atoms, don't you? Yes, the Ten Commandments are rational for their set and setting. I think you have misunderstood group selection, but never mind; I know what you're getting at. Your concept of the Christian God--actually, the Jewish God--is way off; He is in no sense originally a nature-god, concerned with growth, fertility and natural processes, but a war-god whose original covenant with the Jews was 'worship Me, only Me, and I will make you forever victorious in battle'. I agree with you about his character, though it has greater depth and human resonance than you give it credit for. If you haven't read Jung's Answer to Job, I heartily recommend it.

And yes, I do demand irrationality. Because God--any God that is not a flaccid impotent lump-thing--is an irrational concept. The world, as I said before, is rational. God is not.

[edit on 9/8/10 by Astyanax]



posted on Aug, 9 2010 @ 02:14 PM
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Originally posted by Astyanax

You disappoint me, Illusionsaregrander. I'd taken you for someone with more perceptivity than that. No wonder you've been doing your best to mug me. You've been gnawing at the wrong end of the stick from the very outset.


No, I am assuming you are arguing a Christian god. Since you are insisting, much like Christians do, that there is only one possible way a God could be.



Originally posted by Astyanax
I am, in functional terms, a scientific materialist. An atheist.


I have long suspected that atheists are "reverse Christians" as I have pointed out in other threads that they tend to focus their arguments about God only on the claims of the Bible, and only on the description of the Christian God.

Dont put your belief system on MY shoulders, YOU specified what your God would have to look like for the sake of argument. I began the debate NOT assuming a Christian deity.

I am beginning to see the problem. You want an easy straw man argument to knock over, so you create your own definition of what God MUST LOOK LIKE, (which just so happens to be the Christian God) so that you can easily accomplish your goal of proving that all discussions about God must be irrational.

Which is simply not the case. And, if you want to use "you should be better than that" types of comments, really, you should be better than that. Especially if you claim not to be a Christian. If you believe in no God, why are you so intent on arguing against one God as if it were the only possible God?


Originally posted by Astyanax
I grant that God--in the sense of a being with creative and other Godlike powers--theoretically could exist, either immanent in or even separate from the universe, but that is neither here nor there; it makes no difference from the human, empirical perspective unless this God actually does something Godlike.


Translation; it works against your ends of showing that discussion about the divine is irrational if you do not have a straw man God to knock over.



Originally posted by Astyanax
No, that is not the same thing. I speak of a universal omniscience, not of some discrete, fragmented 'awareness'.


It would be a universal awareness of consciousness rather than fragmented. My quarrel was with "seeing" or "knowing" both which imply things that are not intended. "Knowing" as we use it implies thought, which implies a linear progression of ideas. "Seeing" implies eyes and an overview, or separation from that which is seen. Both of which I do not intend to imply.


Originally posted by Astyanax
True, but irrelevant.


Its actually not irrelevant to this discussion since you brought it up as a condition for a God, and I pointed out that even a non intelligent universe meets that criteria. Which you agree.



Originally posted by Astyanax
He must also be able to break those laws (ie perform miracles) if and when He chooses......


And, as you say, that is the sticking point. Not because the Christian God (not my God, please) allows evil, but because your 'God' is impotent.


It IS your God, since whether you "believe" in such a God, you are the one defining God by those characteristics. Whether it is a straw man you set up for ease of proving your point, or the God you kneel and pray to, it is, in fact, your God. The God of your argument. Not mine.


Originally posted by Astyanax

The gods came afterwards

don't you understand?


The "gods" as in plural. In polytheist cultures there is often an overarching Divinity, and then lesser "gods" who meddle in material and human affairs. The end of that hymn actually directly mentions the One God that oversees and encompasses all.

If you werent so focused on arguing against the Christian God, (which is suspiciously reverse-Christian as it elevates that God above all others) you would have better understanding of the variety of concepts of God.

en.wikipedia.org...


Hinduism is a diverse system of thought with beliefs spanning monotheism, polytheism, panentheism, pantheism, monism, atheism, agnosticism, gnosticism among others;[63][64][65][66] and its concept of God is complex and depends upon each particular tradition and philosophy. It is sometimes referred to as henotheistic (i.e., involving devotion to a single god while accepting the existence of others), but any such term is an overgeneralization.[67]




Originally posted by Astyanax
To me God is essentially a human phenomenon--an evolutionary, psychological and social phenomenon. It should be conceived of as such. But all such God-concepts are fundamentally irrational. God is an irrational concept.


And bravo, more straw man building.



Originally posted by Astyanax
Please don't pull the Mysterious Eastern Philosophers card on me, because I can trump you with an entire deck. I am South Asian.


And dont pull the "practitioners understand the core teaching" card with me. I too have a wide variety of religious study and discourse and in every faith the majority has turned the core teaching into something palatable for the masses. Mystic experience is direct, and by its nature, does not translate well to thought or writing. (See Platos seventh letter for a much more elegant discourse)



Originally posted by Astyanax
I have been on terms of close acquaintance with Hindu, Buddhist and Islamic faith and thought since my mid-teens, when I first began getting curious about things like that.


And I was raised agnostic and encouraged to read, study or think as I wished. I had direct experience of "God" and that drove me to study to figure out what had happened, why, and if it had happened to others. I found in virtually every tradition a mystic "core" teaching that is consistent with my experience. Not hidden, but much like understanding language requires that the parties communicating have shared concept/word agreements, so the core message also requires shared concept in order that the words impart the intended message.


Originally posted by Astyanax
You are talking to a well-travelled brown-skinned atheist with a lifelong interest in and fascination for religion.


The it is a shame that you did not find the dual purpose of religions obvious. There is the core message, and then there is the "noble lie" aspect, in which the core message that can easily be derived by someone who shares the conceptual understanding is translated into behavior for those who dont. It would be nice if words could communicate the core teaching, but because of the necessary duality of language and thought, and the necessary non-duality of the experience/concept, words cannot. If words could, no one would need the "behave this way" aspect of religion, or the "gods" who threaten or bribe that behavior out of people much like very powerful parents. And your skin color is irrelevant to the argument. No one knows that more than I, being white and raised by four parents, (not simultaneously) two white and agnostic, two brown and religious, in a culture that had been solely polytheistic only two hundred years ago but which now for all intents and purposes maintains an official Christian belief system with most of the polytheistic ideology running right along with it. Hawaii has a very rich cultural mix and I also am not unfamiliar with Buddhism, Taoism, Shinto, etc., as practiced by my friends growing up.


Originally posted by Astyanax
He is in no sense originally a nature-god, concerned with growth, fertility and natural processes, but a war-god whose original covenant with the Jews was 'worship Me, only Me, and I will make you forever victorious in battle'.
And yes, I do demand irrationality. Because God--any God that is not a flaccid impotent lump-thing--is an irrational concept. The world, as I said before, is rational. God is not.


The Christian/Jewish God is a war God, group selection is about war and also peace. But the laws he wants you to "follow" (worship) are equally applicable to all social animals that might find themselves in those particular circumstances. They are the laws of nature. "Social groups should not fight over religion, social groups should not steal from one another as this creates division, social groups should honor their elders who hold knowledge that will enable us to survive, social groups in areas with deadly or damaging STDs should not be promiscuous....blah blah."

Those laws (Eat this, not that, kill this person, not that, sleep with this person, not that) are the evolutionary laws as they apply to groups and specifically groups facing the challenges of that region. Which makes a God who says, "these are my laws," if the laws are natural laws, a nature God. War (competition0 is part of nature and you do the whole of the religion a disservice pretending that war is all it was about. It is ridiculous to pretend that nature is either "fertility growth and natural processes OR war and competition with other groups." What logical basis do you have for such a division? What nature God(ess) could ignore the bloody side of life?

And that impotent "lump thing" you refer to is where the mystics, philosophers of old, shamans, elders, etc., (and some modern geniuses as well) drew their knowledge of things in order to elaborate upon the "laws of God" and the "creation of the universe" that with our technology we are just now trying to prove using science. It is where you get a creation story of a singularity becoming a multiplicity or an atomic theory without math we have today and observational instruments, no matter how poorly written and supported with empirical evidence.

Hardly an impotent lump in my view



posted on Aug, 9 2010 @ 10:41 PM
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Originally posted by RainCloud
A human brain react to something that happen. The China Brain doesnt react to anything, they work/interact by themself from the start aka busy mind.


They don't react to anything? We don't even need the details of the China brain to think about this issue. The real China will do. Don't they react to the weather? Won't the individuals that first know about a coming storm tell the others, who will act in response? Didn't the real Chinese nation act to build the 3 gorges dam in anticipation of seasonal flooding? Flooding which was anticipated, I might add, by drawing on the memory of a large number of people. This seems to me like a collective cognitive process.

Certainly the China brain, and all systems under consideration in this experiment(except probably the biggest one, if there is a biggest one) don't exist in isolation; they have environments. If these systems are complex and coherent to any extent, which cultures and ecosystems(and just about any interesting system) is, they must react to their environment in order to not disintigrate into uniform choas. This, according to the second law of thermodynamics.



The brain improve overtime with new input. CB on the other hand doesnt need any new input, a good example is (cough) North Korean Brain. Almost 100% isolated from the rest of the world and yet they still can build ermm buildings, same goes to Bushmen Brain, still manage to be alive.



It seems like many cutural systems have impoved over time. This is measurable in terms of technology most obviously, but also in other areas. Population, life expectancy, average education level, ect. . . are increasing. Large human systems, CB included, are certainly developing in some way. It looks to me like they are growing(in terms of numbers) and getting smarter(both in terms of the knowledge/education level of the average person X the number of people and in terms of the greatest feats of technology, engineering, and science).



Another problem is, how do you explain an ancient civ the wiped from the earth before they even manage to communicate with other civ, and yet still manage to finish uhh few mega pyramid project?


My answer to how the civilization-level cognitive entities did it would be much the same as the way it is explained when we explain it in terms of individuals. If those cultures were truely isolated(which they weren't) then how did they all get similar ideas? That's not a problem for the collective-cognitive entity any more than it is for the individual architects(or handful of artchitects). These systems are creative, just like human brains. Since human brains are very similar to one another, humans have many of the same ideas as eachother. Since cultures are made of many human brains, they also get similar ideas as eachother(to an obviously limited extent, but we all build buildings and have economies and languages and the like). I think that your point here is a good way highlight the conceptual similarities between between large cognitive entities called cultures and small cognitive entities called people. Ask the questions that you asked here of both types of systems.



Another proof of not cognitive entity is civil war. A war happen only if there are 2 different side with different ideas. Does your brain have civil war within itself ? CB might and can have civil war.


This is a good point. There is clearly not an obvious, satisfactory human analogue to civil war, except to some extent cognitive dissonance.

The following is what I think is the best analogue in human cognition to civil wars within societies when we are thinking about the societies as cognitive entities. Think of paradigm shifts. Everyone holds a world view, which I believe is best thought of as a network of beliefs. All the beliefs can be expressed individually, but each belief depends on other beliefs. For exampe my belief about the moon going around the earth is a stand alone belief, but that belief is connected to my belief of how the solar system is arranged, my beliefs about gravity, and my beliefs about the earth being round, among other things. Those beliefs are connected to still more beliefs; about physics in general, about believing what I read in certain books and learn in school, about the history of science and western though in general. . . this network of connected beliefs goes on infinitely, with few beliefs operating truely in isolation.

I think that a civil war is like a radical shift in worldview; where incompatable beliefs exist within a cognitive entity at the same time, and the conflict must be resolved because the conflicting beliefs cannot both be fit into the same system of beliefs. For example if I saw a ghost, and recorded it on film, with a couple cameras at once, I would have such a conflict. I would have to make room for ghosts in my world view, and there is not room for my current beliefs about what human beings are, physics, and how the world works if I am also going to believe in ghosts. The ghosts and science would be incompatable, and since they cannot be held within a consistent cognitive architecture, one must be eliminated or they both must be radically altered to be compatable.

Civil wars are fought over beliefs. The similarity is actually striking. I think that's the best analogue.



If earth is cognitive entity, then we sure a helluva of a neuron, able to learn by itself.

A better comparison for your discussion would be jellyfish/starfish, where each nerve react by its own and yet still function as whole.


I think that the extent to which the earth-scale cognitive entity is like the individual human-brain cognitive entity is about the same as the extent to which the earth as a whole is like a human body as a whole. Not very similar. Why would they be? But the earth can still be viewed as a cognitive entity, I think. Whatever criteria, in terms of functional arrangment(ie large neural network), the human brain meets to grant it cognitive capacity, it is hard to coherently argue that the earth does not meet the same criteria, at the conceptual level. This is probably not true of large volumes of rock in certain areas of the earth, but at the very least the biosphere/ecosystem film on the surface of the earth likely meets the criteria.



posted on Aug, 9 2010 @ 11:13 PM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
So God is dull, aggressive, stupid, wasteful, cruel or at least unintentionally brutal, and so slow in His thinking that one of His thoughts takes over ten times his age in years to get from one side of His brain to the other.

Sounds just about right to me.


Hello.

The virtue of the character of this god-concept is certainly not a central feature of the idea. It doesn't make sense to use any of those kinds of adjectives outside of a moral-laden social context. You wouldn't say that the atmosphere of Jupiter is aggressive or dull or wasteful or stupid or anything other than what it is(would you?). If I said that the atmosphere of Jupiter was god, that wouldn't change the fact that none of those adjectives apply.

So, then why go around calling anything god at all? It's obviously trivial and meaningless to call the atmosphere of Jupiter god; is this cognitive entity business the same? I don't think so. It seems like calling things god has been a central feature of the human endeavor for at least as long as we've been keeping a record. But, I don't do it to keep the tradition alive, it's not a tradition that I think is a good one, but it's at least one that I am aware of as being important in some way. I'm interesting in this idea of larger-than-brain cognitive entities(AIs, cybernetic systems, extended mind hypothesises), and I think there's a real issue worth discussing here. In thinking about the larger entities, it seems to me like they might as well be god, based, I suppose, on whatever tenuous ideas I had about what he would like if someone ever found him. I think these large cognitive entities, if they exist, are as close to god as we're going to find in reality.

Jaynes' point is silly(although the whole thing is, when you think about it, but...). In any cognitive entity of any size that fits this whole China brain, loose neural network model(including real brains), thoughts are not single particles or electromagnetic transmitions. If the thought could exist as the transmition alone, the network wouldn't be needed. Just like in a human brain, the thought is the state(either in whole or substantial part). There is no single stand alone bit that is the thought.

Presumably, in the universe scale mind, the state of the universe would be parallel to the mental state of the universal mind. There wouldn't be one complete thought on one side and another complete thought on the other, flying towards each other at the speed of light for hundreds of billions of years such that when they finally meet god will remember that he left the front door unlocked. What can a human thought be mapped onto in the brain? Certainly nothing that travels from one side of the brain to the other. Thoughts can only be mapped onto states; particular ones out of a set of possible ones. Half of the brain, or a quarter, or the single electrical impulse though a neuron or small set of neurons over a certain period of time is not enough. Localized thoughts moving around in the brain is the wrong idea. I think it's wrong at large scales, too. The whole thing is the cognitive entity, so cognitive structures like thoughts are spread out over the whole thing, or much of it.


Edit to add on an unrelated note: I'm not going to ignore anyone who responded to my OP. I'm just not going to get into everything all at once.

[edit on 8/9/10 by OnceReturned]



posted on Aug, 10 2010 @ 03:02 AM
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reply to post by OnceReturned
 

Hello yourself, OnceReturned. Welcome back to your own thread. Where have you been hiding?


The virtue of the character of this god-concept is certainly not a central feature of the idea. It doesn't make sense to use any of those kinds of adjectives outside of a moral-laden social context.

I beg to differ. No discussion of God can avoid the moral dimension. You cannot redefine 'God' as having no divine attributes, as the indignant lady with the fractal avatar wants to do. If you call something God, you attribute divine powers to it by definition. And divine power implies moral responsibility. This is inescapable.


Why go around calling anything god at all? (Because) I'm interested in this idea of larger-than-brain cognitive entities (AIs, cybernetic systems, extended- mind hypothesises), and I think there's a real issue worth discussing here... I think these large cognitive entities, if they exist, are as close to god as we're going to find in reality.

No problem. I take it we're still talking about material entities, not 'spiritual' ones. An upper limit of a few light-years seems plausible; above that the time taken for cognitive processes to occur would be too long.* Thoughts are not instantaneous, I'm afraid; see my next paragraph.


Presumably, in the universe scale mind, the state of the universe would be parallel to the mental state of the universal mind. What can a human thought be mapped onto in the brain? Certainly nothing that travels from one side of the brain to the other.

I'm afraid that's wrong. Thoughts can be and have been mapped on to patterns of neural activity. Neural activity consists of neurons firing in cascades. It is time-dependent. It begins at one point in the brain and spreads out from there.

If our brains were very large--or even if they were spread out flat instead of being tightly folded and bundled up so that the average space between neurons is greatly reduced--our thoughts would take much longer to form, and we would be in a similar plight as the Universal God who--in your words--takes billions of years to remember that He left the front door unlocked.

You also neglect the time-lags involved in afferent and efferent processes. A thought is triggered by a sensory input here; it results in an action over there, several thousand light-years away. From stimulus to response, how many aeons? I'm sure you don't mean these LCEs of yours to be mere sterile thought-mills, incapable of real input or output; indeed, your reply to Rain Cloud makes it clear you do not.


Jaynes' point is silly... In any cognitive entity of any size that fits this whole China brain, loose neural network model (including real brains), thoughts are not single particles or electromagnetic transmissions. If the thought could exist as the transmission alone, the network wouldn't be needed. Just like in a human brain, the thought is the state (either in whole or substantial part). There is no single stand alone bit that is the thought.

Actually, a thought can exist as the transmission alone. You are reading a train of such transmissions from me at this moment.

In a human brain, a thought is/arises out of some kind of physical brain-state. However, not all brain-states give rise to thoughts; in fact, only a very small fraction of them do so. Jaynes's point is not silly, though his flashlight metaphor is; it is perfectly true that most of us do not realize to how great an extent we are our unconsious cerebral processes; we are not conscious of what we cannot be conscious of, and so tend to undervalue or ignore it. It is only psychologically sophisticated people who can observe their own complex behaviour over time and--now and then, only now and then--detect the unconscious processes at work in it.

 

*Perhaps disappointingly, I do not believe the principle of quantum entanglement holds out any hope for instantaneous communications over vast distances. Entanglement works both ways, so any attempt at reading the message will probably erase it at source even as it is being written. I suspect there is a Law of Conservation of Information; indeed, the First Law of Thermodynamics looks a lot like one from certain angles.



posted on Aug, 10 2010 @ 05:21 AM
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reply to post by Illusionsaregrander
 


I am assuming you are arguing a Christian god. Since you are insisting, much like Christians do, that there is only one possible way a God could be.

I am doing nothing of the kind. There are many possible ways God could be; yours is just one of them.

Before we go any further, permit me to refresh your memory. Western Concepts of God. Please don’t forget to read the list of divine attributes in Section Three.

We’ll come to the Hindus later.

Your concept of God is known as pantheism. But pantheists, who equate God with Nature, endow divine Nature with divine attributes. The trouble starts as soon as you do that, because when you give something divine powers--specifically, the power to perform miracles--you endow it with divine responsibility as well. And if God (however defined) has moral responsibility, He is certainly behaving irresponsibly.

In Western thought, the nearest thing that exists to your conception of God is the philosophy of Baruch Spinoza. This famously difficult early-Enlightenment philosopher believed that God was Everything, simply because God could lack nothing, and therefore had to be everything—i.e., the universe. ‘Whatever is, is in God, and nothing can be or be conceived without God.’ But this led Spinoza into the usual paradoxes: Is God both a wicked action and its victim? is God the pain I feel as well as the cause of it? This problems led him to shift his ground somewhat, and to conceive of God as somehow pre-existent. ‘All that is,’ as you say, but somehow more. The distinction has remained unclear ever since, even to those who make Spinoza their special field of study. Hardly surprising.

If one accepts your premise that all that exists is God, and allows further that God is a conscious and rational entity, then it follows directly that God is either evil, not omnipotent, or amoral and apathetic. Being everything, God needs to do nothing, not even sustain himself, for either He incorporates time itself, or time does not exist. Everything is God, and God may treat Himself as He pleases, regardless of what befalls his members. This is all very well for God, but when his members have minds and bodies capable of death and suffering, when they have individual selves, then it is obvious that from the point of view of those selves God is treating them with heedless, unnecessary, cruelty. Thus my comments in the first post to which you responded. I am one of those selves capable of death and suffering, and I speak of God from that perspective. I stand by my words: they continue to apply no matter what concept of God you wish to impose upon us.

*


Despite your ridiculous and somewhat hysterical accusations, there is less dividing us than you think. If I were to embrace a concept of divinity, it would be the Spinozan. Spinoza’s God--Nature--is the scientist’s God, too. Nature awes, exhilarates, terrifies and inspires me. I perceive, adore and fear its vastness, its complexity, its seemingly infinite web of connexions and interrelations, its uncanny ability to bring forth order and life from disorder and desert waste. I can easily see Nature as numinous and transcendent, almost—but only almost--deserving of worship. But I am neither a mystic nor a fool. I know that Nature is a blind, brainless slave to Necessity. Perhaps I should worship the Moirae. And in a sense, I do. That is what being a scientific materialist is all about.

*


The rest of your post is shrewish yatter, which I will not dignify with a response. However, I promised a reply to your claim to have found fellow-travellers among the Hindu sages, and your insistent attempts to reinterpret the Rig-Veda are as good a place as any to do that.


Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander
In polytheist cultures there is often an overarching Divinity, and then lesser "gods" who meddle in material and human affairs. The end of that hymn actually directly mentions the One God that oversees and encompasses all.

Wrong. The One referred to is an unidentified numen, to which the Vedic sages assigned no attributes at all. The context makes that very clear. Instead of Wikipedia, let’s try an Indian reference, shall we?


The great sage Yajnavalkya was once asked by his disciples to describe Brahman. 'Neti neti,' he replied which means 'not this, not that'.

An attempt to use our minds to understand Brahman is said to be futile, as it is beyond the reach of the senses or the mind. Describing Brahman can be likened to describing the colour red to someone who has never seen it. You know what it looks like, but you cannot describe it.Source

A little simplistic for you? All right, try this instead.

Confusing, I agree. yet one thing we do notice among this multiplicity of definitions: God, in Hindu terms, preserves the Godly attributes of omnipotence, omniscience and universal creation. The attributes, in fact, that I have been insisting on from the outset.



posted on Aug, 10 2010 @ 09:17 AM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
reply to post by OnceReturned
 

Hello yourself, OnceReturned. Welcome back to your own thread. Where have you been hiding?


I know, I know. Dereliction of duty and all that, sorry. Good to hear from you again, it's been some time.



I beg to differ. No discussion of God can avoid the moral dimension. You cannot redefine 'God' as having no divine attributes, as the indignant lady with the fractal avatar wants to do. If you call something God, you attribute divine powers to it by definition. And divine power implies moral responsibility. This is inescapable.

[...]

No problem. I take it we're still talking about material entities, not 'spiritual' ones.


Well, if we have to attribute divinity to it, but also agree that we're not talking about spiritual entities, then we're in trouble. So, your argument must be that it is inappropriate for me to refer to these things, or the biggest one of them, as god(s).

It may be inappropriate, but here's how I think about it: we aren't going to find divine things in reality. In reality, the term god as it is used conventionally, and all classical ideas of god, map onto concepts and ideas and not tangible beings(or so I believe and I believe that you believe). I am familiar with many of the ideas that are associated with god(s), and I think that these LCEs are the closest things to the god concept that we will find in reality. You can say that they seem like boring jerks, so they don't make very good god(s) because they fail in the divinity department, but that line of thinking won't lead us very far in any direction that we apply it; the world is how it is with all of the bad that exists, it's impossble for this reason alone that we will find that some sparkling, benevolent, genius is the mastermind behind it all. (But this line of thinking presents a starting point for long and tedious digression, I'll end the next the paragraph by changing tack.)

Unicorns have a mystical, fairy tale aspect that is inherent to them. Yet, if I found something in the woods that looked like a unicorn but was as non-mystical and mundane as all of the other animals, I think that I would still talk about it as a unicorn. That's a decent analogue to what I'm doing here, with god. I feel like I'm starting down the road of the argument that you're already having about whether or not it's acceptable to call something god when it's not very much like a god. That's a valid point, if it's not doing god like things, then it's not something that we should call god. Consider, though, what throughout history has been called a god. The earth, celestial bodies, the king. . . ect. In many cases the central feature of a faith has been the worship of a real, tangible, entity which the practitioners of the faith have refered to as god. Imbuing divinity is an act of faith. I only wish to say that the LCEs resemble in actual manifestation what I would expect an object of worship or a god to be like. If someone is going to say that some real thing is god, an LCE is the best candidate, better than the sun or the moon or the king.

I feel like you're still going to have a problem with that and tell me that it's stupid(although in sophisticated terms). . . When we're stuck on a classical omnipotent being idea, then yes, it is, but an alternative idea about what we should be calling god may be in order after thousands of years of plainly wrong beliefs on the matter. Uhg, now I'm feeling like a new age non-sense monger. Well, my position expressed most weakly, then, is that the LCEs have a place in theology. They should be addressed in that area of thought. Isn't there some desirable middle ground to be found between the LCEs and the classical notion of god? If the classical notion is taken to be totally unrealistic, should we think about what we can do with the LCEs? After all, if they exist, they will be the first things that we've discovered with vastly greater cognitive capacity and complexity than ourselves. If people want a higher power that might actually exist(and isn't something trivial, like "everything"), doesn't an LCE fit the bill?

I'll have to address your later points this evening.



posted on Aug, 10 2010 @ 09:52 AM
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Originally posted by stevcolx
Pliny The Younger wrote alot of the stories in the bible as well as other roman emperors.

Citation needed.



posted on Aug, 10 2010 @ 10:35 AM
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That was a lot to write just to say God is the collective. While your references make the point it is a commonly held belief among quasi religious people. Both people that never showed more than a passing interest in faith( it does not matter which faith), and those who subscribe to new age dogma. I believe that those who have studied faith extensively usually come to a more complex belief system.

Notice I am not talking about disciples of one faith specifically, although in many cases they are. But the real thinkers, and those thinking people whom faith played a large part in their lives.

I submit that your idea holds merit but it is not the be all end all of God. There are other aspects to God. For some of us we are aware of this China brain, and I mean intimately aware while others cannot feel this. Are they part of a different collective? I think not. They are cut off from that aspect. Yet some of those people are really the most devout.

Even though I do not like the trinity doctrine I feel it does symbolize "a" three fold nature of God.

God the father: Creator, overseer, man in the sky, etc.

God the Son: friend, brother,confidant,teacher,etc.

God the holy spirit: China brain, collective,energy,conciousness, etc.

This is as simplistic as you can explain God until the model just breaks down.

God is all these things and that is why its so hard to come up with a credible all encompassing theory. That is why one name never sufficed, thus the 72. That is why all the different Egyptian gods and aspects, reason for polytheism.

So I believe what you are saying is true in partiality.

[edit on 10-8-2010 by ISHAMAGI]

[edit on 10-8-2010 by ISHAMAGI]



posted on Aug, 10 2010 @ 12:36 PM
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Originally posted by Astyanax

Despite your ridiculous and somewhat hysterical accusations, there is less dividing us than you think.




Originally posted by Astyanax
The rest of your post is shrewish yatter, which I will not dignify with a response.


Resorting to sexism? How..........................weak.

What a shame someone felt obligated to tell you I was female. Because prior to your being told, my arguments were not "hysterical" and "shrewish."

Now, whenever you are called out for argumentative bull# such as insisting in a God that is easy for you to knock down to make winning your case a sure bet, I am going to have to deal with your ad hominem attacks on my gender. Lovely.

And dont blame me for "imposing" my God on this debate. You are the one who is doing so. This thread was about the idea of God being a collective consciousness, which is consistent with my argument, and the reason I posted in this thread. You are the one trying to prove your pet bottom line, "the all arguments about God are irrational wastes of time" by imposing a God that makes said pet argument easy to win.

And I am not unfamiliar with Spinoza. I enjoy him quite a bit. I am also not unfamiliar with the logical dancing he has to do to try to make his God work. His dilemma is not all that problematic, really. He was just limited by his perspective.



posted on Aug, 10 2010 @ 01:40 PM
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Originally posted by OnceReturned


This is a good point. There is clearly not an obvious, satisfactory human analogue to civil war, except to some extent cognitive dissonance.


If we want to stay with the analogy that physical humans are analogous to physical brain cells, then there is a human analog for civil war. Pruning.

www.pbs.org...


Even though it may seem that having a lot of synapses is a particularly good thing, the brain actually consolidates learning by pruning away synapses and wrapping white matter (myelin) around other connections to stabilize and strengthen them. The period of pruning, in which the brain actually loses gray matter, is as important for brain development as is the period of growth. For instance, even though the brain of a teenager between 13 and 18 is maturing, they are losing 1 percent of their gray matter every year.

Giedd hypothesizes that the growth in gray matter followed by the pruning of connections is a particularly important stage of brain development in which what teens do or do not do can affect them for the rest of their lives. He calls this the "use it or lose it principle," and tells FRONTLINE, "If a teen is doing music or sports or academics, those are the cells and connections that will be hardwired. If they're lying on the couch or playing video games or MTV, those are the cells and connections that are going to survive."



posted on Aug, 11 2010 @ 01:54 AM
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reply to post by Illusionsaregrander
 


Resorting to sexism? How..........................weak.



Enchanté, madame ou mademoiselle.

If you won't play fair, don't expect fair play from others.

*


reply to post by OnceReturned
 


I only wish to say that the LCEs resemble in actual manifestation what I would expect an object of worship or a god to be like. If someone is going to say that some real thing is god, an LCE is the best candidate, better than the sun or the moon or the king.

I feel like you're still going to have a problem with that and tell me that it's stupid...

No. Why should I? You're saying, to paraphrase Arthur C. Clarke, that 'any sufficiently advanced being is indistinguishable from God.' Sounds reasonable enough to me.

[edit on 11/8/10 by Astyanax]



posted on Aug, 11 2010 @ 02:21 AM
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Originally posted by OnceReturned

The simple idea to take away from this experiment is this: The function of the brain can be correctly characterized as many individual nodes communicating in a complex way, connected in a complex network. This is a functional description of the brain; the thing that gives you a mind and makes you a cognitive entity.




it is here that i get the impression that the mind is created by the functions of the brain.
i prefer the indian yogic view that the mind interpenetrates the brain, attaches itself to an organ of sense relating to for example the eye and interprets what it sees. how it does that is complex but involves transmitting the information to the place in the heart of that which does not move, as everything else is relative. we are pure awareness but overlay it with various mental constructs to our own detriment. but eventually, purification occurs and we reflect the causeless cause/source of all. which we always were/am/will be.



posted on Aug, 11 2010 @ 04:15 AM
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Originally posted by orangutang
i prefer the indian yogic view that the mind interpenetrates the brain, attaches itself to an organ of sense relating to for example the eye and interprets what it sees...

Preferences are all very well, but shouldn't we be trying to learn the truth and know it, rather than just deciding what to believe?

Is there any evidence for this 'Indian yogic view'? Evidence that points only to it and cannot be interpreted any other way?

What is 'mind', anyway?




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