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I have never been comfortable with anyone saying I was wrong without the benefit of an explanation. Also, I have read everything that Ayn Rand has written including the "Objectivist Newsletter" which believe or not, I still have in my possession.

I consider post number 12 (among others), in this very topic, to be an excellent summary of what my explanation would be. I didn't actually post that explanation, because I assumed you read that post, along with all the others in the topic, before you decided to opine.

I believe the post I mentioned addresses your points on agnostics directly, so feel free to consider it my (now explicit) explanation.

P.S. Don't get the impression that I was dismissing your ideas in my previous answer. I just chose not to repeat points that were already made. Normally, when a subject is unexplored, you would get much more detailed replies.

Edited by Jake_Ellison
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I consider post number 12 (among others), in this very topic, to be an excellent summary of what my explanation would be. I didn't actually post that explanation, because I assumed you read that post, along with all the others in the topic, before you decided to opine.

I believe the post I mentioned addresses your points on agnostics directly, so feel free to consider it my (now explicit) explanation.

P.S. Don't get the impression that I was dismissing your ideas in my previous answer. I just chose not to repeat points that were already made. Normally, when a subject is unexplored, you would get much more detailed replies.

Post 12 does not change my position - on the agnostic position, I do not know if god exist; It cannot be proven nor disproven. Since the agnostic is without theistic belief he is an athiest, by the definition that I employed. Please see the dictiionary reference below

This follows the definition that I used of an Athiest - one without theistic belief. An athiest cannot say god does not exist for that claim cannot be proved and is not the responsibility of the Athiest to prove such. It is the theist who must prove the existence of god.

atheist - 5 dictionary results

–noun a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings.

Origin:

1565–75; < Gk áthe(os) godless + -ist

Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)

Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.

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Tonix777,

The closest you come to reality in your argument is in the fact that the CONCEPT of god is real. But a god or gods do not exist, as far as we know. Same goes for vampires or werewolves. They are make believe, not actually existing.

Rob

Yes you are right, it is the "concept" of God what I am talking about. I am just now finishing Rand's "Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology" and it is now more clear for me.

Anyway going further and following Rand's advice of keeping always in mind where any concept comes from, it would be very interesting try to discover why human race made a concept about something that doesn't exist. Why human race invented Gods?

Here is my guess:

Implicit in whatever concept we form about any existent are also all things that this existent is not, this is what I call "Law of Contrast" and it means that everything that exists, exists "against" something, some background or context which is the opposite, the different

Dummy example: Apples exist because there are other fruits "non-apple" like pears or oranges, if not "apples" wouldn't exist, they would be instead just "fruits", the only fruits

In this case the concept "God" is just the non-human, it is an anti-concept converted in concept

God is everything that we aren't: We are finite, he is eternal. We are in one place at a time, he is everywhere. We are not omniscient, he is. We have not infinite power, he has. We can't change natural laws, he can. etc.

Human race took all what we are not (an anti-concept) and made a concept: God

Probably a concept psico-epistemologically necessary to recognize and differentiate ourselves from the reality and to deal with our own limited

physical power in contrast with our unlimited mental power. We men use the concept of God to confirm and reassure our own limits and to be able to deal with them in different ways according to each one's resources.

Edited by Tonix777
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I think God and religion is primarily a means to explain the apparently inexplicable. Gods were cited as the cause of natural occurrences like lightning or the creation of the world. As we discover more with science we disprove these faith-based theories.

But why do people resort to the explanation of a God instead of a more logical idea? I think God is the result of deficiencies in rationality and self-esteem. Instead of actively seeking an explanation in their reach people decry that it is inexplicable, undermining the power of their minds and vesting it in some supposed higher being. I would say a lot of people do not generally have confidence in their own thinking so they resort to something that is by default beyond them. Instead of putting forth the hard work to improve they pray and hope that things will work out.

That's my theory atleast

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I'd say that's a lot of it, Fountainhead777 but not all. A lot is sheer societal inertia. Remember that it wasn't until the 1600s that it became clear to us that the universe was actually orderly and explainable, and back then everything we did worked on muscle power. So both our knowlege and capabilities were puny, and there was no reason to even think that it ever could be otherwise, much less that it would be otherwise. Man in that state knows things are massively complicated and is unable to conceive of mechanistic explanations for things because mechanisms didn't seem capable of being complex enough. Hence some super-powerful parent-figure behind everything. Darwin's influence was not just on biology but on everything, for he was able to show that complexity and order could arise spontaneously and not because some god-thingie designed it that way. He was every bit as revolutionary as Newton.

Our current situation of rapidly expanding knowlege (making the "God of the Gaps" ever increasingly svelte) and technology, where one can see no end in sight, is *very* unusual and our culture still hasn't caught up. You see more and more atheists out there these days (I am third generation on my Mom's side) but a lot of people are religious through sheer societal inertia: because they were raised that way, by parents who themselves were raised that way....

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Perhaps it would be better to say gods exist as fictional characters, the same way Mickey Mouse 'exists' but doesn't: as a construct of human imagination with an existence only within the framework of fiction, but lacking any physical existence or autonomy as an entity outside of that framework. Similarly, tales about their exploits may exist, but those exploits are fiction and never happened, or were not actually caused by them- not unlike the stories about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which may be even enacted by actors in latex costumes or CGI creatures, but as much as you may wish to re-enact them and portray them, it will not grant them autonomous existence, their existence is merely conditional, and that condition is the human imagination.

Edited by kainscalia
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I think religion is a way of corrupting the concept of "god" so that mankind is denied its proper role as a designator of a class of men who do behave the way a god is said to behave. God-like men are the ones who discover truth about existence and successfully apply it usefully to the business of living.

Being the judge on our own behalf all the time is what each of us needs to do. The Age of Individuality is what we need to usher in the concept of Individual Rights and the true freedom to achieve greatness each of us in our own ways.

Religion was created by the mediocre who were too lazy to learn how to use their own minds.

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I wouldn't call that a Godlike man. I would call that a Manlike man. A Godlike man would simply not exist, because you couldn't define what he was.

Why can't I define it? I don't accept their definition of the term. I did allude to what I mean by a god-like man. "God" is said to be "the creator". Therefore god-like men are the ones who create - new knowledge, new applications of knowledge. Basically they are the ones who make the extra effort. It's not mystical or magical and it's not unknowable. By adding on all these impossible characteristics, the purveyors of religion succeeded in obliterating a real use for the term. Not to apply to a supernatural being, but to apply to the best among men.

Most people don't really apply their minds in what I would call a god-like way. They learn a few basic moves, but they don't really add to the sum of human knowledge. They don't discover or invent or create.

What I call godlike men might one day be the norm, but today such men are few and far between, and over the course of our history on this planet, they have so far always been rarities, not the majority.

Edited by AllMenAreIslands
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But the essential aspect of the alleged god is not that he creates but what he allegedly created, the universe, life and most specifically us as beings with a soul. (If this all is true then it logically follows that he must have had an inordinate fondness for beetles and shitheaded politicians.)

No man did any of that, so I agree that kainscala's formulation is more appropriate. It should be unnecessary too but unfortunately there are plenty of non-manlike men out there.

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But the essential aspect of the alleged god is not that he creates but what he allegedly created, the universe, life and most specifically us as beings with a soul. (If this all is true then it logically follows that he must have had an inordinate fondness for beetles and shitheaded politicians.)

No man did any of that, so I agree that kainscala's formulation is more appropriate. It should be unnecessary too but unfortunately there are plenty of non-manlike men out there.

Since Gods are invented, "we" the inventors say what they are :lol:

And human race had invented quite different kind of gods along its history

The point of view of AllMenAreIslands is very interesting also, but I still maintain that gods are invented for a reason:

They cover our weaknesses, they are what we aren't.

We made them to be what mankind needed in each age

And since only a very small portion of human race are strong or intelligent enough to stand in their own feet Gods will always exist, as long as they are needed for the weak, the hopeless, the simple-minded or even worse: the controllers, the tyrants, or simply the ones who make their business selling the god's idea and "benefits" to others

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Since Gods are invented, "we" the inventors say what they are :lol:

And human race had invented quite different kind of gods along its history

The point of view of AllMenAreIslands is very interesting also, but I still maintain that gods are invented for a reason:

They cover our weaknesses, they are what we aren't.

We made them to be what mankind needed in each age

...Gods will always exist...

By exist I'm assuming that you mean they "exist inside our consciousness". Right?

1. If so, don't you think "always" is a pretty long time? What if Putin decides to press the button, and we all go bye bye tomorrow? Won't the Gods also stop existing?

2. Why not mention what you mean by exist in the title of the thread, and save everyone a lot of hassle?

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I was watching a documentary on Egyptian afterlife the other day, and it was quite interesting.

The Egyptians thought that the dead's spirits would live on as long as their body was preserved and they were remembered by living people.

So, for example. Say I make up a god named "X". If I had never, in my entire life, told anyone that I made up this god "X" or gave any details of it, never wrote it down and recorded it, and died with this, would he exist?

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I was watching a documentary on Egyptian afterlife the other day, and it was quite interesting.

The Egyptians thought that the dead's spirits would live on as long as their body was preserved and they were remembered by living people.

So, for example. Say I make up a god named "X". If I had never, in my entire life, told anyone that I made up this god "X" or gave any details of it, never wrote it down and recorded it, and died with this, would he exist?

No he would not. He would stop existing the second you stop existing. In fact, just for fun, let's speculate that you described this God on paper before you died: it would still not exist, until someone read the paper and understood what it is you meant.

I guess the eyiptians had no idea that there's no soul without the brain, which they couldn't preserve, huh?

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By exist I'm assuming that you mean they "exist inside our consciousness". Right?

1. If so, don't you think "always" is a pretty long time? What if Putin decides to press the button, and we all go bye bye tomorrow? Won't the Gods also stop existing?

2. Why not mention what you mean by exist in the title of the thread, and save everyone a lot of hassle?

Yes of course I mean "exist inside our consciousness"

1-Well... Even if Putin do so it is almost impossible that the entire human race would stop existing, it would occur only if the Earth explode or something like this (BTW did you know that in some ancient ice age they remained only a couple of thousand primitive humans in Africa? We were probably close to disappear... Wow!)

2-Well... It had been fun to post this forum in a not-that-clear way because it invited more to discussion.

I am surprised about how much different perspectives exist about this matter even between Objectivists

Edited by Tonix777
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That "ancient ice ige" is theorized to be the explosion of the Toba supervolcano in Indonesia. BTW Yellowstone is another such and tends to blow its stack every couple of million years or so. And it's currently becoming more active. I'm not actually worried, mind you. (If I were, I sure as hell wouldn't be living in Colorado.)

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Anyway going further and following Rand's advice of keeping always in mind where any concept comes from, it would be very interesting try to discover why human race made a concept about something that doesn't exist. Why human race invented Gods?

I've always found Matthew Alper's theory interesting, you can read the premise here: http://godpart.com/

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I've always found Matthew Alper's theory interesting, you can read the premise here: http://godpart.com/

Hey Maximus, thanks for the recommendation!!

I read the premise ant it sounds very interesting, I will buy the book today

Did you read the whole book? What about the Kant's chapter?

Since Ms Rand hated Kant so much I tried to read something from/about him a couple of times but it was impossible, he gives me just headache and revulsion ...

About Alper's theory I agree in principle, I will tell you more after reading the book

I am 45 now and I just had a baby that is now one year old, and honestly only since my late 30s or 40s I feel more comfortable with the idea of dying and completely disappearing form the Universe, perhaps because I feel now more "complete" meaning I have done the main and more important things I liked to do in my life, I already lived "a lot" of things, experiences, travels, stages, etc. so I could die tomorrow and it would be ok for me

I am now an agnostic/atheist and I have been a believer only for a short period when teenager, but anyway in my 20s the problem of my own death caused to me a lot of painful anxiety several times a week, I felt that I had so much things to do...

So in line with Alper's position, my current way of dealing with my certain death (tomorrow or in 40 years more) and my consequent ceasing of existence is not appealing to God to save me from death thru immortality, I already saved my self living and exciting, diverse and productive life, my own adventure where I did everything I wanted (still do) taking everyday new challenges and improving myself as much as I can. I am following the basic premise "Be ready to die tomorrow" which makes the need of God almost unnecessary. The immortality "need" is also greatly covered by my little son that one day, in some way will "continue" my life after I am gone because a part of me will follow with him...

Did you ever wondered why an individualist like Ayn Rand wrote all those wonderful books? Why she shared her wisdom with others?

For me it was her way to be "immortal", those extraordinary books are her sons that she left in the World after dying

BUT you probably will agree that having this kind of approach when you are still in your 20s or less is much more difficult since you still have a life to live and death could suddenly deprive you from that

On the other hand people living boring unchallenging lives can be also afraid of death on their 60s because they basically didn't really enjoyed life, they probably still feel like a teenager in this matter

Edited by Tonix777
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Hi all

Maximus's recommendation has been VERY interesting, I bought the book "The God part of the brain" and although I have read only 30% I can surely recommend it too

As a bonus for us as Objectivists there are some insights in the short Kant's chapter which lead to me to rethink a little my evaluation of this philosopher that was 100% influenced by Rand's hate of him

Now I could think that even if he was wrong in several aspects of his approach he was probably pioneer to analyze our own perceptual system as part of the problem of the relation between metaphysics and epistemology...

On the other hand the books leads me to certain similar ideas about a possible "collectivist" part of our brain that I will elaborate later and write in this forum for further discussion

PS:

I am from Argentina and I am moving to live in Great Neck, NY

beginning next year with my wife and two kids

(I am writing this from a hotel in Tarrytown, near Yonkers)

Do you know some place to contact Objectivist people interested

in friendship? It is a new country for me and making new

friends would be important for this new stage in my life

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the satement GOD EXISTS hides a deeper problem than semantics. Regardless of the topic starter's intentions (which I understand and to a point share) I'd like to point out the value of Monotheism and its correlation with another statement: REALITY EXISTS.

Some 5 millenia ago it was declared "... adonai eloheinu, adonai ehad." That's the shemá, the oldest tradition of reaffirming that "...the Lord is our God, our God is One". If we analize this holy statement in the context of the dawn of Civilization we can see that it was a call for Objectivity, i.e. a call for one truth, one tfaceless God, and thus one reality.

Declaring that God is one, universal, all encompassing, and not a humanoid; and abolishing idolatry; was a huge step toward s a more rational worldview. Explain: Idolatry is a form of magic, it asigns supernatural attributes to earthly objects. By banning such practices and declaring that the supernatural is one and doesn't manifest itself in earthly forms, it strips the populace from its "right" to enshrine things and forces it to accept one objective nature.

Don't make the mistake of confussing the dualism of natural/supernatural, mind/body, with the fact that thanks to a Monotheistic religion humankind outgrew magic and polytheism (that over-esteemed belief system that blurs the boundaries of the natural, the seminatural nd the supernatural (men, heroes and gods).

Now, in this relativist world we live in, I can't help to notice that Objectivism is the only atheist philosophy that in its own way, also declares that nature is one, and that reality exists. There ARE some similarities between Objectivism and religion, and some outrageous reactions to this and other topics only provides further truth. Namely that similarity would be the case of whether Objectivism requieres "Absolute Certainty".

now, shoot

the satement GOD EXISTS hides a deeper problem than semantics. Regardless of the topic starter's intentions (which I understand and to a point share) I'd like to point out the value of Monotheism and its correlation with another statement: REALITY EXISTS.

Some 5 millenia ago it was declared "... adonai eloheinu, adonai ehad." That's the shemá, the oldest tradition of reaffirming that "...the Lord is our God, our God is One". If we analize this holy statement in the context of the dawn of Civilization we can see that it was a call for Objectivity, i.e. a call for one truth, one tfaceless God, and thus one reality.

Declaring that God is one, universal, all encompassing, and not a humanoid; and abolishing idolatry; was a huge step toward s a more rational worldview. Explain: Idolatry is a form of magic, it asigns supernatural attributes to earthly objects. By banning such practices and declaring that the supernatural is one and doesn't manifest itself in earthly forms, it strips the populace from its "right" to enshrine things and forces it to accept one objective nature.

Don't make the mistake of confussing the dualism of natural/supernatural, mind/body, with the fact that thanks to a Monotheistic religion humankind outgrew magic and polytheism (that over-esteemed belief system that blurs the boundaries of the natural, the seminatural nd the supernatural (men, heroes and gods).

Now, in this relativist world we live in, I can't help to notice that Objectivism is the only atheist philosophy that in its own way, also declares that nature is one, and that reality exists. There ARE some similarities between Objectivism and religion, and some outrageous reactions to this and other topics only provides further truth. Namely that similarity would be the case of whether Objectivism requieres "Absolute Certainty".

now, shoot

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Declaring that God is one, universal, all encompassing, and not a humanoid; and abolishing idolatry; was a huge step toward s a more rational worldview. Explain: Idolatry is a form of magic, it asigns supernatural attributes to earthly objects. By banning such practices and declaring that the supernatural is one and doesn't manifest itself in earthly forms, it strips the populace from its "right" to enshrine things and forces it to accept one objective nature.

I don't think that theory makes sense. Objective nature and any supernatural (one or many) are opposites. I can't imagine how the latter could spur the former, no matter how what the supernatural is supposed to mean: you could write a Holy Book in which God's only command was to obey your mind and be rational, and there still would be a contradiction that would never allow for reason to take hold, if this Holy Book is taken seriously. The only huge steps toward a more rational world view are the times when men reject the idea of the supernatural and the mystical.

But forget theory, let's look at what happened, in practice:

What historical data makes you believe that monotheism (which was represented by Christianity/Islam, and Judaism before it), was a step toward reason?

I'll let you come up with arguments (since you're asserting it), but just by a quick glance (in my memory) at the civilizations that first started coming up with rational methods of thought (especially Aristotelean logic), they were far from monotheism.

If anything, when Christianity and Islam started dominating a region, the very instruments of reason the Greeks came up with and the Romans (and Middle Eastern Kingdoms to a degree) embraced were abandoned.

This sounds to me a lot like the arguments Christians use in favor of intelligent design, except in philosophy rather than biology. I'd love to know the source of your theory, I' genuinely curious.

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I don't think that theory makes sense. Objective nature and any supernatural (one or many) are opposites. I can't imagine how the latter could spur the former, no matter how what the supernatural is supposed to mean: you could write a Holy Book in which God's only command was to obey your mind and be rational, and there still would be a contradiction that would never allow for reason to take hold, if this Holy Book is taken seriously. The only huge steps toward a more rational world view are the times when men reject the idea of the supernatural and the mystical.

But forget theory, let's look at what happened, in practice:

What historical data makes you believe that monotheism (which was represented by Christianity/Islam, and Judaism before it), was a step toward reason?

I'll let you come up with arguments (since you're asserting it), but just by a quick glance (in my memory) at the civilizations that first started coming up with rational methods of thought (especially Aristotelean logic), they were far from monotheism.

If anything, when Christianity and Islam started dominating a ree embraced were abandoned.

This sounds to me a lot like the arguments Christians use in favor of intelligent design, except in philosophy rather than biology. I'd love to know the source of your theory, I' genuinely curious.

Since you're genuinely curious I'll level with you:

I completely accept and understand that a rational religion is an oxymoron. I don't personally believe in deities, but I do believe in a Darwinian model of evolution where reason is-slowly- developed as a substitute or upgrade for lost instinct (the same way an animal develops instinct, and nerve cells, as a upgrade from robotic genetic commands as in vegetables).

In such a context; and remember we are living such a context, we are evolving as we speak at not ar slower brate than before; it seems inconceivable to me that reason is a divine faculty that was anoited on day 6. Only a deist, or a very dogmatic person, could believe such a ridicule.

Therefore the same way I find it more logical to understand the dawn of humans as the dusk of apes, and not as a divine edict, I find it more logical to see a gradual upgrade from Instinct to Philosophy passing through the development of magic, religion, monotheistic religion, and then the negation of that one god.

Let's turn to empiric evidence: from John Locke to Ayn Rand, they were both raised monotheistic to a certain extent. It might have been through the negation of a universal god that secularism and free thought arose. Ancient Greece did not expand its Aristotelian ideas but with the help of muslims and christians, and ultimately jews who were in most cases the translators. Chinese Confucianism never was a deist philosophy, and yet superstition is rampan - and not only for their budhist (nihilist) infections.

I don't think I can explain it right now, or in this month, but I ask you, all of you, whether you see any kind of historic value, at least as an enabler, in monotheism, that is in bundling all gods together and thus freeing the earth from endless petty wars (physical and philosophical ones).

If there wasn't any value in monotheism, how is it that the people who -arguably- first claimed it, expanded their meme to 80% of humankind, exponentially for the last millenia.

But you could almoast say the same about Socialism, and what's the value in that? Well maybe its value, like in aesthetics, is to make the opposite appear more clear.

BTW is Objectivism a dialectic philosophy like Sciabarra postulates? Because I feel very dialectic when I challenge a position.

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