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The Law of Identity and God

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Alright, so with your definition in mind, what knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense or insight was applied to produce the concept of God?

A personal experience; some catalyst of significance to the individual.

And what was said knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense or insight applied to?

Determining whether or not there is something more significant to our life than birth, reproduction and death, given our awareness of a universe beyond the scope of our imagination.

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A personal experience; some catalyst of significance to the individual.

Determining whether or not there is something more significant to our life than birth, reproduction and death, given our awareness of a universe beyond the scope of our imagination.

You misunderstood my questions.

You alleged that A was applied to B, and the result was God.

You stated that A is "knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense or insight", and you said nothing about what B is.

My two questions were:

1. What is A, more specifically?

2. What is B?

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I don't think so... Whether one is seeking "a form of artistic benefit", or consulting "witch doctors", the primary motivation is most likely the result of responding to the question, "Is there something greater to aspire to?". Non-belief typically responds, "Things are what they are", which appears unsatisfactory, or incomplete to a majority of individuals.

I know no one who holds to “non-belief” (i.e. realty) to say that. People still aspire to something anyway outside of some radical progressives I know but that has to do with their stunted drive/collectivist desire to feed off of others, not the fact that they understand the scientific method.

You are package dealing two random attributes together, admitting there are no God(s) because there is no proof that He (They) exist, and the idea that people do this because of some inner need to be inspired. There is no causal link. The only studied causal link for people to be religious I’ve read is ancient accounts of religion being early philosophy/science to make sense of the world. I’m sure someone might ignore realty today because it lets him dream but you could make that vague argument about anything. I certainly haven’t so obviously there is no relationship between the two.

In my direct experience people accept religion because A) Tradition – They were brought up that way, B) They screw up their lives and religion provides the moral white-out to easily to get past it, or C) They can’t cope with fundamental truths (like mortality) and religion provides an easy answer despite the lack of proof. I have yet to meet someone (and I live in conservative area) who is religious because it inspired them to greatness. Usually it just fills a hole or has squatting rights.

The idea of sapience is simply a copout to say there is no proof but it doesn’t matter because it still provides benefits to people. No it doesn’t. Stunting the cognitive ability of your mind is no different than a bird clipping it’s own wings and claiming it inspires it. It sounds good but the truth is the bird simply maimed itself. An inspiration born of harming yourself is not inspiration but a contradiction in terms. If you really want to be inspired, you need to understand realty and its vast potential then go conquer it.

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1. What is A, more specifically?

2. What is B?

1) A personal experience; some catalyst of significance to the individual. I cannot be more specific than that, because the experience is subjective to the individual involved.

2) Determining whether or not there is something more significant to our life than birth, reproduction and death, given our awareness of a universe beyond the scope of our imagination. Again, I cannot be more specific than to say one's experience is applied to resolve this question. Statistics indicate some people don't care; a majority of others do.

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1) A personal experience; some catalyst of significance to the individual. I cannot be more specific than that, because the experience is subjective to the individual involved.

2) Determining whether or not there is something more significant to our life than birth, reproduction and death, given our awareness of a universe beyond the scope of our imagination. Again, I cannot be more specific than to say one's experience is applied to resolve this question. Statistics indicate some people don't care; a majority of others do.

So your idea of sapience (aka wisdom) is applying an unspecified but subjective experience to the question of what's beyond our awareness or imagination, and coming up with God?

Why is that sapience? By what standard? What would be an example of stupidity then, that contrasts with this wisdom?

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I know no one who holds to “non-belief” (i.e. realty) to say that. People still aspire to something anyway outside of some radical progressives I know but that has to do with their stunted drive/collectivist desire to feed off of others, not the fact that they understand the scientific method.

You are package dealing two random attributes together, admitting there are no God(s) because there is no proof that He (They) exist, and the idea that people do this because of some inner need to be inspired. There is no causal link. The only studied causal link for people to be religious I’ve read is ancient accounts of religion being early philosophy/science to make sense of the world. I’m sure someone might ignore realty today because it lets him dream but you could make that vague argument about anything. I certainly haven’t so obviously there is no relationship between the two.

In my direct experience people accept religion because A) Tradition – They were brought up that way, B) They screw up their lives and religion provides the moral white-out to easily to get past it, or C) They can’t cope with fundamental truths (like mortality) and religion provides an easy answer despite the lack of proof. I have yet to meet someone (and I live in conservative area) who is religious because it inspired them to greatness. Usually it just fills a hole or has squatting rights.

The idea of sapience is simply a copout to say there is no proof but it doesn’t matter because it still provides benefits to people. No it doesn’t. Stunting the cognitive ability of your mind is no different than a bird clipping it’s own wings and claiming it inspires it. It sounds good but the truth is the bird simply maimed itself. An inspiration born of harming yourself is not inspiration but a contradiction in terms. If you really want to be inspired, you need to understand realty and its vast potential then go conquer it.

Whether or not there's a benefit to faith or non-belief is dependent on the individual; I'm making no claim either way on that score. I'm simply suggesting that the claim that all religion/faith/deism is the result of salesmanship avoids accounting for the persistence of such belief in spite of advances in science, or increases in efforts to prohibit such belief. The statistical evidence suggests to me that the ratio of faith vs non-belief has likely been about the same since prehistory, with variations in the particulars of how that belief is expressed or suppressed.

For clarity, I'm not questioning Objectivism's claim regarding the Law of Identity and God. I'm questioning the efficacy of relying on a logical rebuttal to a particular definition of God, e.g. omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, as the final solution to promote reason over faith. I believe more progress can be made by understanding that the roots of faith go beyond a particular definition of God and mere promotion of that concept.

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So your idea of sapience (aka wisdom) is applying an unspecified but subjective experience to the question of what's beyond our awareness or imagination, and coming up with God?

Why is that sapience? By what standard? What would be an example of stupidity then, that contrasts with this wisdom?

Individually, the experience is specific and self-evident. Whatever solution to the question of what's beyond one's awareness or imagination will only satisfy one's curiosity if it continues to agree with one's self-evident experience.

Are you suggesting that sapience is only validated when in agreement with conventional wisdom?

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Whether or not there's a benefit to faith or non-belief is dependent on the individual; I'm making no claim either way on that score. I'm simply suggesting that the claim that all religion/faith/deism is the result of salesmanship avoids accounting for the persistence of such belief in spite of advances in science, or increases in efforts to prohibit such belief. The statistical evidence suggests to me that the ratio of faith vs non-belief has likely been about the same since prehistory, with variations in the particulars of how that belief is expressed or suppressed.

For clarity, I'm not questioning Objectivism's claim regarding the Law of Identity and God. I'm questioning the efficacy of relying on a logical rebuttal to a particular definition of God, e.g. omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, as the final solution to promote reason over faith. I believe more progress can be made by understanding that the roots of faith go beyond a particular definition of God and mere promotion of that concept.

Gotch ya. That makes sense in where you are going but I still think you are making some assumptions. I’m not claiming that faith is a product of salesmanship (although the PR is *impressive*). I’m saying that there are many reasons, frequently social or psychological, that people fall into easily - Mostly because too many people don’t care enough to think about it. Inspiration is not one of those reasons. Fear, atonement for errors, or just plain laziness (were brought up that way) are what I usually see. I get how you want to search for positive motivation in people and turn them but I’m not seeing it here.

I can see how the debate has to move away from just telling people to get real (i.e. understand reality) since questioning people on these things invokes emotional reactions when you question people’s fundament ideas. But claiming that it can’t be simple reason since we live in a scientific age doesn’t hold however. Most people haven’t discovered reason fully or the scientific era. In fact too many people fear science and technology which is likely the greater culprit of dependence on mysticism. Liberals fear technology and technological advancements in the name of weather patterns and frozen dirt while the conservatives stunt medical progress in the name of ghost stories. The fact religion continues to cling to society in the scientific age should be no surprise when people campaign against irradiated food in one breath while eating microwaving popcorn the next.

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Individually, the experience is specific and self-evident. Whatever solution to the question of what's beyond one's awareness or imagination will only satisfy one's curiosity if it continues to agree with one's self-evident experience.

Are you suggesting that sapience is only validated when in agreement with conventional wisdom?

No, I'm asking what standard you are using to determine what is and what isn't wise.

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No, I'm asking what standard you are using to determine what is and what isn't wise.

Ah, OK... The objective standard would be the appearance of flourishing, and the subjective standard would be positive self-esteem. I'm not saying that, "coming up with God", is wise, per se; or that non-belief is wise, per se. The proof of the pudding would be apparent well being of the individual as a result of the choices they make. Sapient beings apparently assign meaning to what comes before life and after death, and most (statistically) attempt to adjust their lives accordingly.

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I can see how the debate has to move away from just telling people to get real (i.e. understand reality) since questioning people on these things invokes emotional reactions when you question people’s fundament ideas.

Essentially, that's all I'm saying. Statistically, most individuals cannot accept a position of non-belief because the universe of possibilities is simply too large to dismiss on the basis of one illogical definition.

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Essentially, that's all I'm saying. Statistically, most individuals cannot accept a position of non-belief because the universe of possibilities is simply too large to dismiss on the basis of one illogical definition.

Seems to me that all you're saying is that people need to find meaning in their lives, need to find something to feel passionate about. Atheism without passion is empty. Does that sound about right? Some people may have a stupid dogmatic devotion, while others accept some degree of notable mysticism so that they can look up to something in wonderment. Grandiose statements often sound cooler, especially when invoking gods and whatnot. I think of the phrase "thou art god" from the book "Stranger in a Strange Land". The meaning of the phrase need not literally refer to god or anything mystical at all.

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Essentially, that's all I'm saying. Statistically, most individuals cannot accept a position of non-belief because the universe of possibilities is simply too large to dismiss on the basis of one illogical definition.

I'm seeing an interesting point here that I'm not sure if I can clarify.

A mystic believes in god and has, in many cases, a simplistic view that the atheist position is essentially of a non-belief in god. While this is superficially true, assigning non-belief in this context is about as hollow as the mystics belief.

But replacing a belief in god with an foundational understanding of what one can actually believe in, is not a rejection of theism on the basis of one illogical definition. It is a rejection on the basis of an ongoing, continual integration of knowledge while discovering how to identify contradictions and root them out.

It goes deeper than that, as the mystic/theist tries to rationalize away that foundational understanding as simply another form of faith - evading the necessity of examining ones own beliefs by trying to place the onus on the atheist to 'justify his position', without identifying the standards of justification, or being unable or just downright unwilling to grasp the contradictions involved.

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Seems to me that all you're saying is that people need to find meaning in their lives, need to find something to feel passionate about. Atheism without passion is empty. Does that sound about right?

Replace the word "passionate" with "reverence", and I think that sounds about right...

“In every true searcher of Nature there is a kind of religious reverence, for he finds it impossible to imagine that he is the first to have thought out the exceedingly delicate threads that connect his perceptions” ~ Albert Einstein

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I guess I'm not getting what you're after... Do you mean which standard am I personally using, e.g. objective or subjective??

I am asking what standard have you used to determine that applying subjective personal experiences to the question of what's beyond our imagination is wise?

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I am asking what standard have you used to determine that applying subjective personal experiences to the question of what's beyond our imagination is wise?

Working with your formula, "that A was applied to B, and the result was God (or not God)", the standard used is curiosity. Knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense or insight, is applied to curiosity about a greater purpose to life, and the result is a concept of God, or that there is no greater purpose. Only humans appear to be curious about a greater purpose to life, therefore I believe that opinions about God result from being sapient, i.e. our identity as homo sapiens (wise man). Whether or not those opinions are wise depends on how they are acted on, but the generation of opinions about God appears to me to be the result of sapience.

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I'm seeing an interesting point here that I'm not sure if I can clarify.

A mystic believes in god and has, in many cases, a simplistic view that the atheist position is essentially of a non-belief in god. While this is superficially true, assigning non-belief in this context is about as hollow as the mystics belief.

But replacing a belief in god with an foundational understanding of what one can actually believe in, is not a rejection of theism on the basis of one illogical definition. It is a rejection on the basis of an ongoing, continual integration of knowledge while discovering how to identify contradictions and root them out.

It goes deeper than that, as the mystic/theist tries to rationalize away that foundational understanding as simply another form of faith - evading the necessity of examining ones own beliefs by trying to place the onus on the atheist to 'justify his position', without identifying the standards of justification, or being unable or just downright unwilling to grasp the contradictions involved.

An individual need only justify their belief to themselves; there's no onus on others to disprove it. The only standard of merit is the successful integration of belief into life. If a deist or an atheist can survive equally well without placing any burden on each other, then both systems of belief have been justified. Everyone benefits from premise checking, so it follows that none benefit from dismissing dissent as mere ignorance or denial. Ignorance is the expectation that belief is only validated by conformity.

When a philosophical discussion devolves into a trial of motivations, it's time for a recess. Thanks for your comments. I've satisfied my curiosity on this topic.

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Knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense or insight, is applied to curiosity about a greater purpose to life, and the result is a concept of God, or that there is no greater purpose.

When I asked you what is being applied, you said it was a subjective experience. Now you are back to saying that it's knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense or insight.

Which is it?

Working with your formula, "that A was applied to B, and the result was God (or not God)", the standard used is curiosity.

Curiosity isn't even an exclusively human trait, let alone a trait exclusive to humans who apply subjective experiences to the question of what's beyond our imagination.

If your standard for wisdom is curiosity, then stating that wisdom is applying subjective experiences to the question of what's beyond our imagination is blatantly wrong.

By your standard, cats are at least as wise as priests. Probably more so, since priests don't strike me as very curious.

Edited by Nicky
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Curiosity isn't even an exclusively human trait, let alone a trait exclusive to humans who apply subjective experiences to the question of what's beyond our imagination.

Devil's Advocate said: "Only humans appear to be curious about a greater purpose to life." So humans are differentiated here from just about every species on the planet. I'm not sure what you are trying to demonstrate, since all I gather DA said is that "god is illogical" is not nearly enough to really eradicate mystical beliefs. Why is that not enough? Because humans by nature need abstract principles and ideas of reverence and/or passion. That's how people manage to organize their lives in a long-range way. Unfortunately, many people choose a belief in god(s) as their abstract principle of guidance. Sometimes it's more reality-based (Greek gods are at least modeled after people), other times it's totally mystical (monotheism especially). Objectivism is powerful because there is reverence for existence as a whole and loving reality, while still remaining true to denying the arbitrary by acknowledging that arbitrary ideas are anti-knowledge and anti-existence.

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When I asked you what is being applied, you said it was a subjective experience. Now you are back to saying that it's knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense or insight.

Which is it?

Curiosity isn't even an exclusively human trait, let alone a trait exclusive to humans who apply subjective experiences to the question of what's beyond our imagination.

If your standard for wisdom is curiosity, then stating that wisdom is applying subjective experiences to the question of what's beyond our imagination is blatantly wrong.

By your standard, cats are at least as wise as priests. Probably more so, since priests don't strike me as very curious.

I appreciate this exercise in patience on your part. Let me see if I can better articulate my meaning...

Your initial question asked how sapience is used to produce a concept of God. The process begins with some curiosity about the nature of the universe. For example, an individual detects some apparent design in nature and wonders what caused it to occur. I don't believe cats would care, but problem solvers would, which is what I associate with sapience; specifically bringing knowledge to bear on resolving a question of interest.

Your follow up question appeared repetitive to me; "And what was said knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense or insight applied to?" The process which begins with curiosity, is resolved by finding a plausible solution to the question. Following the example, one has some experience in making patterns, and design suggests a designer, so one considers the likelihood of a designer of nature. Again, I don't thinks cats (or atheists) would care, but "enquiring minds want to know", so I consider the root cause of the exercise to be an attribute of sapience.

Perhaps you can suggest a more likely source of this kind of curiosity?

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If a deist or an atheist can survive equally well without placing any burden on each other, then both systems of belief have been justified. Everyone benefits from premise checking, so it follows that none benefit from dismissing dissent as mere ignorance or denial. Ignorance is the expectation that belief is only validated by conformity.

When a philosophical discussion devolves into a trial of motivations, it's time for a recess. Thanks for your comments. I've satisfied my curiosity on this topic.

To the extent we live in a society of "live and let live", this would be the equivalent of "Yes, you do have the right to be mistaken." and I would agree.

Speaking of "out of curiosity", can there be a trial of ideas without considering the motivations? Isn't asking a question like: "What is the source of this kind of curiosity?" an inquiry to the motivating power that underlies curiosity?

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To the extent we live in a society of "live and let live", this would be the equivalent of "Yes, you do have the right to be mistaken." and I would agree.

"When I disagree with a rational man, I let reality be our final arbiter; if I am right, he will learn; if I am wrong, I will; one of us will win, but both will profit." ~ Ayn Rand

I would only respectfully add that dissent doesn't imply an irrational (or necessarily mistaken) position.

Speaking of "out of curiosity", can there be a trial of ideas without considering the motivations? Isn't asking a question like: "What is the source of this kind of curiosity?" an inquiry to the motivating power that underlies curiosity?

As I have stated, I suspect the motivation power that underlies curiosity to be an aspect of being sapient. However poorly I've articulated this, I haven't presented it as an affront to reason. In my experience a clumbsy argument is simply that; not an attempt to get something over someone. As I said, I appreciated your comments. If I've worn out your patience, I'm content to let it go at that.

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If I read you right you are restating the Objectivist position from a different angle. Humans are full thinking cognitive animals that need to understand the universe at large. We as humans need to understand things in order to survive and even if the life or death necessity of reason is not fully understood by many, people still have the curiosity drive to understand the world. Religion makes sense in this context since it does fall along with studies that show how it would have formed in the early days of man since it would be the philosophy/science of early man trying to bring meaning to what he saw. Today the same drive exists and religions continued existence is a hold over from early society that manages to keep a foot in people’s imaginations due to being able to answer these questions (despite the preponderance of more realistic information easily available).

I can really see how that is true but it still just proves the point. People have yet to fully grasp reason (or existence) and float through life allowing any idea to take root in their mind. Religion is simply a variant of any other aberrant idea (like collectivism) in this regard. There certainly is no attempt to integrate it with basic scientific facts. I agree that attacking this advantage religion has staked a claim on (that and the idea of morality) is a good idea but it comes back to the same thing as far as I can tell – Point out reality, the power for a reason, that ethics is born of a reasoning mind and serves the life of the individual, and how the good is to flourish in this life by using those tools.

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