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Can AI invent god?

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This is a discussion on Can AI invent god? within the NT's Temperament Forum- The Intellects forums, part of the Keirsey Temperament Forums category; Originally Posted by Jamaia Yeah I have a few times, but I've rarely heard hell mentioned. The state church is ...

  1. #51
    INTJ - The Scientists

    Quote Originally Posted by Jamaia View Post
    Yeah I have a few times, but I've rarely heard hell mentioned. The state church is pretty tempered however. But I can think of many reasons why someone speaking to a congregation would want to honestly stress the significance of - not necessarily "following the rules of church" but - things that are considered sins. The things that you know you should not do in your life but are tempted to do anyway, that if you do give in to them will sooner or later lead to a disaster. Some time ago I asked PerC if people here thought the seven deadly sins have to do with dangers of instant gratification, most I think thought no, but it still is what they seem like to me, they're not arbitrary or hard to remember. They're things that to varying extent all the time get in the way of my good plans offering an easy way out but one that leads nowhere (or, if taken to extreme, I can imagine may lead even to what is an eternity in a personal hell, in so far as human experience goes). (Also I've wondered why all the fuss about homosexuality, is it something that can be said is tempting to all of us... Is homosexuality something that is lurking behind every corner, that every so often we go: "Jesus I really need to get my act together, enough of this sleeping with women(/men) already. I'll start next Monday." I think not and therefore I can't see it as a sin unless it's done in a sinlike manner perhaps.)




    I think that's a poor explanation. If reminding of imaginary eternity in hell would be sufficient to keep the masses placated and compliant, the world would be very different place. Please. I wouldn't pay my taxes if the IRS just said that if I don't, I will end up in hell the day in the unknown future when the savior comes to judge the living and the dead. I need a bit more immediate punishment or reward to do it. I understand many people in the past have been less individualistic and more easily frightened of authority. But also there's been a lot of powerful and fierce people, who have revolted against authority and the church. If it was all make-belief, many if not all of these people would have come up with their own imaginative version of fairy-tales to inflict on the masses and the landscape of religion would be so fragmented it would be impossible to find any coherent narratives. Instead many of the powerful and fierce people submitted not only their people but themselves and their heirs to only slightly varying versions of the same narrative. Why? And if it is make-belief, why did they bother to go to war, many times, for slight alterations to the story? I just can't see all the people in the past were that terribly misguided that they didn't see they were fighting for imaginary, arbitrary, abusive things. And before you say it, ok there are political reasons to go to war too, religious differences can be just a cover. But even beside that, many people in their personal lives have taken these matters extremely seriously, and fought "personal wars" over this.



    Ok but you would need to define what is God before you can ask for proof for God.

    Similarly in this thread God hasn't been defined, or what it would mean to invent a god (to create? to discover? to make up and start believing? a new god or one of our gods, and in what sense would it be the same or different as any one of our gods, would we be able to recognize it as a god), so one can't really expect answers to be talking about the same thing.



    Here we would need to define the class of "things we take as self-evident even though we have never thought it through" that "most things" is part of. You seem to be talking of learning the properties of the material world, I don't think that's exhausting the class of "things", there are a lot more layers of the external as well as internal world that we learn. But more importantly "having learned as an infant through an unconscious process" I don't consider "thinking through", I consider that exactly "believing as self-evident without even thinking there is a need to provide proof". Most things that we believe (and by believe I mean act as if they're true even if they can't articulate their belief in words) are things we do not think about. What you're saying isn't contradicting what I think, that what people believe in, is mostly things they've learned through some unconscious process and those beliefs have sufficiently worked for them.

    Someone having a vague understanding of say the devil and then following that understanding in their life isn't that different from the same person having a vague understanding of what would happen if they were to get infected with a deadly infectious disease and them living their life with that notion in mind, even if they can't name any of the diseases or the symptoms, they have a sense of what they are. Or people believing what they're told in the church (of any faith) isn't that different from you believing what your doctor tells you about illnesses, you already have a life-time of experience with your body and some illnesses, and what the doctor is saying usually isn't that surprising to you because obviously the information your doctor has is derived from the same source as your information you had of yourself and they do match, you recognize the patterns even though you may not have explicitly known that you know. The question is only how much of the information you're being given is actually valid and what part of it is corrupted. Somethings your doctor tells you may be surprising and go against your own ideas, they may be things you don't want to hear and accept as true, or it might be things you don't understand. Some will always be corrupted. He/she doesn't have the time to explain to you all the things for or against their diagnosis so they're over-simplifying things, your doctor may have sincerely misunderstood something, or he/she may just want to appear knowledgeable and not admit not knowing some detail and cover it up, or he/she may even be a faux doctor and only use fancy words to fool you.

    It's the same with religion/theology. But I just haven't been able to buy the notion that all of religion is corrupt, that it's all make-belief and all the efforts all the people have put into it through many millennia is for nothing, and please notice I don't mean I take it as a scientific account of the world that would need tangible physical evidence to be believable. I take it more as art. The whole idea of what is considered false and what is divine, what is considered belonging into the religion and what not seems a lot like... well let's say authors writing novels, there are a lot of decisions to be made when "sculpting" the final product, how do they know what they want to keep and what to leave out. And then the fans come and use the characters to create fan-fiction, what's the difference between good ff and bad ff, what's the difference between very good ff and the original works...? I've tried to imagine how did the first biblical stories come about, how were they formed. Then how was the bible set up, how was it decided what stories to incorporate and what to leave out. And then I learned the Catholic church has people working on who to deem saints, I thought that was interesting, they have someone looking at people who are considered heroes by some, and the church has to figure out if it's representative of their faith, their god, or not. Why not just accept all? They don't accept all, nor do they just toss a coin to decide, they actually put serious resources into making the call. Even if I don't think it's important or understand what they think it's based on, at least I have to acknowledge the fact that they think it's serious and worth of effort.



    I think it is because they make the same elementary mistake as atheists do. It's at least for now impossible to take any religion and their sacred texts, construct a literal interpretation of the world entirely based on it and keep believing that to be true, while simultaneously taking scientific evidence as true. Partially it's possible I think, like you can read bible and think at least some of it as witness of historical events. The religious fundamentalist solution is keeping the religion and getting rid of science, the atheist way is getting rid of religion and keeping science. Some people manage to just distance these things mentally and handle them separately, never thinking about the misfit, but that too seems like a bad solution. I think one very good solution while waiting for a better one is thinking in terms of abstractions, thinking of art and poetry rather than science, when dealing with religion. I can be biased to think this because this is largely how religion has been served to me, it's thought in classrooms in our schools. The way I see it, is the words represent something and carry extremely valuable information that your ancestors have managed to keep alive with an extremely high cost, you have to figure out what the symbols mean if you aren't getting it. Ultimately I think the issue goes down to the problem of (metaphysical) dualism, but I can't really articulate that better right now.
    You mentioned that we first have to define "god" before we can look for evidence. This is completely the opposite of what should be done. You first look at the evidence and then based on evidence you define whatever it is that you have evidence for. For example, dark matter wasn't first thought and after that we started looking for the evidence. It was the other way around. We found evidence that indicates that there is more matter in galaxies than we can see. After trying to understand this evidence we came up with the definition of dark matter (which isn't great because we still don't really know what it is, we just know that it's there. The evidence shows this.)

    So it is not possible to define what god is because there is no evidence at all to base that definition on. This is why it is impossible for me to believe in a god. People can tell me what ever they like about their god but without evidence, I only have one option which is to not believe in the existence of a god.


    You also mentioned that atheists make the same mistake as religious people make. That doesn't make sense. You atribute a lot more properties to atheism then it actually has. The only property you can atribute to atheism is the lack of a belief in god.... Done. Nothing more than that. You can't be wrong about not believing in something because there is no evidence to support that belief. Science does not in anyway "proof" anything related to the existence of god. It doesn't proof that god doesn't exist (Proving that something that doesn't exist, doesn't exist, is impossible), it just says: We have no evidence for the existence of a god. Science also says: If you do have proof, please share it with us. And no, eyewhitness reports do not count as evidence. And yes, proof needs to be verifiabile and with that, repetitive.

    Atheists don't have the goal to remove religion. Sure, some atheists do believe that's better, but in general, atheists just don't believe in God. Besides that they just live their lives. In my opinion, removing religion isn't going to solve any problem. It just forces people to fight with eachother based on a different context. Religious wars don't really exist. Religion is used as an excuse a lot for conflicts, but there are underlying reasons for these conflicts that are more fundamental. (like inequality and greed.) These are human properties, not religious properties.


    What you said about hell not being talked about as much in churches. That's why I said "direct / indirect". The indirect references to your doom are much more abundant. They always talk about the heathens. In church, the heathens are an unhappy bunch. And they don't mean people that do not believe. They mean people that believe something else. I guess atheism wasn't even considered an option in the times the bible was written.

  2. #52

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter View Post
    You mentioned that we first have to define "god" before we can look for evidence. This is completely the opposite of what should be done. You first look at the evidence and then based on evidence you define whatever it is that you have evidence for. For example, dark matter wasn't first thought and after that we started looking for the evidence. It was the other way around. We found evidence that indicates that there is more matter in galaxies than we can see. After trying to understand this evidence we came up with the definition of dark matter (which isn't great because we still don't really know what it is, we just know that it's there. The evidence shows this.)

    So it is not possible to define what god is because there is no evidence at all to base that definition on. This is why it is impossible for me to believe in a god. People can tell me what ever they like about their god but without evidence, I only have one option which is to not believe in the existence of a god.


    You also mentioned that atheists make the same mistake as religious people make. That doesn't make sense. You atribute a lot more properties to atheism then it actually has. The only property you can atribute to atheism is the lack of a belief in god.... Done. Nothing more than that. You can't be wrong about not believing in something because there is no evidence to support that belief. Science does not in anyway "proof" anything related to the existence of god. It doesn't proof that god doesn't exist (Proving that something that doesn't exist, doesn't exist, is impossible), it just says: We have no evidence for the existence of a god. Science also says: If you do have proof, please share it with us. And no, eyewhitness reports do not count as evidence. And yes, proof needs to be verifiabile and with that, repetitive.

    Atheists don't have the goal to remove religion. Sure, some atheists do believe that's better, but in general, atheists just don't believe in God. Besides that they just live their lives. In my opinion, removing religion isn't going to solve any problem. It just forces people to fight with eachother based on a different context. Religious wars don't really exist. Religion is used as an excuse a lot for conflicts, but there are underlying reasons for these conflicts that are more fundamental. (like inequality and greed.) These are human properties, not religious properties.


    What you said about hell not being talked about as much in churches. That's why I said "direct / indirect". The indirect references to your doom are much more abundant. They always talk about the heathens. In church, the heathens are an unhappy bunch. And they don't mean people that do not believe. They mean people that believe something else. I guess atheism wasn't even considered an option in the times the bible was written.
    I know all that. Even if there weren'tstrictly religious wars, there are impressive individuals who have taken religious stuff extremely seriously. Just ignoring all that is beyond arrogant imo. What I mean by defining god is... To define is not to discover. People have a word for god, so whatever it is, has already been discovered by some a long time ago. What is left is to better define the concept. But... The act is similar to possibly proving to someone that dark matter exists, in that you wouldn't tell them to just look around for proof, you'd review physics literature and figure out what they mean by dark matter to even know what to look for. At least we know that dark matter has something to do with matter, it has gravitational properties, since that's how we stumbled on it. That narrows it down a lot when looking for evidence.

    What we know of the supposed god is not out there in the space, it's represented in writing, in art and religious tradition. It's a bunch of people deciding to call something god. If you don't know what that something could even be that the word god is supposed to symbolize, then you can't know in what sense said god could possibly exist. But you can, imo, if you have any respect for these people and trust that they're sincere, expect that since you're a human too it probably is something within the human experience. And you can look what these people have managed to agree on by going through their texts. It seems to me like Christian god represents something like the consciousness, the society, the future, and all that is good in humans. It's way more refined and complicated than that but it's something like that, or the claim is probably that god is whatever is the source of these things. All those seem to exist in so far as anything can be known to exist.

    But it's not a flying spaghetti monster or dark matter, to determine if said god exists in that strictly material sense goes as you laid out. If it exists as an entity on any level that is independent of humans, like in some other dimension we can't access or outside our universe, we can't really tell. That's why I call the atheist view elementary wrong, it just stops at the most elementary interpretation. A lot of religious people stop at that too, but I know many atheists are smart people and take pride in their intellect, so I expect more effort from them :P.

    Also no talk of heathens in the church. I said it's a very tempered church, and the sermons I've been to are mostly directed at kids.
    Last edited by Jamaia; 08-22-2017 at 10:42 PM. Reason: volume :P

  3. #53

    Also by "getting rid of" i meant in the context of constructing ones worldview, and consequently when deciding what to teach children as truths at school... Because entertaining both views, the fundamentally religious and the scientific, is very difficult, a lot of people pick one side and just cast the other away.

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  5. #54
    INTJ - The Scientists

    Quote Originally Posted by Jamaia View Post
    I know all that. Even if there weren'tstrictly religious wars, there are impressive individuals who have taken religious stuff extremely seriously. Just ignoring all that is beyond arrogant imo. What I mean by defining god is... To define is not to discover. People have a word for god, so whatever it is, has already been discovered by some a long time ago. What is left is to better define the concept. But... The act is similar to possibly proving to someone that dark matter exists, in that you wouldn't tell them to just look around for proof, you'd review physics literature and figure out what they mean by dark matter to even know what to look for. At least we know that dark matter has something to do with matter, it has gravitational properties, since that's how we stumbled on it. That narrows it down a lot when looking for evidence.

    What we know of the supposed god is not out there in the space, it's represented in writing, in art and religious tradition. It's a bunch of people deciding to call something god. If you don't know what that something could even be that the word god is supposed to symbolize, then you can't know in what sense said god could possibly exist. But you can, imo, if you have any respect for these people and trust that they're sincere, expect that since you're a human too it probably is something within the human experience. And you can look what these people have managed to agree on by going through their texts. It seems to me like Christian god represents something like the consciousness, the society, the future, and all that is good in humans. It's way more refined and complicated than that but it's something like that, or the claim is probably that god is whatever is the source of these things. All those seem to exist in so far as anything can be known to exist.

    But it's not a flying spaghetti monster or dark matter, to determine if said god exists in that strictly material sense goes as you laid out. If it exists as an entity on any level that is independent of humans, like in some other dimension we can't access or outside our universe, we can't really tell. That's why I call the atheist view elementary wrong, it just stops at the most elementary interpretation. A lot of religious people stop at that too, but I know many atheists are smart people and take pride in their intellect, so I expect more effort from them :P.

    Also no talk of heathens in the church. I said it's a very tempered church, and the sermons I've been to are mostly directed at kids.
    The human experience,...... just because people are sincere, meaning that they really believe that god is real, does not make it real in reality. Also, if you just look at the things that happen to humans, there is no reason to believe that there is a god that somehow is in favor of us. Natural events kill people all the time, and there is no evidence that religious people somehow get killed less than non-religious people. In fact, if you look at earthquakes, which buildings seem to collaps the most?.... Exactly, churches!!! Why do they collaps more than other buildings? Because they´re taller and often very old. That's just common sense. The worse place to be during an earthquake is in a church. But what happens?

    One person gets lucky and escapes a natural disaster and then claims he was praying to god and god saved his life....

    It's nonsense of course because, what about all those people that prayed too and died?

    Here's an experiment:
    Take 1000 people, and let them all throw a coin for heads or tales. Those that throw tales are out, and we continue with those that threw heads. Then we repeat with the left overs. a 50% chance that you throw heads of course. What happens is something like 1000 to 500 to 250 to 125 to 62 to 32 to 16 to 8 to 4 to 2 to 1. The last one threw heads 10 times in a row. Statistically that's a very small chance to happen, but,..... it happens almost every time you do this experiment. There is nothing special about the person that threw heads 10 times in a row. Especially if you consider if you would do this with 1000 religious people and ask them all to pray. You still end up with 1 person who makes it all the way through.

    What that shows is that humans have a tendency to give credit to their god for something that happened to them while just a little bit of math shows that there is nothing special about what happened to them. Surviving an earthquake is going to happen to some people, always. Not because of their belief in a god, but because that's just how things work.


    Last thing: God is not the reason that people are good. Goodness is not a symptom of religious beliefs. Religious beliefs are a symptom of the human need to explain their environment. This is an interesting talk in that aspect:


  6. #55

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter View Post
    The human experience,...... just because people are sincere, meaning that they really believe that god is real, does not make it real in reality. Also, if you just look at the things that happen to humans, there is no reason to believe that there is a god that somehow is in favor of us. Natural events kill people all the time, and there is no evidence that religious people somehow get killed less than non-religious people. In fact, if you look at earthquakes, which buildings seem to collaps the most?.... Exactly, churches!!! Why do they collaps more than other buildings? Because they´re taller and often very old. That's just common sense. The worse place to be during an earthquake is in a church. But what happens?

    One person gets lucky and escapes a natural disaster and then claims he was praying to god and god saved his life....

    It's nonsense of course because, what about all those people that prayed too and died?

    Here's an experiment:
    Take 1000 people, and let them all throw a coin for heads or tales. Those that throw tales are out, and we continue with those that threw heads. Then we repeat with the left overs. a 50% chance that you throw heads of course. What happens is something like 1000 to 500 to 250 to 125 to 62 to 32 to 16 to 8 to 4 to 2 to 1. The last one threw heads 10 times in a row. Statistically that's a very small chance to happen, but,..... it happens almost every time you do this experiment. There is nothing special about the person that threw heads 10 times in a row. Especially if you consider if you would do this with 1000 religious people and ask them all to pray. You still end up with 1 person who makes it all the way through.

    What that shows is that humans have a tendency to give credit to their god for something that happened to them while just a little bit of math shows that there is nothing special about what happened to them. Surviving an earthquake is going to happen to some people, always. Not because of their belief in a god, but because that's just how things work.


    Last thing: God is not the reason that people are good. Goodness is not a symptom of religious beliefs. Religious beliefs are a symptom of the human need to explain their environment. This is an interesting talk in that aspect:

    I see you don't understand what I'm saying at all. Maybe my writing is unclear. I'm not saying I think the people who created religions and came up with the concept of god (I know they didn't pop up just like that but it was an incredibly long process) discovered or made up a physical god who they think they can worship so that the god does magic tricks that keep their buildings from collapsing. I'm saying people have been looking for ways for how to live so that their life would be the best it can be (and perhaps even ways to live their lives so that their buildings wouldn't collapse). They are trying to work out how the world works, but not from a scientific objective view, from a subjective view.

    I'm saying I've found it useful to look at what they're saying, considering that we live in the same world where magic isn't real, and then asking what it is that they could possibly mean, considering that they can't be meaning the miraculous things happened in the literal sense we think things happen. Get it? Obviously religious thought is partially intertwined with magical thinking, unnecessary dogma and insisting symbolic things to be taken literally, but surely you have to see, knowing typology even, how different people think differently and see things differently and describe things differently. And religions that were developed over thousands of years by all sorts of people, impacted by all these differing people, you can't expect them to be completely coherent in all their forms and expressions. Like you wouldn't think any person who utters things related to sciencey stuff has to be heard when trying to figure out if science is worthwhile or something like that. Some things they say can be true, some things they say is just their own misconceptions or things they haven't thought through, some things they say are extremely popular misconceptions. That's what I've thought anyway. And I don't think this approach has to explain or cover all of the concept of religions, I know I'm cherry-picking in a sense but I haven't written off all the things I ignore, I've just put it in the category of "this I do not seem to understand so won't bother with for now". This approach is just to find the gateway into what seems like a confused mess.

    So, in short, to call religious beliefs just attempts to explain the material world, like misguided scientific efforts, I think is... well it's just stupid imo, like I said, elementary mistake. It's superimposing your own view of the world, the view which is on top of thousands of years of previous development, onto people who lived in the past. It's turning things upside down. I don't care if you and Neil deGrasse Tyson both think it's valid, I think it's stupid. That point of view is perhaps relevant if you have to argue with creationists about what to teach at school, so obviously important in some places but a very marginal issue in the grander scheme of things. Focusing on polarization on that one stupid issue makes for a very poor wold view imo, even when you're on the science side of the "debate" (I'm on the science side of that debate too). I just think it's stupid to think that's what it boils down to. Isn't it a clue that that's not what it boils down to, if you can clearly see your opponent, the fundamentalists, is not someone whose views you would respect as reasonable in any way? Why would you trust the people who cling on to simplistic ideas to have any grasp of the whole, the abstract, even if it's supposed to be their own tradition?

    I think though, about the quotes Tyson presented, that Ptolemy's line doesn't necessarily need to be interpreted as implying an intelligent design. He lived so long ago that his mindset was far from the mechanistic, enlightened way of thinking of the early scientists. Newton clearly called for a god to explain the mechanics where he couldn't find anything else to explain it, clearly thinking god works on that level, but Ptolemy probably saw his god in absolutely everything anyway and was awestruck by the night sky just the same as any modern people might be.

    I know that I am mortal by nature, and ephemeral; but when I trace at my pleasure the windings to and fro of the heavenly bodies I no longer touch the earth with my feet: I stand in the presence of Zeus himself and take my fill of ambrosia.

    That sounds more like describing the subjective flow experience of being immersed in what you're doing rather than saying "Zeus did it". I'm sure Newton was quite certain that he really had found the edge where his god simply must come into play as a physical force. God of the gaps is a theological concept, created long after Newton, when it probably was way more obvious where that line of thinking inevitably leads. But a lot had happened between 150 AD and 1615 too... Galileo's "how to go to heaven and not how the heavens go" as well as the idea that god granted us with senses and thought and so we should probably use them to explore the world and not be restricted by fear of insulting the same god with what we discover, reflect the situation in 17th century, when science was beginning to escape from religious confines and it had become necessary to have that conflict. Ptolemy seems to use the concept of Zeus very naturally there, to describe a situation where he feels as if he gets beyond his mortal existence into something greater than himself. It's a psychological state, subjective experience but something that is also shared with all people who recognize the concept of Zeus.
    That feeling is conceptualized as Zeus. Even we understand what it means to say "take my fill of ambrosia", an euphoric, rejuvenating experience. Galileo and Newton, based on these chosen quotes, are closer to our modern, dualistic thinking than they are to Ptolemy, it seems to me. I can see how what Newton said is of the same root as the current creatonist/ID thinking, like Tyson says.
    Last edited by Jamaia; 08-23-2017 at 10:27 PM.

  7. #56
    INTJ - The Scientists

    Quote Originally Posted by Jamaia View Post
    I see you don't understand what I'm saying at all. Maybe my writing is unclear. I'm not saying I think the people who created religions and came up with the concept of god (I know they didn't pop up just like that but it was an incredibly long process) discovered or made up a physical god who they think they can worship so that the god does magic tricks that keep their buildings from collapsing. I'm saying people have been looking for ways for how to live so that their life would be the best it can be (and perhaps even ways to live their lives so that their buildings wouldn't collapse). They are trying to work out how the world works, but not from a scientific objective view, from a subjective view.

    I'm saying I've found it useful to look at what they're saying, considering that we live in the same world where magic isn't real, and then asking what it is that they could possibly mean, considering that they can't be meaning the miraculous things happened in the literal sense we think things happen. Get it? Obviously religious thought is partially intertwined with magical thinking, unnecessary dogma and insisting symbolic things to be taken literally, but surely you have to see, knowing typology even, how different people think differently and see things differently and describe things differently. And religions that were developed over thousands of years by all sorts of people, impacted by all these differing people, you can't expect them to be completely coherent in all their forms and expressions. Like you wouldn't think any person who utters things related to sciencey stuff has to be heard when trying to figure out if science is worthwhile or something like that. Some things they say can be true, some things they say is just their own misconceptions or things they haven't thought through, some things they say are extremely popular misconceptions. That's what I've thought anyway. And I don't think this approach has to explain or cover all of the concept of religions, I know I'm cherry-picking in a sense but I haven't written off all the things I ignore, I've just put it in the category of "this I do not seem to understand so won't bother with for now". This approach is just to find the gateway into what seems like a confused mess.

    So, in short, to call religious beliefs just attempts to explain the material world, like misguided scientific efforts, I think is... well it's just stupid imo, like I said, elementary mistake. It's superimposing your own view of the world, the view which is on top of thousands of years of previous development, onto people who lived in the past. It's turning things upside down. I don't care if you and Neil deGrasse Tyson both think it's valid, I think it's stupid. That point of view is perhaps relevant if you have to argue with creationists about what to teach at school, so obviously important in some places but a very marginal issue in the grander scheme of things. Focusing on polarization on that one stupid issue makes for a very poor wold view imo, even when you're on the science side of the "debate" (I'm on the science side of that debate too). I just think it's stupid to think that's what it boils down to. Isn't it a clue that that's not what it boils down to, if you can clearly see your opponent, the fundamentalists, is not someone whose views you would respect as reasonable in any way? Why would you trust the people who cling on to simplistic ideas to have any grasp of the whole, the abstract, even if it's supposed to be their own tradition?

    I think though, about the quotes Tyson presented, that Ptolemy's line doesn't necessarily need to be interpreted as implying an intelligent design. He lived so long ago that his mindset was far from the mechanistic, enlightened way of thinking of the early scientists. Newton clearly called for a god to explain the mechanics where he couldn't find anything else to explain it, clearly thinking god works on that level, but Ptolemy probably saw his god in absolutely everything anyway and was awestruck by the night sky just the same as any modern people might be.


    That sounds more like describing the subjective flow experience of being immersed in what you're doing rather than saying "Zeus did it". I'm sure Newton was quite certain that he really had found the edge where his god simply must come into play as a physical force. God of the gaps is a theological concept, created long after Newton, when it probably was way more obvious where that line of thinking inevitably leads. But a lot had happened between 150 AD and 1615 too... Galileo's "how to go to heaven and not how the heavens go" as well as the idea that god granted us with senses and thought and so we should probably use them to explore the world and not be restricted by fear of insulting the same god with what we discover, reflect the situation in 17th century, when science was beginning to escape from religious confines and it had become necessary to have that conflict. Ptolemy seems to use the concept of Zeus very naturally there, to describe a situation where he feels as if he gets beyond his mortal existence into something greater than himself. It's a psychological state, subjective experience but something that is also shared with all people who recognize the concept of Zeus.
    That feeling is conceptualized as Zeus. Even we understand what it means to say "take my fill of ambrosia", an euphoric, rejuvenating experience. Galileo and Newton, based on these chosen quotes, are closer to our modern, dualistic thinking than they are to Ptolemy, it seems to me. I can see how what Newton said is of the same root as the current creatonist/ID thinking, like Tyson says.
    It's all about inventing a god because of being at the limit of their understanding. In those days believing in god was just something you did. At best you could be a doubter, but few people were. Besides that, I'm sure that these scientists also used God because of political reasons. By refering to god, they right away kept the church on their side, or at least not against them. Which was something to consider in those days because the churches had way too much power.


    Before there were states and governments, but after we started living in larger groups, the need for more stability grew. A small group can be led by an individual and the next leader can have things his way, different from the leader before. But with larger groups and a higher intelligence, humans needed more stability and a god or gods were the way that developped. And in those days a lot of the rules were about giving social control to a society. The religious rules were the law. It did require quite some levels of fear in order to enforce these laws. They´re better for society and the individuals, but if you can be corrupt and get away with it, breaking these laws is highly profitable.

    Then humans learned to do these same things without using religion.

    And now we live in a world where this very basic purpose of religion isn't necessary anymore. But just like with any type of human system, those that control the system do not want to lose their power. So they try really hard to keep people religious, even though it's not working very well. Every year more people choose to not believe in a god. Every year more people consider them selves atheists or agnostics.

    It is becoming clear to a lot of people that just like religion isn't needed to govern a place, it is also not needed to live a decent and fullfilling life. In fact, people realize that religion is often an obstacle in the goal to a decent and fullfilling life.


    Perhaps if AI learns from human experience, it can skip needing a god all together.

  8. #57

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter View Post
    It's all about inventing a god because of being at the limit of their understanding. In those days believing in god was just something you did. At best you could be a doubter, but few people were. Besides that, I'm sure that these scientists also used God because of political reasons. By refering to god, they right away kept the church on their side, or at least not against them. Which was something to consider in those days because the churches had way too much power.


    Before there were states and governments, but after we started living in larger groups, the need for more stability grew. A small group can be led by an individual and the next leader can have things his way, different from the leader before. But with larger groups and a higher intelligence, humans needed more stability and a god or gods were the way that developped. And in those days a lot of the rules were about giving social control to a society. The religious rules were the law. It did require quite some levels of fear in order to enforce these laws. They´re better for society and the individuals, but if you can be corrupt and get away with it, breaking these laws is highly profitable.

    Then humans learned to do these same things without using religion.

    And now we live in a world where this very basic purpose of religion isn't necessary anymore. But just like with any type of human system, those that control the system do not want to lose their power. So they try really hard to keep people religious, even though it's not working very well. Every year more people choose to not believe in a god. Every year more people consider them selves atheists or agnostics.

    It is becoming clear to a lot of people that just like religion isn't needed to govern a place, it is also not needed to live a decent and fullfilling life. In fact, people realize that religion is often an obstacle in the goal to a decent and fullfilling life.


    Perhaps if AI learns from human experience, it can skip needing a god all together.
    I think you're cutting corners with your explanation. Some of it is probably correct, like that bigger groups require something that keeps them internally stable, they need to be working under some common factor to stay coherent, but I don't believe religions were developed as a means of control. I don't think manipulation on that level, for thousands of years, is possible even for modern people to construct, let alone people lacking our hindsight. Of course religious structures suffer from the same corruption that each one of our systems does.

    But even something like "the religious rules were the law", right, it doesn't mean someone first invented a god and a scary story of heavenly punishment and then made up some rules he wanted people to follow to control them and then he kept collecting more and more people who believed his story and then he had a society which he was the puppet master of. I think that's again such an elementary interpretation, how would that ever work in real life? The larger groups people had going preceded dogmatic religions, obviously. First there was the group, and over many many generations, through trial and error, some kind of tradition that could be called a religion emerged. By then they had a long history of disasters and successes behind them. It wasn't that a king decided "this is what I want people to do" (sometimes it was I'm sure, but I'm also pretty certain it didn't go down too well for too long), it was that the groups that followed certain rules already were the ones that had managed to survive living together. The rules are not arbitrary (some are I'm sure). Religion comes in after the rules are firmly established in practice, religious practice (the law) makes the rules slowly more explicit and says "these rules are from our god(s)". And why not say that, the rules are what keeps the bunch of people alive and flourishing, the rules are part of the structure that confines and restricts the people but also keeps the people alive. And the rules are such that when they are broken, they know from experience that bad things happen. Maybe not immediately, but eventually, their god catches up to them and a disaster strikes. I don't mean just natural catastrophes, although those too. The hope is that if you do the right thing and don't break the important rules, there will be less disasters. And when a disaster strikes, even a natural one, some people manage the disastrous conditions better than some, and many of them have a sense of their own actions having an impact on the outcome. The idea is that if you do the right thing all the time and stick with it, you will manage better even when things get really bad. All in all it means there might be a way to live and function in your group that allows you and your family to best survive in both good and bad times, and the task is to discover and follow that narrow path. Sure picking the immediate reward type of path, even the psychopathic path works too in short term if you manage it cleverly, but it's not sustainable and it doesn't build strong society, it tears structures down. Yet it remains a temptation that you must stay away from. That's empirical knowledge combined with human mind being drawn to patterns, and rules and laws emerging from that.

    And that kind of concept of god, something greater than any member of the pack, could be what an AI with a sense of self and sense of time might manage to come up with. What keeps the AI alive and functioning, is what is good and what it seeks to follow.
    Last edited by Jamaia; 08-24-2017 at 11:13 PM.

  9. #58
    INTJ - The Scientists

    Quote Originally Posted by Jamaia View Post
    I think you're cutting corners with your explanation. Some of it is probably correct, like that bigger groups require something that keeps them internally stable, they need to be working under some common factor to stay coherent, but I don't believe religions were developed as a means of control. I don't think manipulation on that level, for thousands of years, is possible even for modern people to construct, let alone people lacking our hindsight. Of course religious structures suffer from the same corruption that each one of our systems does.

    But even something like "the religious rules were the law", right, it doesn't mean someone first invented a god and a scary story of heavenly punishment and then made up some rules he wanted people to follow to control them and then he kept collecting more and more people who believed his story and then he had a society which he was the puppet master of. I think that's again such an elementary interpretation, how would that ever work in real life? The larger groups people had going preceded dogmatic religions, obviously. First there was the group, and over many many generations, through trial and error, some kind of tradition that could be called a religion emerged. By then they had a long history of disasters and successes behind them. It wasn't that a king decided "this is what I want people to do" (sometimes it was I'm sure, but I'm also pretty certain it didn't go down too well for too long), it was that the groups that followed certain rules already were the ones that had managed to survive living together. The rules are not arbitrary (some are I'm sure). Religion comes in after the rules are firmly established in practice, religious practice (the law) makes the rules slowly more explicit and says "these rules are from our god(s)". And why not say that, the rules are what keeps the bunch of people alive and flourishing, the rules are part of the structure that confines and restricts the people but also keeps the people alive. And the rules are such that when they are broken, they know from experience that bad things happen. Maybe not immediately, but eventually, their god catches up to them and a disaster strikes. I don't mean just natural catastrophes, although those too. The hope is that if you do the right thing and don't break the important rules, there will be less disasters. And when a disaster strikes, even a natural one, some people manage the disastrous conditions better than some, and many of them have a sense of their own actions having an impact on the outcome. The idea is that if you do the right thing all the time and stick with it, you will manage better even when things get really bad. All in all it means there might be a way to live and function in your group that allows you and your family to best survive in both good and bad times, and the task is to discover and follow that narrow path. Sure picking the immediate reward type of path, even the psychopathic path works too in short term if you manage it cleverly, but it's not sustainable and it doesn't build strong society, it tears structures down. Yet it remains a temptation that you must stay away from. That's empirical knowledge combined with human mind being drawn to patterns, and rules and laws emerging from that.

    And that kind of concept of god, something greater than any member of the pack, could be what an AI with a sense of self and sense of time might manage to come up with. What keeps the AI alive and functioning, is what is good and what it seeks to follow.
    I'm not saying that religions were created by a few individuals with the goal to control the rest. As you say, religions evolve too. But in the real world, most religious people just follow the few that have the power to use religious rules to control. It's like a government, with the difference that it is not democratic.

    You mentioned that the people would go against it if there would be too much control..... That is exactly what happened and why Jesus and the new testament appeared. The old testament was so much on control and fear of god, etc. that people started to look for alternatives. The worse imaginable punishments are all described in the old testament. One of them being that a woman should be stoned to death on the doorstep of her father's house if she refused to mary the man that raped her. The new testament is quite soft compared to the old testament and what you see, even today, that the more fanatic christians tend to follow the old testament more than the new testament.

    These kinds of punishments still happen, not so much in the western world, but in fanatic muslim societies women are still killed by their own families because they were raped.

    Sure religion does good things, but it also does horrific things. And last time I checked,... if you saved someone's life, it doesn't compensate for having killed someone the day before. Though, strict religious laws often will free you from any sin if you convert to their religion. Accept god and you´re free of all your previous sins because by accepting god you are "reborn"..... Rediculous.

    So you can defend the use of religion all you want, but it doesn't change the fact that it is totally unfair and corrupt on just about every level. It may have been the best option available for a couple of thousand years, but ever since humans were able to seperate religion from the state, religion is no longer the best option available. It now literally is an inferior option because we now put humanity above religious beliefs. It's not perfect though. Religion still has a foot in the door. But it's getting less and less and that's a good thing.


    In the end what causes the fall of religious beliefs are 2 things: IQ and knowledge. If we create independent thinking AI that is the developmental equivalent of a 6 year old, then for sure religious beliefs will show up again within AI. But luckily, AI develops (evolves) at lightspeed compared to human development, so all it may eventually be is a little thought to AIs that they quickly shred off because they already got smart enough to understand how bad an idea it is.

  10. #59

    @Peter How do you see it evolve though, if it wasn't by power hungry liars? If it has since been used in that manner, people following charismatic leaders and the leaders abusing their power as they wish, how did the ideas they abuse evolve? Could it initially been created by people who were both sincere and serious about what they were doing, recording something that is real?

    Threat of corruption is inbuilt in the stories from the start (talking about bible here, not too familiar with it but more so than with other sacred texts), it's inescapable part of humans, they always remind people to stay alert and humble and fight corruption, especially fight corruption within. I don't believe any tradition carried by clueless followers of corrupted leaders twisting it any way they deem fit will be passed on for long, even if it was initially founded on sound ground, it will simply deteriorate. Some passages, details, interpretations, practices will be outright edited out, some will just be forgotten and new revelations will be added in. New generation will dispute the old teachings and new ideas will tear communities apart. That has happened to some extent in the history, but not after each iteration. In each generation there's been enough people who have felt connected to the texts and traditions enough to give them life and pass them on, not just mimic brainlessly.

    The punishments in the old testament are indeed pretty bad. But the ancient Jews didn't invent executions, killing people for whatever reason must've been the norm. You can read the instructions as an attempt to bring in some justice to the practice. Killing a woman because she was raped is surely worse than killing her after she has refused to marry the rapist. They set rules how they thought it should be justly done, after what kind of investigation. Had they not done that, who knows, we too might still be killing each other for no reason and not think twice about it. Unfortunately writing it down also makes some simple people read one line out of the context and think that line is what defines their god, that god is in the rules. I find it improbable though that some people who still today stone people to death do it only because they read it from the holy scripture. I think it's more probable they do it because that's how life has always been.

    It's not clear that it is humanity we put above religious beliefs today. It is starting to seem obvious to me the most fundamental Judeo-Christian beliefs say never to put religious beliefs above humanity, they are warning about worship of false idols and insisting that each life is sacred. It's always about the connection to what is best in humanity that should be the focus. It's a good thing we don't follow literal interpretation of the bible anymore, and I really think that's the intention of the book from the start, to encourage independent, abstract, uncompromising thinking because it is something like the most precious thing humanity has. It's just unfortunate that people are dumb and that abstract things which had to be told with symbolic language are easy to misunderstand as literal truths. It's unfortunate that a lot of people never think any further than the superficial level. But the same people who are dumb simple-minded Christians would probably be just as dumb atheists, dumb communists, dumb whatever ideologists if they didn't have their religious beliefs. Dumb hunter-gatherers even. There's no getting rid of flawed, limited people, we're all like that. Looking at that, Christianity has a pretty good track record of getting stupid people to come together and build functioning, lasting societies. I find it extremely arrogant to compare religious thinking with negative connotations to a low IQ and child-like mind. Doesn't it bother you at all, that what you suppose is simple and convoluted has lasted through generations and taken over numerous cultures and continues to do that and be regenerated in the modern age? How the hell did that happen?

    I was reading a book about modern medicine and philosophy of science, and the authors (who I think most likely are not religious people but have a very atheistic, materialistic view of the world, since they're Finns and professors of medicine, philosophy, psychology) point out how nothing in medicine makes sense without the presumption that there are categories "health" and "illness" and without the axiomatic notion that increasing health and decreasing illness is "good". Theology is studying the structures that create those abstract axiomatic categories and the meta... metathinking, let's say, required to access such fundamental structures, and, well, the subject with the embedded structures is required also to access anything in the supposed objective world for that matter. Medicine utilizes methods from a wide field of sciences, but because it's not seeking to be an objective study of the world, it doesn't qualify as a science. There's an old debate whether medicine is art or science, but it seems like it better fits religious ideas. And even further, it seems to me that there's no doing science without the notion of an all encompassing truth that we with our limited human perspective try to strive towards. Looking at the particular and trying to find abstract patterns and then trying to express the patterns in truthful words, and on and on towards the most abstract representation possible. In what sense do the abstract patterns exist and are real?

    The atheistic AND religious fundamentalist view, Conflict thesis, of fundamentally conflicted relationship of science and religion can be just a passing fad. I'm not particularly defending religious practices, I have a hard time personally relating to a lot of them. I have to try hard to see beyond the aesthetics and think about what the symbolism could be. For my tastes much of religion is just too much. I can take it in small doses only.
    Last edited by Jamaia; 08-26-2017 at 12:39 AM.


     
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