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Do you think you have a soul?
I think so 57%  57%  [ 13 ]
I don't think so 43%  43%  [ 10 ]
Total votes: 23
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 4:07 pm 
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Fundamental difference between how you and I view it-- I accept that there's a good chance that somebody out there will judge me on their terms, not mine; you don't. Neither of us has the perspective to say which side is right. You're making your bet, so am I.
Forgive me for butting in, but what's so good about it? Not that you like the idea of it or not, but based on evidence?
You seem to be making an equivalence between belief and skepticism that isn't realistic.

Lets just change your argument from the metaphysical to the physical:

"Fundamental difference between how you and I view it-- I accept that there's a good chance that the universe will explode tomorrow; you don't. Neither of us has the perspective to say which side is right. You're making your bet, so am I."

Without evidence your reasoning isn't so great.

Anyone can throw any old concept out there as a lark and say "well you don't know, it could be true." But don't expect it to fly.
Evidence doesn't make sense here. We can measure when a body dies, but the body is the same chemicals before and afterward, just no electricity. How would you prove a soul doesn't exist? It's a meaningless question.

When you think of love, joy, friendship, beauty, why we care about people after they lose their minds or are even comatose, why there's something rather than nothing, the strangeness of consciousness, the belief in human dignity and rights based solely on being human, (for me, the rebirth of Israel after 2000 years of exile and immediately following the holocaust), the (partial) success of reason over power, you can,rationally, believe that we are more than the sum of our chemicals and electric force. I find it the better explanation, but there's no empirical proof one way or the other.
Hammer! It's been awhile since you've been around!

I like what you wrote here. Much more relevant than my childish attempts at humor.

Weigh in more often. We could use a little more adult supervision.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 4:10 pm 
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Fundamental difference between how you and I view it-- I accept that there's a good chance that somebody out there will judge me on their terms, not mine; you don't. Neither of us has the perspective to say which side is right. You're making your bet, so am I.
Forgive me for butting in, but what's so good about it? Not that you like the idea of it or not, but based on evidence?
You seem to be making an equivalence between belief and skepticism that isn't realistic.

Without evidence your reasoning isn't so great.
If I was making an equivalence between belief and skepticism, I wouldn't have used Pascal's Wager as an example.
I wasn't questioning that you believe because you're afraid of what may happen to you if you don't. I was questioning the basis for thinking the odds of your belief being true are good in the absence of any material evidence to support it.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 4:25 pm 
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Yeah, I do. I think we all have something near to whatever your definition of a soul is.

And this is about as mystical as you'll ever hear me get.

Because I tell stories for a living, I've spent a lot of time thinking about the concept of story. On those occasions where I'm paid to teach writing, I teach story. A story is a lens through which we apprehend our world, our circumstance. Everyplace I go --- and I've gone to well over 100 countries --- I ask about the local creation myth. It is always, of course, a story.

We Homo sapiens told stories --- I'm assuming --- from our earliest days on earth. We told stories around the campfires, Homer spoke his epic poems, Guttenberg allowed us to widely disseminate stories and we read stories on the internet.

Telling stories is what humans do to make sense of our world. Your ancestors were good hunters and gatherers, otherwise, you wouldn't be here. And if we listen to the stories of hunter-gatherers --- those of the Australian Aboriginals, for instance --- we hear explanations of why we exist, why certain trees bloom in certain parts of the year, and how a geological formation came to be.

Stories are baked into our DNA.

In my mind, I have always envisioned a blinding curve of energy, a great story arc in the sky.

When I write, the first 20 minutes or so is generally throw away stuff. But as my friend Richard Wheeler (author of 60 novels) says, "it is like a rusty old outdoor water pump. You work the handle and all you get at first is rusty muddy water. But if you keep pumping, the water runs clear and clean."

So it is with writing. If you are working well, sometime in that first 20 minutes you forget yourself. The prose becomes cleaner, the story sharper, elements you hadn't even considered in your outline enter the flow and those annoying loose ends begin the tie themselves up into neat little knots.

Meanwhile, you may have been sitting there for 3 hours, but it seems like you've only been working for 30 minutes. You went somewhere for a while and there you consulted the Great Story Arc and it was there that the stories of our history on earth lit you up and informed the best of your writing.

I know you've all had roughly similar experiences writing, even for some essay project in school. Couldn't get the damn thing started and now it's four in the morning and, damn, this isn't bad.

I think the act of losing yourself in the work is much akin to Eastern Meditative states.

I am not alone in this thought. In 1990, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the Hungarian psychologist, and (at the time) University of Chicago Psych professor wrote a book entitled Flow, the Psychology of Optimal Experience. He found that painters, for instance, experienced flow states while working. A musician writing a passage on paper may not hear the doorbell ring. A neurosurgeon may experience a complex five hour operation as 15 minutes of work. A ballerina, on the other hand, may sense that two seconds of movement have slowed down to two minutes. An athlete in the flow is said to be "in the zone."

Csikszentmihalyi described the flow as "being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you're using your skills to the utmost."

Some folks use meditation to get to that state of ego-less flow and what I think of as "creatural" thinking (rather than thinking in the ordinary brooding mode). Without self critical thought or ego, these folks may feel they've begun the perceive the meaning of life.

I think a basketball player in the zone shares some of that comprehension. I mean, I guess you can get there doing a Buddist "stare at the wall for a day" exercise. Some of us just need a little harder bump.

Which brings us back to the soul.

When I'm writing and in the flow, I often have no idea where that element of the story just came from and why the piece wants to finish the way it demands to finish. I just pulled that stuff down out of that blinding curve of energy, the Great Story Arc.

And what that has to do with the soul is this: you are part of it. I am part of it. Every human being is part of it. As soon as you are born, your parents start telling your story. And as a child, you will skin your knee or walk naked into your parent's dinner party, you'll suffer a broken heart, hit the zone in your chosen sport, have children of your own. And that all becomes part of the human story. It folds into the Great Story Arc and alters it if only very slightly. And there it is --- in that blinding curve of energy that lasts forever --- that is where your soul resides.


I know I rag on you, but that was sublime


Yes.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 4:32 pm 
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Evidence doesn't make sense here.
Evidence doesn;t make sense here.........jsut let the profound idiocy of that sink in.

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We can measure when a body dies, but the body is the same chemicals before and afterward, just no electricity. How would you prove a soul doesn't exist? It's a meaningless question.
No...that's a meaningless statement. You're the one with the burden of proof. We don;t need to prove a negative. We're simply saying, there's no reason to assume there is a soul...there could be theoretically...as there could be forces in the universe which violate all the known laws so far..but no reason to assume there is.

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When you think of love, joy, friendship, beauty, why we care about people after they lose their minds or are even comatose, why there's something rather than nothing, the strangeness of consciousness, the belief in human dignity and rights based solely on being human......

None of those constructs have any empirical meaning whatsoever beyond that which you freight them with.

Kneel before a superior philosopher.....



You're content striving to be a MORE confused and deluded Oh So Human. ...I'm not worried about it.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 4:54 pm 
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There are some near universals in humanity. I assume they must provide some kind of long term survival benefit to the species.

Belief in the soul (in some fashion) seems to be one of those beliefs. Even if it doesn't exist, belief in it serves us somehow.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 5:03 pm 
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There are some near universals in humanity. I assume they must provide some kind of long term survival benefit to the species.

Belief in the soul (in some fashion) seems to be one of those beliefs. Even if it doesn't exist, belief in it serves us somehow.

The ability of homo sapiens to self delude is our CHIEF advantage over other animals. We are the only mammal that can collaborate with non-kin on a large scale. We are advantaged by believing all sorts of lies, religion, ideological, the afterlife, a soul, justice, righteousness. etc...

So, yes, this is an advantage evolutionary...does that mean we all have to buy in? Hell no. In fact, one of the chief advantages for some individuals is to recognize the power of these sorts of false narratives and leverage them.


Check out this guys work. He's fantastic.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuval_Noah_Harari

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sapiens:_ ... _Humankind

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 5:07 pm 
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I wasn't questioning that you believe because you're afraid of what may happen to you if you don't. I was questioning the basis for thinking the odds of your belief being true are good in the absence of any material evidence to support it.
How do you find material evidence of something which is, by nature, immaterial?

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 5:12 pm 
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I wasn't questioning that you believe because you're afraid of what may happen to you if you don't. I was questioning the basis for thinking the odds of your belief being true are good in the absence of any material evidence to support it.
How do you find material evidence of something which is, by nature, immaterial?

What evidence do you have that anything in the Universe is immaterial?

None. You have None...you have faith, belief, desire, conjecture. What you don't have is logic or reason.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 5:13 pm 
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I wasn't questioning that you believe because you're afraid of what may happen to you if you don't. I was questioning the basis for thinking the odds of your belief being true are good in the absence of any material evidence to support it.
How do you find material evidence of something which is, by nature, immaterial?

What evidence do you have that anything in the Universe is immaterial?

None. You have None...you have faith, belief, desire, conjecture. What you don't have is logic or reason.
I found the classical arguments on existence of the soul very sound. Why am I wrong?

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 5:16 pm 
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I wasn't questioning that you believe because you're afraid of what may happen to you if you don't. I was questioning the basis for thinking the odds of your belief being true are good in the absence of any material evidence to support it.
How do you find material evidence of something which is, by nature, immaterial?

What evidence do you have that anything in the Universe is immaterial?

None. You have None...you have faith, belief, desire, conjecture. What you don't have is logic or reason.
I found the classical arguments on existence of the soul very sound. Why am I wrong?
As noted above. The classic arguments are based on narrative and conjecture...they start from a false presupposition. The classic toddler ideal..fallacy of central position.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 5:19 pm 
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I wasn't questioning that you believe because you're afraid of what may happen to you if you don't. I was questioning the basis for thinking the odds of your belief being true are good in the absence of any material evidence to support it.
How do you find material evidence of something which is, by nature, immaterial?

What evidence do you have that anything in the Universe is immaterial?

None. You have None...you have faith, belief, desire, conjecture. What you don't have is logic or reason.
I found the classical arguments on existence of the soul very sound. Why am I wrong?
As noted above. The classic arguments are based on narrative and conjecture...they start from a false presupposition. The classic toddler ideal..fallacy of central position.
What false presupposition-- the question about the meaning of life and what happens after death?

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 5:22 pm 
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I wasn't questioning that you believe because you're afraid of what may happen to you if you don't. I was questioning the basis for thinking the odds of your belief being true are good in the absence of any material evidence to support it.
How do you find material evidence of something which is, by nature, immaterial?

What evidence do you have that anything in the Universe is immaterial?

None. You have None...you have faith, belief, desire, conjecture. What you don't have is logic or reason.
I found the classical arguments on existence of the soul very sound. Why am I wrong?
As noted above. The classic arguments are based on narrative and conjecture...they start from a false presupposition. The classic toddler ideal..fallacy of central position.
What false presupposition-- the question about the meaning of life and what happens after death?
That's part an parcel of the same thing, yes. The False presupposition that there SHOULD be a soul coupled with the false notion that there CAN be a thing which has no thingness to it. An immaterial, undetectable essence which defies all known laws of nature and conveys unique properties to every individual who has every existed.

A ghost essentially.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 5:32 pm 
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I wasn't questioning that you believe because you're afraid of what may happen to you if you don't. I was questioning the basis for thinking the odds of your belief being true are good in the absence of any material evidence to support it.
How do you find material evidence of something which is, by nature, immaterial?
You're the one ascribing "good odds" to it's existence. You tell me.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:47 pm 
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There are some near universals in humanity. I assume they must provide some kind of long term survival benefit to the species.

Belief in the soul (in some fashion) seems to be one of those beliefs. Even if it doesn't exist, belief in it serves us somehow.
True dat

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 11:13 pm 
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Evidence doesn't make sense here.
Evidence doesn;t make sense here.........jsut let the profound idiocy of that sink in.

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We can measure when a body dies, but the body is the same chemicals before and afterward, just no electricity. How would you prove a soul doesn't exist? It's a meaningless question.
No...that's a meaningless statement. You're the one with the burden of proof. We don;t need to prove a negative. We're simply saying, there's no reason to assume there is a soul...there could be theoretically...as there could be forces in the universe which violate all the known laws so far..but no reason to assume there is.

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When you think of love, joy, friendship, beauty, why we care about people after they lose their minds or are even comatose, why there's something rather than nothing, the strangeness of consciousness, the belief in human dignity and rights based solely on being human......

None of those constructs have any empirical meaning whatsoever beyond that which you freight them with.

Kneel before a superior philosopher.....



You're content striving to be a MORE confused and deluded Oh So Human. ...I'm not worried about it.


Your worldview is empiricism or materialism- what is real, what counts as evidence, is that which can be measured- matter, force, kettlebells, wind, etc. When that's your worldview, evidence can't be mustered to prove that there are such things as love, beauty, souls, and consciousness. Sure, a lot of people feel them, but there's no empirical proof of them. You take it one step further and argue that they're noble lies that allow us to avoid the ultimate truth that we're determined animals, lacking free will, with a meaningless electrified interlude during which our hearts beat until we return to dust and ashes.

If your worldview isn't empiricism, you can take all sorts of thing into account into figuring out how to make sense of the world.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 11:28 pm 
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Whole lot of fucking stupid in here.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:26 am 
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According to Buddhist views all of us are part of the Universe. A momentary spark seemingly separated from the rest. Often quoted analogy - waves in the ocean; does the wave reincarnate? Not really, as it was never actually "born", in the sense that it was never separate from the ocean.

According to the Old Man Guatama himself (laid out in the Diamond Sutra) the illusion of being separate from the rest of Existence is the main source of suffering.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:27 am 
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I wasn't questioning that you believe because you're afraid of what may happen to you if you don't. I was questioning the basis for thinking the odds of your belief being true are good in the absence of any material evidence to support it.
How do you find material evidence of something which is, by nature, immaterial?

What evidence do you have that anything in the Universe is immaterial?

None. You have None...you have faith, belief, desire, conjecture. What you don't have is logic or reason.
I found the classical arguments on existence of the soul very sound. Why am I wrong?
As noted above. The classic arguments are based on narrative and conjecture...they start from a false presupposition. The classic toddler ideal..fallacy of central position.
What false presupposition-- the question about the meaning of life and what happens after death?
That's part an parcel of the same thing, yes. The False presupposition that there SHOULD be a soul coupled with the false notion that there CAN be a thing which has no thingness to it. An immaterial, undetectable essence which defies all known laws of nature and conveys unique properties to every individual who has every existed.

A ghost essentially.
That seems like a pretty massive oversimplification of 2000 years of philosophy.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:30 am 
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I wasn't questioning that you believe because you're afraid of what may happen to you if you don't. I was questioning the basis for thinking the odds of your belief being true are good in the absence of any material evidence to support it.
How do you find material evidence of something which is, by nature, immaterial?
You're the one ascribing "good odds" to it's existence. You tell me.
That's the rub-- the one being asked to prove their assertion will be on the back foot in a discussion like this. That's not how it works.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:40 am 
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What is the soul anyway? None of us have lasting identity and it changes from moment to moment. If there was some common notions wouldn't exist: "you don't know what you are capable of", "I don't know what's gotten into me" etc. In any case, questions like these cannot be answered (I don't think so anyway) by the binary logic. There are more dimensions to reality than Yes or No.

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I wasn't questioning that you believe because you're afraid of what may happen to you if you don't. I was questioning the basis for thinking the odds of your belief being true are good in the absence of any material evidence to support it.
How do you find material evidence of something which is, by nature, immaterial?

What evidence do you have that anything in the Universe is immaterial?

None. You have None...you have faith, belief, desire, conjecture. What you don't have is logic or reason.
I found the classical arguments on existence of the soul very sound. Why am I wrong?
As noted above. The classic arguments are based on narrative and conjecture...they start from a false presupposition. The classic toddler ideal..fallacy of central position.
What false presupposition-- the question about the meaning of life and what happens after death?
That's part an parcel of the same thing, yes. The False presupposition that there SHOULD be a soul coupled with the false notion that there CAN be a thing which has no thingness to it. An immaterial, undetectable essence which defies all known laws of nature and conveys unique properties to every individual who has every existed.

A ghost essentially.
That seems like a pretty massive oversimplification of 2000 years of philosophy.
I didn't say they don't hold value..I'm saying they don't offer anything factual and when they do they're easily upended because they arise from a factual untruth. Stick to storytelling. It suits you.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 4:32 pm 
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I wasn't questioning that you believe because you're afraid of what may happen to you if you don't. I was questioning the basis for thinking the odds of your belief being true are good in the absence of any material evidence to support it.
How do you find material evidence of something which is, by nature, immaterial?
You're the one ascribing "good odds" to it's existence. You tell me.
That's the rub-- the one being asked to prove their assertion will be on the back foot in a discussion like this. That's not how it works.

How the actual fuck pray tell does it works?

Do you think you have a soul. Y/N?

Why?

Those explaining their why not are on dead solid arguable territory. Their why is irrefutably correct given the known information. Those on the Yes column are leaning on treasured narratives, logical fallacies and arguments that can take in no new information. Beautiful arguments, crystalline palaces of "belief..." yet each a house of cards.

I love me a good archetype, love a great story of a "should"...narratives are important to our creating the story of self.....however false that story is.....and it if we know anything it's all a pack of lies. The human mind is the perfect engine for self deception. The most unreliable of all eyewitnesses. Thus I like to keep my "why" untainted by bullshit.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 4:39 pm 
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If your worldview isn't empiricism, you can take all sorts of thing into account into figuring out how to make sense of the world.

No...You create a compelling narrative that shapes human behavior in a way you like...But you've made significantly less factual sense of the world than the the cave paintings at Lascaux.

I won't dismiss the value of story and the human yearning for organizing lies....but don't ask me to abandon reason and observation in favor of the stupor, torpor and moral delusion of whatever bullshit tangential ideology you're busy selling.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 6:17 pm 
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Do you think/know/suspect you have a soul? Why?

I don't think so based on lack of any evidence. I am certainly open to evidence but likely couldn't view it without think it was bat shit crazy. That being said I used to believe a soul was a real thing because so many other people believed so how could everyone be so wrong, combined with never having a reason to question the concept.
Strongly suspect yes, will try to avoid religious argument. Science hasn't yet gotten to the point where we can understand how consciousness arises, let alone what happens to it, so this is a pretty binary "I can believe this without evidence" or "I won't believe this without evidence" choice. There's also the "I believe this because religious text X says so," but there's not much point discussing that with people.

So the first question for me is, "Could such a thing be possible?" I expect there's going to be a gradual shift from atheism to agnosticism as AI tech improves. Waitbutwhy has a great set of articles on AI and superintelligence:
http://waitbutwhy.com/2015/01/artificia ... ion-1.html

It's very easy for an atheist, science-focused person to look at what is likely to happen if we can create superintelligent AI and say, "It's absolutely unknowable what something like that would be capable of after 1,000 years (or 100,000 years, or 10,000,000 years). But creating complete simulations of life/planets/galaxies" would not seem like a big stretch. If you can accept that, then saying "And I'm absolutely positive that's never been done anywhere else by any species ever, so it's impossible that someone made the reality I observe around me" is an odd follow-up thought. Once you have something that can shape simulated reality however it wants, complete with an Earth/humanity/etc., concepts like souls are trivial add-ons.

The possibility of all that seems indisputable to me at this point.

Looking at the history of religion and core truths that arise in multiple places, despite a ton of noise, I think it's believable that we have a larger story playing out that we aren't quite equipped to get. People who proceed with certainty as in "This is part of God's plan" or "Why would a benevolent god let that happen, must not be real" from the fundamentalists and rabid atheists are annoying. A god that is real, not magical, is going to have a degree of intelligence and power such that believing in one's ability to ascribe motivations and intentions is dumb. A goldfish who thinks he really gets you is being arrogant as fuck, and the smarts gap between us and a real God would be much greater.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 6:28 pm 
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Do you think/know/suspect you have a soul? Why?

I don't think so based on lack of any evidence. I am certainly open to evidence but likely couldn't view it without think it was bat shit crazy. That being said I used to believe a soul was a real thing because so many other people believed so how could everyone be so wrong, combined with never having a reason to question the concept.
Strongly suspect yes, will try to avoid religious argument. Science hasn't yet gotten to the point where we can understand how consciousness arises, let alone what happens to it, so this is a pretty binary "I can believe this without evidence" or "I won't believe this without evidence" choice. There's also the "I believe this because religious text X says so," but there's not much point discussing that with people.

So the first question for me is, "Could such a thing be possible?" I expect there's going to be a gradual shift from atheism to agnosticism as AI tech improves. Waitbutwhy has a great set of articles on AI and superintelligence:
http://waitbutwhy.com/2015/01/artificia ... ion-1.html

It's very easy for an atheist, science-focused person to look at what is likely to happen if we can create superintelligent AI and say, "It's absolutely unknowable what something like that would be capable of after 1,000 years (or 100,000 years, or 10,000,000 years). But creating complete simulations of life/planets/galaxies" would not seem like a big stretch. If you can accept that, then saying "And I'm absolutely positive that's never been done anywhere else by any species ever, so it's impossible that someone made the reality I observe around me" is an odd follow-up thought. Once you have something that can shape simulated reality however it wants, complete with an Earth/humanity/etc., concepts like souls are trivial add-ons.

The possibility of all that seems indisputable to me at this point.

Looking at the history of religion and core truths that arise in multiple places, despite a ton of noise, I think it's believable that we have a larger story playing out that we aren't quite equipped to get. People who proceed with certainty as in "This is part of God's plan" or "Why would a benevolent god let that happen, must not be real" from the fundamentalists and rabid atheists are annoying. A god that is real, not magical, is going to have a degree of intelligence and power such that believing in one's ability to ascribe motivations and intentions is dumb. A goldfish who thinks he really gets you is being arrogant as fuck, and the smarts gap between us and a real God would be much greater.
This actually made sense - what the heck is this place coming to?


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