[extropy-chat] Putting God to Rest

Samantha Atkins sjatkins at mac.com
Tue Apr 24 17:22:17 UTC 2007

Mike Dougherty wrote:
>> Damien Broderick wrote:
>>> At 09:10 AM 4/23/2007 -0400, Mike Dougherty wrote:
>>>> So what is it called if you believe in a higher order of being than we
>>>> are currently capable of understanding and through the inductive
>>>> process believe there will always be a higher order no matter how
>>>> exponential growth evolves our understanding?
>>> Wishful thinking? Category mistake?
> Wow, it is difficult to accept that any of us are communicating here.
> "wishful thinking" was use by Damien as a put down (as I took it) and
> Brent twisted the same words and took it as a label to support.  How
> will it ever be possible to convey abstract meaning from sentences if
> we don't have a common understanding of the meaning of the simplest
> words.
I believe Damien was pointing out the fact that one can conceive there 
could be a higher order being than oneself and one always can conceive 
of such a being is not an argument for God as usually conceived or even 
for the actual existence of any such being.  The line of reasoning is 
similar to an old argument for God as the highest order being far beyond 
human conception.  

> The quote from me (above) was asking about defining a term or
> qualifying a label. 
Which term, God?  God is already defined on rather non-defined by the 
believers.  Some rarefied though experiment God is not God as generally 
though of, worshipped, etc. in the culture.  So I don't see where such 
an effort would gain much.

>  I was amazed to see that mathematical induction
> is not scientific enough for some of the knee-jerk atheists on this
> list.  If you have an argument against the inductive hypothesis that
> there exists a state of being that exceeds our current understanding
> of humanity, then please deconstruct it and enlighten me.  Know that I
> will also assume you would be suffering from the perceptual disorder
> that you believe yourself to be that transcendent being who can
> explain yourself from the pinnacle of human understanding.
You say you want communication then you label some of the people here 
"knee jerk atheist"?  That is inconsistent at best if not hypocritical.  

> Earlier in this thread Damien claimed that "Buddhists are atheists."
> I can't disagree with that.  I have to wonder though if that is also
> suggesting that Buddhists don't believe in transcendental ideas.  You
> can take away the limited view of the ego-ist anthropic superpower
> named "God" - but the notion of "something more than this" is (imo) as
> fundamental and obvious as "there is no largest integer"
Most Buddhist I know believe in considerable orders of higher beings and 
engage in quite a bit of magical thinking including the assumption that 
changing one's own consciousness can transform everything and the de 
facto assumption that the important aspects of suffering are those 
within one's control with training, i.e., one's attachments.  There is 
considerable cognitive dissonance in simultaneously holding the self as 
illusory and having reincarnation as an important supporting basis for 
the general buddhist worldview.  Boddhisatva and enlightenment itself 
not to mention becoming a Buddha are higher states.  There are claims 
that a Buddha frees all beings of suffering on all planes and throughout 
all time.   I don't see how this is substantially different from other 
religious thinking.

> But if this is suffering from a category mistake, then I don't want to
> be indoctrinated into accepting this wysiwyg existance is the most we
> can hope for.

Do you honestly think that any extropians hold such a bizarre formulation?\

- samantha

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