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Why Religious People Should Treat Atheist Podcaster Sam Harris As A Valuable Adversary

 
GAD
 
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GAD
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27 July 2018 00:33
 

Why Religious People Should Treat Atheist Podcaster Sam Harris As A Valuable Adversary


Here is my view of this.

We live, we die, and in between we struggle to survive. And when we die all the experiences that we struggled for, die with us, where’s the meaning in that? Theism says reason can not provide meaning, only nihilism, and that gods and magic books, things not founded on reason, are the only answer. And what is the argument against reason? One of the theists (and Owl guy’s) favorites, that we don’t know everything so our reason is limited and when as we lean more we might find that our unreasonable beliefs are reasonable. Basically a magic Carrot on stick that we are told if we can get to will make all our dreams comes true is the only meaning of life.   

That is really what this is saying.

OK, now all the theists, philosophers and the kumbaya choir can tell me how wonderful it is and how wrong I am. 

 
 
Jan_CAN
 
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27 July 2018 06:08
 
GAD - 27 July 2018 12:33 AM

Why Religious People Should Treat Atheist Podcaster Sam Harris As A Valuable Adversary

Here is my view of this.

We live, we die, and in between we struggle to survive. And when we die all the experiences that we struggled for, die with us, where’s the meaning in that? Theism says reason can not provide meaning, only nihilism, and that gods and magic books, things not founded on reason, are the only answer. And what is the argument against reason? One of the theists (and Owl guy’s) favorites, that we don’t know everything so our reason is limited and when as we lean more we might find that our unreasonable beliefs are reasonable. Basically a magic Carrot on stick that we are told if we can get to will make all our dreams comes true is the only meaning of life.   

That is really what this is saying.

OK, now all the theists, philosophers and the kumbaya choir can tell me how wonderful it is and how wrong I am.

(Well, as a ‘designated’ member of the kumbaya crowd, I guess I’ll pipe in.)

Yes, “we live, we die, and in between we struggle to survive”.  But we don’t just struggle to survive.  We learn, we love, we pass things on to the next generation.  When we die, all that we struggled for does not die with us.  Even if after a generation our names are forgotten, each of us leaves behind a little something, however miniscule that might be.  And if we can let go of our giant human egos, we can appreciate how great it is just to have been part of it all.

Reason and science have shown us just how ‘miraculous’ this world is that we live in and are part of, from the vastness of the universe to the unseen subatomic, and that everything is connected and related.  More reason to be in awe and rejoice than some notion of an elusive god.  There is no need for some sort of made up ‘meaning’; life itself has meaning simply because it exists.  It’s all about how you choose (yes, choose) to think about it.  No need for nihilism.

[ Edited: 27 July 2018 06:14 by Jan_CAN]
 
 
GAD
 
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27 July 2018 07:20
 
Jan_CAN - 27 July 2018 06:08 AM
GAD - 27 July 2018 12:33 AM

Why Religious People Should Treat Atheist Podcaster Sam Harris As A Valuable Adversary

Here is my view of this.

We live, we die, and in between we struggle to survive. And when we die all the experiences that we struggled for, die with us, where’s the meaning in that? Theism says reason can not provide meaning, only nihilism, and that gods and magic books, things not founded on reason, are the only answer. And what is the argument against reason? One of the theists (and Owl guy’s) favorites, that we don’t know everything so our reason is limited and when as we lean more we might find that our unreasonable beliefs are reasonable. Basically a magic Carrot on stick that we are told if we can get to will make all our dreams comes true is the only meaning of life.   

That is really what this is saying.

OK, now all the theists, philosophers and the kumbaya choir can tell me how wonderful it is and how wrong I am.

(Well, as a ‘designated’ member of the kumbaya crowd, I guess I’ll pipe in.)

Yes, “we live, we die, and in between we struggle to survive”.  But we don’t just struggle to survive.  We learn, we love, we pass things on to the next generation.  When we die, all that we struggled for does not die with us.  Even if after a generation our names are forgotten, each of us leaves behind a little something, however miniscule that might be.  And if we can let go of our giant human egos, we can appreciate how great it is just to have been part of it all.

Reason and science have shown us just how ‘miraculous’ this world is that we live in and are part of, from the vastness of the universe to the unseen subatomic, and that everything is connected and related.  More reason to be in awe and rejoice than some notion of an elusive god.  There is no need for some sort of made up ‘meaning’; life itself has meaning simply because it exists.  It’s all about how you choose (yes, choose) to think about it.  No need for nihilism.

Nicely put Jan, and much more reasonable then I was expecting from the choir. It is what we leave behind, and nihilism is an invented disease and gods and religion an invented cure.

 
 
nonverbal
 
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27 July 2018 08:37
 
GAD - 27 July 2018 12:33 AM

Why Religious People Should Treat Atheist Podcaster Sam Harris As A Valuable Adversary


Here is my view of this.

We live, we die, and in between we struggle to survive. And when we die all the experiences that we struggled for, die with us, where’s the meaning in that?

. . .

I’ve read your words for years, GAD, and they reveal that you’ve established meaning in your life.

How to devise meaning: As we navigate our way through life, balancing between pleasure and pain, we continually keep an eye out for what we can comfortably do to make a living and establish pleasant interests. Once either or both are successfully in place, voila . . . meaning.

 
 
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27 July 2018 11:08
 
GAD - 27 July 2018 12:33 AM

One of the theists (and Owl guy’s) favorites, that we don’t know everything so our reason is limited and when as we lean more we might find that our unreasonable beliefs are reasonable. Basically a magic Carrot on stick that we are told if we can get to will make all our dreams comes true is the only meaning of life.

We have a fundamental difference in what I believe.  The first bolded phrase I have stated a number of times, and stands on its own merits.  The second bolded phrase, however, is not what I believe, nor have I ever stated that in any of my posts in any thread.  I have stated in any number of threads that there is no, nor can there be, proof of the existence of god, otherwise faith would have no meaning.

As for the third bolded phrase, I don’t even pretend to know the meaning of life.  I do have a basic goal for my life; to do as much good as I can, for as many as I can, for as long as I can.  I’m not saying that I fully live up to that goal, but it is something for which I strive, and there is contentment in giving of oneself, but I would hardly call that a carrot on a stick.

 
 
proximacentauri
 
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27 July 2018 14:49
 
Jan_CAN - 27 July 2018 06:08 AM
GAD - 27 July 2018 12:33 AM

Why Religious People Should Treat Atheist Podcaster Sam Harris As A Valuable Adversary

Here is my view of this.

We live, we die, and in between we struggle to survive. And when we die all the experiences that we struggled for, die with us, where’s the meaning in that? Theism says reason can not provide meaning, only nihilism, and that gods and magic books, things not founded on reason, are the only answer. And what is the argument against reason? One of the theists (and Owl guy’s) favorites, that we don’t know everything so our reason is limited and when as we lean more we might find that our unreasonable beliefs are reasonable. Basically a magic Carrot on stick that we are told if we can get to will make all our dreams comes true is the only meaning of life.   

That is really what this is saying.

OK, now all the theists, philosophers and the kumbaya choir can tell me how wonderful it is and how wrong I am.

(Well, as a ‘designated’ member of the kumbaya crowd, I guess I’ll pipe in.)

Yes, “we live, we die, and in between we struggle to survive”.  But we don’t just struggle to survive.  We learn, we love, we pass things on to the next generation.  When we die, all that we struggled for does not die with us.  Even if after a generation our names are forgotten, each of us leaves behind a little something, however miniscule that might be.  And if we can let go of our giant human egos, we can appreciate how great it is just to have been part of it all.

Reason and science have shown us just how ‘miraculous’ this world is that we live in and are part of, from the vastness of the universe to the unseen subatomic, and that everything is connected and related.  More reason to be in awe and rejoice than some notion of an elusive god.  There is no need for some sort of made up ‘meaning’; life itself has meaning simply because it exists.  It’s all about how you choose (yes, choose) to think about it.  No need for nihilism.

I agree for the most part with your post but would argue that science really shows us how ‘un-miraculous’ our world is.

 

 
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27 July 2018 15:28
 
proximacentauri - 27 July 2018 02:49 PM
Jan_CAN - 27 July 2018 06:08 AM

(Well, as a ‘designated’ member of the kumbaya crowd, I guess I’ll pipe in.)

Yes, “we live, we die, and in between we struggle to survive”.  But we don’t just struggle to survive.  We learn, we love, we pass things on to the next generation.  When we die, all that we struggled for does not die with us.  Even if after a generation our names are forgotten, each of us leaves behind a little something, however miniscule that might be.  And if we can let go of our giant human egos, we can appreciate how great it is just to have been part of it all.

Reason and science have shown us just how ‘miraculous’ this world is that we live in and are part of, from the vastness of the universe to the unseen subatomic, and that everything is connected and related.  More reason to be in awe and rejoice than some notion of an elusive god.  There is no need for some sort of made up ‘meaning’; life itself has meaning simply because it exists.  It’s all about how you choose (yes, choose) to think about it.  No need for nihilism.

I agree for the most part with your post but would argue that science really shows us how ‘un-miraculous’ our world is.

To be clear, I put the word miraculous in single quotes to indicate that I was using it in a non-typical way, i.e. not in a religious or non-natural sense.  (I find some words with religious connotations are still useful/expressive for the atheist.)

[ Edited: 27 July 2018 16:05 by Jan_CAN]
 
 
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27 July 2018 16:49
 
Jan_CAN - 27 July 2018 03:28 PM
proximacentauri - 27 July 2018 02:49 PM
Jan_CAN - 27 July 2018 06:08 AM

(Well, as a ‘designated’ member of the kumbaya crowd, I guess I’ll pipe in.)

Yes, “we live, we die, and in between we struggle to survive”.  But we don’t just struggle to survive.  We learn, we love, we pass things on to the next generation.  When we die, all that we struggled for does not die with us.  Even if after a generation our names are forgotten, each of us leaves behind a little something, however miniscule that might be.  And if we can let go of our giant human egos, we can appreciate how great it is just to have been part of it all.

Reason and science have shown us just how ‘miraculous’ this world is that we live in and are part of, from the vastness of the universe to the unseen subatomic, and that everything is connected and related.  More reason to be in awe and rejoice than some notion of an elusive god.  There is no need for some sort of made up ‘meaning’; life itself has meaning simply because it exists.  It’s all about how you choose (yes, choose) to think about it.  No need for nihilism.

I agree for the most part with your post but would argue that science really shows us how ‘un-miraculous’ our world is.

To be clear, I put the word miraculous in single quotes to indicate that I was using it in a non-typical way, i.e. not in a religious or non-natural sense.  (I find some words with religious connotations are still useful/expressive for the atheist.)

Yes I thought that was how you meant to use it, but I just cringe a bit when I see atheists use words like miraculous…even in single quotes. Theists will latch on to these words. Don’t want to give those pesky theists an opening

 

 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
 
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28 July 2018 06:22
 

The so-called “problem of value” in a meaningless universe is as false a problem as the gods invoked to solve it.  Meaning and value are intrinsic to existence; there is no more need to base them on “reason” than there is to base them on “God,” mistakes both theists and atheists make.  Instead, navigating meaning is what we do, not create it ex nihilo out of a brute, valueless, and meaningless existence.  No choir needed to observe that, just a little intellectual honesty as we get by in a value-laden universe, just like we all do.

[ Edited: 28 July 2018 06:30 by TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher]
 
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28 July 2018 07:14
 

People think of themselves as gods with limitations anyway. I can’t imagine any other reality where we wouldn’t have conjured up a fictional all-powerful version of ourselves. It was inevitable, and frankly boring and uncreative. If we’re going to die anyway, why not see what we could accomplish in the meantime. “Meaning” is just emotional value in a different type of package.

 
 
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28 July 2018 08:34
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 28 July 2018 06:22 AM

The so-called “problem of value” in a meaningless universe is as false a problem as the gods invoked to solve it.  Meaning and value are intrinsic to existence; there is no more need to base them on “reason” than there is to base them on “God,” mistakes both theists and atheists make.  Instead, navigating meaning is what we do, not create it ex nihilo out of a brute, valueless, and meaningless existence.  No choir needed to observe that, just a little intellectual honesty as we get by in a value-laden universe, just like we all do.

But you used reason to determine that and religion says that that reasoning is wrong because meaning and value only come from gods.

 
 
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28 July 2018 09:58
 
GAD - 28 July 2018 08:34 AM
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 28 July 2018 06:22 AM

The so-called “problem of value” in a meaningless universe is as false a problem as the gods invoked to solve it.  Meaning and value are intrinsic to existence; there is no more need to base them on “reason” than there is to base them on “God,” mistakes both theists and atheists make.  Instead, navigating meaning is what we do, not create it ex nihilo out of a brute, valueless, and meaningless existence.  No choir needed to observe that, just a little intellectual honesty as we get by in a value-laden universe, just like we all do.

But you used reason to determine that and religion says that that reasoning is wrong because meaning and value only come from gods.

Yes, reason—or what I prefer to call “intelligence”—is how we navigate in a universe of value and meaning, but reason is not the source of that value and meaning—the parallel error atheists sometimes make to the theist’s error of saying meaning and value only come from God.  I’m not saying Harris makes this error per se, but at times he seems to flirt with it.  In any case, I think he overvalues reason and rationality because I don’t think he really understands either.  To me they seem more like his “religion” than what I’d call the creative use of intelligence to solve our most pressing problems.  In this respect, I don’t think Harris is doing anyone any favors with his advocacy of reason, except himself.

[ Edited: 28 July 2018 10:40 by TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher]
 
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28 July 2018 16:25
 
Jan_CAN - 27 July 2018 06:08 AM

. . . life itself has meaning simply because it exists.  It’s all about how you choose (yes, choose) to think about it.

That.

 
GAD
 
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28 July 2018 17:23
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 28 July 2018 09:58 AM
GAD - 28 July 2018 08:34 AM
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 28 July 2018 06:22 AM

The so-called “problem of value” in a meaningless universe is as false a problem as the gods invoked to solve it.  Meaning and value are intrinsic to existence; there is no more need to base them on “reason” than there is to base them on “God,” mistakes both theists and atheists make.  Instead, navigating meaning is what we do, not create it ex nihilo out of a brute, valueless, and meaningless existence.  No choir needed to observe that, just a little intellectual honesty as we get by in a value-laden universe, just like we all do.

But you used reason to determine that and religion says that that reasoning is wrong because meaning and value only come from gods.

Yes, reason—or what I prefer to call “intelligence”—is how we navigate in a universe of value and meaning, but reason is not the source of that value and meaning—the parallel error atheists sometimes make to the theist’s error of saying meaning and value only come from God.  I’m not saying Harris makes this error per se, but at times he seems to flirt with it.  In any case, I think he overvalues reason and rationality because I don’t think he really understands either.  To me they seem more like his “religion” than what I’d call the creative use of intelligence to solve our most pressing problems.  In this respect, I don’t think Harris is doing anyone any favors with his advocacy of reason, except himself.

Where does this cosmic value and meaning come from if not derived through reason? Is it part space-time or a scalier field?

 
 
nonverbal
 
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28 July 2018 19:13
 
GAD - 28 July 2018 05:23 PM
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 28 July 2018 09:58 AM
GAD - 28 July 2018 08:34 AM
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 28 July 2018 06:22 AM

The so-called “problem of value” in a meaningless universe is as false a problem as the gods invoked to solve it.  Meaning and value are intrinsic to existence; there is no more need to base them on “reason” than there is to base them on “God,” mistakes both theists and atheists make.  Instead, navigating meaning is what we do, not create it ex nihilo out of a brute, valueless, and meaningless existence.  No choir needed to observe that, just a little intellectual honesty as we get by in a value-laden universe, just like we all do.

But you used reason to determine that and religion says that that reasoning is wrong because meaning and value only come from gods.

Yes, reason—or what I prefer to call “intelligence”—is how we navigate in a universe of value and meaning, but reason is not the source of that value and meaning—the parallel error atheists sometimes make to the theist’s error of saying meaning and value only come from God.  I’m not saying Harris makes this error per se, but at times he seems to flirt with it.  In any case, I think he overvalues reason and rationality because I don’t think he really understands either.  To me they seem more like his “religion” than what I’d call the creative use of intelligence to solve our most pressing problems.  In this respect, I don’t think Harris is doing anyone any favors with his advocacy of reason, except himself.

Where does this cosmic value and meaning come from if not derived through reason? Is it part space-time or a scalier field?

If I may—it arrives to us by way of tiny chemical factories that our brains control with an iron fist. “No meaning for you!,” it very often shouts, unless you do certain things in certain ways.

 
 
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28 July 2018 19:39
 
nonverbal - 28 July 2018 07:13 PM
GAD - 28 July 2018 05:23 PM
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 28 July 2018 09:58 AM
GAD - 28 July 2018 08:34 AM
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 28 July 2018 06:22 AM

The so-called “problem of value” in a meaningless universe is as false a problem as the gods invoked to solve it.  Meaning and value are intrinsic to existence; there is no more need to base them on “reason” than there is to base them on “God,” mistakes both theists and atheists make.  Instead, navigating meaning is what we do, not create it ex nihilo out of a brute, valueless, and meaningless existence.  No choir needed to observe that, just a little intellectual honesty as we get by in a value-laden universe, just like we all do.

But you used reason to determine that and religion says that that reasoning is wrong because meaning and value only come from gods.

Yes, reason—or what I prefer to call “intelligence”—is how we navigate in a universe of value and meaning, but reason is not the source of that value and meaning—the parallel error atheists sometimes make to the theist’s error of saying meaning and value only come from God.  I’m not saying Harris makes this error per se, but at times he seems to flirt with it.  In any case, I think he overvalues reason and rationality because I don’t think he really understands either.  To me they seem more like his “religion” than what I’d call the creative use of intelligence to solve our most pressing problems.  In this respect, I don’t think Harris is doing anyone any favors with his advocacy of reason, except himself.

Where does this cosmic value and meaning come from if not derived through reason? Is it part space-time or a scalier field?

If I may—it arrives to us by way of tiny chemical factories that our brains control with an iron fist. “No meaning for you!,” it very often shouts, unless you do certain things in certain ways.

Then we can only hope that it was determined that we find those things and ways reasonable.

 
 
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