Author Topic: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force  (Read 1599 times)

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Offline jetson

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Re: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force
« Reply #319 on: August 07, 2018, 06:42:05 AM »
I'm not going to respond to that excerpt. Suffice it to say I disagree with the premise, the arguments are silly, and the conclusion is sophomoric in my opinion. In any case, I take it your answer is no. You do not think it's possible a person can find life meaningful and purposeful without believing in the claims of your particular religious faith.

Well, here is an opportunity for you to learn a new piece of information and expose your mind to an alternative idea. If you don't think your faith will be threatened by it, I would encourage you to explore the idea that the world is populated with people who do find life meaningful and purposeful without believing in the claims of your particular religious faith.

I am one of those people. And I know others.

Neither of you are thinking this through. Of course you can find meaning by pretending that meaning exists. But that's all you are doing is pretending and there is no getting around it. It's self-delusion for the purpose of satisfying an irrational worldview and finding comfort.

Please. The existence of "meaning" is not at question here. Sounds like you've run out of things to say, perhaps?

Offline velkyn

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Re: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force
« Reply #320 on: August 07, 2018, 07:27:17 AM »
Neither of you are thinking this through. Of course you can find meaning by pretending that meaning exists. But that's all you are doing is pretending and there is no getting around it. It's self-delusion for the purpose of satisfying an irrational worldview and finding comfort.

wow, now BS thinks he's psychic and somehow "knows" something that is patently untrue and is only his need to satisfy an irrational worldview and finding comfort in trying to lie about other people.

That's a pity.  As Jetson has said, it seems that BS has nothing left but this nonsense that he has invented.   I am one of those people who has plenty of meaning without your particular version of Christianity or any religion at all.   That you find it necessary to claim we don't and are "pretending" is quite a tell that you have nothing else, BS.  You have to intentionally try to lie to yourself that no one is happy or contented or satisfied unless they agree with you.  You need that external validation so badly that you intentionally try to counter what we say ourselves. 
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Offline albeto

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Re: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force
« Reply #321 on: August 07, 2018, 11:13:40 AM »
Neither of you are thinking this through. Of course you can find meaning by pretending that meaning exists. But that's all you are doing is pretending and there is no getting around it. It's self-delusion for the purpose of satisfying an irrational worldview and finding comfort.

Without trying to sound too much like Mr. Spock, but BS, this reply is truly fascinating to me. Most people would have taken the opportunity to at least convey the idea that they are open to gathering new information, to considering new ideas, to analyze them with whatever critical thinking skills they have in their intellectual toolbox. Even if the conclusion is a forgone one, this image would have been the expected one to provide. The reason for that is because it communicates a few things. One is a respect for knowledge and truth. One is a respect for the community. One is the desire to identify oneself (to oneself and publicly) as having at least adequate intellectual skills. You lack them all.

I know you're not a spokesperson of the religious right, but I think it is indicative of the problems we have as a society with them. And while you'll no doubt be confused because certain pieces of knowledge just don't click for you, this is why we do keep up the conversations that pressure believers to consider what they're really believing. A civilization that does not value knowledge and truth is a civilization much easier to manipulate and dominate. A person that does not value knowledge and truth is a person much easier to manipulate and dominate. Gullible people are easier to control. But of course you won't believe that. You believe faith is more important than anything else, and gullibility is necessary to maintain this faith.

It makes me wonder, what is your goal here? If you're not interested in learning new things or perhaps gaining some new insight, if you do not respect the community, what do you come her for? What is it about hanging out with atheists that feeds you?

Offline Nick

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Re: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force
« Reply #322 on: August 07, 2018, 11:40:31 AM »
Neither of you are thinking this through. Of course you can find meaning by pretending that meaning exists. But that's all you are doing is pretending and there is no getting around it. It's self-delusion for the purpose of satisfying an irrational worldview and finding comfort.

Without trying to sound too much like Mr. Spock, but BS, this reply is truly fascinating to me. Most people would have taken the opportunity to at least convey the idea that they are open to gathering new information, to considering new ideas, to analyze them with whatever critical thinking skills they have in their intellectual toolbox. Even if the conclusion is a forgone one, this image would have been the expected one to provide. The reason for that is because it communicates a few things. One is a respect for knowledge and truth. One is a respect for the community. One is the desire to identify oneself (to oneself and publicly) as having at least adequate intellectual skills. You lack them all.

I know you're not a spokesperson of the religious right, but I think it is indicative of the problems we have as a society with them. And while you'll no doubt be confused because certain pieces of knowledge just don't click for you, this is why we do keep up the conversations that pressure believers to consider what they're really believing. A civilization that does not value knowledge and truth is a civilization much easier to manipulate and dominate. A person that does not value knowledge and truth is a person much easier to manipulate and dominate. Gullible people are easier to control. But of course you won't believe that. You believe faith is more important than anything else, and gullibility is necessary to maintain this faith.

It makes me wonder, what is your goal here? If you're not interested in learning new things or perhaps gaining some new insight, if you do not respect the community, what do you come her for? What is it about hanging out with atheists that feeds you?
$64,000 question.
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Offline BibleStudent

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Re: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force
« Reply #323 on: August 07, 2018, 09:35:53 PM »
I'm not going to respond to that excerpt. Suffice it to say I disagree with the premise, the arguments are silly, and the conclusion is sophomoric in my opinion. In any case, I take it your answer is no. You do not think it's possible a person can find life meaningful and purposeful without believing in the claims of your particular religious faith.

Well, here is an opportunity for you to learn a new piece of information and expose your mind to an alternative idea. If you don't think your faith will be threatened by it, I would encourage you to explore the idea that the world is populated with people who do find life meaningful and purposeful without believing in the claims of your particular religious faith.

I am one of those people. And I know others.

Neither of you are thinking this through. Of course you can find meaning by pretending that meaning exists. But that's all you are doing is pretending and there is no getting around it. It's self-delusion for the purpose of satisfying an irrational worldview and finding comfort.

Please. The existence of "meaning" is not at question here. Sounds like you've run out of things to say, perhaps?

Where did I go wrong?

Offline BibleStudent

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Re: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force
« Reply #324 on: August 07, 2018, 09:41:11 PM »
Neither of you are thinking this through. Of course you can find meaning by pretending that meaning exists. But that's all you are doing is pretending and there is no getting around it. It's self-delusion for the purpose of satisfying an irrational worldview and finding comfort.

Without trying to sound too much like Mr. Spock, but BS, this reply is truly fascinating to me. Most people would have taken the opportunity to at least convey the idea that they are open to gathering new information, to considering new ideas, to analyze them with whatever critical thinking skills they have in their intellectual toolbox. Even if the conclusion is a forgone one, this image would have been the expected one to provide. The reason for that is because it communicates a few things. One is a respect for knowledge and truth. One is a respect for the community. One is the desire to identify oneself (to oneself and publicly) as having at least adequate intellectual skills. You lack them all.

I know you're not a spokesperson of the religious right, but I think it is indicative of the problems we have as a society with them. And while you'll no doubt be confused because certain pieces of knowledge just don't click for you, this is why we do keep up the conversations that pressure believers to consider what they're really believing. A civilization that does not value knowledge and truth is a civilization much easier to manipulate and dominate. A person that does not value knowledge and truth is a person much easier to manipulate and dominate. Gullible people are easier to control. But of course you won't believe that. You believe faith is more important than anything else, and gullibility is necessary to maintain this faith.

It makes me wonder, what is your goal here? If you're not interested in learning new things or perhaps gaining some new insight, if you do not respect the community, what do you come her for? What is it about hanging out with atheists that feeds you?

Where did I go wrong? It would be appear that you found my earlier reply unsatisfactory. I am always open to "gathering new information...considering new ideas" with a willingness "to analyze them with whatever critical thinking skills" I have in my "intellectual toolbox."

Offline jetson

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Re: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force
« Reply #325 on: August 07, 2018, 10:14:46 PM »
I'm not going to respond to that excerpt. Suffice it to say I disagree with the premise, the arguments are silly, and the conclusion is sophomoric in my opinion. In any case, I take it your answer is no. You do not think it's possible a person can find life meaningful and purposeful without believing in the claims of your particular religious faith.

Well, here is an opportunity for you to learn a new piece of information and expose your mind to an alternative idea. If you don't think your faith will be threatened by it, I would encourage you to explore the idea that the world is populated with people who do find life meaningful and purposeful without believing in the claims of your particular religious faith.

I am one of those people. And I know others.

Neither of you are thinking this through. Of course you can find meaning by pretending that meaning exists. But that's all you are doing is pretending and there is no getting around it. It's self-delusion for the purpose of satisfying an irrational worldview and finding comfort.

Please. The existence of "meaning" is not at question here. Sounds like you've run out of things to say, perhaps?

Where did I go wrong?

Where do I start! lol  ;D

Meaning in one's life is a subjective way of describing what life as an individual is for that person. When a person is mature enough to consider what makes their life meaningful, they express that in their actions and behavior, and in their relationships.

Perhaps your God-colored glasses don't allow you to see that people live fulfilling and meaningful lives outside of your belief system? Do you think that all humans who do not follow Christ are living meaningless lives? I mean, that would be the majority of humans on the planet if you get specific.

Offline velkyn

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Re: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force
« Reply #326 on: August 08, 2018, 10:17:56 AM »
Where did I go wrong?

oh heck, I don't know, maybe when you tried to make false claims about people in order to prop up your religion? 
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Online Jag

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Re: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force
« Reply #327 on: August 08, 2018, 10:52:47 AM »

Neither of you are thinking this through. Of course you can find meaning by pretending that meaning exists. But that's all you are doing is pretending and there is no getting around it. It's self-delusion for the purpose of satisfying an irrational worldview and finding comfort.


Quote
Where did I go wrong?
It seems that once again you have completely forgotten that there is an entire world beyond the end of your nose. Outside the boundaries of the USA. There are entire cultures and nations that are not Christian, but are still theistic. Your arrogance not only suggests that atheists fool themselves into thinking that they have meaning in their lives without God, but also that every non-Christian on Earth is doing so as well.

That's pretty bold, and obviously, with the tiniest bit of actual thought, wrong.

That's one big obvious one. There are more if you want to hear about them.

Quote
It would be appear that you found my earlier reply unsatisfactory. I am always open to "gathering new information...considering new ideas" with a willingness "to analyze them with whatever critical thinking skills" I have in my "intellectual toolbox."

That doesn't seem to be the case. In fact, this thread is chock full of evidence that exactly the opposite is true. There are plenty of others that demonstrate the same.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2018, 11:13:52 AM by Jag »
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Offline albeto

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Re: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force
« Reply #328 on: August 08, 2018, 10:57:32 AM »
Where did I go wrong?

That answer would depend on what your goal is. If your goal is to maintain your faith despite any potential challenges, and share it with others, then you haven't gone wrong at all. You've done everything right. You've modelled it well for anyone who wants to see how it's done.

It would be appear that you found my earlier reply unsatisfactory.

On the contrary, I found it fascinating for the reasons I stated. Fascination is hardly ever unsatisfactory.

I am always open to "gathering new information...considering new ideas" with a willingness "to analyze them with whatever critical thinking skills" I have in my "intellectual toolbox."

Also interesting. What do you think "considering new ideas" means? What might that look like?

Offline BibleStudent

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Re: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force
« Reply #329 on: August 08, 2018, 11:37:59 AM »
So, would it be fair to say that the subjective endogenous meaning you experience is ultimately derived from what evolution has programmed us to believe is meaningful or good or moral? In other words, are you deriving meaning from an objective source that says it has meaning or are you deriving that from a subjective source? If Adolf Hitler said to you that he found meaning in exterminating Jewish people, is his subjective meaning to be criticized? How do you know that what you feel provides meaning really does or not?

Offline velkyn

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Re: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force
« Reply #330 on: August 08, 2018, 11:49:29 AM »
So, would it be fair to say that the subjective endogenous meaning you experience is ultimately derived from what evolution has programmed us to believe is meaningful or good or moral? In other words, are you deriving meaning from an objective source that says it has meaning or are you deriving that from a subjective source? If Adolf Hitler said to you that he found meaning in exterminating Jewish people, is his subjective meaning to be criticized? How do you know that what you feel provides meaning really does or not?

oh my, "subjective endogenous meaning"?  :o That certainly doesn't seem like something BS would say or understand.

It doesn't even make any sense:

subjective: relating to or being experience or knowledge as conditioned by personal mental characteristics or states

endogenous: caused by factors within the body or mind or arising from internal structural or functional causes 


You must have quite a hernia from moving those goalposts from this
Quote
Neither of you are thinking this through. Of course you can find meaning by pretending that meaning exists. But that's all you are doing is pretending and there is no getting around it. It's self-delusion for the purpose of satisfying an irrational worldview and finding comfort.
to the above. 

And you still have no idea what evolutionary theory says.  So much for being willing to learn anything new, and it certainly demonstrates that if you do have any critical thinking skills, you don't use them here.   

You wish to again try to claim that morality only comes from your god.  You've failed repeatedly at that.  You've intentionally made false claims that we somehow "pretend" to have meaning.   Just from your actions, we know that your religion is no font of morality at all. 

Your solipsistic bullshit goes no where.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2018, 12:12:24 PM by velkyn »
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Offline BibleStudent

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Re: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force
« Reply #331 on: August 08, 2018, 12:20:58 PM »
You must have quite a hernia from moving those goalposts from this

Just trying to backup and see if I can learn a little bit more about this business of subjective meaning.

Offline Astreja

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Re: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force
« Reply #332 on: August 08, 2018, 12:34:59 PM »
So, would it be fair to say that the subjective endogenous meaning you experience is ultimately derived from what evolution has programmed us to believe is meaningful or good or moral?

Nope.   Meaning is whatever I declare it to be, no questions asked,  no exceptions.  It doesn't matter if it comes from a religious belief, an evolved tendency, education, or life experience.

You can bleat and whine all about subjectivity and objectivity and the necessity of gods from here to the physical and temporal end of the universe, and it will not change the fact that I don't need *your* beliefs to find value in *my* life.
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Offline velkyn

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Re: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force
« Reply #333 on: August 08, 2018, 12:42:11 PM »
You must have quite a hernia from moving those goalposts from this

Just trying to backup and see if I can learn a little bit more about this business of subjective meaning.

I don't believe that for a moment.  we've discussed this before and you keep trying to find some way to worm your god into morality and you keep failing.   I'm guessing this is because you have no other gap to shove your god into since there is no need for it anywhere.  You want to pretend that there is a need for a magic moral guide.  And you are in a tizzy since us atheists don't need your nonsense.  We are happy, content, considerate, compassionate, etc.  In my experience nothing terrifies a theist more than a atheist who isn't what the theist wants them to be. 

It's always amusing since your very own religion is full of subjective meaning, when believers can get whatever they want out of that nonsense by their magic decoder rings.  We also see that religion changes what it wants to consider sin over time, and again, shows its claims are subjective.  For all of the insistence of people like you that you have the "truth", that never stays the case.  Each Christian creates a moral religion from what they want to be moral, and ignores the rest as convenient.  This god seems not to care or not to exist since it doesn't do a damn thing.   
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Offline BibleStudent

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Re: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force
« Reply #334 on: August 08, 2018, 01:26:25 PM »
So, would it be fair to say that the subjective endogenous meaning you experience is ultimately derived from what evolution has programmed us to believe is meaningful or good or moral?

Nope.   Meaning is whatever I declare it to be, no questions asked,  no exceptions.  It doesn't matter if it comes from a religious belief, an evolved tendency, education, or life experience.

You can bleat and whine all about subjectivity and objectivity and the necessity of gods from here to the physical and temporal end of the universe, and it will not change the fact that I don't need *your* beliefs to find value in *my* life.

I'm not asking if you can find value in your life absent God. I am asking how do you know it has any meaning and what purpose does the meaning serve?

Offline BibleStudent

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Re: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force
« Reply #335 on: August 08, 2018, 01:32:49 PM »
We are happy, content, considerate, compassionate, etc. 

That doesn't sound like you at all....especially the "considerate" part. You actually sound pretty angry and miserable most of the time.

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Re: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force
« Reply #336 on: August 08, 2018, 02:07:04 PM »
I'm not asking if you can find value in your life absent God. I am asking how do you know it has any meaning and what purpose does the meaning serve?

I don't need to know that something has meaning.  The experience of meaning is sufficient, and whether or not it's valid is irrelevant.

Meaning itself is just a cognitive quirk that adds an additional dimension to how we perceive things, but by itself it's just a secondary intellectual exercise with no intrinsic value.

IMO it can be devastating to cling too tightly to the concept of meaning, as it can impede our ability to experience life and destroy potential happiness if it gets mixed up with expectations and judgements that are not our own.
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Offline velkyn

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Re: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force
« Reply #337 on: August 08, 2018, 02:17:02 PM »
We are happy, content, considerate, compassionate, etc. 

That doesn't sound like you at all....especially the "considerate" part. You actually sound pretty angry and miserable most of the time.

Happily, you are wrong yet again.  Considerate: thoughtful of the rights and feelings of others.   This doesn't mean I put up with people who lie to me, or about me, or do their best to remove my ability to make an informed decision.  They get exactly what they've earned by their actions. 

it's curious to see you try to ask people how can they know that their life has meaning and purpose.  Answer your own question: How can you know, when there is no evidence for your god at all, and what you claim as evidence, every theist claims in some form or other? 

My life has meaning for me and for my husband, my family, etc  Their lives have meaning for me too.  My life has meaning when I help others, even those who I don't know and don't always agree with, when I walk on a cold quiet snowy night, when I enjoy a nice wine and a stinky cheese.   However, even if I had no one else, my life would have meaning in just investigating this world.  I like Delenn's quote from Babylon 5 here: ""The molecules of your body are the same molecules that make this station and the nebula outside, that burn inside the stars themselves. We are star-stuff. We are the Universe, made manifest, trying to figure itself out. And, as we have both learned, sometimes the Universe needs a change of perspective."   

we don't need a petty god to have meaning.  You might, the rest of us don't.
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Offline BibleStudent

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Re: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force
« Reply #338 on: August 08, 2018, 02:25:05 PM »
I'm not asking if you can find value in your life absent God. I am asking how do you know it has any meaning and what purpose does the meaning serve?

I don't need to know that something has meaning.  The experience of meaning is sufficient, and whether or not it's valid is irrelevant.

Meaning itself is just a cognitive quirk that adds an additional dimension to how we perceive things, but by itself it's just a secondary intellectual exercise with no intrinsic value.

IMO it can be devastating to cling too tightly to the concept of meaning, as it can impede our ability to experience life and destroy potential happiness if it gets mixed up with expectations and judgements that are not our own.

Okay. I understand what you are saying. For whatever it is worth, I consider that a very nice honest reply.

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Re: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force
« Reply #339 on: August 08, 2018, 02:33:37 PM »
Q: For the sake of the argument let's consider God exists and is the source of meaning for all his creation and ultimately all existence. From whence does God derive meaning for its own existence? Or is this question simply suffocated by the assumption of "perfection"? If so how can - logically - a perfect being access its own perfection without external reference?

No need to answer. Just ponder:

Assigning the emanation of meaning to a perfect supreme being just moves the whole "problem" up the ladder.
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Online Jag

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Re: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force
« Reply #340 on: August 08, 2018, 02:45:33 PM »
So, would it be fair to say that the subjective endogenous meaning you experience is ultimately derived from what evolution has programmed us to believe is meaningful or good or moral? In other words, are you deriving meaning from an objective source that says it has meaning or are you deriving that from a subjective source? If Adolf Hitler said to you that he found meaning in exterminating Jewish people, is his subjective meaning to be criticized? How do you know that what you feel provides meaning really does or not?

Let's pause here for a minute.

Clarify what you are trying to convey with the phrase "life has meaning". I've always found this a bit baffling, which strongly suggests that whatever it is people refer to with this phrase is not something I have an appropriate frame of reference for. This is only a phrase I encounter in relationship to religious beliefs, so please keep your explanation within those boundaries.

I seriously do not understand what this is supposed to mean. I thought I did, but subsequent posts from you have made it clear that I don't. You seem to be equating meaning with...something, and I'm not seeing how the dots connect. Please explain.
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Offline albeto

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Re: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force
« Reply #341 on: August 08, 2018, 05:09:58 PM »
So, would it be fair to say

First, I have to say once again you did not disappoint. At this point I no longer consider any of us having a reciprocal conversation with you. I can only interpret your behavior as a means for you to rationalize your beliefs. On the surface it looks like you're here simply to practice your apologetic skills. I think deeper than that, you're trying to satisfy your own curiosity, quiet your own doubts by practicing silencing alternative thoughts and focusing instead on those apologetic answers that first gave you comfort.

To recap, I asked you about considering whether or not people can find meaning and purpose in their lives without adhering to your personal religious views, you denied that as a possibility. You didn't even pretend to consider it, which is what I would have fully expected, at least from someone pretending to engage in a dialog, someone who respects the conversation and those involved in it.

Then I mentioned, "Most people would have taken the opportunity to at least convey the idea that they are open to gathering new information, to considering new ideas, to analyze them with whatever critical thinking skills they have in their intellectual toolbox. Even if the conclusion is a forgone one, this image would have been the expected one to provide." This seems to have thrown you for a loop because you came back with a seemingly knee-jerk reaction, "I am always open to 'gathering new information...considering new ideas' with a willingness 'to analyze them with whatever critical thinking skills' I have in my 'intellectual toolbox.'"

Here's what I think happened. You read the words "open to gathering information," "considering new ideas," "willingness," "analyze," "critical thinking skills," and like most of us, your heuristics inspire you to immediately recognize concepts like keeping an open mind, considering new ideas, critical thinking as intelligent, and intelligence as being valuable. Furthermore, one who operates with such value is likewise valuable to others. Like most of us, you probably think, "I'm valuable, I do valuable things. Critical thinking skills is valuable. I think critically." And so you replied in the affirmative without considering how you had in your last post ignored all these things in order to support your personal belief instead. And so the pushback was a surprise. That's my guess.

If your heuristics do in fact inspire you to value intelligence and identify yourself as having an open mind and dependable critical thinking skills, you will in some measure want to know that you won't learn anything when your more prioritized goal is to maintain your belief. If that's the priority, it's necessarily closing you off to learning new information. And I think at some level you know that because you're very consistent in protecting your belief by not allowing yourself to be corrected, by not even considering alternatives to your beliefs. Anyway, here we go again....

that the subjective endogenous meaning

Wait, I have to stop you. What do you mean by "subjective endogenous meaning"?

meaning you experience is ultimately derived from what evolution has programmed us to believe is meaningful or good or moral?

Let's clear something up. Evolution doesn't program anyone or anything. Scientific theories explain observable phenomenon. The ToE specifically explains the biodiversity of the natural world and how these biodiverse organisms operate. The ToE can help us understand how the brain evolved, but I would argue neuroscience can better help us understand how humans assign meaning to experiences. As I understand it, we experience stimuli through various sensory organs, process that stimuli through different cognitive actions that operate in different parts of the brain, analyze it, and store it in memory. Sometimes we store it in long term memory, sometimes it's just short enough to be aware of our surroundings at the time, only to be replaced by something else. Memories are stored in conjunction with emotions. This happens very quickly and often without our direct awareness.

We give meaning to our experiences. This is simply a fact. You can observe this in yourself, and in others. Because this is a phenomenon you can observe in a biological creature (that's us!), you can apply what is known about biology to explain it. If you don't know biology or if you are misinformed, your explanations won't be accurate, despite how plausible you imagine them to sound. We know when they are not accurate when they conflict with other known facts.

One thing we have learned is humans are social creatures. We not only work together seemingly naturally, we are hardwired to do so, for the most part. We know the parts of the brain that attach us to other humans, to our kin strongest and to strangers based on perceived similarities. We know how to modify these cognitive processes in some really cool and unexpected ways, and some frighteningly simple ways.

I suspect we associate certain aspects of our experiences as more meaningful than others precisely because they tie us to those we are most closely attached to. We find family traditions and cultural practices more meaningful than shopping at Costco because shopping at Costco doesn't provide that same sense of belonging, of security, of comfort, that singing "Happy Birthday" or opening presents on Xmas morning does. Drawing on the ToE suggests it doesn't provide the same stimuli because for animals to survive long enough to pass on their genetic code, having a support group is more important  than saving on toilet paper. And so experiences with others is more meaningful than experiences about mundane chores.

It's the same with church. In addition, your religious community includes ways to access a delightful dopamine high that can come from religious rituals like singing and praying. You'd be wrong to think those experiences are the only ones that count, or are objectively more meaningful than the experiences I have, or that your dopamine highs are better than mine. You'd be wrong because that conclusion is based on an opinion lacking theory of mind skills. If you think ignoring one component isn't important, imaging building a house without a tool that can cut. The final product simply won't be as efficient and practical.

In other words, are you deriving meaning from an objective source that says it has meaning or are you deriving that from a subjective source?

I understand this question to be, do we assign meaning to an experience because it feels that way to us or because someone tells us this experience is meaningful? I would say both, but the second part is used more as an introduction to such things understood already by someone else to be meaningful. Humans learn an awful lot by watching others. Communication need not be verbal to be effective, and I think we communicate ideas like which experiences are more meaningful. When your children were young, did you teach them how to behave in church differently than how to behave at the park? Did you teach them church behaviors were ways of showing respect? Did you teach them, and model for them, and point out others modeling the idea that church has a different, more valuable meaning than a playdate at the park? I'm guessing you did, and I'm guessing that's how you were raised as well. I know I was. These days you don't need anyone to tell you church or prayer or praise behavior has more meaning because you define them as such without outside influence. So I think it works both ways.

If Adolf Hitler said to you that he found meaning in exterminating Jewish people, is his subjective meaning to be criticized?

This is a completely separate problem. One is the problem of explaining how people find meaning, the other is the problem of criticizing those explanations justly.

Hitler ostensibly did find meaning in his life by doing what he believed would help the German people, the ones he felt the closest connections to. Tragically, that did include exterminating the Jews. This is different from whether or not we can criticize those meanings.

I submit we judge other people's behaviors the same way - based on the well being of the person in question. The difference is that you apply variables like immortality and eternal rewards or punishments, and also the assumed mind and will of a being you must rely on your imagination to understand. But the basics are the same. We can judge Hitler negatively in that he willfully and purposefully terminated the lives of innocent people in torturous ways. Because we have theory of mind skills, because we have empathy, we can imagine a day in Auschwitz would never be anything but physically, mentally, and emotionally brutal. Because we can imagine very plausible alternative scenarios, we judge those behaviors of creating and using concentration camps to be morally wrong. Unless you're admitting that without your faith you would have no problem working in Auschwitz as a Nazi Guard yourself, you use the same basis to judge. None of this requires us to believe the assumed opinion of a man from first century Nazareth for us to judge genocide to be a morally bankrupt behavior.

Ooh, but here I suspect you will have a conflict because our similar heuristics in this regard will encourage us to agree that genocide is morally bankrupt, but your faith says it's okay when Yahweh did it during the days of Noah. This would be an example of deflecting to belief over critical thinking. To be fair, it's not just theists who do this. This behavior isn't unique to religious believers. This kind of desire to have a simple rule of thumb is ingrained and trips up a lot of us when facing moral dilemmas. In your case, the rule of thumb you always fall back on is the one that states God is good all the time, all the time God is good. So, do you take the time to think the problem out, or defer to your faith and remove the mental conflict?

And, I know I'm going way off course here, but that moral conflict is the kind of thing that neuroscientists study and I find it utterly fascinating. They get to study and watch the limbic system and frontal cortex in an epic mental battle. It's like getting to watch and figure out how people work out the Trolly Problem in a kind of real world application. Okay, sorry, this is going on far too long anyway. Moving on...

How do you know that what you feel provides meaning really does or not?

I imagine our assignments of meaning are subject to change, wouldn't you? When I was a child and I first learned what sex was, I thought it sounded terribly invasive. I mean, there's no privacy when dealing with parts of the body always associated with privacy! Today I have assigned sex a very different meaning. But even so, the circumstances matter and things may change that modify the meanings of these experiences in the future. 

I presume what you're getting at is the idea of objective morality, specifically one that's based on the bible. The very fact that the bible has to be "read as a whole" admits its internal conflicting nature. I suspect you won't understand that because to consider the bible is internally conflicting would be too much for your faith and so your mind will quickly close that avenue of thought off. You'll find comfort in things you've heard or read that suggest otherwise, and you'll fall back on those apologetics that work for you to silence that question. In other words, you'll rely on that rule of thumb that says the bible is infallible because it alone can and will provide emotional comfort in times of mental conflict like this. Nevertheless, it's a valid point and maybe one day you'll consider it.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2018, 05:52:59 PM by albeto »

Offline jetson

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Re: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force
« Reply #342 on: August 08, 2018, 05:21:28 PM »
So, would it be fair to say that the subjective endogenous meaning you experience is ultimately derived from what evolution has programmed us to believe is meaningful or good or moral? In other words, are you deriving meaning from an objective source that says it has meaning or are you deriving that from a subjective source? If Adolf Hitler said to you that he found meaning in exterminating Jewish people, is his subjective meaning to be criticized? How do you know that what you feel provides meaning really does or not?

I think that would be a misunderstanding of evolution and how it may or may not correlate with how we think or feel. I have to say that this goes beyond my full understanding, so it is just opinion. I bet though, that there is good research on it.

If I had to guess, I would say that biological evolution is independent of social/cultural evolution - in the sense that the amount of time it takes for biological evolution to produce significant changes is way larger than humans have been around. When humans began to take advantage of grouping beyond immediate families, so began the social/cultural evolution of our biologically higher and more intelligent brains. Again, just opinion.

By virtue of spending time together and recognizing the benefits of larger groups, it is likely that humans also began to develop similar morals/meanings/purpose, etc. Very likely utilitarian for the longest time and evolving to more esoteric things like "meaning of life". So, subjective seems certain, and springs from human group interaction, and has evolved over time as groups coalesce, get larger, break into subgroups, create religions, separate by country, language, etc.

I certainly do not subscribe to any nihilistic ideas such as Adolf Hitler finding meaning in genocide, thus it's somehow acceptable. Truth be told, he probably did find meaning, which is why he ordered it! But there is no reason to go down the path of thinking that subjectivity among humans means anything goes. Most people are rightfully horrified by Adolf Hitler and his crimes against humanity.

Also, I like what Astreja said below.

One more thing, the reply from Jag is important. You really should clarify what you are getting at in the first place. It would make these discussions much easier if you could be completely up front whenever possible, and avoid giving others the feeling that you are setting some kind of trap. I'm not accusing, just making a point that I have felt when discussing with you. No loss of credibility will come if you just say what needs to be said - we'll just agree or disagree!

Offline jetson

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Re: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force
« Reply #343 on: August 08, 2018, 05:28:58 PM »
albeto...I want to personally thank you for your post that now makes mine look like a third grade attempt!

I did make sure that I said it was only my opinion!

LOL

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Re: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force
« Reply #344 on: August 08, 2018, 05:33:02 PM »
Lol, Jetson! Just leaving this here:

Robert Sapolsky has an absolutely stunning talk about the evolution of our social relationships and cultural practices. He's a neuroscientist and primatologist at Stanford University and this talk, a commencement speech actually, explains just this. The short answer is, social and cultural components can be observed in other primates, suggesting our common ancestors had similar genetic drives. In other words, social and cultural behaviors evolved as an integral part of our biology.


Offline albeto

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Re: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force
« Reply #345 on: August 08, 2018, 06:28:17 PM »
I'm not asking if you can find value in your life absent God.

No, you've already decided that's not a possibility. The best a non-BSesque-Xian can do is self-delusion.

I am asking how do you know it has any meaning

Same way you do - context.

and what purpose does the meaning serve?

Same purpose it does for you - context. It helps put experiences and relationships into a functional context beneficial for a social creature.

Offline BibleStudent

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Re: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force
« Reply #346 on: August 09, 2018, 03:44:49 PM »
I have read the last several comments and even did some additional research on the subject. I am still left with the same conclusion. My understanding is that there is no objective reference to determine if what you believe REALLY does or does not have meaning. In effect, you are simply making it up; pretending that there really is meaning. Just because you say it has meaning does not mean that it REALLY does (at least not in a real or objective sense).

The exercise to experience meaning certainly may produce gratification and a sense of purpose but since you are a mere unintended accident of nature, meaning and purpose can only be meaningful in the subjective sense (which I think you all agree with). The universe doesn’t care about meaning. Evolution doesn’t care about it either. You are simply moving through time driven by the engine of evolution and, unless we are pre-determined to do what we do, the human construct of meaning that we allegedly choose to experience is an illusion to make life livable. You cannot live your life as though it were meaningless so you adopt subjective illusions.


That is my position as of right now. I am, of course, open to additional information that you would like to share.

Online Jag

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Re: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force
« Reply #347 on: August 09, 2018, 04:18:36 PM »
I have read the last several comments and even did some additional research on the subject. I am still left with the same conclusion. My understanding is that there is no objective reference to determine if what you believe REALLY does or does not have meaning. In effect, you are simply making it up; pretending that there really is meaning. Just because you say it has meaning does not mean that it REALLY does (at least not in a real or objective sense).

The exercise to experience meaning certainly may produce gratification and a sense of purpose but since you are a mere unintended accident of nature, meaning and purpose can only be meaningful in the subjective sense (which I think you all agree with). The universe doesn’t care about meaning. Evolution doesn’t care about it either. You are simply moving through time driven by the engine of evolution and, unless we are pre-determined to do what we do, the human construct of meaning that we allegedly choose to experience is an illusion to make life livable. You cannot live your life as though it were meaningless so you adopt subjective illusions.


That is my position as of right now. I am, of course, open to additional information that you would like to share.

It would be nice if you would have addressed my post in addition to this, but I can wait.

In the meantime, please provide some of the sources you referenced. I can't make sense of what you are actually talking about, and as such, have no idea how to "research" this for myself. I'd be happy to start with the sources you used. That way, any further discussion would at least be on the same topic with the same information from which to form an opinion.
"Tell people that there's an invisible man in the sky that created the entire universe and the majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure." ~George Carlin