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Ralsina.Me — Roberto Alsina's website

Épater le bourgeois: There is no god. Really.

203/365 The Atheist Bus The atheist bus, by stuartpilbrow, CC-by-sa

A while ago I wrote an ar­ti­cle about gay mar­riage. (I am all for it, BTW). In it I said some­thing like "s­ince god does­n't ex­ist ... " and boy did that both­er peo­ple.

So, since I have twen­ty free min­utes, let's see if I can ex­plain why I say god does­n't ex­ist.

Firt of al­l, a caveat. If you are re­li­gious, you have no right what­so­ev­er to whine about me say­ing this. Why? Be­cause I have no right to whine about peo­ple say­ing god does ex­ist. It's called free­dom of re­li­gion, peo­ple. You are sup­posed to like it.

This was trig­gered be­cause I no­ticed there's a grand to­tal of 2 (t­wo) athe­ist char­ac­ters on TV shows I watch:

  • Gre­­go­ry House (MD): ap­­par­en­t­­ly a nar­­cis­­sis­tic bas­­tard, but ac­­tu­al­­ly a nice guy (who is al­­so a ge­nius) with is­­sues.

  • Dr. Bren­­nan: a so­­cial­­ly awk­ward ge­nius.

Well, I am not a ge­nius, so, let's con­sid­er some very rea­son­able ar­gu­ments for god's lack of ex­is­tence.

He's Ill-Defined

The Need For Answers The Need For Answers by Zach Stern, CC-by-nc-nd

The first thing you need in or­der to ac­cept the ex­is­tence of an en­ti­ty is a def­i­ni­tion for it. If you lack that, how can you say it ex­ists at al­l? He could ring my door­bell and ask for a cup of sug­ar, and I still would­n't be sure, be­cause he could be re-de­fined at any time.

For ex­am­ple, is god om­ni­scien­t? Is he allmighty? Is he the guy with the ele­phant head? Is he im­ma­te­ri­al? Does he an­swer to prayer? Is he a he? Did he have a kid? Did he have his kid by turn­ing in­to a swan be­fore go­ing on a date?

Since de­pend­ing on what godist you ask he will an­swer at least one of those dif­fer­ent­ly, I have to de­clare his ex­is­tence im­pos­si­ble.

Of course we could try to ac­cept the def­i­ni­tion of one godist club and try to see if that spe­cif­ic en­ti­ty ex­ist­s, but that doesn re­al­ly work ei­ther, be­cause god fans have a ten­den­cy to move the goal­post­s. What's "the word of god" be­comes lat­er an al­le­go­ry, de­priv­ing us of any ev­i­dence on which to base our en­quiry.

Most­ly, godists say that the know god ex­ists be­cause they feel it in their hearts or some­thing sim­i­lar­ly hare­brained. Come on, if I told you I feel the east­er bun­ny in my kid­ney, it would make about as much sense.

The Excluded Middle and Popularity

God made me an atheist. God made me an atheist. by Andrea Lodi, CC-by-nd

Ei­ther some­thing is true or its op­po­site is. Ei­ther you ate some of that cake, or you did­n't. Ei­ther god ex­ists or he does­n't. Easy, right?

But why could­n't god ex­ist? Well, let me ask you, why don't the oth­er gods ex­ist? You are a zoroas­tri­an: why does­n't Zeus ex­ist? You are a mor­mon, why does­n't Quet­zal­coatl ex­ist?

Ev­ery godist is per­fect­ly hap­py with the oth­er gods not ex­ist­ing, so it's not ex­act­ly a ground-shak­ing no­tion. It's clear that when­ev­er you hear any­one talk about a re­li­gious ma­jor­i­ty, he is full of crap.

Re­peat af­ter me: you are not part of a re­li­gious ma­jor­i­ty, be­cause most peo­ple be­lieve your god does­n't ex­ist. We athe­ists are just smarter and more con­sis­ten­t.

And no, you can't re­treat in­to "o­h, mus­lims jews and all chris­tians be­lieve in the same god" be­cause that's nut­s. Jews be­lieve in a god that does­n't let them eat ham. Mor­mons be­lieve they are or­dered to use mag­i­cal un­der­wear. Catholics be­lieve they eat meat wafers each sun­day, it's just that it look­s, feels and tastes like a crack­er, but it's "re­al­ly" (su­per)hu­man beef. For each group, the oth­er's be­liefs are bar­bar­ic and (if they are hon­est) a lit­tle nut­s.

No, I am not say­ing you in­di­vid­u­al­ly are nut­s, you nut­cas­es, I am say­ing you are con­di­tioned to be­lieve your par­tic­u­lar idio­syn­cra­sies are less nuts than av­er­age, but they aren't, just like my dad's habit of putting may­on­naise in the soup was nuts and my be­lief that Unión de San­ta Fe will some­day win a tour­na­ment is nut­s.

IOW: most­ly harm­less, but nut­ty any­way. OTO­H, some peo­ple's be­liefs make them be­lieve that killing al­bi­no kids is a prop­er be­hav­iour so some of you godists are re­al­ly, re­al­ly nut­s, ok?. Not all of you, but those who aren't should take a good hard look at what be­liev­ing in in­vis­i­ble friends does to some peo­ple.

It's Unethical to Believe in Heaven and Hell

Oh Noes! Atheists! Oh Noes! Atheists! by Sean Bonner, CC-by-nc-sa

Con­sid­er my three year old kid. There is a rule that he has to eat a rea­son­able amount at din­ner, and if he does he can watch one TV show be­fore bed as a re­ward.

In uni­verse A: One night he's very tired, so he does­n't re­al­ly want to watch TV, he wants to go to bed, but he still eats his din­ner be­cause it's good for him.

In uni­verse B: One night he's very tired, so he does­n't re­al­ly want to watch TV, so he does­n't eat his din­ner be­cause there's no re­ward.

Be­liev­ers will tell you that hu­man na­ture is B. That if there was no prom­ise of car­rot (heav­en) and stick (hel­l) hu­mans would have no morals and would act like in­sane he­do­nist­s, hurt­ing each oth­er in a fren­zy, and that we on­ly avoid such a ter­ri­ble fate be­cause of the civ­i­liz­ing in­fuence of the church­es and the moral­i­ty in­duced on us by re­li­gion.

I say bull­crap. I say I pre­fer if my kid does what's good for him not be­cause he's ex­pect­ing a re­ward or (worse!) be­cause he's scared of pun­ish­men­t, but be­cause he un­der­stands that if he eats his din­ner he's go­ing to be strong and healthy, and that it makes me hap­py and that he wants me to be hap­py be­cause he likes me.

Of course, be­ing a three year old, he some­times does­n't want to eat his din­ner. So I try to con­vince him. But if he does­n't, he does­n't, and there's no TV, and there's no tantrum, and he gets a kiss good night.

The con­cept that there is a lot of peo­ple who hon­est­ly be­lieve that they are moral be­ings on­ly be­cause there's an in­vis­i­ble guy who will hurt them if they aren't scares me. I find it deeply re­pul­sive. I find re­li­gion's prom­ise of eter­nal (or even tem­po­rary) pun­ish­ment in the af­ter­life re­pul­sive and creep­y.

If you be­lieve in an af­ter­life, and you be­lieve in heav­en and hel­l, and you act nice be­cause of it, you are a creep. You are, like re­li­gious peo­ple like to say, a creep in your own heart. You are not good. You are evil but just think you can't get away with act­ing out your evil. You are a chick­en. If the de­ity you be­lieve in ac­tu­al­ly ex­ist­s, he knows it, so you are screwed any­way.

I pre­fer to be good for my fel­low men be­cause there's noth­ing else be­yond. If there was a heav­en, then we live in a crap­py wait­ing room. No! We live in the re­al world. What's be­yond is fic­tion or guess­work, you can't count on it, you can't throw away re­al life for it.


God vs graffiti vs property rights vs drippy markers, Soho, London, UK.jpg God vs graffiti vs property rights vs drippy markers, Soho, London, UK by Cory Doctorow, CC-by-sa

You are a bit nuts and your in­vis­ble friend does­n't ex­ist. You don't need to get a life be­cause you al­ready have one, you just need to stop ask­ing for sec­onds and eat your din­ner. Have fun.

El Barto / 2010-10-27 13:38:

Yo prefiero decir que soy agnóstico que es una postura que podrás considerar más cobarde o más humilde. Creo que el problema con los razonamientos de muchos ateos se concentran en la figura de Dr. Brennan. Si bien yo banco mucho Bones, el personaje de Dr. Brennan es la antropóloga con menos sensibilidad antropológica que vi en mi vida (además de obscenamente positivista y conductista). Todo lo que no entiende o no se adecúa a las reglas de la lógica, no existe o es falso, pero jamás se pone en duda la metodología por la cual se llega a esa conclusión. El método científico es uno e infalible, y si algo escapa a sus reglas, no puede existir.

Si uno parte de la base de que Dios es una realidad trascendente a los seres humanos y que escapa a su conocimiento, es evidente que va a estar mal definido. Pues cada definición no va a ser más que una forma imperfecta de captar y encapsular las propiedades de la divinidad. De allí la multiplicidad de interpretaciones. Esto no es un argumento en favor de la existencia de Dios, sino en contra de la divinización (naturalización y ahistorización) de la lógica y el conocimiento científico.

Por último, sobre el apartado del cielo y el infierno, lo que estás criticando es una vulgata de una versión católica del tema. Otras perspectivas son un poco menos cuadradas, y hay muchas iglesias que optan por una religiosidad donde es más fuerte la presencia del mensaje evangélico del amor al prójimo que la idea del diablo y el infierno. La reforma protestante se basa en la idea de la justificación por la fe. Es decir, lo que determina la salvación no son las buenas obras que hagamos, sino la fe en Cristo. Y sería esta última la causa de las buenas obras (y no el temor al infierno). Obviamente las formas del protestantismo han expresado esto de diversas formas, muchos le han dado mucho peso al diablo y han cazado brujas. Pero en todo caso existe una versión teológica un poco menos cuadrada que la que vos discutís acá.

To tie up the ribbon, mis argumentos no van en el sentido de probar la existencia de Dios, sino la incapacidad humana de conocerlo y a la vez valorar la genuina necesidad de muchos de intentarlo. La necesidad humana de buscar un sentido a lo trascendente, en la multiplicidad de interpretaciones que eso supone.

Roberto Alsina / 2010-10-27 15:43:

Brennan es la imagen de un ateo que tienen los religiosos. Es tan precisa como la imagen del jamón que tienen los judíos ortodoxos.

El Barto / 2010-10-27 23:23:

Puede ser. Pero en última instancia tu artículo muestra algo muy similar. Pretendés demostrar la no existencia de Dios a partir de argumentos lógicos, cuando mi argumento es la incapacidad en última instancia de conocer su existencia o inexistencia.

Roberto Alsina / 2010-10-28 00:24:

El agnosticismo es simplemente un argumentum ad ignorantiam. No hay necesidad de darle el beneficio de la duda a todo lo que no puede demostrarse como falso. De hecho es generalmente mala idea :-)

El Barto / 2010-10-28 13:14:

Eso quizás tenga sentido en un sistema formal, pero negar todo aquello que no puede ser conocido a través de la lógica y/o la matemática conlleva un peligroso empobrecimiento de nuestro mundo. Nuestro sistema de conocimiento deja de ser algo históricamente construído y se convierte en un absoluto, como Dios. Entonces preferimos negar aquello que no podemos conocer a través de las herramientas que tenemos.

En su Dialéctica de la Ilustración, Adorno y Horkheimer discutiendo con Hegel decían: "La autosatisfacción de saberlo todo por anticipado y la transfiguración de la negatividad en salvación son formas falsas de resistencia contra el engaño. (...) la Ilustración es totalitaria como ningún otro sistema. Su falsedad no radica en lo que sus enemigos románticos siempre le han reprochado: método analítico, reducción a elementos, descomposición por medio de la reflexión, sino en que para ella el proceso está decidido de antemano. Cuando en el proceso matemático lo desconocido se convierte en incógnita de una ecuación, con ello queda señalado como conocido aun antes de que se le haya asignado un valor. (...) Con la identificación previa del mundo acabadamente pensado, matematizado, con la verdad, la Ilustración se cree segura frente al retorno de lo mítico. De ese modo, ésta queda como independizada, convertida en instancia absoluta."

Roberto Alsina / 2010-10-28 13:22:

Honestamente, como ex-casi-matemático ese argumento me parece por lo menos raro. Si al darle nombre a lo desconocido lo estamos señalando como conocido, entonces la religión hace eso con creces. No sólo le da nombre a lo desconocido (dios) sino que le asigna propiedades inventadas de la nada (es omnisciente! Le gusta el helado de pistacho!) sin ningún motivo.

Al hacer eso no sólo lo "señala como conocido" sino que afirma que no es desconocido sino conocido, al menos en parte, mediante una revelación de la que no tenemos evidencia ni prueba alguna.

Es como si ante una ecuación cuadrática no sólo dijera que la incógnita se llama x, si no que yo que esa x es azul y le gusta caminar por la playa.

El Barto / 2010-11-03 15:09:

(colgué, disqus jamás me avisó de los nuevos comentarios)

Sí, claro, la argumentación del libro que cité va en la línea de demostrar su tesis central: la Ilustración pretende ser una emancipación respecto del mito y recae en la mitología.

En realidad mis comentarios no van en favor de restablecer una religión verdadera ni nada por el estilo, es más una reacción si se quiere al optimismo positivista en la ciencia y la razón. No pretendo una reivindicación confesional sino, si se quiere, una revalorización antropológica del poder semántico del mito como una forma entre otras para darle sentido a la experiencia humana. Un universo de significaciones que, como cualquier otro, es campo de disputa y puede ser apropiado para la opresión o la liberación. En ese sentido, no creo que ni la religión ni la ciencia sean en sí mismas moralmente condenables, sino que es la apropiación que se haga de ellas que puede ser positiva o negativa.

El Barto / 2010-10-28 13:22:

Vale resaltar que igual Adorno y Horkheimer eran ateos, y quizás no estarían de acuerdo con mi perspectiva. Yo tampoco estoy de acuerdo con las consecuencias últimas de su obra. Pero me pareció interesante traer esas frases para apoyar mi idea acerca de la absolutización de una forma de conocimiento.

Roberto Alsina / 2010-10-27 15:45:

Los protestantes creen en salvación por la fe, es cierto. Eso es aún peor: podés ser bueno, y te vas al infierno igual porque creíste en el dios equivocado. El dios protestante es moralmente repugnante en sí mismo.

El Barto / 2010-10-27 23:20:

En todo caso es algo en lo que podrían coincidir protestantes, católicos y judíos (y no sé si también musulmanes), porque es un razonamiento que se puede desprender del segundo mandamiento. De todas formas, no es lo mismo fe que creencia. Igual también esto es algo que ha estado sujeto a múltiples interpretaciones, donde uno de los puntos nodales ha sido el libre albedrío de los individuos.

Roberto Alsina / 2010-10-28 00:26:

Hay diferencias. El protestantismo te manda al infierno, el catolicismo te manda a un limbo o a un "cielo de los gentiles" dependiendo del siglo, el judaísmo es bastante reticente a prometerte nada en la post-vida.

fisadev / 2010-10-27 22:42:

Una cuestión de conceptual respecto a hacer el bien por la recompensa.
Desde otro punto de vista, lo que hace tu nene es lo mismo que lo que hace un creyente en realidad.
Tu nene come porque le hace bien. El televisor es una recompensa para cuando todavía no entiende la otra recompensa, la real: el hecho de que le haga bien. Eso es la recompensa real por comer, y lo que termina haciendo que tu nene coma.
El creyente maduro sigue a su Dios por exactamente la misma recompensa, porque le hace bien y cree que ahí está la felicidad. No por un mero "ir al cielo" o "zafar del infierno".

Roberto Alsina / 2010-10-27 22:52:

El "comer me hace bien, entonces como" es una recompena endógena. La tele es una recompensa exógena.

Si los creyentes son morales como yo, porque les parece bien y no porque dios se lo dice, su moral es endógena, no exógena y su religión no afecta su moral.

Si la religión no afecta la moralidad, pierde el argumento de que es buena para la moralidad. Eso habla más acerca de la inutilidad de la religión que de la inexistencia de dios, por supuesto.

Pero... resulta que hay bochas de gente que opina que la moral es exógena y que proviene de dios. Es una de las respuestas más comunes al ateísmo explícito. A *esa* gente explicitamente está apuntado ese palo, no a aquellos que son morales por sí mismos.

fisadev / 2010-10-28 00:26:

Ni, eso depende de cuál consideres que es el objetivo de la religión.
Si la ves como un camino que te permite acercarte y conocer más al Dios que crees que te hace bien y feliz, entonces su existencia es algo bueno (desde ese punto de vista, no estoy diciendo que tengas que creerlo igual vos).
Como tu nene cuando cocine la comida, porque así le hace mejor que cruda, la religión en ese punto de vista sería un medio que te permite llegar más fácil o de mejor manera a eso que te hace bien, conocerlo mejor.
Tenés el componente endógeno del reconocimiento de lo bueno de Dios para él, más el componente exógeno de la ayuda necesaria para alcanzar ese bien (religión), trabajando juntos. No sería una moral apoyada solo en lo endógeno, ni solo en lo exógeno.

Roberto Alsina / 2010-10-28 00:41:

La expresión "el objetivo de la religión" asume varias cosas:

1) Que la religión tiene un objetivo (que no me consta).
2) Que el objetivo define la utilidad y/o bondad de una entidad. No, las acciones que una entidad provoca son lo que define su bondad y/o utilidad.

Por no mencionar que todo lo que decís asume que dios existe.

De qué manera te acercás a algo que creés inexistente? De qué manera conocés algo que creés inexistente?

Si no asumís esa indemostrable existencia de dios, todo lo que decís de la religión no funciona. De ahí que si la religión tiene un objetivo, ese objetivo debe incluir por lo menos la propagación de la creencia. (Es más, sospecho que la religión no tiene mucho más objetivo que eso, y que todos los otros efectos que tenga no son más que efectos secundarios. )

fisadev / 2010-10-28 12:47:

Respecto a 1), no se si es un objetivo común a todas las religiones, yo solo puedo decir que me consta que es el objetivo de la que yo vivo. El objetivo de la Iglesia en la teoría es ayudar a que las personas conozcan a Dios, porque cree que es lo que es bueno (otro tema aparte es si después eso se cumple o no, las cosas que deriven de eso, etc. Pero no es el tema de esta charla).

Respecto a 2), no considero que algo sea bueno solo por tener un buen objetivo. Pero si considero bueno que exista algo con ese objetivo. Son valoraciones diferentes.

Lógico que como decís, hablo desde el punto de vista de alguien que cree en la existencia de Dios. Si no fuese así entonces la religión no tendría ningún sentido.

Y el objetivo de la religión abarca la propagación de la creencia, pero de manera distinta a lo que la gente cree, y a lo que la Iglesia a veces hace. La idea es proponer, porque uno cree que es lo que hace feliz al ser humano. Es como si tu nene descubre que es bueno comer, y come porque le hace bien, pero también va y le cuenta a sus amigos que es algo bueno y los invita a comer.
Esto no significa ni justifica obligar, tortura, ni nada por el estilo, por más que muchas veces se haya hecho bajo ese título.

Roberto Alsina / 2010-10-28 12:58:

"El objetivo de la Iglesia en la teoría es ayudar a que las personas conozcan a Dios". Como te dije, propagar la creencia. La manera de hacerlo varía de religión en religión, por supuesto.

Yo estoy simplemente intentando hacer el análogo: propagar la no creencia en amigos invisibles, porque me parece que creer en esas cosas es malo, de la misma forma que creer en papa noel o en el flogisto es malo.

fisadev / 2010-10-28 13:22:

Está bien roberto, no cuestioné lo que vos hacés. De hecho me parece muy bueno, ojalá hubiera más gente que se juega por lo que cree bueno como estás haciendo vos.

Podemos creer en cosas distintas, pero compartimos el deseo de hacer que otros conozcan lo que creemos bueno.

Marcos Dione / 2010-10-28 06:38:

lo bueno de una moral endógena es que el individuo sabe porqué es bueno y está convencido de ello. eso además le permite valorar lo bueno o lo malo de situaciones nuevas. con una moral exógena, se tiene que volver a la fuente de moral y preguntarle. pero los que le van a responder son en realidad intermediarios de esta moral exógena (ah, ya me acordé de qué era lo otro que me olvidaba más abajo, una frase de House mismo: «If a person talks to God, he's religious. If God talks to him, he's psychotic.»).

Mauro / 2010-10-27 23:00:

I liked this.

Marcos Dione / 2010-10-28 06:31:

varias cosas:

otro hincha de unión! yo pensaba que mi tío era el único loquito y que por eso no era rico: que gastaba su dinero bancando el club.

mejor que no seas un genio: los genios tan bastante chapita, y algunos se creen dioses. go figure.

en cambio, sos un grosso, sabelo.

tenía otra más pero mo elvidé.

Roberto Alsina / 2010-10-28 12:26:

Gracias por lo de grosso, pero como siempre aclaro, se dice grueso.

Tenías un tío de esa rara especie que pierde guita comprando matungos para Unión? El papá de un conocido se patinó (casi) la fortuna familiar en ese hábito :-)

Łukasz Ka / 2010-10-28 20:42:

You are very poor at probability theory, if you say "there is probably no God". (And you are agnostic in the fact, not atheist).

Roberto Alsina / 2010-10-28 22:32:

If by "you" you mean me, I must tell you: I am not paying for atheist propaganda on buses.

OTOH, it would be dishonest to say that surely there is no god. God is about as likely as Zeus, but religionists seem to claim Zeus surely doesn't exist, so saying whatever god you prefer doesn't exist (like I do) is fair game.

OTOOH: I do things agnostics don't do, like saying god doesn't exist, so I am obviously distinguishable from an agnostic.

Łukasz Ka / 2010-11-10 22:29:

I think God existence probability is equal to probability of your or mine existence, but it is really personal opinion of each human being (free will causes that possible ;) ). Of course I am talking about The God of Abraham, Izzak and Jacob, The God of Christians, Jews and Muslims ;) which is not a hero of mythology, but it is a topic for longer discussion - but as I said before: probability is not a friend of atheism. (Or in other words - it is its friend with a very low grade of membership ;).

Live long and prosper ;)

Roberto Alsina / 2010-11-10 23:27:

Existence is not a matter of opinion, it's a matter of fact.

The probabiity of god's existence is not the same as the probability of my existence, since I know I exist. This is obvious, and should make clear that you are just saying things that sound smart to yourself without thinking very hard about them. That is usually a symptom of religious thought. If you want to try making the case for the inexistence of you, me, and god, well... feel free, but it's not a promising path.

Łukasz Ka / 2010-11-11 00:21:

The point is that you do not understand, that if you are just ordered chaos, you does not exist (and this is what atheists' evangelist Richard Dawkins says - it is an illusion of existence). And I know what I am talking about - you just do not understand it. It is not my fault.

It is so stupid to say that thing X is impossible - how did you measured it? You didn't. Everything is possible with some level of probability. And this is a fact.

Yes - probability is a matter of measured values, but interpretation of results is someone's opinion. Better or worse. Based on experience and gathered knowledge. And yes - opinions counts.

Roberto Alsina / 2010-11-11 00:44:

Claiming the other guy doesn't understand is just such an easy way out isn't it? I am tempted to say you have not understood me ;-)

I have read Dawkins and he doesn't say we don't exist. How could he? He is a materialist! What you may be trying to say is that the subjective "me" doesn't exist, that my consciousness is an illusion. Well, that's pretty much a distinction without a difference. I *feel* conscious, and I act conscious, so it's a matter of... wait for it... definitions.

To say thing X is impossible is easy and we do it all the time. And yes, while almost everything is remotely possible, I am not sure you understand exactly *how* improbable some things are. Should I act as if the book in my table will espontaneously convert into gamma rays, killing me? I mean, it could! It's **possible**! So why don't I save my books in lead boxes? For the same reason I don't go to church: I find the existence of the god you believe in preposterous and unlikely. But not unlikely as in "it's unlikely that I will win the lottery", but as in "it's unlikely that my hat will turn into a seagull". Or, as a reasonable person would say: impossible.

No, opinion of existence doesn't count. At least for things were a material existence is alleged. And there goes the definition of god again. Is he completely immaterial and immeasurable? Then he doesn't exist in any meaningful sense, his existence is of a lesser kind, he doesn't even exist like my dreams existed last night, and we can happily ignore him. Oh, and he is unfalsifiable to boot!

Łukasz Ka / 2010-11-11 01:22:

"Claiming the other guy doesn't understand is just such an easy way out isn't it?" - but when you do this, it is ok? In Poland we call it "Kali's morality" ;> And you didn't understand me, if you say that my point of view is shallow. It is not - believe me - "I returned from a long journey" - it is another Polish dictum. I had time to think about it very deeply.

When I say "exist" I mean "I exists in logical" not "physical" way, if you know what I mean.

Whatever, I do not think my "I" is an illusion. I just do not believe (and Dawkins didn't give any proof on illusion - it is just his theory) that even the most complicated and the fastest calculator in the world can trick itself with illusion of consciousness or just being. In pure material world we would be just calculators, existing without reason and purpose.

EOT for me - it is not a place for a such discussion.

Roberto Alsina / 2010-11-11 01:41:

I don't think I ever said you don't understand what I say, did I? I did say "I am not sure you understand exactly *how* improbable some things are." but that's hardly the same thing!

When I say "exist" I mean "I exists in logical" not "physical" way, if you know what I mean.

You see? I don't know what you mean. I don't believe in a logical existence because I am a materialist. I don't believe there is an immaterial thing that's the real me, I believe (based on what I see) that what we see is what exists. You just expected me to take things the way you meant them, and accept the inherent prejudice.

In pure material world we would be just calculators, existing without reason and purpose.

Why? I believe I live in a material world, act accordingly, and my life is full of purpose and reason.

Of course I can't prove there is no immaterial component to myself, but I don't see how it would make any difference to me. I can't interact with the immaterial, the immaterial doesn't affect me because of its basic alleged nature. I don't know if I or anyone has deluded himself into believing on his own consciousness, but I see every day people that has deluded themselves into accepting they have an immaterial "real" self for which they have no evidence beyond wishful thinking.

I don't say my consciousness exists or not, I just say: look at me, I act conscious, and so do you.If I were just a chinese cabinet, what diference would it make? I would act in the same way, and you can't tell the difference. To a materialist, if you can't tell the difference there is no difference. To you... well, to you there is a magical difference, I suppose. I have no problem with that, but it does seem kinda silly.

In fact, you have given me a good idea for a post, thanks ;-)

Łukasz Ka / 2010-11-11 15:47:

"I don't think I ever said you don't understand what I say, did I?"

Ok - sorry if you didn't - I might be wrong.

One word more... There is no "life" in pure material world. There is only ordered and organized matter. For me, there is no real difference between rocks and rats - there are only different processes managing different atoms. In pure material world of course. And I think there is no place for "consciousness" to evolve in such a world. When I said "we are calculators", I wanted to say that elecricity in some material structure can do only some math work (ex. NN), nothing else. I do not believe there is a place for "consciousness" to be created this way. Or - if I am wrong - then there is a possibility that every electrical device has some "consciousness", so we have to take care of our processors and toasters.

The "consciousness" (as "self" - not "being conscious") is even untestable. (Turing test does not test it - if someone would like to say it).

Of course I understand your point of view, and logic which rules in "no-God world" (and this would be ok then, but not pragmatic) - maybe because that I am able to think about abstacts. But discussion is pointless at this time and I have no time for it, sorry. But I think if "consciousness" is an illusion, then "purpose" is an illusion in the same way.

"God, Honour, Fatherland" - this words had stopped Red Army [from conquering Europe]. Bye, I am going to celebrate our independence ;)

Roberto Alsina / 2010-11-11 23:13:

One word more... There is no "life" in pure material world. There is only ordered and organized matter. For me, there is no real difference between rocks and rats

Well, rocks don't reproduce, or eat, or move, or have hair. Rats are softer, and eat more cheese than rocks. How can you see no difference between rocks and rats? There are obvious and efficient processes to tell apart rats from rocks.

The "consciousness" (as "self" - not "being conscious") is even untestable. (Turing test does not test it - if someone would like to say it).

Well, glad you bring it up! Lacking any decent definition of consciousness, the Turing test is better than nothing. You just give up and declare it unknowable. I say: if it were untestable then it would be unexistant.

Of course I understand your point of view, and logic which rules in "no-God world"

But you don't want to accept it as a valid, logically consistent position. That's fine for you, but it's not for me. You take god as an axiom. If you do that, well, of course everything follows in a certain way. I think the system that includes god as an axiom is inconsistent.

But discussion is pointless at this time and I have no time for it, sorry.

It's like the third time you say something similar. Noone is forcing you to discuss anything, you know. I just reply.

But I think if "consciousness" is an illusion, then "purpose" is an illusion in the same way.

I don't think consciousness is an illusion, so I don't think purpose is an illusion either. I was just stating that as something I thought you may have been saying (check it out!) because what you actualy said was not something Dawkins has said, as far as I know. (You said "you does not exist (and this is what atheists' evangelist Richard Dawkins says - it is an illusion of existence)")

JR / 2010-11-10 19:29:

Enjoyed this.

With regard to the first point - it doesn't matter if people can agree on something or define it well. That's irrelevant to whether or not that thing is real. Just try it with any other idea. Is global warming real? It depends on who you ask. Does that have any impact on the answer to the question? No. Whether it is real or not depends completely on the facts of the matter, not the opinion of any person on earth.

The second point you list has the same issue. You have great points and are completely right about many world views having truth claims that exclude other views - but this in no way means that they all must be false. It just means that all of them cannot be true. It's a big distinction.

Your last point is about what you would prefer to be true in terms of ethics. I agree with many of the conclusions you reach in this regard, though I disagree about some of the premise but really it's all irrelevant to the question of whether or not God exists. God exists or God does not regardless of how we feel about it.

I find gravity to be rather unethical, but it is what it is and I deal with it. I ignore it at my own peril.

I am sorry if this is repetitive or broached in the comments above. Unfortunately my Spanish is rather limited, closer to non-existent really.

Roberto Alsina / 2010-11-10 20:23:

Yes, definition is a prerequisite. It's like debtaing the existence of blumfxors and I refuse to explain to you what a blumxfor is. It's pointless air movement, not debate. Is global warming real? Well, thankfully we can define it! Global warming is an increase in global temperature, and thus possible to prove or disprobe. If you prove there is warming of 0.4 C then it is there and that's it. I am not going to tell you "Oh no, global warming actually means the world is looking more yellow".

The second point makes more sense if you apply some relativity to it. If there are 1000 possible contradictory things and no reason to suspect one is more likely than the other, accepting the validity of one of them in particular is silly apriorism.

As for the ethics: I don't say heaven or hell are unethical, I say basing your behaviour on your belief in their existence is unethical.

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