What is Wisdom in Atheist Philosophy?

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uwot
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Re: What is Wisdom in Atheist Philosophy?

Post by uwot » Thu May 14, 2020 10:06 pm

Skepdick wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 8:54 pm
...what empirical change might one observe if you were to accept the theistic narrative?
I dunno. A few mutually self righteous, happy-clappy exchanges with the god squad on theses pages perhaps.
Skepdick wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 8:54 pm
...I don't know whether I believe in God or not, and I have no idea how to test.
Well, it could be as simple as reading some holy book and not being baffled that anyone takes it seriously, or getting up on a Friday/Saturday/Sunday morning to attend the mosque/synagogue/church, assuming the god you are wondering whether you believe in is of an Abrahamic stripe. There could be a more theistic bent to the posts you write. You could find yourself on street corners handing out leaflets, banging on people's doors, or hanging around abortion clinics harassing anyone who enters. It really depends on the type of god and the depth of belief that you wish to test, but there will be something you can measure almost as easily as you can count empty ice cream tubs.

Skepdick
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Re: What is Wisdom in Atheist Philosophy?

Post by Skepdick » Thu May 14, 2020 10:32 pm

uwot wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 10:06 pm
I dunno. A few mutually self righteous, happy-clappy exchanges with the god squad on theses pages perhaps.
As if sanctimony is a vice exclusive to theism.
uwot wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 10:06 pm
Well, it could be as simple as reading some holy book and not being baffled that anyone takes it seriously
No different to any book that requires a modicum of hermeneutics/interpretation.
uwot wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 10:06 pm
, or getting up on a Friday/Saturday/Sunday morning to attend the mosque/synagogue/church, assuming the god you are wondering whether you believe in is of an Abrahamic stripe.
To me all those social-bonding activities and rituals are the primacy of religion - they are valuable in their own right and for their own reasons.
uwot wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 10:06 pm
There could be a more theistic bent to the posts you write. You could find yourself on street corners handing out leaflets, banging on people's doors, or hanging around abortion clinics harassing anyone who enters.
And that's somehow worse than harassing people who don't believe in global warming, throwing paint on people who wear fur jackets and any of the hundreds other brands of activism that crosses the line?

Like I said - being a despicable human is not a vice exclusive to theists. Correlation is not causation...
uwot wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 10:06 pm
It really depends on the type of god and the depth of belief that you wish to test, but there will be something you can measure almost as easily as you can count empty ice cream tubs.
I am not Muslim, but I am doing the Ramadan fast. Because - self-discipline.
I am not Jewish but we practice Shabbos dinner in my house - because Friday family time.
I am not Christian but I like the traditions around Easter and Christmas - so I copy those too.
I am not Hindu but there's a bunch of Ganesha and Hanuman statues in my house.
I practice prayer because - venting to nobody whatsoever helps with lower frustration and anxiety.
I read the Bible, Quran and Torah because I like spotting the parallels between human ideas, and I also like to examine how my own understanding of those texts has changed 20+ years since I first bothered reading them.

Every one of those ritual has a social, psychological and other systemic benefits with its corresponding trade-offs/harms when taken to the extreme.

With all that said, the entire notion of God-belief is en epiphenomenon - a red herring.

Gary Childress
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Re: What is Wisdom in Atheist Philosophy?

Post by Gary Childress » Thu May 14, 2020 10:37 pm

Skepdick wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 10:32 pm
uwot wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 10:06 pm
I dunno. A few mutually self righteous, happy-clappy exchanges with the god squad on theses pages perhaps.
As if sanctimony is a vice exclusive to theism.
uwot wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 10:06 pm
Well, it could be as simple as reading some holy book and not being baffled that anyone takes it seriously
No different to any book that requires a modicum of hermeneutics/interpretation.
uwot wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 10:06 pm
, or getting up on a Friday/Saturday/Sunday morning to attend the mosque/synagogue/church, assuming the god you are wondering whether you believe in is of an Abrahamic stripe.
To me all those social-bonding activities and rituals are the primacy of religion - they are valuable in their own right and for their own reasons.
uwot wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 10:06 pm
There could be a more theistic bent to the posts you write. You could find yourself on street corners handing out leaflets, banging on people's doors, or hanging around abortion clinics harassing anyone who enters.
And that's somehow worse than harassing people who don't believe in global warming, throwing paint on people who wear fur jackets and any of the hundreds other brands of activism that crosses the line?

Like I said - being a despicable human is not a vice exclusive to theists.
uwot wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 10:06 pm
It really depends on the type of god and the depth of belief that you wish to test, but there will be something you can measure almost as easily as you can count empty ice cream tubs.
I am not Muslim, but I am doing the Ramadan fast. Because - self-discipline.
I am not Jewish but we practice Shabbos dinner in my house - because Friday family time.
I am not Christian but I like the traditions around Easter and Christmas - so I copy those too.
I am not Hindu but there's a bunch of Ganesha and Hanuman statues in my house.
I practice prayer because - venting to nobody whatsoever helps with lower frustration and anxiety.
I read the Bible, Quran and Torah because I like spotting the parallels between human ideas, and I also like to examine how my own understanding of those texts has changed 20+ years since I first bothered reading them.

Every one of those ritual has a social, psychological and other systemic benefits with its corresponding trade-offs/harms when taken to the extreme.

With all that said, the entire notion of God-belief is en epiphenomenon - a red herring.
Well if you say there is no God and truly mean it, then I would say that's a pretty good indicator that you don't believe in a God. And if you say you do those other things because of social conventions or other reasons than belief in God, then I'd say you have pretty good evidence to yourself that you don't believe in God.

Skepdick
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Re: What is Wisdom in Atheist Philosophy?

Post by Skepdick » Thu May 14, 2020 10:43 pm

Gary Childress wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 10:37 pm
Well if you say there is no God and truly mean it, then I would say that's a pretty good indicator that you don't believe in a God. And if you say you do those other things because of social conventions or other reasons than belief in God, then I'd say you have pretty good evidence to yourself that you don't believe in God.
OK, but given that I understand the social conventions AND I also practice some of them AND I "don't believe in God" this makes me a perfect control-case for a scientific experiment!

What observable change in behaviour should I (or you!) expect to observe if tomorrow I chose to "start believing in God" but didn't tell you?

Gary Childress
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Re: What is Wisdom in Atheist Philosophy?

Post by Gary Childress » Thu May 14, 2020 10:50 pm

Skepdick wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 10:43 pm
Gary Childress wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 10:37 pm
Well if you say there is no God and truly mean it, then I would say that's a pretty good indicator that you don't believe in a God. And if you say you do those other things because of social conventions or other reasons than belief in God, then I'd say you have pretty good evidence to yourself that you don't believe in God.
OK, but given that I understand the social conventions AND I also practice some of them AND I "don't believe in God" this makes me a perfect control-case for a scientific experiment!

What observable change in behaviour should I (or you!) expect to observe if tomorrow chose to "start believing in God"?
I assume you would be aware of your thoughts about whether or not you believe in a God. As far as me being able to tell, your mind is a "black box" to me. I can't open it or look inside and tell for sure whether you truly believe or don't believe or whatever the case may be.

Skepdick
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Re: What is Wisdom in Atheist Philosophy?

Post by Skepdick » Thu May 14, 2020 10:52 pm

Gary Childress wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 10:50 pm
I assume you would be aware of your thoughts about whether or not you believe in a God.
Yes but IF abstract ideas/beliefs lead to concrete actions, you should expect some observable consequence; some change in my behavior between believing and not-believing in God.
Gary Childress wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 10:50 pm
As far as me being able to tell, your mind is a "black box" to me. I can't open it or look inside and tell for sure whether you truly believe or don't believe or whatever the case may be.
Which is why I am not asking you to examine my mind - I am asking you to examine my behavior.

If by changing my non-belief into a belief doesn't result into any consequence or observable change in behaviour then did anything really change in my mind?
It is astonishing to see how many philosophical disputes collapse into insignificance the moment you subject them to this simple test of tracing a concrete consequence. There can be no difference anywhere that doesn't make a difference elsewhere—no difference in abstract truth that doesn't express itself in a difference in concrete fact and in conduct consequent upon that fact, imposed on somebody, somehow, somewhere and some-when. The whole function of philosophy ought to be to find out what definite difference it will make to you and me, at definite instants of our life, if this world-formula or that world-formula be the true one. --William James
Talking about beliefs without talking about the consequences of beliefs is not empirical. It doesn't pass verificationist muster.

Gary Childress
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Location: The Domain of Confusion

Re: What is Wisdom in Atheist Philosophy?

Post by Gary Childress » Thu May 14, 2020 10:58 pm

Skepdick wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 10:52 pm
Gary Childress wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 10:50 pm
I assume you would be aware of your thoughts about whether or not you believe in a God.
Yes but IF abstract ideas/beliefs lead to concrete actions, you should expect some observable consequence; some change in my behavior between believing and not-believing in God.
Gary Childress wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 10:50 pm
As far as me being able to tell, your mind is a "black box" to me. I can't open it or look inside and tell for sure whether you truly believe or don't believe or whatever the case may be.
Which is why I am not asking you to examine my mind - I am asking you to examine my behavior.
I suppose if I saw you praying or something and it looked sincere and genuine, then it would lead me to suspect that you believe in a God. Otherwise, I'm not all that concerned about whether or not you believe in God. I assume that would be between you and God if such be the case. I was simply answering your question on how you would know that you believe or not believe in a God.

Skepdick
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Re: What is Wisdom in Atheist Philosophy?

Post by Skepdick » Thu May 14, 2020 11:01 pm

Gary Childress wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 10:58 pm
I suppose if I saw you praying or something and it looked sincere and genuine, then it would lead me to suspect that you believe in a God.
OK, but I've told you that I pray AND i've told you that I don't believe in God. Now what?
Gary Childress wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 10:58 pm
I was simply answering your question on how you would know that you believe or not believe in a God.
It doesn't pass scientific muster. Neither my belief nor my change in belief is testable, let alone falsifiable.

Even I can't test it and I am in my frikking head! How the hell would anybody else test it if I can't?

uwot
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Re: What is Wisdom in Atheist Philosophy?

Post by uwot » Thu May 14, 2020 11:08 pm

Skepdick wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 10:32 pm
With all that said, the entire notion of God-belief is en epiphenomenon - a red herring.
So what is it about a pile of empty ice cream tubs that persuades you that you like ice cream?

Skepdick
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Re: What is Wisdom in Atheist Philosophy?

Post by Skepdick » Thu May 14, 2020 11:13 pm

uwot wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 11:08 pm
So what is it about a pile of empty ice cream tubs that persuades you that you like ice cream?
The empty tubs make my my guilty pleasure testable for you - it's an adequate proxy. A revealed preference.

What persuades me is the rush of endorphins when I eat it.
That too is testable by you, but I am not letting you near my brain. The tubs will have to do.

Gary Childress
Posts: 1901
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Location: The Domain of Confusion

Re: What is Wisdom in Atheist Philosophy?

Post by Gary Childress » Thu May 14, 2020 11:21 pm

Skepdick wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 11:01 pm
Gary Childress wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 10:58 pm
I suppose if I saw you praying or something and it looked sincere and genuine, then it would lead me to suspect that you believe in a God.
OK, but I've told you that I pray AND i've told you that I don't believe in God. Now what?
I don't know. I guess we keep on posting and responding to each other.
Gary Childress wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 10:58 pm
I was simply answering your question on how you would know that you believe or not believe in a God.
It doesn't pass scientific muster. Neither my belief nor my change in belief is testable, let alone falsifiable.

Even I can't test it and I am in my friggen head! How could you?
No. It's not testable with scientific instruments. What is there in a "belief" to measure or observe? But I get what you are saying, I think. I sometimes talk when I'm feeling very lonely or something and no one is around, sincerely believing that some being is listening. I don't know if it is the case that God is listening but I will say that in those moments I believe/hope or whatever that there is a God and that God is listening to what I'm saying. But of course, I don't have evidence one way or the other concerning whether any being other than myself is listening. Other times I think to myself, there's no God, why waste my time saying anything to the walls. So my beliefs seem to come and go. Whether or not I "truly" believe in a God or not is difficult to say, even for me. So, yes. I think I get what you are saying, maybe.

uwot
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Re: What is Wisdom in Atheist Philosophy?

Post by uwot » Thu May 14, 2020 11:35 pm

Skepdick wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 11:13 pm
What persuades me is the rush of endorphins when I eat it.
That too is testable by you, but I am not letting you near my brain. The tubs will have to do.
Even if you were to let me near your brain, which I don't recommend, why would I conclude that the endorphins were the result of your enjoyment of ice cream qua ice cream, rather than as a guilty pleasure?

Skepdick
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Re: What is Wisdom in Atheist Philosophy?

Post by Skepdick » Fri May 15, 2020 10:12 am

uwot wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 11:35 pm
why would I conclude that the endorphins were the result of your enjoyment of ice cream qua ice cream, rather than as a guilty pleasure?
I am not concluding that.

I am concluding that my pursuit of icecream is the result of a cause - me liking icecream.
The resulting fulfilment is the result of a cause too - me eating it.

I can reasonably correlate "craving icecream" and "eating icecream" to emotional states. Desire, craving, satisfaction, gratification.

I have no corresponding emotional states/referents for "believing" and "non-believing" - I have absolutely no clue what it feels like to believe in a thing. So how would I know?

uwot
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Re: What is Wisdom in Atheist Philosophy?

Post by uwot » Fri May 15, 2020 11:14 am

Skepdick wrote:
Fri May 15, 2020 10:12 am
uwot wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 11:35 pm
why would I conclude that the endorphins were the result of your enjoyment of ice cream qua ice cream, rather than as a guilty pleasure?
I am not concluding that.

I am concluding that my pursuit of icecream is the result of a cause - me liking ice-cream.
So is you "liking ice-cream" different to your enjoyment of ice cream qua ice cream?
Skepdick wrote:
Fri May 15, 2020 10:12 am
The resulting fulfilment is the result of a cause too - me eating it.
All I'm seeing is empty tubs.
Skepdick wrote:
Fri May 15, 2020 10:12 am
I can reasonably correlate "craving icecream" and "eating icecream" to emotional states. Desire, craving, satisfaction, gratification.
Do you not think it possible that those emotional states could be felt with regards to concepts?
Skepdick wrote:
Fri May 15, 2020 10:12 am
I have no corresponding emotional states/referents for "believing" and "non-believing" - I have absolutely no clue what it feels like to believe in a thing.

So how would I know?
Wait until the appropriate emotional states turn up.

Wyman
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Re: What is Wisdom in Atheist Philosophy?

Post by Wyman » Wed May 20, 2020 2:35 am

uwot wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 10:06 pm
Skepdick wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 8:54 pm
...what empirical change might one observe if you were to accept the theistic narrative?
I dunno. A few mutually self righteous, happy-clappy exchanges with the god squad on theses pages perhaps.
Skepdick wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 8:54 pm
...I don't know whether I believe in God or not, and I have no idea how to test.
Well, it could be as simple as reading some holy book and not being baffled that anyone takes it seriously, or getting up on a Friday/Saturday/Sunday morning to attend the mosque/synagogue/church, assuming the god you are wondering whether you believe in is of an Abrahamic stripe. There could be a more theistic bent to the posts you write. You could find yourself on street corners handing out leaflets, banging on people's doors, or hanging around abortion clinics harassing anyone who enters. It really depends on the type of god and the depth of belief that you wish to test, but there will be something you can measure almost as easily as you can count empty ice cream tubs.
Argument from authority. If Socrates, Dostoevsky, Einstein, among others, believed in divinity, doesn’t that lend some credibility to the idea?

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