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Old 06-19-2016, 09:53 PM
TipTapTwo is offline
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The reason why I am fully quoting splifyphus’ post (and Subyng’s quote snippet that is quoted by splifyphus) from page 5 of the SomethingAwful forum thread ‘Why do you believe if God?’ Is for this thread’s continued access of splifyphus’ insight. People following the link in the future will find the SomethingAwful forums posts un-viewable as they will be locked behind a $10 pay wall every other month or so, and in a few years the thread will not even be an active link for lurkers like me without archive privileges.

http://forums.somethingawful.com/sho...0&pagenumber=5
Quote:
Originally Posted by splifyphus

Quote:
Originally Posted by Subyng
I don't think there's anything wrong with holding illogical beliefs as long as it doesn't affect others around you. However, unless you live in seclusion, your beliefs will end up influencing your actions in a way that will affect someone else.
So far your main objection to religion seems to be that it's somehow inherently illogical or irrational. You're positing a singular, normative definition of rationality, and it's utterly enclosing the horizon of your world.

All systems of knowledge have unproveable assumptions at their base. Symbolic, representational systems are always a pale shadow of the actuality of the universe, and likely will never be able to mirror it fully. There are many different kinds of logic, and there are many different kinds of rationality. '1+1=2' is hardly a given, nor is it somehow a 'fundamental feature of the universe'. We actually don't know how math relates to the world, and the proofs for simple number theory arithmetic get more and more complex and desperate every year. At best, simple arithmetic is a useful human practice with no ontological implications, and the exact ontological status of the mathematical disciplines in general is still up for grabs.

Personally, I don't think that a modern 'secular' 'scientific' worldview is any less irrational than that of a fundamentalist. Limiting your epistemology to a strict empiricism or positivism is a great way totally miss that there are entire dimensions of our existence that can't be accounted for empirically without barbaric amounts of reductionism. It's also a great way to cut yourself off from history and a much wider realm of human meaning.

I don't think 'rationality' is a thing that humans do well or even at all, and using 'rationality' as some kind of normative epistemological device is a great way to let other people do your thinking for you. All human knowledge is always socially constructed and fundamentally historically limited. The ratio of what we know, absolutely, definitively, to the vast expanse of the mysterious unknown really hasn't changed much at all throughout our entire history as a species.

If you're willing to accept a pluralistic account of rationality, I think you'll find that there's more to learn from a single page of a religious text about the actual concrete lived experience of human-being-in-the-world than there is from the combined efforts of every scientist ever. Whether the earth goes around the sun or vice-versa and whether you believe one or the other has basically no effect on your ability to live a meaningful, satisfying, joyful human existence. No many how many phenomena you can explain scientifically, all you'll ever do is push all the small miracles back into the greatest miracle of all - that there is something rather than nothing. No matter how many fundamental laws you posit, you'll never make headway against the infinite regress of where are the laws that govern these laws; where do the laws come from, why are there laws in the first place?

When you read the bible or the quran or the pali canon or the upanishads or whatever there are a few explanations for what you're doing: you're definitely accessing the combined metaphysical and ethical creativity of our entire species history, and you're possibly communicating with people who lived their lives in drastically altered states of consciousness, and you might even be reading accounts of communication with fundamentally alien intelligences. The only situation where this isn't an insanely educational use of time is one where you're determined to maintain the stupid enlightenment fiction of scientific rationality vs religious superstition.

If you decide to actually live your life in accordance with one of these religious schemes, you're doing something else entirely - connecting your life with a vast cultural stream and guaranteeing yourself a real human community that has already demonstrated it can and will last for millennia. You don't 'believe' in God like it's some kind of binary circuit you can subordinate to Aristotelian non-contradiction, you literally build a complex relationship with something vastly bigger than yourself, something that cannot ever be contained within or defined by any symbolic system. You discover/create both yourself and God through the process.

And from this perspective, arguing about abstract binary understandings of 'belief' or 'existence' is what is irrational. Religion is something you do with your entire being, not a checklist of metaphysical postulates you bring to debate club.

What is the difference between a Singular account of Rationality and a Pluralistic account of Rationality? I did not know, so a little digging turned up this digestion of Joseph Agassi’s ideas from his work Towards a Rational Philosophical Anthropology by Christopher Donohue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristopherDonohue
Agassi’s philosophy of science as well as his ethics, best articulated in his magnum opusTowards a Rational Philosophical Anthropologyextols the virtues of a pluralistic account of rationality. This does not mean that there are no answers and no methods. Agassi imputes these views to Paul Feyerabend and his anarchistic relativism. Agassi ties his theory of pluralism (it is always good to disagree about the truth and ways of finding the truth out) to a theory of criticism (disagreement is always a good thing) which reflects his account of changeof science in history (science progresses through disagreement). His pluralistic view of rationality as disagreement is behind his deep displeasure withThomas Kuhn (there are personal reasons for this as well.) His suspicion of any method as “the method” or of any truth as “the truth” (or no truth, Feyerabend) lay behind too his critique of Neo-Darwinism, behaviorism, and the anti-psychiatry movement in the 1970s and 1980s.
https://etherwave.wordpress.com/2015...-introduction/

From this and Splifyphus’ writings I assume that a Singular account of Rationality is anything (be it settled religious dogma, scientific and mathematical laws, or any other area of our life that is not debatable anymore as it is deemed Objectively true) that has our thinking stop with “this belief/way is correct. Not just correct in this very narrow margin of events of which it has been shown to be true, but for all time.”

While I think that a Pluralistic account of Rationality is the give-and-take act of honest debate itself. It seems to be a Socratic dialogue that tries to take in the externalities of all of creation so that any form of “truth or method” that we do agree upon, is safely filed away with a Subjective footnote of *for this time/place/circumstance/etc.

Now from my older post’s quotes of Dr. David Abram and this new one, I will liken the pre-writing animist cultures and the post writing scientific cultures to being Pluralist and Singular thinkers. In that, the animists fully immersed themselves in their experience of the world around them. To them everything was alive and interconnected in deeper meaning. Just as the text on this page speaks to you, so did the wind/land/etc speak to them. Once the written word was known, we have fully devoted ourselves to deepening our understanding of it (our own minds and increasing abstractions of thought) at the cost of losing our “connectedness” to the outside world. This distinction between comprehending the “big picture,” and diving down into comprehending smaller layers of specificity, are at the heart of the disagreements.

Quote:
David Boulton: What else do we have that's prior to the alphabet that's anything like it in terms of a limited number of elements out of which we can combine and describe virtually everything? What else is anything like that, prior to the emergence of the alphabet that could be a model for such powers? What I'm hearing is that, it seems like the way that we think now, of analyzing things down into their constituent parts and being able to assemble them, that whole process is connected to the alphabet. Again, what came before the alphabet that would even give rise to such modes of thinking? Like you were saying with the Hebrews, it wouldn't even occur to them add vowels - they weren't functioning with this same kind of reductionism. It would be kind of against the grain for them. They needed, we needed, something outside of ourselves to create the opportunity to think differently. If it wasn't the alphabet, do you have any sense of what else might have done it, what might have led to this discreteness, this atomistic reductionism?

Dr. David Abram: Oh, I have no doubt that the alphabet is the key player in that. There are many other factors, but they all to me seem to be related to the alphabet. For instance, I don't think that the notion of separate individuals could even arise without the dispelling of the sacredness, the divinity, even of the invisible atmosphere that binds all of us together and that connects my body quite palpably with everything, you know, with the chair, with the house, with the trees outside, with the clouds overhead. I'm in direct, physical contact with them through this body of air. Only when air begins to be forgotten, really, just forgotten, and so, experienced as just sheer emptiness does it become possible to think of entities as being discrete and separate from one another. And, I believe, only after this forgetting of the air could one then imagine a heaven that is not just invisible, it's intangible. It's not sensuous in any way whatsoever. It's entirely outside of all bodily contact or apprehension.
http://www.childrenofthecode.org/interviews/abram.htm


As the Pluralist (Splifyphus/animist) chides the Singulist (Subyng/scientist) over not taking into consideration everything at once: “You're positing a singular, normative definition of rationality, and it's utterly enclosing the horizon of your world[...] Limiting your epistemology to a strict empiricism or positivism is a great way totally miss that there are entire dimensions of our existence that can't be accounted for empirically without barbaric amounts of reductionism.” So does the Singularist chide the Pluralist for forgetting how one does rigorous science and gains knowledge: through the repeated observation of various experiments that only have one variable difference. Through the build up of a few simple axioms and having them flow through logically/mathematically sound proofs. Through examining the Universe at every scale and later stitching together the disparate results through the underlying fundamental math.They each want the same things ultimately, they are each just starting at opposing ends of thought. Sure in their own ability to encapsulate everything of meaning eventually.

The animist belief breaths life into all things and intimately interconnects them, such that simply living life is a deeply spiritual act. The act of living itself is, to the animist, the way that he constantly intuits from his surroundings such rich information that we must glean from multiple books. Splifyphus says, “When you read the bible[...] you're definitely accessing the combined metaphysical and ethical creativity of our entire species history[...] If you decide to actually live your life in accordance with one of these religious schemes, you're doing something else entirely - connecting your life with a vast cultural stream[...] you literally build a complex relationship with something vastly bigger than yourself, something that cannot ever be contained within or defined by any symbolic [textual/scientific] system. You discover/create both yourself and God through the process[...] Religion is something you do with your entire being [what else is living your life other than something you do with your entire being?].” Thus, the idea of living a life according to certain religious schema in order to connect with its deeper culture becomes the self evident truth of: how you act, live your life, determines your social circle and culture, and vice versa. God is the rich dynamic relationship between us and all of the communities (religion, nation, gang, family, etc) that we are a part of. Their gifts of: greater purpose and meaning, inclusiveness and exclusivity, secrets and knowledge; all feed back into our primal thirst for the feeling of constant greater meaning and inclusivity that we had as animists before text took our world away.

That is not to say that reading/writing has given us nothing. On the contrary, it has given us vastly more than the immediate sensing of our surroundings ever could. It is just the amount and type of information that differed. Just as today we constantly search for various forms of entertainment to slake our boredom; back then simply living in the world told us so much (and the world was so much harsher towards our failures) that we were constantly multitasking: being wary and doing other things for our daily survival. Now we have no real threats, and have not been raised to use all of our senses properly/constantly as we were used to. Like a phantom limb, our DNA remembers the need for constant total sensual immersion in our world, but we have atrophied our ability to do so. Perhaps the closest we get today is if we are listening to a book-on-tape or music while we do our necessary daily tasks.

We agree that movies, books, paintings, games, sculpture, all forms of creative expression are good at some things and not at others? That if we really wanted a complete artistic experience that would inspire the greatest number of people, we would need some concept expressed in a multitude of different forms? Similar to how people just have different learning styles? And yet we train all of our children to use the written word as the main lens through which they experience the world and to largely ignore their other senses. There is no malice behind the choice, only pragmatism. If we no longer need to fear the night, why keep watch? Since machines do all of our real work now, why ever have our children exercise when all they will need is the strength to push a button?