Friday, November 16, 2007

What do I need to be human for?

Originally Posted: 8:51pm Wednesday, Aug 8


I was watching this show called "The History of Disbelief," its a history of athiesm. It wasn't the history itself which caught my attention (though it is pretty interesting); rather it was the attitude of the host Sir Jonathan Wolfe Miller.
In it he says (not exact quote but damn close): "I am so certain ther is no God that, I don't think there should be a term athiest because its stating what should be obvious logic like calling people who believe the sun revolves around the Earth, revolvists."

This struck me as such a defensive statement. I have noticed in observing and communicating with other athiests that they cling so tightly to their denial of spirituality and they refuse to even consider the possiblity that logic may prove itself wrong.
I wondered, why do they take such a strong stand in their position, and why be so defensive? Why put your whole self in the hands of logic?
Perhaps not in all cases, but in many cases the answer is simple.
Atheists don't want to be human. They don't want they weaknesses that come with it, the uncertainty of faith, and the acknowledgement that human logic and perception may be flawed.

This parallels the same reasons people become fundamentalists. They need solid direction in their lives and so they look to religous text. In following this religous text, they take this text as literally as possible because they fear that if it were to be interpreted on a higher level then the message of the text would be uncertain and their faith would be uncertain (which really is the opposite of true faith, because anyone can just believe the most literal translation of a book).

Now you may ask, why wouldn't someone want to be human? Why would someone immerse themselves so far in logic that they lose the complete perception of the world?
Think about what comes with being human, it is very hard to human, life is hard no matter how you slice it. Being human means feeling pain, feeling weakness, feeling uncertainty, feeling lost. But, if one immerses themselves in logic and block out anything that contradicts that logic, they have something rock solid that they can rely on. Logic is perfect, it works, its like mathamatics.
But, there is more to the world than what we see, there is more to the world than what logic and reason can explain (for example you can't convey what they the soul is using observation or description). Rather than admit to this, athiests fight this, they attack religon, they attack spirituality and they hide behind science saying it is the savior of man.

Science alone cannot save man, logic alone is not man's mana.
Religon alone cannot save man, faith alone is not man's key to heaven.

The two do not conflict, like Ying and Yang they make the whole of our being. It is only our fear of being whole that creates the conflict and has fueled both the athiest and the fundamentalist rage.

Brian Liebman



1 comment:

theonlybman said...

Original Comments:

Chase HM (Hackley School) wrote
at 11:18pm on August 8th, 2007
"Atheists don't want to be human. They don't want they weaknesses that come with it, the uncertainty of faith, and the acknowledgement that human logic and perception may be flawed."

No. That in itself is a closed-minded statement. You think that just because you don't consider yourself a religious fundamentalist who gallivants about chopping off heads, you are automatically "open-minded" and have a free pass to irrationally discredit something just because you don't agree with it. You don't have to believe in violence to be a fundamentalist. You just have to do this - attempt to discredit or dismiss other people's points of view for strange reasons.
Message - Delete

Chase HM (Hackley School) wrote
at 11:18pm on August 8th, 2007
"This parallels the same reasons people become fundamentalists. They need solid direction in their lives and so they look to religous text. In following this religous text, they take this text as literally as possible because they fear that if it were to be interpreted on a higher level then the message of the text would be uncertain and their faith would be uncertain (which really is the opposite of true faith, because anyone can just believe the most literal translation of a book)."

I don't see the parallel. Again, making assumptions.
Message - Delete

Chase HM (Hackley School) wrote
at 11:19pm on August 8th, 2007
"Now you may ask, why wouldn't someone want to be human? Why would someone immerse themselves so far in logic that they lose the complete perception of the world?
Think about what comes with being human, it is very hard to human, life is hard no matter how you slice it. Being human means feeling pain, feeling weakness, feeling uncertainty, feeling lost. But, if one immerses themselves in logic and block out anything that contradicts that logic, they have something rock solid that they can rely on. Logic is perfect, it works, its like mathamatics."

No. Logic and humanity are not mutually exclusive.
Message - Delete

Chase HM (Hackley School) wrote
at 11:19pm on August 8th, 2007
"Science alone cannot save man, logic alone is not man's mana.
Religon alone cannot save man, faith alone is not man's key to heaven."

The second one is correct.
Message - Delete

Chase HM (Hackley School) wrote
at 11:20pm on August 8th, 2007
"The two do not conflict, like Ying and Yang they make the whole of our being. It is only our fear of being whole that creates the conflict and has fueled both the athiest and the fundamentalist rage."

Atheism isn't driven by fear, and only an extremely closed-minded and arrogant theist would think that.
Message - Delete

Brian Liebman wrote
at 11:59pm on August 8th, 2007
Alright, but I stand by what I said. Check out the book Notes from the Underground, I just started reading it and its some sweet philosophy. It ironically enough is very similar to this discussion (and I say discussion because he does not have a clear direction for his point). Or at least not yet (I'm only like 40 pages in).

Probably the most interesting thing its said so far is that man goes against logic and reason in order to preserve his freewill. Very interesting!
Delete

Chase HM (Hackley School) wrote
at 12:03am on August 9th, 2007
Man doesn't have free will.
Message - Delete

Brian Liebman wrote
at 12:07am on August 9th, 2007
Well I'm not sure if I agree or disagree about that (I constantly debate myself on that). But, I definitly agree with that fact that man will go against logic and reason and do something stupid in his struggle to prove to himself he has free will.
Delete

Chase HM (Hackley School) wrote
at 12:08am on August 9th, 2007
Which is futile.
Message - Delete

Brian Liebman wrote
at 12:09am on August 9th, 2007
Perhaps, but none the less it is our nature and that's what's important.
Delete

Chase HM (Hackley School) wrote
at 12:17am on August 9th, 2007
No one is born a theist. It requires the deliberate motivation of some sort of church heirarchy to continuously pump theistic rubbish into our psyche from birth to keep us at their tit. If this organization were rendered unable to influence people like that, people would gradually become more and more secular.
Message - Delete

Brian Liebman wrote
at 12:29am on August 9th, 2007
Hmmmm, I wonder, the reason I would disagree is that since the dawn of mankind there's been religon. Every society in to ever exist has had religon (communism has religon in a sense as I've discussed before, and even if you disagree a lot of the people still had their religons), so I think history sorta disagree's with that statement. I'm not saying people would become more and more religous, but certainly if no one pumped "rubbish" into our psyche, we would still feel the desire for some religon.
Delete

Chase HM (Hackley School) wrote
at 12:31am on August 9th, 2007
Religion has existed since the dawn of man because since then there has always existed a stratification of power which relies on "divine right" in order to legitimize.
Message - Delete

Brian Liebman wrote
at 12:33am on August 9th, 2007
Hmmmm, that's pretty true (although I would also argue it exists for personal needs), but none the less it has existed since the dawn of man, so your original point is still most likely untrue or at least poorly supported.
Delete

Chase HM (Hackley School) wrote
at 12:35am on August 9th, 2007
It existed since the dawn of man for the sole reason that it was necessary to justify the rights of the state and the pre-existing heirarchy. It is not needed for personal improvement; secular people are just as capable as finding inspiration and happiness in life as theists. My original point was that the theory that people turn to atheism because they are afraid of being human is wrong. How is that poorly supported? Regardless, the burden of support is on you, and it has not been met.
Message - Delete

Brian Liebman wrote
at 12:36am on August 9th, 2007
As a side note also, Kevin Ascher was talking about Transcendentalism and I just want to say that that school of thought strongly supports my claim that spirituality and reason can co-exist in beautiful harmony.
Delete

Brian Liebman wrote
at 12:37am on August 9th, 2007
No I meant your point that if man wasn't given rubbish he'd turn secular was wrong.
Delete

Brian Liebman wrote
at 12:40am on August 9th, 2007
Also, to argue your most recent point. Relgion existed before statehood and also existed outside of regions where states controlled the region. You are forgetting its culture significance, which is HUGE, I mean what would China be without Confusism and India without Hinduism, the Middle East without Islam and what would Europe be like without Christianity. There's no denying that these religons defined these regions as much as factors such as geography and economics (of course the religon is effected by such factors while geography is not effected by religon, but still).
Delete

Gregor Derupe (North Hagerstown High) wrote
at 8:52am on August 9th, 2007
WOw...my head hurts from all of these comments...hahhaa...

Just kidding...but to put my two cents in, I'd like to comment on what that Chase kid had said...

"Science alone cannot save man, logic alone is not man's mana.
Religon alone cannot save man, faith alone is not man's key to heaven."

The second one is correct."

I'm pretty sure if you're going by the standards of logic itself, dismissing the first theory and only accepting the theory is pretty radical in itself, only because taking one extreme of the subject is as arrogant and ignorant of a thought as anyone would have... It is true that religion and faith are not the only things that drives man in this world, but it is also true that science and logic simply cannot hold man in its place. If the world had taken its primal instinct (or even developed reasoning) to run their lives, then you might as well take out all of our ethical progresses that humans have made. (continued on next comment)
Message - Delete

Gregor Derupe (North Hagerstown High) wrote
at 9:01am on August 9th, 2007
For example, some of my atheist friends say that abortion is acceptable because of their belief that when a zygote has only developed in its early stages, it does not feel pain, thus giving man the "reasonable acceptance" to destroy it without one minute's notice. However, let's take those few cells into a larger scale, shall we? We as humans are consisted of clumps of cells just as the zygote can be defined within mere clumps of cells. However, does that does not give us the "reasonable acceptance" to go killing off ourselves as well as everyone we know in existance. This idea may seem radical, but the sense of logic that this theory is held upon is without the sense of any fear in that there are consequences beyond the control of man. Pure logic in itself cannot help us in all forms of living pain, nor does faith alone help us in our most dire situations, but a mere balance of the two will (I believe) suffice enough to keep us going everyday...
Message - Delete

Gregor Derupe (North Hagerstown High) wrote
at 9:05am on August 9th, 2007
OH and sorry for all the bits that are kinda messed up...i was typing a little fast for my own good...haha...

but you get the point...even if you might not agree...
Message - Delete

Brian Liebman wrote
at 10:27am on August 9th, 2007
You've got an interesting point, although I definitly agree that backward morals would form in an athiestic society.
Interestingly enough, Chase is overly concerned with the value of life that he seems to miss the point of it (I'm basing this off what you were saying on Iraq Chase).
Him and many other athiests condem religon for all the atroicities that they have caused, saying we'd be better of without it.
What they don't get is that, the universe is filled with struggle and bloodshed. Down to its tinyest molecular component, everything is in constant motion and everything is bouncing off itself. They seem to idealize a world in which all motion and conflict stops (ironically enough this is mentioned in Note from Underground), but is that really the ideal. Things never stop man always will kill, man always will die.
Delete

Brian Liebman wrote
at 10:33am on August 9th, 2007
Now here's the clincher:
You might be saying, "Well if killing and everything is alright then you just don't care about human progress at all."
Wrong.
The things that man have developed are what is so valueble in our world. For example, democracy and liberty. Chase has told me he would be willing to give up liberty for the "good of the world community" if necessary. Now that view does not reflect the view of all athiests, but I have to point out the flaw in the logic.
What he is basically saying is that he'd sacrifice man's one of man's greatest achievements for generally better welfare of people across the world. Let's face it, people will suffer no matter what car the drive or what they eat, but Liberty, you can't deny that as long as its there, no matter what else is happening if you have Liberty that's eternal much more valuable than equality.

P.S. Chase sorry for picking on you, but I had to point out the flaw in your logic.
Delete

Kaitlyn Fay (Elon) wrote
at 10:54am on August 9th, 2007
wow is right (in response to gregor's comment)

brian, im impressed (which is nothing new since you never cease to amaze me, mr. 5-ap liebman :P hahaha...)
im afraid im too chicken to fully tackle this topic and post a sufficient and meaninful response to all this...but i admire your drive to think this all through. of course i agree with some of your points and disagree with others...but overall, i enjoyed reading this. rock on :P

p.s. to chase - you should talk to carl betzler sometime...he did some research on why people have faith and certain beliefs (i think...i could be a little off)...but i figured you might find his work interesting. :)
Message - Delete

Brian Liebman wrote
at 10:58am on August 9th, 2007
Yes Carl's work is intersting, however he and the other people in that field seem to arograntly disqualify the religous experiences of historical figures in the past, saying they were just chemical reactions in the brain. Its true they were just chemical reactions in the brain, because EVERYTHING is chemical reactions in the brain. None the less, they were still religous experiences, and as far as anyone knows they may have percieved a part of another side of this world that we may not be able to see.
Delete

Brian Liebman wrote
at 11:03am on August 9th, 2007
They then go further to disqualify religous experience because they can manipulate it through various techniques. That's really an obsurd conclusion though, that would be like me saying, because you can manipulate my eyes to see things that aren't there, thus everything I've ever seen is not there.

Carl, I find you research fasinating, but this approach of arrogance and attempts to disqualify religous experience of the past is no good.
Delete

Kaitlyn Fay (Elon) wrote
at 11:43am on August 9th, 2007
lol...
Message - Delete

Jennifer Liebman (Binghamton) wrote
at 12:17pm on August 9th, 2007
I'm glad you didn't stay up till near dawn again lilbro, and to add you're what being human means, it also means dealing with being mortal, which is a key issue in the debate of faith, if not the underlying key issue.
Message - Delete

Brian Liebman wrote
at 6:43pm on August 9th, 2007
Oh yeah that's a good point too Jenn. Of course atheism comes to terms with moratality, of course it offers no hope for any sort of afterlife. Thåt's definitly not the worst thing about it though.
Delete

Brian Liebman wrote
at 6:43pm on August 9th, 2007
Although if my statement is true that they don't want to be human, perhaps it is due to their fear of death and maybe this is the way they deal with it.
Delete

Juan Bitanga wrote
at 7:23pm on August 9th, 2007
yeah this is way too smart for me, it's still summer, god people learn how to use your summer better (hey, hehe), speaking of god (love that transition), this is a really good debate, very high quality, and yes my head hurts too gregor.
Message - Delete

Chase HM (Hackley School) wrote
at 8:21pm on August 9th, 2007
I will respond piece-by-piece.

"For example, some of my atheist friends say that abortion is acceptable because of their belief that when a zygote has only developed in its early stages, it does not feel pain, thus giving man the "reasonable acceptance" to destroy it without one minute's notice. However, let's take those few cells into a larger scale, shall we? We as humans are consisted of clumps of cells just as the zygote can be defined within mere clumps of cells. However, does that does not give us the "reasonable acceptance" to go killing off ourselves as well as everyone we know in existance."

Zygotes for which abortion is a reasonable acceptance are still in the first stages of development in which they can't feel pain, so that automatically excludes living people. No logical conundrum there.
Message - Delete

Chase HM (Hackley School) wrote
at 8:28pm on August 9th, 2007
Oh, sorry Brian, I missed yours.

"Relgion existed before statehood and also existed outside of regions where states controlled the region."

Not since the Neolithic revolution has there existed any semblence of human society without power stratification. The advent of agriculture, radical changes in the means by which property is held and appropriated, all compel some organization (whether it calls itself a "state" or not is irrelevant; it uses force to legitimize itself) to spring forth and claim power.

Incidentally, the Neolithic revolution was also marked by the advent of organized religion and a clergy; this was the point where religion became prevalent. Indeed, religion was used as but one of many tools to legitimize new forms of authority. Without this new social need for religion, society simply would not have occasion for its fairytale hogwash.
Message - Delete

Chase HM (Hackley School) wrote
at 8:33pm on August 9th, 2007
"You are forgetting its culture significance, which is HUGE, I mean what would China be without Confusism and India without Hinduism, the Middle East without Islam and what would Europe be like without Christianity. There's no denying that these religons defined these regions as much as factors such as geography and economics (of course the religon is effected by such factors while geography is not effected by religon, but still)."

Remember that a great deal of European, Islamic and Eastern culture is also based on war. Are we to say that war should be encouraged as well?

Culture in and of itself can be a socially degenerating factor as well; sometimes it's an obstacle that prevents societies from progressing. Case and point: The Iranian Revolution. A bunch of pissed-off clerics thought that the Shah's White Revolution was promoting evil, uncultured, ungodly things like - *gasp* - INDUSTRY! So they go about, guns ablazing, to trap Iran in a vortex of theocracy and stagnation.
Message - Delete

Chase HM (Hackley School) wrote
at 8:35pm on August 9th, 2007
"Him and many other athiests condem religon for all the atroicities that they have caused, saying we'd be better of without it.
What they don't get is that, the universe is filled with struggle and bloodshed. Down to its tinyest molecular component, everything is in constant motion and everything is bouncing off itself. They seem to idealize a world in which all motion and conflict stops (ironically enough this is mentioned in Note from Underground), but is that really the ideal. Things never stop man always will kill, man always will die."

In that case, why don't we cut off all funding for medical research, since man will always get sick? We've been getting sick since the dawn of human history, so I guess it's too much of a pipe dream to invest in healthcare, isn't it?
Message - Delete

Chase HM (Hackley School) wrote
at 8:40pm on August 9th, 2007
"What he is basically saying is that he'd sacrifice man's one of man's greatest achievements for generally better welfare of people across the world. Let's face it, people will suffer no matter what car the drive or what they eat, but Liberty, you can't deny that as long as its there, no matter what else is happening if you have Liberty that's eternal much more valuable than equality."

I'm sorry, was there a logical point to that? Liberty is always there? Hopefully not when it detriments society. The liberal system worked for the United States because of our own social and material conditions for sure, but it has been exported to other countries, and failed 95% of the time.

You must think like a utilitarian. Immaterial objects like "liberty," "equality," "spirituality," etc., contribute no utility to society. They are useful so long as they offer something. But they cease to be important things when they begin to contradict the best interests of society.
Message - Delete

Chase HM (Hackley School) wrote
at 8:43pm on August 9th, 2007
"Yes Carl's work is intersting, however he and the other people in that field seem to arograntly disqualify the religous experiences of historical figures in the past, saying they were just chemical reactions in the brain. Its true they were just chemical reactions in the brain, because EVERYTHING is chemical reactions in the brain."

Then you agree nothing superphysical is behind it.

"None the less, they were still religous experiences, and as far as anyone knows they may have percieved a part of another side of this world that we may not be able to see."

As far as anyone knows our planet could have been synthetically engineered in a test-tube within a laboratory run by giant, winged sheep the size of the Chrysler building. It's just as likely, but I don't hear it being discussed in any serious scientific circles.
Message - Delete

Chase HM (Hackley School) wrote
at 8:46pm on August 9th, 2007
"Oh yeah that's a good point too Jenn. Of course atheism comes to terms with moratality, of course it offers no hope for any sort of afterlife. Thåt's definitly not the worst thing about it though."

I was under the impression that one's beliefs aren't there to predict outcomes that we'd LIKE to be true. I was under the impression that solutions are based on beliefs, and not the other way around.
Message - Delete

Chase HM (Hackley School) wrote
at 8:47pm on August 9th, 2007
"Although if my statement is true that they don't want to be human, perhaps it is due to their fear of death and maybe this is the way they deal with it."

I don't fear being human. Revise your theory.
Message - Delete

Chase HM (Hackley School) wrote
at 8:50pm on August 9th, 2007
"Everything must justify its existence before the judgment seat of Reason, or give up its existence." - Friedrich Engels

That quote, if applied to this issue, demonstrates beyond rational doubt the fallacy of theism. So my question is, can you think of a problem with that quote?
Message - Delete

Brian Liebman wrote
at 10:54pm on August 9th, 2007
I could respond to all that, but what's the point, I've said everything that needs to be said.
I'll make a final statement though (unless someone else wants to comment, no offense Chase, but we've come about as far as we can for now).

What a large part of this comes down is our perspective one what we think progress is for mankind. I've made it clear that I think athiesm is the opposite of progress, Chase has made it clear that atheism is progress and religon hinders our progress.

So, here's the next question:
In your world without spirituality, what does man live for? If he doesn't live for liberty, if he doesn't live for God, if he doesn't live for his own soul, what does he live for?
Delete

Chase HM (Hackley School) wrote
at 11:08pm on August 9th, 2007
First I must point out a flaw in your question, which is that it is impertinent to this debate. The debate that begs your question is centered on, which is better, living for something or living for nothing? But our beliefs are not based on what world would be better, they're based on how the world IS! So whether or not it's better to live in a world with or without God does not make God any more or less fact.

But your question has a simple answer: nothing. Man exists as a machine, taking in physical and mental pleasures and producing the means by which others can absorb these pleasures. Oh yeah, and he procreates a few times along the way. But it's important to understand that it's the same in a world WITH spirituality, WITH God, WITH a "soul," etc. We don't get to choose what our purpose is merely by believing one way or another.
Message - Delete

Brian Liebman wrote
at 11:26pm on August 9th, 2007
Alright, fair point. I disagree though, I don't think man is a machine. I think when you look at something like the Cistine Chapel or something like that, it becomes clear that man is much more than just a machine.

Here's the flaw in your point though.
If you believe something is true, doesn't that make it so, since the reality of your perception reality is the only reality you know.
For example, if you hear the sound of a tree falling in the woods, but no tree fell, in your perception of reality (the only perception that exists) the tree fell, and the sound did exist, maybe only in your head but it existed.

In context, if there is "nothing," but you think there is something, then in your perception of reality (the only perception taht exists) there is something and that something does exist, maybe only in your head, but it is something.
Delete

Chase HM (Hackley School) wrote
at 11:31pm on August 9th, 2007
"If you believe something is true, doesn't that make it so, since the reality of your perception reality is the only reality you know.
For example, if you hear the sound of a tree falling in the woods, but no tree fell, in your perception of reality (the only perception that exists) the tree fell, and the sound did exist, maybe only in your head but it existed.

In context, if there is "nothing," but you think there is something, then in your perception of reality (the only perception taht exists) there is something and that something does exist, maybe only in your head, but it is something."

Is that really true? Hmm.... I believe automatic ice-cream dispensers in my desk drawer are true... DAMNIT it didn't work!
Message - Delete

Chase HM (Hackley School) wrote
at 11:32pm on August 9th, 2007
lol seriously though, thats exactly true, god only exists in people's heads, and therefore its not worth serious, objective analysis
Message - Delete

Brian Liebman wrote
at 11:38pm on August 9th, 2007
Dude don't you get it though, the ice cream dispensers only stopped existing once you opened your desk and you saw they weren't there. Up until that point in your head, they existed.
Delete

Chase HM (Hackley School) wrote
at 11:40pm on August 9th, 2007
You're getting into quantum theory now.
Message - Delete

Chase HM (Hackley School) wrote
at 11:40pm on August 9th, 2007
It's like Schrodinger's Cat. And with that excuse, anything is possible, rendering debate futile.
Message - Delete

Brian Liebman wrote
at 11:48pm on August 9th, 2007
Yeah I agree this debate is wacked out. I still say my orginal question holds a good point that you kinda missed, I was trying to get you to see what I was saying through the crazy philophy, but I don't think it worked.
Delete

Gregor Derupe (North Hagerstown High) wrote
at 1:41am on August 10th, 2007
"Zygotes for which abortion is a reasonable acceptance are still in the first stages of development in which they can't feel pain, so that automatically excludes living people. No logical conundrum there."

Alrighty...not to be all arrogant or annoying, but aren't there people who were born not to feel pain. I believe I saw it once on House (I know, not the greatest source) but there was this girl who had some neural problem and had no slight feeling of pain. Although this does come from a fictional show, the idea that someone without pain still lingers...so now is THAT "reasonable acceptance" to kill that girl just because she doesn't feel pain??
Message - Delete

Juan Bitanga wrote
at 12:02am on August 11th, 2007
ooooo i saw that episode, i love house, too bad it's done.