THE Answer

By MrG · Dec 3, 2008 · ·
  1. MrG
    Pascal’s wager concluded that it would be better to believe in the existence of God than not.

    This is not true.

    It is better to plan for there being no God.

    THE Answer:

    1) We are currently unable to prove nor disprove the existence of God. – An omnipotent God would know this.
    2) We cannot, therefore, know which religion, if any, is correct. – An omnipotent God would know this.
    3) Given that rules 1 and 2 are indisputable facts, it is imperative that we plan for there being no God whilst we work towards understanding Our Reality sufficiently to be able to prove, absolutely, whether or not God exists and, if so, what said God might, or might not, require of us.

    THE Solution:

    1) Our ability to achieve rule 3 of THE Answer is limited by the fact that, because of death, the human race has to keep re-learning old knowledge.
    2) To achieve rule 3 of THE Answer, the human race has to become immortal.
    3) To achieve point 2 of THE Solution, we are likely to be best served by discovering a method for transferring individual consciousness to a non-biological media.

    I thank you.

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  1. guldenat
    Another problem with Pascal's wager is that he assumes an omnipotent God would prefer people to go through the motions of belief simply to avoid punishment, and that these people are in a better position than those who not only don't believe, but refuse to fool themselves into said belief out of fear and rituals. I think he is wrong in this, because if said God did existence he would see through the first group for what they are - cowards and liars. Surely a person who is honest about his atheism would garner more respect from a supreme deity... the same deity who would have given us our minds and reason would expect us to be rational.
  2. old hippie 56
    Are we condition at a early age to ask God for forgiveness, so our guilt wouldn't overtake us? But, then guilt is taught at a early age also.
  3. Heretic.Ape.
    The solution to Pascal's Wager is to join every religion to cover your ass ;)
    Or, alternatively, to just not believe in God because if you don't believe he can't hurt you (kind of like the boogey man and hoodoo). Which begs the question: if you don't believe in God anyway, then why would Pascal's Wager concern you in the first place? Unless the individual is just the paranoid type.
  4. MrG
    Actually this is nothing to do with Pascal's wager, that side is simply a tool to refute the god-botherer's who like to quote Pascal so much when they are backed into a corner. THE Answer simply stops them from continually stating that ego death is perfectly fine because they can promise you eternal life, after you're dead. Great fucking deal eh?!!!

    THE solution is what matters most and, if you have to use THE Answer to get people's attention, then so be it.

    THE solution is everything. It solves everything. Every single thing.
  5. guldenat
    MrG: Ohhh... got'cha.
  6. RaverHippie
    sounds like a mix between gaia theory and AI singularity theory in a strange way.

    if only there was some compromise where each person could be given a copy of the experiential knowledge gained by past generations so that individuality could be saved...if there is even individuality left at that point.
  7. Dickon
    An omnipotent God would be able to create a bowl of porridge so big that he couldn't eat it. [I think one of my favourite posts I ever made waffled about this.] So we need to be a little careful using (classical) logic. We also need to know what a proof of the existence or otherwise of God would "look like"? What paradigm should it belong to maybe? a mathematical proof? A piece of toast that everyone who looks at sees the face of Jesus in and is immediately converts to Christianity? [I've heard that God is Salvi Divinorum or some such guff written on DF, so am I being that far-fetched?] Really we could stop here and abandon the project, as no proof either way will be adequate, but let's play hop-skip, fast-and-loose. I shall be as a child, so do not shoot down my logic, as I'm painting not doing mathematics from here on out.

    There is of even greater consequence the "page 1 question" that leaves me dead in the water in these kind of debates. Many people think I'm being deliberately annoying when I ask "What do you mean by God?", but I've no idea what I mean by it, and statistically speaking, I've only a slightly better idea what you (this is an impersonal you, a french "on") mean by it (because in my opinion most people have stupid, simplistic conceptions of an impossible God, but a known error is easier to understand than a vast ineffable truth). Furthermore even if you or I are convinced we have an answer to this question, how do we know that our language communicates sufficiently clearly to make an adequate consensus to ensure what is being asked is meaningful, in the sense of being communicable? For example things often make a lot of sense for me (No I'm not talking about the big picture, that's crazy as a loony-bin, but the odd fragment will come into vague focus de temps en temps), but when my clarity abuts against the rest of the world, often the world simply shakes its head. Usually that's just because the world is stupid, but I've stopped attributing every such instance to stupidity. There is a limit on language. In the words of the Matrix (a very Zen film) "I can only show you the door. You must walk through it".

    Despite being in one guise a mathematical logician I tend to womble off into mysticism (i.e. I seek experiential non-linguistic truths, or truths couched in poetry: fingers pointing at the moon. Nope: keep looking at my damn hand, you'll get nowhere!); I am drawn to Zen and Taoism myself, but only because the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end when I hear certain thoughts. That's my divining rod when it comes to the spiritual. If I get goosebumps, go "wow", "aha....", or cry happy tears and feel fit to burst, I'm saying to myself "here is something worth seeing/ hearing/ tasting/ doing....etc.". Very little in the Bible does that: although off the top of my head "Yea, though I go through the valley of the shadow of death...." is powerful. But most of it is irrelevant, boring, or wrong. Jesus had some good things to say, but I find more spirituality in "The neverending story". I'm digressing !!! But my answer to MrG's point one above, is that we will always be unable to prove or disprove the existence of a god, because the more you examine what such a proof might look like the more things seem to unspool. Proof, strictly speaking, is reserved for the realm of mathematics, in which its existence is a deep mystery (a totally silly shallow mystery on one level too. It's "obvious", but that's hardly a proof of the existence of proofs!). Omnipotence is impossible without violating logic. If restrictions are imposed on it you get what I wrote in the post I've linked to, which was a totally new idea to me that I came up with as I wrote. It just adds another element of silliness to the whole classical (I mean classical logic) picture.

    2) is much easier. I happen to have it on very good authority (my own, lol) that the three monotheistic religions are wrong (you spell it with a "w"). Zen is fine, but then it's not a religion, it's not really anything for that matter, and that's why it works! I aspire to be a laughing sprite blown about in the air hither and thither, and monotheism is like great lead tethers, stuck round your neck and ankles: no thanks. I'll believe as I choose, and be wrong about it thanks! There is no right. I just can't believe people can read these books with not an iota of critical faculty. Many muslims learn the Koran by heart, but when I've dipped into it, it's been the usual mix of nonsense, scare-mongering, and one or two passages I may have even gained something from. Why can't people "see". 20 years ago, when I, after my cat took a lot of LSD, tried to be a kind of Zen-Christian, I was pretty much drummed out of church for saying it didn't matter a hoot whether Jesus had actually lived. Closed minded lot. If you want some spirituality read "Neverending Story", and "Piper at the Gates of Dawn" chapter from Wind in the Willows. And the rest of that book for teachings on friendship. I've come infinitely closer to God (or myself, or the universe. I use this phrase without prejudice) through these two books than any weighty religious tome. They are not however my religion. I may find better, in which case in the future I'll change my recommendations.

    3) Plans. I'm not very good at plans!! lol. I get scared when people say "It's imperative you plan...", it sounds like some kind of financial services thing. I don't feel imperated (I made that up) to plan anything. Stop guilt tripping me! I've got enough on my plate without having to find out whether God exists, and report back to DF with not only an answer, but a proof!!!!

    And I'm rather attached to being squashy, and even think dying is going to be a blessed relief. Imagine ever more complicated taxes to be payed, laws to obey, etc etc. I love life, but I think I'm going to enjoy dying too, if it happens at the right time in the right way. I love watching my 21 month old son Henry get all excited about putting flutes in the bath, and "a hundred ducks" (two really). Nothing like being young. At least let me stay young at heart if I've got to live forever! I think we should really spend our time addressing serious philosophical concerns - like why those damn Christmas number 1s sell so many copies.

    In this world of children starving, living with addiction, vileness and sadism and tortures beyond endurance, there is incredible beauty and mystery and wonder. I bow my head in awe. And now I'm off for a free massage! Free lunch! Free lunch! It's everywhere. You've just got to know how to look.

    The world is great and I enjoy talking about this stuff!

  8. MrG
    Sure, as I mentioned, the first section is more a missive than anything else. Usually followed by lots of statements to me about "you're wrong, there *is*/*not*/*will never be proof* of, a "God" "what's the point?" "What is reality?", what about all the extra people/resources/problems etc. etc.

    Lots of questions that will never have any real answers other than to prove the utter pointlessness of navel gazing and the limitations of the reader in assuming that immortality would still be about the same problems we have today. How could it possibly be so when, in being able to move one's 'mind' into alternate storage systems, it would, ultimately, negate *all* the problems we have now. Think about it. Properly.

    There is nothing wrong with being 'squishy' for now. Choice is everything.
    Being squishy is an experience. Once you are done with it, wouldn't it be cool to find out what it felt like to not be the same type of squishy? Or not even squishy at all?

    People often accept the notion of death because they are seeking ultimate relief from life. Remember that relief is a feeling. And you have to be alive to feel it. You will not feel the relief you so desperately seek, if you are dead.

    I am not afraid of death, why would I be, I won't exist in order to be afraid anyway. I am simply disappointed that nobody seems to care enough about life to want to hang around long enough to be able to travel the universe and see/feel/experience *everything* they desire and to share all this, if it so pleased them, with their loved ones. Forever. Or not, if they wished.

    I don't believe that, if a concerted effort were to be made amongst enough of the 5+Billion, it would even take long to achieve.

    Our mind/ego/id, as far as *I*, in my infinite ignorance, am concerned, is THE unmeasured energy. We simply need to build the right tools for manipulating it in order to be able to make the next 'giant leap'.

    Please don't be obtuse and simply declare that our brain is already the right tool.

    Don't forget, we are only representative of the best that accident/error/mutation could do, up 'til now.
  9. malsat
    Religion developed for a reason. Before science, man needed to explain his world. Organised religion has been responsible for a lot of social evils; wars, oppression, discrimination, social control etc and I think it's completely stupid. I believe in forming your own personal spirituality. I mean, why not? If it helps you, then it's a good thing

    Having spiritual beliefs helps people to get through hardships, grievances etc and provides a way for them to attempt to improve themselves.

    I don't understand why some atheists obsessively feel the need to prove the pointlessness of religious beliefs and convert them to their own world view. Sounds like the kind of thing a religious person would do.

    Agnosticism baby.
  10. cyferman
    With regards to the problem of the porridge bowl;
    I put it to you what if this notion of gods limitless ability to create, destroy or act is a misconception of man.
    Consider, could God be defined as god because "he" is the only Omnipotent existence?

    I personally choose the theory that god is everything that 'Is', the universe as a closed system (which may include more than the spatial universe that we have become aware of). I think that if the 'simple' human brain can create a consciousness which consists as a complexity of molecules then it is not far fetched to consider the universe itself may have its own consciousness which consists of a complexity of actuality. This conciousness would then theoretically be omnipotent.

    Therefore the porridge bowl is god :p lol
  11. malsat
    Oh man I really think I get out of my depth when I try to participate in philosophical debate...
  12. Master_Khan
    Often people get captured in the discussion of what God requires of us. We are raised from youth constricted by man made religious rules, and often we end up giving God a bad rap for the insidiousness of clever men out to rule our bodies minds, and souls.

    I just thank God for the precious gift of life and all the natural beauty of His creation. People who are inspired by love for God and love for each other can occasionally rise above the morass of religiosity. Please Father let it be so.
  13. MrG
    And this belief in "Him" is as a result of which particular bit of evidence?
  14. Nature Boy
    Briefly about agnosticism. From an argumentative point of view, of course it is the safest position to hold. In truth, all rationalists, atheists, materialists, "brights" (or whatever you want to call them) are agnostics only they veer very heavily towards atheism. I've rarely encountered an agnostic who leened towards episcopalianism, for example. To be an atheist whilst closing the door on any potential evidence actually makes you a person of faith. But supposing the supernatural becomes natural once the evidence is examined means you can be pretty sure you won't be dropping on your knees anytime soon. Thankfully, I doubt many atheists think this way. They just sit around pretending to wait for some religious nut to definitively prove the existence of God whilst sipping ice tea. Kind of cruel isn't it?

    I suppose people like to avoid calling themselves atheist, certainly in the US, because it's become a "dirty" word. In some places, it's the equivalent of calling someone a paedophile or a pervert. But think about this. If you do indeed label yourself as an agnostic, isn't your label directly influenced by theists? Agnostic comes across as "I don't know", "I don't want to offend anyone", "I'm not sure", "I think it's a 50/50 possibility". Maybe all of us non-believers should simply say that we're not religious or that we don't believe in the supernatural.

    Anyway, interesting blog. Dickon raises a valid point in that it's important to define what people mean by God. I tend to look at the Abrahamic god of the big three world religions because this is what people mean 99% of the time such as their ignorance of minor and past monotheistic belief systems. Of course natural laws reduce this monotheistic God to (as Prof. Frink once said in The Simpsons) "an impotent nothing from nowhere with less power than the undersecretary of Agriculture". And to be honest, that's good enough for me.

    But fuck. Do we really need to care about Pascal's wager in the year 2009? Should we hold an impartial stance on whether unicorns exist? I thought Occam's razor was sufficient to counter this argument. And you can use the problem of evil as a nice dessert.
  15. MrG
    All very valid and relevant points there NB I, for one, lean more along the lines of being a Skeptic Nontheist.

    As for caring about Pascal's wager in the year 2009, you may be right BUT, whilst you and I could happily progress the status of mankind towards some sort of technological, knowledge-based nirvana with no concerns about whether it was going to offend some fictional construct, a very sizeable portion of the human population of this planet are still genuflecting and mumbo-jumbo'ing about their particular deity declaring *us* to be the poor unfortunates who are too blind to see and, therefore, less valid than them and their ilk.

    That's why we *do* still need this perspective on Pascal's Wager.

    We have little hope of progressing anywhere if we want to wait until the multitudes of god-botherers finish fighting about whether the hats should be red or blue when, in the meantime, generations of new recruits to damage and brainwash are being born to these gullible idiots in order to prop up their numbers.

    So the solution is to stop trying to take on their belief system because their faith in these unproven concepts will prevent any rational discourse. What we do, instead, is to bypass it.

    Pascal's Wager isn't for you and me Nature Boy, it's for them.
  16. Master_Khan
    Sometimes, if we are patient, the evidence will just appear, like manna from heaven. One of the things that bolsters my faith and makes me believe in God is simply the way I see myself and other people.
    Once, when I was a proud scoffer, I would make insulting judgemental pronouncements about the god-botherers from my place of sneering intellectual superiority. I thought of believers as weak minded gullible idiots, not realizing what an insufferable pompous asshole I was.
    Once I was selfish, envious, greedy, violent, and vindictive. Now I am humble, compassionate, generous, and loving. Of course none of that proves the existence of God. It simply proves that I am a much better person for having a relationship with Jesus Christ.
    As far as the existence of this 'fictional construct', the believer is always saddled with the burden of proof. Actually, it is far more difficult to prove that He does not exist.
  17. MrG
    I am compassionate, generous and loving, does that prove the existence of your god? Or, rather, does it simply show that even when one chooses to challenge the traditional brainwashing one can still demonstrate such basic tenets as would befit a mind capable of deciding for itself that it wishes to be this way?

    As for claiming that it would be more difficult to prove that He does not exist, then feel free to prove that He does.

    I'll not waste energy proving whether or not It exists, I'll simply focus on knowing that I exist and that I wish to be as good and kind-hearted a person I can be, without the need for symbolic hand gestures and muttered prayers to fictional characters.

    Anyhoo, this constant need to fend off religious apologists is proving what I said earlier in the topic, THE Answer to Pascal's wager can side-step this sort of bickering, irrespective of which particular fictional character is being waved in one's face by clearly stating that, as there is absolutely no way to factually define which particular "one true god" is correct and whether or not its followers are even practicing their worship of It correctly, we can tell them to all go away and we'll deal with their wild claims when we have eradicated misery, pain and suffering from this life. . . ourselves.
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