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atheism versus agnosticism

For topics that are more about faith, religion and religious organisations than anything else.
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Nick
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Re: atheism versus agnosticism

#121 Post by Nick » August 31st, 2010, 8:39 pm

Latest post of the previous page:

Nirvanam wrote: However if Nick wanted to tell me that I am misinterpreting him, he would have done so
Nirvanam, don't tell me what I would or would not have done. How the f*** do you know? As it happens, I was staying with my parents and helping in my father's garden. You have misinterpreted me.

Repeatedly.

More later.

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animist
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Re: atheism versus agnosticism

#122 Post by animist » August 31st, 2010, 8:57 pm

philbo wrote: There's a huge difference between a theory that there is something keeping the universe "together" and imbuing that "something" with consciousness, self-awareness, etc.
That is so right. It bothers me about these supposedly enlightened religions of the Far East that you don't know where you are with them; at least with dear old God of the Abrahamic religions you have a sort of super-person to deal with. And the oriental religions seem as sexist as their Middle Eastern counterparts.

Nirvanam
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Re: atheism versus agnosticism

#123 Post by Nirvanam » August 31st, 2010, 11:11 pm

animist wrote:No need to add any words, just subtract "If". Now you have an indicative statement which can be used as a premise or premiss (yes, they are the same)
But the requirement is to make an assumption / introduce a condition within the premise. So if I have to keep the "if" (as in make a condition within the premise), how do I change that "If All A are XYZ" or "Assuming all A are XYZ"

Nirvanam
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Re: atheism versus agnosticism

#124 Post by Nirvanam » August 31st, 2010, 11:32 pm

Nick wrote:Nirvanam, don't tell me what I would or would not have done. How the f*** do you know? As it happens, I was staying with my parents and helping in my father's garden.
It's what I felt/believed, and I will not claim that my belief is true. In my life experiences I notice that every human being believes things based on past experiences, etc...so did I. I have my own reasons to opine something, those reasons may or may not be true but just coz I am not sure they are facts I am not going to stop making meaning out of things.
Nick wrote: You have misinterpreted me.

Repeatedly.
And what exactly did I misinterpret?

Nick, I notice that you use ridicule as a tool in your conversations with me when we don't share viewpoints. I rarely initiate ridicule of the opposite person for what he or she believes, because it is not my preferred way. I believe I have expressed it on this forum before that unnecessary ridicule, and too much of negative sarcasm does not go well with me because I have been brought up in a culture which is like that. If you can, please try to be sensitive about it. You see we can always disagree and disagree without having to get bitter. I share conversations on this forum with others who have bang opposite viewpoints from mine but it rarely gets bitter, for ex with Paolo, Emma, Marian, Dave, etc

I request you don't talk to me with words like fuck and all, or rely on ridicule to make your point. If you cannot help but use ridicule then let's not interact.

If I have hurt your feelings, or disrespected you, or insulted you, I genuinely apologize for it.

Nirvanam
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Re: atheism versus agnosticism

#125 Post by Nirvanam » August 31st, 2010, 11:43 pm

philbo wrote:There's a huge difference between a theory that there is something keeping the universe "together" and imbuing that "something" with consciousness, self-awareness, etc.
That's the difference in what we believe. And I feelit is pointless for me to share my understanding of the universe, life, reality which are such heavily subjective things...of course there are some parts which are explained in physical, objective ways. But life as a human, what we feel, what we believe those are all very subjective. From experience I have learned and believe that such heavily subjective things are bound to be perceived/opined differently, I see no point in making claims about them...I find value in sharing them with open minds, discussing them, etc.
philbo wrote:Why is it worrying? If perception is reality, why can't you drink the water from the mirage oasis?
It hit me that I shouldn't have asked 'why is it worrying' because I'd get an extreme sorta example as a response...lol. But lemme try to explain to you why I believe so through eliciting your responses on a couple of things...If reality is not what we perceive it is, then what is it?

Nirvanam
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Re: atheism versus agnosticism

#126 Post by Nirvanam » August 31st, 2010, 11:59 pm

animist wrote:
philbo wrote: There's a huge difference between a theory that there is something keeping the universe "together" and imbuing that "something" with consciousness, self-awareness, etc.
That is so right. It bothers me about these supposedly enlightened religions of the Far East that you don't know where you are with them; at least with dear old God of the Abrahamic religions you have a sort of super-person to deal with. And the oriental religions seem as sexist as their Middle Eastern counterparts.
Sexist attitudes exist everywhere I guess whether it is male oriented or female oriented...I think that these things have developed by human civilizational evolution and have been perpetuated through ideologies of all kinds. Societies here in India are both paternal and maternal dominated, but generally much more paternal. However, I am not sure if ideologies within Sanatana Dharma in themselves are sexist as in viewing one sex is superior to the other. Traditions and customs are sexist but the source of their sexism may not be prescriptions of the philosophy...there will be lot fewer philosophies in Sanatana Dharma that consider male superior than there will be that consider male-female equal.

With the abrahamic religions also, I am not very sure (I dunno really) if catholicism and christianity consider male superior as part of a religious prescription...they are customs and traditions I know. In Islam they do because the Quran itself says it is so, their sharia law is ridiculous on women. Modern society is also sexist...I think we will always be sexist although I'd prefer if it was woman oriented coz I think there will be less wars, more compassion, etc if our leaders are a women majority

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Re: atheism versus agnosticism

#127 Post by Nirvanam » September 1st, 2010, 12:53 am

Emma,

The dogma thing...that my belief that nothing is intrinsically right or wrong itself is a dogma...its a belief right, so it will have some characteristics of dogma. But it may not be as dogmatic as some ideological things which are like carved in stone.

Whether it is sustainable or not...well its a value system, life-view that is continuously changing because I myself am changing continuously...the way I think, new experiences, new perspectives on old experiences. This thing about no intrinsic right or wrong, that belief has kinda grown in me since the last 5-6 years. I notice I have become more forgiving or things, more understanding of why people behave the way they do (I may not agree with it though however I endeavor to understand their perspective), which has made me more tolerant, ultimately I have become less judgmental of things.
if you meant sustainability as in it'll paralyze me from acting upon things...no that way no it doesn't. I mean I have my ethical value system and I have my beliefs about what is right and what is wrong, and I try not to act in a way in which is wrong as per my ethical value system.

OK, example for perspective-context thing...firstly I am talking about viewpoints / opinions / beliefs. I'll try to give an example for each of those parameters: time space perspective context. You may not agree with them but this is the "logic" behind my belief of no right-wrong, and I don't intend to justify them. I'll definitely look forward to your thoughts on them, though.

For time:
The practice of Sati/Jowar was the "right" thing to do for the Rajputs during the first few centuries of Islamic invasion of India...as per quran, women of the enemy are considered bounty and allah has sanctioned their rape, moreover non-muslims are kaafirs and kaafirs as per Mo are essentially existing so that muslims can have slaves. Islamic invasion of India happened in north, north-west India first where there were Rajput kingdoms. Such barbaric behavior by the invading muslims was an absolute shock for them because they could not believe women can be treated thus or prisoners of war would be castrated (or not) and made slaves...slavery was alien to bharatvarsha till then, and women were generally treated as equals. So in response to this, the Rajpatnis (women folk of Rajputs) came up with a solution themselves...the Rajpatnis were a very proud women folk, and had a notion of high dignity. They decided that if the men folk lose in battle, then before the muslim invaders enter the city, they would all jump into the town wells...basically mass suicide to save their honor. The non mass dignity-protection method they adopted was to jump into the funeral pyre of their husbands (or brothers / fathers if they did not have a husband or were widows).
Today that practice is "wrong"

For space:
Calling a black person monkey is "wrong" because it is perceived as a racist slur in the west. In India typically parents or elders refer to kids as monkeys when they are mischievous or naughty...probably 90% of India may not even be aware that monkey is a racist slur in the west

For perspective:
Oh this one happens quite a lot in cricket and is always generates debate. A fielding team in order to dismiss a batsman try to get under his skin by talking all sorts of things, all sorts of aggressive actions without physical contact, sometimes very nasty things. One batsman or opposition can't take it anymore when they get nasty about his personal thing like talk about his wife or gf or whatever, the guy snaps and in some way makes physical contact, like for ex while running, deliberately runs into the bowler, or loses his cool and starts to mouth off at the opposition player quite loudly, etc. The Match Ref will fine the batsman more than the bowler/fielder, coz the batsman made physical contact. Physical contact is "just not justifiable" no matter what. Fans have ethical wars..lol, for one party the physical contact is wrong, nothing can justify it. For other party, the physical contact was not wrong because the instigator got personal and unnecessarily nasty. Who is right, who is wrong?

Context:
Murder is wrong and the guilty must serve a sentence, the murderer party was wrong. The context under which the murder happened was that, the victim assaulted a vulnerable person, say a woman was sexually assaulted and to defend herself she had to use the knife. Some people will find the act is not wrong given the context, some people find the act wrong. Forget what the law says that is immaterial to what we are discussing. Or ok, in country A's legal system the woman is found guilty, in country B's legal system the lady holding that weighing thing (what's it called?), does not wear a blindfold. Which system is right?

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animist
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Re: atheism versus agnosticism

#128 Post by animist » September 1st, 2010, 8:25 am

Nirvanam wrote:
animist wrote:
philbo wrote: There's a huge difference between a theory that there is something keeping the universe "together" and imbuing that "something" with consciousness, self-awareness, etc.
That is so right. It bothers me about these supposedly enlightened religions of the Far East that you don't know where you are with them; at least with dear old God of the Abrahamic religions you have a sort of super-person to deal with. And the oriental religions seem as sexist as their Middle Eastern counterparts.
Sexist attitudes exist everywhere I guess whether it is male oriented or female oriented...I think that these things have developed by human civilizational evolution and have been perpetuated through ideologies of all kinds. Societies here in India are both paternal and maternal dominated, but generally much more paternal. However, I am not sure if ideologies within Sanatana Dharma in themselves are sexist as in viewing one sex is superior to the other. Traditions and customs are sexist but the source of their sexism may not be prescriptions of the philosophy...there will be lot fewer philosophies in Sanatana Dharma that consider male superior than there will be that consider male-female equal.

With the abrahamic religions also, I am not very sure (I dunno really) if catholicism and christianity consider male superior as part of a religious prescription...they are customs and traditions I know. In Islam they do because the Quran itself says it is so, their sharia law is ridiculous on women. Modern society is also sexist...I think we will always be sexist although I'd prefer if it was woman oriented coz I think there will be less wars, more compassion, etc if our leaders are a women majority
Excellent stuff, Nirvanam, you have a perspective which I think most of us lack. Not much that I would question, probably only that I think that modern society is much less sexist than traditional.

philbo
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Re: atheism versus agnosticism

#129 Post by philbo » September 1st, 2010, 10:18 am

Nirvanam wrote:From experience I have learned and believe that such heavily subjective things are bound to be perceived/opined differently, I see no point in making claims about them...I find value in sharing them with open minds, discussing them, etc.
Subjective things by definition are perceived differently; there may be value in "sharing them with open minds", but as a very wise (well, rather funny, anyway) chap once said "if you open your mind too much, your brain will fall out"
Nirvanam wrote:
philbo wrote:Why is it worrying? If perception is reality, why can't you drink the water from the mirage oasis?
It hit me that I shouldn't have asked 'why is it worrying' because I'd get an extreme sorta example as a response...lol. But lemme try to explain to you why I believe so through eliciting your responses on a couple of things...If reality is not what we perceive it is, then what is it?
The funny thing about "reality" is that the closer you look, the less "real" it seems.. reality is what is objectively true, irrespective of perspective. We can't always tell exactly what is "real" - in practise, trying to pin down exactly what's going on is not possible, so we make do with a series of approximations that work well enough. If you're working at a human-scale (or larger), Newton's laws of motion do a very good job of explaining how objects will behave; they don't work at an atomic (or sub-atomic) scale at all. Do they describe "reality"? Not *exactly*, but with a sufficient approximation to be useful in everyday life.

However, just because it isn't possible to get an absolute grip on precisely what reality is, that doesn't mean you can just make stuff up to fill in the gaps. Our own perceptions frequently do a really lousy job of informing our brain - optical illusions being the easiest ones to comprehend, though all the other senses are fallible, too.. and don't get me started on memory - what we think we remember is often completely and utterly wrong, too. Offhand, I can't think of a worse measure of what reality is than what we perceive it to be.

If, however, you're intent on sticking to your "reality is in the eye of the beholder" sort of viewpoint, I suggest you use a different word to "reality", because you're defining it wrong.

Nirvanam
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Re: atheism versus agnosticism

#130 Post by Nirvanam » September 1st, 2010, 1:11 pm

animist wrote:Excellent stuff, Nirvanam, you have a perspective which I think most of us lack. Not much that I would question, probably only that I think that modern society is much less sexist than traditional.
Thanks Animist. On the modern society - traditional society less/more thing....I am not too sure about it. It has a lot to do with how history has been presented to us. I mean living in India I know, that mother is placed higher than father, who is higher than Guru, who is higher than god...its said "maata, pita, guru, daivyam" maata = mother, pita = father, daivyam = god, guru = teacher/guru. Customs and traditions have evolved thru superstitions and all.

But here's the biggest thing...the history that we are taught is so damn corrupted, you have no idea I am telling you. Here's case: in the late 18th and especially mid 19th century, the british wanted to change indian society...they wanted to convert indians top chrisitianity. Now they had no moral or ethical high ground in their scriptures to prove to indians why they should not follow sanatana dharma ways. So what do the whores do...they fund "scholars" to study sanskrit and translate india's sanskrit texts to english. While doing so, they introduce so many lies in it, you won't believe it. The need for that is to then go back and show the then indians (by this time sanskrit was no more a widely used common language although sanskrit literature prevailed) what a rotten race of people they were. Here is an example of how they did it -

In the Yajur Veda there is a description of a ceremony called Ashwamedha Yajna - it is a ceremonial practice where a strong king uses a horse as a symbol of his strength to avoid war. The horse is left to wander into different kingdoms and if the authorities capture the horse, then it is an act of declaration of war - that we don't accept your coalition, however if they don't (and help it to go to the next kingdom) that act is an act of accepting a coalition.
That is the Ashwamedha Yajna. How did the missionary bastards denigrate this practice? Firstly they translated the word Yajna to mean 'Sacrifice'. When you hear the word sacrifice what kind of impression do u get of that culture...you imagine those guys must be killing animals or even humans at an altar. I am not aware of a single such practice in sanatna dharma and as prescribed by sanatana dharma. The translation may have been a genuine mistake because for the europeans of the day, they just could not fathom a culture like bharatvarsha's non-islamic one...they had to go by what they knew of their ancients...a religious ceremony generally included sacrifice of some kind in abrahamic religions (goat killing by Ismael) so they probably innocently translated it to mean Sacrifice. However I have my reasons to believe they were not all that innocent.

here's the main denigration. They translated the Ashwamedha Yajna to mean a sacrificial ceremony where the woman of the house has ceremonial vaginal and anal sex with a horse, and the man of the house helps the horse insert its penis into the woman of the house in a ceremony (a ceremony has many attendants and there is a learned priest who chants some mantras (the meaning of the word mantra is also wrongly translated), etc). How do we know this? Because, luckily India itself has had the greatest scholars of Sanskrit and they point out the true translation...how the words were tweaked. For ex - there is a word called GuDa = a brownish lump of sugar (raw brown sugar...its called jaggery in english I think), the European missionary funded scholarly whores of sanskrit translated it to mean 'gudha' = anus.

Just imagine this...you are told your ancestral grandmothers and great grand mothers had ceremonial anal sex with horses helped by your grandfathers and great grandfathers while being watched by many people and it is all done in a ritualistic way...what do you think would be the impact on your mind of your culture? How ashamed you'd feel about your culture? This and many such other ways, the Indologists used to convert the lower strata of society, generally, to christians.

Then the whole Aryan race was a myth they concocted (and in fact Max Mueller in his later years himself said he got it wrong...why did he do that because Mueller who was funded by the British and started to live in England, his theory backfired on the British because the Germans started to believe they were Aryans, and Ottovon Bismarck especially started the unification of Prussia (germany) all based on a myth that there existed a race called aryan race).

I cannot forgive these people for what they have done to my culture. Just imagine a country whose people have lived for at least 10 to 12 millenia of unbroken well evolved civilizations were so systematically denigrated...what would happen to their collective consciousness, their identity of themselves...how vulnerable they'd have become to exploitation?

Hence I don't trust the history taught by Europeans...they have done the same to all cultures wherever they've gone and crapped. But the best part is that the modern Europeans and Americans are seeing thru the deception and coming up with evidence after evidence of artificats that contradict the 19th-early 20th century myths concocted by European "archeologists", "historians", "philosophers", and "linguists".

So, we need to take history that is taught in our schools with a giant pinch of salt. Be skeptic, always, and don't trust a conversion-centric-religious-missionary funded "scientists"

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Re: atheism versus agnosticism

#131 Post by Nirvanam » September 1st, 2010, 1:28 pm

philbo wrote:Subjective things by definition are perceived differently; there may be value in "sharing them with open minds", but as a very wise (well, rather funny, anyway) chap once said "if you open your mind too much, your brain will fall out"
LOL! I heard of this before...but my contention is, how do you know your brain is held physically in place by a covering called mind, for it to fall out when the covering opens....the brain can fall out if the skull opens too much :wink:
philbo wrote:If, however, you're intent on sticking to your "reality is in the eye of the beholder" sort of viewpoint, I suggest you use a different word to "reality", because you're defining it wrong.
That is why I asked you before what is reality? Does it have an agreed upon set of characteristics as perceived by a set of humans (only) who all perceive the universe identically?

I don't contend my view that "reality is as one perceives it to be" is correct. But I don't see enough reasoning that justifies its rejection. If someone wants to, they can try to justify...so far their justifications do not reject my viewpoints soundness (soundness not necessarily = true/right)

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Re: atheism versus agnosticism

#132 Post by Nirvanam » September 1st, 2010, 1:46 pm

When I refer to the 18th and 19th century European Indologists and missionaries as 'whores' and bastards' and that I cannot forgive them, I know I am being judgmental. That they are acts of moral/ethic-judging. But I am human, I try to not judge...in most cases I manage to not, but in cases like these I haven't matured/evolved enough to not feel hurt about it.

Maybe it has got to do withe the fact that this involves History...history (esp Indian) was my fav subject in school (I used to teach my teachers at school...no kidding). And the deception of who I am, where I come from, what is my culture, etc has been very difficult to take...its like I am not able to accept that people can go to such lengths to subdue others, or to allow their egos to accept that other cultures can be great or greater. But slowly I am beginning to let go...I mean earlier when I had to discuss this aryan crap I'd get all worked up heavily and not bothered to present the evidences that kill the theory and myth of aryan race and invasion of bharatvarsha. Now I use the evidences more than get worked up so easily.

Nick
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Re: atheism versus agnosticism

#133 Post by Nick » September 1st, 2010, 3:08 pm

Nirvanam wrote:
Nick wrote:Nirvanam, don't tell me what I would or would not have done. How the f*** do you know? As it happens, I was staying with my parents and helping in my father's garden.
It's what I felt/believed, and I will not claim that my belief is true. In my life experiences I notice that every human being believes things based on past experiences, etc...so did I. I have my own reasons to opine something, those reasons may or may not be true but just coz I am not sure they are facts I am not going to stop making meaning out of things.
Nick wrote: You have misinterpreted me.

Repeatedly.
And what exactly did I misinterpret?

Nick, I notice that you use ridicule as a tool in your conversations with me when we don't share viewpoints. I rarely initiate ridicule of the opposite person for what he or she believes, because it is not my preferred way. I believe I have expressed it on this forum before that unnecessary ridicule, and too much of negative sarcasm does not go well with me because I have been brought up in a culture which is like that. If you can, please try to be sensitive about it. You see we can always disagree and disagree without having to get bitter. I share conversations on this forum with others who have bang opposite viewpoints from mine but it rarely gets bitter, for ex with Paolo, Emma, Marian, Dave, etc

I request you don't talk to me with words like fuck and all, or rely on ridicule to make your point. If you cannot help but use ridicule then let's not interact.

If I have hurt your feelings, or disrespected you, or insulted you, I genuinely apologize for it.
Nirvanam, thanks for the apology. I feel less stressed about your posts as a result. I, in return will endeavour not to swear, even when exasperated. It is important to remember certain differences which arise culturally, and sometimes we need to be reminded of them. You have not hurt my feelings, or insulted me, and disrespected me only in so far as you appear not to respond to the points I have made, which though infuriating, is not, in my book anyway, high on the dissing scale.

Exasperation comes high up the list though. Over and over, I have expressed a view which you have either twisted, ignored or parried. You have then repeatedly misrepresented my views. I'm not insulted by that, just exasperated.

I am not bitter, and am not keen on sarcasm, but wonder how one can respond to the ridiculous without pointing out the fact that it is ridiculous. If I think something is ludicrous I will say so. If that upsets you, then it is a pity, but I'm not about to deny the truth as I see it, just because you think differently to me.

Anyway, take it easy.

Maybe more later.

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Re: atheism versus agnosticism

#134 Post by animist » September 1st, 2010, 3:32 pm

Nirvanam wrote:
animist wrote:No need to add any words, just subtract "If". Now you have an indicative statement which can be used as a premise or premiss (yes, they are the same)
But the requirement is to make an assumption / introduce a condition within the premise. So if I have to keep the "if" (as in make a condition within the premise), how do I change that "If All A are XYZ" or "Assuming all A are XYZ"
I can see the problem from your viewpoint, and I can't seem to explain it, it is almost too simple (I am not being sarcastic). The statement itself does not need "If" or "Assuming", and in fact if you add a word like that it ceases to be a statement and therefore cannot be a premiss. A premiss is itself an assumption, does that make sense? You helped on the Lewis Wolpert query, so look at the syllogism there again - there is no "If" or "Assuming", is there?

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Re: atheism versus agnosticism

#135 Post by Emma Woolgatherer » September 1st, 2010, 4:17 pm

Nirvanam wrote:The dogma thing...that my belief that nothing is intrinsically right or wrong itself is a dogma...its a belief right, so it will have some characteristics of dogma. But it may not be as dogmatic as some ideological things which are like carved in stone.
True enough. You are clearly not inflexible in your beliefs. You are able to change your mind. But I suppose what I was trying to get at was that your belief that one person's "opinion and concept of reality is no more true or false than anyone else's" could end up being a kind of argument stifler, an intellectual cul-de-sac, a trump card that can be played to stop the flow of debate just when it might be starting to lead to the changing of minds. But I see that here you're talking about your belief that nothing is intrinsically right or wrong. By "right" and "wrong", do you mean "true" and "false" or do you mean morally or ethically right and wrong? If you're talking about ethics, then perhaps our views are closer than I'd realised. I have more sympathy with moral relativism than I do with ontological relativism or truth relativism. It's the stuff about concepts of reality that I struggle with.
Nirvanam wrote:Whether it is sustainable or not...well its a value system, life-view that is continuously changing because I myself am changing continuously...the way I think, new experiences, new perspectives on old experiences. This thing about no intrinsic right or wrong, that belief has kinda grown in me since the last 5-6 years. I notice I have become more forgiving or things, more understanding of why people behave the way they do (I may not agree with it though however I endeavor to understand their perspective), which has made me more tolerant, ultimately I have become less judgmental of things.
Again, if you're talking about moral rightness and wrongness, then I do understand what you mean. Although I wouldn't quite call myself a moral relativist, I do lean in that direction. (And I know I've mentioned this book many times before, but can I take the opportunity once again to recommend Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong, by J.L. Mackie?)
Nirvanam wrote:if you meant sustainability as in it'll paralyze me from acting upon things...no that way no it doesn't. I mean I have my ethical value system and I have my beliefs about what is right and what is wrong, and I try not to act in a way in which is wrong as per my ethical value system.
No, I didn't mean that, but I know that's a common criticism of moral relativists. When I said I thought your view might be unsustainable, I was still thinking about your view that one person's "opinion and concept of reality is no more true or false than anyone else's". And I felt that it was unsustainable because it was somehow self-contradicting. Let's say that my concept of reality is that there is one true reality, and although none of us ever has more than a partial perception of that reality, and we often get distortions of it, nevertheless some perceptions of reality are closer to the truth than others. If that is my concept of reality, then how can it be no more true or false than your concept, when your concept is completely different to mine? I couldn't see how it would be possible to sustain a belief in the equal truth of opposing views.
Nirvanam wrote:The practice of Sati/Jowar was the "right" thing to do for the Rajputs during the first few centuries of Islamic invasion of India ... Today that practice is "wrong"
There is a lot of debate about the origins of Sati, and your version is disputed. (The Wikipedia article on Jauhar and Saka says: "Despite occasional confusion, this practice is not related to "Sati". While both practices have been most common historically in the territory of modern Rajasthan, Sati was a custom performed by widowed women only, while Jauhar and Saka were committed while both the partners were living and only at a time of war.") In any case, I would be very wary of saying that a particular practice at a particular time was the "right" thing to do. One of my objections to certain formulations of moral relativist views is what seems to me to be an assumption that everyone who lived in a particular place at a particular time felt the same way about a particular practice. That might, I suppose, be the case. But what if it wasn't? What if just one person felt that it was the wrong thing to do? I've heard people say that Aristotle's view of slavery was not wrong, given the particular cultural context. But what would the slaves have felt about this? History is rarely written by the vanquished or the victims. If we're going to espouse moral relativism, then I think we should avoid broad brushstrokes. We shouldn't define a practice as being "right" for one entire culture, or one era, or one place, and "wrong" for another. Cultures, eras and places are heterogeneous and changing. If morality is relative, it is relative at the level of the individual. But in any case, I am uncomfortable with the pure idea that "Morality is relative" because it seems to me to be too absolute a statement. I think relativism is of partial value. It's not the whole story.
Nirvanam wrote:Murder is wrong and the guilty must serve a sentence, the murderer party was wrong. The context under which the murder happened was that, the victim assaulted a vulnerable person, say a woman was sexually assaulted and to defend herself she had to use the knife. Some people will find the act is not wrong given the context, some people find the act wrong. Forget what the law says that is immaterial to what we are discussing. Or ok, in country A's legal system the woman is found guilty, in country B's legal system the lady holding that weighing thing (what's it called?), does not wear a blindfold. Which system is right?
That weighing thing is called "the scales of justice". But this is moving further and further away from what you were talking about before. We're getting into the details of what constitutes extenuating circumstances for murder. Forget the detail. Let's stick to basics. If nothing is intrinsically right or wrong, why is murder wrong?

All the examples you have provided, Nirvanam, have been about whether something is ethically right or wrong. You have moved away from the idea of concepts of reality being equally valid. Although I'd be happy to discuss moral relativism, it's your belief in the relativity of reality that I'm more interested in trying to understand.

Emma

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Re: atheism versus agnosticism

#136 Post by animist » September 1st, 2010, 9:14 pm

Nirvanam wrote:
animist wrote:Excellent stuff, Nirvanam, you have a perspective which I think most of us lack. Not much that I would question, probably only that I think that modern society is much less sexist than traditional.
Thanks Animist. On the modern society - traditional society less/more thing....I am not too sure about it. It has a lot to do with how history has been presented to us. I mean living in India I know, that mother is placed higher than father, who is higher than Guru, who is higher than god...its said "maata, pita, guru, daivyam" maata = mother, pita = father, daivyam = god, guru = teacher/guru. Customs and traditions have evolved thru superstitions and all.

But here's the biggest thing...the history that we are taught is so damn corrupted, you have no idea I am telling you. Here's case: in the late 18th and especially mid 19th century, the british wanted to change indian society...they wanted to convert indians top chrisitianity. Now they had no moral or ethical high ground in their scriptures to prove to indians why they should not follow sanatana dharma ways. So what do the whores do...they fund "scholars" to study sanskrit and translate india's sanskrit texts to english. While doing so, they introduce so many lies in it, you won't believe it. The need for that is to then go back and show the then indians (by this time sanskrit was no more a widely used common language although sanskrit literature prevailed) what a rotten race of people they were. Here is an example of how they did it -

In the Yajur Veda there is a description of a ceremony called Ashwamedha Yajna - it is a ceremonial practice where a strong king uses a horse as a symbol of his strength to avoid war. The horse is left to wander into different kingdoms and if the authorities capture the horse, then it is an act of declaration of war - that we don't accept your coalition, however if they don't (and help it to go to the next kingdom) that act is an act of accepting a coalition.
That is the Ashwamedha Yajna. How did the missionary bastards denigrate this practice? Firstly they translated the word Yajna to mean 'Sacrifice'. When you hear the word sacrifice what kind of impression do u get of that culture...you imagine those guys must be killing animals or even humans at an altar. I am not aware of a single such practice in sanatna dharma and as prescribed by sanatana dharma. The translation may have been a genuine mistake because for the europeans of the day, they just could not fathom a culture like bharatvarsha's non-islamic one...they had to go by what they knew of their ancients...a religious ceremony generally included sacrifice of some kind in abrahamic religions (goat killing by Ismael) so they probably innocently translated it to mean Sacrifice. However I have my reasons to believe they were not all that innocent.

here's the main denigration. They translated the Ashwamedha Yajna to mean a sacrificial ceremony where the woman of the house has ceremonial vaginal and anal sex with a horse, and the man of the house helps the horse insert its penis into the woman of the house in a ceremony (a ceremony has many attendants and there is a learned priest who chants some mantras (the meaning of the word mantra is also wrongly translated), etc). How do we know this? Because, luckily India itself has had the greatest scholars of Sanskrit and they point out the true translation...how the words were tweaked. For ex - there is a word called GuDa = a brownish lump of sugar (raw brown sugar...its called jaggery in english I think), the European missionary funded scholarly whores of sanskrit translated it to mean 'gudha' = anus.

Just imagine this...you are told your ancestral grandmothers and great grand mothers had ceremonial anal sex with horses helped by your grandfathers and great grandfathers while being watched by many people and it is all done in a ritualistic way...what do you think would be the impact on your mind of your culture? How ashamed you'd feel about your culture? This and many such other ways, the Indologists used to convert the lower strata of society, generally, to christians.

Then the whole Aryan race was a myth they concocted (and in fact Max Mueller in his later years himself said he got it wrong...why did he do that because Mueller who was funded by the British and started to live in England, his theory backfired on the British because the Germans started to believe they were Aryans, and Ottovon Bismarck especially started the unification of Prussia (germany) all based on a myth that there existed a race called aryan race).

I cannot forgive these people for what they have done to my culture. Just imagine a country whose people have lived for at least 10 to 12 millenia of unbroken well evolved civilizations were so systematically denigrated...what would happen to their collective consciousness, their identity of themselves...how vulnerable they'd have become to exploitation?

Hence I don't trust the history taught by Europeans...they have done the same to all cultures wherever they've gone and crapped. But the best part is that the modern Europeans and Americans are seeing thru the deception and coming up with evidence after evidence of artificats that contradict the 19th-early 20th century myths concocted by European "archeologists", "historians", "philosophers", and "linguists".

So, we need to take history that is taught in our schools with a giant pinch of salt. Be skeptic, always, and don't trust a conversion-centric-religious-missionary funded "scientists"
I cannot comment much on this, except to say that if at least some of is true it is horrifying and certainly different from what we in Britain tend to learn - that the British Raj ended suttee and brought some order to the subcontinent. I am really sorry that you feel so hurt and angry about what foreign rule - and the missionaries - have done.

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Re: atheism versus agnosticism

#137 Post by Nirvanam » September 1st, 2010, 9:56 pm

animist wrote:I can see the problem from your viewpoint, and I can't seem to explain it, it is almost too simple (I am not being sarcastic). The statement itself does not need "If" or "Assuming", and in fact if you add a word like that it ceases to be a statement and therefore cannot be a premiss. A premiss is itself an assumption, does that make sense? You helped on the Lewis Wolpert query, so look at the syllogism there again - there is no "If" or "Assuming", is there?
I understand what your thoughts are on that because I had the same problem back during my pre-MBA days. We have a common entrance test which is an aptitude test with objective questions. So we would practice test after test. Logical reasoning was one item in that. And we would come across cases like these all the time. And at that time I hadn't studied formal logic (the language type...being comp science under-grad I studied mathematical logic and comp logic). So my knowledge in logic was only about premise and conclusion.

A few years later I came across a nice book on Logic while in a book store in Manila...I bought it (http://www.amazon.com/Concise-Introduct ... 48&sr=1-19).
As I read thru the book, the first few chapters were pretty easy to understand coz they were straight forward, terms that I already heard of and generally I was aware of those concepts. In the later chapters I came across this thing and I wondered how is it possible. I theorized and I maybe wrong here...if u find an explanation, pls teach me too....

A premise is a statement. Thru my software logic knowledge we have conditional code blocks "if...then...else", "while...do", "repeat...until". Essentially they are using a condition to test something, and based on that conclude something, as explained below:
Suppose you have a variable 'a' and if its value is positive then you add it to another variable called 'deposit' -
If a > 0
{
deposit = deposit + a
}

deposit = deposit + a...is a kinda conclusion which is arising based on a test of something.

Therefore, I correlated these 2 concepts and figured that a premise is still a statement if you put a fullstop before "then", plus an 'if...then' itself is an argument...it is an assertion that something is so (deposit = deposit+a), provided something is so (a > 0).

And more importantly I don't remember seeing anywhere that a premise cannot be conditional, or for that matter that a premise and the first part of what could become a conditional statement (by adding the 'then' part) are mutually exclusive.

Also in computer logic we use such a code structure
If a > 0 AND b = "TRUE" (2 premises, both of which need to be valid for us to conclude something)
deposit = deposit + a
}
endif

Basically if we ignore our language psychological inertia, every argument is an if...then logic structure.'

London is the capital of England
England is in Europe
Therefore population of London is included in the population of Europe.

If tag-London = "cap of Eng" AND tag-England = "Europe"
{
Popu-Europe = Popu-Europe + Popu-London
}

If it makes sense, cool...else if there is an explanation, pls lemme know as well. I think we basically need to find some text that says a premise cannot be conditional/assumptive, or at least implies it.

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Re: atheism versus agnosticism

#138 Post by Paolo » September 1st, 2010, 10:06 pm

animist wrote:I cannot comment much on this, except to say that if at least some of is true it is horrifying and certainly different from what we in Britain tend to learn - that the British Raj ended suttee and brought some order to the subcontinent. I am really sorry that you feel so hurt and angry about what foreign rule - and the missionaries - have done.
I would say that it's perfectly possible for the British Raj to end suttee and bring order using horrifying lies and misinformation (and lots of bloody violence). Don't confuse the ends with the means.

I agree with Nirvanam that history is corrupted, particularly the self-justifying history of Empire, but I don't take any version of history as accurate - there are always half-truths and outright lies used for political purposes. Indian society wasn't perfect before the British, it wasn't perfect with the British and it isn't perfect now. The same is true for any society. There has never been a golden era of peace and plenty for all, merely periods of relative stability or relative instability, meanwhile the poor suffer and the rich write the history. What counts is the version of history we find an affinity with as a cultural group and that is normally a reaction to recent periods of cultural change.

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Re: atheism versus agnosticism

#139 Post by animist » September 1st, 2010, 10:17 pm

Emma Woolgatherer wrote:
Nirvanam wrote:The dogma thing...that my belief that nothing is intrinsically right or wrong itself is a dogma...its a belief right, so it will have some characteristics of dogma. But it may not be as dogmatic as some ideological things which are like carved in stone.
True enough. You are clearly not inflexible in your beliefs. You are able to change your mind. But I suppose what I was trying to get at was that your belief that one person's "opinion and concept of reality is no more true or false than anyone else's" could end up being a kind of argument stifler, an intellectual cul-de-sac, a trump card that can be played to stop the flow of debate just when it might be starting to lead to the changing of minds. But I see that here you're talking about your belief that nothing is intrinsically right or wrong. By "right" and "wrong", do you mean "true" and "false" or do you mean morally or ethically right and wrong? If you're talking about ethics, then perhaps our views are closer than I'd realised. I have more sympathy with moral relativism than I do with ontological relativism or truth relativism. It's the stuff about concepts of reality that I struggle with.
Nirvanam wrote:Whether it is sustainable or not...well its a value system, life-view that is continuously changing because I myself am changing continuously...the way I think, new experiences, new perspectives on old experiences. This thing about no intrinsic right or wrong, that belief has kinda grown in me since the last 5-6 years. I notice I have become more forgiving or things, more understanding of why people behave the way they do (I may not agree with it though however I endeavor to understand their perspective), which has made me more tolerant, ultimately I have become less judgmental of things.
Again, if you're talking about moral rightness and wrongness, then I do understand what you mean. Although I wouldn't quite call myself a moral relativist, I do lean in that direction. (And I know I've mentioned this book many times before, but can I take the opportunity once again to recommend Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong, by J.L. Mackie?)
Nirvanam wrote:if you meant sustainability as in it'll paralyze me from acting upon things...no that way no it doesn't. I mean I have my ethical value system and I have my beliefs about what is right and what is wrong, and I try not to act in a way in which is wrong as per my ethical value system.
No, I didn't mean that, but I know that's a common criticism of moral relativists. When I said I thought your view might be unsustainable, I was still thinking about your view that one person's "opinion and concept of reality is no more true or false than anyone else's". And I felt that it was unsustainable because it was somehow self-contradicting. Let's say that my concept of reality is that there is one true reality, and although none of us ever has more than a partial perception of that reality, and we often get distortions of it, nevertheless some perceptions of reality are closer to the truth than others. If that is my concept of reality, then how can it be no more true or false than your concept, when your concept is completely different to mine? I couldn't see how it would be possible to sustain a belief in the equal truth of opposing views.
Nirvanam wrote:The practice of Sati/Jowar was the "right" thing to do for the Rajputs during the first few centuries of Islamic invasion of India ... Today that practice is "wrong"
There is a lot of debate about the origins of Sati, and your version is disputed. (The Wikipedia article on Jauhar and Saka says: "Despite occasional confusion, this practice is not related to "Sati". While both practices have been most common historically in the territory of modern Rajasthan, Sati was a custom performed by widowed women only, while Jauhar and Saka were committed while both the partners were living and only at a time of war.") In any case, I would be very wary of saying that a particular practice at a particular time was the "right" thing to do. One of my objections to certain formulations of moral relativist views is what seems to me to be an assumption that everyone who lived in a particular place at a particular time felt the same way about a particular practice. That might, I suppose, be the case. But what if it wasn't? What if just one person felt that it was the wrong thing to do? I've heard people say that Aristotle's view of slavery was not wrong, given the particular cultural context. But what would the slaves have felt about this? History is rarely written by the vanquished or the victims. If we're going to espouse moral relativism, then I think we should avoid broad brushstrokes. We shouldn't define a practice as being "right" for one entire culture, or one era, or one place, and "wrong" for another. Cultures, eras and places are heterogeneous and changing. If morality is relative, it is relative at the level of the individual. But in any case, I am uncomfortable with the pure idea that "Morality is relative" because it seems to me to be too absolute a statement. I think relativism is of partial value. It's not the whole story.
Nirvanam wrote:Murder is wrong and the guilty must serve a sentence, the murderer party was wrong. The context under which the murder happened was that, the victim assaulted a vulnerable person, say a woman was sexually assaulted and to defend herself she had to use the knife. Some people will find the act is not wrong given the context, some people find the act wrong. Forget what the law says that is immaterial to what we are discussing. Or ok, in country A's legal system the woman is found guilty, in country B's legal system the lady holding that weighing thing (what's it called?), does not wear a blindfold. Which system is right?
That weighing thing is called "the scales of justice". But this is moving further and further away from what you were talking about before. We're getting into the details of what constitutes extenuating circumstances for murder. Forget the detail. Let's stick to basics. If nothing is intrinsically right or wrong, why is murder wrong?

All the examples you have provided, Nirvanam, have been about whether something is ethically right or wrong. You have moved away from the idea of concepts of reality being equally valid. Although I'd be happy to discuss moral relativism, it's your belief in the relativity of reality that I'm more interested in trying to understand.

Emma
I used to be sort of a moral relativist because, like many adolescents, I came to realise that the moral background in which I was brought up was heavily influenced by religion and patriotism and geared towards disapproval of "immoral" behaviour: this was basically that extramarital sex was wrong and gay sex was loathsome (and illegal for men), while somehow what our side did in whatever war was fairly OK; admittedly there were limits, and the Opium Wars were not thought good even though "we" won. Anyway, it is easy for one to react to the opposite extreme (in my case aided by Marxist determinism). Apparently, however, the holocaust and World War 2 did make people wonder whether such relativism was tenable, and this the line I now take; I also feel that atheistic non-relativism based on utilitarianism is more defensible than relativism against the attacks of Muslim fundamentalists who like to exploit the moral flabbiness of what they perceive as Western degeneracy. You mention Aristotle, who I think regarded slaves as "human tools", and well obviously the mores of the ancient Greeks over slavery were different from ours; they were just wrong. I do not see the fact that they were huge achievers in philosophy and other endeavours as any argument for relativism, and I am not sure that what you say about disparate beliefs at the time is relevant; even if the slaves accepted their lot, it would not make any more just. I have now read quite a few posts in this forum which do seem to take a relativist line, but I think we have progressed greatly - the sphere of animal liberation is one where we no doubt have far to go, and internationalism is another - why should there be national barriers which stop poor people enjoying the benefits of the rich countries which exploited them in the past? BTW, I picked up on your comment that you are more likely to be attracted to ethical relativism than to say relativism about the nature of reality, and this to be expected: I often think that philosophy studies are on a continuum of objectivity, with logic at one extreme (objective) and aesthetics at the other (subjective), while ethics is nearer the subjective end than is metaphysics or epistemology.

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Re: atheism versus agnosticism

#140 Post by Nirvanam » September 1st, 2010, 10:47 pm

Emma, although these examples were related to ethics and morals, what I mean to say is that anything that is subjective does not have an absolute right or wrong. Nowhere am I saying that we should not establish frames of references and based on that establish what is right and what is wrong. I am making an observation that nothing is really intrinsically right or wrong...the "rightness" or "wrongness" of an event/action/philosophy changes in time, space, perspective, and context.

Right wrong is not exactly true-false. True-False are facts. And facts are facts, for ex speed of light = 186,000 kms per sec (or whatever is the value). I am not talking about such things. For ex, for my ex 33 degrees C in Blore was woohooo so damn hot...for me its pretty cool (not cold though). Now, who is right? Both of us are equally right and wrong. Mug is half full or half empty - it depends on what perspective you choose...neither conclusion is wrong....these kinda things

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Re: atheism versus agnosticism

#141 Post by animist » September 2nd, 2010, 8:40 am

Nirvanam wrote:Emma, although these examples were related to ethics and morals, what I mean to say is that anything that is subjective does not have an absolute right or wrong. Nowhere am I saying that we should not establish frames of references and based on that establish what is right and what is wrong. I am making an observation that nothing is really intrinsically right or wrong...the "rightness" or "wrongness" of an event/action/philosophy changes in time, space, perspective, and context.

Right wrong is not exactly true-false. True-False are facts. And facts are facts, for ex speed of light = 186,000 kms per sec (or whatever is the value). I am not talking about such things. For ex, for my ex 33 degrees C in Blore was woohooo so damn hot...for me its pretty cool (not cold though). Now, who is right? Both of us are equally right and wrong. Mug is half full or half empty - it depends on what perspective you choose...neither conclusion is wrong....these kinda things
"I am making an observation that nothing is really intrinsically right or wrong...the "rightness" or "wrongness" of an event/action/philosophy changes in time, space, perspective, and context." I wish you would stop saying things like this as you obviously do not really believe them,

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