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VanDenDale

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VanDenDale last won the day on March 31 2018

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About VanDenDale

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    The Chancellor
  • Birthday 07/15/1990
  1. THE WINGSPAN OF AN ALBATROSS
  2. Just put a tax on it or something geez
  3. Is the one being mentioned whenever news reports start with "Florida man"
  4. I don't personally think it's "entitled" behavior to expect the same treatment everyone else expects, even if that treatment is technically against the rules. This is Starbucks we're talking about. People meet and hang out at Starbucks all the time, usually without paying for something beforehand. And as has been said, Starbucks actively promotes this. This isn't a debate over whether they should, as a private business, be ABLE to do this. It's a debate over the motives for departing from their cultivated image. Starbucks baristas across the globe don't give a fuck if you hang out. It just so happens this one was anal retentive. For what reason, nobody knows for sure, but it's very clear these two guys weren't causing a problem. They didn't even raise their voices, and their "refusal to leave", by many accounts, was nothing more than asking why they were told to leave. Surprise and mild indignation don't constitute a public disturbance. Ultimately it does come down to the private business, and Starbucks has apologized to the two men, so that tells us something about how they intended to operate in the first place. The only actual racism I'm seeing here is in the responses, with the number of people jumping to conclusions about how black dudes must have been tearing up the place and threatening people, buncha dirty animals, etc. I don't think the event itself was fueled by serious bias. But I don't think the two dudes were wrong to be taken aback.
  5. If anything, I think it explains it. For the most part religion doesn't start in the heart of civilization, it starts on the fringes amidst desperation or unusual pressures against survival. Like the deserts of the Abrahamic religions. Or among slave underclasses. Or in response to natural disasters. Or as a result of tribal warfare. The particulars vary, but all of them turn out similar in survival-support nature to the stranded island metaphor. Now take the island away. Take all the pressures away that originally inspired the coping mechanism of religion, but leave the mechanism intact, with no point of reference to say that Wilson isn't real. What do you get? The slow decline of genuine belief, but the beginning of a cultural tradition. Most people raised within a religion aren't particularly religious, except as socially required. As generations advance, less and less people seriously believe Wilson or God or the Divine Panda are real. The original pressures that prompted the belief are gone. They just maintain the traditions built around it, like going to church/temple/whatever or celebrating the holidays or saying the catchphrases ("Oh my God!" "God damnit." "Sweet Jesus!"). They become a healthy, if vestigial part of our cultural habits, and yes, the general perception of religion is focused on that these days. It's just still based on a lie we once told ourselves to keep our shit together. The more educated and developed we become, the less we need that lie. The more desperate and isolated we are, the more we relapse into believing it. But it never stops being a lie.
  6. Will doom the Terran Empire with his radical reforms.
  7. Is our best choice to send through the time machine, back to old Britannia to jumpstart the British Empire a thousand years early.
  8. I'd be interested to hear more. Where do I seem to be missing the perception?
  9. I'd say the difference is the source of the need. Our (varying in degrees, but universal) needs as social animals are a highly successful survival strategy. Imagine a group of humans with no social instinct. We'd easily outdo them in terms of survival and technology, like how Homo Sapiens outperformed Homo Neanderthalensis. Addiction to a drug isn't a need we evolved with as a competitive advantage. It's an external material fucking with our system. We evolved a biological system of reward to help us survive in the wild, like how poisonous plants taste bad and nonpoisonous things taste good. The most basic processes of our brain handle these good/bad inputs to steer us away from threats to survival, but they're such early programming - the alpha test stage of humans, if you will - that they can be fooled. An artificially-sweetened jelly donut isn't good to eat too many of, but it doesn't stop being delicious, know what I'm sayin'? Addictive drugs fuck with the brain, compelling it to seek the rewarding stimulus of the drug despite its adverse effects. You could, therefore, draw some comparison between drug addiction and religious fanaticism. Is it any wonder that the two go hand in hand, like ISIS's voracious consumption of amphetamines? You answered your question before you asked it. Think about it. Imagine you've spent your whole life believing Wilson is real, and suddenly you're faced with the reality. That all this time, you've been worshiping a volley ball. An imagination you attached to out of some whacky subconscious need. How do you think you'd feel about that? How much would it hurt your pride to accept it? What if you still rely on it to endure your life circumstances, to make sense of the world around you? It may not be pretty, it may not reflect well on humanity, but most would sooner die than admit to being fooled or deluded. Least of all by ourselves. We rely too heavily on trusting our own judgement to make it through life to tolerate earth-shattering revelations like that. Even if they're true. You said the good news yourself though, We're still evolving. Our awareness is expanding. The artificial pressures of modernity, which Merkabo rightly mentions as a danger to our natural health, are also slowly enhancing our intelligence. We can overcome many of the flaws in our evolved design. It's just a longer and more painful process than we'd like to admit. Not unlike dealing with withdrawal symptoms.
  10. I shared my views on this general idea over Discord a while ago, but I should add it here as well. Have you ever seen Cast Away? In it, we see Tom Hanks stranded alone on an island with slim hope of rescue. Over the course of his organizing his own survival he ends up drawing a face on a volley ball, naming it Wilson and talking to it. Sounds crazy, but it's actually pretty deep. Isolation, loneliness and despair are as dangerous to us as poison. They interfere with our ability to function. Nobody, not even Tom Hanks' character at the time he painted the face, would claim Wilson is a real person who listens to what you're saying, but the practical benefit of keeping himself talking to someone, reminding himself that he's not alone, helped his ability to survive as much as any tool. Earth is humanity's desert island in the middle of the ocean of space, with no hope of rescue. God is our Wilson, a figure invented across cultures out of a common survival instinct. Someone to talk to, to care about us, to help explain the strange and often painful world we've become aware of. The benefits are real, but like Wilson, God is not a real entity. He's just a face we painted on the unfeeling cosmos. This is the basis of my support for religious freedom. You can't "get rid" of religion. Religion is a symptom of loneliness, which you can't legislate away. People have to mature in their self-awareness and recover from it, which only happens in a society free enough to allow it, hence the inevitable growth of "nonreligious" demographics in developed countries. We just have to put up with the Church of Wilson being taken seriously during that process.
  11. Do they? I'd argue that they don't, but I'm curious to see your reasoning first, and how you define biological determinism in this context. My argument is that, while I agree there can be value to psychedelic experiences, I disagree that the qualities are metaphysical. Everything is physical. Even thoughts and so-called "abstracts". No, not the only variable. There are two responses to this part. The first is a direct engagement of your question. The second is putting it into context. Direct answer: The ultimate origins of our brains are similar to the origins of any mammal. The origins of our high level of development are found in the history of our evolution from apes. The origins of our self-awareness, while still being studied, can be explained as an emergent quality from the feedback principle. I personally think we'll learn more about self-awareness as we study mirror neurons, but that's beside the point. How all this can be pinned to mammalian survival processes is simple: That's the bedrock our development sits on top of, and continues to be influenced by. Puttin' that shit into context: The purpose of my food analogy was to de-mystify the concept of "manifesting our internal musings". I'm not saying our higher cognitive functions are the same as baser instincts, I'm saying they're based on the same system. Note that my example wasn't just any mammal food-searching instinct, but the conscious and very human act of satiating an instinct - hunger - creatively. If that's still "oversimplified", then alright, it was an offhand comment and your point stands, but hopefully the above clarifies what I meant.
  12. So a discussion on discord reached critical mass where post length was concerned, and I have to agree with Abdel that there's no justification for not making it a thread. The topics are part of a series of discussions over the past week(s) covering philosophy, religion, consciousness etc. This isn't just for Merkabo and I, anyone with an opinion is free to chime in. Currently my physicalist/materialist views are contrasted with Merk's metaphysics, but don't take my word for it. Here are the most recent logs to work off of: [SPOILER=First two posts][QUOTE=Merkabo]Most of the people with a skeptical stance concerning God or a higher power, and many of the arguments they use in relation to the idea, are a bit funny to me. Through science, observation, and our current instruments we use to interpret the world, they take the fact that things are measurable on a physical level and assume that anything that doesn't exist on the material level is nonsense. But crutch to this, is the fact there are many aspects of the human condition that can't be measured so easily. Feeling, emotion, artistic expression, imagination, these things are just as vital to us in another way as being able to observe the material world. Yet they fail to observe it in the way that they care to observe our chemical makeup. We don't experience emotion on only a chemical level, so from them to say they understand what feeling and emotions even are, and ignore the experiential variables entirely is ridiculous. They get so caught up observing the physical world that they don't observe themselves, they make no attempt to discipline the creative/feeling aspect of their minds and build it like a muscle and come to the conclusion that any sort of profound, mystical experience one might have is no more than delusion. Ignoring many variables except one and substituting it in for the whole picture[/QUOTE] [QUOTE=VanDenDale]"[I]Through science, observation, and our current instruments we use to interpret the world, they take the fact that things are measurable on a physical level and assume that anything that doesn't exist on the material level is nonsense.[/I] " - Wrong. The possibility of immaterial things isn't what's nonsense. The BELIEF in them is. Putting faith in something with no basis, opposed to things that do have basis, is nonsense. [I]"But crutch to this, is the fact there are many aspects of the human condition that can't be measured so easily. Feeling, emotion, artistic expression, imagination, these things are just as vital to us in another way as being able to observe the material world.[/I] " - "If something is complex, it must be immaterial" -Merk Everything you list here is material. Your feelings and emotions are the result of material interactions. Your artistic expression is mainly based on the right hemisphere of the brain. Your imagination is a function of the brain's complex analytics and scenario projection. You'll probably reply "you don't understand" to this, because the meaning and value we get from these things are greater than the sum of their parts. ... But that's material too. Everything you believe, everything you experience, has a material foundation and material expression. [I]"they make no attempt to discipline the creative/feeling aspect of their minds and build it like a muscle[/I] " - ... Except that's exactly what they do. [I]"come to the conclusion that any sort of profound, mystical experience one might have is no more than delusion."[/I] - Mystical experiences are defined as being fascinated or in awe of an experience you don't comprehend in the moment itself. There's nothing wrong with that, and there are real benefits to them, like shaking you out of a depressed state. Nothing delusional about that. But if the person goes on to believe that God spoke to them, or that the experience [I]can't[/I] be measured or explained just because they didn't understand it at the time, or that it's solid proof of [insert superstition like ghosts or angels], it's a delusion. It's an emotional rationalization of the experience. Usually arrogant, too. We've seen plenty of nutters convinced they're God's Chosen because why else would they be experiencing these strange, mystical things? Everything we've encountered thus far has material basis. Everything. Doesn't mean we won't discover something more, but until then.[/QUOTE][/SPOILER] [SPOILER=Second pair][QUOTE=Merkabo]I agree with some of what you say, take issue with other parts. There are many things that have a metaphysical foundation that are subsequently externalized in the real world. The very idea that we are beings that have rights and freedoms is a metaphysical presupposition that many civilizations in the world are predicated upon. It assumes that we aren't predetermined machines, that we have a soul/will, freedom of choice, and a capacity to make our internal musings manifested in the material world. A highly useful one at that, the civilizations predicated upon the idea of rights and freedoms have been shown to be the most technologically advanced and the best places to live in by and large. There are even metaphysical presuppositions in the very way we construct sentences. The very word "I" assumes that we have a self that is distinguishable from the projection of consciousness that all experience is derived from. Again, that we are not predetermined machines and that we have the capacity to have a will and a soul to make manifest. Much of what creates a functioning social experience relies on metaphysical presuppositions. You can't just go and say that because some dipshit believes in a death god, that the merits of metaphysics can be ignored entirely. They are so obviously embedded in our evolutionary substructure if you start to notice the patterns and what you take for granted. Also lastly, what if research was done, and it was found that the ideas of freedoms and rights, metaphysical presuppositions at their very core, didn't have any biological foundation, should we throw those ideas away like we'd throw away some false God? @VanDenDale Yes Van, I do understand. I still however think that you're missing the big picture in favor of one that is more logically calculable, to the point where you leave out many intrinsic variables and dynamics of the human condition. I mean you could play the relativist game and say that there are no universal truths but I'd recommend not going there with me lmao Also, BITCH HAVE YOU EVEN READ PLATO? :^) Tfw Van thinks he can win because he hasn't met a proper theist Just retarded religious people, and he thinks that's the basis for all metaphysics[/QUOTE] [QUOTE=VanDenDale]You've said before that I respond selectively to your posts. I kinda have to, but I'm trying to address every point made in this case. [post inc] [I]"The very idea that we are beings that have rights and freedoms is a metaphysical presupposition"[/I] - I'm here to argue that they aren't. We like to think of thoughts (heh) as metaphysical, disembodied, but they aren't. They're the direct result of observable activity in the brain. There is no "mind vs. matter", the mind IS matter. As is our entire ability to derive meaning & understanding from concepts. The origins aren't metaphysical, the expression isn't metaphysical, the understanding isn't metaphysical, so why the hell are we calling it that? Because until the modern era we didn't know dick about the brain, so we've built on the assumption that its functions aren't physical. Just like we assumed rivers were the result of water spirits, etc. Case in point: "[I]The very word "I" assumes that we have a self that is distinguishable"[/I] - Yes, "I". Not "we". There is no metaphysical gestalt to tap into. Psychics aren't real, telepathy isn't real, communing with spirits isn't real. All that is real is materially derived. Which leads to a misinterpretation of reality: [I]"It assumes that we aren't predetermined machines, that we have a soul/will, freedom of choice"[/I] - Your mistake is conflating "machine" with "predetermination". We ARE machines. Organic ones. Much is predetermined by our DNA, but as living machines we are mutable. Mostly by our environment, stimulus feedback and survival instinct. The beauty of self-awareness, which emerges from material complexity in the brain, is that we have enough pattern recognition to alter our natural course in favor of more or less destructive ones. Metaphysical soul is not required for this. Our will isn't entirely free. We're constrained by physical reality, influenced by material emotions and instincts. Our every thought is derivative, our every preference informed by biology. But we [I]are[/I] free to walk the halls of our material prison, so to speak. [I]"capacity to make our internal musings manifested in the material world."[/I] - A feeling of hunger wells within you as the body runs low on fuel to process. You have material knowledge of the location and retrieval methods for food. Resolved to pursue from your biological desire and knowledge of deliciousness, your brain spends energy signalling the rest of the body to take motion. It manipulates the body according to knowledge, both conscious and subconscious. It's not metaphysics. It's not mystical. It's just making a ham&cheeze sammich. Preferably with mustard. [I]"I mean you could play the relativist game and say that there are no universal truths but I'd recommend not going there with me lmao"[/I] - There are many universal truths. The universe exists in a material state, governed by physical laws. There may be things beyond the material universe, but the burden of proof lies with those who claim there is, and no human in history has had the means to do that. [I]"Also, BITCH HAVE YOU EVEN READ PLATO?"[/I] "Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge." All of which are material. [I]"Tfw Van thinks he can win because he hasn't met a proper theist"[/I] There is no winning or losing here. Reality doesn't care if you can comprehend it or not. It just is.[/QUOTE][/spoiler] [SPOILER=Most recent reply][QUOTE=Merkabo]@VanDenDale The basis for brain function is obviously on a physical level. No one is arguing that. Also, no one is arguing for the idea that telepathy and psychic stuff is real. The jist of what I'm saying is as we move further and further away from the natural environment we were created from and evolved within for millions of years through the advent of technology, we've had to make a great deal of assumptions about the human condition for society to function. If you're to argue that rights and freedom, being one of these assumptions, is a delusion because a belief in anything non quantifiable and non measurable is to be considered a delusion, then I'd disagree. I think if you're to treat all faith based prospects as equal, you're going to run into problems. First off, some obviously strike true more than others. Secondly, a society wherein we know everything is not something I see as feasible and within that which is unknown, the imagination and intuitive thinking will take over, leading to more presumptions about our own nature. In the same way beliefs gained and lost their pervasive qualities in the past based on what and what isn't efficient, it will happen into the future and likely through the end of time. Having an idea on the way you should act is hardly a bad thing. The danger is forsaking the logical foundation for a moral framework and vice versa. You need both or it'll spiral out of control one way or another. Fanaticism and madness or moral nihilism. Also I appreciate what you were trying to do with the food analogy, but it leaves many questions unanswered regarding the nature of our creativity and imagination and it's a bad argument solely because most other mammals do the same thing. Yet here we are, unique in the aspect of our self awareness, artistic expressions, ect It's a gross simplification actually.[/QUOTE][/spoiler] Now my response. [I]"The basis for brain function is obviously on a physical level. No one is arguing that."[/I] Except you did. You're arguing that certain ideas are metaphysical presuppositions. I'm saying they aren't metaphysical at all. They're entirely physical, even when taken as assumptions. [I]"The jist of what I'm saying is as we move further and further away from the natural environment we were created from and evolved within for millions of years through the advent of technology, we've had to make a great deal of assumptions about the human condition for society to function. If you're to argue that rights and freedom, being one of these assumptions, is a delusion because a belief in anything non quantifiable and non measurable is to be considered a delusion, then I'd disagree. I think if you're to treat all faith based prospects as equal, you're going to run into problems."[/I] I feel like this is a good opportunity to clarify my position. Here's hoping I do so. First, I don't agree with classifying rights and freedom as assumptions. Let me remind you that these are *extremely recent developments.* If you're going to reference our evolution over time, you must also recognize that civilized societies with rights upheld and freedoms protected are rarities. Only the modern day, after those technological innovations have been implemented, do we see success in developing free societies. Second, I don't see how I COULD argue that about rights and freedoms, because they ARE quantifiable and measurable. They are concrete concepts dealing with material realities. Their conception is based on everything from natural inclinations (read: John Locke) to logical deductions about their importance to society. Third, about faith. I don't treat all faith based prospects as equal. Faith isn't necessarily spiritual in nature. If you recognize a pattern, for example: 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 _ You can reasonably assume - you can have faith - that the next number is 2. You don't KNOW that it's 2, it could be 7 or 23 or a thousand, but you can be confident in 2. It follows the same pattern that you've observed, and there's no precedent for the pattern breaking. The problem isn't faith. It's the basis of faith. If someone has nothing to base their faith on but a feeling, fine, it might amount to something but it's not conclusive. If someone has no basis *and it's inconsistent with reality*, it's a delusion. In previous discussions you've referenced flat earthers of the 15th century in response to this concept, the fact that a flat earth was generally accepted as physical reality, implying that we can call round earth theorists of the day delusional. Here's the thing: *It's entirely fair to do so* if they had nothing to base it on. It's when they had scientific data backing it up that holding on to a flat earth became the delusion. The answer is always more and better science. Even in response to bad science. [I]"Having an idea on the way you should act is hardly a bad thing."[/I] [IMG]http://i0.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/newsfeed/000/993/875/084.png[/IMG] To me this is a huge non-sequitur. Where'd this come from? This hasn't been a discussion on ethics or morality at all. It's been a discussion on materialism and metaphysics, and originally their relation to the perception of God/divinity. If it's your intention to claim that I support or don't support a given ethical standard, kindly make that the topic. Don't tie it into other things as an assumed position. [I]"Also I appreciate what you were trying to do with the food analogy, but it leaves many questions unanswered regarding the nature of our creativity and imagination"[/I] If you want questions answered, the first step is to ask them in the first place. [I]"it's a bad argument solely because most other mammals do the same thing."[/I] I'd love to see an animal make a ham & cheese sammy. Most wouldn't make it past the fridge door, I'd think.
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