Is there an afterlife? (Civility please?)


Off-Topic Discussions

101 to 150 of 986 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | next > last >>

I am not starting a flamewar. I don't have the time for it.

You are right, thejeff, that that line of discussion is tangential to the matter at hand. However, that issue provides some of the underpinning for my first explication -- I do believe that there is an afterlife. I apologize for even prompting that part of the discussion.

@quibblemuch/Sundakan -- Perhaps a time will come when we can hash through it, elsewhere. Sorry we need to leave it where it is for now.

Always more to be said, isn't there? :D


Irontruth wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Sissyl wrote:
There is no "law of abiogenesis". Not if you count the views of the scientific community. Matter is matter. It will behave the same way in the same situation whether you call it alive or dead. Further, science is already starting up projects of creating viruses from scratch. Besides, the people counting up how likely life is per volume of water and million years etc are missing one central issue: Where life did not happen in the universe, there are no individuals discussing the likelihood of their existence. For life developing, the arena is not just Earth, but a vast and unknown number of planets where it COULD have developed.

Evolution and the origin of life are well outside the question of there being an afterlife. And are even more likely to erupt into a flamewar that'll get this thread locked.

We've had discussions on religion before without the thread being locked. The big one is still open to this day. That said, the mods seem much more likely to lock a thread these days than 3-4 years ago.

My point was that evolution is particularly flame-baity. The thread in general is inherently about religion, but that doesn't necessarily doom it. Turning it into an creationism/evolution debate sends the odds through the roof.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Syrus Terrigan wrote:


First, and most notably, the Law of Abiogenesis.

This is not a law.


thejeff wrote:
My point was that evolution is particularly flame-baity. The thread in general is inherently about religion, but that doesn't necessarily doom it. Turning it into an creationism/evolution debate sends the odds through the roof.

A person's view of the afterlife is informed by a lot of things, one of which can easily be biology.


*Pokes head back in*

Yeah, there are different views on what the afterlife actually consists of. "Fluffy clouds, harps, and roman clothing" is kind of the traditional view, but some think that Heaven is essentially a rewriting of the laws of physics, and we'll basically get to explore the whole universe in immortal bodies. Suffice to say there are many schools of thought on it.


Like the school of thought I get to come back as an active Avenger in Earth-616, Red?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
thejeff wrote:
Sissyl wrote:
There is no "law of abiogenesis". Not if you count the views of the scientific community. Matter is matter. It will behave the same way in the same situation whether you call it alive or dead. Further, science is already starting up projects of creating viruses from scratch. Besides, the people counting up how likely life is per volume of water and million years etc are missing one central issue: Where life did not happen in the universe, there are no individuals discussing the likelihood of their existence. For life developing, the arena is not just Earth, but a vast and unknown number of planets where it COULD have developed.

Evolution and the origin of life are well outside the question of there being an afterlife. And are even more likely to erupt into a flamewar that'll get this thread locked.

That said, it will be interesting to see if any of the space missions find evidence of life - bacteria level or below. Near as we can tell, life on earth goes back about as far as it would be possible - as soon as the asteroid/comet bombardment stopped, nearly 4 billion years ago, possibly even slightly before.

I do not agree. The "law of abiogenesis" was apparently a vital argument for an afterlife to Syrus Terrigan. He even asked for a rebuttal. Given this, I do not agree that what I wrote is outside the current discussion, nor particularly aggressive. Still, the debate seems to have moved on.


Sissyl wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Sissyl wrote:
There is no "law of abiogenesis". Not if you count the views of the scientific community. Matter is matter. It will behave the same way in the same situation whether you call it alive or dead. Further, science is already starting up projects of creating viruses from scratch. Besides, the people counting up how likely life is per volume of water and million years etc are missing one central issue: Where life did not happen in the universe, there are no individuals discussing the likelihood of their existence. For life developing, the arena is not just Earth, but a vast and unknown number of planets where it COULD have developed.

Evolution and the origin of life are well outside the question of there being an afterlife. And are even more likely to erupt into a flamewar that'll get this thread locked.

That said, it will be interesting to see if any of the space missions find evidence of life - bacteria level or below. Near as we can tell, life on earth goes back about as far as it would be possible - as soon as the asteroid/comet bombardment stopped, nearly 4 billion years ago, possibly even slightly before.
I do not agree. The "law of abiogenesis" was apparently a vital argument for an afterlife to Syrus Terrigan. He even asked for a rebuttal. Given this, I do not agree that what I wrote is outside the current discussion, nor particularly aggressive. Still, the debate seems to have moved on.

I didn't think it was outside the discussion or even that you were even near out of line, just that in my experience, however civil and focused the evolution/creationism debates start, they quickly spiral out of control.


UnArcaneElection wrote:
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:

{. . .}

I also tend to believe that cryonic suspension is one of the biggest frauds ever to be perpetuated in the name of science.

This is probably correct for now, but with another 100 years or so of advances in medicine, it may cease to be correct (although probably not within my lifetime). Although knowing how medical advances work these days, I would expect mainly people like Montgomery Burns to benefit from it, not most of us.

Here's the thing biology and chemistry guarantee to make this a croc. Once brain activity ceases, there is no way to restart it. The brain itself dissasociates.

Rana sylvatica begs to disagree with you.

Give me something significantly more sentient than a Tree Frog as evidence, and I'll reconsider your argument.

Cryonics including whole body suspension has been around for decades. So far NOT one of those corpsicles has been reanimated.


Syrus Terrigan wrote:

I am not starting a flamewar. I don't have the time for it.

You are right, thejeff, that that line of discussion is tangential to the matter at hand. However, that issue provides some of the underpinning for my first explication -- I do believe that there is an afterlife. I apologize for even prompting that part of the discussion.

@quibblemuch/Sundakan -- Perhaps a time will come when we can hash through it, elsewhere. Sorry we need to leave it where it is for now.

Always more to be said, isn't there? :D

Beautiful thing about this country... You can believe whatever you want. But I need something more substantial from someone other than "I believe" if they wish to have me share that belief.

What you can ask yourself though is how you deal with this life factored on the results of that question? For me my heavy skepticism about an afterlife encourages me to live this one with as much meaning as possible. And to have the termination of that life be under my decision as much as possible.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I think if scientists ever figure out how to map/read/copy memories into digital backups, we'll figure out how to write those memories into a fresh cloned body (with fresh telomeres). True, the clone wouldn't technically be the same original, but would that clone be able to perceive the difference?

And if you find this line of thinking intriguing, you might consider picking up a copy of the Eclipse Phase RPG. It's Creative Common licensed, so you can download it directly from the publisher for free; if you like it, you can purchase it here or at DriveThru/RPGNow. It also has rules for copying and forking digital consciousness, AIs, and uplifted sapients.


Ambrosia Slaad wrote:

I think if scientists ever figure out how to map/read/copy memories into digital backups, we'll figure out how to write those memories into a fresh cloned body (with fresh telomeres). True, the clone wouldn't technically be the same original, but would that clone be able to perceive the difference?

And if you find this line of thinking intriguing, you might consider picking up a copy of the Eclipse Phase RPG. It's Creative Common licensed, so you can download it directly from the publisher for free; if you like it, you can purchase it here or at DriveThru/RPGNow. It also has rules for copying and forking digital consciousness, AIs, and uplifted sapients.

After centuries of enlightenment and reason put the dualist model into the dustbin of superstition, it is darkly amusing to see it resurrected by Transhuman fantasists. Memory by itself is not consciousness. If it were, our computers would all be coming alive.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Memory by itself is not consciousness. If it were, our computers would all be coming alive.

Well, to be fair, 2017 CPUs and storage are still pretty low-powered for these purposes. Eclipse Phase is set in a future which presupposes that not only has humanity figured out how to map human memory, they've also figured out how to run (or at least simulate) a human consciousness digitally. The game picks up from there, asking what are the logical consequences of this (amongst all the other happenings in the setting)?

Really, don't blame the game for my poor descriptive skills, at least not until you've skimmed though it. If nothing else, it'll surely give you ideas for Starfinder.


Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Memory by itself is not consciousness. If it were, our computers would all be coming alive.

Well, to be fair, 2017 CPUs and storage are still pretty low-powered for these purposes. Eclipse Phase is set in a future which presupposes that not only has humanity figured out how to map human memory, they've also figured out how to run (or at least simulate) a human consciousness digitally. The game picks up from there, asking what are the logical consequences of this (amongst all the other happenings in the setting)?

Really, don't blame the game for my poor descriptive skills, at least not until you've skimmed though it. If nothing else, it'll surely give you ideas for Starfinder.

To be fair though this topic is about afterlife discussions on a real world, real life basis, not mechanics for a game.


But what if I want a real world afterlife that like a game Drah? Like you know, the 2nd level of Celestia? Or Trueheart? Or House of the Triad?


I will say that Pascal's wager is not compelling to me. The wager seems to me to suffer from blurring the distinction between faith and acts. Even if the wager could convince me to act as if I were religious, the dominant religion around here demands not just actions but faith. If I cannot engender faith, no amount of Perform (act) to mimic the devout based on my cost-benefit analysis of a thought experiment can help.

Thus far, in the ordinary course of human experimentation with ideas I have failed to engender in myself sincere religious faith using the wager (or anything else).

The same naturally applies to belief in any of the many proposed afterlives.

(ita haec vita hominum ad modicum apparet; quid autem sequatur, quidve praecesserit, prorsus ignoramus)

Ambrosia Slaad wrote:

I think if scientists ever figure out how to map/read/copy memories into digital backups, we'll figure out how to write those memories into a fresh cloned body (with fresh telomeres). True, the clone wouldn't technically be the same original, but would that clone be able to perceive the difference?

And if you find this line of thinking intriguing, you might consider picking up a copy of the Eclipse Phase RPG. It's Creative Common licensed, so you can download it directly from the publisher for free; if you like it, you can purchase it here or at DriveThru/RPGNow. It also has rules for copying and forking digital consciousness, AIs, and uplifted sapients.

I have to say that I put little stock in cloning immortality either.

If I were to copy my brain into a new body, even a clone, what I expect would happen then is that an identical twin with my memories would awaken and begin to live while I continued on separately. A stream of consciousness would result that might share a beginning with mine but that would separate from me at the moment I make the copy.

I suppose that whether the clone could perceive the difference or not would depend on circumstances. However, it seems certain that the original would be able to perceive the difference (by simple dint of continuing to exist as a separate being from the clone) and since the original would be me, I would be out of luck.

As such, no matter whether science invents such things, my expectation is that I will end in death. I think that as far as I am concerned the end will be complete.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.

"Death is a primitive concept; I prefer to think of them as battling evil in another dimension!" -- The Last Starfighter (1984)


Imagine this: A person is given a nanite injection. The nanites form shells around her neurons, including every neural connection (dendrites and axons). The shells measure the weighting of the connections and then take over the rest of the neuron functionality when the neuron dies. Ta da! Clinical immortality. Plus, possibly a way to create a braintape.


Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:

{. . .}

I also tend to believe that cryonic suspension is one of the biggest frauds ever to be perpetuated in the name of science.

This is probably correct for now, but with another 100 years or so of advances in medicine, it may cease to be correct (although probably not within my lifetime). Although knowing how medical advances work these days, I would expect mainly people like Montgomery Burns to benefit from it, not most of us.

Here's the thing biology and chemistry guarantee to make this a croc. Once brain activity ceases, there is no way to restart it. The brain itself dissasociates.
Rana sylvatica begs to disagree with you.

Give me something significantly more sentient than a Tree Frog as evidence, and I'll reconsider your argument.

Cryonics including whole body suspension has been around for decades. So far NOT one of those corpsicles has been reanimated.

Even a wood frog might have enough learning to enable us to determine whether memories are carried through the freezing process; if they are, in principle, the memories of how to think (in other words, programming instructions that act on event and catalog memories to exhibit personality) could also be preserved.

The problem is that our cryopreservation technology right now is terrible, and will not enable true preservation of anything much above microscopic size unless it is something that is already adapted to some kind of natural preservation process, and outside that, has trouble with even very small multicellular organisms. Trying to preserve human life in a frozen state with today's technology is probably best compared to trying to get into orbit using atmospheric engines -- these particular efforts aren't going to work, and the technology isn't even yet at a point where the money could make significant headway using the money even if the purveyors were honest, but that doesn't mean that the entire concept is impossible (although my above rough estimate of 100 years might be too optimistic).


Coriat wrote:


If I were to copy my brain into a new body, even a clone, what I expect would happen then is that an identical twin with my memories would awaken and begin to live while I continued on separately. A stream of consciousness would result that might share a beginning with mine but... [/QUOTE

This is known as the Thomas Riker scenario. Thomas Riker fully believed that he WAS Will Riker until the day he found out that he was a transporter created copy.

Which does bring up the old question of whether the Star Trek transporter IS a murder machine and poor old Doc McCoy was right all along.]


Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:

Beautiful thing about this country... You can believe whatever you want. But I need something more substantial from someone other than "I believe" if they wish to have me share that belief.

What you can ask yourself though is how you deal with this life factored on the results of that question? For me my heavy skepticism about an afterlife encourages me to live this one with as much meaning as possible. And to have the termination of that life be under my decision as much as possible.

1) Belief(s) know(s) no political boundaries. :)

2) While some find the solace of a looked-for afterlife sufficient excuse to be lax regarding the present one, I am not among that number. This one counts for everyone. That, I think, we can all agree upon, generally.

____________

3) My old school textbooks always presented abiogenesis as a law; now I find that the phrase is not easily uncovered on a web search. How convenient.

There is, of course, a great deal that could be said about who published them, their sources, etc., etc. Since I grew up in TN, I'm sure those "nefarious Jesus-types" had a great deal of clout in determining the particulars of the high school curriculum.

4) The discussion of abiogenesis and its difficulties isn't vital to my belief, but it is the element which has the most traction for a dialogue. With materialists, that is.

_____________

I might be able to check back in more later this week. Y'all have a good one!


As you say, some grow lax about this life. Most worrisome, a rather vocal subset of christianity now claims that the Rapture is coming, when Jesus will return and meet all his believers up in the clouds of nuclear fire. Add to this that a significant part of at least the Republican presidential candidates these last few cycles consider this to be the truth... And to be desirable. Whether I believe in an afterlife or not, it matters to me whether the people who could start a nuclear war consider that a good thing or not. Each religion has a view of the end of the world, an eschatology. A theory was put forward that friction between the major religions today is directly shaped by the various eschatologies.

And like it or not... If for no other reason, this is a very important reason to discuss belief in an afterlife.


I think the nuclear fire bit is a bit too specific. I've never interpreted it that way, nor heard it interpreted that way until now.
I've heard something similar with the "13th Imam" stuff from Islamic folks, but even then, it's one interpretation of many.
Many Christians also believe in a "post tribulation" rapture, where Jesus doesn't come back until after all the bad has started...


1 person marked this as a favorite.

As to the main topic...

"Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter."
- Yoda


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Had a few minutes:

I'm not a believer in the "Rapture", or the "Tribulation", as they are proclaimed by premillenial Christians. Bill Hicks, back in the day, had a bit about "conservative Christians" having their fingers "on the red button" -- which I, too, find moderately alarming.

I find it paradoxical that many Christians (so-called, but not necessarily are) seem so willing to provoke global war, especially given the nature of much of the content (and apparent intent) of the New Testament. The passage that best sums up this perspective of mine is Romans 12:18: (paraphrased, emphases mine) "As much as it depends upon you, be at peace with all men . . . .", to be followed with Galatians 6:10: (paraphrased, emphases mine) " . . . do good to all men, especially those of the household of faith . . . ."

But, as we can see: the Bible is an easy thing to disagree upon, even for those of us who believe in its content to whatever degree . . . .


Syrus Terrigan wrote:


4) The discussion of abiogenesis and its difficulties isn't vital to my belief, but it is the element which has the most traction for a dialogue. With materialists, that is.

This Biogenesis is probably what you're looking for.

Biogenesis is the conclusion that complex living things come only from other living things, by reproduction (e.g. a spider lays eggs, which develop into spiders). That is, modern life does not arise from non-living material, which was the position held by spontaneous generation.[1][2] This is summarized in the phrase Omne vivum ex vivo, Latin for "all life [is] from life."

Its the caveat and nuance in the statement about what kind of life can come from non life that makes it not support for your argument for the afterlife.


I don't think being non-provocative and dealing with people in good faith are at all at odds with the new testament.
You can look at "turning the other cheek" as either a) an act of contrition, willingly allowing a person to hit you again; or b) being defiant in the face of oppression.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I feel that the benefit of Pascal's wager is that it indicates that not believing comes from something deeper than mere logic/reason.


The Raven Black wrote:
I feel that the benefit of Pascal's wager is that it indicates that not believing comes from something deeper than mere logic/reason.

How so?

There are plenty of reasonable reasons not to subscribe to Pascal's Wager.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
The Raven Black wrote:
I feel that the benefit of Pascal's wager is that it indicates that not believing comes from something deeper than mere logic/reason.

I'd disagree. I think that the benefit of Pascal's wager is that it indicates that believing cannot come from logic/reason, because if you do the math correctly, the expected value of Pascal's wager comes out negative.

As has been pointed out by many, the costs of believing in an afterlife are measurable, ranging from a nuisance (being Jewish and having to abstain from a bacon-lettuce-and-tomato sandwich) to harmful (being Jewish and not being able to get into a good college in the 1930s) to life-threatening (being Jewish and getting a free ride to a camp in 1943 Poland). Or, if you prefer persecution of other religions, being Catholic and (at one end) having to refrain from pork chops on Fridays or (at the other) being executed.

However, since there are multiple competing views of the afterlife and multiple incompatibilities -- for example, see the Koran 3:85 ("No religion other than Islam (submission to the will of God) will be accepted from anyone. Whoever follows a religion other than Islam will be lost on the Day of Judgment.") compared to 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 ("[The Lord] will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction.") Given the number of mutually incompatible religions out there, you're paying a substantial price for a lottery ticket with a vanishingly low probability of winning.

Unless, of course, you have some non-logical, non-mathematical reason to believe that one particular religion has a higher probability of being correct. But now we're back to faith.....


1 person marked this as a favorite.
The Raven Black wrote:
I feel that the benefit of Pascal's wager is that it indicates that not believing comes from something deeper than mere logic/reason.

Those who advocate Pacal's Wager are using an appeal to fear to advocate self-dishonesty to gain refuge from the eternal wrath of an extremely cruel and petty God.


Sissyl wrote:
As you say, some grow lax about this life. Most worrisome, a rather vocal subset of christianity now claims that the Rapture is coming, when Jesus will return and meet all his believers up in the clouds of nuclear fire.

That lot has always been around... The specifics may change, but there have always been those who argue the nearness of Armageddon in order to scare up faith when higher appeals don't work.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Orfamay Quest wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
I feel that the benefit of Pascal's wager is that it indicates that not believing comes from something deeper than mere logic/reason.

I'd disagree. I think that the benefit of Pascal's wager is that it indicates that believing cannot come from logic/reason, because if you do the math correctly, the expected value of Pascal's wager comes out negative.

As has been pointed out by many, the costs of believing in an afterlife are measurable, ranging from a nuisance (being Jewish and having to abstain from a bacon-lettuce-and-tomato sandwich) to harmful (being Jewish and not being able to get into a good college in the 1930s) to life-threatening (being Jewish and getting a free ride to a camp in 1943 Poland). Or, if you prefer persecution of other religions, being Catholic and (at one end) having to refrain from pork chops on Fridays or (at the other) being executed.

Or to be more timely, it adds fuel to the belief that one can get their forty virgins in the afterlife by blowing up a plane full or a mall full of bystanders who've done nothing to personally harm you.


Orfamay Quest wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
I feel that the benefit of Pascal's wager is that it indicates that not believing comes from something deeper than mere logic/reason.

I'd disagree. I think that the benefit of Pascal's wager is that it indicates that believing cannot come from logic/reason, because if you do the math correctly, the expected value of Pascal's wager comes out negative.

As has been pointed out by many, the costs of believing in an afterlife are measurable, ranging from a nuisance (being Jewish and having to abstain from a bacon-lettuce-and-tomato sandwich) to harmful (being Jewish and not being able to get into a good college in the 1930s) to life-threatening (being Jewish and getting a free ride to a camp in 1943 Poland). Or, if you prefer persecution of other religions, being Catholic and (at one end) having to refrain from pork chops on Fridays or (at the other) being executed.

However, since there are multiple competing views of the afterlife and multiple incompatibilities -- for example, see the Koran 3:85 ("No religion other than Islam (submission to the will of God) will be accepted from anyone. Whoever follows a religion other than Islam will be lost on the Day of Judgment.") compared to 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 ("[The Lord] will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction.") Given the number of mutually incompatible religions out there, you're paying a substantial price for a lottery ticket with a vanishingly low probability of winning.

Unless, of course, you have some non-logical, non-mathematical reason to believe that one particular religion has a higher probability of being correct. But now we're back to faith.....

To be fair, the costs of not believing in anything are also tangible (shunning from social groups, distrust from some devout people, effective glass ceiling to holding political office), so it's a lose-lose whether you believe or not, you're just trading the downsides around and trying to find the most palatable ones.


Sundakan wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
I feel that the benefit of Pascal's wager is that it indicates that not believing comes from something deeper than mere logic/reason.

I'd disagree. I think that the benefit of Pascal's wager is that it indicates that believing cannot come from logic/reason, because if you do the math correctly, the expected value of Pascal's wager comes out negative.

As has been pointed out by many, the costs of believing in an afterlife are measurable, ranging from a nuisance (being Jewish and having to abstain from a bacon-lettuce-and-tomato sandwich) to harmful (being Jewish and not being able to get into a good college in the 1930s) to life-threatening (being Jewish and getting a free ride to a camp in 1943 Poland). Or, if you prefer persecution of other religions, being Catholic and (at one end) having to refrain from pork chops on Fridays or (at the other) being executed.

However, since there are multiple competing views of the afterlife and multiple incompatibilities -- for example, see the Koran 3:85 ("No religion other than Islam (submission to the will of God) will be accepted from anyone. Whoever follows a religion other than Islam will be lost on the Day of Judgment.") compared to 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 ("[The Lord] will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction.") Given the number of mutually incompatible religions out there, you're paying a substantial price for a lottery ticket with a vanishingly low probability of winning.

Unless, of course, you have some non-logical, non-mathematical reason to believe that one particular religion has a higher probability of being correct. But now we're back to faith.....

To be fair, the costs of not believing in anything are also tangible (shunning from social groups, distrust from some devout people,...

Was it last Janurary that Barrack Obama became the first President to acknowledge atheists in the State of the Union?


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
I feel that the benefit of Pascal's wager is that it indicates that not believing comes from something deeper than mere logic/reason.

I'd disagree. I think that the benefit of Pascal's wager is that it indicates that believing cannot come from logic/reason, because if you do the math correctly, the expected value of Pascal's wager comes out negative.

As has been pointed out by many, the costs of believing in an afterlife are measurable, ranging from a nuisance (being Jewish and having to abstain from a bacon-lettuce-and-tomato sandwich) to harmful (being Jewish and not being able to get into a good college in the 1930s) to life-threatening (being Jewish and getting a free ride to a camp in 1943 Poland). Or, if you prefer persecution of other religions, being Catholic and (at one end) having to refrain from pork chops on Fridays or (at the other) being executed.

Or to be more timely, it adds fuel to the belief that one can get their forty virgins in the afterlife by blowing up a plane full or a mall full of bystanders who've done nothing to personally harm you.

Or that conversion by the sword or the inquisition is actually good for the victims - torturing them now to hopefully spare them eternal torture.

That "infinitude of gain" in the Wager can lead to really dark places.

And the logic behind it can be quite sound, once you accept the premises.

Voltaire wrote:
Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.


Sundakan wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
I feel that the benefit of Pascal's wager is that it indicates that not believing comes from something deeper than mere logic/reason.

I'd disagree. I think that the benefit of Pascal's wager is that it indicates that believing cannot come from logic/reason, because if you do the math correctly, the expected value of Pascal's wager comes out negative.

As has been pointed out by many, the costs of believing in an afterlife are measurable,

To be fair, the costs of not believing in anything are also tangible (shunning from social groups, distrust from some devout people, effective glass ceiling to holding political office), so it's a lose-lose whether you believe or not, you're just trading the downsides around and trying to find the most palatable ones.

Don't confuse the costs of not believing with the costs of not appearing to believe. If I want to win elective office in rural Texas, it's easy enough for me to attend the local Baptist church. As long as I do my drinking in private, no one will ever know that I think that the actual Baptist creed is so much nonsense.


I deleted that.


Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Those who advocate Pacal's Wager are using an appeal to fear to advocate self-dishonesty to gain refuge from the eternal wrath of an extremely cruel and petty God.

As the person who originally brought that up, I actually find it very interesting to see other people's views on things like this. My main purpose in noting it was to explain why I thought belief in an afterlife was rational... which is separate from, and should not be confused with, the reasons I have for accepting and believing in a specific faith.

Part of this may be the fact that I actually became a believer first, and only really dealt with the wager afterwards. o_O Not sure how I'd have felt if the order had been reversed. Alas, I'm hesitant to address the last point unless people really want me to, since that's a bit lengthy and veering somewhat off-topic. XD;


Rednal wrote:
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Those who advocate Pacal's Wager are using an appeal to fear to advocate self-dishonesty to gain refuge from the eternal wrath of an extremely cruel and petty God.

As the person who originally brought that up, I actually find it very interesting to see other people's views on things like this. My main purpose in noting it was to explain why I thought belief in an afterlife was rational... which is separate from, and should not be confused with, the reasons I have for accepting and believing in a specific faith.

Part of this may be the fact that I actually became a believer first, and only really dealt with the wager afterwards. o_O Not sure how I'd have felt if the order had been reversed. Alas, I'm hesitant to address the last point unless people really want me to, since that's a bit lengthy and veering somewhat off-topic. XD;

I suspect that's commonly true. The Wager really only makes sense if you've already bought into the basic premises. Which, back when Pascal came up with it, was basically ubiquitous throughout Europe.

Pascal himself responded to the argument about other religions by dismissing them as obviously inferior to Christianity.

Grand Lodge

I hope not, immortality seems like a bad deal.


Now that is something I would disagree with. Humans often have a tendency towards confirmation bias, which is a problem in and of itself... but belittling those you disagree with isn't a good way to start a conversation with them, much less convince them to accept your views.

Dark Archive

I do not believe in an afterlife as I do not see any evidence to support its existence. That said, if given an option I would prefer there to not be an afterlife; eternity is an incalculable amount of time. A googleplex raised to the power of a googleplex in millenia is as a grain of sand compared to the entirety of the whole universe. That is far, far longer then I care to exist for even if that existance is blissful.


Rednal wrote:
Now that is something I would disagree with. Humans often have a tendency towards confirmation bias, which is a problem in and of itself... but belittling those you disagree with isn't a good way to start a conversation with them, much less convince them to accept your views.

But remember, Pascal lived in a far less tolerant time and place, one steeped to a degree it's hard to fathom these days in Christian ideology. That's the viewpoint his Wager comes from and the viewpoint from which it seems like a powerful argument. It's directed at atheists rejecting a Christian tradition, not at members of other faiths or even at atheists coming out of those cultures.


BlackOuroboros wrote:
I do not believe in an afterlife as I do not see any evidence to support its existence. That said, if given an option I would prefer there to not be an afterlife; eternity is an incalculable amount of time. A googleplex raised to the power of a googleplex in millenia is as a grain of sand compared to the entirety of the whole universe. That is far, far longer then I care to exist for even if that existance is blissful.

Agreed on the first part. But if I could somehow get an afterlife in which I get to keep my mental capabilities (including memories) and a usable set of perceptive and motor capabilities, eternity would buy me time to solve my other problems, even if the time needed to solve them was unimaginably long.

Dark Archive

UnArcaneElection wrote:
BlackOuroboros wrote:
I do not believe in an afterlife as I do not see any evidence to support its existence. That said, if given an option I would prefer there to not be an afterlife; eternity is an incalculable amount of time. A googleplex raised to the power of a googleplex in millenia is as a grain of sand compared to the entirety of the whole universe. That is far, far longer then I care to exist for even if that existance is blissful.

Agreed on the first part. But if I could somehow get an afterlife in which I get to keep my mental capabilities (including memories) and a usable set of perceptive and motor capabilities, eternity would buy me time to solve my other problems, even if the time needed to solve them was unimaginably long.

And then what? Remember, we are talking about eternity here. You are going to run out of problems before you run out of time by definition because problems are a finite quantity.


Heh. Not in my experience. See, you get more of them too.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

Got 99 problems, but immortality ain't one.


Sundakan wrote:
To be fair, the costs of not believing in anything are also tangible (shunning from social groups, distrust from some devout people, effective glass ceiling to holding political office)..

Well, that depends very much on where you live. It's true in highly religious societies, like Iran, USA, Mexico, Ghana, etc. In regions with a mostly secular population, e.g. Japan or most of northern Europe, being an openly and loudly religious politician would be seen as at least a little peculiar.

101 to 150 of 986 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Gamer Life / Off-Topic Discussions / Is there an afterlife? (Civility please?) All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.