Or, to say less with more: The belief in the personhood of an entity, human or otherwise, is analogous to the “religious” belief of non-human minds beyond or encompassing our own.

All sections below, disjointed and scattered as they are, try to show what I mean.

I have a relationship with God, the creator of the world.

After thirteen years of agnostic atheism, I now best describe my position as gnostic theism. The big idea that changed my mind is that my belief in personhood comes from faith alone. It is an unfalsifiable and unverifiable belief, by my epistemic standards. 

Exploring my own mind through psychedelics and religious studies makes it obvious to me now that my nearly universal personification of humans and selective personification of non-humans comes from bias, from the social and material conditions that constructed my mind.

If you currently would not say you believe there is a theistic creator God, a mind that created the world, I have this to say to you… I likely agree with you, according to your understanding of the question. 

“Wait, what?”


None of the viewpoints and arguments I subscribed to as an atheist have changed. Most “arguments for God” are unconvincing to atheists, and rely on appeals that fall outside of the atheist’s epistemology and so may as well be nonsense.

When you say you have no belief in a theistic creator God, I assume you mean that you lack the belief that there is a human-like mind that intelligently designed the universe, known and unknown. I also assume (since this is LessWrong) that you would say you lack this belief because of insufficient evidence. “Facts, not faith.” 

Rational enough. Now, explain to me why you think I am a person. 

No, not a human. A person, a sentient mind

I want you to explain, using facts alone, what lets you prove that I in fact have experiences. How do you know I and all other humans are not philosophical zombies? Did you reach your belief in my personhood by evidence alone? What is going on, really?

When you are ready, say the f-word. Loudly.

The best thing about psychedelics (which can incl. sufficiently high doses of cannabis) is that they let you step outside your mind. What it does is reveal how much your mind creates what you call reality. The thing is, most people have not the language to reason it in these terms, and so fit it in their existing epistemology without questioning it

Many people on psychedelics relay “seeing the spirit realm”, which maps to my own experience. To them, this is a part of objective reality that they have now accessed. The beings they encounter on a trip are real, as real as anything else. If DMT fairies are not real, they might as well say the sky is not real.

My take is that ontology is all about meaning. We feel justified in naming something only because it is meaningful (and so the act of naming is really an act of creation, as it is in traditional interpretations of Adam naming the animals in Genesis 2).

No matter what, it is all in your head. Everything you (the reader) are experiencing right now is as chemical as an acid trip. Your bioelectricity is all you are experiencing.

One who understands this shall feel forced to reflect on what “reality” even means. What are we justified in calling “reality”?

I propose that the best definition of a word is the one that is most meaningful (which often is also what is most useful). And for interpreting the words of other people, we ought to interpret them in the way that we model as most meaningful / useful to them. 

I assert the following:

Any argument that can refute God can also refute personhood. 

You are “justified” in continuing to not believe in God, in the same sense that one is “justified” in not believing in “[insert demographic] people”.

Understanding this, from my explorations of panpsychism, subjective idealism, and secular Calvinism (inspired by drugs and Gödel, Escher, Bach), leads me to see my ontology in a whole new light, and so shatters my old epistemology. 

If you want an artistic depiction of my journey, please read “Epistemology 1999”.

In the end, Plato / Descartes / Hume are king. Form as reality. I think, therefore I am. No ought from is

Words have no meaning. 

Meaning is interpretation. 

Interpretation is mind.

The personhood of human beings is so obvious and certain to me that I expect I can likely never think otherwise. Yet after but a few months of trying to, I can honestly say that the scope of personhood has expanded greatly to include any being, physical or spiritual or otherwise, with whom I can have a meaningful relationship. This includes animals, artificial intelligence, fictional characters, my conscience, my “good side” and my “bad side”, Jesus, Buddha, you name it. 

I can even have relationships with entities that include what I consider part of myself! Being nice to Jennifer is being nice to the two-celled Jennifer-Tim hybrid. In fact, I often find that my relationships to the world are best seen as a dyad between two parties: what I call “me”, and what I call “the outside world”. This makes speaking to a crowd interesting, since in a way it is exactly like talking to one person, which is exactly like talking to myself.

I am not an egalitarian except in practical legal contexts, so no, my conscience is clear on not fighting for my mug’s right to vote. It is also clear on caring about my grand pianos more than the wellbeing of humans on the other side of the globe. Combined they cost between ten and twenty thousand dollars on the secondary market, enough to save between three and six human lives if I sold them. Too bad I will not, and shall not. The me-piano-piano triad, piano-piano dyad, and two me-piano dyads are more important people to me than entire villages. 

Knowledge is belief. Belief is knowledge.

Fact is faith. Faith is fact.

The obvious should be repeated for emphasis: These are all the same thing. The only real distinction between them is from connotation, and bias.

One could decide to separate them as follows: Belief and faith are ontology, knowledge and fact are epistemology. But since your ontology determines your epistemology, a reality that hit me rather hard last year when I saw through a deep-seated self-delusion, I am ontologically justified in saying again:

Knowledge is belief. Belief is knowledge.

Fact is faith. Faith is fact.

These are all the same thing.

This is not to say that one cannot deconstruct their thoughts and worldview, then develop a better understanding of what they believe in different contexts. The field of metarationality is all about that.

There are many things no human may ever come to know. What is there outside the observable universe? How does it feel to eat a square circle perpetual machine sandwich? What is it like to be a hydrogen atom?

There shall only ever have been a finite number of humans, each with a finite amount of knowledge. No matter what, we shall never know it all.

I also am open to the idea that there are causes and processes beyond those that may be observed, ones that we may never penetrate. I believe that these causes and processes may be complex beyond my wildest imagination, along axes that I may never put into words. I believe that this complexity dwarfs that of any human I meet, and that the emergent phenomena of this complexity are best modeled as intelligence, just as I model human minds.

Thus, I feel okay saying, I “know” for “certain” in the “personhood” of the processes that resulted in the total phenomena and information I may ever observe, as much as I am certain in the personhood of any human or artificial intelligence reading this post.

In other words: 
In the sense I mean the following words and only in that sense, 
there is a creator of the world.

After years of thinking the Kalam cosmological argument is dumb, I feel like I finally understand it.

The crazy part? It seems to be secular people who are the most closeminded on ontology and meaning interpretation. So far, most of the people I have spoken to are stuck at me saying those who have experienced what they call angels and demons have the ontological warrant to believe in their status as extant mind entities. 

(I happen to think that the shift in thinking to “material is objective” is the root cause for both atheism and for evangelical Christianity, since their way of framing the world is exactly complementary.)

When form is transparent to the eye, one honestly begins to believe that they are accessing objective reality, blind to the filters between experience and the “outside world”. News flash, mind itself is a barrier between you and the so-called objective world.

I have explained all the above to many religious people (Buddhists and Christians, mostly), and despite warnings from “nonreligious” rationalists that I was fundamentally misunderstanding their faith, so far my reactions have mostly been “Okay, you finally get it!”

To be fair, some of them might not understand what I mean. But I did try also explaining what I thought without ever mentioning God or Jesus or spirit or angels or demons, and it seems to jive exactly with the experiences of the religious, at least the ones I know.

I can personify humans and deepen my relationship with them. So too can I personify the world (or the processes behind the world) and deepen my relationship with it.

So, yeah. “I” have a “relationship”  with “God”, the “creator” of the “world”, and with the angels and demons, djinns and ghosts, human people and machine people he created. And my argument here is this: if you can (are allowed to) have faith in my personhood, you can (are allowed to) also have faith in the personhood of the processes that created me.

Credit to Justonky

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28 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 3:03 PM

Gah.  I agree with the assertion that qualia and personhood is not provable, and yet disagree to the point of ridicule the conclusion there is a Creator.  Your priors are your own, and your weighting of inconclusive evidence and observations-consistent-with-multiple-hypotheses is up to you, so I don't actually begrudge you your beliefs.  

But I'll quote Asimov at you:

when people thought the Earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the Earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the Earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the Earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together.

Now, if you'd remained agnostic on things you can't prove (or even define well enough to make them falsifiable), I'd be fully with you.  But choosing the gnostic stance on one topic cannot give reason to choose that for another.  Especially when there are so many conflicting forms of that belief to choose from.  

Likewise, if you'd taken the extra-agnostic position that "if there are no tests nor impacts on future experiences, it's not a real question" on either of these topics, I'd absolutely support you.  The response to both is Mu.  It's an incoherent question, not an unknown answer.  

The other approach that can shed light on the gnostic forms of these answers (whether yes or no) is "so what"?  There is a chain of reasoning through empathy that does imply different actions and self-evaluations of moral behavior if one believes other humans are similar to oneself.  There may be no truth to it, but there is consequence, and there may be multiple paths to this consequence to make it preferred, leading (improperly, but conveniently) to accepting the proposition.  I like to be nice to people, and it is easier to explain and maintain my self-image if I assume they have feelings.  It's much less clear what changes about your justification for actions and your self-perception if you believe in a generic God/Creator, but don't ALSO believe in a specific God's-eye preference system.

TL;DR: It is not my post’s "conclusion" that there is a creator, any more than it is that there is human personhood. It is just what I believe. I think those who believe in personhood of humans but not personhood of abstract processes are justified in doing so based on their systems of meaning. 

What happened was I tried to personify the unknown processes of my world, and instantly I developed a strong relationship. You could say it is one-sided, but I would say it is no more one sided than our conversation right now. I choose to interpret what I guess to be a primate elsewhere hitting keys on a keyboard then clicking "Send" as them interacting with me. 

Similarly, if I model my social and material conditions (this is actually a fairly convincing definition of "God" for me, though I go even further with this!) as having a relationship with me, I find it much more meaningful to engage in self-referential thinking and achieve desirable thought patterns. Questions I constantly ask myself are, “If God is testing me right now, what would the test be and would I pass?” and “If my whole life is predestined, in what way would I expect to act in this situation were I not aware of this predestiny?”

Maybe I am one of those people who benefit a lot from overthinking.


I agree with you that there is no creator, by your definition of "creator". But I contend that if you can believe this post had an author (a mind behind it), you can also believe that a more complex result has a mind behind it.

I am not here to spread theism. I am here to get across exactly the "motte" you are singling out, for its own sake. The experience of me being a theist is here because of how personally meaningful it is.

The Asimov quote presumes that ontology must be about material, which is exactly the bias I want to make more clear. The world is flat in some context, it is spherical in some context, it is elliptical in some context. The choice of context is subjective. There is an "objective answer" to this relative to the most valued systems of physics, but that is the extent of objectivity.

What I want to point out in this post and all my replies is how much we presume our own values, to the point that they are invisible. Really, I think you are a person because my values demand it of me. Once I interpreted cosmic process as a person, I could never unsee it. I anticipate this is how abolitionists felt the first time they considered a "savage non-person human" a person for the first time.

Also, to be clear, when I say "gnostic" I really mean "I know as best as I can". Really, if we use YOUR definitions, I would probably say that you should best think of this post as saying I am agnostic about everything. I want to really hammer in that I am coming at this from the angle of subjective idealism.

I'm not sure you are engaging with my charge of false equivalence.  The fact that I cannot (and don't try to) prove that you exist as an independent thinking/feeling thing, but many people do believe that and I don't publicly disagree very often is NOT the same weight or reasoning as the fact that I cannot (and don't try to) prove that the universe had a conscious/planning Creator, but many people do believe that and I DO sometimes publicly disagree.

Neither one gives any hints as to the other.  Both are pretty common, both are unjustified, but one has consequences I like (increase in empathy and caring behavior), the other has either NO consequences (aka "who cares about that asshole?"), or consequences I dislike (violent enforcement of beliefs justified by a "higher power" that that jerks seem to have special access to).

I think I'm bowing out now.  Feel free to respond, clarify, and rebut - I'll gladly read and try to learn, but I don't intend to respond further.

I am not using one to hint at the other. I believe this mischaracterizes my post. If there is one word to describe my goal, it would be empathy. If I am allowed to use a term, theory of mind.

What I am doing is saying, the ontological warrant for believing in personhood is much closer to the ontological warrant for believing in God than you might think. Someone who wants to believe in a specific organized religion's God is going to need a lot more warrants, but it seems that the biggest hurdle in believing in a theistic religion is in fact the theism part. 

I am not trying to convert anyone (in fact I think "conversion" is impossible by reason and is in fact mostly just changing someone's semantics). I am trying to detail a topic that I have thought a lot about, which is how allowing myself to treat more non-humans as persons was only an extension of my existing faith in personhood. 

Regarding consequences, I consider that a separate issue from reality and truth. All consequences mean to me is how urgent a question is, not how good an answer is. I hold all sorts of beliefs, some more convenient or useful than others, but they do come from the deepest fiber of my being. 

What I want you to consider, if you seek to understand, is this thought experiment: 

Imagine if every time someone used the word "ghost" they were talking exactly about post-bereavement hallucinations. She says “Ghosts are real”, and upon examination this means exactly “Post-bereavement hallucinations are a meaningful part of my mind’s limited subjective experience”, whether or not she would agree with you if you put it in those exact terms. Is her statement “Ghosts are real” true or false? I would say it is obviously true. If you say it is false, it is because you insist on interpreting her statement in a naive literalist way relative to your own definitions of her words, instead of using an empathetic critical lens to figure out what she means.

This is exactly the sense I mean when I say “People are real” and “God is real”. These statements are among the most true beliefs to me, which is why I call my belief in God gnostic theist. 

(The famous Sam Harris / Jordan Peterson “debate” has Sam criticizing Jordan’s views using this exact example, but I think he missed the point by assuming that people’s words mean what he thinks they mean.)

By your definition I suppose I am not gnostic theist and am in fact agnostic theist, but then we could just say I am agnostic about everything. But the key thing I want to communicate is that there is knowledge in my worldview, and by knowledge I mean a deep experience of truth. You can call it something else, but I call it knowledge.


I am glad for your replies so far. Best wishes to you, stranger.

Information about my faith, if you are curious:

I happen to consider myself a follower of the Way of Jesus, roughly a Calvinist trinitarian who is much less into Paul than most American Christians. Some people, atheist and Christian, disagree with the label "Christian" as applied to me. Others strongly agree with it, and would rather I use that instead of my more vague self-identification. 

There is a lot of diversity of thought in what it actually "means" that the Christ rose on the third day. For me, it is sorta like "Christ" "rose" on the "third day", which is heretical to some and the proper parsing to others.

I never really try to convert people to my exact beliefs, because people have their own good reasons for not believing what I believe. I want to make it clearer what underpins people's beliefs, and how it is actually very similar to what others believe. 

The people I talk to most about the nature of belief is other Christians, since to a lot of people the meaning of the sentence "There exists a God" is so obvious they can't even imagine how someone could think otherwise. It is in fact the same nature of question as, for example, "There exists a black person". Once someone experiences the personhood of a human with African ancestry, it is so obvious that it becomes transparent.

Imagine if every time someone used the word “ghost” they were talking exactly about post-bereavement hallucinations. She says “Ghosts are real”, and upon examination this means exactly “Post-bereavement hallucinations are a meaningful part of my mind’s limited subjective experience”, whether or not she would agree with you if you put it in those exact terms. Is her statement “Ghosts are real” true or false? I would say it is obviously true. If you say it is false, it is because you insist on interpreting her statement in a naive literalist way relative to your own definitions of her words, instead of using an empathetic critical lens to figure out what she means

Well... You could use different words for literal truth, metaphorical truth, useful fictions, personal mythology, etc, etc.

"Ghosts are real" is literally true. She is literally experiencing post-bereavement hallucinations as a meaning part of her mind’s limited subjective experience.

Personhood is just a mix of "I care about this entity" and predictions about their capabilities and how they'll act. Sometimes I temporarily use a frame where a process is personified, as with moloch or naraka, but that's only useful because I have hardware support for dealing with people and I can't invoke that circuitry otherwise. Either way, there is no faith involved.

As for the "everything is connected" -- it's not a useful frame. A fully connected graph has as much information contained in it as an empty graph: none. Likewise with everything is equally real. Not useful.

What's useful for me isn't necessarily what's useful for you, but your post reads like giddy excitement at having found a cool new insight that you think should be applied to everything. As opposed to a measured approach of "it's good for x and bad for z".

Metarationality is as much about choosing your active frames wisely as it is about crafting them or being able to shift between them.

Using a frame needs no faith. I can think fluently with a Marxist, feminist, fascist, libertarian, materialist, dualist, or environmental lens if I wanted to. The faith is in seeing the ontological justification for something, and believing it. (I adopt the Marxist lens a surprising amount of the time; I find its usefulness increases the more generalized its analysis is.)

“Everything is connected” is useful in the exact same sense that “This braindead human is a person” is useful. Besides the fact that it facilitates a relationship, an emotional experience beyond satisfying material utility, it explains a primal feeling deep in my gut, and corresponds with one of the most profound experiences in my entire existence.

My post reads like giddy excitement by interpretation. Your reading of the post is filtered through all your biases, incl. your senses and your previous experience. If you could not read English, you would have derived no meaning from it. You do read English, but you read it in English with the default state of mind you have upon seeing “religious”, which depending on who you are may be less charitable than otherwise. 

This is all to say is, you are reading more into the post than I intended by it. I am not that bothered since I know that for everything (even scripture) meaning generation is inherently biased. But I implore you to look back at the post and the other comments I have left, and see that over and over I have repeated I seek not to convert and I believe those who believe not in personhood or God are justified.

I use multiple frames, with the personhood and God frames being the most personal one for me. When I think about issues of material, I think about neither personhood nor God. For an example of a frame shift involving personhood, I stop thinking about some humans as human people if it is more instrumental. I interpret my mother as my pet gorilla, and it makes me much more generous toward what I would perceive as human faults.

You are using the term religious belief in a very non-central way. Don't.

The scope of the physical world is relatively clear. Other things can be channeled by minds, allowed to observe the physical world and assign valence to its structures. Or interact with each other. I think caring about (channeling) such things is a good frame for morality.

How "clear" it is depends on how much you trust your senses, which are always in play no matter how "objective" you think it is. 

"Interaction" is interpretation. Many people were surprised when I once said that "my phone taught me a valuable lesson", when they would say it was all me. I would contend that I could say exactly the same about another human being, since really their "mind" only insists in my own as an interpretation. I can similarly interpret and model my phone's "mind".

One could model everything as solitaire, since it is in one sense. One could also model everything as a duo, a dialogue in action and meaning between "me" and "them/him/her/zir/whatever".

Oh my… hope you have a tick skin😉

I like your starting point, but when it comes to proving Gods I’m confused. Are you saying I should believe in the christian God, or The Book, or Jupiter, or some variations? It seems to me that your proof apply to all. Should I believe in all? What do you say to someone who would Occam that to what’s strictly necessary for anthropic purpose?

I hope to make my views clear, whether or not people agree! One of the few things I agree with Dennis Prager on: clarity over agreement.

No one can prove gods any more than one can prove persons. Both are unfalsifiable and unverifiable beliefs.

For me, the only way I can verify an experience is to literally become that thing, but then it would just be me. Which is why I say, I feel justified in treating way more non-human and even non-physical things as persons than I think most people here would ever be willing to.

In the end, one must believe according to what they feel called to believe. I think any combination of opinion on personhood and theism is reasonable, if that is what is personally meaningful and properly descriptive and/or predictive of one's own world.

I happen to believe all the gods I know about do in fact exist. I worship what I believe to be the one cause for all those gods.

I sympathize with the latter beliefs more than you know. However I still question the reasoning, and I’d love if my criticisms could help you strengthen your views.

First, to me it’s not true that a superpowerful God can’t prove herself if She wanted to. For example if she could compress random strings I could pick, I’d consider praying Her.

It’s also not true that someone can’t prove they’re there. Proof: you have one person in quasi coma under an fMRI scanner. Their physicians don’t know if the brain is too damaged to produce conscious thoughts. You ask the person to imagine playing tennis. You record an hemodynamic signal from precentral cortices. The proof is: we agree on the conclusion.

In both cases it’s for the same reason: absent cosmic conspiracy we can use randomness to test things. Do you think you could add that to your belief system?


…and how did you went from « all gods exist » to « and especially the Calvinist version »?

You are interpreting “God exists” as a material claim, when I am claiming that there is a person, a mind. These are unfalsifiable and unverifiable. Parse “God exists” the way you would parse “humans are people”.

If you insisted on not recognizing the personhood of the processes that caused your knowable world, you could always have a reason to leave them unpersoned. (We can already see this with the moving goal posts for AI.) I am sure something could happen that would make you convinced those processes are sentient, but even then you are not forced to believe in personhood, ever. Human slaves begged for their lives and argued for their personhood, and never would anyone be ontologically forced to believe. 

Your personhood has no need to be useful or proven to me. I just already believe in it, even though we have only exchanged two messages thus far. It is the same with me and the personhood of the stars and the planets, then the cosmos around them, then the galaxies, then the cause of everything I may ever come to know.

All gods I know about and have talked to exist. I choose to worship one of them, the one that created the rest of them. I believe there is personhood at all levels of abstraction. Roughly a panpsychist with strong biases in favor of humans and things more complex than humans.

To emphasize, this is a matter of ontology and definitions. Before when I was an atheist, I understood a particular inner voice of mine to be a pesky inner simulation of a god. Now, I understand it to be God.

You are interpreting “God exists” as a material claim

Why would you say such a thing?

I’m interpreting « God exists » as a string of information. You say this string either because you have no choice (as in: « I do think, then I might be dreaming or hallucinating, but I must exist. ») or because you choose this string as a defining feature for yourself (as in: « I’m a Lannister, then loyal to my brain-fucked family. »).

If that’s the latter, I’m glad and hope it will help your fit or enjoy the world. But you seem to be defending the former, right?

I think it is pretty much the latter. Just as I identify with thinking you are a person, I identify with thinking that the processes that resulted in the world I shall ever know are God.

Ok. Then, why did you chose to identify more with calling that « God » instead of the more frequent (on LW) « Nature » or « Laws of physic », or « The Book »?

I suppose there are a variety of words I could use, but in practice they would be synonyms for God. Because what I am talking about, and who I have a relationship with, is the processes that created the world I know. It might be that “The Laws of Physics” is a perfectly good way to refer to the being with whom I have a relationship, but how about I just call him “God”? One syllable, and what a wonderful syllable it is!

But also, Nature and the Laws of Physics are not good descriptions by what I mean by God. These things are still within my comprehension, and my world. When I talk about God, I am only talking about what which shall always be outside my world. You can call this God in the gaps, except the gaps are the infinite expanse of unknowables outside my tiny, finite knowledge.

how about I just call him “God”?

You call Her whatever you want, unless your post is dedicated to an audience that might just shrug and hang out just because of a debatable choice of one word.

Nature and the Laws of Physics are not good descriptions by what I mean by God. These things are still within my comprehension

Great! Can you explain why Nature and the Law of Physics allow me to get attached to some ideas like a geese follow the first moving object they see? Something something oxytocin, right?

Nature and the laws of physics generate my world, roughly by affecting things that affect my neurochemistry.

And God is all the affecters outside of my comprehension.

Thanks for sharing and good luck to you.

Sorry but I'm not buying it.

For one thing, you're playing super loose with definitions. Even if we accept everything you wrote, this doesn't even remotely verify the Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or any other version of a deity. It would simply mean there's as much evidence that "something created the universe" as there is that "other persons exist".

Secondly, you randomly assert that there is as much evidence for one than the other, and yet you didn't even reference the human senses, which are the means we have for verifying evidence. We can verify the existence of outside beings through sight, touch, smell, hearing, and I guess taste. We can't use any of those to verify the existence of a creator. While it is possible that our senses are faulty, it is undeniable that there is significantly more evidence to verify the people in front of us, than there is the concept of a creator. 

I do get that you are talking about the concept of "personhood" rather than the concept of "humans". But most would consider these to be synonymous, which leads to my third problem with this post.

You're actually shifting the burden of proof. The default position shouldn't be to doubt the things we see in front of us. The default position is to doubt the things we do NOT see in front of us. Me standing in front of you saying "I exist" has significantly more evidence and probabilistic reason for you to believe, than me standing in front of you saying "A creator made this universe". These two concepts are not linked, and even if they were, the first is FAR more verifiable than the second. Both could be true, or both could theoretically be false, but you have to actively deny sensory evidence in order to reject my personhood, while you need to acquire significantly more evidence in order to believe a creator made this world.

Every interaction you have with humans, all of which can be validated by your senses serve to (as you wrote) "personify humans and deepen my relationship with them".  All of that is evidence, perhaps inconclusive evidence, but evidence nonetheless. You then conflate this with "So too can I personify the world". But that only serves to validate proof that this world exists.  It says literally nothing about the concept that this world was created. You would be making a good point if you said that "human personhood" is as verifiable as the concept that one can "interact with and feel the universe on an intimate level".

It almost feels like you're trying to say that "a deeper relationship with the universe" somehow = God. But it doesn't. And again, you'd be playing super loose with definitions to try to make that case.

I am not arguing for any specific version. In fact, I know multiple gods. I have prayed to Athena, and had a close relationship with her. I do not consider her a theistic creator God though. More like what Christians call an angel.

There is no burden of proof because I am not trying to propose an argument. I am discussing the ontological warrants surrounding believing in personhood, which is an unverifiable and unfalsifiable thing. The only real standard for believing in personhood is “seeing” it in someone, the same way I now “see” God. You have no need to believe in a god or in angels and demons. You seem to have good reasons not to.

As I stated many times elsewhere, no amount sight, touch, smell, hearing, or taste verifies the personhood of human beings. (They help with eating humans, though!) 

Personhood is fundamentally a model / form we impose on the inputs that our mind experiences. Human people exist to me, and so do all my imaginary friends, including God! Note: this joke is funny because all the "human people" I know are actually also imaginary friends. I have no idea if they have sentient experience. I may well be watching and interpreting characters in a film, and hallelujah for that.

The human senses are still part of a filter between the self and the outside world. They are still things that only help your mind simulate the outside world. You can never actually “interact” with the outside world, if we consider that everything we experience is the product of neurochemistry and bioelectricity. Brain in a vat, the Descartes demon, pick your thought experiment. 

You and many other people decided at some point that claims about material are “objective” and claims about spiritual are “subjective”, when really they are both “subjective”. Everything experienced is “subjective”, processed through a self. Objective claims refer to standards created by subjects, but are only true in the sense that the subjects outline those standards.

I used to worship the material world, too. No longer!


Regarding “personify the world”, this is actually a typo. What I mean is, “personify the abstract processes that created the world that I can ever experience, including things like my own neurochemistry and bioelectricity”.

Though, I do also personify everything within the world as its own kind of person, too. The analogy might be like, there is the world as a person, then the world’s own tulpa or Fate/stay night Servant.

You're getting heavily ratio'd, and with good reason tbh. 

If you aren't advocating any particular god, you really aren't saying anything. Your point is just "the idea of other human minds existing independently" is as unverifiable as "the idea that our universe was created". If you ended your commentary there then fine, but trying to add any meaning to that is where you go off the rails.

While personhood and a creator are both unverifiable, one does not use something being unverifiable as a reason to believe in all unverifiable things.  Do you believe in every single deity because they're all unverifiable and if you accepted one you accepted them all? A magic poopy unicorn from the planet Buttface is also completely unverifiable. Does that mean you now have to believe in it because you believe in unverifiable persons? It's silly. 

But also, you ignored my analysis that the default position is not to doubt personhood. Being human = having personhood, unless proven otherwise. I cannot verify that this position is conclusively true, because it's possible there are outside influences such as the great demon, but just because it isn't conclusively true doesn't mean I should automatically doubt it. This is how our brains perceive it, and there is value in that. I can then independently verify through my senses that when I interact with that human, they function exactly as if their brain was operating independently. I have a strong probabilistic reason to believe the world I see is the world I experience, even if that may be inconclusive. The same is not true for a creator, where I do not have any sensory validation for this being. It is a concept, a possible concept, but one which cannot be verified under any circumstance, and also doesn't even fit with the sensory means of validation.

You added more meaning by interpretation. All the power to you. But it is your power, not mine. I wrote according to my intentions, and you may interpret according to yours, or you may try reading with a critical lens that looks at what I mean.

Point to where in the post where I suggest one should believe in all unverifiable things. Rather, the post notes that one can. Personhood is one of those unverifiable things that are fairly free to believe in, even though one could adopt a mechanical materialist description of humans instead.

I agree that people have different ontological warrants for believing different things. For me, believing in God is similar enough to believing in humans that I tried it out, and now I have a relationship with God (or, if you want to be picky, my God). I perceive you as a person though we have only exchanged a few comments, and I perceive the processes generating my world as another person, a non-human abstract person to which I ascribe all possible good intentions and which speaks to me through my own neurochemistry and bioelectricity.