Chapter 14: The Unknown and the Unknowable

Guvf qbrfa'g jbex. Fvapr yngre ba jr yrnea gung lbh pna'g fraq nal vasbezngvba onpx zber guna 6uef, vg frrzf zber yvxryl gung Qhzoyrqber jnf hfvat gur pybnx gb genvy Uneel sbe gur ragver qnl (naq nyzbfg pregnvayl ba gur genva, naq creuncf rira va qvntba nyyrl).

Juvpu zrnaf gung qhzoyrqber, va gur pybnx, jngpurq uneel, va gur pybnx, uryc uneel orsber ur tbg gur pybnx naq xarj ur unq gb tb onpx 6uef gb rafher gung uneel tbg gur pybnx 5uef rneyvre.

Intellectual Hipsters and Meta-Contrarianism

I can think of clear examples where a particular ideological foundation allows for death to be good, without requiring a contrarian or meta-contrarian position. One thought along such lines is whether religion would fall into the contrarian, or meta-contrarian view.

If you ask most 5 year olds, they believe in the metaphysical.

So could a triad be religious/atheist/religious? Or is there an extra level, where the first kind of atheist is the fedora tipping teenager on reddit, then there be a meta-meta atheist, or would perhaps the meta-meta position be agnostic?

Is religion too complex for such an simplification?

What does it mean to "believe" a thing to be true?

In the Greek πιστεύω ( pisteuó ) is to believe, and is derived from πείθω ( peithó ) , which is to be persuaded of what is true. There are undoubtedly different strengths and types of persuasion, but I find that this understanding (that is to believe something is to be persuaded of the truth of it) is useful in all situations and contexts.

Jesus Made Me Rational (An Introduction)
what is more important is the hard work of closely examining every assumption and every logical step.

I agree. This was merely an introduction.

It reminds me somehow of the way many Christians talk a lot about humility but in practice are extremely arrogant towards non-believers.

I would assign a fairly high probability that this is more annoying to me than to you.

Jesus Made Me Rational (An Introduction)

Note: Sorry for slow replies. I am working in a different city this week and have limited time and access. The problems of life I'm afraid.

If you're using perspective in a different sense, then you're making a different point that I'm not currently following.

I am using the same sense of perspective that you are. I was saying that until actually experienced, the suffering of being hit by a car exists only in the mind of A. It is potential, but not real. B has no concept - or at best no ability to truly imagine - the suffering that would come. From A's perspective they only know the suffering of being restrained from chasing their ball.

You are correct in that if B gets hit by a car, then the suffering will be experienced by B, but the definition that we have used in the sequence of our problem of pain doesn't allow for potential suffering - only suffering that is actually experienced.

I am happy updating our definitive statement to include potential suffering not yet experienced by a person but understood by an outside observer.

Jesus Made Me Rational (An Introduction)
within A's limits, imposing the lesser suffering is the maximally loving option that A has.

This is not so as defined. Suffering is not from the perspective of the one inflicting or reducing it, but from the perspective of the one whom experiences it. A cannot be loving by imposing a lesser suffering from A's perspective - it has to be from the perspective of B.

And from the perspective of B it is not a case of a little suffering now to avoid a potential greater suffering later but suffering now, or no suffering now.

If you would like to update our definition to more robustly include the ability for an outside observer to choose a lesser suffering, while still inflicting suffering, now would be the time.

Alternatively we can continue with the current definition and state that by imposing suffering on B, A is being unloving.

Jesus Made Me Rational (An Introduction)
I feel like you're doing a lot of inquiring as to my position without giving me even a rough idea of your own. Which is a little frustrating, fyi.

I do apologise for the frustration this state of affairs brings. It's not for nothing though, I don't want to be in a position to be accused of dictating the conversation. If I just came in with "we will speak about [x] in such a way that we are forced into a paradigm as defined by [y]" it would be unfair to you, and to anyone reading.

I am trying to minimise this by giving you the power to steer and direct the definitions and the direction of the conversation.

The suffering I want reduced is the suffering experienced from the perspective of the person suffering.

This is an excellent perspective.

To be loving is to - within your power - reduce the suffering of a person, as perceived by them, as much as possible.

I am going to write an example, and ask you if the person "A" is loving.

A small child "B" is in the habit of running across the street after their ball.

Their parent "A" has two options:

If A allows B to continue then A has minimised suffering

If A stops B then A has imposed suffering

Is A loving by allowing B to continue running out onto the road unimpeded?

Jesus Made Me Rational (An Introduction)
What do you think IS the crux of the discussion?

The axioms that build up to the logical conclusion. I think that what you said there logically follows if the statements that precede it are true.

if you can reduce someone's suffering and don't, you're not loving them as much as you could.

If you are happy doing so I would like to focus on this statement first. My selfish reasons are that it is the easiest for me to discuss and on account of being in the middle of the chain directly influences the statements that come before and after it.

If you will allow our discussion to focus on this statement, I have a question: from whose perspective must suffering be reduced?

Jesus Made Me Rational (An Introduction)

Thank you for your definition.

There exists emotional pain

I am content taking this as a given.

much of which does not have enough redeeming side effects to make it preferable over the option of not experiencing it.

I am not sure this works as a statement of fact. Do you think we could try and come to some kind of agreement on a quantitative amount that does not have redeeming side effects? Or better still, how much of a redeeming side effect makes experiencing pain preferable to not experiencing it?

A loving being would seek to reduce that pain

Why? What is the likelihood that a loving being would do so? Does this become prescriptive? Do people who do not do so become unloving beings?

If a being is as ultimate as God is described as, especially if it made the whole system in the first place, then reducing that pain is possible and an all-loving God would have done it.

This follows logically from your previous statements - supposing that they are true. I don't think this is the crux of the discussion.

What are your thoughts? Where would you like to start?

Jesus Made Me Rational (An Introduction)
Why doesn’t this seem to you like a model grounded in empirical evidence?

Aristotle never tested it - never even wrote of the possibility of testing the model. Post-hoc reasoning is not science. It's inventing plausible (to the time) sounding explanations for observations, and then just leaving it at that.

Which is why Aristotle (or any Aristotlean naturalist) never climbed up a cliff and dropped two balls - one made of lead the other of wood.

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