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Old 02-03-2011, 05:50 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by IronMan View Post
That's totally fair.

London is an amazing city. Unfortunately, everyone is one the cloud there, so it's a bit of a pain in the ass for me to use the internet, since I can't access it that way. I was basically just using the facebook and skype apps on my phone to keep in touch with the states.
Ugh hate "the cloud". It's just a hyped up regression back to the days of the dumb terminal with zero computing power connected to a mainframe somewhere. But that's just a tangent and this thread is already getting too huge haha.

Originally Posted by IronMan View Post
The problem is function. I'm not really sure what the function of mind is here. If we accept what folks like Dan Ariely and V.S. Ramachandran tell us about the role that brain function and circumstances play in guiding the decision making.

And, secondarily, even if it is the case that these things happen at the "sub-quantam level" does that still constitute a form of free will.

If the soul and the mind are distinct bodies (which I think is what you're proposing) and the mind is the body that experiences the world (which I think we're also both on the same page on) and the role of the soul is to make decisions independently of that experience of the world, then does the soul operate on different conditions than the experience of the world?

And if it doesn't, if decision making operates based on our experience of the world, and the understanding that we have in predicting what decisions will have positive causal impacts, then our understandings (which are presumably informed by experience, education and other external factors like brain states) are the primary process in decision making, then it seems to me that independent agency at the level of mind is impossible.

That's where my problem is.
Well the explanation I'm proposing, and that is generally understood from the concept of the soul across various cultures, is that the mind is just a computational and memory storage tool.

The functionality question you're asking really is something akin to "What is the function of a computer?" ... simple really, it's useful for processing information and storing/retrieving memories, and running/interacting in it's own virtual/digital world.

Heck think of it as a computer CPU running one big World of Warcraft MMORPG/Matrix type application if you want to simplify it, though it's more complex than that. But the true "free will" input comes from outside, from the user that is entering input and controlling the mouse and keyboard.

Similarly, the mind itself would be a proxy for the soul on another level. It is useful for storing the memories and experiences of this life, learning and refining skills applicable in it's own virtual world (this life), but the "decision-making" based on that information and computation is made by a user (soul) that is seeing all of this and entering live input where needed.

So basically it's more like your second "if decision making operates based on our experience of the world" scenario ... the input coming from the soul, coming from perhaps a quantum or sub-quantum/extra dimensional level, is aware of the experiences and worldly interactions of the mind and body through their composition down to the quantum level. Based on this information, the decision-making can be carried out by the soul the same way an MMORPG player can make decisions based on what he sees on the computer screen.

The mind itself has no independent decision making, but it's inputs are very much independent, as quantum mechanics have shown that particle mechanics at the quantum level are always random and cannot be predestined to be one way or another even if the entire states of particles are known (as postulated in LaPlace's demon). It is in the form of these random particle collissions that input is entered into the "real world" by the soul.

Originally Posted by IronMan View Post
If you're claim is that a particular definition of free will is unfalsifiable (which is true in a lot of cases; Daniel Dennett presents a definition in Elbow Room that is totally unfalsifiable) then that's fine. But it seems to me that, if it cannot be disproven, then the value of the idea is fairly limited. I subscribe to Popper's view on this, fairly strictly, which goes something like this:

If a proposition cannot be disproven, then (from a scientific/philosophical standpoint) it cannot be formative in an empirical worldview.
I don't see why not ... if something cannot be proven one way or another, one is free to believe either side of the explanation based on logic and likelihood.

It's like saying in the 14th century or whenever the germ theory of disease came out almost two centuries before the microscope was invented to actually get empirical proof, "oh well just because you can't disprove these 'germs' doesn't mean they actually exist or have any relevance to disease theory. The theory makes a lot of logical sense of course, but one must continue to believe in Galens humors for healing, it's just stupid to believe otherwise!".

Not all things in science are empirically proven ... Einstein's theory of relativity was revolutionary far before it could be empirically proven. It doesn't make people believing or analyzing the world using that theory idiots. Heck, even macro-evolution isn't empirically proven it's not like anyone's ever seen a species evolve into another, it's based on broad patterns in fossil history.

Originally Posted by IronMan View Post
Again, you're presuming that all MMA fighters come from the United States, since you're using American figures. You're also assuming that MMA draws equally from all backgrounds, which it doesn't.

Setting aside the anomaly of Brazilian fighters (who are almost all Catholic) and Japanese fighters (who are almost all atheists, with a few notable exceptions), there is a problem even in the U.S.

First: American MMA fighters tend to come from the lower economic brackets, which (statistically) dramatically increases the likelihood that someone will be religious.

Second: They tend not to have post-collegiate education, which again dramatically increases the likelihood that someone will be religious.

Third: They tend to come from conservative and rural communities, which also dramatically increases the likelihood that someone will be religious.

The number of Christian NCAA wrestling champions is far higher than the number of non-Christian NCAA champions. Why? Because the communities where wrestling is practiced are largely very conservative and very Christian.
Well I already clarified that I wasn't just considering American fighters, I was just concentrating on them since we have reliable data for an detecting a statistical anomaly, in a country where there is more diversity in religion than say Brazil.

Just saying something to the effect of "Christians are dumb and uneducated, so you'll find more of them in MMA/sports" is a complete cop out. Some of the best wrestling programs in America are in California, East Coast etc., in the best funded universities, with all backgrounds of people competing in it.

I don't get this obsession with "post-collegiate" education as some sort of indicator of intellect either, and somehow people with just college degrees just being a bunch of unwashed bumpkins. If anything, useless MBAs with no real skills except claiming credit for others work are the dumbasses being fired first in today's economy.

Among the Christian fighters I mentioned, most if not all are college educated, so your casual assumption of assigning their religion to their "poverty/ignorance" is just another instance of an atheist superiority complex bias.

Originally Posted by IronMan View Post

Yeah, those are two hugely different things, though. Including something like "None of the Above" or a generic answer doesn't really help.

There's the problem:

Christians evangelize. Atheists and (especially) agnostics don't. It doesn't come up in interviews. They just don't care very much.
Corrent on the Agnostics, dead wrong on atheists, at least based on any casual observation. Just go out on the internet, every comments thread, website, yahoo answers, stumbleupon, forum etc. is filled with absolutely virulent Christianity bashing. Every 13 year old with a keyboard is extolling the virtues of Flying Spaghetti Monster and patting himself on his back with a smug smile over his wit and "original" intellect. You yourself have started a thread on Pop atheism and how it's the trendy thing nowadays. It's not just the internet, I experience it over and over in my daily life.

If you want an example in MMA, take a look at this Frank Mir interview.

He spoke at length on topics such as religion, calling it 'the retarded stepchild of philosophy'
Right now I'm reading the God Delusion from Richard Dawkins and the new book from Christopher Hitchens"¦so I have been primarily focusing on religion of late."
"Just don't care" very much? Atheists go out of their way to ridicule religion the moment anyone listens. There is somehow this ridiculous pretense that they have a casual nonchalance about it, but the very fact that the entire religion registration thread has 95% atheists all spewing ridicule against the one Christian trying to defend his views is an indicator of just how much atheists "don't care".

Originally Posted by IronMan View Post
I have no argument with any of this, except that it doesn't actually seem to work that way.

Statistically, if you're an atheist, you're much less likely to go to prison than if you're a Christian.

I actually think that this has almost nothing to do with religion. I think it's motivated by sociology. Given that statistically being an atheist means a higher likelihood of post-secondary education and, as a result, higher rates of employment and income, then there's a major sociological disposition that indicates that (as a group) there would be lower rates of crime.
Right, I'm sure those answers on prison surveys have nothing to do with the fact that their freedom depends on "proving" how reformed and good they are during parole hearings and otherwise, how their new found faith has changed their thinking and made them repent.

If you're going to quote a statistical anomaly, at least quote one where the respondants don't have an HUGE ulterior motive for a certain response. Like having a shot at freedom for example. At least in MMA or the free world people don't have that kind of motivation bias. You might as well cite me opinion polls of how much people in North Korea love their blessed leader Kim Jong Il.

Originally Posted by IronMan View Post
This is the problem: God's commands are not an invocation of virtue ethics. Divine command theory and virtue ethics are two totally separate theories of ethics, and the notion of "commandment" identifies with the former and not the later.

Actually, I don't think most Christians do that, as much as I'd like that.

The problem is that the Gospels, the Epistles and the entire Old Testament hinges on divine command theory.
Who made this arbitrary distinction that so and so falls under "divine command" and so and so under "virtue ethics"? It's so arbitrary to say, oh if God tells you to be virtuous, well that's a WHOLE ANOTHER thing than if someone else says it. It's the height of semantics.

Try to refute my point on the Gospels not projecting Virtue Ethics. All of of Jesus' words reinforce that virtue is rewarded and sin leads to destruction, that is the core of virtue ethics. How does it suddenly "change the theory" completely if God is the one encouraging virtue ethics?

Most Christians do actually tend to go in order from Gospels -> Epistles -> OT. One example is that you don't see most Christians holding a saturday sabbath, eating Kosher food etc. because of that very precedence i.e. in the Epistles it is stated that God made everything clean to eat and so the OT is negated in that regard.

Only a very small chunk of literalist Christians who think the Bible is the unfallible literal word-for-word written by God kind of thing pretend to take all parts the same, and even they I bet don't go around eating Kosher good and sacrificing bulls to archs. I'm not representing that literalist brand of Christian anyway.

Originally Posted by IronMan View Post
You're romanticizing and overlooking the role that Ortiz played in MMA. He didn't evolve, which is exactly my point: that is what played a role in his becoming irrelevant, not his lack of religiosity. By the way, there are plenty of other (religious) UFC champions who fell out of the top for exactly the same reason.

It's easy to diminish Ortiz now because he's not a guy at the top, but he was, in his prime, one of the greatest champions in the history of the UFC. When GSP or Anderson or Aldo falls out of the top, we'll be able to assess their career with the same retrospect.
Name one religious (preferably more than token religious and someone who actually tried to be virtuous) UFC champ that fell as drastically and pathetically as Ortiz, at an early stage in his career?

GSP and Aldo may fall, but there is a huge difference in being taken out at 40 by the next young prodigy and being thrashed out by B-levels in your late 20s/early 30s.

Not to mention getting humiliated by an English street goon like Murray at the peak of his career and having his head stomped into the ground. What other guys at the top have such bad experiences? Oh they don't because they're not cocky douches like Ortiz.

Originally Posted by IronMan View Post
Actually, I'm pretty sure that both of those guys are Christians.

Also, I like Frank Mir, as a guy. He's very nice, very knowledgeable and if you're going to spot Matt Hughes for only being a douche during his use (or becoming less douchey over time) then you should extend the same benefit of the doubt to Frank Mir.
Nope. As I already pointed out Mir is a virulent religion basher and atheist, which fits very well into my pattern of things not going right for cocky unrighteous guys. As far as giving him the benefit of the doubt, unlike Hughes Mir seems to make no effort to try to become nicer.

Hughes comes across as a giant douchebag at some points in his book, but you can see at least he's trying to rectify or change his behavior lately. He made amends with Tim Sylvia for example, and he comes across as less cocky nowadays than his early interviews.

Mir on the other hand goes out on a Brock trash talking spree followed by a psychotic obsession on "killing him in the cage". Why I should extend to him the same benefit I give Hughes, I have no idea. He is getting worse, not better.

Vera, yes, a bit more cloudy. He is a cradle catholic, but beyond that he makes ZERO mention of his religion or beliefs, or them playing any role in his life or inspiring him whatsoever.

Originally Posted by IronMan View Post
That's great: these are utilitarian justifications for abstaining from drinking. They are not based on virtue ethics.

My point was not that there aren't good reasons to abstain from drinking. There are. Those reasons are utilitarian in nature.

My point is that virtue ethics is circular.
How are they not based on virtue ethics? The very line

"Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery" (i.e. Sin - opposite of virtue)

mentions that the reason to not drink too much is to not commit sins/debauchery/unrighteousness like cheating on your wife and sleeping with some skank etc. for example. If you don't believe in virtue ethics, you have no reason to dislike or look down on debauchery... the entire thing hinges on there being some sort of wrong consequences for that kind of thing. It is decidedly un-utilatarian and depends solely on thinking along virtue ethics lines, so I have no idea what your argument is here.

And it's not circular either, I don't know why you keep coming back with this thing. It's virtue ethics based i.e. Get too drunk -> Commit Sins -> Reap personal problems in love & life based on being unvirtuous. It's completely linear.

Originally Posted by mawrestler125 View Post
Didn't read everything, but I have the solution.

1. God exists -Faulty premise
2. god is all benevolent
3. god is all knowing
4. god is all powerful
5. Evil exists.

God is imaginary and he does not exist. For that matter, evil does not exist either, nor good. The universe is ultimately indifferent to our existence. Good and evil are relative to our species. There is an objective good and evil, however, with regards to the human race. Utilitarianism is the correct ethical theory.
Just great, more opinion without any logical argument and even bothering to read the arguments presented here. You bring nothing to the thread except trying to reinforce your own bias and congratulating yourself over your flawless understanding of the world. Congratulations o sage! You have all the answers!
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