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Are we real or not?

 
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Ghost Without A Shell



Joined: 31 Mar 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 9:36 pm    Post subject: Are we real or not? Reply with quote

Are we real? Do humans actually exist, or is it a myth born from creation. When you pass someone on the streets or in a corridor, how do you know they're actually there? Do you say flesh and bone? What about plastic and metal? Have you ever considered we're all just a program? Maybe instead of this 'organic' body, were just composed of data? Maybe life is just a false reality, something that is so complex, that the minor components have created an awesome identity in which they have defined themselves with everything but the truth. Maybe humans have coated themselves with so many lies that the truth itself is now non-existent.

For those of you that are religious, I have a question for you:how do you know your god created mankind? Does it not seem odd to you that there are many other religions to yours? If your god is all powerful and almighty as all gods say they are, why do they not smite the others? Also, please do not call me anti-christian, for I am questioning all religions.

Besides, how do you not know that we were created by a programmer? Just nodes and circuits in a big computer we call life.
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cong06



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 10:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Are we real or not? Reply with quote

Ghost Without A Shell wrote:
For those of you that are religious, I have a question for you:how do you know your god created mankind? Does it not seem odd to you that there are many other religions to yours? If your god is all powerful and almighty as all gods say they are, why do they not smite the others? Also, please do not call me anti-christian, for I am questioning all religions.


For a split second I thought you were arguing Dualism, how it's impossible to know what our sensory input is, because our senses our flawed, so instead one should focus on "I think, therefore I am" where everything can be rationalized.

Being a Physics student, it seems as if the world infinitely complex. Now my discipline requires me to accept our sensory input, and in fact base everything off of them, but when the world is this complex, it can't be generated. It must just be.

As far as your religious question (which while it seemed out of place, is still quite interesting), I struggle with this constantly myself.
It seems to me that the Buddhist Religious experience is some how very similar to the Christian religious experience. Who are we to judge other religions, and decide what happens to them when death approaches...

I'm getting off topic, but I wonder if "religious fanatics" need to re-focus and realize that while we were made for God, our relationship with God is as much for us, as we are for it.
In other words, this religion (which in Christianity is a relationship, in Buddhism it's a state of mind) has been designed for us, rather then having been designed for the religion.

I wonder if it's not more important how we make this world a better place, then what we believe.

But I'm still just wondering...
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Ghost Without A Shell



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I understand what you're saying; we just exist. Well am I right? But something had to create the first spark. However I have to say, we have no real evidence of what created us, just based on stories and books.

As for the religious topic, I'm talking about all religions, and how they all state their gods created everything and are the right one to worship. My question is which one is right? Hmm Buddhism to me seems the most peaceful, along with Hinduism.

(Yes I know the religious question is out of place, I apologize, I just find it a tad annoying when religious zealots try to convert people.)
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GhostLine



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think it's entirely misplaced to discuss existence and religion...since the questions of origins require lots of searching. Now, I'm no expert on the matter, but with our existence...basic biology show how complex life is, and on the atomic level, it seems like we are barely held together...as if by a thought. Yet, we are fully functional as beings. If this is strictly by natural selection, then the human has really something to marvel at! Not that believers have less to marvel at...and with religion the awe is usually directed toward a Source. Often differing viewpoints start just by communicating that awe, but obviously issues arise when they clash.
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Freitag



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess if you don't think you exist then the rest of the questions don't matter.

So first you have to decide if you exist or not. The other questions you asked only matter if you do exist.

That is pretty much what my PC does every day when I turn it on. It finds the BIOS and that tells it where to look for an OS. If it can't find an OS, it just stops. But it can find any one of several OS and it acts differently from then on depending on on which OS it found.

I'm not sure what the question list would look like if you decided that you did not exist???




I'll fall back to "cogito ergo sum" and move on from that.

So now that I exist, I think the first question is. Do I have a purpose?

The religious folks will say yes - and then cite some purpose derived from their religious tradition (either oral or written)

The non religious folks would say no and then have the choice of deciding if they need a purpose (which they would determine for themselves) or not need a purpose.

I used to be a secular humanist and decided that I did not need a purpose. So I just went about doing whatever I wanted. I did decide that there ought to be a set of common rules that people followed (the social contract sort of thing)



Each individual then needs to decide if they care if they are forgotten after they die. If they want to be remembered they need to make some sort of impact on the world. Jonas Salk will be remembered for a long time. So will Adolf Hitler. So you have a wide range of choices when picking the legacy that you want to leave.

If you are religious, then you can follow your purpose. I'm not sure that Buddhism has a purpose, it seems to me to be more of a set of guidelines on how to do life rather than a suggestion of what to do in life.

The 4 of the 5 primary mono-theistic faiths all have 'to glorify God' as their purpose and then go on to tell you how in a couple of different ways.

Christians, Muslims, and Mormons have a secondary purpose in addition to the primary purpose. And that is to spread the faith. And again each is instructed on how. Christians and Mormons are supposed to live by a set of rules that can be abbreviated to "live as if you loved everyone" with the suggestion that so doing will draw people to enquire how you can achieve this state of peace is a chaotic world. Muslims are supposed to offer the choice to convert to Islam or cut your head off.

The Satanists are also a mono-theistic faith, but they are primarily about personal glorification - be the best you can be. They generally fall into two categories. The ones that will leave you alone and want you to leave them alone and the ones that are trying to bring about the destruction of the planet (create Hell on Earth). I *think* (complete supposition) that the latter group think i is inevitable and want to contribute so they are on top of the food chain and not on the bottom. I can appreciate that perspective - no one wants to be on the bottom of that hierarchy.

I read a while back that the Hindu's have 3 million gods. I'm not sure what the purpose (or if there are more than 1 of them) is, although there does seem to be a significant urge to break the cycle of rebirth to find the state of "no wind".

I think that Santeria and the related voodoo religions are more about manipulating power than about choosing a belief system.

I don't think the animists have a purpose - I think they are a lot more like some of the pantheists faiths and just hope that the unseen world doesn't interfere too much and helps sometimes. Although I might be wrong. These tend to be more of an oral tradition and that makes it hard to learn about for a tech geek like me. I don't wanna do mushrooms or peyote to experience it until AFTER I decide that is right and proper.

Now one place that people differ from my PC is that the computer obeys the rules of it's OS perfectly. People don't necessarily follow their rules. Also the analogy breaks down in another place. There are many OS and all are equally valid. But just because there are many religions (including non-religion in this pile) it does not mean that all, or even any, are valid.

To test validity you'd have to actually spend time reading about each one. Compare internal intentional consistency. And then apply the rules that each suggests for testing itself. The documents of the 4 primary mono-theistic religions all contain text that use the phrase "test" in the form meaning "assay" (to test the value of) and encourage you to ask questions. Although in practice you have to be careful who you ask. Some people will cut off your head if the feel insulted by the question

Not all of the religions are mutually exclusive, but some are. For instance Bahai lets anyone in and categorizes a whole lot of leaders as prophets, because there are religions that claim exclusivity, you cannot have both to be true at the same time. You also have to watch out for a modern thought trap. These days, claims of exclusivity are pointed to as proof of falseness and that is not true. If you see the other side of that coin, the person claiming falseness is just excluded. So exclusivity is not a valid reason to discard a religion.



In the spirit of full disclosure
I'm no longer a secular humanist. I've had personal events happen in my life that prove to me that Christianity is the real thing. But I still want cyber prosthetics when the real ones start being as good as the ones in science fiction!
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cong06



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Freitag wrote:
I guess if you don't think you exist then the rest of the questions don't matter.

So first you have to decide if you exist or not. The other questions you asked only matter if you do exist.

I'm curious how anyone coudl argue that they, themself, does not exist.
It makes sense that one could feel that there is potential for them to be nothing more then a program, but no matter what, if you are processing, then there has to be something that is accepting the input.
"I think therefore I am"

I can easily argue that you are just a figment of my imagination, and maybe this whole world is, but I must exist.

Freitag wrote:
The non religious folks would say no and then have the choice of deciding if they need a purpose (which they would determine for themselves) or not need a purpose.

Maybe I'm just different because I want a purpose. Or maybe because I fit into a religion I've been brainwashed into thinking that I need a purpose, and so I think that everyone needs a purpose.
But doesn't a life without purpose seem empty? Sure it's easy to forget about it, and live your life, but when you have something to strive for, a purpose, you have something to DO.
I would argue that even just living is a purpose. It seems like a dull one, and maybe "self-centered" but it's still a purpose.

Freitag wrote:
Now one place that people differ from my PC is that the computer obeys the rules of it's OS perfectly. People don't necessarily follow their rules. Also the analogy breaks down in another place. There are many OS and all are equally valid. But just because there are many religions (including non-religion in this pile) it does not mean that all, or even any, are valid.

Well, technically, you're only comparing the "used" OS's. What if I were to design an OS that simply did nothing. Or instead of doing nothing, it was actually malicious.
I think that that would be an invalid OS. So I think it still fits.

The other problem that alot of Christians have to fight against is our bad name, however. Alot of people tend to lump us all together, just like a computer opperated by someone intelligent turns out to be quite different from someone that seemingly atempts to download viruses.

Freitag wrote:
Some people will cut off your head if the feel insulted by the question

hehe. When people feel threatened...

Freitag wrote:
These days, claims of exclusivity are pointed to as proof of falseness and that is not true. If you see the other side of that coin, the person claiming falseness is just excluded. So exclusivity is not a valid reason to discard a religion.

Interesting point.

Freitag wrote:
But I still want cyber prosthetics when the real ones start being as good as the ones in science fiction!

Here's a question for you then.
Do you think that those are mutually exclusive? Being a christian and enhancing your body with Prostetics?

I think those aren't questions for a religion, they are questions for humanity. At what point does one stop being human?
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Freitag



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 11:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm only focusing on that last bit...

I don't think they are exclusive, but I bet there are a lot of folks (on both sides) that do. I've seen most of the push towards enhancements coming from the trans-humanist groups and they are about as anti religion as you can get. But they ave really cool links to gadgets on their forums.


As for the simulation idea - linky #1 and linky #2



Artificial muscles
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GhostLine



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 1:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perspective...each human has been fit with a first person view (which reminds me of the movie The Final Cut in which Robin Williams plays an editor that downloads and edits a deceased individuals memories...to be viewed at one's funeral).
There are some indications where a professional can ascertain if someone has lost their mind, but when we get to the marrying of bio and tech...the individual is the sole judge of the dissolution of their self. If I lost my hand...I would mourn it. Yet it wouldn't change my identity...or would it? I would probably lose a lot of confidence and be angry and regret the event that led to me losing my hand. Yet if technology allows that hand to be replaced with all of the cosmetic bells and whistles, I may feel different. Honestly, it does come down to what we think of ourselves, but we gain so much personal validation from our peer and society we operate within. If lost my hand, and got a replacement that led to me not being a social pariah, then I might not have problems...but that's my own view....
I written about this on this board before, but I went to a Noh play written by a Japanese doctor about the eternal ramifications of an individual receiving a heart transplant. To some cultures, taking a deceased person's heart and allowing it to live will scramble the soul-destination of the dead person especially if being reincarnated...since a part of them still lives.
I think Westerners hold onto the view that the soul is separate from the body...which is a Platonic ideal that somehow bled into the Christian view...but from what I've read of the Bible, dead is dead, and the resurrected are brought back by divine will, and not by nature. Don't quote me on that....
But the proof is in the pudding...and faith is just that...believing something even if it is not physically seen. So people need to answer to their own personal faith and conscience. Advances are being made more quickly and quickly...and an ethics board can barely take a bathroom break without some new discovery and it's ramifications of extending human life and liberty.
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Ghost Without A Shell



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2009 12:41 am    Post subject: It recently hit me. Reply with quote

Humanity does exist. However it exists in a paradox. Humanity is a false truth. There is more than enough information to disprove that we are simply fake, but there is not enough proof to prove that we are real.

"I think, therefore I am."-René Descartes
"But what if your thinking lies?"-A Ghost
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LeoXiao



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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 10:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I feel that perception (at least the human kind) basically requires there to be categories and separations between different things, and definitions are needed for anything to be different. Thus, we can look at humans, flowers or stars, which are all material objects, and if we please, can avoid the fact that each one is different and simply call them "things." Eventually, why should there even be a plural, a recognition that there are different things? Why not just have one "thing" represent everything?

There is no meaning to the universe except the meaning that we wish it to have, because we are the ones who think and come up with definitions and such. There are also many ways to interpret "things," for example, I may interpret a lightening strike as the will of God or Gods, and someone else may give the scientific reasoning. Both can be true because both are the perception of conscious beings.

Yeah we're real, to our ourselves. It really doesn't matter either way.
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Rien



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really need a philosophy class Shocked and even though I can't contribute the in depth stuff you have, I can relate to the basic question. Even when I was child, I sometimes wondered if I was real or not. Every once in a while, even now, I have this out of body experience where I wonder if I'm real or in a dream. It's almost like my subconscious is trying to occasionally remind me of my existence. I want to say that I'm real, that we're all real, but who knows; we could all be in something like the Matrix. Laughing
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John_234



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 3:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Undeniably part of the all the philosophy thousands of years of human existence has brought about is rooted in the permanence of existence. We only live once, with one body and one chance. Most of our focus has been about what happens after, if / when we die.

Thinking of GITS where the concept of immortality isn't too far off, and life-ending mistakes can be mostly rectified a lot of that fear, mystique and hope is taken away from the entire matter. Then you have stuff like simulated memories and ghost-dubbing taking away the very proof that you really exist.

People have made points about reality. Doctor Steel, some steampunk organization guy pointed out that the reality of the Earth was, several hundred years ago, reality meant flat. Now, it meant spherical. Reality: Widely agreed upon opinion. That's worth keeping in mind.

One person's misery doesn't become a reality for the rest of the world because any given person is relatively introspective with their emotions and ideas. So in a sense, the concept that on an individual level is separate from the "greater picture" is entirely possible, too.

My personal philosophy is that our reality is a matter of perspective, what we can understand at any specific point in space and time. Given that, I have to do my best either way. If I don't really exist on a greater scale of things, I did what I could to make my impression of an existence worthwhile, and that's what matters.
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Damnd of Hell



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 4:43 pm    Post subject: ??? Reply with quote

You pose questions that prove only symmetry. For every one asked, for every one answered only circles back to the first. What answer can truly satisfy your question?
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