A Meta-“Argument” About Arguments

I’m not sure how describe what exactly this is other than a stream-of-consciousness that occurred after someone had intellectually stimulated me. It’s been a really long time since anyone has done that. Ah, intellectual stimulation! Even better than sexual stimulation, in my opinion. Knowledge is wonderful, and I love thinking.

This arose after the person brought up God.

To be honest I’m not sure where I was going with this. Such is the nature of Stream-of-Consciousness.

Again, do realize this is directed towards the individual on ExperienceProject who had brought this up, so if things seem odd in the syntax or sounds out of context (I tried avoiding such), that’s why.

Here’s how I see arguments.

On the bottom-most tier, we have the completely subjective. Things that are literally impossible to prove due to its very nature. We often call this type of thing “philosophy.” Here we have things like “Is reality really real?” Take nihilism for example. No matter what I do, I can’t be sure if I’m the only conscious being in the universe, and everything I experience and discover is just an illusion produced by a consciousness that is me, and that my senses are mere illusions. This among other entirely unprovables, form the bottom-most tier, and are the absolute most subjective things in “existence” (if existence is really a thing).

Then we have things like the concept of consciousness. We can possibly find out what consciousness is and where it resides in our brain (I actually have a very good idea of what it is. It goes against our current postulate that it has to do with the complexity of the system and instead deals with the ability to have short term memory. To explain would take a while, but I’ve already devised an experiment for it I’ll eventually carry out). We can understand what causes consciousness, but we can’t directly prove consciousness itself. I know I’m conscious. I think therefore I am. But I can’t prove to you, nor you can’t prove to me, your own consciousness. It is very easy to program a computer to say “I am conscious.”

Heck, all you need is these two lines of BASIC:

Print “I am conscious.”

End

And oftentimes you don’t even need the second bit. As AI gets sufficiently advanced, a computer would be able to formulate an argument on its own arguing its own conscious–but it can equally argue and defend that it is an iguana. I personally do believe computers are conscious. Whether it recognizes my presence or understands what I’m doing, or acknowledges my interaction with it at all past “hey, I’m getting some input telling me to do something, I should do that,” is a completely different story, but it has short term memory that’s far more complex than our own (we can barely remember more than a few strings in our short term memory… I often joke about how I have a 2kb RAM), and that lasts much longer. I’m pretty sure short term memory is the key to consciousness in humans (if I do prove this, what will this say about the ethics behind killing someone that literally doesn’t have a short term memory), and it might differ for a laptop due to the difference between the way the short-term memories work, but my main point is that one way or another, nothing can prove consciousness directly even if we can find out where it resides.

On the next tier, we start to drift away from philosophy and more into every day arguments. “What color is better, blue or red?” Even though evolutionarily red is far more a warning color than any other color, and if people are scared of a color (namely me) it’s usually red (although I only fear red lights), there’s no way to truly objectively define which color is better in any meaningful way, as the arguments usually relate to the gestalt principle (imagine three black circles on a white background, each with a 60 degree segment taken out of it in a particular way–or is it that a white equilateral triangle was dropped onto the three dots… there’s no way to tell since it’s what one perceives). Does red look the same to me as it does to you? Do you love or hate the scent of hardware stores? These are arguments that cannot be defined objectively simply because of the seemingly superficial point that everyone experiences this world differently.

Next tier would be something like “Which is better, Digimon or Pokemon?” Now this has a few objective points one could argue to directly show how one’s better than the other, even though it’s a weak argument; however it remains largely subjective. For example, most Digimon are direct rip-offs off of Pokemon, among others. I can’t really think of a reason Digimon would be objectively better in any way to Pokemon, but I’m sure there’s probably one or something. We can see this in how Pokemon takes the world by storm while few know what a Digimon is anymore. Again, a weak argument that is still highly subjective in nature, most of the objective points being how Digimon rips off and attempts to emulate Pokemon. (Objective because it’s a directly provable statement, e.g. in the case of Agumon being a clear rip off of Charmander).

On the next tier we have mostly objective, but somewhat subjective matters, as is in the case of the sciences we know some things about. In this case, we can say something along the lines of “We don’t know all it can be, but we do know what it can’t be.” Take for the instance reptiles. We don’t nearly know all the reptilian species in the world, but we know dragons can’t exist because they violate the laws of physics in so many ways. I could see how something could potentially breathe fire (glands full of flammable liquid that squirts really far and combusts when it reacts with some other chemical or oxygen), but the dragons of fairy tales are clearly impossible (I have a dumbass friend that insists they’re real–that’s why I use this as an example).

Then on the next tier, we have highly objective but hard to completely prove. Evolution is a very good example here. We have a LOT of indirect evidence that shows how species are interrelated and we can directly see natural selection at work, but it’d take several hundred to a thousand millenia to see it at work directly. These are things that do have a very definite answer, and even though we don’t have direct proof of it, one would have to be an utter fool to refute the evidence for a particular stance, unless they themselves provided a direct counterexample to it.

On the next tier we get to the next stage–things that do have a definite, completely objective solution we know little about, like a brand new problem. These can also be arguments that have a finite, discrete, and defined set of possibilities, (i.e. no maybe, and the options are clearly listed and cover all possible outcomes). Here we get into the realm where only math, and occasionally other rulesets (although the entirely objective rulesets are actually at the core nothing more than math that’s been prettied up). Take Fermat’s Last Theorem. We now think Fermat never did have a proof, but just postulated it and leave mathematicians figure it out. It left mathematicians scratching their heads for three centuries, and at long last in ’94 it was solved, with math that was unheard of during Fermat’s time. In Fermat’s time, we could have equal groups of people with equal evidence pointing in both directions stating “Yes, there is a solution” or “No there is no solution.” Here we take sides on things that are absolute truths that don’t even need the universe to exist to hold true.

On the next tier, we have absolute objective truths that have massive evidence for one side, but there’s still reasonable and quite possible ways for it to be the other. Take for example, the Collatz Conjecture. Most mathematicians think it holds true. The Collatz Conjecture is dauntingly simple of a question. Pick any whole number greater than 1. If it’s even, divide it by two. If it’s odd, triple it and add one. You’ll get a new number. Repeat it over and over again, and you’ll eventually reach 1. Even a second grader could understand it, but it’s a problem that’s been evading mathematicians for so long, and it’s on the Clay Institute’s “Top Most Wanted” list, with a million dollars and a medal for its head, proven wrong or right. Most evidence points to it being true, but just one counterexample could prove it wrong. We know it holds for all such numbers up to a billion, but it is very well possible that, say, 18478347529347523984 could prove it wrong (now I need to see what the Collatz trajectory for that is out of curiosity, but most online ones only accept 12 digits… eh it’s not hard at all to code this… I’ll do such).

Then on the topmost tier, you have the proven absolute truths. There is no denying these truths are the truth, the truth, and nothing but the whole truth, and these are truths that not even the bottom-most tier will affect–even if literally nothing exists, math would still exist because it is conceptual, and concepts are information that can apply to reality but don’t necessarily need reality to exist to hold true. To say these truths are not the truths would be one of the most idiotic things to do, as there’s absolutely no way for these truths to be false by definition. Everything, anything, and things that we don’t even have words for or could even conceive of–very literally EVERYTHING, even nothing–pure nothingness, that which literally is not anything which if we put a name to would be something, breaks down to being set theory, in some cases, paradoxically. Paradoxes do not violate logic–they instead create a logical latch. “The previous statement is true. The following statement is false.” Logical latches can be physical, too–they’re absolutely necessary parts of computer hardware, actually. But everything in this top tier is absolute PROVEN truth, and anything in this tier has a definite answer, and it is literally impossible to disprove it. Things in this tier include the Pythagorean Theorem, proof of irrational numbers, proof that some infinities are bigger than others (Cantor’s Diagonal Proof, and Hilbert’s Infinite Hotel Scenario, if you’re interested).

I guess I could call the bottom-most tier Tier IX and the top most tier Tier I and such. They’re roughly categorized by a combination of how easy it is to prove something, how objective it is, and how much we currently understand of it. I’ve arranged it in such a way that the higher the tier number, the more acceptable it is to pick sides given one has a substantiated logically-sound argument (i.e. “Red is the best color because it just is” does not work, and even in Tier II even if something is highly likely to be true, you can’t just say something like “The Collatz Conjecture is true because it just is.” Also, the argument has to be logically sound–even if the argument ends up proving false, it is possible for it to still be logical in its own extent, if that makes any sense). Do note that certain arguments can change tiers, except for Tier IX and Tier I arguments by definition. It is very rare for anything to change more than one or two tiers, and it’s only in the case for tiers that differ solely in our level of understanding. For example, if the Collatz Conjecture gets proven, it becomes a Tier I truth, and permanently stays that way. For all but the top three tiers, Tier IX arguments affect them and deconstruct them into arbitrary nonspecifics, but it breaks them down in such a way that would make any position meaningless to our existence (or non-existence, or some superposition of such). If we don’t exist, or if I’m the only one that exists, what does it matter whether red or blue is the superior color? With the top three tiers, i.e. absolute truths i.e. mathematical truths, because mathematics is the absolute most meta (to define how meta or to continue the sentence using a reference point or adjective or similar would be to attempt to define the nature of reality; the best I can do is define these using layman terms to be independent of whatever it is this all is).

The “truth” of religion is a Tier IV argument that very heavily favors religion being false, due to how contradictory and illogical it is. However, the pure concept of God i.e. there being a penultimate creator (penultimate to mathematics itself, as the God itself, being an entity, would still be defined by a set of rules that which is the absolute truths of mathematics–i.e. the true “God” is literally maths) is a Tier III argument that we have insufficient evidence to neither prove nor disprove.

Here’s the slightly shorter TL;DR version of all of this applied to religion as objectively as possible. Such does not necessarily reflect upon my exact beliefs, but instead is based on how possible something is from an objective viewpoint based on our current understanding and pure logic:

Is religion the truth (including any and all ideas that we actually mean something in this universe and that any God, if one exists, interacts with us in any meaningful way in our perspective)? No, it’s self-contradictory, far too variant, highly illogical, and goes against objective reality. If reality doesn’t exist, then it wouldn’t matter one way or another. We have sufficient counterevidence against religion. Is God as nothing more than a creator, the truth? We can’t be sure about that, although we’re pretty sure the God(s) don’t really give a crap about us or is anything like we’d perceive them to be from statistical reasoning alone. God could easily be nothing more than a conceptual necessity of reality, or could be a physical entity comparable to a programmer with varying motives. I could go quite in depth into the topic of “Assuming God exists and created this universe, what is it, what was its motives in creating the universe, what is it observing, etc. etc.” What does God look like? Could be anything. Some weird alien, something we can’t describe, a space unicorn monkey toad–whatever it is, it has statistically no chance of looking anything remotely human. Any one thing I describe has statistically no chance of even remotely describing what a God would look like. The statement “God built us in his image” can be directly proven false. We are imperfect. If God built us in his image, then God must be imperfect. Because by definition, God is perfect, then God cannot look like us without being imperfect i.e. it would not be God, as it would be imperfect. It is sometimes fun to picture God as a vagina, as many would argue that vaginas are the epitome of perfection, haha! Hey, intellectuals can make sex jokes too!

The extremely TL;DR version of THAT:

Is religion the truth? Nope because it goes against logic.

Is God as nothing more than a creator the truth? We’re not sure.

Well, that’s my two cents on this. Yes, two cents–this only scratches the surface of all I could say on this.

—–

To be even more meta, I suppose this argument is a Tier V style argument. I try to be as objective as possible all the time, and I suppose I was slightly less objective in this case because the length of the post happened on accident, and I didn’t completely add in all I could have to each stance so some things seem undefended, and went off on many tangents.

I suppose these Tiers are more along the lines of a cross between Classes and Types, although since they are somewhat ordered, “Tier” isn’t too wrong of a term to use.

A Meta-“Argument” About Arguments

Just A Few Reasons Why I’m An Atheist

I wrote this in response to someone saying that it doesn’t matter whether God exists or not–it doesn’t hurt to try to pray (for my cat). He said this in a more existential way, so I didn’t hesitate on my pedanticism. He seemed alright with my short answer of “God doesn’t exist. Heaven doesn’t exist…” (truncated), so I wrote a lengthy response:


 

Humans have invented the gods. The majority of Gods were invented at a time when we knew little to nothing about how our surroundings worked and what is possible or impossible. We created our own little explanations to how things may work. We do that today too–I used to think that all black holes were interconnected in some form. Looking back on it with more knowledge about black holes, I see now that my idea was dumb. But say we didn’t know anything about black holes–that they were just discovered. Then this idea would have been considered seriously, even if it is but malarkey now. The same goes with alchemy. Before we knew anything about atomic theory, the idea of turning lead into gold may not have been far-fetched. Of course we look back onto it as malarkey now.

In the past, the idea of a God-driven chariot tracking across the sky being the Sun didn’t seem too far-fetched. We didn’t really have a method to be so sure exactly what a star was, nor did we have a method (due to the fact our mathematics wasn’t developed enough to demonstrate such) to show we go around the Sun. We thought the stars were our guardians, and the planets were Gods. We thought the Earth was flat. All of this has since been disproved by science–but at the time in the ancient world, did we really have a method to do these measurements? Not at all; telescopes weren’t invented until the time of Galileo to peer at the wandering dots in the sky (the word “planet” means wanderer), to see what they really are. Until we could sail across the seas, we couldn’t really understand the curvature Of the earth.

My point is that God theory would have been acceptable back then. Any theory would have been acceptable. Without science or sufficient mathematics to explain the natural world’s behavior, we would have jumped to the conclusion that “this world is too complex not to have a creator.”

If a theistic God really did exist, then every religion would have the exact same set of rules–every representation of God would look alike. There would effectively be only one religion–one that didn’t evolve. Religions like Hinduism and Paganism are wildly different from the Christian/Islam/Judaism faiths. If we analyze the God’s appearance of the many religions of the world, save for Islam (God is represented as a bright, shining light–unfortunately this is where my name derives from, which is why I plan to legally change my Islamic name), almost all of them represent God in a way that God looks similar to that of the followers.

God is a construct of the human mind–an existential defense mechanism created to repress the fact we aren’t but the result of statistics. It’s denial of our insignificance. There are a minimum of one sextillion (1 x 10^21) stars in our observable universe alone, each per capita having about 1.5 planets. From our Kepler observations, we estimate that at least 75% of stars have planets, and at least 22% of those planets are Earth-like. Even then, this is a gross underestimate, as we haven’t been observing the stars enough to detect the slower-period planets, and the potentially smaller worlds that could themselves be Earth-like. If we manage to detect the smaller worlds–both percentages, especially the second one, could shoot up drastically. And what of the red giants? They could have easily in the past harbored planets. What of the moons around those planets? Somewhere, there could be a Pandora-esque world that harbors alien life. The chances of there NOT being a plethora of life elsewhere in the universe is slim to none. Using statistics alone, it’s statistically certain that there is TONS of alien life out there–some of which is as intelligent as if not more intelligent than humans.

We tend to fall victim of an existential observational bias–if we didn’t exist, we obviously couldn’t ponder our own existence. It sounds tautological, but think about it. Say that life exists on five percent of planets in the Goldilocks Zone of other planets (i.e. Earth-like planets have to be in this zone to be considered “Earth-like”). A percent of those spawns of life evolve life capable of existentialism. But if that existential life didn’t evolve the capability to ponder its existence, then of course it wouldn’t. In that sense, we ponder our existence because we’re able to do so. My cat likely doesn’t ponder its existence, as his brain isn’t complex enough to make the connections. If we were all cats, we’d still exist–but we wouldn’t truly think about where we came from.

We fail to realize that we’re just the statistical outcome of that percent of that five percent of that 22% of that 75% of exoplanets out there–and that’s not even counting the exomoons. This alone says that about 1.2*10^17 of planets out there harbor intelligent, existential life on planets, not even counting exomoons. And my percentages may not actually be an overestimate–they may in fact, be a gross underestimate. My point is that there are literally quadrillions, if not more, of spawns of intelligent life in the universe, yet we’re naive enough to believe that our one measly species on one tiny planet around such an average main-sequence star is the entire reason for the existence of this universe, and that for whatever reason, God happens to look like our species, even IF God happened to be a being that cared for all life in the universe. God is perhaps our greatest folly.

Even within the religions, we tend to only look at and believe what we want to hear and believe. Why are Christians so mad over gay people, if gay couples exist in over 470 species? If God was so against gay people, it’d be part of the Ten Commandments. God would be more angry that they committed the sin of wrath against gay people, than of people being gay. And why aren’t Christians so angry about people consuming shellfish? There’s so many discrepancies with all religions everywhere, that it’s almost as if it can’t be real. It’s like living a satire.

Now a “deistic” God wouldn’t be out of the question. Deism would suggest that there IS a God that kickstarted our universe, but doesn’t really care to intervene with anything. I’ve used the analogy of Conway’s Game of Life and other cellular automata before, which seems to work decently. God wanted to simulate an entire universe. It decided upon the rule by which the universe behaves, and the time between generations (one Planck time). This is what we would refer to as our “Theory of Everything.” This rule essentially allows everything to propagate outwards and clump into small groups that behave in particular ways. If I could tell you what this rule is, I’d be rich and famous, as I’d have figured out the Theory of Everything (which I do in reality think relates to cellular automata). God lets this universe play out for about 2.3e62 (If I remember my calculation correctly) generations (that is, the universe’s age in Planck times). Now we represent only a teeny, tiny fraction of this–we as planet Earth.

But would this deistic God really put all of its time and effort into pleasing specifically this one tiny species on this one tiny planet among the 1.2e17 other spawns of intelligent life? The chances of that, in sigma, are so tiny, that my calculator can’t process this (the number is THAT tiny, and it can handle numbers of as small as e-999 to e999… e100 is a googol, just for some perspective). At the same time, do you really think that the God would listen to the cries and pleads of all the spawns of life–and that’s just the existential intelligent life–in the entire universe? This is assuming it knows what life looks like. In Conway’s Game of Life lingo, we’re like gliders. We’re statistically so common-place in the universe, that no God would be sane enough to keep track of one particular glider out of the quadrillions that make up the system. It likely just sits back and observes the universe to see what happens, much like I sometimes play with the rules in an automata simulator to see the result. It might run this immense simulation as a means of finding out the chances of life’s spawn. Perhaps some other spawn of life had figured out the Theory of Everything and perfect quantum computing, and managed to simulate our own universe–i.e. the universe is self-contained. This makes more sense than religion, at least.

But as long as we’re talking existential philosophy, I’ll link you to something I made before. It’s a narrated version of something I wrote a while back:
youtube.com/watch?v=J9F37rVAu_0 [edit: link truncated to avoid embedding]

What does this all have to do with the death of my cat? My cat’s not going to any heaven. Once he dies, he’s dead. He’s an inanimate object. He’s nothing more than an organic tetranary supercomputer that’s no longer used. So much sadness… but does my sadness mean anything to the rest of the universe? No. I don’t bother to pray for something that’s pretty much statistically certain not to exist in a way that would actually help.

I could go on and on and on about why God doesn’t exist, but I think this is enough for now…

 


It still won’t take Mitu’s cancer away. I doubt even chemo could.

 

Just A Few Reasons Why I’m An Atheist