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  #21  
Old 03-08-2013, 10:03 PM
Utopian Utopian is offline
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... why am I surprised?
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  #22  
Old 03-08-2013, 11:16 PM
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Yes I'm afraid it's true ... I'm not a true citizen of the U.S. ...
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  #23  
Old 03-09-2013, 04:30 AM
JaneQSmythe JaneQSmythe is offline
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Originally Posted by Utopian View Post
Hi Jane, I used to consider myself agnostic (little 'a') but now consider myself a de-facto atheist (little 'a'). It was not a shift in belief, only in semantics. Technically, I'm both agnostic and atheist ('as agnostic about god as I am the tooth fairy' I believe Dawkins put it) but if we interpret agnostisism to mean unsure and atheist to mean firmly in the belief that the notion that a supernatural being exists that created everything and spends its time listening to prayers and suchlike* is a notion not worth entertaining until there is cause to do so then - and I don't want to tell you what you are or aren't but from your description, our position is identical.
I would agree that our position is, likely, so closely aligned as to be virtually akin to "identical" - and a difference in "semantics" predominantly. I would be perfectly happy to identify as an (little 'a') atheist if there wasn't that niggling little word "belief" intrinsic in so many of the common definitions of the word. "Belief" implies "knowledge without evidence" and I am not THAT invested in the supposed answer to that supposed question.

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Jane Q Smythe, you sound like a sane person. I'm so excited to virtually meet you.
Thank you, "you sound like a sane person" may be the nicest compliment that I have been paid today!

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Ooh, the much neglected question of free-will. Did I bring this up earlier? Jane, I think you hit the nail on the head again; there seems to be no reason to believe in free-will as we are purely circumstantial entities.
I don't actually know if you brought it up...but these concepts are all tied together for me, and someone around here had caused me to re-think my thoughts on this recently (incidentally, I just re-thought them, they didn't change). For me, these metaphysical discussions are interesting - although not life-changing in terms of my ACTIONS, just my perspectives...which becomes part of my "circumstances"...so maybe more insidiously influential than it would seem on first glance?

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Now, here's an interesting point that I'd imagine has popped up on this forum more than once. Poly marriage rights. I wonder how much of a legal headache it would be to decriminalise it. What exactly is in our way here? Also, I think it's important to specify what we're talking about. Firstly, as with gay marriage, I don't think church leaders should be forced to marry anyone. Secondly, I don't think that church leaders should have any autority to legally marry anyone as church and state should be separate. Thirdly, I don't know precicely what marriage entitles (and it varies from country to country of course) but how would it translate to a poly marriage? Would it need to even? Perhaps a poly marriage only needs to be a collection of marriages.
For me this is making things much more complicated than it needs to be. I'll leave the "church" side out - they can make their own rules as long as they don't rule the day from the legal side. No, they shouldn't be "forced" to do anything - and what they choose to do/not do shouldn't affect anyone except church members. From the legal/government side - I would pick a model that viewed marriage as a "contract" and allow the the participants to outline what "contract" they were agreeing to (financial support, provisions for children produced, sexual exclusivity if applicable, etc.). There are some pretty complicated "business contracts" out there, the fact that there is no ONE standard "business contract" doesn't mean that no-one can have one. The same should apply to the "marriage contract." The government's role should be limited to a.) enforcing contracts b.) protecting basic human rights c.) protecting civil rights of citizens (i.e. non-discrimination) and d.) collecting taxes to pay for expenses associated with a/b/c.

JaneQ
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Me: poly bi female, in an "open-but-not-looking" Vee-plus with -
MrS: hetero polyflexible male, live-in husband (21+ yrs)
Dude: hetero poly male, live-in boyfriend (3+ yrs) and MrS's best friend
Lotus: poly bi female, "it's complicated" relationships with Dude/JaneQ/MrS (1+ years)
TT: poly male, married to Lotus, FB with JaneQ
VV and MsJ: bi-women with male primaries, LTR LDR FWBs to JaneQ


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Last edited by JaneQSmythe; 03-09-2013 at 04:40 AM.
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  #24  
Old 03-10-2013, 06:41 PM
Utopian Utopian is offline
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Hi Jane,
Yes that poor little word belief has been molested by halfwits. The word in my books does not mean 'I know'.
There are so many other words that have equally unhelpful ambiguosity or multiple meanings. 'Jewish' is one for instance. How can a person be free of the religious label they were given if it is the same word as indicates their racial heritage?
'Faith' is another as its meaning seems to mean well founded trust or confidence at one pole and at the other, ignorance and denial. And the word 'love' has been dressed up like a 4yr old in a beauty pageant.
I imagine - perhaps foolishly that peoples opinions aren't so unreconsilable. That a little but fundamental tweak here, a little clarification there and half the worlds disputes evaporate. If ever I find myself involved in or privy to a dispute, it always seems to turn out that the crux of the issue is a nothing that has been blown into a something through a communicative error or errors or the silliest misconception. I know (I believe) I'm amongst others here who share my sentiments on the value of openness and honesty.
'...these metaphysical discussions are interesting - although not life-changing in terms of my ACTIONS, just my perspectives...which becomes part of my "circumstances"...so maybe more insidiously influential than it would seem on first glance?'

Sorry, I'm struggling with the meaning of this a little erm.... Your perspectives have sway on your actions of course. The metaphisical stuff for me is vaguely interesting in the same way as wondering if the matrix is actually true...wait, that is exactly the same thing.
I'm a pitifully uneducated person, I had to work the fallacy of free will out for myself. Only a couple of years ago in fact, whilst working as a farm hand in Australia - as good a place as any for an epiphany I think.
I brought it up with my family at Xmas and it was prettymuch laughed at and swiftly placed on the back burner. I didn't feel inclined to force the issue at the time but perhaps I should have. After researching it a little I find out that not only is there a complete lack of evidence for the existence of free will but that it has already become the scientific consensus that it does not (or rather that we should assume that it does not until we have the slightest cause to consider it a possibility - I think would be a more accurate way of putting it as the scientific consensus is that 'knowing' anything is almost certainly impossible).
Re: Poly marriage rights.
Do we make life more complicated than it needs to be? ...ah, after reading that again I see that's exactly what you're suggesting. Perhaps the unecessary aspects of marriage will (are already?) falling away. Many people don't go in for marriage at all in England. It means less and less. Any children are protected by law anyway and are as a default, the responsibility of those named on the birth certificate. If there is a dispute, both parties should have equal legal backing - I've wondered this; is it possible that we could have a system whereby any dispute has a basic government funding. If either pary wants more they can pay more into a fund which is then split 50/50 so you don't end up with haves getting better legal advice than have nots.
...anyway, off the subject a bit and not my area of expertise to be fair. Still, it's not a bad idea to wander from ones comfort zone. I offer my thoughts with humility.
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  #25  
Old 03-10-2013, 07:19 PM
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Re: words and their ambiguity ... indeed many verbal disputes seem to be based on a failure (or unwillingness) to agree on basic terms and definitions. I keep a glossary on another forum and have been told that it's foolish to have a glossary, that words shouldn't be fixed to concrete definitions and that when they are, knowledge about them becomes a basis for superiority ("Look at these special words I'm using; I'll bet you don't know these words, ha-ha"). I actually maintain that without some kind of common knowledge about word definitions, communication (let alone effective communication) is impossible.

Re: the effect of a philosophical discussion on one's actions ... the effect is subtle, but I assume it must be there. Kind of like how all the celestial bodies in space tug on each other a bit, so that no orbit is perfectly circular (or elliptical).

Re: the Matrix and metaphysical stuff ... there are many models (e.g. brain in a vat) of a substrate plane that may underpin our existence, some sinister, some sublime. There is a chance that a "spirit world" is connected to our physical world, but in a very delicate way.

Re: free will ... it is virtually impossible to imagine not having free will. We perceive ourselves as making decisions all the time. We have complex thoughts that precede our decisions. Imagining all that as the inevitable movements of energy and molecules is almost as impossible as imagining death without an afterlife. For some, this incomprehensibility is proof that we do have spirits. But then, it is technically impossible to imagine a hypersphere, and yet most of us agree that our universe is in the shape of a hypersphere.

Re: marriage ... it is becoming less common in the United States as well, though conceivably less so than in England. In tandem, people are talking about the need to extend marital rights to same-sex couples (and we still have a considerable range of rights that go with marriage if my understanding is correct). I don't know what the fate of marriage is worldwide. Perhaps as Jane suggested people will write up their own marital contracts.

Re: equalizing legal funds ... an interesting idea, may take awhile to take hold in the U.S. though, where wealth is still somewhat seen as a sign of honest hard work and virtue. Redistributing wealth is seen as a communist value, and we still have lots of people who are paranoid about communist values.

Just musing out loud,
Kevin T.
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  #26  
Old 03-11-2013, 01:11 PM
Utopian Utopian is offline
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Re: Words and their ambiguity
I think you'd agree that there's something to be said for allowing room for interpretation in various situations; perhaps when precicion in a situation is less important than brevity but when hackles begin to rise or beforehand, all paries must check themselves and acknowledge the debate not as opposing forces but as agents intent on reaching the common cause of truth. This is where clarity becomes all important and words must be defined or replaced for terms such as those commonly used in philosophical debate.

Re: Celestial bodies.
'Logic is the gravity of truth.' - me

Re: Metaphysics
There is of course always going to be the possibility of possibilities but surely no unfounded possibility should be considered more likely than any other unfounded possibility? Actually, I think I disagree with myself there; if a possibility sounds feasible it's more likely than one that sounds absurd.

Re: Free Will
On the contrary, I find it impossible to imagine how we possibly could have it. I mean, I know it is kind of intuitive but this is because we're doing precicely what our minds are telling us too! It's difficult to come up with a metaphor to express the non-existence of something. Our brains are full of neurons, that echo eachother. It's not so difficult then to consider our conciousness as an echo of subconcious messages (I think there are three types - sensory, and um ...) relevant to the immediate (even if what is happening in the immediate is reflecting).

Re: Marriage
People should write their own marrital contracts because people are individual, with individual needs and any relationship between two or more individuals is as individual as those involved. That's not to say a contract would need to be as complex of course. It may be that they want no rights other than the legal default.

Re: Commies
Ha! Well perhaps a country so against Communism shouldn't have put itself in the pocket of China (though that is Communist only in name (but then what country ever has been truly Communist?)).
Wall St is no less insidious ...insidious? Brazenly dictatorial I mean. Capitalism is just 'the devil you know'.

Re: Free Will (again)
It's no wonder the powers that be aren't so keen to make the fallacy of free will known (or to let atheism run loose). How else can they justify their wealth? Not believing in free will doesn't nullify the effects of incentives of course. Perhaps Capitalism could work if people weren't so swamped in the egotism that can only come with belief in free will.
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  #27  
Old 03-12-2013, 12:45 AM
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Re:
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"I think you'd agree that there's something to be said for allowing room for interpretation in various situations ..."
Agreed (and believe that any glossary should, within reason, reflect that).

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"Perhaps Capitalism could work if people weren't so swamped in the egotism that can only come with belief in free will."
Perceiving free will as an illusion does have a certain humbling effect ... though I suppose it could also be used as an excuse to act badly. Sigh.

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"Well perhaps a country so against Communism shouldn't have put itself in the pocket of China."
Oh snap;
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  #28  
Old 03-12-2013, 07:28 AM
Utopian Utopian is offline
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Re: Free Will
'it could also be used as an excuse to act badly.'
And what will this 'excuse' buy them? Incentives are there for good reason. There are differences of course. It makes no sense to take comfort in anothers misery, only in the thought that that misery may make them a better person. We shouldn't take pleasure in punishing our children so why would we with anyone else?
One can also take a certain comfort in knowing that an unhelpful member of society is being confined/inhibited from being unhelpful again.
So what positives do we loose in rejecting the notion of free will?
Now, as for what we gain:

Studies consistently show that criminal activity is closely linked to unfair distribution of wealth. As Kevin pointed out, the wealthy feel justified in their wealth and deserving of their good fortune.
Humility lessens the need to show everyone how great you are, so dampens the desire to have more than others.
This more accurate sense of self makes hate as we know it turn into something far more managable.
I don't know enough about psychology to even consider myself a beginner but think of all the ways that people are fucked up. How many of them are so because of this skewed perception of self and what comes with it; greed, shame, hate, many aspects of fear, jealousy, vanity...
...and repurcussions of these things - notably distrust and all of the above.
So what will we gain as these things shrivel like an iced scrotum?
Well truth for one.
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  #29  
Old 03-12-2013, 07:57 PM
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Well amidst all the pros and cons, the main advantage in my view is gaining an accurate map of the terrain. It is possible that we have some kind of unseen spirit world, granting us this thing called free will, but I personally think the odds of that are pretty slim. So, as you pointed out, truth is perhaps the most important thing to be gained here.
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  #30  
Old 03-15-2013, 10:06 AM
Utopian Utopian is offline
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Yep, there is always the possibility of a possibility but that could be said of anything. Remind me; what do we stand to lose if we take off our free will glasses?
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