Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Finding Out For Sure?

Harry Turtledove, "The Man Who Came Late," see here.

Alianora reflects that flesh sags with age and that:

"The earth dragged you down towards it, and then it dragged you down into it, and then...you found out for sure what came afterwards." (p. 42)

We only find out what comes afterwards if something comes afterwards. Otherwise, we know nothing. Lazarus Long's supposedly wise Notebooks make the mistake of stating that soon each of us will know whether there is a hereafter. No, we won't. Not if there isn't one. As I strongly suspect. See here.

There seems to be a strange inability to accept the point here. Someone said, "It depends what you mean by 'know.'" I mean "know." Someone else said that even the absence of consciousness will be a kind of evidence. No, it won't. You cannot be aware of any evidence if you are not conscious.

I would like to find the answer to this question before death but the only way forward is scientific study of the alleged evidence and no question is more fraught with entrenched positions making objectivity almost impossible.

10 comments:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    And I take the view opposite of yours. I do believe there is an afterlife/world.

    I really think the most logical position to be taken by an atheist or agnostic is Pascal's Wager. That is, an atheist should believe in God because he loses nothing by doing so. And even if God does not exist, he still loses nothing!

    Sean

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    1. Sean,
      But Pascal's Wager is dishonest. I cannot change my belief by an act of will. Belief is based on evidence and reasoning, not on choice. And which God? Catholic? Evangelical? Muslim? Hindu? One that no one has ever thought of?
      I was trying to get at a different point here. Many people read or hear Lazarus Long's "Soon we will KNOW" and see nothing logically wrong with it.
      Paul.

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    2. Sean,
      To stop seeking the truth and to live the rest of life trying to believe something based on fear would be to lose a lot.
      Paul.

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    3. Kaor, Paul!

      Of course! I sympathize with the objection that Pascal's Wager is dishonest. At the same time I don't believe it is impossible for a man to change from believing in atheism to believing in God.

      I think I understand your objection to what Heinlein had Lazarus Long saying. IF there is no God or afterlife, then WE won't know it after death. We won't know or be aware of anything. I grant that as logical. Even tho I believe God is real.

      Sean

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    4. Sean,
      Of course change from atheism to theism is possible (CS Lewis) and vice versa. Any individual can go through any change. We each have to seek our own understanding.
      You have correctly understood my disagreement with Lazarus Long.
      Paul.

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    5. Kaor, Paul!

      The examples I thought of were John Wright and Malcolm Muggeridge. They too were once atheist before their conversion to belief in God. They also both became Catholics.

      Good. Glad I correctly understood your objection to Lazarus Long.

      Sean

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    6. Sean,
      Yes. But there are many examples of conversion back and forth. We just have to seek the truth for ourselves and I imagine that that is what God would want us to do. When I said that I didn't believe in a God Who condemns people for their beliefs, an Evangelical replied, "That's convenient for you!" - implicitly accusing me of intellectual dishonesty. Thoroughly offensive.
      Paul.

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    7. Kaor, Paul!

      I agree! God wishes us to find the truth. I simply argue that He has given us both natural and supernatural means of finding that truth. First, we can come to SOME knowledge of God by reason alone. Second, God revealed Himself by supernatural means thru using the Jews as a means of revelation--culminating with the Incarnation, Passion, and Resurrection of his Son, Jesus Christ.

      And that evangelical Protestant was inexcusably rude to you! I can't imagine someone like St. Thomas Aquinas, a natural GENTLEMAN, behaving like that.

      Sean

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  2. Paul and Sean:
    Terry Pratchett's Discworld included a philosopher, Ventre of Quirm, who came up with the equivalent of Pascal's Wager. Since Discworld is fantasy, we get to see what Ventre found when he died:
    He woke up in a circle of gods holding nasty-looking sticks, and one of them said, "We're going to show you what we think of Mr Clever Dick in these parts..."

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    1. Hi, David!

      Ha, ha!!! Very amusing, this humorous fantasy spin on Pascal's Wager.

      Sean

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